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Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the names of the main contractors being invited to tender for the contract to replace Orlit houses at Darragh road, Comber ; and how many of these contractors have their head offices within the boundary of the borough of Ards.

Mr. Needham [holding answer 21 December 1988] : This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the chief executive has advised me that the following seven firms were invited to submit tenders for phase 1 of the Orlit replacement scheme at Darragh road, Comber :

Calvert Bros. Ltd., Portadown

Coleman Bros., Portaferry

P. J. Conway (Contractors) Ltd., Magherafelt

Gilbert-Ash (NI) Ltd., Belfast

McParland and Gordon Ltd., Banbridge

McQuillan Bros., Newry

Savage Bros. Contractors Ltd., Ballynahinch

One of these firms has its head office within the boundary of the borough of Ards.

EMPLOYMENT

YTS

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are employed on YTS in Nottingham.

Mr. Cope : As at 19 December 1988, there were 3,619 young people in training on YTS in the city of Nottingham, of whom 518 had employed status.

Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many young people have come to the end of their bridging allowance without an offer of a YTS place in Blyth Valley.

Mr. Cope : It is not possible to provide this information, either nationally or for Blyth Valley. While young people are receiving bridging allowance they are entitled to take a job or YTS place without going through the careers service, and may also return to full-time education without letting the careers service know. Others will have reached the end of their bridging allowance period without making themselves available to receive the offer of a YTS place.


Column 456

Unemployment Benefit

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many unemployment benefit adjudication officers are available to serve the Nottingham, North constituency ; and how many cases they are currently dealing with.

Mr. Lee : Information is not available in the precise form requested, as adjudication officers are not attached to individual unemployment benefit offices or constituencies. They work in groups which cover a number of offices.

On 30 November 1988, adjudication officers were currently considering 1,591 cases arising on claims for unemployment benefit in the adjudication office area of Nottingham, which includes the constituency of Nottingham, North. The number of adjudication officers serving the Nottingham adjudication office is five.

Retail Prices Index

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if the retail prices index advisory committee will review (i) the implications of the abolition of domestic rates, (ii) the inclusion of holiday expenditure in the index, (iii) progress on recommendations made in the committee's last report and (iv) the exclusion of mortgage interest payments from the index.

Mr. Lee : The committee is currently considering the first of the matters mentioned by the hon. Gentleman and will shortly be turning its attention to the second and third, but we have no plans to exclude mortgage interest payments from the index and this is not on the committee's agenda.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the occasions on which the retail prices index advisory committee has been convened since 1986.

Mr. Lee : The committee was convened in October 1988 for the first time since 1986. It is now meeting and will be reporting in the course of next year.

Telephone Survey

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what fee was paid by his Department to IFF Research Ltd. for the telephone survey of 1,073 London employees ; and what was the method and purpose of the survey.

Mr. Cope : The total fee paid to IFF Research Ltd. for the telephone survey of 1,073 employers was £41,975. Full details of the methods used were published by HMSO in November 1988 in a report entitled "The London Labour Market", a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Building Sites (Safety)

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of building sites in London, notified to the health and safety inspectorate on the appropriate notification form under the Factories Act 1961, on the Health and Safety Executive computerised database SHIELD, during 1987 ; and how many inspectors were in the field in London inspecting these sites during 1987.


Column 457

Mr. Nicholls : The Health and Safety Executive received 3,316 notifications of building sites in 1987. Details of notifications are not retained on HSE's computerised database SHIELD. On 31 December 1987 12 qualified inspectors were employed on construction work in London.

Factory Inspectors

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the total number of (a) qualified factory inspectors and (b) trainee factory inspectors, employed by the Health and Safety Executive for the latest date for which information is available ; what this is expected to be by March 1989 if current recruitment intentions are followed ; and what percentage of factory inspectors were or will be trainee inspectors, at each date.

Mr. Nicholls : On 1 December 1988 484 qualified factory inspectors and 78 trainee factory inspectors were employed in the Health and Safety Executive's factory inspectorate. In addition 50 qualified factory inspectors were employed elsewhere in HSE. The number of inspectors in post at the end of the financial year will depend both on the timing of individual recruitment and on whether unforeseen wastage occurs. The executive's objective is to reach a target of 588 inspectors in post in the inspectorate early in the next financial year.

Health and Safety Executive

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what charges were made by the Health and Safety Executive to the organisers of the conference comprising representatives of private fee-paying schools held in the conference room of the health and safety area office at Quay house, Quay street, Manchester, on 23 November 1988 for the use of (i) the premises, (ii) equipment, (iii) refreshments and (iv) Health and Safety Executive staff time.

