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Written Answers

Volume 201: debated on Tuesday 14 January 1992

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 14 January 1992

Transport

Speed Limits

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the European Commission added speed limits to the draft directive on speed limiters.

The proposal for fitment of speed limiters to certain vehicles (Document 8046/91), including the speeds at which the limiters should be set, was sent by the Commission to the Council on 31 July 1991 and to member states on 11 September 1991.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) on what date the European Commission's speed limit proposal was communicated to (a) the Economic and Social Committee, (b) trade unions and (c) employers for their comments and advice;(2) when, and by what procedure, the European Parliament considered the European Commission's speed limit proposal.

The proposed EC directive on the fitment of speed limiters (Document 8046/91) was communicated to the European Parliament and to the Economic and Social Committee on 22 August 1991. My hon. Friend will note that this was about three weeks earlier than the communication to member states. The European Parliament gave its opinion on 13 December, and the Economic and Social Committee gave its opinion on 27 November. Both supported the principle of the proposal. The proposal was not formally communicated by the Commission to trade unions for comment, but both employers and employees interests are represented in the membership of the Economic and Social Committee.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate has been provided by the European Commission of the benefit in reduced numbers of crashes or reduced severity of injuries of the draft directive involving speed limiters.

The Commission proposal on the fitment of speed limiters (Document 8046/91) did not provide estimates of reduced numbers of accidents or severity of injuries.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the environmental benefits of reducing speed limits.

[holding answer 13 January 1992]: A reduction in speed limits would produce benefits only if it resulted in lower vehicle speeds. The principal environmental benefit of lower speed is a reduction in emissions. This is true of both motor vehicles and trains.

Crossrail

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when it is proposed to commence construction of Cross Rail.

As announced by the joint London Underground/British Rail CrossRail project team on 23 December, a review carried out by the Department of Transport and the operators recently concluded that the Private parliamentary Bill deposited last November would probably not he passed until late 1994. Construction might then be expected to begin in the financial year 1995–96, subject of course to the provision of resources.

National Dock Labour Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what developments have occurred in the former scheme ports since the abolition of the national dock labour scheme.

Since abolition, there has been 50 per cent. net reduction in the number of dockworkers in ex-scheme ports. Non-scheme ports, too, have had to review their working arrangements. Flexible working agreements, and the end of restrictive practices, are reported to have led, in some places, to 50 to 100 per cent. improvement in productivity. Management effort is no longer absorbed in industrial relations problems and it can concentrate on giving a better, cheaper service to customers. The competition among ports to provide faster turnround, at lower rates, benefits the whole economy as it prepares to enter the single European market. Trade has revived in major ports. For example. Bull has reopened its container terminal and the Alexandra dock. Prospects for attracting private capital and new industrial developments have improved, now that ports are free from the restrictions of the scheme. This investment will bring further benefits to the economy.

Ivanhoe Railway Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the proposed Ivanhoe passenger railway service from Leicester through South Derbyshire to Burton-on-Trent and Derby.

[holding answer 20 December 1991]: I am delighted that we are able to give the go-ahead to the Ivanhoe line project, which will mean the restoration of local train services over the lines between Loughborough, Leicester, Burton-on-Trent and Derby, and will involve the opening or reopening of 16 stations.It will provide an economic boost to the Leicestershire and Derbyshire communities through which the line passes and at the same time it should help ease peak traffic congestion in Leicester.The resources we are making available to this £16 million project (including a £5 million grant) will allow work to commence in 1992–93, and it is expected to take about three years to complete.This project is another demonstration of the Government's faith in rail as a means of local transport and is part of a continuing trend in railway development in the United Kingdom.

Attorney-General

Sunday Trading

To ask the Attorney-General if he will seek powers to challenge the ruling of the courts that any local authority seeking to enforce United Kingdom legislation on Sunday trading will have to give an undertaking to pay the losses of the defendant in the event of that legislation being found to be in contravention of the treaty of Rome.

I have no plans to seek the powers referred to by the hon. Member. I assume that he is referring to the recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Kirklees borough council v Wickes Building Supplies Ltd in which it was held that the Council was required to give a cross-undertaking in damages when seeking, by means of an interlocutory injunction, to enforce the Shops Act 1950. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on this decision because it is shortly to be appealed to the House of Lords.

Northern Ireland

Social Fund Manual

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has any plans to review the format of the social fund manual.

A revised social fund manual has just been published. The new manual consists of a series of smaller, easier to use guides and booklets which distinguish clearly between directions-guidance to social fund officers and procedural-administrative instructions. The opportunity has been taken to amend social fund direction 16 in line with Government policy that, as a general rule, students should not be funded through social security benefits. During term-time or vacations full-time students will be eligible for crisis loans in future only to alleviate the consequences of a disaster. Copies of the revised social fund manual have been placed in the Library.

Environment

Business Rates, Southend

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to ensure that all outstanding appeals against business rate valuations in Southend will be heard by the end of June 1992.

Responsibility for business rate appeals rests with valuation and community charge tribunals, which are independent bodies. The Essex (South) tribunal had 8,500 appeals outstanding against the 1990 list as at 30 November. Some 2,000 of these were in respect of properties in Southend. The prioritisation and timing of cases is a matter for the tribunal and I have no formal power to intervene. My Department nevertheless wrote to tribunals in England last June urging them to progress 1990 list appeals as quickly as possible.

Conservation Areas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he now proposes to revise the guidance given in circular 8/87 regarding demolition of industrial buildings in conservation areas.

Yes. My Department will be consulting local authority associations and other interested parties about a revised version of the circular in the spring.

Coventry Council (Finances)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the percentage change in the total external support for Coventry city council between financial years 1991–92 and 1992–93.

On the basis of the proposals put before the House on 26 November Coventry city council would have an increase in total external support of 6·9 per cent. between 1991–92 and 1992–93. It is intended that the final details for 1992–93 will be announced later this month.

"Age File The Facts"

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will obtain a copy of Anchor's report, "Age File The Facts" for his departmental library.

Sheltered Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the role of sheltered housing in community care.

Social services authorities will be responsible for community care assessments and are required to consult other agencies, including housing authorities, when drawing up their community care plans to meet the needs of their area. Similarly, housing authorities should consult social services authorities in preparing their own housing investment strategies each year. When making individual assessments for community care, social services authorities will be expected to involve the housing authority whenever an individual's assessment indicates a possible housing need.Not everyone who is assessed under the new community care arrangements will be in need of housing, there will be a majority who will be able to go on living in their existing homes with suitable domiciliary care or, perhaps, custom adaptations. Indeed the aim of community care is to allow people to stay in their existing homes wherever possible. Local authorities are able to award mandatory disabled facilities grants for essential adaptations where an applicant qualifies for help under the test of resources. Discretionary grants may also be available for other adaptations, including minor works assistance for the elderly.Where it is not possible for a person to stay in their own home it will be for social services in consultation with housing authorities to decide on the best way of meeting that person's needs. That may be in some form of sheltered housing. Sheltered housing will therefore be one of a range of housing options available.

