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Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the starting date for the construction of the Felinheli bypass on the A487 trunk road in Gwynedd ; and if he will list all causes of delay with regard to this scheme since it was first placed in the Welsh trunk roads preparation pool.
Sir Wyn Roberts : Inclusion of a scheme in the trunk road programme indicates that a road improvement is needed--it does not convey any commitment as to timing. This depends on satisfactory completion of engineering design and statutory procedures ; and on scheme priorities in relation to the finance available. The Felinheli--Port Dinorwic--bypass is expected to start in period up to April 1994. Objections to supplementary orders published late last year are under consideration and provisional arrangements are being made for a public inquiry in mid-1991.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much money has been paid out of Welsh Office funds by way of grant or subsidy in Wales during the past 12 months to support (a) orchestral music, (b) opera, (c) choral music, (d) brass bands, (e) folk music and (f) rock music.
Sir Wyn Roberts : Government financial support for the performing arts in Wales is channelled through the Welsh Arts Council which receives its funding from my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Arts via the Arts Council of Great Britain. There has been no separate Welsh Office support for such activities save for the £842, 000 which we announced on 31 January had been transferred from our existing provision to the Office of Arts and Libraries to write off the accumulated deficit of the Welsh National Opera.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many places there were available in Wales in residential homes in 1988 ; what were the corresponding figures for 1978 ; and how many were (a) local authority homes, (b) registered homes run by voluntary organisations and (c) registered homes run by private owners.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : There were 17,836 places available in local authority, private and voluntary residential homes for elderly, younger physically handicapped, blind, mentally ill, mentally handicapped and alcohol dependent people at 31 March 1988. The corresponding figure at 31 March 1978 was 10,750. The number of local authority homes, registered homes run by voluntary organisations and registered homes run by private owners is shown in the table :
1978<1> 1988<1> Function of home |Local |Voluntary |Private |Local |Voluntary |Private |authority |homes |homes |authority |homes |homes |homes |homes --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Elderly, younger physically handicapped and blind 201 93<2> 201 36 421 Mentally ill |37 |1 |5 |53 |4 |19 Mentally handicapped |29 |2 |6 |90 |19 |42 Mixed<3> |13 |0 |0 |1 |0 |0 Alcohol dependence |<4>- |<4>- |<4>- |0 |3 |0 <1> As at 31 March. <2> No split available between voluntary and private. <3> These homes accommodate both mentally ill and mentally handicapped people. <4> Not available.
(2) when he plans to place legislation before the House to enact a new Welsh Language Bill ;
(3) what is his response to the draft Welsh Language Bill published on 14 February by the Welsh Language Board.
Sir Wyn Roberts : The Welsh Language Board published its proposals for legislation in support of the Welsh language on 11 February. Those proposals will be carefully considered and the Government's response will be announced in due course.
Column 590in the coal industry in south Wales since 1 January 1990, indicating the measures he has taken to ameliorate their impact upon communities.
Mr. David Hunt : Since 1 January 1990 there have been 880 redundancies effected and 705 redundancies announced in the coal industry in south Wales. The Welsh Office, Welsh Development Agency, British Coal Enterprise, other agencies and Government Departments are working together and are responding to opportunities as they arise to offset the effects that the redundancies have on local communities.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proposals he has for utilising the space at the New Crown buildings, Cathays park, after its evacuation by the Export Credit Guarantees Department insurance services group.
Mr. David Hunt : It is expected to be some time before the space now occupied by ECGD insurance services group in the new Crown building, Cathays park, becomes vacant. The reletting of this space, which forms part of the Government's civil estate, is ultimately the responsibility
Column 591of the Department of Environment--Property Holdings--but my Department will be keeping in close touch with events.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his reply of 12 November 1990, Official Report, column 49, when he will place in the Library an authorised English language version of the Advocate -General's opinion on the Leybucht bay case heard at Luxembourg before the European Court of Justice.
Advocate-General's opinion prepared by the court is unlikely to be available for some time. However, I understand that an English language translation prepared by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be available very shortly. I shall be placing a copy of this in the Library of the House.
Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will outline his policy on setting targets for the numbers of those in training who obtain qualifications ; and if he will give the reasons underlying the policy.
Mr. Jackson : Targets for the numbers of employment training and youth training trainees who are expected to obtain national vocational qualifications at various levels are negotiated between my Department and individual training and enterprise councils. Targets are influenced by, amongst other things, past performance, expected improvements in performance and local circumstances.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what impact the earnings paid to participants in the action credit pilot scheme being run by the employment service will have on their (a) entitlement to housing benefit, (b) entitlement to community charge benefit, and (c) entitlement to income support during (i) the time that they are building up their terminal commission bonus and (ii) when they receive their accumulated bonus at the end of the action credit ; and if he will make a statement.
Miss Widdecombe : The action credit scheme was recently piloted by the Department of Employment's training, enterprise and education directorate (formerly the Training Agency) for people leaving employment training who are receiving income support.
Under the scheme, participants who take up part-time work placements receive payments equal to the level of their income support earnings disregard, normally £5 or
Column 592£15 per week. These earnings have no effect on entitlement to income support, housing benefit or community charge benefit. The balance of the earnings is accumulated and paid at a later date. Any income support in payment is reduced by the net weekly equivalent of the earnings, after deducting a further earnings disregard, for a forward period equal to the length of the period of employment. Housing benefit and community charge benefit are not affected.
If income support is not in payment, or is extinguished by the earnings, the accumulated bonus is treated as capital for the purposes of housing benefit and community charge benefit. It will only affect those benefits if the payment takes any existing capital over £3,000, of if the participant's capital is already over that amount.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons in the United Kingdom have been unemployed for (a) one year, (b) two years, (c) three years, (d) three to five years and (e) over five years.
Duration |<1>Total ------------------------------------ 0-1 year |1,162,879 1-2 years |202,631 2-3 years |80,374 3-5 years |81,304 5 years or more |143,432 <1>Unemployment figures by duration are produced quarterly. The figures shown are for October 1990, the latest date available, and are on the unadjusted basis.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what initiatives he is considering in order to reduce long-term unemployment within the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Jackson : We already have in place a comprehensive package of employment and training measures to help the long-term unemployed back into work. The range of help available for individuals is the widest ever. Next year we shall be providing up to 100,000 additional opportunities through programmes such as jobclub and the job interview guarantee.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress the employment service has made in meeting the numerical targets outlined in its 1990-91 agency agreement ; and if he will show the specific targets and achievements for the latest available date in relation to (a) placing unemployed people in jobs, (b) placing the long-term unemployed in jobs and (c) the number of claims not pursued ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Jackson : Employment service targets for placing people into jobs this financial year are set out in the annual performance agreement published in April 1990. I am informed by the chief executive of the employment service that in the period April to December 1990 the employment service placed 1,088,286 unemployed people into jobs (annual target 1,650,000), of whom 165,400 had been
Column 593claiming benefit for six months or longer (annual target 275,000). Over the same period 320,034 people enquired at local offices of the employment service about entitlement to benefit but did not pursue a claim (reference level 400,000 in 1989-90 financial year). The chief executive will report to the Secretary of State on employment service achievements at the end of the financial year and his report will be published in the summer.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he intends to place in the Library a copy of the new annual performance agreement agreed with the employment service for 1991-92 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many unemployed claimants in each month since 9 October 1989, for each region and for Great Britain as a whole (a) have been issued with a warning letter for not actively seeking work, (b) had their claims referred to an adjudication officer for not actively seeking work, (c) had their claims (i) allowed or (ii) disallowed, (d) have been referred to an adjudication officer for refusing employment ; how many of those in (d) have had their benefit (1) disqualified or (2) allowed ; how many have been referred to an adjudication officer for neglect to avail oneself of employment ; and how many of those have had their benefit (a) disqualified or (b) allowed.
Mr. Jackson : Questions on operational matters in the employment service executive agency are the responsibility of Mike Fogden, the agency's chief executive, to whom I have referred this question for reply.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his reply of 5 February, Official Report, column 90, what consultations he has had with the chairman of South Glamorgan TEC concerning the issuing of advertisements to tender for the construction of the new TEC building.
