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30 Nov 2011 : Column WA67



30 Nov 2011 : Column WA67

Written Answers

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Armed Forces: Pensions

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The war pensions computer system (WPCS) benefits programme is used to record information regarding war pension scheme (WPS) claims, and awards to be administered and paid. It does not hold specific details relating to the cause of conditions, illnesses, death, or the location of the causal incidents as this information is not required to process the benefit claims.

To answer the question tabled would require the department to locate the 4,930 individual war disablement pension files relating to personnel known to have served in Gulf War 1, identify whether these individuals' war pensions were awarded specifically as a result of their service during that campaign, and determine the causal incident of the award. It is estimated that the cost of this exercise would be some £44,000 and therefore, could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Asylum Seekers

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): There are 323 asylum cases under consideration by the Criminal Casework Directorate as of 24 November 2011. It would incur a disproportionate cost to obtain a breakdown relating to persons arrested on entry and convicted for the lack of a travel document.



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BBC: World Service

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The BBC World Service decide their language service priorities based on: market significance (including such factors as population); market need (which takes into account elements including press freedom, human rights, political freedom), and market impact (for example the strength of local broadcasters). The BBC World Service has editorial and operational independence, but there is a continuing discussion with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the Government's foreign policy priorities.

Care Services: Social Work

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The college of social work will play a key role in the emerging landscape for social work in the light of reforms to regulatory arrangements, the work of the Social Work Reform Board and Professor Munro's recommendations. The college will provide the social work profession with clear leadership and a single, authoritative voice.

To this end, Government have provided the Social Care Institute for Excellence with £5 million to develop the college of social work over two years. It is planned that the college will become a legal entity in January 2012.

Economy: Growth

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): This is a time of real international uncertainty and instability. It is clear that the UK is not immune to the crisis in the euro area, its biggest export market. The action being taken by the Government to tackle the deficit and rebalance the economy is helping to

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protect the UK economy. A decisive resolution of the euro area crisis would provide the single biggest boost to the British economy.

The Office for Budget Responsibility's central economic forecast, published today, shows UK GDP growing faster than euro area GDP in each year from 2012 to 2016.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised that the steps it would take would be within the scope of the authority's compliance and enforcement policy, which can be found on its website at: www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2011-10-01_Compliance_and_Enforcement_ Policy_(2011).pdf.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Earl Howe: As I advised the noble Lord in my answer of 22 November 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 222) the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised that it is its policy not to comment on its relationship with any persons responsible or nominal licensee.

As regards the issue raised by the research licences cited, the authority has also advised that it is confident that it has adequate governance arrangements in place.

EU: Credit Rating Agencies

Question

Asked by Lord Myners



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The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As stated in our response to the European Commission's consultation on credit rating agency regulation and in our written and oral responses to the House of Lords EU Subcommittee's report on sovereign debt ratings, the Government do not believe that harmonising or increasing the scope of credit rating agency (CRA) liability will improve ratings accuracy. The UK already has a civil liability regime in place which is sufficiently flexible and robust to hold CRAs liable, where appropriate.

All of the measures included in the Commission's proposed package on CRAs, which was released on 15 November, will be negotiated in the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, in line with the standard legislative procedure.

EU: Parliamentary Scrutiny

Question

Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Making Government more transparent and accountable is an important priority for this Government. Effective scrutiny of European business is an integral part of this. This was the subject of discussion during the passage of the European Union Act 2011. It is for Parliament to decide whether and how it wishes to revise the current system of scrutiny. Relevant committees of both Houses have responded positively to our initial discussions with them. In addition, a number of parliamentarians have made proposals to reform scrutiny. The Government are keen to continue both to discuss these matters with all interested parties and to work further with the committees to produce realistic proposals in the near future.

On justice and home affairs issues specifically, the commitments made in January for enhanced scrutiny of the justice and home affairs opt-in are being implemented and have resulted in a number of debates in the House of Commons on the UK's participation in proposed European Union legislation in that field. These arrangements are to be embedded in a code of practice which will draw from experience to date. This will be done through appropriate consultations with interested parties in Parliament and will enable measures of strong parliamentary interest to be debated.

Food: Nutrition

Question

Asked by Lord Gordon of Strathblane



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Departmental officials have considered the legal arguments submitted to it by the Health Food Manufacturers' Association in relation to the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation.

Government Departments: Buildings

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): We have installed photovoltaic panels at a property owned by the National Policing Improvement Agency but we have no current plans to install further photovoltaic panels on other Home Office buildings. With our facilities managers, we are constantly reviewing the latest technologies against the potential of our assets to install low-carbon technologies.

