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To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the recent World Bank report on Afghanistan which predicts that $7 billion per year will be required from foreign donors including the United Kingdom, and that most of these resources will be spent on security and infrastructure maintenance.[HL14531]
Baroness Northover: The World Bank's report on transition in Afghanistan projects a budget shortfall of 25 per cent of GDP by 2021-22 ($7.2 billion in 2011 prices). This shortfall includes both security and development costs. At the Bonn conference on Afghanistan in December, the international community, including the UK, agreed in principle to provide long-term financial support, in line with the Government of Afghanistan's priorities. Plans for the long-term financing of both security and development will be discussed by the international community at the Chicago and Tokyo conferences planned for later this year. In parallel, the UK will continue to support the efforts of the Afghan Government to increase tax revenue and economic growth, to reduce its dependence on aid.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the potential of the agricultural industry in the United Kingdom to contribute to the promotion of food security and economic growth in the developing countries of the Commonwealth.[HL14551]
Baroness Northover: The coalition Government recognise the important role the private sector plays in promoting economic growth and poverty reduction. In 2011, the Department for International Development (DfID) set out its increased commitment to working closely with private enterprise in its paper, The Engine of Development: the Private Sector and Prosperity for Poor People. The new DfID Private Sector Department established in 2011 includes a business engagement hub that provides practical support to UK enterprises in order to catalyse their contribution to development.
The agricultural industry in the UK has the potential to contribute to food security and economic growth in developing countries of the Commonwealth and beyond, by sharing relevant technology and expertise and by investing in agricultural businesses and supply chains that benefit smallholder farmers. Two DfID challenge funds actively support such linkages: DfID is a founding member and significant supporter of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, which offers grants to private enterprises
11 Jan 2012 : Column WA92
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Rawlings on 12 December (WA 206), what were the action points agreed at any meetings in the last 12 months between the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries and the Local Government Association to address the impact of spending cuts on locally funded arts activities.[HL14341]
Baroness Rawlings: The Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries holds meetings every three months with Councillor Chris White of the Local Government Association to discuss a range of subjects including arts activities. The Minister wants to empower local communities and local authorities to make the decisions that are most appropriate for their area at arm's length from Government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the level of support provided by the educational system for those with dyslexia, and the level of understanding of dyslexia in the educational system, is constant throughout England; and, if not, what action they propose to ensure consistency.[HL14380]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Support provided for pupils with special educational needs (SEN) including dyslexia is subject to clear statutory requirements on schools and local authorities. In fulfilling these, schools and local authorities must have regard to the SEN Code of Practice: http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/s/sen%20code%20of%20practice.pdf.
Ministers announced in the SEN and disability Green Paper, Support and Aspiration: ANew Approach to Special Educational Needs and Disability, that the statutory guidance would be simplified and improved. It will also reflect any changes introduced through the Green Paper reforms.
In addition, we are supporting workforce development, including an online module on dyslexia to be available as part of initial teacher training, emphasising the importance of meeting the needs of all pupils including those with SEN as part of the standards for qualified teacher status, funding 9,000 special educational needs co-ordinators to complete the higher level SENCO award by the end of 2011-12 and introducing a greater focus on the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics,
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It is important, however, that local authorities and schools are also able to adapt the support provided to local needs and to the needs of individual pupils. There is not, therefore, a standardised approach across every local area.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The variation in the contaminated land remediation project consisted of an additional cost of £1,600 in financial year 2010-11. The reason for the variation was to undertake revision of the draft final report to take account of revised assessment criteria.
Baroness Northover: The UK is at the forefront of the international effort pushing for the easing of movement and access restrictions for Gaza, and regularly raises these issues with Israeli Ministers, senior officials and the Israeli Defence Forces. We have made frequent representations on access to medical supplies in Gaza and will continue to monitor the situation. We have not made representations on the specific issue of dialysis filters.
