Previous Section Home Page

Mr. Alan Clark : The Government continue to attach great importance to Britain's trade with Japan. Representations on market access are received from time to time and, where appropriate, we take them up vigorously with the Japanese authorities, both directly and through the European Commission. My right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State continued to press the Japanese Government on problems of access during his visit to Japan last month.

Barlow Clowes

91. Mr. Michael : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what progress he is able to report towards achieving a satisfactory outcome for investors in Barlow Clowes in respect of (a) the United Kingdom-based and (b) the Gibraltar-based operation ; what fresh initiatives he intends to take to speed up settlements ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maude : Following judgment given on 16 June in respect of the May court hearings, I understand that it has been determined that Barlow Clowes International investors are entitled to recover from Barlow Clowes Gilt Managers (the United Kingdom operation) BCGM assets representing gilts of £16.2 million to the extent that such assets can still be identified in BCGM's hands. Further judgment gives certain BCI investors, who invested after 29 February 1988, the entitlement to recover the relevant part of their investment (after expenses). I understand that the joint receivers are returning to court on 28 June to determine the basis upon which each individual BCI investor's entitlement to any distribution will be calculated. Although the judgments do not affect those BCGM investors whose funds were placed with Lloyds Bank plc, the outstanding issue of quantification of BCGM investors' claims will be dealt with when counsel for all other categories are present. The joint liquidators have informed me that they will return to court as soon as possible to obtain direction on the outstanding issues.


Column 182

EC (Discussions)

93. Mr. Dykes : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he next expects to discuss trade and industry matters with his counterparts in the other EEC member states.

Mr. Newton : I have just returned from a Research Council and a meeting with EC counterparts to discuss the Eureka initiative and I am planning to attend the next Industry Council on 26 September.

Manufacturing and Service Industries (North-West)

94. Mr. Butler : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the health of manufacturing and service industries in the north-west.

Mr. Atkins : I am pleased to report that the manufacturing and service sectors in the north-west are both performing impressively. At current prices, the north-west standard region's gross domestic product in manufacturing rose by almost 27 per cent. between 1984 and 1987 (from £8,653 million to, provisionally, £10,961 million) with financial and business services sector showing an increase of 48 per cent. over the same period (from £3,549 million to £5,268 million). Major new investments programmes by companies such as Pilkington and ICI, the decision by the Sanwa and Fuji Banks to establish northern offices in the region, and the contract-winning performances by British Aerospace and Simon Engineering, are all evidence of the excellent health of the region's manufacturing and service sectors.

Trade Fairs

Mr. Arbuthnot : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if any changes are proposed in the terms under which the Department of Trade and Industry provides support for United Kingdom companies participating in overseas trade fairs.

Mr. Alan Clark : My right hon. and noble Friend and I are concerned that the Department's support for exporters at trade fairs abroad should be focused more sharply on its main purpose of assisting new exporters to become established in overseas markets. We have therefore decided to raise the overall level of assistance to such exporters but to limit the number of times that a company is supported at trade fairs within any country. The total value of assistance on offer will be unchanged.

The new arrangements for assistance to firms in groups supported by the Department at overseas trade fairs will be as follows : (

(i) Subject to the exceptions referred to in sub-paragraphs (iv) and (v) below, support will be limited to three participations per country. Firms which have already received assistance in three or more participations in a particular country will no longer be eligible for support in fairs in that country.

(ii) The level of support for eligible companies will be 50 per cent. of the Department's estimate of the cost of providing stands and certain services at the trade fair in question. This compares with the present level of support which varies between 60 per cent. for the first time participants to 25 per cent. for third time participants.

(iii) Support in the form of travel grants for events outside western Europe will continue for a maximum of three participations, instead of the present four.


