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The Prime Minister : My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the President of the Board of Trade, the Lord Privy Seal and the Secretary of State for National Heritage, and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland have all done national service.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 28 February to the hon. Member for Pendle (Mr. Prentice) Official Report, column 579, if he will list the items of jewellery on the official inventory of No. 10 Downing street.
Mr. Patten : I have not visited any schools in Birmingham in the last 12 months. Since becoming Secretary of State I have visited two Birmingham schools : Cockshut Hill secondary school and Small Heath grant- maintained school.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what advice he issues to the governing bodies of grant-maintained schools in relation to the safety and roadworthiness of public service vehicles that are contracted to convey children to and from school.
Mr. Robin Squire : In 1991 the Department arranged for all schools to receive the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents code of practice on school transport safety. On 21 January 1994, the Department issued guidance on school transport--including safety--to local education authorities, which are responsible for the home-to-school transport of pupils at self-governing schools.
Column 26following the refusal of any lecturer employed by an incorporated further education college to sign a new contract ;
(2) what statutory powers exist for the Further Education Funding Council to penalise lecturers in incorporated colleges of further education who refuse to sign new contracts ;
(3) what statutory powers exist for the Further Education Funding Council to require lecturers employed in incorporated colleges of further education to sign new contracts and render existing contracts invalid.
Mr. Boswell : The Further Education Funding Council is taking no such action. Neither my right hon. Friend nor the FEFC has any statutory powers, either to require lecturers to sign new contracts, or to penalise those who do not. The conditions for the release of grant withheld from the FEFC relate only to contracts of employment for new staff. It is for individual colleges to deal with their staff about contracts of employment.
Ms Estelle Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many meetings he has held with (a) Birmingham city council education officers and (b) Birmingham city councillors from the controlling group in (i) the last 12 months and (ii) since he came to office.
Mr. Don Foster : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list (a) those local education authorities providing free transport to school and (b) those charging for all journeys of over three miles ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Forth : All local education authorites have a statutory duty to provide or arrange free of charge the transport which they consider necessary for a pupil's school attendance. But since LEAs have discretion to consider each case on its merits, information is not collected centrally.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to include in the code of practice on special educational needs guidelines on evidence which local education authorities will need to have available in order to make a decision as to whether or not to make a statement, with particular reference to evidence that relevant and purposeful measures have been taken to meet the child's special educational needs in his or her present school and that these have proved to be insufficient.
Mr. Forth : Parts III and IV of the draft code of practice on the identification and assessment of special educational needs contain extensive guidance to local education authorities on the evidence they should consider when deciding whether to make assessments and statements, including evidence about the special educational provision made by the child's mainstream school. My right hon. Friend will consider all representations received during the consultation process on the draft code and lay a revised code before Parliament.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what plans he has to establish guidelines in the code of practice on special education needs defining the level of resources which should be normally available, or to designate this more clearly as a responsibility of the local education authorities ;
(2) what is his policy on the balance local education authorities should endeavour to achieve between resources allocated to schools to help cater for pupils with special educational needs and resources held centrally in order to provide resources for pupils with statements ;
(3) what guidance is given in the draft code of practice on special educational needs, about the proportion of their budgets local education authorities should allocate towards special educational needs ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Forth : It is and will remain for local education authorities, in the light of local policies and circumstances, to decide what level of resources will normally be available to schools in their area ; the proportion of their general schools budgets to be allocated to special educational needs ; and the balance between resources delegated to schools and those held centrally for pupils with special educational needs. The Department has recently issued guidance on the local management of schools in circular 2/94. My right hon. Friend will consider all comments
Column 28received during the consultation process on the draft code of practice on the identification and assessment of special educational needs. He will lay a revised code before Parliament in due course.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to set up a national representative group to monitor the implementation of the proposed code of practice on special educational needs.
Mr. Wilshire : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he wil list all applications for capital grants from grant-maintained schools that he received which relate to the need to improve or extend accommodation as a result of a change in the ages between which children attend the school.
| £ ------------------------------------ 1993-94 |638,843,000 1995-96 |639,409,000
Mr. Wilshire : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what was the total sum of money made available for meeting applications for capital grants from grant-maintained schools during 1992-93 and 1993-94 ; and how much was awarded in grants during each year.
