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Mr. Michael Spicer : Neither my right hon. Friend nor I have had discussions with British Nuclear Fuels plc on this matter. Any such proposal and its implications for the 1986 safety audit would be a matter for discussion between British Nuclear Fuels and the Health and Safety Executive's nuclear installations inspectorate.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether, before letting any further contracts to the Halliburton group or any of its subsidiaries, he will make it his policy to instruct his officials to demand prior assurances from the company (a) that full compensation will be paid to any British subject in their employ who is injured while working for them abroad, (b) that no British subject will be dismissed immediately while still in hospital receiving treatment and (c) that Halliburton Manufacturing and Services Ltd., 17 Hanover square, London W 1, will reply to letters written by hon. Members on behalf of constituents dismissed while in its employ.
Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many letters were received from, and sent to, hon. Members by his Department in (a) January and (b) the whole of this Session up to 1 July.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The Department of Social Security received 1,333 letters from right hon. and hon. Members and organisations during the month of January and despatched 1,345 replies. This Session 10,314 have been received and 9,474 replies were issued to 1 July.
Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what progress is being made in his Department's review, in line with Treasury guidelines, of the potential for the further relocation of Civil Service posts outside London and the south-east ; and when he expects the review to be completed.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : We are making excellent progress in relocating "backroom" work from 21 local social security offices in London to the three social security centres in Glasgow, Belfast and Makerfield.
The first social security centre at Glasgow is due to start work on 14 August.
As a separate exercise, a team of officials is close to completing a thorough and systematic review of the location of our headquarters work. We expect to receive a report of the team's findings shortly.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he has any plans to review the areas covered by the boundaries of his Department's offices in Doncaster and Wath-on-Dearne in the county of South Yorkshire, with particular regard to the more rural areas of Doncaster metropolitan borough council.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The local office network in this area is being reviewed later in the year. No specific proposals have yet been made regarding the boundaries of Doncaster and Wath-on-Dearne local offices.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security to what extent charitable work undertaken prior to the period covered by a claim for entitlement to invalidity benefit is used as an indication of a person's ability to work during the period covered by the claim.
Mr. Scott : Work, whether charitable or other, carried out prior to a claim for invalidity benefit does not affect entitlement to that benefit. Where a person performs some work during the period of the claim, it is for the independent adjudicating authorities to determine whether such work is consistent with the incapacity for work test, which is one of the qualifying conditions for entitlement.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he has received any recent representations about pilot or permanent workplace creches and similar incentives further to encourage the return to employment of women in his Department ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : We have received no recent representations but officials are in regular touch with staff and their representatives about child care provisions generally. Holiday play schemes have been established in several different parts of the country often in collaboration with other Government Departments and other local employers. Information about local child care facilities is also available to staff. A study is currently under way into the feasibility of providing workplace nurseries.
Column 641These schemes form only part of the provisions to encourage the employment of women. Flexible working patterns including part-time working and job sharing, maternity leave and pay, career break opportunities and other special leave arrangements are all designed to encourage women to return to or remain in work in the Department.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he will list the action taken by his Department to assist Mr. A., reference OVB/STB/EC, Longbenton, 25 January 1989, to obtain sickness benefit in respect of his car accident in Italy on 7 December 1983 ; what response his Department obtained from the Italian authorities ; and what efforts they made to insist upon a reply, before the intervention of the Italian ambassador and the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Responsibility for Mr. A's claim was transferred to the Italian authorities on 8 August 1988, and from that date the matter was outside the control of the Department. However, on request from Mr. A, overseas branch wrote to the Italian authorities on 25 January 1989, asking them to write to Mr. A and let him know the position on his claim. In response to a letter from my hon. Friend asking the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to arrange for the intervention of the British consul with the Italian authorities, which later was passed to the Department for reply as a social security matter was involved, overseas branch has written to the liaison officer in Italy to see whether the inquiries instigated by the Italian ambassador at my hon. Friend's request, have produced any results. If overseas branch has not received a reply to this letter within one month, we have said that the request to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the consulate in Italy to pursue the matter will be reconsidered.
Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of savings accruing to his Department from reductions in the payment of benefit to participants in the 50-plus jobstart scheme ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The initiative is being piloted for a year in four areas. It started on 26 June. An estimate of potential income support savings will be possible once the results of the pilot are available.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many applications there have been for family credit in each month since April 1988, and how many awards have been made in each month since April 1988.
|Claims |Awards ------------------------------------------ 1988 April |96,505 |40,213 May |41,721 June |52,293 |36,145 July |46,100 |37,912 August |46,376 |40,249 September |47,759 |24,158 October |56,373 |44,944 November |57,850 |46,234 December |44,834 |35,797 1989 January |63,638 |42,712 February |60,318 |45,180 March |68,637 |47,184 April |96,752 |43,300 May |123,038 |39,187 June |107,276 |73,778 Notes: 1. The figures are for the four or five weeks ending on the last Friday of the month. 2. The figures for claims received include those made to renew existing awards and those made more than four weeks before the expiry of an existing award (and therefore invalid).
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the level of support for the family net of the consequences of unemployment growth, in total, and by each category of benefit for each year since the first full year after the introduction of child benefit and express the levels of support by each category of benefit in standard prices with the levels of expenditure in the first full year after the introduction of child benefit as the base.
Family support 1978-79 to 1988-89 (£ million) |1978-79 |1979-80 |1980-81 |1981-82 |1982-83 |cash/real|real |real |real |real ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FIS/Family credit |24 |23 |30 |43 |58 Maternity grant |16 |14 |12 |11 |10 Maternity allowance |105 |107 |108 |104 |94 Statutory maternity pay |- |- |- |- |- Supplmentary benefit/income support<1> and housing benefit |629 |490 |483 |575 |767 Social fund |- |- |- |- |- Child benefit |1,776 |2,389 |2,129 |2,222 |2,252 One parent benefit |22 |37 |44 |50 |56 Child tax allowances |460 |- |- |- |- Additional personal tax allowance (lone parent) |60 |60 |61 |76 |86 |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- Total |3,092 |3,121 |2,867 |3,080 |3,323
|1984-85|1985-86|1986-87|1987-88|1988-89 |real |real |real |real |real ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- FIS/Family credit |71 |69 |83 |88 |193 Maternity grant |10 |9 |7 |0 |0 Maternity allowance |90 |87 |86 |25 |12 Statutory maternity pay |- |- |- |86 |110 Supplementary benefit/income support and housing benefit |1,019 |1,141 |1,257 |1,404 |1,360 Social fund |- |- |- |- |22 Child benefit |2,396 |2,374 |2,320 |2,250 |2,064 One parent benefit |67 |71 |76 |80 |79 Child tax allowances |- |- |- |- |- Additional personal tax allowance (lone parent) |78 |80 |87 |83 |75 |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- Total |3,732 |3,831 |3,917 |4,016 |3,915 <1> Supplementary Allowance, Income Support and Housing Benefit paid to one-parent families and to people looking after elderly persons. Housing Benefit includes rate rebates.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects to publish his next review of the long-term financial position of the national insurance fund under section 137 of the Social Security Act 1975.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard [holding answer 6 July 1989] : The Government Actuary is responsible for reviewing the operation of the 1975 Social Security Act for each five-year period, and section 137 of the Social Security Act 1975 provides that the Government Actuary shall review the national insurance fund. The Government Actuary advises that he plans to complete his quinquennial report by the end of the year, when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will lay the report before Parliament.
