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Mrs. Roche : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many registered disabled people are employed in his Department ; and what percentage this is of the total.
Mr. Waldegrave : The most recent figures are :
|Registered |Percentage of |disabled |total staff ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cabinet Office (including OPSS and agnecies) |23.5 |1.0 Her Majesty's Stationery Office |50.5 |1.7 Central Office of Information |5.0 |1.0 Part-time staff are counted as half units.
16. Mr. Trimble : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has made to the European Commission with regard to the impact of the maritime borders aspect of Interreg 2 ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang : We have already responded positively to the proposals in the European Commission's Green Paper to extend Interreg to include maritime boundaries. I am currently considering the more detailed proposals announced recently for an Interreg 2, and their implications for Scotland.
17. Mr. Raymond S. Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much was spent upgrading the A90 Aberdeen to Perth road to dual carriageway in (a) 1980 to 1989 and (b) in each of the past five years.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The sums spent since 1979 on upgrading the A90 between Perth and Aberdeen amount to £138 million. The details are as follows :
Details of sums spent on upgrading the A90 |£ million ----------------------------------------- 1979-80 to 1988-89 |87.5 1989-90 |13.9 1990-91 |8.0 1991-92 |3.4 1992-93 |11.1 1993-94 (to December 1993) |14.8
18. Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the Forestry Commission review group has now reported to Ministers ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Hector Monro : The forestry review group submitted its report to Ministers on 28 February, and we are now considering it carefully.
19. Dr. Reid : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends next to meet the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to discuss his proposed local government reforms.
Mr. Lang : The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities continues to have a policy of not co-operating with the Government on local government reform. Until that policy is revoked, meetings between Ministers and COSLA on the subject are unfortunately not possible.
20. Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what opinion polling he has commissioned to test the acceptability among the Scottish electorate of his proposals to re-organise local government.
Mr. Stewart : Extensive public consultation over the past two and a half years has demonstrated strong support for a single-tier structure of local government in Scotland.
21. Mr. Galloway : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has had on the proposals to allow off-licences in Scotland to open on Sunday ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Over the last year, my right hon. Friend has received 30 representations from organisations and individuals concerning off-licenses in Scotland. Seven organisations and nine individuals have expressed support for the proposal to open on Sundays while two organisations and four individuals wish the existing prohibition retained.
22. Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the effects of smoking on the health of Scots.
Mr. Stewart : It is estimated that each year some 10,600 Scots die as a result of smoking and around 33,500 people are admitted to national health service hospitals in Scotland because they have an illness attributable to smoking. It is the major cause of lung cancer. It is also a major risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and other illnesses.
23. Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives from Monklands district council to discuss local government employment practices.
Mr. Stewart : Monklands district council has made no request to my right hon. Friend for a meeting on the subject of local government employment practices.
24. Mr. Gallie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps are being taken to stop perceived abuse of bail in Scotland.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Reducing bail abuse is a high priority for us. We have commissioned major research into bail decision making and the report of the research should be available in the next few weeks. We have also taken steps to improve statistical information on bail abuse so that we have a better understanding of both the nature and the scale of the problem.
We are considering with the Crown office, the police and the courts what further legislative and administrative action may be necessary for Scotland.
25. Mr. Michael J. Martin : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will next be meeting the Greater Glasgow health board to discuss health care in Glasgow.
Mr. Stewart : My right hon. Friend and my noble and learned Friend the Minister of State regularly meet representatives from all health boards to discuss health provision issues. There are no immediate plans for further meetings at present.
26. Mr. McKelvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give details of progress of discussions with Strathclyde regional council regarding the upgrading of the A77 Ayr to Glasgow route.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : I have been able to make available to Strathclyde regional council sums totalling £28.7 million over the next three years, to enable them to proceed with the Ayr road route project. Strathclyde regional council will now be able to enter into a joint contract with the Scottish Office to undertake this project.
27. Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his latest estimate of the cost of local government
Mr. Stewart : The transitional cost of local government reorganisation is estimated at between £120 million and £194 million for a 30 council structure. These costs will be offset by ongoing annual savings of between £16 million and £60 million. Costs will be fully recouped within three to six years.
28. Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received for additional capital grants for school buildings in Grampian.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : In the current financial year, four representations have been received from the hon. Member, and one each from my hon. Friend the Member for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr. Kynoch) and from the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes), concerning the need for additional capital consent allocations for school building work in Grampian region.
29. Dr. Bray : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take further steps to encourage the growth of new locally owned software and electronics firms in Scotland.
Mr. Stewart : Yes. The Government are actively working to put in place the infrastructure and to encourage the investment needed to ensure growth in the software and electronics sectors in Scotland. The Scottish Office Industry Department, the Enterprise Network and educational institutions are working in partnership with industry-led bodies such as the Scottish Electronics Forum on a number of programmes which will improve competitiveness. Within that overall framework particular attention is given to the needs of new and growing businesses.
30. Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to promote access to the countryside.
Sir Hector Monro : The responsibility for promoting access to the countryside lies with Scottish Natural Heritage and the local authorities. The former is conducting a general review of access to the countryside and has undertaken a public consultation exercise on this. I look forward to receiving its report and recommendations in due course.
