Mr. Butcher : Since joining the FEAST campaign this year, the participating local authorities have noted an increase in pupil take-up of school meals, in contrast to the decline of recent years. This is encouraging evidence that pupils can be attracted by a quality service.
Mr. Butcher : This is for the organisers to do. My right hon. Friend will, however, watch with interest the results of this excellent initiative, which is promoting healthy eating habits among school children.
Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what would be the effect of EEC Commission proposals for the promotion of innovation and for consumer education in United Kingdom secondary education.
Mr. Jackson : Responsibility for secondary education rests with member states, and not with the European Community. The Commission's proposals for the promotion of innovation in secondary education have yet to be considered in detail by member states, although in general they correspond with the thrust of current domestic policies in secondary education. The Commission's recent report on consumer education in secondary education does not conflict with the Government's current education or consumer policies.
Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what criteria he would use to evaluate a proposal to turn into a city technology college a school which has already been refused grant- maintained status ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Butcher : My right hon. Friend has not received, and has no grounds for expecting to receive, any such proposal. Any proposal for the establishment of a city technology college in a particular set of premises would be considered on its merits.
Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received any proposals to turn South Park school, Lincoln, into a city technology college ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many governors have been removed from governing bodies prior to the expected end of their term of office (a) during the current year and (b) before the current year.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many local education authority appointed governors there are in each of the local education authorities in England and Wales.
Mrs. Rumbold : The Department of Education and Science does not collect details of the precise number of local education authority appointed governors within each authority. I will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received any representations about the removal of local education authority appointed governors from school governing bodies.
Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend has received various representations on this matter. Local education authorities have the statutory power to remove from office governors whom they appoint. They must, however, exercise that power reasonably and we would consider carefully any complaint that they had failed to do so in a particular instance.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish a table similar to table 12.7 of Cm. 612 recalculated to 1980-81 as the base year, showing the increase in the average unit costs of primary and secondary schools ; and if he will provide a breakdown of the increase in real unit costs 1980-81 to 1987-88 shown by that table in a way similar to the 1979-80 to 1987-88 analysis recently provided by his Department to the Education, Science and Arts Committee.
Increase in real terms<1> unit costs |Per cent. ------------------------------ 1980-81 |100 1981-82 |104 1982-83 |106 1983-84 |109 1984-85 |110 1985-86 |112 1986-87 |121 1987-88 |129 <1>Cash prices for 1980-81 have been repriced to 1987-88 prices using the GDP deflator.
The real terms increase of 29 per cent. between 1980-81 and 1987-88 may be analysed as follows :
|Per cent. ---------------------------------------------------- Increase due to: Volume reduced pupil:teacher ratio |11 improved provision for non- teaching costs such as books and equipment and repairs and maintenance |6 Total volume |17 Price teachers' pay |11 non-teaching pay and prices |1 Total prices |12 |------- Total |29
Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what has been the outcome of his consultations on shifting the balance of public funding of higher education to fees ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : The proposals in the consultation paper "Shifting the Balance of Public Funding of Higher Education to Fees" have been widely welcomed. In the light of this positive response, the Government have decided to increase the full-time undergraduate tuition fee met through mandatory awards from its 1989-90 level of £607 to £1,675 in 1990-91. I am writing as follows today to the chairmen of the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council and Universities Funding Council.
"The Government's consultation paper "Shifting the Balance of Public Funding of Higher Education to Fees" was published on 25 April. The Department has received over 150 responses, including that from the Council for which I am grateful.
Column 291The overwhelming majority of the responses supported the proposed increase in the publicly funded fee. In the light of this reaction, I have announced today the Government's intention to proceed with the shift. The flat-rate fee for full-time undergraduate students met under the mandatory awards arrangements will be set at £1,675 for the academic year 1990-91. Officials are writing separately to the Council's Chief Executive about the corresponding deduction which will need to be made from the Council's grant and some other technical issues.
A key issue raised by the proposals is the financing of part-time courses and full-time courses not designated under the awards regulations. The Government fully recognises the importance of the continuing availability of these courses in increasing and diversifying higher education opportunities.
