Previous Section Home Page

WALES

School Closures

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many schools in Wales have been closed since 1979, by year and age group.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The information is shown in the following table :


Column 467


          |Nursery  |Infant   |Junior   |Primary  |Secondary          

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

1979      |-        |4        |1        |4        |2                  

1980      |-        |5        |6        |8        |3                  

1981      |5        |17       |13       |9        |-                  

1982      |-        |13       |11       |6        |5                  

1983      |-        |14       |12       |9        |7                  

1984      |4        |14       |13       |3        |2                  

1985      |2        |7        |5        |18       |-                  

1986      |-        |1        |3        |12       |<1>5               

1987      |1        |3        |4        |10       |6                  

1988      |2        |3        |2        |8        |3                  

1989      |1        |6        |4        |8        |2                  

<2>1990   |1        |8        |6        |4        |1                  

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

Total     |16       |95       |80       |99       |36                 

<1>Includes 3 county junior comprehensive schools and 1 county senior 

comprehensive school.                                                 

<2>To date.                                                           

EC Funds

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether local authorities in Gwynedd, Dyfed and Powys have adequate matching resources to enable them to take up fully the funds available from the European Community under the IOP for those three counties ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Hunt : Expected receipts from the European Community are taken into account when setting the level of public expenditure, so that spending is higher than would otherwise be the case. Local authorities within the area of the Dyfed, Gwynedd and Powys national programme of community interest benefit from increased credit approvals and reduced borrowing requirements.

Roads

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many persons are currently employed in the roads division of the Welsh Office ; and what was the corresponding number in 1979.

Sir Wyn Roberts : At 1 October 1990, a total of 160.5 staff-- excluding central support services staff--were employed in the Welsh Office transport and highways divisions. At 30 September 1979 the equivalent figure was 156.5.


Column 468

Welsh Language

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will place a copy in the Library of his Department's policy guidelines in relation to the use of the Welsh language in Wales by his Department.

Sir Wyn Roberts : Current policy regarding the use of Welsh in the internal administration of the department is based on the guidelines set out in the Hughes Parry report on the status of the Welsh language. This policy is currently being reviewed in the light of the guidelines prepared by the Welsh Language Board. I will place a copy of any new guidelines in the Library of the House once they have been finalised.

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give details of the total Government expenditure on the promotion and development of the Welsh language in each year since 1985.

Sir Wyn Roberts : Since 1984-85, Government grants for the Welsh language made under section 21 of the Education Act 1980 and under section 26 of the Development of Rural Wales Act 1976 have been :



Year         |Section 21  |Section 21  |Section 26  |Total                    

             |(local      |(other                                             

             |education   |bodies)                                            

             |authorities)                                                    

             |£           |£           |£           |£                        

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

1984-85      |626,164     |378,537     |982,124     |1,986,825                

1985-86      |945,657     |372,000     |1,103,850   |2,421,507                

1986-87      |989,165     |458,890     |1,079,700   |2,527,755                

1987-88      |1,075,000   |592,025     |1,156,163   |2,823,188                

1988-89      |1,118,895   |874,956     |1,352,136   |3,345,987                

1989-90      |1,320,000   |1,348,061   |1,639,425   |4,307,486                

<1>1990-91   |1,503,000   |2,022,000   |2,345,000   |5,870,000                

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

Total        |7,577,881   |6,046,469   |9,658,398   |23,282,748               

Note-<1>Provisional                                                           

Care and Repair Schemes

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he is undertaking any initiatives to extend the geographical availability of care and repair schemes in Wales.

Mr. Grist : We are currently considering the future funding of Care and Repair (Wales) which will have responsibility for the further development of new schemes in Wales.

Waste Disposal Sites

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will set up an independent environmental audit of all licensed waste disposal sites in Wales.

Mr. Grist : No. My right hon. Friend will receive from Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution regular reports of audits of each of the waste regulation authorities' operations.

Medical Negligence Claims

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what information his Department holds on successful medical negligence claims made against health authorities in Wales.

