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Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Legislation to provide powers for the privatisation of the Scottish Bus Group, including its operations in Lanarkshire, is currently before Parliament. The Government welcome the interest shown by management and employees of the Scottish Bus Group in Lanarkshire in the opportunities provided by privatisation. The Government are encouraging local authorities to dispose of their bus undertakings and welcome Strathclyde regional council's plans to privatise its undertaking including its operations in Lanarkshire.
Mr. Rifkind : The Scottish Office is represented at meetings of the Agriculture and Fisheries Councils by Ministers and/or senior officials. There are also frequent meetings between the Scottish Office and the EC Commission on a wide range of policy issues.
20. Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what considerations he has given to the future representation of Scottish interests within the European Community ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Rifkind : Ministers and officials will continue to represent Scottish interests through attendance at Agriculture and Fisheries Councils. Officials will also continue to ensure that particular Scottish interests in other Councils are identified and taken into account in the most appropriate way.
41. Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has of the proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary legislation relating to Scotland in the last 12 months which originally emanated from institutions of the European Community.
Column 178obtained elsewhere in the Community, as it applies to teachers. This is included in the provisions of the Self- Governing Schools Etc. (Scotland) Bill. So far as secondary legislation is concerned, my Departments have implemented 16 regulations or statutory instruments ranging over agriculture and fisheries, environmental protection, planning and health.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : About 1,650 letters from GPs and members of the public have been received about the White Paper on the Health Service "Working for Patients", and/or the new contract for general practitioners. Agreement on all the major outstanding contract issues was reached with the profession's negotiators on 4 May.
22. Mr. Alan Stewart : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what progress has been made in implementing policies of competitive budgeting in the National Health Service in Scotland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Since the last general election savings from competitive tendering have increased from £600,000 to £25 million on 74 contracts. This represents substantial additional resources for patient care in Scotland's health service over the next three to four years. Boards will continue to make progress in both the scope and range of services to put to competitive tender and are much encouraged by their success to date.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Most correspondence on the White Paper has shown support for some proposals and criticism of others. It is not therefore appropriate to categorise the responses in the manner requested.
Mr. Steel : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what further representations he has received from doctors in the Borders about the proposals in the White Paper "Working for Patients" since his reply of 5 April, Official Report , column 231 , to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Mr. McKelvey).
Mr. Rifkind : It is not possible to supply the information in the form requested. About 30 letters have been received from doctors in the Borders region since 5 April 1989, either direct or through hon. Members about the White Papers "Promoting Better Health" and/or "Working for Patients" and/or the new contract for GPs.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many replies have been received to the letter sent to general practitioners in Scotland by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Stirling (Mr. Forsyth) on 12 April.
Column 179response to my letter. Agreement on all the major outstanding contract issues was reached with the profession's negotiators on 4 May.
18. Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received seeking the extension of section 43 (Freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics and colleges) of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 to Scotland.
29. Mr. McLoughlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received seeking the extension of section 43 (Freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics and colleges) of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 to Scotland.
31. Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received seeking the extension of section 43 (Freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics and colleges) of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 to Scotland.
37. Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consider extending section 43 (Freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics and colleges) of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 to Scotland.
38. Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consider extending section 43 (Freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics and colleges) of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 to Scotland.
42. Mr. Janman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consider extending section 43 (Freedom of speech in universities, polytechnics and colleges) of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 to Scotland.
19. Mr. Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent per pupil in secondary schools in Scotland in the most recent year for which figures are available ; and what was the comparable figure in 1978-79 at constant prices.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : In 1987-88 net current expenditure per pupil in secondary schools in Scotland at outturn prices was £2,000. This is 36 per cent. more in real terms than the comparable figure in 1978-79 which at 1987-88 prices was £1,469.
21. Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received arguing that schools in Scotland should be allowed to opt out of local authority control ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : I have received a number of representations from individuals and groups of parents expressing interest in the possibility of self-governing status for schools. I expect that when the Self-Governing
Column 180Schools Etc. (Scotland) Bill reaches the statute book parents associated with individual schools will begin to assess seriously the benefits of self-governing status for their schools.
27. Mr. Canavan : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has of the number of people in Scotland who are on poll tax registers but who have not yet paid at least the first instalment of the poll tax ; and whether he will express this figure as a percentage of all the people in Scotland who are on poll tax registers.
Mr. Lang : Local authorities are continuing to receive initial payments of the community charge. However the information required from local authorities to enable an estimate to be made of the numbers of people throughout Scotland who are liable for the community charge but have not made a payment will not become available for some months.
Mr. Lang : The Government are monitoring the present community charge arrangements in Scotland. If experience shows that there is a need for any changes to the regulations or to statute we will take appropriate action.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : I assume the hon. Member is referring to the section of new road planned between Drumbreck road and Glasgow city boundary which is the responsibility of Strathclyde regional council, and the new trunk road from the city boundary to Malletsheugh which together constitute the Ayr road route. My right hon. and learned Friend is considering the report of the public local inquiry in respect of this project. The works are at present programmed to start in late 1990 but achieving this will depend upon the outcome of the inquiry.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Since the criminal injuries compensation scheme operates on a Great Britain basis, information in this form is not available. Details of the time taken by the board to resolve cases were provided in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Field) on 20 January 1989, at column 350, by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Home Office.
28. Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with health organisations in Scotland about the possibility of hospitals opting out under the Government's proposals for the National Health Service.
Mr. Lang : The output-based estimates of Scotland's gross domestic product show that between 1986 and 1987 Scotland's economy grew by 2.4 per cent. Later information is available only for the output of the production and construction industries which grew by 5.8 per cent. between 1987 and 1988, the fastest rate of growth since 1973.
Mr. Lang : The Government made a number of changes to regional policy in 1988 which took into account the single European market. In addition, through the Government's "Europe Open for Business" campaign information, advice and assistance is provided to all United Kingdom businesses in an effort to increase understanding during this run-up period.
Mr. Lang : The Government already have an effective regional policy. Provision for regional assistance in Scotland this year is approximately £120 million and we do not expect any underspend. This level of provision is broadly maintained for the following three years.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Officials of the Department of Agricultural and Fisheries for Scotland are in regular contact with their colleagues in the other United Kingdom fisheries Departments and representatives of the fishing industry. and they participate in EC meetings and working groups as appropriate. My noble Friend the Minister of State, Scottish Office is regularly in touch with the other United Kingdom fisheries Ministers and attends meetings of the European Council of Fisheries Ministers as a member of the United Kingdom delegation.
36. Mr. Martin : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will next be meeting the chief executive of the Scottish Development Agency to discuss attracting industry to areas of high unemployment.
Mr. Rifkind : My noble Friend and I have regular meetings with the union to discuss current issues affecting the farming industry in Scotland. My noble Friend met the president on 19 May and expects to meet him again at the Royal Highland show later this month.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : A number of the letters which have been received from general practitioners referred to the proposal to replace seniority allowances and redistribute the released income through other payments. At the meeting on 4 May with the profession's negotiators it was agreed that seniority payments would be retained but reduced by the value of the new postgraduate education allowance.
51. Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he intends to take to ensure that Scotland's bathing waters conform to standards set by European Economic Community directives.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : I refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) on 13 April 1989, at columns 682-83 , and in particular to the paper placed in
Column 184the Library on that day which sets out the results of monitoring in 1988 and the plans to improve bathing waters where necessary.
