Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what purchasing contracts for health and social services boards were finalised by the Eastern health and social services board for the financial year 1994-95 ; what are the amounts involved ; and with whom the contracts were made.
Provider |Finalised amount -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Eastern board area Belfast City Hospital Trust |£38.975 M Royal Group of Hospitals Trust |£47.197 M Mater Infirmorum Hospital Trust |£11.740 M Ulster, North Down and Ards Hospitals Trust |£38.147 M Green Park Trust |£19.890 M Down Lisburn Trust |£56.504 M South and East Belfast Community Trust |£57.873 M North and West Belfast Community Trust |£47.757 M North Down and Ards Community Trust |£24.583 M Eastern Ambulance Service Trust |£4.885 M Cross boundary flow contracts Southern board area Craigavon Area Hospital Group Trust |£405,727 |Extra contractual Craigavon and Banbridge Community Trust |referral Armagh and Dungannon |£21,494 Newry and Mourne Trust |£223,125 Western board area Altnagelvin |Not finalised |Extra contractual Omagh and Fermanagh |referral Northern board area United Hospitals |Not finalised Causeway |£102,000
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will institute an inquiry into the number of head teachers and other teachers suspended from schools in Cheshire in the last 12 months, and the schools involved.
Mr. Forth : As a result of concerns expressed recently about allegations against teachers, the Department is currently preparing a survey of all local education authorities to find out the number of teachers who have been suspended as a result of allegations involving pupils.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will review the information published in Statistical Bulletin 24/93 regarding teachers' responsibilities and pay scales, tables 9 to 12 and paragraphs 16 to 24, in order to identify whether women teachers in secondary schools which were grant maintained at the time of the survey appear to have had promotion prospects better than, the same as, or worse than women teachers in otherwise comparable local authority schools ; what factors other than differences in experience and career break patterns account for any observed differences in pay scales between men and women teachers in grant-maintained schools ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Robin Squire : There are only relatively few self-governing grant-maintained schools in this survey, and they may not necessarily be representative of self-governing schools as a whole in this respect. However, the survey data show that women had a somewhat higher proportion of senior posts in these schools than in secondary schools as a whole.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is his policy towards the promotion of equal opportunities for teachers employed in grant-maintained schools ; and what arrangements he has made for monitoring known or possible inequalities between men and women teachers regarding their responsibilities and pay.
Mr. Robin Squire : The governing bodies of self-governing grant- maintained schools must comply with the provisions of equal opportunities legislation which apply to them as employers. There are no specific arrangements for monitoring inequalities between men and women teachers : however, the Department collects and publishes statistical data on teachers' pay scales and positions of responsibility from time to time, and the School Teachers Review Body may examine such aspects of teachers' conditions of employment if it sees fit.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what goals he has set for the employment of women teachers in posts of responsibility in grant-maintained schools ; what relevant advice or guidance he has given to the governing bodies of grant-maintained schools ; and what progress is being made towards his goals.
Mr. Robin Squire : It is not for my right hon. Friend to set such goals ; appointments of teachers to posts of responsibility are a matter for the governing body of the school. The Department's guide on education law for governors of self-governing grant-maintained schools refers to the requirements of equal opportunities legislation.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many (a) portable telephones, (b) pagers and electronic bleepers and (c) car telephones are currently used by his Department ; what are the annual costs of operating this equipment ; and to which personnel it is made available.
Column 645call charges, and 66 pagers, at a total annual running cost of £26, 300. The portable telephones may be used in cars if a hands-free mount is fitted. It is not feasible to quote a separate figure for car telephones. Portable telephones and pagers are issued to key personnel in the Department who may need to be contacted urgently.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what have been the costs to his Department in (a) providing legal advice to witnesses appearing before the Scott inquiry, (b) drawing up evidence to be submitted to the Scott inquiry, (c) officials and legal advisers attending the Scott inquiry and (d) other related costs.
Mr. Waldegrave : The Office of Public Service and Science has not incurred any legal costs in respect of evidence submitted to the Scott inquiry. Legal costs relating to my own evidence have been borne by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I attended three sessions of the inquiry and was accompanied by my grade 5 private secretary. Records have not, however, been kept of the total amount of time spent by officials in preparing for, and attending, the inquiry and the cost of staff time is not therefore quantifiable. I prepared my witness statement myself during the recess.
