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Column 544

McNamara, Kevin

Mans, Keith

Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)

Martin, David (Portsmouth S)

Mates, Michael

Maude, Hon Francis

Mawhinney, Dr Brian

Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin

Miller, Sir Hal

Mills, Iain

Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)

Mitchell, Sir David

Montgomery, Sir Fergus

Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)

Moss, Malcolm

Nicholls, Patrick

Nicholson, David (Taunton)

Norris, Steve

Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley

Page, Richard

Paice, James

Patnick, Irvine

Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey

Pike, Peter L.

Porter, David (Waveney)

Portillo, Michael

Raison, Rt Hon Timothy

Rhodes James, Robert

Riddick, Graham

Roe, Mrs Marion

Rowe, Andrew

Sackville, Hon Tom

Shaw, David (Dover)

Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')

Shelton, Sir William

Sims, Roger

Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)

Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)

Stanbrook, Ivor

Steen, Anthony

Stern, Michael

Stevens, Lewis

Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)

Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)

Stradling Thomas, Sir John

Summerson, Hugo

Taylor, Ian (Esher)

Taylor, Matthew (Truro)

Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman

Thorne, Neil

Twinn, Dr Ian

Viggers, Peter

Waddington, Rt Hon David

Wakeham, Rt Hon John

Waller, Gary

Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)

Wareing, Robert N.

Warren, Kenneth

Watts, John

Widdecombe, Ann

Wilkinson, John

Wilshire, David

Winterton, Mrs Ann

Wood, Timothy

Tellers for the Ayes :

Mr. David Maclean and

Mr. John M. Taylor.


Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)

Cohen, Harry

Kilfedder, James

Molyneaux, Rt Hon James

Nellist, Dave

Paisley, Rev Ian

Skinner, Dennis

Walker, A. Cecil (Belfast N)

Tellers for the Noes :

Mr. Roy Beggs and

Mr. Peter Robinson.

Question accordingly agreed to.


That the draft Northern Ireland Act 1974 (Interim Period Extension) Order 1989, which was laid before this House on 13th June, be approved.

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Appropriation (Northern Ireland)

Mr. Speaker : It might be helpful if I made it clear that the debate on this order may cover all matters for which Northern Ireland Departments, as distinct from the Northern Ireland Office, are responsible. Police and security are the principal excluded subjects.

7.12 pm

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. Ian Stewart) : I beg to move,

That the draft Appropriation (No. 2) (Northern Ireland) Order 1989, which was laid before this House on 8th June, be approved. On 8 March the House voted on account for 1989-90 sums totalling £1,669 million and the present draft order authorises further expenditure totalling £2,195 million. Taken together with the relevant appropriations in aid, these sums constitute the voted elements of Northern Ireland Departments' expenditure total of £4,951 million as shown in the public expenditure White Paper. Expenditure on law and order, amounting to £626 million in 1989 -90, is outside this total, being included in Estimates laid for the Northern Ireland Office by the Treasury.

A key objective of the financial expenditure provided by these Estimates is that of strengthening the economy, and during the last year there have been a number of encouraging developments in this respect. Over the last six months unemployment has been falling at an average rate of 600 per month, and growth in employment has been accompanied by growth in output. The latest figures show that output of the production and manufacturing sectors increased by 6 per cent. and 7 per cent. respectively between the fourth quarters of 1987 and 1988. The arrangements announced in recent months for the future of Harland and Wolff and Shorts help to remove uncertainty about major industries in the Province, while substantial new investment by the Korean company Daewoo in Antrim and the French Company Montupet, close to west Belfast, will contribute to reducing the dependence of the Northern Ireland economy on an old and narrow industrial base. With an ample supply of young people coming into the labour market in the next few years, Northern Ireland provides an excellent opportunity for inward investment which is increasingly being recognised in other parts of the United Kingdom, the European Community and further afield. The public expenditure provision that we are debating is designed to strengthen the foundations on which all the people of Northern Ireland can face the future with greater confidence.

The services to which public expenditure is to be devoted during the current year are, as usual, detailed in the Northern Ireland Estimates. I should, however, like to draw attention to a number of particular matters arising in the case of each department. Provision for agriculture is divided into two-vote 1, relating to support measures which are applied throughout the United Kingdom ; and vote 2, in respect of measures that apply to Northern Ireland only. Under the first, provision is being made for expenditure of over £7 million under the recently introduced farm and conservation grant scheme and the farm woodland scheme. I am also pleased to say that

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farmers have been responding positively to the investment opportunities provided within vote 2 by the agriculture development programme revived last year.

The three votes for the Department of Economic Development cover a wide range of provision for industry, investment, employment and training. I remind the House of the importance that the Government attach to the promotion of equality of opportunity of employment in Northern Ireland, and our determination that the Fair Employment Bill, which has already completed its passage through this House, should constitute a powerful and effective weapon against discrimination in the work place. This process will be greatly assisted if the number of available jobs increases, and we have taken a number of positive steps towards that end. Some £93 million is being provided through the Industrial Development Board for selective financial assistance to industry and £16 million is required for the provision and maintenance of industrial land and buildings as part of our efforts to attract new inward investment.

I am pleased to say that one third of the total of more than 5,600 new job promotions through the board last year, itself a record number, related to projects involving investment from outside the Province. In the last financial year, the Local Enterprise Development Unit also promoted in excess of 5,000 jobs, bringing to almost 40,000 the total number of such jobs promoted since the unit was established in 1976. An allocation of almost £30 million is now being sought to meet LEDU's job promotion target of 5,500 in the current year.

