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Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what decisions his Department has taken in respect of TECs over the last 12 months ; and if he will make a statement on his Department's involvement with TECs over the same period.
Mr. Norris : My Department has no responsibilities for the funding and sponsorship of TECs. The Department and its agencies have dealt with local TECs in connection with work to meet the investors in people standard in respect of the Department's own staff. The Department has also worked with appropriate TECs in their role in the regeneration of local economies. TEC resource centres have been used to preview training material and staff have occasionally attended events sponsored by TECs.
Mr. Freeman : The Franchising Director will be formally consulting local authorities and rail users consultative committees on the proposed specifications for franchises before inviting tenders. I expect the first of those consultations to take place early next year.
I understand that the Franchising Director is also intending to submit for comment his overall approach to setting such specifications, as the policy on this is further developed.
Mr. Freeman : Railtrack began operations as planned on 1 April as a separate Government-owned company following many months of work to put the necessary organisation and contracts in place. Railtrack has successfully established itself as the owner and operator of the national railway infrastructure.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much Shandwick Consultants is being paid by (a) the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising and (b) by his Department ; and what is its remit.
Mr. Freeman : Payment to Shandwick Consultants by the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising and the Department of Transport will be by reference to hourly rates for work done. For commercial reasons, it is not the practice to disclose these rates. Shandwick Consultants's remit is to provide advice to Opraf on the marketing of franchises, and to the Department on overarching privatisation marketing issues.
Mr. Key : The Department of Transport has been undertaking research on a remote sensing emissions analyser developed with the aim of detecting "gross polluters" as they pass through a beam crossing the carriageway. Results so far are, however, disappointing and we see no immediate prospects of using such a device as means of assessing vehicle emissions.
Mr. Key : The Government have already adopted a number of measures. Since September 1992, heavy diesel-powered vehicles have been required to meet specified smoke limits based on an instrumented test carried out at the annual inspection. The test was extended to diesel cars and other light vehicles from February this year as a requirement of the MOT test. For petrol vehicles, the MOT test has included checks on CO and hydrocarbons since November 1991. I shall be consulting shortly on new regulations that will tighten the limits for all vehicles in line with the EC roadworthiness directive 92/55/EEC.
The Department regularly issues publications advising motorists and vehicle operators on the need for good maintenance and other measures that will reduce emissions.
In the longer term, the Department is pressing the European Commission to introduce a requirement for "on-board" diagnostic systems for post-2000 vehicles that will warn the driver in the event of a malfunction of the emissions control system and prompt him to seek immediate repairs. Such a system could be highly effective not only in promoting rapid repairs but in permitting more effective roadside and annual enforcement of emissions standards.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what date traffic area co-ordinating division reached the decision that traffic area officers would withdraw from Driving Standards Agency work ; when the Driving Standards Agency was notified ; and when the unions were informed.
Mr. Key : The possible withdrawal of the traffic area offices from Driving Standards Agency work has been under consideration for some time, and the Driving Standards Agency was informed of the intention to withdraw on 1 June 1994. No decision has yet been taken on the precise date of withdrawal. This matter is on the agenda for a meeting with the unions on 11 July.
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to urge the European Commission to bring forward proposals for (a) a side-impact protection directive and (b) a new European standard for car design for pedestrian protection ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a table showing for each London underground line and for each four- week period between 1 January and 24 June the number of fire and smoke incidents and the proportion that were (a) category A, (b) category B and (c) category C.
