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(c) everyone sentenced to twelve months or more and all young offenders should be subject to a period of supervision by the probation service after release ;
(d) all prisoners should, if convicted of a further offence committed before the full term of their sentence has expired, be liable (in addition to any new sentence imposed) to return to prison for so much of their original sentence as has not already been served in custody ;
(e) partly suspended sentences should be abolished.
These and other recommendations would require legislation. The report deals with issues of great importance. Some of the Committee's recommendations raise difficult questions in the context of the Government's policies for ensuring that the public is adequately protected and that offenders who commit serious crimes are adequately punished. I shall be considering how best these questions might be resolved, and I shall welcome the widest expression of parliamentary, public and professional opinion on the issues raised by the report. It would be helpful if comments on it could reach the Home Office by 10 March 1989.
For the present the existing statutory scheme and the existing criteria will remain in force.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what decisions have been taken on the recommendations made by the review group on the future of technical drawing in schools ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : My right hon. and learned Friend has decided after careful consideration of the review group's recommendations that a standard grade course in technical drawing should now be developed to replace ordinary grade. The new course will be constructed in modular form so that it can also be offered as a series of short courses to provide maximum flexibility. A revised higher in technical drawing will also be developed to follow on from the new standard grade.
(2) what extra money he will make available for increased spending in the priority services for the elderly and the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Government's response to the recommendations of the Sharpen report is set out in my right hon. and learned Friend's foreword to the report published on 9 November and in "The Scottish Health Service" published on 2 November. Copies of both documents are available in the Library.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will give (a) the total number of applications received for investment grants from 1 April to the most recent date for which figures are available, (b) the total number of applications approved, (c) the total amount of expenditure involved and (d) the total estimated expenditure planned for that period and the estimated expenditure for 1989-90 and 1990- 91 ;
(2) if he will give (a) the total number of applications received for innovation grants from 1 April to the most recent date for which figures are available, (b) the total number of applications approved, (c) the total amount of expenditure involved and (d) the total estimated expenditure planned for that period and estimated expenditure for 1989-90 and 1990-91.
Regional Enterprise Grants ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (i) Investment grants Number of applications received: |182 Number of applications approved: |84 Value of applications approved: |£527.7 thousand (ii) Innovation grants Number of applications received: |46 Number of offers applications approved: |11 Value of applications approved: |£260.6 thousand
The provision for regional enterprise grants for the financial year 1988-89 is £1.6 million. The provision for regional assistance for 1989-90 and 1990-91 will be announced by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland in his December statement. Figures for individual programmes will be published in the Scottish Commentary in February 1989.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those boards which are planned to have (a) basic screening units and (b) specialist assessment teams as part of the breast cancer screening programme ; and if he will give the latest estimates when each team and each unit will commence service.
Column 41and mobile units, some shared between boards. On the basis of present plans specialist assessment will be available in Lothian, Greater Glasgow, Grampian, Tayside and Ayrshire and Arran health board areas. Lothian and Greater Glasgow are already providing basic screening and assessment services. Discussions are continuing with health boards for the implementation of the whole programme by March 1991.
(a) Health boards with mobile screening units
Argyll and Clyde
Ayrshire and Arran
(b) Health boards with static screening units
Ayrshire and Arran
A basic screening service will be available in all health board areas although some boards will share a mobile service with neighbouring boards.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the measures being taken to adapt existing computerised call/recall cervical cancer screening programmes to accommodate the breast cancer screening programme.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Because of differences in the age range of women involved and in the screening intervals we are not adapting the computerised cervical cancer call and recall system to accommodate the breast cancer screening programme in Scotland. We are developing a new computer programme, with the assistance of ICL, for the breast cancer screening call and recall and office systems.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those boards where women are already being called by a computerised system for breast cancer screening ; and if he will give the age bands of the women being called.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The programme in Lothian health board is currently being run on an existing computer programme which was developed with Edinburgh university during the research into the feasibility of introducing nationwide screening. This will be subsumed early next year by the national computer programme currently being developed. Women in the age range 50 to 64 are being called in Lothian.
