Previous Section Home Page

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Posts as Her Majesty's inspectors of schools are open to applicants who have distinguished service and occupied senior posts in education or who bring relevant experience gained elsewhere which can be applied within education. All Her Majesty's inspectors currently inspecting schools, colleges of further education and community education services have appropriate personal and practical experience relevant to the sectors and subjects they inspect. An extensive programme of staff development

Column 466

allows updating and extension of their expertise and experience across sectors.


Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to outline the Government's proposals on homelessness following the responses to the consultation paper "Tackling Homelessness", and when he intends to resume the planned consultation exercise on amending the 1991 code of guidance on homelessness.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: We are still considering the nearly 160 responses received to "Tackling Homelessness", and we will announce our decisions in due course. A revised draft code of guidance on homelessness, taking account of these decisions, will be issued for comment later this year.

Hospital Admissions

Mr. Galbraith: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many emergency admissions were recorded for each health board for the last five years for which figures are available.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The information requested is shown in the following table.

Column 465

NHSIS-Emergency Hospital Admission<1> by Health Board Area of Treatment; Years ending 31 March 1990-1994                                            

                       Discharge in Year                                                                                                            

                       ending 31 March                                                                                                              

Health board area of  |1990                |1991                |1992                |1993                |1994<2>                                  



Argyll and Clyde      |29,507              |30,124              |31,021              |32,497              |33,864                                   

Ayrshire and Arran    |21,949              |22,653              |24,571              |26,617              |28,881                                   

Borders               |7,188               |7,614               |8,099               |8,351               |8,534                                    

Dumfries and Galloway |9,350               |10,538              |10,773              |10,933              |11,317                                   

Fife                  |18,041              |18,347              |19,164              |19,310              |19,937                                   

Forth Valley          |16,316              |17,790              |18,242              |19,255              |20,395                                   

Grampian              |36,383              |38,769              |38,825              |39,309              |40,387                                   

Greater Glasgow       |75,624              |78,661              |79,312              |89,012              |96,772                                   

Highland              |14,944              |14,839              |15,782              |17,027              |14,444                                   

Larnarkshire          |36,114              |37,224              |38,306              |39,566              |41,237                                   

Lothian               |57,648              |58,934              |60,638              |63,428              |63,884                                   

Orkney                |1,026               |1,160               |1,158               |1,175               |1,204                                    

Shetland              |1,301               |1,324               |1,190               |1,221               |1,525                                    

Tayside               |34,237              |34,778              |34,942              |35,201              |37,692                                   

Western Isles         |1,988               |1,927               |2,102               |2,127               |2,476                                    


Scotland              |361,616             |374,682             |384,125             |405,029             |425,549                                  


<1> Discharges from non-obstetric and non-psychiatric specialities. Excludes patients transferred between hospitals, specialities or consultants.   

<2> Provisional                                                                                                                                     

Source: SMRI                                                                                                                                        

Ref: Unit2/95014                                                                                                                                    

Date: 13 December 1995                                                                                                                              

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 24 November 1994, Official Report , column 336 , what percentage of total admissions was represented by emergency hospital admissions.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The table below shows emergency admissions as a percentage of total in-patient admissions for Scotland for the calendar years 1989 to 1993.

1989 |1990|1991|1992|1993     


48.8 |49.5|50.3|50.4|51.6     

Supermarket, Anstruther

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 26 October, Official Report , columns 724 25 , when he now expects to announce his decision in the public local inquiry into the provision of a supermarket in Anstruther.

Mr. Stewart: My right hon. Friend expects to announce his decision by the end of this month.

Public Appointments

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many of the individuals appointed by his Department to public positions in the last year were first identified by the Public Appointments Unit.

Mr. Lang: The Scottish Office maintains its own public appointments list and therefore makes limited use of names from the Public Appointments Unit. The Scottish Office public appointments list is used as a source of names of suitably qualified candidates for consideration for a wide range of appointments which I make. From time to time the Public Appointments Unit passes names to the Scottish Office for the public appointments list, and vice versa. No central records are kept of the source of names of those who are appointed to public bodies.

GP Fundholders

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 24 November 1994, Official Report , columns 336 37 , if he will now publish information, for 1993 94 on general practitioner fundholders' savings.