Mr. Grist : The legal division of the Welsh Office acts for district health authorities in Wales in relation to medical negligence claims and therefore holds relevant files. Information held by that division is subject to the usual rules of

solicitor-client confidentiality. The Department also holds financial information relating to the settlement of any individual claims in excess of £30,000.

Grant-maintained Schools

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish in the Official Report, for the latest available date, the number of schools that have applied for grant-maintained status in Wales, separately distinguishing primary and secondary schools.

Sir Wyn Roberts : Two schools in Wales have applied for grant- maintained status. Both are secondary schools.

Food Poisoning

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what statutory responsibilities health authorities in Wales have for dealing with an outbreak of food-related disease in the human population.

Mr. Grist : The specific statutory responsibilities duties and powers which are significant in the handling of a food


Column 470

poisoning outbreak are placed upon local authorities. However, Welsh Office guidance to local authorities ask district councils to ensure that they appoint, as proper officer for the discharge of functions relating to the control of outbreaks of food poisoning, a consultant in communicable disease control of the district health authority.

Cardiff Bay Barrage

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 21 November, if he will place a copy of his letter to Roy Stoner, his groundwater consultant on the Cardiff bay barrage, and the subsequent correspondence with the chairman of the Cardiff Bay development corporation in the Library.

Mr. David Hunt : No.

Education Vouchers

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his policy on the use of education vouchers in the schools service in Wales.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The Government's current policies for education-- in particular more open enrolment and funding following pupil numbers through local management of schools--are already securing many of the objectives of vouchers. These policies extend choice and reward good schools.

Private Schools

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the amount of Government money given to the private schools sectors in Wales, school by school, in each year since 1979.

Sir Wyn Roberts : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave him on 8 May 1990.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which private schools in Wales he has visited.

Sir Wyn Roberts : None.

Truancy

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give the truancy figures for each of the local education authorities in Wales for each year since 1979.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The information requested is not collected centrally.

Nursery Schools

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he proposes to increase local education authority funding to enable local education authority cuts in nursery school provision to be restored.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The responsibility for nursery school provision lies with local education authorities. They must determine the level of provision in line with their assessment of priorities within the education service.

City Technology Colleges

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many city technology colleges there are in Wales ; how many are proposed ; and if he will make a statement.


Column 471

Sir Wyn Roberts : None. I am ready to consider any proposals put forward to establish a college.

Historic Buildings

Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give details of the total Government expenditure on the upkeep, care and protection of historic buildings and monuments in Wales in each year since 1980.

Sir Wyn Roberts : Expenditure by the Government on historic buildings and monuments in Wales, excluding presentation activities and departmental running costs for Cadw and its predecessors during the years 1980-81 to 1989-90 was as follows.


        |£'000      

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

1980-81 |1,711      

1981-82 |2,119      

1982-83 |2,052      

1983-84 |2,663      

1984-85 |3,501      

1985-86 |3,557      

1986-87 |3,621      

1987-88 |4,075      

1988-89 |4,043      

1989-90 |5,090      

Pembrokeshire Health Authority

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what body will be responsible for procuring health services in Pembrokeshire in the event that he approves the reconstitution of the Pembrokeshire health authority as a national health service trust.

Mr. Grist : This matter will be considered in the light of my right hon. Friend's decision on any formal application for NHS trust status that might be forthcoming.

Labour Statistics

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many jobs in manufacturing in Wales have been lost since 1979 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Hunt : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave him on 28 November 1990.

Local Authority Expenditure

Mr. Gwilym Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what arrangements he is making for informing Welsh local authorities of their standard spending assessments.

Mr. David Hunt : My officials have today written to Welsh authorities, advising them of their provisional SSAs. I am placing copies of that letter in the Vote Office and in the Library of the House. Final figures will be contained in the distribution report which will be laid before the House shortly.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Farm Wages

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what will be the increase in the national farm wages bill if the requirement to provide income for workers who are sick is shifted from the state to employers.


