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The Prime Minister : Until July 1989 the Central Statistical Office reported to me. During that period it was not responsible for collecting statistics. Changes in the basis of compilation, presentation and publication of statistical series were made from time to time in response to the requirements of Government and international organisations for statistical information. Other changes reflected changes in administrative systems on which some series are based, the development of new statistical data. When such changes were made they were fully documented in the relevant statistical publications.
Column 123in the House, I shall be having further meetings this afternoon. This evening I hope to have an Audience of Her Majesty the Queen.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table showing for each local authority area in Wales the proportion of poll tax registration forms which have been duly returned to his registration officer.
Mr. Peter Walker : This information is not held centrally. I understand, however, that the Welsh charging authorities have achieved high levels of registration. I expect to receive details of registered population from each charging authority shortly.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will take steps to ensure that holiday homes which seek to be treated for poll tax purposes under the standard business rating system will be required to obtain a change of use approval from the local planning authority before any such rating designation is operational.
Mr. Peter Walker : No. The question whether any given hereditament, such as a holiday home, is to be regarded as non-domestic and so rateable is a matter for the valuation officer, whose decision will be made having regard to regulations which are to be made under powers conferred by the Local Government Finance Act 1988. The regulations will be laid before the House shortly.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether any instructions or guidelines have been issued by the Welsh Office to district councils in Wales concerning the collection of community charges on a weekly or monthly basis from people facing difficulties in making the full payment ; and what conditions have been placed on local authorities in facilitating any such staged payment scheme.
Mr. Peter Walker : All Welsh local authorities have been sent a copy of community charge practice note No. 12, "Collection of the Community Charge". Paragraphs 4.7--4.9 of that practice note remind authorities that some ratepayers will be accustomed to paying rates and rent together on a weekly or fortnightly schedule ; and recommend authorities to consider how far they wish to afford chargepayers the opportunity to pay on a weekly or fortnightly basis, having regard to the benefits to chargepayers and the additional administrative costs involved. A copy of the practice note is in the Library of the House.
Mr. Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what further resources he will make available to the National Health Service in Wales to enable more hospitals to treat heart patients and to fit pacemakers.
Mr. Grist : Substantial additional funds have recently been made available to improve access to cardiac treatment for patients in Clwyd, to secure additional cardiological and cardiac surgery procedures for adults and children in other parts of Wales and to build a new
Column 124paediatric cardiac unit in Cardiff. In addition, consideration is being given to securing a further expansion of adult cardiac services, including the development of a second cardiac centre in Wales.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if, pursuant to his answer of 7 November to the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside, he will make a statement on the year-on-year cost of the operation and administration of local management of schools in Wales.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : It is for LEAs to assess the cost associated with the preparation and introduction of schemes for financial delegation to schools. These assessments form the basis for their bids to the Department of specific grant support.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 7 November to the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside, if he will state (a) the exact figure for specific grant support for expenditure on local management of schools for the period 1989-90 to 1991-92, (b) the planned cash figure for specific grant support for expenditure on local management of schools for (i) 1989-90, (ii) 1990-91 and (iii) 1991-92 and (c) in separate columns for 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92 and for the total specific grant support for expenditure on local management of schools for (1) the introduction of local management, (2) the training of governors and (3) local education authority inspection.
£ million |1989-90|1990-91|1991-92|Total -------------------------------------------------------------- Introduction of local management |1.0 |1.652 |1.652 |4.304 Training of Governors |0.4 |0.4 |0.4 |1.2 LEA inspection |0.16 |0.4 |0.56 |1.12 |-------|-------|-------|------- Total |1.56 |2.452 |2.612 |6.624
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment his Department has made of the need for additional computers for educational needs in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : The Department launched a five-year strategy to develop information technology across the curriculum in 1988-89. Funding within the education support grant programme provides increased equipment levels and an advisory teacher service in schools. The Department is currently considering ways to focus the programme to support the implementation of technology as a subject in the national curriculum.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action he is taking to ensure that adequately trained teachers are available to teach technology under the national curriculum ; and what proposals he has for the retraining of teachers who are not specialist technology
Column 125teachers and that courses for student teachers are amended to take account of the technology component of the national curriculum.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : The in-service teacher training scheme provides for the training of existing teachers. Although it is the responsibility of local education authorities to ensure that teachers are adequately trained to teach their speciality subjects, we have increased significantly the resources available next year through the local education authority training grant scheme to enable LEAs to carry out the training required.
The new arrangements just announced for the accreditation of initial teacher training make express provision for the training of design and technology for intending primary teachers alongside all other subjects in the primary curriculum.
A bursary of £1,300 is paid, in addition to the usual mandatory award entitlement, to attract students to secondary post graduate certificate of education courses in craft, design and technology. A further incentive supplement of £1,200 is available to those students if they follow an extended Welsh-medium course.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales has undertaken a consultation on proposals for technology in the national curriculum. Responses to the consultation are being analysed and considered at the present time. The introduction of technology into schools as a national curriculum subject will be preceded by a further consultation on draft orders and the making of final orders.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a special allocation of funds to Clwyd local education authority to enable it to facilitate adequate full-time staffing in (a) high schools, (b) primary schools and (c) infants schools, consequent upon local management of schools and the requirements of new legislation.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : In 1989-90 Clwyd LEA received specific grant support for expenditure of £141,000 for the introduction of local management and £46,700 for staff development and support for the introduction of the national curriculum core subjects. Its bids for 1990-91 are currently being considered along with those of the other Welsh LEAs.
