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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what requirements were (a) placed on and (b) removed from the Office for Standards in Education in the last year for which information is available. [53892]

Mr. Timms: I refer the hon. Member to the reply about the requirements placed on, and removed from, HM Chief Inspector of Schools which I answered on 1 May.


Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what reasons underlie the changes in the number of teacher training places since 1997. [54276]

Mr. Timms: The number of places on courses of initial teacher training that my right hon. Friend makes available each year is designed to ensure a supply of newly qualified teachers adequate for the forecast needs of maintained schools in England. The total is informed by a statistical model of the demand for new teachers, taking account of the availability of funding and of the capacity of training providers. The number of places available has risen each year since 1999–2000 and, from this September, will be the highest for over a decade.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the written questions asked of

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her between (a) 1 to 30 June 2001, (b) 1 to 31 July 2001, (c) 1 to 30 September 2001, (d) 1 to 31 October 2001, (e) 1 to 30 November 2001, (f) 1 to 31 December 2001, (g) 1 to 31 January 2002, (h) 1 to 28 February 2002, (i) 1 to 31 March 2002 and (j) 1 to 30 April 2002 that had not received a substantive answer by 30 April; and if she will state (i) the name of the hon. Member asking the question and (ii) the reasons the question had not received a substantive answer. [54092]

Estelle Morris: The following table provides details of questions tabled to my Department and waiting reply as at 30 April.

QuestionerDatesPQs outstanding
Mark Todd2–28 February 20021
John Battle (1)1–31 March 200213
John Bercow (4)
Colin Breed (1)
Damian Green (1)
Lynne Jones (1)
Eleanor Laing (3)
Phil Willis (1)
Tony Wright (1)
John Bercow (8)1–30 April 200268
Graham Brady (3)
Alistair Burt (1)
Brian Cotter (1)
Ross Cranston (1)
Claire Curtis-Thomas (1)
Louise Ellman (1)
Chris Grayling (9)
Jane Griffiths (1)
Alan Hurst (2)
Lynne Jones (1)
Julian Lewis (4)
David Lidington (1)
Tim Loughton (1)
John Mann (8)
Gillian Merron (1)
Mark Oaten (1)
Chris Ruane (1)
Barry Sheerman (3)
Phyllis Starkey (1)
Gerry Steinberg (1)
Matthew Taylor (1)
Jenny Tonge (1)
Andrew Turner (8)
Dave Watts (1)
Phil Willis (1)
Shaun Woodward (1)
James Wray (4)

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These represent less than 8 per cent. of questions tabled to my Department between 1 February and 30 April. We are working towards providing all Members with substantive answers as soon as possible.

I also refer the hon. Member to the reply given today by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House of Commons.

Manufacturing (Skills)

Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to raise the level of skills in UK manufacturing. [52017]

John Healey: Arrangements for training in the manufacturing industry are a matter for employers, as in any other industry. However, my Department has in place a wide range of policies designed to improve the nation's skills base. There are four key elements to our strategy for achieving a high skills, high value added economy, they are to:

Within this context we are developing a network of Sector Skills councils that will engage employers more fully in the planning and delivery of learning and skills. We are pleased that important manufacturing interests such as textiles, oil and gas production, refining and distribution and chemicals manufacture are represented among the trailblazer Sector Skills councils. We are committed to building the conditions in which a successful manufacturing sector can thrive. The network of business-led councils will provide the framework in which to develop a highly skilled workforce that will support improved productivity and innovation in manufacturing companies in the UK.

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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what the value is of the bilateral debt repayments held in trust by the UK; [53615]

Mr. Boateng: I have been asked to reply.

As of end of 2001, the UK has been holding in trust a total of £1,057,200 for six countries. Provision is being made to make payment to countries that have reached their Decision Point in this financial year.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment she has made of the impact of natural disasters on levels of debt sustainability of heavily indebted poor countries. [53656]

Clare Short: The Government have been following closely the impact of falling commodity prices on developing countries even before the events of 11 September. At the annual meetings of the World bank and IMF in Ottawa last November, we raised this concern and asked bank and fund staff to revisit the debt sustainability analyses of all commodity dependent low-income countries, including HIPCs. The IMF and World bank analysis, published last month, shows that, although the situation varies from country to country, the external debt indicators for most HIPC countries have deteriorated, and several HIPC countries now face unsustainable debt burdens as a result. Following UK pressure, the World bank and IMF boards have agreed to provide additional relief to countries in this situation. This was reconfirmed at the spring meetings last month.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the total is of public and publicly guaranteed external debt owed by all developing countries; and what proportion of this is owed by the heavily indebted poor countries. [53622]

Clare Short: The total public and publicly guaranteed external debt owed by all developing countries to the UK is £21.656 billion, of which £1.356 billion is owed by heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC), as at 31 March 2002. This includes £167 million of aid debts for middle and low-income countries; HIPCs account for £54 million of this. The UK has already written off its aid loans to all the poorest countries, not just HIPCs. However, the outstanding amounts are still included in DFID's accounts, as payments are written off as they become due.

The remaining amount consists of publicly guaranteed debt owed to ECGD (£21.349 billion, of which HIPCs account for £1.248 billion) and CDC (£140.12 million, of which HIPCs account for £54.21 million). The HIPC figures take account of debt relief to date and will continue to diminish over time as countries complete the HIPC process. The UK's definition of developing countries is based on the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of aid recipients at 1 January 2000, which includes countries in transition and middle- income countries.

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Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what human development indicators are taken into account when debt sustainability levels are calculated; and how; [53583]

Clare Short: When assessing developing countries' debt sustainability, principally in the context of the heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative, the IMF and World bank work with Government in the countries themselves to produce detailed forecasts of export growth, GDP growth and new borrowing. These forecasts take account of various factors affecting the countries' economic situation, and the need for concessional borrowing to finance their poverty reduction strategies.

Childhood Immunisation

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the value of childhood immunisation in developing countries. [53895]

Clare Short: Immunisation against common childhood diseases are among the most cost effective interventions in health. Reducing the burden of communicable diseases directly benefits child survival and contributes to progress toward the child mortality millennium development goal. Vaccines against diphtheria, measles, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and tuberculosis currently save up to 3 million lives annually worldwide. Of the 30 million children who do not get vaccinated about 25 million live in low income countries.

Through its support of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) my Department is helping to achieve higher coverage with routine and new vaccines in poor countries that has the potential to save a further two million lives each year.

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