As part of the sustainable operations on the Government estate targets we reported 53 per cent of purchased electricity on the Home Office estate came from low or zero carbon renewable sources. We have already implemented a programme of energy efficiency measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as part of the Prime Minister's target to cut carbon emissions by 10 per cent across central government in 12 months, including introducing a payment by results mechanism as an incentive for our facilities managers' suppliers to deliver energy and carbon savings.

Health: Assessors

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Commercial Management of Medical Services will arrange for a copy of the Logic Integrated Medical Assessment Technical Manual 2011 and the LIMA software questionnaires which are contained in appendices 3 & 4 of the Employment and Support Allowance Handbook to be placed in the Library of the House.

The Logic Integrated Medical Assessment Technical Manual 2011 and the LIMA software questionnaire (ESA 85) are currently available to tribunals, claimants and representatives through the submission of a written

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request under the Freedom of Information Act to Commercial Management of Medical Services, Room 306, Block 3, Norcross, FY5 3TA or by email @ DWP. MEDICALSERVICESCORRESPONDENCE@DWP. GSI.GOV.UK

Health: Cancer

Question

Asked by Lord Sharkey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does not collect statistics regarding average time taken from the onset of symptoms of lung cancer to its diagnosis. However, the National Report of the 2010 Cancer Patient Experience Survey, published in December 2010, included a series of questions about general practitioner (GP) presentation and referrals.

The views of 67,713 cancer patients were included in the survey results and of these 3,758 had lung cancer. The following table shows the responses of patients with lung cancer to questions concerning GP presentation and referral, presented alongside the score for all cancers.

LungAll Cancers

Saw GP no more than twice about cancer related problem before being referred to a hospital doctor

66%

75%

Waited no more than 4 weeks before being referred to hospital doctor

95%

90%

Thought first appointment with hospital doctor was as soon as necessary

84%

81%

Both national and Trust level reports can be found at the following link: www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publications andstatistics/Publications/PublicationsStatistics/DH_ 122516.

Health: Low Priority Procedures

Questions

Asked by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): As the Government have made clear, we do not believe that there are medical or surgical interventions, routinely offered by the National Health Service, that are consistently of low value. There is however significant evidence that a number of procedures or interventions, which are of a high value if carried out on the correct patient at the correct time, have been offered to or carried out on patients who will either not benefit fully from them, or who would have experienced greater benefit and less risk from an alternative.

It is for primary care trusts (PCTs) to decide what services they commission in order to meet the needs of local populations. There are numerous mechanisms and pieces of guidance in place to assist in making those decisions. For example PCTs are required to fund drugs and treatments recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in technology appraisals, and other NICE guidance provides valuable advice for commissioners.

As set out in Professor Bruce Keogh's letter to strategic health authority medical directors, in developing procedures to help ensure the appropriateness of referrals we have been clear that local processes:

must not introduce outright bans for interventions or treatments;must be sensitive to individual circumstances and take account of those circumstances in any decisions;must have systems in place to enable exceptional case reviews; andmust have robust policies in place which can support clear and defensible decisions on whether access to services will or will not be possible.

A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library.

We would expect all PCTs to make public their criteria for fair access to services. Under the NHS Constitution patients can expect local decisions on funding of drugs and treatments not covered by NICE technology appraisals to be made rationally following a proper consideration of the evidence. If the local NHS decides not to fund a drug or treatment which a patient and their doctor feel would be appropriate for that individual, the patient has a right to have that decision explained to them.

The department does not hold a comprehensive central list of procedures and interventions for which PCTs have additional referral requirements or prior

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approval processes, nor does it hold the details of the criteria used. Previous discussions with PCTs regarding local processes and 'lists' have helped inform ongoing discussions with surgical associations.

Higher Education

Questions

Asked by Baroness Brinton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Based on information in the Individualised Learner Record (ILR), there were 316,400 government-funded learners aged 19-24 participating in further education (learner responsive only) in 2009-10, the latest year for which final data are available. Of these, 100,800 were full-time. Participation in other forms of further education provision, for example apprenticeships, is not included.

The ILR does not provide information on economic activity. However, we can estimate this using the Labour Force Survey. In the first quarter of 2011, it is estimated that of those aged 19-24 studying full-time at a further education college (excluding apprenticeships) (a) 43.0 per cent were in employment, (b) 5.4 per cent were ILO unemployed and (c) 51.7 per cent were economically inactive. The Labour Force Survey does not provide robust estimates of jobseeker's allowance claimants. We do not directly record in the ILR information on the type of benefits people are receiving when they take up training. We do, however, collect information in the ILR on why a learner has received fee remission for a particular learning aim they undertake. From these data we can provide information on the number of enrolments by learners who received full fee remission through being in receipt of jobseeker's allowance. This should be used with caution given it does not provide a full picture of the range of entitlements that a person has.