Estimated child benefit expenditure on families in receipt of income-related benefits 1989-90 Benefit |Child Benefit |£ million ------------------------------------------------------- Income Support |850 Family Credit<1> |300 Housing Benefit only<2><3> |100 <1>Based on the assumptions underlying the Government's Expenditure Plans (Cmnd 615). <2>Child Benefit expenditure on families receiving Housing Benefit is estimated on the assumption that the rate rebate scheme is operating throughout Great Britain. <3>In receipt of Housing Benefit but no other income-related benefit. Income Support and Family Credit recipients may also be receiving Housing Benefit.
Column 644purchasers from Scottish Homes ; what is the number of legally qualified staff presently engaged in work relating to the sale of domestic residential property ; what is the number of legally qualified staff formerly employed by (a) the Housing Corporation and (b) the Scottish Special Housing Association in order to deal with such work ; and what arrangements are being made by Scottish Homes in order to reduce the backlog of cases.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Scottish Homes has recently contracted with some 30 private legal firms to assist its own in-house conveyancing staff to increase the throughput of applications in order to clear the large number of cases on hand at present. This arrangement should enable up to 1,000 applications to be processed monthly, and should ensure that in future sales should be completed within six months of application.
The number of legally qualified staff employed by Scottish Homes on house sale work is nine, with a further four posts awaiting recruitment. This compares with 14 such staff employed by SSHA to do such work. The Housing Corporation had no landlord function and thus had no such staff.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment his Department has made of the costs of regional authorities of (a) ensuring that the registrar of births, marriages and deaths advised the community charge registration officer of the death of an individual registered to pay the poll tax, (b) removing the deceased person's name from the community charge register (c) calculating the amount due by the deceased person and (d) preparing, mailing and pursuing the payment of that amount by the deceased person's next of kin or executor.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Under the provisions of the Community Charge (Notification of Deaths) (Scotland) Regulations (SI 1988 No. 2211) as amended by the Community Charges (Notification of Deaths)
Column 645(Scotland) Amendment Regulations 1989 (SI 1989 No. 735) the district registrar, in respect of a death registered in his district is required within seven days of registration of such death to notify a number of prescribed particulars relating to the deceased to the community charges registration officer of each region or islands area within which the registration district falls. No fee is charged to regional authorities for the provision of this information. Other costs associated with removing a deceased person's entry from the community charges register and with collecting any outstanding amount of unpaid community charge are a matter for the regional or islands council concerned.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what record his Department is keeping of the number of complaints received at either the Scottish Office or at individual regional authorities about the levying of community charge on deceased persons.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will outline the role performed by his officials in the monitoring of the area above and on the sea-bed surrounding the wreckage of Piper Alpha ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang : In the period following the incident on 6 July 1988 to February 1989 the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland, in co-operation with the operators Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd., carried out surveys of debris and other samples from the Piper Alpha site for possible polychlorinated byphenyl (PCB) and radioactive contamination. Details of the work carried out
Column 646and of the results of these surveys were given in scientific reports published on 6 June (copies of which have been placed in the Library).
Further monitoring and surveys are being carried out by the operators in compliance with conditions attached to the approval for the abandonment programme granted by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy under the Petroleum Act 1987. The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland and Her Majesty's industrial pollution inspectorate were consulted on the monitoring requirements and will advise as appropriate on the results as and when available.
Monitoring of the area may also be carried out in due course as part of the general monitoring of sea waters around Scotland on behalf of this Department.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow on 25 April, Official Report , column 489 , he is in a position to indicate the response of the European Commission to the applications under the Renaval fund ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the names of the members of the Nature Conservancy Council's advisory committee for Scotland and give in each case their occupations, their employer, their nominator and the date their term of office is due to expire.
NCC Advisory Committee for Scotland --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Column 646436, what measures he proposes to introduce to ensure that scientific advice continues to be made available to the proposed Scottish Nature Conservancy Council.
