|Previous Section||Home Page|
Mr. Curry: The draft housing revenue account subsidy determinations for 1995 96 have been issued today and local authorities have been invited to let my Department have their views by 15 December 1994.
The proposed average guideline rent for 1995 96 is £33.82 a week nationally; an average increase of £2.28 a week on this year, 1994 95. Increase range between £1.82
Column 251a week in authorities with relatively low value housing and £2.82 in authorities with high value stock.
The average management and maintenance allowance per dwelling would increase by 3.75 per cent.--an extra £125 million nationally--which would take total M and M provision to £3,445 million. These extra resources would benefit 216 authorities, whose present M and M allowance is below the Government's assessment of their relative need to spend. As a result, each authority's allowance would be a minimum of 97 per cent. of their target.
These proposals strike a reasonable balance between the need to contain public expenditure and the need to ensure council tenants receive decent services at acceptable cost. The percentage increase in guideline rents is lower than in 1994 95, while the extra provision for management and maintenance expenditure means that it should be possible to improve services in many areas. Nearly 80 per cent. of tenants stand to gain from the higher management and maintenance allowances.
Local authorities determine their own expenditure and set their own rents. But I hope that they will follow the Government's lead in adopting a balanced approach, and will respond positively to our proposals.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment during how many of the overseas visits made by Ministers in his Department between 1 January and 30 June 1994 those Ministers participated in fund-raising activities for the Conservative party; and if he will list the Ministers and the countries in which those activities took place.
Mr. Gummer [holding answer 21 November 1994]: Between 1 January and 30 June 1994, Ministers in my Department made 21 overseas visits in their official capacity. Fund-raising activities for the Conservative party are not part of our official duties.
Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what account he is taking of the needs of deaf people for assistance to live in the community in his consideration of legislation to assist people with disabilities.
Mr. Robert B. Jones [holding answer 23 November 1994]: Part M of the building regulations, which contains requirements relating to access facilities for disabled people in non-domestic buildings, was revised in 1992 and extended to cover provisions to assist people with impaired hearing. The regulations at present apply to new buildings and most extensions. The building regulations advisory committee is considering whether these provisions should be extended to include where alteration work is proposed to existing buildings.
Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to relieve owners of unlet shops from non-domestic council tax to bring them in line with owners of warehouses and industrial units.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish details of the annual costs to (a) the Department of Education and (b) education and library boards in Northern Ireland related to the transfer procedure in each of the last three years for which records are available.
|£000 |1991-92|1992-93|1993-94 ------------------------------------------------------------- Department of Education<1> |143 |156 |246 Education and Library Boards |454 |485 |508 <1> Excludes teacher substitution for the completion of Transfer Report forms, which cannot be identified separately but includes the cost of appeals regarding placements in grammar and non-grammar secondary schools.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many students in Northern Ireland were dissatisfied with the advanced level grades allocated to them and asked for their papers to be re-marked in each of the last three years; and in how many cases original marks were (a) upgraded, (b) downgraded and (c) unchanged.
Requests for re-mark of Northern Ireland GCE A Level papers |1992 |1993 |1994 ------------------------------------------ Total Requests |1,401|1,333|1,148 Results Upgraded |122 |98 |82 Results Unchanged |1,279|1,235|1,066 Note: It is not the council's policy to reduce the grade originally awarded to an examination candidate. The information relates to examinations conducted by the Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment ( formerly the Northern Ireland Schools Examinations and Assessment Council.
Mr. Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what were the pupil-teacher ratios for (a) 1992 93 and (b) 1993 94 for public sector (i) nursery schools, (ii) primary schools, (iii) secondary schools, (iv) non-maintained schools, (v) special schools and (vi) all schools; and whether these figures include unqualified teachers.
|1992-93|1993-94 ----------------------------------------------- (i) Nursery |24:4 |24:7 (ii) Primary |22:2 |21:6 (iii) Secondary |15:3 |15:2 (iv) Non-maintained<1> |- |- (v) Special |6:9 |6:8 (vi) All schools |18:2 |17:9 Note: <1> Northern Ireland does not have any schools in this category. The figures do not include unqualified teachers.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many of the personnel licensed to export livestock from Aldergrove have previous convictions for offences relating to the welfare of livestock.
Mr. Ancram: There is no requirement for such personnel to be licensed. I am satisfied that the principals involved in the recent export of animals from Aldergrove have no past convictions for welfare offences.
Before any consignment leaves Northern Ireland the Department carries out checks to determine that the facilities for the export of the livestock are sufficient to ensure that the welfare of the animals can be properly safeguarded throughout the journey.
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the salary and other emoluments of the civil servant who did the work of, or work comparable to that of, the chief executive of each next steps agency established by his Department before the agency was established.
Sir John Wheeler: In some cases, the work currently carried out by the chief executive was not carried out by a single individual before the establishment of the agency and in these cases salaries have been estimated.