Mr. Waldegrave : I have completed an evaluation of the charterline pilot scheme which ended on 31 March 1994. The pilot study has shown that people need more information about how to contact their public services. A number of proposals to meet this need have been identified during the charterline pilot. We are using the charterline database to work with the Royal Mail to produce a series of directories which will help people to contact their public services. We are also working similarly with BT and Thomson Directories. I do not propose therefore to continue the charterline service. In addition, we are working with organisations providing local services to produce information posters which will display helpline numbers and local information. We will continue to give priority to assisting others, such as the BBC, to develop their own helplines.
In line with the provisions of the code of practice on access to Government information, copies of the evaluation report and the research conducted before and during the pilot study have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. A copy of the evaluation report has been sent to each public service organisation participating in the pilot study.
Mr. Mudie : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much was written off in the Property Services Agency accounts in 1992-93 ; broken down by (a) customer name and (b) amount ; and which sums are still being pursued.
Mr. Curry : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 29 April, Official Report, column 354 for the details of the write-offs in the PSA services 1992-93 appropriation accounts. Of the total customer debt of £76.6 million outstanding at the end of the 1992-93, £6.9 million is still being pursued.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he will take to ensure that, when advice on fire safety and fire precautions is no longer provided to Departments by the Department of the Environment, all Government Departments will continue to obtain professional advice on these matters.
Mr. Baldry : Individual Departments remain responsible for protecting against fire hazards the buildings that they occupy. It is for them to decide on the extent and the source of professional advice for particular buildings. My Department will, however, continue to provide central guidance on fire safety protection standards for Government buildings and on procedures for the management of fire safety.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many (a) portable telephones, (b) pagers and electronic bleepers and (c) car telephones are currently used by his Department ; what are the annual costs of operating this equipment ; and to which personnel it is made available.
Mr. Baldry : My Department currently uses 139 portable telephones, costing £44,000 per annum for line rental ; 428 pagers and electronic bleepers, which cost £20,000 per annum to rent ; and 15 car telephones, costing £5,000 per annum for line rental.
My Department is also responsible for 34 car telephones and two pagers and electronic bleepers which are fitted in the pool cars and associated maintenance vehicles operated by the Government car service. The annual rental for this equipment is £11,000. The equipment is allocated to business units and not specifically to individual officers.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if an urban development corporation, arm's-length city challenge company, a housing action trust or the Urban Regeneration Agency may bid for the uncommitted non ring-fenced proportion of the single regeneration budget for 1995-96 and 1996-97.
Column 647which are in the Library of the House, explains that English Partnerships--the Urban Regeneration Agency--urban development corporations and housing action trusts may join with other partners in promoting a bid for uncommitted resources from the single regeneration budget. Similarly, city challenge companies may take part in bids and, as paragraph 29 of the guidance makes clear, existing city challenge partnerships might in some cases form the basis for initiatives supported by the budget. Arrangements for the budget for 1996-97, including those relating to any uncommitted proportion of the budget, will be finalised in the light of the public expenditure settlement later in the year.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Chairman of the Information Committee (1) if he will institute an experiment directed to enabling hon. Members to receive E-mail from constituents similar to that currently being undertaken by the United States House of Representatives ; (2) if he will make a statement on the feasibility of connecting the Parliamentary Data and Video Network to the Internet.
Mr. Gary Waller : The Information Committee has reported on the Parliamentary Video and Data Network--PDVN--pilot project in its first report, "The Provision of a Parliamentary Data and Video Network", HC237 of the present Session. If the House approves the establishment of a permanent Parliamentary Data and Video Network as proposed in the report, the Information Committee intends to undertake an inquiry into future additional services which might be made available to Members on the PDVN.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Lord President of the Council how many amendments for consideration at the Committee stage of the Sale and Supply of Goods Bill were drafted by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Lord President of the Council how many amendments for consideration at the Report stage of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill have been drafted by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.
Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the amount of maintenance and track renewal work to be carried out in the financial year 1994-95 on the west coast main line.
Column 6481993-94 levels. Railtrack is committed to maintaining the west coast main line in the steady state until work on upgrading starts in mid-1995. The amount of work to be carried out this year should therefore be broadly similar to that in 1993-94.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will implement the plan for investment in the west coast railway as set out by the west midlands regional rail forum ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : The feasibility study on the modernisation of the west coast main line currently being undertaken jointly by Railtrack and WCML Development Co. Ltd. will examine a range of investment options. The contract for the work on the line will be let in early 1995 and the work itself is expected to commence in mid-1995.
