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Mr. Raymond S. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, when he expects to extend the provision of closed circuit television for the taking of children's evidence in the High Court and criminal trials in the sheriffs courts.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Following consultation with the Lord Justice General and the sheriffs principal, arrangements are being made to extend these provisions from 3 April 1995 to the whole of Scotland. The necessary facilities will be provided in one court house in each sheriffdom.
Mr. Raymond S. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to present to
Column 698Parliament the report of the Boundary Commission for Scotland.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The report has been laid before Parliament today, together with the draft of an Order in Council for giving effect to the recommendations.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proposals he has to safeguard the trading standards service in the future local government structure.
Mr. Kynoch [holding answer 14 February 1995]: The trading standards service is a local authority function and I will expect the new councils to give careful consideration to how this important function should be provided in the new structure, including exploring the use of joint arrangements. Should suitable arrangements fail to be made, my right hon. Friend has powers under section 20 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 to establish a joint board.
Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many students in Scotland currently benefit from the mature students allowance.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 13 February 1995]: In the academic year 1993 94--the latest period for which complete figures are available--the number of Scottish domiciled students qualifying for a mature students' allowance as part of their means-tested maintenance award under the students' allowances scheme was 7,272.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total expenditure on all forms of advertising by his Department and its agencies for each year since 1979 in 1994 prices.
Mr. Lang [holding answer 13 February 1995]: Expenditure by my Department and its agencies on advertising, based on 1994 prices, has been:
Year |£ ------------------------------ 1993-94 |1,874,000 1992-93 |1,648,000 1991-92 |2,104,000 1990-91 |1,911,000 1989-90 |2,713,000 1988-89 |1,470,000
Figures in the form requested are not available for 1979 80 to 1987 88. Total expenditure on information publicity for each year of that period, at 1994 prices, was:
Year |£ ------------------------------ 1979-80 |629,000 1980-81 |744,000 1981-82 |724,000 1982-83 |664,000 1983-84 |592,000 1984-85 |1,102,000 1985-86 |1,001,000 1986-87 |1,228,000 1987-88 |1,507,000
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his latest estimates of the expenditure on all external consultants, including management consultants, for each year since 1987, in 1994 prices, for his Department and its agencies; and what are the quantified annual cost savings which such expenditure has resulted in.
Mr. Lang [holding answer 9 February 1995]: A full reply could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, I refer the hon. Member to my answers to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) on 21 February 1994, Official Report, column 51, and to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) on 16 March 1994, Official Report, column 660, which contain much of the information sought.
Sir David Steel: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the prospects for young people to enter, and receive training for, the saddlery trade; if he will support the continuing provision of centres of excellence within the trade for the provision of training; and what plans he has to ensure that employment prospects in the industry are strengthened.
Mr. Paice: The prospects for young people entering and receiving training in the saddlery trade are very good. The industry is interested in developing a modern apprenticeship framework which will enhance and improve existing opportunities.
The industry is successful in the domestic and overseas markets and should be responsible for primary support for centres of excellence. Young people are, of course, eligible for support through youth training. Individual training and enterprise councils and local enterprise companies have flexibility in addressing the needs of their local labour markets.
Mrs. Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of people who took part in schemes run under the auspices of employment training and employment action progressed to further training as a result of their scheme in the years 1991 92 and 1992 93.
Mr. Paice: Of those leaving employment training in Great Britain in both 1991 92 and 1992 3, 2 per cent. went into another Government training programme. The only full year for which data are available for employment action is 1992 93. Of those leaving EA in Great Britain in that year, 11 per cent. went into another Government training programme.
Mr. Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, how many young people with severe disabilities are currently participating on a youth training scheme; how many are awaiting a position on a youth training scheme; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Paice: Of those leaving youth training in England and Wales in the period April to September 1994, 5 per cent. had a disability or health problem.
There are no figures available for the number of disabled people waiting for a position on a YT scheme.
Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to travel to Hong Kong in 1995.
Miss Widdecombe: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has no plans to travel to Hong Kong.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the total assets available to South Thames TEC prior to it going into receivership.
