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Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list his Department's advisory non-departmental public bodies which are required to produce annual reports.

Mr. Redwood : The following advisory NDPBs sponsored by the Welsh Office are required to produce annual reports :

Ancient Monuments Board for Wales

Historic Buildings Council for Wales

Library and Information Services Council (Wales)

Welsh Committee for Postgraduate Pharmaceutical Education Welsh Committee for Postgraduate Medical and Dental

Education

Welsh Medical Committee

Welsh Dental Committee

Welsh Nursing and Midwifery Committee

Welsh Optical Committee

Welsh Pharmaceutical Committee

Welsh Scientific Advisory Committee

In addition, the National Rivers Authority Advisory Committee for Wales, although not required to do so by statute, does publish an annual report.

Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department have a statutory basis ; and if he will list them.

Mr. Redwood : The following advisory NDPBs sponsored by the Welsh Office have a statutory basis, as indicated :

National Rivers Authority Advisory Committee for Wales (Section 6 of the Water Resources Act 1991.)

Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committees

(Of which there are 6 in Wales, established under the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976.)

Ancient Monuments Board for Wales

(First constituted under the Ancient Monuments Consolidation and Amendment Act 1913, now constituted under Section 22 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.)

Hill Farming Advisory Sub-Committee for Wales

(Section 32 of the Hill Farming Act 1946.)

Historic Buildings Council for Wales

(Section 3 of Part 1 of the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953.)

Library and Information Services Council (Wales)

(Section 2 of the Public Libraries and Museum Act 1964) ; Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales (Section 53) of the Local Government Act 1972.)

Welsh Committee for Postgraduate Pharmaceutical Education and Welsh Committee for Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education (Recognised under Section 2(b) of the National Health Service Act 1977.)

Welsh Medical Committee

Welsh Dental Committee

Welsh Nursing and Midwifery Committee


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Welsh Optical Committee

Welsh Pharmaceutical Committee and Welsh Scientific Advisory Committee

(All recognised under the NHS Reorganisation Act 1973, Sections 5 and 6 Appropriation Act.)

In addition, the Mental Handicap Advisory Panel has no statutory basis, however I have powers under section 2 of the National Health Services Act 1977 to provide such services as are appropriate to assist me in discharging my duties.

Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list those of his Department's advisory non-departmental public bodies which the Government are required to consult before legislation proposals ; and in respect of which bodies the Government must publish their response to advice supplied to them.

Mr. Redwood : There is no statutory requirement to consult any of the advisory NDPBs prior to legislation proposals, however I may choose to do so.

Unemployment, Alyn and Deeside

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many long-term unemployed people there are in the constituency of Alyn and Deeside ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : In April 1994, the number of claimants who had been unemployed for more than 52 weeks in the Alyn and Deeside constituency was 920. This is less than half the number in April 1986.

Staff Surveys

Mr. Radice : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what surveys of the views, opinions and attitudes of the staff of his Department have been carried out in the last two years ; and if he will place in the Library copies of the findings.

Mr. Redwood : None.

Training

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the percentage in each county of people who find work after "training for work" ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The information is in relation to the seven training and enterprise council areas in Wales which do not coincide with the eight counties. The information is provided in the following table on those who have found work and remain in employment six months after completing training for work.


Training for work job outcomes          

                  |Percentage           

                  |in a job             

----------------------------------------

Gwent             |43                   

Mid Glamorgan     |44                   

North East Wales  |29                   

North West Wales  |32                   

Powys             |43                   

South Glamorgan   |38                   

West Wales        |44                   

Wales Total       |42                   

England and Wales |36                   

Source: TFW Follow-up September 1992 to 

August 1993.                            

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many young people in each of the constituencies in Wales have taken up training credits ; and what plans he has to extend the scheme.

Sir Wyn Roberts : Figures on the take-up of training credits are not collected on a constituency basis. The table shows the numbers who have taken up the offer of a credit, by training and enterprise council area, for the period since the scheme was launched until 27 March 1994 :


                     |Scheme started  |Number of starts                 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

North East Wales TEC |1 April 1991    |3,972                            

Mid Glamorgan TEC    |29 March 1993   |2,445                            

Two further training and enterprise councils, South Glamorgan and West Wales, will start offering credits in 1994-95, with North West Wales coming into operation in 1995-96 and Gwent and Powys in 1996-97.

Land and Property

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his policy on the acquisition of land and property for road construction.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The general policy is that all land that is needed for trunk road construction is acquired under compulsory purchase. When a scheme is at the public consultation stage or a preferred route is protected for planning purposes landowners can ask that the Department acquire their property under statutory or discretionary powers. They would need to demonstrate that they were unable to sell their property at normal market value because of the impending road scheme. Each case is considered on its merits and decisions are taken on the basis of the level of impact that the road proposals will have.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the management of land and property acquired as a consequence of road construction plans.

Sir Wyn Roberts : Land and property which is acquired in advance of trunk road schemes is managed until it is needed for the works. It is maintained and let where appropriate. Residential property capable of being used for social purposes is offered for short tenancies of a fixed-term nature to housing associations and local housing authorities. Any land or property which is eventually surplus is sold on the open market.

