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Lord Whitty: Provisional figures for 1996 show that the UK's performance against the UN 0.7 per cent. official development assistance/GNP target was 0.27 per cent. This compares to a level of 0.51 per cent. in 1979. We are firmly committed to reversing the decline against the UN target. However, as promised during the election, we will work within existing departmental resource allocations for the next two years.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The role of the Task Force on Youth Justice is to advise Home Office Ministers on government proposals for the development of youth justice policies and, in particular, to provide advice on taking forward an action plan as agreed by the interdepartmental ministerial group on Youth Justice.
The Task Force may provide advice to the Home Secretary on policy papers prepared by government officials for consideration by the ministerial group and may propose to the Home Secretary action on any other youth justice issue.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary can confirm that he will continue to be bound by the provisions for ex-gratia payment of compensation as set out in the statement of the then Home Secretary, the right honourable Douglas Hurd, to the House of Commons on 29 November 1985, Official Report, cols. 691-692. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has also agreed to continue to apply these provisions.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): It is generally accepted that the CAP displays the characteristics referred to in the question. That is why the Government have made reform of the CAP a major plank of their European policy. We will be pursuing this vigorously with our European partners.
However, Ministers under this and previous administrations have been allowed--at their own or party expense--to host non-official or party receptions in Downing Street. All catering, staff and other direct costs must be met by the organisers of the event. Appropriate arrangements are required for security clearance.
The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): No. The Government's aim is a high and stable level of employment, to be achieved by running a successful, low-inflation economy, with macro-economic stability as a platform for sustainable growth, and, by enhancing skills and improving the operation of the labour market, to open up job opportunities to all groups in society.
What is the average amount paid to (a) council-run secondary schools, (b) grant maintained schools, (c) sixth form colleges by the relevant funding bodies in respect of a student taking three A-levels.
Baroness Blackstone: In The Public Funding Costs of Education and Training for 16-19 year olds in England 1995-96 the department published estimates of the average cost of achieving three GCE A-levels, which is higher than the average cost of taking three GCE A-levels, since not everyone succeeds. These are: (a) £6,970 at an English local authority/voluntary aided school; (b) £7,010 at an English grant maintained school; (c) £6,640 at an English state sixth form college. These figures relate to the public funding cost and thus take no account of any cross-subsidisation within institutions or other sources of funding. Data constraints leave the figures here subject to a margin of error and so the costs can be considered broadly similar.
Baroness Blackstone: We shall be setting out in our forthcoming White Paper proposals to improve the preparation of new teachers and training for serving teachers and the standards by which the profession will be measured.
Baroness Blackstone: Yes. The Government announced on 13 May new targets for literacy, namely that by 2002, 80 per cent. of all 11 year-olds should reach the appropriate reading standard for their age; and that by 2006 practically every 11 year-old should reach this level.
Baroness Blackstone: By how much pupil numbers in maintained schools will increase as a result of phasing out the assisted places scheme is not yet clear. But, with over 800,000 empty places within existing LEA provision, there is ample scope available to accommodate the 10,000 or so pupils who would otherwise have entered the scheme each year and who represent only about one-eighth of 1 per cent. of the total school population. The costs to the maintained sector of educating children who would otherwise have held assisted places will be one of the many factors taken into account in local authority settlements for 1998-99 and beyond.
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