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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what bids he has received for Westgate College, Newcastle under the Building Schools for the Future programme; when he expects to make a decision; and what funding mechanism he expects to use. 
Mr. Miliband: While I can confirm that West Gate Community College is included in Newcastle-upon-Tyne's proposal for the renewal of its secondary school estate to be funded in wave 1 of Building Schools for the Future, the authority is still working with my officials to develop its proposals in detail.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the change in (a) basic skills and (b) proportion of working age people (i) with no qualifications, (ii) qualified to level 2 and (iii) qualified to level 4 has been in the constituency of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central since 1997. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: (a) The 2003 Skills for Life survey provides the latest estimate of literacy and numeracy levels for England, the North East and the Tyne and Wear Learning and Skills Council area in particular. At present it is not possible to estimate levels of need for the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area although such figures will be available via DfES's website this autumn. The Skills for Life survey maps skill levels to the National Standards for Adult Literacy and Numeracy and is not directly comparable with previous estimates of basic skills need. This means we are unable to look at changes in basic skills levels since 1997.
The survey highlights that 22 per cent. of North East respondents were classified at Entry Level 3 or below for literacy (below a GCSE grade G). The figure for England as a whole is 16 per cent. If the North East's population is approximately 2.6 million, this would mean that over 500,000 people would have literacy skills at entry level 3 or below. For Tyne and Wear LSC area, 22 per cent. of respondents were at Entry Level 3 or below for literacy.
For numeracy, 55 per cent. of North East respondents were classified at Entry Level 3 or below for numeracy. This compares with a figure of 47 per cent. for England as a whole. If the North East's population is 2.6 million,
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this would mean that approximately 1.4 million people would have entry level 3 or below numeracy skills. 50 per cent. of respondents were at Entry Level 3 or below for Tyne and Wear LSC area.
Available data show that between the launch of the Skills for Life strategy in April 2001 and July 2003, Learning and Skills Council funded learners in the North East achieved some 35,000 Skills for Life qualifications, 18,000 within the Tyne and Wear Learning and Skills Council area. These figures are in addition to achievements funded through the Offenders' Learning and Skills Unit and the Department for Work and Pensions.
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(b) The following table shows the proportion of working age 1 people (i) with no qualifications, (ii) qualified to level 2 and (iii) qualified to level 4. Figures are given for the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central Parliamentary Constituency Area (PCA), the Tyne and Wear local Learning and Skills Council (LSC) area, and the North East Government Office Region (GOR). Data comes from the Local Area Labour Force Surveys conducted annually from 19992000 to 200203.
1 Working age population refers to males aged 16 to 64 and females aged 16 to 59.
|Qualification level (percentage) 1|
|Geography||No qualifications||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4 and above||Level 2 and above|
|Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central PCA|
|Change from 19992000||-3||-1||+3||+9||+11|
|Tyne and Wear LLSC|
|Change from 19992000||-3||-1||+1||+4||+3|
|North East GOR|
|Change from 19992000||-3||0||+1||+3||+3|
Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many staff at each grade in his Department have opted out of the Working Time Regulations; and what the average number of hours these staff work per week is. 
Mr. Charles Clarke: My Department is committed to reducing the number of employees who work in excess of the Working Time Directive maximum to an absolute minimum. 64 staff have signed a formal opt out from the Working Time Directive. The following table shows the number of staff at each grade:
|Higher Executive Officer||15|
|Higher Executive Officer (Development)||2|
|Senior Executive Officer||10|
|Senior Civil Service||1|
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effect of the ending of the Net Book Agreement in 1995 on (a) authors, (b) publishers and (c) booksellers; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: A recent report, "The Benefits from Competition: some Illustrative UK Cases" (available at: http://www.dti.gov.uk/economics/economics paper9. pdf), prepared for DTI by Professor Steve Davies of University of East Anglia and his team, explored the impact of removing the Net Book Agreement as one of six case studies on the impact of enhanced competition.
The Davies Report concluded that the ending of the Net Book Agreement was largely beneficial as prices, at least for the more popular books fell, more channels to market have increased competition and access and choice of books, and the feared adverse side effects for small booksellers and book production did either not occur or were smaller scale than expected.
Mr. Don Foster:
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the likely effect of the proposed removal of the
7 Sept 2004 : Column 1011W
Recommended Retail Price from book sleeves on (a) authors, (b) publishers and (c) booksellers; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Hewitt: The EU has been encouraging innovation within the framework of the Lisbon strategy. The EU Innovation Scoreboard (published each year www.cordis.lu/scoreboard/) shows progress against this. The European Commission has carried out a public consultation on its draft Innovation Action Plan (http://www.europa.eu.int) and a revised version is due to be published in November 2004. The EU's sixth Framework Programme already provides a mechanism for funding collaborative research and provides substantial financial support to support research activity aimed at improving the EU's innovation performance. The Commission has published a Communication (Com (2004) 353) on 16 June 2004 (www.cordis.lu) setting out its ideas for the seventh Framework Programme, due to start at the end of 2006 and the UK will endeavour to ensure that this is structured in ways which further reinforce the EU's support for innovation.
Jacqui Smith: The Government are preparing legislation outlawing unjustified age discrimination in employment and vocational training in accordance with the Employment Directive (2000/78/EC). This legislation will come into force on 1 October 2006. In addition, the Government are promoting the business benefits of an age diverse workforce through the Age Positive campaign. The campaign uses publications, research, press, events, awards initiatives and its website to get the message across. They also encourage employers to adopt the voluntary "Code of Practice: Age Diversity at Work, A Practical Guide for Business".
(2) what the Government's policy is on (a) direct and (b) indirect discrimination by employers against the employment of workers over the age of 50. 
Through the Age Positive campaign the Government are combating age discrimination in the workplace. Age Positive is vigorously promoting the business benefits of
7 Sept 2004 : Column 1012W
an age diverse workforce by encouraging employers in both the public and private sector to adopt the voluntary Code of Practice: Age Diversity at Work, A Practical Guide for Business.
The Age Positive campaign is promoted to employers and individuals through advertising, the website and press features in national, local and specialist publications. It features existing good practice by employer champions, research, and strongly promotes to employers at exhibitions and workshops. Age Positive awards help to widely publicise the achievements of businesses and individuals who overcome ageism in employment.
Legislation will come into force to outlaw unfair discrimination on the grounds of age in employment and vocational training in 2006. We are currently developing proposals for draft legislation. This will cover both direct and indirect discrimination and will apply to all those in employment or vocational training and not just those aged 50 and over.
As the White Paper 'Fairness for All' has outlined, the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) will provide institutional support for the provisions on age discrimination, working closely with partner organisations and key stakeholders to provide advice and assistance. The CEHR will be able to advise individuals of their rights under the legislation, and provide support for some people to bring their cases before the courts. In addition, the CEHR will have the powers to conduct an investigation into a named party where it has reasonable suspicion that the person is not complying with the statutory requirements of the age legislation. If unlawful discrimination or harassment is found, the CEHR will be able to require the discrimination to stop.
Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how she expects the 2006 age discrimination legislation to be implemented; and which bodies will have responsibility for implementation. 
Jacqui Smith: We will consult on regulations to outlaw age discrimination in employment and vocational training, which will come into force on 1 October 2006. The CEHR will enforce this legislation and promote awareness and best practice in relation to equality of opportunity for people of different ages more generally, providing information, advice and in some strategic cases, legal representation. The CEHR will not be fully operational until the end of 2006 at the earliest.
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