Mr. Malone: Increasingly, services that used to be provided in hospital are being offered in GP surgeries for example physiotherapy, diabetes and asthma clinics and vasectomies. Relieving the burden on secondary care allows treatment of more serious conditions and reduces waiting lists. This represents real improvements for patients. A 1992 study comparing data from 11 industrialised nations including the United Kingdom found that a primary care led health system was associated with lower costs of care, higher satisfaction of the population with its health services, better health levels and lower medication use.
(2) what measures she has taken to protect district nurses from verbal and physical abuse at the hands of patients released under the care in the community scheme.
Mr. Sackville: The Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 provides the legislative framework within which local employers and their staff agree arrangements to ensure the health and safety of all staff.
Mr. Malone: Site visits to all the units have been made and, with the agreement of the relevant directors, copies of the reports together with the conclusions of the site visit teams have been placed in the Library. One report is outstanding and will be placed in the Library shortly. The outcome of all visits is favourable and Department of Health funding will continue. The future of the units will be secured by agreeing a
Column 172long-term programme for each and, at the same time, creating opportunities for all directors to tender competitively for additional research commissions.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to be able to issue a substantive reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Don Valley--reference MR/KV--relating to the Cook report.
We announced on 22 April 1994 a new capital building programme to provide an additional 170 secure places.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the amount paid to general practitioners in the London borough of Newham in respect of the Jarman deprivation index based on the 1981 census returns for the year 1993 94 and the sums that would have been payable using the census returns for 1991; and what basis of payments she expects to be adopted for 1995 96.
The basis of payments for 1995 96 will be decided after the Doctors and Dentists Review Body has made its recommendations for that year.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she has taken to rectify or supplement the census returns of 1991 to account for under-enumerations; and if she will consider further adjustment for areas where studies have suggested that further supplementation is required.
Mr. Sackville: Allowance for under-enumeration in the census has been made in the production of the Registrar Generals' mid-year population estimates. Details of the adjustments were published in Office of Population Censuses and Surveys Monitors PP1 93/1 and PP1 93/2, copies of which are available in the Library.
For other census outputs, the general practice adopted, as with previous censuses and as in other countries, has been to publish guidance on what is known about the level of undercoverage; users can then take this into account as is appropriate for their particular applications. The relevant information was first published more than two years ago; further details have been published since then but have been only marginal revisions of the overall amount. There was nothing exceptional about the overall coverage of the 1991 census--the published tables relate to 98 per cent. of the population, similar to 1981. This is up to the best international standards.
Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the average local authority rent in 1978 79; what it is today; what has been the increase in real terms; and what was the corresponding change in the retail price index.
Mr. Curry: The average weekly local authority rent in England in 1978 279 was £5.90 and in 1994 95 it is provisionally estimated to be £35.68. After adjusting for inflation using the gross domestic product deflator, these figures represent an increase of 107 per cent. in real terms. The GDP deflator shows inflation of 192 per cent. over the period and the retail price index an increase of 183 per cent.
Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to introduce measures to assist local authority leaseholders who are encountering difficulty in selling their homes; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Curry: I hope, in the spring, to introduce a more flexible form of agreement which local authorities can use to assist in the open market sale of flats by indemnifying mortgage lending to new purchasers. We are looking at a scheme to help local authorities take back certain flats, which are affected by mortgageability problems, in exchange for selling leaseholders another home more suitable for their needs.
Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the percentage increase in rents for new housing association assured tenancies between 1989 and 1994; and what was the change in the retail prices index over the same period.
Under-Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones), gave the hon. Member for Lewisham East (Mrs Prentice) on 30 November 1994, Official Report, columns 724-25.
Mr. Curry: As I announced in a parliamentary reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Dicks) on 5 December 1994, Official Report, columns 9-10 , a second bidding round of the single regeneration budget will be launched later this year. Some £240 million will initially be available for round two, with £40 million of this available in 1996 97 for early funding of approved bids. As with round one, we shall expect good quality, deliverable bids which effectively address local needs.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment that major conservation societies were invited to the wildlife and conservation seminar held by the Crown Estates, English Nature and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.
Mr. Atkins: There has been no such seminar. Copies of the notes of informal discussions among these three bodies have been sent to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the British Trust for Ornithology.
Mr. Atkins: None. Notification of such an area as a site of special scientific interest provides a mechanism for consultation with English Nature over shooting. Where the Crown Estate owns tidal land, the commissioners rely on advice from English Nature prior to granting leases, including sporting rights on the foreshore.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if nature conservation societies will be allowed to participate in drawing up draft procedures for considering the grant of shooting leases.
Mr. Atkins: The Crown Estate are about to begin consultations with a wide range of interested bodies over revised draft procedures drawn up with the help of English Nature. Within sites of special scientific interest, owners and occupiers should continue to consult English Nature.
