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Written Answers

Volume 264: debated on Wednesday 18 October 1995

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 18 October 1995

Environment

Housing Transfers, East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about irregularities in the conduct of the consultation with tenants over the proposed large-scale voluntary transfer of housing in East Hampshire district council.

Six letters have been received complaining that the consultation period was too short and alleging that the council's campaign was biased towards the transfer. Of these, four were from the Liphook Tenants Association. The Secretary of State carefully considers all objections before deciding whether to give his consent to a transfer.

Valuation Appeals

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out in total and by each valuation office the number of appeals that have been received against council tax bandings; how many have been resolved; how many remain outstanding; when he estimates this process will be completed; and if he will make a statement. [37497]

I am placing in the Library a table which sets out, by valuation office region and office in England, the number of valid proposals to alter the valuation list which were received by 30 September 1995, the number settled and the number outstanding.Virtually all proposals received during the initial appeal period, up to 30 November 1993, have now been settled. The Valuation Office Agency currently receives around 8,000 proposals to alter valuation lists each month, and aims, in co-operation with the valuation tribunals, to settle all cases received after 1 April 1995 within 12 months of receipt.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out in total and by each valuation office the number of appeals that have been received against the 1995 rating list; how many have been resolved; how many remain outstanding; when he estimates that this process will be completed; and if he will make a statement. [37498]

I am placing in the Library a table which sets out, by valuation office region and office in England, the number of valid proposals to alter the 1995 rating lists which were received by 30 September, the number settled and the number outstanding.It is still too early to gauge with any accuracy the volume and timing of appeals against the entries in the 1995 lists, which may be made at any time, in some cases up to 31 March 2001.

>Sites Of Nature Conservation Importance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the procedures for designating SNCI areas which lie on privately owned land; and what is his policy on voluntary co-operation and compulsory obligation. [37573]

The Government encourage local authorities to identify and adopt appropriate policies in their development plans to protect such sites from inappropriate development. In accord with the voluntary principles of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 local authorities may enter into management agreements. In the last resort they have powers of compulsory purchase, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State for sites of particular local importance.

Local Government, Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the latest position on local government reorganisation in Leicestershire. [37940]

During the summer the social services inspectorate has considered the capability of a unitary Rutland to fulfil its responsibilities for social services. The inspectorate has now completed its report and is content that Rutland will be a viable social services authority.

National Heritage

Public Library Guidance

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will make a statement about the issue of public library guidance to local authorities. [38350]

Following consultation with public librarians and the local authority associations, I have authorised today publication of guidance to local authorities about the provision of public library services. The guidance is intended to help in particular those authorities assuming public library responsibilities for the first time following reorganisation of local government in the English shire counties. Printing and despatch of copies to all English library authorities and other interested parties will take place over the next few days. Meanwhile, I have deposited advance copies in the Library of the house and I have sent one to the Library Association.

Tourism

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans she has to promote the South West tourist industry in the coming year. [36721]

Government support for tourism is channelled through the statutory British Tourist Authority and English tourist board. Through the ETB, support is made available to the 11 non-statutory regional tourist boards, including the West Country tourist board, which helps them undertake a variety of marketing and development activities of benefit to the tourism industry in their regions. The WCTB received a subvention of £614,073 from the ETB in 1994–95.

Tourism in south west England will also benefit from the overseas marketing work of the BTA and from the action programme announced earlier this year in my Department's document, "Tourism: Competing with the Best".

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what proportion of each English region's economy is estimated to be generated by the tourist sector. [36717]

Figures for tourism's contribution to each region's economy are not available. However, the figures for the number of employees in tourism-related industries, when shown as a proportion of the total number of employees in employment, give an indication of the importance of tourism in that region. The figures provided are for the latest month available and have been calculated on a new basis following changes to the standard employment classifications. The figures for each English region at June 1995 were:

Number of employees in tourism related industriesTotal number of employees in employmentPercentage of total employed in tourism related industries Percentage
Greater London229,0003,189,0007
Rest of South East264,0003,914,0007
South West151,0001,762,0009
East Anglia52,000819,0006
North83,0001,090,0008
North West169,0002,284,0007
Yorkshire and Humberside135,0001,854,0007
East Midlands102,0001,527,0007
West Midlands118,0001,979,0006

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Bermuda

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what amount Her Majesty's Government have paid to Bermuda in each of the last three financial years in respect of (a) development projects, (b) administration and (c) other services. [37061]

We have made no payments to Bermuda in each of the last three financial years in respect of any of the categories mentioned.

Territorial Waters

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the delineation of the territorial sea boundaries between the United Kingdom and (a) France, (b) Belgium and (c) the Irish Republic. [37286]

The agreement with France relating to the territorial sea boundary in the straits of Dover, Cm 733, entered into force on 6 April 1989. The territorial seas of the United Kingdom and Belgium do not meet, but there is an agreement for the delimitation of the continental shelf between the United Kingdom and Belgium, Cm 2499. The delimitation of the continental shelf between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic is the subject of a 1988 agreement, Cm 990 and a 1992 protocol, Cm 2227.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many nautical square miles of the United Kingdom's territorial seas are claimed by the Irish Republic in its constitution; and what percentage of the total United Kingdom territorial seas that represents. [37287]

We do not recognise the claim by the Irish Republic to Northern Ireland or its territorial sea. No delimination of Northern Ireland waters has taken place as the British and Irish Governments have not discussed this issue. In the circumstances the information requested is not available and cannot accurately be calculated.

Montserrat (Volcanic Activity)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about problems facing Montserrat because of the threatened volcanic eruption; and if present rules for Montserratians entering the United Kingdom will be waived for a short period. [37285]

Since mid-July, scientists have been monitoring closely the volcanic activity on Montserrat and keeping Her Majesty's Government and the local Government advised on the likelihood of a major eruption. Contingency plans are in place for a partial or full evacuation of threatened areas of the island, depending on the gravity of the situation.Immigration matters are for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Applications from Montserratians will continue to be considered under the immigration rules, having regard to all the relevant circumstances.

Nuclear Tests

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has received from the European Commission regarding its application of articles 34, 35, 36 and 37, respectively, of the Euratom treaty to French nuclear tests. [37327]

We have received no formal communication on this subject from the European Commission. However, we are aware of bilateral contacts between the Commission and the French Government on this issue.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the issues in regard to nuclear testing discussed at the informal Foreign Affairs General Council meeting in Santander on 9 and 10 September. [37256]

The informal meeting at Santander was an opportunity for confidential discussion between European Union Foreign Ministers. I do not intend to make a statement on specific issues discussed.

European Ombudsman

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many candidates were considered by the European Parliament for the post of European ombudsman; what was the procedure under which candidates were asked to apply; what is the salary of the ombudsman; and how many staff he will employ. [47194]

Six candidates were considered by the European Parliament for the post of ombudsman. The procedures for the appointment of the ombudsman are set out in the European Parliament's decision of 9 March 1994, Official Journal of the European Communities-Legislation, volume 113 of 4 May 1994, pages 15–18, and the European Parliament's rules of procedures 159, as amended on 16 May 1995, 160 and 161. Copies have been placed in the House Library. Article 10(2) of the European Parliament's decision to appoint the ombudsman states that the ombudsman will have the same salary and benefits as a judge at the European Court of Justice. The ombudsman currently employs one member of staff, but is entitled to increase this to 10.

Eu Overseas Citizens

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the rules (a) relating to migration to European Community states by Dutch Caribbean, Spanish African and French Overseas Department residents. [37284]

The rules governing the entry and stay in member states of the European Union of persons from the Dutch Caribbean, Spanish Africa or French overseas department depend on the nationality held by the individual resident, not only the status of a particular territory. Nationals of the Netherlands, Spain and France, like other nationals of member states of the European economic area, which comprises the EU member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, are free to enter other member states to take employment, to establish themselves in self-employment or business, or to provide or receive services for payment. They are also entitled to reside in member states in a non-economic capacity, provided that they have sufficient resources to avoid becoming a burden on public funds.

Iraqi Weapons Programmes

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information has been provided to Her Majesty's Government by the Jordanian authorities or the United States Government on the status of the Iraqi nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programmes following the defections from the Iraqi Government and debriefing of Hussein Kamil Hassan and Saddam Kamil Hassan in August. [37338]

It would not be appropriate to comment on our contacts with other countries on this matter. However, the UNSCOM and IAEA reports on the implementation of resolutions 687 and 715, presented to the UN Security Council on 11 October 1995, take account of useful information given by Hussein Kamil and describe developments following his defection and the subsequent disclosure by Iraq of large quantities of documents relating to past weapons programmes. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

Northern Ireland (Broadcasting Penetration)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures are proposed to effect the greater penetration of Northern Ireland by Telefis Eireann; and what changes are required and have been put into effect by the authorities in the Irish Republic to bring about equal and reciprocal transmission of United Kingdom terrestrial channels. [37164]

Greater penetration of RTE into Northern Ireland could be achieved by a number of means, notably cable, satellite and through changes to the terrestrial UHF networks in the two countries. The British Government fully support RTE's wish to enhance its service to Northern Ireland, but there are certain technical difficulties. British and Irish officials are discussing the possible solutions but have not reached any agreed conclusions.As a result of decisions taken by the Irish authorities planning the RTE transmitter network, UK terrestrial channels can be received in many parts of the Republic of Ireland from transmitters in the UK.