Column 42concerned with breast cancer screening and assessment. One course was held in September 1988 and two more are planned for March and September 1989. It is intended to have courses to link in with units being brought into operation.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Because tribunal procedures are not adversarial, and are intended to be comparatively informal, it should not be necessary for persons appearing before them to have legal representation.
Legal advice and assistance is however available to an eligible applicant for general advice on a case coming before a tribunal, and for assistance with preparatory work.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he will provide each member of staff assessing entitlement to housing benefit transitional payments with a copy of the procedure to be used to calculate entitlement.
Mr. Scott : All members of staff at the transitional payments unit have received full training on the procedures for calculating eligibility to transitional payments. These detailed procedures are contained within a manual of instructions to which all members of staff have full access.
Mr. Scott : Leaflet RR4 "Housing Benefit--New Rules" contains an explanation of the method for calculating housing benefit transitional payments. A copy of the leaflet is in the Library. More detailed instructions have been produced for the staff at the transitional payments unit.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claims have been made for housing benefit transitional protection ; and how many of these were (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful.
Mr. Scott : Of the 381,574 applications for housing benefit transitional payments received by the transitional payments unit at 22 November, 281,416 had been assessed. 141,140 applications were successful and 140,276 cases were not. In 73,524 cases the transitional payments unit are awaiting the return of inquiry forms from local authorities.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) whether he plans to introduce an appeals procedure against decisions taken under the housing benefits transitional arrangements ; (2) whether there is any current facility for appealing against decisions under the housing benefit transitional arrangements.
Mr. Scott : Transitional payments are made by the Department of Social Security on behalf of the Secretary of State on an extra-statutory basis and therefore carry no formal right of appeal. However we have adopted a review procedure whereby applicants who are not satisfied with the notice of award/refusal which they have received can write to the unit and request that the decision on their application be looked at again. When such a request is received the case is looked at again by a different officer of a more senior grade to check that the case has been dealt with correctly.
Mr. Scott : The clearance times for applications for transitional payments will vary considerably from case to case and depend on how long the local authorities take to return the inquiry forms and whether further inquiries have to be made from the unit. But for straightforward cases, it takes at present two days from receiving an application in the unit to sending the inquiry form to the local authority, 31 days for the local authority to return the inquiry form to the unit, and a further five days from receiving that inquiry form at the unit to deciding whether a payment can be made. The transitional payments unit has contacted a number of local authorities to encourage them to return the inquiry forms more promptly.
Mr. Scott : An information pack on the social fund was issued to social services and social work departments, health authorities and a number of voluntary organisations earlier this year. DSS local offices also give information to both statutory and voluntary local agencies about the social fund. Leaflet SB16 "A guide to the Social Fund" is aimed specifically at professional and voluntary advisers and is available from local social security offices.
Mr. Scott : Information about the availability of social fund payments is contained in a variety of leaflets, forms and posters and also in leaflet SB16 "A guide to the Social Fund". Over £550,000 has been spent to date on publicity material on the social fund.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) whether he will publish a table showing the number of (a) social fund applications, (b) social fund rejections, (c) applications for review of the decisions taken by social fund officers, (d) decisions revised by social fund officers on review, (e) applications to the social fund inspector, (f) decisions upheld by the social fund inspector, (g) decisions referred back to the social fund officer by the social fund inspector and (h) applications for judicial review of social fund decisions ; (2) whether he will publish a table showing, for each social fund office in England, Wales and Scotland, the
Column 44monthly expenditure figures for (a) community care grants, (b) budgeting loans and (c) crisis loans, and indicate for each office the proportion of the projected expenditure which has been spent to date.
Mr. Scott : Information relating to items (a) to (g) is contained in the national tables which have been placed in the Library as my hon. Friend announced in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Howell) on 9 November at columns 223-24. There have been no applications for judicial review. Information on monthly expenditure by local offices and on their individual allocations is also in the Library.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of social fund expenditure has been budgeted to replace those situations previously covered by the Supplementary Benefits (Urgent Cases) Regulations.
