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Sir John Wheeler: The statistics relating to the electoral service and the state pathology service contained in "Northern Ireland Expenditure Plans and Priorities 1994 95 to 1996 97" have customarily, in common with a number of other statistical tables in the report, dealt only with historic information.
The information requested is as follows:
£ thousands |1995-96 |1994-95 |(Main |1996-97 |(Estimated |estimates |(Planned |outturn) |provision) |expenditure) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Electoral service |1,225 |1,254 |1,232 State pathology service |874 |910 |892
Sir John Wheeler: Under the single programming document 1994 to 1999, Northern Ireland will earn 354 mecu, approximately £274 million, from the European social fund. Around 24 mecu, approximately £18 million, will also be earned through the three Community initiatives which have now been agreed. Northern Ireland also expects to earn further ESF receipts from the remaining six Community initiatives and the peace initiative programme which have all still to be agreed with the European Commission.
Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the costs to the Government of the peace process including (a) cost of printing and distributing "Frameworks for the Future", (b) the estimated costs of the on-going talks (c) the estimated cost of referendums and (d) the estimated costs of creating and running a Northern Ireland Assembly.
Mr. Ancram: On the cost of printing and distribution of "Frameworks for the Future", I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes) on 2 March, Official Report , column 683 .
The costs of on-going talks with Northern Ireland political representatives and the Irish Government have been met from existing departmental running costs and it is not possible to isolate the costs of this particular activity.
It will only be possible to offer reliable estimates on the cost of a referendums and of creating and running an assembly when the details of the arrangements have been discussed and agreed with the relevant Northern Ireland parties.
Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the reasons for the reclassification of civil service pensions; and if the £17 million spent on doing this will be a one-off expense.
Sir John Wheeler: The reclassification of civil service pensions arose from the decision to allocate accruing superannuation liability charges to departments' budgets with effect from the 1994 95 financial year. This was designed to make the employment costs of staff more transparent. The reclassification was a technical adjustment which has been applied throughout the United Kingdom and which had no implications for the resources available to Northern Ireland.
Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what grounds the Environment Protection Act 1990 was not extended to cover Northern Ireland; and when he intends to make a statutory provision for the protection of the environment here.
Mr. Moss: When this legislation was being considered, it was decided that, as with many such matters which could be expected to fall within the competence of a devolved legislature, it would be preferable to arrange separate provision by means of Orders in Council on the Northern Ireland statute book.
Legislation broadly equivalent to the 1990 Act is currently being introduced into Northern Ireland on a phased basis. Two Orders in Council dealing with litter and genetically modified organisms are already in place and a further two relating to the major issues of waste and industrial air pollution are at an advanced stage of preparation. The provisions of the 1990 Act dealing with radioactive substances, which applied on a UK basis, have been superseded by the Radioactive Substances Act 1993.
Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much Government money was spent (a) in total and (b) on each project on the private finance initiative in (i) 1990, (ii) 1991, (iii) 1992,(iv) 1993 and (v) 1994.
Sir John Wheeler: The private finance initiative was launched by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in November 1992. The Government contribution to projects and programmes deemed relevant to the initiative, for the financial years since launch, is as follows:
£000 |1994-95 |Estimated Project |1993-94 |Outturn --------------------------------------------------------- Urban Regeneration Grant |13,290 |4,760 Housing Associations |30,800 |25,600 Water Executive |15 |122 Hospital Equipment Leasing |238 |n/a Total |44,343 |-
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the allocation of the European regional development fund to the objective 1 region of Northern Ireland for the current programming period.
Sir John Wheeler: Under the single programming document 1994 to 1999, Northern Ireland will earn 676.82 mecu, approximately £525 million, from the European regional development fund. Around 64 mecu, approximately £50 million, will also be earned through the three Community initiatives which have now been agreed. NI also expects to earn further ERDF receipts from the remaining six Community initiatives and the peace initiative programme which have all still to be agreed with the European Commission.
Ms Mowlam: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland's programme aimed at reducing the number of fatal and serious road accident casualties.
