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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 20 October 1992

TRANSPORT

Motorways (Toilets)

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what new initiatives he intends to introduce to increase the number of toilets on motorways.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : We announced on 6 August a substantial deregulation in the provision of motorway service areas--MSAs. This followed on from the commitment we gave in the citizens charter for more MSAs more quickly. In future MSAs may be more frequent--every 15 miles instead of around 30 miles ; and the private sector, not the Department of Transport, will take the initiative in finding and acquiring sites and obtaining planning permission for the development of MSAs. We believe that the surest solution is to free the market to provide.

British Rail Provincial Business

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the publication of British Rail's final response to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on the provincial business sector.

Mr. Freeman : I have placed a copy of British Rail's response in the Library of the House. BR accepted all 41 recommendations that were addressed to it. Many have already been fully implemented, and BR has set out the action that it is taking, or intends to take, to implement the remainder. One recommendation, concerning the role of local authorities in supporting rail services, and the scope for creation of new passenger transport authorities, is a matter for the Government. Under the Government's proposals for the privatisation of British Rail, passenger transport authorities will continue their responsibilities for local services in their areas, and other local authorities will continue to have powers to contribute to enhanced rail services.

Our White Paper on the privatisation of BR sets out in detail our proposals for the future structure and financing of rail services ; these proposals will lead to a fundamental reform of the railway, under which the private sector will progressively take over the operation of passenger services. We believe that the involvement of the private sector will bring a greater focus on the passenger and, therefore, lead to a more attractive and efficient network of passenger services. It would not be sensible to contemplate major changes in the role of local authorities until experience has been gained of the operation of the new franchising regime.

Channel Tunnel

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends publishing the paper on upgrading the railway network to continental freight loading gauge,


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referred to in the Government's response to the Transport Select Committee's report on preparations for the opening of the channel tunnel, second report, Session 1991-92.

Mr. Freeman : A paper setting out the practical and other problems associated with upgrading to a large continental loading gauge was published yesterday. I have placed copies in the Library of the House.

Ports

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken within Government to consider issues relating to health and safety and training within British ports following the winding-up of the British Ports Federation ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Norris : Steps are being taken within the industry to enable the health and safety and training activities currently being undertaken by the British Ports Federation to continue after the winding up of the federation later this year. These are currently still under discussion, but it is hoped that a positive outcome can be announced shortly.

Traffic Accidents

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many children (a) under the age of five years and (b) between the age of five years and 16 years were involved in road traffic accidents within each United Kingdom region in each year since 1985.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : The table shows the number of reported road accident casualties aged under 16 by age group in each United Kingdom region in each year from 1985 to 1991.


Child<1> casualties-by region and age group:              

United Kingdom 1985-1991                                  

Region            |Year   |0-4    |5-15   |Total          

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

England                                                   

North             |1985   |413    |2,295  |2,708          

                  |1986   |447    |2,208  |2,655          

                  |1987   |437    |2,090  |2,527          

                  |1988   |416    |2,100  |2,516          

                  |1989   |474    |2,206  |2,680          

                  |1990   |511    |2,214  |2,725          

                  |1991   |465    |2,126  |2,591          

                                                          

North West        |1985   |1,039  |5,677  |6,716          

                  |1986   |1,058  |5,358  |6,416          

                  |1987   |1,024  |5,394  |6,418          

                  |1988   |1,181  |5,423  |6,604          

                  |1989   |1,253  |5,586  |6,839          

                  |1990   |1,292  |5,810  |7,102          

                  |1991   |1,225  |5,329  |6,554          

                                                          

Yorkshire and                                             

   Humberside     |1985   |696    |3,723  |4,419          

                  |1986   |649    |3,591  |4,240          

                  |1987   |622    |3,534  |4,156          

                  |1988   |702    |3,496  |4,198          

                  |1989   |785    |3,771  |4,556          

                  |1990   |759    |3,858  |4,617          

                  |1991   |677    |3,553  |4,230          

                                                          

East Midlands     |1985   |443    |2,918  |3,361          

                  |1986   |444    |2,728  |3,172          

                  |1987   |444    |2,582  |3,026          

                  |1988   |515    |2,729  |3,244          

                  |1989   |539    |2,871  |3,410          

                  |1990   |503    |2,931  |3,434          

                  |1991   |485    |2,720  |3,205          

                                                          

