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Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when guidelines for demolitions and explosions in the course of demolition were last revised; and what further revisions are under consideration.
Mr. Oppenheim: The Health and Safety Executive published its guidance on demolition and on the use of explosives in demolition in 1984 85. An information sheet is being prepared to clarify factors to be taken into consideration when determining exclusion zones during demolition by explosives. HSE is also involved with the development of two British standard codes of practice, BS 6187 and BS 5607, which give guidance on best practice.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what has been the change in the real average earnings of journalists working on newspapers in the Greater London area, together with the median, quartile and decile since 1979; (2) what has been the change in the real average earnings since 1979 of journalists working on broadcasting; and what were the median, quartile and decile.
The new earnings survey shows that average gross weekly earnings of "authors, writers and journalists" as a group increased by 60.6 per cent. between April 1979 and April 1994 when adjusted for the increase in the retail prices index at April.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the costs of investigations carried out by the Health and Safety Executive at the site of the Anglo-Great Lakes Corporation in Newcastle.
At present, HSE records the time spent at individual sites only in a format needed to produce aggregated totals of different activities. The total time spent, and hence the costs, at any particular site over a period of time could be extracted only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total expenditure on (a) employment training and (b) youth training in 1993 94 by districts within the Yorkshire and Humberside region; and how many (i) males and (ii) females were on such schemes.
Employment training, which was one of the Government's measures for helping the long-term unemployed, was incorporated into training for work from April 1993. Figures are only available by the areas covered by the training and enterprise councils in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Column 1096The table shows provisional expenditure, by TEC, for 1993 94 for youth training, including youth credits and training for work.
[TIRE] ----------------------------------------------- Barnsley/Doncaster |11.911 |8.506 Bradford |10.548 |3.904 Calderdale/Kirklees |10.149 |5.601 Humberside |15.871 |8.529 Leeds |6.856 |5.452 North Yorkshire |7.081 |2.921 Rotherham |5.236 |2.923 Sheffield |8.332 |6.393 Wakefield |4.126 |3.247 |--------|-------- Total |80.111 |47.476
The training for work figures do not include allowance payments paid to unemployed participants by the Employment Service at a rate equivalent to the participants former benefit entitlement plus £10 per week.
During 1993 94 the number of males who entered training on these programmes was 18,216--YT and YC--and 30,583--TfW--and the number of females who entered training was 13,440--YT and YC--and 11,695--TfW.
Mr. Ron Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the programmes for which his Department is responsible for directly or via agents for training employed people or provide on the job training; and what funding is available for each scheme.
Mr. Paice [holding answer 19 December 1994]: The primary responsibility for training employed people rests with their employers. However, the Government are encouraging them to invest in the training and development of their work forces through: Employer investment in people provision--in 1994 95 up to £63 million is available through training and enterprise councils; Small firms training loans--in 1994 95 up to £2.03 million is expected to be made available through the participating banks; Career development loans--in 1994 95 up to £61 million is expected to be made available through the participating banks.
In addition, from 1 April 1995 the Government will be making available some £63 million over three years for skills for small businesses.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress has been made on the appointment of independent inspectors for NVQ and other qualifications obtained in the course of youth training scheme and training for work funded training programmes.
Mr. Paice [holding answer 19 December 1994]: The plans of the National Council for Vocational Qualifications are well advanced. We look to recruitment of field staff to be under way by April 1995. Inspectors will monitor the performance of national vocational qualification centres only, across all centres including those active in youth training and training for work.
Column 1097average cost of other training and enterprise councils for 1993 94.
Mr. Paice: Information on the amount of money the Department paid to training and enterprise councils in 1993 94 is still provisional. The total payment to the 75 English training and enterprise councils to cover programmes and running cost was £1,451 million; the average cost was £19.3 million. Barnsley and Doncaster training and enterprise council was paid £26.4 million.
Mr. Paice: The training and enterprise council covering Berkshire, south Buckinghamshire and the Oxfordshire travel-to-work areas of Henley and Aylesbury is Thames Valley Enterprise Ltd. The budget made available by the Employment Department, Department for the Environment and the Department of Trade and Industry to Thames Valley Enterprise Ltd. during 1994 95 is £36,466,659. The budget includes funding, via the training and enterprise councils, for business links. Budget information below training and enterprise councils level is not available.