Mr. Moss: The Department of Environment (NI) is carrying forward a programme of road safety measures aimed at reducing the number of fatal and serious road accident casualties by one third by the year 2000. The main elements of the programme are as follows:
(a) Road Safety Plan The Department will be publishing its first plan later this year. It will set out how we will work together with other road safety bodies to achieve a one-third reduction in fatal and serious casualties by the year 2000.
(b) Publicity Campaigns The Department, with assistance from the private sector intends to mount two major campaigns this year on speeding and drink/driving.
(c) Road Safety Education in Schools The road safety education in schools will be continued although, due to resource constraints, the road safety education officer service is being reduced by approximately one third. Additional finance will be available for teaching materials. The cost of producing the annual road safety teaching aid calendar has been considerably reduced by competitive tendering, thereby improving value for money.
(d) Road Traffic Legislation Northern Ireland's road traffic legislation will be updated to strengthen it and also bring it more closely into line with Great Britain. The Road Traffic (NI) Order 1995 was published in January 1995 and is on target to complete its parliamentary process by mid 1995.
(e) Accident Remedial and Traffic Calming Measures In the last two years the Department has increased funding by 42 per cent. based on 1992 93 and 1994 95 (estimated figures). A further increase in funding of 16 per cent. is proposed for 1995 96.
(f) Commercial Vehicle Checking Enforcement Additional resources are being deployed to enable the Department to further strengthen its efforts to target "on-road" checking of roadworthiness and loading standards for commercial vehicles.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures he is taking to combat sickness absenteeism in (a) the Social Security Agency, (b) the Training and Employment Agency, (c) the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (NI), (d) the Rate Collection Agency, (e) Ordnance Survey of NI, (f) his Department, (g) the Compensation Agency, (h) the Valuation and Land Agency (NI), (i) the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency and (j) the Child Support Agency Northern Ireland.
In 1994, the Northern Ireland civil service set up an inter-departmental working group to address the problem of absenteeism at a strategic/service- wide level. The group has developed
(i) software to enable absenteeism statistics to be extracted from the main NICS non-industrial human resource database which allows all departments and agencies in NICS to produce statistics on a frequency and of a type to meet their business needs. In addition, I receive, as a standard feature, a quarterly absenteeism report on the non-industrial staff in all departments;
Column 433(ii) a policy statement on attendance, a copy of which has been issued to every member of staff. This statement not only provides the general policy on attendance but also explains the standards which are expected and the procedures to be followed when absence occurs. A copy has been placed in the Library;
(iii) notes for guidance for line managers to assist them in the implementation of the policy; and,
(iv) advice on absenteeism briefing sessions.
Against this backdrop, individual departments and agencies are now able, where appropriate, to take their own local initiatives. The Northern Ireland Office--home civil service--also produces printouts which indicate where staff have reached set limits of sick absence. Further action includes staff counselling, the monitoring of further absences and the issue of warnings. These procedures are currently under review.
Following a review of attendance levels in early 1993, the Social Security Agency introduced a "managing attendance" programme in November 1993 with the main objective of reducing absenteeism through sickness. One of its features requires line managers to monitor absences closely and to interview staff on their return to work. It also provides for the occupational health service to be brought in to help in appropriate cases and for disciplinary action to be taken where necessary.
Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of the number of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease aged (a) 65 years and over (b) under 65 years in Northern Ireland, and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moss [holding answer 9 March 1995]: Based on surveys of the prevalence of dementia elsewhere, it is estimated that in 1992 there were 11,500 people over 65 with dementia in Northern Ireland and some 750 people under 65 suffering from the disease. It is thought that about 70 per cent. of dementias are caused in whole or part by Alzheimer's disease.
