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Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to investigate the use to which general practitioner fundholders have put surplus funds from 1991-92.
Dr. Mawhinney : The uses to which savings may be put are set out in The National Health Service (Fundholding Practices) Regulations 1993, a copy of which is in the Library. Family health services authorities are responsible for authorising general practitioner fundholders' use of savings in accordance with the regulations.
Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many fundholding practices there are in the area of the Bexley and Greenwich family health services authority ; and if she will list them with the amount of financial surplus for each practice in 1992-93.
Dr. Mawhinney : Regional health authorities are responsible for managing the general practitioner fundholding scheme in their areas and only regional level information is available centrally. For local information--in the South East Thames region--the hon. Member may wish to contact Peter Barker, chairman of the South East Thames regional health authority.
Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will give the total cost of producing hospial activity figures ; what are the benefits to patients resulting from these figures ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville : Hospital activity statistics are produced largely as a by-product of operational systems in the health service. This ensures that costs are kept to a minimum, but as a result the extra cost of producing the figures is impossible to quantify.
The statistics are used at all levels in the national health service and the Department of Health for contracting, monitoring performance and for planning health care. Central statistics are used for--inter alia-- monitoring efficiency, securing and distributing NHS funds, account-ability to Parliament and the public, support for policy initiatives such as the inquiry into London's health services, and for feeding back comparative performance measures to the NHS in health service indicators.
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research she has commissioned into the benefits of running accident and emergency ambulance services closely integrated to patient and contract services.
Mr. Sackville : We have commissioned no such research.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the response times by ambulances to 999 calls within the mid-Essex area for each of the last five years ; what was the national average time for England as a whole for the same period ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville : Information on ambulance emergency response times is not collected centrally on an individual health authority basis. Information on the Essex ambulance service for each of the last five years is shown in the table.
Ambulance service emergency response times Percentage of calls responded to within 20 minutes (1988-89 to 1990-91) and 19 minutes (1990-91 onwards) |Essex |Ambulance |Service ------------------------------ 1988-89 |87.0 1989-90 |79.1 1990-91 |93.7 1991-92 |96.5 1992-93 |98.6
In 1990, following the acceptance of a report from the independent consultants ORH, a tighter response time for rural ambulance services was adopted. The response time target--now the patients charter standard--was changed from 20 to 19 minutes.
Mr. Dunnachie : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will introduce measures to enable lone parents living on low incomes but not in receipt of benefits to claim free prescriptions, free school meals, free dental treatment and free spectacles ; and if she will make a statement.
Dr. Mawhinney : Help with national health service prescription and dental charges and with the cost of optical services is already available to lone parents under the national health service low income scheme. The scheme ensures that no one need be detered from obtaining necessary medication and treatment on financial grounds. The arrangements for this help and the legislation governing entitlement to free school meals in Scotland are matters for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Scotland. The legislation governing entitlement to free school meals in England and Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education.
Mr. Raynsford : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the people working in hospitals run by Greenwich healthcare trust who telephoned the Under-Secretary of State for Health in the week beginning Monday 24 January.
Mr. Bowis : A number of calls were received in my office. We have no intention of releasing such information as the conversations remain private between myself and the individuals concerned.
Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the cost by region of employing management consultants in each of the last five years.
Mr. Sackville : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) on 14 December 1993, at column 558.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible have been (a) abolished or (b) created since 1979.
Mr. Goodlad : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave on 1 February, Official Report, column 611.
Sir David Steel : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commowealth Affairs if he will support moves initiated by other Governments to establish a moratorium on the manufacture and export of anti-personnel land mines.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The initiative was proposed by the United States, and was tabled as a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly, calling for a moratorium on the export of anti-personnel land mines that pose grave dangers to civilian populations. The United Kingdom supported this resolution ; however, in doing so, we stated our view that anti- personnel land mines directed at military targets are legitimate defensive weapons when used in compliance with the 1981 United Nations weaponry convention. If they are used in accordance with protocol II of the convention, and particularly if they are fitted with a self-destructing or self-neutralising mechanism, they do not pose grave dangers to civilian populations. We therefore think it would be wrong if the possession of
self-destructing or self-neutralising anti-personnel mines were restricted to countries with the capacity to manufacture them. We already adhere to the provisions of the 1981 United Nations weaponry convention, and expect to be able to ratify it later this year. There was no call for a moratorium on the manufacture of land mines. The United Kingdom has not manufactured or exported conventional anti-personnel land mines since 1982.
Sir Michael Neubert : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to meet Lord Owen to discuss developments in the former Yugoslavia.
Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 2 February 1994] : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs expects to meet Lord Owen on 7 February at the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee how many letters hon. Members may place on the letterboard ; when such regulations were agreed ; and what proposals the Committee is considering to improve the ability of hon. Members to contact each other through the letterboard.
