Mr. Barnes : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what provision his Department makes for child care facilities for staff ; what is the extent of subsidy to nursery places and holiday play schemes ; if his Department (a) subscribes to "Childcare Solutions" and (b) makes child care vouchers available ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Provision has been made for spending of £75, 000 in the current financial year on subsidised child care for staff at various locations. This will provide 40 nursery day care places for children under five ; and approximately 60 play scheme places for children five to 12 years old which are used during the main school holidays. These arrangements generally involve a subsidy of about 50 per cent. of the running costs involved. Subsidised child care provision is provided only if it can be justified on value for money grounds.
The Department does not subscribe to "Childcare Solutions" nor make child care vouchers available to staff.
Mrs. Anne Campbell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the cost of running immigration appeals in 1991, 1992 and 1993, measured on a common base.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The cost to the Lord Chancellor's Department of running the immigration appellate authorities for the financial years requested, measured on a common base, is as follows :
> |1991-92 |1992-93 |1993-94 -------------------------------------------------------------- Salaries |1,236,645|1,283,528|1,617,629 General accommodation expenditure |920,585 |964,646 |1,307,911 Non-running costs<1> |2,539,677|3,134,360|3,472,296 |------- |------- |------- Total |4,696,907|5,382,534|6,397,836 <1> Non-running costs include the full time and part-time judicial officers.
Mrs. Anne Campbell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the average length of time for an appeal against the granting of a visa to be heard in 1991, 1992 and 1993.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The current average time between the immigration appellate authorities receiving a certificate of readiness from a party to the date of a hearing is as follows : 1991--Not available
Mr. Radice : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department 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 copies of the findings in the Library.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The only survey of staff undertaken in the last two years has been a review of equal opportunity policy. I am not, at present, able to place a copy of the findings in the Library as the material gathered from the review has not yet been made available to the staff.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the charges recently brought against members of the Exodus Collective near Luton, the outcome in each case and the cost to public funds of the prosecutions.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The following list comprises charges against persons believed to be members of the Exodus Collective, who have appeared before the Crown court at Luton either for trial or on appeal from the magistrates court.
Charges Result -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (1) |Violent disorder |Discharged (2) |Violent disorder |Discharged (3) |Possession of controlled drug class A |\ | with intent | | |Possessing a controlled drug class A | | |Discharged | and handling stolen goods X 2 |/ (4) |Using threatening, abusive or insulting |Bound over in £250 for | words likely to cause harassment, |12 months | alarm or distress (5) |Using threatening, abusive or insulting |Bound over in £250 for | words or behaviour with intent to |12 months | provoke use of violence |Appeal allowed. Bound |over and fine removed (6) |Using threatening, abusive or insulting |Bound over in £250 for | words likely to cause harassment |12 months | alarm or distress |Appeal allowed. Bound |over and fine removed
The actual total cost to public funds of the cases listed is not readily available. However, it is estimated to be in the region of £92,000.
In addition, five other persons appeared before Luton magistrates court charged with similar public order offences. The cost of the prosecutions of these further matters is not readily available.
Mr. Bates : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the key targets for 1994-95 that have been set for the Hydrographic Office Defence Agency.
Mr. Hanley : The chief executive of the Hydrographic Office Defence Agency has been set the following key targets for 1994-95 : (
Column 261(a) To continue to ensure that all urgent dangers to navigation are promulgated by radio navigational warnings within 20 hours of receipt of the information.
(b) To improve the state of revision of Admiralty navigational charts and publications in waters of UK national responsibility so that at 1 April 1995 82 per cent. will have been revised or reviewed within the previous 10 years and found to need no revision. (
(c) To achieve the endorsed and funded Defence programme. In pursuing all of his primary objectives, the chief executive will be expected to strive to deliver optimum value for money.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on key targets for 1994-95 which have been set for the Service Children's Schools (North West Europe) Defence Agency.