West Midlands     |1985   |620    |3,925  |4,545          

                  |1986   |572    |3,706  |4,278          

                  |1987   |568    |3,491  |4,059          

                  |1988   |599    |3,578  |4,177          

                  |1989   |637    |3,682  |4,319          

                  |1990   |682    |4,019  |4,701          

                  |1991   |650    |3,653  |4,303          

                                                          

East Anglia       |1985   |242    |1,314  |1,556          

                  |1986   |187    |1,315  |1,502          

                  |1987   |195    |1,338  |1,533          

                  |1988   |273    |1,380  |1,653          

                  |1989   |236    |1,418  |1,654          

                  |1990   |264    |1,416  |1,680          

                  |1991   |250    |1,307  |1,557          

                                                          

South East        |1985   |1,973  |12,959 |14,932         

                  |1986   |2,016  |12,416 |14,432         

                  |1987   |2,065  |11,763 |13,828         

                  |1988   |2,111  |11,825 |13,936         

                  |1989   |2,239  |12,249 |14,488         

                  |1990   |2,192  |12,130 |14,322         

                  |1991   |1,984  |10,814 |12,798         

                                                          

South West        |1985   |409    |2,864  |3,273          

                  |1986   |379    |2,646  |3,025          

                  |1987   |386    |2,420  |2,806          

                  |1988   |396    |2,562  |2,958          

                  |1989   |420    |2,553  |2,973          

                  |1990   |423    |2,567  |2,990          

                  |1991   |668    |2,186  |2,854          

                                                          

England total<2>  |1985   |5,835  |35,675 |41,510         

                  |1986   |5,752  |33,968 |39,720         

                  |1987   |5,741  |32,612 |38,353         

                  |1988   |6,194  |33,119 |39,313         

                  |1989   |6,583  |34,336 |40,919         

                  |1990   |6,626  |34,945 |41,571         

                  |1991   |6,404  |31,688 |38,092         

                                                          

Wales             |1985   |363    |1,849  |2,212          

                  |1986   |365    |1,816  |2,181          

                  |1987   |356    |1,799  |2,155          

                  |1988   |404    |1,883  |2,287          

                  |1989   |436    |2,071  |2,507          

                  |1990   |415    |2,045  |2,460          

                  |1991   |411    |1,932  |2,343          

                                                          

Scotland          |1985   |772    |4,284  |5,056          

                  |1986   |759    |3,883  |4,642          

                  |1987   |699    |3,745  |4,444          

                  |1988   |733    |3,579  |4,312          

                  |1989   |731    |3,750  |4,481          

                  |1990   |795    |3,814  |4,609          

                  |1991   |735    |3,421  |4,156          

                                                          

Northern Ireland  |<3>1985|-      |-      |-              

                  |1986   |273    |1,220  |1,493          

                  |1987   |292    |1,246  |1,538          

                  |1988   |305    |1,321  |1,626          

                  |1989   |371    |1,333  |1,704          

                  |1990   |355    |1,424  |1,779          

                  |1991   |315    |1,220  |1,535          

                                                          

United Kingdom<2> |<3>1985|-      |-      |-              

                  |1986   |7,149  |40,887 |48,036         

                  |1987   |7,088  |39,402 |46,490         

                  |1988   |7,636  |39,902 |47,538         

                  |1989   |8,121  |41,490 |49,611         

                  |1990   |8,191  |42,228 |50,419         

                  |1991   |7,865  |38,261 |46,126         

<1> Aged under 16. Does not include age not reported.     

<2> Includes region not reported.                         

<3> 1985 data for Northern Ireland not available.         


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Heavy Goods Vehicles

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the result of his Department's research into the incidence and causes of tyre failures among heavy goods vehicles on motorways.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : A survey of tyre tread debris left by 157 tyres on the M4 motorway was carried out between June and October 1991. The debris consisted of 72--46 per cent.--new--first used--tyres and 84--54 per cent. retreads. Only one piece of debris was of unknown type.

Tyre failure by heavy goods vehicles on motorways is almost invariably the result of tyres overheating. This can be a consequence of overloading, under-inflation--or both--running under-inflated following a penetration or running for long periods at higher speeds than those for which the tyres were designed at their maximum load. I have arranged for a copy of the Transport Research Laboratory's working paper--Ref.: WP/VS/222--to be placed in the Library.

