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Written Answers

Volume 491: debated on Thursday 10 December 1987

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Written Answers

Public Expenditure In The South-East

asked Her Majesty's Government:What proportion of their total national expenditure was spent in the Greater South East region in 1986, excluding payments for unemployment or social security benefit, and whether they will state their total expenditure in the Greater South East region in that year.

Apart from expenditure which is the responsibility of the territorial departments, most public expenditure is planned on a national basis and it is not possible to identify separately expenditure allocated to a particular area.

Unemployment Statistics

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish a regional breakdown of long-term unemployment of those unemployed over one year to October 1987, showing numbers and the percentage changes.

The following information is in the Library. The table shows for each region of the United Kingdom, the numbers of unemployed claimants who had been unemployed for over one year at October 1986 and October 1987, together with the changes over the year expressed both numerically and as a percentage.

Claimants unemployed for over one year
RegionOct 1986Oct 1987ChangePercentage change
South East123,574100,785-22,789-18·4
East Anglia28,22323,584-4,639-16·4
South West68,84357,563-11,280-16·4
West Midlands161,417136,272-25,145-15·6
East Midlands80,91769,755-11,162-13·8
Yorkshire and Humberside130,122118,711-11,411-8·8
North West199,305172,359-26,946-13·5
Northern Ireland64,25164,8846331·0
United Kingdom1,341,0061,172,236-168,770-12·6

Jobcentres: Support To New Enterprises

asked Her Majesty's Government:What plans they have to empower Jobcentres to give advice to people wishing to set up small businesses; when they expect such facilities to be available; and how many new staff will need to be recruited to provide this facility.

Jobcentres already provide basic information to people wishing to set up small businesses and refer detailed inquiries to agencies specifically geared up to give comprehensive advice, particularly the Small Firms Service and Local Enterprise Agencies. In addition, Jobcentres play a key part in the success of the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, over a third of EAS participants first hear about the scheme in Jobcentres.The employment service is continually examining ways of improving the support Jobcentres give to enterprise within existing resources.

Dangerous Substances: Control

asked Her Majesty's Government:What criteria they are to observe in determining which technologies "entail excessive costs", in relation to the "control of the most dangerous substances whose long-term effects on the environment are uncertain", (Lord Belstead's answer to Viscount Mersey, HL Deb,, 19th November 1987, col. 404).

The process of arriving at a judgment in the circumstances of each case will be similar to that already used by HM Inspectorate of Pollution in enforcing the requirement to use best practicable means under Section 5 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.

Heveningham Hall

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are satisfied that the conditions of their sale of Heveningham Hall in 1981 have been complied with in respect of the covenants, including rights of public access for at least 30 days a year, an agreed programme of repairs, and an obligation to maintain and display certain historic items; and what action is being taken further to protect this historic building.

Heveningham Hall was open to the public daily throughout August this year. The restoration of the orangery required by the covenants of sale has been completed; the furniture included in the hiring agreement to Mr. A1-Ghazzi, the owner of the hall, is currently in the care of English Heritage until monitoring of the new central heating system has been completed. The Government will continue to watch the situation carefully.

London Boroughs: Joint Committees

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many co-ordinating committees have been set up among the London boroughs since the abolition of the Greater London Council to administer services which were previously its responsibility, and in regard to each committee what is:

  • (1) their responsibility;
  • (2) the number of members;
  • (3) the number of staff;
  • (4) the annual costs involved, including staff, premises and members' expenses; and
  • (5) the number and duration of meetings held.
  • Joint committees set up by the London boroughs since the abolition of the Greater London Council are a matter for the boroughs themselves and for the City of London as they deem appropriate for the administration of services which were previously the responsibility of the GLC. The only exception is the London Planning Advisory Committee, which the London boroughs and the City of London have been required to set up under the Local Government Act 1985 and which came into being on 1st April 1986.Joint committees have also been established by the London boroughs and the City of London under Sections 48 and 88 of the Local Government Act 1985. These sections concern, respectively, the making of grants to voluntary organisations, and research and information. En addition a number of committees have been established under the provisions of section 101 of the Local Government Act 1972.Membership, staffing, costs, and the number and duration of meetings are matters for the constituent authorities of these committees. Detailed information is not held by the department.