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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): UK Trade and Investments (UKTI) commercial team in Baghdad supports British business across the whole of Iraq with support from the UKTI commercial office in Amman. In view of the situation in Iraq, and UKTIs existing commercial network in the region, there are no plans at present to open a trade office in Erbil.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Officials are reviewing plans for the future status of our consulate in Kirkuk. One of the options under consideration is to move to Erbil. A decision has not yet been made on whether the consulate should move from Kirkuk to Erbil or elsewhere.
Lord McKenzie of Luton: Since 1999, the Government have published annually a list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. They have also published each year since 1995-96 the total annual cost of all Ministers visits overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Libraries. Information for 2006-07 will be published in July 2007.
Whether they have made representations to the Government of Iraq about the influence of militias and their alleged links with individuals and groups in government, and about the need to control and disarm these militias; and, if so, with what results. [HL391]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We continue to press the Iraqi authorities, at a national and provincial level, to take action on the militias. Prime Minister al-Maliki has recognised the importance of the issue and has made clear that the Government of Iraq must have a monopoly on the use of force. National reconciliation forms a key part of tackling illegal armed groups and ensuring their legitimate participation in the political process. We are working with the Iraqi Government to encourage this. We are ready to support the process of disarming, demobilising and reintegrating militia members into Iraqi society, and hope that other members of the international community will do likewise.
Further to the Written Answers by the Lord President (Baroness Amos) on 24 February 2005 (WA 221-2), 1 March 2005 (WA 9) and 7 April 2005 (WA 126-7), and by Lord Rooker on 13 July 2005 (WA 153) relating to the £26 million Northern Bank robbery, how much money has been recovered; under what circumstances and where the money was recovered; how many people have been arrested, charged or are awaiting trial; how many people have been convicted; and what sentences have been imposed. [HL248]
Lord Rooker: To date an Garda Síochána in Cork is in possession of notes to the value of £4.5 million. In addition, approximately £0.5 million has been seized by an Garda Síochána, but the exact amount is unknown, as a considerable number of bank notes were burnt by the offender. An additional £50,000 in notes linked to the robbery was recovered in the police club at Newforge, in Belfast.
There have been 13 arrests to date by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in relation to the robbery. Three people have been charged and are on bail awaiting trial. There have been no convictions to date.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Thirty-five medals were the overall target announced by UK Sport at the start of the Beijing Olympic cycle, based on the level of investment available. The final medal target for Beijing will be confirmed with the Minister for Sport and published on a sport-by-sport basis in spring 2008.
What assurances they have received from the Government of the Republic of Ireland that pensioners in receipt of United Kingdom pensions who are dependent welfare cases resident in Irish state-run homes receive the full pension paid by the United Kingdom. [HL365]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We have had no contact from the Government of the Republic of Ireland on this subject. UK pensions are normally paid directly to customers or their legal appointees. It is up to individuals or their appointees to decide how to spend their funds.
What is their assessment of the extent to which paragraph 2.13 of the draft school admissions code will create particular difficulties for parents with children already attending a partially selective state secondary school and where children obtained a place with the legitimate expectation that younger siblings would subsequently be able to obtain a place at the same school; and [HL335]
Whether the proposal in paragraph 2.13 of the draft school admissions code to remove the sibling criterion for certain state schools is compatible with their commitment to help parents to balance work and family life; and [HL336]
Whether, in light of the support and shared sense of family values which siblings can provide at both secondary and primary schools, they will reconsider the proposal in paragraph 2.13 of the draft school admissions code to remove the sibling criterion for partially selective state schools; and [HL337]
Whether they have made an assessment of the impact that the proposed removal of the sibling criterion in certain state secondary schools will have on the continuity of parental support in such schools; and [HL338]
How many representations and letters of objection they have received in relation to the proposal contained in the draft school admissions code to remove the sibling criterion for certain state secondary schools; and [HL339]
What assessment they have made of the impact that the proposed removal of the sibling criterion for certain state schools will have for parents and children, in terms of (a) the number of school journeys; (b) the length of travel time of those journeys; and (c) any logistical difficulties in relation to different schools having different term dates and inset days; and [HL376]
Whether there is a contradiction between paragraphs 2.10 and 2.13 of the draft school admissions code; and what assessment they have made of any potential problems families of children at certain state secondary schools will face if paragraph 2.13 is implemented in its current form; and [HL377]
What assessment they have made of the concerns of partially selective state schools which wish to retain their family ethos through the retention of the sibling criterion for admissions; and whether, in light of these concerns, they will reconsider their proposal contained in the draft school admissions code to remove the sibling criterion for such schools. [HL378]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): Giving priority to siblings in school admissions can support families, especially those with young children, and this is acknowledged in paragraph 2.10 of the draft new school admissions code. The Education and Skills Select Committee, in its 2004 report on secondary school admissions, supported the use of this criterion but was concerned that giving priority to siblings could also substantially reduce the number of school places available for other families, including those with only one child or where the eldest child has yet to start school. This is exacerbated if schools do not take account of a family's change of address when applying the sibling criterion or by the use of other criteria, such as catchment areas that are some distance from the school.