Column 468

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The information requested relates to GP fundholder savings which are retained by the health board on the fundholder's behalf to be used for the benefit of patients. These figures are available only for those years for which audited health board accounts have been completed. The audited accounts for 1993 94 have still not been finalised but it is estimated that savings will be about 4 per cent.

NHS Helpline

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the distinction between an interactive and non-interactive phone call made to the NHS helpline; how many calls were made to it in each month since 25 October 1994; and what were the costs of administering and operating the helpline since his parliamentary answer of 26 October 1994, Official Report , column 727 .

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Interactive calls are those which are answered by the NHS helpline and information is provided by the adviser about the NHS in Scotland. Non-interactive calls are those which are hoax calls; those which are from people who remain silent when put through to the adviser; or those who have dialled the wrong number.

Expenditure on administering and operating the NHS helpline between 25 October and 16 January totals £61,987.50. This includes additional resources totalling £16,000 in order to extend the hours of operation of the helpline and the number of telephone lines available to meet public demand for information during the measles-rubella immunisation campaign. The number of calls, both interactive and non-interactive, each month since 25 October 1994 is as follows:

Date                    |Number       


26 October-18 November  |5,066        

19 November-16 December |2,431        

17 December-12 January  |1,080        


Total                   |8,577        

Ophthalmic Services

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which health boards in Scotland operate remote area schemes under the General Ophthalmic Services Regulations; when these services were introduced in these areas; what was the cost of

Column 469

providing this service in the health board areas in each financial year for each health board; which areas are covered by the remote area schemes; what are the numbers of opticians employed by each health board to provide this remote area service; and how many patients are seen as part of these schemes.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Provisions permitting the operation of remote area schemes within general

Column 470

ophthalmic services were introduced in 1975. Health boards can apply to the Secretary of State to operate a scheme in any area where this is required to meet the needs of residents. Under such schemes opticians may be reimbursed for their expenses incurred in travelling to remote locations to provide general ophthalmic services. Information about current schemes for the last three financial years is in the table.

Column 469

General Ophthalmic Services: Remote areas schemes                                                                                                     

                         Health Boards                                                                                                                

                        |Argyll and Clyde    |Highland            |Orkney              |Shetland            |Western Isles                            

Date of introduction    |1976                |1976                |1989                |1976                |1976                                     



Cost<1>                 |£2,764              |£1,104              |£1,142              |-                   |-                                        

No. of Opticians        |3                   |1                   |1                   |<3>n\a              |n\a                                      

No. of Patients seen<2> |293                 |142                 |191                 |-                   |-                                        



Cost                    |£2,375              |£862                |£949                |-                   |-                                        

No. of Opticians        |3                   |1                   |1                   |n\a                 |n\a                                      

No. of Patients seen    |291                 |98                  |164                 |-                   |-                                        



Cost                    |£2,405              |£878                |£700                |<4>-                |£1,849                                   

No. of Opticians        |2                   |1                   |1                   |1                   |1                                        

No. of Patients seen    |295                 |92                  |151                 |21                  |135                                      

<1> Cost includes the expenses of the optician but does not include the cost of sight tests performed as vouchers dispensed.                          

<2> The same patient may be counted more than once if he/she was seen on more than one occasion.                                                      

<3> Information not readily available: could only be provided at excessive cost.                                                                      

<4> No claim for expenses made by optician.                                                                                                           

Housing Associations

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much money each development corporation in Scotland has spent on the establishment of housing associations within their areas; and if he will list these associations and the amounts of money received.

Mr. Stewart: Expenditure up to 31 December 1994 is set out in the following table.

Development                        |Housing Association               |Amount                                                               

Corporation                                                           |£                                                                    


Cumbernauld                        |Abronhill Housing Association     |10,500                                                               

East Kilbride                      |East Kilbride and District Housing                                                                      

                                   |  Association                     | 64,923                                                              

Glenrothes                         |Glenrothes Community Housing                                                                            

                                   |  Association                     |25,782                                                               

Irvine                             |Irvine Housing Association        |<1>301,000                                                           

Livingston                         |Almond Housing Association        |62,782                                                               

<1>Irvine Development Corporation has seconded two staff to Irvine Housing Association and their costs are included. Scottish Homes is      

expected to make a contribution towards the costs of setting up the association after the deduction of the costs of the secondments.        

