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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 22 February 1990

CHURCH COMMISSIONERS

Churches (Subsidence)

Mr. Redmond : To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, representing the Church Commissioners, if he will list by location the number of churches waiting compensation from British Coal due to subsidence damage ; and if he will show in his answer, when the claims were first submitted.

Mr. Alison : The Commissioners do not possess this information. I am, however, writing to the hon. Member.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

City College for the Technology of the Arts

Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish a timetable for (a) the appointment of teachers, (b) signing of a lease for the premises, (c) closing date for application by pupils, (d) projected opening date, (e) agreement on curriculum the school will pursue, (f) the announcement of the cost of the Exchequer's contribution for capital costs and (g) the announcement of the sponsors' contribution to capital costs at the Britschool city technology college Croydon ; and if he will publish a full list of sponsors for the Britschool city technology college and their projected contributions (i) in cash and (ii) in goods and services.

Mr. MacGregor : The lease of the premises of the city college for the technology of the arts (CCTA) in Croydon is scheduled to be signed today. The opening date for the college will be September 1991. The British phonographic industry has undertaken to provide capital funding of 40 per cent. of an agreed £5.9 million, of which my Department will provide 60 per cent. It is for the project team appointed by the sponsor to decide appropriate dates for the appointment of teachers to the college, a closing date for applications by pupils, and the details of the college's agreed curriculum. The college's principal was appointed on 1 January this year.

Further Education

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish the expected staying on rate in full-time education for the 16 to 18 years age group in 1992-93.

Mr. Jackson : The projected participation rate for full-time students aged 16 and 17 in England for 1992-93 is 47 per cent. The ages are those at 31 August 1992.


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Pupils (Attendance)

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he is taking to remedy the poor attendance record of students in the later years of secondary schooling and in schools in deprived areas ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alan Howarth : The national curriculum and other educational reforms being introduced by the Government will increase opportunity and motivation for all pupils and thereby help to improve school attendance. In addition, a new category of education support grants, to raise attendance at designated schools, begins in April. The grants will support three-year projects in 35 English local education authorities at a total cost in 1990- 91 of £2.34 million. Most of those grants are for projects in urban programme areas. Similar arrangements apply in Wales.

The Department has recently published a survey report by Her Majesty's inspectorate which reviews school attendance and calls attention to examples of good practice in schools and local education authorities.

Further Education Colleges

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will set out the total sum of bids by local education authorities for capital spending on further education colleges for 1990-91.

Mr. Jackson : The bids by local education authorities for capital spending on further education colleges for 1990-91 totalled £186.1 million, as follows :


                             |£ million          

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

Major building works<1>:                         

    Started prior to 1990-91 |50.0               

    To start in 1990-91      |36.8               

Minor works                  |25.4               

Equipment and furniture      |53.1               

Other                        |20.8               

                             |-------            

Total bids                   |186.1              

<1> Projects in excess of £200,000.              

Student Awards

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will set out, in 1987 prices, the expenditure on discretionary student awards in (a) 1984-85, (b) 1985-86, (c) 1986-87, (d) 1987-88, (e) 1988-89 and (f) 1989.

Mr. Jackson : The available data are as follows :


Real terms<1> expenditure on  

section 1(6)                  

and section 2 discretionary   

awards<2>                     

1984-85 to 1987-88            

England and Wales             

          |£ million          

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

1984-85   |156.8              

1985-86   |159.8              

1986-87   |169.0              

1987-88   |171.0              

<1> Real terms expenditure at 

1987-88 prices.               

<2> Includes expenditure on   

fees and maintenance.         


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Education Budget

Mr. Cormack : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of the education budget will be met by local authorities in the next financial year.

Mrs. Rumbold : In the present financial year local authority expenditure on education is expected to account for some four fifths of the Department's total programme. Education budgets for 1990-91 are still being determined by local education authorities. As the bulk of central Government support for local authority spending is not hypothecated to individual services, it is not possible to determine on a service by service basis what percentage of those budgets will be met from local authorities' own resources.