Competitive Tendering

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his Department intends to issue regulations limiting the size of performance bonds that local authorities can require of contractors, with regard to compulsory competitive tendering; and whether he intends to consult with local authorities before issuing such regulations.

My right hon. Friend will consider, in the light of responses to paragraphs 1.21 and 1.29 of the consultation paper "Competing for Quality—Competition in the Provision of Local Services", whether, and if so, how, he should use his powers in clause 9 of the Local Government Bill, in relation to performance bonds. He will consult the local authority associations before using these powers.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) for how many services which his Department is currently considering as candidates for compulsory competitive tendering he intends to introduce de minimis provisions; what levels of de minimis will be set; and whether he intends to consult local authorities on this matter;(2) What advice his Department received with regard to the extension of compulsory competitive tendering on the issue of de minimis from PA Consulting Group; and what criteria will be used to determine de minimis levels.

PA Consulting Group reported to my Department, the Scottish Office and the Welsh Office last year on the feasibility of extending compulsory competitive tendering. That report is not being published.The question of whether there should be a level of activity below which the requirements for compulsory competitive tendering should not apply, and if so how that level will be defined, will be considered in the light of responses to the consultation document "Competing for Quality—Competition in the Provision of Local Services". I would expect to consult the local authority associations before defining any such level.

City Of Birmingham (Bankers)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied with the tendering procedures adopted by the city of Birmingham in appointing its bankers.

[holding answer 13 January 1992]: The tendering procedure adopted by an authority in appointing its bankers is a matter for it and for its auditor. Questions as to compliance with such procedures, which would be contained in the authority's standing orders and financial regulations, are for the authority's monitoring officer, appointed under section 5 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and may be referred to the authority's auditor. Both the monitoring officer and the auditor have statutory responsibilities in relation to the legality and propriety of an authority's decisions.

Home Department

Remand Prisoners, Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what was the average period of time remand prisoners are held in Durham prison before being brought to trial in the last two years for which figures are available;(2) how many people are currently held on remand in police cells in the county of Durham.

On Friday 10 January, two unconvicted prisoners, both under the age of 21, were held in police cells in the Durham constabulary area.Information on the average length of time served by prisoners in Durham prison who are remanded in custody is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Prosecution Of Juveniles

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what was, for each year since 1980, the percentage of cases brought against juveniles in which a conviction was secured;(2) what has been the number of cases in each year since 1980 in which police identified a juvenile or juveniles as having committed offences but in which

(a) the case was not brought to court or (b) the prosecution withdrew the case or offered no evidence or (c) the case was dismissed by the court.

Information is not collected centrally on the number of juvenile offenders identified by the police, for whom no court proceedings were taken. Information in the following tables show (A) the percentage of cases brought against juveniles where a conviction was secured; and (B) the number of juveniles proceeded against at magistrates courts where the case was either dismissed or withdrawn. 1990 data is not yet available.

Table A
Number and percentage of juveniles (persons aged 10 to under 17) prosecuted at magistrates' courts and convicted at all courts of indictable offences 1980–89
England and Wales
YearTotal proceeded against (= 100 per cent.)Total found guilty (number)Total found guilty 1(per cent.)
198098,00090,00092
198195,00087,00091
198290,00082,00091
198382,00073,00090
198478,00070,00089
198571,00063,00088
198657,00048,00084
198753,00042,00079
198848,00036,00077
198937,00026,00072
1 Percentages based on actual figures.

Table B

Number of juveniles (persons aged 10 to under 17) proceeded against at magistrates' courts for indictable offences where the charges were withdrawn or dismissed 1980–1989

England and Wales

Year

Total proceeded against

Charge withdrawn

Charge dismissed

198098,0002,0004,000
198195,0003,0004,000
198290,0003,0004,000
198382,0003,0003,000
198478,0004,0003,000
198571,0004,0003,000
198657,0005,0002,000
198753,0006,0002,000
198848,0006,0002,000
198937,0005,0002,000

Magistrates Courts (Delays)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what measures he is taking to reduce delays in proceedings in magistrates courts.

The problem of delays is a complex one which needs to be tackled in a variety of ways and which requires the active co-operation of all criminal justice agencies. Amonst the measures recently taken or now in hand to bring about reduction in delays are

  • the introduction of powers to enable magistrates courts to remand for up to 28 days, which should reduce unnecessary court hearings and encourage effective case management; a major programme of training, arranged by the Home Office in conjunction with the magistrates courts service, directed to helping court clerks to develop practical clerking skills and a proactive approach to the management of court business;
  • the issue in July 1991 of best practice guidance on listing of cases, supplementing earlier guidance on the best use of court clerk time;
  • the encouragement and monitoring of pre-trial reviews on an experimental basis in selected magistrates' courts;
  • action to follow up the report of the working group on pre-trial issues, as announced by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General on 11 November, in which the magistrates courts service will be asked to play its full part;
  • the start of direct data exchange between magistrates courts and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, to be extended in due course to all magistrates courts, which should reduce the time needed to obtain licensing information as well as reducing handling costs;
  • the development of national targets for improvements in performance, as part of the development of the magistrates courts management information system.
These are all important initiatives which we hope will contribute to speedier and more effective local justice.

Trade And Industry

Textile Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to make an announcement on the RETEX scheme to help areas hit by decline of the textile industries.

On 20 December the European Commission agreed a draft proposal for a RETEX scheme on which it will invite comments from member states and the European Parliament in the coming weeks. I have not yet received the draft proposal. The Government will naturally seek to ensure the maximum effective coverage of United Kingdom textile areas.

National Telephone Codes

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 5 December 1991, Official Report, column 205, if he will list those organisations which have expressed concern about the time allowed for the 1994 changes in national telephone codes.

The Director General of Telecommunications, who is responsible for numbering, has not taken a final decision on the transitional period for implementation of the national code change in 1994. I have asked the Director General to write to the hon. Member giving further information concerning the transitional arrangements and any representations he may have received.

Plugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will introduce regulations to require the fitting of plugs to all electrical equipment before the point of sale.

As part of a review of the Plugs and Sockets Etc (Safety) Regulations 1987, my Department is currently considering whether legislative controls should be introduced requiring the fitting of plugs to domestic electrical appliances before they are supplied to the consumer.

Hearing Aids

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will institute an inquiry into the profit margins of hearing aid manufacturers; and if he will discuss the prices of non-national health service hearing aids with the organisations of and for disabled people.

[holding answer 13 January 1992]: No. It is the responsibility of the Director General of Fair Trading to monitor commercial activities affecting consumers. He may conduct an inquiry to establish whether there are sufficient grounds for formal investigation under competition legislation. If the right hon. Member has information that suggests there are anti-competitive practices, he should bring it to the attention of the Director General.

Prime Minister

Constituencies

To ask the Prime Minister what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards equalising the size of parliamentary constituencies; and if he will make a statement.

When conducting a review of parliamentary constituencies, the parliamentary boundary commissions are required to give effect to the rules set out in schedule 2 to the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, which include a requirement that constituency electorates should be as close as practicable to the electoral quota for that part of the United Kingdom.

Engagements

To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 14 January.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today.

National Finance

Bank Of England

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the relevant primary and secondary legislation governing relations with the Bank of England.

