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Mr. Soley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of properties owned by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise and suitable for residential accommodation have been empty for (i) up to a year and (ii) over a year ; and where these properties are located, by region of the United Kingdom or local authority area.
Mr. Lilley [holding answer 20 April 1989] : Her Majesty's Customs and Excise does not own any property. Apart from a few properties which are provided by traders as a condition of the grant of privileges, the freehold or leasehold of all properties on the Department's estate is vested in the Secretary of State for the Environment.
Only one building on the estate can be regarded as suitable for residential accommodation. This is situated in the Isles of Scilly and has been vacant for almost one year pending the appointment of an officer to the post for which the accommodation is provided.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the level of spending on special education needs, as a proportion of the education budget, in each of the last three years.
Mr. Butcher : Local authority current expenditure on special education was 4.23, 4.25 and 4.26 per cent. respectively of total local authority current expenditure on education in 1985-86, 1986-87 and 1987-88.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many local education authorities in the course of compiling their strategic plans for further education under the requirements of the Education Reform Act and the guidance of his Department's circular 9/88, have sought and received advice from his Department.
Mr. Jackson : Representatives of 73 local education authorities have received advice on the preparation of their schemes for planning, funding and delegation under circular 9/88 at meetings with officers of the Department. A large number of authorities have also received advice over the telephone and in writing.
Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science with respect to the support grades in his Department (a) what is the number of staff employed, (b) how many vacancies there are and how many of these have existed for over one month and over three months, (c) how many temporary and casual appointments there are and (d) how much overtime was worked by them in London and elsewhere.
Mrs. Rumbold : The Department employs a total of 140 staff in the support grades in London and Darlington, including 12 casual appointments. There are seven vacancies, all of which have existed for over three months. On average these staff work a total of 93 hours of overtime a week.
Mrs. Rumbold : The national curriculum will include a modern foreign language as a foundation subject at secondary level to be studied by all pupils between the ages of 11 and 16. Russian is among those modern foreign languages specified as eligible for inclusion in the national curriculum, within the framework of the proposals announced by my right hon. Friend in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Knapman) on 3 March, at columns 338-39. Within this framework, my right hon. Friend is encouraging schools to offer a greater diversity of languages, including Russian, and we are providing education support grants for pilot projects in some local education authorities in England to promote the preparation and implementation of plans for language diversification.
Column 471language assistants, by subjects, in maintained schools for each year from 1978-79 to the last year for which figures are available.
Year |French |German |Spanish|Italian|Russian|Total ---------------------------------------------------------------- 1978-79 |1,710 |668 |162 |17 |4 |2,561 1979-80 |1,783 |718 |187 |16 |4 |2,708 1980-81 |1,558 |640 |150 |16 |2 |2,366 1981-82 |1,314 |539 |145 |16 |4 |2,018 1982-83 |1,279 |524 |127 |12 |3 |1,945 1983-84 |1,301 |523 |138 |11 |1 |1,974 1984-85 |1,241 |537 |132 |8 |2 |1,920 1985-86 |1,211 |502 |126 |7 |2 |1,848 1986-87 |1,260 |522 |149 |7 |2 |1,940 1987-88 |1,503 |556 |186 |12 |2 |2,259 1988-89 |1,371 |539 |163 |7 |2 |2,082
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take steps to ensure that representatives of the management and trade unions are treated equally in establishing links between industry and educational institutions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Butcher : The Department welcomes the involvement of all sections of industry in the establishment of links with schools. The management of such links is for local determination ; however, the DES guides for employees and schools on "Education at Work" recognise the role of trade unions in the workplace and the TUC's strong support for workplace activities for school pupils. The TUC is also involved in education through, for example, its participation in the school curriculum industry project, which is developing teaching material for schools and teacher training, and its work with the National Curriculum Council "Educating for Economic Awareness" initiative.
Mr. Butcher : The CTC programme is making excellent progress. Kingshurst opened last year. The Nottingham and Teesside CTCs will open in September, with those in Bradford, Gateshead and Dartford together with the London school for performing arts and technology due to open in 1990. Further announcements will be made soon.