Community Charge

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what sum of money was added to higher education students' grants representing 20 per cent. of average community charge ; and when the calculation from which that sum resulted was made.

Mr. Jackson : The increased main rates of mandatory student grant for the academic year 1990-91 were announced on 19 December 1989. As in previous years these broadly reflected both the resources available and the net impact of several factors upon students' living costs. These factors included students' discounted liability for the community charge and the abolition of domestic rates. The basic maintenance grant is not earmarked in respect of any element of students' living costs.

Student Loans

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his estimate of the number of students in further education who will take out student loans.

Mr. Jackson : Top-up loans will mean extra resources for students in higher education. If 80 per cent. of those eligible were to apply, some 455,000 higher education students would receive top-up loans in 1990-91.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Footwear Imports

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations he has received regarding the Government's continued policy concerning footwear and leather imports from Taiwan and Korea ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : We have received a small number of representations on this matter. The European Commision is still considering the way forward in the light of member states' views.

Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) if he will indicate, or place in the Library, the details of the scheme Her Majesty's Government intend to deploy to enforce the European Commission decision on applying for a voluntary restraint agreement covering leather and synthetic footwear imports from the Republic of Korea and Taiwan ;


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(2) what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the recent decision by the European Commission to enter into a voluntary restraint agreement covering leather and synthetic footwear imports from Korea and Taiwan.

Mr. Redwood [holding answer 19 February 1990] : The Commission has still to decide what action, if any, to take. We understand that it may be considering Communitywide restraints on trade in leather and synthetic footwear from South Korea and Taiwan. Any restraints would, of course, have to be fully and economically justified. If, however, the industry has any evidence of unfair trading practices it should be forwarded to the DTI or the Commission.

Securities and Investments Board

Mr. Dewar : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many of the specialists recruited for the development of the Securities and Investments Board and of its rule book are no longer required ;

(2) if he will give details of the steps taken in the preparation of the planned expenditure of the Securities and Investments Board for the year 1990-91 to contain expenditure to reflect the reduction in formation and development of the regulatory role of the Securities and Investments Board ;

(3) what are the premiums which the Securities and Investments Board will be required to pay in respect of salary and rental costs as a result of the decision to relocate within central London ; (4) whether he has any plans to make available free of charge to the public in Scotland access to the Securities and Investments Board's Prestel system which holds details of all authorised firms ; (5) whether the manpower levels within the Securities and Investments Board are intended only to reflect the minimum personnel required to maintain compliance standards ;

(6) which locations outside London were considered for the possible relocation of the Securities and Investments Board.

Mr. Redwood [holding answer 19 February 1990] : This is a matter for the Securities and Investments Board.

ENERGY

Wave Power

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will review his Department's policy concerning funding for research into and development of electricity generation from offshore wave power devices ; and if he will make a statement on his Department's assessment of the likely cost of such electricity per kilowatt hour.

Mr. Peter Morrison : A thorough review of the technical and commercial viability and prospects for wave energy in the United Kingdom is currently being undertaken, following which it will be possible to review the Department's policy concerning funding for research into and development of electricity generation from offshore wave power devices. Offshore wave energy is currently considered unlikely to be competitive, with estimated costs exceeding 10p/kWh, but reassessing these costs is fundamental to the review now taking place.


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Electricity Pylons

Sir Trevor Skeet : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has any plans to require pylons to be moved away from urban settlements in view of the effect of the electrical fields generated beneath them on human health.

Mr. Baldry : I have no plans to require pylons to be moved away from urban settlements in view of the presence of electrical fields. All types of electrical conductor, whether overhead or underground, and whether forming a power transmission or distribution system or simply the wiring and appliances in the home, create electric and magnetic fields.

TRANSPORT

Road Building Objections

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road building objections in the form of Valentine cards he has received this month.

Mr. Atkins : My right hon. Friend and I and officials on our behalf have received a number of road building objections in the form of Valentine cards. All those giving names and addresses will be taken into account in the consultation process.