Uk Dependent Territories

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current population of each of the United Kingdom's dependent territories, excluding Hong Kong. [37282]

I refer the hon. Member to the reply that my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) gave to the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay) on 8 February 1995, Official Report, column 285.

European Parliament (Cost)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the estimated cost of the European Parliament in 1995; and if he will list the allowances payable to members. [37153]

The budget of the European Parliament for 1995 is 843 million ecu or £703.4 million. This includes operational costs for 723 million ecu or £603.4 million, and special capital costs of 120 million ecu or £100.1 million for the new offices of the European Parliament in Brussels.The following allowances are available to Members in 1995:

Telephone and fax—unlimited use from European Parliament offices.
Travel—within the union, 0.76 ecu or £0.634 for every km up to 400 km, and 0.38 ecu or £0.317 for every km thereafter. Outside the Union, the cost of the return air fare by the most direct route.
Subsistence on official travel—within the Union 213 ecu or £177.75 per day. Half this amount, plus hotel costs, outside the Union.
General office expenses—2,926 ecu or £2,441.75 per month.
Secretarial assistance—8,000 ecu or £6,676 per month.

Cyprus (Eu Accession)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to what extent the admission of Cyprus to the EU would affect Britain's obligations and rights as a guarantor. [37160]

The UK remains committed to its role as guarantor. We shall continue to keep under review any possible implications for that role of developments on an intercommunal settlement and the future EU accession negotiations.

Trade And Industry

Private Finance Initiative

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the rights of individual members of the public to make complaints to any of the appropriate ombudsmen about services or projects funded through the private finance initiative in his Department. [36825]

The parliamentary ombudsman has, subject to the conditions of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967, jurisdiction to investigate complaints from members of the public about maladministration by Government Departments, other public sector bodies engaged in the work of central Government, and those acting on their behalf. As a consequence, the ombudsman can investigate complaints of maladministration about any projects or service carried out by or on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry that are funded through the private finance initiative.

Travel Allowances

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what rates of travel allowance may be claimed by civil servants in his Department when using their own vehicles for official business [36359

Civil servants in DTI using their own vehicle for official business are entitled to claim the following rates for motor mileage allowance:

Engine size
up to 1500cc1501–2000ccover 2000cc
Up to 4,000 miles (Standard Rate)34p43p46p
Over 4,000 miles (Lower Standard rate)19p23p31p
Rates payable from 6 April 1995

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the total cost of travel expenses claimed by civil servants using their own vehicles for official business in each of the last five years in his Department; and what would have been the saving in the last year if the maximum rate that could be claimed was set at the lowest rate. [36360]

The DTI does not record mileage separately from other travel and subsistence expenses paid on official business. To provide the information requested would entail disproportionate cost.

Exports

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what estimate his Department has made of the volume and value in percentage terms of exports in (a) cars, (b) televisions and (c) video recorders made last year by foreign companies which have invested in production in Britain.[37418]

My Department has not made estimates concerning exports of individual products based on whether or not the manufacturer is a British-owned company. Information obtained from the British Radio and Electronic Equipment Manufacturers Association indicates that all televisions and video recorders exported from the UK were made by foreign-owned companies.

Statutory Consumer Councils

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what provisions of the treaty of Rome, as amended, and any consequential regulation or directive constrain the sole duties or activities of statutory consumer councils as established and operating prior to preparations for, or changes consequent to, accession to the treaty. [37260]

[holding answer 16 October 1995]: I am not aware of any such constraints on the duties and activities of the statutory consumer councils.

Overseas Development Administration

Departmental Minutes

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the three departmental minutes which the Overseas Development Administration laid before the House during the summer recess. [38446]

The departmental minutes refer to projects which are being supported by the Overseas Development Administration under the aid and trade provision soft loan financing arrangements which enable the banks to lend at concessional rates. Under new arrangements for ATP agreed in 1992, the ODA pays the aid portion of a soft loan to the bank or banks making the loan during the implementation period of the project, rather than, as previously, during the period over which the soft loan is disbursed. The former is much shorter than the latter. As a result, the banks would be exposed to additional charges if the tax regime relating to the lump sum payments were to change over the disbursement period of the loan. To safeguard the banks against such a potential liability the ODA provides an indemnity against possible tax changes. This indemnity creates a contingent liability on the aid programme, which therefore falls to be reported to Parliament.

The departmental minutes reported the estimated cost of these contingent liabilities as a result of making concessional loans to developing countries to finance the following projects:

Country

Project

Amount of Liability £

ThailandMini Hydros Samarinda Power1,346,909
IndonesiaPlant Samarinda3,856,568
IndonesiaTransmission Line Piston Engine500,778
IndonesiaResearch Laboratory New Nanjing1,436,633
ChinaAirport2,657,844

The contingent liabilities for projects 1 and 2 were incurred in, respectively, August 1994 and March 1995 and it is regretted that they were not brought to the attention of the House at the proper time. Those for projects 3, 4 and 5 were incurred during the summer recess. It was necessary to give the indemnities urgently to avoid delaying the start of the projects. The minutes were placed in the Libraries of both Houses and copies were sent to the Public Accounts Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Comoros Islands

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support he has received for the appraisal mission, sponsored by the World bank executive board, to the Comoros Islands in September, with particular reference to the coelacanth and other endangered species. [37397]

[holding answer 16 October 1995]: Following the World bank—United Nations development programme appraisal mission in September, it is envisaged that a request for funding for a project to protect the coelacanth and other endangered species will be submitted by UNDP to the global environment facility. The report will be available in due course through the World bank's public information centre. I will arrange for copies to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses when it is available.

Commodity Exchanges

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance has been given by (a) his Department and (b) EU aid to establish or develop commodity exchanges for cocoa, coffee or sugar in developing countries; and if he will list the date, location and value of any aid projects of this type approved by his Department or the EU in the past five years. [34301]

[pursuant to his answer, 13 July 1995, c. 688–89]: We have been unable to obtain a list of EU-funded projects which directly support either commodity exchanges for cocoa, coffee or sugar or these particular markets in developing countries.

Two EU-funded project have supported commodity marketing and development in developing countries:

Cote d'Ivoire: Grant 12 mecu: construction of wholesale market at Bouake (agricultural products)
All African, Caribbean and Pacific states, overseas countries and territories: Grant 7.75 mecu: grant to assist marketing and sales and promotion of their products

Transport

A3 Trunk Road

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures his Department has taken to reduce noise volume for residents on the A3 trunk road in the region of Onslow village, Guildford; and if he will make on-site assessments of the noise level following the completion of recent works with particular reference to the effect of the laying of porous asphalt. [37574]

This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to my right hon. Friend.

Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. David Howell, dated 18 October 1995:

As you know, the Minister for Railways and Roads, Mr. John Watts, has asked me to write in reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what measures have been taken to reduce noise volume for residents on the A3 trunk road in the region of Onslow Village, Guildford; and if on-site assessments of the noise level will be made following the completion of recent works with particular reference to the effect of the laying of porous asphalt.
The Highways Agency has provided noise barriers and porous asphalt to limit noise levels from the A3 trunk road at the worst affected properties in the region of Onslow Village.
An evaluation to the effect of these noise measures has been carried out using the calculation procedures prescribed in the Noise Insulation Regulations. The calculation method is preferred because it applies a consistent technique for assessment which overcomes the many variables that affect noise over a period of time. The Agency has no proposals for carrying out on-site assessments.

Mot Hotline

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the MOT hotline was established; how many calls it has received each year and for the first six months of 1995–96; what is the cost of running the scheme; and what income the scheme receives from the hotline number. [37502]

This is an operational matter for the Vehicle Inspectorate executive agency.I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Ron Oliver to Mr. Paddy Tipping, dated 18 October 1995:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question on when the MOT hotline was established, the number of calls it has received, the cost of running the scheme and the income the scheme receives from the hotline number.
The scheme was introduced in September 1994. Since that date there have been 14,521 calls made to the hotline, of which 6,347 were made in the first 6 months of 1995 (ie January to June). The costs of running the scheme for the first year were approximately £5,500, and the income £3,425.