Mr. Robin Squire : A total of £28.5 million of grant was available to grant-maintained schools in 1992-93 for expenditure on capital work. For 1993-94 the total grant available is £87.6 million. The amount of grant paid to schools in 1992-93 was £25.8 million. The final outturn figure for 1993-94 is not yet available.
Mr. Robin Squire : Self-governing schools are eligible for two main kinds of capital grant : a formula allocation grant for all schools for small-scale capital works, which schools may use according to their own priorities ; and named project grant, for which schools may bid.
For 1994-95 financial year the priorities set for the assessment of named projects are :
1. Commitments arising from projects already approved and started but unlikely to be finished before April 1994 ;
2. Major repairs and other work required on priority health and safety grounds ;
Column 313. Bids for projects involving work required to implement the national curriculum ;
4. New projects to provide additional school places in areas of population growth--basic need--and ;
5. Work involving access for the disabled.
Mr. Wilshire : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list all applications for capital grants from grant-maintained schools made during (a) 1992-93 and (b) 1993-94, indicating the name of the school, the purposes and amount of the application, the amount granted and the purpose of the grant.
Mr. Robin Squire : Applications for capital grant in annual bidding exercises are made in advance of the financial year concerned. I therefore refer the hon. Member to the copies of papers I have previously placed in the Library detailing all applications made during 1992-93 for funding in 1993-94, and all those made during 1993-94 for funding in 1994-95. The papers similarly detail the resulting allocations.
Bids from schools entering the sector between September 1993 and January 1994 are still under consideration.
In addition, all schools are eligible for a formula allocation capital grant.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will make an estimate of the costs involved in raising the primary school starting age to the beginning of the academic year in which they are age six for all children and the introduction of a minimum of two years full- time nursery education for all children.
Mr. Robin Squire : The estimated net additional cost of providing full-time education in nursery classes to all the pupils in the age group identified by the hon. Member would be £1.7 billion in current prices. In addition there would be costs associated with capital, transport, and the training of additional teaching and support staff.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is his policy as to children being taught to drive motor cars as part of their school education ; how many children in each of the last three years have been taught to drive ; and what has been the cost to public funds.
Ms Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much his Department spends on child care ; on what provision the sum is spent ; how many children receive the child care ; and if he will make a statement about child care.
Mr. Robin Squire : London-based staff are able to use the Westminster holiday play scheme, which is organised by the Office of Public Service and Science. The cost of places is shared equally by parents and the Department. In the year ending 31 March 1993 six members of staff used the scheme for their children on one or more occasions, at a cost to the Department of £821.
Column 32Darlington-based staff have access to a play scheme which was set up at the instigation of the Department for Education. Places are shared with other civil servants working in the Darlington area. In the current financial year the accommodation cost to this Department will be £2,705, and 73 children of DFE staff will use the scheme. The Department contributes towards child care facilities as part of its policy of promoting equal opportunities for staff with domestic commitments.
Mr. Pope : To ask the Secretary of State for Education which local education authorities have bid for grants for education support and training funding for training in equal opportunities ; whether those local education authorities are to receive that funding ; and what the total grants for education support and training expenditure will be for 1994-95.
Mr. Robin Squire : There is no provision in the 1994-95 grants for education support and training--GEST--programme for schemes to fund equal opportunities. The Department will be supporting LEA expenditure of some £270.6 million in 1994-95 for a range of educational priorities through the GEST programme.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what weekly amount of money and what percentage of their gross earnings a single earner couple with two children on average earnings in (a) Yorkshire and Humberside, (b) north Yorkshire, (c) west Yorkshire, (d) south Yorkshire and (e) Humberside paid in (i) income tax less child benefit, (ii) national insurance contributions and (iii) VAT in 1978-79 ; and what amount and percentage of their gross earnings each of those average families will have paid in 1994-95.
Yorkshire and Humberside-income tax and national insurance contributions as a percentage of earnings |1978-79|1993-94 --------------------------------------------------------- Income tax less child benefit |12.6 |10.7 National insurance contributions |6.5 |7.8 Notes to table 1. Income tax payments are calculated on the assumption that the households receive no tax reliefs other than the standard allowances and only have income from employment. All earners are assumed to pay class 1 NI contributions at the contracted-in rate. 2. Child benefit is treated as a negative income tax. 3. Average earnings are taken to be the average gross weekly earnings of all full-time males at adult rates with pay unaffected by absence in April of each year.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what meetings he and his ministerial colleagues have had with the chairmen or representatives of the clearing banks regarding their charging arrangements for small business and personal customers since 1 January 1993.