Principal legislation governing relations between the Treasury and Bank of England includes the Bank Charter Act 1844, the Exchequer and Audit Departments Act 1866, the Currency and Bank Notes Act 1928, the Bank of England Act 1946, the Currency and Bank Notes Act 1954, the National Loans Act 1968, the Currency Act 1983 and the Banking Act 1987. The Bank of England Charter of 1946 is also of relevance.I regret that to compile a comprehensive list of relevant legislation in all fields would involve a disproportionate expenditure of time and resources.

'Trade Deficit

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the United Kingdom's current trade deficit.

The information may be found in table I of the monthly press notice on the current account of the balance of payments, published on 23 December 1991, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

British Telecommunications Plc

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a further statement on the outcome of the Government's sale of part of its residual shareholding in British Telecommunications plc.

As I announced on 9 December at column 299, Her Majesty's Treasury made a total of 1,050 million shares available to applicants in the United Kingdom public offer and 525 million shares to bidders in the international tender offer. In addition, S G Warburg Securities had the option to acquire further shares from Her Majesty's Treasury, up to a maximum of 118·125 million shares, for the purpose of meeting overallotments in the international tender offer.On 7 January, S G Warburg Securities, as global co-ordinator for the sale, acquired a further 22·5 million shares from Her Majesty's Treasury, pursuant to this option. This brings to 547·5 million the total number of shares sold by Her Majesty's Treasury in the international tender offer and to 1,597·5 million the total size of the BT share sale.The shares sold in the international tender offer were distributed across the 10 regional syndicates in the following proportions:

Percentage
United Kingdom63·6
United States17·6
Japan5·3
Switzerland4·9
Rest of the World2·6
France1·5
Germany1·4
Italy1·4
Canada1·1
Benelux0·6
100·0
Following the exercise of the option granted to the global co-ordinator, the Government will hold some 1,343·5 million shares in British Telecommunications plc (approximately 22 per cent. of the total currently in issue), before deducting any shares which may he needed to meet share bonus entitlements under the United Kingdom public offer.Total gross proceeds from the sale of the offered shares amount to £5·43 billion, of which some £1·84 billion are received in this financial year.

Parliamentary Questions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has any proposals to raise the advisory cost limit of £250 for answering parliamentary questions.

Yes. The advisory limit was last increased in 1988 Official Report 14 March 1988 col. 429. Its purpose is to act as a threshold for disproportionate cost PQs. Any written PQ where the marginal cost of preparing the answer is considered likely to exceed the threshold may be referred to the appropriate Minister and an answer may be refused in whole or in part on the ground of disproportionate cost. Alternatively the Minister may decide that the PQ is to be answered irrespective of cost.This threshold applies to the marginal cost and not the full cost of a written PQ. For the marginal cost, the divisional costs of preparing the answer are estimated—i.e. the costs in divisions (without taking account of the standing cost of parliamentary branches). The fixed cost of staff accommodation is also excluded from this marginal cost calculation and this also contributes to ease of calculation in Departments.When the threshold was last increased in 1988, the average marginal cost was £33 and the £250 threshold was a multiple of nearly eight times the average. A survey of costs in 1991 has shown that the average marginal cost of a written PQ is now £50. To reflect this the advisory limit is being raised today to £400 so that the same multiple of eight times the average will apply. There is no advisory cost limit for oral parliamentary questions.

Government Deficit And Debt

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the ratio, expressed as a percentage of (a) the actual Government deficit and (b) Government debt to the gross domestic product at then market prices in each year since 1970.

[holding answer 13 January 1992]:There are a number of different ways of measuring the Government deficit and Government debt. Presentation of the public sector finances in the United Kingdom is generally in terms of the public sector borrowing requirement (PSBR) and net public sector debt.PSBR statistics on the basis requested were given in reply to the right hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Stepney (Mr. Shore) on 2 December 1991, Official Report. column 38. Figures for net public sector debt, which are available only from end-March 1975 onwards, are given in the table.

Net public sector debt as percentage of GDP1
Per cent.
197561·00
197659·00
197757·75
197854·00
197950·75
198046·25
198147·75
198247·25
198346·25
198446·75
198547·00
198645·25
198742·75
198838·25
198932·00
199027·75
199127·25
1 Stock of debt as at 31 March expressed as a percentage of GDP adjusted for the abolition of domestic rates in the year centred on that date.

Mortgage Rescue Proposals

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will specify the basis of his calculation that his mortgage rescue proposals will protect 40,000 households next year; and what information he has of the number of households facing repossession next year.

[holding answer 13 January 1992]: Lenders themselves have estimated that the measures announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor on 19 December will prevent about 40,000 repossessions this year. They were previously expecting about 80,000 repossessions in 1992.

Wales

District Health Authorities

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to amalgamate the district health authorities in Wales to enable them to exercise greater purchasing power.

Third Dee Crossing

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will meet the Deeside Enterprise Trust to discuss traffic congestion, as it affects Deeside industrial park, and the need for a third Dee crossing;(2) if he will meet the North Wales Confederation of British Industry to discuss the need for a third Dee crossing;(3) if he will meet the North Wales Confederation of Engineering and other unions to discuss the need for a third Dee crossing.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave him on 20 December at column 361. The meeting arranged for 28 January will provide an opportunity to discuss all issues associated with the third Dee crossing scheme.

Nhs Trusts

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list all the figures offered or given by his Department to each hospital, unit or combination of units in Wales towards the cost of drawing up any application for trust status or any other ways of promoting a move to trust status.

A contribution of £50,000 was provided to Pembrokeshire health authority. As to elsewhere in Wales, those units recently invited to prepare applications to become NHS trusts in April 1993 are aware that financial assistance is available to help with the process. Any bids received will be considered on their individual merits.

Child Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his target for next year and for each of the next five years as to the percentage of children between the age of three and school age in (a) Wales and (b) each county in Wales for whom he wishes to see child care provision from public funds.

Section 19 of the Children Act 1989 places a duty on local social services authorities to review day care services for young children in their areas, including the level of public provision. Each local authority is required to conduct a review and to publish its results within a year of the Act's implementation (14 October 1991). Further reviews are to be undertaken at three-yearly intervals. Guidance to the authorities on the exercise of this review duty is contained in chapter 9 of volume 2 of "The Children Act: Guidance and Regulations—Family Support, Day Care and Educational Provision for Young Children."

Common Agricultural Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimates he has made of the likely effects on Welsh sheep producers of the MacSharry proposals to reform the common agricultural policy; and if he will make a statement.

The European Commission's CAP reform proposals would, if implemented as they stand, discriminate against producers in Wales. The proposed headage limits for the sheep annual premium would affect 15 per cent. of sheep in Wales compared with 3 per cent. in the European Community as a whole. I welcome the Commission's acceptance that reform is necessary but this must be on the basis of non-discrimination, budget discipline, control of surpluses and policies which are sensitive to the environment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he next expects to meet Mr. MacSharry, the EC Agricultural Commissioner, to discuss reform of the common agricultural policy and its effects on Welsh farming; and if he will make a statement.

