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19 Jan 2009 : Column WA187

19 Jan 2009 : Column WA187

Written Answers

Monday 19 January 2009

House of Lords: Fair Trade Products


Asked by Lord Hoyle

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): One of the Refreshment Department’s strategic objectives is to support corporate social responsibility in the House of Lords through the use of fair trade products. Fair trade items currently on offer include hot beverages (tea, coffee and chocolate), a small range of confectionery bars, packaged biscuits and cakes, sugar sachets and bananas (when available). Emphasis is placed on increasing the range of fair trade products at the procurement stage.

House of Lords: Publications


Asked by Lord Steinberg

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): In 2008 the House of Lords administration distributed the following to each Member of this House: a calendar; a copy of the new illustrated Guide to the Business of the House; and a copy of The Work of the House of Lords 2006-07. The total cost was approximately £1,000, or around £1.38 per Member. The administration does not distribute these documents to Members of the House of Commons.

Housing: Energy Efficiency


Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

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The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Warm Front prices have been set on a regional basis following fully competitive and audited tendering processes. This has ensured Warm Front prices reflect local market conditions.

The costs of materials used for Warm Front installations were set through bulk purchase agreements with suppliers, who were also chosen following a competitive tendering process.

DECC's independent quality assessors, White Young and Green have published an independent audit of prices, which concluded that Warm Front prices are significantly below those found in the wider market.

Warm Front is currently undergoing a full installer retendering exercise. Installers will be chosen according to a variety of criteria including prices submitted, health and safety procedures, financial probity and customer service provision. Successful contractors will begin working on the scheme from June 2009.

Public Houses


Asked by Lord Hanningfield

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is aware from industry sources that there are just over 50,000 public houses in England and Wales. Unfortunately, we have no information about the proportion currently owned by breweries. This information is not required by the DCMS as it is outside the scope of licensing legislation.

Regulatory Impact Assessments


Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The impact assessments process, introduced in November 2007, superseded regulatory impact assessments. The revised impact assessment process has increased the focus on post-implementation reviews.

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The department is currently putting systems in place to respond to the 2008 White Paper Post-legislative Scrutiny: The Government's Approach.

Remembrance Day


Asked by Lord Wallace of Saltaire

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): The Department for Culture, Media and Sport co-ordinates the National Ceremony of Remembrance on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. It does so in partnership with other interested bodies such as the military, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Royal British Legion. The legion co-ordinates the march past that follows the ceremony.

Schools: Teachers


Asked by Lord Wallace of Saltaire

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Teach First initiative was launched in London in 2003, extended to Manchester in 2006, the Midlands in 2007, Liverpool in 2008 and Yorkshire from 2009.

Participants join the scheme for two years. Employment data for trainees recruited via Teach First are currently only available for those who were trained in London. The majority of trainees on the Teach First programme in providers in Manchester have programme end dates of 31 August 2007, so they will be included in statistics relating to 2007-08 academic year (expected to be available later this year).

Of the 150 trainees who completed their initial teacher training via the Teach First scheme in 2005-06, 150 were teaching in London schools one year later; 130 were teaching in London schools two years later. Of the 210 trainees completing their training in 2006-07, some 200 were teaching in London schools a year later. Additionally there was a small number (less than five) of trainees who completed their training in 2005-06 teaching in schools in the south-east, and a small number of trainees who completed their training in 2006-07 teaching in schools in the south-east and in the north-west.

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Smoking: Cigarette Packets


Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Regular dialogue takes place at official level about tobacco control matters between the department and the Department of Health and Children and the Office of Tobacco Control in the Republic of Ireland. Discussions have included cigarette pack size.



Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): In response to recent economic developments, the Government doubled funding for the Jobcentre Plus rapid response service this year from £3 million to £6 million and then doubled it again to £12 million for 2009-10 and 2010-11. This widens the excellent service already provided for those who have lost their jobs through large-scale redundancies by extending the service into all companies affected by redundancies of 20 or more, or localities affected by the cumulative effect of multiple smaller redundancies.

We have also announced the next stage of help for jobseekers. We know that the majority of people move off jobseeker's allowance within six months, but we are guaranteeing more help for those who do not. First, we are enhancing the support offered by Jobcentre Plus advisers. This will mean more time spent between an adviser and an unemployed person reviewing their job search activities and seeing how they can apply more effectively for the vacancies available. Secondly, we will be making available an expanded range of work and training options that an adviser would be able to offer customers. These will be “golden hellos” of around £2,500 for employers who recruit and train people unemployed for over six months; money and support to set up their own business; training to improve skills to get a job; and the chance to volunteer while looking for a job. Together these extra measures

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mean we will invest £0.5 billion to guarantee more support to every person looking for work for longer than six months.

Meanwhile, in last year's Pre-Budget Report the Chancellor announced an additional £158 million from the European Social Fund to help the newly unemployed. This will be supported by an additional investment of £79 million from the Government's Train to Gain budget to help people access the training they need to get back into work as quickly as possible. The extra funding will help the Learning and Skills Council, with local colleges and training providers, to work closely with Jobcentre Plus to make sure those people affected by job losses get access to the services they need.

Building on the successful city strategy pathfinders, we are also investing £1.5 billion between 2008 and 2011 through the working neighbourhoods fund, set up specifically to tackle worklessness in the most deprived communities. Local authorities will use this funding to reach those who are hardest to help, deploying innovative techniques to help people move back towards the labour market.

Jobcentre Plus has a range of other programmes to support disadvantaged people without jobs. Older jobseekers, for example, can receive additional help to

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find work through the voluntary New Deal 50-plus programme, while jobseekers aged 18 to 24 who have been unemployed for six months receive extra support through the mandatory New Deal for Young People, which includes subsidised employment placements and full-time training options. From next year, employment support for jobseeker's allowance customers will move towards a more individually focused approach, using the expertise of specialist back-to-work service providers, with the introduction of the flexible New Deal.

On 27 October 2008, we introduced a new benefit for disabled people and those with health conditions, the employment and support allowance, which replaces incapacity benefit and income support paid on the grounds of incapacity. Employment and support allowance is underpinned by the Pathways to Work programme, which is now available to everyone receiving incapacity benefits and employment and support allowance in Great Britain. Around £1 billion is being invested in Pathways to Work between 2008 and 2011 to provide the support disabled people need to return to work.

In addition, the Government continue to make help available through specialist disability employment programmes—Access to Work, WORKSTEP and Work Preparation.

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