Mr. Atkins: I have today published a consultation paper about the purpose, format, scope, and administration of measures to replace water byelaws. Copies have been placed in the House library. For many years, water companies have made byelaws for the prevention of waste, misuse, undue consumption and contamination of water. Current byelaws expire in 1997, but there is no provision now for the companies to make new ones. I am therefore consulting a wide variety of interest groups and individuals on a range of replacement options.
The paper explores a number of possible options from a non-statutory code of practice to national regulations either as part of the building regulations, as separate water regulations or a combination of these two. It also considers whether water companies should continue to control the replacement provisions or whether the
Column 175responsibility should be transferred to local authorities, an independent agency or placed under joint control.
There are some difficult issues to be addressed, but above all the health and safety of consumers must be protected and water companies must be able to carry out their statutory duty to maintain an adequate supply of water which is fit for human consumption.
Mr. Mans: To ask the Secretary of state for the Environment whether he will consult on amending the building regulations in England and Wales to help disabled people gain access to and within dwellings; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: I am today issuing a consultation paper setting out the Government's proposals for amending the Building Regulations 1991 to make certain requirements in relation to the design and construction of new dwellings which will be of benefit to disabled people. Comments on these proposals are invited by 30 April 1995. It will be important to establish what measures will be of particular benefit to disabled people, and what the implications will be on housebuilding costs. A copy of the consultation paper has been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Burt: The information requested is not recorded. The family credit helpline service has 70 incoming lines, which operate a queuing system. The lines are open from 7.30 am to 6.30 pm, Monday to Friday. During the period in question, from 1 October to 16 December 1994, a total of 880,462 inquiries were received with regard to family credit in general. Helpline operators have direct access to the family credit computer system and answer queries regarding all aspects of the benefit from both current and potential claimants.
Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what is his estimate of the average loss of benefit to those women who will lose some of their entitlement to state pension following the changes announced to the state pension scheme in the Gracious Speech;
(2) if he will give his estimate of the number of women who will lose some state pension entitlement following the changes to the state pension scheme announced in the Gracious Speech.
2,100,000 in 2030
1,600,000 in 2040
1,800,000 in 2050
Column 176Based on current rules of entitlement, it is estimated that, for those women reaching 60 in 2020, the average reduction in expected benefit would be around £50 per week--1994 95 rates--for the five years until they reach the new state pension age. This estimate takes account of reductions of expected state pension entitlement and offsetting increases from dependency increases, widow's benefit, incapacity benefit and income-related benefits.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many social fund applications for (a) grants and (b) loans have been turned down in each local office in the Benefits Agency southern territory in each year since 1990 91;
(2) how many social fund applications for (a) grants and (b) loans were turned down even though the applicant fulfilled qualifying criteria due to local budgeting restriction in each local office in the Benefits Agency southern territory in each year since 1990 91.
Mr. Roger Evans [pursuant to his reply, 13 December 1994 column 675- 76]: I am advised that Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency, is writing again to clarify his reply of 13 December 1994. I am arranging for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library with the additional information.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. John Denham dated 11 January 1995 :
I am writing to clarify the information provided to you in my letter of 13 December 1994 in response to your Parliamentary Question. You asked how many Social Fund grant and loan applications were refused, despite the applicant fulfilling qualifying criteria, due to local budgeting restrictions for each local office in the Benefits Agency Southern Territory in each year since 1990 91. As previously explained, the new Social Fund Computer System records reasons for refusal for every item refused in an application, unlike its predecessor. The reason for changing the way in which refusals were recorded was to enable customers to receive a more detailed decision which gave reasons for refusal of individual items requested.
As a consequence, the figures for 1993 94 in Annex B (which show the number of refusals for individual items on the grounds of insufficient priority) are greater in some cases than those in Annex A (which show the number of applications refused in their entirety). This means that the figures for 1993 94 contained in the two Annexes are not directly comparable.
Finally, I apologise for the erroneous inclusion of South Cheshire In Annex B.
I hope this explains the position and I apologise for any confusion.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate (a) the savings from abolishing the national insurance ceiling and (b) the cost of abolishing the national insurance threshold in 1994 95 and 1995 96.
Change in yield (£ Billion) |(a) |(b) -------------------------- 1994-95 | +2.7|+3.2 1995-96 | -1.0|-1.1 Notes: 1. the reply at (a) assumes that the upper earnings limit would remain in place at current levels for the purpose of calculating contracted-out rebates. 2. the reply at (b) assumes that non contributions are paid by employed earners on the portion of earnings below the lower earnings limit.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the extend of loss of computer software expertise to the United States of America; what action he plans to minimise it; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ian Taylor: There is no substantial evidence of overall net loss of software expertise from the United Kingdom to the United States of America. Of the 4,700 computing students graduating in the United Kingdom in 1992 93 only 80 entered employment overseas as a first destination. The Government's policy is to encourage improved international competitiveness so that United Kingdom companies can continue to attract the best software expertise available in the world.