31. Mr. Norman Hogg : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his plans for the encouragement of investment from north America and south-east Asia to Scotland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Stewart : On the Government's behalf, Locate in Scotland is continually promoting Scotland as a location for inward investment. Through its field organisations in north America and south-east Asia, Locate in Scotland undertakes a continuous programme of contacts with appropriate companies in targeted industrial sectors.
32. Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met representatives of the Scottish Trades Union Congress to discuss the Scottish economy.
Mr. Stewart : I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Cumnock, Carrick and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) on 23 February at column 289.
33. Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many men were in full-time jobs in Scotland in 1979 ; and how many there are in such jobs at the present time.
Mr. Stewart : Information on male full-time employment is not available for 1979. The total number of male employees, in December 1979, was 1,196,900. In December 1993, the latest date for which information is available, there were 982,900 male employees, of whom 882,100 were full- time.
34. Ms Rachel Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress of community care arrangements in Scotland.
Mr. Stewart : Considerable progress has been made in developing procedures to ensure that the needs of vulnerable people and their carers are identified and that assistance is arranged where appropriate taking account of the choice of the individual. Local authorities, health boards and housing agencies were working together in all areas to deliver the objectives of the policy.
35. Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received about the steel industry.
Mr. Stewart : My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations about the steel industry over the past few years. Most of these have concerned the closure of the Ravenscraig steel plant in 1992.
36. Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he proposes to provide further assistance to the Scottish inshore fishing fleet ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Hector Monro : The fishing industry in Scotland benefits from a range of public support, including financial support from the European Union. Consideration is being given to future arrangements for such support, by preparation of a United Kingdom sectoral plan for fisheries.
37. Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many secondary pupils are currently being educated in (a) comprehensive schools, (b) independent schools, (c) special schools and (d) other schools ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Provisional information on the numbers of secondary pupils in Scotland at September 1993 is given in the table. All education authority and grant-aided secondary schools in Scotland are non-selective.
|Numbers ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Education authority and grant-aided secondary schools |311,898 Independent schools |19,979 Education authority and grant-aided special schools and departments (pupils aged 12 and over) |4,450 |---- Total |334,450
38. Mr. Donohoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the chairmen of the health boards in Scotland to discuss the health service in Scotland.
Mr. Stewart : My noble and learned Friend the Minister of State met health board chairmen on 25 February 1994.
Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the average cost of each appeal against council tax evaluations in Scotland.
Mr. Stewart : This information is not available centrally.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many projects bidding for support under the Scottish renewables obligation came under each of the five technology bands specified in the SRO order ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang : I understand that the Office of Electricity Regulation has received 190 applications across all types of renewable energy technology expected to be supported under the Scottish renewables obligation. Further information about these applications is a commercially confidential matter for the Office of Electricity Regulation.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what criteria he will apply to projects which pass the technical and economic appraisals, in determining which ones will be awarded contracts under the Scottish renewables obligation order ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang : This is a matter for the two Scottish public electricity suppliers on which the obligation will be placed by the order which I expect to make in the autumn. However, I understand that they expect to contract with the projects offering the cheapest price per unit of electricity generated to the required level of capacity in each technology band as defined in the order.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many contracts his Department has had with consultants ; and what has been the total cost in each of the last five years.
Mr. Lang : My Department has commissioned a total of 339 consultancy assignments since the start of the 1989-90 financial year. The total cost in each of the last five years was given in my reply to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) on 21 February 1994, at columns 51-52.
Mr. Gallie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he intends to set targets for Caledonian MacBrayne for 1994-95.
Mr. Lang : I have decided to set the following targets for Caledonian MacBrayne for the year 1994-95. The company will be required to achieve as a financial target that fares income should meet at least 60 per cent. of operating costs including depreciation charged on a replacement cost basis and provision for an 8 per cent. foregone rate of return on capital. As an efficiency target, the company will be asked not to exceed a maximum unit cost of £0.86 million per passenger car unit capacity kilometre. As a quality of service target the company will be asked to achieve a figure of 96.5 per cent. of sailings arriving on time, excluding sailings which are delayed or cancelled for safety reasons, for example, adverse weather conditions. I consider that the setting of these targets will provide a clear framework for the operation of the company in 1994-95, consistent with the objectives of securing continued improvement in operational efficiency and standards of service.
Mr. Gallie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has for shipping subsidies for sea transport services in the Highlands and Islands in 1994-95 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang : Subject to parliamentary approval of the estimates, I propose to make available in 1994-95 total subsidy provision of £15.673 million. The deficit subsidy for Caledonian MacBrayne will be £5.742 million. For services to Orkney and Shetland, tariff rebate subsidies of up to £8.557 million will be made available. Up to £1.374 million will be available for other coastal shippers operating on the West Coast of Scotland.
The level of provision proposed for Caledonian MacBrayne for 1994-95 reflects a reduced requirement for revenue deficit subsidy from the 1993-94 level, following the introduction of new financial arrangements for the company and an expected improvement in trading performance and operational efficiency. Capital grants of up to £7.3 million will also be made available to the company in 1994-95 for expenditure on the new vessel currently under construction for the Ullapool-Stornoway route.