Column 594required to observe. This includes the obligation to advertise openly the post of chief executive should a TEC not wish to appoint an Employment Department group secondee.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what guidelines he has issued to the training and enterprise councils regarding the employment of close relatives of TEC chairmen in senior management positions.
Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : We have reassessed this project in the light of current defence requirements and have decided not to proceed with the programme to construct an experimental transmitter in Glengarry forest. Accordingly, we shall not be proceeding with the notice of proposed development. We are notifying local authorities to this effect.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people from the Paisley, South constituency are currently on military service in the Gulf or engaged in support services in this country.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Government's war aims encompass the bombing of any non-Iraqi vehicles on the main Iraq-Jordan highway ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : No. The Government's objectives are those set out in the United Nations Security Council resolutions. The allied intention is to implement these resolutions in the shortest possible time with the minimum casualties. Allied pilots have instructions only to attack military targets which could pose a threat to allied forces or facilities which are supporting Iraq's occupation of Kuwait.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received about the delay experienced by Mrs. Joan Webb of Leicester in communicating with her son Colin Webb of the Signals Regiment at BFPO 649 ; what is the length of time now taken to transmit mail to services personnel in the Gulf ; and what further measures he is taking to improve the situation.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The hon. Gentleman has been in contact with my office about a delay experienced by Mrs. Joan Wells in communicating with her son in the Gulf. The matter is being investigated, and I will write to the hon. Gentleman shortly. In general, the transmit time to the Gulf for letters is around five days, and ten days for parcels. These timings may be exceeded for troops in forward positions.
Column 595Transit times are monitored regularly and every effort is made to achieve the earliest possible delivery.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is his current assessment of the effects on British service men present in the vicinity of the second United Kingdom nuclear test at Christmas Island in 1958 of their exposure to radiation ; (2) what is his current assessment of the effects on ex-service men present in the vicinity of the first United Kingdom nuclear test at Christmas Island in 1958 of their exposure to radiation.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will now estimate the number of premature deaths of ex-service men who took part in the Christmas Island tests between 1952 and 1958, including the clean up operations up to 1964.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : I refer the hon. Member to the National Radiological Protection Board report NRPB-R214, "Mortality and Cancer Incidence in UK Participants in UK Atmospheric Nuclear Weapon Tests and Experimental Programmes" published in 1988. In their report, the NRBP did not establish a causal link between any increased incidence of cancer and participation in the test programme.
The NRPB are now carrying out an analysis of data received up until 1 January 1988 and their further report will be available in 1992.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will now reconsider the benefit and compensation claims of nuclear test veterans who took part in the British nuclear test programme from 1952 until 1958, including the clean-up programme up to 1964 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The Government's policy is based on the National Radiological Protection Board's (NRPB) report published in 1988, which found no casual link between participation in the test programme and any increased incidence of cancer. A further follow-up study by the NRPB has been commissioned and it will be necessary to await the conclusions of this before considering what changes, if any, might be appropriate to the Government's current policy.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations Her Majesty's Government received opposing British involvement in the first Baghdad international arms fair held in April 1989.
Mr. Alan Clark : A number of hon. Members and members of the public registered their opposition to the participation of United Kingdom companies in the international arms fair held in Baghdad in April 1989.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his American counterpart concerning the conditions under which United States forces in the allied military alliance deployed in the Gulf region would be permitted to use nuclear weapons.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend keeps in regular contact with his American counterpart. The details of these discussions are confidential. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made the Government's position on the possible use of United Kingdom nuclear weapons in the Gulf quite clear on 15 January 1991 at col. 726.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current estimate of the cost of moving the Directorate General of Quality Assurance to (a) Stockton-on-Tees and (b) Portland, in Dorset.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Royal Navy, (b) Royal Air Force and (c) Army personnel were (i) absent without leave and (ii) applied for discharge as conscientious objectors between1 January and the latest available date ; what were the figures for the comparable period of 1990 ; and if he will make a statement.