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The information provided is from the school workforce census that was collected for the first time in November 2010.

Further information on teacher sickness absence, including national historical comparisons, is published in table 18 in the Statistical First Release School Workforce in England, November 2010 available at the following link:

Social Fund


Asked by Baroness King of Bow

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The department interpreted the responses given to question 7 to the March 2010 consultation by Homeless Link and National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers as broadly supportive.

As stated in my previous answer 10 of the 17 respondents had reservations. This included Homeless Link and National Association of Welfare Rights Advisers.

Sri Lanka


Asked by Lord Avebury

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We welcomed the publication of the United Nations (UN) Panel of Expert's report and encouraged Sri Lanka to act on the report's recommendations. Sri Lankan officials have informed us that the report of the Sri Lankan Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) will address the material within the UN panel's report. The LLRC's report was handed to the Sri Lankan president on 20 November and we have urged the Sri Lankan Government to make it public at the earliest opportunity.

On 12 September the UN Secretary-General submitted the report to the president of the UN Human Rights Council. The Secretary-General also announced on 24 September that Thoraya Obaid, former executive director of the UN Population Fund, would implement the recommendation that the UN reviews its own role during the military conflict.

State Recognition


Asked by Lord Laird

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): I refer the noble Lord to my answer of 13 May 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 250).



Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of reports in the media that organs have been removed from opponents of the Syrian regime. If confirmed this would be an abominable crime and those responsible should be brought to account.

The United Nations estimates that more than 3,500 people have been killed in Syria since March, including 187 children. It has reported widespread and systematic human rights violations, including murder, summary executions, tens of thousands of detentions and torture.

At the Universal Periodic Review on Syria at the UN Human Rights Council on 7 October, the UK raised the Syrian regime's systematic torture, rape and the arbitrary detention of thousands of men, women and children. We called for an immediate end to all human rights violations against civilians in relation to their peaceful exercise of freedom of expression and assembly.

On 22 November the UN General Assembly passed a UK/French/German proposed resolution on human rights in Syria. The resolution was co-sponsored by 62 countries including Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Turkey was passed by a large majority (122 in favour). It called on the Syrian Government to end violence and implement the Arab League's plan of action without delay.

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

Lord Howell of Guildford: The Government have made no commitment to provide arms or any logistical support to assist the Syrian opposition in their attempts to unseat the present regime.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is engaging with a wide range of Syrian oppositionists inside and outside the country and is encouraging them to maintain a peaceful and non-sectarian approach. We welcome the opposition efforts to unite and provide a clearly defined, shared vision for the future of Syria. We are encouraging Syrian opposition groups to work together towards a Syria which will be democratic, inclusive,

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representative, respectful of its ethnic and religious minorities, and which will adhere to international human rights conventions.

Syria and Bahrain


Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The United Nation's latest assessment is that regime violence against civilians continues despite the Syrian Government's agreement to an Arab League peace plan. They estimate that over 3,500 people, including 187 children, have been killed and many thousands have been detained since the protests started in March 2011. The most recent unsubstantiated reports estimate that over 300 people have been killed during November alone.

We support the Arab League in its efforts to bring about an end to the killing of Syrian people. The UK has been at the forefront of international action to increase pressure on the Syrian regime to stop the repression. On 22 November an United Nations General Assembly resolution, co-sponsored by 62 countries, including a number of Arab countries, was passed with wide support (122 countries voted in favour) sending a signal of united condemnation of the Syrian regime's systematic human rights abuses. The resolution calls on the Syrian Government to end the appalling violence and implement the Arab League's plan of action without delay. As long as the crisis in Syria continues the international pressure on the Assad regime will only intensify.

In the European Union (EU), the UK has been instrumental in imposing nine rounds of EU sanctions against 74 individuals and 19 entities, targeting those supporting or benefiting from the regime and those associated with them. Most recently the EU listed further military, security and intelligence officials leading military operations in Syria. In addition, the EU has moved to prevent any further disbursement of loans from the European Investment Bank to Syria.

We welcome the publication of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report on 23 November and His Majesty King Hamad of Bahrain's acceptance of the Government's shortcomings during the unrest earlier this year. As the Foreign Secretary, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) expressed in his Statement, we have stressed our serious concerns about the human rights situation in Bahrain and made it clear that this must urgently be addressed. The report provides an opportunity for the Government and all opposition groups to demonstrate their commitment to reconciliation and contribute to the process of political renewal.

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Constructive dialogue and effective implementation of reforms remain the best way to bring long-term stability to Bahrain.

Taxation: Corporation Tax


Asked by Lord Lucas

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Internet-based companies trading in the UK are subject to tax on their profits in the same way as any other company operating in the UK.

UK Trade and Investment


Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The 20 priority

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high-growth markets identified in Britain Open for Business were identified by analysis undertaken by UK Trade and Investment, working with the FCO, using criteria including:

market size and potential for growth;the Government's assessment of their strategic political and economic importance; an assessment of the security situation;strength of scientific, technical and research base;performance of UK businesses relative to competitors;market match with UK capability, and the presence of active local partners keen to strengthen trading links with the UK.

These criteria enabled us to assess the importance of a market, the potential for growth, and the need for the Government to help British business interests.

The strategy for UKTI's overseas footprint is then determined by this assessment, and by:

the demand for our services from UK businesses;an evaluation of the productivity of our teams;how we can deliver more through private sector partners, such as the China-Britain Business Council, the UK-India Business Council, and the UK-ASEAN Business Council, which is currently being established; andthe network shift of FCO resources to emerging powers announced by the Foreign Secretary in May 2011, which will include: strengthening front-line staff in China by up to 50, and in India by 30; a substantial expansion in Brazil, Turkey, Mexico and Indonesia; and additional staff in a number of other emerging powers.

My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has today announced that UKTI will double to 50,000 the number of companies it helps to export each year. A very substantial proportion of these will be trading with the top 20 growth markets. UKTI will plan to focus sufficient resources on these markets in order to deliver on this ambition.

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