London underground fire and smoke incidents between 1 January 1994 and 28 May 1994 Period 11 Period 12 Period 13 Period 1 Period 2 1 January 1994 to 30 January 1994 27 February 1994 1 April 1994 to 1 May 1994 to to to 29 January 1994 26 February 1994 31 March 1994 30 April 1994 28 May 1994 Category |A |B |C |A |B |C |A |B |C |A |B |C |A |B |C --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bakerloo |1 |1 |19 |0 |0 |17 |0 |2 |19 |3 |0 |14 |0 |0 |9 Central |1 |4 |14 |1 |5 |22 |2 |3 |21 |0 |2 |15 |3 |0 |9 Circle/H and C |0 |0 |6 |0 |0 |13 |0 |0 |5 |1 |0 |4 |0 |1 |12 District |1 |2 |8 |0 |1 |6 |0 |4 |12 |1 |1 |15 |1 |4 |8 Jubilee/ELL |0 |1 |2 |1 |2 |2 |1 |0 |6 |1 |0 |2 |2 |4 |6 Metropolitan |0 |1 |8 |0 |2 |15 |2 |2 |14 |0 |0 |14 |1 |3 |7 Northern |0 |0 |17 |3 |1 |18 |3 |4 |22 |2 |1 |21 |1 |2 |19 Piccadilly |0 |0 |27 |0 |1 |23 |0 |0 |16 |0 |1 |17 |0 |0 |16 Victoria |0 |1 |12 |0 |0 |13 |0 |0 |11 |0 |0 |4 |0 |0 |7 Notes: H and C= Hammersmith and City Line; ELL=East London Line.
Column 702between 1 January and 24 June the number of (i) crimes of violence, (ii) robbery and (iii) other offences ; and if he will make a statement.
London underground: crime figures Line |Type of crime |Period 11 |Period 12 |Period 13 |Period 1 |Period 2 |1 January 1994 |30 January 1994 |27 February |1 April 1994 to |1 May 1994 to |to 29 January |to 26 February |1994 to 31 |30 April 1994 |28 May 1994 |1994 |1994 |March 1994 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bakerloo |Crimes of violence|4 |5 |4 |0 |5 |Robbery |6 |3 |4 |5 |4 |Other offences |53 |24 |44 |42 |25 Central |Crimes of violence|9 |5 |12 |10 |8 |Robbery |14 |3 |6 |7 |8 |Other offences |179 |189 |211 |153 |143 Circle/H and C |Crimes of violence|0 |0 |1 |1 |2 |Robbery |1 |1 |3 |0 |0 |Other offences |22 |40 |48 |47 |26 District Line |Crimes of violence|14 |7 |13 |10 |8 |Robbery |5 |4 |6 |5 |3 |Other offences |123 |95 |153 |142 |145 Jubilee/ELL |Crimes of violence|7 |5 |4 |3 |5 |Robbery |2 |3 |5 |2 |3 |Other offences |42 |26 |40 |51 |44 Metropolitan |Crimes of violence|4 |4 |9 |6 |7 |Robbery |5 |8 |8 |4 |5 |Other offences |100 |107 |109 |96 |82 Northern |Crimes of violence|8 |7 |14 |14 |8 |Robbery |5 |11 |6 |9 |10 |Other offences |147 |151 |178 |147 |114 Piccadilly |Crimes of violence|12 |12 |9 |7 |9 |Robbery |11 |5 |9 |9 |6 |Other offences |298 |196 |206 |255 |221 Victoria |Crimes of violence|6 |1 |7 |8 |2 |Robbery |5 |2 |4 |7 |1 |Other offences |88 |74 |119 |94 |70 Notes: 1. H and C=Hammersmith and City Line; ELL=East London Line. 2. Crimes of violence include aggravated assaults on staff, BTP officers and passengers. 3. Robbery offences include assaults with intent to rob. 4. All data supplied to LUL by the BTP.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the actual number of new jobs created by the establishment of the Child Support Agency ; what was the original estimate ; and if he will make a statement.
Letter from Ros Hepplewhite to Mr. Gordon McMaster, dated 30 June 1994 :
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the number of new jobs created by the Child Support Agency.
The original staffing requirement for the Child Support Agency was estimated at 5,000 made up of 3,000 new posts and approximately 2,000 posts previously allocated to the Benefits Agency.
The Agency has now recruited up to its original requirement and is continuing to recruit to meet identified staffing needs. The number of staff currently in post is 5,268.
I hope this reply is helpful.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how often he meets the chief executive of the Child Support Agency to discuss the operation and policy of the agency ; what is his best estimate of how long, on average, he spends at such meetings each month ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Burt : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State does not have a regular schedule of meetings with the chief executive of the Child Support Agency. Although much of the contact between the chief executive and Ministers is in writing, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I do have frequent meetings with the chief executive to discuss items of particular significance. In addition, as Minister responsible for matters relating to child support, I have monthly meetings with the chief executive to discuss the operation and performance of the agency. Those meetings are usually of two hours duration, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, is kept fully appraised of the issues that arise from them.