Giving priority to siblings will reduce the number of places available to other families. At schools with a high proportion of selection by ability or aptitude there will be fewer non-selective places available for other families if siblings of those admitted by selection are given priority. Accordingly, paragraph 2.13 of the draft school admissions code states that priority for admission to schools that select more than 10 per cent of the intake by ability or aptitude should not be given to children on the basis that they have a sibling at the school. This is not an absolute prohibition; schools may continue to use the criterion but will need to justify doing so in the context of admission arrangements in their area if an objection is made to the schools adjudicator.
Parental support for schools is important, and the Government recognise this in the draft new school admissions code. The Government are also aware that some partially selective schools are concerned that they will not be able to encourage a family ethos if they do not give priority to siblings. The new code will
5 Dec 2006 : Column WA125
To date, more than 2,800 representations have been received on this issue, primarily from parents who have children at partially selective schools and who may have expected their younger children also to be admitted. All the responses to the consultation will be taken into account in preparing the new school admissions code, for which we will seek the approval of Parliament early in the new year.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 8 November (WA 200), by what date they expect that the 272,000 children currently in schools that are in special measures or other Ofsted categories of concern will receive an education in schools needing no such attention. [HL182]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): We expect local authorities to take action to ensure that any school in an Ofsted category is improved and removed from that category as soon as possible. Each of these schools will have its own mix of issues that need to be addressed and resolved with urgency. The Education Act 2006 will ensure that local authorities act more swiftly and decisively to turn round a school in special measures. The Act strengthens authorities powers of intervention in such schools and, in order to protect the interests of children, provides for radical action such as closure to be taken where inadequate progress is being made after 12 months.
Lord Davies of Oldham: I am arranging for copies of the documents to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. These will include UK Sport's (the UK's national anti-doping organisation) annual manifestos for drug-free sport for 2005 and 2006-07. No manifesto was published in 2004. Also included are the quarterly anti-doping programme results for 2004, 2005 and quarters 1 and 2 of 2006.
Lord Davies of Oldham: UK Sport, the Governments lead agency for elite sport, currently invests in 29 of the 35 Olympic governing bodies of sport. Awards are made annually on the basis of investment in the governing bodies World Class Performance Pathway. The total level of financial support received includes programme funding direct to the NGB, a budget for athlete personal awards, usually paid directly to the athlete by UK Sport, plus an allocation from TASS funding and for EIS service provision. A quarter payment would usually be a quarter of that total annual award; however, the actual amount received is variable, as it is subject to each sports agreed drawdown requirement based on cash flow.
For 15 of the Olympic summer sports receiving new or additional funding for London 2012, funding is also subject to their progress against a number of agreed performance and governance triggers. These triggers, in two distinct stages, were announced by UK Sport in April 2006 as a means to ensure that the governing bodies were fit for purpose in relation to their receiving public funds.
GB governance and performance management structure in place; Q1 and Q2 funding released in full. Q3 funding initially limited to up to 75 per cent as not all stage 2 performance and governance triggers met.
GB governance and performance management structure in place; Q1 funding available or released in full. Q2 and Q3 funding available at up to 50 per cent (depending on cash-flow need) while sports progress towards stage 1 funding triggers.
If a sport has had its payment reduced in October this year and subsequently meets its requirements between October and the end of December, the withheld proportion of the Q3 quarterly payment will be released.
|Total Pathway 2006-07||Average Qtr*||Triggers|
|*subject to cash-flow need|
What is the level of financial support budgeted to be sent to each of the 35 Olympic governing bodies to assist with their development and elite squad preparation during the last quarter of 2006. [HL304]
Lord Davies of Oldham: UK Sport, the Governments lead agency for elite sport, currently invests in 29 of the 35 Olympic governing bodies of sport. Awards are made annually on the basis of investment in the governing bodies World Class Performance Pathway. The total level of financial support budgeted includes programme funding direct to the NGB, a budget for athlete personal awards, usually paid direct to the athlete by UK Sport, plus an allocation from TASS funding and for EIS service provision. The budget is therefore a quarter of that total annual award.
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