I met Commissioner MacSharry on 22 November when I explained very clearly how the Commission's CAP reform proposals would discriminate against producers in Wales. Mr. MacSharry fully understands my view of the impact of the Commission's proposals.

Prescriptions

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) how many prescriptions have been issued in each of the last five years in each (a) county and (b) family practitioner committee area in Wales;

FHSA/County19861987198819891990
Clwyd3,568,3063,732,3563,895,3694,051,9264,139,001
Dyfed2,889,1053,002,1683,160,2233,312,8233,428,631
Gwent4,264,5734,428,7954,599,4064,731,0334,832,110
Gwynedd2,179,2842,274,8072,366,7112,445,5122,514,387
Mid Glamorgan5,755,1275,969,1386,183,3306,293,5346,409,798
Powys871,922912,978963,3711,005,5971,039,585
South Glamorgan3,434,9253,584,3443,725,4503,822,9143,939,695
West Glamorgan3,667,2643,792,9003,943,4934,014,7074,072,873

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales for what proportion of prescriptions in each (a) county and (b) family practitioner area in Wales the patient has been liable to make full payment in each of the last five years.

Percentage of prescriptions bearing full charge
FHSA/County19861987198819891990
Clwyd13·012·712·412·211·5
Dyfed14·713·813·413·112·5
Gwent13·312·712·512·211·5
Gwynedd11·811·611·211·110·5
Mid Glamorgan11·210·710·510·39·6
Powys11·711·311·110·810·3
South Glamorgan14·313·613·212·912·3
West Glamorgan12·612·011·511·310·7

Bbc Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what changes there will be in the pay and terms and conditions of employment of Dr. Gwyn Jones as chairman of the Welsh Development Agency subsequent to his appointment as chairman-elect of the BBC Wales board of governors.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 December 1991, col 360.]: I have considered with Dr. Jones what changes should be made to the terms and conditions of his employment in his capacity of chairman of the Welsh Development Agency (WDA).Dr. Jones was originally appointed as chairrman of the WDA on the basis of a commitment of two and a half days a week. In June 1989 this was increased to four days a week so that he would be able to oversee the establishment of Welsh Development International and personally lead the drive for inward investment into Wales. Under his leadership, the last two and a half years has been a period of considerable achievement for Wales in inward investment and I congratulate Dr. Jones and his team on this. Dr. Jones has suggested that, as the foundations for continued success arc now secure the time is now right for his commitment to the WDA to revert to the original basis of two and a half days a week and for his remuneration to

(2) what proportion of prescriptions issued in each county in Wales has been presented and made up in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of prescriptions issued is not held centrally. However, the available information, which relates to the number of prescription items dispensed, is given in the following table:

The information is given in the following table:revert from the current level of f64,975 pa to £40,610 pa. I have agreed. Other terms and conditions oil appointment will remain as at present.

House Of Commons

Palace Of Westminster (Visitors)

To ask the Lord President of the Council what initiatives he intends to introduce to improve facilities for hon. Members' parties visiting Westminster.

[holding answer 13 January 1992]: As I advised the hon. Member on 16 December, Official Report column 18, the Catering Sub-Committee is shortly to consider the results of a feasibility study to determine whether reasonable catering facilities for visitors can be provided in accommodation conveniently close to the Palace.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Diplomatic Missions

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley of 6 December, Official Report, column 261, what is the reason in each case for the closure of diplomatic posts; what is the total financial saving; what representations he has received regarding the closure of any of the posts; whether any further consideration has been given to decisions in each case; and if he will make a statement.

All the posts listed in the reply to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley were closed in order to release resources for redeployment to meet new priorities.I cannot give a figure for the total financial saving over the 10 years in question. But it would have cost in the region of £12·4 million this year to maintain these posts were they all still open. The savings realised have significantly helped us to maintain a global diplomatic presence, and to open some 10 new posts, despite the significant public expenditure pressures on the diplomatic service over the period. Closing any post is inevitably difficult and is never decided lightly. But it is right that resources should be redeployed to meet new challenges and priorities.

Nuclear Weapons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he has offered to the new Soviet commonwealth and to individual-republics in their programmes of dismantling nuclear weapons.

We and our NATO allies have made it clear that we are ready to respond as fully as possible to requests for practical assistance in ensuring the safe, responsible and reliable control of nuclear weapons and preventing their proliferation.

Belize

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) the Government of Belize and (b) other interested parties regarding the policy surrounding the future of the British military garrison in Belize.

We keep the position of the British garrison in Belize under review and maintain a dialogue with the Government of Belize.

Social Security

Invalid Care Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what entitlement to invalid care allowance currently exists for the claimant who provides regular and substantial care to two or more disabled people which does not extend to more than 35 hours for one individual; what proposals he has to review this entitlement; and if he will make a statement.

Caring that extends to less than 35 hours a week for one individual does not give entitlement to invalid care allowance. We shall continue to keep in mind the position of those who care for more than one person, each for less than 35 hours, when considering how available resources can best be used to meet the needs of carers.

Pension Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of current gross average earnings is represented in the United Kingdom and each European Community country by (a) the basic pension, (b) the earnings-related supplement and (c) the total state pension, for (i) a single pensioner and (ii) a pensioner with a dependent spouse of pension age, where the pensioner had been on average earnings during his working life.

There are no comparable statistics available on gross average earnings in the member states of the European Community. As a consequence. it is not possible to provide the pension comparisons requested. Information on the different EC pension schemes can he found in "Social Protection in The Member States of The Community" published by the European Commission, a copy of which is available in the Library.

Disability Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if, pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe, on 10 December 1991 at column 377, he will state whether the entitlement to indefinite payment of mobility allowance, attendance allowance or severe disablement allowance during residence in another member state of the European Community extends to (a) children, (b) adults who have never been able to work and (c) adults who have never been part of the work force; and if he will make a further statement.

The recent European Court of Justice decision in the case of Newton. which related to the exportability of benefits, does not extend to children or to people who have never worked in the United Kingdom.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if, pursuant to the reply to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe, on 10 December 1991 at column 377, he will introduce regulations to enable people to retain entitlement to invalid care allowance during residence in another member state of the European Community for so long as the person they are caring for is entitled to attendance allowance; and if he will make a further statement.

Ex-Drug Users

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what guidelines he has issued to the Benefits Agency regarding the priority to be given to rehabilitating ex-drug users in the allocation of community care grants to the homeless who are allocated unfurnished accommodation.

The Secretary of State issues general guidance to social fund officers in the form of the social fund officer's guide, which replaced the social fund manual in December 1991. A copy of this guidance is available in the Library. Area social fund officers (the managers of district DSS offices) also issue guidance which complements that in the social fund officer's guide taking account of local factors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to the Benefits Agency to ensure that rehabilitated drug users who have been treated at a rehabilitation unit are not excluded from community care grants for the homeless who are offered unfurnished accommodation.

