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Special Educational Needs Regulations

Baroness Darcy De Knayth asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The legal duty remains the same. The changes proposed to the regulations and code of practice are intended to simplify the language used.

Age Diversity in Employment

Baroness Greengross asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Blackstone: The Government have always made clear that the evaluation of the code of practice on Age Diversity in Employment and other research will inform any plans for future legislation.

We have in place a comprehensive research programme, including an economic impact assessment, which is looking at the economic, financial and practical implications of partly or fully implementing age legislation modelled on the code. Other research includes looking at the reasons why other countries have introduced age legislation and how successful it has been in altering the labour market position of older people.

Findings from all our research will be published during 2001.

Special Educational Needs and Disability Rights in Education Bill

Lord Baker of Dorking asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Blackstone: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment announced on 21 June (Official Report, col. 209W) that we will publish the draft Special Educational Needs and Disability Rights in Education Bill in the

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current parliamentary Session and that we will introduce the Bill as soon as parliamentary time allows. This remains our intention.

Sex Discrimination by Public Authorities

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to introduce measures to make it unlawful for public authorities in the United Kingdom to exercise their public functions in a way which is indirectly discriminatory against women or men respectively.[HL3757]

Baroness Blackstone: Yes. When legislative time permits we will make it unlawful for public authorities generally to discriminate directly or indirectly on grounds of sex in the exericise of their functions.

Equal Opportunities: Promotion by Public Authorities

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to introduce measures to impose a duty on public authorities in Great Britain to promote equality of opportunity and treatment for both sexes and for the disabled.[HL3758]

Baroness Blackstone: The Government are committed to introducing a statutory duty on public authorities to promote equal opportunities between women and men and for disabled people when parliamentary time permits.

Seasonal Workers: Benefit Access

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What studies they have conducted into the difficulties seasonal workers experience in signing on and off benefit.[HL3751]

Baroness Blackstone: No specific studies have been conducted, but the Government have accepted Lord Grabiner's recommendation that it should be made easier for all people to resume their claim for Jobseeker's Allowance after a short period in work. This department is working with the Department of Social Security to take this commitment forward.

Employment Service: Discretionary Powers

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Over what areas of provision of help to those seeking work the Employment Service has discretion.[HL3750]

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Baroness Blackstone: Advisers have some discretion in deciding eligibility for entry to the New Deal but not for the other programmes designed for unemployed people seeking work. Once a client is accepted as eligible for an Employment Service programme, advisers have considerable discretion in agreeing the mix of provision best suited to that individual.

Sudan: Truck Export Licences

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the goods which were given Standard Individual Export Licences for Sudan were in contravention of the European Union arms embargo on Sudan; and[HL3795]

    Whether they will not allow any further export of goods on the military list to Sudan until there is peace.[HL3796]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We believe that the EU arms embargo on arms, munitions and military equipment in relation to Sudan should remain in place as long as the civil war continues. The UK fully implements and enforces this embargo. We have taken a national decision to interpret the embargo as covering all items on the Military List.

In 1999, we exceptionally approved the export to Sudan of three ex-MoD Bedford trucks which had been stripped and painted white. These were for the use of humanitarian agencies operating in southern Sudan for the delivery of food and other assistance to help alleviate the suffering of which we are all aware. This decision in no way affects our commitment to full implementation and enforcement of the EU embargo.

The exports were announced to Parliament in a reply I gave to the noble Baroness, Lady Massey, on 2 December 1999, (Official Report, col.WA 65); and in a letter which my honourable friend the Minister of State, Peter Hain, wrote to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on 11 August 1999.

European Convention on Human Rights: Protocol No. 12

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the final text of Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights; and when the Protocol will be opened for signature and ratification by the Contracting States to the European Convention.[HL3754]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Copies of the provisional text of Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights will be placed in the Library. The Protocol will be opened for signature on 4 November 2000.

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Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to sign and ratify Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights.[HL3755]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have no plans at present to sign and ratify Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Sudan: the Gunboat "Melik"

Lord Ahmed asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations they have made to the Sudanese Government about the possible temporary repatriation of and renovation of the gunboat "Melik".[HL3717]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: None. The "Melik" remains on the banks of the Nile in Khartoum and is a part of Sudanese history.

Sudan: Aerial Bombing

Lord Ahmed asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations they have made to the government of Sudan about aerial bombings in the Nuba mountains.[HL3721]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have raised the general issue of aerial bombing with the Government of Sudan on many occasions, most recently with the Sudanese Foreign Minister during his visit to London in July. We have also raised the case of the bombing of a school in the Nuba Mountains with them.

President Bashir has announced that he has ordered the cessation of aerial bombing of targets in the South except where there is active fighting under way. We welcome this and look to the Government of Sudan to honour it.

Sudan: Ballistic Missile Plant

Lord Ahmed asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 10 April (WA 1), what evidence they have to support the allegation that a ballistic missile plant is being built in Sudan.[HL3746]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are aware that allegations have been made to this effect but have no evidence that a ballistic missile plant is being built in Sudan. We remain deeply concerned about the ongoing war in Sudan, and will therefore continue to monitor such allegations closely.

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Chinese Nationals: Visit Visa Applications

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the present year and for the two previous years on a quarterly basis, how many applications for entry visas to visit the United Kingdom were made by Chinese nationals, including residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; and how many were approved and rejected.[HL3662]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Applicants for visit visas may apply at any British diplomatic post providing a full entry clearance service. Posts do not collect statistics based on the nationality of applicants. Only limited information is collated on the nationality of applicants applying in third countries. Consequently, worldwide figures for the number of Chinese nationals and residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region applying for visit visas at entry clearance posts are not available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. The following tables show the number of applications received, issued and refused in Peking, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong in the years 1998 and 1999 and for the first six months of 2000. The total of third country national applications for each full year, included in these figures, is identified. Because of the way in which statistics are gathered, a quarterly breakdown of applications received and issued is not possible before 1 January 2000, although quarterly refusal figures are available. 1998

Non settlement applications:

ReceivedIssued
Peking33,24527,544
Shanghai5,653n/a (computer problem)
Hong Kong11,27110,240

Non settlement applications refused:


Q1Q2Q3Q4
Peking676652720579
Shanghai1638153167
Hong Kong5768153149

A total of 7,294 applications were submitted in China by third country nationals in 1998. 1999

Non settlement applications:


ReceivedIssued
Peking34,83628,402
Shanghai8,2867,151
Hong Kong5,8894,833
Guangzhou4,1093,910

Non settlement applications refused:


Q1Q2Q3Q4
Peking5815466651,232
ShanghaiData not available because of
computer problems
Hong Kong1077112755
Guangzhou--662100

A total of 5,528 applications were submitted in China by third country nationals in 1999. 2000

Non settlement applications received:


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Q1Q2
Peking7,44010,627
Shanghai1,8625,766
Hong Kong1,1583,181
Guangzhou1,9683,587

Non settlement applications issued:


Q1Q2
Peking5,8438,374
Shanghai1,6823,462
Hong Kong1,0081,789
Guangzhou1,5012,775

Non settlement applications refused:


Q1Q2
Peking1,378829
Shanghai172202
Hong Kong5168
Guangzhou169327

The totals of applications received, issued and refused will not necessarily match. Applications can be carried over from one year to another and some applicants withdraw during the process.



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