Mr. Nicholls : None.

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what changes in the staffing levels of the Health and Safety Executive have been effected in Scotland since 1980.

Mr. Nicholls : The total number of Health and Safety Executive staff employed in Scotland in each year since 1980 was as follows :


1 January |Number             

------------------------------

1980      |231                

1981      |225                

1982      |208                

1983      |200                

1984      |193                

1985      |187                

1986      |176                

1987      |176                

1988      |177                

On 1 December 1988, the total was 166.

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what changes in the staffing levels of the Health and Safety Executive have been effected in Britain, excluding Scotland, since 1980.


Column 458

Mr. Nicholls : The total number of Health and Safety Executive staff employed in Britain, excluding Scotland, in each year since 1980 was as follows (1 January figures) :


       |Number       

---------------------

1980   |3,987        

1981   |3,841        

1982   |3,631        

1983   |3,536        

1984   |3,525        

1985   |3,524        

1986   |3,463        

1987   |3,521        

1988   |3,324        

On 1 December 1988 the total was 3,359.

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many workplace inspections were carried out by the inspectorate of the Health and Safety Executive in the Scotland, west area for the years 1981 to 1987.

Mr. Nicholls : The information requested is not available for the years 1981 to 1984.

The following table shows the number of workplace inspection visits made by the Health and Safety Executive's factory and agricultural inspectorates in the Scotland, west area for each year from 1985 to 1988 :


Year<1>          |Number of visits                 

---------------------------------------------------

1985-86          |9,464                            

1986-87          |9,083                            

1987-88          |9,586                            

<1> 1 April-31 March.                              

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if any changes are planned for the staffing levels of the two Scottish areas of the inspectorate of the Health and Safety Executive.

Mr. Nicholls : The Health and Safety Executive recruits factory and agricultural inspectors on a national basis through open competition. Recruitment is currently under way. Allocations of new recruits to areas will depend on the number of successful candidates who take up post and on the operational needs of each office, and it is not yet possible to say how many successful candidates will be allocated to the two Scottish areas.

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if any changes are planned in the staffing levels of the inspectorate of the Health and Safety Executive for Britain.

Mr. Nicholls : Recruitment is currently under way with the aim of increasing the numbers of factory and agricultural inspectors in the inspectorates from 1 December 1988 levels of 562 and 154 respectively to 588 factory inspectors and 160 agricultural inspectors early in the new financial year. Planned staffing levels beyond this period are still being formulated and will be published in the Health and Safety Commission's plan of work in March 1989.


Column 459

Accidents

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the waiting time for inspections carried out as a result of all reported accidents, area by area throughout Britain, for the years 1981 to 1987.

Mr. Nicholls : The information requested is not available.

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what were the numbers of fatal and major reported accidents in the Scotland, west area for the years 1981 to 1987.

Mr. Nicholls : The available information is given in the table :


Major Injuries<3>                                                     

Year          |<4>Employees |Self-employed|non-employed               

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1981          |631          |1            |95                         

1982          |625          |3            |121                        

1983          |610          |1            |62                         

1984          |534          |2            |104                        

1985          |516          |9            |74                         

Q1 1986       |148          |2            |25                         

-------                                                               

<2>1986-87    |836          |13           |293                        

<5>1987-88    |743          |15           |328                        

<1> Injuries reported to the Health and Safety Executive's factory,   

agricultural and nuclear installations inspectorates and to the local 

authorities and occurring as a result of work activities. Data for    

HSE's mines and quarries inspectorate, are only readily available for 

the year commencing 1 April 1987. The provisional figures are: 1      

fatal and 18 major injuries.                                          

<2> Year commencing 1 April 1986.                                     

<3> From 1981 to 1986 Q1, as defined in the Notification of Accidents 

and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1980 and thereafter in the      

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 

1985 (RIDDOR). RIDDOR widened the definition of a major injury.       

Figures for major injuries for 1986-87 onwards are therefore not      

comparable with previous figures.                                     

<4> Includes fatal injuries to members of the public arising from     

work activity, only for those fatal injuries reported to local        

authorities in 1981-1985.                                             

<5> The provisional data excludes that from local authorities.        


