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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 8 December 1989

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Student Loans

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has had about the effect acceptance of a top-up loan will have on students' further overdraft facilities.

Mr. Jackson : It will be for the lender to decide what account to take of a client's borrowing under the top-up loans scheme.

Public Appointments

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many persons above the age of (a) 60, (b) 65 and (c) 70 years he has appointed to public bodies in each of the last 10 years.

Mrs. Rumbold : The Department's policy is to make the best appointment possible for the task in hand, irrespective of age. No consolidated record of the age of members of public bodies is maintained.

Head Teachers (Wakefield)

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many letters he has received since the beginning of the autumn school term from head teachers of schools within the Wakefield metropolitan district ; what were the concerns expressed in these letters ; and what action is being taken to respond to these concerns.

Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend receives a number of letters from head teachers about various aspects of education provision. All letters to this Department will continue to receive appropriate replies which I hope the recipients find helpful.

Open University

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the contribution made by the Open university in environmental studies, research and education.

Mr. Jackson : I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave him on 16 May 1989 at column 124.

Teacher Appraisal

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he intends to publish a consultative document on teacher appraisal dealing with the mechanism of the process ;

(2) when he intends to introduce a scheme of teacher appraisal in schools ; and if he will make a statement ;


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(3) whether he intends all schools to take part in teacher appraisal ; and whether there will be training for teachers to assist them in the process ;

(4) whether he intends to introduce some independent professionals into the teacher appraisal process ; and if he will make a statement ;

(5) who will appraise head teachers when teacher appraisal is introduced.

Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend received in July this year the report of the national steering group (NSG) responsible for overseeing the school teacher appraisal pilot study which ended this summer. The report, which was published in October, sets out recommendations for a national framework within which teacher appraisal should be implemented across England and Wales. My right hon. Friend has now initiated consultation on the national steering group's recommendations, which cover head teachers and teachers, and deal with both the process of appraisal and the question of who should appraise whom. Consultation ends at Easter next year and will be followed by the issue of guidance for local education authorities and schools. As part of this consultation, we have sought views on the appropriate date for bringing in, through regulations, a national framework which would require the appraisal of all members of the teaching profession.

When regulations are introduced a date will be set by which time appraisal must be extended to all teachers and head teachers. Training to assist teachers and head teachers in the operation of appraisal is important ; guidance about this will be given to local education authorities. We are ready to support expenditure on appraisal training of up to £15 million through the Local Education Authority Training Grants Scheme in 1990-91.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Health and Social Services (Appointments)

Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list all the executive posts in the Department of Health and Social Services for Northern Ireland which have been recruited in the last four years for which figures are available, together with the salaries and grades ; and if he will give the length of contract for each post.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The recruitment of permanent staff to the Northern Ireland Civil Service is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Civil Service Commission which allocates successful candidates to individual Departments in response to their needs. Details of executive recruits appointed to the Department of Health and Social Services over the last four years are as follows :


Year                           |Number                        |Grade                         |Salary on                                                    

                                                                                             |Appointment                                                  

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

1986                           |5                             |Executive officer grade II    |£5,250-£8,730                                                

1987                           |5                             |Executive officer grade II    |£5,820-£9,330                                                

                               |1                             |Administrative trainee        |<1>£8,000-£10,150                                            

1988                           |1                             |Executive officer grade II    |£6,134-£9,935                                                

                               |1                             |Staff officer (administrative)|<1>£11,600-£14,595                                           

1989                           |3                             |Executive officer grade II    |£6,715-£10,723                                               

                                                                                             |(current scale)                                              

                               |1                             |Chief executive for health    |£37,600-£40,900                                              

                                                              |and personal social services  |(current scale)                                              

<1> The current salary scales for the grades mentioned are as follows:                                                                                     

Administrative trainee:     £10,246-£12,074.                                                                                                               

Staff officer (administrative) £13,022-£16,336.                                                                                                            

Appointments to the grades of executive officer II and administrative trainee/staff officer (administrative) are permanent subject to the satisfactory completion of a probationary period. The chief executive appointment is for an initial period of five years with the possibility of renewal for a further period of conversion to a permanent post.

