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Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 3 May 1994] : Two applications were referred to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. Both were granted. The remaining information has not been recorded centrally, so it is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. It will be recorded centrally in future.
Ms Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer of 20 April, Official Report, column 554, if he will place in the Library a copy of the results of the study commissioned by his Department from Professor Harrington of Birmingham university on hours of work and employees' health.
Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 4 May 1994] : The study forms part of the Government's legal challenge to the working time directive--93/104/EC. I have been advised that, in accordance with established practice, it should not be published now ; I expect to be able to do so after the case has been concluded.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many parliamentary questions, in the period November 1992 to March 1993 were answered with the response that the information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost ; how many were referred on to an agency chief executive ; and, in each case, what percentage of the total number of questions asked this constituted.
Mr. Waldegrave : In the period 1 November 1992 to 31 March 1993 there were six questions where the answer given included a reference to all or part of the information being available only at disproportionate cost or because the information requested was not held centrally. During the same period, one question was passed to the chief executive of recruitment and assessment services. These figures constitute 1.95 per cent and 0.32 per cent respectively of the total questions asked to my Department.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total cost to public funds of work carried out by officials from his Department on the preparation of proposed amendments and new clauses to the Energy Conservation Bill prior to the completion of Committee stage on 4 February and from that date until Report stage on 22 April.
Mr. Atkins : This information is not available. Officials from my Department carried out work on the Bill in the course of their normal business and no records are kept of the time spent on individual tasks.
Dame Peggy Fenner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to remove the kestrel, buzzard and sparrowhawk from schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 ; and if he will include these species on schedule 3.
Mr. Atkins : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) on 25 April, Official Report, column 40 . The Government have no plans to add the kestrel, common buzzard and sparrowhawk to schedule 3.
Mr. James Hill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has yet considered the response by Southampton city council to the notice served on the authority on 24 January under section 13 of the Local Government Act 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry : My right hon. Friend has carefully considered the response of Southampton city council to the notice served on the authority on 24 January in respect of the award of an arboricultural contract to its own direct labour organisation. He accepts that the council may not have intended to act anti-competitively, but takes the view that the council's actions were likely to have the effect of restricting or distorting competition and in the event did have that effect. Consequently, he has today given the authority a direction under section 14 of the Local Government Act 1988.
The direction requires the council to re-tender the relevant contract so that new arrangements are in place by 1 October 1995, and to seek my right hon. Friend's consent should it wish to reassign the work to the in-house team.
The authority restricted competition in that it refused to provide sufficiently detailed work force information to enable tenderers to prepare a bid under the provisions of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. They also failed to allow those tenderers who had not included TUPE provisions in their original bid, to revise their bids in the light of the authority's assessment of whether TUPE applied.
The Government will continue to act against councils behaving anti- competitively. We are determined to ensure that obstacles which stand in the way of full and fair competition are removed, so that taxpayers continue to get value for money for quality services.
Mr. Gummer : My right hon. Friends the President of the Board of Trade, the Secretaries of State for Employment and for Transport and I have been listening carefully to the many representations that we have received over recent months about Government office resources in Devon and Cornwall. We are persuaded that there should be a new office in Devon and Cornwall.
We have decided to set up a new office in Plymouth which, together with the existing office in Bristol will operate as a single office on two sites for the south-west
Column 169region. Local authorities, businesses and the many other organisations in Devon and Cornwall which need to deal with the Government office and who are served and represented by it, will be able to deal with and through the new Plymouth office. It will establish close links with local organisations, especially in relation to the promotion of economic development. The offices in Plymouth and Bristol will work together in a mutually supportive way to advance the interests of the whole South West Region. They will be linked closely by sophisticated electronics called Office 2000. These will provide strengthened links with Whitehall and other outside interests.
The new office will be led by a new director for Devon and Cornwall and the regional director for the whole south-west region will also be based partly in Plymouth.
The arrangements for setting up the new office will start immediately and the new director of the Devon and Cornwall office will be appointed very soon. Full details will be settled taking account of local views.
This measure will make a major contribution to the range of initiatives being taken within the new integrated Government office for the south-west so as better to serve the needs of the whole region.
Mr. Bates : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has reached a decision on the timing of elections to the proposed unitary authorities in Cleveland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Curry : Subject to the outcome of the Cleveland county council's judicial review case, the Cleveland implementation order will provide for the transfer of county functions to the districts on 1 April 1995 and for elections to be held in May 1995. Our decision reflects the particular circumstances in Cleveland and is not a precedent for any future cases where an existing council is to continue as a unitary authority. We propose as a general rule to consult the authorities concerned and elections will usually be held at the start of the shadow period leading up to reorganisation.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce his proposals for paying for local government reorganisation ; what plans he has for a charge on the areas involved ; and when his proposals for transit and management, redundancy, transfer of undertakings and re-allocation of responsibilities will be ready for announcement.