Major Injuries<3>                                                     

Year          |<4>Employees |Self-employed|non-employed               

----------------------------------------------------------------------

1981          |631          |1            |95                         

1982          |625          |3            |121                        

1983          |610          |1            |62                         

1984          |534          |2            |104                        

1985          |516          |9            |74                         

Q1 1986       |148          |2            |25                         

-------                                                               

<2>1986-87    |836          |13           |293                        

<5>1987-88    |743          |15           |328                        

<1> Injuries reported to the Health and Safety Executive's factory,   

agricultural and nuclear installations inspectorates and to the local 

authorities and occurring as a result of work activities. Data for    

HSE's mines and quarries inspectorate, are only readily available for 

the year commencing 1 April 1987. The provisional figures are: 1      

fatal and 18 major injuries.                                          

<2> Year commencing 1 April 1986.                                     

<3> From 1981 to 1986 Q1, as defined in the Notification of Accidents 

and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1980 and thereafter in the      

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 

1985 (RIDDOR). RIDDOR widened the definition of a major injury.       

Figures for major injuries for 1986-87 onwards are therefore not      

comparable with previous figures.                                     

<4> Includes fatal injuries to members of the public arising from     

work activity, only for those fatal injuries reported to local        

authorities in 1981-1985.                                             

<5> The provisional data excludes that from local authorities.        

Child Care Payments

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of women on employment training are in receipt of child care payments ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholls : Information on the number of employment training participants qualifying for child care payments is not yet available. It is planned to collect information at the end of March and the results will be available at the end of April.


Column 460

Labour Statistics

Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the level of unemployment in the London borough of Brent.

Mr. Lee : The following information is in the Library. On 10 November 1988 the number of unemployed claimants in the London borough of Brent was 11,928.

Mr. Yeo : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total number of people (a) employed and (b) self-employed in the United Kingdom on the latest available date.

Mr. Lee : In June 1988 there were 25,739,000 people in the work force in employment in the United Kingdom ; of which 2,985,000 were self- employed. The work force in employment comprises employees in employment, the self-employed, Her Majesty's forces and participants in work-related Government training programmes.

Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a further statement on the current levels of employment in the north- west of England.

Mr. Lee : In June 1988, the latest date for which figures are available, there were 2,603,000 people in the civilian work force in employment in the north-west region. This is an increase of 77,000 since June 1983. The civilian work force in employment comprises employees in employment, the self-employed and participants in work-related Government training programme.

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest unemployment figures for the parish of Renishaw in Derbyshire ; and if he will make a statement on the estimated trend throughout 1989.

Mr. Lee : Following is the available information. Unemployment statistics are not available for parish areas. However, in November 1988 the number of unemployed claimants in the local authority ward of Renishaw in Derbyshire was 106, compared with 146 in November 1987, a fall of 40 or 27.4 per cent. over the year. This comparison is affected by the change in the coverage of the count from September 1988 due to new benefit regulations for young people aged under 18. This Department does not make predictions of unemployment.

Restart

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of unemployed people (a) called in for interview under the restart scheme and (b) who have attended those interviews.

Mr. Lee : Since 1 July 1986, some 6.5 million invitations have been issued to attend a restart interview and 5 million interviews have been conducted.

Construction Industry (Accidents)

Mr. Dunnachie : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what action he intends to take to reduce the numbers of people seriously injured and maimed every year in Great Britain as a result of construction accidents.

Mr. Haynes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps he intends to take to ensure adequate training and supervision and reasonable precautions in the construction industry to prevent falls.


Column 461

Mr. Cope : New regulations are being prepared which provide for the management and co-ordination of health and safety on multi-contractor sites, increase the number of safety supervisors in smaller companies and amend the site notification procedure to identify sites where there are high-risk activities. The introduction of regulations which would make the wearing of safety helmets compulsory on contruction sites is also planned.

In addition to concentrating on the inspection of the more hazardous activities in the construction industry, HSE inspectors will also be paying attention to the quality of site management and its ability to manage health and safety. They will pursue their inquiries and any enforcement action to the highest levels in companies which do not measure up to the standards expected of them.

Mechanical Excavators (Safety)

Mr. Thorne : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress is being made towards the harmonisation of vehicle controls on mechanical excavators in use within the European Community in the interests of operator safety.

Mr. Cope : Between now and 1992 European standards will be prepared to support the harmonisation of safety requirements for all machinery including excavators. No decision has been made within the European Community as to the inclusion of vehicle controls.

National Council for Vocational Qualifications

Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether the National Council for Vocational Qualifications has now defined the levels of competence and training above level 4 ; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Cope : No. The national council is currently discussing with relevant professional bodies how the national vocational qualifications framework might be extended above level 4. The council has been asked to report to Ministers on the outcome of these discussions next year.

Tourism

Mr. Franks : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many hotels and tourism-related establishments have received section 4 grants since 1987 ; how many of these are in Cumbria ; and if he expects to make an announcement on Government support for the tourism industry in the near future.

