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Part-time Workers

Mr. Callaghan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what measures he intends to take to provide employment protection for part-time workers employed by their existing employer for less then five years.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Many important rights are enjoyed by all employees, irrespective of hours of work or length of service. The Government are studying carefully the recent House of Lords judgment on the hours thresholds which employees have hitherto had to meet to qualify for the full range of rights. The eight and 16-hour thresholds were put in place by a Labour Administration in 1975 and have not been changed since.

EC Directives

Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how his Department meets its obligations under EC directive 75/129/EEC as amended by Council directive 92/56/EEC concerning the consultation period provided for in paragraph 1 to be used by the competent


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public authority to seek solutions to the problems raised by the projected collective redundancies ; how these obligations are met locally in respect of redundancies at a particular establishment ; and how these obligations are met nationally where redundancies affect more than one establishment in more than one region.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Statutory advance notifications of possible redundancies provided by employers are made available in confidence to the Employment Service, training and enterprise councils--local enterprise companies in Scotland--the Careers Service and other relevant Government Departments in order that assistance can be offered where appropriate to the employers and employees concerned. Such assistance is given most effectively at local level.

Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what judicial and administrative procedures for the enforcement of obligations under the EC directive 75/129/EEC as amended by Council directive 92/56/EEC are available to (a) the representatives of workers and (b) workers themselves to ensure that the competent public authority has fulfilled its obligations.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The directives confer on workers' representatives a right to be consulted about prospective redundancies and on employers a duty to inform the Employment Department. Consultation rights are enforceable through the industrial tribunals upon a complaint by a recognised trade union. Failure to notify the Department is an offence under section 194 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

Sex Discrimination

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will direct industrial tribunals to sit in private where cases of sexual discrimination are being heard.

Miss Widdecombe : No. The general principle is that complaints of sexual discrimination, like all other complaints to industrial tribunals, should be heard in open court. However, sections 40 and 41 of the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993 give industrial tribunals and the employment appeal tribunal new discretionary powers to prevent those making or affected by allegations of sexual misconduct from being identified in media reports.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will seek to amend the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 to provide for compensation in cases of unintentional, indirect discrimination.


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Miss Widdecombe : This matter is under consideration.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will seek to extend the remedies available under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 to include reinstatement and re-engagement.

Miss Widdecombe : The option of recommending reinstatement or re- engagement is already available to industrial tribunals under section 65(1)(c) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and a respondent's failure to comply without reasonable justification may lead to an increase in the amount of compensation awarded.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will expand the support services of the Equal Opportunities Commission in relation to its work for the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.

Miss Widdecombe : The Equal Opportunities Commission received grant- in-aid of £5.794 million for 1993-94, and will receive £5.949 million in 1994-95. Within the limits set by the Sex Discrimination Act, the EOC determines its own priorities and allocates resources within its overall budget.

Productivity (Rewards)

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is Government policy on the rewarding of workers for increases in productivity ; to what extent this has occurred ; and if he will publish a table showing the percentage increase since 1979 in (a) real earnings and (b) output per man-hour of (i) male manual workers in manufacturing industry, (ii) white collar workers in the public sector and (iii) other white collar workers, together with an explanation for the difference in each case.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The extent to which workers are rewarded for an increase in productivity is a matter for employers and workers to decide in the light of their particular circumstances.

Information on average weekly earnings of male manual workers in manufacturing industry can be found in table 4 and earnings of non-manual workers in the public and private sectors in table 1 of part A of the "New Earnings Survey" for the years requested. These figures can be converted to real earnings by using the information on the retail prices index--all items--at April, published in table 6.4 of the Employment Gazette and in table 26 of the annual supplement to Economic Trends for April of earlier years. Copies of the reports can be found in the Library.

The data on output per man-hour for the workers in the sectors requested are not available.

Aerospace Industry

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people were employed in the aerospace industry in 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992 ; and how many are currently employed in it.

