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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will upgrade to a mandatory target the current benchmark that 50 to 90 per cent of pupils should study a language until the end of key stage 4, in line with the recommendation of the Worton Review. [HL1745]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): We have no plans to do so. We are considering a range of policies for boosting take up at key stage 4. Our focus is on making learning more engaging to encourage increased take up. We made languages optional in 2004 to give young people more choice and flexibility, in particular for work-related and vocational learning. Setting a mandatory target for language learning would make the curriculum at this level less flexible.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): People receiving jobseeker's allowance can take part in unlimited volunteering, provided they still meet the requirements for receiving jobseeker's allowance.
As part of the Government's support for the unemployed, we introduced the six-month offer, which includes volunteering opportunities to jobseekers who find themselves out of work for six months or more. The lead broker in Scotland for the volunteering option of the six-month offer is Volunteer Development Scotland.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Environment Agency's rules on the use of bioaerosols take account of certain background levels of bioaerosols being naturally higher than the agency's suggested guidance levels. [HL3160]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The Environment Agency accounted for background levels of bioaerosols when it issued its 2001 position and when it revised the position in 2007. The Environment Agency will take this into account during any further review of the position.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether composting companies will be reimbursed for any development and operational costs incurred due to the Environment Agency's revised policy statement on bioaerosols. [HL3161]
Lord Davies of Oldham: It is for the operator to decide the best course of action for their business and to meet the cost of fulfilling the regulatory requirements. The Environment Agency does not reimburse operator costs associated with complying with the law. The Environment Agency is reviewing its current position and the way that bioaerosols are monitored and regulated. Should a further revision be required, the need for a financial impact assessment will be considered.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Efficient operation and value for money are clear priorities for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) and the identification of opportunities to improve value for money and excellence of delivery will be an important part of the successful delivery of their remit.
The administration budget contained in the grant letter for 2010-11 will already reflect the level of efficiency at which we want the YPLA to operate in its first year and will form a baseline against which subsequent efficiencies can be determined.
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