Mr. Lee : Between April 1987 and November 1988 the English tourist board made offers of section 4 grant assistance to 1,008 hotel and tourism- related projects, of which 72 are in Cumbria. I shall shortly be considering the outcome of the review of tourism policy which I announced in July. This is bound to take a little time, but I will make a further announcement as soon as possible.

Employment Training

Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether the quality assurance monitoring of employment training programmes has been initiated (i) nationally and (ii) in Oxfordshire.


Column 462

Mr. Nicholls : Yes. Training Agency staff are working with training agents and training managers to develop the quality of employment training in all areas.

Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether there is any requirement on trainees to spend a set proportion of the working week on work experience and on directed training.

Mr. Nicholls : There is no requirement for trainees on employment training to spend a set proportion of the training week on practical experience and on directed training. However, everyone entering the programme is entitled to have at least 40 per cent. of their time on the programme spent on directed training.

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make it his policy to publish data about the number of employment training trainees receiving work placements in inner city areas (i) where local authorities are not participating in employment training and (ii) where local authorities are co-operating with employment training.

Mr. Nicholls : There are no plans to collect or publish information in the form suggested.

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list those local authorities which took part in the community programme and are not providing work placements for employment training.

Mr. Nicholls : Comprehensive information on training placements is not held by the Training Agency and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Paice : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will update the answer to the hon. Member for Cambridgeshire, South-East of 9 May, Official Report, column 47, regarding the final outcome for those managing agents initially awarded provisional ATO status.

Mr. Cope : Of the 1,715 managing agents who had been awarded provisional ATO status after the first monitoring period (which ended on 31 July 1987) :

1586 have been awarded full status

99 have withdrawn

18 were rejected

12 decisions remain to be made.

Sharon Friend (Accident)

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether an investigation was made into the accident to Sharon Friend at a fairground in Bromley, Kent in May ; and whether any prosecution is being undertaken.

Mr. Nicholls : An inspector from the Health and Safety Executive investigated the accident to Sharon Friend on 14 May 1988 at Beckenham fair. Prosecution is not proposed.

Claimants

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of claimants whose eligibility for state benefit was investigated via the unemployment benefit office because they did not satisfactorily complete (a) restart interview forms and (b) the availability for work forms, for each year since 1985 and for the latest available dates in 1988.


Column 463

Mr. Lee : No claimant has their eligibility for benefits investigated simply because they have not satisfactorily completed a form. Cases may be referred for investigation if doubts arise about the claimant's availability for work. Referral would have to be considered if a claimant refused to supply information which was needed to confirm their availability.

Tourist Industry

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will now publish the report of the review committee into the tourist industry which he established last July.

Mr. Lee : I have not yet considered the report and I have no plans to publish it.

Job Release Scheme

Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the annual rate of increase in the rates of payment under the job release scheme in each year of its existence ; when the next increase is due ; and what will be the amount of that increase.

Mr. Lee : The percentage increases in the allowances are given in the following table.


         Tax free      Taxable             

        |higher|lower |higher|lower        

-------------------------------------------

1977-78 |35.0  |15.2                       

1978-79 |14.3  |18.9                       

1979-80 |13.7  |14.3                       

1980-81 |11.0  |11.0  |11.3  |10.5         

1981-82 |8.9   |8.8   |8.5   |9.5          

1982-83 |5.0   |5.0   |5.0   |5.0          

1983-84 |5.0   |5.1   |5.0   |5.0          

1984-85 |3.9   |4.1   |0.9   |1.7          

1985-86 |4.0   |4.0   |4.0   |3.9          

1986-87 |3.1   |3.8   |0.7   |0.8          

1987-88 |4.0   |4.0   |1.3   |1.6          

The next increase in allowances is due in April 1989. My Department is currently considering the level of increase and I will inform the House as soon as a decision is reached.

Labour and Social Affairs Council

Mrs. Maureen Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the European Community Labour and Social Affairs Council held in Brussels on 16 December.

Mr. Cope : The Council reached a common position on the proposed framework directive on measures to encourage improvement in the safety and health of workers at the work place. This is the keystone for setting minimum standards for health and safety at work agreed under the social policy provision of the Single European Act ; and is broadly consistent with the existing United Kingdom legislation in this area.

Also in the field of health and safety at work, the Council adopted a directive on exposure limits. This provides for the establishment by member states of limit values for toxic substances. The Council was unable to reach a common position on a proposed directive covering the protection of workers from risks related to exposure to carcinogens at work, because the European Parliament


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