Mr. Paice: I am pleased to announce that Calderdale and Kirklees training and enterprise council has now completed the process of meeting the rigorous standard we set for the award of the new three year licences. Its licence will be effective from April 1995.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the funding of the salary and office expenses and overheads of the office of the national training and enterprise council director.
Mr. Paice [holding answer 19 December 1994]: We understand that the Training and Enterprise Council National Council is funded by contributions from individual TECs. The TEC national council is responsible for decisions about salaries of its staff and office costs.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will place in the Library a list of construction companies that have been successfully prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive in the last five years together with the judgments obtained.
Mr. Oppenheim: Information is not held centrally in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The numbers of information laid by the Health and Safety Executive and the resulting convictions in the construction sector in each of the last five years for which figures are available are shown in the table:
|Average fine Year of |Information |per conviction hearing<1> |laid |Convictions |(£) --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1989-90 |781 |658 |762 1990-91 |746 |600 |857 1991-92 |746 |604 |1,035 1992-93 |701 |572 |1,279 1993-942 |523 |410 |3,412 <1> Years commencing 1 April <2> Provisional
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many jobs he expects to create with the aid of a subsidy for the employment of those out of work for at least two years; if he expects the level of unemployment to be reduced as a result; and what assessment he has made of the policies of the French Government to reduce the number of long- term unemployed.
Miss Widdecombe: The workstart employer subsidy aims to encourage employers to take on long-term unemployed people. In addition, it may have some beneficial effect on the number of new jobs and the level of unemployment. However, job subsidies are not cost free, and the control of public spending is essential to reduce non-wage labour costs and create more jobs.
France has several measures in common with the United Kingdom, including measures similar to restart and jobclubs. As in the UK, it has also implemented cuts in national insurance contributions for the lower paid. However, France also has other policies--a national minimum wage, high non- wage labour costs and support for the social chapter--which would in our view damage job creation if introduced in the UK. The UK has a lower rate of unemployment than France.
Mr. Paice: The career development loan advertising campaign in 1993 94 comprised loose and classified insertions in the national press running throughout the year, and two short periods of predominantly local radio advertising.
Direct mailing undertaken during the year to university, college and careers office principals was also carried out. In addition, the Department continued to issue its quarterly career development loan newsletter. In 1993 94, more than 65,000 newsletters were distributed to training and education providers, training enterprise councils in England and Wales and local enterprise companies in Scotland, Employment Service offices, careers offices, citizens advice bureaux, libraries and participating banks.
An updated version of the CDL promotional video was distributed to all TECs, LECs and Employment Service offices.
Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received alleging occasions of neglect of duty by the careers service inspectorate; and if he will make a statement on the course of action to be followed when such allegations are received.
Mr. Paice: There has been only one such occurrence. The allegations were pursued extensively and we are satisfied there was no neglect of duty. We have every confidence in the integrity of the chief inspector and his staff.
The Department will investigate swiftly and rigorously any allegations against officials in the careers service inspectorate or elsewhere. Those making the allegations will be informed as quickly as possible of the outcome of these investigations. The precise course of action would vary according to the nature of allegations received.
Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received advocating the regulation of the activities of those charging for private vocational counselling sessions, who are not currently members of any professional association; and if he will make a statement.
ILO unemployment rates: by age and sex Great Britain summer 1994 percentages Age |All persons|Males |Females ------------------------------------------------------------ 50 |6.1 |8.4 |<1>- 51 |6.8 |8.5 |<1>- 52 |8.1 |10.5 |5.2 53 |7.4 |9.3 |5.3 54 |7.7 |9.7 |5.3 55 |7.7 |9.9 |4.9 56 |10.0 |12.4 |6.7 57 |7.7 |10.6 |<1>- 58 |9.2 |10.7 |7.1 59 |10.7 |14.1 |<1>- 60 |6.9 |9.7 |<1>- <1>Estimates based on figures below 10,000-after grossing up-are not used, as they are subject to unacceptably large sampling errors.
