Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Children's Interests

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

30 Jan 2003 : Column WA179

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): I agree with the noble Lord that the interests of children need to be promoted across government. This is why the Children and Young People's Unit (CYPU) was set up, with a remit to ensure that issues concerning children and young people are represented and taken into consideration in government policy and to influence policy in the interest of children and young people. This role is further endorsed by the 2002 Spending Review settlement.

Children's interests are also co-ordinated and promoted through the Minister for Young People and the Cabinet Committee on Children and Young People's Services, which comprises Secretaries of State from 11 government departments with a key interest in policies and services for children and young people. The Government are currently exploring the pros and cons of establishing a children's commissioner.

Languages Strategy

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their priorities for the allocation of public funds as between funding of initial teacher training primary places in (a) French (b) Spanish (c) German and (d) each of the other European Union languages respectively.[HL1073]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Our Languages Strategy makes clear that primary schools will be expected to offer an EU language as part of the language entitlement. We are funding initial teacher training primary places in French, Spanish and German for 2003–04 to support that expectation and to reflect their popularity. The allocation of primary language ITT places will be finalised in February.

The strategy also sets out our intention to increase the number of ITT places for modern foreign languages in subsequent years. ITT allocations for other European languages will be considered for 2004–05, based on demand from schools and ITT providers.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 13 January (WA 24) what are their priorities for the allocation of public funds for each element of the national Languages Strategy for England.[HL1074]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Our main priority is to achieve a step change in language competency in this country, create an appetite for learning and broaden and enrich opportunities for language learning at school and beyond. In the current funding period, our main priorities will be the development of a recognition scheme, increasing teacher and specialist non-teacher supply, the appointment of a national

30 Jan 2003 : Column WA180

director for languages, the development of international partnerships and the creation of Pathfinder projects to support the introduction of an entitlement to language learning in primary schools.

Advanced Teaching Assistants

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the anticipated cost of training advanced teaching assistants to qualify for supervising whole classes in school.[HL1113]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The proposal to establish standards and training for the new role of higher level teaching assistant is included in my department's consultation document Developing the role of school support staff. The costs of training for the role will depend inevitably on decisions about the model of training, which will not be made until the outcomes of the consultation are known after its deadline of 22 January 2003.

Oxford and Cambridge Colleges

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list (a) public Acts of Parliament and (b) private Acts of Parliament which would need to be amended or repealed if they were to attempt to end the autonomy of Oxford and Cambridge colleges.[HL1255]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: We have no plans to change the autonomy of Oxford and Cambridge colleges and have not considered what amendments would be necessary to amend or repeal the various private Acts and other legislation relating to Oxford and Cambridge universities and their constituent colleges.

Late Night Licences

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many late night licences have been withdrawn on evidence presented by the Metropolitan Police.[HL898]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): Information is not held centrally on the number of justices' on-licences which have a special hours certificate and public entertainment licences permitting late night music and dancing that have been revoked or not renewed.

Gambling Machine Payment Methods

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When passing legislation on the modernising of gambling machine payment methods, whether they

30 Jan 2003 : Column WA181

    will deregulate to allow the use of banknotes and prepaid smart cards in addition to coinage in gaming machines.[HL1284]

Baroness Blackstone: That remains our intention. In A Safe Bet for Success, which the Government published in March 2002 and which set out our plans for the overall reform of the controls on gambling, we said that we would change the law on adults-only gaming machines to allow them to use these payment methods. In March 2001, we consulted on proposals to achieve these objectives by means of an order under the Regulatory Reform Act 2001, and we will be announcing our decision on taking that forward soon.

Amusement Arcade Machines

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why two types of amusement arcade machines, namely cranes and redemption, are included in the Government's definition of machines as Category D.[HL1286]

Baroness Blackstone: Under current law, crane and redemption machines found in arcades are classed as gaming machines if they involve gambling. That will remain the case under our plans for the reform of the law on gambling, which we have set out in A Safe Bet for Success. Under our plans, the only gaming machines which will be allowed to be made available for play by children will be those classified as Category D.

Saville Inquiry

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many researchers and messengers are required by the legal teams which they are funding and who are attending the Bloody Sunday Inquiry; what are their qualifications; and how much have they cost to date.[HL953]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Government (either through the inquiry or relevant government departments) provide funds only to counsel and to the firms of solicitors who represent interested parties or limited representation to quasi-interested parties; for example, those representing media witnesses. The hourly rate allowed for fee earners (counsel, solicitors, assistant solicitors and paralegals) include clerical support overheads. It is from the fees payable to the legal teams (details of these payments in respect of the families and NICRA were included in answer to a Parliamentary Question from the honourable Member for East Londonderry on 13 January 2003 (Hansard, col. 434W) that they pay for any administrative support necessary. The inquiry does not have details of whom the legal teams employ or their qualifications or remuneration. It is also for the individual legal teams to determine who might need to attend in support on any particular day, but

30 Jan 2003 : Column WA182

they are not in any event paid a separate attendance fee.

The inquiry itself has an administrative team to provide support to the tribunal, counsel and solicitors, all of whom are civil servants or on short-term Civil Service contracts.

Police Service of Northern Ireland: Physical Fitness Requirements

Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the original physical fitness requirements for all recruits to the Police Service of Northern Ireland; and[HL967]

    What are the current physical fitness requirements for all recruits to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.[HL968]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: All applicants in the first three Police Service of Northern Ireland recruitment competitions had to complete successfully the physical competence assessment as a requirement of the recruitment process.

The Chief Constable has decided that applicants in the current competition should not be required to complete successfully the physical competence assessment as a prerequisite to appointment. The point of assessment has instead been moved to the end of the student officer training course. However the requirement successfully to complete the assessment prior to attestation as a constable remains.

Ards Hospital, Newtownards

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proposals there are to make full use of the buildings and sites at Ards Hospital, Newtownards.[HL977]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Ulster Community and Hospitals Trust is currently considering proposals and developing a business case to enhance and modernise services on the Ards Hospital campus. An overall rationalisation exercise is also being considered and this may lead to the sale of surplus assets in the trust. In the near future the trust intends to commence a public consultation process on the future provision of services, both in Newtownards and Bangor.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page