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Through guidance, the Government promote a range of provision, including resourced provision, for children with SEN in general and those with autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) in particular. The ASDs ‘Good Practice Guidance’ (DfES/DH, 2002) advised local authorities to aim for “a spectrum of provision for the spectrum of need”. The Department is currently considering responses to a consultation on draft guidance on ‘Planning and Developing Special Educational Provision’ which includes advice on developing a range of provision. The guidance will be published later this year.

Grandparents: Parental Responsibility

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he has taken to co- ordinate Government policy to support grandparents who act as parents to their grandchildren. [133014]

Mr. Dhanda [holding answer 20 April 2007]: The Government published the Green Paper ‘Care Matters’ last autumn which contained a number of proposals and consultation questions related to the care of children by family and friends, including grandparents.

The consultation responses were published on 17 April and it is clear that remaining with family rather than going into care is a very high priority for many children and young people who replied. Respondents also highlighted a range of ways in which support to family and friends carers could be provided. The policy issues have also been considered by the independent working group on future of the care population which was one of four working groups set up following the publication of ‘Care Matters’. We shall be taking all these views into account in taking forward the planned ‘Care Matters’ White Paper.

Higher Education: Finance

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to the announcements in the Budget about science funding, what funds are to be made available to the Higher Education Funding Council for England for research funding in each of the next four years. [132770]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 24 April 2007]: The Budget settlement gives an average annual real terms increase of 2.4 per cent. for our total ring-fenced research funding. We are now considering the detailed allocation of funding towards the goal set out in the 10 Year Science and Innovation Investment Framework of maintaining a sustainable and dynamic research base.

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Secondary Education: Curriculum

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what definition the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority uses of drawing on the specified breadth of the subject when teaching the key concepts and processes in the secondary curriculum review. [133455]

Jim Knight [holding answer 23 April 2007]: The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority defines

as requiring that all parts of the statutory Range and Content sections of the programmes of study must be included in the teaching programme.

Sure Start Programme: Cornwall

Mr. Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the per capita spending by his Department was on Sure Start programmes in Cornwall in each year since 1997. [133051]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 20 April 2007]: There are currently seven Sure Start local programmes in Cornwall. The programmes opened on a rolling basis between 2000 and 2003 and aimed to reach over 4,800 children. In their first two to three years, programmes were building up their services and did not generally operate at peak levels until the third or fourth year. The average expenditure per child for every year for which the grant was paid or allocated is in the following table. From 2006-07, the earliest programme's grants start to taper to a level consistent with delivering the children's centres offer. We expect that local authorities will be in a position to make savings through economies of scale, for example on administration, finance and evaluation, now that the grant for the programmes is paid directly to them.

Financial year Average revenue expenditure per child (£)















(1) Six programmes received funding for the first time in 2002-03 but because they were not at peak levels, the per capita expenditure falls. (2 )Planned number of children receiving services each year. Source: 2000-06—actual expenditure by Sure Start local programmes. 2006-07—funding allocated for Sure Start local programmes.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Carbon Emissions

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when his Department began to measure its carbon emissions; what the volume of those emissions was in the last period for which figures are available; when his
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Department started to offset those emissions; what the cost is expected to be of offsetting his Department's emissions; and if he will make a statement. [116400]

Ian Pearson: The Department's most recent estimate of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from buildings and business travel is as follows:

Source 2005-06 (t)



Business travel


(1) This figure is for DEFRA and executive agencies.
(2) Carbon dioxide emissions from road vehicles in DEFRA and executive agencies plus carbon dioxide emissions from DEFRA and CEFAS for air travel, taking account of radiative forcing, in line with the Government carbon offsetting fund.

Carbon dioxide emissions from buildings have been recorded since April 1999. DEFRA and executive agencies have recorded carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles since April 2002. DEFRA and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) have recorded air travel from April 2005 and rail travel from April 2001.

DEFRA and CEFAS offset air travel (from April 2005), DEFRA offset rail travel (from June 2006) and DEFRA will offset vehicle travel from June 2007. Carbon dioxide emissions from buildings are not offset, but DEFRA is committed to achieving carbon neutrality on its office estate by 2012.

The cost of offsetting carbon dioxide emissions from business travel for 2005-06 is approximately £27,000. DEFRA is a participant in the Government carbon offsetting fund (GCOF) which offsets carbon dioxide emissions attributable to air travel and other sources across some 40 Departments and agencies. The GCOF will deliver between 255,000 and 305,000 certified emission reductions by April 2009.

Departments: Travel

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the cost was of each helicopter flight he has taken within the UK on official business in the last three months. [133313]

Barry Gardiner: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not taken any helicopter flights within the UK on official business in the last three months.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what consultations with (a) the North Sea Fisheries Advisory Council and (b) the Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries Committee he had on skates and rays before attending the December 2006 EU Council of Fisheries ministers. [130812]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 16 April 2007]: The North Sea Regional Advisory Council (RAC) was consulted directly by the European Commission on their proposals for the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and quota arrangements for 2007 when they were released on 6 December. This included the proposal on
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the bycatch limit for skates and rays. I am not aware that the RAC raised any concerns about this provision at the time.

