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11 May 1999 : Column WA135

Written Answers

Tuesday, 11th May 1999.

Micro-finance

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they support the global campaign to reach with micro-lending 100 million poor people by 2005, launched by the World Bank at the 1997 Micro-Credit Summit; and what progress has been made towards this objective.[HL2262]

Baroness Amos: We are actively supporting organisations engaged in the provision of micro-finance, principally in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Our commitment in this sector has grown significantly in recent years to about £75 million.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is a member of the Donor Agency Council of the Micro-Credit Summit and has met its obligation to submit an institutional action plan. Representatives of DFID are participating in the annual Micro-Credit Summit Meeting of Councils. DFID also participates in other international fora such as the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP), where we work to improve best practice and develop internationally agreed performance standards for micro-finance institutions. The global campaign to reach 100 million poor people by 2005 was not launched by the World Bank but by the organisers and participants of the 1997 Micro-Credit Summit.

DFID support to micro-finance practitioners is directed to those which provide micro-financial services--savings and insurance as well as credit--with maximum outreach to poor people on a sustainable basis. An example is BRAC, in Bangladesh, which has about 2.8 million members of its micro-finance programme, which represents a near 50 per cent. increase over the last two years. Overall, in South Asia alone, DFID is funding micro-finance institutions which provide about 5 million poor people with credit and over 2 million of these have been added since the first Micro-Credit Summit in 1997.

DFID is concerned to ensure that the rapid expansion of micro-finance does not compromise internationally accepted best practices and in particular that micro-finance institutions are able to ensure that effective and transparent mechanisms for governance and management are in place, especially to safeguard the savings deposits of poor people.

EU Development Funding

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of the total United Kingdom overseas aid budget is now administered by the European Union; whether they are satisfied that it is

11 May 1999 : Column WA136

    efficiently administered without fraud; and whether the aid is being directed to Third World countries in greatest need of it and is not being targeted by the European Union for political reasons.[HL2295]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Currently 30 per cent. of the United Kingdom's aid budget is administered by the European Union. Fraud against the EC budget is something which the Government take very seriously and specific decisions on fighting fraud are discussed at the ECOFIN Council. Last December the Department for International Development published an 18-point strategy to improve EC development spending, which is both skewed against the poorest countries and often of poor quality. This strategy will be discussed at the EU Development Council on 21 May.

McClements Scale: Validity

Lord Craigmyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to bring up-to-date the McClements scale (which has been used to calculate net equivalised income since the 1970s).[HL2286]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The McClements scale is used in Government Statistical Service income distribution statistics published by DSS and by the Office for National Statistics. Statistical methodology is reviewed regularly. The use of the McClements scale was last formally reviewed in 1995-96 as part of the Methodological Review of the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. Before this, research published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies in 1993 suggested that the McClements scale was not less valid than it had been when first estimated.

HBAI results are extensively tested for sensitivity to the equivalence scale used and sensitive results are flagged in the published tables; in general, the picture of changes over time is robust to the choice of equivalence scale. The Methodological Review recommended that this sensitivity testing should continue. The consultation on the review also endorsed the view of the HBAI statisticians that adequate sensitivity testing was more important than the choice of the central scale, given that all methodologies for producing equivalence scales have weaknesses. DSS statisticians therefore have no plans to update the McClements scale, but will continue to keep this and other aspects of methodology under review.

The Methodological Review recommended that an additional scale which attributes extra costs to disabled people should be included in the testing. The results of this additional testing are in Appendix 4 of Households Below Average Income 1979-1996/7. Copies of both the Methodological Review report and the HBAI publication are held in the Library.

11 May 1999 : Column WA137

Defence Storage and Distribution Agency

Lord Monkswell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for the future location of the headquarters of the new Defence Storage and Distribution Agency.[HL2410]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The formation of the new Defence Storage and Distribution Agency, for the management of non-explosive stores, was announced as part of the Strategic Defence Review and formally established on 1 April of this year.

