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HOUSE OF COMMONS

House Staff (Justices of the Peace)

Mr. Sims: To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the House of Commons Commission, what arrangements exist to give employees of the House of Commons who are appointed justices of the peace leave of absence to carry out their judicial training and duties. [21424]

Mr. Beith: Under the House of Commons Administration Act 1978, conditions of service of staff of the Commission are kept broadly in line with those in the home civil service. In line with this principle, such staff are allowed reasonable time off for attendance required by statutory bodies within section 29 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978. This allows staff who are appointed justices of the peace leave of absence to carry out their judicial training and duties.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Human Rights Abuses

Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals the United Kingdom will put forward to ensure that the 52nd session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights takes consistent action on countries which commit human rights abuses. [21069]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: We support a consistent approach by the UN Commission on Human Rights, but it

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is not always possible to achieve the necessary majorities. Together with our EU partners, we will deliver a statement to the Commission commenting on human rights practices in over 40 countries. The EU will also table several resolutions on human rights practices in countries with exceptional bad records. We will be active in encouraging fellow members of the commission to support them.

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what considerations underlie the United Kingdom's objection to clauses in the draft declaration on human rights defenders allowing third parties to take court action against violators of human rights. [21070]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: We support the concept of non-governmental organisations acting as legal representatives of those alleged to be victims of human rights violations, and are happy to work with such organisations for the achievement of an acceptable outcome. However, we and others are opposed to the notion of individuals being entitled to bring actions in the courts relating to claims in which they themselves have no direct interest.

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government (a) participation in and (b) policy towards the working group on the draft optional protocol to the convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; and what proposals he has to move the initiative forward at the 52nd session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.[21071]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: We have participated actively at each session of the working group. We aim to negotiate, as rapidly as possible, a protocol to the torture convention, which will create a new UN body to visit and report on places of detention in the territories of states parties. At the forthcoming session of the Commission on Human Rights, we shall endeavour to ensure that the mandate of the working group is extended to enable it to continue this work.

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals the United Kingdom has to ensure that the United Kingdom Commission on Human Rights implements the Beijing declaration and platform for action on women. [21072]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: We are fully committed to following up the recommendations of the Beijing platform for action on women. One of the main forums for discussion on this subject is the United Nations

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Commission on the Status of Women, currently in session in New York, but a few specific recommendations from the Beijing conference will also be discussed during the forthcoming session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. The UK delegation is playing an active part in both forums.

St. Helena

Dr. Marek: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the rules governing access to the Government broadcasting station on St. Helena. [21680]

Sir Nicholas Bonsor: The station manager has editorial discretion but operates under guidelines issued by the St. Helena Government.

Rwanda

Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action Her Majesty's Government are taking to ensure implementation of the recommendations produced by the multi-donor report on "The International Response to Conflict and Genocide: Lessons from the Rwanda Experience", published on 12 March. [21073]

Mr. Hanley: The circumstances that gave rise to genocide in Rwanda are worthy of a detailed international analysis. We will examine the recommendations carefully with other donors, UN agencies and non-governmental organisations, and consider ways in which lessons can be learnt.

Sierra Leone

Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government have made and are making to the Government of Sierra Leone regarding human rights abuses. [21103]

Mr. Hanley: We take every opportunity to urge the Sierra Leone Government to bring perpetrators of human rights abuses to justice. Any lasting improvement in the political and human rights situation depends on the restoration of accountable, civilian Government in Sierra Leone and an end to the rebel war which we fully support.

Mr. Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions Her Majesty's Government have held with the Government of Sierra Leone regarding immunity for those found guilty of human rights abuses during the civil war. [21104]

Mr. Hanley: No such discussions have taken place.

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EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

Further Education Funding Council

Mr. John Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans she has for the future chairmanship of the Further Education Funding Council. [21968]

Mr. Paice: The current chairman, Sir Robert Gunn, has accepted my right hon. Friend's invitation to continue as chairman until 16 January 1998. We are very grateful to Sir Robert for his excellent contribution to the establishment and work of the council over the last four years, and for his willingness to continue to serve as chairman.