Irish Prime Minister (Talks)

Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he next expects to meet the Irish Prime Minister ; and what matters he proposes to discuss.

Mr. Brooke : I have no current plans to meet the Taoiseach. I paid him a courtesy call in Dublin before the last intergovernmental conference on 30 November.

Rivers and Lakes

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total amount of public expenditure by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries Division, on the stocking of rivers and lakes with fish, in each year since 1980 ; and if he will give details by district council area.

Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 7 December 1989] : Spending by the Department of Agriculture on the stocking of the Department's public angling waters since 1980 has been :


Financial   |Total                  

year        |expenditure            

            |on stocking            

            |£                      

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

1980-81     |60,630                 

1981-82     |50,490                 

1982-83     |53,034                 

1983-84     |69,093                 

1984-85     |90,199                 

1985-86     |149,711                

1986-87     |156,294                

1987-88     |107,243                

1988-89     |124,437                

It is not possible to allocate expenditure on stocking to individual district council areas as the information is not held in the form requested and it could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

TRANSPORT

British Rail Maintenance Ltd.

Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with BR about the operation of British Rail Maintenance Ltd ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Portillo : None. The operation of British Rail Maintenance Ltd. is a management matter for British Rail.

Railways

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those Welsh lines due to have a super sprinter train service by mid-1990.


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Mr. Portillo : Decisions on the allocation of rolling stock to specific railway lines are for the British Railways Board.

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on when British Rail plans to electrify the Crewe to Holyhead line.

Mr. Portillo : I am unaware of any plans by British Rail to electrify this line.

Mr. Geraint Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what resources he intends to make available to British Rail to encourage the greater frequency of trains on the Cambrian coast line between Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury and Pwllheli.

Mr. Portillo : The Government have approved over £400 million (1989-90 prices) of investment in new rolling stock for the provincial sector since 1983. It is for British Rail to decide the detailed disposition of resources within the sector in the light of the public service obligation which requires the board to continue to provide a level of service generally comparable to that in April 1988. They are free to provide additional services where that does not lead to an increase in grant.

Mr. Livsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with British Rail about its plans for direct passenger travel through the Channel tunnel from 1993 (a) from Cardiff and (b) from Holyhead in terms of year of commencement and proposed frequency ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Portillo : British Rail will be setting out its proposals in the plan which it will shortly be publishing, in compliance with section 40 of the Channel Tunnel Act 1987. I have discussed progress on this work with British Rail from time to time.

Mr. Livsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with British Rail about running passenger through trains on the central Wales line from Manchester to Milford Haven.

Mr. Portillo : Decisions on the routing and timetabling of rail services are for the management of British Rail.

Mr. Livsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on when the Paddington to Swansea line will be electrified.

Mr. Portillo : It is for British Rail to come forward with any proposals.

Mr. Livsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether British Rail has sought approval for investment in a Berne gauge freight line (a) from the Channel tunnel to south Wales and (b) from the Channel tunnel to north Wales.

Mr. Portillo : No.

Mr. Livsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has received a request from British Rail for funding of a main line rail link to Cardiff Wales (Rhoose) Airport.

Mr. Portillo : No.


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Roads

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to place a consultancy with the Energy and Environment Research Unit of the Open university on environmental effects of future road planning.

Mr. Atkins : No.

Mr. Terry Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the full roads report referred to in paragraph 32 of the White Paper "Roads for Prosperity" is to be published.

Mr. Atkins : In the new year.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Rented Farms

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has concerning the number of farms available for rent in the private sector for each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Maclean : None.

Scrapie

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he proposes to take any action to prevent the sale of scrapie- infected sheep protein for use as feed for pigs.

