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Free School Meals

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of children are entitled to free school meals in (a) Church of England schools, (b) Roman Catholic schools, (c) schools of other Christian denominations (d) other religious schools, (e) non religious foundation schools and (f) other maintained schools. [3164]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 11 July 2001]: The information requested is shown in the table.

12 Jul 2001 : Column: 608W

Maintained primary and secondary schools: percentage of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals by religious character, January 2000

Religious characterMaintained primary schoolsMaintained secondary schools
Church of England12.211.8
Roman Catholic17.216.5
Other religious schools(7)10.27.1
Non-religious schools20.216.8

(7) Includes Methodist, schools of mixed denomination or other Christian belief, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and other religions.


Connexions Service

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many advisers have been recruited to date, and how many more will be recruited by 2005, to operate the Connexions Service; and if she will make a statement. [3365]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The 12 Partnerships that went live on 1 April 2001 are in a transition stage, building up their personal adviser staff from partner organisations, including the Careers Service and Youth Service and by recruitment of new staff. It is very early days, but preliminary figures reported by Partnerships at the end of May 2001 indicate that 991 full-time equivalent personal advisers were in post.

The Connexions Service will be rolled out nationally during 2002–03, but it has always been recognised that the service, including the number of personal advisers, would build up gradually over time. Significant additional funding—£177 million above the Careers Service baseline in 2000–01—has been announced for 2002–03. How this will translate into additional personal advisers will depend on a range of factors including locally determined rates of pay and the additional resources that Partnerships are able to secure from partner organisations. Funding for future years will be determined by the outcome of the CSR2002 exercise.

Further Education

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the contribution of the further education sector in raising the skills base in the United Kingdom. [2988]

John Healey [holding answer 9 July 2001]: The further education sector makes an essential contribution to delivering the skilled work force our nation requires. We are working to ensure that it is flexible and responsive to employers' changing skills needs. The sector plays a particularly important role in delivering the skills we need for craft, technician and equivalent level jobs—skills that are vital to raise our skills base and to boost productivity. Over recent years we have widened participation and increased achievements while maintaining retention rates. We have also seen significant improvements in performance and a reduction in variations in quality across the sector. Nevertheless, we have ambitions to achieve more. We have significantly increased the Standards Fund, to support raising standards in colleges, and we are spending £100 million over the next three years to develop Centres of Vocational Excellence in the sector.

12 Jul 2001 : Column: 609W

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of staff morale in the further education sector; and if she will make a statement. [2992]

John Healey [holding answer 9 July 2001]: The assessment of staff morale is a matter for colleges, as independent employers, to address in consultation with the relevant unions, just as the terms and conditions for staff are a matter for colleges to determine in discussion with relevant unions. We acknowledge that colleges need help to ensure that they have the right arrangements to recruit, reward and retain excellent teachers. Starting this year, significant extra resources amounting to an additional £300 million over the next three years have been made available to the further education sector to reward high calibre staff through our Teaching Pay Initiative, £44 million of which will be shared by sixth-form colleges. The total figure is over and above the annual pay round. In addition, we plan to implement arrangements for FE teachers of shortage subjects to benefit from 'golden hellos' comparable to those already in schools and from arrangements we are piloting to help new entrants to the profession to pay off their student loans.

Sure Start

Joan Ryan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to authorise a further round of local sure start programmes. [3705]

Yvette Cooper: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and I have today invited the following 105 districts in England to set up 177 new sure start programmes:

DistrictNumber of programmes
Amber Valley1
Arun1
Ashford1
Barking and Dagenham1
Barnsley2
Barrow-in-Furness1
Birmingham6
Blackburn with Darwen2
Blackpool1
Bolton2
Bradford3
Brent1
Bristol1
Burnley1
Calderdale1
Cambridge1
Camden2
Cheltenham1
Colchester1
Coventry1
Crawley1
Crewe and Nantwich1
Darlington 11
Dartford1
Derby2
Doncaster3
Durham1
Easington1
Eastbourne1
Erewash1
Gateshead2
Gedling1
Gosport1
Gravesham1
Great Yarmouth1
Greenwich2
Hackney3
Halton2
Hammersmith and Fulham1
Haringey3
Hartlepool1
Hastings1
Hyndburn1
Islington3
Kensington and Chelsea1
Kettering1
Kingston upon Hull3
Kirklees2
Knowsley2
Lambeth3
Leeds2
Leicester3
Lewisham2
Lincoln1
Liverpool4
Manchester4
Mansfield1
Merton1
Middlesbrough2
Newcastle upon Tyne3
Newham4
North Cornwall1
North East Lincolnshire2
North Tyneside1
Norwich1
Nottingham3
Oldham2
Pendle1
Penwith1
Peterborough1
Plymouth2
Preston2
Redcar and Cleveland2
Rochdale2
Rother1
Rotherham1
Salford2
Sandwell3
Sefton2
Sheffield3
South Tyneside2
Southampton1
Southwark3
St. Helens2
Stockton-on-Tees2
Stoke-on-Trent3
Sunderland3
Tameside1
Taunton Deane1
Teignbridge1
Thanet1
Torbay1
Torridge1
Tower Hamlets3
Wakefield1
Walsall2
Waltham Forest1
Wansbeck1
Wear Valley1
Wellingborough1
Westminster1
Wirral1
Wolverhampton2
Worcester1
York1

