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19 July 2006 : Column 451W—continued

Child Labour

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment his Department has made of the extent of the use of child labour in (a) Tunisia, (b) Cameroon and (c) Tanzania. [86022]

Hilary Benn: DFID has not carried out assessments in these countries but helps to support the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the leading international body which sets and monitors labour standards including child labour. In their global report on child labour published in May this year, the ILO reported an 11 per cent. fall in child labour globally since 2000. However, progress has been slowest in sub-Saharan Africa where 26 per cent. of children are economically active.

In its national strategy for growth and poverty reduction, the Government of Tanzania identifies child labour as a key challenge. DFID is providing over £110 million this year to support implementation of the overall national strategy. In addition, DFID is supporting multilateral organisations such as the ILO and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) as well as civil society organisations to reduce and prevent child labour in Tanzania.

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DFID does not have a programme in Tunisia and only a limited programme in Cameroon, which is focused on forestry.


Mr. Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps he has (a) taken and (b) plans to take to help improve access to hospice and palliative care in resource-poor countries; and if he will make a statement. [85396]

Mr. Thomas: The UK is committed to the development of health services that respond to the broad health needs of the population, and palliative care clearly has a vital place in this. DFID support is largely directed at countries where the health spend is less than $10 per person per year and often far less. The public spend in the Congo is $2, in Ethiopia $1.50 and in Burundi $0.70. Clearly these countries are not able to deliver the range of services that they would wish and realistically are unlikely to invest significant public budgets in palliative care. We support countries to deliver their health programmes and the priority interventions defined in their national health plan. Increasingly we provide resources through various forms of flexible budget support.

DFID officials have met staff from the hospice community on a number of occasions, most recently during a public consultation on a revised DFID health strategy. Many committed groups lobby DFID to make greater efforts on what they see as neglected areas in the international health response. Recent communications have challenged DFID to do more on palliative care, cancer services, neglected tropical diseases, blindness, disability, malnutrition and non-communicable diseases. DFID accepts that palliative care services need to be better reflected in national health plans and budgets and that realistically support needs to be provided through home-based rather than institutional settings.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to provide emergency medical supplies for children in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [86007]

Hilary Benn: The Iraqi health care system faces enormous challenges which long pre-date the 2003 conflict. In the early 1980s, Iraq enjoyed some of the best health care in the Middle East. However, by 2000, international health indicators for Iraq were comparable with some of the poorest countries in Africa. Under-five mortality had increased from 50 per 1,000 in 1990 to 133 in 2001. One in four children under five were chronically malnourished. Hospitals, clinics and water and sanitation plants suffered from chronic lack of maintenance.

DFID has given most of its assistance to the Iraqi health sector through financial contributions to international organisations that have particular expertise in health. These contributions include:

However, many challenges still remain and DFID and the international community will continue to work with the Iraqi authorities to help them to rebuild the health sector.

Important progress has been made: health care spending across Iraq is up more than 30 times on pre-war levels; 5 million children have been vaccinated, and diseases such as polio, measles and malaria have declined; 240 hospitals and 1,200 primary health centres are functioning; and 20 hospitals are being rehabilitated and a paediatric hospital is being built in Basra.

Education and Skills

Child Care

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will estimate the total cost of allowing close relatives to become registered under the childcare approval scheme so that working parents would then be entitled to (a) working tax credit and (b) employer assisted childcare; and if he will make a statement. [85796]

Dawn Primarolo: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is not available without incurring disproportionate cost.

Children with Difficulties

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children in (a) West Sussex and (b) Mid Sussex are classified as having emotional, social or behavioural difficulties. [85834]

Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 17 July 2006]: The information is given in the following table.

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Maintained primary and secondary and all special schools( 1,2) : number and percentage of pupils at School Action Plus or with statements of SEN who are classified as having emotional, behavioural and social difficulties( 3,4,5) . January 2006: West Sussex local authority and Mid Sussex parliamentary constituency
West Sussex local authority Mid Sussex parliamentary constituency
Number Percentage( 6) Number Percentage( 6)