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his policy concerning the disposal of surplus land and property.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The Department disposes of surplus land and property on the open market at the best price to the public purse, in line with Treasury guidance. Local housing authorities and housing associations are given the opportunity to bid on residential property.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the estimated value of land and property


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held by his Department as a consequence of actual and proposed road programmes ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The estimated disposable value of land and property acquired in advance of proposed trunk road schemes which is or will eventually be surplus to requirements is £4.5 million. Land and property which is required for operational use is not revalued subsequent to acquisition.

Consultation Documents (Bilingual Form)

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 16 June, Official Report, column 651, what considerations led him to issue "Implications of Local Government Reorganisation in Wales for Health Boundaries and Proposals for Restructuring Health Authorities" in the English language only ; if he will make it his policy to issue all consultation documents in bilingual form ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : Timing constraints made it impractical to issue a Welsh version. Each case is considered on its merits but whenever possible consultation documents will be made available in English and Welsh.

Access to Environmental Information

Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many requests his Department has received for information under the Access to Environmental Information Regulations 1992 ; how many were responded to within two months ; how many were refused ; and on what grounds in each case.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : The Welsh Office does not keep records of the number of requests received under the 1992 environmental information regulations ; only refusals are specifically logged. Internal procedures, however, seek to ensure that all correspondence is responded to reasonably promptly, and normally well within the two months specified in the regulations.

Up to 30 June 1994, the Welsh Office refused one request for information under the regulations, on the ground that it was commercially confidential.

Development Board for Rural Wales

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what guidelines he has given to the members of the board of the Development Board for Rural Wales concerning the chairmanship of its meetings.

Mr. Redwood [holding answer Monday 4 July 1994] : None. The DBRW board decided that its meetings should be chaired by the senior board member present.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the board of the Development Board for Rural Wales with respect to the reporting instructions and the chain of command pending the appointment of a replacement chairman.

Mr. Redwood [holding answer Monday 4 July 1994] : The normal consultative arrangements between the Department and the DBRW continue to operate. As


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regards the conduct of its own business, meetings of the DBRW board are chaired by the senior board member present.

DUCHY OF LANCASTER

Select Committees

Mr. Radice : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects to place in the Library the revised memorandum of guidance for officials appearing before Select Committees.

Mr. Waldegrave : A copy of the revised memorandum of guidance will be placed in the Library shortly at the same time as it is circulated to Government Departments.

Occupational Health Service

Mr. Jacques Arnold : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what key performance targets he has set for the Occupational Health Service executive agency for the current year.

Mr. David Davis : The key performance targets for the Occupational Health Service executive agency for 1994-95 are :

to break even in accrual accounting terms ;

to turn round 15 days, 80 per cent. of case referrals where no additonal information is required and 58 per cent. within 40 days when additional information is required ;

to earn customer post-service satisfaction evaluations of 90 per cent. in the two highest categories ;

to issue at least 90 per cent. of invoices error free.

In addition the Occupational Health Service has cost containment targets the details of which are commercially sensitive.

Contracting Out

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) if he will list those central Government information technology outsourcing contracts that have been awarded to private companies since April 1992 and their value, where that company winning the tender has not undertaken previous work for central Government ; (2) if he will list those central Government information technology contracts that have been awarded to private companies as a result of market testing since April 1992, together with their values, the names of the companies to which they were awarded and the names of the companies or organisations that previously provided these services.

Mr. Waldegrave : In the period from April 1992-December 1993, Departments have reported to the efficiency unit that IT support functions worth £291 million were examined under the competing for quality programme.

From Department's reports to the efficiency unit, and contract awards reported in the market testing bulletin in 1994, work in the following areas has been awarded to external contractors.


Department                                                                                         

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ministry of Defence:             |Operations West IT processing.                                   

                                                                                                   

Department of the Environment:   |Planning Inspectorate IT Project                                 

                                 |  management.                                                    

                                                                                                   

Export Credits Guarantee         |IT operational support.                                          

  Department:                                                                                      

                                                                                                   

Department of Health:            |Operation and redevelopment of                                   

                                 |  the Hospital Episodes                                          

                                 |  Statistics System (HES).                                       

                                                                                                   

Inland Revenue:                  |IT Services.                                                     

                                                                                                   

Department of National Heritage: |IT provision.                                                    

                                                                                                   

Northern Ireland Civil Service:  |Data Preparation.                                                

                                 |Operations of Mainframe                                          

                                 |  computer services.                                             

                                 |Computer network management.                                     

                                                                                                   

Ordnance Survey:                 |Digital Conversion of 1/10,000                                   

                                 |  mapping.                                                       

                                 |Hardware maintenance.                                            

                                 |Mainframe services.                                              

                                                                                                   

Office of Public Service and     |Computer hardware maintenance.                                   

  Science: Recruitment           |Office automation software                                       

  Assessment Services            |   support.                                                      

                                                                                                   

Department of Trade and          |Database Maintenance.                                            

  Industry:                                                                                        

Some information on companies winning tenders is in the market testing bulletin, which is in the Library.

