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26. Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the total number of jobs directly and indirectly dependent on Scotland's coal industry ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang : British Coal has some 3,400 employees in Scotland at present. In addition, approximately 1,200 people are employed on opencast and deep mining by subcontractors, and there around 300 people working in licensed private mining. Figures on the number of indirectly dependent jobs are not available.
Mr. Lang : My right hon. and learned Friend met the chairman of the Highlands and Islands Development Board at a meeting of the Scottish Economic Council held on 20 January in Edinburgh when general matters relating to the board's area were discussed.
Mr. Lang : As planned, the community charge was introduced in Scotland on 1 April 1989. Following the canvass of households which commenced in April 1988, about 99 per cent. of the adult population registered for the community charge. Community charges registration officers are now busy with the task of maintaining their registers. Local authorities have publicised the availability of rebates, found out about the method of payment that charge payers wish to use and have been working very hard to process the large number of applications for rebates which they have received. I am extremely pleased with the good progress which has been made by all concerned in implementing the community charge in Scotland.
28. Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from the Scottish tourist industry about the standard community charge ; and if he will make a statement.
49. Mr. Buchanan-Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will carry out a study of the impact of the standard community charge since its introduction on 1 April ; and if, in light of that study, he will then review the legislation in relation to the standard community charge.
50. Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received concerning the payment of the community charge by Scottish police officers pending determination of the final determination of the police housing allowance.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : My right hon. and learned Friend has received a small number of representations regarding the police rent allowance issue. In its recent award on this matter, the police arbitration tribunal concluded that the community charge payable by police officers or their spouses should not be reimbursed by police authorities.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : A total of 2.2 km (1.4 miles) of central reserve safety fencing was installed in 1988-89. The provision of a further 4.4 km of fencing is in progress or planned to start shortly leaving 4.4 km to be installed thereafter. This really should be a priority on grounds of safety.
Mr. Lang : There are no changes currently planned to the existing arrangements. Locate in Scotland will continue with its policies to encourage links with existing companies already in Scotland, and to develop new links with potential inward investors outwith Scotland, through its existing offices in the United Kingdom and overseas.
Mr. Lang : The Scottish Office administers directly a range of financial and advisory support for new and expanding high technology industries. These efforts, together with those of the Scottish Development Agency and of Locate in Scotland are aimed at encouraging the setting up and growth of indigenous high technology industry, as well as attracting foreign companies in this sector to Scotland.
36. Mr. Doran : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what surveys have been undertaken by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland in respect of pollution following the Piper Alpha tragedy.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) on 11 January 1989. Monitoring by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland has been continuing and a report will be published shortly.
37. Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has had from organisations including Churches regarding their new liability for sewerage charges ; and if he will now seek to amend the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act to remove the liability.
The Government are monitoring the effect of introducing the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987 and will consider carefully any representations made.
Column 169bathing water directive, sewage discharges from public sewers are often a contributory factor. In these circumstances, it is for the regional councils as sewerage authorities, in conjunction with the river purification authorities, to plan and execute improvement works. In other cases, it is for the river purification authority to identify the source of pollution and pursue measures to improve the water with the polluter. The latest position is set out in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) on 13 April at columns 682-83.
40. Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate the increased cost of electricity connection charges following privatisation of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board.
Mr. Lang : There is no reason to expect such an increase. Under the Electricity Bill currently before Parliament, all owners or occupiers will have a right to a supply on reasonable terms and also a right of appeal to the Director General of Electricity Supply if they wish to dispute the terms quoted by the supplier. These arrangements will ensure that, following privatisation, electricity connection charges are fair and properly reflect the costs incurred.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : My right hon. and learned Friend and my noble Friend have regular meetings with union representatives. My noble Friend met the president most recently at the union's annual general meeting on 10 March when a wide range of topics was discussed.
Column 1701988. During the three months August to November 1987, 7,981 responses were received to the consultation paper "School Management and the Role of Parents".
46. Mr. Bill Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give details of the number of individuals in employment in (a) north Tayside and (b) Scotland, in December 1975, December 1978 and December 1988.
Mr. Lang : The table gives the available information. For Scotland for 1975 estimates are available only for June and for Tayside, North parliamentary constituency only for 1981 and 1984 from the census of employment. The December 1988 figure for Scotland may be revised when the results of the 1987 census of employment become available later this year.
Employees in employment |Thousands -------------------------------------------- Scotland June |1975 |2,076.1 December |1978 |2,074.8 December |1988 |1,943.5 North Tayside September |1981 |22.3 September |1984 |21.0
Mr. Lang : In its March 1989 "Quarterly Economic Commentary" the Fraser of Allander institute clearly recognises the current strength of the Scottish economy. According to the institute, Scottish economic growth this year is likely to be no worse than that of the United Kingdom and might be 0.5 percentage points higher.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Local authorities are now fully engaged in implementing the competition provisions of the Local Government Act 1988. Detailed implementation regulations were made in August 1988 and the first round of work won in competition has to be under way by 1 August this year with further rounds by 1 January and 1 August in subsequent years.
From the limited information available so far it would appear that local authorities have themselves been winning contracts in a number of cases. But where any anti-competitive practice is alleged by contractors my officials will follow up the cases with the local authorities concerned.
17. Mr. Harry Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many members of the Forth Valley health board reside in (a) the parliamentary constituencies of (a) Stirling, (b) Clackmannan, (c) Falkirk, West and (d) Falkirk, East.
(a) Stirling 10
(b) Clackmannan 1
(c) Falkirk West 4
(d) Falkirk East 0.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the implications for the Scottish Education Department arising from the Elton committee's report on indiscipline in English and Welsh schools.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Following a recommendation of the Main committee of inquiry into the pay and conditions of service of school teachers in Scotland, the present negotiating machinery remains to be reviewed.
In response to recent representations by the professional associations representing headteachers in Scotland, the Government are considering making an amendment to the Self-Governing Schools Etc. (Scotland) Bill which would enable my right hon. and learned Friend to remove certain categories of staff from the statutory ambit of the Scottish joint negotiating committee for teaching staff in school education.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any plans to collate a full report on the physical environment of teaching in Scottish schools, arising from the regular references made to such matters by Her Majesty's inspectors in their reports on schools.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : No. It is for individual authorities to ensure that the physical environment of their schools is conducive to good teaching. They have substantial financial resources, both current and capital, at their disposal for this purpose.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report those radioactive substances for which his Department carries out routine exploratory tests in coastline areas ; where those sites are ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The information sought is included in the statistical bulletins : "Environmental Monitoring for Radioactivity in Scotland" published by the Scottish Development Department, the most recent covering the years 1981-1985 having been published in April 1987. A further edition for the period 1983-1987 is due to be published shortly.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any plans to issue a special development order to permit Nirex UK Ltd. to test-drill on the Dounreay nuclear power development establishment site in Caithness to assess its suitability for a deep repository for low and intermediate-level radioactive wastes.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 2 May 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) on 21 March at column 506 . We expect any planning application for test drilling to go through normal planning procedures. I understand that a planning application in respect of Dounreay has recently been submitted to Highland regional council.