Agency |Salary |Emoluments |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------- Training and Employment Agency |43,100 |NIL Rate Collection Agency |28,619 |NIL Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland |46,122 |NIL Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency |22,761 |NIL Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency |34,898 |NIL Child Support Agency |<1>- |- Social Security Agency |45,690 |NIL Valuation and Lands Agency |54,000 |NIL Compensation Agency |42,724 |NIL Note: <1>No comparable post in DHSS (Northern Ireland)
Column 254responsible for setting and inspecting the standards of facilities and services provided in all residential care and nursing homes.
Mr. Ancram: The reinstatement of the cross-border electricity interconnector is a matter for Northern Ireland Electricity and the Electricity Supply Board in the Republic of Ireland. I understand, however, that an announcement on the future of the interconnector is imminent.
Mr. Mallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the average waiting period for patients needing hip replacement treatment, at each hospital where this operation is provided; and what steps are being taken to reduce the waiting period.
Mr. Moss: It is not possible to provide an average waiting period for patients still waiting for treatment. It is usual instead to refer to median waiting times, which indicate the length of time the middle person on the list has been waiting. This information is not available for the specific procedure of hip replacement but it is available for the speciality of trauma and orthopaedics and is as follows:
|Median Waiting Time. Hospital |Months --------------------------------------------------------------- Altnagelvin |3-5 Belfast City |6-8 Musgrave Park |3-5 Ulster |0-2
A total of £10 million was made available last year spread over three years to reduce waiting lists in all specialities. As a result, the number waiting more than 18 months in the trauma and orthopaedics speciality has reduced from 367 in September 1993 to 84 in September 1994, and we expect no patient to have to wait more than 18 months by 1 April 1995.
Sir John Wheeler: While no specific guidelines have been issued, the conditions of service for the staff of the Northern Ireland Office and Northern Ireland Departments incorporate the general principles of conduct that require civil servants not to misuse information which they acquire in the course of their duties; not to make use of their official position to further their private interests or those of others; and not to receive gifts, hospitality or benefits of any kind from a third party, which might be seen to compromise their personal judgment or integrity.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list and date those occasions in the last two years when Ministers or officials in his Department have met lobbying companies, prior to a
Column 255decision being made on the subject of the meeting with the lobbying company.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland during what period Mr. John McGuckian was chairman of the International Fund for Ireland; by whom he was appointed to that position; and what were his given reasons for resigning.
Sir John Wheeler: Mr. McGuckian served as chairman of the International Fund for Ireland from 1 October 1989 to 31 December 1992. The board of the fund, including the chairman, is appointed jointly by the British and Irish Governments and normally serves a three-year term. On this occasion the term of appointment for Mr. McGuckian and the other board members was extended by three months for operational reasons. A new chairman and board were appointed on 1 January 1993.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will list the occasions when grant from the International Fund for Ireland was paid to a business in which (a) one of the fund's board members or (b) the spouse, sibling or son or daughter of one of the fund's board members was a shareholder or director;
(2) if he will list all grants of over £10,000 made by the International Fund for Ireland since it was established; how precisely each grant furthers the aims of promoting reconciliation between Roman Catholics and Protestants; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Wheeler: The International Fund for Ireland is an international organisation established by the British and Irish Governments and administered by an independent board appointed jointly by the two Governments. All decisions on disbursements by the fund are a matter for that board and questions regarding disbursements should be directed to the fund's chairman, Mr. William T. McCarter, PO Box 2000, Belfast, BT4 3SA. I understand, however, that the fund provides full details of all offers of assistance in its annual reports, copies of which are available in the Library.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the purpose of the International Fund for Ireland; how much money it has received from (a) the British Government, (b) the Irish Government and (c) other public sector sources in each year since it was established; and for what those funds were used.
Sir John Wheeler: The International Fund for Ireland was established in 1986 by the British and Irish Governments with the twin objectives of promoting economic and social advance and to encourage contact, dialogue and reconciliation between Nationalists and Unionists throughout Ireland. The fund is resourced by contributions from the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, New Zealand and more recently Australia has also agreed to contribute to the fund. The British and Irish Governments do not contribute to the fund's resources nor is any funded provided from other public sector sources. Under the terms of the agreement establishing the fund, the two Governments provide the accommodation and secretarial services necessary for the proper functioning of the fund, together with its general administrative and organisational expenses.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what sums were paid and when by (a) the Northern Ireland industrial development board, (b) the International Fund for Ireland or (c) other public sector bodies to the DeLorean Motor Car Company.
Mr. Ancram: DeLorean Motor Cars Ltd.--DMCL--received a total of £77.3 million from the industrial development board's predecessors, the Department of Commerce and the Northern Ireland development agency, on various dates between August 1978 and April 1982. Information on training grants paid to DMCL is not readily available but my noble Friend will write to the hon. Gentleman in due course with the details.
The International Fund for Ireland was not in existence during the lifetime of DMCL.
Sir Michael Grylls: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the prior options study of the Northern Ireland forensic science laboratory was completed; and what was the outcome of the study.
Sir Patrick Mayhew: On 18 January 1994, my right hon. Friend the Member for Westminster, North (Sir J. Wheeler) announced that the prior options study of the Northern Ireland forensic service laboratory--NIFSL-- was coming close to completion, and that if agency status were agreed for the service, a further announcement would be made, Official Report, columns 521 22. The prior options study has been completed and I have decided that NIFSL should become an executive agency by 1 September 1995.