Mr. Scott : There is no separate budget specifically to cover the situations previously covered by the urgent cases regulations. However, for planning purposes the total loans budget allocation of £143 million assumed a sum of £33 million being for crisis loans, which includes an element for situations covered by the urgent cases regulations.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the latest estimated amount of benefit being paid out to patients in private care/rest homes for (a) each of his Department's benefit centres, (b) each region and (c) the nation as a whole.
Mr. Scott : Information is not available in the form requested at (a) and (b) . However, the annual income support expenditure on people in independent residential care and nursing homes in Great Britain as a whole was estimated to be £878 million in May 1988.
These figures do not include staff engaged on the design initiative.
There is no specific budget provision for the design initiative which is one of six demand-led consultancy options within the enterprise initiative. However, over 14 per cent. of current demand is for the design initiative and, to date, over £5 million has been committed to design projects.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many of the areas proposed by the Government for inclusion in the list of objective 2 areas have a lower unemployment rate than the Wakefield metropolitan district.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many areas proposed by the Government for inclusion in the list of objective 2 areas include or belong to travel-to-work areas which have a lower unemployment rate than Wakefield and Dewsbury.
Mr. Lofthouse : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many areas proposed by the Government for inclusion in the list of objective 2 areas include or belong to travel-to-work areas which have a lower unemployment rate than Pontefract and Castleford.
Mr. Maude : The areas proposed by the Government to the European Comission for inclusion in the list to qualify for the European structural funds under objective 2 include Wakefield city metropolitan district as one of the "most seriously affected" parts of West Yorkshire. The district contains the whole of Wakefield and Dewsbury travel-to-work area and part of Pontefract and Castleford travel-to-work area.
The unemployment criterion for objective 2 regions is an average of three year's figures and is to be applied variously at county and lower level, according to the case. There are also other criteria, of equal importance.
There are 22 travel-to-work areas concerned which at present have a lower unemployment rate than Wakefield and Dewsbury, and a further 19 with a rate lower than Pontefract and Castleford.
Mr. Lofthouse : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many intermediate areas in the United Kingdom have a lower unemployment rate than the Pontefract and Castleford travel-to-work area.
Mr. Maude : There are at present 17 intermediate areas with a lower monthly unemployment rate than the Wakefield and Dewsbury travel-to-work area, and a further 18 with a lower rate than the Castleford and Pontefract travel-to-work area. These figures are based on the unadjusted unemployment rates for October 1988 . The unemployment rate was only one factor considered when the assisted areas map was drawn up in 1984.
Column 46The rates were calculated on the basis of the number of unemployed claimants expressed as a percentage of employees in employment and the unemployed for each travel-to-work area in Great Britain on 13 October 1988.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether the European Commission has accepted Her Majesty's Government's view that objective 2 areas should not be restricted to the present assisted areas.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether the negotiations taking place with the European Commission are intended to reduce the list of areas proposed by the Government for objective 2 status ; and whether assisted area status will be used as a criterion in such a reduction.
Mr. Peter Robinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he intends to await more detail of the Sealink interest in placing work with Harland and Wolff before taking a decision on either of the two bids for the privatisation of the yard or the management worker buy -out.
Mr. Peter Robinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to what extent he estimates that delay on deciding on a manager worker buy-out by Harland and Wolff will result in losing the Ultimate Dream contract.
Mr. Viggers : I have been having discussions with the chairman of Harland and Wolff and his colleagues on their ideas for a management/employee buy-out, I am ready to give immediate consideration to any proposal which they may decide to make. No formal bid has yet been put forward and I understand that they are still considering whether to base their proposals on the negotiation of an order for the Ultimate Dream or on other possibilities. The eventual negotiation of any order is, of course, a matter for the buy-out team.
Mr. Peter Robinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the current position of all bids and declared interests in purchasing Harland and Wolff, Belfast.