Miss Widdecombe : Information on employees in employment in the aerospace industry is available from the periodic censuses of employment and is given in the following table :


Number of employees in  

employment in the       

aerospace industry<1>   

in Great Britain in     

September of each year  

Year    |Number         

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

1981    |185,000        

1984    |164,700        

1987    |158,200        

1989    |163,400        

1991    |147,400        

<1>Activity Heading     

3640 of the Standard    

Industrial              

Classification 1980.    

Channel Tunnel

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what length of cable in metres was damaged in the fire in the channel tunnel which occurred on 13 November 1993.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : I understand that approximately 600 m of cable was affected to some extent ; only 20 m was seriously affected.

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer of 8 March, Official Report, columns 122-23, if he will place in the Library the reports on the fire in the channel tunnel on 13 November 1993 referred to in his answer.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Disclosure of the report of the investigation into this incident by the Health and Safety Executive is restricted under section 28 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which prohibits the disclosure of information without the consent of the person providing it, except where disclosure would be for the purposes of the functions of the Health and Safety Commission, the HSE or other enforcing authorities.

Disclosure of Eurotunnel's report to the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority on the same incident is a matter for it.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Civil Service Salaries

Mr. Radice : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update the information on civil service salaries given in the Official Report of 20 January 1993, columns 254-57, in answer to the hon. Member for Devizes (Mr. Ancram).

Mr. Dorrell : New pay arrangements have been introduced for these grades. There are therefore no salaries exactly equivalent to those given in the previous reply.

The nearest equivalents for 1993 are as follows :


Grade            |<1>Salary       |<2>Percentage of                 

                 |£               |average earnings                 

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

AA               |<3>8,878        |53.9                             

AO               |<3>10,632       |64.5                             

EO               |<3>14,307       |86.8                             

HEO              |<3>17,895       |108.6                            

Grade 7          |<4>29,338       |178.0                            

<1>National pay scales applying to civil servants outside London.   

<2>Percentage of gross national earnings calculated on the basis of 

New Earnings Survey figures, which include overtime and allowances. 

<3>Standard pay, as at 1 April 1993.                                

<4>The old scale maximum (as at 1 April 1992) increased by the      

across-the-board increase of 3.9 per cent. payable from 1 August    

1992, plus a settlement of 1.5 per cent.payable from 1 August 1993. 

Staff can earn higher salaries through good, or better performance.

EC Budget

Mr. Cash : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his best estimate of member states' net contributions to the EC Budget in 1993, after the United Kingdom rebate ; and what is his estimate for 1994 on the basis of the latest draft proposed EU Budget, taking account of the latest estimate of the United Kingdom's rebate for 1994.

Sir John Cope : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury gave on 13 January, Official Report, column 246.

Public Works Loans Board

Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes are proposed in the quotas for lending to local authorities by the Public Works Loan Board.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : The Public Works Loan Commissioners have issued a circular today notifying local authorities of a change in the formula for calculating the quotas for 1994-95. The change reflects the Government's continued concern about the level of investments held by some authorities and the amount of market borrowing undertaken or proposed. A lower rate of interest will be payable on the majority of the quota. Interest rates on that amount of the quota equal to an authority's provision for credit liabilities will continue to be set near to, but just below, market rates. A copy of the circular has been placed in the House Library.

Chargeable Gains (Sheltering)

Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the current legislation which prevents companies in a group from sheltering chargeable gains with losses which are brought in by a company joining the group.

Mr. Dorrell : Two defects in the provisions which restrict the set- off of pre-entry capital losses have been identified. The first defect allows groups of companies to side-step the provisions by transferring within the group any assets with unrealised losses which have been brought into the group. The second defect may allow one group to avoid the provisions by buying a company with an unrealised loss, carrying out a series of transactions within the group and then selling the company to a second group before the loss is realised. The Government have tabled a new clause to the Finance Bill to correct these two defects. The new rules will apply to disposals made on or after today.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Fish Farms

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether commercial fish farms have settling out tanks for solids produced and what supervision of disposal of these solids is carried out.


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Mr. Ancram : The majority of fish farms have settling tanks. These tanks are inspected biannually by Department of Agriculture fisheries inspectors. There is no supervision of the disposal of solids.