Mr. Butcher : The Department's action campaign on teacher recruitment aims to encourage more potentially good teachers to join the profession, including disabled people. Teacher training institutions and employers would of course need to satisfy themselves that all entrants to the profession possess the mental and physical capacity for the demanding job of teaching.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the numbers of students in higher education in (a) arts and humanities and (b) sciences in each year from 1978-79 to the last year for which figures are available.
|c|Home full-time students in higher education in Great Britain|c| Thousands Academic year beginning in |1979 |1980 |1981 |1982 |1983 |1984 |1985 |1986 |1987 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total all students of which |451.2|465.0|488.4|504.6|517.5|525.1|530.6|540.0|549.7 Arts |253.1|256.8|267.3|273.0|278.2|278.8|281.2|286.8|293.3 Sciences |198.1|208.2|221.1|231.5|239.3|246.3|249.4|253.1|256.5 Figures may not sum due to rounding. Sciences are defined as medicine, engineering and technology, agriculture, science and professional and vocational studies while arts includes education, business and social studies, language, arts other than language and music, drama, art and design.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : Higher education funding councils and other interested bodies have today been sent a paper seeking views on proposals to increase the full-time undergraduate tuition fee met through mandatory awards from its 1989-90 level of £607 to £1,600 in 1990-91 and to
Column 472introduce, from 1991-92, fees differentiated by the cost of groups of courses. Copies of the paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the latest available figure for the number of pupils in secondary schools to whom music education is available only upon the payment of fees.
Mrs. Rumbold : This information is not available. The Education Reform Act prohibits charging for all tuition provided during school hours, with the sole exception of individual tuition in the playing of a musical instrument.
Mr. Butcher : The statutory attainment targets for science in the national curriculum include a requirement for children to know that some waste materials can be recycled. The recycling of paper, and the use of recycled paper, by educational institutions is a matter for them and, as appropriate, their maintaining LEAs. I hope they will consider the matter sympathetically. The Department is currently considering the use of recycled paper for its own purposes.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he proposes to make additional funds available for the Derbyshire county council's capital expenditure on education as a consequence of the recent visit of a delegation to his Department ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Butcher : As I said at the meeting on 6 April, the application of our normal criteria resulted in Derbyshire receiving 52 per cent. of its submitted plans for prescribed capital expenditure in 1989-90 compared with a national average for LEAs of 34 per cent. There are no extra resources over and above those notified for distribution to LEAs for the financial year 1989-90.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much money was spent per pupil in Derbyshire in (a) special education, (b) primary schools, (c) secondary schools and (d) tertiary education from each of the years from 1978-79 to the last year for which figures are available.
|c|Net institutional expenditure<1> per pupil<2>|c| |Primary £ |Secondary £|Special £ ------------------------------------------------------------ 1978-79 |340 |490 |n/a 1979-80 |395 |565 |n/a 1980-81 |500 |705 |2,445 1981-82 |575 |795 |2,985 1982-83 |635 |870 |3,305 1983-84 |690 |950 |3,450 1984-85 |730 |1,020 |3,855 1985-86 |780 |1,125 |5,060 1986-87 |875 |1,305 |5,495 1987-88 |<3>990 |1,530 |6,220 <1> Net institutional expenditure includes the cost of salaries and wages, premises and certain supplies and services. It does not include the cost of school meals, central administration and inspection, debt charges or revenue contributions to capital outlay. <2> The figures are based on LEA expenditure returns to DoE and pupil number returns to DES. <3> The figure for 1987-88 includes nursery school pupils.
Separate figures are not available for tertiary education which forms a part of further education.
Mr. Jackson : I understand that the Universities Central Council on Admissions and the Polytechnic Central Admissions System will include an ethnicity question on application forms for candidates applying for full- time degree course places in autumn 1990.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on steps taken by his Department to secure improved access to higher education by people from ethnic minorities.
Mr. Jackson : The Department has made clear the priority it attaches to increasing participation in higher education, particularly from groups that are currently under-represented and it has taken a number of measures to that end. The Universities Central Council on Admissions and the Polytechnic Central Admissions System will include an ethnicity question on application forms for candidates applying for full-time degree course places in autumn 1990. In addition, my right hon. Friend announced on 12 April at column 528, the establishment of a national framework for the recognition of access courses for students who lack the traditional qualifications for entrance to higher education. Some access courses are specifically targeted at ethnic minorities and staff are funded under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966.
We are funding a number of projects which are investigating and developing ways of enhancing the provision of access courses. Initial teacher training institutions have also developed a range of courses specifically aimed at people from ethnic minorities which are designed to build on their previous experience.
All these measures should help to improve access to higher education for people from ethnic minorities.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much has been spent on student unions in each of the last 10 years by (a) central Government and (b) local government expressed in (i) cost terms and (ii) real terms with 1979=100.
