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Work Based Training for Adults: Contract Award Criteria

Lord Smith of Leigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Blackstone: The competition to award contracts for the delivery of Work Based Learning for Adults was conducted by ES officials in line with public procurement principles and followed requirements set down by the European Commission.

ES officials sought outline delivery proposals from among organisations which had already passed through a pre-qualification process. They evaluated these against predetermined quality criteria drawn from guidance provided to all those invited to bid. The evaluation looked at how the bidder proposed to deliver and manage the provision and the outcomes they would achieve, supported by relevant evidence.

Responsibility for managing these contracts will rest with teams based in Employment Service Districts, who will be familiar with local requirements. Contract management activity is underpinned through a quality framework agreement between ES and the provider. There will be co-ordination with the activities of the Adult Learning Inspectorate and the Learning and Skills Council to ensure consistency of approach to providers.

New Deal Employment Statistics

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Blackstone: Information over the 12 months since February 2000 to January 2001 (the most recently published set of monthly statistics) shows that almost 174,000 young people started on the programme and 104,000 jobs have been taken up, of which more than 80,000 have been sustained. In Yorkshire and Humberside, nearly 19,000 young people have joined the New Deal and nearly 12,000 jobs have been taken up, of which 9,000 have been sustained. On average around £2,000 is spent on each

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participant on the New Deal for young people and the cost per sustained job is around £5,000 both nationally and in Yorkshire and Humberside. Statistics are published each month that show the numbers of young people who find a job through New Deal: these do not distinguish between self-employed and employed earners.

In today's youth labour market, it can take young people one or two starts before they settle in a job. Because of this, the Government's approach is to calculate the cost per job figure including both sustained and unsustained jobs. Any job can offer considerable benefits to the participant through increased self-confidence and useful work experience, even if the job does not last. Calculated on this basis, the cost per job figure is around £4,000. People who leave for a job that does not last and return to claim the Jobseeker's Allowance will be offered further help from the New Deal.

Airport Slot Allocations

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With reference to paragraph 17 of the Presidency Conclusions of the Stockholm European Council:

    (a) what are the European Commission's existing rules on airport slot allocations;

    (b) why the Commission is planning to present a comprehensive proposal to revise those rules; and

    (c) whether the rules under (a) or (b) above form part of the European Single Sky. [HL1726]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The answer is as follows--

    (a) the existing rules governing the allocation of airport take-off and landing slots are set out in EC Regulation 95/93, given force in UK law by the Airports Slot Allocation Regulations 1993 (SI 1993 No. 595) (as amended). In brief, the regulation enables member states, where demand for slots at an airport exceeds supply and there is no prospect of the imbalance being redressed in the short term, to appoint a slot co-ordinator to undertake slot allocation. He is required to act in an independent manner, and to perform his duties in a neutral, transparent and non-discriminatory way. Slots are allocated on the basis of priority criteria set out in the regulation, in international guidelines, and in any airport-specific local rules.

    (b) EC 95/93 placed a duty on the Commission to report to the European Parliament and the Council on the effects of the regulation three years after its entry into force, and to place a proposal for the continuation or revision of the regulation before the Council by 1 January 1996. This deadline was comprehensively missed. But the additional time has enabled further consideration of the impact of the regulation, particularly as regards its declared objectives of encouraging market entry and facilitating competition. Her

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    Majesty's Government welcome the proposal that there should be comprehensive reform. It has put forward to the Commission the argument that a revised system should adopt a market-based approach to slot allocation, with the auctioning of newly created and recycled slots, and legitimised and transparent trading of slots between air carriers.

    (c) The rules explained above do not form part of the Single European Sky.

East Coast Main Line Franchise

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to make a decision on the new franchise for operating passenger train services on the East Coast Main Line. [HL1734]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Revised proposals from both Virgin/Stagecoach and GNER were received by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) on 17 April. Once the SRA has considered these, it will decide whether to proceed with a request to the Secretary of State for a direction to authorise early replacement of the Inter City East Coast franchise. Any such request will be given appropriate and timely consideration.

Transport Act 2000, Section 223: Entry into Force

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to bring into effect Section 223 of the Transport Act 2000, giving the Rail Regulator powers to require the provision, improvement and development of railway facilities.[HL1711]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Section 223 of the Transport Act will be brought into force as soon as any necessary exemptions have been made. We expect to consult the Rail Regulator and other interested parties on a draft exemption order before the summer Recess.

Luton and Dunstable Guided Busway Proposal

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the status of the application as part of the local transport plan scheme by Luton Borough Council last July for funding for a guided busway between Luton and Dunstable.[HL1713]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Major local transport plans such as the proposed guided busway between Luton and Dunstable, known as Translink, are considered by the department as part of the overall strategy in the authority's local transport plan. More work is needed by the authority on the economic appraisal of Translink before the department can reach a provisional view on whether it passes the tests that have been established to determine eligibility for

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government funding. A revised appraisal is expected shortly. Should the department's provisional view be that it passes these tests, the authority would then apply for powers to build the scheme under the Transport and Works Act.

"How to get an elected mayor" Brochure

Lord Smith of Leigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the cost of publishing the brochures produced by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and intended for the public on How to get an elected mayor, published in March 2001.[HL1635]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The cost of production and delivery of 10,000 copies to local authorities in England for them to distribute to local people was £38,861 inclusive of VAT.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Assistance to Tourism and Rural Business in the North West

Lord Smith of Leigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to deal with the economic and social consequences of foot and mouth disease in areas like Cumbria by using resources from existing Objective 2 allocations for 2000-06 or by applying for new resources from the European Union.[HL1636]

Lord Whitty: The Objective 2 Programmes for England have recently been formally approved by the European Commission. Within the approved framework, individual programmes have flexibility to respond to foot and mouth in the way most appropriate for their region.

The North West Programme Monitoring/Regional Committee met on 30 March 2001. It delegated authority to the European Programme Secretariat to enable it to deal with an accelerated application for £1 million European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to match North West Development Agency funding for business support measures to assist the rural and tourism sectors. That application is in full compliance with the eligibility rules under the programme. It has now been submitted by the NWDA and an offer has been issued by the Secretariat.

Under that project, business support agencies can obtain additional funding for an enhanced service to those sectors in the North West hit particularly hard by the drop in tourism and rural business.

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