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Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if she will provide tables showing the latest results from the youth training leavers survey for each TEC--training and enterprise council--area in England and Wales and each LEC--local enterprise company--area in Scotland broken down to show the number and proportion of youth training leavers who (a) had worked towards a vocational qualification or credit, (b) had gained a vocational qualification or credit, (c) had not gained a vocational qualification or credit, (d) were awaiting results and (e) had completed their training.

Mr. McLoughlin : I will write to the hon. Member.

Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment on what occasions the European Commission has refused to pay grants from the social fund to the United Kingdom to assist industrial training ; and what were the reasons for each refusal.

Mr. McLoughlin : The Commission has yet to make certain 1992 payments in respect of the fund's objectives 2


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and 5b--areas of industrial and rural decline--and has provided no reasons for this delay. The Commission has now agreed to release all 1992 advances in respect of objectives 3 and 4--long- term unemployment and young people.

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if she will provide tables showing the latest results from the youth training leavers survey for each TEC area in England and Wales and each LEC area in Scotland broken down to show the number and proportion of youth training leavers who were (a) in a full-time job with their work experience employer, (b) in a full-time job with another employer, (c) employed in their own business, (d) in a part-time job, (e) in voluntary work, (f) on a full-time course at a college or training centre, (g) on another youth training scheme, (h) doing something else or (i) unemployed.

Mr. McLoughlin : I will write to the hon. Member.

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if she plans to publish (a) the monthly reports of supply and demand of youth training places in each TEC area which are required from 7 July and (b) the quarterly statistical stock takes by her Department of the youth training supply and demand position on the guarantee in each TEC area.

Mr. McLoughlin : Information on the numbers of young people covered by the YT guarantee will be subject to the new monitoring arrangements which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment announced in the House on 7 July. Information gathered in the quarterly stock takes is in the form of estimates that are not sufficiently reliable to merit publication.

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if she will list the number of young persons in the Durham constituency who have gained full-time employment after completing the youth training scheme.

Mr. McLoughlin : It is estimated from the latest available information that 60 per cent. of youth training trainees who completed their agreed training in the Durham training and enterprise council area during April to September 1991 were in full-time employment six months after leaving.

Severe Hardship Payments

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many cases were referred to a training and enterprise council guarantee liaison officer after a young person had been on severe hardship payments for eight weeks ; and of these how many young people were found a youth training place by the guarantee liaison officer, in (a) January, (b) April and (c) July.

Mr. McLoughlin : The following information has been provided by the Benefits Agency :

(a) January 258 referrals ;

(b) April 579 referrals ;

(c) July (information not yet available).

The information relates to referrals to TECs in England and Wales and local enterprise companies in Scotland.

Information on the numbers of young people who were found a YT place by a guarantee liaison officer as a result of the referral is not available.


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Travel-to-Interview Scheme

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when she expects to announce the results of the review of the

travel-to-interview scheme ; if she will introduce provision for assistance for multiple job search expenses within the daily travelling distance ; what changes to the eligibility rules and total resources allocated to the scheme are being considered ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin : I will write to the hon. Member.

Mr. Neil Mulberry

Mr. Jessel : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the date on which she will provide redundancy payment to Mr. Neil Mulberry.

Mr. McLoughlin : I have written to my hon. Friend, giving full details of this case.

Noise at Work Regulations 1989

Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate has been made of the cost to employers of complying with the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 in 1990 and 1991.

Mr. McLoughlin : The Health and Safety Commission published a consultative document in 1987 on the draft Noise at Work Regulations. This included an assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed regulations, which estimated their total cost to be between £240 million to £320 million, spread over a working lifetime. The main costs were likely to arise from the requirement for noise assessments-- £20 million--personal protection programmes for those exposed to noise above 85 dB(A)--£127 million--and those for noise reduction measures for exposures above 90dB(A)--£85 million to £175 million.

Social Fund

Mr. Watson : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations she intends to make over delays in processing European social fund payments for voluntary sector projects.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Following vigorous representations by the Department, the European Commission has now agreed to release all ESF moneys due to the United Kingdom in respect of first advances for projects operating in 1992 under objectives 3 and 4 of the fund--long-term unemployment and young people. Representations continue over the Commission's inexcusable and unexplained delay in releasing 1992 advances in respect of certain programmes under objectives 5 and 2b--areas of industrial and rural decline.

Mr. Cash : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the proposed budget of the European social fund.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The European Commission has proposed that the total European social fund budget for 1993 should be some £4,185 million--at the current exchange rate.


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Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what amendments have been made to SI 1991 No. 2431 on the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988, in regard to item II in schedule 2, following the fifth report of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, 1991-92, HC 14-v.

Mr. McLoughlin : I will write to the hon. Member.

