30. Mr. Alan W. Williams
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on initiatives he has taken to improve economic activity rates in former coalfield communities. 
§ Ms Jowell
We now have action teams for jobs in many of our coalfield areas suffering with the lowest employment rates; Easington Wansbeck, Sunderland, Tyneside, Rotherham and Bamsley and Doncaster are all covered by action teams and there are some early success stories—for example, of the 138 contacts made in Easington, 60 of these have resulted in jobs. In Doncaster, the employment zone offers tailored support to help former mine workers back into work. The New Deal covers all areas of the country including former coalfield areas. By the end of November, it had helped over 269,000 young people off benefit and into work. The new Learning and Skills Council will target support for those people who have been victims of industrial and economic change, and provide the skills and training that people need to find sustainable employment. Matters relating to Wales should be addressed to the Welsh Assembly.