§ Mr. Waterson
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps his Department has taken to encourage local authorities to participate in the New Deal programme; and what representations the local authority associations have made to him on the(a) aims and (b) administration of the scheme. 
§ Mr. Andrew Smith
Effective local partnerships are essential to the success of the New Deal. Local authorities clearly have an important part to play in this. We have encouraged them to become involved fully in local New Deal arrangements and they have done so very successfully.
In addition, I have met on a number of occasions with the Local Government Association (LGA), whose Chairman, Sir John Harman, is a member of the New Deal 222W Advisory Task Force. The LGA and individual local authorities have expressed support for the New Deal and have provided a wide range of comments and proposals concerning many aspects of the programme, all of which we welcome.