Previous Section Home Page

Column 585

Mr. J. Waterhouse

Mr. J. M. Darlington

Mrs. M. M. Carpenter

Mr. H. Harland

Mr. S. W. Martin

Mr. G. V. Covell

North East region--Northallerton

Mr. I. Potter

Mr. I. Nelson

Dr. W. Belfield

Mrs. M. Law

Mr. C. Oakley

East Midlands region--Nottingham

Mr. R. J. Arnold

Mr. B. J. Clayton

Mr. R. W. Tinn

Mr. T. A. Twigg

Mr. A. W. Wilde

South West region--Exeter

Mr. A. C. Gregson

Mrs. S. Weston

Mr. B. K. Milner

Mr. P. M. Tresidder

Mrs. J. Thompson

Wing Commander S. W. E. Newby

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action she is taking to allow the United Kingdom through the EC to join the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Jack : The European Community applied to join the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna--ICCAT--in the mid-1980's. Since ICCAT's constitution did not allow for regional organisations to become members, an amendment was necessary before the EC's application could be progressed.

The EC's application has now to be ratified by all the members of ICCAT before it can be accepted. Currently, ratification is still required from two member states ; Morocco and Gabon, who have both indicated that they will be ratifying in due course.

The EC currently holds observer status with ICCAT whilst France, Spain and Portugal are members in their own right.

Farmers' Early Retirement Scheme

Mr. Tyler : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which EU member states have implemented a farmers' early retirement scheme ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Jack : Under Council Regulation (EEC) No. 2079/92 the farmers' early retirement scheme is optional for all member states. The following countries have implemented the scheme : France, Ireland and Belgium.

The United Kingdom, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Luxembourg, Spain and the Netherlands have to date not implemented the EC early retirement scheme. The scheme is not suited to the structure of farming in the United Kingdom and if


Column 586

implemented the cost required to come from national resources could be provided only by reducing expenditure on existing United Kingdom programmes.

Livestock Premium Scheme

Mr. Tyler : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the due payment date for each livestock premium scheme for each year since 1985 ; what percentage has been paid for each after this date ; and what representations she has received on late payment.

Mr. Jack : For the suckler cow premium scheme, European Community rules specified payment within 12 months of the opening of the scheme for 1985 to 1988, within 15 months of the opening of the scheme for 1989, and within 20 months of the opening of the scheme for 1990 to 1992. For the 1993 scheme, payments must be completed by 30 June 1994. Nearly all payments are made before the deadline.

There was no payment due date for the beef variable premium scheme which operated until March 1989. For its successor, the beef special premium scheme, European Community rules required payment to be made within nine months of a claim between 1989 and 1992. For the 1993 scheme, payments must be completed by 30 June 1994. Between 1989 and 1992, less than 0.1 per cent. of claims were paid after the due date. Figures for 1993 are not yet available.

European Community regulations specify that sheep annual premium payments must be paid by 15 October--31 December for the 1992 and earlier schemes-- of the year following that to which the scheme relates. Nearly all payments are made before the deadline. There is no payment due date for the hill livestock compensatory allowance scheme.

Representations are received from time to time about late or delayed payments. Every effort is made to pay premium as quickly as possible consistent with the need to ensure that applications meet the conditions of the schemes.

Fish Exporters

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make it her policy to compensate fish exporting merchants and others who suffer financially as a consequence of action by French fishermen ; if she will seek compensation from the French Government ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Jack : My right hon. Friend has been in touch with the French Minister, Mr. Puech, and left him in no doubt that we expect him to ensure that the deplorable behaviour of some French fishermen is brought to an end as soon as possible.

We have secured the co-operation of the French authorities in providing police protection for fish consignments on arrival in France upon prior notification, via MAFF, of transport plans. A number of consignments have already passed through this system, which remains available to help trade continue.

We have also secured the French Government's assurance that compensation will be available, from the regional authorities in France, to those who suffer direct losses as a result of acts of vandalism. MAFF officials can advise and assist exporters on the construction of claims.


Column 587

It is totally unacceptable that people going about their lawful business should be subjected to violence and intimidation. We shall maintain our pressure on the French authorities to restore normality.

Sheep Dipping

Mr Llwyd : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will now make sheep dipping compulsory ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Soames : I have no plans to do so.

Fishing Fleets (Monitoring)

Mr. Ainger : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much money has been made available by the EU to improve monitoring of fishing fleet activity ; and how it will be spent.

Mr. Jack : Responsibility for ensuring compliance with the provisions of the common fisheries policy rests with individual member states. Under the terms of Council decision 89/631 EEC the Commission may contribute up to 50 per cent. of the costs of the acquisition or modernisation of capital equipment for use in fisheries enforcement. This scheme runs from 1991 to 1995 and provision is made for expenditure of up to 22 million ECUs in each calendar year. To the end of 1992 a total of 32 million ECUs had been spent.

