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14 Jan 2009 : Column 851W—continued

Vocational Training

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many 16 to 19 year olds are enrolled on an entry to employment programme; and if he will make a statement. [245602]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: Entry to employment (E2E) is a tailored programme for 16 to 18-year-olds who are not yet ready or able to enter apprenticeship, employment or further education and who are not yet ready to study a qualification at level 2. E2E has been highly successful with over 25,000 young people in learning at any one time. In 2007-08, 54,717 young people started the programme and of the 51,709 who participated on the programme for the minimum length of time of four weeks to around 22 weeks or longer, depending on the requirements of the young person, 27,900 progressed into further education or employment.

This covers the 2007-08 academic year which are the latest data available from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

As part of the 14 to 19 education and skills reforms, we are developing the Foundation Learning Tier (FLT) to create a more coherent set of entry level and level 1 qualifications. FLT progression pathways will offer learning programmes tailored to the needs and aspirations of individuals and have been developed from best practice in E2E programmes. FLT progression pathways are being piloted in 2008-09 and 2009-10, including with some E2E providers, and will be fully evaluated to ensure they meet the needs of learners. When phased piloting is complete, the Foundation Learning Tier will encompass all current LSC funded provision for young people and adults at this level, including E2E programmes.

Young Offenders

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what plans he has for the implementation of the Youth Conditional Caution; and if he will make a statement. [247263]

Beverley Hughes: We propose to introduce the Youth Conditional Caution in stages. Pilots for 16 and 17-year-olds will begin in summer 2009. Evaluation of the pilot schemes will inform decisions on national roll out of the Caution for 16 and 17-year-olds and its application to 10 to 15-year-olds. Consultation on the statutory code of practice governing use of the Youth Conditional
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Caution for 16 and 17-year-olds will begin shortly and I will ensure that the hon. Member receives copies of the consultation documents.

Young People: Alcoholic Drinks

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Youth Alcohol Action Plan in meeting its objectives; and if he will make a statement. [247258]

Beverley Hughes: The Youth Alcohol Action Plan (YAAP) published on 2 June 2008 set out a comprehensive approach to address the problems associated with young people's alcohol consumption. The key steps that have already been taken are as follows.

Antisocial behaviour and violent crime related to outdoor drinking by young people is being tackled through the introduction of a number of new initiatives through the Policing and Crime Bill announced in the Queen's Speech in December 2008. Subject to parliamentary approval, this would include the introduction of a new offence of persistently possessing alcohol in a public place by under 18s; increasing the penalty for the offence of consuming alcohol in a designated public place; ensuring that when police confiscate alcohol from under 18s that they also take a record of their name and address and if they are under 16, remove them to a place of safety; and by lowering the age for direction to individuals who represent a risk of disorder powers, so that police can now disperse groups of under 16s.

The Policing and Crime Bill also would introduce a mandatory code for the alcohol retail industry which will include further action to reduce underage sales; and the offence of selling alcohol to children would be changed from on three or more to two or more different occasions. The Home Office has provided funding to encourage greater take-up and acceptance of the proof of age standards scheme.

We committed to ensuring that parents were made to be responsible for their children's alcohol related antisocial behaviour, with greater use of acceptable behaviour contracts and parenting contracts. The Home Office will shortly be launching a series of practitioner training workshops to improve the skills of frontline practitioners on the tools and powers at their disposal to tackle alcohol-related harms, which will be followed up by revised guidance to the police, health and children's services in all local areas to strengthen their approach to dealing with young people drinking in public places.

Targeted work on reducing the harm arising from young people's substance misuse, of which alcohol plays a part particularly with vulnerable young people, is being taken forward through actions set out in the drug strategy, “Drugs: Protecting Families and Communities” (published in February 2008). This includes improving the specialist treatment available to those under 18s with substance misuse problems, with alcohol dependency the main factor in over 1/3 of all those currently being helped; ensuring a focus on identifying problems early through children's services, including where a child is affected by parental alcohol misuse; and supporting the most vulnerable young people through targeted youth support and substance misuse workers in all youth offending teams. To target families at risk, family
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intervention pilots (FIP) have been extended to 500 further families affected by substance misuse including alcohol.