As the reason for fee remission is recorded at the learning aim level and mode of attendance (full-time or part-time) is recorded at the learner level it is not directly possible to analyse the number of enrolments where fee remission has been applied by the full-time or part-time status of the learner. We are, however, able to measure the total number of enrolments (includes both part-time and full-time) by fee remission.

In 2009-10, the latest year for which final data are available, there were 685,400 learner responsive enrolments by adults aged 19-24. Of these, based on the "fees waived" field, 45,300 (7 per cent) received fee remission through being in receipt of jobseeker's allowance. Note that the number of enrolments is greater than the number of learners participating because a learner can enrol on more than one course.



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Enrolments in other forms of further education provision, for example apprenticeships, are not included.

Information on further education participation, enrolments and achievements is published in a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 27 October 2011: http://www.thedata service.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current.

Asked by Baroness Brinton

Baroness Wilcox: In 2009-10, the latest year for which final data are available, less than 1 per cent of adults aged 24 and over who completed a level 3 or level 4 course (full-time or part-time) in government funded further education (learner responsive) took longer than three years to complete it and the proportion taking longer than four or five years is even smaller.

Information on further education and skills participation, enrolments and achievements is published in a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 27 October 2011: http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current.

Human Rights

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): This information is not held centrally by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the form requested but can be obtained from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Israel

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): There is a widespread assumption that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. We continue to call on Israel to become a party to the non-proliferation treaty. We are fully committed to seeing a Middle East entirely free from all weapons of mass destruction.

Israel and Palestine: West Bank

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have not specifically raised with the Israeli authorities the prospect of compensation for Palestinian owners who have lost land. We remain concerned about evictions and demolitions of Palestinian property in the West Bank. The UK has a good record of lobbying hard on issues relating to house demolitions and settlement building.

We view any attempts to change the facts on the ground as a serious provocation likely to raise tensions and cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, as well as being harmful to the peace process and in contravention of international law.

Migration Advisory Committee

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)'s code of conduct states that members must not hold any paid or high-profile unpaid posts in a political party, or engage in specific political activities on matters directly affecting the work of the MAC. The Government have no plans to change this.

Organ Transplantation

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In the United Kingdom we have a robust legal framework and regulatory oversight to combat any commercialisation or trafficking in this area. Sections 32 and 33 of the Human Tissue Act 2004 covering Wales, England and Northern Ireland prohibits commercial dealings in human material for transplantation and sets out the penalties for trafficking. The legislation in Scotland is separate but similar and is set out in the Human Tissue (Scotland) Act 2006.

It is a legal requirement in the UK that all organ removal and organ transplantation must be reported and recorded and the allocation of donated deceased organs must be to agreed criteria overseen by NHS Blood and Transplant. All living donations are regulated in line with legislation, and no live donation will proceed without an interview with the potential donor by an independent assessor to ensure that the donor is not receiving financial inducements to donate nor is he/she being coerced emotionally or physically.

In the European Union, all member states must implement Directive 2010/53/EU by 27 August 2012. This requires that all organ donations from living and deceased donors are voluntary and unpaid and that procurement should only proceed after all necessary requirements relating to consent in force in the member state have been met.

The UK has also participated in the development of the World Health Organization guiding principles to ensure that human material removed from deceased and living donors for the purpose of transplantation only takes place according to agreed principles. The declaration of Istanbul encourages all countries to draw up legal and professional frameworks to govern organ donation and transplantation activities.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Earl Howe: Since the publication of the report by the Organ Donation Taskforce in 2008, work has taken place to strengthen the donation programme and increase the number of organs available for patients. There are now over 200 highly trained specialist nurses for organ donation based in hospitals across the country and NHS Blood and Transplant is continuing to train and recruit more staff into this vital role. Clinical leads for organ donation have been appointed in every acute hospital working closely with hospital organ donation committees to increase donation rates. This means that we are on track to meet the 50 per cent improvement in deceased donor rates by 2013 anticipated by the taskforce, with latest available figures showing that deceased donor numbers have increased by 31.4 per cent against the 2007-8 baseline.