Mr. Nelson : My ministerial colleagues and I meet the chairmen and representatives of the clearing banks from time to time to discuss a wide range of issues. Most recently, my officials and I have held a series of meetings with the banks to discuss the industrial finance initiative.
Mr. Dorrell : As set out in the "Citizen's charter : First Report of November 1992", the delegation of pay and grading matters is an important element in the Government's drive to improve quality and efficiency in the provision of public services. By allowing the introduction of pay and grading systems tailored to the objectives and requirements of individual organisations, delegation enhances the ability of managers to manage and develops the Government's policy of linking pay and performance.
By 1 April the 23 home civil service organisations listed in the table below will have taken on responsibility for negotiating the pay and conditions of their own staff. The staff affected--who account for around 55 per cent. of the home civil service--carry out a wide variety of work in locations across the United Kingdom, reflecting the diversity of the organisations concerned. In addition, departments and agencies employing some 40,000 industrial civil servants have decided to take delegated responsibility for pay and grading arrangements. This means that in total over 60 per cent. of the home civil service will be under delegated arrangements by July 1994.
It is clear that there is scope to improve further the delivery of public services by extending the pay delegation initiative. I have therefore invited all remaining executive agencies employing over 500 staff, together with the larger agency candidates, to put forward proposals for taking on pay delegation by 1 April 1995, where this is appropriate to their business needs.
|Staff in |post<1> ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Agricultural Development and Advisory Service |2,320 HM Customs and Excise |25,170 Defence Research Agency |9,510 Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency |4,160 Driving Standards Agency |1,780 Employment Service |44,250 Fire Service College |280 Forensic Science Service |630 Health and Safety Executive |4,480 HM Prison Service |38,100 Her Majesty's Stationery Office |2,950 Inland Revenue |59,780 HM Land Registry |8,970 Meteorological Office |2,480 Ordnance Survey |2,220 Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre |70 Royal Mint |960 Scottish Prison Service |4,610 Social Security Benefits Agency |64,880 Social Security Contributions Agency |9,790 Social Security Information Technology Services Agency |4,220 Valuation Office Agency |4,930 Vehicle Inspectorate |1,660 |------- |298,200 55 per cent. of Total in home civil service |546,340 Source: HM Treasury Quarterly Staff in Post Summary. <1>As at 1 October 1993. Figures give Full Time Equivalents, with part-timers working for more than 10 hours counted as half-units. Casuals are excluded from the staffing count. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10-this includes totals, rounded after calculation.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many days per week Sir Geoffrey Inkin is contractually bound to give to each of the three non-departmental public bodies which he chairs or of which he is a member.
Land Authority for Wales --2 days per week
He is not on three bodies.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 24 February, Official Report, column 415, what action he will take following his reading of the report on inward investment and industrial innovation in Wales.
Mr. Redwood : The report shows that encouraging developments are under way in Wales. Programmes such as Source Wales, and a range of training and innovation support measures, are already in place to address those areas where the report considers that further progress is required. These programmes are kept under constant review. For example, my recent consultation paper, "People and Prosperity--A Challenge to Wales" has elicited an excellent response and I will be publishing a strategy framework for training, education and enterprise in due course.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he published the 20th research report Wales, for 1992-93 ; how many copies were printed ; at what cost ; and to whom they have been distributed.
Mr. Redwood : "Research Wales, 20th report", which sets out research supported by the Welsh Office in 1992-93, was published on 1 February 1994 ; 220 copies were printed at a cost of £230. As well as being made available on request, copies have been sent to national libraries, higher education institutions, the Welsh Affairs Committee, the Libraries of the House and various media organisations.
Sir Wyn Roberts : There are five indigenous Celtic languages : Welsh and Cornish (which falls into the Brythonic group) and Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx (which fall into the Goidelic group). Of these, only three are commonly used today. These are Welsh, Irish and Scots Gaelic.