The circumstances and priority of each individual application to the fund are carefully considered by social fund officers. No group of people who satisfy the basic community care grant conditions are excluded from the consideration of an award.Since April 1991 we have allocated additional funds of over £43 million to the discretionary social fund budget. This flexible response shows the Government's commitment to ensuring that the social fund will meet the highest priority needs wherever and whenever they occur.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will issue guidelines to the Benefits Agency to ensure that no changes are made to the priority given to rehabilitating ex-drug offenders in the allocation of community care grants for the homeless when they are offered unfurnished accommodation without prior consultation with the relevant county drug advisory committee and other appropriate agencies.

We have already issued guidance to social fund officers on the continuing need for constructive and close liaison with Social Services Departments and other interested bodies. The guidance is contained in the social fund officer's guide, a copy of which is available in the Library.

Family practitioner committee name19861987198819891990
Cleveland4,144,9654,366,6054,471,9934,575,1484,704,310
Cumbria3,124,0463,239,8863,331,0273,416,1023,537,853
Durham4,454,2604,632,0514,746,2624,825,2384,950,368
Northumberland1,866,4661,938,6691,993,4782,053,5462,110,955
Gateshead1,650,9981,702,1121,723,0241,755,9971,775,934
Newcastle upon Tyne2,341,6462,435,1682,484,0272,523,3522,559,600
North Tynosidc1,673,4471,739,0951,793,3801,821,0891,841,808
South Tyncsidc1,279,5881,334,9171,381,1451,416,4771,465,888
Sundcrland2,608,3022,702,2842,815,8882,861,0472,911,109
Northern23,143,71824,090,78724,740,22425,247,99625,857,825
Humbersidc6,059,4256,312,8696,563,6816,684,7226,799,647
North Yorkshire3,754,5943,911,3704,070,8834,206,8664,356,739
Bradford3,757,3923,915,0354,136,6734,218,9474,306,996
Caldcrdale1,504,5501,555,3211,589,4951,610,3791,684,172
Kirklecs2,564,6262,659,2682,757,9842,811,9052,877,835
Leeds5,493,0015,643,7995,844,5925,966,9846,046,207
Wakeficld2,456,3742,557,0102,659,7492,719,9222,805,009
Yorkshire25,589,96226,554,67227,623,05728,219,72528,876,605
Derbyshire5,783,1826,009,0616,244,9146,406,6076,560,412
Leicestershire5,583,3615,824,7156,017,4276,085,0896,207,181
Lincolnshire3,065,0553,258,4713,480,0623,597,8103,727,628
Nottinghamshire6,408,4516,688,9566,974,7267,151,6587,381,564
Barnsley1,949,8792,036,7762,127,7912,158,5412,182,234
Doncaster2,412,4302,543,8662,671,2832,730,2392,802,967
Rotherham1,843,5771,939,6761,993,7612,052,2252,094,630
Sheffield4,351,0664,511,8544,670,9734,750,3354,854,146
Trent31,397,00132,813,37534,180,93734,932,50435,810,762
Cambridgeshire3,045,6863,219,6133,336,4873,408,3423,583,858
Norfolk3,511,0323,687,1633,870,6143,983,0784,178,908
Suffolk3,116,3923,255,3253,377,4433,419,7063,553,306

Community Care Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the success rate of (a) applications for community care grants by those leaving homelessness hostels or care and going into unfurnished accommodation and (b) subsequent appeals against refusals in each United Kingdom Benefits Agency region.

The information requested is not readily available, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Health

Prescriptions

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many prescriptions have been issued in each of the last five years in each (a) region, (b) district and (c) family practitioner committee area;(2) what proportion of prescriptions issued in each

(a) region, (b) district and (c) family practitioner committee area has been presented and made up in each of the last five years.

Information on the number of prescriptions issued is not collected centrally. However, the available information, which relates to the number of prescription items dispensed in each family practitioner committee area, is given in the table:

Family practitioner committee name

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

East Anglia9,673,11010,162,10110,584,54410,811,12611,316,072
Bedfordshire3,158,1063,241,1403,338,6903,307,5953,362,846
Hertfordshire5,796,3406,001,6016,138,6576,223,5546,416,418
Barnct1,922,5661,977,6522,018,7952,020,5072,070,656
Brent and Harrow3,064,0423,138,8983,211,7863,211,8973,272,865
Ealing. Hammersmith and Houslow4,428,3644,551,3804,666,2204,636,2064,724,122
Hillingdon1,575,6181,632,4541,683,6971,678,9781,714,124
Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster2,289,0882,326,0572,332,3312,328,1572,367,833
North West Thames22,234,12422,869,18223,390,17623,406,89423,928,864
Essex8,922,1799,301,2359,648,1839,729,63910,059,813
Barking and Havering2,672,0092,743,0402,810,3802,780,4532,801,046
Camdcn and Islington2,383,3592,432,2232,500,2142,533,7612,562,905
City and East London4,740,1074,882,1945,028,9255,046,9045,197,875
Enficld and Haringey2,942,7573,030,4883,122,1513,115,7853,220,649
Redbridgc and Waltham Forest3,329,4483,416,3493,517,4363,526,1073,592,268
North East Thames24,989,85825,805,52926,627,28926,732,64927,434,556
East Sussex5,190,7385,370,2585,539,8465,647,0595,787,777
Kent9,749,43610,112,60710,473,36110,571,31810,845,489
Bexley and Greenwich2,798,1252,908,5913,021,3683,055,8233,115,813
Bromley1,826,4011,867,3691,921,4941,947,3322,002,312
Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark4,812,2424,976,9315,117,6285,134,8665,240,558
South East Thames24,376,94225,235,75826,073,69726,356,39826,991,949
Surrey5,875,8616,001,6726,148,9996,217,4066,348,610
West Sussex4,590,8484,726,2524,877,5234,936,1305,048,700
Croydon2,034,7962,055,6212,091,9852,090,4512,127,793
Kingston and Richmond1,968,0082,015,4182,053,2512,057,4722,078,266
Mcrton, Sutton and Wandsworth4,009,3494,065,8194,117,2664,107,2804,202,733
South West Thames18,478,86218,864,78219,289,02419,408,73919,806,102
Dorset4,525,1554,685,4464,868,6454,992,2975,170,818
Hampshire9,499,0149,872,07810,290,11810,466,26210,799,074
Wiltshire3,008,2723,141,9423,267,0303,328,8633,415,938
Isle of Wight916,002945,087987,895997,3191,019,820
Wessex17,948,44318,644,55319,413,68819,784,74120,405,650
Berkshire4,181,4804,265,4534,410,1764,444,4944,594,558
Buckinghamshire3,302,2413,454,4103,558,4503,614,2973,713,468
Northamptonshire3,223,8313,368,3373,491,1143,551,3953,631,358
Oxfordshire2,463,0312,577,3422,681,7412,711,6362,801,954
Oxford13,170,58313,665,54214,141,48114,321,82214,741,338
Avon5,847,0516,028,3676,237,8866,309,4686,466,380
Cornwall2,690,0052,799,9212,939,1873,035,0503,151,895
Devon6,822,8757,064,5887,314,1347,512,2637,792,928
Gloucestershire2,760,5462,868,1452,977,5093,043,6343,135,574
Somerset2,604,5602,712,6612,830,9332,910,1762,978,335
South Western20,725,03721,473,68222,299,64922,810,59123,525,112
Hereford and Worcester3,717,9993,892,6424,020,9284,071,4264,174,223
Shropshire2,334,6422,449,1392,554,5802,573,8402,608,489
Staffordshire6,766,5967,109,2897,368,0407,464,0507,656,453
Warwickshire2,914,7183,040,8403,164,9123,196,0013,260,316
Birmingham8,675,6999,021,1279,169,0699,184,2949,349,830
Coventry2,492,2832,623,5542,698,3672,703,6462,712,591
Dudley2,048,7862,140,7442,228,3032,294,1692,330,390
Sandwell2,658,8802,783,9572,824,9662,835,7002,845,582
Solihull1,339,6121,416,6521,470,4841,489,5091,516,948
Walsall2,282,7912,411,8552,474,3752,508,8382,530,159
Wolvcrhampton2,105,7622,199,8712,271,9752,252,8722,260,337
West Midlands37,337,76839,069,67040,245,96940,574,34541,245,318

