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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 2 February 1994

NORTHERN IRELAND

Supergrass Evidence

Mr. Hunter : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the use of supergrass evidence in securing the conviction of terrorist suspects.

Sir John Wheeler : There are no cases currently pending which would result in the reintroduction of so-called "supergrass trials". If the police in Northern Ireland should come across accomplice evidence that could be used to assist in the prosecution of individuals who have committed acts of terrorism it is, however, right and proper for the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider the use of that evidence in any subsequent proceedings.

Training and Employment Agency

Mr. Hunter : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what was the cost per job outcome delivered by the Training and Employment Agency in 1992-93 ;

(2) what was the cost per non-vocational qualification delivery by the Training and Employment Agency in 1992-93.

Mr. Tim Smith : Responsibility for the subject matter in question has been delegated to the Training and Employment Agency under its chief executive, Mr. J. S. Crozier. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from J. S. Crozier to Mr. Andrew Hunter, dated 2 February 1994 :

Parliamentary questions Nos. 84 & 91 :

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has asked me to reply to your questions about the cost per job outcome delivered by the Training & Employment Agency (No. 84) and the cost per non-vocational qualification delivery by the Training & Employment Agency (No. 91). Question No. 84

I set out below the average programme cost per job outcome associated with the various Agency services and programmes. All figures relate to 1992/93.

Placements into employment

The Agency was able to place 33,590 people into jobs advertised through its local offices. The average cost was £56 per placing. Action for Community Employment

The average cost per place on the Action for Community Employment (ACE) programme, which provides temporary employment opportunities for long-term unemployed adults, was £5,277.

Training programmes and qualifications

The Agency's main training programmes are the Youth Training Programme (YTP) and the Job Training Programme (JTP). The main aim of the Agency's training programmes is to provide participants with training leading to qualifications. This is fully reflected in the Agency's targets. While the objective of


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training is to assist people to find employment, job availability on the Northern Ireland labour market is an ever-present constraint. The Agency's response to this constraint is to push for better qualifications to enhance job opportunities.

Youth Training Programme

The average cost per job outcome of the YTP is £9,190. This average relates to training providers in the Community. Employer-led and Further Education sectors. The programme guarantees young people under 18 two years full-time training with work experience or employment.

Training Centres

The average cost per job outcome for young people attending Training Centres is £10,926. The Centres provide training mainly leading to NVQ Level 3 and above.

Job Training Programme

The average cost per job outcome of the JTP is £7,901. This one-year programme is designed to help unemployed adults to improve their job prospects.

Costs per job outcome : comment

The number of jobs used to arrive at the above average costs per job is derived from the first destinations of trainees after leaving the YTP and JTP programmes. Relating expenditure on these programmes to immediate job outcomes can only partially reflect the worthwhileness of the training. We cannot take account of how successful trainees will subsequently be in obtaining employment. Question No. 91

Non-Vocational Qualifications

You also inquired about the cost of non-vocational qualifications delivered by the Agency. Non-vocational qualifications form an insignificant part of the Agency's overall programme delivery which is almost exclusively vocational. It is not therefore possible to segregate out the costs attributable to non-vocational

qualifications.

Less-favoured Areas

Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many cattle and sheep farms are wholly or mainly in the less-favoured areas.

Mr. Ancram : In the Northern Ireland agricultural census, a farm is classified to the less-favoured area if any of the land which is owned by the farmer is within that area. Any land which the farmer may take under the short-term leasing system known as conacre is disregarded.

On this definition, there were 15,279 cattle and sheep farms in the LFA at the June 1992 agricultural census and 15,241 in 1993. In each year, the figure includes an estimated 600 to 700 farms with less than half their owned land in the LFA.

Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his estimate of the total subsidy to be paid on cattle and sheep in the less-favoured areas in 1994.

Mr. Ancram : The total subsidy to be paid on cattle and sheep in the less-favoured areas in Northern Ireland under the suckler cow premium, sheep annual premium and hill livestock compensatory allowance scheme is estimated to be at least £70 million in 1994.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Magistrates Courts Committees

Mr. Heald : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what proposals his Department has for magistrates courts committees and the employment of their staff as set out in the Police and Magistrates' Courts Bill [ Lords ].

Mr. John M. Taylor : The Lord Chancellor has considered carefully the points raised during the debate on


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the House of Lords Second Reading of the Police and Magistrates' Courts Bill, and in particular the fears that the Bill's provisions could give central Government an inappropriate level of control over the management of the magistrates court service and may undermine the independence of the advice received by magistrates when dealing with individual cases. The Lord Chancellor has also, since the Second Reading debate, met representatives of the Magistrates Association, the Central Council of Magistrates Courts Committees, the Justices' Clerks Society, the Association of Magisterial Officers, and the Standing Conference of Clerks to Magistrates Courts Committees. The Government are entirely committed to a locally managed magistrates courts service and to the protection of the judicial independence of the magistracy. We do not believe that these principles are in any way undermined by the Bill. However, in order to place these matters beyond doubt, the Lord Chancellor will table amendments to the Bill at the Lords Committee stage.

