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Mr. Sayeed: Does the Minister agree that since the Government came to power and changed the rules for SSAs county councils have lost £700 million due to those changes?

Jacqui Smith: No, but I recognise the significant extra investment in some of the key local authority functions, such as education and personal social services, and those increases in investment did not occur under the previous Government. If the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that the SSA regime introduced under the Government of whom,

12 Dec 2001 : Column 975

I believe, he was a member is flawed and needs to be reformed, I agree with him. That is why this Labour Government are pledged to reform that system in time for the local government settlement next year.

The hon. Member for South-West Bedfordshire also referred to the support given to families, which is an important factor. The Government recognise that early intervention and family support is key to tackling child poverty and social exclusion. We have therefore set out a wide-ranging programme to support parents and families, which concentrates on five main areas: better services and support to parents; better financial support to families; helping families balance work and home; strengthening marriage; and better support for serious family problems.

Some 1.2 million children have been lifted out of poverty, as a result of the Government's tax and benefit changes. Child benefit has increased by 26 per cent. in real terms, to £15.50 a week for the first child. Some 1.2 million families now benefit from the working families tax credit. We have established new rights to help people balance their work and their home lives, better maternity entitlement, the right to paid holidays, paternity leave and protection against working excessive hours.

The new National Family and Parenting Institute has been set up to provide quality advice to the Government, the voluntary sector and parents themselves on the very difficult task on parenting. We have created the first ever national child care strategy, and 295,000 child care places have already been established, helping 540,000 children.

The first Minister with responsibility for young people has been appointed, and a new children and young people's unit has been created to develop an overarching strategy for children and young people's services.

A wide range of family support services is provided by local authorities, but the hon. Gentleman is right to suggest that our children's services needed more investment. Those services include advice, guidance and counselling, day care, home help, family centres and so on. That is why the Government introduced the now five-year, £885 million quality protects programme in England, with the aim of improving the management and delivery of children's social services.

Government objectives to improve outcomes for children and young people in need have been set and local authorities are expected to show, and have shown, steady improvement towards the achievement of those objectives in their annual quality protects management action plans.

The hon. Gentleman also raised the important issues of fostering and adoption. The Government have supported national fostering recruitment campaigns, and I agree with him that it is crucial to attract more people. The Adoption and Children Bill, which is being considered by the House, represents the first opportunity for 25 years to modernise the legislation on adoption. It will place a duty on local authorities to provide adoption support services, backed up by £66 million of extra investment. More children have already been adopted out of care under this Government, but, of course, I agree with the hon. Gentleman that we need to meet the Government's target of 40 per cent.—or even 50 per cent.—more children being adopted out of care by 2004.

The hon. Gentleman also raised the important issue of recruitment and retention in Bedfordshire. The Government are aware that there are problems in recruiting social workers throughout the country, and I

12 Dec 2001 : Column 976

agree with him that we must all ensure that we praise the excellent work that many social workers do, day in day out, to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities. We take the issue of recruitment and retention very seriously, which is why on 10 October, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health launched a national recruitment campaign aimed at informing the public about social work and social care and at encouraging recruitment and retention. I am very pleased that there have so far been 13,198 responses to the campaign, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will be pleased to know that 123 of those are from the Bedfordshire area.

We are also introducing a three-year degree-level qualification in social work to replace the current two-year diploma courses. That represents a unique opportunity to transform the status, image and position of social workers and to build on the best of social work education and training. The degree-level qualification will come into effect in England from September 2003. In addition, the Secretary of State last year announced extra investment in training for social workers and social workers currently in employment, because it is important that we not only recruit more social workers but retain those who are already in the service.

The funding of social services is, of course, important, as is the way in which councils use the funding that they receive. We are determined that the money for social services should be used to improve and modernise them. Improvements are happening. We recently published the latest set of performance indicators for the 150 councils with social services responsibilities. There is overall improvement, and steady progress is being made towards the Government's priorities.