Column 647objective science base. Careful consideration is being given to various possible mechanisms for achieving this. Details of the proposals will be announced in due course.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many fines have been recovered each month by means of civil diligence under section 56 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1987 during the years 1988 and 1989.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Section 56 of the 1987 Act applies not to fines but to fixed penalties payable in consequence of a conditional offer by the procurator fiscal. Information about the enforcement of these by means of civil diligence is not yet available as returns from district courts are incomplete.
Mr. Rifkind : I have not received any such representations recently. I am, however, aware of the findings of a research study on this subject published this month by the Scottish Business Insider magazine. The study demonstrated that there is serious concern among top companies in Scotland at the detrimental effect on the Scottish economy which would be the consequence of constitu-tional change in Scotland.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate how many full-time and part-time jobs have been lost as a consequence of the set-aside scheme for agricultural land in Scotland ; and if he will estimate how many of those job losses are attributable to whole farm set-side.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : As indicated in the reply given to the hon. Member on 15 December 1988 at col. 622 the possible consequences of the set-aside scheme for farm employment will be included in an evaluation of the scheme in its early years of operation. No results are yet available. I do not expect whole farm set-aside to be a significant factor since in the majority of cases where the whole of the area of eligible land has been set aside, the set-aside area represents less than half the total area of the farm.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is in a position to make a statement on financial support for the employees of Clydeside Western Buses, in preparing a bid for the purchase of that company.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : We have consistently made it clear that financial assistance will be made available to one management-employee buy-out team per company. The Scottish Transport Group has recommended that, in the case of Western Clydeside, financial assistance to prepare a bid for the purchase of the company should be offered to the management- employee
Column 648buy-out team led by Mr. Alan Wilson, managing director of Western Clydeside. The Scottish Transport Group considered that a successful bid was most likely to emerge from the outline proposals put forward by this team ; and that these proposals offered the prospect of the most satisfactory shareholding arrangements for employees. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State has now approved the Scottish Transport Group's recommendation and the Scottish Transport Group will today be writing to Mr. Wilson confirming this offer. The decision to offer assistance to the management-employee buy-out team will not confer any preferential status on this team as bidders. All bids will be considered on their merits with bids involving employee participation receiving preference. This preference will not in any way depend on whether or not financial assistance has been given.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : In 1984-85 the Department brought into effect the main provisions of part II of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 relating to the control of water pollution ; these were further strengthened by means of the Water Act 1989. These provisions are the framework for implementing EC legislation on the protection of the water environment (some 30 directives) and other international agreements, such as those arising from the ministerial conferences on the North sea.
Scottish water authorities, with the encouragement of the Department, have made considerable progress in improving the quality of public water supplies, particularly with regard to lead in drinking water : provisions in the Water Act 1989 will strengthen the existing Scottish legislation on the quality of public and private supplies.
The Government have increased funding to water and sewerage authorities to improve the water environment. In the last five years, some £500 million has been invested in water and sewerage services. The allocation for 1989-90 has been increased by 14 per cent. over planned provision.
The Department has supported research in Scotland as part of the Government's major research programme to determine the effects of acidification and in association with the Department of the Environment, has undertaken a major review of the control of air pollution in Great Britain, with a view to legislation.
The hazardous waste inspectorate, set up in 1983, has given advice and guidance to local authorities on safe and efficient systems of waste management ; it has published three comprehensive reports and issues guidance on such matters as landfill gas.
Column 649political activity. I see no need to issue new guidance to that which has stood successive Governments in good stead, and to which I fully subscribe.
Mr. Rifkind : In January this year some 834 letters were received by my ministerial colleagues and myself from hon. and right hon. Members, and the total for the Session to 1 July is certainly in excess of 8,000. To provide like information on correspondence issuing during the same periods would incur disproportionate costs.
Mr. Allan Stewart : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has come to a decision in relation to his proposal to engage consultants to advise on how the awareness of the Scottish people in relation to the activities of his Department can be improved.