Employment Service

Mr. Merchant : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what were the main achievements of the Employment Service as a next steps agency in 1991-92 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin : I am delighted to announce that the Employment Service met or exceeded the great majority of its performance targets in 1991-92. It helped 1.332 million unemployed people back into work ; and exceeded its targets for paying benefit accurately and on time. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment has received the ES annual report and accounts for 1991-92 from the chief executive.

As a next steps agency, the ES operates under a published framework document agreed with my right hon. Friend. The start of the review of the current ES framework document, due for completion by the end of March 1993, was delayed by the general election. My right hon. Friend has, therefore, extended the life of the current ES framework document by six months. At the same time, she has extended the contract of employment of the current ES chief executive, Mr. Mike Fogden, by six months, to March 1993. My right hon. Friend has also agreed a number of technical amendments to the current ES framework document, which take effect immediately.

I have arranged for copies of the ES annual report and accounts for 1991-92 and the full textual changes to the ES framework document to be placed in the Library.

DEFENCE

Radioactive Materials

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 6 July, Official Report, column 45, if he will list each of the sites that exceed the threshold for exemptions from the Radioactive Substances Act 1960.

Mr. Aitken : My Department is reviewing holdings of radioactive substances which exceed statutory exemption limits. The review is expected to be complete by the end of this year. It would be premature to provide the list the hon. Gentleman requests until that time.

Polaris

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what studies have been carried out into methods of disposal of Polaris missiles ;

(2) by what means Polaris missiles will be disposed of.

Mr. Aitken : Disposal of Polaris missiles will be undertaken as the force is phased out and progressively replaced by Trident. Various methods for the disposal of the missiles are currently under consideration.


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Trident

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to fit global positioning system units on British Trident missiles.

Mr. Aitken : None. However, global positioning system units will be fitted to each of the four Vanguard class Trident missile submarines, and will act as a check system for the submarines' primary inertial navigation system.

HMS Vanguard

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will define the terms "in-service date" and "formally operational" as used by his Department ; and if he will make a statement on the difference between the in-service date of HMS Vanguard and the date upon which it will be fully operational.

Mr. Aitken : The in-service date is defined normally as the date by which the equipment will contribute to the operational capability of the service concerned. For Royal Navy vessels other than strategic ballistic nuclear submarines, the in-service date represents the date of acceptance from the contractor of the first of class ; such vessels become formally operational after a series of trials. For Vanguard class submarines, trials will precede the in-service date, at which point they are expected to become fully operational.

Weapons (Soviet Union)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to the purchase and subsequent dismantling of weapons of the former Soviet Union in order to prevent these weapons from being sold on the open market.

Mr. Aitken : This option has been rejected. It would not deal with the problem of the huge size of the military industries of the former Soviet Union, and could act as an incentive to further arms production.

Porton Down

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to the establishment of an ethics committee to oversee scientific procedures on animals at the chemical and biological defence establishment, Porton Down.

Mr. Aitken : All scientific procedures carried out on animals at this establishment are undertaken within the provisions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. This imposes strict controls on the use of living animals in research and requires each programme of work to be justified in advance. The Act also established an Animals Procedures Committee which advises the Home Secretary on such matters as the legitimate requirements of science and industry and the protection of animals against avoidable suffering and unnecessary use in scientific procedures. I see no need to establish an ethics committee.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what would be the defence implications of United Kingdom participation in a multilateral, verifiable fissile materials cut-off.


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Mr. Aitken : Unlike the nuclear super powers, the United Kingdom does not have large stocks of surplus fissile material upon which to draw. United Kingdom production will continue to be kept at the minimum level necessary to satisfy our nuclear deterent and naval reactor needs.

Civil Servants' Shareholdings

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance, other than the civil service pay and conditions of service code and the establishment officers' guide, his Department provides relating to civil servants' shareholdings ; if he will list the number of occasions within the last five years on which civil servants have reported shareholdings to establishment officers in his Department ; what regulations apply to the staff of the next steps agencies within his Department ; what mechanisms are in place to prevent potential conflicts of interest ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aitken : The rules of conduct governing share ownership are set out in departmental standing instructions available to both industrial and non-industrial staff. These make it clear that there is to be no conflict of interest between private and official interests.

My Department's next steps agencies are subject to these same rules.

Deregulation

Mr. Sproat : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what visits he has made too his EC counterparts in each member state to discuss deregulation matters since 18 April ; what agreements came out of such meetings ; and what plans he has for making further progress in deregulation matters during the United Kingdom's presidency of the EC.

Mr. Aitken : My right hon. and learned Friend has made no such visits. However, as the Minister with responsibility for deregulation matters within the MOD, I can confirm that this Department will play its full part in taking forward the Government's commitment to deregulation and competition.

