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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 14 March 2000


Sports Colleges

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if grammar schools are eligible for sports college status. [114474]

Ms Estelle Morris: I can confirm that the specialist schools programme is open to applications from all types of maintained secondary schools--whether or not their admissions arrangements are selective. Schools which are designated Sports, Arts, Language or Technology Colleges are expected to work closely with a "family of schools" to spread the benefits to pupils beyond their own school boundaries and to the wider community.

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LEA Funding (Worcestershire)

Mr. Michael J. Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how much funding was awarded to Worcestershire local education authority in each year from 1997-98 to 1999-2000 in respect of (a) reduction in infant class sizes, broken down by (i) revenue and (ii) capital, (b) the National Grid for Learning, (c) literacy programmes, (d) numeracy programmes, (e) books for schools, (f) truancy initiatives, (g) schools security, (h) standards fund school effectiveness grant, (i) excellence in cities, (j) New Deal for schools, (k) voluntary-aided schools capital grant, (l) energy efficiency, (m) music programmes, (n) year 6 booster classes and (o) Education SSA. [113914]

Ms Estelle Morris: The figures requested are shown in the table. For Standards Fund grants, the figures include both the Government's and the local education authority's contributions where appropriate. The figures shown for Education Standard Spending Assessment also include provision for the Authority's contribution to the Standards Fund. For 1997-98, figures are given for Hereford and Worcester.

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Allocations to Worcester Education Authority 1997-98 to 1999-2000 (Hereford and Worcester in 1997-98) (1)

(a) Reduction of infant class sizes:
(i) revenuen/a--548,000
(ii) capitaln/a--1,156,000
(b) National Grid for Learning (Standards Fund)n/a1,125,048900,000
(c) Literacy Programmes (Standards Fund)--545,785631,862
(d) Numeracy Programmes (Standards Fund)--4,950594,700
(e) Books for Schools359,500271,100542,200
(f) Truancy (Standards Fund)72,90058,100224,940
(g) School Security (Standards Fund)303,000229,936247,714
(h) School Effectiveness (Standards Fund)1,948,2001,649,7872,646,633
(i) Excellence in Cities (Standards Fund)n/an/an/a
(j) New Deal for Schools733,0001,637,3022,390,990
(k) Voluntary Aided Schools Capital711,000975,0001,137,000
(l) Energy Efficiencyn/a135,000n/a
(m) Music Programmesn/an/a1,051,596
(n) Year 6 Booster Classesn/a120,337434,653
(o) Education Standard Spending Assessment(2)230,777,000187,840,000198,180,000

(1) Worcester was part of Hereford and Worcester LEA prior to 1 April 1998

(2) In 1997-98 £527 million was removed from Education Standard Spending at national level for the Nursery Voucher Scheme


n/a--not applicable

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Education Spending

Mr. Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what were the (a) percentage and (b) actual changes in the national education budget for each of the past 10 years. [113194]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 6 March 2000]: Details of the percentage and actual changes in UK education expenditure in real terms for 1994-95 to 2001-02 are given in the table. The figures are taken from table 1.4 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 1999-2000 (Cm 4201). Comparable figures for earlier years could be produced only at disproportionate cost.

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As a proportion of GDP, education spending is forecast to increase from 4.7 per cent. in 1996-97 to some 4.9 per cent. in 2001-02.

1997-98 prices

YearEducation spending (£ billion)Percentage changeActual change (£ billion)

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Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what has been the percentage increase in revenue spending on education by Her Majesty's Government in each of the past 10 years. [113886]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 13 March 2000]: Details of changes in UK education spending since 1994-95 were provided in the reply given today to my hon. Friend the Member for Vale of Clwyd (Mr. Ruane). Information on the revenue elements of these figures could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Electricity Regulation

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the impact of the Utilities Bill on electricity supply and distribution and renewable energy in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [113610]

Mr. Wilson: This Government are determined to put the interests of consumers first, both north and south of the border. The Utilities Bill contains provisions aimed at facilitating further competition in the electricity and gas markets, and thus are expected to lead to price reductions for consumers. This includes a bar on supply and distribution licences being held by the same legal person. It also allows for the continuation of arrangements ensuring that remote areas of Scotland do not suffer from discriminatory pricing.

The Bill contains a provision for a separate renewables obligation in Scotland which will contribute towards the Government's target of renewable energy providing 10 per cent. of UK electricity supplies by 2010.

Wage Differentials

Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will meet Ministers in the Scottish Executive to discuss steps to investigate the reasons for the difference between the average weekly wages of women and men in Glasgow. [113214]

Dr. Reid: I meet Scottish Executive Ministers, including the First Minister, on a regular basis and discuss a wide range of issues with them, including action to reduce inequalities such as the gender pay gap. The UK Government are tackling the gender pay gap across Great Britain through a range of measures such as encouraging less gender stereotyping and considering ways of interesting more women in careers in information and communication technology. Other measures to help people, predominantly women, combine work and other responsibilities include the campaign on work/life balance, New Deals for Lone Parents and Partners, the Working Families Tax Credit and childcare tax credit and fairness at work measures such as parental leave, improved maternity leave and rights for part-time workers.

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General Pinochet

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will publish the papers he has concerning the request made to the Attorney-General for permission to pursue a private prosecution of General Pinochet for the death of William Beausire and Father Michael Woodward. [113942]

The Solicitor-General: Applications for Law Officer consent to prosecute Senator Pinochet were received from three firms of solicitors. The offences alleged which required Law Officer consent concerned torture contrary to section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and hostage taking contrary to the Taking of Hostages Act 1982. The allegations against Senator Pinochet concerned a number of different victims.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Aberavon (Sir J. Morris) considered applications from the first two firms of solicitors when he was Attorney- General. The last application was considered by myself. The applications were taken seriously and given careful consideration. We received counsel's advice on them. Having done so consent was refused in respect of each application.

It would not be appropriate for me to publish material that others have submitted in support of their applications for Law Officer consent. That is for the solicitors. The reason why consent was declined was explained to the solicitors at the time and outlined in my statement to the House on 2 March 2000, Official Report, columns 589-92.

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