Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his oral answer of 13 March 2006, Official Report, column 1139, if he will list the 25 accounts from which those in receipt of pensions or benefits can access their cash at post offices. 
Mr. Plaskitt: I and my ministerial colleagues have received a number of letters on the future of the Post Office card account. We have also answered questions in the House and responded to points raised during debates. We have already set out our policy on the Post Office card account at some length, including in the reply to the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 31 January 2006, Official Report, columns 44344W.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many organ pipe makers have
18 Apr 2006 : Column 144W
reported suffering illness as a result of working with tin-lead alloy in each of the last 10 years; and what research has been conducted on the health and safety effects of using tin-lead alloy in pipe organs. 
Mrs. McGuire: HSE currently receives statutory medical information about people working with lead, under the Control of Lead at Work Regulations (CLAW). The purpose of these Regulations is to remove workers from exposure to lead, before any toxic effects can occur. Up until 2001, no more than 10 cases of lead poisoning were reported to HSE each year under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.
HSE's guidance advises that soldering and handling of clean solid metallic lead e.g. pipes, are not liable to result in significant exposure to lead. Therefore, HSE has not commissioned any research into the health and safety effects of using tin-lead alloy in pipe organs.
|Cleared at hearing
|Cleared in favour
|Percentage cleared in favour
|Working Tax Credit
|Child Tax Credit
|Child Support Reforms
|Social FundMaternity Payments
|Social FundFuneral Payments
|Severe Disablement Allowance
|Invalid Care Allowance/Carers Allowance
|Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
|All Personal Capability Assessment (not Incapacity Benefit)
|Incapacity Benefit (not Personal Capability Assessment)
|Incapacity Benefit (Personal Capability Assessment)
|Housing / Council Tax Benefit
|Disability Living Allowance
|Council Tax Benefit
|Compensation Recovery Unit
|Child Support Departures Referral
|Child Support Departures Appeal
|Child Support Assessments
|Child Benefit/One Parent Benefit
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much uncollected debt was referred out to private partners under the enforcement initiative during each quarter since the second quarter 2004. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The following table shows the total debt referred to the private sector partners. This includes benefit debt and Social Fund Loans. Some of the debt will have been referred back to the department, for example when the debtor has returned to benefit.
|Quarter 3 (to 31 January 2006)
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much her Department has spent on additional learning support in (a) Coventry, South and (b) the west midlands region. 
[holding answer 29 September 2005]: The Coventry Excellence Cluster, which began in September 2001, has received a total of £7,708,174. For this financial year (200506) it has received £3,561,213. About half of this sum was allocated to fund Learning Mentors and Learning Support Units to tackle barriers to learning and provide extra support to pupils with learning difficulties. The Excellence Cluster initially
18 Apr 2006 : Column 146W
covered seven schools in the Coventry, South constituency, but from September 2006, all secondary schools in Coventry, South have benefited from Excellence in Cities (EiC) funding.
Other local authorities in the west midlands region have also benefited from EiC funding. Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Stoke-on-Trent, have participated in the full EiC programme and others have received targeted EiC funding. As a result, authorities in the west midlands collectively received £159,131,969 over the lifetime of the EiC programme.
Phil Hope: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom, the council's chief executive, has written to my hon. Friend with this information and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
The Government's Skills Strategy, outlined in the two White Papers, 21st Century Skills: Realising Our Potential" (July 2003) and Skills: Getting on in business, getting on at work" (March 2005), sets out our plans for ensuring that individuals have the skills needed to be both employable and personally fulfilled. Everyone studying literacy and numeracy skills or a first full level 2 qualification, and all those on jobseeker's allowance or income related benefits and their dependents will continue to receive free tuition in further education. All have access to in-depth advice about their careers and training through the Learndirect one-stop telephone and on-line advice service.
The Government's PSA target on adult attainment challenges us to reduce by at least 40 per cent. the number of adults in the work force who lack NVQ Level 2 (equivalent to five A-C GCSEs) by 2010. Previous progress has been good; the proportion of adults in the work place qualified to Level 2 and above rose from 65 per cent. in 1997 to 72 per cent. in 2004.
LSC funding of £3m. Per annum is contracted to Hartlepool training providers to address skills for adults. This covers programmes in the two Further Education providers, Apprenticeships for 1925 year old learners, Adult and Community Learning services contracted through the Local Authority and NVQ Level 2 and Skills for Life programmes for employers funded through Train to Gain pilots. In the three years since March 2003, more than 23,000 individuals have enrolled on courses. Available programmes cover the range from community based foundation programmes, through full and part NVQ level 2 and 3 courses, to Foundation Degrees run in partnership by the local Further Education College and Teesside University. There is a strong focus on Skills for Life programmes. Vocational areas include construction and engineering, health and care, and business administration.
More than £9m (£9,049,596) has been spent between 03/04 and 05/06 on adult learning through providers based principally in Hartlepool. This has been for 21,044 learners, enrolled on 29,244 courses. The percentage of enrolments within this group that are
Success Rates for the year 04/05 are not yet final, but the overall Success Rates in Further Education for providers based principally in Hartlepool rose by 13% between 02/03 and 03/04, from 66% to 79%. This is well above the national average of 70% for the adult group.
The number of adults from Hartlepool in learning in Work Based Learning has varied between 216 and 253 over the past three years (for all LSC-funded provision), the greater number participating in Apprenticeships. The overall success rates for Hartlepool residents in Work Based Learning have risen from 47.4% to 55.8% in 03/04 and 04/05 respectively, as compared to the national averages of 46.0% and 53.0%.