Family practitioner committee name

1986

1987

1988

1989

1990

Cheshire6,647,0366,963,2757,181,8247,347,4677,550,720
Liverpool4,713,2874,950,3615,062,6095,176,8875,237,237
St, Helens and Knowsley2,940,1483,127,4223,273,0443,459,2623,565,418
Sefton2,476,3412,619,7612,728,5062,856,4702,931,784
Wirrall2,828,6742,989,9333,108,9483,214,7403,306,170
Mersey19,605,48620,650,75221,354,93122,054,82622,583,329
Lancashire11,679,71012,252,86112,598,87412,903,81213,146,694
Bolton2,051,4592,107,6702,189,25!2,244,3212,308,317
Bury1,556,5231,607,8131,666,6281,691,6381,730,962
Manchester4,137,8714,286,8334,397,1164,425,7704,469,847
Oldham1,850,9411,941,1252,009,5432,065,2342,124,595
Rochdale1,764,0381,844,3741,946,4691,978,6372,058,036
Salford2,320,1242,389,4462,464,4332,477,0942,513,219
Stockport2,191,9102,296,0532,380,8882,404,4592,462,905
Tamesidc1,733,6191,826,8361,921,4741,980,5172,016,614
Traflbrd1,982,8032,072,1552,136,4442,166,0032,217,819
Wigan2,609,9502,737,1352,860,6962,885,4542,918,058
North Western33,878,94835,362,30136,571,81637,222,93937,967,068
England322,550,836335,282,684346,536,502351,885,295360,500,548

To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what proportion of prescriptions in each (a) county and (b) family practitioner committee area the patient has been liable to make full payment in each of the last five years.

Information relating to England is retained only for three years. The available data, which relates to the percentage of prescription items in each regional health authority for which the patient has been liable to make full payment, is given in the table.

Regional Health Authority198819891990
Northern14·814·413·8
Yorkshire15·715·414·7
Trent16·516·115·3
East Anglia19·419·218·2
North West Thames21·420·919·9
North East Thames18·518·016·9
South East Thames17·917·616·8
South West Thames21·120·719·9
Wcssex18·918·717·9
Oxford23·223·022·0
South Western17·717·516·7
West Midlands16·115·915·2
Mersey13·313·012·2
North Western14·414·213·4
England17·317·016·1

Consultants (Job Description)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how he intends to evaluate the success of the introduction of job descriptions for all consultants from 1 April 1991.

Hospital consultants are required to have job plans (formerly referred to as job descriptions) setting out their main duties and work programmes, including their fixed commitments, in the NHS, in order to make clear what is expected of them. General managers arc responsible for ensuring that job plans are agreed, reviewed annually, and implemented.

Medical Audit

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria his Department will use to determine the success of its investment in medical audit.

Investment in medical audit was initially to ensure that the necessary infrastructure would be in place to enable all doctors in the hospital and community health service to participate in medical audit from I April 1991 and all general practitioners from 1 April 1992.All regions and districts have established medical audit committees and all family health services authorities have set up medical audit advisory groups as required by the Department.The NHS management executive has a duty to ensure that the special funds for medical audit are being spent for the intended purpose. It is discharging this duty by requiring annual reports from the regions, supplemented by visits to all regions by senior management executive staff specifically to review expenditure and progress in medical audit in the primary and secondary care sectors. As far as evaluating value for money is concerned, the Department is examining this complex issue as part of its developing strategy. The criteria have been set out in health circulars and executive letters to the service.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his policy on the sharing of the results of medical audit between clinicians and managers.

Medical audit committees are required to provide regular reports to both medical staff and management on the general results of audit which have been carried out. These may, for example, include:

  • a broad outline of the aggregate results together with any national, regional or other comparison available;
  • an account of any problems encountered in data retrieval or analysis;
  • an indication of what action is being taken or is recommended.

With the separation of the purchaser-provider functions medical audit has become a provider unit based activity and it is to unit managers that regular reports of the general result of audit are addressed.

Gps' Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for health what discussions his Department is undertaking with the General Medical Service Committee concerning the contract for general practitioners; what is the timetable for these discussions; and which issues are being discussed.

There is a continuing programme of discussions between the Department and the General Medical Services Committee dealing, as necessary, with the possible development of aspects of the GPs' contract. Current issues include the further development of the health promotion elements of the contract in the context of the Department's health strategy. The Department and the GMSC are also

London ambulance service
Average response limes for emergency vehicles
North WestNorth EastSouth EastSouth WestTrainingLAS total
Per cent, withinPer cent, withinPer cent, withinPer cent, withinPer cent, withinPer cent, within
7 min.14 min.7 min.14 min.7 min.14 min.7 min.14 min.7 min.14 min.7 min.14 min.
April—December 1990
April—June 199013779721578158015851377
July—September 199012779711276168119801276
October—December 199012768741274148120761276
January—April 1991 (Changed basis for calculating response limes)1 2
January—March 199186656466111701476866
April 1991763564869879666768
1 Up to January 1991, response times were measured from the end of the initial telephone call. Since February they have been calculated from the moment the telephone is answered in accordance with national standards.
2 Response times were based upon a sample 3 per cent, up to April 1991 compared with 100 per cent, from May, when the sampling was changed to comply with national standards.
London ambulance service
Average response times for emergency vehicles
North WestNorth EastSouthLAS total
Per cent, withinPer cent, withinPer cent, withinPer cent, within
8 min.14 min.8 min.14 min.8 min.14 min.8 min.14 min.
May—September 19913 4
May—June 19911873146623781972
July—September 19911567136121751768
3 From May 1991 the Orcon standard based on 50 per cent, within 7 minutes changed to 50 per cent, within 8 minutes. (The Orcon report was published in November 1990 and this contained the suggested response times quoted above).
4 In April 1991 the southern and the training division were combined.

Defence

Live Ammunition Dumping

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make it his policy to discontinue the dumping of live ammunition at sea;(2) if he has made any estimate of the environmental consequences of the dumping of live ammunition at sea;(3) if he has made any estimate of the difference in cost between dumping live ammunition at sea and decommissioning it with the resultant opportunity to recycle scrap metals;(4) what deadline he has set for the discontinuance of the practice of dumping live ammunition at sea.

committed to discussions on the way the GP remuneration arrangements support the contract with a view to submitting evidence to the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body in autumn 1992.

