Mr. Shersby : To ask the Minister for the Arts (1) what is his policy for co-ordinating processing arrangements in connection with printed matter and material held in the various museums, archives and libraries which are the responsibility of his Department ; (2) what study he has made of the processing arrangements for printed matter and material under development in the United States of America, Canada and Austria ; if any useful lessons have been learned from the techniques employed in these and other countries ; and if he intends to introduce changes in British practice.
Mr. Luce : It is for the institutions themselves to ensure that their processing arrangements are efficient and up to date and to keep in touch with developments. The British Library, for example, is among the leaders in the development of bibliographic standards and techniques and works closely with libraries and other institutions both in the United Kingdom and abroad.
Mr. Luce : I believe that arts bodies, museums and galleries and public libraries all offer valuable ways of supplementing and supporting the teaching in schools. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science and I are commissioning work on a package of material, illustrating good practice, which will be distributed to all maintained schools early next year. The booklet will provide examples of the range of learning opportunities available in the contemporary arts and in museums and will show how these and similar initiatives in related fields can have wider educational applications.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the index of manufacturing output for each of the standard regions and Wales for each 12-month period from June 1979 to June 1988, inclusive.
Year<1> |Wales ------------------------ 1979-80 |99.1 1980-81 |90.6 1981-82 |94.9 1982-83 |93.0 1983-84 |98.9 1984-85 |99.8 1985-86 |102.1 1986-87 |113.3 1987-88 |128.5 1985 = 100, seasonally adjusted. <1> Averages for the periods 3rd quarter to 2nd quarter. Source: Welsh Office.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the index of production industries in each of the standard regions, Scotland and Wales for each 12-month period from June 1979 to June 1988.
Mr. Major [holding answer 19 May 1989] : Information on the standard regions of England is not available ; using latest published data, the indices of production for Scotland and for Wales are as given below :
Year<1> |Scotland|Wales ------------------------------------ 1979-80 |99.6 |105.9 1980-81 |92.4 |95.2 1981-82 |93.6 |97.7 1982-83 |93.0 |98.5 1983-84 |95.4 |98.1 1984-85 |98.2 |95.5 1985-86 |99.2 |102.5 1986-87 |97.9 |108.2 1987-88 |102.9 |119.2 1985 = 100, seasonally adjusted. <1> Averages for the periods 3rd quarter to 2nd quarter. Source: Scottish Office, Welsh Office.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the revised proposals by the European Economic Community for the revision of value added tax arrangements in the United Kingdom, and, in particular, what items, at present zero-rated, would require to be taxed ; and if there are any other proposals linked to the arrangements proposed by the European Economic Community for changes in excise duty.
Mr. Lilley [holding answer 22 May 1989] : The Commission announced its revised thinking on indirect taxation in the single market on 17 May. It now accepts that some zero rates may be retained, but still seeks a measure of tax approximation in the shape of an unspecified minimum standard rate for VAT ; a reduced VAT rate band as previously proposed ; and, as yet unspecified, minimum rates or rate bands for excise duties. It also suggests quadrupling the tax-paid travellers' allowances and doubling the duty paid allowances on alcohol and tobacco in stages by 1992. Announcement of its technical proposals for fiscal control of exciseable goods has been deferred until August.
The Commission's admission that zero rates are acceptable in principle is clearly a step forward and a vindication of our firm stance, and we welcome it ; but we shall obviously need to clarify a number of elements, given our very clear commitments in this area. We also welcome the proposals on travellers' allowances, for which we have
Column 441been pressing. Other parts of the Commission's revised thinking, such as its continued desire for tax approximation, are less welcome ; our position on that issue is unchanged.
These proposals would require the unanimous assent of all member states.
Mr. Lilley : Since 1979, the combined burden of duty and VAT on cigarettes has risen by nearly 50 per cent. in real terms. The level of duty in the United Kingdom remains the highest in the Economic Community, with the exception of Denmark.
Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson) of 27 February, Official Report, column 27 , how many people earn less than the respective point at which the tax benefit withdrawal level falls to 34 per cent.
Reliable estimates are not available on the basis requested. Estimates of the number of full-time workers in receipt of income-related benefits and facing combined income tax and benefit withdrawal rates in excess of 40 per cent. were given to my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Squire) on 8 May at column 309 . It is very unlikely that there are any full-time workers facing marginal deduction rates between 34 and 40 per cent.
Mr. Butcher : The COGE (control of grant aided expenditure) working group was set up in 1986 to examine methods of improving the control of grant-aided expenditure for voluntary aided and special agreement schools. My right hon. Friend accepted its recommendations for improved procedures designed to secure more reliable predictions of capital expenditure needs at voluntary aided schools. The group concluded that the Department's priorities for the funding of voluntary school building projects were fair and just. Each year bids for work are carefully scrutinised to ensure that resources are targeted to those projects where needs are greatest.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the number of nursery places per 1,000 children in the shire counties ; what is the average figure for the metropolitan districts ; and what factors account for the difference between the figures.
Mrs. Rumbold : Information on nursery places is not collected centrally. The number of pupils under five attending maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in primary schools in England in January 1988 per 1,000 of estimated population aged three and four in each non- metropolitan county and the overall average for metropolitan districts is given in the following table. A variety of factors may account for the differences between the figures including local policies on the education and care of the under-fives and the priority given by successive Governments to the most disadvantaged areas.
Number of pupils under five in maintained nursery schools and classes per 1,000 children in the population<1> January 1988 |Pupils ---------------------------------------------- Avon |151 Bedfordshire |300 Berkshire |244 Buckinghamshire |121 Cambridgeshire |118 Cheshire |208 Cleveland |536 Cornwall<2> |141 Cumbria |212 Derbyshire |284 Devon |99 Dorset |60 Durham |387 East Sussex |70 Essex |59 Gloucestershire |0 Hampshire |49 Hereford and Worcester |61 Hertfordshire |297 Humberside |329 Isle of Wight |56 Kent |51 Lancashire |170 Leicestershire |216 Lincolnshire |75 Norfolk |52 North Yorkshire |179 Northamptonshire |176 Northumberland |262 Nottinghamshire |472 Oxfordshire |127 Shropshire |115 Somerset |8 Staffordshire |224 Suffolk |142 Surrey |114 Warwickshire |177 West Sussex |34 Wiltshire |21 Total non-metropolitan counties |167 Total metropolitan districts |374 England |239 <1> The estimated population aged three and four. <2> Includes Isles of Scilly.
Column 443during the period between leaving school and entering higher or further education later in the year ; and what effect this will have on student loans or grants.
Mr. Jackson : School leavers aged 18 will, after leaving school, remain exempt from community charge for as long as they are the subject of continuing entitlement to child benefit. Once that entitlement has expired, a person aged 18, and between school and higher or further education, will be liable to the full community charge, but will be able to claim rebate on the charge, provided that his income or resources (or, in the case of a couple, their joint income or resources) do not disqualify him from the rebate. Once enrolled full-time in further or higher education, that person will become eligible to a rebate of 80 per cent. of the full charge, and his previous status will be irrelevant to eligibility for grant.
Mr. Jackson : My right hon. Friend has not recently met the AUT, but we are in touch with it from time to time in the same way as we are in touch with a wide variety of bodies in order to keep abreast of developments.
Mr. Butcher : My right hon. Friend has to date received three letters commenting on the report of the committee of inquiry on discipline in schools, chaired by Lord Elton, which was published on 13 March.
Mr. Butcher : Information is not available in respect of Surrey, nor nationally in the precise form requested. However it is estimated that amongst teachers trained in England and Wales who enter full-time service in the maintained nursery, primary and secondary sector in England and Wales, 35 per cent. leave again within five years of qualification. About a fifth of these leavers re-enter service within the same five-year period, and many more do so subsequently.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what assistance he gives to local education authorities and schools for the secure storage of public examination papers ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 444of question papers and for individual schools and colleges acting as examination centres to ensure compliance with them.
