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Research and Development (Food)

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what amount was spent on (a) research and (b) development on (i) food safety, (ii) food quality and (iii) food processing for each of the last 10 years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gummer : The table sets out figures showing the expenditure by Government on food R and D over the past 10 years. Data on expenditure on food quality, safety and processing are not readily available before 1984- 85. Figures for research and development separately are not available.

The Government are firmly committed to funding research on food safety and hygiene issues of concern to consumers, producers and industry.


Government spending on food R & D (at current prices)                   

                         of which primary AIM:                          

            |Total food |Safety     |Quality    |Processing             

            |R & D                                                      

            |expenditure                                                

             £ million   £ million                                      

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

1980-81     |9.7        |n/a        |n/a        |n/a                    

1981-82     |13.6       |n/a        |n/a        |n/a                    

1982-83     |16.2       |n/a        |n/a        |n/a                    

1983-84     |17.8       |n/a        |n/a        |n/a                    

1984-85     |20.4       |<1>4.6     |<1>6.0     |<1>9.0                 

1985-86     |23.5       |5.2        |7.1        |11.2                   

1986-87     |24.6       |5.1        |7.3        |12.2                   

1987-88     |26.4       |<2>9.7     |-          |<3>16.7                

1988-89     |28.8       |<2>10.9    |-          |<3>17.9                

1989-90<4>  |31.5       |<2>11.5    |-          |<3>20.0                

Notes: n/a Figures not readily available.                               

<1> £0.8 million is not attributable to subject area.                   

<2> Change of definition in 1987-88; aimed primarily at food safety and 

applied nutrition.                                                      

<3> Change of definition in 1987-88: aimed primarily at food quality    

and technology.                                                         

<4>  Provisional.                                                       

Pesticide Residues

Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what checks are carried out to check for pesticide residues, and in particular DDT residues, on imports of fruit and vegetables from Spain.

Mr. Maclean : The Government undertake a continuous monitoring programme of fruit and vegetables and other major food commodity groups from all sources, including Spain, to ensure that residue levels of DDT and other pesticides do not exceed statutory levels contained in the Pesticides (Maximum Residue Levels in Food) Regulations 1988. The results are published ; the latest report covering the period 1985 to 1989 was published by HMSO in 1989 (Food Surveillance Paper No. 25).

Waste Disposal

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will name those materials categorised as inert or of natural origin currently dumped by the United Kingdom in the North sea under existing licences and those categorised under other headings.

Mr. Gummer : Materials licensed for dumping by the United Kingdom which are categorised by the Oslo commission as being inert and of natural origin are colliery stone and clean sand. Other material dumped includes


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port and navigation dredgings, which other North sea countries also dump at sea. In addition the United Kingdom licenses the dumping at sea of sewage sludge, liquid industrial waste and flyash. The disposal at sea of liquid industrial waste and flyash is being terminated as soon as environmentally acceptable land-based means of disposal can be introduced.

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the specific waste materials mentioned in the United Kingdom's current applications for further industrial waste disposal licences relating to the practice of waste disposal in the seas around the United Kingdom, including the North sea.

Mr. Gummer : The United Kingdom has submitted information to the Oslo commission in accordance with the internationally agreed procedures in respect of the following wastes :

1. Wash waters from synthesis of Intal--a treatment for asthma and allergies.

2. Aqueous residues from preparation of paracetamol.

3. Salt solution from manufacture of O-tolyl-byguanide, exported for use in paint and soap manufacture.

4. Wash waters from synthesis of antibiotic and anti-ulcer medicines.

The crucial importance of some of these products will be obvious. Since the date information was forwarded to the Oslo commission on the first waste an alternative means of disposal has been implemented. I have therefore rejected an application for renewal of the licence for the sea dumping of this material.

Alternative means of disposal are also being put in place for the third and fourth of these wastes and dumping at sea will cease later this year.

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the Government's timetable for ending the current practice of the bulk dumping of various waste materials, including sewage sludge, in the North sea and in other maritime locations around the United Kingdom.

Mr. Gummer : The dumping of flyash and liquid industrial wastes is being terminated as soon as environmentally acceptable land-based means of disposal are available. Considerable progress has already been made in reducing the number of sea dumping licences and alternative disposal methods are currently being developed and implemented for the few remaining licensed materials.

Nearly 70 per cent. of our sewage sludge production is already disposed of on land. Licences for the sea dumping of the remainder are issued in accordance with international agreements and are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure that sea dumping will cause no harm in the marine environment and to confirm that no practicable land-based means of disposal are currently available.

