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Mr. Lang : Training proposals from prospective training agents and training managers are agreed with the Training Agency and form part of the final contract. Before agreeing to seek proposals the Training Agency must first be satisfied that they are in line with local labour market needs.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action is taken by the Training Agency where the misappropriation or misapplication of public funds is suspected on employment training schemes.
Column 809Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what checks are undertaken by the Training Agency to ensure that those said to be on employment training schemes are actually attending.
Mr. Lang : The ongoing programme monitoring by Training Agency staff under the approved training organisation process includes examination of records of attendance. The Training Agency has recently introduced a revised stringent system of checks.
Mr. Lang : Frequent visits to training agents and training managers are undertaken by Training Agency staff in accordance with a sampling framework. The appropriate sample size for both training agents and training managers will depend on the size of the individual organisation and number of locations at which it operates. The frequency of visits will vary and will be governed by the agency's confidence in the organisation visited.
Mr. Lang : The Government have not commissioned any independent research into the working of employment training in Scotland. However, the Government are aware of a study of employment training in Scotland, commissioned by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the standing forum on special employment measures and the Scottish Trades Union Congress, which found that
"despite the undoubted difficulties and drawbacks of current Employment Training, there are positive and constructive options developing which would, if taken further, lead to an improvement in the quality of Employment Training and in the longer term, to the development of an integrated policy on adult training operated through local enterprise companies".
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has about the nature of firms, voluntary organisations or other bodies offering placements on the employment training schemes.
Mr. Lang : It is in the first instance for training managers to build up and maintain a database on appropriate placements for employment training ; the Training Agency monitors this as part of its ongoing monitoring process.
Mr. Lang : This information is not available in the form requested. The result of the first regular 100 per cent. follow-up survey shows that in Great Britain 59 per cent. of leavers who had completed their training went into jobs, self-employment or further full-time training.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether any agents or managers have been warned or dismissed for not providing the appropriate off-the-job training on employment training schemes.
Mr. Lang : I cannot provide details of training agents and training managers who have been warned for not providing the appropriate off-the-job training because the terms of contract with training agents and training managers require such communications to be treated as commercial in confidence. No contracts have been terminated for reasons connected with the provision of off-the-job training.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether there are any controls placed on the methods used by training agents to obtain employment training scheme placements from employers.
Mr. Lang : It is the responsibility of the training managers (not training agents) to negotiate placements with employers as part of their contractual responsibilities. The suitability of such placements is monitored by the Training Agency as part of its ongoing monitoring process.
Mr. Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to be able to clarify the ownership situation with regard to the proposed merger of the Scottish Bus Group and Highland Scottish ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Highland Scottish Omnibuses Limited is a subsidiary of the Scottish Bus Group and will in due course be advertised for sale as part of the programme of privatisation of the group. It is not possible at this stage to say when Highland Scottish Omnibuses Limited will be offered for sale but it is expected that the first companies will be advertised early in 1990 and that the whole programme will be complete in early 1991.
Mr. Lang : I am glad to announce that, subject to approval of detailed proposals, we plan to go ahead with the establishment of a new centre in Scotland for the education of children with motor disorders, such as cerebral palsy. We are making provision within the Scottish education programme for £2.5 million spread over the next three years as the Government's contribution to setting up and running the centre.
The work of the centre will be based on conductive education as practised at the Peto institute in Hungary. It will have a multi-disciplinary staff and will cater initially for about 40 children in the age range two to seven years. The centre will be available to children from all parts of Scotland and we intend that residential accommodation should be provided for children and accompanying parents who live outwith daily travelling distance. The new centre will represent a valuable new resource for Scotland. It will extend options for parents of handicapped children and provide training facilities for staff from other special schools where elements of conductive education are used. It is hoped, also, that the centre will be able to give practical support to children who are home between visits to the Peto institute itself.
Column 811A site has not yet been chosen but an important consideration is that the centre should be within daily travelling distance for as large a number of potential pupils as possible. We hope to open the centre before the end of 1991.