Mr. Michael J. Martin : The letterboard is intended to receive letters and messages of an urgent nature. For this reason, regulations have been in place for a number of years to limit to a maximum of six the number of letters placed by Members on the letterboard on any one sitting day. Increased demand for this service in recent years has placed further burdens on the letterboard ; I have therefore asked the Serjeant at Arms to consider what further short and longer-term measures are needed to improve the system. His proposals will be considered by the Administration Committee and recommendations made to the appropriate authorities.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice he has given to the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising regarding a prioritisation review of rail routes earmarked for early sale ; what form such advice took ; on what date such advice was issued ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, announced on 2 February 1993 the first seven service groups to be prepared for franchising. On 24 May the Secretary of State announced the remaining 18 groupings to be prepared for franchising, subject to some further work which resulted in a further announcement confirming all 25 groupings on 4 August.
It will be for the franchising director to decide the order in which franchises are offered for sale, taking into account both their readiness and market interest in bidding. We shall be asking the franchising director to prepare a programme for franchising all passenger services.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department or any agencies for which he is responsible has engaged the services of the firm Touche Ross or any of its partners since 1 July 1993.
Mr. Norris : This firm was awarded an accountancy commission in connection with the channel tunnel rail link on 21 January 1994.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which special advisers in his Department are seconded from other organisations ; and what are the organisations and the lengths and terms of the secondments.
Mr. MacGregor : Neither of my current special advisers, Sir Idris Pearce and Mrs. Laing, is seconded from other organisations.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) men and (b) women were employed by DVLA in 1992-93 ; and how many sick days were taken by (i) men and (ii) women.
Mr. Key : The number of staff employed by DVLA at its Swansea headquarters on 31 March 1993 was 2,997--2,232 females and 765 males. Working days lost due to sick absence during 1992-93 were 22,887 for females and 15,905 for males.
On the same date, DVLA employed a further 1,566 staff--1,026 females and 540 males--in its network of local offices. Working days lost due to sick absences in these offices during 1992-93 were 17,135 but a breakdown by gender is not immediately available. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as the information is to hand.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 24 January, Official Report, column 76, what is his Department's broad estimate of the revenue forgone ; and what are the estimated parameters of the estimated costs.
Mr. Freeman : Since competition for the services provided by the channel tunnel in 2042 cannot be predicted now, and since the requirements for repair and updating of the tunnel nearly 50 years ahead are equally difficult to predict, I am unable to judge either the revenue or the costs flowing from the concession in that year. It follows that I am equally unable to say with any precision what the net present value of the extension which the British and French Governments have granted might be.
Mr. Heppell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which organisations were consulted by his Department, on each of the recommendations of the business deregulation task forces before they were agreed and action proposed in the DTI document, "Deregulation : Cutting the Red Tape".
Mr. Norris : Each of the task force recommendations agreed or agreed in principle by the Government has been or will be the subject of appropriate consultation with interested parties.
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will meet Care for the Wild and other charitable organisations involved to discuss costs incurred in their clean up operation of marine diesel fuel pollutants recently found off the coasts of Scotland and Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 1 February 1994] : No. While I recognise the value of the work done by charitable organisations in this field, when they decide to help in clean-up operations they bear the costs themselves. They may have a claim for compensation from the polluter if he can be identified. Beach samples from the affected areas of coastline in Scotland and Northern Ireland have been sent to the Laboratory of the Government Chemist for analysis, and the results are awaited. If it proves possible to trace the polluter, the Department of Transport would consider submitting a combined claim from all those organisations including Care for the Wild who have been involved in clean up activity as a result of these recent incidents.
Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to buy or borrow photographs ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : I have no plans to buy or borrow any photographs.
Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) paintings and (b) photographs there are on the walls of his rooms.
Mr. Redwood : There are seven on my walls in London and six in Cardiff.
Mr. Murphy : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) primary and (b) secondary schools there were in each local authority in Wales by 1 January ; how many in each case had held ballots under section 61 of the Education Act 1988 ; how many ballots in each case resulted in votes in favour of seeking grant-maintained status ; and how many ballots in each case resulted in votes against seeking grant-maintained status.
Sir Wyn Roberts : The information requested is as follows :
Local Education Number<1> of Number of Outcome of ballot Number<1> of Number of Outcome of ballot Authority |primary |primary |for GM |aginst GM |secondary |secondary |for GM |against GM |schools |schools that |schools |schools that |have held |have held |ballots |ballots ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Clwyd |243 |3 |2 |1 |29 |<2>7 |4 |3 Dyfed |313 |1 |0 |1 |31 |0 |0 |0 Gwent |213 |1 |1 |0 |31 |4 |4 |0 Gwynedd |190 |1 |1 |0 |23 |0 |0 |0 Mid Glamorgan |305 |1 |1 |0 |42 |0 |0 |0 Powys |107 |1 |1 |0 |13 |1 |0 |1 South Glamorgan |158 |1 |0 |1 |25 |3 |3 |0 West Glamorgan |164 |0 |0 |0 |26 |3 |1 |2 <1> The information in these columns relates to September 1993 <2> This figure includes one school which has balloted twice
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to set up a farmers charter, with particular reference to the late payment of debts to small business.
