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Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme

Ian Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many payments have been made under the vaccine damage payment scheme in each year since 1995. [72941]

Maria Eagle: The information is in the table. Column 2 refers to payments made under the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979. Column 3 refers to extra-statutory payments made to past recipients of Vaccine Damage Payments to bring the real value of their original payment up to the current payment level of £100,000.

Financial YearVaccine Damage PaymentsVaccine Damage Top up Payments
2002–03 to date11

Employment Zones

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the terms of reference are of the current evaluation of employment zones; when the evaluation will be completed; and if he will make a statement. [73541]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The terms of reference of the current evaluation of Employment Zones are to assess the contribution of Zones to helping long-term claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance aged 25 and over find and retain jobs.

The current evaluation will be completed with the publication in May 2003 of a cohort study comparing characteristics and outcomes of Zone participants with those of similar long-term unemployed people.

Our evaluation to date shows that Employment Zones are making a positive contribution in helping long-term unemployed people in deprived areas move off benefit and into work. The 15 Zones have already helped over 23,600 people into jobs. We have recently extended the current Zone contracts to March 2004 and we will also be testing the Employment Zone approach with other groups such as lone parents and people returning to the New Deals.

A qualitative study of Zone operations between winter 2000 and summer 2001 was published on 17 July 2002 (Working Age Evaluation Series, Number 124). A copy is available in the Library. The report highlights some encouraging findings about the Zones, recognising, for example, that they have a genuinely innovative delivery system and underlining the importance of the flexibility afforded to Personal Advisers in helping people move into jobs. We will study the report's findings closely and consider what lessons can be learnt from the Employment Zone approach.

ONE pilot

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 13 December 2001, Official Report, column 993W, on the ONE pilot, what

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feedback he has had from the introduction of the form by the north Nottinghamshire private and voluntary sector pilot; and if he will make a statement. [66484]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The use of a uniform Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit claim form by the North Nottinghamshire Private and Voluntary Sector pilot has not been formally evaluated. However, informal feedback suggests that the introduction of the form has achieved savings on printing costs for the local authorities concerned, and that staff can also complete and check the form more quickly, providing a more efficient service to customers.

Building on the experience of the ONE pilots, the Customer Management System, which we plan to introduce early next year, will result in a uniform, single claims process for customers. Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit information will be gathered when a claim is made to either Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance or Incapacity Benefit, so that customers will need to provide information only once.

Parliamentary Answers

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether it is his policy to ensure that documents referred to in parliamentary answers are available via his Department's website; [72279]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Department publishes a wide range of documents in a printed and electronic format. Those that are of most significant interest are published on the Department's Internet site. [At present, all documents displayed on the Department's website are retained indefinitely].

Documents that are not published on the internet site are made available to the public in a printed format and are either available from the Department or the House of Commons Library. The House of Commons Library also publishes library material on the Internet.

Strategic Training in Apparel and Textiles

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department will extend the Strategic Training in Apparel and Textiles programme after June. [72207]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Strategic Training in Apparel and Textiles (STAT) programme, which was launched in April 2001, was developed as a specific response to a decline experienced in the textile industry. The programme was designed to improve the competitiveness of the industry by helping businesses with staff training and business planning. STAT received a fixed allocation of funding until June 2002, but due to an underspend in the early months, the programme has continued beyond this. There are no plans to extend it any further but the apparel, footwear and textiles sector now receives support through Skillfast-UK, one of five trailblazer Sector Skills Councils launched earlier this year. Skillfast-UK will ensure that people in the apparel and textiles sector continue to receive strategic training and support.

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An interim assessment suggests that the project has achieved many of its goals, with over 1,800 jobs having been secured as a result of the initiative, and around 2,750 people gaining additional skills within the textile industry.


Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the EU Audit Board of the Administrative Commission on social security for migrant workers is next due to meet; whether representatives of the Scottish Executive (a) have been and (b) are members of it; and if he will make a statement. [67742]

Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

This is a reserved matter and no-one from the Scottish Executive has attended or is a member.

Massey Ferguson

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to assist those who become unemployed following the closure of the Massey Ferguson plant in Coventry to find new work. [70801]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 22 July 2002]: Through the Rapid Response Service, we have already responded to the announcement of the job losses at Agco (Massey Ferguson) in Coventry, meeting key partners to discuss the assistance needed to help those facing redundancy.

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Working with its partners, Jobcentre Plus will offer a tailored, co-ordinated package of support appropriate to the needs of the workers being affected by the redundancies. This will include information and advice on all aspects of job search, skills and training analysis to help identify individuals' transferable skills and any training needs. Early access to a range of Jobcentre Plus programmes, including the New Deals, will be offered and, where appropriate, re-training will be given. Funding will also be available to pay for one-off support to address individual barriers to re-employment linked to specific job offers.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will answer the written question from the hon. Member for Chichester, tabled on 22 May, on the official travel of departmental and non-departmental special advisers. [72681]

Maria Eagle: This question was not asked of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Consultation Document

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in what format his Department has published the results of its 2001 written consultations. [69844]

Mr. McCartney: Replies to written consultations are published in a variety of formats. Where a Regulatory Reform Order is required, replies are submitted to Parliament as part of the scrutiny process. In other cases, results are published on the Department's website and are available in paper format.