Home Department

Justice And Home Affairs Council

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Justice and Home Affairs Council held on 25 and 26 September. [38347]

The United Kingdom was represented at the Council by the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department. The main matters dealt with at the Council were as follows.The Council adopted as "A" points, among other things, a regulation establishing a common visa list, a resolution on burden sharing of refugees, an action programme for judicial co-operation with the central and eastern European states and a decision on funding operational activity in the third pillar.The Council discussed in an open session the principle issues raised by the draft convention on enforcement of decisions and rules of jurisdiction in matrimonial matters, known as the Brussels II convention. It agreed that work would continue on developing the convention, and that a new draft text should be submitted for consideration by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November.The text of a draft convention on insolvency proceedings was initialled by the representatives of all member states. The presidency hoped that the convention would be ready for signature at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November.The Council welcomed in principle a draft joint action against racism and xenophobia. The purpose of the instrument would be to promote a comparable response by member states' criminal justice systems to racist and xenophobic acts committed within the European Union. The subject was examined by Ministers at the Informal Council on 14 and 15 October, with a view to concluding the joint action at the November Justice and Home Affairs Council.The Council discussed a number of points arising from the negotiations on the draft regulations implementing the Europol convention, and agreed that work should continue on them at official level.The Council considered requests from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the temporary protection of refugees and displaced persons from the former Yugoslavia. The Council instructed the K4 committee to examine this matter further at its next meeting in the light of a presentation by a representative from the UNHCR.The presidency condemned terrorist acts and welcomed efforts among the member states to tackle this problem through reinforced co-operation and improved exchanges of information.Ministers of the member states met their counterparts from the central and eastern European states, the Baltic states and Cyprus and Malta to continue the pre-accession structured dialogue with those countries on justice and home affairs. On the second day of the Council, the troika held meetings on third pillar matters with representatives from Norway, Switzerland, Morocco and the Andean pact countries.

National Lottery

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what directions he has given to the National Lottery Charities Board on how it is to consider applications for grants and how lottery money should be spent. [38348]

I have issued directions to the National Lottery Charities Board under the terms of sections 26 and 39 of the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 in respect of various policy and financial matters. The policy directions are meant to ensure, inter alia, that the board achieves over time the distribution of money to a reasonably wide spread of recipients, including small organisations and those operating purely at a local level, and across a reasonably wide range of charitable—whether or not charitable in law—benevolent and philanthropic activity.The directions also require the board:

to have regard from the outset to: to the interests of the United Kingdom as a whole; the interests of the different parts of the United Kingdom; and the relative population sizes of, and appropriate socio-economic factors applicable to, the different parts of the United Kingdom;
to consider the interests of organisations with a base in the United Kingdom and working overseas;
to distribute grants in the light of these considerations.

The financial directions regulate the payment of grants and put in place safeguards to ensure that grants are used for the purposes for which they were given.

I have today placed in the Library copies of the policy and financial directions.

Roger Casement

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the review of the records relating to Roger Casement has been completed. [38349]

The review of the Roger Casement records, requested by the Institute of Contemporary History under the open government initiative, has been completed. I am pleased to announce that my Department's records will today be released at the Public Record Office.

Probation And Bail Hostels

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many instances local objections have been made to the siting of an approved probation and bail hostel since 1990; and if he will list those objections. [37185]

Since 1990, 24 approved probation and bail hostels have been opened. In all cases there were some local objections, including representations to the local planning authority and the Home Office; but it is not practicable to provide an exhaustive list.

Police Cautions

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many juveniles and young persons had been cautioned by the police on (a) three occasions, (b) four occasions and (c) more than five occasions. [37179]

The information requested is not collected routinely. The table shows results from a special study of all 4,500 offenders cautioned for indictable offences in one week of 1994 in England and Wales.

Persons cautioned in one week of November, 1994
England and WalesPercentages
Number of previous cautions
Under 1818 to 20Age 21 and overAll
None82878985
One129810
Two42(2)2(2)3
Three2(2)2(1)2(1)1
Four or more2(1)2(0)2(1)2(1)
1 Not necessarily in the study year.
2 () Figures based on fewer than 50 people.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of (a) juveniles and (b) young persons, who were formally cautioned by the police in England and Wales, did not subsequently become the subject of a further arrest and further caution in each of the last three years for which figures each are available. [37180]

The information requested is not collected routinely. The tables show results from special studies of those cautioned for indictable offences in England and Wales in one sample week each in 1985, 1988 and 1991. Table 1 shows the percentage of offenders in each sample not subsequently convicted within two years of being cautioned. More detail for part of the 1991 sample on subsequent convictions and cautions for part of the 1991 sample is included in table 2.

Table 1: The proportion of offenders who had not been convicted within two years of being cautioned
England and WalesPercentages
Year of study
Age at caution198519881991
Under 18838079
18 to 20(85)7777
Table 2: The proportion of offenders who had not been subsequently convicted or recautioned within two years of being cautioned1
England and Wales
Age at cautionPercentage not recautionedPercentage not subsequently convictedPercentage neither recautioned nor subsequently convicted
Under 18697655
18 to 202(92)2(78)2(71)
1 Based on information supplied by 10 police forces on 422 offenders cautioned in one week on November 1991.
2 Figures based on fewer than 50 people.

Young Offenders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) 15, (b) 16 and (c) 17 year-old-boys were sentenced to a period of custody during (i) 1990, (ii) 1991 and (iii) 1992. [37187]

The information is given in the table.

Number of boys aged 15, 16 and 17 sentenced to immediate custody1at all courts 1990 to 1992
England and Wales
Age199019911992
15477573519
161,0701,047981
172,6992,4822,287
1 Detention in a young offender institution.

Combination Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many combination orders were made under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 in (a) each quarter and (b) each full year since the provisions came into force. [37183]

The information is given in the table.

Number of combination orders1made by type of offence, year and quarter 1992 to 19942
England and Wales
Year/quarterIndictable offencesSummary non-motoring offencesSummary motoring officesAll offences
19928971032741,274
19936,0907802,0708,940
199428,1101,0803,20912,399
1992 Q48971032741,274
1993 Q11,2751694071,851
Q21,4211674401,028
Q31,5952025632,360
Q41,7992426602,701
1994 Q122,1372577813,175
Q221,8182427662,826
Q322,1352698163,220
Q422,0203128463,178
1 Introduced under the Criminal Justice Act 1991 which came into effect on 1 October 1992.
2 Provisional.

Handcuffs

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of rigid and chain link handcuffs used by police officers are manufactured in the United Kingdom. [37079]

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners have suffered injury from the use of rigid handcuffs in the latest period for which figures are available. [37078]

This information is not held centrally. I understand that in 1994 the Police Complaints Authority received some 300 complaints about handcuffs, including both the traditional style and the rigid handcuff.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the effect of the use of rigid handcuffs on the level of assaults upon police officers. [37080]

I understand that this type of handcuff is quicker to apply and provides a more effective restraint upon a prisoner than the traditional design. I have no information as to the effect of the rigid handcuff on the level of assaults on police officers.

Supervision Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many supervision orders with residential requirements have been made by the courts in England and Wales since the implementation of the Children Act 1989. [37188]

The information is given in the table.

Number of supervision orders with residential requirements1made by type of court 19912to 19943
England and Wales
Type of court/YearTotal supervision ordersSupervision order with residential requirement
Magistrates court
19915,948(2)
19925,616164
19936,987172
199438,847226
Crown Court
1991339(2)
199233010
199330814
1994334312
All courts
19916,287(2)
19925,946174
19937,295186
199439,190238
1 Introduced under provisions of Children and Young Person Act 1969, section 12AA, as amended by Children Act 1989 which came into effect 14 October 1991.
2Not available. Data not collected separately for this disposal until 1 January 1992.
3 Provisional.

Scotland

Local Services

16.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next plans to meet representatives of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to discuss local services. [36044]

Local Government Reorganisation

17.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next expects to meet representatives of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to discuss the implementation of the reorganisation of local government. [36046]

26.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to meet the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to discuss reorganisation of local government. [36055]

My right hon. Friend and I are scheduled to meet representatives of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on 10 November as part of the normal consultation on local government finance matters.

Scottish Economy

18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will next meet the Scottish Trades Union Congress to discuss the problems of the Scottish economy. [36047]

19.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to meet the General Council of the Scottish Trade Union Congress to discuss the Scottish economy; and if he will make a statement. [36048]

20.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next plans to meet the Scottish Trades Union Congress to discuss the Scottish economy. [36049]

My right hon. Friend meets representatives of the Scottish TUC from time to time to discuss a range of issues concerning the Scottish economy. Over the summer he met STUC representatives on two such occasions.

Training

21.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on responsibility for training in Scotland. [36050]

The Secretary of State for Scotland has had responsibility for training policy and public expenditure provision for training programmes in Scotland since 1 April last year; and he exercises this responsibility within the framework of overall strategic priorities for Britain.

Local Government (Corruption And Nepotism)

22.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he proposes to take to ensure Scottish local authorities are free from corruption and nepotism. [36051]

Together with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has appointed a task force to review existing mechanisms and procedures governing local government conduct in Scotland.

European Regional Fund

23.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total value of grants that Scotland has received from the European regional fund since the fund's inception. [36052]

Since the inception of the European regional development fund in 1975, Scotland has benefited from awards totalling almost £1.5 billion.

Governance Of Scotland

24.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what initiatives he plans to introduce relating to the governance of Scotland. [36053]

I am actively considering a number of measures which will improve the governance of Scotland.