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many properties in each development corporation in Scotland have been transferred to housing associations as a result of (a) trickle transfer and (b) lease of new build properties since the inception of this policy.

Mr. Stewart: As at 31 December 1994, Livingston development corporation had transferred 63 vacant properties to housing associations under trickle transfer. No other corporations have transferred properties under trickle transfer and no corporations have transferred properties following the lease of new build.

Column 470

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what procedure exists for the long-term transfer of housing to the housing associations within each of the development corporation areas which currently lease these properties.

Mr. Stewart: The only leasing arrangement is between Irvine housing association and Irvine development corporation. The association has made an offer to purchase 160 of the 183 homes it presently has on lease. This offer is being considered by the corporation.

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what financial agreement has been reached between Irvine development corporation and the Irvine housing association as regards the properties leased to it by the Irvine development corporation.

Mr. Stewart: The terms of the agreement require Irvine housing association to collect the rents for Irvine development corporation. The association recovers separately from the corporation the costs it incurs in managing and maintaining the homes.

Royal Visits

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a table showing each royal visit to Scotland since 1984, giving details of the (a) date, (b) location, (c) purpose and (d) participating Scottish Office Minister or Ministers.

Mr. Lang [holding answer 16 January 1995]: Where possible, I or one of my ministerial colleagues accompanies, Her Majesty the Queen as Minister in attendance when she is carrying out public engagements in Scotland. Members of the royal family are conscious of the demands on Ministers and it has been the practice

Column 471

for many years that Ministers are not, as a matter of course, in attendance on all visits. Ministers do not normally accompany other members of the royal family on visits to Scotland.

The Scottish Office information directorate acts on behalf of the press secretary to Her Majesty the Queen in making media arrangements for visits to Scotland by Her Majesty the Queen and immediate members of the royal family and, in this capacity, is present on such visits.

While the date and location of visits by Her Majesty the Queen and immediate members of the royal family are available, no central records are held as to the purpose of a visit or whether or not a Minister was present. The available details are being extracted and will be placed in the Library of the House.

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which Scottish Office (a) Ministers and (b) civil servants accompanied His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on his visit to Strathclyde flood sites; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lang [holding answer 16 January 1995]: Representatives of the Scottish Office information directorate assisted with the media arrangements during the visit by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to the flood sites.

The answer to a question about ministerial attendance at royal visits, which I gave to the hon. Member today, explains the practice followed for many years. On this occasion, no Minister was present.

Flooding, Strathclyde

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will make a statement on how the Bellwin formula will apply to (a) Renfrew district council and (b) Strathclyde regional council in relation to the floods in December 1994; what will be the trigger levels; what is his latest estimate of the total relevant costs in relation to the formula and the amount likely to be payable to each authority by his Department; what these amounts will cover; and what these amounts will exclude;

(2) in what ways the Bellwin scheme might be utilised to (a) defray the costs of repairing and/or reinstating housing stock owned by local authorities, (b) defray the costs of repairing and/or reinstating housing stock owned by housing associations, (c) defray costs of repairing and/or reinstating houses owned by individual owner-occupiers and (d) pay the costs of replacing houses which are deemed to be technically or economically unviable.

(3) what is his latest estimate of the direct costs of the flooding in December 1994 to (a) the Scottish Office, (b) Strathclyde regional council, (c) Renfrew district council, (d) affected tenants and (e) affected owner- occupiers; and if he will make a statement;

(4) if he will detail the expenditure his Department has committed to dealing with the problems created by the floods of December 1994, excluding additional borrowing consent for local authorities and moneys payable through the application of the Bellwin formula; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 16 January 1995]: Under the Bellwin scheme, each authority will receive grant at 85 per cent. of all eligible expenditure above its threshold. The threshold for Renfrew district council is

Column 472

£46,490 and for Strathclyde regional council £3,591,706. I do not yet have sufficient information from the authorities to estimate what may eventually be payable. However, all eligible expenditure above the thresholds will qualify for support. My officials are in contact with those authorities, but I do not want to press them for estimates before they are ready and while their priority must be to deal with the remaining effects of the flooding. The scheme on this occasion gives authorities until 31 May this year to prepare and submit their claims.