London Ambulance Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list (a) for each division of the London ambulance service and (b) for each financial quarter of 1990–91 and for the first three quarters of 1991–92 (i) the percentage of emergencies reached within seven minutes of calls and (ii) the percentage of emergencies reached within 14 minutes of calls.

[holding answer 13 January 1992]: The available information is given in the table. From 8 January 1991 new technology installed at a cost of £1·5 million has been available to improve the average response times of emergency ambulance vehicles in London.

MOD will terminate all sea dumping of redundant ammunition and explosive stocks by 1 January 1993 in line with the Government's general policy, as agreed internationally, that waste should be disposed of on land, where this is safe and practicable, in preference to dumping at sea. Sea dumping of live ammunition is undertaken when demilitarisation on land is impracticable, either because it would pose unacceptable safety risks because of capacity constraints on alternative, environmentally acceptable, Iand based disposal methods, rather than for reasons of cost. Dumping is carried out in a strictly controlled manner to ensure that it does not cause damage to the marine environment, or interfere with fishing, or other legitimate uses of the sea. Detonators and explosives which contain toxic chemicals are not disposed of in this way and all material is packaged to ensure that it sinks to the sea bed. There is no evidence to suggest that controlled dumping of conventional ammunition and explosives in this manner constitutes a risk to the marine environment.

Education And Science

Schools (Parental Involvement)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much Government aid is specifically targeted to increase the involvement of parents in school work and promote teachers' consultation with parents.

The Government are working actively to increase parental involvement in school education. The parents charter makes proposals for improving information for parents, and a new guide for parents—"Your Child and the National Curriculum"—urges parents to take an active interest in their children's education and talk to teachers about their children's progress.

It is not possible to give figures on financial aid from central Government for the generality of school education

Government assistance for the provision of local authority services is channelled through revenue support grant, which is not hypothecated to individual services. In relation to specific Government grants, there are particular initiatives within inner cities programmes that are designed to strengthen home-school links and stimulate parental involvement.

Student Teachers

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what numbers of student teachers (a) were in the course of and (b) completed their professional training, respectively, in training institutions in each of the last five years; what ratio of student teachers to nominated practising teachers he expects to require, authorise and pay for when students are on school practice, in accordance with his recent proposals; and by what means he expects to provide experienced replacement teachers for the time spent by the nominated teachers in their additional responsibilities.

Information about the numbers of students enrolled on and completing courses of initial teacher training in each of the last five years is not immediately available. I shall send this information to the hon. Member as soon as possible.The proposals so far announced by my right hon. and learned Friend relate to secondary postgraduate (PGCE) courses. The ratio of student teachers on such courses to teacher tutors in schools will be determined locally by higher education institutions and their partner schools.Higher education institutions will be expected to reimburse their partner schools for extra costs resulting from their enhanced role in initial teacher training. The resources available to initial teacher training should increase as the number of student teachers rises and there will have to be a significant shift of funds to schools, within these rising resources, as the changes take effect. Meanwhile, the higher education funding councils have agreed to make extra funds available, from within the resources already allocated to them, to those institutions which provide secondary PGCE courses. My right hon. and learned Friend will be making an extra £3 million available to the funding councils to supplement their allocations to these institutions. The funding councils have been invited to issue guidance to institutions on the procedure for bidding and the basis on which bids will he considered.

Overseas Development

Aid And Trade Provision

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to make available a further evaluation report on aid and trade provision projects; and if he will make a statement.

The Evaluation Department of the Overseas Development Administration has carried out a study which synthesises the experience of eight evaluations of ATP projects, approved between 1978 and 1985, and evaluated between 1986 and 1990. It draws most from three evaluations conducted as a series in 1990. I have placed copies of the report "ATP Synthesis Evaluation Study" (November 1991) in the Library of the House.While ATP procedures have been strengthened since the projects were approved, the findings and lessons of the study will he an important input to the inter-departmental review of ATP which is currently taking place.

Scotland

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list by local authority area in Scotland the proportions of local authority finance derived from central Government, business rates and poll tax from 1991–92.

The proportion of total income derived from central Government grants, non-domestic rates income and community charge income for each local authority for 1991–92 are given in the table.

Percentage
(1)(2)(3)
Central Government grams 1991–92Non-domestic rate income 1991–92Community charge income 1991–92
Borders77·4I2·I10·5
Central60·823·815·4
Dumfries and Galloway75·513·311·2
Fife58·125·616·3
Grampian66·521·911·6
Highland70·719·49·9
Lothian50·026·523·5
Strathclyde65·721·113·3
Tayside67·517·515·0
Berwickshire72·219·48·4
Ettrick and Lauderdale56·927·415·8
Roxburgh64·821·513·6
Tweeddale68·719·112·2
Clackmannan34·532·732·8
Falkirk35·651·612·8
Stirling25·344·929·8
Annandale and Eskdale49·923·626·5

(1)

(2)

(3)

Central Government grants 1991–92

Non-domestic rate income 1991–92

Community charge income 1991–92

Nithsdale45·929·824·3
Stewartry63·819·017·2
Wigtown65·214·320·4
Dunfermline30·145·824·1
Kirkcaldy30·643·625·9
North East Fife49·623·127·2
Aberdeen City28·241·330·5
Banff and Buchan41·236·622·1
Gordon68·016·715·3
Kincardine and Deeside72·822·24·9
Moray58·230·511·2
Badenoch and Strathspey57·033·89·2
Caithness65·729·25·0
Inverness44·550·25·3
Lochaber43·239·417·4
Nairn76·316·27·5
Ross and Cromarty54·430·215·3
Skye and Lochalsh77·615·17·2
Sutherland74·914·210·9
East Lothian32·740·027·3
Edinburgh City31·335·832·9
Midlothian52·221·726·1
West Lothian49·432·717·9
Argyll and Bute50·826·223·0
Bearsden and Milngavie57·415·327·2
Clydebank43·727·229·1
Clydesdale49·021·329·8
Cumbernauld and Kilsyth43·535·421·1
Cumnock and Doon Valley56·822·320·9
Cunninghame19·649·031·5
Dumbarton27·530·841·7
East Kilbride26·831·242·0
Eastwood71·214·114·6
Glasgow City33·743·922·4
Hamilton42·826·530·7
Inverclyde52·523·823·7
Kilmarnock and Loudoun45·229·425·4
Kyle and Carrick33·130·136·8
Monklands50·122·627·3
Motherwell47·529·922·6
Renfrew37·929·732·3
Strathkelvin52·317·030·7
Angus56·825·517·7
Dundee City40·733·326·0
Perth and Kinross48·931·519·6
Orkney77·921·20·9
Shetland64·734·90·4
Western Isles90·67·81·5

Notes:

1. Central Government grants shown in column 1 consist of revenue support grant, specific grants and community charge grant.

