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Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what is his most up-to-date estimate of the effect on employment at the Export Credits Guarantee Department, insurance group services, of the change of status and ownership announced by him in his written answer of 18 December to the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) ;
(2) what is his most up-to-date estimate of the effect on total employment at Export Credits Guarantee Department in the Cardiff area of the change of status and ownership announced by him in a written answer to the hon. Member for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) on 18 December.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what steps he will take to protect the viability of craft toymakers from the financial costs of adhering to the European Community toy safety regulations ;
(2) what representations he has had from craft industries involved in toy making about the financial implications of the European Community toy safety regulations ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Forth : I have received a number of representations from craft toy-makers about the financial implications of complying with the Toys (Safety) Regulations 1989. The new regulations will require toys to comply with common European safety standards and bear a CE mark as a declaration of conformity. However, where applicable they will replace regulations and requirements dealing with the safety of toys, including those produced by craft toymakers, that have been in force in the United Kingdom for some 15 years. I have explained that where a toy has been manufactured in accordance with the common standards the toymaker will be able to self- certify the toy as conforming and the toy will qualify to bear the CE mark.
Mr. Forth [holding answer 19 December 1989] : The EC directive on the safety of toys is a treaty obligation and we are required to implement it in full. Although the directive, and thus the United Kingdom implementing regulations, does include exemptions for certain products which might otherwise be thought of as toys, there are no exemptions for particular categories of toy manufacturer.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list for each region, Scotland and Wales payments of regional development grants, regional selective assistance, regionalinvestment grants and regional innovation grants for this financial year and,
Column 400where relevant, for 1988-89, and with his projections for 1990-91 and 1991-92 ; and if he will also express the figures in real terms at 1988-89 prices.
The requested information, with regard to expenditure in 1988-89 and 1989- 90 (to end November), in respect of the listed schemes of assistance is as follows :
|Regional |Regional |Regional |Regional Development |Selective |Investment |Innovation Grants |Assistance<1>|Grants<2> |Grants<2> (£ million) |(£ million) |(£ thousand) |(£ thousand) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1988-89 East Midlands |7.9 |1.0 |10 |nil North East |78.7 |33.5 |234 |32 North West |49.6 |22.0 |299 |118 South West |6.6 |4.9 |61 |13 West Midlands |nil |24.0 |<3>n/a |<3>n/a Yorkshire and Humberside |19.3 |21.1 |108 |44 Scotland |76.6 |37.7 |231 |51 Wales |58.6 |36.2 |182 |36 1989-90<4> East Midlands |6.9 |0.5 |117 |50 North East |28.0 |18.6 |917 |311 North West |17.9 |14.9 |762 |99 South West |1.8 |2.1 |185 |41 West Midlands |nil |13.5 |<3>n/a |<3>n/a Yorkshire and Humberside |8.0 |7.0 |629 |120 Scotland |41.0 |19.5 |448 |436 Wales |15.9 |17.8 |307 |172 <1> Industrial and training grants only. Further payments of £2.9 million and £0.6 million which cannot be allocated to a specific region were made in 1988-89 and 1989-90 respectively. <2> These grants, which make up the Regional Enterprise Grants scheme, are applicable only in Development Areas and the Intermediate Areas in South Yorkshire designated under the EC RESIDER programme. <3> No designated areas in this region. <4> To end November 1989.
Expenditure plans for 1990-91 and 1991-92 will be published in the public expenditure White Paper in January.
Deflators for part-years are not readily available. It would be inappropriate to use the deflator for 1989-90 as a whole to convert the outturn figures for the first eight months of the year only.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether in the last 10 years he or his predecessors, either by direction or informally, secured changes in the accounting conventions followed by British Telecom, Cable and Wireless, British Steel, Jaguar, Rover, Rolls- Royce or British Aerospace, respectively ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Forth [holding answer 18 December 1989] : When these companies were in the public sector, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry had powers to direct, with Treasury approval, the methods and principles according to which their statements of accounts were prepared. Details of when such directions were issued are not readily available and could be assembled only at disappropriate cost. Since privatisation, the accounting conventions used have been a matter for the chairman and board of each company in consultation with its auditors.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what level of resources his Department is currently committing to the promotion of multilingual product labelling in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Forth [holding answer 12 December 1989] : It is vital for products to be labelled in a language which the customer understands, and this message forms part of my Department's general single market campaign. However, there are no departmental resources devoted specifically to multilingual product labelling : the costs of such labelling should properly be borne by United Kingdom firms themselves.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what is his best estimate of the level of European regional development fund aid commitments to all eligible public bodies in each of the last five years in (a) Bradford, (b) the west midlands and (c) South Yorkshire ;
(2) what is his most up-to-date estimate of the total amounts of European regional development fund aid commitments to all eligible public bodies in 1989 and in 1990 in (a) Bradford, (b) the west midlands and (c) South Yorkshire.