The UK supports healthcare in Gaza through our financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The PA provides healthcare services to non-refugees and hospital care for all Gazans. UNRWA provides primary healthcare to the 70 per cent of the population in Gaza who are refugees. We also support the UN Access Co-ordination Unit to work with the World Health Organisation, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and aid agencies to facilitate the transfer of medical equipment and supplies into Gaza.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why, in the light of their commitment to reducing the costs of the UK Border Agency, incoming passengers on the Eurostar have recently been subject to immigration checks both in Paris and in London.[HL14230]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): UK Border Agency officers operating in Paris-Gare du Nord carry out immigration controls on all passengers travelling to St Pancras. Full immigration checks are not routinely carried out on these passengers upon arrival at St Pancras. However targeted checks based on intelligence may sometimes be carried out. The UK Border Agency does not have juxtaposed controls at Paris-Marne-la-Vallee. All passengers travelling from this station are therefore subject to immigration checks at St Pancras International.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a consumer claiming fraud and dishonesty on the part of legal practitioners during court proceedings should direct himself to the Law Society, the High Court, the Legal Services Ombudsman, the Solicitors' Complaints Tribunal, the Legal Complaints Service, the Attorney General's Office, the Independent Complaints Resolution Service, the Ministry of Justice or the Solicitors Regulation Authority. [HL14563]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The arrangements for the handling of legal services complaints were reformed with the establishment in 2009 of the Office for Legal Complaints (OLC), under the provisions of the Legal Services Act 2007. The OLC administers the Legal Ombudsman scheme-a single independent service which, since October 2010, has handled consumer complaints in respect of legal services provided by persons authorised under the 2007 Act. This includes services provided in the context of court proceedings.
If consumers are unhappy with the way in which their complaint has been dealt with by their legal services provider, they can refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman. The Legal Ombudsman may
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As fraud is a criminal offence, it may also be appropriate for the consumer to report allegations of such activity to the police who, if they consider that there is a case to answer following investigation, may refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Baroness Rawlings: Arts Council England is committed to supporting young people's access to music, and encourages their supported organisations in London to provide opportunities for young people. Examples of this include the London Symphony Orchestra bringing together young people from the East London boroughs to experience their work and the Barbican establishing a youth orchestra for young Londoners. The London Philharmonic Orchestra has provided a wide range of opportunities for children and young people in London, from attending orchestral concerts to working alongside the professional players in workshops and ongoing rehearsal opportunities with musicians in ensembles run by the orchestra.
Arts Council England also contributes to the National Youth Music Organisation which, alongside funding from the Department for Education's Music and Dance scheme, supports a national portfolio of youth orchestras, bands and choirs. These organisations offer the most talented young people from across the country, including London, advanced training and ensemble performance opportunities. The fund supports outstanding opportunities for development, learning and progression into education and professional music-making for young musicians, regardless of their financial circumstances.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to enshrine in law the commitment in the coalition agreement to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on overseas development assistance by 2013 and in every year thereafter.[HL14452]
Baroness Northover: As stated in the coalition agreement, this Government are fully committed to enshrining in law the target of spending 0.7 per cent of
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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they propose to enable all first-born children of princes of the Blood Royal and of other members of the Royal Family to inherit their fathers' titles.[HL14399]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government have no current plans to change the laws of succession with regard to hereditary peerages. Changes to the law on succession to the throne can be effected without any change to the legitimate expectations of those in the line of succession. Changes to the rules governing succession to hereditary titles would be far more complicated to implement fairly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many independent schools are involved in their academies programme; and how many new school places have been created in the maintained sector as a result. [HL14403]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): There are currently 30 independent schools actively involved in the academies programme working with existing underperforming schools to deliver rapid and sustainable transformation. This includes seven schools acting as lead sponsor, nine as co-sponsor and a further 14 as educational partners. This type of involvement does not require the independent school to become an academy to be an academy sponsor.
1 Maharishi is looking to expand from its current capacity of 86 to 135 (Sept. 2011) pupils in the first year, rising to 155 (Sept. 2012) in the second and 180 (Sept. 2013) in the third year. This expansion will take place in all years of the school.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many teachers were employed in each of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London in each year since 1995 up until the latest year for which records are available.[HL14522]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The following table provides the full-time equivalent number of regular teachers employed in publicly funded schools in each of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London in each year from January 1995 to November 2010, the latest information available.
|Full-time equivalent regular teachers1 (excluding occasionals) in publicly funded schools|
|Years: January 1995 to November 2010|
|Coverage: London Region|
|1995||1996||1997||1998||1999||2000||2001||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009||Jan 2010||Nov 2010|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many teaching assistants were employed in each of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London in each year since 1995 up until the latest year for which records are available.[HL14523]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The following table provides the full-time equivalent number of teaching assistants employed in publicly funded schools in each of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London in each year from January 1995 to 2010, the latest information available broken down by local authority area.
|Full-time equivalent teaching assistants in publicly funded schools.|
|Years: January 1995 to 2010|
|Coverage: London local authorities and England|
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