Motorway Service Areas

Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make a statement on his policy towards the location and development of motorway service areas by the private sector ; (2) if he will make it his policy to allow the private sector to take responsibility for the location and development of motorway service areas ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) what representations he has received from the major oil companies regarding the development of motorway service areas ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins : Representations have been made by certain oil companies that the initiative should be left with them to identify, seek planning clearance for, and obtain ownership of sites for new motorway service areas. The current general policy is for the Department itself to identify sites, usually on the basis of a private consultant's study, and itself to seek planning clearance and ownership, and to market the right to provide services there by competitive tender. The aim of this policy is to ensure the satisfactory choice, development and continued operation of sites, primarily from the point of view of road safety and traffic management considerations, to promote competition between operators in the interests of consumer choice and satisfaction, and to ensure an adequate return to the Exchequer by way of premium for the right to provide services at key locations on the motorway network. There are no present proposals to change this policy. It will however be kept under review in the light of experience and representations made.


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Civil Aviation Authority

Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to consider the privatisation of the Civil Aviation Authority ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin : My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to privatise the Civil Aviation Authority.

Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will meet the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority to discuss the shortage of Civil Aviation Authority examiners to test for the commercial pilot's licence and instrument ratings examinations ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin : This is a matter for the Civil Aviation Authority. I have asked the chairman of the authority to write to my hon. Friend.

Channel Tunnel

Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he set down any ordering timetable before approving investment by British Rail in the trains necessary for the direct link from the Channel tunnel to the north of England and Scotland ;

(2) what is the number of trains for the direct link from the Channel tunnel to the north of England and Scotland for which he has given investment approval to British Rail ; and what is the minimum number of such trains required.

Mr. Portillo : While BR has outlined its plans for through services, it has not yet submitted its investment proposals with its estimate of the cost of the trains.

Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the types of trains for the direct link from the Channel tunnel to the north of England and Scotland for which he has given investment approval to British Rail.

Mr. Portillo : BR published its plans for through services on 14 December and I refer to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Mr. Lee) on that date, Official Report, column 767. It has not yet submitted its investment proposals.

Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what parameters for the completion and delivery of the order for the trains which will run from London through the Channel tunnel to the continent he set down before approving British Rail's investment in the new rolling stock ;

(2) what requirements he imposed when giving his approval to investment in new rolling stock for British Rail about the companies to be invited to tender for the order to produce the trains necessary for the direct link from the Channel tunnel to the north of England and Scotland.

Mr. Portillo : None. These are commercial matters for the railways concerned.

Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what will be the cost of the trains which will run from London through the Channel tunnel to the continent for which he has given investment approval to British Rail.


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Mr. Portillo : I refer to the answer my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. Carrington) on 11 December 1989 at column 486.

Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when reaching his decision about investment in new rolling stock for British Rail what consideration he gave to the extent to which continental trains could run directly through the Channel tunnel to the north of England and Scotland ;

(2) when reaching his decision on whether to approve investment in new rolling stock for British Rail, what consideration he gave to the extent to which existing British Rail trains would be able to run directly through the Channel tunnel to the continent from the north of England and Scotland.

Mr. Portillo : Neither existing BR nor continental trains can use the Channel tunnel for a variety of safety and engineering reasons.

Mr. Trotter : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to receive from British Rail its investment proposal for the trains to be used for the through passenger services to be introduced from the continent to the north of Britain.

Mr. Portillo : I understand that British Rail proposes to submit its proposals in April.

London Underground

Mr. Maples : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the eastern alignment of the proposed Jubilee line extension.

Mr. Parkinson : Following further work and negotiations with property developers and landowners, I am pleased to be able to authorise LRT to seek the leave of the House for the deposit of an additional provision to re-route the Jubilee line extension, from Canary Wharf to Canning Town via Greenwich point.

