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Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the United Nations investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The Government welcomes the important contribution that the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) has made, since it was mandated by the adoption of UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1595 of 7 April 2005, towards bringing those responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri to justice.
The UN Secretary-General's report of 19 October 2005 highlighted that Syria's level of co-operation with the UNIIIC had been unacceptable. UNSCR 1636,
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unanimously adopted on 31 October 2005, underlined the seriousness with which the international community viewed Syria's non-co-operation. As a result of our continuing concerns about the lack of Syrian co-operation, we co-sponsored UNSCR 1644, adopted on 15 December 2005, which underscores Syria's obligation to co-operate folly and unconditionally with the UNIIIC.
Mr. Douglas Alexander: It would incur disproportionate cost to determine accurately and comprehensively what levels of cooperation exist between the 18 European Community and over 100 UK agencies and which, if any, of the latters' powers are circumscribed by the former.
Jacqui Smith: All secondary schools in Gravesham should be working in partnership to improve behaviour and tackle persistent truancy by September 2007. Schools in Gravesham already work closely together, and local authority officers are due to meet secondary heads and primary representatives in February 2006 to discuss further development of the partnership.
Jacqui Smith: The new target capital funding arrangements for the first time enabled maintained boarding schools to bid for funding to undertake building projects to increase boarding places; make essential improvements; or undertake significant remedial or enhancement work to boarding accommodation. Three projects were approved which will result in an extra 40 boarding places.
In addition, under the expansion of successful and popular secondary schools programme, we have received applications from two boarding schools. Subject to local decisions, these applications could result in an additional 182 boarding places in the next five to seven years.
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Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent research her Department has carried out to estimate (a) the number of school age young carers and (b) the average number of hours per week that such carers spend on their caring roles. 
Maria Eagle [holding answer 20 January 2006]: The Department has not carried out research to estimate
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these figures. Data on young carers is available from the 2001 Census of Population.
The Census established that there were about 150,000 children and young people under 18 in England and Wales who provided some form of care for family members. A full breakdown of the age and numbers of young carers by the number of hours a week when they provided care can be found in the following table.
|119 hours||2049 hours||50+ hours||Total number||Total (percentage)|
The table shows that 84 per cent. of young carers spend between one and 19 hours in their caring role and 7 per cent. spend over 50 hours caring per week. Some of these young carers are as young as 57 years old.
Further information on this topic can be found in Young Carers in the UK: The 2004 Report published by Carers UK. This is the third survey of young carers who are being supported by specialist young carers' projects in the UK http://www.carersuk.org/Policyandpractice/Research/YounQcarersReport2004.pdf. A merged reply to three written parliamentary questions (44305, 44307 and 44132) given on 20 January 2006 contains further information on the issue of young carers.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many disciplinary actions against civil servants employed in her Department (a) were commenced and (b) resulted in a sanction being applied in each of the last five years. 
Maria Eagle: A sanction can include any or all of the following (although the list is not exhaustive): verbal warning; written warning; a bar on promotion; the withholding of pay increases and/or bonus payments; suspension from duty with loss of pay; downgrading or dismissal. The following table shows data for the last five years:
|Disciplinary actions||Sanctions applied|
Roger Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps she is taking to ensure continuing support for recipients of communication equipment under the Communication Aid Project. 
Maria Eagle: Since it went live in April 2002, the Communication Aids Project has assisted some 4,000 children of school age experiencing significant difficulty in communicating with those around them. The present tranche of funding comes to an end in March 2006 and officials are exploring with the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency how the momentum generated by the project might be maintained.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children have been killed during contact visits after contact orders were granted to parents who were known to be violent in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
The Government's guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children" (1999) sets out that in any case where a child dies and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor in the child's death, the case should be examined through a local serious case review. The Government commission national reports which draw out the lessons to be learned from these reviews.
We plan to strengthen systems for reviewing child deaths by giving the new local safeguarding children boards a function of collecting and analysing information about each child death. This is with a view to identifying any case giving rise to the need for a serious case review, any matters of concern affecting the safety and welfare of children in the local area, and any wider public health or safety concerns arising from a
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particular death or from a pattern of deaths in that area. We plan to trial these arrangements between 2006 and 2008.
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