In addition, an allocation of some £500,000 will be available in 1990- 91 from the LEA training grants scheme to assist the LEA with the provision of in-service teacher training to ensure that teachers in Clwyd are adequately prepared for the delivery of the national curriculum.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a special allocation of funds to Clwyd local education authority to enable it to facilitate adequate ancillary staffing in (a) high, (b) primary and (c) infant schools ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 126the education authority which must decide such matters in line with its assessment of priorities within the education service.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a special allocation of funds to Clwyd local education authority to enable the authority to improve its capitation allowances by a minimum of 10 per cent. in (a) infants, (b) primary and (c) high schools ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : The responsibility for the level of capitation allowances in Clwyd schools lies entirely with the education authority which must decide such matters in line with its assessment of priorities within the question service.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : The Government's policy on the future of the school meals service is set out in paragraphs 62 to 64 of Welsh Office circular 36/88, a copy of which is in the Library. We will be prepared to consider excepting the service from delegation to schools where there is a clearly identified need for the local education authority to retain control. However, we would expect the service to be delegated, subject to the overriding provisions of the competition requirements of the Local Government Act 1988, where a school can demonstrate that it is able to provide a service, including appropriate health and nutritional standards, at least as economically as the local education authority.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many incidents of food poisoning were recorded in Wales between April and October of the current year ; and what were the half-yearly figures recorded in Wales during the last three years.
Mr. Grist : There were 2,120 notifications to the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys of food poisoning in Wales between 1 April and 27 October 1989. Half-yearly statistics for the past three years are shown in the table :
Notifications<1> of food poisoning |January to June |July to December -------------------------------------------------------------------- 1986 |488 |925 1987 |687 |988 1988 |784 |<2>1,169 1989 |<2>1,022 <1> Includes food poisoning formally notified and food poisoning ascertained by other means. <2> Data from the fourth quarter 1988 onwards are derived from OPCS Monitor, Weekly Return (WR Series) and are provisional. Preceding data are derived from OPCS Monitor, Infectious Diseases (MB2 Series).
Column 127certain circumstances the Welsh Office may be involved. Most incidents are small in scale and/or confined to a readily identifiable group of people. As such warnings to the public at large are not necessarily appropriate. Where however the extent and geographical distribution of a particular incident warrants a general warning, the aim is to issue suitable, specific guidance as soon as it is practicable to do so.
During the recent serious incident of food poisoning involving salmonella typhimurium in north Wales, several press notices containing specific advice to the public were released by the Department. On each occasion, the notice was released on the same date as the information it contained was received from the local authorities involved.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many written parliamentary questions to him in Session 1988-89 received answers that the information (a) was not available, (b) was not separately recorded, (c) was not centrally recorded, (d) was not recorded in Government statistics or (e) could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Peter Walker : My Department collects and publishes a wide range of statistical material covering many aspects of life in the Principality. The latest list of regular statistical publications is shown as follows. Those marked with an asterisk were also published in 1979. This list illustrates the increased availability of Welsh Office statistics. In addition to the regular publications there is a range of ad hoc statistical bulletins.
The very quantity of statistics now published by the Department means that information on all changes to individual statistics could be supplied only at disproportionate cost. These changes result from the continuous
Column 128process of attempting to improve the coverage and relevance of Welsh Office statistics. There are regular reviews which lead to changes in the basis of compilation, presentation and publication. These arise in response to the Government's requirements for statistical information, changes in the administrative systems on which some series are based, and the development of new technological developments affecting the compilation and dissemination of statistical data.
Regular Publications in 1989
Activities of Social Services Departments
Children in Care
Commercial and Industrial Floorspace Statistics
* Digest of Welsh Statistics
Environmental Digest for Wales
Farm Income in Wales
* Health and Personal Social Services
Household Projections for the Counties of Wales
Key Statistical Indicators for NHS Management
Mental Health Statistics
Population Projections for the Counties of Wales
Residential Accommodation for the Elderly, Younger Physically Handicapped and Blind
Staff of Social Services Departments
* Welsh Agricultural Statistics
* Welsh Economic Trends
Welsh Hospital Waiting List Bulletin
Welsh Housing Statistics
* Welsh Local Government Financial Statistics
* Welsh Social Trends
Welsh Transport Statistics
*Published in 1979.
In 1979, these two volumes were published in one entitled "Statistics of Education in Wales".
Ad hoc Publications
Crime Prevention Topics
Digest of Welsh Historical Statistics
Incidence of Congenital Malformations
Statistics of Road Lengths
Survey of House Renovation Grants
Wales Cancer Reports
Welsh Education Statistics Bulletins
Welsh House Condition Surveys
Welsh Inter Censal Survey
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the level of grant paid by his Department over the last financial year to the Nature Conservancy Council ; and how much of this money was spent on (a) Wales and (b) England.
Mr. Faulds : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide the figure of the total sum spent on Heveningham hall on repairs, on central heating and on the introduction of other services, following its purchase in 1970 to the time of its sale in 1981, detailing the separate expenditures ; and whether he has received any representations since 1981 seeking public funds for further work on the hall.