Column 472

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Under the proposals in the Statutory Sick Pay Bill, which received its Third Reading on 28 November, the amount of statutory sick pay--SSP--which employers can recover from their remittances of national insurance contributions will be set at 80 per cent. instead of 100 per cent. Also, the additional amount--currently 7 per cent.--which employers can get back as compensation for the national insurance contributions payable on SSP itself will end. Subject to parliamentary approval, these changes will operate from 6 April 1991.

My right hon. Friend has also announced reductions in national insurance contributions worth some £250 million to employers to operate from the same date. Although the reductions will apply over the whole range of employers' contributions, they have been particularly weighted towards those employers whose employees are not highly paid.

From April 1991 all the lower rates of contribution payable by employers in respect of employees earning up to £185 per week will be reduced by 0.4 per cent. This will be of particular help to employers of agricultural workers, many of whom earn less than £185 per week. The precise effect of the combined SSP-national insurance contributions package on the national farm wages bill will depend on the sickness experience and pay levels of the work force, but the contributions reductions that I outlined will go a long way towards reducing any extra costs for employers on SSP and in some cases will completely offset this.

Bearing in mind the contribution reductions explained above and the fact that most spells of SSP are over very quickly--the average spell is three weeks and 90 per cent. are over within eight weeks--the extra costs for employers, particularly small employers, are not expected to be significant.

Tax Benefit Tables

Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects to publish the 1990 edition of the tax benefit model tables.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Copies will be placed in the Library today.

Residential and Nursing Care

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to the statement made by the Lord President of the Council concerning expenditure on residential and nursing care, Official Report, 22 November, column 510, if he will tabulate the total expenditure in this field for the years 1979 and 1989, respectively, together with the breakdown into principal categories of cost, separating capital and revenue expenditure, and distinguishing moneys actually received by sponsoring bodies and other Government expenditure.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The available information is shown in the table :



Numbers and Expenditure-All income support claimants in                         

Residential Care and Nursing Homes                                              

Date                |Numbers of         |Annual equivalent                      

                    |claimants          |expenditure<1>                         

                    |(thousands)        |(nearest £ million)                    

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

December 1979       |12                 |10                                     

December 1980       |13                 |18                                     

December 1981       |13                 |23                                     

December 1982       |16                 |39                                     

December 1983       |26                 |104                                    

December 1984       |42                 |200                                    

December 1985       |70                 |348                                    

February 1986       |90                 |459                                    

May 1987            |117                |671                                    

May 1988            |147                |878                                    

May 1989            |176                |1,105                                  

May 1990            |189                |1,270                                  

<1>Total weekly expenditure of supplementary benefit/income support expressed   

as an annual figure.                                                            

Lone Parents

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security further to his oral answer of 19 November, Official Report, column 5, about the percentage of mothers who voluntarily give information about the father, whether this refers to lone parents or single mothers who are lone parents and whether he was referring to general information which would enable his Department to pursue an absent father for maintenance.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The figure--about 75 per cent.--is based on information currently available from local offices about income support cases where the child's parents have never been married to each other. Obtaining the name of the father is the first step in pursuing maintenance in these cases.

Community Charge Benefit

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many hospital patients are (a) exempted from community charge or (b) receiving community charge benefits.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The estimated numbers of hospital patients exempt from community charge in England and Wales are in the table.


                                            |England|Wales          

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

Persons whose sole or main residence is an                          

  NHS hospital or NHS nursing home          |42,000 |3,800          

                                                                    

Persons whose sole or main residence is a                           

  Residential care home                                             

  Nursing home                                                      

  Mental nursing home                                               

  Private hospital                                                  

  Hostel providing a substantial level of                           

  care, and also being treated or cared for                         

  in such an institution.                   |321,000|23,800         

                                            |----   |---            

Total                                       |363,000|27,600         

The information for Scotland is not available.

Information on the number of hospital patients receiving community charge benefit is not available.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of the cost to Mid-Devon district council of administering community charge benefit will be reimbursed in 1990-91 ; and what proportion of that cost will be reimbursed in his Department's plans for 1991-92 and each of the ensuing three years.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The Department directly reimburses 50 per cent. of local authorities' estimated


Column 474

administrative needs through a cash-limited specific grant ; the remaining 50 per cent. is taken into account in the local authority finance settlements. The specific grant is distributed between authorities according to a formula agreed with local authority representatives. In 1990-91, Mid-Devon's share of the specific grant was £48,538 ; this includes the additional money for the work arising from the capital limit changes announced in the budget. Although next year's overall totals have been announced, the distributional formula has yet to be decided. The arrangements for future years will be kept under review.