Mr. Paice: This is a matter for the receiver. A list of South Thames training and enterprise council's assets and liabilities is still in the process of being drawn up.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment for what reasons his Department is asserting preferential creditor status with regard to the receivership of South Thames TEC.
Mr. Paice: The Department is not a preferential creditor with regard to South Thames training and enterprise council. The Department is a secured creditor as a result of the debenture with the TEC. Where, as in the case of South Thames TEC, public money is at risk, the Department has a duty to protect it. Were secured creditor status to be waived, this would not be possible. The debenture provides for a relationship between the Department and the administrative receiver which enables it, consistent with the receiver's legal responsibilities, to influence the management of the contract with the Department so as to minimise the disruption caused by the receivership to individuals on Government programmes within the South Thames TEC area.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how much of the South Thames TEC assets will go to his Department as preferential creditor; and how much will go to the training providers owed money by the TEC.
Mr. Paice: The receiver is currently still in the process of drawing up a list of South Thames training and enterprise council's assets and liabilities. Until this is known, I am not in a position to make a statement about the division of assets between the Department and other creditors.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the occasions during the last five years when his Department or its agencies has taken legal action against a consultancy firm; and what were the reasons in each case.
Miss Widdecombe: Records held by the Department and its agencies do not differentiate between consultancy firms and other organisations. It would be disproportionately costly to examine all case records manually.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer of 17 January, Official Report, column 461, how many appointments to public positions have been made by his Department in the last year.
Miss Widdecombe: In 1994, 201 appointments were made to the public bodies which are the responsibility of the Employment Department group.
Mr. Wicks: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest figures showing the number of unemployed persons with dependent children who have been unemployed for (a) less than six months, (b) six to 12 months and (c) 12 months or more.
Mr. Oppenheim [holding answer 13 February 1995]: Latest estimates from the summer 1994 labour force survey for Great Britain show that there were 785,000 International Labour Organisation unemployed parents with dependent children. Of these, 297,000 had been ILO unemployed for less than six months; 138,000 had been ILO unemployed for six to 12 months and 349,000 had been ILO unemployed for over one year.
Mr. Wicks: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will publish the latest figures showing the number of children living in families with an unemployed head;
(2) if he will publish the latest figures showing the number of children living in families headed by a person who has been unemployed for (a) less than six months, (b) six to 12 months and (c) 12 months or more.
Mr. Oppenheim [holding answer 13 February 1995]: Latest estimates from the summer 1994 labour force survey for Great Britain show that there were 1,103,000 children living in families with an ILO unemployed head. Of these, 297,000 children lived in a family where the head had been ILO unemployed for less than six months; 170, 000 in a family where the head had been ILO unemployed for six to 12 months and 635,000 in a family where the head had been ILO unemployed for over a year.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his oral answer of 7 February to the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. Chidgey), Official Report, column 124, (1) if he will make a statement regarding measures he is taking to improve the working of the labour market which will address discrimination faced by ethnic minorities;
(2) what are the measures he has taken to tailor the most effective help for those facing prejudice on the grounds of race when looking for a job.
Mr. Oppenheim [holding answer 13 February 1995]: The Race Relations Act 1976 makes racial discrimination in employment matters generally unlawful and anyone
Column 702who feels that they have been discriminated against any complain to an industrial tribunal.
The Department's race relations employment advisory service advises employers on how to provide racial equality of opportunity. The Department has also published guidance for employers on this. Helping people at a disadvantage in the labour market to find work is one of the strategic priorities set for training and enterprise councils. They are contractually obliged to ensure that they and their providers promote equality of opportunity in access to, treatment on and outcomes from their programmes. Performance-related funding encourages TECs to improve the rate of job outcomes from training for ethnic minority people.