Because of the late arrival of the proposals, it was not possible for my Department to consult all interested parties. A number of discussions took place with the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) and the English producer organisations (POs)—who are represented on the Kent and Essex Sea Fisheries Committee—as well as their counterparts in other parts of the UK. On the basis of these discussions, we identified that the original Commission proposal for a 5 per cent. bycatch limit was too low and likely to lead to increased discarding. The Commission accepted this argument to some extent, and we succeeded in having the figure increased to 25 per cent. We also succeeded in reducing the scale of their proposed cut in the TAC to 20 per cent. (from 45 per cent.).

Ground Water

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that water service customers may claim a historical rebate of greater than one year for surface drainage services that they have not received. [132631]

Ian Pearson: Ofwat is the economic regulator of the water industry and is responsible for setting price limits.

It requires companies to offer rebates for surface water drainage to customers who do not benefit in any way from this service, starting from the charging year in which they first apply for the rebate. Companies are also required to explain on customers' bills that surface water drainage rebates are available. All 10 water and sewerage companies in England and Wales do this. Many companies also include information leaflets with their bills explaining the rebate.

Ofwat does not expect companies to provide rebates retrospectively for periods before the current charging year. If companies were to do this, they would expect to backdate corresponding increases in charges for customers who are connected for surface water drainage. Ofwat does not consider this to be either practicable or desirable.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Burma: Politics and Government

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with the Government of Burma on the treatment of political opponents. [131999]

Mr. McCartney: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has had no bilateral discussions with the Burmese Government.

She remains deeply concerned about the treatment of the Burmese regime's political opponents. Over a thousand political opponents are held in prison and others are subject to harassment and exile for their political beliefs.

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As a result, I have on my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's behalf:

Most recently, I raised the human rights situation in Burma in my address to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 13 March and at the EU-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers Meeting in Nuremberg on 15 March, in the presence of the Burmese Deputy Foreign Minister.

I will be again raising Burma when I attend the 8th Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers Meeting, in Hungary on 28-29 May.

Departments: Official Hospitality

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much was spent on hospitality by her Department in the financial year 2006-07. [133256]

Mr. Hoon: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not maintain central records of total annual expenditure on hospitality across the FCO and UK missions overseas. To collate this information would incur disproportionate cost.

Government Hospitality, FCO Services, spent approximately £810 000 in total in financial year 2006-07. Government Hospitality funds and arranges formal ministerial hospitality for all Government Departments; although the FCO is the largest single user of the service (and budget) it accounts for only around 30 per cent. of the total annual spend.

Iran: Territorial Waters

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the date was of each complaint made by the UK Government to international bodies against the Government of Iran for seizing United Kingdom service personnel in 2004; to which international body each was made; what the outcome was of each complaint; and if she will make a statement. [133817]

Mr. McCartney: We raise the 2004 Iranian seizure of service personnel through our bilateral contacts with Iran, along with Iraq. We have not raised the incident with any international bodies.

Iraq: Peace Keeping Operations

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been
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made since October 2006 by the Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility in Iraq; and what discussions the Government have had with (a) the United States and (b) Iraqi counterparts on the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq. [132536]

Margaret Beckett: The Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility (JCTSR) assesses the extent to which provinces meet the conditions required for transition to Provincial Iraqi Control, and based on this, recommends to the Iraqi Ministerial Council on National Security when provinces are ready. Since October 2006, the JCTSR has recommended that Najaf and Maysan provinces be transitioned.

Decisions on UK force levels in Iraq are naturally the subject of regular consultation both with the Government of Iraq and with the United States and our other allies.

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recommendations the Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility in Iraq has made on those provinces and provincial capitals ready for the transfer of security responsibilities; and if she will make a statement. [132539]

Margaret Beckett: The Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility has so far recommended Muthanna, Dhi Qar, Najaf and Maysan for transition. All four provinces are now under lead Iraqi security control. As my right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary said on 18 April, the transfer of Maysan province to Provincial Iraqi Control is an important milestone. It demonstrates the progress being made by the Iraqi security forces, in co-operation with Coalition forces, as they continue to assume greater responsibility for their country’s security.

Iraq: Politics and Government

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the impact of the departure of Muqtada al-Sadr's political group from the Iraqi parliament on the political situation in Iraq. [132758]

Mr. McCartney: Muqtada al-Sadr's group have not left the Iraqi parliament. Muqtada al-Sadr recently called on Sadrist Ministers in the Iraqi Government to withdraw from their positions. Prime Minister Maliki has welcomed the move as an opportunity to appoint Ministers based on their ability rather than on a sectarian basis and has appointed interim Ministers to the Ministries concerned.

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