Income Support

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his policy on the deduction of fines from income support at source.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The Criminal Justice Bill now before the House includes provision for repayment of fines by weekly deduction from income support in suitable cases. The regulations, which are intended to provide the detailed conditions, would maintain the existing maximum overall limit on the amount that can be deducted for debts, including fines. This provides a safeguard against too many deductions being made from benefit.

Spending Power

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish tables using the assumptions used in his answer to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) on 19 February, Official Report, columns 560-64, but using expenditure and benefit figures appropriate for families in Great Britain, together with a column showing the extent of the differences resulting from the April 1988 social security changes.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The tax-benefit model tables which show the financial position of hypothetical local authority tenants with the head in full-time work or unemployed in April and October 1990 are available in the Library.

The passage of time, and subsequent changes in the benefit system, have rendered increasingly meaningless any attempt to make hypothetical comparisons between what people get now and what they might have got under a system which was almost universally recognised as being riddled with anomalies and failing to target help sensibly. With this in mind, the Government no longer publish tables making such comparisons.

HEALTH

Addenbrooke's Hospital

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received concerning the provision of staff cover at Addenbrooke's hospital, Cambridge, on the afternoon of Thursday, 29 November, when 150 resident nurses and student nurses are due to appear at Cambridge city magistrates court.

Mr. Dorrell : None.


Column 475

Adoption

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what information he has on the prices charged to prospective adoptive couples for home studies by (a) Surrey social services and (b) Suffolk social services, in respect of inter-country adoptions ; (2) what advice has been issued by his Department to social services departments on pricing policies for charges for home study visits in respect of inter-country adoptions.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The level of such charges is a matter for local authorities.

Ear Implants

Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Health further to his statement of 4 January, if he will now make a statement about the wider use of the titanium implant technique to prosthesis ears.

Mr. Dorrell : I announced central funding for a cochlear implant programme on 25 June including additional funds for Queen Elizabeth hospital, Birmingham to assist with a programme of NHS provision of bone implanted hearing aids using titanium screws. The pace at which wider use is made of titanium implant techniques is a matter for health authorities to determine in the light of their assessment of local needs, priorities and resources.

Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will be able to make a statement further to that which he made on 4 January, regarding the establishment of a central fund to finance a cochlear implant programme.

Mr. Dorrell : I announced the names of the six hospitals selected to receive central funding for their cochlear implant programmes on 25 June. They are :


Region and Unit                          |Funding                        

                                         |1990-91                        

                                         |£                              

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

North East Thames                                                        

  University College/Royal Ear Hospitals |200,000                        

Northern                                                                 

  North Riding Infirmary, Middlesbrough  |150,000                        

North Western                                                            

  Manchester Royal Infirmary             |160,000                        

Trent                                                                    

  Nottingham General Hospital            |160,000                        

Wessex                                                                   

  South Hants Hospital, Southampton      |150,000                        

West Midlands                                                            

  Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham   |150,000                        

Air Ambulance Services

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects his Department will complete its evaluation of air ambulance services ; and when he expects the report will be published.

Mr. Dorrell : The evaluation of the Royal London helicopter emergency medical service and the Cornwall first air ambulance service is due to begin early in 1991. The report is expected in autumn 1994.

High-voltage Power Lines

Mr. O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advice his Department gives to health authorities on patients suffering from headache, depression, miscarriage,


Column 476

cancer or leukaemia, who are living in the close proximity of high-voltage power lines ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Dorrell : The National Radiological Protection Board has a statutory duty to advise Government and others on possible hazards to health from all forms of radiation, including non-ionising radiation. Its most recent advice is contained in "Guidance on Exposure to Time-Varying Electromagnetic Fields"--(NRPB-GS11, 1989)--a copy of which is in the Library. This does not advocate any special precautions for people living close to high-voltage power lines. The board has recently undertaken an extensive review of the evidence on possible health consequences of exposure to electromagnetic fields. This will be published shortly and will form the basis of any revision to the guidance.

