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Mr. Ray Powell : Accommodation in No. 7 Millbank was first acquired by the Secretary of State for the Environment for use by the House to replace St. Stephen's house which is to be demolished as part of the works associated with the Jubilee line extension. Further space was then acquired to help meet the shortfall in accommodation for Members and their staff. The estimated net cost of the conversion work is £6.3 million.
The design and arrangements were developed by the contractors together with the Parliamentary Works Directorate, and were approved by the Accommodation and Works Committee.
Mr. Newton : I have nothing at present to add to what I said when this issue was debated in the House on 28 June 1993, Official Report, columns 784-86. I understand that the Select Committee on Members' Interests has subsequently resumed consideration of the topic.
(i) increases averaging 12 per cent. over the period in pay and the cost of vehicles and fuel ;
(ii) an increase in Value Added Tax on GCS bills on 1 April 1991 from 15 per cent. to 17.5 per cent.
Column 283allegations of collusion between members of the security forces in Northern Ireland and loyalist paramilitaries, and to make recommendations. A copy of Mr. Stevens's report was made available to my right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and a summary of the report was placed in the Library of the House on 17 May 1990.
Mr. Ancram : My decision to slow down the building programme for schools and colleges was taken with great regret, and only because I judged it more important to protect standards in the classroom. Planning of projects is still proceeding, but, at this stage, I cannot give a commitment as to when the moratorium will be lifted.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children attend nursery schools ; what percentage this is of the total age group available for nursery education ; what is the present expenditure per annum on nursery education ; and if he will make a statement on the provision of additional nursery schools.
Expenditure in 1992-93 on nursery education was some £7.6 million. The expenditure priority continues to be given to the compulsory schools sector. Additional nursery places are provided as resources allow, with priority directed at areas of greatest social need. An additional 225 places have been made available in the past three years.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time nursery school places are available in the Belvoir estate ; how many of each category will be available for the year commencing September ; and if he will make a statement about the provision of nursery school education in the Belvoir estate.
Mr. Ancram : The two unit nursery attached to Belvoir Park primary currently provides places for 25 full-time pupils and 50 part-time pupils. From September 1994, the school will move to a dual-day system catering for a total of 100 pupils.
There are no plans to expand nursery provision in the Belvoir estate.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he received proposals from the Milk Marketing Board for the reform of the milk marketing schemes ; what is the proposed timetable for this reform ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 284Marketing Board for Northern Ireland for the reform of milk marketing arrangements on 31 December 1993. The scheme proposes a date of 1 April 1994 for the ending of the milk marketing scheme in Northern Ireland.
The Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland issued a consultation document on the principles of the reorganisation scheme on 17 January. A period of five weeks until 18 February has been given for replies from interested organisations. Responses to the consultation exercise will be considered by the Department in deciding whether the scheme is a qualifying scheme under the terms of the Agriculture (Northern Ireland) Order 1993 and one which ought to be approved.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list for each scheme operated by his Department under which loans are available, the objectives of the scheme, the number of unrecovered loans, the total value of unrecovered loans, the average number of unrecovered loans for each year since 1990, the average value of unrecovered loans for each year since 1990 and the annual cost of recovering loans.
Sir John Wheeler [holding answer 24 January 1994] : Schemes operated by the Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Departments under which loans are available and their objectives are as follows :
Urban Development Grant (UDG)
UDG is a discretionary grant designed to foster the physical and economic regeneration of inner city areas of Belfast and Londonderry by stimulation of private enterprise and investment. Assistance can be in the form of loans.
Community Economic Regeneration Schemes (CERS)
CERS are jointly funded by the Department of the Environment and the International Fund for Ireland. The objective is to foster property led community development in areas suffering from urban decay where the public sector is unwilling to invest. Assistance with capital costs is usually in the form of 80 per cent. grant and 20 per cent. loan.
Community Regeneration and Improvement Special Programme (CRISP) The objective of CRISP is to provide finance for community groups to develop property related economic projects in their localities. Elements of assistance may comprise loans.
Belfast Action Teams (BATs)
Loans are paid by BATs to bring about an improvement in the quality of life and an enhancement of the opportunities and prospects of people living in the Action Team areas, and improve the effectiveness with which Government expenditure is used to benefit those living in those areas.
