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Jacqui Smith: The estimated costs of management allowances in England and Wales for the last three years are £770 million in 200203, £894 million in 200304, and £905 million in 200405. These include on costs (employers' contributions for pensions and national insurance).
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what criteria were used in making the decision explicity to include improving the skills of workers delivering public services in the Learning and Skills Council's Priorities for Success; and whether this excludes workers delivering private services. 
Bill Rammell: Strengthening the skills of the workforce that delivers public services is central to the Government's public service reforms. This was recognised by the Learning and Skills Council in December 2004 in its Annual Statement of Priorities for 200506. This was reinforced in Priorities for Success", issued in October this year, which sets out its funding priorities for the next two years. The detailed rationale behind these funding priorities is a matter for the LSC and Mark Haysom, the Council's chief executive, has written to the hon. Member setting out the detail. A copy of his letter has been placed in the House Library.
The LSC's Annual Statement of Priorities identifies the key actions to be taken by the LSC in creating a more highly skilled and productive workforce. In 2004, one in five establishments (20%) reported that they employed staff that they considered not fully proficient and over 1.5 million workers are considered to be not fully proficient by their employers, representing 7% cent of the total workforce in England.
This continues to be one of the biggest challenges for employers, and the actions within the Annual Statement of Priorities are aimed at addressing these issues in all businesses, whether private, public or voluntary. Our work with the public services sector includes workers employed directly in the sector and employees of private organisations sub contracted to the sector, for example in cleaning and catering.
Improving the skills of workers delivering public services is a separate priority within the Annual Statement because the challenges they face are substantial in comparison with other sectors. In addition, the impact of better investment in skills on the improved delivery of services to the public, and of better targeted joint investment from the public purse are correspondingly significant.
Our work with the sector on skills needs has identified that whilst the public sector workforce contains more Level 2 and above qualified workers than the private sector, 21% of employees are still without a first full Level 2. Based on 2003/04 Labour Force Survey data, over a million public service workers across a range of sub sectors have therefore not reached the minimum threshold for employability.
In addition, a NIACE Skills for Life survey identified that 72% of healthcare staff have numeracy skills below Level 2 and 56% have literacy skills below Level 2. Skills for Life therefore remain a key barrier to upskilling the sector workforce and increasing the number of people with employability skills.
Finally the LSC intends to enable the sector to attract and retain apprentices and new entrants in the workforce. The sector is characterised by an aged and aging demographic profile that does not match the profile of the communities that it serves. Currently, however, levels of participation in Apprenticeships are low compared to other sectors, with less than 10% of all Apprentices readily identifiable as working in public services.
It is our intention, working across Government, to secure a joint investment plan for meeting skills needs in the sector. We will progress this work in conjunction with our range of activities detailed in the Annual Statement of Priorities that support employers and employees in any business, including the roll out of the National Employer Training Programme (NETP) which will better equip us to meet the skills needs of all employers by offering them real choice and flexibility in the training available to them.
I hope that this information is helpful, and demonstrates the LSC's commitment to both targeted action with public services and to our broader work to address the skills needs of employees in all sectors.
Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proportion of working age people were (a) qualified to (i) graduate level, (ii) level 4, (iii) level 2 and (b) without qualification in Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central in each year from 1992. 
Phil Hope: The table shows analysis of the level of highest qualification held by the working age population in the parliamentary constituency of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central at (a) qualified to (i) graduate level, (ii)level 4, (iii) level 2 and (b) without qualification. Data comes from the local labour force survey. Data at parliamentary constituency level is not available prior to 1999.
|Level 4 and higher, exc. graduates||7||5||6||4|
|Below level 2||11||8||9||8||10||9|
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many Race Equality Impact Assessments her Department completed between (a) April 2004 and March 2005 and (b) April 2005 and November 2005; and how many assessments in each period resulted in a change of policy. 
Jacqui Smith: The Department for Education and Skills' commitment not to discriminate unfairly on any grounds is set out clearly in our recently revised equality and diversity policy, which recognises that everyone should have an equal opportunity to meet their aspirations, realise their full potential and improve their life chances.
This means that equality and diversity is the responsibility of everyone in the Department and is an ever evolving commitment mainstreamed within the normal course of business. It is therefore not possible to identify the number of Race Equality Impact Assessments (REIAs) which have been undertaken within specified periods as this information is not held centrally and it would involve disproportionate cost to collect.
1 Dec 2005 : Column 781W
Under the Race Relations Amendment Act we as a Department are required to publish a triennial Race Equality Scheme and an associated annual action plan. The Race Equality Scheme was published in May 2005 and annex 1 of the publication details a summary of impact assessments.
We continue to be proactive in this area by working with our major programme boards to build a stronger evidence based strategy to address race equality challenges and to ensure that all staff continue to be aware of their responsibilities.
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