Acute Service Provision, Lanarkshire

25.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to improve the level of acute service provision in Lanarkshire. [36054]

It is the responsibility of all health boards in Scotland to provide safe and efficient health care which best meets the overall needs and priorities of the population.Lanarkshire health board seeks continually to improve the full range of health services it purchases for the people of Lanarkshire.

Local Government Services

27.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next plans to meet the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to discuss local government services. [36056]

My right hon. Friend and I are scheduled to meet representatives of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on 10 November as part of the normal consultation on local government finance matters.

Public Transport, Fife

28.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the provision of public transport in Fife. [36057]

The provision of public transport services in Fife is a matter for the train operating companies and the bus companies. Fife regional council also takes an active interest in promoting public transport in the area.In February 1994, following consultation with Fife regional council, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State agreed to provide additional capital allocations of up to £8.8 million to Fife for planned improvements to rail services. The regional council and ScotRail are now taking this forward.

The future of rail services in Fife has been contractually assured for the first time by their inclusion in the ScotRail and InterCity east coast passenger service requirements.

Scottish Parliament

29.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received calling for a Scottish Parliament. [36059]

Since I assumed office as Secretary of State in July, I have received 14 letters on constitutional matters, of which only three were in support of a Scottish Parliament.

Health Boards

30.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next expects to meet the chairmen of the health boards in Scotland to discuss finance. [36060]

I meet chairmen of health boards regularly to discuss a wide range of strategic issues affecting the management of the NHS in Scotland. Many of those issues may have financial implications. The next such meeting will take place on 8 December 1995.

31.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the chairman of health boards to discuss the health service [36061]

I met the chairmen of all Scotland's health boards and NHS trusts on 5 October.

33.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to amend the functions of health boards in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [36063]

I have no such plans.However, I have established a working group, chaired by Professor Sir Robert Shields, to produce and consolidate guidance on the developing roles and responsibilities of health boards. A copy of the group's remit and a list of members has been placed in the library.

Road Upgrading, Gordon

32.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the upgrading of the A96 and A92 within the constituency of Gordon. [36062]

In December 1988, I announced a comprehensive six-point plan to improve the A96 comprising dual carriageways, bypasses, increased overtaking opportunities and accident remedial measures. Bypasses have been constructed at Inverurie, Bucksburn and Lhanbryde and others have completed their public local inquiry stages. In Gordon, work is progressing on the preparation of bypasses at Kintore and Blackburn.On the A92, good progress is being made on the preparation of the improvement between Balmedie and Tipperty. Earlier design work has been reviewed and draft orders can be published once the final phase of evaluation has been completed. Other improvements are being made on the A92 and speed cameras have been introduced to improve road safety.

Housing (Glasgow)

34.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to meet Glasgow district council to discuss housing conditions. [36064]

My right hon. Friend has no plans to do so. However, one of my first visits as Housing Minister was to Easterhouse in Glasgow on 8 August 1995. I saw at first hand the problems of that estate and the significant investment programmes being devoted to tackling them. Scottish Homes expects to invest around £15 million in Easterhouse in 1995–96. The specific developments I viewed involved over 100 new or improved units costing just over £6 million.I have also accepted invitations from the council to speak at the city housing conference on energy which is being held in November and to visit the district later in the year to see the housing conditions for myself and to learn how the council is utilising the £116 million capital resources available to it for housing investment this year. I look forward to hearing more about the council's efforts to involve the private sector in meeting Glasgow's housing needs.

Forestry Commission

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total number and area of Forestry Commission woods in (a) England (b) Scotland and (c) Wales sold since 1981; and, of those, the total number and area of woods in each country sold for which legal agreements were made and are currently enforceable to protect public access on foot. [37499]

The number and area of Forestry Commission woods sold since 1981 are as follows:

EnglandScotlandWales
Number of woods sold986801848
Area of woods sold (hectares)33,62973,78016,462
The number and area of Forestry Commission woods sold since the introduction of access agreements in 1991 are as follows:

EnglandScotlandWales
Number of woods sold185220253
Area of woods sold (hectares)4,03726,5084,688
Number of public access agreements6116
Area covered by agreements (hectares)13620350

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to publish a comprehensive guide for sale to the public of all woods owned by the Forestry Commission to which public access on foot is freely available. [37501]

The Forestry Commission already provides guides, leaflets and other publicity and it is considering ways of providing further information about those of its woodlands which are freely open to the public on foot.

Monklands District Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what further steps the Government are taking about the operation of Monklands district council. [36058]

The inquiry announced by the then Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Lang), on 28 June is under way and any follow-up action will be determined in the light of its conclusions.

Housing Stock (Berwickshire)

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to be able to make a statement on the proposed transfer of Berwickshire district council's housing stock to Berwickshire housing association. [36045]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State approved Berwickshire district council's application for consent to transfer the stock on 30 August and the transfer has now been completed.

Social Security

Contributions Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will list (a) as at May 1994 and (b) as at the latest available date the addresses of bases of clerical staff of the Contributions Agency; [37221](2) what plans he has further to centralise the activities of the Contributions Agency; and if he will make a statement; [37222](3) to what extent the Contributions Agency office at Inverness is affected by plans to centralise activities of the Contributions Agency. [37223]

The administration of the Contributions Agency is a matter for Mrs. Faith Boardman, the chief executive. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Mrs. Faith Boardman to Mrs. Margaret Ewing, dated 17 October 1995:

As Chief Executive of the Contributions Agency, I have responsibility for answering questions about operational matters relating to the Agency. I have been asked to reply to your questions about the addresses of bases of the Agency's clerical staff, plans to centralise the Agency's activities and the effects on the Agency's office in Inverness of these plans. In view of the nature of the questions I have combined the responses.
The tables in Annex 1 show the offices with a clerical presence in the Agency's Field Operations in May 1994 while those at Annex 2 show the position at September 1995. In addition to our Field Operations, clerical staff were also based (both in May 1994 and September 1995) at our Centre in Newcastle and Civil Recoveries Sections in Bootle, Cardiff, Edinburgh and King's Lynn.
A recent business analysis of our Field Operations and a review of the pay and grading structure have recommended significant changes to the organisation.
In 1991, the Agency began to move towards a Field Operations network of some 184 Field Offices supported by 90 National Insurance Outsations. Current research has shown that there is a need to match more closely Contributions Agency outlets to customer requirements while still maintaining nationwide cover for the administration of the NI scheme. Information has been obtained about density of business, density of population and locations of the self-employed. This information has been incorporated into the design of a new network to consist of around 100–115 locations, comprising 70–75 Field Offices and 30–40 Inspector outstations, which will maintain the commitment to service delivery outlined in the Contributions Agency Contributors' and Employers' Charters. It is proposed to achieve the rationalisation of the Field Operations network within the next two to five years. There are no further plans to centralise beyond the current proposals.
In Scotland, it is proposed that clerical processing work which does not require face to face contact will be centred in the major cities. A network of National Insurance Inspector outlets will be developed to provide a local service to the Agency's customers by appointment at a local office of the Department of Social Security, or by visit.
Under these proposals the Contributions Agency office at Inverness will operate as a National Insurance outlet with clerical processing at either Aberdeen or Edinburgh.
I hope that my reply proves helpful. Please let me know if I can be of any more assistance.
Contributions Agency Field Operations Clerical Processing Locations as at May 1994
  • Aberdare
  • Aberdeen North
  • Aberystwyth
  • Accrington
  • Acton
  • Airdrie
  • Aldershot
  • Andover
  • Ashford
  • Ashington
  • Ashton under Lyne
  • Aylesbury
  • Ayr
  • Balham
  • Banbury
  • Barking
  • Barnet
  • Barnsley East
  • Barrow
  • Basildon
  • Basingstoke
  • Bath
  • Bathgate
  • Bedford
  • Bexley
  • Birmingham Ladywood
  • Birmingham Perry Barr
  • Birmingham Ravenhurst
  • Birmingham South Yardley
  • Blackpool North
  • Blackpool South
  • Bloomsbury
  • Boston
  • Bournemouth
  • Bracknell
  • Bradford West
  • Brighton
  • Bristol South
  • Bristol West
  • Bristol Horfield
  • Brixton
  • Bromley
  • Bury St. Edmonds
  • Bury
  • Caernarfon
  • Cambridge
  • Cannock
  • Canterbury
  • Cardiff Gabalfa
  • Carlisle
  • Chatham
  • Carmarthen
  • Chelmsford
  • Chester le Street
  • Chester
  • Chesterfield
  • Chichester
  • Clydebank
  • Colchester
  • Colwyn Bay
  • Coventry
  • Crawley
  • Cricklewood
  • Crewe
  • Croydon
  • Cumbernauld
  • Cwmbran
  • Darlington
  • Dartford
  • Dewsbury
  • Derby Heritage Gate
  • Doncaster East
  • Dover
  • Dudley North
  • Dumfries
  • Dumbarton
  • Dundee East
  • Ealing
  • Eastbourne
  • Ebbw Vale
  • East Kilbride
  • Edgware
  • Edmonton
  • Edinburgh (Argyle House)
  • Epsom
  • Eston
  • Euston
  • Exeter
  • Falkirk
  • Fareham
  • Farnworth
  • Fulham
  • Galashiels
  • Gateshead
  • Glasgow North
  • Glasgow South
  • Glasgow Laurieston
  • Gloucester
  • Grays
  • Greenock
  • Guildford
  • Halifax
  • Hamilton
  • Harlow
  • Harrow
  • Hartlepool
  • Hastings
  • Havant
  • Havering
  • Hay wards Heath
  • Hemel Hempstead
  • Hereford
  • Hertford
  • Highgate
  • High Wycombe
  • Hither Green
  • Hounslow
  • Hoxton
  • Huddersfield
  • Hull
  • Ilford
  • Ilkeston
  • Inverness
  • Ipswich
  • Keighley
  • Kennington Park
  • Kensington
  • Kidderminster
  • Kilmarnock
  • Kings Lynn
  • Kingston
  • Kirkcaldy
  • Lancaster
  • Launceston
  • Leamington Spa
  • Leicester (Leicester House)
  • Leeds East
  • Leeds North
  • Leeds North West
  • Leeds West
  • Lincoln
  • Liverpool (St. Martins House)
  • Llangefni
  • London City
  • Lowestoft
  • Luton
  • Maidstone
  • Manchester Bishopsgate
  • Mansfield
  • Manchester Chorlton
  • Mansfield
  • Milton Keynes
  • Neasden
  • Newbury
  • New Forest
  • Newcastle upon Tyne (St. James)
  • Newham
  • New Malden
  • Nothallerton
  • Northampton
  • North Shields
  • Nottingham (Shakespeare St.)
  • Nottingham (Station St.)
  • Nuneaton
  • Norwich Chantry
  • Norwich Mountergate
  • Oldham
  • Oxford
  • Paddington
  • Paisley
  • Peckham
  • Penzance
  • Peterborough
  • Peterlee
  • Plymouth
  • Pontypridd
  • Poole
  • Poplar
  • Portsmouth North
  • Preston
  • Reading
  • Redditch
  • Redhill
  • Rhyl
  • Rochdale
  • Rossendale
  • Rotherham South
  • Salisbury
  • Salford South
  • Scarborough
  • Scunthorpe
  • Sheffield (Hutton Buildings)
  • Shrewsbury
  • Skelmerdale
  • Slough
  • Southampton
  • Southend
  • Southport
  • Southwick
  • St. Albans
  • St. Austell
  • St. Helens
  • Stevenage
  • Stirling
  • Stockport North
  • Stockton
  • Stoke
  • Sunderland North
  • Sutton
  • Swansea
  • Thames North (Scarborough St.)
  • Torbay
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Uxbridge
  • Wakefield
  • Wallasey
  • Walsall
  • Walthamstow
  • Warrington
  • Watford
  • Wellingborough
  • West Bromwich
  • Weymouth
  • Wigan
  • Winchester
  • Wishaw
  • Woking
  • Wolverhampton North
  • Wood Green
  • Woolwich
  • Worcester
  • Workington
  • Wrexham
  • York