As the consultation paper makes clear, the shift of funds from central grant to fees will be in respect of students on designated courses with awards. We intend to maintain the level of funds made available to the Funding Councils for the support of part-time and full-time non-designated courses. I look to the Council in turn to discharge its funding responsibility so as to ensure that support for places on these courses is at least maintained, and I welcome the PCFC's recent decision to provide some enhancement of the resources available for funding part-time places in 1990-91. It is important that the Council's funding methods are such that there need be no increase in fees for these courses in line with the planned increase in the publicly funded full-time fee, though it will remain the case that the level at which fees are set is a matter for individual institutions.
I should like also to respond to the concern that has been expressed in the responses about the position of full-time self-financing students who are on designated courses but are not themselves eligible for a mandatory award, usually by virtue of previous study. For students who are already enrolled (ie who started their courses in the academic year 1989-90 or before) there will, as with those on non-designated courses, be no shift of funds as a result of the switch. Therefore there will be no financial pressure on the system to charge such students more in real terms than they are paying at present. It ought to be possible for the Council and institutions together to translate this policy into detailed practice, so affording the protection envisaged for this group of students in the consultation paper.
For new self-financing students on designated courses, it will continue to be for institutions to set the fee charged. That is something they will do in the light of local circumstances, including the interests of the students concerned. It would be quite contrary to the general thrust of the Government's policies to seek to impose a standard line on institutions.
In view of the widespread interest generated by the consultation paper, I am releasing the text of this letter to the Press." The deadline for comments on the consultation paper's second proposal to introduce differentiated fees in 1991-92 expires at the end of July. I will inform the House of the Government's conclusions on that consultation in due course.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his estimate of the volume of coal consumption for the purpose of electricity generation in 1989 ; and what was the national consumption in 1988.
Column 292Kingdom public supply power stations was 29.4 million tonnes. Consumption on the same basis for the whole of 1988 was 82.5 million tonnes.
|Number --------------------- 1982 |803 1983 |508 1984 |558 1985 |800 1986 |773 1987 |492 1988 |807
Mr. Stanbrook : To ask the Attorney-General if he will seek to institute committal proceedings against Sir Terence Conran, chairman of the Storehouse group of companies, to restrain him from his named intention to break the law by authorising the opening of the group's shops on Sundays in defiance of the terms of the Shops Act 1950.
The Attorney-General : As I have indicated to my hon. Friend in answers given on 17 April 1989 and 3 July 1989, it is the statutory duty of each local authority to enforce the Shops Act 1950 in its area. If a local authority considers, in the exercise of its discretion, that proper enforcement requires that a threatened breach be restrained by injunction, it is open to it to make such an application to the High Court.
The Attorney-General : In the light of information obtained last year which linked profitability from criminal legal aid work with the volume dealt with, the Lord Chancellor recognises that the present remuneration structure for criminal legal aid, which is based on national averages and across the board rates, may no longer be entirely appropriate. He has therefore invited the joint data committee of his Department and the Law Society, with assistance from the Legal Aid Board, to consider the coverage of solicitors' firms which handle criminal legal aid cases and the volume of work available to them. He will consider whether alternative remuneration structures are required when the committee has reported.
Column 293continue to be generally available. There is no objective evidence at present that there are insufficent solicitors available to undertake criminal legal aid work. The number of solicitors carrying out this work is kept under review. The matter is also presently being considered by the joint data committee of the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Law Society.
Mr. Dunnachie : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government will be attending the Paris peace conference on Cambodia in July ; and if he will make it his policy to oppose a solution which permits the return of the Khmer Rouge.
