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The following items are from Children & Parliament, Autumn 1996. Children & Parliament is an abstracting service based on Hansard and published fortnightly by the National Children’s Bureau while parliament is sitting. It covers all parliamentary business affecting children and is produced in either printed or CD-ROM form. Both are available on subscription from the Library and Information Service, National Children’s Bureau, 8 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7QE (tel: +44(0)171 843 6035). (The Hansard reference is given first followed by the issue number and date of Children & Parliament.)

Measures announced in the Queen’s Speech of October 1996 include the Education Bill allowing more pupil selection in grant maintained schools, nurseries in such schools, and Ofsted inspection of local education authorities, and bills aimed at maintaining closer supervision of sex offenders.

Between 1990 and 1995 the number of twins born annually in the UK rose from 8932 to 9889 and of triplets from 222 to 318, although the number of completed pregnancies fell from 792 924 to 725 338. There was no appreciable trend in higher order births. The contribution of infertility treatments to these figures is not clear. (14 Oct 96, Cols 700, 748-9, 695; 243, 5.11.96)

A 1969 Act made it illegal to tattoo anybody under the age of 18 but other forms of body piercing are permitted. The Law Commission is reviewing the subject. (5 Nov 96, Col 435-436; 244, 19.11.96)

The number of 15 or 16 year olds remanded to adult prisons in England and Wales was 134 in 1991 and 216 in 1995. Nobody knows how long they spent there. (7 Nov 96, Col 639-640; 244, 19.11.96)

Adopted children who are born British nationals keep that nationality whatever the nationalities of their adoptive parents and can only renounce it themselves as adults. (12 Nov 96, Col 127; 245, 3.12.96)

In 1982 there were 692 127 live births in Great Britain; the number rose steadily to 772 113 in 1990 and has since then gradually fallen to 708 189 by 1995. (12 Nov 96, Col 177-178; 245, 3.12.96)

Of 12 European Union countries for which data are available, five give better overall unemployment figures than the UK and four give better youth employment figures. (12 Nov 96, Col 139; 245, 3.12.96)

There were 454 SIDS deaths in 1994 and 398 in 1995. (25 Nov 96, Col 124; 246, 17.12.96)

In 1967 in England and Wales there were 792 offences involving the use of a firearm; by 1977 the figure was 5302. In 1987 it was 9002 and by 1992 it had reached 13 305. It has stayed more or less steady since then. (25 Nov 96, Col 4-5; 246, 17.12.96)

In the 14 health regions of England in 1994 the proportion of babies weighing less than 1500 g at birth who survived to four weeks varied from 76 to 87%. (4 Dec 96, Col 689-90; 246, 17.12.96)

The unemployment rate for 16–24 year olds in Great Britain was 10.0% in 1990, 15.3% in 1995, and 14.8% in 1996. The figures are currently greater for London than for the rest of England and Wales. (27 Nov 96, Col 302-303; 246, 17.12.96)

The proportion of children staying on at school to the age of 18 has risen from 15% in 1979 to 40% in 1995. (10 Dec 96, Col 110; 247, 07.01.97)

In England 20 new paediatric intensive care beds and eight high dependency beds were in use by November 1996 and a further eight intensive care and two high dependency beds were planned to open by April 1997. (16 Dec 96, Col 457; 247, 07.01.97)

The number of deaths from ecstasy poisoning in England and Wales each year from 1991 to 1995 was six, five, 12, 10, and 15. (16 Dec 96, Col 434-436; 247, 07.01.97)

The number of pupils taking free school meals in England has risen gradually from 1 001 968 in 1992 to 1 260 426 in 1996. (9 Dec 96, Col 13-14; 247, 07.01.97)

In 1990 13.6% of the males and 15.2% of the females found guilty of or cautioned for indictable offences in London were aged 16 or under. In 1995 it was 12% and 18%. The number of girl offenders aged 12–16 was 1906 in 1990 and 2323 in 1995. (10 Dec 96, Col 147-148; 247, 07.01.97)

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