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Mrs. Anne Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many prosecutions were instigated by his Department in the financial years 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 by nature of offence, the number of convictions, the number of custodial sentences and the financial penalties levied.
Year |Number ---------------------- 1990-91 |8,336 1991-92 |4,618 1992-93 |5,902
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what were (a) the start-up costs, (b) the running costs and (c) the moneys recovered from absent parents in the first year of the Child Support Agency ; and what was the target sum for (c) .
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Frank Field, dated 28 March 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the costs of the Child Support Agency and the money recovered by the Agency.
The total cost of setting up the Agency was around £146 million. This figure includes the 1992-93 cost of liable relative work, transferred in April 1992 from the Benefits Agency to the Child Support Unit, as the shadow Agency was known before its launch in April 1993. The running costs for the Agency in 1993-94 are estimated at £97.8 million.
The Agency was set a target to recover £530 million in benefit savings in the financial year 1993-94. To 31 January 1994, £250 million had been recorded as recovered. This does not represent the total amount of savings during the period as some will be scored restrospectively.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Lilley : The Child Support Agency was introduced to ensure that parents meet their responsibility for the financial maintenance of their children where they can afford to do so. It replaced an inconsistent, often unreliable system which resulted in a drastic decline in maintenance payments over the past decade.
Column 728There is already the right of appeal to an independent tribunal against a decision of a child support officer on the basis of an incorrect application of the formula.
Mr. Nigel Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 10 March, Official Report, column 394, what was the cost of refurbishment to the personal residence of the air officer commanding the RAF personnel management centre, Innsworth.
Mr. Hanley : The current air officer commanding the personnel management centre at RAF Innsworth vacated his official residence, Haymes Garth, in May 1992. That was to allow it to be refurbished for the air officer commander in chief of the new RAF personnel and training command. Since May 1992, the existing air officer commanding has been living in his own private residence. The value of the work being carried out at Haymes Garth is estimated at around £260,000 and includes substantial expenditure on repairs to the roof, on rewiring and re-plumbing.
Mr. Hanley Mr. Hart is not an employee of the Ministry of Defence. He is one of a number of people who provide unpaid advice to my right hon. and learned Friend from time to time. He has carried out this role since July 1993.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 16 March, Official Report, column 752, if he will now give the same information for south Yorkshire ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what studies have been carried out on the possible cumulative effect of low flying sorties on the hearing of young infants ; and if he will make a statement on their findings.
Column 729sorties on the hearing of young infants. In 1990, however, we commissioned a study to review the available information on any possible relationship between aircraft noise and hearing loss. The review included consideration of research reports of possible hearing loss in children due to aircraft noise. A copy of the report was placed in the Library of the House--university of Southampton institute of sound and vibration research, "Risk to Hearing from Overflight Noise of Military Aircraft".
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many low flying sorties have been conducted over mainland Britain for every year since 1979 (a) above 250 ft, (b) between 100 and 250 ft and (c) below 100 ft.
Year |Number --------------------------------- 1979 |<1>108,860 1980 |<1>122,851 1981 |<1>131,841 1982 |<1>130,313 1983 |<1>127,683 1984 |133,519 1985 |141,762 1986 |151,164 1987 |147,661 1988 |151,291 1989 |144,323 1990 |141,390 1991 |127,400 1992 |131,464 1993 |119,410 <1> Before 1984 sorties were not recorded, but have been estimated from the number of movements into individual low flying areas.
Central records are not maintained of the heights at which low flying sorties are flown. Information is, however, available on operational low flying--OLF--which is flying by fixed-wing military aircraft below 250 ft and down to 100 ft and which may only take place in three tactical training areas--TTAs--in central Wales, northern Scotland and the borders. Details of OLF sorties are not available, but the total numbers of movements authorised into the TTAs in each year since 1979 are as follows :
Year |Number --------------------- 1979 |787 1980 |797 1981 |660 1982 |240 1983 |1,922 1984 |1,007 1985 |476 1986 |1,200 1987 |1,386 1988 |2,115 1989 |2,694 1990 |6,027 1991 |1,814 1992 |3,220 1993 |3,049
The figures from 1988 onwards reflect the division of the borders TTA into east and west sectors. Movements for the two sectors were counted separately so that sorties which crossed the border between the two sectors
Column 730generated additional movements ; this led to an overstatement of the amount of activity in comparison with earlier years. The division between the two sectors was removed in October 1993. Analysis of the figures which show OLF movements on the basis of treating the borders TTA as a single area give revised figures from 1991 onwards as follows :
Year |Number --------------------- 1991 |1,050 1992 |2,026 1993 |1,874 Note: Revised figures for 1988-90 are not available.