52. Mr. Buchanan-Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will carry out a review of measures for control of dogs in Scotland and, in particular, of the powers and financial resources of local authorities in this respect ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Such an exercise is already in hand as part of a general review of the provisions of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 upon which we intend to consult later this year. There is, however, a range of powers relating to the control of dogs already available to local authorities.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will set out the statutory powers under which local authorities have power to control dogs ; and if he will indicate which authorities are empowered to act.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The information is as follows. The Dogs Act 1906, as amended by the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, empowers the police and proper officers of district and islands councils to seize, detain and dispose of stray dogs, and prescribes procedures for dealing with dogs so detained. The Control of Dogs Order 1930, made under powers consolidated in the Animal Health Act 1981, requires dogs to wear identity discs bearing the name and address of their owner when in a public place and enables district or islands councils to make curfew regulations to control dogs. The Pet Animals Act 1951 provides for the inspection and licensing by district or islands councils of pet shops and the attachment of conditions to the licence. The Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 provides for the inspection and licensing of boarding establishments for dogs and cats by district or islands councils and for the attachment of conditions to the licence. The Road Traffic Act 1972 makes it an offence for a dog to be on a designated road without being held on a lead. The regulations prescribing the procedure involved in designation by regional or islands councils are contained in the Control of Dogs on Roads Order (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 1962. The Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 provides for the inspection and licensing by district or islands councils of dog breeding establishments and for the attachment of conditions to the licence. The Guard Dogs Act 1975 lays down requirements for the supervision of guard dogs and the licensing of guard dog kennels by district or islands councils.
There are, in addition, indirect powers such as the power conferred by section 112 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, whereby any local authority may make management rules which could include rules relating to dogs while on land or premises owned, occupied or managed by the authority.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from community groups or statutory organisations about the problems posed by lack of control of dogs ; what replies he has sent ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 185Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the National Farmers Union, Scotland as well as from hon. Members and individuals about the problems posed by dogs. Most of these have urged tighter legislative controls and the introduction of a dog registration scheme. Replies to these representations have indicated that we are not convinced that registration would be an effective answer to the range of problems associated with dogs but that we intend to publish later this year a consultation paper in which other options for improving existing measures for more effective control of dogs will be explored.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) whether he has any plans to extend exemption from prescription charges in Scotland to people requiring long-term medication related to mental illness ;
(2) whether he has any plans to introduce a sliding scale of charges for residents with mental health problems in special accommodation schemes in Scotland who have other sources of income.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : When the existing list of specified medical conditions for which exemption from prescription charges is given was drawn up it was suggested by the medical profession that it should include only readily identifiable conditions which called for prolonged medical treatment, in most cases replacement therapy. The list has been reviewed on a number of occasions by successive Governments, but on each occasion it was decided no change could be made. There are no plans to extend the list at this time or to introduce sliding scales of charges relating to patients' circumstances.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he is taking to ensure a sufficient supply of wheelchair housing for people with disabilities who wish to leave residential care or to set up home on their own ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The Government attach high priority to the provision of all types of special needs housing. It is for housing authorities to assess local needs. Scottish Homes has been asked in determining its expenditure programme for housing associations for 1989-90 to place more emphasis on housing provision for the disabled. I am pleased to note that the number of sheltered wheelchair and wheelchair houses provided by public agencies in Scotland has increased from 636 in 1979 to 2,586 in 1988.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the numbers of completions of (a) wheelchair housing and (b) mobility housing by (i) local authorities, (ii) housing associations and (iii) the private sector in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : This information is not available. Information on housebuilding by user category has been collected centrally for authorities on a quarterly basis since 1986 but not for the breakdown required.
Mr. Rifkind : Leaflets have been produced in a wide range of circumstances, and central records do not make it possible to provide the information requested without incurring disproportionate cost. If the hon. Member has a particular subject area in mind, perhaps he could write to me about it.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : In the current year 4,119 midwives have been indexed to practise in Scotland. Claims for regrading are for health boards to deal with. Information on such claims is not held centrally.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The provision for research expenditure in the current year is £5,144,000, or 0.2 per cent. of the total health budget. The cash figure represents an increase of nearly 12 per cent. over estimated expenditure in 1988-89.