Mr. Alan Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects the annual reports of the independent living (1993) fund and the independent living (extension) fund to be made available to Parliament.
Mr. John Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what instructions he has given to his officers at Neath and Port Talbot regarding residence qualifications for new entrants to the area from Ireland and their entitlement to social security payments.
Mr. John Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the cost of social security payments made to caravan owners and their families coming to the United Kingdom from Ireland.
Mr. Hague : The ITSA chief executive's entitlement to a performance- related bonus is largely determined by the achievement of key performance targets for the agency. Details of achievement against these targets will be included in the agency's 1993-94 report and accounts, a copy of which will be placed in the Library before the summer recess.
Mrs. Angela Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will review the decision to abolish reduced earnings allowance for people claiming industrial injuries benefit ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : Reduced earnings allowance for new accidents and diseases was abolished in October 1990 as part of a package of measures designed to focus benefit on those with the most severe disabilities. The REA may still be claimed for accidents occurring before October 1990 or prescribed diseases which were listed before then and where the onset of the disease was earlier.
A defect in the legislation also enables claims to be made in respect of diseases added to the prescribed list since October 1990, although only where the onset was before that date. This was never the policy intention. We shall bring forward an amendment with effect from October 1994 so that the REA will not be payable for any further extension of the prescribed list.
In the meantime, the Benefits Agency will carry out a special exercise to identify people who have been awarded an assessment of at least 1 per cent. for diseases added to the list since October 1990 and where the date of onset was earlier. Those people will be invited to make a claim for REA.
Mr. Redwood : The number of employees in employment in manufacturing in Wales in June 1979 was 315,000 and in June 1993 was 210,000. This reflects the remarkable growth in productivity in Wales over the period. Output per employee in the production industries in Wales increased by almost 70 per cent. between 1979 and 1993. There was also, over the same period, an increase in employment in service industries of 100,000.
Mr. Redwood : This scheme was previously organised by the voluntary sector in Wales, but it has not operated on an all-Wales basis since 1991. I understand the voluntary sector considers that other schemes, such as the Prince of Wales awards and the Shell Better Britain campaign are better able to promote environmental improvements in local communities. I believe that this view has not really been contested to date.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will permit the mussel purification centre in Conwy to remain open until alternative arrangements can be made ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he will explain the reasons for the closure of the mussel purification centre at Benarth road, Conwy ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) what financial assistance his Department will give to establish modern mussel purification facilities in Conwy ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : The Conwy mussel purification centre was closed at the end of the 1993-94 season because it does not comply with the minimum European Union standards for construction and hygiene set out in the Food Safety (Live Bivalve Mollusc and Other Shellfish) Regulations 1992. For the same reasons, the facilities cannot be temporarily reopened. The Welsh Office has been in contact with representatives of the local shellfish industry to offer advice on the availability of financial assistance from United Kingdom and EC sources for any private sector project to establish a new purification facility.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what restrictions there will be upon employees of the Welsh Joint Education Committee standing for election to the new Welsh unitary authorities ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : The Welsh Office's view is that employees working for the Welsh Joint Education Committee would be disqualified for standing for election to a unitary authority under section 80 of the Local Government Act 1972.
