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Age Discrimination

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to implement EU Council directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 on age discrimination; and if he will make a statement. [184]

Alan Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

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The Government intend, in line with the European employment directive (2000/78/EC), to introduce legislation to outlaw age discrimination in employment and training and will start public consultations later this year.

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Special Advisers

7. Mr. Blunt: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the budget for special advisers' salaries was in Government Departments in (a) 1996–97 and (b) 2001–02. [1876]

Mr. Leslie: The estimated pay bill for special advisers for 2001–02 is £4.4 million. The pay bill for special advisers in 1996–97 was £1.8 million.

Online Services

9. Mr. McWalter: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the contribution of the e-envoy to the delivery of Government services online. [1879]

Mrs. Roche: The Government are committed to getting services online by 2005 to ensure that the country, its citizens and its businesses derive maximum benefit from the knowledge economy. The e-envoy makes a valuable contribution towards this commitment, among others, through ensuring that the momentum in meeting it is maintained by working with Departments on developing their e-business plans.

24. Mr. Challen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what targets he has set for the delivery of Government services online. [1894]

Mrs. Roche: The Prime Minister has set a target that 100 per cent. of Government services to the citizen and business should be available electronically, and in a customer-focused form, by 2005.

Major achievements have been made towards the overall aim of delivering 100 per cent. of Government services electronically by 2005.

These include:



Brian White: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress has been made on reaching the targets for electronic delivery of Government services. [1896]

Mrs. Roche: Major progress has been made towards the overall aim of delivering 100 per cent. of Government services electronically by 2005.

These include:



Social Exclusion (Brent)

10. Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the impact of Government policies in combating social exclusion in Brent. [1880]

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Mrs. Roche: Brent is benefiting from a variety of Government initiatives to tackle social exclusion including New Deal for Communities funding of £50 million over 10 years, a Neighbourhood Renewal Fund allocation of more than £5 million over the next three years, a Sure Start programme in central Brent since 2000, and another shortly in south Kilburn.

Information and Communication Service

11. Norman Baker: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the work of the Government Information and Communication Service. [1881]

Mr. Leslie: The Government Information and Communication Service is a network of communication specialists working in Departments and agencies. Their role, as outlined in the guidance on the work of the GIS, is to ensure that the policies and actions of the Government of the day are fully explained and presented.

Rough Sleepers

12. Linda Perham: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of progress on the rough sleepers strategy following the social exclusion unit report on this issue. [1882]

Mrs. Roche: In 1998, there were approximately 1,850 people rough sleeping in England. In June 2000, published figures indicated that approximately 1,180 people were sleeping rough. This represents a 36 per cent. reduction. The Rough Sleepers Unit will publish updated figures in due course in relation to counts carried out this year.

UK Online

13. Mr. Allan: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the progress of the UK Online project. [1883]

Mr. Leslie: UK Online strategy is the Government's comprehensive programme for success in the information age, delivered in partnership with other central Government Departments, local government, agencies, and the private and voluntary sectors.

The strategy was published as part of the e-Minister and e-envoy's first Annual Report. It set out a range of recommendations for action across the e-agenda.

The e-envoy and the e-Minister report monthly to the Prime Minister on progress towards meeting the UK Online strategy.

Important elements of the UK Online strategy include the ukonline.gov.uk, the Citizen's Portal, the Government Gateway, which deliver round the clock, customer- focused government services, and UK online for business, which offers expert advice to SMEs on how best to take advantage of the benefits of e-commerce.

Cabinet Office Delivery Unit

14. Mr. Brazier: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the studies being carried out by the Cabinet Office delivery unit. [1884]

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Mr. Leslie: The unit has been set up to help ensure the Government achieve our key objectives in the areas of health, education, law and order and transport. It is currently establishing its future work programme.

Mr. Laws: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which Minister is responsible for the Policy Delivery Unit based in the Cabinet Office; and if he will make a statement. [1631]

Mr. Leslie: The Delivery Unit, led by Michael Barber, reports to the Prime Minister under the day-to-day supervision of Lord Macdonald. It will help ensure that the Government achieves key objectives in the areas of health, education, law and order and transport, so that their ambitious programme of public service reform is translated into real improvements on the ground.

Business Regulation

15. Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has for reviewing the impact of regulation on business and employees. [1885]

Mr. Leslie: Since 1997, the Better Regulation Task Force has reviewed the impact of regulations in a number of areas ranging from farming to e-commerce, and will continue to do so.

In addition, our manifesto for business contains a commitment to require Departments and agencies to review the impact and working of major pieces of regulation within three years of implementation. We are currently considering the best way to take this commitment forward.

Government Departments (Regions)

16. Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to move Government Departments out of London to the regions. [1886]

Mrs. Roche: There are no such plans.

Individual Departments and agencies are free to make their own decisions about location and facilities on the basis of operational requirements and value for money.

Regional Government

17. Dr. Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to publish a White Paper on regional government in England. [1887]

Mrs. Roche: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister on 2 July 2001, Official Report, column 80W.

Best Value

18. Mr. Miller: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to improve Best Value criteria in respect of public services that have a cross-departmental impact. [1888]

Mrs. Roche: The Government have been consistent in promoting a cross-departmental approach to improving public services across the whole of the public sector. Increasingly, Government Departments are working together to improve services with overall needs of citizens at the forefront of their thinking. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 25 June 2001 a new series of

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cross-cutting reviews, building on the initiatives addressed in the previous spending round, and local service delivery has received particular attention. Best Value performance plans will set out how local authorities will approach joined-up community planning. Local strategic partnerships continue to be a key contribution to cross- cutting delivery. The extension of Local Public Service Agreements will provide further opportunities for improving services.

Public Service Delivery

19. Dr. Cable: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how the roles of the Cabinet Office in ensuring that public expenditure delivers effective public services complement that of the Treasury. [1889]

Mr. Leslie: The Cabinet Office has no separate rules which govern our involvement in monitoring delivery of public services. The Chancellor of the Exchequer chairs the Committee on Public Services and Public Expenditure (PSX) which has overall responsibility for monitoring delivery. The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for the Cabinet Office are members of that Committee and my officials work closely with Treasury officials to support and inform the Committee's considerations.


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