Maintained primary





Maintained secondary





All special schools





(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools. Excludes general hospital school. (3) Pupils at School Action Plus and those pupils with a statement of SEN provided information on their primary need and, if appropriate, their secondary need. Information on primary need only is given here. Data are not collected on pupils at School Action. (4) Excludes dually registered pupils. (5) There are a number of sensitivities about categorising pupils by their type of need. It is important that anyone using the data should be aware of the concerns and also understand the limitations of the data’s reliability and validity. There are a range of factors which may affect the data recorded: (i) definitions of each type of need are necessarily limited in scope and some are more difficult to establish; (ii) many children have a number of needs and it is sometimes difficult to decide which is the major need; (iii) professionals from education and health fields may classify some children differently and there is some evidence that parental background may sometimes affect diagnosis; (iv) the levels of identification of SEN and the levels of School Action, School Action Plus and statementing within SEN are very varied between local authorities—this is likely to affect some types of need more than others; (v) in some authorities funding policies may effect SEN identification. (6) Number of pupils with emotional, behavioural and social difficulties expressed as a percentage of the total number of pupils at School Action Plus or with a statement of SEN. Source: Schools Census

Departmental Chief Accounting Officer

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) name, (b) professional and academic qualifications and (c) relevant experience are of the chief accounting officer of his Department. [76793]

Mr. Dhanda: The chief accounting officer of the Department for Education and Skills is the Permanent Secretary, David Bell.

Mr. Bell has a Master of Arts and a Master of Education (Glasgow), and a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (Jordanhill College of Education).

He began his career in teaching where he became a primary head teacher in Essex. He has also held the posts of Director of Education at Newcastle city council and chief executive of Bedfordshire county council, before being appointed Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools by Her Majesty in Privy Council. He became chief inspector in 2002. David took up his current post on 1 January 2006.

The role of accounting officer is one that the Permanent Secretary combines with his personal responsibility for the overall organisation, management and staffing of the Department and for Department-wide procedures in financial and other matters.

The accounting officer is assisted in the discharge of these duties by suitably qualified and experienced senior managers, such as the Director General of Finance.

Departmental Staff/Teacher Numbers

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the percentage change in (a) his Department’s staff and (b) the number of teachers was in each year since 1997. [84258]

Mr. Dhanda: The information is set out in the following tables:

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(a) Departmental staff
Year( 1) FTE staff numbers Percentage change






























(1) The numbers recorded are from April in each year. (2) At 1 July 2006

The information for 1997 to 2001 relates to the former Department for Education and Employment.

(b) Teachers
Year( 1) FTE teacher numbers (thousand) Percentage change



























2006 (provisional)



(1) The numbers recorded are from January in each year.

Early-years Provision

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many (a) nursery, (b) playgroup and (c) day-care providers charged a fee in 2005-06 to make up the difference between the money received from Government to fund provision for three and four-year-olds and the cost of provision. [86389]

Beverley Hughes: The information requested is not collected centrally.

The entitlement should be made available free at the point of delivery. It is not acceptable for parents to have to pay a fee or for there to be any conditions attached to the free entitlement. This would restrict the choice of provider for some families and, in some cases, deny children access to the free entitlement. Charges for care beyond the hours of the free entitlement are a private matter between the provider and parent.

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From April 2006, funding for the free nursery education entitlement to local authorities has been provided through the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). Local authorities have discretion over the rate at which they fund settings for delivery of early years provision.

The code of practice on the provision of free nursery education places for three and four-year-olds says that local authorities should fund provision delivered in different sectors on a fair and equitable basis, taking into account local needs and circumstances.

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children are (a) taking up and (b) eligible for the free (i) nursery, (ii) playgroup and (iii) day-care provision for three and four-year-olds in 2006-07. [86390]

Beverley Hughes: The information is not collected in the form requested.

Since April 2004 all three and four-year-olds have been entitled to a free, good quality, part-time early education place. The free entitlement consists of a minimum of 12.5 hours per week for 38 weeks of the year and will be extended to 15 hours a week by 2010. By that time, parents who wish to do so will also be able to access the free entitlement flexibly across a minimum of three days.

Some local authorities may additionally offer subsidised childcare places but information on this is not collected centrally.

The available information on the number of three and four-year-olds taking up free early education places is shown in table 1.

Provisional figures for January 2006 show that all four-year-old children receive some form of free entitlement. The figure for three-year-olds is 96 per cent. This covers all maintained, private, voluntary and independent providers and represents 538,800 three- year-olds and 558,200 four-year-olds.

The latest figures on early education places for three and four-year-olds in England were published in Statistical First Release 17/2006 “Provision for children under five years of age in England—January 2006 (provisional)” in April, which is available on my Department's website

Final figures for January 2006 will be published in Statistical First Release “Provision for children under five years of age in England—January 2006 (final)” at 9:30 am on 31 August 2006, which will also be made available on my Department's website

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