In order to be eligible for grant, expenditure must be incurred by a local authority in providing relief and carrying out immediate works to safeguard life or property or prevent suffering or severe inconvenience to affected communities. Expenditure by local authorities on repairing their own housing stock could be eligible for grant in as much as it met these criteria, but expenditure on reinstating stock would seem less likely to be so. The cost of longer-term repair and restoration of local authority housing stock, and the cost of constructing new houses to replace any houses made permanently unusable, would be of a capital nature and therefore not eligible for grant under the Bellwin scheme. Under the scheme, grant is payable only to local authorities, and therefore costs incurred by housing associations and individual owner-occupiers would not be eligible for grant.

The direct costs of the flooding to the Scottish Office will be those arising from Government support under the Bellwin scheme for the expenditure incurred by local authorities. Strathclyde regional council has given me a preliminary estimate of £10 million for the costs of emergency action, including around £4 million for damage to the rail network. The regional council's capital costs falling in 1994 95 are estimated to be £1.365 million, for which I have already issued a supplementary allocation. I have said that I am prepared to consider further requests from the council for capital allocations arising from the flooding and if necessary will take these into account in setting the council's allocation in 1995 96. The Scottish Office is presently awaiting Renfrew district council's assessment of the extent of the damage to the housing stock, both public and private sector, and to other council property, and the costs likely to be involved in repair works.

Excluding the additional housing and non-housing capital allocations which have to date been made available to the local authorities affected, of some £100,000 and £1,365,000 respectively, and the Government's open- ended commitment to 85 per cent. grants under the Bellwin scheme, the other expenditure so far committed by the Scottish Office is £10,000 which is to be paid to the Clyde River Purification Board to help meet the costs of a hydrological study into the flooding. The Scottish Office is prepared to support other joint studies into the flooding. Should Strathclyde regional council, as the flood prevention authority, decide in the light of that study, or following its general consideration of the issues arising from the flooding, to carry out flood prevention schemes, grant of 50 per cent. will be payable on the cost of any such schemes which may be submitted to and approved by the Secretary of State.

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what was (a) the date and (b) the purpose of each visit by a Scottish Office Minister to the areas in Strathclyde which suffered flooding in December 1994; what were the main issues arising from each of these

Column 473

visits; what specific action followed each visit; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will make a statement on his visit to (a) the Park avenue and (b) the Collier street area of Johnstone following the recent flooding;

(3) if he will make a statement on his visit, and those of his ministerial colleagues, the hon. Members for Eastwood (Mr. Stewart) and for Edinburgh, West (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton), to the Stockholm crescent and Barterholm-Thrushcraigs areas of Paisley following the recent floodings.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 16 January 1995]: I visited areas affected by flooding on 12 December and my right hon. Friend made visits to affected areas in Irvine on 24 December, Kirkintilloch on 26 December and Paisley on 27 December, accompanied by the local Members of Parliament.

The purpose of these visits was to convey our sympathy, and that of the Government, to those who had suffered loss and disruption of their lives, to express our thanks to the members of the emergency services and others, and to assess how the Government could help. As a result, we instructed our officials to ensure that all possible sources of assistance were made available to the councils involved and to explore various related matters.

My hon. Friend the Minister with responsibilities for education and housing later visited Renfrew district council on 6 January to see for himself the areas of local authority housing which had been most affected by the recent flooding in advance of making decisions concerning local authority housing capital allocations for 1995 96 in the next few weeks. He had a useful discussion with the council and we await its further assessment of the repair costs and implications for its housing programme. My hon. Friend confirmed that the Government would look sympathetically at the council's case for additional housing capital resources in 1995 96 to tackle flood damage.

Strathclyde regional council will also wish to review its flood prevention policy. Developers and planners will also wish to give careful consideration to flood risks for new developments. Scottish Office Environment Department officials are currently working on, as a matter of priority,

Column 474

a new national planning policy guideline on planning and flooding for publication by the spring.

