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Class Sizes (Buckinghamshire)

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list for each primary school in Buckinghamshire the current numbers in each class at ages (a) five, (b) six and (c) seven years. [4258]

Mr. Byers: The information is not available in the form requested.

School Attendance

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what action he plans to take against parents who do not ensure that children under 16 years attend school. [4259]

Ms Estelle Morris: Unauthorised absence blights pupils' educational chances. With our partners in the education service we will be examining the scope for reinforcing parents' understanding of their legal responsibilities for ensuring regular attendance at school, including wider use of home/school agreements. We will also be consulting about new guidance for schools and LEAs drawing on good practice in effective follow-up of unjustified absences and will encourage greater use of existing enforcement powers where appropriate.

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Surplus School Places

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list by local education authority the number of surplus places at (a) primary and (b) secondary level schools. [4260]

Ms Estelle Morris: I refer the hon. Member to the reply the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the then Member for Hornchurch, gave to the former Member for Eltham, now the Member for Worthing, West (Mr. Bottomley) on Monday 27 January 1997, Official Report, columns 99-102.

Travellers' Children

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what resources he will make available to ensure that travellers' children attend school; and what action he will take to ensure their attendance. [4261]

Ms Estelle Morris: In the current financial year 1997-98, the specific grant paid under Section 488 of the Education Act 1996 will be supporting some £10 million of expenditure to meet the additional educational needs of Traveller children. The grant provides in the main for the employment of specialist teachers and education welfare officers to help ensure that Traveller children have full access to school, and that parents know and comply with their responsibilities for their children's attendance.

Nursery Education

Mrs. Gillian Shephard: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what estimate he has made of the cost to local education authorities of gathering and documenting the necessary evidence from providers to justify payments for nursery children. [4153]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 17 June 1997]: The costs to local education authorities of administering the new arrangements for early years education should be less than those of administering the nursery education voucher scheme.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Identity Documents (Elections)

Mr. Robert McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will include passports from New Zealand and other commonwealth countries in the list of identity documents required to allow an elector to vote in Northern Ireland elections. [1317]

Dr. Mowlam: There are currently 53 members of the Commonwealth all of which issue passports in differing formats and numerous languages. Adding some or indeed all of these documents to the list of specified documents would place an unreasonable burden on polling station officials who already have to be familiar with the standardised passport issued by member states of the European Union. It would be unrealistic to expect the Chief Electoral Officer's staff to recognise and verify the authenticity of such a range of documents which could increase the opportunities for forgery and abuse of the system.

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Job Creation

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many jobs were created by the Industrial Development Board from 1 April 1996 to 31 March 1997; how many were the result of inward investment contracts; and what are the locations of these jobs. [3062]

Mr. Ingram: Information on job creations is not available in the manner requested or by location. However, details of jobs promoted by the Industrial Development Board in 1996-97 are available by district council area and are set out in the table. The Industrial Development Board's own research shows that companies create approximately 70 per cent. of all promoted jobs over a period of three to five years after acceptance of the Industrial Development Board's offer of assistance.

Jobs promoted by the Industrial Development Board 1 April 1996 to 31 March 1997

District council areaTotal jobs promotedInward investment jobs included in total jobs
Antrim3520
Ards----
Armagh11--
Ballymena290290
Ballymoney7373
Banbridge40--
Belfast930781
Carrickfergus76--
Castlereagh8544
Coleraine68--
Cookstown39--
Craigaon13245
Derry543340
Down38--
Dungannon434344
Fermanagh95--
Larne369369
Limavady789759
Lisburn706566
Magherafelt51--
Moyle----
Newry and Mourne152131
Newtownabbey805779
North Down14--
Omagh115--
Strabane115100
Total6,0054,641

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will make a statement about job creation and industrial development in Northern Ireland, with particular reference to inward investment in South Down. [3061]

Mr. Ingram: The Government attaches a high priority to strengthening the Northern Ireland economy and a key component of this is the activity of the Department of Economic Development and its Economic Development Agencies to help Northern Ireland companies become internationally competitive and to attract high quality internationally mobile investments leading to growth in durable employment.

The industrial development board's remit of attracting inward investment extends to all parts of Northern Ireland, including the South Down area. Under this remit

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particular emphasis is placed on encouraging investments to locate in disadvantaged areas and parts of the South Down constituency fall within these designated areas.

Inward Investment

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will list the inward investment projects where there is a reduction in the number of jobs in 1996-97. [3064]

Mr. Ingram: It is quite normal for company employment to fluctuate in response to market forces and technological developments. This is reflected in the individual employment patterns of nearly 220 externally-owned companies of which 95 per cent. experienced increases or decreases during 1996-97, resulting in a net employment increase of over 400 jobs.

Three externally-owned companies closed during the year, detailed in the following table:

CompanyEmployment at 31 March 1996
AVM Telecom Ltd.7
Benelux Manufacturing (NI) Ltd.231
Blackers Mill Ltd.54

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many visits were made to each (a) parliamentary constituency and (b) district council area by potential inward investors in each financial year since 1992; and how many of the potential investors were brought by the Industrial Development Board to South Down. [3063]

Mr. Ingram: The information required to answer part (a) is not available and would involve disproportionate costs to extract. Visits arranged by IDB to Northern Ireland District Council Areas for potential investors in the last four years are detailed in the attached table. Comparable figures for 1992-93 are not available and would involve disproportionate costs to extract.

Visits to district council areas by potential investors

1993-941994-951995-961996-97
Antrim15261834
Ards45310
Armagh0114
Ballymena51330
Ballymoney0313
Banbridge0231
Belfast63655562
Carrickfergus613722
Castlereagh4186
Coleraine12537
Cookstown241710
Craigavon7121615
Derry19183032
Down21023
Dungannon121394
Fermanagh531115
Larne4641
Limavady4327
Lisburn8194131
Magherafelt1240
Moyle1000
Newry and Mourne815169
Newtownabbey27171922
North Down8493
Omagh1268
Strabane02910
Total218265297319

Visits to District Council Areas for other than inward investment purposes are not included in these figures, e.g. visits to tourist attractions.


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