Mr. Curry : Under the arrangements that have been announced, local authorities may finance the initial costs of reorganisation by borrowing. In most cases the savings and receipts that arise from reorganisation should be sufficient to pay back the borrowings and interest : there need be no burden on the council taxpayer. We are currently considering advice from the Staff Commission on redundancy and transfer arrangements and will make an announcement as soon as we have reached a conclusion.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the results of the capital receipts holiday which ended on 31 December 1993 for each local authority, with the amounts raised.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what provisions are being made for English representation on the Committee of the Regions after the reorganisation of local government in non- metropolitan areas.
Mr. Curry : No special provisions are required. All members and alternate members of the Committee of the Regions are, when appointed, elected members of local authorities. The present members hold office until 1988 and any further appointments before then, due to the death or resignation of current members, will be made from members of local authorities existing at the time of appointment.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 10 Greater Manchester district councils in order of their full-time equivalent number of employees per thousand of population.
Number of employees per thousand of population in Greater Manchester at December 1993 |Total staff |Total staff |per thousand Authority |(FT + PT) |of population -------------------------------------------------------- Manchester |27,780 |63.9 Salford |11,529 |50.1 Bolton |12,570 |47.6 Oldham |10,464 |47.5 Tameside |9,313 |42.1 Bury |6,900 |38.2 Stockport |10,889 |37.7 Trafford |7,338 |34.0 Wigan |10,028 |32.1 Rochdale |n/a |n/a Notes: 1. Full-time equivalent information at individual authority level is not held centrally. 2. Excludes law and order services. Sources: Joint Staffing Watch for England: December 1993 survey. OPCS mid-year population estimates for 1992.
Mr. Baldry : I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment gave to the hon. Member for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Donohoe) on 9 May 1994, Official Report, column 65.
Mr. Sproat : I am currently considering whether to widen representation on the British Tourist Authority and English tourist board. Questions about plans to change the structure of the other statutory tourist boards should be addressed to the Secretaries of State for Wales, for Scotland and for Northern Ireland.
Mr. Brooke : I am about to undertake a review of my Department's policy towards museums and galleries. I am therefore today writing to a wide range of interested organisations seeking their views on the key components of policy in this area and posing some questions, listed here, for consideration. The questions are not intended to be an exhaustive list of topics for comment.
My review will complement that at present being carried out by the Museums and Galleries Commission. It will not cover policies directed specifically towards museums and galleries in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, although I shall of course consult my right hon. Friends about any developments that might affect their interests. I am asking the organisations to which I am writing to send their comments to my Department by Friday 29 July. I should also welcome comments from anyone else who wishes to offer them. I have it in mind to indicate later in the year any emerging conclusions, once I have considered the responses. However, I shall want to consult further with interested parties on those issues which I decide should be taken forward.
Policy on Museums
Some questions for consideration--
What should be the aims of DNH's policy towards museums ? In particular :
Should policy be directed towards expansion of the sector or should the focus be on improving quality ?
How should some of the apparent tensions and contradictions characteristic of museums best be addressed (eg. tradition/innovation ; conservation/access) ?
How can access to museum collections and services be optimised ? How can appropriate care of collections best be assured ? Framework
Are the responsibilities of the various bodies relating to museums, eg. Government, the Museums and Galleries Commission, Area Museums Councils, local authorities, the right ones ?
Are the present arrangements for funding museums the most appropriate ones ?
Do present arrangements--such as the Private Finance Initiative which is intended to enable Government Departments, or Non Departmental Public Bodies, and the private sector to work more closely together, to meet needs which have traditionally been met only by the public sector--offer sufficient means of attracting private sector finance and facilitating the introduction of private sector expertise ? If not, what else might be done ?
What will be the implications of the National Lottery ?
Column 172Which Government policies not specifically targeted at museums impinge most on them ?
What scope is there for improving links with other sectors, including sectors not covered by DNH ?
What are likely to be the key developments in museums in the next 25 years (curatorial, social, technological, managerial, financial) ?
What are the criteria for success in the museums sector ? How can performance against these criteria most effectively be assessed ? What role should museums play in education ?
In what ways would museums and galleries benefit from improved international links ?
Mr. Lidington : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what assessment he has made of the exercise by English Heritage of its responsibility to supervise the clearing of rubble from St. Ethelburga's church, Bishopsgate ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Brooke [holding answer 10 May 1994] : I am satisfied that the clearance of rubble from the church has been carried out under effective supervision. The Museum of London archaeological service was appointed by English Heritage and the Diocese of London to carry out the work to English Heritage's specification. The work has been regularly monitored on site by officers of English Heritage. The use of a mechanical digger over the May bank holiday weekend to remove 200 tonnes of compacted rubble was outside the original specification but was considered the safe and practical option. It was approved by English Heritage and the Diocese and was supervised throughout by officers of the Museum of London archaeological service. As many finds as possible had been removed by hand earlier and stacked in the vestry and garden.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will estimate the number of (a) fathers with care and (b) mothers with care who have come off income support and who are now dependent on maintenance payments under the Child Support Act 1991 ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he will estimate the number of (a) fathers with care and (b) mothers with care who have come off income support and moved on to family credit and maintenance payments under the Child Support Act 1991 ; and if he will make a statement.