£ million |Bradford |West |South |Midlands |Yorkshire -------------------------------------------------- 1984 |4 |18 |21 1985 |3 |45 |10 1986 |10 |43 |19 1987 |2 |63 |17 1988 |0 |21 |3 1989 |<1>9 |<1>0 |<1>21 1990 |<2>- |<2>- |<2>- <1> estimates <2> estimates not yet available
Mr. Redwood [holding answer 18 December 1989 ] : My noble Friend the Minister for Trade had been carefully considering the views expressed by the industry and other member states before reaching a final decision on how the United Kingdom should respond to the Commission's report following its inquiry into imports of footwear from South Korea and Taiwan. He has concluded that the report does not make out an economic case for restrictions on imports of footwear from Taiwan and South Korea. The Commission has been told that consistently with our general approach on trade policy issues the United Kingdom Government are therefore opposed to such safeguard action on imports of footwear from South Korea and Taiwan. We have, however, suggested to the Commission that if they were to propose some form of surveillance licensing we would give this sympathetic consideration.
Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 20 December 1989 ] : Payments totalling £61,795 have been made to Babcock Fata Ltd under the support for innovation scheme. This scheme closed in January 1988. No other grants have been made.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will provide estimates by sex for the number of claimants who will be removed from the unemployment count as a result of the introduction of the Social Security (Unemployment, Sickness and Invalidity Benefit) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 1989 ; and if he will
Column 402further break down these figures by sex into (a) part-time workers, (b) part-time and temporary workers and (c) short- time workers.
Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many boarders were paid by each Scottish local office in March for those in residential care on grounds of (a) old age, (b) very dependent elderly, (c) mental disorder, (d) drug or alcohol dependency, (e) mental handicap, (f) physical disability, under pension age, (g) physical disability over pension age and (h) others ; and for those in nursing homes on the grounds of (i) mental disorder, (ii) drug or alcohol dependency, (iii) mental handicap, (iv) terminal illness, (v) physical disability under pension age, (vi) physical disability over pension age, and (vii) others ;
(2) what is the number of boarders in nursing homes for Scotland, England and Wales by Department of Social Security region in the years from 1982 ;
(3) what is the number of boarders in residential care accommodation in Scotland by Department of Social Security local office during the last financial year ;
(4) what is the number of boarders in residential care accommodation for Scotland, England and Wales by Department of Social Security region in the years from 1982.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement of the findings by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration on the results of his investigation under the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 into a complaint made by Miss Jane Brown, 31 Moray road, Port Glasgow, (C850/88).
Mr Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many claimants of unemployment benefit will be denied benefit in the travel-to-work areas in the constituency of Roxburgh and Berwickshire by imposition of the £43 weekly earnings rule ; (2) if he will list the proportion of claimants of unemployment benefit in each travel-to-work area in the United Kingdom who will be denied unemployment benefit by the new £43 weekly earnings rule.
Column 403Mrs. Gillian Shephard : It is estimated that, in any one week, around 5,000 people declare earnings in excess of £43 and will lose unemployment benefit.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will undertake a full review of benefits available to claimants of unemployment benefit to include the implications of new patterns of work for those claiming benefit.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : We have no plans to undertake a full review of unemployment benefit. We have recently introduced a number of changes to make the benefit more relevant to current needs. We are of course monitoring the effects of those changes.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will contact each of the people who lost their entitlement to unemployment benefit on 1 January 1989 to inform them that they are entitled to reclaim that benefit in line with section 16(1)(c) of the Interpretation Act 1978 and the previous decision of the Social Security Commissioner in paragraph 5 of case CG/069/1988 and in case Z/10/4811/Norwich.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Discretion to make small-scale purchases of items of art is devolved to local managers and some initiatives for the commissioning of larger-scale murals for public waiting areas have taken place. The extent of expenditure and sponsorship in this and other areas of the arts is not normally separately identified, but our Newcastle central office carried out a special exercise and expenditure last year amounted to £4,359.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he is taking to provide, under social security legislation, for special disclosure requirements by plan managers to those investing in unit -linked personal pension plans.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : As part of our response to the Occupational Pensions Board report we intend to review the disclosure requirements for occupational and personal pension schemes. This review will include information required by those investing in unit-linked personal pension plans.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are his assumptions for low community charge calculations of the level of income of a couple, one of whom is in work and who have no dependent children or other dependants, below which they may be eligible for rebate on their community charge.