Farming

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what were the figures in hectares for (a) set-aside, (b) pulses and (c) oilseed rape and cereals for 1989, 1990 and 1991 which were used to calculate the base rate for Northern Ireland.

Mr. Ancram : The hectarage figures used to calculate Northern Ireland regional base area for cereals, including proteins--that is, pulses --oilseeds and set-aside are as follows :


                          |1989   |1990   |1991   |Average        

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

Cereals                                                           

  (including forage maize                                         

  and proteins)           |52,907 |50,081 |51,299 |51,429         

Oilseeds                  |922    |1,223  |1,151  |1,099          

Set-Aside                 |172    |248    |334                    

                                                                  

Total Northern Ireland Regional Base Area:         52,779         

The total hectarage of proteins grown in Northern Ireland is insignificant. These are included within the cereals total.

Fishing (Conflicts of Interest)

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he will take to ensure that no conflict of interest arises where a commercial fisherman holds a licence to fish, a dealers' licence to buy and sell and a bailiff's warrant to enforce the Fisheries Acts.

Mr. Ancram : Powers contained in the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966 will be invoked as necessary should such a conflict of interest arise. The Act empowers the Fisheries Conservancy Board for Northern Ireland to revoke licences or object to the issue of a bailiff's warrant.

Dentistry

Ms Lynne : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the amount spent per child on general dental services, including in the calculation those not registered with a general dental practitioner.

Mr. Ancram : The information requested is contained in the table.


(a)          |(b)         |(c)         |(d)         |(e)                      

Gross        |Number of   |Number of   |Cost per    |Cost per                 

expenditure  |registered  |children    |registered  |child in the             

(£000)       |children    |in the      |child       |population               

                          |population  |(£)         |(£)                      

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

£13,146,890  |285,646     |463,835     |£46.02      |£28.34                   

1. The gross expenditure on general dental services (GDS) in column (a)       

comprises capitation payments for treatments given under capitation, and      

child item of service payments for treatments given on an occasional          

basis.Data is for the financial year 1992-93.                                 

2. Data in column (b) is the number of children registered with a General     

Dental Practitioner(GDP) at September 1992.                                   

3. Data in column (c) is forJune 1992.                                        

4. Children may also be treated in theCommunity and Hospital Dental Service   

as well as in the General Dental Services.                                    

5. There is also some non-fee expenditure on general dental services (eg      

reimbursement of non-domestic rates,maternity payments, and employers'        

superannuation payments)which cannot be apportioned between child and adult   

treatments.In the financial year 1992-93, this represented 4 per cent. of     

expenditure on the GDS.                                                       

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Crown Prosecution Service

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his answer of 17 February, Official Report, column 935, if he will make a statement concerning the effectiveness of the Crown Prosecution Service regional public awareness campaign, as measured by the amount of editorial coverage in newspapers, radio and television.

The Attorney-General : The campaign began on 17 January in the south -west and will continue, region by region, until the end of April.

To date 50 local newspapers, with a combined circulation of 2,309, 000, have reported on the campaign and the work of the service. The CPS has been notified of 27 reports about its campaign on local radio and television.

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his answer of 17 February, Official Report, column 935, what was the estimated and actual cost of the Crown Prosecution Service regional public awareness campaign.

The Attorney-General : The estimated cost of the campaign for the current financial year is £25,500 and £2,500 for the part falling in 1994-95. Actual cost cannot be ascertained until the campaign has been concluded.

HEALTH

The Best Sex Guide"

Dr. Spink : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what was the total cost of the production and distribution of the Health Education Authority magazine entitled, "The Best Sex Guide" ; how many copies were produced ; and what methods of distribution were used ;

(2) what steps were taken to obtain parental advice on the editorial content and design of the Health Education Authority magazine "The Best Sex Guide" ; and what control she expects parents to exercise over the distribution of this magazine to their children ;

(3) what consultations she has had regarding the consistency of the method of distribution of the Health Education Authority magazine "The Best Sex Guide" with Government policy ;

(4) what age group was targeted by the Health Education Authority with the magazine, "The Best Sex Guide" ; and who was responsible for the editorial content.