The Employment Service applies the principles of racial equality of opportunity in its programmes and services. ES has taken a number of measures to assist people from ethnic minorities. Employers wishing to use ES provisions must comply with the Race Relations Act.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his Department's policy on whether it will be considered reasonable, in answer to question 18 of the draft jobsearch plan, to specify a figure below the benefit level that the jobseeker would get if he remained unemployed.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 3 February 1995]: The draft jobsearch plan has been designed to enable jobseekers to set out information to help them prepare for the discussions with an employment adviser about their jobseeker's agreement. Whether a particular level of pay is reasonable will be determined in the light of the jobseeker's skills and experience, whether he has a previous occupation and the labour market conditions. As now, people with a previous occupation may be allowed a permitted period of up to 13 weeks during which they may refuse employment where the level or remuneration is lower than they are accustomed to receive. Legislation would stipulate that, as now, the level of remuneration cannot be a reason for refusing employment outside the permitted period.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what guidance he proposes to issue in respect of the lowest wage that can be specified under question 18 of the draft jobsearch plan without a refusal of benefit resulting; and if he will make a statement about question 18 of the draft plan.
Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 3 February 1995]: The draft jobsearch plan has been designed to enable jobseekers to set out information to help them prepare for the discussions with an employment adviser about their jobseeker's agreement. A question about the level of pay is relevant for consideration of the permitted period during which an unemployed person may refuse employment where the level of remuneration is lower than he is accustomed to receive. The same question is already asked of all unemployed people when they make a claim for benefit. The draft Jobsearch plan simply carries forward existing practice in this respect.
Beyond any permitted period, the jobseeker may still be allowed to restrict his availability on grounds of pay for up to six months, provided that he retains reasonable prospects of securing employment, and that he becomes available for an increasing range of jobs. Legislation
Column 703would stipulate that, as now, the level of remuneration cannot be a reason for refusing employment outside the permitted period. Decisions on such issues will be a matter for independent adjudication officers who are not subject to guidance from the Secretary of State. It is for the chief adjudication officer to issue guidance based on the relevant legislation and case law.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people left unemployment in each quarter since 1987 after (a) zero to 13 weeks unemployed, (b) 12 to 26 weeks unemployed, (c) 26 to 39 weeks unemployed, (d) 39 to 52 weeks unemployed, (e) 52 to 65 weeks unemployed, (f) 65 to 78 weeks unemployed, (g) 78 to 91 weeks unemployed, (h) 91 to 104 weeks unemployed, (i) 104 to 140 weeks unemployed, (j) 140 to 156 weeks unemployed and (k) 156 to 208 weeks unemployed; and what is the exit rate as a percentage of the relevant stock of unemployed for each duration.
Mr. Oppenheim: Unadjusted quarterly information on the stock of claimant unemployment, and on claimant outflows, by duration can be obtained from the NOMIS database in the Library. No information is available on ILO unemployment flows.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many, and what proportion of people, in each year since 1974, who were (a) unemployed, (b) unemployed for more than one year and (c) unemployed for more than two years have (i) a degree, (ii) GCEs or GCSEs and (iii) no qualifications.
Mr. Oppenheim: For years 1984 onwards, this information is available from the labour force survey and can be obtained via the Quantime LFS service available in the Library.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if Her Majesty's Government support the decision of the European Parliament to amend the EC industrial hazards directive 82/501 so as to require EU member states to forward data on industrial accidents to the Commission and the European Environment Agency.
Mr. Oppenheim: I understand that the European Parliament is to consider at its session on 16 February 1995 amendments suggested by its members to the proposed Council directive on the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances, which is intended to replace Council directive 82/501. The Parliament has, therefore, not yet taken a decision on the position of data on industrial accidents being forwarded to the Commission and the European Environment Agency.
The Health and Safety Executive and the Department of Environment, which jointly lead on negotiations on the proposed directive, are considering the implications of an additional reporting requirement to the European Environment Agency. I will take a view on this when the European Parliament has made its position clear.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what measures he intends to take to
Column 704publicise the new employment rights for part -time workers.
Mr. Oppenheim: The Employment Department publicises employees' statutory rights in a number of ways. A press notice was issued on 20 December last year when the Government announced their intention to remove the qualifying hours thresholds. News items on the removal of the thresholds have since been included in the Department's "Employment Gazette" and "Employment News" publications. In addition, the Department's series of free leaflets on employment protection rights is being revised to reflect the new position.