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a table showing, in descending order of severity, the worst floods recorded in Scotland in terms of (a) average depth, (b) greatest depth and (c) the number of houses affected since 1965.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 16 January 1995]: This information is not held centrally. However, the January 1993 Tay floods and the recent floods in west central Scotland were more extreme than any previous floods in the period of record. The return period of both of these flood events is estimated at more than 100 years on the major rivers, and possibly 200 years on the Clyde.

In the 1993 Tay floods, about 1,500 houses were inundated, over 1, 100 in North Muirton, while in December 1994, 450 houses were inundated in Strathclyde. The total number of houses suffering damage was much greater in both events, some 3,500 in the recent flooding. Previous major flooding events affected mainly agricultural land with few houses being flooded. Nevertheless, there have been many cases of localised flooding of housing in areas such as Langside on the White Cart water and adjoining the Brock burn.

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his latest estimate of the total number of households in each relevant parliamentary constituency which were affected by flood damage in December 1994; which of these (a) remained partially habitable, (b) were uninhabitable for two days or less, (c) were uninhabitable for more than two days but less than two weeks and (d) were uninhabitable for more than two weeks; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 16 January 1995]: The table sets out the information in the form requested, and is based on provisional information provided by the local authorities concerned. In some cases, particularly Glasgow, the figures include houses which remained habitable but required some repairs attributable to flood damage. Where the information was not available on a parliamentary constituency basis, the relevant district council area has been used.

Column 473

Households affected by floods damage-December 1994                                                                  


                                                   |(a)         |(b)         |(c)         |(c)                      


                                                   |partially   |2 days or   |> 2 days but                          

                                      |Total       |habitable   |less        |< 2 weeks   |> 2 weeks                


Renfrew District                                                                                                    

 Paisley North constituency           |177         |nil         |47          |59          |71                       

 Paisley South constituency           |102         |nil         |nil         |nil         |102                      

 West Renfrew/Inverclyde constituency |54          |nil         |53          |nil         |1                        

 Eastwood constituency                |1           |nil         |nil         |nil         |1                        

Strathkelvin District<1>              |255         |nil         |10          |6           |4                        

Kilmarnock and Loudoun District       |19          |7           |5           |5           |2                        

Cunninghame District                  |29          |13          |nil         |nil         |16                       

<1> Breakdown in categories (a)-(d) is available for local authority stock only.                                    

1. In Glasgow and Falkirk districts some houses required repair but remained habitable throughout. The figure for Glasgow was 2,800. Most of these were not affected by flooding, and 32 were uninhabitable for between 2 days and 2 weeks and 23 for over 2 weeks. The figure for Falkirk was 17. None of these houses was uninhabitable.

Column 475

NHS Redundancy Payments

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what have been the costs of redundancy payments to NHS staff in each of the last five years.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: This information is not held centrally in Scotland.

Natural Disasters (Scotland) Bill

Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will meet the hon. Member for Paisley, South to discuss the provisions of the Natural Disasters (Scotland) Bill to (a) avert natural disasters including floods and (b) assist victims of such disasters; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 16 January 1995]: I will be happy to meet the hon. Member, and I have asked for this to be arranged as soon as possible.

Hospital Closures

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 19 December, Official Report , column 951 , what information is collected from health boards by his Office regarding hospital closures.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer13 January 1995]: The Scottish Office receives information from health boards on which hospitals have closed. My reply of 19 December on this subject refers to that subject.

Column 476

Independent Schools

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the impact of the operation of the assisted places scheme in ensuring the continued operation of the independent schools sector.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 13 January 1995]: The aims of the assisted places scheme are to enable children to attend independent schools which would otherwise be beyond their parents' financial circumstances and to widen parental choice. The scheme is not intended as a means of providing financial assistance to the independent schools sector. Currently, some 3,000 children receive assistance under the scheme. An independent survey report, published in 1992, provided clear evidence that it was meeting its objectives.

Manual Handling Operations

Ms Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) improvement notices, (b) prohibition notices and (c) prosecutions have been issued by the Health and Safety Executive to NHS trusts in Scotland in relation to breaches of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 since 1 January 1993.

Mr. Oppenheim: I have been asked to reply.

No enforcement notices were issued or prosecutions initiated by the Health and Safety Executive against health services in Scotland in relation to breaches of the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 during the period 1 January 1993 to 31 March 1994. Figures for the current financial year are not yet available.

Column 475


  Home Page