Mr. Brooke : It is currently planned that the next meeting of the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference will take place in January. I have no plans at present to meet the Taoiseach. I paid him a courtesy call in Dublin before the last Intergovernmental Conference on 30 November.
17. Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement on his most recent meetings with political representatives in the Province regarding the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
Mr. Brooke : I have met the leaders of all the main constitutional political parties in Northern Ireland in the months following my appointment, and the agreement was one of many subjects discussed at those meetings. The offer originally made by my predecessor to brief party leaders following meetings of the Intergovernmental Conference stands, and when requested I have given such briefings.
Mr. Brooke : The Government are of course committed to the Anglo- Irish Agreement, and to the principles it embodies. I am always ready to consider constructive proposals particularly where they enjoy a wide measure of support.
Mr. Brooke : The last Intergovernmental Conference took place on 30 November. I have met the party leaders of all the main constitutional parties in Northern Ireland in the months following my appointment and the agreement was one of many subjects discussed at those meetings.
Mr. Brooke : As indicated in my predecessor's written reply of 9 February 1989 to my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. Knight) the Government's policy on the payment of public funds to community groups, where there is evidence that such payments could directly or indirectly further the aims of a paramilitary organisation, has been applied to groups operating in or out of Conway Mill because of the nature and extent of paramilitary influence within the mill.
Mr. Needham : While there are no firm dates at present, both my right hon. Friend and I regularly meet representatives of small businesses and small business owners in the course of our duties in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Brooke : I assume that the right hon. Gentleman is referring to the Anglo-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. We are planning to have around five meetings of the conference between 1 January and the end of July 1990.
Column 813Mr. Brooke : The Intergovernmental Conference last met on 30 November. The joint statement issued afterwards was placed in the Library and the Vote Office.
22. Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of how many youth training workshops in Northern Ireland are likely to remain solvent under the proposed block funding arrangements to be introduced in 1990.
Mr. Needham : I am satisfied that workshops should be able to remain solvent under the proposed block funding arrangements as long as their management committees take action to adjust their operations to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. They are currently being assisted by management consultants engaged by the Department of Economic Development to prepare business plans for the future including assessing costs against likely revenue. It will be up to the management committees to decide what action to take in light of the outcome of this process.
Dr. Mawhinney : A wide range of helpful responses has been made to the Government's proposals for integrated schools, as a result of which a number of detailed changes have been made in the draft order.
27. Mr. Clifford Forsythe : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many planning enforcement orders have been issued in the constituency of South Antrim in each of the last three years.
------------------- 1987 |2 1988 |4 1989 (to date) |5
Mr. Needham : As my predecessor informed my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Latham) on 7 June 1988 and 28 July 1988 Official Report columns 463 and 529, some £12.6 million has been recovered. A dividend is expected from the trustee of the De Lorean Motor Company, the United States company in bankruptcy. The recovery of further amounts will depend on the outcome of legal actions and inquiries in the United Kingdom, the United States and Switzerland.
29. Mr. Ashdown : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received concerning the life sentence review board and the upcoming Christmas paroles ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : Representations on various aspects of the life sentence review process, including the constitution and functioning of the life sentence review board, have been received from time to time. We shall be considering these representations in the light of the Government's response to the recently published report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Murder and Life Imprisonment which included recommendations about the review system in Great Britain. As regards this year's Christmas home leave schemes for life and determinate sentence prisoners, we have received several representations about the eligibility criteria and a few on behalf of individuals.
30. Mr. Stott : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what improvements to traffic flow he expects to result from the work currently taking place on the main road in Andersonstown, West Belfast.
Mr. Cope : Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom, and consequently its economic prospects are part of those set out by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Autumn Statement on 15 November 1989. In recognition of Northern Ireland's particular economic and social problems the Government continue to place a high priority on the wide range of enterprise, training and industrial development programmes which seek to strengthen the Northern Ireland economy.
32. Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when capital funds will be released for the third stage of the Downe hospital, Downpatrick on the Downshire hospital site ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 815Mr. Needham : Further development at the Downe hospital is a matter for the Eastern health and social services board in the first instance. The board has made no firm proposals on this matter.