For other details of contract values, the companies winning tenders and the organisations previously carrying out the work, I refer the hon. Member to individual Departments.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Animal Exports

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what consideration has been given to maintaining statistics of the number of live animals exported from the United Kingdom and then returned to Britain for sale ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Soames : The maintenance of a wide range of statistics has been considered, but the data in question are not collected.

Rabbits

Mr. Marlow : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is her estimate of changes in the rabbit population in the last 10 years, both nationally and regionally ; what action she intends to take or has recommended ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Soames : Detailed regional surveys of rabbit populations between 1980 asnd 1986 showed a steady increase in the distribution and abundance of rabbits, particularly in eastern and south-eastern England. Nationally, numbers are now estimated to be about 30 per cent. of pre-myxomatosis levels, that is at about 30 million, and are rising at a rate of 2 per cent. per year. In some areas the populations are back to pre-myxomatosis levels.

Section 1 of the Pests Act 1954 places a continuing obligation on occupiers of land designated as rabbit clearance areas to control rabbits harboured on their land.


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The current Rabbit Clearance Order, issued in 1972, covers the whole of England and Wales excluding the City of London, the Isles of Scilly and Skokholm island.

Where occupiers are failing to meet their obligations under the 1954 Act, Agriculture Ministers have the power, under section 98 of the Agriculture Act 1947, to require action to be taken. These discretionary powers will be invoked where the situation has not been resolved satisfactorily within a reasonable period of time. The Ministry is aware of the damage that rabbits can cause and keeps its policy on rabbit control under continual review. The Ministry is funding R and D to establish improved methods for cost- effective and humane rabbit control.

Comfrey

Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information is held by her Department concerning the findings of recent surveys on the safety of comfrey and comfrey products ; and whether the findings of those surveys support or contradict the retention of a ban on comfrey products.

Mr. Soames : I have received from the Society for the Promotion of Nutritional Therapy a paper entitled "The safety-in-use of comfrey and comfrey products : Research survey". I shall take this opportunity to review the situation. I assure my hon. Friend that whatever further action I take to protect public health will be based on the best scientific advice available.

Access to Environmental Information

Mr. Ainger : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many requests her Department has received for information under the Access to Environmental Information Regulations 1992 ; how many were answered within two months ; how many were refused ; and on what grounds in each case.

Mr. Jack : The Department does not keep records of the number of requests received under the Environmental Information Regulations 1992, nor when they were answered. The Department does, however, keep records of refusals to supply information and the grounds for doing so. In the period up to 30 June 1994, the Department refused one request for information on the ground that it was commercially confidential to the informant.

Spongiform Encephalopathies

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what funding her Department has offered to the Public Health Laboratory Service for research into bovine spongiform encephalopathy and Creutzfeldt Jakob disease ; and which member of the staff is to carry out the research.

Mr. Soames : None.

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the result of the work of the Public Health Laboratory Service about a possible test for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in animals ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Soames : Joint work between this Ministry's central veterinary laboratory and Dr. Narang at the


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Newcastle public health laboratory in which specimens were examined blind by him using an electron microscope technique he had developed, and by the CVL using conventional established techniques, did not indicate that Dr. Narang's technique was any improvement.

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what reports she has received concerning Dr. Harash Narang's work on transmissible spongiform encephalopathies ; and if she will place these reports in the Library.

Mr. Soames : MAFF is co-funding research with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council designed to repeat independently the procedures used by Dr. Narang and to assess his reported observations. These studies are being undertaken with the co-operation and involvement of Dr. Narang.

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made by Government-funded institutions towards a test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy and other transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in animals and humans.

Mr. Soames : Government-funded research aimed at developing a diagnostic test for BSE in live cattle is in progress. The results of this research will be published when the work has been completed.

ENVIRONMENT

Water Quality

Mr. Clifton-Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) which high-profile sites in need of water quality improvements in addition to EU directive requirements will be included in the Director General of Water Services' review of price limits for water companies ;

(2) what provision is being made for protecting river sites of special scientific interest from deterioration due to sewage effluent during the 1995-2000 investment programme for Water Services plc.

Mr. Gummer : We have informed the Director General of Water Services that, in addition to spending required to meet existing obligations including those imposed by European Community directives, we consider that in the period 1995 to 2000 a further £522.3 million of spending specifically to improve the quality of rivers should be enabled to proceed, including in Wales. He has told me that he will take this spending into account in determining the new price limits which he is to announce on 28 July. The distribution of the additional spending between sewerage company areas is as in the table. It represents guidance on the extent to which the National Rivers Authority will, in the period 1995 to 2000, require additional expenditure by water and sewerage plcs by tightening sewage works discharge consents so as to bring about further improvements in river quality, over and above improvements which will result from the existing obligations arising from European Community and domestic legislation. It will be for the NRA in consultation with the companies to determine the most cost-effective use of this expenditure. I expect, however, that it will include, inter alia, priority schemes to continue the improvement of water quality in the Mersey basin, the Aire and Calder


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