Annex 2

Clerical Processing Locations as at September 1995

  • Aberdeen North
  • Aberystwyth
  • Accrington
  • Aldershot
  • Ashington
  • Aylesbury
  • Ayr
  • Balham
  • Banbury
  • Barking
  • Barnet
  • Barnsley East
  • Barrow
  • Basildon
  • Bath
  • Bathgate
  • Bedford
  • Birmingham Ladywood
  • Birmingham Perry Barr
  • Birmingham Ravenhurst
  • Birmingham South Yardley
  • Bexley
  • Blackpool South
  • Bloomsbury
  • Boston
  • Bournemouth
  • Bradford West
  • Bristol Horfield
  • Bromley
  • Bury St. Edmunds
  • Caernarfon
  • Cambridge
  • Cannock
  • Cardiff Gabalfa
  • Carlisle
  • Chatham
  • Carmarthen
  • Chelmsford
  • Chester
  • Chichester
  • Colchester
  • Colwyn Bay
  • Coventry
  • Cricklewood
  • Crewe
  • Croydon
  • Cwmbran
  • Darlington
  • Dartford
  • Dewsbury
  • Derby Heritage Gate
  • Doncaster East
  • Dover
  • Dudley North
  • Dundee East
  • Ealing
  • Ebbw Vale
  • Edgware
  • Edmonton
  • Epsom
  • Edinburgh (Argyle House)
  • Eston
  • Euston
  • Exeter
  • Falkirk
  • Fareham
  • Farnworth
  • Fulham
  • Gateshead
  • Glasgow North
  • Glasgow South
  • Gloucester
  • Guildford
  • Halifax
  • Hamilton
  • Harlow
  • Harrow
  • Hartlepool
  • Hastings
  • Haverfordwest
  • Havering
  • Hendon
  • Haywards Heath
  • Hemel Hempstead
  • Hereford
  • Hertford
  • Highgate
  • High Wycombe
  • Hoxton
  • Huddersfield
  • Hull
  • Ilford
  • Inverness
  • Ipswich
  • Kings Lynn
  • Kingston
  • Lancaster
  • Launceston
  • Leamington Spa
  • Leicester (Wellington St.)
  • Leeds East
  • Leeds North West
  • Leeds West
  • Lincoln
  • Liverpool (St. Martins House)
  • Llangefni
  • London City
  • Lowestoft
  • Luton
  • Maidstone
  • Manchester Bishopsgate
  • Mansfield
  • Milton Keynes
  • Neasden
  • Newham
  • New Malden
  • Northallerton
  • Northampton
  • Nuneaton
  • Nottingham (Shakespeare St.)
  • Nottingham (Station St.)
  • Norwich Chantry
  • Oxford
  • Paddington
  • Paisley
  • Peckham
  • Penzance
  • Peterborough
  • Plymouth
  • Pontypridd
  • Poole
  • Poplar
  • Portsmouth North
  • Preston
  • Reading
  • Redditch
  • Rhyl
  • Rotherham South
  • Salisbury
  • Scarborough
  • Shrewsbury
  • Sheffield (Hutton Buildings)
  • Slough
  • Southampton
  • Southend
  • St. Albans
  • St. Austell
  • Stevenage
  • Stockport North
  • Stockton
  • Stoke (Hanley)
  • Sutton
  • Sunderland North
  • Swansea
  • Thames North (Scarborough St.)
  • Torbay
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Wakefield Wallasey
  • Walthamstow
  • Warrington
  • Watford
  • Wellingborough
  • West Bromwich
  • Weymouth
  • Wigan
  • Wolverhampton North
  • Wood Green
  • Woolwich
  • Worcester
  • Workington
  • Wrexham
  • York

Disclosure Of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the matters which staff of his Department are precluded by employment conditions from discussing with their Member of Parliament. [37101]

The rules of the disclosure of information by civil servants are set out in the civil service management code, a copy of which is in the Library. Additionally, staff in his Department are prohibited by the Social Security Administration Act 1992 from disclosing, without lawful authority, any information relating to individuals which they have acquired during the course of their employment and which has not officially been made public.

Unemployment Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what regulations apply in the case of those claimants who are deemed to be capable of some work as a result of the all-work test and have been continuously employed for two years or more. [37028]

Claimants who are capable of some work and claim unemployment benefit have to satisfy the normal conditions for receipt, including the need to be available for and actively seek work. Claimants are allowed to restrict their availability if the restrictions are reasonable in view of their physical or mental condition. They need not relinquish their contract of employment in order to be unemployed, provided no earnings or retention fees are received, no work is done and there is no obligation to remain at the employer's disposal.

Travel Allowances

To ask the Secretary of States for Social Security if he will list the total cost of travel expenses claimed by civil servants using their own vehicles for official business in each of the last five years in his Department; and what would have been the saving in the last year if the maximum rate that could be claimed was set at the lowest rate. [36620]

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

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what rates of travel allowance may be claimed by civil servants in his Department when using their own vehicles for official business. [36619]

The information is in the table.

