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Enterprise Education

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much funding was allocated by the Government to support enterprise in the curriculum in (a) secondary schools and (b) further education colleges in (i) 2001–02, (ii) 2002–03, (iii)2003–04 and (iv)2004–05 including Enterprise Week in 2004; and if she will make a statement. [209601]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Over the past two years the Government invested £15 million to over 195 fund enterprise pathfinder projects involving over 700 school and £16 million on the Enterprise Advisers service to help prepare schools in deprived areas for Enterprise Education. In addition, from September 2005 funding of £60 million will provide an Enterprise Education entitlement for all the key stage 4 pupils.

Funding to support Enterprise Education in Further Education is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council and I have therefore asked Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, to write to my hon. Friend. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.

The DfES worked closely with Enterprise Insight to support Enterprise Week 2004 in ways other than financial.


Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the answer of 17 January 2005, Official Report, column 819W, on funding, when the cash terms series will be placed in the Library; and what the reasons are for the delay in providing the information. [213158]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Due to an administrative error only one of the tables was sent. The information requested has now been placed in the Library and a copy has been sent to the hon. Member.

Pupil Referral Units

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the average cost of providing a pupil with education in a pupil referral unit was in the last year for which figures are available. [213176]

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Derek Twigg: The average cost of providing a pupil with education in a pupil referral unit in 2002–03 was £10,000.

Rural Areas

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what initiatives her Department has introduced since 2001 to support education in rural areas. [213133]

Derek Twigg: The Department for Education and Skills continues to work closely with Defra and the Countryside Agency to support the delivery of education in rural areas.

Since 2001 guidance for Sure Start Local Programmes has been revised to allow a different approach for rural areas, resulting in the 15 rural Sure Start Local Programmes. Of the 46 mini Sure Start programmes intended to provide services for smaller and more scattered populations, 29 are in rural areas. As part of the first phase of the development of children's centres, we have given additional funds to local authorities containing rural wards to develop flexible ways of delivering children's centre services such as early learning and links to health care services. The Government have been encouraging the development of extended schools. Funding has been available since 2003–04, initially to the most disadvantaged urban and rural areas, but from 2005–06 all LEAs will be receiving funding to support the delivery of extended services in all schools over time.

The Broadband Grant includes a 'sparsity weighting' to take into account the higher costs of connectivity in rural and hard to reach areas. All schools will have a broadband connection by 2006. We recognise that local schools are at the heart of many rural communities. Guidance to School Organisation Committees on the presumption against the closure of rural schools has been strengthened. We shall be reporting fully on all our activities to the Countryside Agency as part of the annual cycle of rural proofing reporting by the Government.

School Meals

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she expects to complete the Government's commitment to consider introducing nutrient-based standards for school meals as set out in the White Paper, Choosing Health: making healthy choices easier. [213298]

Derek Twigg: The review secondary school meal standards will start in February 2005, with draft standards provided for consultation in the autumn and finalised early in 2006. An expert panel will consider how best to tighten up the standards to reduce pupils' intake of sugar, salt and fats, and increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables. We will undertake a full consultation on the panel's recommendations before a final decision is reached on the format of the revised standards.
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An evaluation of primary school meals is underway and the report will be published at the end of 2005. A review of primary school standards will follow, and we intend to introduce revised standards, following a full public consultation, in September 2006.


Speaker's Committee

Mrs. Shephard: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, when the Speaker's Committee will next make a report to the House on the exercise by it of its functions. [213596]

Mr. Viggers: The Speaker's Committee has a statutory obligation to make a report to the House on the exercise by it of its functions at least once in each year. At its meeting on 18 January, the Committee agreed a report to the House (First Report 2005) on its general work over the period from 1 December 2003 to 30 November 2004. This was laid before the House on 27 January and will be published on 2 February as House of Commons Paper No. 255. Copies will be placed in the Library and the Vote Office.


Benefit Interviews

Anne Picking: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on his Department's progress in ensuring that the reduction in benefit processing centres as part of rationalisation plans will not impede or hinder access to face-to-face interviews. [211091]

Jane Kennedy: As part of the departmental efficiency challenge we are transforming the administration of Jobcentre Plus and the Pension Service, to deliver savings and improve our service to customers. These changes will not impede or hinder access to face-to-face interviews.

Between now and 2008 the number of sites where Jobcentre Plus processes benefits will be reduced from the present 650 to around 77 larger benefit processing centres. However, when the rollout of Jobcentre Plus is completed in 2006 customers will still have access to services through around 1,000 sites and other channels such as telephone and internet.

The reduction in the number of sites where benefits are processed will, therefore, not impede access to face-to-face interviews.

Every customer to Jobcentre Plus benefits has access to a personal adviser at the start of their claim and local offices continue to offer advice and information on work and benefits. In some locations services are also delivered through third party premises and provision has been made for customer access telephones in a number of locations.

The Pension Service will move from the current network of pension centres to at least 12 modernised processing sites. These sites have been chosen from the
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existing network of pension centres and customers will be able to access information through existing channels, including telephone and the internet. In addition, the Local Service of the Pension Service will continue to provide a nationally managed face to face service at venues convenient to its customers.


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals were in receipt of (a) incapacity benefit, (b) disability living allowance, (c) attendance allowance, (d) carer's allowance and (e) child benefit in Southend-on-Sea in (i) 1980, (ii) 1990, (iii) 2000 and (iv) 2004. [213203]

Maria Eagle: Figures broken down by local authority are not available for any of these benefits prior to 2000. In the case of carer's allowance and child benefit, no such breakdown is available prior to 2001.

Child benefit figures are now published by Inland Revenue and are not yet available for 2004.

The available information is in the following table. Benefit recipients in Southend-on-Sea at dates shown.

BenefitAugust 2000August 2004
Incapacity benefit and severe
disablement allowance
Disability living allowance4,4006,200
Attendance allowance4,5005,100
Carer's allowancen/a1,745

n/a = not available
1.Incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. The figures include incapacity benefit credits-only cases.
2.Disability living allowance and attendance Allowance figures are rounded to the nearest hundred. A change in methodology from 2002 means that, after that date, there is a small increase in case loads due to some terminated cases being included.
3.Carer's allowance figures are rounded to the nearest five. The figure includes those entitled to carer's allowance but not receiving it due to overlapping benefit rules.
IAD Information Centre, 5 per cent. data, except carer's allowance which is 100 per cent. data.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claims for incapacity benefit were denied on the grounds of insufficient national insurance payments in the last two years for which figures are available. [213229]

Maria Eagle: The information is in the following table.
Incapacity benefit claims disallowed due to failing the contribution conditions

January to December 2004332,430
January to December 2003340,440

1.Figures have been rounded to the nearest five.
2.Figures are for disallowed at outset" cases, these are cases where the claimant has failed the contribution conditions for incapacity benefit. However these claims could still result in an award of incapacity benefit credits-only.
IAD Information Centre, 100 per cent. counts.

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