(2) how many of the responses to the consultation document on the medical test for incapacity benefit
Column 173(a) were in favour of the approach outlined in that document and (b) expressed criticisms ; and when he will publish the responses.
Action for ME
Enfield Area ME Self Help Group
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association
Stockport ME Group
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Attorney-General 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.
The Attorney-General : The departments for which I am responsible-- the Treasury Solicitor's Department, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office and the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers-- currently have in use 111 portable telephones, 105 pagers and electronic bleepers and six car telephones. The aggregate annual operating costs of this equipment including the cost of telephone calls are £78,900. Equipment is issued to Ministers and key personnel who may need to be contacted urgently.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Attorney-General what plans his Department has (a) to utilise the Internet, (b) to make available on the Internet press releases and other departmental information which the public may wish to have access to and (c) to use the Internet as a means of increasing the openness of his Department.
The Attorney-General : The departments for which I am responsible have no current plans to use Internet. Crown Prosecution Service press releases which are issued electronically through the Central Office of Information are accessible to users of the Internet via Data-Star Dialog (Europe) or Mead/Lexis/Nexis. They are also available to subscribers to FT Profile, Reuters Textline and to POLIS.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Attorney-General what assistance his Departments have given to other Government Departments in the last convenient period for which information is available concerning cases brought by civil servants against their employer as a result of work- related upper limb disorders.
The Attorney-General : The Treasury Solicitor's Department conducts personal injury litigation for a number of Government Departments. Such litigation includes claims by civil servants against their employer in respect of work-related upper limb disorders.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) civil servants and (b) other staff of each grade are working for or, as members of, the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in each location at which such work is carried out ; how many of the staff at each grade are from (i) the United Kingdom civil service, (ii) the Northern Ireland civil service and (iii) elsewhere ; and, of the Northern Ireland civil service staff, how many in total and of each grade have been categorised under fair employment legislation as (1) Protestant, (2) Roman Catholic and (3) other.
Sir John Wheeler : The Anglo-Irish Secretariat functions from one location and the British side of the secretariat employs 12 civil servants, two of whom are from the Northern Ireland civil service. For reasons of personal security it would not be appropriate to list the posts by grade.
The use of community backing monitoring information in the Northern Ireland Office is governed by a code of practice, under which the information can be used only for the purposes of monitoring the effectiveness of the Department's policy on equality of opportunity and to meet statutory requirements under fair employment legislation. The detail sought would be contrary to the code of practice, and could contravene the confidentiality requirements contained in regulations under the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1989.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many acres of land at Whiterock, Killinchy have outline planning permission for residential development ; and what proposals there are to improve the roadway from Whiterock to Killinchy village.
Mr. Tim Smith : Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Rate Collection Agency under its chief executive, Mr. D. W. Gallagher. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from D. W. Gallagher to Mr. John D. Taylor, dated 10 May 1994 :
You asked the Secretary of State how the rates demand for Killinchy Primary School is calculated. As I am responsible for the Rate Collection Agency (RCA), the body to which rates are paid, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has asked me to reply. The Valuation and Lands Agency (VLA) is responsible for determining the Net Annual Value of all property in Northern
Column 175Ireland and the RCA for collecting rates based on the valuation. Below is a table showing how the rate demand for Killinchy Primary School has been calculated.
1. NAV of Killinchy Primary School£6,200
2. Ards District Council Rate Poundage84.09p
3. Regional Rate Poundage148.68p
4. Non-domestic Rate Poundage232.77p
(ie. District Council and Regional Rate Poundage)
5. Rates assessed for the 1994-95 rating year£14,431.74 (ie. NAV (£6,200) X Non-domestic Rate Poundage (232.77p) If I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the implications for the road system of Northern Ireland of the European Council draft directive, Com (93) 679, in respect of 44-tonne articulated vehicles ; what is the estimated cost of bridge-strengthening schemes to facilitate this proposal ; what impact it would have on the sea ferry services from Northern Ireland ; what consultations he has had with the Republic of Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tim Smith : The draft directive will have little impact on the road system in Northern Ireland as the vehicles equipped to carry 44 tonnes have extra axles and are generally no more severe on roads and bridges than existing rigid-axled vehicles. The cost of bridge-strengthening schemes to facilitate this proposal will therefore be minimal. Some port operators have made representations about the potential impact on ferry services and these are being considered at present. Informal consultations have been carried out with the Republic of Ireland at official level.