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Mr. Redwood: Yes. I have announced today that, subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, I will be making £4.5 million available to the Higher Education Funding Council. Because of underspendings elsewhere, I am also able to allocate a further £3.5 million to the funding councils.
I have decided to provide an extra £5.5 million in total to the Higher Education Funding Council and an extra £2.5 million to the Further Education Funding Council.
The £5.5 million for the higher education sector will be made available for information technology developments, for facilities to support students with special needs and for projects to increase efficiency in estate management.
The additional £2.5 million for the Further Education Funding Council is in addition to £4.5 million extra funds made available earlier in the year and will be used to assist colleges in meeting equipment needs to cater for the growing number of students and new educational initiatives.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The total area of agricultural land at 1 June 1994, the latest date for which information is available was 1,689, 000 hectares. This total was derived from the 1994 June agricultural census and includes estimates for very small holdings from the 1989 census of minor holdings. Also included are estimates for areas of common rough grazing which are not collected in these two censuses.
Dr. Strang: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what information he has showing the proportion of agricultural land which was tenanted in Wales for (a) 1965, (b) 1970, (c) 1980, (d) 1990 and (e) the latest available date.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The proportion of land on holdings that is rented by their occupiers has been collected in the June agricultural census since 1969. The following table shows the available information.
Proportion of rented agricultural land in Wales<1> Year |Percentage --------------------------------- 1970 |38.3 1980 |29.8 1990 |24.0 1994 |22.9 Source: June agricultural and horticultural census. Note: <1> Estimates for minor holdings are included except for 1970.
Mr. Gwilyn Jones: The latest information available is that published by the Countryside Commission in 1989 which was obtained from the registers of common land held by local authorities. The total for Wales was estimated to be 185,300 hectares.
GDP per head in Wales as a percentage of United Kingdom GDP per head--at factor cost, current prices
! Year |Percentage --------------------------------- 1990 |84.6 1991 |85.0 1992 |83.4 1993<1> |84.7 Note: <1> Provisional Source: CSO
Mr. Gwilym Jones: A farm holding is normally classed as being in the less favoured areas if more than half of its land is within the boundaries of the areas designed as being less favoured. At 31 December 1994 there were an estimated 23,400 such holdings in Wales. This total includes an estimate of 3,400 very small holdings derived from the 1989 census of minor holdings.
Mr. Redwood: Details of the Welsh Office's executive and advisory non-departmental public bodies will be included in "Public Bodies 1994", to be published in the next few days. Total expenditure in 1994 95 is expected to be £948.1 million.
- |Number ------------------------------ Clwyd |154 Dyfed |163 Gwent |92 Gwynedd |178 Mid Glamorgan |4 Powys |219 West Glamorgan |2 South Glamorgan |35
Mr. Redwood: The same debenture arrangements were agreed with all TECs when they were first set up. The debenture protects the Department against any debts it is owned by a TEC by providing a charge over all of the TEC's assets. A copy will be available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give details of the procedure and criteria for his Department's approval of training and enterprise council projects for spending surpluses earned on training
Column 817contracts with his Department; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: Training and enterprise councils are required to give details of their proposals for the utilisation of surpluses in their business plans which are submitted to the Welsh office each year. TEC business plans are approved as part of the process by which annual contracts are agreed with TECs. Separate approval is required for spend of surplus on projects not identified in the business plan. TEC proposals for utilising surpluses are assessed against the following criteria as set out in the TEC operating agreement. The proposals must be:
(i) within the terms of the TEC's memorandum and articles of association;
(ii) consistent with the terms of the operating agreement; (iii) not in conflict with current Government policy;
(iv) financially prudent and take account of independent professional advice where appropriate;
(v) practical and represent good value for money.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many expenditure projects have been submitted from each of the training and enterprise councils; if he will give details of the main projects awaiting his approval; and how long each project has been awaiting his approval.
Mr. Redwood: TEC proposals for expenditure across the whole range of training, education and enterprise activities are set out in the annual business plan which is integral to the contracting process with the Welsh Office. This contractual relationship is commercial in confidence.
Mr. Redwood: The latest information on the aggregate level of surpluses of training and enterprise councils in Wales is contained in the appropriation accounts for 1993 94, volume 11, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Redwood: The average size of LEA and grant-maintained primary and secondary schools, in terms of number of pupils, in each local education area in Wales as at January 1994 is given in the following table.
|Primary |Secondary |schools |schools ---------------------------------------------- Clwyd |167 |836 Dyfed |103 |793 Gwent |214 |909 Gwynedd |105 |666 Mid Glamorgan |189 |919 Powys |99 |610 South Glamorgan |257 |1,052 West Glamorgan |231 |884
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give details of his proposed expenditure on (a) telecommunications and data links and (b) other items on the proposed new business links organisations; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: I have approved expenditure of £1 million in 1994 95 and £0.5 million is potentially available in 1995 96 as start-up finance for the new arrangements. It supports the provision of information and new training and communications facilities. In addition, European regional development fund resources are available in 1995 96 to pump prime the business development consortia in both industrial south wales and rural Wales.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give details of the business links organisations to provide a one-stop shop service for small and medium-sized enterprises that he proposes; and what consultations he has had with the chairmen of the training and enterprise councils concerning their participation.
