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Column 436estimated financial effect on the national insurance fund assuming a common retirement age of 63 years;
(2) if he will publish figures similar to those in table 1 of Cm 2714 on the Pensions Bill 1994 giving an estimate of the costs of national insurance benefits assuming a common retirement age of 63 years.
Mr. Arbuthnot: The tables published in the Government Actuary's report, Cm 2714, have been produced to support the financial effects of the proposals in the Pensions Bill. Several options for the equalisation of state pension age have been examined and estimates of their financial effects published in the consultation documents, "Options for Equality in State Pension Age", Cm 1723, and the White Paper, "Equality in State Pension Age", Cm 2420, copies of which are held in the Library. These are the most recent figures available.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the members of the DSS employers panel and the organisations they represent, indicating which members of the panel are representatives of small businesses.
Name |Organisation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sandy Anson |Institute of Directors Howard Birkbeck |British Coal Ruth Common |National Council for Voluntary | Organisations Melanie Ellis |Hoare Govett Ltd Nick Goulding |*The Forum of Private Business Claude Greaves |*Greaves and Associates Ltd Ken Gurr |Payroll Alliance Ian Handford |Federation of Small Businesses* Stephanie James |Association of British Chambers | of Commerce Dominic Johnson |Confederation of British Industry Trevor Lakin |Institute of British Payroll | Management Michael Ridge |Independent member previously | Cyborg Systems Ltd Jack Scougall |United Distillers David Silver |Data Management Services* Indiri Soni |Masons George Swallow |J. Sainsbury PLC Roddy Symes |Metal Colours Ltd Debbie Williams |William Haley Engineering Ltd*
Members marked with a star are from small businesses or small business representative organisations.
Column 437receipt of housing benefit as a consequence of being in receipt of income support.
Mr. Roger Evans: The information for Great Britain is set out in the table. I refer the hon. Member to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for figures covering Northern Ireland.
|Housing benefit |recipients |with income support |as at Standard statistical |August 1994 region -------------------------------------------------------------------- North (including Cumbria) |200,100 Yorkshire and Humberside |275,500 East Midlands |178,300 East Anglia |83,700 South East |394,300 London |544,000 South West |198,800 West Midlands |280,300 North West |396,100 Wales |154,000 Scotland |337,800 Great Britain |3,042,900 Source: The housing benefit management information system quarterly caseload count at the end of August 1994.
Mr. Forth: In England, the number of pupils reported as receiving statements of special educational need for the first time in calendar years 1992 and 1993 was 34,037 and 38,292, respectively. Information for the calendar year 1994 is not yet available.
Year |Number --------------------- 1965 |19,886 1966 |20,981 1967 |21,417 1968 |20,833 1969 |21,844 1970 |21,771 1971 |24,118 1972 |24,254 1973 |22,771 1974 |21,624 1975 |21,393 1976 |22,985
It is not possible to disaggregate the data for England.
Mr. Forth: Projections of the school population related to January of the academic year. The total school population in England is projected to increase by 116,000 full-time equivalents between January 1995 and January 1996. Projections at local education authority level are not available.
Mr. Forth: The Government are committed to higher standards and higher quality teaching in mathematics. The most important force for improvement is the national curriculum, which has established demanding expectations for both teachers and pupils. Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools has confirmed that the national curriculum is rapidly helping to improve the standard of mathematics teaching in primary schools. The revised national curriculum for mathematics has increased emphasis on arithmetic skills, particularly in the primary years. For the first time, pupils' progress in relation to the national standards is being rigorously monitored through national assessments and tests. The schools inspectorate confirms that these assessments and tests are contributing to higher standards. The Government have also been instrumental in establishing a number of 20-day training courses designed to improve primary school teachers' mathematical knowledge. The cost of sending teachers on these courses is supported by the Government with specific grant.
Mr. Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education which local education authorities have school reorganisation or closure proposals under consideration by her Department; and how many places will be removed by each authority as a result of their proposals.