The east London rail study which I announced in July last year, identified two possible alignments for the Jubilee line extension between Canary Wharf and Canning Town either via Greenwich point, or via the Brunswick foreshore. The pressure of a November deadline for LRT to deposit a Bill, for the extension, made it necessary to take a decision as early as September to plan on the basis of the shorter and cheaper alignment via Brunswick. The Bill that I authorised in November was drafted on that basis. However, since then further discussions have been held with property developers and landowners whose interests would be affected by both alignments to ascertain whether they would be prepared to meet the additional costs of providing a station and changing the route, as necessary. Each of the interested groups has offered to contribute on this basis but the financial case for proceeding with the Greenwich alignment is more robust and offers a number of additional benefits. It is essential to secure the regeneration of the industrial wasteland in the Greenwich peninsula and above all, by providing two


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further river crossings it will open up new areas in south London to the Underground network. I am sure this announcement will be welcomed in those areas.

Mersey Docks and Harbour Company

Mr. Thornton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to dispose of his shares in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company.

Mr. McLoughlin : I have concluded that it would not be appropriate for the Government to seek to dispose of their ordinary shares in the company now in view of the inquiries by inspectors appointed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. My hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and I have, therefore, decided that in accordance with the Government's general policy on Government shareholdings the ordinary shares should be transferred into the ownership of the Treasury. At the same time I intend to relinquish the right attaching to the special share which enables my right hon. Friend to appoint up to three directors of the company.

Road Signs

Sir Barney Hayhoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice or instructions are given by his Department as to the signs, illumination and positioning of warning signs at major road junctions or roundabouts when the traffic lights have failed.

Mr. Atkins : Current guidance on these matters is contained in paragraph 5.7 of Department of Transport advice note TA 24/81, copies of which have been placed in the Library.

Traffic Lights

Sir Barney Hayhoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what conditions are imposed on his traffic control systems units maintenance contractor as to the urgency and intensity of the efforts to restore normal working of failed traffic lights at the Hogarth roundabout on the A4 at Chiswick and at similar major junctions.

Mr. Atkins : The priority to be given to repairing traffic signals in London is detailed in the TCSU's contract with its maintenance contractor and varies according to the seriousness of the incident and when it occurs. Complete failure such as happened at the Hogarth roundabout is accorded top priority and the contractor is required, if it is possible, to effect a full repair within two and a half or five hours of the fault, for weekdays or weekend respectively. If, as was the case recently at Hogarth roundabout, major civil engineering works beyond the scope of the maintenance contract are necessary to effect the repair, the maintenance contractor is required to make the installation safe and to place warning signs on approach roads until the civil works can be put in hand.

I can assure my right hon. Friend that all concerned are alert to the need to effect repairs as quickly as possible.


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Network SouthEast (Investment)

Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of investment in Network SouthEast has to earn an 8 per cent. return ; and what investment projects do not have to earn this return.

Mr. Portillo : The basic criteria for all replacement investment in BR's subsidised sectors such as Network SouthEast are that the existing service should be maintained and that the chosen project should be the least cost option. An 8 per cent. discount rate is used to compare the costs and benefits of options, but there is no requirement for replacement investment as a whole to earn a financial return of 8 per cent. It is only when an option for investment includes an element of enhancement, for example the provision of first-class accommodation, or air conditioning, or represents an addition to the asset base, that this additional expenditure must normally be justified by its ability to earn an 8 per cent. return. We have however made it clear in the new objectives set for BR in December that where, exceptionally, additions to NSE's asset base cannot meet an 8 per cent. financial return, it is appropriate to consider whether there is a case on cost-benefit grounds. Most investment projects include elements of both replacement and enhancement, so it is not possible to provide the percentages requested.

Network SouthEast (Property Sales)

Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the major items of property sold by Network SouthEast over the last 10 years.

Mr. Portillo : The sale of property and land no longer required for operational purposes is handled corporately by the British Rail Property Board. Its activities are covered on page 28 of the board's annual report and accounts for 1988-89, a copy of which is in the Library.

THE ARTS

Arts Funding

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Minister for the Arts how many representations he has received concerning Government funding of the arts ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Slough (Mr. Watts) on 12 February, at column 51. I have no immediate plans to make a statement on arts funding.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Minister for the Arts what information he has received on the number of organisations, regionally and nationally, which are planning to (a) cut their staff, (b) cut their operations or performances and (c) close down completely in the coming financial year, following changes in funding available to them from the Government ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce : It is for the management of individual arts organisations to determine the level of their staffing and operations. Like any other organisation, they must set the scope of their operations within the limits of available resources. I am confident, however, that with an increase of 22 per cent. in the Arts Council's grant over the next three years, arts organisations will continue to build on recent successes.