Claimant unemployment rates (UK): by age and sex October 1994 percentage Age |All persons|Male |Female ------------------------------------------------------------ 50-59 |8.4 |11.3 |4.7 Source: Labour force survey.
Mr. Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what assessment he has made of the obstacles which reduce the likelihood of young people aged 16 and 17 years who are currently classified as (a) International Labour Organisation unemployed or (b)
Column 1100economically inactive and not currently in full-time education taking up one of the opportunities available to them under Government programmes (i) in general and (ii) in respect of each category of opportunity and each category for young people in the United Kingdom and in each part of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Paice: The Government guarantee that all 16 and 17-year-olds not in education, training or employment and who are seeking training are offered suitable training places. It is necessary for young people to register with the careers service and I am not aware of any obstacles which prevent them from doing so. Furthermore, the Government have committed additional resources in 1995 96 to strengthen careers guidance from age 13. We are also looking on a cross-Governmental basis at the position of 16 and 17-year-olds who are not in education, training or employment.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement about the Government's policy on the employment rights of part-time workers and indicate his response to the House of Lords judgment in the judicial review case R v. Secretary of State for Employment ex parte Equal Opportunities Commission and another.
Mr. Portillo: The Government welcome the growth of part-time work, which is one of the range of flexible working practices which can be of benefit both to employers and to employees in reconciling work and other commitments.
A comprehensive framework of employment protection rights exists to safeguard employees against unreasonable treatment by their employers, and many of those rights--including those relating to sex and race discrimination, to unlawful deductions from wages and to time off for antenatal care--have long applied to part-timers on exactly the same basis as full-timers. The statutory entitlement of part-timer and full-timers alike were further extended and enhanced by the Government in the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Acts 1993.
The Government are, however, committed to the principle that the legislation should strike an appropriate balance between the rights of employees and the burdens on business. They have sought to achieve that through the deregulation of the labour market, where appropriate, and believe that this has helped to stimulate the growth for new job opportunities. They therefore oppose the imposition of new restrictions which would inhibit employers and employees from exercising the freedom to reach agreements on the basis of their own priorities, needs and circumstances. The Government rejected on 6 December 1994 the draft EC directive on part-time work as this would have imposed unacceptable constraints on Government action to promote part-time work, and would in any case have extended EC regulation into an area in which the principle of subsidiarity should apply. Such matters are best determined by individual member states, according to their own law and practice.
In the judicial review case R v. Secretary of State for Employment ex parte Equal Opportunities Commission and another, the Equal Opportunities Commission alleged that the application of different qualifying conditions for part-timers compared with full-timers in the unfair dismissal and redundancy payments legislation
Column 1101discriminated against women contrary to European equal pay and equal treatment law. The Government conceded that, because there are more women than men working part time, the hours threshold had a disproportionate adverse impact on women, but argued that the thresholds were justified on objective grounds, to reduce burdens on business and promote part-time work opportunities. The High Court and the Court of Appeal rejected the EOC's case, but the House of Lords found in its favour.
The Government have studied the House of Lord's judgment and given very careful consideration to all the legal implications and policy options arising from it. It clearly gives the relevant European legislation a much wider interpretation than was envisaged when it was originally adopted, and reinforces the Government's view that the priority for Europe should not be tackling unemployment rather than adopting further costly social legislation which increases burdens on business and destroy jobs.
The Government always honour their legal obligations, however, and accept that the judgment must be acted upon. The House of Lords is the supreme court of the United Kingdom and there is no possibility of further appeal or of reopening the case. Only the courts themselves can refer questions to be determined by the European Court of Justice, and the House of Lords considered it unnecessary to do so in this case.
Having taken very careful account of the policy options and their legal implications, the Government have been advised that the judgment requires the removal from employment protection legislation of all existing distinctions based on the number of hours worked per week. We will shortly be laying before the House appropriate regulations under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972. Although the Government were unable to satisfy the House of Lords that the hours thresholds were objectively justified, they continue to believe that their removal will make employers more reluctant to create new part-time jobs, and may indeed threaten some existing jobs. The effects of the change will therefore be carefully monitored, to assess their impact on business and on employment opportunities. The Government will reconsider the position in due course if objective evidence of adverse effects emerges.