Mr. Freeman : My right hon. Friend announced on 1 December that, following a feasibility study by a private sector consortium working with Railtrack, a competition will be held early next year for the contract to design, build and maintain the improvements to the line. That remains the timetable. The feasibility study is under way. Work is expected to start in mid-1995 and to take eight to 10 years. The cost has been estimated at between £400 million and £600 million.
Mr. Freeman : There will be a number of criteria. The most important are the suitability of rolling stock to the route and to meet the service specified by the Franchising Director. The final allocation of stock will be a matter for negotiation between the rolling stock company and the passenger train operator.
Mr. Freeman : Investment in the rail network has been geared to the maintenance and improvement of service standards and has been running at historically high levels in recent. years. Investment levels of around £3 billion announced last November for the three years from 1994-95 continue to support these objectives.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when assistant chief driving examiners in the Driving Standards Agency were made equivalent in grade to senior executive officers ; when the agency made this decision ; when the appropriate trade unions were consulted ; what powers within the agency's framework document were invoked to make this decision ; and if senior executive officers will be eligible for assistant chief driving examiner posts.
Mr. Key : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Driving Standards Agency under its chief executive, Dr. John Ford. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Column 649Letter from John Ford to Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, dated 4 May 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your question about Assistant Chief Driving Examiners and Senior Executive Officers having equivalent status.
The Assistant Driving Examiner grade was established many years ago, and has always been on a comparable pay scale to that for the Senior Executive Officers, and is therefore classed as an equivalent grade. The pay scales were set at national not at Agency level and the relevant trade unions were consulted during negotiations. The Agency has followed the Departmental line on this issue and has not therefore had to invoke any powers within its framework document. Lateral transfers of staff between jobs in different disciplines, of roughly equivalent levels are provided for in Civil Service terms and conditions as set out in the Staff Handbook. Therefore Senior Executive Officers would be eligible to be considered for Assistant Chief Driving Examiner posts, although training in the specialist aspects of the driving test would be required.
Mr. Dunn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he has reached a decision on the night flying restrictions to apply at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted from 23 October 1994 ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 650covered the arrangements for the 1994 summer season and those to apply from winter 1994-95 until the end of the summer 1998 season. We acknowledged the need for an early decision on the 1994 summer season by separating the proposals in the consultation paper and our conclusions for that season were announced by my hon. Friend, and my noble Friend on 1 February. The summer season commenced on 27 March and continues until 23 October. The conclusions that I am announcing today apply to the following four years.
Our November consultation paper proposed that there should be a movements limit for each airport with the quota system based on the noise certification of aircraft also applying as a supplementary control. An alternative approach was also set out which would dispense with the need for quotas but impose subsidiary limits on movements by the noisier types of aircraft. As in respect of summer 1994, the responses for the following four years showed very little support for this alternative approach. I have therefore concluded that the night restrictions should continue to be in the form of movements limits supplemented by quotas. The classification of aircraft according to the quota count system, the hours of the night restrictions and the night quota period will remain as I announced on 6 July 1993.
The night-time movements limits and quotas for each airport for each season will be :--
Winter |Movements|Quota |Summer |Movements|Quota |Limit |Limit ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Heathrow 1994-95 |2,550 |5,000 |1995 |3,250 |7,000 1995-96 |2,550 |5,000 |1996 |3,250 |7,000 1996-97 |2,550 |5,000 |1997 |3,250 |7,000 1997-98 |2,550 |5,000 |1998 |3,250 |7,000 Gatwick 1994-95 |3,000 |6,820 |1995 |8,050 |9,550 1995-96 |3,750 |6,820 |1996 |9,100 |9,550 1996-97 |4,500 |6,820 |1997 |10,150 |9,550 1997-98 |5,250 |6,820 |1998 |11,200 |9,550 Stansted 1994-95 |4,640 |3,000 |1995 |6,750 |4,200 1995-96 |4,820 |3,000 |1996 |7,000 |4,200 1996-97 |5,000 |3,000 |1997 |7,000 |4,200 1997-98 |5,000 |3,000 |1998 |7,000 |4,200
The quotas for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted remain as I announced on 6 July 1993. The movements limits for Heathrow and Gatwick are as proposed in the November 1993 consultation. The Stansted movements limits that I am announcing for the first three seasons are slightly lower than those proposed, as was the movement limit for this summer announced on 1 February. I also confirm that the movements limits and quotas for Stansted have been set in the light of the present limit of 78,000 passenger air transport movements--ATM. I will review both the movements limits and the quotas if Parliament should approve an increase in the Stansted ATM limit before summer 1998.
