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Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what representations she has received about her Department's decision to withdraw funding from the postgraduate translation and interpretation course
Column 48at Bath University; and how many of these included offers of funding from commerce and industry;
(2) what considerations underlay the withdrawal of funds from the postgraduate translation and interpretation clause at Bath university; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Boswell: My right hon. Friend has received three letters about the withdrawal of bursary support for students undertaking the postgraduate diploma in language studies--interpreting and translating--course at Bath university. No offers of funding from commerce or industry have been received.
The decision to withdraw funding was taken as part of the review of public expenditure for 1995 96 in which my right hon. Friend takes account of demands and priorities for spending.
Sir Ivan Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what has been the annual increase in central Government payments to Staffordshire local education authority in each of the past 10 years; what would have been the increase required to remove the effect of inflation; and what approximate savings he expects to have arrived as a result of the transfer of schools to local management.
Mr. Robin Squire: The system of local government finance before 1990 91 was different in structure and coverage to the present system of standard spending assessments on which central Government payments to Staffordshire county council are mainly based. The table sets out the annual underlying change in each of the years since 1990 91 in Staffordshire's education standard spending assessment, after allowing for local authority changes of function and inflation. Savings which schools and local education authorities may have made specifically as a result of the introduction of local management of schools are not readily quantifiable by the Department.
Year ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1990-91 to 1991-92 |increase of 9.3 per cent. 1991-92 to 1992-93 |increase of 2.6 per cent. 1992-93 to 1993-94 |decrease of 0.5 per cent. 1993-94 to 1994-95 |increase of 0.6 per cent. 1994-95 to 1995-96 |decrease of 2.0 per cent.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will list the rules and regulations in her Department which have been withdrawn in the last 12 months, or which her Department plans to withdraw in the next 12 months; and what impact this will have on her Department's manpower.
Mr. Boswell: The Department has not withdrawn any rules and regulations in the last 12 months, other than through the legal process of revocation and replacement. We have, however, reduced the amount of detailed prescription in the revised national curriculum to be introduced from August 1995 and have amended the assessment arrangements to reduce the amount of time required of teachers for this purpose.
Column 49The Department is continuing to identify rules and regulations for withdrawal. Those for withdrawal in the next 12 months will be announced as and when consultations are completed.
The manpower implications are taken into account in the Department's manpower plans which will be published in the Department's annual report in March.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is her estimate of the annual cost of extending nursery provision to all three and four-year-old children in the United Kingdom based on the current average cost of such provision; and what provision there is within her Department's budget for such an extension of nursery education for each of the years (a) 1995 96, (b) 1996 97, (c) 1997 98 and (d) 1998 99.
Mr. Forth: Costs would depend on the type of provision and the balance between full-time and part-time provision. Funding will be determined as part of the development of detailed proposals on how to achieve the target for expansion of pre-school provision set by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.
The Department's expenditure plans for 1995 96 do not include provision for the extension of nursery education. Provision for future years will be considered during the 1995 public expenditure survey.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans the Student Loans Company has to purchase a new computer facility; what companies have been invited to tender; what advantages the new system will have over the existing system; what is the estimated cost of the new system; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many staff her Department employs on a regional basis in each standard English region; what is the cost of running these regional operations; what was the total budget for each region in the latest available year; and what are the main purposes for which the budget is used.
Mr. Robin Squire: The Department as currently constituted does not operate on a regional basis; its headquarters functions are carried out in offices in London and Darlington. The Department's only executive agency, the Teachers Pensions Agency, which is responsible for administration of the teachers' superannuation scheme, also operates from the Darlington site.
In 1993 94, the latest year for which firm figures are available, the Department's overall staff number--including the TPA--was 2,101 of which 1,214 were based in London and 887 in Darlington.
In 1993 94, the total net provision for running costs was £94.3 million, with final outturn of £88.4 million. Of this expenditure, approximately £59 million was attributed to London and £29.4 million to Darlington.