Mr. Scott : The scheme will apply to any compensation payment made on or after 3 September 1990 where the injury occurred on or after 1 January 1989. The lower limit of compensation payments to which recovery will apply is £2,500 gross--that is before benefits have been deducted. This amount is substantially more than the figure suggested by Touche Ross and will reduce the number of cases to be dealt with by around 37 per cent. It recognises the representations made by the Association of British Insurers, the CBI, TUC and others about the lower limit. We expect to lay affirmative regulations before Parliament soon setting out the administrative details of the scheme.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The Department's administration budget for 1989-90 was settled during the 1988 public expenditure survey and published in the 1989 public expenditure Whie Paper (Cm 615). It reflected the wide range of the Department's activities, including its computerisation programme. If this programme had not been undertaken it is estimated that in the year 1989-90 the Department would have required 4,000 additional staff at a cost of some £42 million.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The Resettlement Units Executive Agency was established in May 1989. We have also made a good deal of progress towards establishing the Information Technology Services Agency (ITSA) and National Insurance Contributions Unit (NICU), both of which are scheduled to commence in April 1990. The Social Security Benefits Agency is scheduled to commence in April 1991. Staff have been informed of progress.
We expect the agencies to develop further after their launch as they gain experience and adjust their approach to management in line with the needs of their business. Establishment of the agencies is just the first step in improving service to the public and the cost-effectiveness of social security administration.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many instances of complaint against local social security services he has received during the last five years from British citizens who have felt their efforts to adopt children from overseas have been hindered by lack of co-operation from social services staff.
The Department receives representations from time to time from people who find that local authorities are unable to provide advice and services in connection with the proposed adoption of children from overseas. People who contemplate this very serious step are especially in need of skilled advice and counselling. We would hope that this would be available from local authorities, bearing in mind the guidance issued by the Department in 1987 to introduce the comprehensive adoption service : the guidance stated that counselling of prospective adopters, including those who seek to adopt from overseas, should be provided as part of the service. It is particularly important that such people should know that arrangements to adopt a child from overseas should be made only through properly authorised agencies or charitable organisations.
Column 406proposed merger of the Countryside Commission and Nature Conservancy Council, indicating those which are opposed and those in favour.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : We have received 13 representations from voluntary organiisations in Wales on the general proposals. It is not possible clearly to state in all cases that particular organisations are opposed or in favour. A number of organisations have raised questions and made some criticisms but I am delighted that many other organisations, including the chairmen and chief officers of the national parks in Wales, the National Farmers Union committee for Wales, the advisory committees for Wales of the Nature Conservancy Council and the Countryside Commission, have all welcomed the proposals.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will establish a centre for the education of children with motor neurone disorders such as cerebral palsy ; if he will visit the Peto Institute in Hungary ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Grist : My hon. Friend the Minister of State responsible for the disabled announced on 15 December a Government contribution towards the establishment of a new international Peto institute. The Welsh Office has been associated with the discussions leading to that announcement. Subject to the detailed negotiations, Welsh children, along with others from the United Kingdom, will have access to available places at the institute.
The Department is keeping in close touch with progress on the pilot conductive education project in Birmingham. Neither my right hon. Friend nor I have any current plans to visit Hungary but we are aware of the work of the Peto institute from reports of visits by other Government Ministers.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : The schemes to dual the A5 across Anglesey are being added to the trunk road improvement programme. Firm information on likely costs is not yet available. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answers I gave him on Thursday 7 December and Thursday 14 December regarding the A548 Dee crossing scheme.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the number of visits made this year, by county, to (a) nursery, primary and junior schools and (b) secondary schools by (i) the Secretary of State for Wales and (ii) the Minister of State, Welsh Office ; and if he will name the schools involved.
