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Teenage Pregnancy

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in meeting its objectives; and if he will make a statement; (247256)

(2) what progress his Department has made against its target to reduce the under 18 conception rate by 50 per cent. by 2010; and if he will make a statement.

The latest annual data (for 2006) show that since the 1998 baseline year, the under-18 conception rate has fallen by 12.9 per cent. to its lowest level for over 20 years. The 2007 annual data will be published in February 2009.

While I welcome the steady decline in England’s teenage pregnancy rate, we need to accelerate progress if we are to achieve our challenging target to halve the under-18 conception rate by 2010. Consequently, we have issued guidance to all local authorities and PCTs, which sets out what is working in the most successful areas (some of whom have achieved reductions of over 30 per cent.) and encourages all areas to refresh their strategies to incorporate these findings.

At a national level, our focus is on:

close monitoring, strengthened performance management and intensive support to the most challenged areas;

maximising the use of the additional funding for improved provision and use of effective contraception; and

strengthened communications to young people, parents and delivery partners.