Dr. Mawhinney: I expect to meet my European colleagues at the Transport Council in Brussels on 13 and 14 March. The Council will cover a range of transport issues, primarily in the rail, road and maritime sectors.
Dr. Mawhinney: My Department has received a number of representations, mainly from manufacturers and operators, about the implications for the United Kingdom bus industry and its customers of an EC proposal for a draft directive on bus construction.
Mr. Norris: The red route pilot scheme in north and east London has been running since 1991. The traffic director is progressively implementing the rest of the 315-mile red route network with the objective of having it operational by the year 2000.
Mr. Norris: The total cost of design, development and implementation of red route measures is estimated to be around £130 million at 1995 96 prices. This is in addition to the expenditure of some £5 million at outturn prices on the pilot red route.
Dr. Mawhinney: The scheme for an A34 bypass of Newbury remains in the road programme. However, against the background of continuing public concern I wish to be quite sure that the present proposal is the right one. I have therefore put the scheme on hold and asked the
Column 51Highways Agency to look again at the plans for relieving congestion at Newbury and to report back as soon as possible.
18. Mr. Mike O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the implications of the standing advisory committee on trunk road assessments report on the Birmingham northern relief road project.
Mr. Watts: After considering the Government's response to the SACTRA report on generated traffic and the Department's formal guidance, the BNRR public inquiry has been provided with a statement identifying how the Department views the impacts of SACTRA's findings. It is now for the inspector to consider that statement and the results of the on-going work which it identifies.
I am satisfied that the inquiry is the proper forum to consider any implications.
Mr. Watts: Privatisation is designed to halt and reverse the decline in railway use. For the first time there will be a contractual commitment to specified levels of service. Details of passenger service requirements for Network SouthCentral will be released later this year.
20. Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that bids by private sector organisations to operate train services are considered with efficiency and speed by his Department, the Rail Regulator and the Franchising Director.
Mr. Watts: The consideration of proposals from private sector organisations to operate train services is primarily the responsibility of the Rail Regulator and, for franchised services, of the Franchising Director. Both are aware of the need to deal efficiently and quickly with proposals, subject to taking the steps necessary to fulfil their statutory functions and duties.
Mr. Watts: Recently we have received the inspector's report following a small public inquiry at the end of November 1994. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Transport and for the Environment are considering the inspector's recommendations and will announce their joint decision in due course.
Mr. Norris: The timing of individual schemes within their overall investment programme is a matter for London Underground. I understand that both these items are in the future programme, and that detailed design work for a new signalling system is under way.
25. Mr. Simon Coombs: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what review he has undertaken of the relative contributions to road safety from (a) wire-rope and (b) solid motorway central barriers.
Mr. Norris: The wire rope safety fence and the solid motorway central barrier--that is, the vertical concrete safety barrier--have performed satisfactorily, both in trial testing and in-service, contributing to the overall safety of road users.
No specific comparative review of the two systems has been carried out as the two designs are not equivalent alternatives in total performance terms. The deployment of any type of vehicle restraint system is dependent on the requirements and constraints of the particular site, and this may also include consideration of prevailing weather and environmental conditions. The Highways Agency, however, has a continuing commitment to keep their performance under review.
Mr. Norris: I understand that London Underground Limited plans to consult on alternative options for the line. Following consultations, it may then apply to the Secretary of State to amend the route as currently safeguarded.
28. Dr. Goodson-Wickes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultations he has had on the implications of a proposed terminal 5 at Heathrow airport for the inhabitants of south west London.
Dr. Mawhinney: The Highways Agency has consulted local authorities, residents and other interested organisations on trunk road improvements which it considers necessary if the proposed Heathrow terminal 5 goes ahead. I have had no other consultations on implications of the proposed terminal.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make an assessment of the relevance for the future shipment of vitrified high level radioactive waste to Japan of the report, a copy of which has been sent to him.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what dates there have been meetings, correspondence or telephone conversations between British Rail officials and civil servants in his Department about (a) the privatisation of Interlogic Control Engineering and (b) the closure of Interlogic's York office.