Furthermore, Government have committed to ensuring that young people and their parents are provided with appropriate information to prevent them from suffering from the risks of alcohol use. We will shortly be issuing guidance from the Chief Medical Officer what consists responsible drinking, and we expect to consult with parents and young people on what information and advice they would find useful to their decisions about young people's drinking and to help reduce harms caused by it. We anticipate that consultation on the information and advice will form part of a wider social marketing campaign on young people’s drinking.

A review of drug and alcohol education has taken place and, in response to its recommendations, in October 2008 Government committed to review existing guidance on the subject by September 2009 and to conduct an independent review of how its decision to make PSHE statutory status can be translated into a practical way forward.

Young People: Education

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what estimate he has made of the percentage of 17 year-olds who will be in education in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11. [247192]

Jim Knight: The Learning and Skills Council have published, in their Annual Statement of priorities for 2009-10, projected participation figures for the proportion of 17-year-olds who are expected to be in education and work-based learning for the academic years 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10. These are:

Proportion participating in education or work-based learning at age 17 (percentage)







The Department’s Grant letter to the LSC for 2009-10 also stated the ambition to increase the proportion of 17-year-olds in education or training so that 86 per cent. are participating in 2010/11.

A copy of the LSC’s Annual Statement of Priorities, which includes the Grant Letter, can be accessed at:

Young People: Unemployment

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of young people was not in education, employment or training in 2007. [247480]

Beverley Hughes: Estimates of participation in education, training and employment for those aged 16 to 18 are published annually by the Department in a Statistical First Release (SFR) each June and can be found on the Department's website ( This publication includes the Department's official estimate of the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). At the end of 2007, 9.4 per cent. of 16 to 18-year-olds were NEET.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries' claims to Arctic waters are disputed by (a) the UK and (b) other countries. [244489]

Gillian Merron: The UK does not have any claims in the Arctic.

The UK expects that the five coastal states bordering on the Arctic Ocean should act in accordance with the framework of international law, including the law of the sea. The Government note that in their declaration at Ilulissat on 27-29 May 2008 the five states have committed themselves to this framework, as well as to working through the International Maritime Organisation. We welcome this.

Chagos Islands

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what meetings he and his predecessors have had with representatives of the Chagossian people in the last 10 years. [245420]

Gillian Merron: Officials have been in regular contact with representatives of the Chagossian people in Mauritius, the Seychelles and also in the UK. Ministers have also had meetings with Chagossian representatives based in the UK and in Mauritius.

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said in his press statement following the Law Lords judgment on 22 October on the Judicial Review of the 2004 BIOT Orders in Council, the Government will keep in close touch with the Chagossian communities.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take in response to the recent House of Lords decision on the Chagos Islanders. [245423]

Gillian Merron: Following the House of Lords ruling, the two Orders in Council made for the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in 2004 stand and provide that no person has a right of abode in BIOT or the right to enter the Territory unless authorised.

The Government continue to be in close touch with the Chagossian communities and consider carefully future requests to visit the Territory. A group of six Chagossians now resident in Crawley visited Diego Garcia and the outer islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory in November 2008. This visit was organised and funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Climate Change

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what additional (a) personnel and (b) financial resources his Department has allocated to addressing climate change in accordance with the undertaking given in the Written Ministerial Statement of 23 January 2008, Official Report, column 52WS, on the New Strategic Framework. [242202]

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David Miliband: In accordance with new Strategic Framework for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, I have substantially increased both the resources devoted to addressing climate change at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The Climate Change and Energy programme budget in the FCO’s Strategic Programme Fund has been increased from £4.7 million in FY 2007-08 to £10 million for FY 2008-09, £16 million for FY 2009-10 and £21 million for FY 2010-11.