Mr. Gareth Wardell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the number and rate of (a) conceptions, (b) full-term pregnancies and (c) terminations for each of the last 10 years, for girls in the age group 12 to 15 years; and if he will disaggregate this information to the level for which figures are collected centrally.
Mr. Richards: The information available for Wales is shown in the following table. Corresponding information for district health authorities, with rates averaged over three year periods, is published in the OPCS Monitor, "Conceptions in England and Wales 1991: residents of regional and district health authority areas FM1 94/1", which is in the Library of the House.
Conceptions at ages under 16-rate per 1,000 women aged 13-15 Conceptions leading to: |Total Year |Number |conceptions|maternities|abortions ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1984 |553 |8.6 |4.5 |4.2 1985 |577 |9.3 |4.9 |4.3 1986 |510 |8.4 |4.7 |3.7 1987 |545 |9.6 |5.0 |4.6 1988 |536 |9.9 |5.4 |4.5 1989 |460 |8.9 |4.9 |4.0 1990 |523 |10.4 |6.3 |4.1 1991 |461 |9.5 |5.0 |4.5 Note: Rates use the mid-year population estimates revised following the rebasing of mid-1991 estimates using the 1991 census of population.
Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many 16 and 17-year-olds are unemployed in each of the counties of Wales and in each of the parliamentary constituencies; and what is the percentage not receiving a benefit.
Mr. Redwood: Information on levels of claimant unemployment for under 18-year-olds are available from the NOMIS database in the Library of the House. Information on the numbers of people in receipt of benefits is not available from the claimant count.
Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) how many long-term unemployed there are in
Column 705each of the parliamentary constituencies and counties of Wales; (2) how many young unemployed adults there are in each of the counties in Wales and in each of the parliamentary constituencies.
Mr. Redwood: The data requested are available from the NOMIS database, which can be accessed by the staff of the Library of the House.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what initiatives there are in place to ensure that there are sufficient training opportunities for young people with special needs; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Richards: Youth training provides a range of opportunities for young people, including those with special needs. This is underpinned by the Government's guarantee that all 16 and 17-year-olds not in education or employment who are seeking training shall receive the offer of a suitable YT place. The guarantee may be extended to those aged 18 who have been prevented from taking up, or continuing with, a YT place for specified reasons including language difficulties and disability.
Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what factors are taken into account by his Department in relation to the setting of redundancy payments made to civil servants; and if he will make it his policy to offer the same terms to local government staff.
Mr. Redwood: The financial terms for civil servants in the event of redundancy are set out in the civil service compensation scheme. This scheme, which applies throughout the civil service, was laid before Parliament on 20 December 1994 by Her Majesty's Treasury. The Local Government (Compensation for Redundancy) Regulations 1994 set out the redundancy terms for local government staff, which are not the same as those which apply to civil servants. The regulations were approved by a resolution of the House on 24 January 1995. The Government have no plans to amend them.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many firms went into receivership in Wales in (a) 1994, (b) 1993, (c) 1992, (d) 1991, (e) 1990 and (f) 1989; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: Official statistics on companies placed into receivership are not available separately for Wales.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish for each (a) district council area, (b) health authority area and (c) for Wales as a whole for the latest available date and for the previous three years the number of (i) dentists and (ii) dentists accepting new patients to NHS lists.
Mr. Richards: Information on the number of general dental practitioners treating NHS patients in Wales is collected centrally by family health services authority area and is given in the following table. Information on the number of dentists accepting new patients to NHS lists is not held centrally.
Number of dentists at 30 September <1> FHSA |1991|1992|1993|1994 ----------------------------------------- Clwyd |105 |102 |114 |117 Dyfed |101 |105 |104 |105 Gwent |139 |135 |135 |138 Gwynedd |65 |66 |67 |66 Mid Glamorgan |123 |133 |126 |125 Powys |36 |35 |34 |33 South Glamorgan |129 |127 |133 |133 West Glamorgan |134 |128 |130 |132 Wales |832 |831 |843 |849 <1> Principles and assistants. Dentists working in more than one FHSA are accounted in the FHSA where they perform most work.
Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many children attending (a) secondary and (b) primary schools are entitled to free school meals and how many do not receive them; and if he will provide the information by local education authority.
Mr. Richards: The information available is shown in the following table:
School meals service, by LEA area 1993-94 |Mid |South |West |Clwyd |Dyfed |Gwent |Gwynedd |Glamorgan|Powys |Glamorgan|Glamorgan|Wales ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Primary schools: Number of pupils taking free midday meals<1> |6,570 |6,201 |10,744 |4,111 |15,726 |1,212 |10,125 |8,173 |62,862 Number of pupils entitled to free meals<2> |7,540 |6,972 |12,910 |4,535 |18,078 |1,334 |10,964 |9,342 |71,675 Secondary schools: Number of pupils taking free midday meals<1> |2,862 |2,875 |4,378 |1,736 |6,612 |405 |3,762 |3,789 |26,419 Number of pupils entitled to free meals<2> |3,815 |3,906 |6,249 |2,379 |9,398 |486 |5,290 |5,003 |36,526 <1> Pupils taking free midday meals on 18 January 1994. <2> Pupils on roll on 18 January 1994 who were registered as being entitled to free meals. Pupils entitled to free meals but absent from school on 18 January are included.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the occasions during the last five years when his Department or its agencies has taken legal action against a consultancy firm; and what were the reasons in each case.
Mr. Redwood: My Department has taken legal action against one consultancy firm in the last five years. This action, initiated in 1994, is being taken in connection with alleged defective workmanship on a trunk road scheme. Further information cannot be provided until the case has been resolved.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) on what grounds he instructed the Welsh Health Common Services Authority to place W. S. Atkins and Partners on a stop list for the purposes of hospital design consultancy work; and on what date subsequent modification to that instruction have taken place;
(2) if he will specify what instructions his Department issued to Welsh Health Common Services Authority to place W. S. Atkins and Partners on a stop list; on what date the stop list was lifted or modified; what bearing the stop list classification had on pre-qualification for inquiries about sale of hospital design sections of the Welsh Health Common Services Authority; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: W. S. Atkins and Partners has not been placed on any stop list in Wales. Health authorities in Wales were advised on 22 September 1988 that it should not be appointed to major new commissions in Wales without the approval of the Department and to ensure the company was capable of performing satisfactorily in all aspects of the proposed commission.
The requirement for departmental approval was lifted on 4 January 1991, but health authorities were required to exercise caution when considering any appointment of W. S. Atkins and Partners. Any speculation about the future of the EstateCare Group of the Welsh Health Common Services Authority or the interest of any particular company is premature until the current review of market testing opportunities has been completed.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the chairman of the Welsh Health Common Services Authority in relation to inquiries by W. S. Atkins and Partners with a view to the market testing and sale of the EstateCare group of the Welsh Health Common Services Authority.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 27 January, Official Report , column 423 , how many officers of the Welsh Development Agency have had disciplinary action taken against them arising out of problems on procurement of information systems.
Mr. Redwood: I have asked the chief executive of the agency to write to the hon. Member and will arrange for a copy of his letter to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when the habitat scheme was launched; and when details were made available to farmers and their unions.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The habitat scheme was announced on 15 December 1994. Further information is available from the new countryside and agricultural information service or Agriculture Department divisional offices.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total budget of the environmentally sensitive area schemes in (a) the Cambrian mountains, (b) Lleyn peninsular, (c) Radnor and (d) Preseli.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The total budget available for distribution under the schemes in Wales in 1995 96 will be £6,900,000.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many applications have been processed for grant aid under the present environmentally sensitive area scheme; and what was the average time spent processing them.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: There are 793 extant management agreements in Wales. Processing time is not currently recorded but has varied according to the circumstances of each case, and has depended upon the complexity of the application and the amount of help needed by farmers in drawing up a scheme.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many applications have been received to take part in the Preseli environmentally sensitive area scheme.