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SCOTLAND

Government Expenditure

14. Mr. Canavan : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the effect of Government spending plans on the services provided by his Department.

Mr. Lang : Within the total available for public expenditure in Scotland, I shall be imposing strict limits on what is spent directly on staff and the other costs of running the Scottish Office. All areas will be required to demonstrate greater efficiency in delivering services.

Forestry

15. Mrs. Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects the working group established in 1993 to report on the options for the ownership and management of Forestry Commission woodlands ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Hector Monro : Ministers expect to receive the advice of the forestry review group early this year.

New Towns

16. Mr. Ingram : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the chairman of the new town development corporation boards to discuss the wind-up of the new towns ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stewart : Winding up of new towns was among the issues discussed when I met the chairmen of each new


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town development corporation in December 1993. My right hon. Friend last met all chairmen in October 1992 and those of Livingston and Irvine last October.

Local Government Reorganisation

17. Mrs. Adams : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next plans to meet the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to discuss local government reorganisation.

Mr. Lang : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Members for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth (Mr. Hogg) and for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Chisholm).

30. Mr. Hood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations he has received from those local authorities which organised referendums on local government reform ; and if he will give the results of these referendums.

Mr. Stewart : A number of local authorities have conducted referendums including Clydesdale district council in the hon. Member's constituency. However, comprehensive information on the results of these is not available centrally.

36. Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations he has received from local authorities concerning local government reform and the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Bill ; and of these councils how many indicated that they had conducted referendums on both subjects.

Mr. Stewart : A wide range of representations has been received from local authorities and other organisations about our proposals for local government reform. Some have taken the form of referendum while others have taken the form of opinion polls, petitions and postcard campaigns.


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A90 (Dualling)

18. Mr. Raymond S. Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much money has been spent since 1979 in upgrading the newly renamed A90 from Aberdeen to dual carriageway.

Mr. James Douglas-Hamilton : Since 1979, we have spent some £139 million on a major upgrading of the A90 route between Perth and Aberdeen. The opening of the Brechin bypass this spring will complete the dualling of the route and fulfil our manifesto commitment.

Tourist Boards

20. Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next plans to meet the chairman of the Scottish tourist board to discuss the reduction in the number of area tourist boards in Scotland.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : My right hon. Friend has no plans to meet the chairman of the Scottish tourist board to discuss the reduction in the number of area tourist boards in Scotland.

Housing

21. Mr. Dunnachie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he plans to meet representatives of tenants' groups to discuss housing needs and investment in Scotland.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : My right hon. Friend does not currently have any plans to meet representatives of tenants' groups to discuss housing needs and investment in Scotland. It is for local housing authorities to consider the housing needs of their areas, and to identify their investment needs in their annual capital programmes.

School Buildings (Grampian)

22. Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what account he has taken of the changes in the numbers on school rolls within each constituency in the Grampian regional council area when deciding the capital allocation for school buildings.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Capital allocations for school buildings are distributed according to our assessment of education authorities' relative needs and priorities. Several factors are taken into account, including pupil numbers. Each authority is considered as a whole, not on the basis of individual constituencies.

Roads (Strathclyde)

23. Mr. McKelvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met Strathclyde regional council to discuss road network development.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : I met Councillor Malcolm Waugh, chairman of Strathclyde regional council's roads and transportation committee, on Friday 3 December 1993 to discuss progress on the A77 Ayr road route.

Quarries

24. Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his policy on allowing planning applications for very large quarries.


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Mr. Stewart : Current policy on very large quarries is set out in the "National Planning Guidelines : Aggregate Working", 1977. A copy is available in the House Library. New guidance is to be issued soon.

Forestry Commission

25. Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his timetable for the review of the work of the Forestry Commission.

Sir Hector Monro : I expect the forestry review group to present its advice to Ministers early this year.