Transport Infrastructure

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how he estimates the value of regeneration benefits of transport infrastructure improvements.

Mr. MacGregor : Regeneration benefits, unlike the other benefits of a transport scheme, are predominantly benefits to the locality often achieved at the cost of less activity elsewhere. They are, therefore, counted "below the line" in a scheme appraisal, not as part of the gains to the national economy. This is standard Government practice in the appraisal of industrial and regional assistance.

Attempts at valuation generally focus on forecast increases in the value of commercial and industrial land in the immediate area. In any valuation, care must be taken to avoid double counting of benefits included in the transport appraisal and to allow for the fact that some activity may well be diverted from elsewhere in the local area.

Public Transport

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research is currently undertaken or sponsored by his Department into improved transport for women and children.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : My Department has a long-standing programme of research into the transport needs of people with mobility problems, including women, children, elderly people and those with disabilities.

Current projects include work on the design and operation of fully accessible low floor buses, the development of design standards for bus and coach stations--jointly funded with the passenger transport executives--and the use of unstaffed railway stations by people with mobility problems-- jointly funded with British Rail. My Department is also conducting research into the incidence of assaults on bus passengers.

Schemes (EC Funding)

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of transport schemes which have attracted EC funding since 1979.


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Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : These schemes include projects by the Department of Transport, nationalised industries, local authorities and the private sector, and details could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Cycling

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will carry out a study of the Dutch Government's bicycles first master plan and publish an assessment of what lessons apply to strategic transport planning in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : I have seen the Dutch bicycle master plan, which forms part of a range of traffic and transport policies. The bicycle master plan contains a considerable number of proposals aimed at increasing cycle usage. These are not all new. Indeed, some reflect current United Kingdom policy and practice, such as measures to increase safety, and to improve the range and quality of facilities for cyclists.

I have no plans to publish an assessment of the bicycle master plan, but its contents will clearly influence our ideas on how cycling should develop in the United Kingdom.

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list details of all his Department's expenditure in 1992-93 designed to improve safety for cyclists.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : Although no separate figures are available, much of my Department's expenditure on road safety will improve safety for cyclists, for example that on publicity aimed at preventing drinking and driving, and on new technology to help catch and prosecute bad drivers. Every trunk road bypass that the Department funds and every local road bypass that they support through transport supplementary grant improves road safety for all vulnerable road users, including cyclists.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will instigate a public information campaign on the dangers of and penalties for riding a bicycle across a pedestrian crossing and through red traffic lights.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle [holding answer 19 October 1992] : The Highway Code includes good advice for cyclists on road behaviour and the need to obey the law. This advice will be expanded in the revised edition of the code and I shall draw particular attention to this when it is published early next year.

Street Works

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to require highway authorities to inform residents or traders of impending street works.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : The flow of information will be improved by the relevant provisions of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, which will come into force on 1 January 1993. They will require street authorities--normally the local highway authorities--to co-ordinate undertakers' street works and works for their own road purposes, and will impose a duty of co-operation on the undertakers. We shall shortly be publishing a code of practice giving practical guidance on the carrying out of these duties. The code will draw the attention of the promoting undertaker of works to the importance of


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giving advance information and warning to affected frontagers not only about disruption to their services but if their access is to be affected for any length of time.

A12

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what figures on volume and weight of traffic using the A12 at Wrentham he is using since the 1984 figures ; how the figures have changed up to August 1992 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle [holding answer 19 October 1992] : Current traffic information is compiled from roadside interviews, traffic counts and journey time surveys carried out in October 1990. A permanent automatic count of traffic is also taken on the A12 south of Wrentham.

Traffic figures available in 1984 on the A12 south of Wrentham were in excess of 6,000 vehicles per day. A comparable figure for August 1992 is in excess of 10,000 vehicles per day. These are the highest daily flows of the year. The present A12 is capable of carrying these levels of traffic.

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the likely time scale for a public consultation exercise on the proposed bypass of Wrentham on the A12.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle [holding answer 19 October 1992] : The present programmed date for public consultation about the options for improving the A12 from south of Wrentham to Kessingland, including a bypass of Wrentham, is early next year.