There is no international requirement to phase out the sea dumping of dredged materials, which are dumped by all North sea states, and inert materials of natural origin.

Eggs

Mr. Alexander : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will undertake a review of the overall effectiveness of recent legislation affecting the egg producing industry.


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Mr. Gummer [pursuant to his reply, 11 January 1990, c. 747] : As indicated to the House of Commons Agriculture Committee during its recent further inquiry on salmonella in eggs, I have been reviewing the compensation paid when flocks infected with salmonella are compulsorily slaughtered. I am now introducing new scales of values for calculating compensation which reflect increases in commercial prices since the scales were first drawn up. The scales will also be kept under regular review in future. If a producer disagrees with the Ministry's valuation he will continue to have the right to take the matter to arbitration.

I am also amending the orders on the registration and testing of poultry flocks for salmonella, to remove the provisions that require the registers to be open to public inspection. I am taking this step as I accept that the ready availability of the registers could jeopardise the security of poultry premises.

In our programme of measures to control salmonella, protection of public health continues to be our first priority, but, as these changes indicate, we are also alive to concerns expressed by the industry about certain aspects of our controls. I am also continuing to press hard for measures on salmonella to be introduced throughout the Community.

EMPLOYMENT

Unofficial Disputes

4. Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what proportion of strikes result from unofficial action.

Mr. Howard : Approximately half all stoppages and one third of all days lost in 1988 were in unofficial disputes.

81. Mr. John Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many working days were lost last year as a result of unofficial industrial action.

Mr. Nicholls : Separate statistics on unofficial strikes ceased to be published as a regular series in 1981. However, information from a special exercise for 1988 was included in the Government's Green Paper "Unofficial Action and the Law", a copy of which is in the House of Commons Library. This showed that approximately 1.3 million days were lost to unofficial disputes in 1988.

Work Permits

14. Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received in response to his consultation paper on the work permit scheme ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Eggar : Over 70 responses to the consultation exercise have been received. My right hon. and learned Friend hopes to announce the outome of the review in the near future.

Small Businesses

15. Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has any information about the growth of the small business sector in 1989.

Mr. Eggar : Early indications are that there was a net increase of some 80,000 businesses registered for VAT in 1989. This compares with an increase of 64,000 in 1988.


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57. Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his latest estimate of the number of jobs created annually by small firms.

Mr. Nicholls : The latest research commissioned by my Department estimates that between 1985 and 1987, firms employing between five and 19 people created 290,000 additional jobs, compared with just 20, 000 in larger firms.

Enterprise Councils

18. Mr. Dunnachie : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish the representations made to him by the National Union of Civil and Public Servants and the Civil and Public Servants Association regarding the staffing of local enterprise councils and TECs.

Mr. Eggar : No.

Youth Training

20. Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many and what percentage of young people aged 16 to 20 years receive training in Germany, Japan, the United States of America, Sweden and the United Kingdom for the most recent date for which information is available.

Mr. Howard : The figures available are for the proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds in education or training in 1986. They are as follows :


Country                  |Percentage           

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

West Germany             |90                   

Japan                    |79                   

United States of America |80                   

Sweden                   |78                   

United Kingdom           |64                   

The figure for the United Kingdom rose to 69 per cent. in 1988. I agree that more needs to be done in the field of youth training. That is why we are setting up training and enterprise councils to ensure that more young people get training of the kind they need.

ACAS

21. Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he last met the chair of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service ; and what matters were discussed.

Mr. Nicholls : My right hon. and learned Friend has not yet had the opportunity to meet the chairman of ACAS.

Local Offices

22. Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to merge jobcentres with unemployment benefit offices.

Mr. Eggar : The employment service is working progressively to bring jobcentres and benefit offices together under one roof to provide a new and improved one-stop service.

Over the next few years, the employment service will be working to establish a national network of some 1,100 to 1,200 employment service offices.


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Labour Statistics

23. Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many full-time jobs have been (a) lost and (b) created in the inner city of Liverpool in the last six months.

Mr. Nicholls : This information is not available. The Department's statistics for local areas monitor only net changes in employment between census of employment dates, and the most recent figures are for September 1987.

24. Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the current rate of employment in the United Kingdom and list those countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development whose rate of unemployment is higher.

Mr. Howard : In December 1989, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the United Kingdom was 5.8 per cent. On the OECD international definition the unemployment rate was higher in Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Denmark and Canada.

Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the change in long-term unemployment since April 1986.

Mr. Nicholls : In October 1989, the number of unemployed claimants in the United Kingdom who had been unemployed for 12 months or more was down 743,194 or 54.8 per cent. compared with April 1986. The comparison is affected by the change of the count from September 1988 due to new benefit regulations affecting those young people aged under 18 years.

87. Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the change in numbers of unemployed in the Norwich travel-to-work area since 1987.

Mr. Nicholls : In December 1989 the number of unemployed claimants in the Norwich travel-to-work areas was 5,918, a fall of 6,484 or 52.3 per cent. since the June 1987 election. The comparison is affected by the change in the coverage of the count from September 1988 due to the new benefit regulations affecting those aged under 18, and are not seasonally adjusted.

88. Mr. Fry : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many (a) men and (b) women over the age of 55 years were unemployed at the latest count (i) for less than six months, (ii) for between six months and 12 months, (iii) for between 12 months and two years and(iv) over two years.

Mr. Nicholls : The requested information is contained in the following table.


Unemployed claimants over 55 years old in the United Kingdom                                        

October 1989 (unadjusted)                                                                           

Duration of unemployment |Male                    |Female                                           

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

Less than 6 months       |41,795                  |9,489                                            

6 to 12 months           |22,173                  |5,298                                            

1 to 2 years             |19,965                  |6,377                                            

Over 2 years             |69,167                  |23,027                                           

83. Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make a statement on job losses in the east midlands in recent months.


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Mr. Nicholls : There are no figures for job losses and job gains, but latest estimates show that the civilian work force in employment has risen by 34,000 over the year to September 1989. Estimates for the last year are as follows :


Civilian work force in employment in east midlands region   

unadjusted for seasonal variation                           

                                        |Thousands          

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

September 1988                          |1,777              

December 1988                           |1,778              

March 1989                              |1,782              

June 1989                               |1,793              

September 1989                          |1,810              

                                                            

Change September 1988 to September 1989 |34                 

                                                            

                                        |per cent.          

Percentage change September 1988                            

  to September 1989                     |1.9                

69. Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many individuals are working in two jobs and are thus counted twice in the employment totals.

Mr. Nicholls : Evidence on the number of people with two jobs can be derived from the labour force survey (LFS), which estimated that 567,000, 2.6 per cent., employees in Great Britain had a second job as an employee in spring 1988.

However, the exact number of persons with two or more jobs included in the published employees in employment estimates is not known, since the estimates are based on figures collected from employers, who will not generally know if an employee is filling the post as a second job.

66. Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest available unemployment rate for under-18s in the Holloway travel-to-work area.

Mr. Nicholls : The information is not available in the form requested.

53. Mr. Duffy : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make a statement regarding the current level of unemployment in the city of Sheffield.

Mr. Nicholls : In December 1989 there were 23,347 unemployed claimants in the local authority area of Sheffield, a fall of 47.7 per cent. since unemployment in Sheffield began on a downward trend in July 1986.

52. Mr. Franks : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment by how much unemployment has fallen in Cumbria since June 1987 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholls : Between June 1987 and December 1989 the number of unemployed claimants in the local authority area of Cumbria fell by 8,192 or 42.3 per cent. The comparison is affected by the change in the coverage of the count from September 1988 due to the new benefit regulations affecting those aged under 18.

50. Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the growth in jobs in Warwickshire since 1987.

Mr. Nicholls : It is not possible to give an estimate. The Department's statistics for the county monitor only net changes in employment between census of employment dates, and the most recent figures are for September 1987.


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47. Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the latest unemployment figure for the constituency of Liverpool, Riverside.

Mr. Nicholls : In December 1989, the number of unemployed claimants in the parliamentary constituency of Liverpool, Riverside was 7,425.

48. Mr. Brandon-Bravo : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the change in unemployment in the last year.

Mr. Nicholls : In the 12 months to December 1989 the level of unemployment, seasonally adjusted, in the United Kingdom fell by 402, 500 or 20 per cent.

37. Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the fall in unemployment in the north-west from its peak to date.

Mr. Nicholls : In December 1989 the level of seasonally adjusted unemployment in the north-west region was 237,700, a fall of 189,700 or 44.4 per cent. since its peak in June 1986.

35. Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will estimate the number and percentage of young people aged 16 to 20 years entering employment without training in Germany, Japan, the United States of America, Sweden and the United Kingdom for the most recent date for which information is available.

Mr. Nicholls : The information is not available in the form requested.

Employment Training

25. Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will make a statement regarding the availability of places on employment training schemes for people recently made redundant.

Mr. Nicholls : In certain circumstances redundant workers can have immediate access to employment training without satisfying the normal six months unemployed condition. The main examples are people wishing to train in locally identified skill shortage occupations ; those wishing to train in business start-up or enterprise training ; people who require training in English as a second language ; and people with disabilities.