2. The community charge income proportions arc calculated from provisional outturn amounts taken from the provisional outturn/budget estimate returns made to the Scottish Office by local authorities, less an assumed reduction in charge income as a result of the Community Charges (General Reduction) Act 1991.

3. The non-domestic rate income proportions arc calculated from estimates made by the Scottish Office in November 1990.

5 Home Insulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made on home insulation in Scotland.

Full details of the extent of home insulation in Scotland are not at present available but as part of the national house condition survey at present underway information is being gathered on whether walls, tanks, pipes and lofts in property of all tenures are satisfactorily insulated. The results of the survey are due for publication in the summer of 1993.

Employment

Minimum Wages

16.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he made of the job implications of a statutory minimum wages policy prior to the Maastricht summit.

A minimum wage set at the final level proposed by the Labour party of two thirds male median earnings could destroy over a million jobs if pay differentials were half restored. If differentials were fully restored up to two million jobs could be lost.

Ec Social Charter

17.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what regulations he proposes to introduce to implement the employment provisions of the EC social charter.

The social charter, signed by the 11 other member states. was a political declaration and has no legal effect. Where legislation is required to implement directives agreed under the social action programme, this will be introduced within the timetable for implementation set out in each proposal.

26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the outcome of the discussions on the social charter in Maastricht on 10 December.

The Maastricht treaty on European union confirms that the social provisions chapter within the existing treaty of Rome will be retained. There will be no extensions of the Community's present powers in employment and social affairs, and no increase in the use within the Council of Ministers of qualified majority voting.That is the outcome for which the Government argued throughout the negotiations. It leaves the leading responsibility for employment and social policies where it belongs, firmly in the hands of national Parliaments, and is good news for British jobs and for the competitiveness of our industry.Should other member states wish to go further than provided for in the treaty, they can do so by way of the separate protocol and agreement on social affairs.

Trade Union Training Centres

18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he will next meet the TUC to discuss trade union unemployed workers' training centres.

My right hon. and learned Friend last met the TUC on 18 December last year. He has no plans at present to meet the TUC to discuss the matter in question.

Ec Working Time Directive

19.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received from British industry concerning the proposed European working time directive.

British industry is virtually unanimous in its opposition to the proposals. I fully agree with the Confederation of British Industry that the directive would be a needless strain on our competitiveness, and a threat to jobs and earnings.

Training

20.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to improve the provision of training for people with disabilities and/or learning difficulties.

Training and enterprise council and local enterprise company operating agreements require

"suitable high quality training to be made available for all trainees who have disabilities or other significant personal disadvantages which give rise to special training needs."
Each TEC and LEC must show in its corporate and business plans how it intends to meet the training needs of individuals and the local labour market. These plans form the basis of TEC contracts with the Department, and LECs with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

25.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he plans next to meet the CBI to discuss its members' contribution to training.

I have regular contact with representatives of the CBI on a range of issues. I have at present no plans for a meeting on the particular subject mentioned by my hon. Friend.

Industrial Action

21.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many working days were lost due to industrial action in (a) January 1979, (b) 1990 and (c) the latest 12-month period for which figures are available.

There were 0·8 million working days lost in the 12 months to October 1991, the latest available period, and 1·9 million working days lost in 1990 as a whole. These compare with 3 million working days lost in the single month of January 1979.

Unemployment

22.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what additional action he plans to take to assist those who are unemployed and aged over 50 years.

We have already announced plans to offer help back to work for nearly a million unemployed people in 1992–93 through our employment and training programmes. This includes increased opportunities through employment action, our new temporary work programme, and extra support for jobclubs and the job interview guarantee. All these programmes are open to people aged over 50.

23.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he next intends to meet the TUC to discuss unemployment.

I have discussed various matters with the TUC on a number of occasions including at the National Economic Development Council. The next meeting of the Council will be on 1 April.

Manufacturing Industry, Sheffield

24.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest estimates of the prospects for full-time jobs, involving at least a 35-hour week, for both male and female in manufacturing industry in Sheffield for the foreseeable future.

The Department, as was the practice under previous Governments, does not publish detailed forecasts of employment nor comment on the forecasts of others.

Age Discrimination

27.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions he has had on the subject of age discrimination by employers; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. and learned Friend and I have met many of the voluntary sector organisations which speak out against age discrimination by employers, and have received representations from others. We continue to urge employers to abandon arbitrary age limits in recruitment as inefficient and wasteful, and to treat everyone on their merits.

Tourism

28.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people were employed in tourism in (a) 1981 and (b) 1991.

There were an estimated 1·2 million employees in employment in tourism-related industries in June 1981, and 1·4 million in June 1991. In addition, there were around 163,000 self employed in tourism-related industries in 1981 and around 190,000 in 1991.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to visit Southport to discuss the tourist industry.

My right hon. and learned Friend has no such plans. However, my noble Friend Viscount Ullswater, who has ministerial responsibility for tourism matters, hopes to be visiting Southport next March.

Youth Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are currently undertaking a youth training course in the Greater London area; at what cost to public funds; and if he will make a statement.

Figures are not available for the Greater London area. In November, the latest date for which information is available, there were 15,800 young people in youth training in the London region (of which Greater London is a part).The programme budget for youth training in the London region for 1991–92 is £492,000.

Unemployment, Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of people registered as unemployed in the Greater London area and the number of job vacancies for the area at jobcentres on 7 January 1992.

The latest available data relate to 14 November 1991 for unemployed claimants and 6 November 1991 for unfilled vacancies at jobcentres. On these respective dates there were on a seasonally adjusted basis, 378,000 unemployed claimants and 6,200 unfilled jobcentre vacancies, in the Greater London region.Figures for January will be released on 13 February.

Maastricht

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what implications the outcome of the negotiations over the social chapter at Maastricht have for the United Kingdom.

The treaty on European union agreed at the European Council at Maastricht confirms that the existing social provisions chapter within the present treaty (articles 117–122) will be retained without change. The outcome of the negotiations on the social chapter provides the necessary basis for the development of a sensible Community social dimension and the United Kingdom will continue to participate fully in all relevant discussions.That is the outcome for which the Government argued throughout the negotiations. It leaves the leading responsibility for employment and social policies where it belongs, firmly in the hands of national Parliaments, and is good news for British jobs and for the competitiveness of our industry.

Should other member states wish to go further than provided for in the treaty, they can do so by way of the separate protocol and agreement on social affairs.

Job Release Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will announce the results of the review of the rates of allowance payable under the job release scheme.

Although the job release scheme closed to new applicants on 31 January 1988, the allowance will continue to be paid to participants for up to five years. Following our annual review, the allowances payable from 6 April 1992 under the job release scheme will be as follows:

Those who are married with a dependent wife whose net income from all sources does not exceed £17 a week: £94·45 taxable. Those who do not have a dependent wife or whose wife's income exceeds £17 a week: £77·80 taxable. The spouses earnings limit which affects whether the higher or lower rate is paid has been raised to £17 from £16.

Employee Participation

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he intends to seek the views of business on the new European Commission proposal for a recommendation concerning the promotion of employee participation in profits and enterprise results including equity participation.

Yes. A public consultation document on this subject has recently been issued by the Department. A copy has been placed in the Library.