The 10 per cent. end-of-season flexibility, with penalty for excess thereafter, will apply, as proposed, to the movements limits as well as to the quotas. The arrangements for dispensation also continue to apply. Experience of operating under the guidelines published on 6 July 1993 has shown the need for some minor amendments. These do not change the circumstances in
Column 650which a dispensation might be considered but provide some further clarification for operators. I have placed a copy of the revised guidelines in the Library.
I have given careful consideration to the responses from people living around the three airports, the local authorities, environmental groups and local organisations and other representative bodies. I have also given careful consideration to the responses from airlines, aviation bodies and other user organisations. In general, the responses were more polarised than hitherto, reflecting not just the particular interests of those putting them forward but also, I am sure, the length of time for which we have been debating the issues. My aim is still to strike a fair balance between the different interests : to protect local people from excessive aircraft noise at night without unnecessarily impeding the airline industry. The movements limits and quotas that I have announced today for the three airports should achieve this. However, as explained in the November 1993 consultation paper, there are difficulties in setting appropriate movements limits several years ahead. I therefore confirm that, as proposed, the
Column 651Government will be prepared to consider adjustments to the movements limits prior to 1998 in the light of advice from the airport consultative committees.
I fully acknowledge that aircraft noise at night may disturb the sleep of some people near airports and that it is a matter of concern to many others who fear that they might be disturbed. However, a complete ban on night flights could not be justified. For many years, it has been the Government's policy to allow night operations to continue while seeking to ensure that eventually all such operations would be carried out by quiet types of aircraft. In my announcement on 6 July last year I drew attention to the great strides that had been made by the industry in phasing out older, noisier aircraft and to the regulations to ensure the phasing out between 1995 and 2002 of what are now described as the noisier chapter 2 jets. Those are aircraft once regarded as quiet.
The arrangements that I have confirmed today continue the policy of encouraging the use of the most modern and quietest types of aircraft. This will permit some increase in movements provided that the quietest types of aircraft are used but the noise quotas will keep overall night noise levels well below those for summer 1988 at Heathrow and Gatwick. The movements limits provide overall control on the number of movements at night. I understand the worries expressed by local people that substantial growth of the number of movements, irrespective of the noise performance of the aircraft concerned, might bring additional disturbance from the ground operations associated with those aircraft. I therefore indicated in the November 1993 consultation paper that we were considering whether to initiate a new study into ground noise at airports at night to see whether further measures of amelioration or control might be appropriate. This has been generally welcomed. I therefore confirm that I have asked my officials to consider further with BAA plc, which is responsible for measures to control ground noise at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, the scope and form that such a study might take, and to present proposals to me by the end of this year.
I also confirm that the monitoring and reporting arrangements announced on 6 July 1993 and 1 February 1994 are under way. These are being overseen by the Department's aircraft noise monitoring advisory committee and comprise
(a) a review of the longstanding departure noise levels of 102 PNdB (night) and 110 PNdB (day), 89 and 97 dBA respectively ; (b) the monitoring of noise performance of aircraft covered by the QC classification ;
(c) reports by each airport to their consultative committee on all night movements, whether covered by quota, or by exempt types of aircraft, or granted exemptions or dispensations ;
(d) suitable confirmation that the reporting arrangements cover the full audit trail ;
(e) an initial report by ANMAC on the performance of the new night restrictions system after the first year of operation.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of (a) northbound and (b) southbound traffic on the A34-A5 corridor parallel to the proposed Birmingham northern relief road is long distance ; and what is the total amount of traffic on the Birmingham northern relief road that is expected to be long distance in 1996 and 2011.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Dr. Tony Wright, dated 5 May 1994 : You asked the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of (a) northbound and (b) southbound traffic on the A34-A5 corridor parallel to the proposed Birmingham Northern Relief Road is long distance ; and what is the total amount of traffic on the Birmingham Northern Relief Road that is expected to be long distance in 1996 and 2011. As this is an operational matter for the Highways Agency, I have been asked to reply.