Mr. Hanley : The chief executive of SCS (NWE) has been set the following key targets for 1994-95, the agency's fourth year of operation :
(1) For the 42 schools in SCS (NWE), to extend the scope of the local management of schools paralleling, as far as possible, the initiative in the United Kingdom, to include staff costs for locally entered civilians, certain staff costs for United Kingdom-based civilians, building maintenance and utilities.
(2) By 31 December 1994 to launch, and complete, an initial programme of training for head teachers, parents and others serving on school advisory committees so as to develop their advisory role in local school management.
(3) To improve efficiency so as to reduce net expenditure for 1994-95 by 2.5 per cent.
(4) To maintain the overall pass rates in GCSE and A-level grades A to E and achieve a 2 per cent. increase in the percentage of pupils gaining grades A to C in five subjects and achieve an 80 per cent. pass rate in BTEC--first diploma--courses.
(5) During the period of the plan to ensure that 95 per cent. of all teachers meet all the qualifications criteria for their post. (
(6) By 31 March 1995, to develop and implement methods for the regular gauging of customer satisfaction with SCS (NWE) schools. (
(7) Complete the planned school closure and reorganisation programme in line with the drawdown of British forces in Germany. (
(8) Continue to implement the Education Reform Act in accordance with the timetable laid down in the Act and subsequent regulations.
Mr. Bates : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what key targets have been set for the chief executives of (a) the Duke of York's Royal Military School and (b) the Queen Victoria School in 1994-95.
Mr. Hanley : The following key targets have been set for the chief executives of the schools in 1994-95 :
Duke of York's Royal Military School : Key Targets Curriculum In August 1994 : To achieve at least 97 per cent. of GCSE passes at grades A to G. To achieve at least five GCSE passes at grades A to C for 80 per cent. of pupils. To achieve 85 per cent. of A-level passes at grades A to E. To achieve three A-level passes at grades A to E for 80 per cent. of pupils. To achieve 30 per cent. of A-level passes at grades A and B. To achieve 100 per cent. award rate for BTEC national diploma courses. To implement new timetable in September 1994.
By September 1994 : To complete detailed pastoral preparations for co- education. To implement school policy on extra-curricular activities. To update policy on assessing, monitoring and reporting in context of Dearing review.
Finance and Administration
To implement financial measures from pay and conditions review by September 1994. To implement efficiency decisions on management of works services in April 1994. To implement new school clothing system by August 1994. To introduce new
Column 262software package for administration and finance in September 1994 and to introduce new school billing system. To reduce pupil per capita costs to £11,246 by April 1995.
To review agency framework document by April 1995. To start RAF section of the combined cadet force in September 1994. To achieve 200 applicants for entry in September 1995 by April 1995.
Queen Victoria School : key targets
To achieve at least three standard grade passes at credit and general levels (1-4) for 90 per cent. of S4 pupils. To achieve at least 5 standard grade passes (1-3) for 60 per cent. of S4 pupils. To achieve three higher passes at A-C grades or Scottish Vocational Education Council (SCOTVEC) equivalents for 60 per cent. of S5/S6 pupils. To complete the phased implementation of the national five to 14 programme in line with Scottish Office Education Department (SOED) recommendations. To complete the audit of the school's academic programme in line with the SOED guidelines for school development plans : Scotland : 19 January 1994. To review and where appropriate update curricular guidance (S2/S3) as detailed by the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum : January 1990.
To continue to monitor the effectiveness of the school pastoral policy and organisation document, and specifically to report on parental response on its quality, with reference to "Ethos Indicators in Secondary Schools Scotland : May 1992".
To maintain and enrich at least 50 extra-curricular activities, both physical and cultural, involving pupils aged 10-15 in at least three per week and those aged 16-18 in at least two.
