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23 Feb 1995 : Column WA73

Written Answers

Thursday 23rd February 1995

Schools: LEA Control

The Earl of Bradford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What numbers of schools have now opted out of local authority control; and whether this has led to a decline in the number of people employed by local education authorities and a consequent reduction in costs.

Lord Lucas: Between 1991–92 and 1993–94 expenditure on administration and inspection by LEAs in England fell by about 25 per cent. in cash terms (30 per cent. in real terms). Almost certainly the rapid growth in the number of English grant-maintained schools—from 62 in April 1991 to 1,034 today—will have contributed to this reduction. Other factors have included the transfer of further education and sixth form colleges to the new FE sector funded by the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC), the introduction of local management for schools (LMS), and the establishment of a national inspection system for schools controlled by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED). Additionally, the 47,000 teaching and non-teaching staff at these grant-maintained schools are, of course, no longer employed by local authorities.

Education: Funding

Lord Mulley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they now propose to take to monitor the expenditure of the revenue support grant to ensure that the sums provided for education are in fact spent on education.

Lord Lucas: The Government sets the framework for the funding of education nationally, and decides how national totals are distributed between local authorities through standard spending assessments (SSAs). SSAs are not, however, prescriptive, and decisions about how much to spend on the education service are for individual local authorities to make and justify in the light of their own particular circumstances.

Turkey: Conflict

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their best estimate of the numbers killed and wounded on both sides in the armed conflict in Turkey since 1984, and of those displaced and exiled by military action (including those who have recently fled into northern Iraq).

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Estimates vary for the numbers killed, wounded and displaced by the conflict in south-east Turkey. Figures range between 13,000 and 15,300 for

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those killed since 1984. There are no figures for those wounded. Up to 2 million people are believed to have been displaced, of whom around 15,000 fled to northern Iraq.

Khiam Prison

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their latest information about those detained in the fortress of Khiam by the "South Lebanese Army"; whether there have been any releases or improvements in conditions; whether the ICRC has been allowed access and whether they will continue to discuss this matter with Israel and Syria.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The ICRC believe that around 230 prisoners are currently detained in Khiam. We continue to hear reports of ill-treatment of detainees and the ICRC are still not granted access to the prison. Since the beginning of February prisoners have been allowed visitors under certain strictly defined circumstances. We welcome this step but continue to press for full access for the ICRC.

Karen Refugees

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assistance is being provided, in conjunction with the European Union, to Karen refugees displaced from Burma by the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council) regime's military offensives.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: A grant of £100,000 has been given to the Burma Border Consortium for its work with Karen and other ethnic minority refugees on the Thai-Burma border. No request for further assistance has been received since the recent military offensive and the fall of Manerplaw. The EU earmarked 240,000 ecu for Aide Medicale Internationale, but they have been forced to withdraw from the area due to the fighting. We continue to monitor the situation closely.


Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Government of Uganda has notified them of armed incursions from Sudan, and whether they will place a copy of any report they have received on this matter in the Library.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We have not been officially notified by the Ugandan Government of any recent armed incursion from Sudan.

Sudanese Refugees

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What estimates they have been given by the United Nations of the number of refugees from Sudan in each of the neighbouring countries.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: At the beginning of 1995, the United Nations High Commissioner for

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Refugees estimated the numbers of Sudanese refugees at 300,000 in Uganda; 110,000 in Zaire; 50,000 in Ethiopia; 40,000 in Kenya; 25,000 in the Central African Republic; and 70 in Chad.

IGADD and the Sudan

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any further meetings of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development are scheduled to discuss Sudan; whether the Sudanese will attend and if so at what level and what alternative to the IGADD process they envisage if it becomes clear that, because of deteriorating relations between Sudan and the other IGADD states, there is no likelihood of further progress in those talks.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The IGADD states are consulting the Sudanese parties to the conflict about the way forward for the peace initiative.

Sudan: Orphan Refugees

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have about the forced conversion of Christian children to Islam in government camps for orphan refugees from southern Sudan in the north of the country.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: A recent Amnesty International report highlighted the forcible detention by the Sudanese authorities of non-Moslem displaced children in northern Sudan. We are concerned about this practice, which has encouraged rumours that the children are being converted to Islam through force or inducement.

China: Covenants

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the alternative ways in which China might fulfil her obligations under the joint declaration regarding the United Nations covenants, other than acceding to the covenants, and on what occasions these have been suggested to the Chinese Government.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Sino-British Joint Declaration obliges China to ensure that the provisions of the covenants, as applied to Hong Kong, remain in force. It clearly means that all the provisions of the two covenants now applied to Hong Kong, including the reporting provisions, shall continue to apply. We have made our views known to the Chinese Government as to how it may fulfil its obligations under the joint declaration. One way to implement the reporting obligations would be for China to accede to the covenants in respect of the whole of its territory. Alternatively, we believe it would be feasible for China to assume reporting obligations under the covenant in respect of Hong Kong only. We continue to discuss this question in the joint liaison group. These discussions

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remain confidential under the terms of Annex II to the joint declaration.

Internally Displaced People

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assessment they have made of the number of people internally displaced in Turkey, Kenya, Liberia, Afghanistan, Burma, Iraq, Bosnia, Chechnya, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan; what amount of money has been allocated in this year's budget by the United Nations to the work of the Special Representatives on Internally Displaced People, and whether they consider that the resources available are commensurate with the size of the problem.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimate that there are currently around 30 million internally displaced persons worldwide. These figures are not broken down into individual countries. The Office of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative on Internally Displaced People is funded from the UN regular budget allocation for all mandates approved by the UN's Economic and Social Committee. Voluntary contributions may also be made through the trust fund of the Centre for Human Rights. Humanitarian relief may be supplied on a case by case basis to internally displaced persons by a number of agencies. At the request of the UN Secretary General, UNHCR has often taken the lead in such situations, most notably in former Yugoslavia. An inter-agency task force under the chairmanship of the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs is currently considering ways to ensure that the needs of internally displaced persons are met.

Shopping Centres Report: Government Response

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to publish their response to the Environment Committee's report on Shopping Centres and their Future.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): The Government's response is published today. Copies have been presented to the Chairman of the Environment Committee in another place and placed in the Libraries of the House.

NHS Administration Costs

Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the cost of management and administration in the National Health Service for 1994 as a percentage of the total cost of the National Health Service; and what was the equivalent percentage for the year 1987–88.

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): The cost of headquarters administration in England as a percentage of total National Health Service revenue expenditure was (provisionally) 3.9 per cent. in 1993–94 and 3.8 per cent., in 1987–88. Organisational and accounting practice changes make it difficult to compare expenditure in 1993–94 with that in 1987–88.

Information for the other countries of the United Kingdom on a comparable basis is not available because of organisational differences.

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Hong Kong

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Governor of Hong Kong has submitted a further report on the discharge of his functions under the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1990.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The Governor of Hong Kong submitted a fourth report to my right honourable friend on 16 January. A copy has been placed in the Library.

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