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Book of Kells

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Minister for the Arts if his Department has any plans to assist in the acquisition for the national collections of one of the two new facsimiles of the Book of Kells.

Mr. Luce : No. Decisions on acquisitions are a matter for the trustees of the national collections. I understand that a new facsimile is available for academic research in the university of London library, and that the British Library holds an earlier facsimile.

Museums and Galleries (Thefts)

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Minister for the Arts how many reported thefts from museums and art galleries in London there have been in each of the past five years.

Mr. Luce : Information on the number of reported thefts from museums and art galleries in London is not held centrally.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the function of the official whose signature has been sent to the hon. Member for Linlithgow under the printed phrase cleared and approved for release in the answer to written question No. 164 of 19 February from the hon. Member for Linlithgow to which the Secretary of State said he would reply as soon as possible.

Mr. Cope : It is the administrative practice in the Northern Ireland Office for the Parliamentary Clerk to satisfy himself, before answers to parliamentary questions as approved by the Ministers are dispatched to right hon. and hon. Members, that they contain no textual inaccuracies or other errors and to confirm to those responsible for their dispatch that such a check has been carried out.

Kincora Boys' Home

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will arrange for his officials to meet Sir George Terry to discuss the need for a wide inquiry into the affairs surrounding the Kincora boys' home.

Mr. Brooke [holding answer 19 February 1990] : I have no plans to do so.

Integrated Schools

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a list of all primary, secondary and grammar schools in Northern Ireland which have been granted integrated status, showing the number of pupils attending each school in each of the last three years.

Dr. Mawhinney [holding answer 21 February 1990] : The table sets out the names of the seven integrated primary and secondary schools that have achieved voluntary maintained status, together with their pupil enrolments at January in each of the years 1988, 1989 and 1990 :


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

Primary                                     

Hazelwood (Newtownabbey)    |160|199|208    

Forge (Belfast)             |130|171|186    

All Children's (Newcastle)  |-  |86 |103    

Bridge (Banbridge)          |-  |107|140    

Milstrand (Portrush)        |-  |83 |115    

                                            

Secondary                                   

Lagan College (Belfast)     |500|558|585    

Hazelwood College (Belfast) |-  |215|293    

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what numbers of pupils presently attend an integrated school in Northern Ireland ; what percentage of pupils this number represents, for (a) primary, (b) secondary and (c) grammar schools ; what information he has as to how many pupils attend such schools in each education and library board area ; and how many in each board area are (i) Roman Catholic, (ii) Protestant and (iii) other, or as much of such information as is available to him.

Dr. Mawhinney [holding answer 21 February 1990] : The seven integrated schools that are grant-aided as voluntary maintained schools had an aggregate enrolment of 1,630 pupils at January 1990. Enrolment figures for all schools are not yet available for January 1990 but at the latest date for which comparable figures are available (January 1989) the five integrated primary schools had 646 pupils, representing 0.4 per cent. of all primary school enrolments in Northern Ireland and the two secondary schools had 773 pupils, representing 0.8 per cent. of all secondary school enrolments. In addition to the seven grant-aided integrated schools, there are three integrated primary schools operating as independent schools :


                                                |Pupils       

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

Windmill Integrated Primary School              |59           

Enniskillen Integrated Primary School           |64           

Braidside Integrated Primary School (Ballymena) |36           

The figures for the four education and library board areas in which these schools are situated are as follows :


              |Numbers        

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

Belfast       |687            

South Eastern |688            

North Eastern |115            

Southern      |140            

Information as to the religious affiliations of pupils at schools in Northern Ireland is not readily available.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Paternity Leave

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Attorney-General what paternity leave is allowed to staff in his Department ; and if he will make a statement.


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The Attorney-General : At present paternity leave is not available to civil servants. The Treasury is, however, finalising arrangements for the introduction of an entitlement to two days' paid paternity leave.


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