Mr. Jackson : As I indicated in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Amess) on 1 December 1988, at column 356, work on the survey was undertaken by a team of officials which includes student affairs among its normal responsibilities. This was supplemented, from 9 December, by overtime payments and part-time assistance, the total cost of which was £1,720.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : This is one of a number of sites being used for a traffic survey to collect data needed to develop proposals for improving the A13 trunk road in the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham.
Mr. Litherland : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he has received a request for a meeting with the chairman and members of the board of Manchester international airport to discuss the introduction of an airports departure tax ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he will consider revising the existing methods of funding security methods at airports ; and if he will make a statement ; (3) if he will support measures to introduce the funding of security costs at Manchester international airport through the imposition of an airports departure tax ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : My right hon. Friend has received a letter from the chairman of Manchester Airport plc proposing the introduction of an airport departure tax and requesting a meeting to discuss the matter. He has replied as follows :
"Thank you for your letter of 22 March proposing a meeting to discuss your proposal for an Airport Departure Tax to finance aviation security.
This ground has been gone over many times in recent years. As you say, from 1978 to 1983 aviation security was financed through the aviation security fund, set up under the powers which are now contained in part IV of the Aviation Security Act 1982. This proved to be bureaucratic, complicated and costly to administer, with the Department collecting money from the industry with one hand and paying it out to it again with the other, and it provided little incentive to efficiency. Consequently, a review undertaken in 1982, at the request of the industry and in consultation with all sections of it, concluded that the financing of aviation security would be more straightforward, that unnecessary and complex procedures would be avoided, that incentives to carry out security measures effectively would be increased, and that cross-subsidisation would be eliminated, if the fund were abolished. The fund was wound up accordingly in 1983, and the airports and airlines became responsible for financing aviation security costs from their revenue, in exactly the same way as they meet other operating expenditure.
This arrangement has much to commend it. It is simple and logical, and it is consistent with the arrangements in other areas, such as aviation safety. It ensures that costs fall where they are incurred, and thus produce an incentive to avoid waste and inefficiency The whole matter was reviewed again most thoroughly after the publication in 1986 of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee's report on airport security. It recommended that an aviation security fund should be
Column 476re-established, and that it should be financed by a levy on passengers which should be clearly itemised on the ticket price. In their response to this report the Government rejected these recommendations, pointing out that the arguments against financing aviation security through a Government-administered fund were still as strong as when the original fund was wound up.
However, the response went on to say that, as some sections of the industry had recently proposed a variety of possible alternative arrangements, the Department would look at these suggestions further in consultation with the industry. This review was carried out through the National Aviation Security Committee, It examined in detail all the suggestions put forward, including some very similar to the arrangement you now seem to be proposing. It found that there was no widespread support for any of these schemes, and no grounds for believing that any of them would be more satisfactory overall than the present arrangements.
In connection with the various proposals put forward for some kind of airport departure tax the review noted that security costs are not necessarily directly proportional to the number of passengers passing through a particular airport. Consequently either such a tax would have to be set at different levels for each airport--in which case considerable accounting resources would need to be devoted each year to working out the appropriate level at which it should be set for the coming year at each of the 50 airports in the national aviation security programme and in checking that the money was being properly used ; or the tax would have to be the same as each airport--which would involve virtually the same arrangements as did the aviation security fund for the Government collecting the money and paying it out again against authorised expenditure.
After considering the findings of the review, Ministers reaffirmed their belief that the current arrangements were the most satisfactory and effective ones possible and that they should not be changed. That remains our position, and I must tell the hon. Gentleman frankly that I can see no point in meeting him to discuss his proposal for a departure tax unless and until he can demonstrate that :
(a) it has substantial support within the industry as a whole ;
(b) it would not suffer from the same disadvantages as did the aviation security fund or involve additional accounting resources ; and
(c) it would be more satisfactory overall than the present arrangements.
Mr. Litherland : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will meet the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority to discuss the imposition of a total ban on the carriage of personal radios on aircraft ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : It is not just personal radios, but a whole range of portable electrical items, from pocket calculators, through electric shavers and hair driers, to lap top computers, which pose particular security problems.
A complete ban on the carriage of such items on aircraft is not practicable.
We have reinforced the advice to airports and airlines about the dangers, and instructed that such items should be examined particularly closely. Passengers will be prevented from retaining them in cases where the security staff are unable to satisfy themselves that they are harmless.