The effect of these amendments will be :

(a) that the chairman of a magistrates courts committee would be appointed by members of the committee without requiring the approval of the Lord Chancellor ;

(b) that the terms of the contract of employment between chief justices' clerks or justices' clerks and their magistrates court committees should be left entirely to local discretion. The Lord Chancellor would accordingly have no power to require that contracts be for a fixed term or that remuneration be related to performance ; (

(c) the renewal of appointments as a chief justices' clerk or justices' clerk would not require the approval of the Lord Chancellor.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Photographs

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to buy or borrow photographs ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nelson : The Chancellor of the Exchequer has no plans to buy or borrow photographs.

Paintings and Photographs

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) paintings and (b) photographs there are on the walls of his rooms.

Mr. Nelson : The Chancellor of the Exchequer has 13 paintings and no photographs on the walls of his rooms in the Treasury.

National Average Income

Mr. Hunter : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what statistics he bases his calculation of the national average income.

Mr. Nelson : National accounts estimates are derived from a wide variety of statistics collected by the Central Statistical Office, other Government Departments and other organisations. Details are given in "United Kingdom National Accounts : Sources and Methods", which is available in the House of Commons Library.

Mr. Hunter : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how often during the course of a year the official national average income is recalculated.


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Mr. Nelson : Quarterly national accounts, including revisions, are published four times each year, in March, June, September and December.

Budget Consultation

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the meetings he has had with hon. Members to discuss representations by their constituents during the Budget consultation process.

Mr. Dorrell : My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor and his ministerial colleagues held a large number of formal and informal meetings with hon. Members in advance of the Budget, at which they had an opportunity to make representations on behalf of their constituents. In addition, Treasury Ministers received and considered a substantial body of correspondence about the Budget from hon. Members on behalf of their constituents.

Public Sector Pay

Mr. Rendel : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which particular areas of public sector employment (a) are and (b) are not covered by the recommendation that public sector pay bills should not increase.

Mr. Portillo : As my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his statement of 14 September 1993 and confirmed in the Financial Statement and Budget Report, in 1994-95 Government Departments will be expected to keep their running costs, including pay budgets, to their 1993-94 level in cash terms, except where, there are significant changes in activity. This is not a freeze on pay settlements and does not pre-empt forthcoming pay negotiations. However, pay increases will need to be funded by efficiency improvements. The Government expect a similar approach to be applied to all other public sector pay groups.

Departmental Interest Payments

Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what are the consequences of the decision in Esso Petroleum Company Limited v. Ministry of Defence for the tax treatment of interest paid by Government Departments.

Mr. Dorrell : The effect of this decision is that the provisions of schedule C of the Taxes Acts apply only to interest on Government securities and do not extend to other types of interest payments made by Government Departments. In accordance with this view, payments of interest, other than on Government securities, made by Government Departments after the decision, have not been subject to deduction of tax at source under schedule C. In the light of legal advice, the Inland Revenue and the Government Departments concerned are not taking any steps to seek out, nor make further payments to, the recipients of earlier payments of interest. An Inland Revenue press release which is being issued today provides further details ; a copy has been placed in the Library.

Mortgage Interest Relief

Ms Harman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what rise in the basic rate of income tax a household on average income with an average mortgage would have to pay in 1994-95 and 1995-96 to yield the equivalent of the


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reduction in their mortgage interest relief resulting from measures announced in the March and November 1993 Budgets.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 26 January 1994] : The cost of the reduction in mortgage interest relief will be £115.50 a year in 1994-95 and a further £115.50 a year in 1995-96 for individual taxpayers in the category described. A person with an average mortgage is benefiting by £1,920 a year as a result of the reduction in interest rates since 1990. It is not sensible to try to make the comparison with other tax rates that the question invites.

Earnings

Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update to April 1994 the information on net earnings provided in his answer to the hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Carrington) of 10 February 1987, Official Report, columns 177-78.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 31 January 1994] : Estimates of the levels of earnings for the top 5 per cent. of earners are not published. The information in the table is based on estimates of these levels derived from distributions of earnings published in the relevant New Earnings Survey for April 1993. Earnings levels are for men or women as appropriate paid at adult rates with pay unaffected by absence. Taxpayers are assumed to have no reliefs or allowances other than the appropriate personal allowance.


=

Earnings after Income Tax, National Insurance                

Contributions<1> and                                         

Child Benefit, April 1993                                    

                                       |£ per week           

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

Single man                             |485.80               

Married man                            |499.00               

Married man with two children under 11 |517.10               

Single woman                           |335.30               

<1>At the contracted-in rate.                                

Taxation

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 20 January, Official Report, column 777, on tax liability by region, if he will provide comparable information for total tax liability by quartile group in each region.

Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 1 February 1994] : Available information on the annual reduction in income tax liability by region for the years 1989-90 to 1991-92, compared with the 1978-79 indexed regime is given in the tables. The 1978-79 regime has been indexed by reference to the statutory formula and allowing for independent taxation for 1990-91 and 1991-92. For 1989-90 married couples are counted as one unit. For the purposes of these calculations the indexed regime of 1978-79 is applied directly to the later income base. In practice, retention of the regime, indexed as appropriate, for the intervening years would have led to changes in the income base. In view of the length of the tables, I am arranging for copies to be placed in the Members' Library.