Industrial development board--Selective Financial Assistance (SFA) Scheme
The SFA scheme is administered by the Industrial Development Board to provide loan capital to industry. Funding in various forms including loan capital may, at the discretion of the Department, be offered to approved projects to encourage the introduction and development of internationally competitive companies in the manufacturing and tradeable services sectors in Northern Ireland so as to create the conditions of growth in durable employment. Local Enterprise Development Unit (LEDU)
LEDU offers loans to small firms throughout Northern Ireland as part of its overall package of assistance to assist the development and growth of the small business sector.
Tourism Development Scheme (TDS)
TDS's aim is to assist the improvement of the tourist accommodation and amenities which Northern Ireland can offer
Column 285and thereby strengthen the competitive position of the tourism industry and improve its contribution to the economy of Northern Ireland. The range of assistance available includes loans. Government Loans Scheme
The Government loans scheme in Northern Ireland has as its objective the funding of approved capital projects undertaken by local authorities and other prescribed bodies, including schools and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
General Medical Practitioner (GMP) Loans Scheme
This scheme was introduced to assist GMPs in improving practice premises, especially in deprived areas.
Social Fund Scheme
The Social Security Agency operates a Social Fund scheme under which people can apply for interest free loans to meet large intermittent or unexpected expenses. The scheme is intended to help people on a low income who cannot meet exceptional expenses from their regular income.
There are two types of loans available from the Social Fund, budgeting loans and crisis loans. Budgeting loans are available to people who have been receiving Income Support for at least 26 weeks to help with important expenses which are difficult to budget for out of weekly benefit. Crisis loans are available to people who need financial help to meet expenses in an emergency or disaster, whether or not they are receiving benefit. However a crisis loan can only be awarded if it is the only way to prevent serious risk, or serious damage, to their health or safety.
Information regarding unrecovered loans in the schemes for which Department of Economic Development is responsible--SFA scheme, LEDU and TDS--could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
A breakdown detailing unrecovered loans in respect of the other aforementioned schemes is as follows :
At 31 March |1991 |1992 |1993 -------------------------------------------------------------------- Urban Development grant Number of unrecovered loans |1 |1 |1 Value of unrecovered loans -£ million |0.300 |0.300 |0.300 Belfast Action Teams Number of unrecoverd loans |19 |20 |21 Value of unrecovered loans -£ million |0.050 |0.069 |0.080 Government Loans scheme Number of unrecovered loans |12,274 |12,386 |12,500 Value of unrecovered loans -£ million |1,298.400|1,500.800|1,711.000 GMP Loans Scheme Number of unrecovered loans |62 |60 |56 Value of unrecovered loans -£ million |4.304 |4.238 |4.004 Social Fund Scheme Number of unrecovered loans |80,860 |99,297 |107,662 Value of unrecovered loans -£ million |10.675 |13.215 |14.396
There are no unrecovered loans under CERS or CRISP.
The cost of recovering loans is not recorded in all Departments and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list all members of (a) proscribed loyalist and (b) proscribed republican organisations who are convicted prisoners in custody in Northern Ireland giving,
Column 286in each case, the date of their original conviction, their offence or offences, the length of sentence given and their paramilitary affiliation.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many assaults have been made on prison officers in each Northern Ireland prison in each of the last 24 months ; how many prison officers required hospital treatment in each month ; and how many assaults in each month were made by (a) loyalist prisoners, (b) republican prisoners and (c) other prisoners.
Sir John Wheeler [pursuant to the reply, 16 December 1993, columns 871-72] : The affiliations of the prisoners who carried out assaulton 278 prison officers between December 1991 and November 1993 are as follows :
|Number ---------------------------------------------- Attributable to loyalists |79 Attributable to republicans |34 Attributable to other prisoners |29 Unattributable |<1>136 <1>A large number of assaults on staff occurred during attempts to break up factional fighting and therefore it is not possible to say for certain which individual prisoner caused the assaults.