Mr. Maclean : Scrapie is one of the oldest known animal diseases and has been the subject of extensive research. There is no scientific evidence to indicate that such action is necessary.

Walnut Trees

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his Department has produced a planting, growing and husbandry manual for walnut trees.

Mr. Maclean : Guidance on growing walnut trees is given in Forestry Commission Bulletin 62, Silviculture of Broadleaved Woodland (ISBN 011 710 154 0), available in the Libary of the House.

Agro-forestry Development

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he has for innovative multi-culture agro-forestry development in the United Kingdom for commercial scale (a) flour, (b) dye and (c) biomass production.

Mr. Maclean : None. My Department is, however, separately funding research on both agro-forestry and novel crops.

Soil Temperature

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to introduce technologies to increase the mean soil temperature in the United Kingdom by 2 C, and what would be the implications for crop yield of such an increase in soil temperature.


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Mr. Maclean : The Minister has no plans to introduce technologies to increase the mean soil temperatures in the United Kingdom by 2 C. The effect of increased soil temperature on crop yield would be dependent on the extent of seasonal fluctuations in that increase and the effect of other associated climatic changes, for example, in the level and pattern of rainfall. If it is assumed that the temperature increase remains constant throughout the year and is a direct result of increased radiation, and that water supply remains adequate, then yields of cereals and other field crops are likely to increase. In many spring crops such as cereals, potatoes, sugar beet, peas and beans increased yield potential would be a result of warmer spring temperatures allowing earlier planting-sowing so as to avoid the worst effects of mid-summer drought.

THE ARTS

Libraries, Museums and Galleries

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Minister for the Arts in determining public expenditure plans for 1990-91 what provision was made for the cost of (i) libraries and (ii) museums and galleries.

Mr. Luce : In 1990-91 the central Government provision for libraries is £112 million and for museums and galleries £182 million. (These figures do not include local authority spending).

NATIONAL FINANCE

Government Telephone Network

Mr. Page : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the latest position in drawing up the specifications for the new Government telephone network ; and whether public tenders will be sought from qualified suppliers.

Mr. Ryder : Decisions have not yet been made on whether, or how, to proceed with an integrated voice and data network for Government. The findings of the study announced by my right hon. Friend the then Paymaster General on 6 March 1989 are under consideration.

Value Added Tax

Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his policy on the charging of value added tax on goods which facilitate mobility of disabled people.

Mr. Ryder : Most specialised equipment designed for use by disabled people and the charities that serve them is relieved of value added tax, but zero-rating does not extend to general purpose goods or services which can equally well be used by the able-bodied as by the disabled.

European Monetary System

Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the rate of inflation in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland for each month since the Republic of Ireland became a full member of the European monetary system.

Mr. Ryder [holding answer 7 December 1989] : The information requested is as follows :


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12-month consumer price       

inflation                     

                              

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

1979                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

1980                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

1981                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

1982                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

1983                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

1984                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

1985                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

1986                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

1987                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

1988                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

1989                          

January                       

February                      

March                         

April                         

May                           

June                          

July                          

August                        

September                     

October                       

November                      

December                      

                              

Source: OECD.                 

Notes: Irish data are         

available only quarterly.     

Ireland joined the european   

monetary system and exchange  

 rate mechanism on 13 March   

1979.                         

Household Income

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list in rank order for each region in Britain (a) the average household income by region and (b) social security benefits as a proportion of household income ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 7 December 1989] : The latest regional estimates for average household income and social security benefits relate to households covered in the family expenditure survey for the calendar years 1986 and 1987 and are given in table 31 of the report of the family expenditure survey 1987, a copy of which is in the Library.

Relocation

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what relocations of his Department's staff, or agencies relating thereto, are currently being considered ; and what are the numbers of staff affected.