Drug Addiction

26. Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what measures he has taken in order to reduce the crime rate, the increase in drug addiction and the number of drug-related deaths.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The Government have in place a range of measures aimed at reducing both the supply of, and the demand for, drugs. These measures seek to tackle the problem on a number of fronts, including enforcement of the laws against trafficking and misuse of drugs ; prevention and education ; and treatment and rehabilitation. The drugs task force led by my noble and learned Friend the Minister of State is currently reviewing what is being done and considering what further steps might be taken.

More broadly, the Government continue to seek to develop initiatives to prevent and deal with crime. Our new crime prevention strategy launched in November 1992 provides a framework within which action to prevent crime can be taken forward. It is encouraging that recorded crime in Scotland fell slightly in 1992 and recent reports from Scottish police forces have indicated that the trend towards lower crime figures continued in 1993.

Bypasses (Fife)

27. Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the provision of bypasses for communities in north-east Fife.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The Government have no current plans for the construction of bypasses in north-east Fife.

Strikes

28. Mr. Fabricant : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what analysis he has made of the number of hours lost through strike action in Scotland in 1991 and 1992 ; and what comparison he has made with the comparable figures for 1978 and 1979.

Mr. Stewart : In Scotland, the number of working days lost through stoppages of work caused by industrial disputes was 28 per 1,000 employees in 1992 and 62 per thousand employees in 1991. The comparable figures for 1978 and 1979, per 1,000 employees, were 429 and 1,569 respectively.

Agriculture

29. Mr. Walsh : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the Scottish National Farmers Union to discuss current problems in Scottish agriculture with particular reference to the arable sector.


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Sir Hector Monro : My right hon. Friend met Mr. John Ross, president of the Farmers' Union of Scotland, on Wednesday 24 November 1993 to discuss a range of issues affecting the Scottish arable sector.

European Development Fund

31. Mr. Robert Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with regional councils about European development fund grants.

Mr. Lang : Scottish Office Ministers have had a number of meetings recently with local authorities and local enterprise companies to consider cases for designation under the European structural funds. The hon. Member will be aware of the Government's success in securing designation, and therefore eligibility for European funding, for areas covering close to 85 per cent. of the Scottish population under objectives 1, 2 and 5b. Close and regular contact will continue to be maintained at official level as regional development plans for the designated areas are drawn up.

Quangos

32. Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will review his criteria for appointing people to quangos.

Mr. Lang : No. All public appointments must be made on the basis of aptitude and merit. I see no reason to change these criteria.

Hospital Waiting Lists

33. Mr. Graham : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the number of NHS trust hospitals in Scotland in breach of the patients charter waiting time limits.

Mr. Stewart : There were eight NHS trust hospitals which had patients on waiting lists at 30 September 1993 who had waited longer than the appropriate treatment guarantees.

Mines (Abandonment)

34. Mr. Eric Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he has taken to retain the Scottish mining abandonment plans in Scotland.

Mr. Stewart : This is a matter for British Coal as custodian of the record.

Council House Sales

35. Sir David Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many council houses have been sold to sitting tenants in Scotland since May 1979.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The information requested is published in the Scottish Office statistical bulletin, housing series, No. HSG/1993/8, "Housing Trends in Scotland". This publication is available in the Library.

Health Care

37. Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next plans to meet the chairpersons of health boards to discuss the provision of health care in Scotland.


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Mr. Stewart : My noble and learned Friend the Minister of State is due to meet health board chairmen on 25 February 1994.

Greater Glasgow Health Board (Management)

38. Mr. Watson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to undertake a review of internal management practices at Greater Glasgow health board.

Mr. Stewart : Greater Glasgow health board faces a large agenda of change in implementing its mental health strategy and community care plan, in formulating and implementing strategies for acute and primary care services and in developing its role as purchaser. The new chairman understands the need for effective management of the board's affairs and is responsible for ensuring that the board is as well placed as possible to undertake these important tasks. My right hon. Friend is ready to offer any necessary support.