Source of graduate information: Department of Employment "First Destination Survey"--Figures do not include the Welsh and Scottish polytechnic.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what complaints have been made to the Office of Fair Trading as a result of operations by the Stagecoach bus company or any of its subsidiaries; what action has been taken in each case; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Jonathan Evans: The Director General of Fair Trading has received a number of complaints about the activities of the Stagecoach bus company. As with all such complaints he receives, these have been carefully considered, and further inquiries made and action taken where appropriate.
Complaints against Stagecoach or its subsidiaries have led to further action in the cases listed:
Competition Act 1980
Southdown Motor Services Ltd: referred to Monopolies and Mergers Commission, behavioural undertakings given after MMC adverse finding, May 1994.
Fife Scottish Omnibuses Ltd: behavioural undertakings given May 1994.
Fair Trading Act 1973--monopoly provisions
Bus services in the north-east of England: referred to MMC November 1994. It will be for the MMC to determine whether a monopoly situation exists in favour of Stagecoach or other operators, and, if so, whether this has operated against the public interest. The MMC's report is due in May 1995.
Mr. Ian Taylor: The recently published Command Paper "Creating the Superhighways of the Future: Developing Broadband Communications in the UK" made clear the Government's commitment to being more proactive in offering public services using new communications technology. The DTI recognises the significant benefits afforded by electronic mail where these can improve the efficiency and quality of public services. Electronic mail facilities are already available to many with in the DTI, and are being progressively extended throughout the Department. I have an e-mail address on the Internet, which is "taylor @ mintech.deman.co.uk", as announced in the House on 15 December 1994, Official Report , columns 1249 50.
This exchange is also being issued on Internet.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 8 December 1994, Official Report , column 299 , if the United Kingdom company that is licensed to explore for oil and gas in the East Timor gap requires an export licence under the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1981.
Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 10 January 1995]: A licence is required under the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994, as amended, to export from the United Kingdom goods identified in the schedules to the order, unless the goods are specified in article 3 (b) to (e) of the order.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 8 December 1994, Official Report , column 299 if the United Kingdom company that is licensed to explore for oil and gas in the East Timor gap has been granted an export licence under the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1981.
Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 10 January 1995]: it has been the practice of successive governments not to reveal details of export licences or applications for licences unless the requirements of confidentiality are outweighed by the public interest.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what consultations he has had with the chairman of the Welsh Consumer Council concerning the filling of the vacancy for the post of director; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the expenditure of the Science and Engineering Research Council and Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council on space science over the past 10 years, distinguishing between the amount required for European Space Agency expenditure and that required
Column 179for domestic expenditure and giving the estimated outturn for the current year; and what other departments or research councils have provided additional funding for space science.
|Total |of which ESA |subscription |£ million |£ million ---------------------------------------------------- 1984-85 |21.9 |19.0 1985-86 |25.7 |22.8 1986-87 |29.7 |24.3 1987-88 |33.4 |29.2 1988-89 |39.2 |33.4 1989-90 |40.0 |33.9 1990-91 |36.3 |29.1 1991-92 |37.0 |27.2 1992-93 |41.1 |29.9 1993-94 |40.2 |29.9
As part of the research council reorganisation at 1 April 1994, responsibility for this expenditure transferred to PPARC. In 1994 95 PPARC expect to spend £46.5 million on space science, of which £36.4 million relates to the ESA subscription.
The Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of the Environment, the Ministry of Defence, the Meteorological Office and the Natural Environment Research Council have also provided funding for space science.
Mr. Dorrell: Account has sometimes been taken of party political affiliation when making appointments in my area of responsibility, as when the nominee of the Leader of the Opposition was appointed to the Millennium Commission. However, these and all other appointments are based on the ability of the individual concerned to perform the duties and responsibilities of the post for which he or she is being considered.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what additional financial, logistical, technical or other support is to be made available by the United Kingdom to the International Atomic Energy Agency in fulfilment of the commitment entered into by Her Majesty's Government's support of section VI, page 23 of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe Budapest summit declaration of 6 December.
Mr. Baldry: The IAEA has been working since 1993 on a package of measures designed to strengthen and streamline the agency's system of safeguards, in particular with a view to better detect clandestine nuclear weapons programmes. The United Kingdom will take a view on appropriate levels of financial, logistical, technical or other support in the light of the decisions taken by the IAEA board of governors, who are meeting to consider full proposals in March 1995.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps have been taken by Her Majesty's Government in 1994 to uphold the commitment made under section I of the principles governing non-proliferation at page 22 of the OSCE Budapest summit declaration of 6 December, in regard to the control of missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction and their components and technology.