The Traffic Model used by Midland Expressway Limited indicates that there are negligible numbers of vehicles using the A34 from Walsall to Churchbridge which then pass along the A5 to either Gailey (M6 J12) or Weeford. This model provides the basis for the traffic figures included in the Statement of Reasons for this scheme, a copy of which was sent to you recently. Full documentation of the model was published in February and is available to the public. I can arrange for a summary to be sent if you require one.
But the A34/A5 route is not a close parallel to BNRR and you may be interested in traffic flows on the A38/A5 route which does more closely parallel the Birmingham Northern Relief Road.
Current daily traffic flows in the A38-A5 corridor vary between 25, 000 and 50,000 vehicles a day depending on which sector is looked at. Only a small proportion, some 2,750 vehicles, travelling over the entire length between Bassetts Pole and Churchbridge have an origin and a destination beyond the corridor. Of this traffic approximately 1,250 vehicles are southbound, 1,500 northbound.
Long distance traffic which uses other trunk routes into this corridor, and which could use BNRR for part of its journey, is also present ; for instance vehicles travelling from north of Fazeley to Churchbridge and beyond.
Should BNRR be built, two way flows of through trips (that is traffic between with an origin and destination outside the conurbation) are estimated at 19,500 vehicles per day in 1996 rising to some 33,000 per day in 2011. More details of traffic flows are given in the Statement of Reasons.
There are no known material differences in flows between northbound and southbound traffic although at peak hours there will be considerable differences in the local flows and hence in the proportions of traffic represented by these long-range vehicles.
Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. George Howarth, dated 5 May 1994 :
You recently put down a Parliamentary Question asking how many miles of motorway in England and Wales were coned off in October 1992 and March 1994. As this is a matter for the Highways Agency, I have been asked to reply.
On 1 October 1992, 106 miles of motorway in England were coned off. On 1 March 1994 the figure was 139 miles. I do not have any figures for Wales since the Agency is not responsible for these roads. The closure figures represent about 6 and 8 respectively of the total motorway network. But the nature of maintenance works is such that the figures can fluctuate from month to month throughout the year.
Mr. Nelson : No private detective agencies are used by the Treasury. Information relating to the use of security companies was included in the answer that my right hon. Friend the Paymaster General gave to the hon. Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George) on 21 April 1994, Official Report, columns 596-97.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : I have asked the Royal Mint to undertake a public consultation exercise on the possible introduction of a £2 coin for general circulation and also on whether the 50p coin should be replaced with a smaller coin.
The Royal Mint will consult as widely as possible and will seek the views of the general public as well as those of special interest groups and major coin users.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) portable telephones, (b) pagers and electronic bleepers and (c) car telephones are currently used by his Department ; what are the annual costs of operating this equipment ; and to which personnel it is made available.
Mr. Nelson : The Treasury currently uses 23 mobile telephones, 71 pagers and electronic bleepers and seven car telephones. The total annual operating cost of this equipment is £20,300 excluding VAT and telephone call costs.
The mobile telephones are mainly used in the offices of Ministers and senior officials. The pagers and bleepers are provided to some staff whose jobs regularly take them out of their offices but who need to be contactable, for example, computer support personnel or office services staff.
Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates to be the total cost in 1994-95 of relief from capital gains tax for (a) retirement relief, (b) holdover relief for gifts, (c) relief for trading losses against capital gains, (d) indexation allowance and rebasing to March 1982, (e) exemption of first £5,800 of gains of individuals and first £2,900 of gains of trustees and (f) gains accrued but unrealised at death.
|Cost for |1994-95 |(£ million) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- a. Retirement relief |65 b. Holdover relief for gifts |50 c. Relief for trading losses against capital gains |85 d. Indexation allowance and rebasing to March 1982 (individuals and trusts only)<1> |1,100 e. Exemption of first £5,800 of gains on individuals and first £2,900 of gains on trustees |450 f. Gains accrued but unrealised at death |500 <1> Company figures are not available.
These estimates are the costs of the present reliefs and do not represent the yield from abolition of the relief : consequential behavioural effects could substantially alter the yield. These figures are all tentative and subject to a wide margin of error. All figures relate to individuals and trusts only and exclude gains made by companies who pay corporation tax on their gains.