OLF may be authorised down to a minimum level of 100 ft but records do not distinguish between movements flown below 250 ft and at 100 ft.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the total number and type of low flying exercises that have been conducted over Britain since 1979 ; if he will account for each significant change since 1990 ; and if he will describe future plans during 1994.
Mr. Hanley : Central records of all low flying exercises in the United Kingdom are not held. There have been no significant changes in the broad pattern of exercise activity in the United Kingdom since 1990, and none are anticipated during 1994.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been paid out in compensation to farmers in Wales for loss of livestock, abortion and loss of production caused by low flying aircraft during each year since 1990.
Year |£ --------------------- 1990 |47,953 1991 |59,159 1992 |33,152 1993 |29,999
Mr. Hanley : The Welsh tactical training area comprises the south- west portion of Montgomery, the north-west corner of Brecon and Radnor, the north-east corner of Carmarthen and north Pembroke. The area, which is designated low flying area 7T, is shown on the copy of the map of the day low flying system which is available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the total number of low flying sorties that have crossed the terrain of the Carmarthen constituency (1) on average per year from 1979 to 1991, (2) during 1992 and (3) during 1993.
Mr. Hanley : Although records are maintained of the total number of sorties flown in the United Kingdom low flying system, it is not possible to estimate the number of sorties flown over particular locations.
Year |Number --------------------- 1979 |4,004 1980 |3,365 1981 |4,502 1982 |3,304 1983 |5,164 1984 |5,609 1985 |4,206 1986 |5,304 1987 |5,695 1988 |5,763 1989 |8,057 1990 |7,130 1991 |4,846 1992 |6,295 1993 |5,738
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what form of warning is given to farmers and residents of mid and west Wales prior to Royal Air Force test flights scheduled to fly in their area at altitudes below 250 ft ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley : All low flying below 250 ft and down to 100 ft in Wales by fixed wing military aircraft takes place in the Welsh tactical training area--TTA. Each month my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence notifies hon. Members in the areas affected of the planned usage of the TTA.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the minimum height at which low flying takes place (a) in the central Wales tactical training area, (b) in the rest of Wales and (c) in the rest of Britain.
Mr. Hanley : Fixed-wing military aircraft, except light propeller- driven aircraft, are permitted to fly to a minimum height of 100 ft in the tactical training areas in central Wales, northern Scotland and the borders. Elsewhere in the United Kingdom low flying system the minimum height is 250 ft.
Light propeller-driven aircraft are permitted to fly to a minimum height of 50 ft. There is no minimum height restriction for helicopters.
Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of his Department's officials are involved in the selling of British arms to other European NATO countries outside the Western European Union.
Mr. Hanley : Service women who become pregnant can choose either to take a period of up to 48 weeks maternity leave and return to duty, or if they prefer, to leave the armed forces. Those who choose to leave can apply to re-enter subsequently if they wish.
Service |Percentage of Female |Personnel |(as at 1 January |1994) --------------------------------------------------------------- Royal Navy |7.6 Army |5.7 Royal Air Force |8.5
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 10 March, Official Report, columns 392-93, what were the cash outturns at 1992-93 prices for the chemical and biological establishment at Porton Down for each financial year between 1969 and 1979.
Letter from Graham Pearson to Mr. Ken Livingstone, dated 29 March 1994 :
Parliamentary Question 3, Order Paper 24 March 1994
1. Your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Defence asking pursuant to the answer of 10 March, Official Report, columns 392-3 what were the cash outturns at 1992-93 prices for this Establishment for each financial year between 1969 and 1979 has been passed to me to reply as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.
2. The cash outturns for 1975-76 to 1978-79 at 1992-93 price levels are as follows :
Outturn at 1992-93 Price Levels Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1975-76 |18.7 1976-77 |17.0 1977-78 |15.8 1978-79 |13.5 I regret that the cash outturns for 1969-70 to 1974-75 are not readily available.