A Transitional Steering Group (TSG), chaired by Chris Rudge, has been established to help maintain the momentum achieved pending the introduction of the NHS Commissioning Board. During the transitional period the TSG will be focusing on the six big wins-optimising deceased donation rates through undertaking brainstem death testing and considering donation after

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cardiac death in all appropriate circumstances, increasing consent rates, increasing donation from emergency medicine, timely referral of donors and better donor management.

Overseas Aid

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Baroness Northover: Throughout our development programmes the Department for International Development's (DfID's) top priority is our commitment to achieving results. Our vision is a developing world where all women are able to exercise choice over the size and timing of their families. We will double our efforts to enable at least 10 million more women to use modern methods of family planning by 2015, and prevent more than 5 million unintended pregnancies.

We do not track inputs and expenditure according to the categories requested.

Details of expenditure against individual input sector codes including health, reproductive health, family planning, can be found on our annual publication of Statistics on International Development available at www.dfid.gov.uk. The UK's codes are based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) codes, which as used for reporting overseas development assistance and as a DAC member, the UK is committed to transparent reporting of development assistance in a way that permits international comparisons.

All spending over £500 is published, as per the UK Transparency Guarantee.

Recent analysis has estimated that 25 per cent of DfID's expenditure on health supports Human Resources for Health.

Passports

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The embassy to the Holy See does not issue passports.



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Police and Social Responsibility Act 2011

Question

Asked by Baroness Trumpington

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Government have issued a commencement order for the relevant provisions of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 to be brought into force from 19 December 2011.

Police: Discipline

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Home Office held aggregate data on police officer complaints and misconduct until 2004.

Prisons: Foreign Nationals

Question

Asked by The Earl of Listowel

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): In the past 12 months there have been two foreign nationals under the age of 18 who were detained beyond the end of their custodial sentence. The first was detained for 12 days due to discrepancies over their age and the other was detained for 118 days under ministerial authority.

This information is taken from internal management information and is subject to change.

Regional Growth Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Claims for £95.4 million have been received by companies and organisations granted funds in the first round of the regional growth fund awards. All monies are expected to be transferred by 1 December 2011. Two offers have been withdrawn since the conditional allocation of funding. The value of these awards will not be released in order not to prejudice the commercial interests of bidders.

Overall, more than half of those bids approved in April, are underway, with RGF funding expected to be called upon as the projects progress.

Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network

Questions

Asked by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Since its formation in November 2010 the Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network has met five times, with the last meeting on 23 November. The Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network plans to meet next on 26 January 2012.

The current members of the Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network are:



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Jeremy Beadles

Chief Executive, Wine and Spirit Trade Association

Mark Bellis

Faculty of Public Health

Paul Edmonson-Jones

Director of Public Health Portsmouth City Council

Seymour Fortescue

Chairman, The Portman Group

Alan Hopley

Addaction

Liam Hughes

National Advisor, Local Government Association

Paul Kelly

Director of Corporate Affairs, ASDA

Paul Lincoln

Chief Executive, National Heart Forum

Prof. Martin Lombard

National Clinical Director for Liver Disease

Guy Mason

Head of Public Affairs, Morrisons Plc

Vicki Nobles

Director of Corporate Affairs, Diageo GB

Andrew Opie

Director of Food Policy, British Retail Consortium

Bruce Ray

Director of External Affairs, Bacardi Brown Foreman

Prof. Jonathan Shepherd

University of Cardiff

Nick Sheron

University of Southampton

Brigid Simmonds

Chief Executive, British Beer and Pub Association

Keiran Simpson

Corporate Relations Director, Heineken UK

Chief Constable Jon Stoddart

Association of Chief Police Officers

Paul Tuohy

Mentor UK

Kay Wheelton

Head of Commercial Non Food, Fuel and Drinks, The Co-operative

Scott Wilson

Director of Communications, Molson Coors

Kristen Wolfe

Head of Alcohol Policy, SAB Miller

Sarah Woolnough

Senior Policy Researcher, Cancer Research UK

All public health responsibility deal partners will be required to set out what they plan to do to meet the pledges they have signed up to. These pledge delivery plans will be published online by the end of the year. Partners will also be required to report annually on their progress on delivering against these plans, using a set of defined quantitative measures. Annual updates from the first year of the responsibility deal should be available on the department's website in the summer.

Asked by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

Earl Howe: Some individuals, who are Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network members, have provided input to the strategy via stakeholder events over the summer. The remit of the Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network is not to develop strategy or policy.

We expect to publish the strategy in the first months of the new year.