Mr. Robin Squire: The following table shows the local education authorities which have school reorganisation proposals published under sections 12 and 13 of the Education Act 1980 currently with the Department. Not all such proposals involve the removal of school places. Where they do, the aggregate number of places that would be removed if the proposals were approved is shown in the table. Where there are no statutory objections, and the proposals are not called in by the Secretary of State, proposals in respect of county schools fall to be decided by the local education authority.
|Number of |places to be LEA |removed ------------------------------------------------- Avon |1,300 Barnet |0 Bedfordshire |426 Berkshire |0 Birmingham |0 Bradford |0 Buckinghamshire |97 Bury |130 Cambridgeshire |180 Camden |0 Cheshire |331 Cleveland |0 Croydon |0 Cumbria |0 Devon |0 Doncaster |3,804 Durham |0 Ealing |0 East Sussex |0 Essex |217 Gateshead |1,076 Greenwich |30 Hackney |0 Hammersmith and Fulham |846 Hampshire |150 Haringey |0 Harrow |0 Hertfordshire |0 Hillingdon |0 Humberside |0 Islington |0 Kensington and Chelsea |0 Kent |0 Kingston upon Thames |0 Knowsley |0 Lambeth |0 Lancashire |0 Leeds |1,028 Leicestershire |30 Lewisham |0 Lincolnshire |0 Liverpool |0 Manchester |27 Norfolk |152 Northamptonshire |0 North Tyneside |95 North Yorkshire |0 Northumberland |361 Nottinghamshire |2,832 Oldham |0 Oxfordshire |0 Richmond upon Thames |0 Sandwell |120 Sefton |0 Shropshire |99 Somerset |9 St. Helens |0 Stockport |0 Suffolk |0 Sunderland |0 Sutton |0 Tameside |0 Tower Hamlets |0 Trafford |0 Wakefield |0 Walsall |0 Waltham Forest |0 Warwickshire |5,658 West Sussex |0 Wiltshire |207 Wirral |141 Wolverhampton |0
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy that an ad hoc tribunal should be set up by the United Nations Security Council to try those accused of the Lockerbie bombing; and what representations he has had in this regard.
Mr. Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she was informed of the West Midlands regional health authority's wish to divest itself of its management services division; what reasons were given; what was her response; what time scales for the privatisation were discussed or agreed between the authority and herself for the privatisation of the management services division; and what safeguards for staff affected by the privatisation of the management services division were discussed with her.
Mr. Sackville: The decision to proceed with the management buyout of the management services division, the time scale and the detailed provisions for the buy-out were matters for the West Midlands regional health authority. The proposal was in line with Government policy for streamlining regional structures as set out in the White Paper, "Working for Patients" and later reinforced by executive letter EL(MB)(89)59 issued in March 1989.
Mr. Malone: General practitioners are encouraged to prescribe effectively including the most appropriate use of antibiotics. Doctors regularly receive information on prescribing matters through a wide range of medical publications funded by the Department and are further supported in rational prescribing by professional prescribing advisers.
Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the current position of the private finance initiative proposal submitted by the Princess Margaret hospital in Swindon; and when a decision on this matter is expected.
Column 441memorandum. Initial responses were received on 23 January 1995 from five companies and are currently being evaluated. Detailed proposals will be developed in the spring. A decision is expected in July 1995.
Mr. Elletson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research her Department has undertaken into the connection between car exhaust fumes and the incidence of asthma among (a) adults and (b) children in the last three years.
Mr. Malone: Relevant research studies undertaken on correlations between atmospheric pollution and the incidence of asthma and respiratory illnesses, with funding through the Department of Health centrally commissioned programme, are:
Health Effects of the Nitrogen Dioxide Episode in London, December 1991-- St. George's Hospital Medical School;
Modified National Study of Health and Growth, which includes the prevalence of asthma in children--United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St. Thomas's;
Middlesbrough Childhood Asthma study--University of Teeside. Two further studies are now being commissioned:
Impact of Air Pollution and Temperature on GP
Consultations--University College Medical School;
Personal Exposure to Air Pollutants and Severity of Hay Fever Symptoms in London Traffic Wardens--Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine.
The main agency through which the Government support biomedical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council which receives its grant- in-aid from the office of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In 1993 94, the latest year for which figures are available, the MRC spent £919,000 on research into asthma and a further £1,000,000 on research which may be relevant to the condition.
The Departments of Health and of the Environment are collaborating with the MRC to commission by competitive tender a programme of interrelated research projects covering 10 key areas identified in the Institute for Environment and Health report "Air Pollution and Respiratory Disease: UK Research Priorities". The IEH reviewed the knowledge gaps and priority research issues in the area of air pollution and respiratory disease with a special emphasis on asthma. A total of £5 million has been made available for research in this area from the three funders.