Sir Ian Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what arrangements have been made to distribute the video cassettes of the film entitled "Jean Monnet, Father of Europe" made available by the European Commission, among schools in the United Kingdom ; and what proportion of these have been distributed to Hampshire and Havant, respectively.
The London Office of the Commission of the European Communities Jean Monnet House
78. Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he can give an estimate of the current value of research into the causes, prevention and treatment of all forms of cancer ; and how much is attributable to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund.
Mr. Jackson : The Medical Research Council, which receives its grant in aid from this Department, is the main agency through which the Government support medical research. I understand that, in 1987-88, the last financial year for which figures are available, the council's expenditure for research into the causes, prevention and treatment of all forms of cancer was £9.9 million. The corresponding figure for the Department of Health was £2.3 million.
In addition, university departments and medical schools support a range of basic research from public funds, some of which will be relevant to cancer research.
Information is not collected centrally on the whole range of organisations funding research into the causes, prevention and treatment of all forms of cancer. I understand from the latest edition of the handbook of the Association of Medical Research Charities that the research expenditure of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund for the year to 30 September 1987 was £41.8 million.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in considering local management schemes, he will ensure that local education authorities retain as an exception from delegation, sufficient funds to meet the overhead costs of teacher exchange schemes.
Column 445(2) if amounts of moneys levied on coal production costs by British Coal to cover coal mining subsidence costs are carried over into the next financial year ;
(3) if amounts of moneys levied on coal production costs to cover coal mining subsidence damage costs are included in British Coal's global accounts year by year ;
(4) pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Mansfield on 15 May, Official Report, column 102 , if he will supply figures showing the financial costs of coal mining subsidence damage, externally to British Coal for each year since 1979, with a regional breakdown by coal- field area ;
(5) pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Mansfield on 15 May, Official Report, column 102 , if he will supply figures giving a breakdown of coal mining subsidence damage costs broken down into administration, repair, compensation, outside consultancies, and other relevant categories for each year since 1979, with a regional breakdown by coalfield area ;
(6) pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Mansfield on 15 May, if he will supply figures showing the amounts of moneys levied on coal production costs by British Coal for each year since 1979, with a regional breakdown by coalfield area ;
(7) pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Mansfield on 15 May, Official Report, column 102, if he will supply figures showing the provision in British Coal's accounts for coal mining subsidence damage costs for each year since 1979, with a regional breakdown by coalfield area ;
(8) pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Mansfield on 15 May, what is the current total financial amount held by British Coal for the provision of repair, compensation and administration of coal mining subsidence damage.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Administration of the subsidence compensation and repair system, including making the necessary provisions in the accounts, is a matter for British Coal. Details on the level of provisions are given each year in the annual report and accounts, copies of which are in the House of Commons Library. Details of the number and cost of claims settled, broken down by coalfield areas, are provided in British Coal's annual report to the Secretary of State for Energy, the first of which was placed in the House of Commons Library towards the end of last year. I am asking the chairman to write to the hon. Member if any additional information is readily available.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he has any plans to relax the statutory regulation of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority to enable it to exploit market opportunities more fully.
Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has considered the British Coal Corporation's initial response to the report by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the corporation's investment programme.
Column 446published its report on the investment programme of British Coal on 25 January. The corporation has now provided its initial response, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.
The MMC rightly draws attention to British Coal's impressive achievement over the last five years in reducing costs and restructuring the industry, but identifies a need for a more cohesive and systematic approach towards its business planning, including fuller and more regular analysis of risk scenarios and contingency responses, greater use of modelling, and more local input on business prospects as the market evolves. I share the commission's view that these are priority areas for attention.
