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The following items are from Children & Parliament, Summer 1997. Children & Parliament is an abstracting service based on Hansard and produced by the National Children’s Bureau. It covers all parliamentary business affecting children and is available on subscription via the internet. TheChildren & Parliament website provides direct links to full text Hansard, government department sites, the sites of the Office for National Statistics, Ofsted, and other relevant organisations. For further details contact Lisa Payne, Editor,Children & Parliament, National Children’s Bureau, 8 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7QE (tel: +44(0)171 843 6000; fax: +44(0)171 278 9512). (The Hansard reference is given first followed by the date of Children & Parliament).

• The government intends to strengthen support for the International Labour Organisation’s efforts to end hazardous and exploitative child labour in developing countries and to promote universal primary education. The World Trade Organisation’s call for a human rights clause banning access to the most privileged terms of trade to countries where there is child labour (among other things) will also receive government support.

(21/22 May 97, Col 697-698, 93, 133; 03.06.97)

• The number of 5, 6, and 7 year olds in the UK is set to fall by about 142 000 by the year 2001, from 2.367 million to 2.225 million.

(22 May 1997, Col 119; 03.06.97)

• A ministerial group set up by the Home Secretary will look into the problem of alcoholic drinks which are directed at children. Alcohol levels of up to 4.5% have been found in ‘freezerpops’. The government wants the industry to take action but is prepared to act itself if the industry response is not satisfactory.

(5 Jun 97, Col 552; 9 Jun 97, Col 326; 12 Jun 97, Col 513; all 24.06.97)

• In moving responsibility for disability issues from the Department of Social Security to the Department of Education and Employment the government wishes to emphasise the point that people with disability should be thought of as able and willing to take advantage of education and employment opportunities and not as recipients of benefit. The minister for employment and disability rights will coordinate disability issues across government departments.

(3 Jun 97, Col 133-134; 24.06.97)

• The government plans to introduce a bill incorporating the main provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law, thus strengthening the rights of disabled people.

(9 Jun 97, Col 297; 24.06.97)

• A headcount of people sleeping rough in London on a single night in November 1996 produced a figure of 449. Under a Rough Sleepers Initiative over £17 million has been granted to voluntary organisations and housing associations in 12 towns and cities in England.

(11 Jun 97, Col 85-86 and 5 Jun 97, Col 224-225; 24.06.97)

• In England and Wales around 2% of live births are at home; in Scotland it is less than 1%.

(27 Jun 97, Col 661; 08.07.97)

• If a Bill amending present law goes through, local authorities will no longer be able to refuse services needed by chronically sick or disabled people on the grounds of lack of resources.

(17 Jun 97, Col 1111; 08.07.97)

• The proportion of gross domestic product spent on the NHS was around 3 to 4% in the 1950s and 60s, 4 to 5% in the 1970s, 5 to 5.5% in the 1980s and around 6% in the 1990s.

(25 June 97, Col 178-180; 08.07.97)

• The Office for National Statistics gets data from the National Congenital Anomaly System which has been in place since 1964. Between 1986 and 1995 the annual number of cases of Erb’s palsy notified in England and Wales varied between 21 and 37, giving a rate of 0.3 to 0.5 affected babies per 10 000 live and stillbirths.

(7 Jul 97, Col 319; 22.07.97)

• Data collected from general practice give a mean weekly incidence of newly diagnosed asthma in children under 15 in England of 58.6 per 100 000 population in 1979, rising to 242.8 by 1993 but falling back to 168.4 by 1996.

(21 Jul 97, Col 415-416; 05.08.97)

• In 1991 there were some 583 000 prescriptions for lotions for head lice. In 1996 there were 2 161 000. There have been 23 ‘yellow card’ reports involving malathion, 19 concerning children.

(16 Jul 97, Col 214-215; 05.08.97)

• A new government funded post of ‘Drug Csar’ has been advertised and 790 local projects have been funded recently under the drugs challenge fund.

(30 Jul 97, Col 39-40, 281-282; 19.08.97)

• Total NHS spending in 1978–9 was £6525 million (equivalent to £20 067 million in 1996–7 terms). For 1997–8 it is expected to be £35 948 million.

(28 Jul 97, Col 91-92; 19.08.97)

• The number of households for which local authorities in England undertook to find accommodation because of homelessness was 55 500 in 1979, 80 500 in 1984, 122 000 in 1989, 122 500 in 1994, and 117 000 in 1996.

(28 Jul 97, Col 44-46; 19.08.97)

• The proportion of young people in Great Britain going on to full time undergraduate education was 23% in 1991–2, 30% in 1993–4, and 32% in 1995–6. For those with parents in the professions the proportions in each of these years were 55, 73, and 79% and for those with partly skilled or unskilled parents 11, 14, and 16%.

31 Jul 97, Col 499-502; 19.08.97)

• Over the last five years or so the proportion of children in England who have had a first dose of MMR vaccine by their second birthday has run at 91–92%. Uptake figures for the preschool booster dose, recommended since October 1996, are not yet available.

(30 Jul 97, Col 65-66; 19.08.97)