Local Enterprise Companies

39. Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about commercial confidentiality in relation to local enterprise companies.

Mr. Stewart : The local enterprise companies are required by their operating contracts with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to have in place arrangements to protect confidential and commercial in confidence information, including that of their own directors and others. Precise arrangements are for Scottish Enterprise Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the local enterprise companies to determine.

Tourist Boards

40. Sir David Steel : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the future of tourist boards in Scotland.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The Scottish tourist board has submitted a recommendation on a new area tourist board structure to my right hon. Friend. This is being considered carefully and an announcement will be made in due course.

Hospitals (Emergency Theatres)

Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if each national health service hospital which carries out operations has a theatre dedicated to emergencies.

Mr. Stewart : In larger hospitals, surgical teams take turns to be responsible for emergencies, typically for 24 hours each, during which they normally have sole use of a theatre for emergency operations. Smaller hospitals cannot operate the same system but will always give precedence to emergency operations over waiting list admissions.

Speech Therapy

Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the waiting time for a first appointment with a speech therapist in each health board area.

Mr. Stewart : This information is not held centrally.


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Sheriffs

Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of a sheriff's time is taken on (a) civil and (b) criminal and other work.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : It is estimated that, on average, 30 per cent. of a sheriff's time is spent on civil work and 70 per cent. on criminal and other work.

Hospital Admissions

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many admissions to national health service hospitals for each of the last three years for which figures are available were elective admissions ; and how many were emergency admissions.

Mr. Stewart : Information on elective and emergency admissions for the period 1990-92 is set out in the table.


5

Admissions to Scottish hospitals 1990-92.            

                     |1990   |1991   |1992           

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

Elective Admissions  |437,538|447,635|484,142        

Transfers<1>         |83,286 |89,344 |96,818         

Emergency Admissions |369,961|382,141|400,253        

All Admissions       |890,785|919,120|981,213        

<1>Transfer Admissions are transferred from other    

units, specialties or                                

consultants.                                         

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many admissions to national health service hospitals there were in each of the last three years for which figures are available ; and how many of these admissions were re-admissions within a month of hospital discharge.

Mr. Stewart : The total number of admissions to hospital in Scotland and the total number of re-admissions within 28 days is set out in the table.


Total admissions and re-admissions in Scotland              

1990-92                                                     

Period         |Admissions    |Re-admissions                

                              |within 28 days               

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

1990           |803,930       |101,209                      

1991           |829,260       |107,484                      

<1>1992        |655,535       |87,237                       

<1>First 9 months.                                          

Electricity Privatisation (Severance Schemes)

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish details of the severance schemes available to employees which were in operation immediately prior to the privatisation of the South of Scotland electricity board, including details of facilities to make early payment of pensions to staff under such schemes.

Mr. Stewart : Details of the severance and pensions schemes operated by the South of Scotland electricity board until privatisation, and by Scottish Power plc since, were and are matters for the managements of these organisations.


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Nurses' Cars

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cars have been allocated to national health service nurses in (a) the hospital service and (b) the community service in each of the last five years for which figures are available.

Mr. Stewart : This information is not held centrally.

NHS Trusts

Sir Russell Johnston : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will define the purpose of consultation as employed during the process to establish trust status units within the NHS.

Mr. Stewart : The purpose of public consultation on NHS trust applications is to allow consideration to be given to the views of interested parties before deciding whether or not to approve an application.

Greenock Prison

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the size and composition of the visitors' committee of Her Majesty's prison, Greenock ; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : In a reply I gave to the hon. Member on 23 March 1993, Official Report, column 474, I said that it was the intention of my right hon. Friend to appoint a visiting committee to Her Majesty's prison Greenock, when the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings Act 1993 became law. However, since then the Prisons and Young Offenders Institutions (Scotland) Rules have been drafted and widely circulated for consultation. These rules seek, among other things, to amend the constitution of existing visiting committees and to establish new visiting committees for Her Majesty's prisons Greenock, Friarton and Longriggend. As the revised rules will be laid before the House in the spring, it seems sensible that the new visiting committees should be constituted on a basis which is consistent with them. The visiting committee appointed for Her Majesty's prison, Barlinnie will therefore continue to cover Her Majesty's prison Greenock until the new rules are approved.