Information on the number of injured officers requiring hospital treatment could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. David Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what working definition of back to basics is used by his Department ; and what his Department has done in the past three months to implement the policy.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many official Christmas cards were sent out in 1993 by (a) Ministers, (b) civil servants and (c) staff of Government agencies working in or to his Department ; and how much these cards cost (i) to buy, (ii) to post and (iii) in staff time to sign, address and place in envelopes.
Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will produce a table showing the working population of each EC country as a percentage of the total population for the latest figures available.
Total employment as a percentage of the population aged 15 to 64, 1991<1> |Per cent. ----------------------------------- Denmark |76 Portugal |71 United Kingdom |69 Germany |65 Nrtherlands |63 Luxembourg |61 France |60 Belgium |57 Italy |56 Greece |55 Ireland |52 Spain |49 Source: OECD, except United Kingdom (Employment Department). <1> 1991 is the latest year for which comparable data are available.
Miss Widdecombe : The latest estimates from the labour force survey for summer--June to August--1993 are that there were 1,099,000 people in the United Kingdom classified as unemployed on the internationally standard ILO measure of unemployment, but not claiming unemployment related benefits ; these estimates include spring 1993 data for Northern Ireland. Conversely, there were 1,038,000 claimants that were not ILO unemployed, so that the level of unemployment on the internationally standard definition-- 2,981,000--was only 61,000 higher, not seasonally adjusted, than the level shown by the claimant count for the equivalent period--2,919,000.
Miss Widdecombe : The labour force survey shows that, in summer 1993, the estimated number of families in Great Britain in which two or more people were unemployed, on the International Labour Organisation definition, was 227,000. This represented 1.5 per cent. of all families in which there were at least two people aged 16 or over.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration he is giving to considering changing the rules governing the protection of temporary employees ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many employees are classified as temporary in the United Kingdom ; what percentage of the working population this represents ; and if he will make a statement.
Miss Widdecombe : The latest estimates from the labour force survey for summer--June to August--1993 are that 1,473,000--7 per cent.--employees in the United Kingdom are employed on a temporary basis ; these estimates include spring 1993 data for Northern Ireland. Except for a seasonal increase in the summer of each year, temporary employment in the United Kingdom has remained constant over the past decade at between 5 to 6 per cent.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment on which occasions since 1979 his Department has employed the services of external consultants ; and if he will give details of the purposes for which they were employed and the cost of employing them.
Gloucestershire, Haverfordwest, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport, Gwent, after the financial collapse of Northavon Training ;
(2) what training companies held job club contracts at Bristol, Easton, Gloucestershire, Haverfordwest, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport, Gwent ;
(3) whether Happy Extra Ltd., North Avon Enterprise Ltd., Northavon Training, Personal Training or Development Group Ltd. have ever held job club contracts at Bristol, Easton, Gloucestershire, Haverfordwest, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport, Gwent ;
(4) if he will list those companies to which job club contracts at Bristol, Easton, Gloucestershire, Haverfordwest, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport, Gwent, were transferred to other training companies, after the collapse of Northavon Training ;
(5) what financial assessments his Department has made of Northavon Training.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Responsibility for the subject of the questions has been delegated to the Employment Service Agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Mr. Paul Murphy, dated 26 January 1994 :
Column 289The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions about the effect of the financial collapse of Northavon Training on Jobclub contracts in Bristol, Easton, Gloucestershire, Haverfordwest, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport in Gwent.
You asked what happened to Jobclub contracts which were previously held by Northavon Training in the above locations and which companies took over these contracts after the collapse of this organisation. Before the company went into receivership it operated eleven Jobclub contracts in the places you mention. Information about these Jobclubs together with details of the organisations who have taken the contracts over are in Annex 1.
It is unusual for a Jobclub contract to be interrupted or terminated because of financial problems on the part of the contractor. Where this does occur, the Employment Service (ES) takes steps to ensure there is as little disruption as possible to the Jobclub members. This can mean making temporary, short-term arrangements which will later be followed by our normal, fully competitive, tendering procedures. Such a process has occurred in several of the locations involved in your question.
I have listed at Annex 2 all organisations which held Jobclub contracts in December 1993 at the locations you mention.