Column 407Mr. Wyn Roberts : During 1989 my right hon. Friend visited one comprehensive school and one independent school with an age range of seven to 18. In the same period I visited seven primary schools and six secondary schools. A summary of these visits shown in the following table :
School |Date ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Schools visits undertaken in 1989 by the Secretary of State for Wales Abersychan comprehensive school, Gwent |27 June 1989 Howells independent school for girls ( age |21 November 1989 range 7 to 18), South Glamorgan School visits undertaken in 1989 by the Minister of State for Wales Ysgol Morfa Rhiannedd (county primary), |13 January 1989 Gwynedd Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy secondary school, |13 January 1989 Gwynedd Kitchener county primary school, South |26 January 1989 Glamorgan Fitzalan high school, South Glamorgan |26 January 1989 Glyncorrwg county primary school, West |3 February 1989 Glamorgan Cwm Tawe comprehensive school, West |3 February 1989 Glamorgan Ysgol Teilo Sant (county primary), Dyfed |17 February 1989 Ysgol Gyfun Bro Myrddin (secondary school), |28 April 1989 Dyfed Coed Cae comprehensive school, Dyfed |17 February 1989 Penywaun infant and junior schools, Mid |24 February 1989 Glamorgan Treorchy comprehensive school, Mid |24 February 1989 Glamorgan Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni |31 November 1989 (comprehensive), Mid Glamorgan Rhosgoch primary school, Powys |1 December 1989
Mr. Peter Walker : The assumed expenditure levels (consistent with standard spending assessments) of £6.002 million for Arfon and £3.544 million for Dwyfor are based on 1989-90 budgets, adjusted for changes in functions and funding arrangements and inflated to 1990-91 levels.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assumption he made of the amount of income that (a) Arfon borough council and (b) Cyngor Dosbarth Dwyfor, would receive from the distribution of business rate when he assessed that their personal community charge per capita would amount to £156 and £155 respectively.
(a) £1,361,000 and
These figures were updated by my statement to the House on 18 December 1989 to :
(a) £1,347,000 and
I now estimate community charge for 1990-91 to be £153 in the Arfon area and £149 in the Dwyfor area if councils spend in line with my assumptions.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the maximum charge per annum on community charge payers in Wales arising from the charge levied on account of the expenditure of a community council.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the relationship between those areas, which have been granted transitional relief for the community charge for 1990-91, and the levels of per capita household incomes, and the indices for deprivation for such areas ; and whether any area of the Dwyfor district has met the criteria to be granted such transitional relief.
Mr Peter Walker : Transitional relief is calculated by comparing average rate bills for 1989-90 in community areas with my estimates of community charge levels. As such the scheme is intended to moderate the increases community chargepayers would otherwise face in moving from the domestic rating system. Income levels and indices of deprivation are thus not relevant to the operation of these transitional arrangements.
Provisional details of those communities who may be entitled to transitional relief were placed in the Library on 18 December 1989. No communities in Dwyfor were shown as receiving relief.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of community charge payers in Wales live in those communities eligible for transitional relief by way of additional grant ; what is the total number of such people ; and what is the maximum increase that will be made by way of individuals payment in such communities, on the basis of his statement to the House of 10 December.
Mr. Peter Walker : I refer the hon. Gentleman to my statement to the House on 18 December. Provisional details of communities which may be entitled to transitional relief have been placed in the Library.
No community area will face a charge more than a threshold amount (about £20) above the average domestic rate bill per adult in 1989-90 (assuming that councils spend in line with the settlement).
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what will be the total payment to be made by non-domestic ratepayers in Wales in 1990-91 ; and what is the total payment to be made by these ratepayers in 1989-90.
Mr. Peter Walker : The total payment to be made by non-domestic ratepayers in Wales in 1990-91 is estimated to be £446 million, of which £3 million will be retained by charging authorities to meet the costs of collection. No
Column 409direct comparison can be made with the 1989- 90 payment because of changes in the structure of exemptions and reliefs, and different arrangements for empty property rating, all of which take effect for the first time in 1990-91. The Welsh national non-domestic rating multiplier has been set such that the average business ratepayer will pay broadly the same in 1990-91, in real terms, as in 1989-90.