Mr. Redwood: In June 1994, my "Prospectus for Improving Business and Enterprise Support Services in Wales" invited local authorities, training and enterprise councils and other local partners to put forward proposals for improving the co-ordination of business support services in Wales. The prospectus set out general guidelines. All seven training and enterprise councils were part of the eight successful consortia bids which I approved last month.
Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list each training and tuition course with a total cost exceeding £5,000 paid for by (a) his Department and (b) his agencies during the last 12 months, showing the title and objectives of each course, the name of the organisations engaged, the total cost of each course, a summary of the responsibilities of staff members taking part and the process for course evaluation by his Department or agency.
Column 819the Child Support Agency returns data each month to Ministers on the operations of the agency.
Letter from Ann Chant to Mr. Frank Field, dated2 February 1995: I am replying to your Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the headings under which the Child Support Agency returns data to Ministers.
The six headings under which the Agency reports monthly performance to Ministers are as follows; Targets; Maintenance Assessment; Operational Accounting; Reviews and Appeals; Customer Service and Quality; Recovery Plan Implementation and Other Issues. I hope that this is of help.
Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 23 January, Official Report , columns 82 83 , when he expects to be able to publish figures for 1994 on the assistance towards mortgage interest and rents to recipients of income support.
Mr. Roger Evans: Information on local authority tenants and private and housing association tenants for 1994 will be available when the housing management information statistics are published in late August or early September. Information on income support mortgage interest recipients is available from the February 1994 quarterly statistical inquiry and is set out in the table. We expect information for May 1994 to be available in March.
|February 1994 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Number of Income Support recipients with mortgage interest included in the assessment |548,000 Average weekly cost |£37.98 Implied annual cost |£1,082 million Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand, average amount to the nearest penny and annual expenditure to the nearest million. 2. The implied annual expenditure has been calculated from the average weekly amount at the time of the enquiry. Source: Income Support Statistics Quarterly Enquiry February 1994.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what estimate he has made of the number of individuals who may not be able to obtain insurance to cover the payment of their mortgages in the event of becoming unemployed and income support no longer being available.
Mr. Roger Evans: No such estimate has been made. We expect the proposals for income support mortgage interest will stimulate the insurance market and more comprehensive cover will develop. The Association of British Insurers has said that there is no reason why anyone meeting the criteria to obtain a mortgage should be refused insurance. We recognise that in some circumstances insurance may not be available. For this reason, pensioners will be protected under the new scheme. We shall be considering the position of other groups during the consultation period.
Ms Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security on which occasions in the last five years his Department has placed newspaper advertisements arising from Government Bills from his Department (a) before proceedings in Standing Committee on the Bills have begun and (b) on the publication of a White Paper relating to the Bill.
"Security, Equality and Choice: the future for pensions"--July 1994;
"Ending Discrimination Against Disabled People"--January 1995; "Improving Child Support"--January 1995.
Ms Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security on how many occasions and in what circumstances in the last five years advertisements have been placed in newspapers or periodicals which have been described as being issued by or on behalf of Ministers in his Department rather than on behalf of Her Majesty's Government.
Mr. Hague: The office of Minister for Social Security and Disabled People has a Government-wide remit and as such all advertisements relating to this area are described as issued on behalf of the Minister for Social Security and Disabled People. These campaigns are:
Everyone needs access for a better living environment (Enable) March 1994;
Government measures aimed at tackling discrimination against disabled people, July 1994;
You and Disability, December 1994; and
Ending discrimination against disabled people, January 1995.
Ms Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what factors were taken into account in deciding to place the advertisement, "Ending discrimination against disabled people", in The Guardian newspaper on 25 January, and that on child support in The Daily Telegraph on the same date.
Mr. Hague: As part of a series of insertions in a variety of publications between 18 and 26 January 1995, The Guardian was selected because of the society supplement on that day. Other insertions are as follows:
The Guardian, 18 and 25 January 1995
The Independent, 19 and 26 January 1995
Community Care w/c 23 January 1995
Care Weekly w/c 23 January 1995
The child support advertisement appeared in The Daily Telegraph on that day as part of a series of inserts in a variety of national newspapers as follows:
The Independent, 24 January 1995
The Daily Telegraph, 25 January 1995
Today, 26 January 1995
Daily Record, 27 January 1995
The Independent, 28 January 1995
The Sunday Telegraph, 29 January 1995
The Independent on Sunday
The Mail on Sunday
News of the World