Mr Ryder : A review of the location of the Treasury's activities is currently taking place under the policy that my right hon. Friend the then Paymaster General announced on 31 March 1988 at cols. 610-11. No decisions have yet been taken.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Health Care Professions (Advertising)

Mr. Hayes : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether it is his intention to implement the recommendations of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission obliging health care professions to allow their members to use unsolicited mailshots as a means of promoting their services.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : When the MMC report on the supply of services of registered medical practitioners in relation to restrictions on advertising was published in March 1989, the Director General of Fair Trading was asked to seek undertakings that rules on advertising would be changed in accordance with the findings and recommendations of the MMC in a form to be agreed with him. A number of changes have already been made and the Director General of Fair Trading informs me that negotiations continue on the remaining restrictions, including that of unsolicited distribution of leaflets by general practitioners.

Insider Dealing

Mr. Arbuthnot : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the implementation of the insider dealing directive.


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Mr. Redwood : I am today publishing a consultative document on the Government's proposals for changes to the insider dealing law. The proposals reflect both our experience of the operation of our present law, and the insider dealing directive which was unanimously agreed by the Council of Ministers on 13 November.

The directive sets minimum requirements for member states to follow in prohibiting insider dealing. We have in a number of areas gone beyond these requirements. We are also suggesting a substantial change by relating the offence to transactions done by or through authorised persons under the Financial Services Act rather than to the current complex structure of deals done on or off a recognised stock exchange.

We are inviting comments by the end of February 1990. I am arranging for a copy of the paper to be placed in the Library of the House.

Cars and Vans

Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many cars and vans were produced in (a) the Federal Republic of Germany, (b) France, (c) Italy and (d) Spain in 1988.

Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 4 December 1989] : Figures for cars are :

(a) 4.3 million, (b) 3.2 million (c) 1.9 million, (d) 1.5 million.

Figures for vans are not readily available.

Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many cars and vans were produced in the United Kingdom in 1988.

Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 4 December 1989] : 1.2 million.

Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has on the percentage of cars and vans which were produced in 1988 in (a) the Federal Republic of Germany, (b) France, (c) Italy and (d) Spain were exported.

Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 4 December 1989] : Figures for cars are :

(a) 58 per cent., (b) 57 per cent., (c) 36 per cent., (d) 53 per cent.

Figures for vans are not readily available.

Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what percentage of the cars and vans which were produced in the United Kingdom in 1988 were exported.

Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 4 December 1989] : 18 per cent.

BAT Factory (Liverpool)

Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will estimate (a) the total loss in receipts to the Exchequer and (b) the extra cost to Government Departments arising from the closure of the British American Tobacco factory in Liverpool ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 6 December 1989] : No realistic estimates are practicable. As to the possible principal effects, no significant loss of tobacco duty or


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VAT is expected since the factory manufactures for export. Corporation tax payable by BAT will depend upon the company's overall trading results. Unemployment benefits and social security costs depend upon the number of claimants, their individual circumstances and the time before they find other work. The Government's existing programmes to assist enterprise and creation of new jobs are of course available in this area but any such costs would be met from existing provisions.

Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will assess the effect on the economy of Liverpool of the proposed closure of the British American Tobacco factory ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 6 December 1989] : No realistic assessment is practicable. British American Tobacco would no longer pay rates on the site but, in that it intends to offer the factory free to the Merseyside development corporation, it seems likely that the premises will again be beneficially occupied and thus rates will again become payable. Unemployment benefits and social security costs depend upon the number of claimants, their individual circumstances and the time before they find other work.

Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will meet the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside and other Liverpool Members to discuss the implications of the proposed closure of the British American Tobacco factory in Liverpool.

Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 6 December 1989] : I would be happy to meet the hon. Members concerned.

Non-oil Exports

Mr. Butterfill : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the total non-oil export volume in the United Kingdom for each of the last five years.

Mr. Norman Lamont : I have been asked to reply.

The information required is in the Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics, copies of which are available from the Library.


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