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Dr. Mawhinney : There are at present 10 integrated schools operating in Northern Ireland of which seven have achieved maintained status. The Education Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 1989, which comes into operation on 20 February 1990, introduces provisions that will facilitate the development of integrated schools and which will, I hope, increase the opportunity to opt for integrated education for those parents who wish it for their children.
These provisions do not seek to impose integrated schools and the rate of progress will be determined entirely by parental demand.
45. Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the effects of proposed changes in the funding of youth training projects in community workshops.
Mr. Needham : Under the new arrangements community workshops will become recognised training organisations and there will be a greater emphasis on quality training with outcomes, including the attainment of vocational qualifications. The workshops will be paid a set amount per trainee and, compared with the present system, the management committee will have the freedom to make decisions on how to operate and how to organise
Column 335their training programmes. I have listened very carefully to the representations made to me in recent weeks and at my meeting last Monday with the Northern Ireland Association of Community Workshops I told them of modifications I had decided to make to the original proposals to meet their concerns. I am hopeful that the workshops' response will be positive and that they will now proceed to draw up their operational plans for 1990-91.
Mr. Needham : Since 1987 the Department of the Environment has been extending its environmental improvement programme outside the cities of Belfast and Londonderry and there are also programmes for comprehensive development, pedestrianisation and conservation and open space grants.
The Department also administers a package of financial incentives for urban regeneration made available by the International Fund for Ireland. I understand that the fund is presently reviewing its programmes including its urban development programme which has provided support for regeneration of towns and villages outside Belfast and Londonderry.
Mr. Cope : I have nothing to add to the answers given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) and other hon. Members on 15 January 1990, at columns 21-27.
Mr. Brooke : A review of the working of the Intergovernmental Conference as provided for in article 11 of the agreement was completed in May 1989. Copies of the report recording the outcome of the review were placed in the Library at the time. There are no plans for a further review at this stage, but paragraph 29 of the review report provides that
"If in the future it were to appear that the objectives of the Agreement could be more effectively served by changes in the scope and nature of the working of the Conference, consistent with the basic provisions and spirit of the Agreement the two governments would be ready in principle to consider such changes."
Mr. Skinner : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to phase out the Anglo-Irish Agreement ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Brooke : The Government are committed to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and to the principles it embodies, but I remain ready to consider constructive proposals for political progress which have a wide measure of support.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many of the different categories of hospital beds there are at present ; and how many there were for the equivalent categories 10 years ago.
Average daily number of available beds Category |1980 |1988-89 ----------------------------------------------------- All specialties |17,064 |14,686 Acute |7,168 |6,017 Obstetrics |732 |702 Geriatric medicine |2,528 |2,564 Mental illness |4,779 |3,900 Mental handicap |1,533 |1,345 General practitioner beds |324 |158
Mr. Hayward : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what are the five largest hospital building projects in Northern Ireland currently under construction ; and what is the projected cost of each.
Project |Cost |£ million ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- New Antrim Hospital |41.1 Mater Hospital, Belfast-reconstruction scheme |13.8 Gransha Hospital, Londonderry-Geriatric Unit and Day Hospital |5.1 Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast-Geriatric Unit and Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast-extension of cardiac surgery intensive care facilities |1.7
Mr. Hayward : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what have been the five largest hospital building projects completed in Northern Ireland since 1979 ; and what is the cost of each.
Project |Cost |£ million ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Belfast City Hospital Tower Block |61.0 Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry-major extension |6.1 Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry-nucleus cluster II |3.2 Erne Hospital, Enniskillen-Geriatric Unit and Day Hospital |3.1 Altnagelvin Hospital, Londonderry-nucleus cluster I |3.0
Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will establish a teaching council representative of teachers in Northern Ireland to work in partnership with Government on professional matters related to the teaching profession and the raising of educational standards.
Dr. Mawhinney : I am satisfied that the current arrangements for matters such as the standards of qualifications and entry to the profession and responsibility for teachers' probation and recognition are working satisfactorily. There are no plans for changes of the type suggested by the hon. Member.
