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Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much of the recent increase in local authority spending on special educational needs provision is being used to pay for out-of-authority placements for pupils because of the lack of suitable provision locally. 
Mr. Dhanda: The information is not available in the requested format. The following table shows how much of the total planned net expenditure on the provision of education for children with special educational needs, local authorities have budgeted for fees for pupils at independent special schools and abroad.
|The Education (Budget Statements) (England) Regulations. Budgeted net expenditure on the provision of education for children with special educational needs( 1,2,3 ) since 2000-01. Cash terms figures( 4) as reported by local authorities( 5) as at 28 June 2006|
|Budgeted net expenditure on the provision of education for children with special educational needs( 1,2)||Of which: Budgeted net expenditure on fees for pupils at independent special schools and abroad( 3)|
|(1) Includes planned expenditure on the provision for pupils with statements and the provision for non-statemented pupils with SEN, support for inclusion, inter authority recoupment, fees for pupils at independent special schools and abroad, educational psychology service, local authority functions in relation to child protection, therapies and other health related services, parent partnership, guidance and information, the monitoring of SEN provision and inclusion administration, assessment and coordination. Also included is the funding delegated to nursery, primary and secondary schools identified as notional SEN and the individual schools budget (ISB) for special schools. Does not include any contribution to combined budgets or fees for pupils at independent schools for pupils without SEN.|
(2) The ISB for special schools will include some general education costs for pupils with SEN in addition to those costs specifically for SEN while the figures recorded against notional SEN are only indicative of the amount that might by spent by schools on SEN. From 2004-05 onwards notional SEN delegated to nursery schools was reported on section 52 for the first time and accounts for £7.8 million, £9.5 million and £10.2 million of the 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 totals respectively.
(3) Includes all planned net expenditure on the payment of fees in respect of pupils with special educational needs at independent schools or non-maintained special schools.
(4) Figures are rounded to the nearest £1,000.
(5) 2006-07 data are provisional and are therefore subject to change by the local authority.
The data are drawn from local authorities Section 52 Budget Statements (Tables 1 and 2) submitted to the DfES.
(2) what the average expenditure per pupil on children with speech and language difficulties in the teaching of speech and language therapy was in the last period for which figures are available. 
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures the Department has put in place to assist pension transferability of public pensions for members of the Teachers' Pension Scheme. 
Mr. Dhanda: All public service schemes pay cash equivalent transfer values to other pension schemes in respect of accrued rights in compliance with pensions law. Under the Fair Deal for Staff Pensions there is a requirement to transfer pension rights when employments are transferred to the private sector under Public Private Partnerships/Public Finance Initiatives and subsequent transfers for former public servants. Public service scheme members can also transfer accrued pension rights by way of the Public Sector Transfer Club. The Club is a network of public and private sector occupational pension schemes which makes it easier for employees who move between employers covered by separate participating schemes to transfer their accrued pension rights.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department plans to take to encourage long-term unemployed people in Yeovil constituency to return to education and training. 
Phil Hope: Responsibility for encouraging long-term unemployed people to return to education and training is shared between the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Secretary of State for Education and Skills.
Both Departments, along with their respective delivery agencies Jobcentre Plus (JCP) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), are working closely together to ensure that long-term unemployed people have the skills they need to secure sustainable and productive jobs. There has already been significant progress in joint working between the LSC and JCP and a joint delivery plan is currently being developed which will cover the Yeovil area in order to meet local employment and skills needs.
The Governments skills strategy sends out a strong signal about the priority we attach to helping adults with few or no qualifications to attain a platform of wider employability skills. All those on jobseekers allowance or income related benefits and their dependents receive free tuition in further education, in addition to the support available through their local JCP office. Unemployed people also have access to in-depth advice about their education and training options through the Learndirect one-stop telephone and online advice service.
The Government do, however, recognise that more needs to be done to tackle long-term unemployment and published a Green Paper in January 2006 A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering People to Work including measures to help low skilled adults secure employment through the New Deal for Skills. These include piloting skills coaching in a number of JCP districts and our latest evidence shows that skills coaching is helping long-term unemployed people improve their employability skills.
In addition, the Chancellor announced in his Budget Report that Lord Leitchs review of skills would be extended to include better alignment of measures to tackle worklessness to support labour market flexibility, better employment outcomes and greater progression to productive and sustainable jobs for
those with skill needs. We expect Lord Leitchs report this autumn and my Department looks forward to working with the Department of Work and Pensions to take forward Lord Leitchs proposals.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will estimate the loss of species in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: Extinction of a species within the UK is now a rare event. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan was published in 1995 and included a list of priority species and habitats for which urgent conservation action was required.