DSS mileage allowances

Part 1—Standard rate mileage allowances
Engine capacity (cc)Up to 1500Over 1500
(1) Motor cars
Rate per mile for the first 5,000 miles34p43p
Rate for each mile beyond 5,000 miles19p23p
Engine capacity (cc)Up to 125Over 125
(2) Motor cycles
Rate per mile for the first 4,000 miles
(a) third party insurance14.6p22.1p
(b) comprehensive insurance16.2p25.3p
Rate for each mile beyond 4,000 miles6.1p9.0p
(3) Official passenger and equipment supplements
First passenger2p per mile
Each additional passenger1p per mile
Equipment2p per mile
PART 2-PUBLIC TRANSPORT RATE ALLOWANCES (THIRD PARTY INSURANCE COVER)

  • (1) Motor cars
    • Up to 1500cc: 19p per mile
    • Over 1500 cc: 23p per mile
  • (2) Official passenger supplement
    • First passenger: 2p per mile
    • Each additional passenger: 1p per mile

    PART 3—PEDAL CYCLE RATE

    • 6p per mile

    Housing Benefit

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what housing benefit exists in each EU country; and if he will make a statement. [36417]

    Information currently available on EU countries is as follows1:

    Austria:
    The federal provinces provide social assistance payments to cover some or all of the costs of public or private rented housing and associated heating costs.
    Belgium
    There is no separate, generalised system of housing benefit. Some social assistance payments may include a supplementary allowance towards housing costs.
    Denmark:
    A housing allowance is payable to those on low incomes and social assistance to meet housing costs above a level determined by the family circumstances of the claimant.
    Finland:
    The social assistance allowance may include a supplementary element the level of which is at the discretion of the local welfare office, to cover reasonable housing costs. Besides social assistance there are three income-related schemes paying housing allowances to people on low incomes, pensioners and students. Allowances may be granted for both owned and rented accommodation and may cover up to 80 per cent. of housing costs. Those in receipt of social assistance may receive additional help to meet the remaining 20 per cent. of costs.
    France:
    Income-related housing benefits are available to assist with mortgage interest payments and rents in social and private rented accommodation.
    Germany:
    Those claiming social assistance receive supplementary amounts to cover reasonable housing costs. Owner occupiers may receive payments of mortgage interest up to a specified level which varies according to local circumstances and, if they have no realisable savings, loans to cover capital repayments. An income-related housing benefit is payable to those living in private or social rented housing and to owner occupiers.
    Greece:
    Housing benefit is available to those aged over 65 without social insurance cover and whose only resources are the minimum pension allowance. The benefit covers rents in the private sector only and is paid directly to landlords.
    Ireland:
    Rent and mortgage supplements are available under the supplementary welfare allowance schemes. Rent supplements may be paid to people in privately rented housing and social housing provided by voluntary housing associations. Mortgage supplements to cover mortgage interest payments only may be paid to owner-occupiers.
    Italy:
    There is no housing benefit scheme.
    Luxembourg:
    Rent allowances, based on the difference between gross rent and 10 per cent. of the amount of the main income support benefit—RMG—payable to the claimant, up to a fixed monthly maximum are available as part of the RMG.
    Netherlands:
    A means-tested housing benefit is available to those claiming General Assistance whose rent or mortgage interest is above as specified level and below a set limit. The benefit is only available for flats and houses: people renting a single room are not eligible. Where the rent or mortgage interest is higher than the specified ceiling, a temporary housing cost supplement may be paid through general assistance.
    Portugal:
    A means-tested housing allowance is available for those in public, social and private rented housing. An emergency housing benefit is available for those in sudden need as a result of a death, unemployment or invalidity.
    Spain:
    There is no system of housing benefit. Discretionary one-off payments may be made to assist with housing costs in cases of particular need.
    Sweden:
    There are three forms of housing assistance: (i) people on social assistance may have reasonable housing costs (rent or mortgage interest) added to the social assistance standard from which their level of benefit is calculated; (ii) a general housing benefit, the level of which is dependent on the composition of the household, the income of the household and the cost of the accommodation, and which is counted as income when calculating social assistance; (iii) for pensioners, an income tested housing supplement, the level of which varies between municipalities.

    Note:

    1. International comparisons of housing benefit are complex and should be treated with caution. In many countries help with housing costs differs from that in the UK because of their different social, cultural and economic traditions and circumstances, including different social security and taxation systems and different emphasis on bricks-and-mortar subsidies as opposed to personal subsidies. In addition, housing standards and housing costs vary considerably, both between and within countries, and in some countries housing benefits form part of the system of social assistance.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will bring forward proposals to equalise the subsidy effect of housing benefit between landlords with protected tenants and other landlords; and if he will make a statement. [36785]

    We have no plans to introduce changes to the current arrangements for subsidising local authorities' housing benefit expenditure for rent allowances paid in respect of protected tenancies or other tenancies.

    War Pensions (Nuclear Test Veterans)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what benefits are available to ex-service personnel accepted by the War Pensions Agency as suffering chromosome damage attributable to service. [37504]

    War disablement pensions or gratuities may be awarded to ex-service personnel for any disablement which is attributable to service in the Armed Forces.The amount payable depends upon the medically assessed degree of disablement.Supplementary allowances may be payable in addition to the basic pension or gratuity.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many of the service personnel involved in the British nuclear test programme have been found to be suffering from chromosome damage attributable to service. [37505]

    A pensions appeal tribunal has found, in one particular case, a claimant to be suffering from chromosome damage attributable to service.The Secretary of State has applied for leave to appeal to the High Court on the ground that the tribunal's decision is wrong in law.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many war pensions have been awarded in (a) 1980 to 1985, (b) 1986 to 1990 and (c) 1991 to 1995 to ex-service personnel as a result of injury or medical conditions attributable to participation in the British nuclear test programmes in Australia and the South Pacific. [37506]

    The information in the table relates to war disablement pensions or gratuities awarded to ex-service personnel who, during their career, participated in the British nuclear weapons tests programme. These records do not specify whether the accepted injuries or other medical condition are related to service at the test sites or to some other period of service.

    PeriodNumber of awards
    1980 to 19851
    1986 to 19904
    1991 to 1995289

    Treasury

    Income Tax

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the total cost of tax-free allowances and other tax breaks to individuals; and if he will indicate the proportion of income tax which would not need to be levied if the allowances and breaks were not in place. [37073]

    This depends on what the hon. Member considers a "tax break". Table 1.6 of Inland Revenue Statistics 1995, a copy of which can be found in the Library, shows the estimated cost of allowances, tax expenditures and structural reliefs against income tax.A tax system without allowances, which charges tax from the first £1 of income would bring many more people into tax, including 7 million pensioners and the unemployed.

    Ec Budget Council

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the EC Budget Council meeting held on 24 July. [37743]

    I represented the United Kingdom at the Budget Council on 24 July. The Council considered that Commission's preliminary draft budget for 1996. The draft budget established by the Council totalled 86.0 billion ecu or £71.8 billion in commitment appropriations and 81.4 billion ecu or £67.9 billion in payment appropriations. The draft budget would require own resources totalling 1.1885 per cent. of Community gross national product, compared with the existing own resources ceiling of 1.20 per cent. of Community GNP. The draft budget is within the financial perspective ceilings.The Council also discussed a proposal by the French for an increase in transport Trans-European Networks of 100 mecu or £83.4 million. The Council agreed to accept an increase of 50 mecu or £41.7 million, with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands voting against. No other formal votes were taken.The summary table compares the outcome of the Budget Council with the proposals in the Commission's amended preliminary draft budget by reference to the financial perspective ceilings.

    Financial Perspective Expenditure ceilings1Preliminary draft budget2Budget Council draft budget
    mecu£ millionmecu£ millionmecu£ million
    Commitment appropriations
    1. Common agricultural policy40,82834,06940,82834,06940,82834,069
    2. Structural operations29,13124,30829,13124,30829,13123,308
    3. Internal policies5,3374,4535,2674,3955,0824,241
    4. External action5,2644,3935,1574,3035,1044,259
    5. Administrative expenditure4,1913,4974,1323,4484,0223,356
    6. Reserves1,1529611,1529611,152961
    7. Compensation701585701585701585
    Total Commitments86,60472,26786,36872,06986,02071,779
    Total payment appropriations82,19268,68582,01568,43781,36067,890
    1 Throughout this reply the rate of £1=1.1984 ecu has been used—the rate notified in the Official Journal as prevailing on the last working day of last month, 29 September.
    2 As amended in letter of amendment No. 1 from the figure which appeared in the Commission's overview of the PDB for 1996 to take account of the higher bid for agriculture under category 1.

    Note:

    Further information is contained in the explanatory memorandum 9145/95 on the draft budget, which was deposited to Parliament on 5 October.

    The European Parliament will consider the draft budget for 1996 at its plenary in October. The Parliament's amendments and modifications will be considered at the Second Budget Council in November. The European Parliament's Second Reading is likely to be in mid-December.

    Duchy Of Lancaster

    Engagements

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will list the meetings he attended and the people he met on (a) Wednesday 19 July, (b) Tuesday 18 July and (c) Monday 17 July; [36758](2) if he will list his engagements for the first two weeks of October. [37625]

    On each day, I had a number of meetings with ministerial colleagues and others.

    To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will list his engagements for August; [37623](2) if he will list his engagements for September. [37624]

    On those days when I was in the office, I had a number of meetings with ministerial colleagues and others.

    Health

    Winter Mortality

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information is held by his Department on excess winter deaths in (a) countries of the European Union and (b) other G7 countries over the last 10 years; what is the average temperature in the relevant four-month period in each of these countries; and if he will set out the information showing excess winter mortality in numerical and percentage terms. [37313]

    Information is not available centrally on either excess winter deaths or temperature in other countries. Data on temperature in England and Wales is held by the Meteorological Office and is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.The table shows excess winter mortality in England and Wales over the last 10 years.