Column 183

(iv) Because it is more difficult for firms to enter the Japanese market, the limit of the number of times on which support can be given there will be five. Assistance will be at the level of 50 per cent. of costs on each occasion. Similarly, the limit on the number of times that firms qualify for travel grant will also be five. (

(v) A limited number of fairs are of major international significance and are the principal event for the product sector concerned. Because these fairs are aimed at buyers from all over the world rather than the market of the country in which they are held, firms will be eligible for support in two extra participations in successive events of this sort, in addition to the three participations per country described in sub-paragraph (i) above. The level of support will be the same as in sub-paragraph (ii). The new arrangements will come into effect for group participations in overseas trade fairs which commence after 31 March 1990, except where the Department has already made a formal offer of support.

Telephone Systems

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what information he has on the extent of provision of leased circuits in Wales, including kilostream and megastream, on the number of towns in Wales catered for by these services and in the case of megastream, on the number of local exchanges equipped with pulse code modulation ;

(2) what information he has on the extent to which and the places in which, trunk and local exchanges in Wales have been converted to digital switching and as to which areas are serviced by integrated digital access ;

(3) what information he has on the number and location of packet assemblers and disassemblers in Wales.

Mr. Atkins : These are commercial and operational matters for British Telecommunications plc.

EMPLOYMENT

Small Firms (Report)

101. Mr. Gill : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration he has given to the conclusions of the Public Accounts Committee report on assistance to small firms.

Mr. Cope : The Government's response to the Public Accounts Committee's eighth report is set out in the Treasury minute dated 17 May 1989 presented to Parliament by my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary (command 697). A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Training and Enterprise Councils

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects to announce the allocation of funds for training and enterprise councils by area.

Mr. Cope : The allocation of funds for an individual TEC will relate to the business plan that the TEC agrees with my Department and will be announced when the TEC is fully approved.

Labour Statistics

Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement about the trends in unemployment in Hendon, South since 1987.


Column 184

Mr. Nicholls : In May 1989 there were 1,343 unemployed claimants in the parliamentary constituency of Hendon, South. This compares with 2,562 in May 1987, a fall of 1,219 or 47.6 per cent. over two years. The comparison is slightly affected by the change of coverage in the count from September 1988 due to the new benefit regulations affecting people aged under 18 years.

Rehabilitation Service

Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how are the processes of assessment and rehabilitation differentiated within the work of the employment rehabilitation service.

Mr. Nicholls : The assessment process carried out by the employment rehabilitation service results in individual action plans being agreed with clients. For some clients the agreed action plan can include subsequent attendance on a course of employment rehabilitation which is a longer process and normally modular in form.

Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many clients have passed through the assessment process of the employment rehabilitation service over the last two years ; and how many through the rehabilitation process.

Mr. Nicholls : In 1987-88 the employment rehabilitation service helped about 16,000 people in total. About 13,400 attended assessment courses and 12,200 attended rehabilitation courses. In 1988-89 the ERS helped about 26,000 people in total. About 25,300 attended assessment courses and 11,800 attended rehabilitation courses. In each year a number of people attended both types of courses.

Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many organisations other than the employment rehabilitation service have the facilities to provide residential employment rehabilitation services to disabled people such as are currently provided by Egham and Preston employment rehabilitation centres.

Mr. Nicholls : There are a number of organisations with facilities which potentially could be used for the provision of residential rehabilitation services as currently provided by Egham and Preston employment rehabilitation centres.

My Department has contracted with a number of residential establishments for the provision of services and is conducting negotiations with others.

Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many vacancies currently exist in the employment rehabilitation service for each of the following grades (a) occupational psychologists, (b) social workers, (c) ERC nurses and (d) physiotherapists ; and how many staff in each group are in post.

Mr. Nicholls : The information sought in the first part of the question is not available in the form required.

The number of staff in post by grade at 8 June 1989 is :


                               |Number       

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

(a) occupational psychologists |63           

(b) social workers             |28.5         

(c) ERC nurses                 |24           

(d) physiotherapists           |5            

Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what publications are available which give


Column 185

guidance to training agents and training managers on the services provided by the employment rehabilitation service ; and how training agents and managers can obtain copies of such guidance.