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if will give (a) the total numbers of lone parents on employment training receiving financial assistance towards child care costs and (b) the total expenditure involved between September 1988 and December 1989 for each standard region, Wales, Scotland and Great Britain.

Mr. Nicholls [holding answer 12 February 1990] : The estimated proportions of trainees receiving child care allowances at the end of December 1989, the latest date for which information is available, are given in table 1. As a guide, the in-training figure for 15 December 1989 has been provided for each region.

The total expenditure on child care payments between September 1988 and December 1989 is shown in table 2.

The information requested is not collected by standard region ; the figures quoted are for Training Agency regions and Scotland and Wales.


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Table 1                                                          

Employment training trainees in receipt of childcare allowances  

Region                    |Per cent.<1>|Number<2>                

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

South East                |5           |14,600                   

London                    |4           |21,400                   

South West                |3           |12,200                   

West Midlands             |4           |23,100                   

East Midlands and Eastern |3           |16,900                   

Yorkshire and Humberside  |2           |25,500                   

North West                |3           |29,200                   

Northern                  |2           |24,600                   

Wales                     |1           |16,500                   

Scotland                  |3           |26,200                   

                          |-----       |-----                    

Great Britain             |3           |<3>211,000               

<1>Proportion receiving child care allowances end December 1989. 

<2>Numbers in training 15 December 1989.                         

<3>The Great Britain Total includes a small number of trainees   

at large Contractors Unit and Residential Training Centres who   

are not reflected in the individual regional figures.            


Table 2                                                       

Child care expenditure by region                              

£ million                                                     

Region                    |Total expenditure                  

                          |September 1988 to                  

                          |end December 1989                  

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

South East                |0.742                              

London                    |2.358                              

South West                |0.518                              

West Midlands             |0.895                              

East Midlands and Eastern |0.821                              

Yorkshire and Humberside  |0.672                              

North West                |1.375                              

Northern                  |0.665                              

Wales                     |0.351                              

Scotland                  |1.048                              

                          |----                               

Great Britain             |11.770                             

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total number of training managers for employment training in (a) the private sector employer, (b) local authorities, (c) voluntary organisations and (d) private training organisations in December 1989 for Great Britain.

Mr. Nicholls [holding answer 12 February 1990] : The total number of training managers participating in employment training at the latest available date is as follows :


                                   |Number       

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

(a) Private sector employers       |201          

(b) Local authorities              |195          

(c) Voluntary organisations        |366          

(d) Private training organisations |507          

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total amount of employment training allowance paid in each of the months April 1989 to December 1989 for Great Britain.

Mr. Nicholls [holding answer 12 February 1990] : The following table shows the total amount of recorded expenditure in employment training (ET) trainee allowances (excluding travel, childcare and other allowances) in the months April 1989 to December for Great Britain.


Column 206


1989       |£ Millions           

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

April      |<1>Nil               

May        |45.639               

June       |<2>1.663             

July       |73.259               

August     |45.730               

September  |49.332               

October    |42.169               

November   |46.540               

December   |47.094               

<1> Other than for the final     

month of a financial year,       

expenditure on ET trainee        

allowances is normally recorded  

in the month following the       

period of training concerned.    

<2> There was a delay in         

recording expenditure on trainee 

allowances in June 1989.         

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the employment training initiatives sponsored by his Department in Essex.

Mr. Nicholls : Employment training in Essex continues to play an important part in helping the unemployed obtain the skills and experience they need to get jobs and some 2,200 people are currently taking advantage of it.

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on his Department's follow-up survey of employment training by region ; and how many people who have proceeded through the scheme now have full-time employment.

Mr. Nicholls : The first results from the exercise to follow up all employment training leavers indicates that 58 per cent. of all those trainees completing their planned training enter employment, self- employment or full-time training or further education. Information at a regional level is not yet available.

85. Mr. Eastham : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the procedure currently being deployed by his Department to monitor expenditure on employment training.

Mr. Nicholls : My Department monitors closely the level of expenditure on employment training through its financial management and accounting system. It also operates a system of financial appraisal and monitoring for all organisations contracted to deliver employment training, to ensure that public money is properly protected and spent for the purposes intended.

73. Dr. Reid : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many trainees entered permanent employment immediately after leaving employment training in the period January to December 1989.

Mr. Nicholls : The information is not available.

64. Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was (a) the target for employment training places and (b) the number of filled places in the period from January to December 1989.

Mr. Nicholls : Targets for the number of employment training places are for internal management purposes only. The number of filled places on employment training increased from 111,000 to over 210,000 in the period January to December 1989.


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