    Excess winter mortality, England and Wales
    PeriodExcess winter deathsPercentage
    1984–8542,27826.5
    1985–8649,44627.7
    1986–8726,44914.9
    1987–8833,09818.4
    1988–8921,23511.8
    1989–9047,08326.3
    1990–9137,84521.5
    1991–9224,84519.9
    1992–9325,65614.5
    1993–9425,89014.2

    Private Finance Initiative

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the success or otherwise of the private finance initiative in hospital capital works; and if he will make a statement. [37569]

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Dulwich (Ms Jowell) on 16 October and to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. Betts) on 28 June at col 594.

    Read Codes

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will give details of the tendering procedure for the contract for the development of a Read codes system to apply to the national health service; what business case was presented before signing the contract; and if he will list any significant revisions to the contract subsequent to signing it; [37570]

    (2) if the arrangements for the contract awarded to Loughborough university for the development of Read codes and its application to the national health service complied with European Commission rules on public sector tendering; whether variations in the conventional departmental and Treasury rules were required in the placing of the contract; and if he will give the value of the contract in year 1 and prospectively in years 2 and 3; [37571]

    (3) if he will make a statement on the development contract for the introduction of Read codes as the basis for computerised coding in the national health service. [37572]

    In 1990 all rights to Read codes were purchased on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health from their inventor Dr. James Read. The purchase price was independently assessed at the time by experts from Hambros Bank Ltd. Further development of the codes was then given to the national health service for coding and classification, an NHS body located in Loughborough which was created for the purpose and is a part of the NHS Executive. There has therefore never been a development contract with Loughborough university or any other body and the questions of tendering and associated procedures do not apply.

    Breast Cancer

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the Government intend to respond to the third report of the Health Committee on Breast Cancer Services, HC 324; and if he will make a statement. [38327]

    Copies of the Government's response to the Health Committee's third report on Breast Cancer Services have been laid before the House today. I warmly welcome the Committee's report, particularly its commendation of the achievements of the national health service breast screening programme and its support for the new strategic framework for the development of cancer services.

    Wales

    Modern Apprenticeships

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people under the modern manufacturing apprenticeships scheme enjoy employed status. [37020]

    A total of 498 young people started modern apprenticeships in manufacturing engineering in Wales in 1994–95. Of these, 473 or 95 per cent. now have employed status.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people are in receipt of a bursary under the modern manufacturing apprenticeship scheme and what proportion this is of the total number of such apprenticeships. [37019]

    A total of 498 young people started modern apprenticeships in manufacturing engineering in Wales in 1994–95. Of these, 188 or 37.75 per cent., were in receipt of a bursary. All but a few have completed their first year of training and are now in employment. Figures for the 1995–96 apprentice intake are not yet available.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total Government expenditure to date upon the modern manufacturing apprenticeship scheme. [37023]

    Modern apprenticeships in manufacturing engineering were introduced in Wales in 1994–95. Total Government expenditure, through Welsh training and enterprise councils, in support of modern apprenticeships in 1994–95 was £9.5 million.

    Rates Of Pay

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate his Department has made of the average hourly rate of pay for men employed in manufacturing (a) in Mid Glamorgan and (b) in Wales; and what percentage these represent of the United Kingdom average. [37244]

    The available information covers Great Britain only and is shown in the following table:

    Average hourly earnings of full-time men in manufacturing1: 1994
    Average hourly earnings excluding overtime (pence)Per cent. of GB average
    Mid Glamorgan67783.4
    Wales75292.6
    Great Britain812100.0

    Source:

    New Earnings Survey.

    1 At April, full-time men on adult rates whose pay was not affected by absence.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate his Department has made of the average hourly rate of pay in food retailing in (a) Mid Glamorgan and (b) Wales; and what percentage these represent of the United Kingdom average. [37245]

    Residential Homes

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales; (1) what estimate his Department has made of the number of complaints made about care in (a) residential and (b) nursing homes last year. [37011](2) what estimate his Department has made of the number of care assistants in residential homes that have nursing qualifications; [37016](3) what estimate his Department has made of the average gross and net profits made by private residential and nursing homes. [37017]

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate his Department has of the number of residential homes and nursing homes in Wales. [37014]

    There were 681 residential care homes and 391 private nursing homes open on 31 March 1994.

    Unemployment

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many men are currently out of work in Wales: how many of these have been unemployed for more than (a) six months and (b) 12 months and what percentages these are of the total numbers out of work; and what were the equivalent figures in 1979. [37403]

    The number of men on the claimant unemployment count, not seasonally adjusted, in Wales at August 1995 was 83,118. The latest figures by duration of unemployment are for July 1995, when 46,007 men on the claimant count in Wales had been unemployed for more than six months and 30,167 had been unemployed for more than 12 months, representing 55 per cent. and 36 per cent. respectively of all men on the claimant count. Equivalent figures for 1979 are not available.

    Student Grants

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the estimated average value of a maintenance grant for students in local further education made by each county council in Wales last year. [37217]

    The information requested is in the following table.

    Average Discretionary Awards made for maintenance to students in further education in Welsh LEAs for 1993–94
    LEAAverage award per recipient £
    Clwyd250
    Dyfed590
    Gwent550
    Gwynedd220
    Mid Glamorgan370
    Powys660
    South Glamorgan70
    West Glamorgan550
    Wales Total1350

    Note:

    1 Wales total has been grossed to compensate for partial returns. Average figures have been rounded to the nearest £10.

    Source:

    F503G.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many maintenance grants have been awarded in each county to assist students in local further education during each of the last three years. [37216]

    The information requested is in the following table:

    Total number of discretionary awards made to students in further education by Welsh LEAS
    LEA1991–921992–931993–94
    Clwyd2,2403,0901,860
    Dyfed1,9801,600990
    Gwent704,4604,510
    Gwynedd3,0203,2003,210
    Mid Glamorgan4,5004,9503,570
    Powys780410630
    South Glamorgan3902,6303,550
    West Glamorgan430280890
    Wales Total113,40020,61019,210
    1 Wales total has been grossed to compensate for partial returns.

    Source:

    F503G

    Training Expenditure

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what his Department has spent on youth training and adult training in (a) 1993, (b) 1994 and (c) 1995. [37057]

    The information requested for the financial years 1992–93 to 1994–95 is as follows:

    £000's
    Youth training including youth creditsAdult training1
    1992–9339,40853,508
    1993–9440,42454,854
    1994–9542,68363,981

    Note:

    Comparable information for 1995–96 will not be available until the Appropriation Accounts are completed next year.

    1 Employment training and employment action was replaced by training for work in April 1993.

    Source:

    Appropriation accounts.

    Training And Enterprise Councils

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of each Welsh TEC's budget is spent on training unemployed (a) adults and (b) 16 and 17-year-olds. [37056]

    The percentage of each Welsh TEC's budget spent on training unemployed adults during 1994–95 financial year is shown in the following table. The figures include trainees who were without jobs prior to the start of their training but who acquired employed status on or during the course of that training. Comparable information for 16 and 17-year-olds is not available separately and is therefore provided for those young people, within the 16 to 24 age group who are eligible for youth training.

    Percentage of welsh TEC budgets spent on training unemployed during 1994–95
    (a) Adults(b) 16 to 24-year-olds
    Gwent24 per cent.36 per cent.
    Mid Glamorgan23 per cent.38 per cent.
    North East Wales16 per cent.39 per cent.
    Powys15 per cent.32 per cent.
    South Glamorgan24 per cent.35 per cent.
    Targed20 per cent.35 per cent.
    West Wales22 per cent.36 per cent.

    Training For Work

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list comparative figures on the number of adults entering training for work programmes for (a) 1993, (b) 1994 and (c) 1995 to date. [37306]

    The information requested, by financial year, is as follows:

    Training for Work
    starts
    1993–9418,995
    1994–9519,439
    1995–9615,072
    1To 10 September

    Source:

    TEC Management Information.

    Cardiff Bay Opera House Trust

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on what date his Department first received representations in relation to the acquisition of land from Associated British Ports for the purposes of constructing the proposed Cardiff Bay opera house; on what date representations were received with particular reference to potential conflicts of interest; on what date the Cardiff Bay Opera House Trust transaction with Associated British Ports was completed; and on what date the conflict of interest issue was resolved. [35234]

    [pursuant to his answer, 18 July 1995, c. 1200–1]: I regret that there was an error in the original reply. The reference to the Cardiff Bay development corporation was incorrect and should have read the Cardiff Bay Opera House Trust. The parties to the heads of agreement were the Cardiff Bay Opera House Trust and Associated British Ports.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Intervention Board

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to publish a revised framework document for the Intervention Board executive agency. [38031]

    I am pleased to say that a revised policy and resources framework document for 1995 has been published and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

    Agriculture Council

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the outcome of the Agriculture Council held in Brussels on 25 September and if he will make a statement. [38030]

    At this meeting, the Council set the rate of rotational set-aside for arable crops to be harvested in 1996 at 10 per cent. It also set the rate for non-rotational set-aside at the same level. This compares with 1995 rates of 12 per cent. and 17 per cent.-12 per cent. and 15 per cent. in the United Kingdom—for the two types of set-aside respectively. The decision was taken by qualified majority vote, with Portugal voting against.

