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Hong Kong: Fifth Report

Baroness Rendell of Babergh asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The fifth report in this series, covering the period January-June 1999, was published today and a copy of the report has been placed in the Library. The report includes a foreword written by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. I commend the report to the House.

Syrian President's Meeting with Lord Levy

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I understand from Lord Levy that he had never met President Asad before 7 June. Our Ambassador has met President Asad six times.

Lord Levy's Visit to Jordan

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The guests at the Ambassador's lunch for Lord Levy on 6 June were senior members of parliament, a deputy prime minister and senior Jordanian officials. No business people were invited.

Cabinet Members' Scottish Responsibilities

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list those members of the Cabinet whose departmental responsibilities extend to Scotland.[HL3533]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office, (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The UK Government retains responsibility in Scotland for those matters which have not been devolved to Scottish Ministers. Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998 sets out which matters are not devolved, though certain ministerial functions may be the subject of executive devolution under Section 63 of the Act. UK Ministers also share certain devolved functions with Scottish Ministers by virtue of Section 56 of the Act.

The following members of the Cabinet have departmental responsibilities which extend to Scotland:


    The Prime Minister


    The Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions


    The Chancellor of the Exchequer


    The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs


    The Secretary of State for the Home Department


    The Secretary of State for Education and Employment


    The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster


    The Secretary of State for Defence


    The Secretary of State for Health


    The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport


    The Secretary of State for International Development


    The Secretary of State for Social Security


    The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food


    The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry


    The Chief Secretary to the Treasury


    The Secretary of State for Scotland.

Ageism in Politics

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to prevent ageism in politics.[HL3548]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Politics in the UK already benefits from the participation of people of all ages. The law sets down some minimum ages for participation in the political process but no maxima.

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Freedom of speech is an important element of that process. It is not clear that government action is either necessary or likely to be effective in this undefined and unquantified area.

Baltic States: Chief of Defence Staff's Visit

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Charles Guthrie, visited Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; and whether, as a result of the visit, additional resources will be made available to assist the Baltic States in their quest to improve their defence capability and to join NATO.[HL3591]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): In response to invitations from their Chiefs of Defence, the UK Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Charles Guthrie, visited Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, from 6 to 8 July. The main aims of the visit were: to demonstrate the UK's continuing support for each country's programme of reform and reorganisation of its defence structures; to convey our support for the preparations they are making to implement the NATO Membership Action Plan, and to discuss developments in Kosovo.

The UK has well developed bilateral programmes of assistance in the defence field with each of the Baltic States. These are tailored to each country's own priorities and are designed to aid implementation of the Membership Action Plan. The UK is also committed to involvement in a range of multilateral defence projects with the Baltic States. We have no specific plans to make additional resources available as a direct result of General Guthrie's visit. We will, however, continue to keep our defence assistance programmes under review and will give positive consideration to specific requests for further help.

Kosovo

Lord Selkirk of Douglas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will specify the damage inflicted by NATO on Serbian military vehicles, including tanks and trucks, and artillery within Kosovo in recent months.[HL3667]

Lord Gilbert: A full assessment of the damage inflicted on Serbian military vehicles is under way.

Lord Selkirk of Douglas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Kosovar civilians have lost their lives as a result of attacks by Serbian armed forces or paramilitary personnel; and, if official figures are not available, what is their estimate of the numbers concerned.[HL3666]

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Lord Gilbert: Now that NATO forces are in Kosovo, a thorough investigation in support of the International War Crimes Tribunal is under way to establish the full extent of civilian deaths in Kosovo as a result of Serbian attacks. We had previously estimated that about 10,000 Kosovar Albanian civilians had been killed by Serb forces since 24 March 1999.

School-related Revenue Grants to LEAs

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much each LEA in England is receiving, or will receive, from government sources in (a) 1998-99 and (b) 1999-2000 in aggregate revenue grants for school-related purposes, excluding revenue support grant, specifying the amount received from each funding source; and whether such amounts are included in that authority's Local Schools Budget or Individual Schools Budget.[HL3689]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): Details of revenue grants for school-related purposes, excluding school revenue support grant, received by each local education authority in England for 1998-99 and 1999-2000 are given in tables that have been placed in the Library. For the Standards Fund the figures include the Government's contribution only. In general, expenditure supported by specific grants falls within an authority's Local Schools Budget (LSB) if it relates to primary or secondary education. Capital expenditure, however, is excluded from the LSB, as is recurrent expenditure on nursery school and non-school provision for under five's. Under the Financing of Maintained Schools Regulations 1999, specific grant-supported expenditure may be deducted by an LEA from its LSB in arriving at the amount to be delegated to schools through the Individual Schools Budget (ISB); authorities may, however, delegate specific grant funding via the ISB if this is compatible with the conditions attaching to the grant in question. Under the Local Management of School (LMS) legislation in force in 1998-99, delegation via the Aggregated Schools Budget was prohibited in the case of most specific grants, and capital expenditure fell within the General Schools Budget. The comparative table of local education authority expenditure published by the Department for Education and Employment on 24 June showed what percentage of each authority's Local Schools Budget is being delegated to schools in 1999-2000. For this purpose, delegated funding comprised the Individual Schools Budget, together with that part of the Standards Fund programme each authority is devolving to its schools.

School-related Capital Grants to LEAs

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much each local education authority in England is receiving, or will receive, from government sources in (a) 1998-99 and (b) 1999-2000 in the form of capital grants for school-related purposes, excluding capital

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    payments and debt charges met from revenue support grant, and specifying the amount received from each funding source.[HL3690]

Baroness Blackstone: The information requested is contained in a number of tables, copies of which have been placed in the Library.


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