You also asked whether Happy Extra Ltd., Northavon Enterprise Ltd., Northavon Training, Personal Training and
Column 290Development Group Ltd. have ever held Jobclub contracts in these same locations. I asked my people to check our records and I can say that Happy Extra Ltd. have never held a Jobclub contract. Northavon Training was a subsidiary company of Northavon Enterprises Ltd. which ceased trading in December 1993. Following a management buy out, Northavon Training is now operating as part of the newly formed Personal Training and Development Group. All Jobclub contracts in Annex 1 where with Northavon Training except for the Jobclub in Newport which was awarded to Northavon Enterprise Ltd.
In the past we have not required a financial assessment of prospective programme contractors. This is mainly due to the low risk nature of Jobclub contracts where payments are made monthly in arrears after the service has been delivered. These arrangements mean there is no loss to public funds where a contractor ceases trading because of financial problems. However, some checks were made in the case of Northavon Training and these gave no cause for concern. The issue of more systematic financial scrutiny of potential contractors for Jobclub and other programmes is currently being considered by people concerned with policy development in my Head Office. I hope this is helpful.
Annex 1 Northavon Training-Jobclub contracts Locations |Number of |Action |contracts ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bristol |2 |Contracts transferred to Northavon Training, as operating |division of newly formed Personal Training and |Development Group. Easton |Nil |Not applicable. Gloucestershire Forest of Dean |3 |Contracts transferred to Northavon Training, as operating |division of newly formed Personal Training and |Development Group. Cheltenham |1 |Transferred to caretaker provider-GLOSCAT, pending |full competitive tendering exercise to be completed by |April 1994. Gloucester |2 |Transferred to caretaker provider-JHP TRAINING, |pending full competitive tendering exercise to be |completed by April 1994. Haverfordwest |1 |Temporary arrangements to provide Jobclub service |internally, pending full competitive tendering exercise |to be completed by April 1994. Merthyr Tydfil |1 |Temporary arrangements to provide Jobclub service |internally, pending full competitive tendering |exercise to be completed by April 1994. Newport, Gwent |1 |Jobclubs within the area were able to accommodate all |members. Competitive tendering exercise will be |completed by April 1994.
Annex 2 Organisations holding jobclub contracts December 1993 Location |Name of |Type<1> |Number of |organisation |contracts ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bristol |Fifton College|CFE |4 |Scout |Enterprises |[Western Ltd] |PR |4 |Northavon |Training |PR |2 |Grand Met |Trust Ltd. |PR |2 |Bowerman |Associates |PR |1 |North Avon |Chamber of |Commerce |PR |1 |POC |Associates |Ltd. |PR |1 |Personnel and |Training |Services |PR |1 |South Bristol |College |CFE |1 |South West |Management |Ltd. |PR |1 |Appex Trust |CH |1 |Barton Hill |Settlement |CH |1 |Newfoundland |Employment |CH |1 |Scout |Enterprises Easton |(Western Ltd.)|PR |1 |Northavon Gloucestershire |Training |PR |3 |JHP Training |Ltd. |PR |3 |GLOSCAT |CFE |2 |Bennington |Training |Services Ltd. |PR |1 |Personnel and |Training |Services |PR |1 |Stroud |College |CFE |1 |Northavon Haverfordwest |Training |PR |1 |Northavon Merthyr Tydfil |Training |PR |1 Newport, Gwent |Basil Hewell |PR |2 |Accents Ltd. |PR |1 |Northavon |Enterprise |Ltd. |PR |1 <1> Key. PR-Private Provider. CFE-College of Further Education. CH-Charity.
Mr. Robin Squire : In England in January 1993, there were no LEAs where more than half of the children aged three and four were being taught on a full-time basis in maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in maintained primary schools.
Mr. Robin Squire : Figures taken from the "Index of Educational Establishments" indicate that the number of schools maintained by local education authorities in England, including maintained nursery, special and hospital schools, is 23,643, of which 4,075 are voluntary aided. In addition, there are 814 grant-maintained schools.
Mr. Jamieson : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many independent or private schools have been inspected by Her Majesty's inspectorate or the Office of Standards in Education in the last three years ; and if he will list them.