Mr. Eggar : We expect to attend the international conference. A central objective of our policy is to prevent the Khmer Rouge returning to power by force and to help bring about a political settlement which enables the Cambodian people to elect a Government of their own choice.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Chinese authorities on behalf of Liu Huanwen, Liu Qiang, Bai Dongping and Han Dongfang of the Beijing Autonomous Workers Union arrested over the past month ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : We and our European partners have repeatedly urged the Chinese authorities to put an end to their repressive actions against those who have done no more than claim their democratic rights. In the declaration on China adopted by the European Council on 27 June the Twelve called for the admission of independent observers to attend trials and to visit prisons. This would cover those members of the Peking Autonomous Workers Union to whom the hon. Member refers.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people have applied to the post in Dusseldorf for visas to visit the United Kingdom during 1989 to date ; what were the figures for the comparable periods of 1988 and 1987 ; what were the total numbers of applicants by nationality ; what were the total numbers of applications (a) granted and (b) refused ; and what was the average waiting time for interview for each month in each year.
Column 294clearance applications in the period January to May 1989. Applications in the same period in 1988 and 1987 were 5,300 and 4, 858. Details of nationality are not kept. The total number of entry clearances (including visas for dependent territories) issued and refused are :
|Issued |Refused -------------------------------- 1987 |9,892 |82 1988 |11,890 |156 <1>1989 |4,265 |66 <1> January to May.
The average waiting times, in weeks, for the minority requiring interview for each month in 1987, 1988 and 1989 to date were :
|1987|1988|1989 ------------------------------ January |8.0 |8.0 |17 February |7.0 |9.0 |19 March |6.0 |8.0 |21 April |4.0 |7.0 |23 May |2.0 |5.0 |21 June |4.5 |4.0 |- July |6.0 |4.5 |- August |8.0 |7.0 |- September |10.0|9.0 |- Octomber |8.0 |12.0|- November |9.0 |16.0|- December |9.0 |17.0|-
The rise in applications recorded in 1988 resulted in a backlog of paperwork related to those applications which attracted either refusal or further inquiries. From the autumn, staff were diverted to deal with it. They have now been redeployed to increase the number of interviews and thus reduce the waiting time.
205. Mr. Bright : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster by how much the volume of consumer goods exported in the first quarter of 1989 grew ; and by how much the volume of consumer goods imported changed.
Mr. Alan Clark : In the first quarter of 1989 the volume of exports of consumer goods on a seasonal adjusted overseas trade statistics basis increased by 12 per cent. over the previous quarter. On the same basis imports of consumer goods fell by 1 per cent.
Part of SITC 7 & 8, based on the United Nations broad economic categories.
Mr. Butterfill : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans his Department has to increase promotion of British export goods in (a) European Community countries, (b) other European countries, (c) the United States of America and (d) other countries.
Mr. Alan Clark : I announced on 17 January at columns 106-08 the relaunch of my Department's export initiative which introduced new measures to enhance the extensive range of export services traditionally provided by the Department. The initiative provides practical help, advice and support for United Kingdom exporters for all overseas markets. Major promotional campaigns, such as Opportunity Japan have an important role to play in this process. Export performance overall is encouraging. In the three months ending May 1989, non-oil exports increased in real terms by 7 per cent. over the same period last year.
Mr. Forth : Work is to begin next month on the preparation of a harmonised European safety standard for fitness training equipment which will include equipment for home use. The general safety requirement under section 10 of the Consumer Protection Act 1987, which came into force on 1 October 1987, applies to equipment supplied as consumer goods.
Mr. Alan Clark : My Department provides advice on the opportunities, the merits and the difficulties in establishing joint ventures in the Soviet Union. Generally, the advice is cautionary because of the Soviet's shortage of hard currency, and particularly so in the case of co- operatives, about which little is known individually. Nevertheless, we are very much in favour of companies doing all they can to find mutually advantageous deals and my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Young visited one successful British joint venture in operation near Kiev last week.
Column 296The Soviet Union is mainly interested in establishing manufacturing joint ventures which have an export potential. Companies considering such joint ventures need to decide whether they wish to supply their export markets from a Soviet joint venture manufacturing base. Western companies have instead tended to prefer joint ventures which perform a service, for example, hotel construction and operation, and are therefore able to earn more easily the hard currency which is necessary to provide the western partner with a return on its investment.