EDUCATION

Learning Disabilities

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps have been taken during the implementation of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 to ensure the continuation and expansion of non- vocational courses for students with learning disabilities.

Mr. Boswell : The duties on the Further Education Funding Council and LEAs under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 require them to ensure that adequate further education provision, including non-vocational courses, is available for students with learning difficulties or disabilities. We have promoted, through guidance to the Council and LEAs, the maintenance and development of provision for these students. The Government funds the FEFC to enable it to meet its responsibilities, and the local authority grant settlement takes account of all local authority responsibilities, including provision of non-vocational further education for students with learning difficulties or disabilities.

Advertising

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list all television advertising, newspaper advertising, radio advertising and other promotional campaigns with a budgeted cost in excess of £10,000 conducted by his Department (a) in the current financial year and (b) planned for 1994-95, showing for each the objectives and mechanisms for assessing the effectiveness of the advertising.

Mr. Robin Squire : In 1993-94, the campaigns listed included newspaper advertising but did not include radio or television advertising :


Column 588

The 1993 school testing campaign

The objective was to advertise the availability of an information leaflet for parents summarising tests and assessments at seven, 11 and 14 in the national curriculum.

GM schools campaign

The objective is to advertise the availability of publications giving factual information about grant-maintained status.

The 1994 school testing campaign

The objective is to advertise the availability of an information leaflet for parents which summarises tests at seven, 11 and 14 in the national curriculum.

The following campaign included both press and radio advertising :

The Charters for Further Education and Higher Education The objective was to publicise the charters to allow as many students, potential students, parents, employers and others to obtain copies.

All of the above advertising campaigns offered individuals the opportunity to order their own copy of the relevant information leaflet. In each case, providing the public with a mechanism for directly obtaining information was an important objective of the campaign.

The following campaign did not include advertising :

The DFE roadshow--A Sound Education

The roadshow visited a number of venues around the country with the objective of updating parents on the Department's education policies and explaining how they can become more involved in their children's education.

Campaigns are evaluated by pre- and post-campaign market research into their effectiveness, the number of coupon and telephone responses and the number of leaflets issued.

Publicity activities for 1994-95 have not yet been decided.

Capital Programmes

Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what consideration he has given to changing place cost multipliers in assessing capital programme allocations to take into account real costs incurred by local authorities.

Mr. Forth : The cost-multipliers used in the calculation of cover for basic need projects are derived from analysis of actual costs incurred by local education authorities through projects to provide new places. They represent a challenging but achievable target. My right hon. Friend will consider carefully any representations he receives about changing the means by which cover is provided to meet basic need.

Examinations

Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the extent of anomalies in the published tables of school examination results arising from pupils entering for GCSE a year early ; and what proposals he has for rectifying the figures for the overall performance of schools for pupils at the age of 16 years.

Mr. Robin Squire : My right hon. Friend is well aware of the arguments concerning the basis on which GCSE information should be presented in school performance tables, and has considered them carefully on several occasions. He continues to believe that the case for publishing data which reflect pupils' achievements before or during the year in which they reach the age of 16 has much to commend it, since it provides a clear and consistent record of results gained by the end of compulsory schooling. He will however shortly be


Column 589

consulting about the basis on which the 1994 tables should be published. Final decisions will be taken in the light of that consultation.

Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will make a statement concerning the validity of comparing results in different areas when they are based on examinations of different boards.

Mr. Robin Squire : Such comparisons should be generally valid since national examinations have built-in safeguards to ensure consistency in examining standards. All GCE A/AS level and GCSE syllabuses must satisfy criteria set by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority--SCAA. GCSE examinations must be conducted in accordance with the code of practice which my right hon. Friend introduced last year. The Office for Standards in Education has reported that the GCSE code has had a beneficial effect on examining and awarding standards at that level in 1993, and my right hon. Friend has now commissioned SCAA to develop a similar code for GCE. The National Council for Vocational Qualifications requires the awarding bodies for general national vocational qualifications to comply with a code of practice on external testing.

School Governors

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what consideration he has given to introducing a scheme for payment of loss of earnings for members of school governing bodies ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Forth : No such scheme has been considered. There is little difficulty in recruiting people to school governorship, which is part of the long tradition of unpaid voluntary service in this country.

Dyslexia

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to his answer of 4 February, Official Report, column 933, if he will provide details as to the way in which the £300,000 for research into dyslexia is being spent ; and what plans exist for additional spending into the early identification of this condition.