Mr. Robin Squire : My right hon. Friend is currently considering the responses to consultation on the content and format of the 1994 school and college performance tables. He intends to build on the considerable success of previous years' tables and is minded, as in 1993, to publish in November two sets of booklets, covering secondary schools and institutions catering for students aged 16 to 18. He has also proposed that the secondary school tables should, for the first time, include data on authorised absence as well as on unauthorised absence from school, and information on the length of the taught week.
Mr. Forth : My right hon. Friend has received comments on the funding of teacher salary increases for 1994-95 from the teacher unions, local authority associations and others who were invited to comment on his proposals for implementing the recommendations of the school teachers' review body. A further 70 letters have been received from individual LEAs, head teachers and governors.
Mr. Boswell : Although publication is not in the Government's hands, I understand that, in order to avoid publication at the beginning of the Easter break, the survey's steering committee has now decided to publish the report on 8 April.
19. Mrs. Jane Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what applications for capital spending he has received from direct grant schools on Merseyside for the year up to 1 April ; and what allowance has been made by his Department to those schools during the same period.
Column 734Merseyside received a named project allocation totalling £750,000. Emergency grants totalling £188,000 have also been made to schools on Merseyside in the same period.
22. Mr. Gallie : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will make a statement on the provision of private sector nursery education and its relationship to state nursery education provisions.
Mr. Robin Squire : Over 90 per cent. of three and four-year-olds already receive some form of pre-school provision, whether in maintained nursery and primary schools or in playgroups or elsewhere in the private sector. Our policy is to promote diversity, choice, quality and cost- effectiveness. We are currently reviewing possible ways of extending opportunities still further for the under fives, as resources allow. We will announce our conclusions when we are ready.
Mr. Robin Squire : My right hon. Friend is clear that the proportion of course work assessment must be appropriate to the type of qualification and to the knowledge, skills and understanding that are being tested. He recognises that some aspects of achievement are better assessed through course work than through terminal examination.
25. Mrs. Gillan : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what consideration he has given to special provision of further financial support for medical students and others on four and five-year degree courses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Boswell : My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer told the House on 30 November 1993 that the total support available to students through the mandatory maintenance grant and the student loan would rise by 4 per cent. in 1994-95. The same annual rates of grant and loans apply to all students irrespective of their course length. We have no plans to change that arrangement.
Mr. Forth : The tables published in November 1993 found that significant amounts of valuable learning time are being lost due to unauthorised absence ; 12 per cent. of all pupils in primary and in secondary schools had been absent without authority in the period covered by the tables. An average of 12 half-days were lost by every absent primary school pupil and 24 half-days were lost by every absent secondary pupil. Rates of unauthorised absence varied widely between individual LEAs and schools.
Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many, and what percentage of officers in each of grades 1 to 7 and overall in his Department are (a) women, (b) from ethnic minorities and (c) disabled, respectively.
Grade |Number of |Percentage|Number of |Percentage|Number of |Percentage |women |Women |ethnics |ethnics |disabled |disabled ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Grade 1 |0 |0.0 |0 |0.0 |0 |0.0 Grade 2 |0 |0.0 |0 |0.0 |0 |0.0 Grade 3 |0 |0.0 |0 |0.0 |0 |0.0 Grade 4 |1 |25.0 |0 |0.0 |0 |0.0 Grade 5 |12 |26.1 |0 |0.0 |1 |2.2 Grade 6 |2 |13.3 |0 |0.0 |0 |0.0 Grade 7 |44 |28.8 |4 |2.6 |1 |0.7 |_______ |_______ |_______ |_______ |_______ |_______ Total in DFE | 1,309 | 58.4 | 164 | 7.3 | 63 | 2.9
There were other staff in the Department with disabilities who chose not to register and are not therefore included in the figures. These figures include 376 staff in post in the Teachers' Pensions Agency.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will give figures, in total and for each local education authority, on the number and percentage of parental appeals on school admission which are (a) rejected, (b) withdrawn, (c) settled and (d) upheld ; and if he will give these figures for both the earliest and latest years for which they are available since 1964.
Mr. Robin Squire : Data on the number of parents securing their first choice of secondary school are not collected centrally. However, the most recent evidence--from surveys commissioned by the Association of Metropolitan Authorities in 1992 and The Times in 1993--shows that some 90 per cent. of parents gain a place at their first choice of school.