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Higher Education

Mr. Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many higher education places were available in each of the past 20 years; and how many will be available in the next three years. [137829]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 10 November 2000]: Available data are provided in the table. The Department has funded additional planned higher education places: 36,000 in 1999-2000; 35,000 in 2000-01 and 45,000 in 2001-02. Of these additional places, 7 per cent. were for full-time undergraduates doing first degrees and the rest were for part-time students, post-graduates and students studying for courses below first degree level. Part-time undergraduates, who are mostly mature students, accounted for 57 per cent. of the additional places. Places beyond 2001-02 have not yet been decided. A complete time series is not available, but the table shows the recent trend and the projected impact of additional funded and non-funded places.

Home and EU domiciled higher education students in England


(30) Actual

(31) Estimated outturn

(32) Provisional

(33) Projected

School Standards

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what his assessment is of the

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recent research commissioned from the London School of Economics and Exeter University about the effect of (a) class sizes and (b) good teaching on school standards. [137913]

Ms Estelle Morris: The report commissioned from the London School of Economics and Exeter University into the relationship between resource allocation and educational attainment confirmed our view that a number of factors have an effect on pupil attainment. These include smaller infant classes and better quality teaching, both of which we were elected to deliver. The review also concluded that the quality of existing UK research is poor. This is why the Value for Money Unit is pursuing further research into the relationship between resource allocation and educational attainment.



Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 17 July, Official Report, column 23W, what criteria are used when deciding whether to acquire a Rolls-Royce for HM missions overseas. [134980]

Mr. Hain [holding answer 26 October 2000]: At present the FCO has purchased Rolls-Royces for official use by Heads of Mission at three of our key Posts, Washington, Tokyo and New Delhi. We also lease Rolls-Royces at eight other Posts where this provides value for money.

Employment Directive

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many letters he has received alleging that there was a threat to religious freedom posed by the EU directive on employment agreed between the Governments of the EU on 17 October. [135067]

Mr. Vaz: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Employment, Welfare to Work and Equal Opportunities on 6 November 2000, Official Report, column 39W.


Rev. Martin Smyth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if human rights concerns were raised during the recent United Kingdom/ China Forum held in Beijing. [135770]

Mr. Battle: The UK/China Forum is a non- governmental group. It provides a framework for building a network of influential high-level personal contacts between Britain and China, and aims to develop initiatives to build stronger UK/China links in the specific areas covered by its seven sub-committees: Environment, Media, Culture, Education, Industry, Finance and Law.

The second meeting of the Forum took place in Beijing from 16-17 October. Human rights were not on the agenda for this meeting.

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The meeting of the Forum coincided with the fifth round of the UK/China Human Rights Dialogue which was held in London from 16-18 October. HMG's concerns on China's human rights record were raised extensively during the Dialogue.

Departmental Policies

Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effect on the Manchester, Gorton constituency, of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [136168]

Mr. Vaz: We hold no information of the kind sought by my right hon. Friend. The Mission of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is to promote the national interests of the United Kingdom and to contribute to a strong world community. For details of the Government's achievements in meeting its foreign policy targets, the following page of the FCO website may be helpful:

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Mrs. Mahon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if it is his policy that the outer wall of sanctions against Yugoslavia should be lifted. [136969]

Mr. Vaz: No "outer wall" of sanctions is operated by the United Kingdom or by the European Union. In common with all countries, the FRY will need to show its commitment to the obligations which flow from the membership of international organisations, including major financial institutions, and to those organisations' values.

Mr. Alan Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent changes have been made to EU sanctions in relation to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. [138419]

Mr. Vaz: Following the election of Vojislav Kostunica as President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), European Union Foreign Ministers agreed at the General Affairs Council on 9 October to revise EU sanctions against the FRY and to retain specific targeted measures.

The EU oil embargo and flight ban were lifted with effect from 9 October.

On 10 November the Council of the EU adopted a Common Position to restrict financial sanctions and the visa ban to Milosevic and persons associated with him.

The provisions on financial sanctions were implemented by an EC Regulation adopted on 10 November. This Regulation repeals EC Regulations 1294/99 and 607/2000 as well as Article 2 of EC Regulation 926/98. The Regulation will come into force this week with its publication of the Official Journal of the European Communities.

The new Regulation provides that all funds held in the EU belonging to individuals listed in the annex to the Regulation shall be frozen and that no funds shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of any person listed in the annex.

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Under the new Regulation all EU financial sanctions in relation to FRY companies will be lifted. All EU restrictions on the provision of export credit support finance and on investment in the FRY will also be lifted.

UK legislation providing penalties for breaches of the financial sanctions will be amended to take account of the new Regulation.

The individuals subject to financial sanctions are identical to those subject to the EU visa ban, which is the subject of a Council Decision of 10 November.

The EU arms embargo and embargo on the supply to the FRY of equipment which might be used for internal repression or terrorism are unaffected. The UN arms embargo against the FRY and prohibition on the arming and training for terrorist activities there remain in force.

Mrs. Mahon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he is giving to Yugoslavia to help the refugee population in Serbia. [136970]

Mr. Foulkes: I have been asked to reply.

We are providing £10 million for Serbia in immediate bilateral assistance to including medicines, food and essential items for both the general and refugee populations. This includes £2 million for UNHCR to provide fuel, clothing, blankets and winterisation of collective accommodation housing 50,000 refugees.

Our main contribution to refugees in Serbia is through our share of European Community programmes. The European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) programme in Serbia focuses on refugees and on the sick and elderly in the host population. ECHO provided 84 million euros in such assistance in 1999 of which we contributed £9.2 million. Its programme of 73 million euros in 2000 includes 18 million euros, of which we contribute £1.95 million, to assist with winterisation needs of refugees and vulnerable groups. This has been provided from the EC's special programme of 200 million euros immediate humanitarian assistance, which is providing food, medicines, energy and support to schools and municipalities. This aid will provide support to both the refugee and general populations.

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