The Government have a long-standing commitment to helping to secure the future of the Welsh language. The Welsh Language Act 1993 is the latest manifestation of this commitment. The Act establishes the principle that in the conduct of public business and the administration of justice in Wales, Welsh and English should be treated on a basis of equality so far as is both appropriate in the circumstances and reasonably practicable. The Act also establishes the Welsh Language Board with the objective of promoting and facilitating the use of Welsh. It is the Government's belief that, as a result of the Welsh Language Act and the work of the Welsh Language Board, a substantial increase in the public services available to the public through the medium of Welsh will be achieved. The goal is to give effect to the Government's long-term aid of allowing people who wish to do so the choice of using Welsh in all aspects of their daily lives.
The Government support the Welsh language in other ways. We are acutely aware of the importance of education and, since 1988, Welsh has been an integral part of the schools curriculum in Wales. It is a core subject in Welsh medium schools and compulsory in all other maintained schools in Wales. Nursery education is particularly important and I was pleased recently to be able to announce a substantial increase in our contribution to Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin, the Welsh nursery schools movement, for the coming financial year ; £537,000 has been allocated--a 15 per cent. increase on 1993-94--to help Mudiad develop in the less Welsh-speaking areas of Gwent and Deeside.
At the same time I was also able to announce further grants to other voluntary organisations playing a significant part in ensuring that the language flourishes : the National Eisteddford, the Welsh Books Council and Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the Welsh youth movement. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland supports the Gaelic language and culture by providing grants (a) to education authorities to provide Gaelic-medium education ; (b) for the making of television programmes in Gaelic ; and (c) to cultural organisations committed to maintaining and developing the use of the language. It is hoped that these measures will lead to an increase in the use of Gaelic in Scotland.
The Government recognise that the Irish language is an important part of the cultural heritage of many people in Northern Ireland. The Government manifest respect for the special importance of the language of those people, encourage interest in it and appreciation of it for its own sake rather than any political connotations, and seek to highlight the contribution that the language has made to the cultural heritage of the whole community.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has had in relation to the compliance by Cardiff Bay development corporation with the undertaking specified in the code of practice, paragraph 2.3, on the operation of schedule 7 to the Cardiff Bay Barrage Act 1993 that owners and occupiers would be informed individually 28 days before the commencement of construction and 28 days before impoundment.
Mr. Redwood : The hon. Member wrote to me on 4 February about certain aspects of the notification procedure and I replied on 27 February. Lord Brabazon of Tara, who chaired the Select Committee in another place, has also written to me following representations from local residents groups. His letter is being considered and I shall be replying in due course. My officials have also discussed related issues with representatives of the local residents groups.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the Balfour Beatty construction consortium in relation to the provisional awarding of the contract to construct the Cardiff Bay barrage ; and if he will make a statement.
Ms Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department spends on child care ; on what provision the sum is spent ; how many children receive the child care ; and if he will make a statement about child care.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : In 1993-94 my Department spent £16,703 in support of child care for its staff ; £12,246 of this provided 30 full -time nursery places currently being used by 37 children, some part-time and £4,457 supported play schemes for approximately 45 children during the Easter and summer holidays. My Department is committed to providing child care where it is cost-effective in assisting the retention of trained and experienced staff. The cost of support is evaluated annually.
(2) if he will provide a ranking by region of the percentage of women who are claiming child benefit.
Mr. Burt : The information requested is not available. Child benefit take-up is estimated to be nearly 100 per cent. The percentage of child benefit recipients who are women is estimated to be 95 per cent.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people living abroad have been receiving benefits under regulation 2 of the Social Security Benefit (Persons Abroad) Regulations 1975.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what evidence he has as to the reasons for changes in the number of claims for sickness and invalidity benefits and in periods of sick leave since 1985.
Mr. Scott : This Department has undertaken an extensive programme of research into the factors underlying the growth in caseloads of invalidity benefit. This consisted of five reports which were published last autumn. Copies have been placed in the Library. We have also commissioned research on employers' responses to the 1991 changes in statutory sick pay. The report, which will include an analysis of factors affecting sickness rates and control of sickness absence, will be published shortly.
Mr. Hall : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people have been sent assessment forms so far this year by the Child Support Agency ; what will the total number of assessment forms by the Child Support Agency in 1993-94 ; and how many assessment forms will be issued by the Child Support Agency in the following years 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1996-97.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Mike Hall, dated 4 March 1994 :