Health Authority Reports

Mr. Jack : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish in the Official Report a list of the titles, together with a note summarising their purpose, of the reports which his Department receives on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis from both district and general health authorities.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 14 November 1990] : The Department receives around 100 different regular statistical returns from district and regional health authorities, mostly at the district level. A list of the statistical and financial returns required for 1987-88 and 1988 -89 is available in the Library. I will arrange for an updated list for 1989-90 to be placed in the Library shortly.

EMPLOYMENT

Labour Statistics

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will update the information in his reply of 24 July 1989, Official Report, columns 481-82 , concerning the change in civilian employment since 1979 in the United Kingdom and European Community Twelve.

Mr. Jackson : Employment estimates are not yet available for many EC countries after 1988. The changes in total civilian employment for the United Kingdom and the EC as a whole between 1979 and 1988 are shown in the table.


Changes in Civilian Employment: 1979 to 1988 

               |Thousands|Per cent.          

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

United Kingdom |525      |+2.1               

EC12           |4,546    |+3.7               

Source: United Kingdom (ED), Other EC        

countries OECD Labour Force Statistics       

1968-1988.                                   

Unemployment Benefit

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will arrange for the hon. Member for Oldham, West to receive copies of all the answers to parliamentary questions given by the chief executive of the Employment Agency on matters related to the unemployment benefit service.


Column 477

Mr. Jackson : The arrangements in the Employment Service executive agency for answering parliamentary questions and Members' correspondence are intended to ensure that, following "next steps" principles, hon. and right hon. Members receive replies from the person who is best placed to respond promptly and effectively. If the reply is from the chief executive, it is sent direct to the Member and is copied to the Library of the House and to its Public Information Office. The reply will thus be in the public domain and is available on request.

European Social Fund

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he is now in a position to make proposals about allocations from the European social fund for 1990.

Mr. Forth : My Department indicated in May this year the overall amounts of money likely to be available to the main groups of organisations involved in the European social fund in 1990. The individual organisations subsequently submitted project applications requesting more precise allocations of ESF assistance for 1990. These applications are currently being examined by my Department for approval. Some actual payments have already been made, and it is hoped to complete this process by January.

Work-related Further Education

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the amount allocated by his Department to training and enterprise councils for work-related further education for the coming year and the current year ; what was the equivalent for each of the past five years ; what steps he has taken to ensure that in future this money will be ring-fenced ; and whether such ring fencing will continue for the foreseeable future.

Mr. Jackson : As announced, training and enterprise councils will assume responsibility from 1 April 1991 for payment of funds under my Department's work-related further education programme. A total of £105 million will be allocated to TECs for this in 1991-92. This money is earmarked for the local education authority further education service. In 1991-92 each LEA will receive the same amount of WRFE money as it would have done if my Department had continued to operate the arrangements.

The total expenditure year by year on the work-related further education programme by the Employment Department is as follows :


          |£ million          

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

1986-87   |110                

1987-88   |106                

1988-89   |110                

1989-90   |102                

1990-91   |103                

Arrangements for the funding of WRFE in future years will be the subject of agreement between the Secretary of State for Education and Science, the Secretary of State for Wales and myself.


Column 478

NORTHERN IRELAND

Mr. Gerard Slane

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects the investigation into the murder of Mr. Gerard Slane to be concluded ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Cope : This is a matter for the Chief Constable of the RUC. However, I understand that police investigations are continuing into the murder of Mr. Slane.

Civil Defence

Mr. Bill Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many civil servants are currently employed (a) full time and (b) part time by his Department on civil defence ; what the total costs of employing staff on civil defence duties were in 1989-90 ; what the total costs of employing staff on civil defence duties are expected to be in 1990-91 ; and whether he has any plans for these staff to be transferred to work on other duties.

Mr. Cope : The information requested is as follows :


Next Section

  Home Page