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Children's Workforce

Baroness Sharp of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Adonis: Over 4 million people work in the children's workforce, of which nearly 2 million are unpaid volunteers. We value that contribution enormously, in supporting parents, early years' provision, in schools, in social care and in providing opportunities for sports and leisure activities for children and young people.

We also understand and recognise the important role that volunteering can play as a stepping-stone towards paid employment.

We are about to start our analysis of the written responses—the consultation closed on 22 July—and would expect there to be a good deal of discussion about both the need to value and support volunteers in their own right and the need to offer appropriate career opportunities for volunteers wanting to move into paid employment in the children's workforce. We believe that the proposed single qualifications framework for the children's workforce, built around the common core of skills and knowledge and explicitly recognising prior experience and learning, will have an important role to play.

We intend to publish our response to the consultation later this year and I would expect that response to say more about both of these important, related but subtly different issues.

Climate Change

Lord Whitty asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: Climate change is a global issue and we have introduced many measures aimed at combating, mitigating and adapting to climate change. Some measures have been implemented directly to tackle climate change. Where the primary aim of the policy is not to tackle climate change, we have tried to ensure that impact on climate change is fully incorporated into the policy. At least £545 million is spent annually on spending policies that tackle climate change, but this is a conservative estimate as there are other spending policies that also have climate change benefits.

The figure of £545 million includes energy research and development, contributions to EU research programmes, national research councils and government department research spend, Warm Front and organisations (Carbon Trust and Energy Savings Trust) that help businesses and households be more efficient in their use of energy.

The Government also spend £570 million per annum on flooding and coastal defences each year, some of which will clearly be in response to pressures arising from the need to adapt to climate change.
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There are also a wide range of non-spending policies that help achieve the behavioural change required to move towards a lower carbon economy including for example the Climate Change Levy and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

Common Agricultural Policy

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Government maintain contact on EU issues with the German Government and opposition political parties. These discussions, as with other international partners, are held in confidence so as not to prejudice the UK's relations with such parties.

Community Energy Programme

Lord Whitty asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Bach): The budget for the first phase of the community energy programme is £50 million and the cut-off for expenditure is the end of the 2006–07 financial year. We have spent £13.7 million to date, including the costs of managing the programme. In 2004 Defra committed a further £10 million to a second phase of the programme for the years to 2007–08. We expect spending on it to begin next year, following a call for projects towards the end of this year.

Community Hospitals: General Practitioner Beds

Baroness Sharp of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: The data requested are not available centrally.
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Community Renewables Initiative

Lord Whitty asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Community Renewables Initiative (CRI) was extended for a further year from April 2005. The CRI's sponsors (DTI, the Countryside Agency, Defra and the Forestry Commission) have recently commissioned a study to review options for renewable energy advice and support to communities, which is due to report in September. Following the results of this study, the sponsors will take a decision on the future of the CRI.

Community Service

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government do not consider that compulsory community service for young people is necessarily the way forward. Measures to encourage non-compulsory volunteering however are currently under way.

In January this year the Government published Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society: the Government's strategy to increase race equality and community cohesion. This strategy was prepared after extensive consultation and includes a range of commitments to help young people grow up with a sense of common belonging, including measures to encourage citizenship and volunteering.

The Russell Commission was established in May 2004 by the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett and the Chancellor Gordon Brown. The commission was established to develop a new national framework for youth action and engagement and reported to Government in March 2005 with a recommendation to create a dedicated implementation body. This body will bring together young people, business, the voluntary and community sector and government in a shared purpose, to make volunteering a valued part of young people's lives. Young people will be able to choose between short-term volunteering, such as taster sessions and local taskforce activities, part-time volunteering and full-time programmes.

Most recently on 18 July 2005 the Government published the Youth Green Paper, Youth Matters. The paper addresses key issues relating to how teenagers are both supported and challenged. The proposals include expansion of opportunities for peer mentoring and longer-term volunteering opportunities.
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COTES Regulations

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: A summary of the responses is available at–summary.pdf. Officials are considering these responses and will issue a replacement for the COTES Regulations later in the year.

In the mean time, on 27 June 2005 the Government published the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement)(Amendment) Regulations 2005, which increase the maximum prison sentence for certain wildlife trade offences from two to five years. These increased penalties bring with them stronger powers for police officers, including a power of arrest.

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