I am grateful to Her Majesty's inspector for the report and am pleased to note that overall he regards the force as efficient. I welcome the findings and will be considering the report's recommendations carefully.
HMIC inspections offer the opportunity of professional examination of policing policies and priorities. This inspection form part of an on-going programme intended to examine over succeeding years various aspects of police management. It is the second in the series and has concentrated on a limited number of areas selected because of their contribution to the effectiveness and efficiency of operational policing.
Sir Michael Grylls: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what progress has been made towards implementation of the recommendations contained in the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report of December 1990 on rail services in Northern Ireland provided by Northern Ireland Railways Company Ltd. and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moss: I have today placed in the Library of the House the third and final response to the report which has been prepared by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland in consultation with Northern Ireland Railways and the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company. I am pleased to confirm that good progress has been made on the implementation of the Monopoly and Mergers Commission's recommendations since this matter was last reported to the House in January 1993. The response now indicates that 31 of the 34 recommendations made by the MMC have been fully implemented and that the remaining three recommendations have been accepted and their implementation is ongoing.
The rail passenger's charter, first published in November 1992, reaffirms NIR's commitment to providing a quality rail service which is safe, efficient, and competitive in satisfying the needs of customers. Monitoring of the charter standards has enabled marketing efforts to be focused on those areas which can be improved as well as those which are considered most important by customers such as reliability, punctuality and cleanliness.
Considerable effort has gone into improving communications within the company and new negotiating and consultative procedures are now in operation. I am confident that the company is dedicated to achieving further improvements in standards, better value for money and the provision of a more attractive service to customers.
Mr. Byers: To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners how many clerics have resigned and are claiming severance pay as a consequence of the ordination of women priests; how many resignations there have been in each diocese; and what is the cost in severance pay so far awarded and projected costs in 1995 and 1996.
Mr. Alison: As at 31 October 1994, 215 men eligible for financial provision had resigned; they have so far received a total of £1.9 million from re-settlement grants and continuing periodic payments. The following schedule gives a breakdown of numbers by diocese. On current projections we expect the cost to be £2.3 million in 1994, about £3.5 million in 1995 and about £3.0 million in 1996.
Ordination of Women Measure Resigners at 31 October 1994 ------------------------------------------------ Bath and Wells |8 Birmingham |3 Blackburn |2 Bradford |- Bristol |- Canterbury |3 Carlisle |2 Chelmsford |12 Chester |2 Chichester |9 Coventry |1 Derby |4 Durham |10 Ely |2 Exeter |6 Gloucester |3 Guildford |1 Hereford |1 Leicester |6 Lichfield |13 Lincoln |6 Liverpool |1 London |14 Manchester |10 Newcastle |2 Norwich |4 Oxford |8 Peterborough |7 Portsmouth |1 Ripon |4 Rochester |6 St Albans |2 St Eds & Ips |4 Salisbury |4 Sheffield |8 Sodor & Man |1 Southwark |6 Southwell |4 Truro |13 Wakefield |9 Winchester |3 Worcester |1 York |3 Other |6
Advanced Ground Transport Working Group
Advisory Committee on Motor Cycle Rider Training
Air Travel Reserve Fund Agency
Commissioners of Irish Lights
Disciplinary Inquiry under s471 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894
Freight Integration Council
Honorary Medical Advisory Panel for Driving and Disorders of the Nervous System
Inquiry on Lorries, People and the Environment
Landscape Advisory Committee
London Rail Advisory Committee
Motor Rallies Advisory Committee
National Ports Council
Railways and Coastal Shipping Committee
Red Sea Lights Company Limited
Road Safety Education Development Unit
Standing Advisory Committee on the Carriage of Dangerous Goods in Ships
Transport and Road Research Laboratory Advisory Committee Working Party on Medical Standards for HGV and PSV Drivers
Mr. Norris: (a) Some 15 non-departmental public bodies in 1979, as listed in "Report on Non-Departmental Public Bodies", Cm 7797, January 1980; and (b) eight non-departmental public bodies at 1 April 1993, as shown in "Public Bodies 1993".
Mr. Watts: Environmental assessment is already required by law for all proposals for the construction of motorways and for all other road construction proposals which are likely to have significant effects on the environment.
Dr. Twinn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport to what extent the evaluation and assessment of highway and traffic management schemes need to be changed to meet his objectives of sustainable transport.
Mr. Watts: Existing procedures for the evaluation and assessment of highway and traffic management schemes provide for this evaluation of economic, safety and environmental factors and for an appropriate balance to be struck. These procedures are kept under review and updated as necessary.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to undertake comparative studies of representative towns and villages before and after the completion of bypasses, in order to improve understanding of their environmental and other effects.
Dr. Mawhinney: Funding for the Highways Agency's redundancy and restructuring costs will form part of its running costs and administrative capital expenditure for 1995 96 and subsequent years, subject to 80 per cent. of the cost of redundancies being met from the central civil
Column 260superannuation vote as announced in paragraph 3.36 of "The Civil Service: Continuity and Change" (Cm 2627).