Mr. Forth : The Department has provided £250,000 for a research project based at Harris city technology college which is examining ways in which information technology can assist dyslexic pupils ; and £74,500 for joint research being carried out by the Hereford and Worcester Dyslexia Association and the University of Birmingham into phonological awareness in pre-school children and ways in which teachers can identify and teach children with dyslexia. The latter amount includes £43,500 which the Department has recently agreed to provide to enable the research to continue for a further two years until 1996. The Department is currently considering further requests for funding research into dyslexia.

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children are estimated to suffer from dyslexia in England and Wales ; what is the trend in numbers ; and how the figures are collected.

Mr. Forth : The Department does not collect such statistics.


Column 590

The British Dyslexia Association estimates that approximately 300, 000 children in England and Wales have dyslexia. There is no discernible trend in the number of children with dyslexia.

SCOTLAND

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many times the sites of special scientific interest appeals committee has met ; and what decisions have been taken on each occasion.

Sir Hector Monro : The advisory committee on sites of special scientific interest has met five times. Those meetings have been used to put in place the procedures under which the committee will consider any cases referred to it by Scottish Natural Heritage. SNH is required to receive and consider the advice of the committee on the matters that have been referred to it. To date no cases have been referred to the committee. A copy of the committee's report for 1992-93 has been placed in the Library.

Astronomer Royal

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he hopes to reach conclusions about the appointment of an Astronomer Royal for Scotland.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Advice will be given in due course to Her Majesty the Queen on an appointment to the office of Astronomer Royal for Scotland.

Arable Area Payments Scheme

Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was (a) the maximum, (b) the minimum and (c) the average amount paid out under the arable area payments scheme in Scotland in the latest available year ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Hector Monro [holding answer 28 January 1994] : In 1993, the maximum payment made to a Scottish producer under the arable area payments scheme was just over £340,000. The minimum AAPS payment cannot be identified at this time because of the need to update the computer system for recording individual claims under the simplified element of AAPS. The average AAPS payment in Scotland in 1993 was £8, 100, although this figure does not take into account the final oil seeds payment due to be paid by the end of March.

Diabetics

Mr. Connarty : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the number of insulin-dependent diabetics in Scotland ; and how many of them live alone.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 4 February 1994] : The number of insulin-dependent diabetics in Scotland is not recorded. However, in 1986 a working group of the National Medical Consultative Committee estimated that there were some 50,000 diabetics in Scotland, and that some 35 per cent. of them were insulin-dependent. On that basis the number of insulin-dependent diabetics in Scotland would be about 17, 500, of whom perhaps 25 per cent. live alone.


Column 591

Environmental Sponsorship

Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many requests for environmental sponsorship have been received by Scottish Natural Heritage ; and if he will list those granted and those rejected.

Sir Hector Monro [holding answer 4 February 1994] : Details of grants made in 1992-93 will be given in SNH's annual report for that year which will be published later this month.

Holyrood House

Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what accommodation is designated for members of the royal family excluding Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Phillip at Holyrood house ; what accommodation is available for their staff ; and how costs are allocated between the occupants and his Department.

Sir Hector Monro [holding answer 1 February 1994] : My right hon. Friend is responsible for the entire cost of the maintenance of the fabric of the palace, for security and for the cost of utilities such as fuel and telephones. All other costs are met by the royal household, which is also responsible for the allocation of accommodation within the palace. I understand that no accommodation is allocated to any particular member of the royal family.

Ministerial Visits

Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will visit the west Dykebar area of Paisley to discuss with residents the provision of local government services.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 9 February 1994] : My right hon. Friend has no plans to visit the west Dykebar area. The hon. Member will, of course, have the opportunity to raise the issue of the provision of local government services in west Dykebar and other parts of Scotland during the passage of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Bill.

Local Authorities (Applicants)

Mr. Norman Hogg : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what plans he has to make regulations governing the vetting of qualifications, claimed by applicants to senior and promoted posts in local government ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) what assessment he has made of the arrangements made by local authorities to vet the qualifications of applicants for professional posts in local government ; and if he will make a statement ; (3) what advice he has given to local authorities on the vetting of professional qualifications claimed by applicants for promoted posts ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 7 February 1994] : It is for local authorities, as independent corporate bodies, responsible for the appointment of staff, to arrange to vet the qualifications of job applicants as they consider necessary. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has no locus in this matter.


Column 592

After School Care Initiative

Mr. Chisholm : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much money was given to each local enterprise council in 1993-94 for the after school care initiative ; and what is the estimated outturn expenditure by each LEC in 1993-94 in that area of activity.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 7 February 1994] : The allocation of resources to the local enterprise companies is an operational matter for Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. I have asked the chairmen of those bodies to write to the hon. Gentleman.


Next Section

  Home Page