Column 337On the general issue of raising educational standards, I look forward to a continuing partnership with the teaching profession to achieve the objectives set out in the Education Reform (NI) Order 1989.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many breath tests were carried out over the Christmas and new year periods in each of the last five years in Northern Ireland ; and how many proved positive.
Year |Tested |Positive ------------------------------------ 1985 |70 |25 1986 |89 |27 1987 |34 |10 1988 |49 |19 1989 |105 |41
Mr. Needham : The Government are firmly committed to the promotion of enterprise in Northern Ireland and this commitment is reflected in the wide range of enterprise activities of the Local Enterprise Development Unit (LEDU), which is funded by the Government. The importance of the work which LEDU is doing is demonstrated by the substantial increase in resources which the Government are making available to LEDU in 1990-91. Examples of recent LEDU initiatives include stimulating and supporting innovatory technological projects with export potential and an enterprise awareness campaign. As regards investment, one of the primary objectives of the Industrial Development Board for Northern Ireland is to seek to attract investment from Great Britain and overseas. The IDB is concentrating its efforts on those sectors which are most likely to produce mobile investment projects whose requirements can be matched by the particular strengths and expertise which Northern Ireland offers. For example the IDB is seeking to attract service sector projects from the south-east of England because of the difficulties of recruiting and retaining staff which are intensified by the falling birth rate there. These difficulties do not apply in Northern Ireland where the numbers entering the labour market with good educational qualifications will increase during the 1990s.
Mr. Needham : The present members of the board were appointed for a three-year term ending on 30 June 1991. I will take the opportunity of such occasional vacancies as occur before then to ensure that the board has the range of skills and experience needed to implement the tourism strategy announced last year.
Mr. Cope : The scale and likely timing of structural funds assistance to Northern Ireland is set out in the Community support framework document, recently agreed with the Commission. This forecasts that for the EC budgetary year 1990--the nearest analogue to our own 1990- 91 financial year--Northern Ireland's structural funds commitment will amount to 160 million ecu (about £110 million at today's exchange rate).
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the required funds will be released for the harbour development scheme at Ardglass in South Down ; and what is the estimated commencement date for the scheme.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The results of the model study on proposed improvements to Ardglass harbour have indicated that a larger scheme than was originally envisaged would provide greater shelter within the harbour. A cost-benefit analysis for a larger scheme needs
Column 339to be completed to establish whether the much greater expenditure would be justified and, if it would, to support a bid for the additional grantaid in competition with other demands for Government funding. At this stage it is not possible to indicate a commencement date.
Mr. Hume : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a table showing in 1980-81 and for each of the school years from 1985-86, inclusive (a) the value of the educational maintenance allowance and (b) the means-test level, and the indexed real value of the allowance using (i) 1980-81, (ii) 1985-86 and (iii) 1989-90 as a base.
School Maximum Means-test LevelIndexed Real Value Year Allowance |Lower |Upper |1980-81|1985-86|1989-90 |£ |£ |£ |£ |£ |£ ---------------------------------------------------------------- Aged 16 1980-81 |380 |1,670 |2,880 |380 |516 |630 1985-86 |390 |2,485 |3,925 |287 |390 |477 1986-87 |390 |2,485 |3,925 |279 |379 |436 1987-88 |390 |2,485 |3,925 |268 |363 |444 1988-89 |390 |2,485 |3,925 |253 |343 |420 1989-90 |390 |2,485 |3,925 |235 |319 |390 Aged 17 1980-81 |430 |1,670 |3,140 |430 |542 |663 1985-86 |475 |2,485 |4,165 |377 |475 |580 1986-87 |475 |2,485 |4,165 |366 |461 |563 1987-88 |475 |2,485 |4,165 |351 |443 |541 1988-89 |475 |2,485 |4,165 |332 |418 |511 1989-90 |475 |2,485 |4,165 |308 |389 |475 Aged 18 1980-81 |510 |1,670 |3,470 |510 |734 |897 1985-86 |494 |2,485 |4,645 |343 |494 |604 1986-87 |494 |2,484 |4,645 |333 |480 |586 1987-88 |494 |2,485 |4,645 |320 |460 |563 1988-89 |494 |2,485 |4,654 |302 |435 |532 1989-90 |494 |2,485 |4,645 |281 |404 |494
Mr. Hume : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what information is available to indicate the number of educational maintenance allowances paid in each board area in each school year from 1985-86, inclusive.