Following consultation with the trade unions and other interested parties, we have decided that the headquarters of the new agency should be established at the MoD's depot at Bicester in Oxfordshire, which will form a major part of the new agency.

Wales: SEN Pupil Expenditure

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish data for Wales showing, for state primary and secondary schools separately, the amount of money spent per pupil, the total amount of money spent and the percentage of the total budget spent on:


    (a) pupils with Special Educational Needs and with Statements of Special Educational Need; and


    (b) pupils with Special Education Needs but without Statements of Special Educational Need,


    in each of the years 1983 to 1998 showing data separately for boys, girls and all pupils and including, for each category of school, the number of schools and the number of pupils on roll.[HL2213]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Information in the form requested is not available centrally. The financial returns that local education authorities are required to prepare under Section 52 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 will make it possible from 1999-2000 onwards to identify the provision made for pupils with special educational needs at both local authority and school level. This matter will become the responsibility of the National Assembly for Wales.

Wales: Community Health Councils

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When more detail will be provided of the proposals for a reinvigorated model of federated Community Health Councils in Wales announced by the Secretary of State for Wales in March; and what arrangements are to be made for consultation on the detail of these proposals.[HL2238]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales has decided to develop a new and reinvigorated model of Community Health Councils (CHCs) whose roots are close to local people and their communities.

My right honourable friend is arranging an early meeting with Welsh CHCs to discuss these issues further.

Wales: SEN Pupil Numbers

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish data for Wales showing for comprehensive schools, modern schools, grammar schools and all state secondary schools separately, the percentage of pupils on roll and the percentage of all 16 year-old pupils in each of the years 1983 to 1998:


    (a) with Special Educational Needs and with Statements of Special Educational Need; and


    (b) with Special Educational Needs but without Statements of Special Educational Need,


    showing data separately for boys, girls and all pupils and including, for each category of school, the number of schools, the number of pupils on roll and the number of 16 year-old pupils; and[HL2233]

    Whether they will publish data for Wales showing, for all state primary schools, the percentage of pupils on roll in each of the years 1983 to 1998:


    (a) with Special Educational Needs and with Statements of Special Educational Need; and


    (b) with Special Educational Needs but without Statements of Special Educational Need,


    showing data separately for boys, girls and all pupils and including the number of schools and the total number of pupils on roll.[HL2234]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Table 1 shows the percentage of full and part time children on roll in maintained and independent schools with statements of special educational needs (SEN). Figures are not available prior to 1984. The data available centrally do not distinguish whether such pupils are educated in the primary or secondary school sectors, the gender of the pupils, or separately identify 16 year-olds. There are no grammar or modern schools in Wales. Information is not collected on the number of pupils with special educational needs who do not have a statement of special educational needs.

Since January 1994, the Schools' Census has collected information about the gender of pupils with statements by school sector. Figures readily available, for 1998 only, on the number of pupils with statements of special educational needs in primary and secondary schools, analysed by gender, are given in Table 2. Again, these figures relate to pupils of all ages.

11 May 1999 : Column WA139

Table 1

YearNumber of full and part time pupils (a)Number of pupils with a statement of SEN (b)Percentage of pupils with a statement
1984510,45912,5862.47
1985503,21011,8332.35
1986494,63312,2142.47
1987487,41213,1632.70
1988480,80411,7282.44
1989480,24611,7422.44
1990480,27911,3932.37
1991481,57713,2752.76
1992486,97814,2972.94
1993492,90115,9403.23
1994498,08116,3003.27
1995504,34114,5212.88
1996507,76615,4303.04
1997509,67316,6623.27
1998511,89817,2933.38

(a) At January, in maintained and independent schools.

Source: Schools' Census.

(b) Source: Forms 21M and STATS2 returns from LEAs.


Table 2

Number Number with a statement of SEN
Sectorof schoolsBoysGirlsTotal
Primary1,6694,3701,8406,210
Secondary2284,8281,8786,706


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