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Lord Henley: My Lords, as regards the noble Lord's final point, I should prefer to write to him. However, as regards his more general point that the Government have done nothing, I wish to make it clear that we have done a great deal. As I have made clear, under the GEST programme we have allocated money specifically for the training of teachers of children with SEN. In recent years, £10 million a year has been supported and priority has been given to those with severe learning difficulties in allocating money under GEST for 1996-97. That money will be protected for SLD and other priorities in the following years.

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Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, will my noble friend confirm that the Government's policy is that there should be parental choice? Is he aware that some areas which have good schools for children with special educational needs are determined that children must go to those schools even though the parents may wish them to go to a normal school?

Lord Henley: My Lords, obviously every LEA has a slightly different priority in terms of how much integration it wants. However, I can confirm that the Government believe that parental choice should receive a high priority in considering the needs of the child. That requirement was included in the 1993 Act and it is clear that parental choice should always be observed.

Lord Morris of Castle Morris: My Lords, is it true that in 1997-98 the DfEE is proposing to cease the GEST funding grant for the training of SEN specialists and replace it, together with two other grants, with a combined SEN grant? If so, we are informed at paragraph B.39 of a DfEE circular that the combined grant is likely to be less than the SEN-related grants for 1996-97. Why should the total be less than the sum of the parts?

Lord Henley: My Lords, as I made clear, next year money for severe learning difficulties and other priorities will be protected.

Lord Morris of Castle Morris: My Lords, will it be cut and will it be lower than the current year?

Lord Henley: My Lords, as I made clear, it will be protected.

Lord Renton: My Lords, does my noble friend have the estimate of the number of such teachers who are needed in England and Wales and can he say how many are available?

Lord Henley: My Lords, according to our surveys, about half the number of teachers of children with severe learning difficulties have a specific severe learning difficulties qualification. Many of the other teachers will have other relevant and specific training and other skills which they can bring to the classroom. However, I do not believe that it is necessarily right that all teachers of children with severe learning difficulties should go on lengthy specialist courses. As I made clear, we believe that other teachers can bring different qualities which complement those of the teachers with specialist training.

Overseas Aid: Discussions with NGOs

2.55 p.m.

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What discussions they have had with United Kingdom-based overseas aid development charities and voluntary organisations on the future of the Government's overseas aid and development programme.

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Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, Ministers and officials regularly meet representatives of the non-governmental organisations to discuss development issues. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary met a wide-ranging group of such NGOs on 23rd January. I had a follow-up meeting with them on 16th May. Further such meetings are planned for later this year. Individual meetings on specific issues are held whenever necessary, such as the meeting last week on Sudan and the Great Lakes Regions.

Lord Judd: My Lords, will the noble Baroness accept our warm and genuine congratulations on her seventh anniversary today as Minister for Overseas Development?

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Lord Judd: My Lords, will she also accept our sadness at the fact that her obvious and consistent humanitarian concern has repeatedly been undermined by her senior colleagues in an aid budget which is down by almost 50 per cent. as a percentage of gross national product since they came to office in 1979?

Has the Minister studied the recent UNDP human development report, which demonstrates that the sustained and successful economic and social development of countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and China has been based on a strong partnership between government and the private sector, with government giving priority to land reform, education, health and other social infrastructure and to the redistribution of wealth to reduce the gap between poor and rich? What lessons do the Government draw from that? Will they now discuss with NGOs and others how those lessons can be applied elsewhere?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Judd, for his kind congratulations. Seven years may seem a long time, but they have passed in a flash and I am game for at least seven more.

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I am not sad about the actual amounts of money because during those seven years I have seen that what counts is what one does with money. It is simply no good throwing money at many of the problems of the developing world. What is important is how one applies the money. Indeed, the amount has increased in real terms and certainly the NGOs, which in 1994-95 received £185 million as compared with £65 million in 1989-90, know full well that we will back worthwhile projects wherever they arise.

As regards the UNDP human development report, as I have already told the noble Lord, Lord Judd, we support its main thrust. The importance of human development as an end in itself and as one of the means to increasing incomes is fundamental to our work. That is why the ODA is committed to promoting human

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development in order to improve the quality of life of people in poorer countries. That, indeed, is one of the four central aims of the ODA's work.

Lord Clark of Kempston: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that the record of Her Majesty's Government is excellent and that we are one of the leaders in the EU as regards overseas aid? Does she further agree that it is a mistake merely to look at government intervention and that we must also look at private enterprise intervention, which has been extremely high because we have a sound economy in this country?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, my noble friend is once again right.

Lord Graham of Edmonton: She means it.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, I should say to the noble Lord that I do mean it. This country has more than 1 per cent. of GNP going on private investment. It is the private investment which can take on from the fundamental work of government investment through the development programme. If there were only government development programmes, those countries would never make changes and alleviate the poverty about which the noble Lord, Lord Judd, and I are so deeply concerned. That is why there must be a contribution from the private sector as well as from governments across the world which will make it a safer and less unhappy world in which to live.

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, is the Minister aware that one of the main issues about which the NGOs are campaigning at present is the issue of landmines? Does she not agree that Britain could show a lead to the world and show its disgust of those weapons by taking a unilateral step and banning the production of landmines in this country?

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, nobody who has walked through wards of limbless children in Angola, as I have, can be in any doubt that landmines should be done away with as soon as that is possible. But it would be both short-sighted and naive to take unilateral action. We must get landmines out of the system of weaponry but we should also like to see many other weapons out of that system. But let us be realistic and carry on with the excellent demining work which is done by so many, both in the voluntary sector and with the help of the services in this country. That is making a great difference to people in lands which have been mined.


3.2 p.m.

Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, at a convenient moment after 3.30 p.m., my noble friend Lord Lindsay will, with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement that is to be made in another place on transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).

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Bodmin Moor Commons Bill [H.L]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the Commons Message of yesterday be now considered; and that the promoters of the Bill have leave to suspend any further proceedings thereon in this Session in order to proceed with the Bill in the next Session of Parliament, notice of their intention to do so having been deposited in the Office of the Clerk of the Parliaments not later than 12 noon tomorrow; That the Bill be deposited in the Office of the Clerk of the Parliaments not later than 3 p.m. on the second sitting day in the next Session with a declaration annexed, signed by the agent, stating that the Bill is the same in every respect as the Bill at the last stage of the proceedings thereon in this House in the present Session; That the proceedings on the Bill in the next Session of Parliament be pro forma in regard to every stage through which the Bill has passed in the present Session, and that no new fees be charged to such stages; That the Private Business Standing Orders apply to the Bill in the next Session only in regard to any stage through which the Bill has not passed during the present Session.--(The Chairman of Committees.)

On Question, Motion agreed to, and it was ordered that a Message be sent to the Commons to acquaint them therewith.

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