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E-mail: Employment Law andHuman Rights Act

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Employment legislation contains no requirements specifically to employers' use of e-mail. My department collects no information on employers' practice in this area.

Part-time Workers Regulations

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The basic principle of the legislation is to treat part-timers no less favourably than comparable full-timers. This principle is enshrined in the Part-time Work Directive. The UK has been committed to implementing the directive since April 1998. Thus businesses have known the legislation was imminent for two years. Since then, the Employment Relations Act 1999 and the consultation on part-time work have fleshed out the details of the Government's proposals.

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Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the debate on the Part-time Workers Regulations 2000 on 22 May, who will pay for the backdated pension costs of (a) the £4 billion estimated by Lord Sainsbury of Turville at col. 564 and (b) the eventual cost of the regulations themselves; and, if these burdens are to fall on business, how they equate that with his statement at col. 553 that "The Government are concerned that the regulations placed on business are not overly burdensome, particularly on small businesses".[HL2614]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The estimate of £4 billion in backdated pension costs comes as a result of a ruling by the European Court of Justice. The case was based on sex discrimination law and is unconnected with the Part-time Workers Regulations. The costs will be borne by both employers and employees.

The cost to employers of the Part-time Workers Regulations is estimated to be £27.4 million. Employees will benefit by £23.4 million.

The proposals should not create a significant burden for most businesses. In fact the great majority who do not treat their part-timers less favourably than their full-timers will be unaffected. Changes will need to be made only where part-timers are less favourably treated than comparable full-timers. Small employers should not be unduly affected by the new rules.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they would have introduced the Part-time Workers Regulations 2000 in their present form if they had not been obliged to do so by the European Union.[HL2615]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Government would have introduced these measures on part-time work whether or not they had been agreed at European level. Ending discrimination is important if part-timers are to play a full part in the flexible labour market.

Merrywood School Closure

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they were aware of the statistics in the Office for National Statistics publication Social Inequalities 2000 when making the decision to confirm the closure of Merrywood School, Knowle West, Bristol.[HL2564]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): My noble friend Lord Bach made clear in his reply to the noble Lord's earlier question of 26 April (Official Report, WA 119) that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment was fully aware, when reaching his decision on the proposal to close Merrywood School, of the level of social deprivation

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in the Knowle West area. Information about social deprivation was provided by the local education authority and objectors to the proposal. The Office for National Statistics publication does not provide detailed information on an area of this size.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Blackstone on 23 March (WA 38), which Ministers, other than the Secretary of State for Education and Employment and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for School Standards, discussed the proposed closure of Merrywood School, Bristol, with the Member of Parliament for Bristol South.[HL2581]

Baroness Blackstone: No discussions have taken place between Ministers of the Department for Education and Employment and the Member of Parliament for Bristol South other than those described in my earlier reply.

New Deal: Benefit Sanctions

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will estimate the number of people who have been subject to benefit sanctions on each New Deal programme and in each year since their introduction, breaking these totals down, where possible, by (a) gender, (b) ethnic minority and (c) region. [HL2601]

Baroness Blackstone: Information is not available in the form requested. Young people taking part in the New Deal for 18 to 24 year-olds may be liable to a benefit sanction if they do not attend one of the four options as they are expected to do. Comprehensive information on the number of sanctions that have been imposed for failure to attend New Deal options as expected is collected through the Decision Making and Appeals System (DMAS). This system identifies the number of sanctions imposed for each New Deal option in each region but does not identify the numbers of individuals involved or a breakdown of their characteristics.

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The Employment Service publishes information from DMAS each quarter. Published information is currently available to the end of December 1999. It shows the numbers of New Deal option sanctions imposed in each region were as follows:

April 1998 to 31 December 1999

Number
London and South East2,492
East Midlands1,807
South West1,072
West Midlands2,588
Yorkshire and Humberside3,157
North West3,400
Northern2,744
Wales1,367
Scotland3,338
Total21,965

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will estimate for the New Deal for Young People the number of sanctions imposed in each year since April 1998 for (a) each New Deal option, (b) each unit of delivery and (c) each region, stating in each case the number of young people on the scheme and the number and percentage of young people on New Deal who have been sanctioned.[HL2602]

Baroness Blackstone: Information is not available in the form requested. Comprehensive information on the numbers of sanctions imposed for failure to attend options as expected within New Deal for Young People is collected through the Decision Making and Appeals System (DMAS) and is currently available to the end of December 1999. This is shown in Table 1.

This infomation cannot be compared directly with the numbers of young people who had joined New Deal in each region by December 1999 because it relates to number of sanctions imposed not to individuals. There will be cases where sanctions have been imposed more than once on an individual.

Table 2 sets out the numbers of young people who had joined New Deal in each region and in Scotland and Wales by end December 1999. Table 3 shows the number of young people who have joined each of the options during this period.

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Table 1 Numbers of sanctions imposed on questions relating to New Deal 18-24 options on claims for JSA--1 April 1998 to 31 December 1999

New Deal 18-24 Option
RegionSubsidised employmentFT Education or trainingEnvironment Task ForceVoluntary ServiceTotal
LaSER1677938047282,492
East Midlands1366616993111,807
South West1112253953411,072
West Midlands1539621,0654082,588
Yorks & Humber3071,0741,1086683,157
North West4101,1401,3584923,400
Northern2611,3377783702,746
Wales1553367321421,365
Scotland3661,2731,1565433,338
National2,0667,8018,0954,00321,965

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Table 2
Numbers of young people starting on New Deal--April 1998 to December 1999

RegionTotal
LaSER96,860
East Midlands and Eastern33,250
South West21,630
West Midlands38,420
Yorks and Humber44,720
North West55,500
Northern28,440
Wales23,370
Scotland43,780
National386,000

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Table 3 Number of young people joining New Deal options April 1998 to 31 December 1999

New Deal 18-24 Option
RegionSubsidised employmentFT Education or trainingEnvironment Task ForceVoluntary ServiceTotal
LaSER4,30014,5806,2804,41028,570
East Midlands1,9705,4402,1702,03011,610
South West1,8403,1202,0701,3508,510
West Midlands2,1606,1902,1302,15012,630
Yorks & Humber3,0608,2803,4203,53018,290
North West4,7108,9103,3704,52021,510
Northern2,2607,4501,8502,19013,750
Wales2,6403,5501,6902,65010,530
Scotland3,9006,7303,3303,62017,670
National26,93064,25026,31025,450143,000

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