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Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her aid for social welfare for Kosovo. [143277]

Clare Short: We are working closely with UNMIK and the World bank to prepare a social protection strategy for Kosovo. We are also investigating possible support to Centres for Social Welfare.

Child Labour

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she is taking to ensure that contracts funded by her Department are not given to companies which use child labour; and what monitoring is undertaken of this issue. [143545]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development works, within the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, for the reduction

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of child labour and elimination of its worst forms in a way which ensures children's survival and meets their development needs, particularly in health and education.

DFID contracts include provision to terminate if a supplier breaks the laws of the country in which it is working including those relating to child labour. Construction work funded through DFID grants must be implemented using internationally accepted forms of contract. DFID is working on revised guidelines to improve labour standards for workers on DFID funded construction projects, which we hope will also be adopted more widely by our partners in developing countries.


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on the impact of the General Agreement on Trade in Services on developing countries. [142511]

Clare Short: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade and Industry gave on 18 December 2000, Official Report, column 33W.

Vacuum Aspirators

Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what medical opinion her Department has (a) sought and (b) received on the safety and use of manual vacuum aspirators in refugee camps where sterilisation equipment is not available. [143356]

Clare Short: The Department for International Development follows guidance produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the provision and use of manual vacuum aspiration (MVA). MVA provides a safe option for the treatment of incomplete abortion, either natural or induced. In settings where sterilisation is not possible, single use disposable equipment is used to minimise risk of infection. MVA increases women's access to post abortion care and reduces the risk of complications during treatment. Failure to properly treat incomplete abortion can have fatal consequences. WHO considers MVA an essential element of care at the first referral level of all health care services.


New Deal

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what the process is by which costs borne by the Employment Service relating to the provision of services under the New Deal are repaid from the New Deal budget; and if he will list the sums transferred in each of the last three years. [142489]

Ms Jowell [holding answer 13 December 2000]: The Employment Service has agreed the arrangements for identifying New Deal expenditure with the National Audit Office. Most expenditure on activities supporting the New Deal is accounted for by the Employment Service through discrete account codes. The exception to this is paybill expenditure, where in a separate exercise staff costs are apportioned on the basis of the time staff spend on New

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Deal activities. The costs are then charged to the appropriate New Deal budget, so money does not need to be transferred.

Expenditure on the New Deal has been published in the Departmental Report, which is available in the Library.

British Sign Language

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what steps is he taking to ensure that British Sign Language is adequately taught to deaf children in schools; [142537]

Jacqui Smith: In addition to being a qualified teacher, all teachers working with classes of pupils who are hearing impaired must undertake a specialist mandatory qualification. In June, following a review of mandatory qualifications undertaken at the request of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, the Teacher Training Agency issued a new course specification for providers intending to mount courses from September 2001. The criteria laid down for mandatory qualifications in teaching hearing impaired children require a minimum competence in signing equivalent to the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP) Stage 1 qualification.

The Department is improving access to courses by contracting with both RNID and CACDP to recruit and train interpreters of British Sign Language. The question of recognition will be explored further with interested parties once the Government have ratified the Council of Europe's Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

North Somerset Local Education Authority

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many permanent specialist science teaching vacancies there were in North Somerset local education authority schools for each year since 1979. [142863]

Ms Estelle Morris: The number of full-time science teaching vacancies in maintained secondary schools in North Somerset local authority, on the third Thursday in January each year since the authority was created, is as follows:


The number of regular teachers in maintained schools increased by 6,900 between January 1998 and January 2000.

A DfEE survey of maintained secondary schools in England in the first week of September 2000 indicated that there were about 1,000 secondary teacher vacancies.

There was a growth of 2,000 in the number of people training to be teachers between 1999-2000 and 2000-01, the first such increase since 1992-93.

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Sure Start

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what assessment he has made of the need for a Sure Start scheme in the Gedling constituency; and if he will make a statement. [142941]

Yvette Cooper: As a result of the Spending Review, investment in Sure Start has more than doubled, and by 2003-04 Sure Start will reach one third of all children under four living in poverty. The main criteria used in selecting districts for Sure Start are levels of disadvantage and poverty, though we also ensure a good mix of rural, urban, semi-urban and coastal areas and a good spread across the country. On the measures of deprivation we have used, Gedling has lower levels of poverty and disadvantage than the areas so far invited to develop a Sure Start programme. As the programme develops, we shall examine ways in which Sure Start can reach disadvantaged young children living in areas with small pockets of deprivation, and in rural areas. We shall be evaluating Sure Start carefully, and disseminating the lessons we learn widely, so that Sure Start will benefit all young children.

Mr. Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when the next phase of Sure Start will be announced; and what plans he has to include in it small pockets of deprivation outside city council areas. [142834]

Yvette Cooper [pursuant to her reply, 15 December 2000, c. 280W]: Sure Start is an innovative cross- departmental and pioneering programme, which fulfils the Government's undertaking to improve support for families and children before and from birth. Sure Start aims to transform the life chances of younger children through better access to family support, advice on child development, child care, health services and early education. It is focused on areas of disadvantage and open to all families in Sure Start local programme catchment areas. The fourth wave of Sure Start will be announced early in 2001, and will bring the total number of Sure Start programmes to 250 or more, meeting the target set in the first Sure Start Public Service Agreement. The 250 programmes will be spread across the country and contain a mix of rural, urban, semi-urban, and coastal areas.

Following the Spending Review, investment in Sure Start has been more than doubled, and Sure Start will aim to reach one third of all children under four living in poverty by 2003-04. Although Sure Start must remain focused on areas of disadvantage, we shall also be exploring how Sure Start can meet the needs of disadvantaged young children living in small pockets of deprivation.

Tuition Fees

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what his policy is in respect of including the income from tuition fees paid by parents in his estimates of total spending on higher education. [143154]

Mr. Wicks: Publicly planned funding to higher education institutions has always included both block grant from the funding council and projected income from tuition fees. Having a proportion of tuition fees contributed by students and their families makes no

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difference, especially since we have continually said that it would be invested in higher education. Between 1998-99 and 2003-04, this has allowed the Government to provide a real terms increase of around 18 per cent.

Now, for the first time in over a decade, there will be a real-terms increase in publicly planned funding per full-time equivalent student in England in 2001-02, which will be sustained in the following years. Of the almost £1 billion extra funding by 2003-04, only some 10 per cent. comes from tuition fees paid by students and their families. Additionally, we have increased student loans to ensure that students and their families do not have to contribute more overall to the costs of higher education.

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