Type 23 Frigates

Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when it is expected the Royal Navy will take delivery of the Ferranti data link stimulator for the type 23 frigate.

Mr. Aitken : The data link stimulator is scheduled to be delivered to the type 23 shore integration facility early in 1993.

Minesweepers

Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what have been the consequences for the training of reservists of the withdrawal from service of two Royal Navy River class minesweepers.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : There have been no consequences for the training of reservists as such following the withdrawal from service of two River class minesweepers, although some reservists now have to travel to other units for their sea training.


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Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many River class minesweepers are in service with the Royal Navy ; and where they are based.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : There are a total of 12 River class minesweepers. Two--HMS Ribble and HMS Helmsdale--are maintained in reserve at Portsmouth. HMS Blackwater is deployed operationally as part of the fishery protection squadron and is based at Rosyth. The nine remaining vessels are used by the RNR and are based as follows :

HMS Waverney South Wales

HMS Helford Ulster

HMS Orwell Tyne

HMS Carron Severn

HMS Humber Mersey

HMS Spey Forth

HMS Dovey Clyde

HMS Itchen Solen

HMS Arun Sussex

Army Recruitment

Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total cost of the present recruitment campaign for the Army running in national cinemas.

Mr. Aitken : The cost is £255,000.

Army Redundancies

Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimate of the costs of the present programme of redundancies in the Army.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The cost to the Army in 1992-93 of the first tranche of redundancies is in the order of £210 million. As I said in my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Merchant) on 8 July 1992, Official Report, column 185, details of the criteria of phase 2 of the redundancy programme will be announced shortly but it is likely that it will affect some 6,500 personnel. Final decisions on the size and make- up of this tranche, and of any further measures, have not yet been made.

Nuclear Storage Bases

Mrs. Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the purpose of the convoy which arrived at Coulport nuclear storage base on 10 July.

Mr. Aitken : It is not our practice to comment on operational matters.

Mrs. Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what obligations the EC directive 89/618/Euratom places upon the United Kingdom Government in relation to the transportation of convoys to nuclear storage bases ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aitken : The United Kingdom Health and Safety Commission has issued a Consultative Document--CD37--setting out its proposals for the adoption of EC directive 89/618/Euratom within United Kingdom regulations. The Ministry of Defence will of course comply with the proposed United Kingdom regulations in the form in which they are finally implemented.

Mrs. Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what obligations and procedures exist to provide advance notice to (a) the public and (b) relevant local authorities of convoys destined for nuclear storage bases ;


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(2) what discussions took place with the appropriate local authorities concerning the convoy which went through their districts on the way to the Coulport nuclear weapons storage base on 10 July.

Mr. Aitken : Any arrangements for liaison in connection with military convoys depend on the nature of the cargo being carried.

Gurkhas

Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether it remains his policy to reduce the brigade of Gurkhas to around 2,500 men after the withdrawal from Hong Kong in 1997.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Yes.

Menwith Hill

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 10 July, Official Report, column 364, what communications are leased exclusively for defence purposes ; and what are the indirect links between Menwith Hill station and Hunterstones tower.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Various communications links are leased exclusively for defence purposes, but I am unable to comment further on their precise nature for reasons of national security.

Chemical and Biological Weapons

Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) under what defence agreement information from the defence microbiology division at the chemical and biological defence establishment, Porton Down, is passed to the United States Department of Defence ;

(2) how many personnel from the United States Department of Defence are stationed either permanently or temporarily at the chemical and biological defence establishment at Porton Down ; and for what purpose ;

(3) what quantity of VX nerve gas is currently stocked by his Department ;

(4) in what years CS gas was produced at his Department's establishment at Nancekuke, Cornwall ; and in what quantities it was manufactured each year ;

(5) pursuant to his answer of 26 June, Official Report, column 359, what other uses have been made of shellfish toxins by his Department ; and whether his Department has collaborated with the United States Department of Defence in the studies and tests involving shellfish toxins ;

(6) how many times personnel from the United States Department of Defence have visited the chemical and biological defence establishment, Porton Down, in each year since 1979 ; and what was the purpose of these visits ;

(7) in which years his Department's scientists carried out studies and tests on quantities of VX nerve gas prepared by the United States of America ; what was the purpose of these tests and studies ; and how many British service personnel have been subjected to tests involving VX nerve gas ;

(8) what use the chemical and biological defence establishment Porton Down, has made of the protein saxitoxin ;

(9) how many tests have been carried out since 1967 involving the incapacitating agent BZ and British service


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personnel ; when these tests were carried out ; whether all the personnel were volunteers ; and whether BZ is currently stocked by any of his Department's establishments ;

(10) what information about its research into CR gas the United Kingdom has passed onto the United States of America ; under which defence agreement this information was exchanged ; and when the information was transferred.


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