ENVIRONMENT

Housing Associations

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what actions Her Majesty's Government have taken to reduce the incidence of housing associations leaving homes unjustifiably empty for long periods.

Mr. Baldry : There has been a steady decrease over the past five years in the incidence of empty property owned by housing associations. The supervision of the management of associations is the statutory responsibility of the Housing Corporation and I will ask the corporation to write to the hon. Member with further information.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals Her Majesty's Government have to ensure secure tenancies for all housing association tenants.

Mr. Baldry : The majority of the tenants of housing associations are secure tenants. For those taking up a tenancy since 1989, the status is normally that of assured tenants. These assured tenants of housing associations have rights conferred by statute and additional contractual rights by virtue of the Housing Corporation's "Tenants' Guarantee", which give them security of tenure broadly similar to that enjoyed by secure tenants. There are no plans to change this framework.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the ways in which tenants are represented on housing association boards of management.


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Mr. Baldry : The supervision of the management of registered housing associations is the statutory responsibility of the Housing Corporation, which has an active strategy for increasing the participation of tenants in the management of their associations. I will ask the Housing Corporation to write to the hon. Member with further information.

NATIONAL FINANCE

House Purchase

Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what measures he proposes to take to assist borrowers with negative equity who wish to move house.

Mr. Nelson : The Government propose to remove two potential legal and tax obstacles to borrowers with negative equity who wish to move.

First, the Building Societies Commission, with the consent of the Treasury, is to raise the limit which building societies can lend unsecured from £10,000 to £25,000 per person. This will enable societies, in appropriate cases, to advance top-up necessary loans to borrowers with substantial negative equity. The necessary secondary legislation will be laid before the House at the earliest opportunity.

Secondly, changes are proposed to allow the security of one property to be exchanged for another against the original mortgage loan, without the loss of mortgage interest relief. The Inland Revenue hopes to give effect to the proposed changes within the next few weeks.


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EC Budget Council

Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the outcome of the meeting of European Ministers at the Budget Council in July.

Sir John Cope : The Budget Council met in Brussels on 23 July. As President of the Budget Council I chaired the meeting, and the Economic Secretary represented the United Kingdom. The Council established a first reading draft budget for 1993 totalling 65.7 billion ecu--£51.7 billion--in commitment appropriations and 62.9 billion ecu--£49.5 billion--in payment appropriations. The latter represents 1.07 per cent. of Community GNP, compared with the own resources ceiling of 1.2 per cent.

The draft budget established by the Council constrained the increase in non -compulsory expenditure to 3.79 per cent. for commitments and to 7.2 per cent.--the "maximum rate"--for payments. This involved reductions of 3,570 million ecu--£2,811 million--in commitments and 3,383 million ecu-- £2,664 million--in payments of the proposals put forward by the Commission in its preliminary draft budget. The provision for agriculture takes full account of CAP reform ; and is 2.6 billion ecu--£2.05 billion--below the agriculture guideline. Financial provision was not made for the cohesion fund agreed at Maastricht, which the Lisbon European Council agreed should be set up early in 1993, pending a decision on the amount which is expected to be taken at the European Council in Edinburgh. An explanatory memorandum on the Council's draft budget was submitted to the House on 9 October.

The summary table compares the outcome of the Budget Council to the proposals in the Commission's preliminary draft budget by reference to the main areas of spending :


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                                       Preliminary Draft         Draft Budget                          

                                       Budget<1>                                                       

                                      |mecu        |£ million<2>|mecu        |£ million                

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

Commitment appropriations                                                                              

1. Agricultural Guarantee             |34,062      |26,820      |34,042      |26,805                   

2. Structural Operations              |22,046      |17,359      |20,119      |15,842                   

3. Internal policies, including R & D |4,440       |3,496       |3,375       |2,657                    

4. External Policies, including aid   |4,150       |3,267       |3,818       |3,006                    

5. Administration                     |3,577       |2,816       |3,349       |2,637                    

6. Monetary Reserve                   |1,000       |787         |1,000       |787                      

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

Total: Commitment appropriations      |69,274      |54,456      |65,704      |51,735                   

  of which:                                                                                            

  compulsory                          |36,505      |28,744      |36,459      |28,708                   

  non-compulsory                      |32,769      |25,802      |29,245      |23,028                   

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

Total: Payment appropriations         |66,309      |52,212      |62,926      |49,548                   

  of which:                                                                                            

  compulsory                          |36,458      |28,707      |36,406      |28,666                   

  non-compulsory                      |29,851      |23,505      |26,520      |20,882                   

<1> including letter of amendment No. 1 to the PDB for 1993.                                           

<2> Throughout this reply the rate of £1=1.2700 ecu has been used for conversions relating to 1993     

expenditure (the rate notified in the Official Journal as prevailing on the last working day of last   

month (30 September)). The rate of £1=1.396 ecu has been used for 1992 expenditure (the rate set for   

United Kingdom contributions from VAT and the Fourth Resource in 1992).                                