Mr. Sackville: From "Morbidity Statistics from General Practice" it is estimated that during the year 1991 92 there were 2,049,000 patients treated for asthma, and 3,905,000 treated for bronchitis . Figures are not available for the other years requested. For in-patients the number of finished consultant episodes, ordinary admissions and day cases, are shown in the table:
|Asthma |Bronchitis<1> -------------------------------------------------------- 1992-93 |96,659 |33,131 1991-92 |99,717 |37,209 1990-91 |93,277 |30,334 1989-90 |100,188 |33,847 1988-89 |113,928 |34,364 Source: Hospital Episodes Statistics. Notes: <1> Diagnostic codes ICD9 466, 490 and 491.
Information on numbers of out-patients treated for asthma and bronchitis is not available centrally.
Information relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and for Scotland and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Mr. Keith Hill: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to publish the results of her inquiry into small children's homes; and if she will consider extending the provisions of the Children Act 1989 to such homes.
Provisions in the Children Act 1989, and in regulations made under that Act, already apply to such homes.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many children in each family health services authority area were suffering from higher than expected levels of radioactive polonium 210 in their teeth in the latest available year; and what were the figures for (a) five years and (b) 10 years ago.
Mr. Sackville: This information is not available. However, preliminary findings from a recent study funded by the Department reported elevated levels of polonium-210--a naturally occurring radionuclide--in the teeth of children living within 10 km of some motorways in the United Kingdom as reported in The Lancet on 4 February 1995. The study did not provide evidence that these levels are in any way sufficient to imply a risk to health. The Government are currently considering the options for further research in this area.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for health how many complaints were (a) made and (b) sustained against (i) fundholding general practitioners and (ii) other general practitioners by family health services authority for each year since 1991.
Column 443permitted to dispense prescriptions in (a) chemists' shops and (b) general practitioner practices.
Mr. Malone: The Medicines Act 1968 allows prescription-only medicines and medicines not on the general sales list--pharmacy only-- dispensed in retail pharmacies to be supplied only by or under the supervision of a qualified pharmacist. General practitioner practice staff may dispense prescriptions where
(a) the practice is authorised to provide pharmaceutical services; and
(b) the doctor is satisfied that they are competent to do so.
|Number ------------------------------------------ 1990 |Not available 1991 |1,192 1992 |1,197 1993 |1,202 1994<1> |1,215 <1> Provisional.
No information is available centrally about whether pharmacies are sited within the practice premises or elsewhere.
Mr. Malone: At April 1994, 352 general practitioner fundholding practices were authorised to provide pharmaceutical services. Information is not available centrally on whether the dispensing facilities are sited on practice premises or elsewhere.
Mr. Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she expects to answer the question from the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield of 26 January, relating to the West Midlands regional health authority.
Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many council homes in the Bolton district council area are currently empty and available to meet housing needs; and what percentage this is of total stock.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The latest information held by my Department relates to dwellings vacant on 1 April 1994 when Bolton metropolitan district council reported a total of 120 council dwellings which were either vacant and available for letting immediately or after minor
Column 444repairs; this represents 0.52 per cent. of its total stock. The data comes from its 1994 housing investment programme- -HIP1--return, a copy of which is in the Library.
Mr. Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are being taken to monitor (a) mine water pollution and (b) methane emissions from abandoned mine workings in County Durham; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins: The National Rivers Authority monitors the quality of water discharged both from pumping stations operated by the Coal Authority at recently abandoned mines, and from mines in parts of the Durham coalfield where mining ceased many years ago. I am not aware of any monitoring of methane emissions from abandoned mines.
Mr. Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all test bore holes sunk in (a) County Durham and (b) Northumberland for each year from 1990 to monitor mine water flows.
] Date constructed |Borehole Name --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1993 |Burnigill Jubilee Bridge | Ox Close Brancepeth Hill | Top Houghall 1994 |Burningill deepened Washington | Birtley Broom Park Red Barns | Wellspring Farm Warden Law | Plawsworth
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Standard spending assessments are the Government's view of what local authorities need to spend to provide a standard level of service and form the basis of paying revenue support grant. Revenue support grant is not earmarked for any specific purpose. It is for local authorities themselves to chose how much of their resources to spend on the upkeep of parks and gardens.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer on 2 February, Official Report , column 762 63 , how much was paid to each of the firms of consultants listed for work done for his Department in (a) 1992 93 and (b) 1993 94; and if
Column 445he will specify the nature of the work undertaken for each payment.