Mr. Rifkind : I have now made arrangements with Hall Advertising Limited, Edinburgh who will work in association with specialist staff from Siegel and Gale and Kingsway Rowland for the preparation of a full report which will define a corporate identity strategy for the Scottish Office and describe the corporate visual guidelines for its implementation. Work will begin right away and I expect that it will take four months for the report to be concluded. When I have received and considered the report I will be informing the House of the decisions I have taken.
Mr. Allan Stewart : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the future of neighbour notification of planning applications following the deletion of domestic subjects from the valuation roll.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The Government are committed to maintaining the neighbour notification arrangements in Scotland, but the present procedure provided for in the Town and Country Planning (General Development) (Scotland) Order 1981 requires to be changed. Developers are currently required to serve a notice on the named owners, occupiers and lessees of neighbouring land as listed in the valuation roll, informing them that a planning application for a proposed development has been submitted, that a copy of the application and plans may be inspected at the address of the planning authority and that they have 14 days to make representations to the authority. These procedures will remain for all but domestic property.
With the introduction of the community charge entries for domestic property on the valuation roll will no longer be updated. It is therefore necessary to adopt a different approach to identifying those neighbours on whom notification of a planning application must be served. We propose to replace the existing arrangements with a requirement to notify two categories of neighbours. These would be firstly those listed in the parts of the community charges register which a member of the public may inspect
Column 650in respect of the address of the neighbouring property and, secondly, the owner of the neighbouring property. Notification of the owner will be by means of a notice addressed to "the owner" at the address of the neighbouring property. Those receiving the notification would have the same opportunity as at present to make representations to the planning authority about the application. The Scottish Development Department is currently undertaking a complete revision and updating of the General Development Order and the neighbour notification procedure will be altered as part of that revision during next year. In the meantime the valuation roll remains available for consultation.
The introduction of these changes to the notification procedures will ensure that owners and occupiers of property continue to receive notification of planning applications affecting neighbouring property and that the task of undertaking neighbour notification does not place an undue burden on developers.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will reconsider the position of those with severe mental impairment from progressive disease in relationship to payment of the poll tax; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : My right hon. and learned Friend has made it clear that if a practical way can be found of tackling the problem of determining the point at which a person with a progressive brain disorder should be exempt from the community charge, he will look closely at it.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has as to how many local authority councillors have been prosecuted and convicted for fraud or corruption in each of the past 10 years; and if he will list the authorities on which they served.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the achievements of his Department and his policies in helping small businesses over the last 12 months compared with the previous 12 months; and if he will publish the performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring.
Mr. Lang [holding answer 24 July 1989] : Small firms continue to play an important and dynamic role in the regeneration of the Scottish economy. Small firms also continue to benefit from the comprehensive schemes of support that the Government have introduced. In the main, these are delivered through the Scottish Development Agency, the Highlands and Islands Development Board and from the Industry Department for Scotland, where policy responsibility lies. In addition to providing services specific to Scotland, the SDA, HIDB and the Industry Department for Scotland are responsible for the delivery and monitoring in Scotland of United
Column 651Kingdom services on behalf of other Departments, including the Department of Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry. During 1988, there was a net increase of over 3,400 in the number of registered companies in Scotland. Between January 1980 and January 1989 there was a net increase of some 20,000 or over a half in the number of companies registered in Scotland. VAT returns indicate that between 1980 and 1987 the number of new businesses operating in Scotland showed a net increase of 13,400.
The following describes the services available to small firms in Scotland during the periods 1987-88 and 1988-89 and some of their achievements.
IDS made offers to small firms in Scotland of regional selective assistance of £4 million in 1987-88 and £12 million in 1988-89. Under the revised regional development grant scheme, approvals to small firms amounted to £48 million in 1987-88 and £70 million in 1988-89. Information on the grant offered to small firms under the original RDG scheme is not available. Under both the investment and innovation elements of the regional enterprise grants scheme, some £2 million was offered to companies in Scotland in 1988-89.