Schools (Surplus Places)

Mr. John Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what are the numbers and percentages of surplus places in each local authority in England. [21969]

Mrs. Gillan: The following tables set out the numbers of surplus places, by local authority area, and the proportion that these represent of total capacity, as at January 1995. The data are drawn from the returns made during 1995 by local education authorities in respect of their schools and by the Funding Agency for Schools in respect of grant-maintained schools in stage 2 and 3 authority areas: data on surplus places in the 336 grant-maintained schools in stage 1 authorities are not available. These returns show that there were just over 880,000 surplus school places in January 1995, representing 12 per cent. of the total capacity of 7.6 million places. This represents a reduction overall of some 130,000 places between 1994 and 1995--some 2 per cent. of total capacity.

This is encouraging, but the tables illustrate considerable variation in numerical and proportionate levels of surplus across the country. In some cases, combinations of pupil population growth and rationalisation are expected to reduce high levels of surplus to more acceptable levels. Where there is no sign of significant reduction in high levels of surplus, the Department will consult the authorities concerned about the extent to which any of that surplus is in practice removable. In the light of this consultation, my right hon. Friend will decide whether surplus place removal targets should be set for any of those authorities.

Table 1: Surplus places by local authority area, excluding GM schools in stage 1 authorities, at January 1995

Primary(5) Secondary
Actual surplus Actual surplus
LEANumberPer cent.NumberPer cent.
Avon6,432811,24218
Barking1,39292583
Barnet1,29361,418(6)7
Barnsley1,46072,46716
Bedfordshire6,909157,752(6)15
Berkshire4,89585,949(6)11
Bexley1,45771,606(7)10
Birmingham8,693811,718(6)15
Bolton2,26691,715(6)10
Bradford4,225116,482(6)13
Brent2,139111,452(7)10
Bromley1,443(6)6608(6)3
Buckinghamshire8,900133,041(6)8
Bury76257327
Calderdale2,522131,782(6)12
Cambridgeshire6,420102,048(6)5
Camden4675520(6)5
Cheshire14,601158,23312
Cleveland7,004116,89816
Cornwall3,04881,1664
Corporation of London157----
Coventry4,357134,06017
Croydon2,42991,350(6)8
Cumbria5,054124,418(6)13
Derbyshire10,175129,451(6)14
Devon8,825103,3996
Doncaster6,293205,77721
Dorset3,51283,648(6)8
Dudley3,172111,890(6)10
Durham8,139146,52815
Ealing3,99116609(6)4
East Sussex5,627102,8088
Enfield86941,399(6)7
Essex13,348(6)916,881(6)15
Gateshead3,860192,86320
Gloucestershire5,895(6)122,999(6)8
Greenwich2,259112,60116
Hackney1,855112,10022
Hammersmith1,404152,145(6)27
Hampshire18,080135,783(6)7
Haringey1,04361,11910
Harrow985588310
Havering1,48972,163(6)13
Hereford and Worcester5,943116,08612
Hertfordshire12,2021313,389(6)16
Hillingdon2,103(6)101,041(7)7
Hounslow1,5909773(6)5
Humberside10,6411210,23715
Isle of Wight41861,12210
Isles of Scilly763021963
Islington1,706111,51217
Kensington73112751(6)19
Kent11,936915,251(6)13
Kingston upon Thames830510(6)6
Kirklees2,61472,4389
Knowsley3,247161,20812
Lambeth3,684193,947(6)38
Lancashire11,68599,63911
Leeds8,839136,16713
Leicestershire7,34899,42614
Lewisham1,19661,84615
Lincolnshire7,218(6)134,680(6)11
Liverpool9,388187,503(6)20
Manchester6,888148,03927
Merton92871,164(6)14
Newcastle upon Tyne2,748122,69414
Newham2,12382,13113
Norfolk6,526103,468(6)8
North Tyneside2,824162,11713
North Yorkshire8,279134,99010
Northamptonshire4,08985,665(6)11
Northumberland4,960213,23110
Nottinghamshire10,1941117,25022
Oldham2,251109476
Oxfordshire5,939126,37515
Redbridge42528676
Richmond upon Thames60051812
Rochdale1,04751,949(6)13
Rotherham2,583102,29211
Salford2,890122,18716
Sandwell1,80762,82114
Sefton2,775103,53216
Sheffield5,003115,37618
Shropshire4,143112,083(6)8
Solihul2,089109837
Somerset2,22263,01010
South Tyneside1,733111,82316
Southwark3,176151,877(6)17
St. Helens1,942111,99115
Staffordshire13,917143,8676
Stockport2,22981,5759
Suffolk4,42095,14510
Sunderland5,553172,0319
Surrey7,766103,275(6)6
Sutton7256515(6)4
Tameside1,36961,387(6)10
Tower Hamlets1,63581,82614
Trafford1,33171,943(6)14
Wakefield3,696123,90416
Walsall3,716142,642(6)12
Waltham Forest1,42071,200(6)9
Wandsworth4,270231,919(6)17
Warwickshire7,387145,816(6)18
West Sussex5,36395,80213
Westminster473590311
Wigan4,301142,08510
Wiltshire7,186144,908(6)12
Wirral4,515133,07214
Wolverhampton4,395173,088(6)17
Total477,50311405,65212