The increased level of financial support for services to Orkney and Shetland which I made available in 1993-94 is maintained.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what criteria he uses when deciding which prisoners may be granted Christmas leave ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 17 March 1994] : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Scottish Prison Service under its Chief Executive Mr. E. W. Frizzell. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Letter from E. W. Frizzell to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 23 March 1994 :
Column 328Lord James Douglas-Hamilton has asked me to reply to your Question on the criteria he uses when deciding which prisoners are to be granted Christmas leave.
Prisoners and Young Offenders who have been allocated Security Category D, the lowest category, and are detained at open establishments or Training for Freedom Hostels attached to prisons are eligible for consideration for Christmas leave. Decisions on individual cases are a matter for Governors of each establishment who take into account the following :
1. The nature of the offence.
2. The prisoner's attitude to the offence.
3. The prisoner's conduct and industry during the preceding 6 months.
4. The home conditions and stability of the prisoner's relationship with his family.
5. The views and likely effect on known victims and the community.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the figures for egg consumption in Scotland for each year since 1988.
Sir Hector Monro [holding answer 22 March 1994] : Estimates of household consumption of eggs are provided by the national food survey. The estimates exclude eggs used in manufacturing or catering and institutions.
Number per person per week |Per cent. ------------------------------ 1988 |3.62 1989 |2.82 1990 |2.61 1991 |2.17 1992 |2.28
Mr. Martin Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many poultry birds were slaughtered in each year since 1988 in Scotland.
Sir Hector Monro [holding answer 22 March 1994] : Estimates of the number of poultry slaughtered in Scotland each year are :
|Thousands ------------------------------ 1988 |68,002 1989 |66,056 1990 |68,258 1991 |67,301 1992 |70,208 1993 |77,899
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list all instances where a freight flow has been transferred from road to rail transport in Scotland during the last five years ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 21 March 1994] : The information requested is not available centrally.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will give details of all awards made by his Department under the freight facilities grant scheme over the past 10 years ; and if he will make a statement ;
Column 329(2) if he will give details of the total amount spent by his Department on awards under the freight facilities grant scheme over the past 10 years ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) if he will give details of the number of applications for awards under the freight facilities grant scheme that have been rejected over the past 10 years ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 21 March 1994] : The Scottish Office has made awards to four new projects totalling £3,455,034 under the freight facilities grant scheme since March 1984. The details of the projects are as follows :
Company |Location |Facilities ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Deanside Transit Ltd. |Hillington, |Warehousing and bulk handling |Glasgow |facilities John G. Russell |Gartcosh, |Coal containers and |Glasgow |handling equipment British Alcan |Fort William |Rail facilities and |averages for the handling of |alumina Caledonian Paper plc |Irvine |Siding, track and |handling facilties for |timber and china clay
Over the past 10 years a total of £3,627,704 has been paid out under the FFG scheme. This includes the awards of to the four projects detailed and the balance of awards made prior to 1984. During this period three applications, which did not meet the schemes' criteria for eligibility, have been rejected.
The Government recognise that the carriage of freight by rail usually offers environmental advantages over other transport modes, and it is our policy that freight should use rail wherever it makes good economic sense to do so. To give rail a competitive edge the Government are enhancing the freight facilities grant scheme from 1 April 1994. These enhancements include the extension of the areas of capital expenditure which may be eligible for grant, and the simplification and improvement of procedures for applicants. We hope that the revisions will lead to renewed interest in the scheme in Scotland.
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security under which Act of Parliament or regulation a person against whom a certificate of permanent incapacity is issued is refused access to the reason for the granting of such a certificate.
Mr. Scott : The legislation governing the issue of medical evidence of incapacity for work by general practitioners to people claiming social security benefits is contained in the Social Security (Medical Evidence) Regulations 1976.
Mr. Dewar : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate, on the same basis as the answer given on 3 November 1983, Official Report, column 452,
Column 330to the hon. Member for Warwickshire, North (Mr. O'Brien), on self-employed persons, what would be the class 2 national insurance constribution necessary to meet the cost of extending unemployment benefit to self-employed people.
Mr. Hague : If title to unemployment benefit were to be extended to the self-employed, the class 2 contribution rate for 1994-95 would have to rise to £7.75, an increase of £2.10 over the proposed rate of £5.65 a week.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security for what reasons Mrs. Netta Black of Ardoch crescent, Stevenson, Ayrshire received a request from the Child Support Agency that her late husband pay for the upkeep of his daughter.
Mr. Scott : Owing to a clerical error, the Child Support Agency wrote to Mrs. Black on 17 February 1994. An apology was made to her on 7 March and the case was closed. There has been no further contact between the agency and Mrs. Black.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list to-date the number of letters his Department's Child Support Agency has sent apologising to widows for inadvertently sending letters to them demanding money from their late husbands to pay for the upkeep of their children ; and how many apologies are still on file waiting to be sent.