Mr. Sackville : "The Best Sex Guide"magazine was produced by the Health Education Authority in collaboration with BBC Radio 1. It was aimed at young people of 16 and over. A total of 500,000 copies were distributed direct to young people on and around World AIDS Day 1993, 1 December, through a 24-hour event at


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Tower Records, Piccadilly, at some licensed concert and music venues and some colleges and health promotion units for use at their discretion. Production and distribution of the leaflet cost £83,000. The content and style, developed by the HEA, was based on consultation with Radio 1 about the needs of their audience and the HEA's general research into the views of young people and parents. The HEA produces a range of material targeted at specific population groups to address the requirement of the Government strategy on preventing unwanted pregnancies, the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Ministers were not consulted in advance on this publication. There is a clear public health responsibility to give advice on safer sex to those who have chosen to become sexually active in their late teens outside a stable relationship. While this publication was aimed at that group alone, the HEA will obviously need to take account of the wider public reaction in taking forward health promotion in this very sensitive field.

Mr. Gill : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Health Education Authority has spent in producing "The Best Sex Guide".

Mr. Sackville : "The Best Sex Guide"magazine was produced by the Health Education Authority in collaboration with BBC Radio 1. Production and distribution costs were £83,000 with the BBC contributing some further funding to the production of the booklet.

Severance Payments

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of irregular severance payments have been reported to her Department since 1989 ; and what was the amount paid in each of those years.

Dr. Mawhinney : The Department is aware of one payment of £78,000 in 1992-93. In addition, the Department is examining other severance payments to ensure that they are fully regular.

NHS Fraud

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will request the Audit Commission to publish a report each year on fraud within health authorities and trusts.

Mr. Sackville : We have no plans to do so. The Audit Commission makes independent decisions on its work and publication programme.

Advertising

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 14 February, Official Report, column 623, if she will place in the Library copies of the market research results referred to.

Mr. Sackville : Market, survey and creative research commissioned by the Department of Health is used as an aid to management decision making when planning publicity campaigns. We have no plans to make management information of this kind generally available.


Column 439

Amniocentesis Tests

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines her Department issues to doctors carrying out amniocentesis tests solely to identify the sex of a baby ; what requirement there is to keep confidential the findings of such tests ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville : The Department of Health has not issued guidance to doctors carrying out amniocentesis tests. This is a matter for the clinical judgment of the professionals concerned in each individual case.

All persons involved in the collection and handling of personal health information, including the results of amniocentesis tests, have a legal duty to preserve the confidentiality of that information.

Information obtained by the national health service about patients in the course of their care and treatment is confidential to the NHS. The NHS has a duty held in common law to prevent any unnecessary disclosure of this information, which would represent a breach of confidence. Disclosure of information to the patient concerned, however, would not represent a breach of confidence. Whether or not to do so, again, is a matter for the clinical judgment of the professional concerned.

Abortion

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what reviews are undertaken by her Department of abortion regulations and guidance following the deaths of mothers during or due to abortion ; (2) whether her officials automatically inspect private abortion clinics or hospitals following the death of women treated in such facilities.

Mr. Sackville : All reported deaths following termination of pregnancy in places approved under section 1(3) of the Abortion Act 1967, as amended, are investigated by the Department and any necessary follow-up action is taken.

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what reports she receives of individual mothers'deaths caused by abortion.

Mr. Sackville : Details of maternal deaths, including those from legal termination, are reported and published triennially in the "Report on Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in the United Kingdom", copies of which are available in the Library. Also, private sector places approved by the Secretary of State under section 1(3) of the Abortion Act 1967, as amended, are required to notify the Department immediately if any death occurs during or after an abortion operation.

Maternity Units

Ms Jowell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether her Department provides national guidelines for minimum standards of comfort and hygiene in maternity units.

