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Access to Work Programme

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Access to Work helps disabled people move into or stay in jobs by removing barriers to work associated with their disability, and encourages employers to recruit and retain disabled people by offering practical support.

The budget for the current year is £44 million. Spending on the programme, together with the number of people helped, has increased in every year since 1997 and will do so again in 2003–04.

YearNumbers helpedNet programme costs
1997–9812,825£15 million
1998–9916,094£21 million
1999–200020,729£27 million
2000–0125,887£32 million
2001–0232,798£42.5 million

Source: Departmental reports and Jobcentre Plus management information.

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Hollis of Heigham: We do not have a target for increasing employers' awareness of the Access to Work programme. However, a recent government study on barriers to employment for disabled people showed that 26 per cent of all employers were aware of the programme, including 32 per cent of large employers and 18 per cent of small employers.

Information on all disability services is available from jobcentres and on the Jobcentre Plus web site. Jobcentre Plus invests around £300,000 per year marketing and publicising its specialised services and programmes for disabled people, including Access to Work, with promotional material available in a range of media such as leaflets, audiotapes and videos.

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of any research showing whether employers are reluctant to retrain workers who become disabled or to take on new workers who are disabled because they believe there will be additional costs for their company.[HL1612]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Research evidence suggests that cost is not a major factor in influencing employers' attitudes towards recruitment and retention of disabled people. In a recent survey of employers 1 , 49 per cent of respondents thought there were no difficulties or were unable to say what the difficulties might be in recruiting a disabled employee; this figure was higher in the case of retaining disabled people (72 per cent). Cost was not mentioned as a difficulty in recruitment. Only 2 per cent cited it as a difficulty in retention.

The experience of employers who have sought to retain disabled employees also suggests that cost does not play a major role. In the same survey, 78 per cent of employers with workers who had become disabled in post reported that they had made changes to retain the employee, including 19 per cent who said they had provided retraining for employees. Of those making adjustments, 20 per cent reported that the adjustment did not lead to any cost. A further 28 per cent stated that they regarded the cost as part of normal costs of the organisation.

Research has also examined the factors influencing whether employers recruit disabled people or not. A survey of small employers 2 showed that only a small minority (4 per cent) of employers said they would not consider recruiting a person with a disability. Of these, only 4 per cent said the reason related to the cost of adapting premises or equipment.

The department is currently undertaking further research on employers' attitudes towards the recruitment and retention of disabled employees under the Disability Discrimination Act. We anticipate that findings will be published in autumn 2003.

    1 Goldstone, C (2002) Barriers to Employment for Disabled People, DWP In-House Report 95.

    2 Meager, N. et al. (2001) Impact on Small Businesses of Lowering the DDA Part II Threshold, Disability Rights Commission, London.

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Historic Environment

Lord Layard asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on implementing the recommendations contained in the Government's report on the historic environment: A Force for Our Future.[HL1819]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): Since August 2002 the following has been achieved:


English Heritage completed its programme of establishing a historic environment forum in each of the regions.


HM Treasury confirmed that the listed places of worship grant scheme would continue until the review of the European Union VAT regime had been completed.

The Government formally acceded to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.


English Heritage launched the first State of the Historic Environment Report, which set out a framework for establishing indicators to measure the contribution the historic environment makes to the economy, education and communities.

I announced a review of current heritage protection legislation. This will also cover the ecclesiastical exemption and consider a range of options for enhancing sites and monuments records.

The Historic House Association (HHA) and the Black Environment Network (BEN) announced a joint scheme to identify new audiences for the historic environment by encouraging ethnic communities to become more involved with nearby historic attractions. Local community leaders will be invited to work with selected properties to extend involvement and enjoyment of these attractions within ethnic communities. Five pilot projects will be in place by spring 2003. They will be closely monitored and evaluated with a view to extending the programme in 2004.


The Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Bill was introduced into Parliament. The Bill will make it a criminal offence to trade in illegally removed cultural goods.

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill was introduced into Parliament. It will take forward a number of commitments from the planning statement Sustainable Communities: Delivering through planning.

Heritage Link was officially launched. It will be cofunded by English Heritage and the National Trust. Priority areas for action in 2003 are the needs and potential of the voluntary sector; funding; inclusion; and land-use planning.

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National Archaeology Days 2002, organised by the Council for British Archaeology, achieved a 5 per cent increase in participating venues to 62 and a 66 per cent increase in estimated visitors to 90,000.


The National Trust launched Untold Story, a pilot project involving National Trust properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It will involve people in exploring and interpreting the significance of local properties through the medium of the performing arts.

The National Trust began work with creative partnerships in Cornwall to develop a number of projects involving artists, poets and writers working with local schoolchildren to develop ideas and activities inspired by National Trust properties in Cornwall.


Reponsibility for underwater archaeology will be transferred to English Heritage shortly.

Management plans are now in place for all but five of the world heritage sites in England. Management plans for the Tower of London and the city of Bath are scheduled for completion by February and October 2003 respectively. Work on the plans for Blenheim Palace and Westminster Palace and Abbey is ongoing, while work on Durham Cathedral and castle will begin shortly.

Northern Ireland Civil Service: Security Vetting

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answers by the Lord Privy Seal on 12 December 2002 (WA 48) and on 27 January (WA 138) about security vetting, how many posts in the Northern Ireland Civil Service are classified as sensitive posts or higher; how many of those post holders possess valid security clearances; whether any civil servants whose security clearances have expired were in post on 12 December 2002; and, if so, why.[HL1388]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Her Majesty's Government have nothing further to add to the Answers given on 12 December 2002 (WA 48) and 27 January (WA 138).

Irish Language Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 13 February (WA 144) concerning the appointment of a deputy chief executive to the Irish Language Agency, whether the successful applicant was confirmed in his post by the North/South Ministerial Council; and, if so, when.[HL1716]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: This appointment did not require approval by the North/South Ministerial Council.

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