The United Kingdom market for coal is becoming increasingly open, with greater price differentials both regionally and as between market sectors. This makes it particularly important to identify, and base business decisions upon, the true profitability of individual coal flows, so that management at all levels can respond promptly and concertedly to the impact of market developments on profitability. Exposure to loss-making business must be reduced if the corporation is to achieve its objective of maximising profitability. I accordingly welcome the corporation's intention to continue to adapt its business planning systems and organisation to meet changing circumstances, and I expect the detailed steps taken under each of the commission's recommendations to be fully set out in the corporation's further responses to the MMC report. My recent appointment of a second deputy chairman should help to strengthen the corporation's efforts in this direction over the coming year. The commission concluded that British Coal's controls over capital investment are generally good, and expressed confidence that the corporation's investment programme is achieving a rate of return of at least 5 per cent. Since its report was published, the Government have increased the required rate of return to 8 per cent, and I will be considering with British Coal over the next 12 months the implications of this for the test discount rates for individual categories of expenditure.
I do not share the commission's view that the Asfordby project was never viable ; as British Coal points out, an independent review in July 1983 suggested that at that stage an acceptable rate of return could be achieved. But I agree that such large projects, particularly where lead times and payback periods are long, tend to be financially more risky than many other types of expenditure, and that this requires to be fully recognised in the criteria for initial investment appraisal. This should minimise the risk of future projects being piece-mealed through time' ; as regards Asfordby itself, it is important that the substantial balance of the expenditure still uncommitted should show a robust financial return. I also share the commission's view that, in general, conditional approval should not be given in advance of a sound financial prospectus.
I welcome British Coal's acceptance of the need to assess the system effect of large projects involving new capacity ; as the commission recognises, however, even relatively small amounts of new capacity can have a significant effect in localised or special quality markets. I also welcome the importance attached by both the commission and British Coal to the spread of six-day operations and other more flexible working patterns.
I share the commission's view that new medium-term financial objectives need to be agreed between the corporation and Government, but I recognise that these
Column 447cannot be sensibly finalised ahead of the coming negotiations with National Power and Power Gen on the terms of coal supply beyond January 1990. In the meantime the external financing path to 1991-92 which I announced to the House on 6 February provides a provisional basis for forward planning.
I am anxious that early progress should be made on this agenda. Under the normal arrangements for the follow-up to MMC
recommendations arising from section 11 inquiries, British Coal will be reporting to me after one and three years on progress achieved in implementing the recommendations. I shall lay its report before the House next spring.
The Council decided on a programme for improving the efficiency of electricity use and approved recommendations aimed at reducing any distortions of competition between oil refineries resulting from differences in environmental protection standards. It agreed conclusions setting a framework for detailed discussions of Thermie, a proposed new scheme for demonstrating and disseminating new technology in the energy sector, including efficient use of energy ; the existing schemes are due to finish at the end of this year. Eleven member states, including the United Kingdom, similarly agreed a framework for discussing improvements in energy price transparency. No conclusions were reached in a discussion on trade between integrated electricity systems, during which I stressed the importance of consumer choice and competition.
Arrangements will be made for the Energy Council to convey its opinion to the Internal Market Council before any decisions are taken on the energy aspects of the Commission's proposals on procurement in the energy, water and transport sectors.
In an inconclusive discussion of the 1975 directive controlling the use of gas for generating electricity, the United Kingdom strongly urged its repeal, particularly on environmental grounds, but also in the interests of competition, exploration and efficiency. The Commission was unwilling to propose repeal before the next review of the Community's energy objectives, but would do so if it were shown that the directive restricted the development of the gas industry.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of the population have taken out personal pensions since the reform of pension arrangements ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Dewar : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the latest figures for the take up of family credit as a percentage of total family credit budgets for each of the DSS offices in Glasgow.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Family credit is dealt with centrally, and expenditure estimates are made for Great Britain as a whole. Similarly, information about percentage take up rates can be obtained only for Great Britain, and only retrospectively, from family expenditure survey data.