Mr. Sackville : No specific guidelines are issued, but a key objective for the national health service management is to create a clean, safe and healthy environment in our hospitals in which the community can be confident that it is receiving a quality service and the best health care possible.


Column 440

Agency Chief Executives

Mr. Radice : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many agency chief executives in her Department are currently paid more than £82,925, excluding performance-related bonuses ; and whether such chief executives were recruited directly to their present post from outside the civil service.

Mr. Sackville : None.

Hospital Beds, London

Ms Jowell : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in the accident and emergency departments in (a) King's College hospital, (b) Bart's, (c) Guy's, (d) St. Thomas's, (e) the Royal Free, (f) Whittington and (g) University College hospital were unable to be accommodated in beds in wards suitable for their conditions on the day on which they were admitted for the week beginning 28 February.

Dr. Mawhinney : It is the responsibility of national health service trusts and authority boards to make appropriate provision for accident and emergency cases including short term fluctuations in the emergency workload. Sir Duncan Nichol wrote to NHS managers in January making this a priority issue. The hon. Member may wish to write to the chairmen of the trusts and authorities for detailed information on the arrangements they have made and the weekly performance of the hospitals concerned.

NHS Trusts

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information is provided in the letter of appointment of non-executive directors of health authorities and trusts as to the approximate time commitment expected.

Dr. Mawhinney : None.

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the salary of non-executive directors of health authorities and trusts is abated for absence due to (a) sickness and (b) other reasons.

Dr. Mawhinney : Non-executive members of health authorities and trusts receive annual remuneration of £5,000. This is not abated for non-attendance at board meetings, but continued membership of the board may be terminated if satisfactory reasons are not given for non-attendance for six months.

Blood Transfusion

Mr. Luff : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in arranging the transfer of regional transfusion centres from regional health authorities to the National Blood Authority.

Mr. Sackville : I have laid before the House an order to give the National Blood Authority functions relating to the collection, screening and processing of blood for supply to the national health service, and regulations making consequential changes to the functions of the regional health authorities when regional transfusion centres transfer to the National Blood Authority from 1 April 1994.


Column 441

From that date we shall have an integrated blood service under the National Blood Authority. It will be responsible for planning and managing the service as a whole, for maintaining the very high standards of safety and quality of our blood service, and enhancing its efficiency.

Nursing and Midwifery

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance has been given to the English National Board for Nursing and Midwifery regarding the terms and conditions of redundancy and severance in respect of senior management of the board and those staff working at regional level subject to redundancy arising out of the transfer of functions to London ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville : Departmental officials wrote on 10 December 1993 indicating that ex gratia payments above £5,000 would require the Department's approval.

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what powers the English National Board for Nursing and Midwifery has to change previously applicable terms and conditions in relation to redundancy of staff ; and if she will make a statement ;

(2) what direction she has given to the English National Board for Nursing and Midwifery in relation to the severance payments to be made in the light of the transfer of staff from Sheffield to London ;

(3) what proposals have been made to change the terms and conditions of severance payments previously applicable in the case of the closure and redundancies of staff at the Sheffield office of the English National Board for Nursing and Midwifery and the transfer of functions to London.

Mr. Sackville : None.

Research and Development

Ms Lynne : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress she has made in developing a comprehensive research and development strategy for the national health service.

Dr. Mawhinney : The national health service research and development strategy was launched in April 1991. "Research for Health", published in June 1993 under press release H93/824, sets out the evolution of the programme and progress to that date. Copies of the press release are available in the Library.

Since then the Central Research and Development Committee has identified NHS R and D priorities in three further areas which cover physical and complex disabilities, the interface between primary and secondary care, and health technology assessment. R and D priorities in the areas of cancer services, diabetes, dentistry and mother and child health are currently being identified. Work has been commissioned in mental health and cardiovascular disease and stroke, and programmes of work in HTA, physical and complex disabilities and the primary/secondary care interface are now being developed. The first project in the mental health R and D programme was recently completed.

For the first time, NHS research projects are being registered on a national basis, and two complementary centres have been established to provide research evidence


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