To build on that progress, the Secretary of State recently announced that we would set about devising an overall assessment methodology that will allow us to analyse all the performance information available to us, and to generate an overall performance score. The aim is to introduce, by next spring, an overall assessment system similar to that announced in September for the NHS. Not only will that information be helpful for service users and their carers but it will be vital for the Government and local authorities, improving their ability to spot problem areas and to take appropriate measures to generate improvements where these are needed.

Of course, those improvements cannot always be delivered by social services departments alone. It is important that the various responsibilities of councils, whether in education, leisure or other services, are co-ordinated with those of social services departments to ensure that we meet, in the round, the needs of the people served by those departments. Of course, as the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues pointed out, it is crucial for older people, those with learning disabilities, people with mental health problems and children that departments work properly with health authorities.

This Government have, in the Health Act 1999, introduced the flexibility necessary to ensure that local authorities and health authorities can work together more effectively. That flexibility is currently being considered in Bedfordshire; for example, in the commissioning of joint equipment stores, which will utilise a pooled budget, and in the development of a joint commissioning agency for learning disabilities, for which a strategy is being developed throughout Luton and the rest of Bedfordshire

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with the health authority. Organisations are moving towards primary care trust status. The ability to work more carefully together will ensure that the extra funding going into health and social services is used in the most effective way for the benefit of the hon. Gentleman's constituents and everybody in the country who needs to benefit from those services.

I have spent some minutes describing those major developments because they all contribute to the Government's vision of social services in the 21st century. Those initiatives, backed up by significant extra investment, provide a coherent framework for improvement. People who use social services, in Bedfordshire as elsewhere in the country, deserve and expect high quality services. We have set ourselves a challenging agenda, but we have shown ourselves willing to invest and reform to ensure that we deliver for all the people who need those services.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-six minutes to One o'clock.

12 Dec 2001 : Column 978

Deferred Divisions

European Arrest Warrant and the Surrender Procedures Between Member States

That this House takes note of European Union Document No. 13425/01, Draft Council Framework Decision on the European Arrest Warrant and the Surrender Procedures between the Member States; and supports the Government's active participation in the debate on the draft Framework Decision and the Government's intention to ensure that extradition within the European Union takes place on the basis of the principles of mutual recognition.

The House divided: Ayes 333, Noes 146.

Division No. 105


Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Barron, Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Beggs, Roy
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blair, Rt Hon Tony
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Burnside, David
Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Cable, Dr Vincent
Caborn, Rt Hon Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Rt Hon Dr Jack
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Daisley, Paul
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, Rt Hon John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Foulkes, George
Francis, Dr Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, Rt Hon Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Healey, John
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hermon, Lady
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith
Hinchliffe, David
Hodge, Margaret
Hood, Jimmy
Hoon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Howells, Dr Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Illsley, Eric
Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Kelly, Ruth
Kemp, Fraser
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Lammy, David
Laxton, Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Liddell, Rt Hon Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Llwyd, Elfyn
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Meale, Alan
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miller, Andrew
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Morgan, Julie
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Rt Hon Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Price, Adam
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, Rt Hon Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, John
(Glasgow Anniesland)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Ryan, Joan
Salmond, Alex
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Short, Rt Hon Clare
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, Rt Hon John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Straw, Rt Hon Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Dr Richard (Wyre F)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth R (Harrow W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
Weir, Michael
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr Alan
Williams, Rt Hon Alan
(Swansea W)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Wishart, Pete
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Amess, David
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John
Bellingham, Henry
Bennett, Andrew
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Browning, Mrs Angela
Burns, Simon
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cameron, David
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y)
Cash, William
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clifton–Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cran, James
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Duncan, Alan (Rutland & Melton)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, Rt Hon Iain
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Fox, Dr Liam
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, Rt Hon John
Hague, Rt Hon William
Hammond, Philip
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat–Amory, Rt Hon David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lansley, Andrew
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prisk, Mark
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (Mid–Norfolk)
Soames, Nicholas
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Richard
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Walter, Robert
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim
Young, Rt Hon Sir George

Question accordingly agreed to.

12 Dec 2001 : Column 982

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