From 2000/01 to 2004/5, the cumulative total number of adult learners achieving at least one Skills for Life qualification is 1,888, with 1,099 (58.2%) counting towards the Public Service Agreement target. This is the aggregate of 4,138 opportunities taken up, 3,579 courses completed, and 2,888 achieved. 2,623 taken up, 2,082 completed and 1,420 achieved counted towards the Public Service Agreement target. These figures are best estimates based on providers located in Hartlepool.
The number of learners accessing Adult and Community Learning in the one Hartlepool-based provider has reduced by almost 20%, from 1,148 to 936 in 03/04 and 04/05 respectively. This is in line with a national reduction in Adult and Community Learning learner numbers of 23.7% from 03/04 to 04/05. The cash allocation however has increased by over 20%, from £553,175 to £671,543.
The reduction in volumes of learners is because short course options have been cut (e.g. one day courses) in favour of longer/accredited courses. However, not included in the figure above are 282 short courses delivered to first time adult learners Hartlepool and 140 courses through Neighbourhood learning in deprived communities.
Hartlepool accounts for approximately 14% of the adult population of Tees Valley. The service attracts 16% of the Further Education budget contracted to Local authorities in the Tees Valley and 15% of the Adult and Community Learning budget.
444 Hartlepool learners have participated in phase 3 of the employer training pilot. 426 started A-level 2 qualification of which 343 completed (80%). 18 participated in skills for life programmes, of which 14 achieved (78%).
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the level of Government funding for adult education for people on (a) benefits and (b) low incomes was in Shrewsbury in (i) 2001 and (ii) 2005. 
Phil Hope: The Department allocates funds for post-16 education and training to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) working through 47 local offices. The LSC was established in 2001 bringing planning and funding of post-16 education under one body within a framework set by Government. Budgets are not allocated specifically for people on benefits or those on low incomes, although there are a number of arrangements in place to help ensure these learners can access education and training such as learner support funds, fee remission and free provision for Skills for Life.
The total overall spend on all adult programmes for 200102 was reported in the LSC's Annual Report and Accounts as £2,236 million. The funding allocated for the LSC's major education and training programmes only for adults for 200506 is £2,851 million. The Department does not hold figures for adult education at a local level. I am therefore copying this letter to Mark Haysom, the council's chief executive so that he can respond in more detail to your request. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
I write in response to your recent Parliamentary Questions regarding funding for adult education for people on benefits and low incomes in Shrewsbury and funding to allow the Skills for Life section of Shrewsbury Sixth Form College to remain open.
Shropshire LSC funding for adult education is through Adult and Community Learning (ACL) which is delivered by Shropshire County Council, the ACL funding is for Shropshire as a whole and therefore this makes it difficult to show exactly what has been earmarked for Shrewsbury, the following is a rough guide to allocations.
|20012 SCC LSC revenue allocation for County £365,879
|20056 SCC LSC revenue allocation for County £467,858 (excluding family learning funds of £150,172)
|Shrewsbury -Gateway Centre and provision
|ShrewsburyGateway Centre and provision
|Shrewsbury schools ACL
|Shrewsbury schools: New ACL centres at Grange and Sundorne schools
|£38,000 (includes some
extended schools funds)
Skills for Life provision is a high priority. The LSC has clearly stated in its annual statement of priorities that Adults without basic skills are entitled to free learning". As a result of this commitment, LSC resources both nationally, regionally and locally are increasingly focused on securing this priority activity.
The funds committed to Skills for Life in Shropshire has increased from £1,960,235 in 04/05 to £3,510,250 in 05/06. In addition to this core activity, Shropshire learners have benefited from a further £94,000 of investment in Skills for Life activity through the Employer Training Pilot and £641,412 funded through European Social Funds activity in 05/06.
Shropshire LSC 2004 target for skills for life achievements (6177) was exceeded by 8% with a total achievement of 6,692. A further 2,252 achievements will be required in 2006/2007 to deliver Shropshire's contribution to the national 2007 target.
In the funding and planning dialogue for 06/07 the college was initially offered an indicative allocation for adult programme delivery of £132,639 (including Skills for Life) but the college itself requested the opportunity to review this provision due to its desire to focus development on its key mission: As a high quality post 16 establishment, Shrewsbury Sixth Form College is dedicated to meeting the needs of all its learners in a supportive and challenging environment. It specialises in the provision/teaching of advanced level courses for 1619 full time students".
The college has seen significant growth in its delivery of 1618 learning with an additional 82 learners from 04/05 to 05/06, with a planned cohort of 1318 for 06/07 and it has an outstanding record of delivery at level 3. Through the recognition of its mission, core specialisation, forward thinking and innovative co-location discussions with Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology, the sixth form college senior managers identified that Skills for Life provision may be more efficiently and effectively placed for delivery with other local providers.
Consequently, the value of funding allocation that had been earmarked for Skills for Life provision for adults in 06/07 at the college £95,928 has by mutual agreement been transferred across to Shrewsbury College of Art and Technology, thereby ensuring that the provision of Skills for Life learning remains local and available to the people of Shrewsbury.
In summary, the Secretary of State, through the LSC is continuing to fund Skills for Life provision for learners in Shrewsbury, through the college of arts and technology rather then through the sixth form college. Both colleges are fully committed to maintaining accessible and high quality Skills for Life provision. This transfer of provision, agreed by all parties, supports the LSC's targets of providing high quality learning opportunities to make England better skilled and more competitive.