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Written Parliamentary Questions: 19th January 2006

Local Strategic Partnerships

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what (a) guidance and (b) advice the Learning and Skills Councils have issued as to who should chair local strategic partnerships.(John Hemming)
A:The consultation paper "Local Strategic Partnerships: Shaping the Future" launched on 8 December by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister examines the future role of LSPs, their governance and accountability, and their capacity to deliver sustainable community strategies and local area agreements.

Membership of LSPs is drawn from a wide range of local partners, including the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). The leadership of individual LSPs is a matter for local discretion and members' views can be sought on their chairmanship. The LSC has not issued guidance on who should chair LSPs. (Bill Rammell, Minister of State (Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education) Department for Education and Skills)

Habitual Residence Test

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 5 December 2005, Official Report, column 1048W, on the Habitual Residence Test, if he will change the rules for non-contributory benefits so that those who make sufficient contributions to a contributory benefit to enable them to obtain half of the maximum are deemed to have passed the habitual residency test. (John Hemming)
A:The Habitual Residence Test is only applied to income-related benefits and people who qualify for a contributory benefit such as contribution based jobseeker's allowance will not be subject to the test. There is already provision in regulations which allows EEA nationals who have been working in the UK to be treated as habitually resident if they claim an income-related benefit. In line with EC case law, a returning UK national who has previously worked in the UK is likely to pass the Habitual Residence Test immediately. Non-EEA nationals who work in the UK are usually subject to immigration control and have no recourse to public funds. As such they have no access to income-related benefits and therefore would not be subject to the Habitual Residence Test. (James Plaskitt,Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions)

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