In 1999, 2002 and 2005 reports were published on the progress made on these priorities. These reports included actions to be taken and an update on the status of the priority species. In 2002, one species, the Starry Breck Lichen (Buellia asterella), was reported as having become extinct, and two UKBAP priority species, the pool frog and interrupted brome, were reported to have been lost. Both the pool frog and interrupted brome have since been re-introduced. Although both re-introduction projects are at an early stage and there is some way to go before the species are successfully re-established, effectively their extinction has been reversed.
This is the only evidence we have of a UK species becoming extinct within the last 10 years. It is also worth noting that the Pashford pot beetle (Cryptocephalus exiguus), another priority species, has not been found at its known localities for a number of years but this is not thought to represent sufficient evidence of extinction yet.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department has benchmarked the loss of species in the UK in each of the last 10 years against the performance of other countries. 
Barry Gardiner: DEFRA has not benchmarked the loss of species because there is no easily accessible source of information on extinctions for other countries. The cost of obtaining the information would far outweigh the benefits we could gain from it.
|Total new herd incidents||Confirmed new herd incidents|
Provisional data downloaded from DEFRAs animal health database (Vetnet) on 7 March 2006. Subject to change as more data becomes available
In 2001, the TB testing and control programme was largely suspended due to the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. When testing resumed in 2002, resources were concentrated on herds with overdue TB tests which would have had a longer period in which to contract the disease. Also the proportion of high risk herds tested immediately after the FMD outbreak was greater than that prior to the outbreak. As a result, data for 2001 and 2002 are not comparable with other years.
Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what advice his Department gives to competent authorities intending to carry out appropriate assessment of plans or projects likely to affect European wildlife sites with regard to consulting (a) statutory bodies, (b) other interested parties and (c) the general public; and whether this advice differs according to whether this assessment is carried out under regulation 3 or regulation 48 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 (as amended). 
Barry Gardiner: English Nature provides advice to competent authorities intending to carry out appropriate assessment of plans or projects likely to affect European wildlife sites, with regard to consulting statutory bodies and the general public. This is done through their Habitats Regulations Guidance Note 1 (The Role of the Appropriate Assessment in Regulation 48 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994). This guidance relates to assessment being carried out under regulation 48 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994. The Guidance Note does not provide specific advice for consulting other interested parties, though it does advise that consulting the general public,
may include taking the opinion of others with relevant knowledge or expertise.
This advice in relation to consulting statutory bodies, other interested parties and the general public does not specifically relate to the obligations placed upon competent authorities under regulation 3 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 (as amended).
My Department is currently considering what further guidance is necessary in relation to obligations placed upon competent authorities regarding appropriate assessment of plans and projects. These considerations will be informed by the results of the public consultation on Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2006 due to end on 30 June 2006.
Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how competent authorities are required to report the results of appropriate assessment of plans or projects under the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 (as amended) to (a) the UK Government, (b) the European Commission and (c) the Scottish Executive; and whether the appropriate assessments are public documents. 
Barry Gardiner: There is no requirement in the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 for competent authorities to report the results of appropriate assessment carried out under regulation 48 of these Regulations to (a), (b) or (c) if the authority concludes the plan or project will not adversely affect the integrity of a European site.
Where a competent authority other than the Secretary of State proposes to agree to a plan or project under regulation 49 (that is where a plan or project is considered necessary in the overriding public interest), notwithstanding a negative assessment of the implications for a European site, it must notify the Secretary of State in England. There is no requirement under the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 to report the outcome of the appropriate assessment in these circumstances to the European Commission. As a matter of policy however, the Secretary of State reports the outcome of such assessments in the above circumstances to the European Commission, including details of how appropriate compensatory measures have been secured. Equivalent provisions exist in Scotland. Appropriate assessments carried out under the planning regime would normally constitute public documents.
Appropriate assessments carried out under other consent regimes would normally, where not already in the public domain, be available under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answers of 30 March 2006, Official Report, column 1098W, on the EU Habitats Directive, whether competent authorities proposing to agree a plan or project of a type not specified by Regulations 54 to 85 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994 (as amended) notwithstanding a negative assessment of the implications for a European site are required (a) to notify the Secretary of State and (b) not to agree to the plan or project for a period of 21 days unless the Secretary of State notifies them that they may do so. 
Barry Gardiner: Competent authorities proposing to agree to a plan or project not specified by Regulations 54 to 85 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994, notwithstanding a negative assessment of the implications for a European site, are (a) not required to notify the Secretary of State and (b) not required to agree to the plan or project for a period of 21 days unless the Secretary of State notifies them that they may do so.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average cost to his Department was of replying to a letter written (a) by an hon. Member and (b) by a member of the public in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much of that sum is accounted for by (i) officials time, (ii) cost of stationery and (iii) postage costs. 
Barry Gardiner: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. The Report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 76-78WS.
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