(5) Primary figures show surplus after taking account of any summer entry.

(6) Stage two for planning purposes.

(7) Stage three for planning purposes.

1. Stage 1 = less than 10 per cent. of pupils in the GM sector.

Stage 2 = between 10 per cent. and 75 per cent. of pupils in the GM sector.

Stage 3 = 75 per cent. or more pupils in the GM sector.


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Table 2: Distribution of surplus between LEA and GM schools in stage 2 and 3 authorities

LEA GM Total
SurplusPer cent.SurplusPer cent.SurplusPer cent.
Primary
Bromley1,248619581,4436
Essex12,120101,228613,3489
Gloucestershire5,4251247085,89512
Hillingdon1,9111119272,10310
Lincolnshire6,6461457277,21813
Secondary
Barnet1,0061041241,4187
Bedfordshire7,3601739247,75215
Berkshire3,62192,328205,94911
Bexley1,3611124561,60610
Birmingham10,374171,344811,71815
Bolton1,4019314111,71510
Bradford6,425145716,48213
Brent10861,344111,45210
Bromley142446636083
Buckinghamshire2,671937043,0418
Calderdale1,0351574791,78212
Cambridgeshire1,272577652,0485
Camden5206005205
Croydon696965481,3508
Cumbria2,600121,818144,41813
Derbyshire7,929171,52289,45114
Dorset2,800884883,6488
Dudley1,7191117141,89010
Ealing403520636094
Enfield1,138826151,3997
Essex6,6641910,2171316,88115
Gloucestershire1,317121,62872,9998
Hammersmith2,14531002,14527
Hampshire4,979780455,7837
Havering2,16316002,16313
Hertfordshire9,809183,5801313,38916
Hillingdon3191372261,0417
Hounslow68458947735
Kensington7082243675119
Kent8,298156,9531215,25113
Kingston upon Thames260525085106
Lambeth2,96852979213,94738
Lincolnshire2,740121,940104,68011
Liverpool6,85320650187,50320
Merton1,15615811,16414
Norfolk3,082938643,4688
Northamptonshire4,342111,323135,66511
Rochdale1,94915001,94913
Shropshire1,962912132,0838
Southwark1,6782019981,87717
Surrey2,488778743,2756
Sutton208430745154
Tameside1,377111001,38710
Trafford1,7031624071,94314
Walsall1,85013792102,64212
Waltham Forest1,120118041,2009
Wandsworth1,08831831111,91917
Warwickshire4,86119955165,81618
Wiltshire3,438141,470104,90812
Wolverhampton2,80218286103,08817

1. The GM column includes schools which became grant-maintained on or before 1 April 1995.

2. LEA and GM percentage columns show the actual number of surplus places as a proportion of total capacity within that sector.


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