The Budget Council also adopted the supplementary and amending budget No. 3 for 1992. An explanatory memorandum was submitted to the House on 14 September. This supplementary budget gives budgetary effect to the decision to revise the financial perspective on which an explanatory memorandum was submitted on 9 July. It covers increased payment appropriations for the structural funds in the new German La"nder and four programmes under the third research framework


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programme. The supplementary budget also makes provision to return to a member state a significant proportion of the expected surplus in the agriculture budget. In the proposed supplementary budget the agricultural budget is reduced by 2,875 million ecu--£2,059 million--with 2,175 million ecu--£1,558 million--of that money being returned to member states through a reduction in contributions ; the remainder is utilised for other Community policies.


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The European Parliament will consider the draft budget for 1993 at its plenary in late October--the 26th to 30th. The Parliament's amendments and modifications will be considered at the second Budget Council on 17 November. The European Parliament's second reading is set for mid-December.

Economic and Monetary Union

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which EC countries currently fulfil the requirements for convergence set out in the Maastricht treaty protocols ; in what ways the others fail ; and how far the United Kingdom is away from each of the criteria.

Mr. Nelson : Article 109j of the Maastricht treaty gives to the Council the responsibility for determining whether a member state has met the necessary conditions for the adoption of a single currency. The Council is required to make this judgment, taking into account reports from the Commission and the European Monetary Institute on the


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extent to which a member state complies with criteria concerning the rate of inflation ; the Government's fiscal position ; observance of the normal fluctuation margins within the ERM ; and long-term interest rate levels. In addition, the reports must take account of the number of other factors, including the developments of the ecu, the integration of markets, balance of payments on current account, and the development of unit labour costs and other price indices. The protocol on the convergence criteria, attached to the treaty, sets out figures for the convergence criteria regarding inflation and long-term interest rates. In addition, the protocol on the excessive deficit procedure, sets out reference values for fiscal criteria, which, if breached, would prompt a Commission report to the Council on the fiscal position of a member state--such a report being the basis on which the Council would judge whether an excessive deficit existed. The position of each member state, in respect of the figures and reference values set out in the protocols, is given in the table.


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                    |Latest inflation<1>|Budget balance<2>  |General government |Long term bond     |ERM narrow band<5>                     

                                                            |debt<3>            |yield<4>                                                   

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

Belgium             |2.1                |-6.2               |129.7              |8.9                |Yes                                    

Denmark             |2.1                |-2.0               |71.7               |9.0                |Yes                                    

France              |2.7                |-1.7               |48.4               |9.1                |Yes                                    

Germany<6>          |3.5                |-3.1               |44.9               |8.3                |Yes                                    

Greece              |15.3               |-16.5              |103.3              |n/a                |No                                     

Ireland             |2.8                |-2.3               |99.8               |8.9                |Yes                                    

Italy               |5.2                |-10.2              |101.7              |11.9               |No                                     

Luxembourg          |3.1                |2.5                |6.3                |7.9                |Yes                                    

Netherlands         |3.5                |-3.9               |79.7               |8.4                |Yes                                    

Portugal            |9.2                |-6.4               |68.6               |11.5               |No                                     

Spain               |5.7                |-4.4               |45.6               |11.7               |No                                     

United Kingdom      |3.6                |-2.0               |39.9               |9.0                |No                                     

<1> August 1992; percentage change of consumer prices over previous 12 months.                                                              

<2> 1991 General government financial balance (as a percentage of GDP).                                                                     

<3> 1991 Gross debt of general government (as a percentage of GDP).                                                                         

<4> June 1992; yield on fixed interest government securities.                                                                               

<5> Membership of the narrow band of the ERM for at least two years, without devaluing on own initiative.                                   