In addition, the number of staff working to deliver climate change and energy objectives has also increased. £0.8 million has been provided to create 19 new positions in London. An extra £5.732 million for diplomatic missions in priority countries has created 32.5 new positions for British diplomats on postings and 73 positions for locally-engaged members of staff.

I have stepped up the frequency of my discussions on climate change with counterparts and will continue to do so, in coordination with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, in advance of the critical UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) Conference of Parties at Copenhagen in December 2009.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the Answer of 26 November 2008, on climate change, (1) whether there will be any change to (a) resources and (b) personnel devoted to the Climate Change and Energy programme in his Department in light of the creation of a Department for Energy and Climate Change; [242238]

(2) where each of the 73 locally-engaged members of staff are based; with which UK mission they work; and what their responsibilities are; [242239]

(3) which countries are priorities for his Department’s Climate Change and Energy programme; what the (a) grade and (b) responsibilities are of the 32.5 new positions for British diplomats; and in which countries they are based; [242240]

(4) what mechanisms exist for the co-ordination of his Department's Climate Change and Energy programme with the Department for Energy and Climate Change; and if he will make a statement. [242241]

David Miliband: As I referred to in the answer I gave on 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 2138W, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has substantially increased the level of resources devoted to addressing climate change. We do not intend to alter this approach following the creation of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Addressing climate change continues to be a top priority for the Foreign Office and is a key part of Departmental Strategic Objective (DSO) 7.

The distribution of the new locally-engaged staff and UK-based diplomats to which I referred in my previous answer will be in line with FCO priority countries for HMG’s objectives on climate change. These are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and the USA. The newly recruited staff are located in: Caracas, Bogota, Lima, Brasilia, Vancouver, Ottawa, Santiago, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, La Paz, Washington and across the US network, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata,
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Chennai, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Beijing and across the China network, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpar, Bangkok, Manila, Tokyo, Seoul, Pretoria, Cape Town, Berlin, Rome and Warsaw. UK-based diplomats have been recruited at grades SMS, D6 and C4. The newly recruited staff have a range of responsibilities which vary depending on the climate change and energy priorities of the mission in which they are based. These priorities are set out in each mission’s business plan.

Members of DECC sit on the FCO’s DSO 7 programme board and the Strategic Programme Fund Board, while the FCO sits on the cross-Whitehall International Climate Change and Energy Board, which is chaired by DECC. The International Strategy and Campaigns Unit (ISCU) was also created in early 2008 to co-ordinate HMG policy on aspects of climate change policy. The UK Government are critically aware of the need to ensure our climate change and energy policies are developed and delivered in a coherent manner.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Peacekeeping Operations

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what additional support the European Union has given to the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo in respect of (a) equipment, (b) intelligence and (c) logistics since renewed fighting began in October 2008. [242810]

Gillian Merron: European member states, including the UK, continue to support the UN mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (MONUC) through contributions to the cost of running the mission. The UK also provides military technical expertise to MONUC. The EU has not provided any additional support in these three categories since the resumption of hostilities in DRC. Member states have discussed how best to respond to the UN Secretary General’s request for assistance. Humanitarian support from EU member states for the victims of violence in DRC has increased, and the EU is closely engaged in diplomatic efforts to resolve the questions at its root.

Departmental Air Travel

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many official journeys (a) he and his predecessors and (b) his officials made by plane in each of the last five years. [247503]

Gillian Merron: I refer you to my answer of 19 November 2008, Official Report, column 650W which sets out all overseas visits undertaken by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and all FCO Ministers since June 2007 and my predecessor’s answer of 5 December 2007, Official Report, column 1297W, which states that since 1999 the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. Copies are available in the Library.

For Ministers below Cabinet rank and officials, collecting the detailed information requested could not be done without incurring disproportionate cost.

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Departmental Higher Education

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in his Department undertook courses funded by the Department for (a) undergraduate degrees, (b) postgraduate degrees or diplomas, (c) Masters degrees, (d) MBA degrees and (e) PhD degrees in the last 12 months, broken down by pay band. [242137]

Gillian Merron: In 2008, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office human resources directorate provided funding for:

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