Road Improvements

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much money has been spent by each local enterprise company on road improvement programmes ; how much has been spent on improvements to roundabouts ; and how many roundabouts have been involved.

Mr. Stewart : Many of the local enterprise companies are likely to have been involved in road improvements where this has been an integral part of preparing and developing sites for industry ; and some have been involved in the improvement of roundabouts either in this context, as part of their wider environmental and economic development responsibilities, or both.

Under the arrangements whereby responsibility for expenditure up to certain levels has been delegated to Scottish Enterprise and the local enterprise companies, the Scottish Office does not hold comprehensive details of


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activity and expenditure by local enterprise companies on the many specific projects in which they are involved. I have however asked the chairman of Scottish Enterprise to write to the hon. Member with relevant details held by the core body. If, however, the hon. Member is seeking information on a particular project, he may wish to write to the chairman of the local enterprise company concerned.

Scottish Enterprise

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what reports have been commissioned from outside consultants by Scottish Enterprise since its creation ; what areas were covered by these reports ; what action has been taken by Scottish Enterprise on these reports ; and how much has been spent by Scottish Enterprise on each of these reports.

Mr. Stewart : Scottish Office approval for consultancy studies is required only for those studies which cannot be undertaken within Scottish Enterprise's delegated authorities ; and no comprehensive record is therefore held by the Scottish Office of consultancies commissioned, the subjects concerned, or action taken consequent to the report findings. These are essentially operational matters ; and I have therefore asked the chairman of Scottish Enterprise to respond direct to the hon. Member.

Regional Selective Assistance

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those Scottish companies operating in the electronics sector that are or have been in receipt of regional selective assistance.

Mr. Stewart : Information on individual offers of regional selective assistance, including company name, travel-to-work area and standard industrial classification, is published quarterly in the "Department of Employment Gazette" following the first payment of grant. The gazette is available in the Library.

Tourism

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received in the course of the consultation carried out on the review of tourism support in Scotland ; and if he will place copies of the representations received in the Library.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : [holding answer 17 January 1994] : Responses were received from the following.


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                                                     |Number       

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

Statutory agencies                                   |8            

Tourist industry representative organisations        |25           

Tourism businesses                                   |195          

Area Tourist Boards and representative organisations |34           

Local authorities (plus COSLA)                       |54           

Local Enterprise Companies                           |17           

Other organisations and individuals                  |88           

I have arranged for a list of the non-confidential responses to be placed in the Library.

NHS Trusts

Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which agencies are employed by Ayrshire and Arran health board to deal with their public relations ; how much this service costs ; how this has changed since the establishment of Ayrshire's three NHS trusts ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 24 January 1994] : The Ayrshire and Arran health board employs Alan Clark Associates to provide a public relations service. Prior to the setting up of NHS trusts in the board's area, the service cost £25,000. Subsequently, the cost has been £15,000. The board considers that this specialist service ensures that communications with other organisations and the public, which are an essential feature of the board's role as a purchaser of health services for its residents, are carried out effectively and to a high standard.

Competitive Tendering

Mr. Foulkes\[thin sp : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what advice he has given to Scottish councils concerning tendering under EC directive 92/50.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 20 January 1994] : My Department has sent three letters to Scottish councils regarding EC directive 92/50. A letter dated 13 July 1993 reminded councils that the directive came into force on 1 July 1993 ; on 17 December 1993, councils were sent the revised threshold effective from 1 January 1994, and a letter was issued on 13 January 1994 which advised councils that the directive had been transposed into United Kingdom law by the Public Service Contract Regulations 1993, SI 3228.


 

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