Mr. Nicholls : In addition to references in the training agents' and training managers' handbooks, the services of the employment rehabilitation service have been outlined to training agents and training managers through the Training Agency publication "Employment Training News" and through the publicity leaflets of the employment rehabilitation service.

Disabled People

Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he expects to publish the report of the ministerial review of employment provision for disabled people.

Mr. Nicholls : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) on 8 November 1988 at column 54.

Student Union Fees

Mr. Wall : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage the Training Commission pays of student union fees of those students on Government training schemes whilst at college.

Mr. Cope : The Training Agency (formerly the Training Commission) is not responsible for payment of student union fees for students on Government training schemes whilst at college.

Visually Handicapped Employees

Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many registered blind or other visually handicapped persons are employed in the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholls : This information is not available. My Department provides a wide range of help to visually handicapped people including specialist placing, rehabilitation and training provision, a personal reader scheme, provision of special aids and equipment and sheltered employment.

We work closely with the Royal National Institute for the Blind in developing these provisions.

Part-time Education

Mr. Wall : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many unemployed people studied part-time in further education in each year from 1979 to 1989.

Mr. Cope : Available estimates from labour force surveys show that the number of unemployed people (using the ILO/OECD definition) receiving part-time education in Great Britain was as follows :


Year      |Thousands          

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

1984      |74                 

1985      |68                 

1986      |79                 

1987      |81                 

<1>1988   |70                 

<1> Preliminary estimate      

This includes those on a part-time course at university, polytechnic or college, including day release and block release, studying through the Open Tech, Open University or Open College, or studying on another correspondence course. The term "further education" is not specifically used in the LFS question. Data on unemployed persons receiving part-time education were not collected in labour force surveys prior to 1984, on a basis comparable with later years.

Unique Fish (Employees' Award)

Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment why the employees of Unique Fish in Swansea have waited six months and have not yet received their protective award ; and what part of the delay has been attributable to his Department transferring the administrative work from Cardiff to Birmingham and then to Manchester.

Mr. Nicholls [holding answer 19 June 1989] : Following my reply to the hon. Member on 10 April 1989, the insolvency practitioner has submitted a statement of the amount due. This has been approved by my Department's Birmingham office, and I expect payment to be made shortly by the regional finance office in Manchester. Cardiff office was closed prior to this case and was not involved.

Council for Social Aid (ET Scheme)

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what responsibility he accepts for payment to staff on the Council for Social Aid employment training scheme for work done prior to the liquidation of the training scheme.

Mr. Nicholls : Wages owed to CSA Ltd's staff are the responsibility of the company and the employees concerned are its creditors. As such their interests are now a matter for the company's liquidators. The Training Agency has provided CSA Ltd. with all the funding due under its contract, including amounts to cover wages costs up to the date the company ceased trading.

Job Club (Walkden)

Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what are the circumstances which led to the decision to close the job club at the Walkden jobcentre ;

(2) if there are any plans to offer alternative job club facilities in the Walkden are a consequent upon the recent closure of the job club at Walkden jobcentre.

Mr. Nicholls [holding answers 16 June 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my Friend the Member for Bury, North (Mr. Burt) on 27 January 1989, at column 810 in which I announced that we would be able to increase numbers helped by job clubs while streamlining the network.

The job club located in the jobcentre at Walkden closed on 28 April 1989. A second job club in Walkden remained open and had enough spare capacity to take on members from the job club which closed. There is also a job club in nearby Swinton.


Column 187

Employment Services (Privatisation)

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what implications his policy of privatising employment services have on future receipts of grants for those services from the European social fund ; and if he will make a statement.


Column 188

Mr. Cope [holding answer 14 June 1989] : Professional and Executive Recruitment has already been privatised, and arrangements for the sale of the Skills Training Agency are well advanced. Such initiatives do not affect support under the European social fund.


 

  Home Page