Mr. Brooke : We will ensure that the security forces have all necessary moral and physical support to interdict terrorist operations, pursue the perpetrators, and bring them to justice in the courts. We have taken measures to cut off terrorist funds and supplies. These measures aimed directly at terrorism will be enhanced and supported by wider measures of political, economic and social policy, which aim to create a fair, just and prosperous society in which local people from all sides of the community play a major part in administering the Province through widely accepted local institutions.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Government will continue to give high priority to economic development throughout Northern Ireland including South Down. Substantial resources have been made available to the Industrial Development Board and to the Local Enterprise Development Unit. Both these organisations will continue to be active in encouraging the establishment of new industry and the growth of existing businesses so as to secure viable long-term jobs for all areas of the Province.
Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the implementation of the Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act ; and whether he is in a position to announce dates for the implementation of those sections of the Act which have been implemented in the equivalent legislation in England, Wales and Scotland.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Sections 9, 10, 11 (except paragraph (4)) and 12 of the Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1989 came into operation on 7 December 1989. Section 4 (except paragraph (b) 5, 6, 8(1) and 11(4) will be brought into operation as early as possible in 1990, thus bringing into effect in Northern Ireland all those provisions which have to date been implemented under the equivalent legislation in England, Wales and Scotland.
Column 816interest in the food area, was introduced in Parliament on 22 November. In accordance with normal practice in the field of transferred legislation, comparable provision will be made for Northern Ireland by Order-in-Council under the Northern Ireland Act 1974.
Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will give early consideration to the need to introduce additional measures to limit the development of coal-handling premises in residential areas of east Antrim.
Mr. Ian Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has received any representations from any of the Northern Ireland political party leaders on the best way forward for the governance of the Province.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what date or dates the Department of the Environment roads service carried out inspections at the site of the new entrance and car park at the Shorts base at Lough Mann on the Downpatrick/Ballynahinch road in South Down.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what inspections were carried out by the Department of the Environment roads service into the new car park and entrance to the building under construction at the Shorts base on the
Downpatrick-Ballynahinch road in South Down.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recommendations the Department of Environment roads service made to the town and country planning service in respect of the new entrance and new car park to the building currently under construction at the Shorts base at Lough Mann situated on the Downpatrick-Ballynahinch road in South Down.
Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 11 December 1989] : It was recommended that temporary approval be given to the car park for a period of 12 months and that the new entrance gates should be sited a sufficient distance from the edge of the carriageway to permit the largest vehicles which use the access to stop clear of the carriageway when the gates are closed.
Column 817the Department of the Environment roads service and RUC traffic branch adjacent to the new entrance at the Shorts base situated on the Downpatrick-Ballynahinch road in South Down.
Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 11 December 1989] : No surveys have been carried out at this site. It is not normal practice to carry out a detailed traffic survey for an application of a temporary nature on to a class B road. The RUC traffic division was not previously consulted on this matter and is, therefore, not aware of any surveys being carried out.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Department of the Environment roads service will furnish the town and country planning service with its report and decision on the new entrance and new car park at the Shorts base at Lough Mann situated on the Downpatrick-Ballynahinch road in South Down.
Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 11 December 1989] : Recommendations were supplied to the town and country planning service for temporary approval on 22 December 1988. The roads service will deal with any further applications as and when they are received.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on any implications for the disposal of decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines arising from the conclusion of the recent meeting of the London dumping convention.
Mr. Alan Clark : The meeting agreed that the principles of the LDC should be applied to the disposal at sea of all vessels whether or not they are entitled to sovereign immunity. Britain stated that, were decommissioned nuclear submarines to be disposed of at sea, the Government would apply requirements no less stringent than those which they would apply to comparable waste of other origin. I must emphasise that sea disposal is only one of the options that the Government are considering for the disposal of such submarines and no decisions have yet been taken.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the latest estimate of Government spending on the Trident programme for each of the next three years ; and on what date it is anticipated that this programme will be reviewed.