Sir Paul Beresford: The total amount paid to the consultants listed is shown in the table. To separate the amounts paid to each, including separation into financial years, would reveal the cost of some individual contracts and thus breach commercial confidentiality.
The nature of the work undertaken by each of the consultants employed in 1992 94 specifically in connection with the Department's market testing programme is as follows:
Consultant |Work undertaken ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Amtec Consulting |Financial adviser Andersen Consulting |Internal feasibility study Capital Management |Project management support Consultancy Ltd. Castle Management Consultants |Financial adviser Civil Service College |Provision of intelligent customer | advice Coopers and Lybrand |Tender evaluation training; | contract management seminar; | in-house bid support CSL Group |In-house bid support Dun and Bradstreet |Financial advice reports Mr. P. Dworkin |Specialist adviser Hoskyns Group plc |Project management training PA Consulting Group |Project management support Prime Strategy Consultants |Preparation of project plans; | project management support Ray Tilly Associates |Intelligent customer support Shreeveport Ltd. |In-house bid support Smith and Williamson |In-house bid support SPT (Simon Thorpe) |Preparation of specifications Symonds Facilities Management |Project management support Mr. J. Wormald |Consultancy support to internal | review Total payments: 1992-94 |£1.2 million (as at end-December 1994)
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much has been spent by each urban development corporation on acquiring land and buildings since their inception; how much has been received by each for the sale of land and buildings; and what is the latest valuation of their land holdings.
Sir Paul Beresford [holding answer 8 February 1995]: Expenditure and receipts in respect of the acquisition and sale of land and buildings for each urban development corporation from inception until 31 March 1994, are given in the table. The value of development assets, which comprise both land and buildings at the lower of cost or net realisable value, are given as at 31 March 1994. The expenditure figures include purchase of land for use on infrastructure projects, for open space and for environmental improvements. Such expenditure is part of the regeneration remit of UDSs, but is unlikely of itself to produce receipts. It is therefore misleading to make a comparison between expenditure and receipts.
£ million |Development |Expenditure|Receipts |assets ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Bristol<1> |43.900 |18.779 |18.894 Black Country<2> |92.358 |6.606 |50.452 Birmingham Heartlands |11.076 |0 |4.937 Central Manchester |19.095 |1.043 |7.465 Leeds |25.628 |10.997 |3.880 London Docklands |174.070 |335.000 |37.402 Merseyside |41.716 |11.756 |27.681 Plymouth |4.836 |0 |3.212 Sheffield |35.873 |2.348 |14.336 Teesside |65.844 |42.273 |25.195 Trafford Park |54.854 |12.955 |15.556 Tyne and Wear |41.934 |10.041 |36.737 <1> Includes £10.7 million expenditure for the Bristol Spine Road. <2> Includes £26.69 million expenditure on highway schemes.
Mr. Ancram: The most effective ways of keeping energy costs down is through the promotion of competition and the pursuit of efficiency in the production, transmission and use of electricity. The Government will continue to encourage both efficiency and competition.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make representations to have the extra heavy fuel oil excise duty set aside or if he will make available some additional transitional relief until such time as over dependence on heavy fuel oil is replaced by natural gas.
Mr. Ancram: No. The decision to increase the level of excise duty on heavy fuel oil which was announced in the Chancellor's Budget statement in November is in line with the Government's commitment to deliver healthy public finances as quickly as possible and to keep electricity prices in check through the encouragement of competition and the pursuit of efficiency.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will consider increasing transitional relief to compensate for compliance with United Kingdom and EU policy on power station emissions and additional costs
Column 447incurred through meeting alternative energy targets contained within the non-fossil fuel obligation.
Mr. Ancram: No. The transitional relief scheme was introduced to give industry time to adjust to the application of cost-reflective pricing following privatisation and it will have served that purpose by the time it ends on 31 March 1996.
Mr. Beggs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the importance to the Northern Ireland economy of keeping electricity prices in Northern Ireland at levels attractive to incoming industry and commerce and competitive for existing industry with electricity prices in Great Britain.
Mr. Ancram: The price of electricity is one of a number of factors which is taken into account by incoming industry when considering Northern Ireland as a potential investment location. There is no evidence that potential inward investors choose between Northern Ireland and Great Britain solely on the basis of comparative electricity prices.