<6> Inflation and government debt figures are for western Germany.                                                                          

Source: OECD and Eurostat.                                                                                                                  

DEFENCE

Queen Victoria School

Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Queen Victoria school will be established as an executive agency.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The Queen Victoria school began to operate as an executive agency with effect from 1 April 1992. The framework document has been printed and copies will be placed in the Library of both Houses. The targets which have been set for the school in its first year of operation as an agency are as follows :

Academic and Curriculum

1. Annually, to achieve :

(a) for S4 pupils, at least three standard grade passes at grade 1 to 3 for 90 per cent. of pupils ; and

(b) at least five standard grade passes at grade 1 to 3 for 60 per cent. of pupils ;

(c) for S5/6 pupils, at least three higher grade passes at grade A to C for 60 per cent. of pupils or Scottish Vocational Education Council (Scotvec) equivalent.

2. By 31 August 1992, to develop a "5 to 14 Development Programme" in line with the Scottish Office Education

Department--SOED--recommendations including a system for parental response on quality and choice.


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Pastoral

3. To respond to recommendations of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools on pastoral provision and organisation with six months of receipt of that report.

Extra Curricular Provision

4. To maintain and enrich at least 50 extra curricular activities, both physical and cultural, involving pupils aged 10 to 15 in at least three per week and those aged 16 to 18 in at least two. Management

5. By March 1993, to assess and report on pay and grading structures in the school and associated allowances and rents. 6. To implement teacher appraisal and development procedures in line with SOED guidelines and timetable, including a pastoral element.

7. By April 1993, to develop management and financial information systems, including baseline pupil per capita costs, that satisfy all management and accounting requirements.

8. By April 1993, to identify areas for efficiency savings in order to :--

(a) reduce pupil per capita costs by 2 per cent. in financial year 1993-94 while at least maintaining present standards. (b) set targets for future years.


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9. By June 1993, to examine the feasibility of admitting girls and fee-paying pupils, and the extent of provision required for them.

10. By June 1993, to develop and implement a strategy for income generation using the school's facilities.

Statistical Services

Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future management of statistical and related services within his Department.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : A review of Defence Statistics has been completed, and I am pleased to announce its establishment as a defence support agency from 1 July 1992, with the title the Defence Analytical Service Agency--DASA.

The DASA provides a variety of professional statistical and other analytical services which are essential to the conduct of the Ministry of Defence's business operations. As well as producing many of my Department's statistics, including those to Parliament, the Armed Forces Pay Review Body and the Top Salaries Review Body, it offers advice and assistance to a wide range of customers in my Department on areas such as manpower planning, financial management, logistic projects and personnel surveys.

The DASA is part of the Government statistical service. The chief executive is the head of profession for staff in the statistical grades in the Ministry of Defence, and chief statistical adviser to my Department. The first chief executive is Mr. Paul Altobell. The key targets that have been set for the agency in its first year of operation are as follows. I have arranged for copies of the framework document to be placed in the Library of both Houses.

Level and quality of service

1. About three-quarters of the agency's business is suitable by service level agreements--SLAs--with customers, which set out targets and standards for the level of service, timeliness and quality of work. For this part of the business key targets are :--

a. To introduce, in 1992-93, SLAs for 45 per cent. of this work and to increase this coverage to 75 per cent. and 100 per cent. in the following two years.

b. In 1992-93, to meet 95 per cent. of the targets set in the established SLAs.

2. For the remaining parts of the business--that for which SLAs are not appropriate--the key target is :--

To establish, by April 1993, project control mechanisms which will include objectives, programmes and targets.

3. To extend to all branches of the agency by October 1992 the measurement of perceived customer satisfaction, through the use of customer assessment questionnaires, and to establish customer satisfaction targets for future years.

Efficiency and use of resources

4. To implement the PROSPECT reductions in manpower of 10 per cent. in 1992 -93 and 10 per cent. in 1993-94 with minimum reduction in output.

5. To increase efficiency in the production of regular statistical reports by 5 per cent. in 1992-93 and a further 10 per cent. over the next two years.

Management systems

6. To develop by April 1993 a task costing system to measure the resources used to produce the various outputs of the agency. 7. To complete by April 1993 a feasibility study to determine the potential for market testing and to establish a timetable for future work.


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