Mr. Redwood : Compensation paid to farmers in Wales for an animal compulsorily slaughtered as a BSE suspect is an amount equal to 100 per cent. of either the market value of the animal or the monthly indicative market price--IMP--whichever is the lower figure. Where subsequent laboratory examination does not confirm that the animal was affected by BSE, compensation is an amount equal to 100 per cent. of the market value of the animal or 125 per cent. of the monthly IMP, whichever is the lower figure. The monthly IMP is a weighted average of prices of Friesian and Holstein cows, heifers in milk and in calf, and barren dairy cattle, taking into account the age distribution of cattle slaughtered as BSE suspects in the month. The IMP for July will be £890.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many individual payments have been made to farmers in Wales as compensation for the slaughter of cows infected with BSE ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : It is not possible without disproportionate costs to separate the total amount paid out in BSE compensation into individual payments made to farmers. However, the total number of cattle compulsorily slaughtered as BSE suspects since August 1988 and up to 28 June 1994 on which compensation would have automatically been paid in Wales is 13,603. There are also occasions where because compulsory slaughter has not taken place compensation is not automatically paid. In those circumstances, each individual case is assessed on its merits and ex-gratia payments may be awarded.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what provisions have been made to advertise for competitive tender the proposed privatisation of the supplies division of the Welsh Health Common Services Authority in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action has been taken to fulfil his departmental commitment to discuss with Church authorities in Wales the need for repair grants arising from damage caused by atmospheric polluters.
Sir Wyn Roberts [pursuant to his reply, 21 June, c. 156] : A printing error was made in the final sentence. The figure for repairs to historic religious buildings should have read £577,331 in 1993-94.
Mr. Harvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the practical viability of completing the full advanced flying training requirement at RAF Chivenor ; (2) how much would be saved annually by closing RAF Valley.
Mr. Hanley : My Department's study of the RAF's flying training organisation which I announced on 7 December 1993, Official Report, column 177, considered options for providing RAF flying training in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. The scope for carrying out flying training at RAF Chivenor was considered as part of this study. Chivenor does not, however, have the capacity to undertake all the future advanced flying training--AFT--task and, because it only has a single runway--compared to Valley's three--it would not be suitable for a high volume of concentrated AFT operations.
The study also concluded that, for operational reasons, RAF Valley should not be closed, and figures relating to savings which might result from its closure are not therefore available.
Mr. Hanley : There is at present and for the foreseeable future a sufficient number of pilots coming out of training to meet the needs of the Royal Air Force. Since the mid-1980s, the number of pilots entering productive service has progressively reduced because of reductions in the front line caused by "Options for Change" and other adjustments.
(2) if he will estimate the costs involved in increasing the licensed weapons loading platforms and otherwise preparing the base at RAF St. Athan for the task of supporting weapons range training sorties.
Mr. Hanley : As set out in the consultation document issued on 7 December 1993, the cost of preparing RAF St. Athan for use as a weapons detachment facility is estimated to be around £3,500,000. In addition, the associated annual operating costs are estimated to be £470,000. The savings from closing RAF Chivenor are assessed to be approximately £127 million, at net present values, over 10 years.
Mr. Hanley : Figures for the whole of Kuwait are not available. However, I understand that Royal Ordnance plc discovered 146 self-destruct mines in its clearance area, all of which, for safety reasons, it destroyed in situ, without attempting to establish their condition. There are no policy consequences from this.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy on the manufacture or export by British firms of anti-personnel landmines that are not of a self-destructive or self-neutralising kind.
Mr. Hanley : My Department liaises closely with the training and enterprise councils in areas where significant reductions in either service or civilian staff are planned. For civilian staff, all major decisions likely to affect employment are notified separately to the appropriate TECs at the time that they are announced, and the commercial companies providing my Department's outplacement service work with the local TEC to ensure the best direction of effort to help those staff made redundant. Service leavers are more dispersed geographically and obtain TEC services through measures such as the tri-service resettlement organisation's regional resettlement centres.
Mr. Raynsford : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to his answer of 12 May, Official Report, column 203, what further consideration has been given to the costs of maintaining the premises currently occupied by the Royal Naval College at Greenwich, if they were no longer used as a staff college, and if no other appropriate use could be found for them ;
(2) what consideration he has given to the feasibility of locating all three service staff colleges at Greenwich, if buildings adjacent to the Royal Naval College which are currently vacant, such as the former Dreadnought seaman's hospital, were to be brought into use for this purpose ;
(3) further to his answer of 12 May, Official Report, column 203, whether he has yet received recommendations concerning the future location of the three service staff colleges and the future of the Royal Naval College premises at Greenwich ;
Column 710(4) what consideration has been given by his Department to the use of the premises formerly occupied by the Dreadnought seaman's hospital at Greenwich to enhance the staff college facilities at Greenwich.