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The Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents collects information from parents on the types of childcare that families had used, including informal provision such as childcare by grandparents. The 2007 survey estimated that 25 per cent of families had used grandparents to provide childcare in the week before the survey. This equates to approximately 1.3 million families.

The Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents asks parents about their use of childcare in the week before the survey interview. Information on hours of childcare used is not available in the form requested. It is not possible to determine from the available data whether the provision of grandparental childcare takes place regularly and whether it is used to enable families to sustain paid work and make national insurance contributions.

Asked by Baroness Hollis of Heigham



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents collects information on the types of childcare that families had used, including informal provision such as childcare by grandparents. The 2007 survey estimated that 25 per cent of couple families and 24 per cent of lone parent families had used grandparents to provide childcare in the week before the survey.

Table 1 below shows the percentage of couples and lone parent families who had used grandparents to provide childcare by the ethnicity of the respondent to the 2007 survey.

Table 1: Percentage of families using grandparents to provide childcare in the last week, by family type and ethnicit1
CouplesLone parentAll families

White

27

26

27

Black

5

8

7

Asian

15

19

15

Mixed race and other ethnic groups

13

19

15

All families

25

24

25

The Childcare and Early Years Survey of Parents asks parents about their use of childcare in the week before the survey interview. Information on hours of childcare used is not available in the form requested. It is not possible to determine from the available data whether the provision of grandparental childcare takes place regularly and whether it is used to enable families to sustain paid work and make national insurance contributions.

The survey does not collect information on the age, employment status or pension contributions of grandparents providing informal childcare and this information is not collected centrally.

Asked by Baroness Hollis of Heigham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Data are not collected centrally on the number or characteristics of grandparents providing informal childcare, therefore it is not possible to estimate this cost.



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Children: Care

Question

Asked by Lord Hanningfield

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Government have introduced the following Acts which have impacted on children’s social care services since 1997: Health Act 1999; Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000; Care Standards Act 2000; Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000; Health and Social Care Act 2001; Adoption and Children Act 2002; Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003; Children Act 2004; Children and Adoption Act 2006; Education and Inspections Act 2006; NHS Act 2006; Mental Health Act 2007; Children and Young Persons Act 2008.

Climate Change: Population

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): According to the United Nations Population Fund, world population is increasing year on year. I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given to him on 2 June 2008 which stated that the Government's position on world population is detailed in the Department for International Development’s policy paper on sexual and reproductive health and rights, which is available online.

Council Tax

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The term “religious denomination”, which is used in Class H of Article 3 of the Council Tax (Exempt Dwellings) Order 1992 (SI 1992/558) (the 1992 Order), is not defined in either the 1992 order or the Local Government Finance Act 1992. It is for local authorities to reach a view on whether Class H exemption applies in any particular case and for the courts to interpret the meaning of the term in the context of any cases which may come before them.



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Courts: Surcharges

Question

Asked by Baroness Scott of Needham Market

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): There are no plans to cease applying the victims surcharge to court fines.

Since its introduction all of the proceeds from the surcharge have been ring-fenced and used to directly fund a range of organisations providing non-financial support to victims and witnesses of crime.

The victims surcharge has been levied on fines at a rate of £15 since April 2007. The following table assigns victims surcharge receipts for April 2007 to March 2008, the first year of operation of the surcharge, as closely as possible to Government office regions.

Victims surcharge receipts 2007-08

London

549,063

East and West Midlands

731,775

Yorkshire, Humberside and North East

608.095

North West

510,103

South East and East

730,606

South West

410,656

Wales

242,893

Criminal Justice System: Men

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Government have asked Lord Bradley to undertake a review of diversion for offenders with mental health problems or learning disabilities, which includes men, women and children. Lord Bradley is due to report his findings to Government later this month.

On 5 December 2007, the Secretary of State for Justice announced the Government’s intention to develop a number of intensive alternative to custody demonstrator projects. These aim to encourage diversion from custody by enhancing the supervision that offenders receive on

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community sentences while building sentencer confidence in their effectiveness. The projects are designed to use current legislation to maximise the use of the community order in those cases where the court may be considering custody but where the National Probation Service believes a community sentence may be more effective in reducing reoffending.

The projects seek to develop learning and improve practice in the application of intensive community sentences as an alternative to short-term custody. There are seven projects across the country. The Derbyshire project started in March 2008; West Yorkshire in August; South Wales and Dyfed-Powys in September. The remaining three (Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and Humberside) are scheduled to begin in April 2009.

Department for Communities and Local Government: Meeting

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): On 16 October 2006, the former Secretary of State for Communities, Ruth Kelly, attended a meeting entitled “Working together to tackle extremism” with representatives from local authorities, the government offices for the regions, and the police. The issues discussed in the meeting included: building capacity at the local level to prevent violent extremism; information sharing and sharing good practice; engaging young people on the agenda; supporting community leadership; tackling inequalities and promoting cohesion. This was a public event so no formal minutes were taken.

Disabled People: UN Convention

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The decision to sign the Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was reached in the light of

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our work towards ratification of the convention itself, and the outcome of the independent review into the UK's experience of ratifying the similar Optional Protocol to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In response to that review, the Government said that they would consider the merits of signing any other individual complaints mechanisms on a case-by-case basis. In the case of the Disability Convention, while disabled people already have access to various domestic mechanisms for enforcing their rights, we considered that signing the Optional Protocol would underline the messages in the convention about respect for the human rights of disabled people. Signature of the Optional Protocol to the Disability Convention does not set a precedent for acceding to other complaints mechanisms which will continue to be considered on a case by case basis.

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Prior to ratification the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be laid before Parliament as a Command Paper. The accompanying Explanatory Memorandum will include information on the prospective reservations. In accordance with the Ponsonby rule, either House may call for a debate.

Discrimination

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The recent review of the Operational Protocol to the UN Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women found that the protocol has not yet provided women in the UK with real benefits. As the Justice Minister, the right honourable Michael Wills, explained (col. 11WS, 4 December 2008): we will need further evidence, over a longer period, to establish what the practical benefits are. The Government do not consider that there is any merit in speculating now on what the future use might be made of the rights of individual petition.


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