Mr. Redwood : I intend to publish targets for dealing with grant, subsidy and licence applications in the next financial year.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received on the question of organophosphate sheep dips ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : The Veterinary Products Committee has recommended the introduction as soon as possible of a new certificate of competence for sheep dipping, which the Government have accepted. Interested parties have been consulted formally on the proposed order, in accordance with the Medicines Act 1968. Five responses have been received to date. We shall be considering all comments carefully before proceeding.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received on the subject of the Welsh Office planning guidelines relating to wind farms ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : Since the publication of planning policy guidance note No. 22, "Renewable Energy", my right hon. Friend has received two representations about its application to wind energy.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many beaches in Wales were accorded the EC blue flag in each year since 1990-91 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : The numbers of EC blue flag awards in Wales were as follows :
Year |Number of |awards ------------------------------ 1990 |1 1991 |3 1992 |2 1993 |3
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received on the question of increasing weekly animal slaughter units in small and medium-sized abattoirs ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : The EC fresh meat directive contains arrangements for small slaughterhouses, which can benefit from a special list of structural requirements. They have to comply in full with the EC hygiene rules. Following discussions in the Council of Agriculture Ministers, the Council agreed to increase the throughput limit for small slaughterhouses for which operators wish to take advantage of those arrangements from 12 to 20 units per week until 31 December 1994. During this period the Commission will review the implications of the meat hygiene directives for traditional small businesses. The Government will work closely with the Commission as it carries out this review. No representations have been received recently on this matter.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when the Drws y Nant improvement scheme on the Dolgallatt to Bala road will commence ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Wyn Roberts : Draft orders for that scheme are due to be published this spring. Commencement of the work is dependent on the satisfactory completion of those statutory procedures.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what the closing date was for the submission of Welsh language sheep annual premium forms in 1993 ; and what it is for 1994 ;
(2) what the closing date was for the submission of sheep annual premium forms in 1993 ; and what it is for 1994.
Mr. Redwood : The dates for both types of forms are identical and are :
First application period--15 December 1992
Second application period--20 February 1993
Claims received within 10 working days after those dates were also accepted, subject to a 30 per cent. penalty reduction.
First application period--15 December 1993
Second application period--20 February 1994
Claims received during the 20 calendar days immediately following these dates will still be accepted subject to a 1 per cent. penalty reduction for each working day which has elapsed.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to collect information on the waiting lists for approval of house renovation grants for each district council in Wales.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : I do not propose to hold such information. It is for local councils to make decisions on grants within six months of receipt of an application and they must determine their own local priorities.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to relax for a further period the rules regarding use of capital receipts from the sale of council houses.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much additional funding will be available for each district council in Wales, and for Wales as a whole, as a result of relaxation in the budget of rules regarding the use of capital receipts from the sale of council houses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : Information is being compiled on the estimated levels of additional usable receipts available to local authorities during the relaxation period. I shall write to the hon. Member when figures are available and place a copy of my reply in the Library of the House.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the specific effects on Wales of the sustainable development action plan launched on 25 January.
Mr. Redwood : The United Kingdom strategy for sustainable development examines important environment and development issues at the national level over a 20-year period, and considers the role that central and local government, business, the voluntary sector and individual citizens might play in moving the country towards sustainable development. Some important measures are already under way in Wales in support of sustainability, for example the Welsh Development Agency's major land reclamation programme. The Welsh Office will be seeking to ensure that Welsh interests are properly catered for in the follow-up action planned on the strategy.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what research has been conducted on the incidence of cancer in Gwynedd ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : In 1987 the Welsh Office commissioned Professor Hubert Campbell to undertake an investigation into cancer rates along the north Wales coast for the period 1974-83. Professor Campbell's report was published in 1988 and a copy was placed in the Library of the House.
The following reports included sites in Gwynedd within a more general study :
"Cancer incidence and mortality in the vicinity of nuclear installations in England and Wales 1959-80". Office of Population Censuses and Surveys : Studies on Medical and Population Subjects No. 51. Published by HMSO ISBN 0 11 6910682.
"Geographical variation in mortality from leukaemia and other cancers in England and Wales in relation to proximity to nuclear installations 1969- 78". P. J. Cook-Mozzafari, S. C. Dargy, R. Dell, D. Fomman, C. Herman, M. C. Pike and T. Vincent. British Journal of Cancer (1989) 59, 476-485.
The Welsh Office is currently investigating the incidence of certain types of cancer around Trawsfynydd and Wylfa nuclear installations. The results will be made available in due course.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what changes have been agreed since his answer of 5 February 1993, Official Report, column 562, on proposals to issue departmental press releases by electronic mail.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the number of representations received from county district and borough councils in Wales on the subject of the proposed thermal oxide reprocessing plant ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment made a full statement to the House on 15 December about the outcome of extensive public consultation in connection with the authorisation of radioactive discharges from the whole Sellafield site. Seventeen of the representations considered received were from Welsh local authorities, six being from county councils.