We have placed a copy of the guidance for this fifth wave of programmes in the Library.


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These new programmes are an addition to the 260 programmes which are already delivering services to young children and their families in disadvantaged areas or developing their plans for delivery from the autumn. This announcement brings the total number of sure start programmes so far announced to 437. They will become operational from summer 2002 when we will be well on schedule to meet the Public Service Agreement target of 500 programmes operating by 2004, reaching one third of all poor children aged under four and their families in England. This will be a significant contribution to the Government's aim of eradicating child poverty by 2020.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Extraditions

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many foreign nationals have been extradited from the United Kingdom in each of the last five years. [2528]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: No record is kept of the nationalities of those extradited from the United Kingdom. Total numbers extradited from the United Kingdom in each of the last five years are as follows:

YearTotal
2000(8)47
199938
199845
199743
199635

(8) The figure for 2000 does not include one further fugitive who was delivered to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda


The figures relate to extraditions under the Extradition Act 1989 and do not include cases governed by the provisions of the Backing of Warrants (Republic of Ireland) Act 1965. The latter are not collected centrally.

Economic Crime

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action his Department is taking to combat economic crime; and if he will make a statement. [2687]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Government fully recognise the harm which economic crime inflicts on its victims, not only in terms of the financial loss but in terms of the frustration and inconvenience caused. Living off the proceeds of crime cannot be tolerated in a fair and just society, and the Government are determined that crime should not pay.

The Proceeds of Crime Bill, which was announced in the Queen's Speech, will attack the profit motive which drives organised criminals. The Bill will contain measures to deprive people of money and property which they have obtained through criminal activity. These measures include reforming confiscation procedures and modernising the criminal law on money laundering and the creation of a new agency, the National Confiscation Agency (NCA), which will co-ordinate the activity of the

12 Jul 2001 : Column: 612W

police, Customs, the Inland Revenue and prosecutors to remove assets obtained illegally and to encourage international co-operation in this. Removing illegal gains from criminals not only acts as a deterrent but reduces their ability to fund further crime.

A large proportion of economic crime involves credit card fraud. The Home Office is currently working closely with the financial institutions and the retail sector to reduce credit card fraud by the introduction of chip cards and personal identification numbers as security safeguards. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State responsible for policing of crime and community safety will be chairing a meeting with senior members of these industries to discuss credit card fraud issues later this month.

In addition to this, a working group led by the Serious Fraud Office has been formed to investigate how we can improve the overall response to fraud. The group will be reporting to Ministers later in the year.

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate his Department has made for the cost of (a) credit card fraud, (b) other fraud and (c) all economic crime in each of the last six years. [2686]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information is as follows:

(a) The banking industry (the Association of Payment Clearing Services) estimated that the cost of total reported losses due to credit card fraud in each of the last six years was:

£ million
199583.3
199697.1
1997122.0
1998135.0
1999188.4
2000292.6

(b) A report commissioned by the Home Office and the Serious Fraud Office entitled 'The Economic Cost of Fraud' (copies of which have been placed in the Library) was published in March 2000 by National Economic Research Associates. This report recognised that the available data were patchy and infrequently gathered, but offered a low estimate of £6.6 billion and a high estimate of £13.6 billion for the total economic cost of other fraud (excluding credit card fraud) for the year ending 1999. These estimates include amounts defrauded, investigation and deterrence costs.

(c) There is no accepted definition of "economic crime". However, Home Office Research Study no. 217 "The economic and social cost of crime" (copies of which have been placed in the Library) estimated that in total, fraud, commercial and public sector victimisation and property crimes against households and individuals cost around £32 billion in 1999–2000. Estimates have not been made for previous years.


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