Mr. Forth : My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster have, this afternoon, laid before Parliament a White Paper "Measuring up to the Competition". The White Paper describes the national measurement system and sets out the Government's policy towards this important aspect of the national infrastructure. It describes the role that Government will continue to have in providing the framework for a coherent system of measurement in the country. At the centre of the system are the national measurement standards held, principally, at the national physical laboratory (NPL), a research establishment of the Department of Trade and Industry and a candidate next steps executive agency. The NPL is also the focus for national calibration and accreditation services.
Our plans for the future include extending our collaboration with other European national measurement laboratories in order to ensure an efficient and harmonised system of measurement throughout Europe. We will be seeking to involve business in developing new measurement standards where it has special facilities or expertise to offer. We will also be encouraging business to provide calibration and testing services within the national framework and for it to seek voluntary accreditation through the national measurement accreditation service (Namas), a service of the NPL. A Namas accreditation can help reduce the burden of multiple assessments of a business's competence to undertake tests and calibration. The White Paper also announces a special initiative to be taken by the laboratory of the Government chemist, also a research establishment of the Department and candidate next steps agency, to improve the validity of chemical measurement in the United Kingdom and harmonise it with that in other countries within Europe.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what reduction there has been in the use of chlorofluorocarbons within the differing sectors of the economy since the time of the Government-sponsored international conference on the protection of the ozone layer earlier this year.
Mr. Atkins : This information is not available. The United Kingdom is, however, on course to meet its international commitments on overall CFC reductions well ahead of schedule. Since the conference, there is clear evidence from the CFC-using industries that they are even more aware of the need to respond effectively in achieving
Column 297CFC reductions. They and the United Kingdom CFC-producer companies are to be commended for their efforts in developing and adopting alternative substances, processes and products.
Mr. Lang : The collection of the community charge is a matter for Scottish levying authorities. Where there is an amount of community charge due in respect of the period before a person's death, it will, therefore, be for the authority concerned to request payment from the deceased's estate. I am sure that authorities are aware of the need for sensitivity in such cases.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when Greater Glasgow health board last discussed with (a) social work departments and (b) the Church of Scotland the future provision of geriatric services.
Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the criteria which must be met before the sale by Greater Glasgow health board of the site proposed for a geriatric hospital in Rutherglen could proceed.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : It is for Greater Glasgow health board to decide whether the site is required for its planned development. if a site is surplus, Government policy requires health boards to dispose of land which is not required as quickly as possible having regard to the state of the market, and good marketing practice.
Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the representations he has received which support the replacement of proposed National Health Service geriatric facilities in Rutherglen with proposals for commercial provision by Takare plc.
Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements he will make for public consultation in Cambuslang and Rutherglen regarding the proposal by Greater Glasgow health board, to contract geriatric services from Takare plc at the site in Rutherglen presently owned by Greater Glasgow health board.
Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the benefits which would be achieved by replacing the provision of National Health Service geriatric services in Rutherglen with private commercial based services.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The provision of services is primarily a matter for the health board. I understand that the health board is considering how best to make good the known shortfall in the provision of services for the elderly in Rutherglen. The board is putting the interests of patients first and I welcome that.
Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultation has taken place with Glasgow district council and Strathclyde regional council with regard to the proposal by the Greater Glasgow health board to sell land in Rutherglen for the provision of private geriatric services.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Officials from both councils have been involved in discussions about the health board's strategy for the care of the elderly. This strategy seeks to identify appropriate and cost effective ways of meeting the needs of the elderly living in the board's area. Glasgow district council, as planning authority, will be consulted on any planning issues arising.
Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has on the conditions of use which were part of the agreement when Rutherglen town council sold the site in Rutherglen now owned by Greater Glasgow health board.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : I understand that there are no conditions governing use in the title to the land adjacent to Rutherglen maternity hospital, which was granted to the Western region hospital board by the then royal burgh of Rutherglen in 1972.
Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to take account of the views of Glasgow district council and Strathclyde regional council with regard to the proposal to sell land in Rutherglen for the provision of private geriatric services.
Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether any company other than Takare plc has been involved in discussions regarding the provision of commercial geriatric services at the site in Rutherglen presently owned by Greater Glasgow health board.