Retail: Online Retailers

Question

Asked by Lord Lucas

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): A business that advertises or sells goods or services online must provide customers with its full name, its address and its contact details, including an email address. If the business's activities are subject to VAT, it must also provide the VAT registration number.

In June, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs announced a series of campaigns to improve tax compliance by businesses, including one planned for spring 2012 which will focus on those using e-marketplaces to buy and sell goods.



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Smoking

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government have not conducted an inquiry into the dangers of passive smoking caused by smokers at the entrances to buildings and have no current plans to do so.

Surveillance: Telecommunications

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Article 4(2) of Council Regulation (EC) 428/2009 states that a licence will be required for the export of items not listed in Annex I to the regulation if the destination is subject to an embargo imposed by a decision of the Council of the EU, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or a binding resolution of the Security Council of the UN, and the exporter has been informed that the items are or may be intended for use as components in military items, for the development, production or maintenance of military items, or as unfinished products in a plant for the production of military items. In this case, we understand the software is to be used to analyse data from the public mobile telephone network and not as a component in, or for the development, production or maintenance of, military items and therefore Article 4(2) does not apply.

Article 1(c) of Council Decision 2010/410/CFSP of 26 July 2010, which repealed Council Decision 2007/140/CFSP, is given effect throughout the European Union by Article 2.1(b) of Council Regulation (EU) 961/2010 of 25 October 2010. This states that it is prohibited to sell, supply, transfer or export equipment which might be used for internal repression as listed in Annex III of the regulation. The software in question is not listed in Annex III and therefore the prohibition in Article 2.1(b) does not apply.



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Unemployment: Under 25s

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): On 12 May, the coalition Government announced a £60 million package of measures to help reduce youth unemployment. This included:

a new innovation fund, providing £10 million per year to fund organisations working with young people not in education, employment or training (NEET);10,000 access to apprenticeship places to help 16 to 24 year-olds who need extra help to become an apprentice;employer commitments to offer more apprenticeship places;an increase in the number of work experience places young unemployed people a period of work experience between two and eight weeks in length to create 100,000 places by March 2012;a new sector-based work academy route providing 50,000 unemployed people aged 18 and over in the next two years with training, work experience and a guaranteed interview; additional support for 16 to 17 year-old JSA claimants, including more input from Jobcentre Plus advisers, access to work clubs and work experience and early entry to the Work Programme at age 18 for those already unemployed for six months or more; andthe continuation of the graduate talent pool brokerage service for 2011 graduates.

The new Work Programme began on 10 June 2011. This offers unemployed people targeted, personalised help, delivered through the best of private and voluntary sector providers. We are giving 18 to 24 year-olds priority access from the nine month point of their claim to jobseeker's allowance-with earlier entry from three months for the most vulnerable groups like young people age 18 who have already been NEET for six months and care leavers.

We are expanding the apprenticeships programme and will fund up to 250,000 more apprenticeships over the next four years compared to the previous Government's plans. In the 2011 Budget we announced a £180 million package of funding for 50,000 additional adult apprenticeships (19+) over the spending review period. This includes funding for training up to 40,000 additional apprenticeship places providing additional capacity to support young unemployed people, in particular through progression from the DWP work experience programme. The other 10,000 places will help to provide an increase in the number of advanced and higher apprenticeships offered by small and medium sized enterprises.



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On 16 November, we announced new measures that will make it easier for companies to take on apprentices, and ensure that the quality of apprenticeships is continually improved. This includes providing £30 million of funding to support up to 20,000 additional jobs for young people in small firms by offering employers with up to 50 employees an incentive payment of £1,500 to take on apprentices aged 16 to 24.

We have been working across government to set out how we can maximise participation of 16 to 24 year-olds in education, training and work and tackle the consequences of young people being NEET for an extended period. We are due to publish a cross-government participation strategy shortly.

Visas

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): From 5 September 2011, sponsors cannot be awarded a B rated (sponsor) licence. All new sponsors must now hold either an A rated (trusted) or highly trusted sponsor status.

At the time of my response of 16 November, there were 88 B rated sponsors on the tier four sponsor register. As at today's date there are currently 82 B rated sponsors on the register. This number has decreased due to a number of factors including sponsors being re-rated to an A rating or being suspended from the register.

The current B rated sponsors have assigned a total of 8,865 confirmations of acceptance for studies (CAS) in the past 12 months.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Henley: Rayat London College and Lampton College London are currently suspended from the sponsor register and, therefore, are not currently either A or B rated sponsors.

Rayat London College has applied to the Quality Assurance Agency for educational oversight.

Lampton College London has applied to the Independent Schools Inspectorate for educational oversight.


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