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PRIME MINISTER

Sustainable Development

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister when the press release accompanying his speech launching Her Majesty's Government's sustainable development strategy at the Banqueting house on 25 January was made available to hon. Members.

The Prime Minister : The press release was delivered to the House of Commons Library on 25 January.

THORP

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if the latest round of Anglo-Irish talks in Dublin covered the security implications for Northern Ireland and the Republic of plans for increased nuclear reprocessing at Sellafield.

The Prime Minister : A communique was released after the intergovernmental conference and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House. Otherwise details of matters discussed at the intergovernmental conference are confidential between the two Governments.

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Prime Minister what further information Her Majesty's Government have officially been asked to supply to the European Commission, pursuant to complaint No. P4695/92 regarding the thermal oxide reprocessing plant at Sellafield ; and what is the timetable for complying with the request.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 1 February 1994] : The United Kingdom has recently received an informal inquiry from the European Commission. It is the convention that the contents of such correspondence between member states and the Commission are treated in confidence.

Regional Airports

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has had from the chief executive of Manchester Airport plc in regard to liberalising access to regional airports ; what reply he is sending ; what action he will take ; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I have received a letter from the chief executive. A reply will be sent as soon as possible.

Councils of Ministers

Mr. Barnes : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East of 17 January, Official Report, columns 366-67, if he will deposit in the Library videos and transcripts of the televised Councils of Ministers.

The Prime Minister : Yes. Videos, dubbed in English where English was not used in the Council, and verbatim records, in the original languages only, are available for televised sessions of Council meetings and will be placed in the Library.

Interactive Telephone Services Group

Ms Mowlam : To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the appointment as chairman of the Interactive Telephone Services Group of the right hon.


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Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) in respect of the terms of paragraph 105 of "Questions of Procedure for Ministers" ; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : I have no information which would lead me to believe that this appointment contravenes paragraph 105.

HOME DEPARTMENT

National Alliance of Women's Organisations

Ms Janet Anderson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what core funding he is providing for the National Alliance of Women's Organisations ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Insufficient resources are available in 1994-95 to core-fund the National Alliance of Women's Organisations.

European Elections

Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to ensure that students of other European Union states studying in the United Kingdom are able to vote in the European elections in June.

Mr. Maclean : Students from other member states of the Community will be eligible to apply to be included in the electoral register on the same basis as other Community nationals once Parliament has given its approval to the regulations to extend the franchise.

Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to launch the advertising campaign relating to the rights of European Union citizens resident in the United Kingdom to vote in the European elections in June.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information about the arrangements for exercising the rights of Community nationals to vote and to stand as a candidate at European parliamentary elections will be distributed once Parliament has approved the regulations to give effect to those rights.

Community Charge

Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 13 January, Official Report, column 275, relating to imprisonment for non-payment of outstanding community charge, if he will now publish the table to which reference was made.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Joan Walley, dated 2 February 1994 :

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking pursuant to his answer on 13 January, Official Report, column 275, relating to imprisonment for non-payment of outstanding community charge, if he will now publish the table to which reference was made.

The information you have requested is given in the attached table.


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Receptions into prison  

service establishments  

in England and Wales    

for                     

non-payment of          

community charge<1>     

April-October 1993      

Month     |Number       

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

April     |25           

May       |28           

June      |21           

July      |36           

August    |35           

September |27           

October   |35           

          |-----        

Total     |207          

<1>Includes small       

numbers recorded as     

non-payment of rates.   

Special Advisers

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 11 January, Official Report , column 150 , if he will outline the particular qualifications, expertise or experience relating to his departmental responsibilities of each special adviser listed.

Mr. Howard : It is not my practice to comment on the qualifications, expertise or experience of my Department's special advisers.

Probation and Bail Hostels

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the need for places in probation and bail hostels.

Mr. Maclean : Before concluding that 10 per cent. of approved hostel capacity should be reduced, I took account of a number of factors, including the need for places as reflected in levels of occupancy and the cost of maintaining those places to an acceptable standard.

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what level of occupancy is assumed in the development of funding allocations to probation and bail hostels.

Mr. Maclean : The revenue grant funding formula for approved hostels assumes a normal minimum occupancy level of 80 per cent., which may be temporarily reduced in individual cases of newly opened hostels or hostels being refurbished.

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whom he has consulted about his proposals to close 11 probation and bail hostels.

Mr. Maclean : The chief probation officers and managing committees whose hostels were affected were notified on 1 December of our closure proposals and given the opportunity to comment.

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average length of stay in probation and bail hostels.

Mr. Maclean : The information is not readily available in the form requested.

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will provide occupancy figures for


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each probation and bail hostel in each region of the country for each of the last four quarters for which figures are available.

Mr. Maclean : This information is not readily available in the form requested. The occupancy figures for each probation and bail hostel for September 1993, the most recent month available, and for April 1992 to March 1993 as a whole, are as follows :


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