Ms Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment pursuant to his answer of 6 December, Official Report , column 134 , if he will publish the results of the monitoring of particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and oxygen, and of the samples and analysis of heavy metals and dioxins, being produced in the trials of substitute fuels at Redland Aggregates plant at Thrislington, County Durham.
Mr. Atkins: The results of the monitoring of particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, oxygen and dioxins produced in the trials up to 9 November 1994, with substitute fuels at the Redland Aggregates plant at Thrislington, County Durham, are already available on the public registers held by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution at Leeds, and at the
Column 1102offices of Sedgefield district council in Spennymoor and the National Rivers Authority in Gosforth.
Samples for heavy metal analysis have been taken, and when the results are available, they will also be placed on the public registers.
Carbon monoxide monitors are already installed on the plant as part of the standard operational control. Results obtained prior to IPC authorisation from these monitors can be made available to the public under the Environmental Information Regulations, SI 1992 No. 3240.
Mr. Bryan Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the effect on the work of the learned societies of requiring a charge equivalent to a full commercial rental value to be paid on their tenancy of Burlington house.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of the meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by (a) the Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment, (b) the Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council, (c) the Property Advisory Group, (d) the Assessment Panel for Construction Research and (e) the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment; and if he will list the functions and objectives of each body.
Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment
The Committee was established to provide a forum for strategic level dialogue between Government and business on environmental issues; to mobilise the business community in demonstrating good environmental practice; and to provide a link with, and focus attention on, international business initiatives on the environment. The committee was reconstituted in November 1993 and five new working groups established. Since then the main committee has met five times and 26 working group meetings have taken place. The secretarial work of the main committee is shared between the DOE and DTI while the DOE provides secretarial support for four working groups and the DTI the other.
The DOE's expenditure on secretarial support, reports and publicity in 1993 94 was approximately £150,000. There was no separately allocated budget for this work. DTI related costs are not available.
Reports published include:
ACBE's Fourth Progress Report (Oct 94)
Financial Section Working Group Report (Nov 93)
A Guide to Environmental Best practice for Company Transport (Nov 93)
The Environment--a business guide (1993)
Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council
The council's function is to provide longer-term strategic advice to British Waterways and the Minister on amenity and recreational aspects.
Column 1103The council meets about six times each year.
The secretarial services are provided by British Waterways and costs are shown in British Waterways annual report and accounts. The Department's expenditure in 1993 94 for the chairman's remuneration was £13,900 against a budget of £18,500.
No reports were issued in 1993 94.
Property Advisory Group
The group's function is to keep under review changes in the land and property market, advise on matters concerning the development process, and advise the Department gene
rally on property issues.
The group held 10 main meetings and six sub-group meetings during 1993 94.
The secretariat is provided by the DOE. The Department's expenditure
in 1993 94 was approximately £23,000. There was no separately allocated budget.
No reports or submissions were published during 1993 94. Assessment Panel for Construction Research
The panel provides independent expert advice on the evaluation of the Department's construction research programme and on development of its future strategy.
The panel, in its present form came into being in May 1994 and has met three times.
Secretarial services are provided by the Department at an estimated cost for 1994 95 of £8,700.
No reports have been issued yet.
Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment
The committee provides advice to Ministers and others on the exercise of specified powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990; on releases to the environment of animals, plants and genetically modified organisms; on human health aspects of releases to the environment; and on research needs.
The committee met six times in 1993 94.
The secretarial services are provided by the Department. The budgeted expenditure for 1993 94 was £21,700 and actual expenditure £15,600.
Reports are published jointly by the Department and the committee and include:
Note 1--The Regulation and control of the Deliberate Release of Genetically Modified Organisms.
Note 2--Fast Track Procedures for Certain GMO Releases
Note 3--Reduced information Requirements for releases of Plants under the GMO Regulations
Note 4--Guidance for experimental releases of genetically modified plants
Note 5--Guidance for experimental releases of genetically modified micro- organisms (excluding viruses and similar agents) ACRE Newsletter No. 1
ACRE Annual Report 1993 94