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Baroness Amos: The conflict in Sri Lanka, which has escalated recently, has been ongoing for many years. DFID has been providing assistance to non-governmental and international organisations which provide relief and rehabilitation directly to those affected. In 1999-2000 almost £3.5 million was channelled through Save the Children, OXFAM, UNICEF, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Marie Stopes International. We expect to provide at least a similar amount this year.
Baroness Amos: We have agreed to provide technical assistance to assist the administration to prepare some of the key reforms which would enable the UK and multilateral institutions to re-engage in Pakistan.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): I am pleased to be able to announce that I have today signed the civil law convention during the course of the Conference of the European Ministers of Justice.
The Government have strongly supported the programme of action undertaken by the Council of Europe in the fight against corruption. The civil law convention is an innovative and important international legal instrument which will enable
The Attorney-General (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The report by his Honour Gerald Butler QC was delivered on 14 April. On 22 July 1999 (Official Report, House of Commons, cols. 608-9) my predecessor as Attorney-General indicated the Government's intention to make a summary of the report and its recommendations available to both Houses. In the event, it is possible to make the report available in full, and I have therefore today lodged a copy of the report in the Libraries of both Houses, together with a copy of the Government's response. In addition, the summary included in the report and the inquiry's recommendations, together with the Government's response to them, are being made publicly available on the HM Customs and Excise Internet site [http://www.hmce.gov.uk], and copies of the full report will be available on request to HM Customs and Excise at a cost of £8.
With the agreement of the Chairman of Customs and Excise Commissioners, His Honour John Gower QC, assisted by Sir Anthony Hammond KCB QC, has agreed to carry out an immediate review of the role of Customs as a prosecuting authority. The terms of reference are:
The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The types of cars used are a matter for individual government departments, which are responsible for ensuring that they achieve value for money. The information requested by the noble Lord on the makes of cars used is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Both the British and the Irish Governments are fully committed to the Belfast Agreement and all of the principles contained within it, including the concept of parity of esteem.
The Government's aim is to provide accurate and full answers to all Questions for Written Answer tabled in the House of Lords within 14 days. In the majority of cases this target is met. However, some questions which need close co-ordination between various departments and which also lie within a fast moving policy area may not always meet this target.
I have looked at the seven questions to which the noble Lord refers and all but one fall into this category. The exception was due to a failure of communcation between departments. We have tightened up the system and will continue to do so as much as possible.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: No education and library board offers assessment by an educational psychologist solely on a restricted or fixed quota basis, though all boards, except the southern and south-eastern education and library boards, operate priority systems. The arrangements vary from board to board but, in general, pupils who are being assessed with an eye to a statement of special educational needs, at stage 4 of the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice, are given priority over pupils who require a diagnostic assessment at stage 3 of the code. The southern and south-eastern boards operate on a first come, first served referral system. In every board area emergency referrals are seen on an ad hoc basis.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Belfast Education and Library Board operates a peripatetic support service for children with dyslexia; in the current year 142 pupils are receiving individual tuition in their schools from the service, which is also providing advice and support to the teachers of a further 42 pupils. In addition, the service operates a weekly open clinic in Ulidia Teachers' Centre where teachers can receive advice on teaching dyslexic pupils. A further 60 children with more extreme dyslexia problems are provided with a one-year part-time intensive reading course at one of the board's three reading units. In addition to the peripatetic support service, outreach teachers from the reading units support some 500 pupils with serious reading difficulties, including dyslexia, with twice-weekly individual tuition in their own schools. The children who receive the above supports have all been assessed by an educational psychologist.
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