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European Studies: Higher Education Institutions

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Data are not held centrally for courses

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on European studies. The table shows the number of students on courses covering European languages, literature and culture. Higher education institutions in England receive recurrent public support in the form of a block grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). Institutions set their

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own priorities for how that grant is spent. Birmingham University has supported its European Research Institute through a capital grant from the Joint Infrastructure Fund, now succeeded by the Science Research Infrastructure Fund (SRIF) administered by HEFCE. Universities receive a formulae allocation from SRIF and choose themselves how to spend it.

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Numbers for students engaged in courses in European languages, literature and culture (UK)

Post graduateUnder graduateTotalPost graduateUnder graduateTotalPost graduateUnder graduateTotal
Slavonic and East- European313383695039544548317365
Other European6034,1544,7576404,1004,7404912,6103,101

Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency data.

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Department for Education and Skills Special Advisers

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many non-civil servant advisers have been employed in the Department for Education and Skills to assist Ministers since May 1997; and how many remain on the payroll. [HL241]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: It might be helpful if I say that non-civil servants in the deparment fall into three categories: secondees; self-employed people with whom we contract; and consultants with whose firms we contract. Only exceptionally are they reimbursed through the payroll. Special advisers brought in to advise Ministers are civil servants for the term of their employment and are therefore excluded from the reply.

Three non-civil servants, of whom two remain on the payroll, have been employed in the Department for Education and Skills and the former Department for Education and Employment since May 1997. All other people on the department's payroll are civil servants for the term of their employment.

Overseas Residents' Visits

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many overseas residents' visits were made to the United Kingdom in (a) the first and (b) the second quarters of 2000.[HL203]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The number of overseas residents' visits to the United Kingdom (a) was 4.6 million in the first quarter of 2002 and (b) 6.3 million in the second quarter of 2002.

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North/South Ministerial Council

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ensure that any arrangements made in the North/South Ministerial Council during direct rule will be accountable, open and transparent and handled on the British side by politicians and not civil servants. [HL61]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: By an agreement due to come into force in early December, contained in an exchange of letters on 19 November, the British Government and the Irish Government have agreed that decisions of the North/South Ministerial Council during suspension will be made by the two governments. That agreement also provides that any reference in the Implementation Bodies Agreement to the assembly shall be read as a reference to the United Kingdom Parliament. Accordingly, any reports and statements which are required by that agreement to be laid before the assembly shall, during suspension, be laid before Parliament.

A copy of the exchange of the letters has been placed in the Library.

Life Peerages

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Chancellor on 10 June (WA 1-2):

    (a) how many life peers there are in each of the three parties and on the Cross-Benches; and

    (b) if no further life peers are created, what statistically would the number in each party be likely to be in each of the next 30 years. [HL97]

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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The number of life peers in each of the parties on 7 October was:

    Conservative 168

    Labour 187

    Liberal Democrat 60

    Cross-Bench 144 1

    1 includes nine "other" peers not affiliated to any major grouping.

    Source: House of Lords Information Office website.

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The likely strength of these four groupings over the next 30 years is set out in the attached table. In fact, however, there are presently in the House of Lords in addition to life peers, 92 hereditary peers, of whom 90 break down as follows:

    Conservative 49

    Labour 4

    Liberal Democrat 5

    Cross-Bench 32

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    Survival of life peers by party

    Lib Dem60595856545352504948

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    Lib Dem44434240393736343331

    Lib Dem30292725242321201817

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Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Chancellor on 24 July (WA 73), whether they will make it clear to all persons recommended for the grant of a life peerage that the peerage so granted may be time-limited if Recommendation 103 in the report of the Royal Commission on Reform of the House of Lords is implemented.[HL165]

The Lord Chancellor: The Government have asked a Joint Committee of both Houses to look at the options for House of Lords reform. The Government are not seeking to influence the debate on the Joint Committee's deliberations, which will be the subject of a free vote in both Houses. It would not be appropriate in those circumstances for the Government to comment on an issue of detail based on a hypothetical situation.

Speaker's Committee: Electoral Commmission Investigation into Compulsory Voting

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What recommendations have been made by the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission investigation into compulsory voting[HL201]

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The Lord Chancellor: The noble Lord may wish to write to the Chairman of the Electoral Commission on this matter. My department has no responsibility for the Speaker's Committee or for the activities of the Electoral Commission. Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, the Speaker's Committee is required to report to the House of Commons on the exercise by it of the functions conferred on it by that Act. The committee's first report was laid before the House of Commons on 28 November.

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