Management and development
To complete the audit of all staff functions to maximise educational, administrative and financial efficiency. To commence teacher appraisal and development. To implement the marketing policy so as to reach all eligible families. To implement an effective marketing policy to generate non-public income to the school. To complete planning and begin works services appropriate to the admission of girls for 1996-97 at the latest. To review the school management and committee structure to ensure all major policy decisions are co-ordinated at board level. To complete the implementation of all financial control systems. To identify and implement efficiency measures equal to 2.5 per cent. of the school's budget.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what decisions have been reached on the Gibraltar garrison ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley : As a consequence of the political and strategic changes that have taken place in Europe the size and functions of the garrison in Gibraltar have been under review. That review has now been completed.
The conclusion of the review is that the work of the garrison should concentrate on five core areas which are central to our defence responsibilities in Gibraltar. These are the nuclear warship berthing facilities, access to the airfield, the Windmill Hill signal station and the maritime data centre, the Gibraltar Regiment in its present form, and the maintenance of a headquarters with supporting infrastructure for both NATO and national roles. It will in addition be necessary to maintain ammunition and fuel storage facilities, and the Gibraltar Squadron will remain in being.
All these functions will be supported by a single logistic unit. The Gibraltar Regiment, together with elements of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, will assume the responsibility for the day-to-day administration of all service men.
Under a rationalisation scheme already in progress service and civilian manpower levels in Gibraltar were due to reduce to 700 and 950 respectively by 1997. The effect of the review will be to bring these figures to some 500
Column 263service men and between 350 and 700 civilians. Precise civilian numbers will depend on how many supporting functions are put out to contract, increasing local employment opportunities. Any reductions in civilian manpower will be phased to avoid putting undue pressure on the job market. Where employees have to be made redundant every effort will be made to retrain and re-settle them.
The Government of Gibraltar have been fully informed of the outcome of the review, which will now be the subject of a process of consultation with the trade unions. The British Government are conscious of the economic implications and are examining wider initiatives to support the Gibraltar economy through the recently formed Joint Economic Forum.
A copy of the consultation document is being placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Rowe : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to seek further improvements in the provision of training for the regular Army.
Mr. Hanley : Significant improvements have already been made to the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the Army's training organisation. The structure and content of Army training are constantly re-evaluated to ensure that they meet the present and future operational requirements of the Army. As part of this process, as foreshadowed in my answer to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Mr. Llwyd) on 21 June 1994, Official Report, column 108, my Department will now be undertaking a wide review of how and where Army-sponsored training is conducted. This review, which is separate from but consistent with the defence costs study, will be looking at the nature and content of training courses generally as well as at individual areas such as adventurous training, training support, market- testing, catering training, recruit training and training with the adjutant -general's corps.
Individual studies will now be set in hand and the trade unions involved in the normal way. Any proposals for change arising from the studies will be subject to full consultation as appropriate.
Mr. Radice : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what surveys of the views, opinions and attitudes of the civilian staff of his Department have been carried out in the last two years ; and if he will place copies of the findings in the Library.
Mr. Aitken : My Department has not conducted any general surveys of the views, opinions and attitudes of staff during the last two years, although surveys have been carried out within parts of my Department.
Mr. Kynoch : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the cost of upgrading the Meteorological Office weather station at Braemar in Aberdeenshire to enable it to transmit data to the Meteorological Office at Bracknell daily.
Mr. Hanley : This is a matter for the chief executive of the Meteorological Office under the terms of his framework document. I have therefore arranged for him to reply to the hon. Member. Letter from J. C. R. Hunt to Mr. George Kynoch, dated 7 July 1994 :
I am responding to your Parliamentary Question concerning the cost of upgrading the weather station at Braemar.