At the beginning of April 1989, the number of families receiving family credit who were living in the areas covered by each of the local social security offices in Glasgow at the time the award was made was as follows :
|Number ------------------------------------ Glasgow (Anniesland) |646 Glasgow (Bridgeton) |143 Glasgow (City) |341 Glasgow (Craigton) |403 Glasgow (Cumbernauld) |600 Glasgow (Laurieston) |367 Glasgow (Maryhill) |336 Glasgow (Parkhead) |575 Glasgow (Partick) |20 Glasgow (Provan) |875 Glasgow (Rutherglen) |658 Glasgow (South Side) |516 Glasgow (Springburn) |275
Mr. Peter Lloyd : At 18 May 1989, a total of 474,974 applications for housing benefit transitional payments had been received. Of these 446,035 had been assessed and in 247,623 cases (52 per cent. of all applications) no benefit was payable. Of the cases outstanding the majority are awaiting the return of inquiry forms about housing benefit details from local authorities.
Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how much money is being allocated for the national advertising campaign in respect of social fund community care grants ; (2) if he will place in the Library the national consultancy report on which the forthcoming advertising campaign in respect of social fund community care grants has been based ;
(3) how its forthcoming national advertising campaign in respect of social fund community care grants is being conducted ; and if he will make a statement ;
(4) if he will place in the Library the draft formats of any posters, leaflets, and so on relating to the forthcoming advertising campaign in respect of social fund community care grants ; (5) if he will be making available additional funds to advice agencies during the forthcoming advertising campaign in respect of social fund community care grants ;
(6) when the national advertising campaign on social fund community care grants is starting ;
Column 449(7) if he will make available additional funds by virtue of his power under section 32(6) of the Social Security Act 1986 in order to meet demand generated by the forthcoming advertising campaign in respect of social fund community care grants in excess of Department of Social Security local office budget profiles.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : We have no plans to mount a national advertising campaign in respect of social fund community care grants and we are not aware of any national consultancy report on this subject. We are, however, intending to produce additional information material on the social fund, including community care grants, which will be aimed at potential applicants. Leaflet SB16 "A guide to the Social Fund" is also being revised to take account of forthcoming changes to the social fund manual guidance on community care grants. This new information material should be available to the public this summer. The costs will be met from within the Department's budget for leaflets. We do not think that it would be helpful to lay draft copies in the Library, but we shall ensure that copies of the final versions are made available.
Our intention is to provide both potential applicants and advice agencies with better information about the scheme than they have at present. There is therefore no need for additional funds to be made available to advice agencies as a result of this initiative, nor do we intend to increase the community care grants budget allocation for the current year.
Mr. Moore : The resettlement units executive agency will tomorrow become the first part of the Department of Social Security to achieve agency status. Its main aim is to provide help and assistance to a group of people who are among the most disadvantaged. There are two key tasks : first, to manage the existing DSS units efficiently and effectively, examining how to get the best out of the resources available ; secondly, to implement the policy set out by the Government in 1985 that the needs of these people, and in particular their prospects for a more settled way of life, could more appropriately be met in accommodation that is locally run and administered by local authorities and by voluntary organisations rather than in large centrally run institutions.
The units provide 1,836 beds, 670 of which are in London, for single homeless people. In addition to providing food and shelter, the units seek to encourage users to adopt a more settled way of life and to help them to find accommodation of their own.
The agency will be a more effective way of carrying out that work. Efficiency targets have been set, but in accordance with the promises made by the Government in 1985 all efficiency savings will be retained by the agency. A more clearly defined timetable for taking forward the replacement programme will be developed. The new concept of a single agency budget, and the flexibilities given within that, will facilitate the work of the chief executive in deploying all the resources available in the best interests of the users of resettlement accommodation.
Column 450Copies of the agency framework document and of the initial set of performance targets, have been placed in the Library.