Column 477As the problem is an international one we have, as my right hon. Friend announced on 21 February, at columns 556-57, arranged for the International Civil Aviation Organisation to address the matter.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what actions he has taken, consequent to the air disaster on the M1 motorway adjacent to the east midlands airport, to review the rules and practices concerning the siting of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings and public transport facilities beneath, or adjacent to, the flight paths to and from airport runways.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Department of the Environment circular 39/81, a copy of which is in the Library, already requires planning authorities to refer to the Civil Aviation Authority or the Ministry of Defence for advice details of proposed developments close to busy airports. The 1989 review of accident statistics relative to public safety zones will pay particular regard to roads and railways running through such zones.
Column 478and whether he will require standards currently adopted by Stoke on Trent city council for principal roads to apply on roads which change to trunk road status.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : We are discussing with the county council proposals to trunk part of A500 and to detrunk parts of A34, A5 and A449 in Staffordshire. The improvement and maintenance of trunk roads is carried out to the Department's standards.
Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has received any recent representations seeking amendment of existing international marine law regarding the carriage and protection of dangerous chemicals at sea, in the light of the recent sinking in the English Channel of a tanker carrying toxic material ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : Following the recent incident in the English Channel I have received one representation seeking amendment to the international marine law. I have also received a number of suggestions on how the marine environment can be protected when such an incident occurs. Some of these have been foreshadowed by the International Maritime Organisation and will become part of the regulatory regime in the near future.
Mr. Portillo : The midland main line already has a good service which is being improved. It is for British Rail to consider whether the very large cost of electrifying the line would be justified by operating improvements and revenue gains, and to put forward a case if it believes it to be worthwhile. The completion of the single European market in 1992 is unlikely to have a significant effect on this essentially business decision.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Yes. The review raised many complex issues. We are grateful to all those who commented, and in particular for the report from the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC). A copy of its report has been placed in the Library. The rate at which badges are issued has increased rapidly since 1986. Between March 1986 and March 1988, the number of badges rose from about 800,000 to about 1 million. The scheme is losing the respect of the general public, who see apparently able-bodied people using cars bearing badges. Without changes the scheme will become unworkable.
The parking concessions provided by the scheme are essential to those with the greatest mobility problems. We propose to accept the DPTAC's main recommendation--that eligibility for badges should be more closely related to eligibility for mobility allowance. This will concentrate badges on those severely disabled people who need them most.
Column 480We intend to hold further discussions with organisations representing people with disabilities, the British Medical Association and local authority associations to establish ways in which the new eligibility criteria can be introduced and to explore the implications for the financing of the scheme.
Badges will continue to be issued automatically to people receiving mobility allowance, or using a vehicle supplied by a Government Department or getting a grant towards their own vehicle and to registered blind people.
We propose to introduce a redesigned passport-type badge which will be more robust and will incorporate space for a photograph of the holder. The new badge will be designed to reduce abuse of the scheme and to make it clear that it is for the personal use of the badge holder. We shall be consulting on the design and wording of the new badge.
The DPTAC proposed that the two-hour limit on parking on yellow lines should be removed completely or, at the very least, extended to four hours. Such an extension could lead to problems of traffic management and increase congestion, given the number of badges currently on issue. We propose to discuss with local authority associations and the police extending the limit to three hours and providing more designated spaces for parking by people with mobility handicaps.
I have today written to the four central London authorities asking them to explore with the DPTAC the scope for introducing some elements of the scheme in those parts of central London where it does not at present apply. This could do much to give disabled people greater mobility in central London.
We propose further measures to simplify the operation of the scheme. In particular, these would :
(a) make recipients of war pensioners' mobility supplement automatically eligible for badges.
(b) permit the issue of badges for the same period as mobility allowance and war pensioners' mobility supplement. for those in receipt of those allowances, up to a maximum of five years. Other badges would continue to be reviewed at three-yearly intervals. (c) allow local authorities to introduce four-hour time limits in on-street parking bays reserved for disabled people, where local authorities wish to encourage the use of such bays by shoppers rather than for all-day parking.
(d) encourage local authorities to warn badgeholders who are misusing badges prior to considering withdrawing the badge, and to issue renewal reminders. Many authorities do this already. Further possible changes to the scheme were aired in the discussion paper, or suggested in response to it. We believe that other aspects of the scheme should continue as they are. In particular, we consider that registered blind people should continue to qualify automatically for badges and that otherwise eligibility should be restricted to those with the most severe mobility problems. We must protect the value of the orange badge if it is to be of real help to those who need it most.
Validity of orange badges which are already issued will not be affected by the proposals. Badge holders will be assessed under new criteria only when their current badges have expired and following introduction of the new criteria. Badges are reviewed every three years.
The Department has produced a leaflet in the traffic topics series explaining in more detail the proposals and the background to them. Copies have been placed in the Library.