    The decision is a good compromise between the aim of ensuring adequate supplies and avoiding a renewed build up of stocks with a risk of increased budgetary costs. A single set-aside rate will make the scheme simpler for farmers which I welcome as wholly in keeping with my desire for greater deregulation.

    At my insistence, the Commission has promised, for the current marketing year as well as for 1996–97, to manage the market so as to ensure that cereals market prices are consistent with the aims of the 1992 reforms, and that priority in supply is given to consumers within the European Union in particular livestock farmers. I intend to make sure this undertaking is properly fulfilled.

    The Council also adopted a directive which will impose licensing and registration arrangements on manufacturers and users of a range of non-medicinal additives in animal feed. I voted against, on the grounds that no adequate justification has been given, in terms of risk to animal or human health, for introducing these requirements.

    The Council had an initial exchange of views on the Commission's proposals for changes to the support system for rice.

    The meeting was joined for part of the time by nine Ministers of Agriculture from the countries of central and eastern Europe, including the Baltic states. These Ministers explained the aims of their existing agriculture policies and their expectations for the development of their farm sectors, as well as their views on the common agricultural policy in the light of their hopes for the eventual accession of their countries to the European Union.

    Cropping Systems

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to the letter of the Minister of State, 1349, of 30 June, if he will make a statement on the purpose of the less intensive farming and environmental project of non-intensive farming and the environment, SCARAB or pesticides and TALISMANS on the economic and agronomic effects of reduced input systems. [37278]

    SCARAB—seeking confirmation about results at Boxworth—and TALISMAN—towards a low input system minimising agrochemicals—and agrochemicals nitrogen—are complementary projects designed to determine whether the conclusions of the earlier Boxworth project of 1981 to 1988 are valid for different soils and crop rotations. These projects seek to compare the environmental, economic and agronomic effects, including yield penalties, of adopting cropping systems which use lower inputs of agrochemicals than conventional cropping systems. SCARAB focuses on environmental and ecological effects of pesticide applications on non-target invertebrates and soil micro-organisms, whereas TALISMAN primarily seeks to measure economic effects.The less intensive farming and environmental research project—LIFE—aims to provide fundamental information on the effects, interactions and ecological implications of an integrated farming systems approach and to develop less intensive systems which are economically and ecologically sound and sustainable in the long-term.

    Northern Ireland

    Farm Sizes

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the number of farms of the size (a) 1–25 hectares, (b) 26–50 hectares, (c) 51–75 hectares, (d) 76–100 hectares, (e) 101–150 hectares, (f) 151–200 hectares and (g) 201 or more hectares for (i) the last available year and (ii) 1985. [36433]

    The information is given in the table:

    Number of farms of size (hectares)19851994 (hectares)
    Less than 2619,27215,353
    26–50.98,0837,324
    51–75.92,7623,059
    76–100.91,1021,222
    101–150.9757931
    151–200.9235264
    201 and over215251
    All farms32,42628,404

    Children (Northern Ireland) Order

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what were the reasons for the delay in bringing the Children (Northern Ireland) Order into force; and if he will make a statement. [37317]

    I do not recognise that there will be any unnecessary delay in implementing the Children Order. As I told the House during the debate on the draft order on 8 February at column 427 we envisaged the order coming into operation during the 1996–97 financial year. It has been agreed with all agencies involved that the new legislation will come into operation in October 1996. Substantial preparatory work is necessary across all the statutory and voluntary agencies involved. This work, which includes the training of staff in a wide range of disciplines, the creation of a guardian ad litem service and the preparation of a considerable volume of regulations, guidance and court rules, is proceeding according to plan.

    Working Mothers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he made to the Secretary of State for Employment seeking a Northern Ireland input to the publication, "Mothers in Employment"; what was the response; and if he will make a statement. [37314]

    None. The former Department of the Employment took responsibility for providing input on behalf of the Government. I have nothing to add to those inputs or to the Government's final response which was also prepared by the Department of Employment.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what considerations underlie the differential in treatment of working mothers between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom mainland. [37316]

    The reason why there are some differentials in administration and implementation is because of different financial priorities and organisational arrangements. There is, however, no differential in either legal provision or general policy.

    Compensation Agency

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what date the revised framework document and the corporate and business plans for the Compensation Agency were published.

    The documents were published on 2 August 1995. The framework document takes account of the recent triennial review of that agency. The prior options study, completed as part of the review, recommended that the agency should retain agency status from 1 April 1995. An evaluation of the agency which was also carried out under the review confirmed that the agency has been a success, realising benefits for both the public and Government. Copies of the framework document and evaluation report and of the agency's corporate and business plans have been placed in the Library.

    Education And Employment

    Nursery Education

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if she will make a statement on the progress of her plans for nursery education for four-year-olds. [36841]

    It was announced yesterday that phase 1 of the pre-school education voucher scheme would take place in Wandsworth, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea.My right hon. Friend is currently consulting on various elements of the new pre-school education voucher scheme. She will publish detailed proposals for implementation of the new scheme later in the year, after considering consultation responses.Around 160 companies expressed interest in administering the voucher scheme. A shortlist of companies have been invited to tender for the contract, and the contractor will be appointed around the end of October.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the approximate additional cost for places per year for any local education authority entering the original pilot scheme for nursery school vouchers; which authorities have made firm applications to participate; and what are the net additional costs or financial benefits to each such authority. [37226]

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if she will make a statement on recent progress in respect of implementing her policy of vouchers for pre-school nursery education; and if she will list participating local education authorities indicating in each case their political control. [37065]

    My right hon. Friend is currently consulting on various elements of the new pre-school education voucher scheme. She will publish detailed proposals for implementation of the new scheme later in the year, after considering consultation responses.It was announced yesterday that the local education authorities participating in phase I of the voucher scheme will be Wandsworth, Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea. These are all Conservative-controlled authorities.The additional costs or financial benefit to each authority will depend on the level at which it currently funds places, decisions on the provision of new places in maintained schools and the operation of parental choice.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to her oral statement of 6 July, Official Report, columns 517–19, if additional funding, above the value of the voucher, will be provided for children defined as at risk under the Children Act 1989. [36180]

    It will be for local authorities to continue to spend resources in addition to the value of the voucher on children defined as at risk under the Children Act 1989.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to her oral statement of 6 July, Official Report, columns 517–19, where responsibility for planning the provision of pre-school places for all four year olds will rest. [36171]

    Pre-school places for four year olds will be provided by the maintained, private and voluntary sectors in response to parental demand expressed through the vouchers parents will receive.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to her oral statement of 6 July, Official Report, columns 517–19, how she envisages that parents will make an informed choice between the providers available locally. [36153]

    Parents will be able to obtain information about all providers in their locality. To be eligible to redeem pre-school education vouchers, each institution will be required to publish information about its activities, which will allow parents to make an informed choice.

    Surplus Places, Liverpool

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how much capital allocation has been given to Liverpool city council since 1985 to remove surplus places in schools. [36438]

    This information is available only for the period from April 1990. Over that period, Liverpool education authority has been allocated some £12 million in annual capital guidelines for the removal of surplus places in its schools. A further £9 million in grant aid, representing 85 per cent. of governors' costs, has been approved for the removal of surplus places in voluntary aided schools. The total amount is therefore £21 million.

    Standard Spending Assessments

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if she will list each county's standard assessment funding per primary school pupil and per secondary school pupil and the average of all English and Welsh counties for this financial year. [36767]

    The allocations per pupil for the 1995–96 education standard spending assessment for each English county, and the average allocation of all English counties, are set out in the table. There are no standard spending assessments for education in Wales, where county councils' SSAs include provision for education.

    Unit SSA allocations 1995–96
    £
    CountyPrimary per 5–10 pupilSecondary per 11–15 pupil
    Avon1,8382,460
    Bedfordshire1,9952,664
    Berkshire1,9882,664
    Buckinghamshire1,9662,630
    Cambridgeshire1,8762,508
    Cheshire1,8172,408
    Cleveland1,9402,589
    Cornwall1,8932,522
    Cumbria1,8562,470
    Derbyshire1,8122,415
    Devon1,8792,506
    Dorset1,8332,440
    Durham1,8842,512
    East Sussex2,0002,672
    Essex1,9892,647
    Gloucestershire1,8362,435
    Hampshire1,9302,575
    Hereford and Worcester1,8272,439
    Hertfordshire2,0102,663
    Humberside1,8912,509
    Isle of Wight2,0162,696
    Kent1,9682,620
    Lancashire1,8772,502
    Leicestershire1,8642,483
    Lincolnshire1,8732,483
    Norfolk1,8812,508
    North Yorkshire1,8272,422
    Northamptonshire1,8362,448
    Northumberland1,8252,421
    Nottinghamshire1,8832,506
    Oxfordshire1,9332,575
    Shropshire1,8622,479
    Somerset1,8462,489
    Staffordshire1,8052,398
    Suffolk1,8202,422
    Surrey1,9982,679
    Warwickshire1,8222,433
    West Sussex1,9322,571
    Wiltshire1,8352,451
    Average for English Shire Counties1,8952,525

    Surplus Places