Mr. Watts: Department of Transport officials are in touch with counterparts at the British Railways Board from time to time to discuss a range of issues, including businesses such as Interlogic Control Engineering.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) compulsory and (b) voluntary redundancies have been made by BR in each of the last five years; and how many it expects to make in 1994 95 and 1995 96.
Year |Number ---------------------- 1989-90 |1,505 1990-91 |792 1991-92 |670 1992-93 |7,951 1993-94 |7,273
All the redundancies were voluntary. Around a further 5,000 voluntary redundancies are expected by the end of 1994 95. There are no figures available for 1995 96.
Column 54to prevent of agricultural vehicles from leaving large amounts of mud on public roads.
Mr. Norris: Sections 148 and 161(1), of the Highways Act 1980 make it an offence to deposit any thing, including mud and manure, on roads. Section 149 of the Highways Act 1980 enables highway authorities to take action against anyone who deposits anything on the highway that constitutes a nuisance or danger. Section 6 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 makes it an offence to cause anything to be left on the road if it would be obvious to a reasonable person that to do so would be dangerous.
Mr. Steven Norris: Detailed data relating to accidents on motorways for at least the last 10 years are kept in the national accident database. The precise baseline is likely to include the years 1994 and 1995 but a longer time series is available, if needed.
Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 31 January, Official Report , column 588 , if he will estimate the fatal and serious injuries relating to the risks of lane changes, and of the incidence of harsh braking for crashes in the outside lane of two lane, three lane and four lane carriageways.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to ease pressure on Heathrow and Gatwick by (a) extending existing airports or developing new ones in the south-east and (b) transferring traffic to existing regional airports.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the changes to the procedures for VED prosecutions over the last six months; and if he will list the vehicle registration office areas to which these changes apply.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 1994, Official Report , column 881 , how many employees of his Department (a) have applied for facility time to attend health and safety courses, and (b) have applied for facility
Column 55time to act as health and safety representatives in the financial years (i) 1992 93, (ii) 1993 94 and (iii) 1994 95 to date.
Mr. Norris: The Department does not keep a central record of health and safety representatives and those who have attended training courses. Duly appointed safety representatives are permitted time off with pay to attend basic training facilities approved by the TUC or further training similarly approved where such training is necessary to meet changes in relevant legislation.
The Department also permits duly appointed safety representatives to take such time off with pay during working hours as is necessary for performing their functions under section 2(4) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Safety Representation and Safety Committee Regulations 1977, as amended.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 1994, Official Report, column 881, if he will (a) list and (b) place in the Library all documents which refer to the reduction of stress levels and sick absences amongst his staff.
Mr. Norris: The complete information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I will, however arrange for the following departmental documents to be placed in the Library: -- "What everyone should know about stress"
-- "Coping with stress--a guide for line managers"
-- "Coping with change"
-- "Coping with a major personal crisis"
-- "Stress: recognising and coping with stress"
-- Departmental Notices 19/92 and 19/94--Managing Sickness Absence
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 1994, Official Report, column 881, if he will list the programmes listed under DVLA which apply to the vehicle registration offices.
smoking cessation help
interest free loans for the purchase of bicycles for home to office travel.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 1994, Official Report, column 881 , if he will list for the financial years (a) 1992 93 and (b) 1993 94 the funds his Department spent on the "Look After Your Heart" programme; and if he will list the amounts he has allocated for this programme in (i) 1994 95, (ii) 1995 96 and (iii) 1996 97.
A total of £6,500 was allocated in 1994 95 and £5,500 provisionally allocated in each of 1995 96 and 1996 97.
In addition, between 1992 and 1995 the Department spent £80,527 on health screen programmes.