Better Business Services and Better Technical Services Schemes During the periods in question, the BBS scheme was administered by IDS, SDA and the HIDB. The scheme allows small companies to have access to subsidised professional business advice and in 1987-88 some 9,597 offers of assistance were made with an associated value of £2.9 million. In 1988-89 some 6,804 offers of assistance were made with an associated value of £3.1 million. The BTS scheme was available in Strathclyde and part of Tayside region and allowed small companies to have access to subsidised professional advice of a technical nature. In 1987-88, 1,720 offers were made with an associated value of £1 million. Support under the BTS scheme ceased on 31 March 1988. Scottish Development Agency
SDA support for small business includes the provision of financial assistance, premises and a wide range of advisory services, including the small firms service in Scotland and the administration of DTI's consultancy initiatives, under the enterprise initiative. Under the consultancy initiatives, some 1,235 consultancy projects were undertaking during 1988- 89. It is estimated that Scotland accounted for 10 per cent. of total GB expenditure on this scheme, compared with a 6.9 per cent. share of eligible firms. During 1987-88 the SDA had contact with 19,125 small companies. Some £2.7 million was invested in 692 small firms creating or safeguarding some 800 jobs. In addition, some 875 small companies received assistance with the costs of attending promotional events. Sixty small companies were provided with technical advice, while 30 received assistance with market research studies. In the year 1988-89, the agency had contact with 19,250 small firms. Some £1.8 million was invested in 92 small firms creating or safeguarding 1,600 jobs. In addition, 925 small companies received assistance with the costs of attending promotional events. Eighty
Column 652small firms were provided with technical advice while 40 companies received assistance with market research studies.
Highlands and Islands Development Board
As well as delivering the small firms service in its area, the HIDB undertakes a wide range of activities in support of business, most of which are small, to help them overcome the difficulties of operating in this peripheral and rural part of the United Kingdom. The measures taken include financial support to business, provision of factories and assistance with business advice and training. In 1987-88, the board approved 1,063 offers of financial assistance with an associated value of £14.4 million. This generated private sector investment of some £42.3 million and created or safeguarded 2,700 jobs. For the period 1988-89, the board approved 1,220 offers of financial assistance with an associated value of £25.3 million. This generated private sector support of £44.4 million and created or safeguarded 3,300 jobs. In the period 1987-88, the HIDB completed 6, 090 sq m of factory floor space. In this period some 2,920 jobs were housed in HIDB factories. In the period 1988-89, the HIDB completed 12,553 sq m of factory floor space. In this period, some 3,130 jobs were housed in HIDB factories.
Local Enterprise Trusts
Local enterprise trusts have proved to be an important catalyst in fostering the enterprise culture in Scotland. The Government have continued to demonstrate their recognition of the valuable role played by the trusts, and the SDA provided financial support of £1.04 million to the 40 enterprise trusts in 1987-88, the latest year for which figures are available--an increase of over 46 per cent. over the previous year. This has triggered a further £3.28 million from the other public and private sector partners. During 1987-88 trusts in Scotland had contact with 25,000 clients from which 3,800 small businesses were formed. Companies assisted by enterprise trusts created some 9,000 new jobs. The SDA bases its financial assistance on its appraisal of each trust's annual management plan which contains details of the previous year's projects and objectives for the oncoming year.
The Scottish Office has responded fully to the deregulation initiative. This participation has resulted in an improved awareness within SO Departments of the needs of business and has led to a more systematic approach to assessing the financial and other burdens imposed on business by regulation. Scotland was the first area in the United Kingdom to set up a pilot Government business shop which provides small businesses with a single access point for advice on dealing with Government regulations. It is hoped that, with the co-operation of other participating regulatory Departments, the Government business shop will be permanently established in Glasgow once the pilot period has ended.
Earlier this year, the SDA, assisted by IDS, held two seminars on MOD procurement. These events attracted over 400 Scottish companies and as a result over 70 companies participated in face-to-face discussions with