Braemar is a private observing station which provides data on a voluntary basis to the Meteorological Office at Edinburgh at the end of each month. At present the Meteorological Office has no requirement for the daily receipt of the data. If the need arises the cost of upgrading the station to provide automated transfer of the data to Bracknell will be £2,500 ; additionally there will be other direct running and replacement costs of about £1,000 per annum. These costs do not include the Meteorological Office overheads necessary to process the data or supply services based upon them. Alternatively the observations could be passed by telephone to our Office at Aviemore for the cost of the telephone calls, from where they would be sent to Bracknell through our communication system ; whilst this would avoid upgrade costs, the Office staff time involved in collecting and sending the data to Bracknell would be around £1,500 per annum.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to follow up the recommendation of the Air Accident Investigation Branch in its aircraft accident report 2/94, that his Department should commission an operational analysis of fast jet low flying training in the United Kingdom to determine whether the use of see and avoid as a primary means of collision avoidance is satisfactory from the point of view of flight safety ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley : As a result of this accident, the pipeline inspection notification system was introduced in October 1993. Further safety measures already in hand include the following :
(i) Hawk training aircraft are being painted black to improve conspicuity. Similar paint schemes are also being considered for other aircraft types.
(ii) Action is in hand to fit all RAF aircraft, not already so equipped, with high intensity stroboscopic lights.
(iii) The feasibility of installing forward facing headlights in tactical aircraft is being examined.
(iv) A technology demonstrator for a collision warning system is currently undergoing trials.
My Department is considering how best to take forward the particular recommendation of the air accident investigation branch in the light of results of the safety measures already implemented.
Mr. Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision his Department makes for child care facilities for staff ; what is the extent of subsidy to nursery places and holiday playschemes ; if his Department (a) subscribes to "Childcare Solutions" and (b) makes child care vouchers available ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Aitken : At present, my Department has seven workplace nurseries and seven holiday play schemes, although a further three nurseries are planned.
Responsibility for the provision of child care facilities is delegated to individual budget holders and subsidy arrangements may vary. In some cases this is restricted to a contribution to capital and indirect running costs such as maintenance, heating and lighting, while in others a
Column 265contribution is also made to the direct running costs--mainly staff and consumables. The contribution to direct costs varies according to local market rates for nursery places and those using the facility. My Department does not subscribe to "Childcare Solutions", or make child care vouchers available.
It is our policy to increase the provision of child care facilities wherever possible. Budget holders are encouraged to set up new child care facilities for staff where there is sufficient demand and where they can be justified on value for money grounds.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the order for the new RAF search and rescue Sea Kings was placed ; and when he expects them to be delivered.
Mr. Aitken : The contract for the six RAF Sea King HAR Mk3A search and rescue helicopters was placed in October 1992. They will be delivered between July 1995 and February 1996.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what compensation has been paid to residents living in the vicinity of the proof and experimental establishment at Shoeburyness for reasons connected with noise pollution.
Mr. Aitken : Between 1 January 1992 and 5 July 1994, a total of £13,393.94 has been paid in compensation as a result of damage caused by noise pollution.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what work has been transferred from the proof and experimental establishment at Shoeburyness to the proof and experimental establishment at Pendine for reasons connected with noise pollution.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the trade associations and individual customers with whom his Department has had discussions on the implications at the current review of proof and experimental establishments in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Aitken : The review covers all test and evaluation establishments, not just the proof and experimental establishments. Discussions were held with the following organisations :
Society of British Aerospace Companies
Royal Ordnance plc
Discussions were also held with a large number of internal customers such as MOD project managers and the Defence Research Agency.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints about noise pollution have been received over the last three years from residents in the vicinity of (a) the proof and experimental establishment at Shoeburyness and (b) the proof and experimental establishment at Pendine.
Mr. Aitken : The figures are as follows :
|1991 |1992 |1993 |1994 ----------------------------------------------------- Shoeburyness |47 |218 |420 |533 Pendine 4 6 5 Shoeburyness's figures are for the calendar year, Pendine's for the period 1 July to 30 June.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what responses he has received from trade associations and individual customers following consultation on the Director General Test and Evaluation review at test and evaluation facilities.
Mr. Aitken : This consultation took the form of discussions. Written responses were neither received nor appropriate.