Board |1985-86 |1986-87 |1987-88 |1988-89 |<1>1989-90 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Belfast |226 |230 |109 |67 |35 Western |715 |575 |398 |171 |60 North Eastern |186 |179 |93 |65 |36 South Eastern |155 |130 |82 |51 |50 Southern |491 |389 |303 |192 |150 <1> Estimated.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the figures for the number of people in Northern Ireland who were convicted of offences in Northern Ireland when under the age of 20 years, and have been detained for more than 10 years and are still detained.
Mr. Cope : Thirty-five such prisoners have served periods of 10 years or more in prison and are still detained. Of these 11 are Secretary of State's pleasure cases and 21 are life sentence prisoners ; the remaining three are serving determinate sentences.
Dr. Mawhinney : Since the publication of the White Paper "Top-Up Loans for Students" (Cm. 520) in November 1988 representations expressing a variety of views have been received from four Members of Parliament, two district councils, the Fair Employment Agency, local representatives of the National Union of Students and other student bodies. In addition, some 400 postcards were received during the course of a campaign mounted by student unions.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total amount (a) spent, (b) estimated to be spent and (c) planned to be spent on social security in Northern Ireland in actual and at 1989 prices for each of the years 1978-79 to 1992-93 ; what was the cash and real terms percentage increase for each year ; and what is his estimate of each year's increase accounted for by (i) an increase in the number of claimants and (ii) a real terms increase in benefit levels.
|£ million |Actual |£ millions|Real terms |(cash) |percentage|(1989 |percentage |increase |prices) |increase |annually |annually ------------------------------------------------------------------ 1978-79 |494 |20.5 |1,162 |8.8 1979-80 |590 |19.4 |1,189 |2.3 1980-81 |717 |21.5 |1,221 |2.7 1981-82 |865 |20.6 |1,341 |9.8 1982-83 |995 |15.0 |1,439 |7.3 1983-84 |1,084 |8.9 |1,498 |4.1 1984-85 |1,190 |9.8 |1,566 |4.5 1985-86 |1,298 |9.1 |1,621 |3.5 1986-87 |1,412 |8.8 |1,706 |5.3 1987-88 |1,492 |5.7 |1,712 |0.4 1988-89 |1,556 |4.3 |1,665 |-2.8 1989-90 |1,698 |9.1 |1,698 |2.0 1990-91 |1,860 |9.5 |1,771 |4.3 1991-92 |2,017 |8.4 |1,856 |4.8 1992-93 |2,124 |5.3 |1,897 |2.2
Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the effect of the proposals contained in, "The Way Ahead : Benefits for Disabled People" on claimants in Northern Ireland ; and if he will estimate the number of people in Northern Ireland who will benefit from the proposed mobility component together with his estimate of the number who will benefit from the proposed care component.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 29 January 1990] : On the basis of the well-established principle of parity in social security provision between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, the new proposals affecting social security entitlement for the disabled and their carers will be introduced in Northern Ireland and on the same time scale as in the rest of the United Kingdom. In addition to those currently entitled to mobility allowance and attendance allowance in Northern Ireland, it is estimated that 4,000 people will benefit from the mobility components and 4,000 from the care components of the proposed disability allowance.
Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will meet representatives of the disabled in Northern Ireland to discuss the Government Paper, "The Way Ahead : Benefits for Disabled People", and if he has any plans to issue an equivalent document for Northern Ireland.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 29 January 1990] : As parity in social security provisions between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom remains Government policy, there are no plans to issue a further document for Northern Ireland. My noble Friend the Minister responsible for health and social services in Northern Ireland will be pleased to hear the views of representatives of the disabled in Northern Ireland on the new proposals.
Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the impact of the proposals for the privatisation of hospital services upon the equality of opportunity between the two communities and between the sexes.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 29 January 1990] : The health and social services boards are fully committed to the principle of equality of opportunity for all employees. Companies tendering for contracts in the health and personal social services are required to meet their statutory obligations under the fair employment and sex discrimination legislation.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much was paid in benefit in 1989 to one-parent families in Britain ; and what estimate he has as to the amount likely to be spent in 1990.
Social security expenditure on lone parents £ million, Great Britain |Cash prices|Real terms |(in 1989-90 |prices) |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------ <1>1988-89 |3,630 |3,884 1989-90 |3,930 |3,930 1990-91 |4,290 |4,086 Notes: <1>Revised figures for 1988-89 take account of amended estimates of Housing Benefit and Child Benefit expenditure. <2>Benefits included are Child Benefit, One Parent Benefit, Income Support, Family Credit, Housing Benefit and Maternity Benefit.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what improvements have been made to benefits for single parents since 1979 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Improvements made to the benefit system for lone-parent families since 1979 are shown in table 1. Other improvements to the benefit system for families with children which have also helped lone- parent families are shown in table 2. These are in addition to increases of benefit in annual upratings.
Table 1 Improvements In Benefit System for Lone Parent Families Date and Change
Supplementary Benefit. The £6 weekly flat rate disregard was replaced by a tapered earnings disregard up to a maximum of £12 (first £4 of earnings disregarded in full, and half of the amount of any earnings between £4 and £20 also disregarded.)
Income Support. The new structure of personal allowances provided that all lone parents aged 18 or over received the full adult rate of Income Support. For single people without dependants this rate only available from age 25.
Lone parent premium introduced ; paid on top of the family premium from the outset of a claim for those lone parents who did not qualify for another type of premium.
Earnings disregard increased from the £12 a week tapered disregard to a flat rate £15 a week.
Family Credit. A much more generous scheme for all low-income families than the Family Income Supplement scheme.
Lone parent families assessed at the same level as two-parent families.
One Parent Benefit disregarded in calculating a claimant's income. Housing Benefit. General alignment of benefit rules with Income Support, with higher level of lone parent premium in Housing Benefit providing an incentive to move off Income Support.
Column 343Proposed Improvements October 1990
Housing Benefit, Community Charge Benefit. For lone parents not on Income Support earnings disregard to be increased from £15 to £25 a week.
Table 2 Improvements in Benefit System for Families with Children which have also helped Lone Parent Families Date and Change November 1979
Supplementary Benefit. Introduction of age-related heating addition for children under 5 years of age.
Supplementary Benefit. Reduction of qualifying period for long-term scale rate from 2 years to 1 year.
Maternity Grant. The £25 Maternity Grant made non-contributory. November 1985
Family Income Supplement. Age-related rates for children introduced.
Maternity Benefits. Introduction of Statutory Maternity Pay paid by employer.
More recent contribution test for Maternity Allowance for women not entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay.
Greater choice for women as to when to give up work in pregnancy without affecting title to either Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance.
General. Social Security reforms improved the position for those wanting to work.
For the first time the income-related benefits aligned so that entitlement to Income Support, Housing Benefit and Family Credit assessed using the same basic rules.
By assessing Familt Credit and Housing Benefit on net rather than gross income the worst effects of the poverty trap eliminated. Income Support. Family premium introduced to help families bringing up children.
Value of interest in former home disregarded for 26 weeks following estrangement or divorce.
Housing Benefit. Start point for Housing Benefit became 100 per cent. of eligible rent and 80 per cent. of eligible rates. April 1989
Income Support, Family Credit, Housing Benefit. Children's rates enhanced by 50p over and above amount needed to maintain their real value.
Proposed Improvements April 1990
Income Support, Housing Benefit, Community Charge Benefit. Extra 50p to be added to the family premium over and above the amount needed to maintain real value.
Family Credit. Adult credit to be increased by £1 over and above the amount needed to maintain real value.