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9 Jun 2005 : Column 684W—continued

Tax (Underpayments)

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was collected as a result of Inland Revenue initiatives to collect underpayments of tax of less than £100 in each of the last five years; and what the cost to the Inland Revenue of collecting underpayments of tax of less than £100 was in each year. [2855]

Dawn Primarolo: HMRC have not undertaken any special initiatives to collect amounts underpaid of less than £100. Underpayments identified within Pay As You Earn (PAYE) of less than £2,000 are, where possible, collected by a restriction to the customers PAYE code for the subsequent tax year.

HMRC do not keep specific data relating to the cost of collecting PAYE underpayments.

Unemployment (London)

Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) long-term and (b) young unemployed people there were in (i) Brent East and (ii) each London borough in each year since 1997. [2535]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Sarah Teather, dated 9 June 2005:

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Table 1: Unemployed resident in Brent East constituency

12 months ending
Youth (aged 16–24) Over 12 months

n/a = data not available
1 Zero or disclosive sample size.
Annual local area Labour Force Survey

Table 2: JSA claimants resident in the Brent East constituency

Annual averagesYouth claimants
(aged 18–24)(24)
All claimants for
over 12 months(24)

(24) Computerised claims only.
Jobcentre Plus Administrative system

VAT (Charities)

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue from VAT received from UK charities in the most recent year for which figures are available. [2874]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: HM Revenue and Customs do not collect data on VAT from individual goods and services. The amount of VAT received from UK charities is therefore unavailable.


Absence (Secondary Schools)

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps is the Government taking to lower the rate of unauthorised absences in secondary schools. [2931]

Jacqui Smith: We are concerned about all forms of absence from school and have made raising attendance our priority. Attendance levels have risen for the last three years and in 2003–04 stood at a record high of 93.4 per cent. We continue to work with parents, schools and local authorities to improve attendance.
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We have put in place a range of measures such as extra support for schools and local authorities from expert advisers and through additional resources. In addition, we are promoting effective practice including national truancy sweeps, and practices such as first day contact with parents and e-registration systems. We have also introduced the 'Fast-track Framework' a system to ensure early identification of attendance problems and a time-limited approach to solving them.

Another part of our strategy is to ensure parents play their part in supporting schools by ensuring that their child attends school regularly. The vast majority do so. Where parents are in need of support to fulfil their responsibilities, parenting contracts can provide them with the professional support they need and help them focus on what needs to be done to improve their child's attendance. However, where parents are not unable, but simply unwilling, to fulfil their responsibilities, they face strong measures such as penalty notices, prosecutions and compulsory Parenting Orders.

By September 2007, we expect all secondary schools to be working together in collaborations, with funds devolved from their local authorities, to manage support and provision for persistent truants as well as those that are excluded or at risk of exclusion.

Adult Education Funding

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether the funding of adult places at further education institutions is (a) discretionary for the individual institutions and (b) subject to the requirements of the priority areas agreed between her Department and the Learning and Skills Council. [3242]

Bill Rammell: The Department sets out its national priorities for post-16 learning and skills, including PSA targets, in the annual grant letter to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). The LSC is responsible for planning and funding provision which meets national, regional and local needs. Individual colleges and providers agree plans with the LSC which take account of national priorities and local needs and public funding is allocated accordingly. As independent organisations, colleges continue to decide the full breadth of provision they offer for adults.


Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students in England failed one or more A level examinations in each year since 1997. [2906]

Jacqui Smith: The information requested on the number of students failing at least one A Level, since 1999 can be found in the following table.
Number failing at least one A
Percentage failing at least one A

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Number failing at least one A
Percentage failing at least one A

Following the "Qualifying for Success (or Curriculum 2000)" reforms a new advanced subsidiary (AS) and A2 qualification were introduced, representing the first and second halves of a traditional full A level course. These figures relate to the A2 qualifications rather than ASs.


Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the participation rates of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in her Department's anti-bullying consultations. [2716]

Jacqui Smith: The Department for Education and Skills does not hold figures on the numbers of primary and secondary schools that we involve in our anti-bullying strategies.

However, the Make the Difference conferences which ran between November 2003 and June 2004 and celebrated and shared good practice in preventing and addressing bullying were attended by approximately 5,000 delegates, many of whom were head teachers and teachers. For the Make the Difference conferences the delegate ratio was approximately two secondary head teachers to three primary heads.

Our recent informal consultation on countering racist bullying, and our event on this theme on 24 March, invited headteachers, teachers and LEA officers to contribute their experience of effective practice in preventing and responding to racist bullying to assist with our advice in this area.

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