Vote 3 includes a wide range of measures for the encouragement of enterprise, the provision of training and work experience, and support for the labour market. This year a number of important changes have been made. In order to ensure that every unemployed young person under the age of 18 is guaranteed a training place, £37 million is being sought for the youth training programme to provide a total of approximately 14,000 training places in all. For those in the 18-to-24 age group, the previous qualifying period of 12 months unemployment for entry into the action for community employment scheme, or ACE, has been reduced to six months, and £50 million is accordingly being sought to enable the scheme to provide an average of 10,000 jobs over the current year. For longer-term unemployed adults between the ages of 18 and 60, the job training programme is being expanded to 2,500 places during 1989-90 by the provision of £6.7 million ; and 500 of these training places are to be provided within the Making Belfast Work programme. This package should not only offer greater hope to the unemployed, but make an important contribution to the continuing economic recovery through a well-trained work force.

Finally, with regard to DED expenditure, I should explain the situation regarding assistance to the aircraft and ship building industries. The privatisation of Harland and Wolff is now expected in the early autumn. Within vote 2, the £60 million already contained in the public expenditure plans will provide support to the company in the interim and help meet part of the costs of the management buy-out. The full costs will, however, be somewhat higher, and it is our intention to seek additional provision at the Supplementary Estimate stage when the arrangements have been finalised. With regard to Short Brothers, hon. Members will recall that £390 million was provided during March, within the last financial year, but the sale of the company to Bombardier, for which heads of

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agreement were signed two weeks ago, will require further Government funding, the phasing of which is not yet settled. Details of the additional provision required in 1989-90 will be put before the House at the earliest opportunity. I am sure that the House will understand that the complexity of the arrangements for Harland and Wolff and for Shorts are such that it has not been possible to achieve full definition in time for provision to be included in these main Estimates, but we are committed to the provision of the necessary funding to enable these two great enterprises to return to private ownership with their finances in a healthy condition.

For the Department of the Environment, an additional £8 million is included under vote 1 this year in the roads programme for extending the structural maintenance of carriageways and footways in the Province. The Belfast cross-harbour road and rail bridges projects are planned to start in 1991, and £5.5 million is accordingly being sought to enable land and property acquisition to proceed. The Department of the Environment vote 2 covers the important sector of housing, for which £220 million is required, mainly to provide finance for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and for the voluntary housing movement. The House will recognise that commendable progress has been made in dealing with Northern Ireland's housing problems in recent years, but more needs to be done and this is reflected in the Government's public expenditure contribution to housing of some £310 million this year, within a total gross budget of almost £545 million.

I should also like to draw attention to the fact that £32 million is included in the Department's vote 4 for urban regeneration. These measures are aimed primarily at improving the economic and environmental condition of areas suffering from urban dereliction. An important element of this policy is the encouragement of partnership between Government and the private sector, exemplified by the urban development grant scheme in which each £1 of public money generates approximately £3 of private finance.

Provision for education this year amounts to £891 million. To ensure effective delivery of the education reforms, which are crucially important for young people, as well as for the future economic and social progress of the Province, an additional £30 million is being made available over the next three years, the first tranche of which is included in these Estimates. These enhanced resources will support the implementation of the reforms in a variety of ways, including extra specialist accommodation and equipment for schools. Teachers, too, have an essential part to play in the reforms. The provision in vote 1 is therefore set to cover extra in-service training for teachers, while allowing the pupil-teacher ratio to be maintained at its level of 18.3.

Grants to universities and awards to students are based on the principle of maintaining broad parity of provision with Great Britain, and within education's vote 2 some £109 million covers expenditure on Northern Ireland's two universities, on the Open university and on teacher training. In addition to money for arts and museums, youth, sport and community services, this year an additional £2 million is being provided within this vote for the initiative to help promote community relations in Northern Ireland, which was launched by my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Dr. Mawhinney) in

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February. This includes £250,000 to expand the already successful cross-community contact scheme, which brings together young people from the two communities, and £1 million for the cultural traditions programme, announced last week, which will provide support for cultural heritage and traditions through the museums, the Arts Council and local history, heritage and cultural groups. The additional funding will also cover the establishment of the new community relations centre announced by my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough last Monday, to assist district councils in the development of community relations projects and to enable other bodies to expand their programmes in this sector.

We are also providing for capital expenditure of about £62 million on education projects. This will enable a programme of new building works to commence, and we have already announced the start of nine major school projects in 1989-90. Meanwhile, a contribution of nearly £3 million to the Making Belfast Work initiative will include capital development at White Rock adult education centre, provision of three new nursery schools and a major school-industry links project, all aimed at improving opportunities in the inner city.

The Government have also increased funding to the five education and library boards that are responsible for the main education services in Northern Ireland. This year we are providing £279 million, an increase of 9 per cent. over last year's figure. This includes an important addition of £7 million for spending on school maintenance, bringing the total for maintenance of building and grounds to an estimated £19 million this year. There is also a special injection of £4 million to improve standards of provision in the classroom. The bulk of the provision of £836 million for vote I in the Department of Health and Social Services this year will be devoted to maintaining existing services. It is also designed to cover some important developments in regional medical services--for example, in respect of neo-natal intensive care, cardiac surgery, frequent treatment for renal failure and additional breast and cervical cancer screening. The £37 million included for capital expenditure will permit the continuation of a substantial programme of works, including development of a major new area hospital at Antrim and completion of the new block at the Mater in Belfast. This funding will also allow work to commence on the construction of a new geriatric unit at Londonderry and on the extension of the cardiology services at the Royal Victoria hospital.

I hope that these comments on the main items of expenditure will have been helpful to hon. Members, and I commend the order to the House.

7.24 pm

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