The Department of Health and Social Services has recently undertaken a comprehensive scrutiny of its policy on dementia. The report of the scrutiny is to be published in May and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will detail as precisely as possible the assistance, both direct and indirect, given by central Government sources to the Tayside flood areas in terms of (a) immediate help, (b) assistance with temporary accommodation, (c) assistance with restoring permanent accommodation, (d) the application of the Bellwin scheme, (e) flood prevention measures and (f) other costs; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. George Kynoch [holding answer 16 January 1995]: The Government's immediate response to the Tayside flooding in January 1993 was to trigger the Bellwin scheme of special financial assistance to local authorities. So far, nearly £1.679 million has been paid by
Column 434way of grant under the scheme to affected authorities. This is made up of £1 million to Tayside regional council, £673,229 to Perth and Kinross district council and £5,524 to Dundee district council. I expect a further payment to the regional council to be made shortly of about a further £800,000, but discussions with the regional council are still to be concluded.
Perth and Kinross district council requested supplementary capital allocations of £1.11 million in 1992 93 and this was met in full. Within these resources £910,000 was made available specifically for temporary accommodation for people made homeless by the flooding. Further housing and non-housing allocations of £1.245 million and £200,000 respectively were made available 1993 94. The allocation for housing was in respect of repair of the flood damage to council stock.
Tayside regional council was given supplementary capital allocations totalling £1.48 million in 1992 93 for expenditure on water, sewerage and other programmes, including roads and transport. This met in full the request made by the region. Further capital allocations in consequence of the flooding, totalling £700,000 were issued in 1993 94.
As a further measure, the Scottish Office contributed £110,000 towards a comprehensive flood prevention study covering the River Tay catchment area, which the regional council is currently considering with a view to the implementation of flood prevention measures. In addition, a special scheme of grants was introduced to assist farmers with the cost of repairs to breached floodbanks. The special scheme increased the normal grant rate from 50 per cent. to 75 per cent. and was available for the period from 1 February 1993 to 30 September 1993.
Mr. McMaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the relevant data in relation to the Bellwin scheme as it applied to regional and district authorities in Tayside following the most recent floods in relation to (a) total amounts claimed, (b) total amounts paid, (c) per capita central government expenditure in relation to the (i) general population and (ii) flood victims, (d) budgetary heads of claims, (e) items claimed but refused, (f) items claimed by reduced and (g) items which could have been claimed but which were not; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Kynoch [holding answer 16 January 1995]: Following the severe flooding in Tayside in January 1993, claims under the Bellwin scheme were received from three councils. Tayside regional council and Perth and Kinross district council have received interim payments of grant. The relevant figures for all councils are shown in the table: the figures for grant claimed are net of the threshold for each authority and are based on the normal grant rate of 85 per cent.
Authority |Grant |Grant paid to |Claimed |date |£ |£ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tayside regional council |2,464,760 |1,000,000 (interim) Perth and Kinross district council |791,451 |673,229 (interim) Dundee district council |128,790 |5,524 (final) Total |3,385,001 |1,678,753
Since the claim from Tayside region is yet to be finally settled, it is not possible to give per capita figures for expenditure, but it must be doubtful if such figures would be meaningful given the nature of the flooding.
The claims have been assessed on the basis of the normal Bellwin scheme rules. These are set out in Scottish Office finance circular 6/1990, a copy of which is in the Library.
I am not aware of there being any items of expenditure for which Bellwin grant could have been claimed but which the local authorities chose not to include in their claims. My officials have had lengthy discussions with the authorities concerned both before and after claims were submitted, and these discussions included guidance on what expenditure would and would not in principle be eligible for grant.
Mr. McFall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will place in the Library a copy of the advice provided to him by the Scottish Enterprise Board on his consultation paper regarding the review of local enterprise company boundaries;
(2) when he will publish his views on the consultation paper regarding the review of local enterprise company boundaries.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer
8 March 1995]: The information on private nursing home beds is as follows:
Health Board |<2>1987 |1994 ------------------------------------------------------------- Argyll and Clyde |633 |1,150 Ayrshire and Arran |670 |2,064 Borders |180 |723 Dumfries and Galloway |52 |494 Fife |45 |795 Forth Valley |207 |860 Grampian |324 |1,761 Greater Glasgow |626 |2,299 Highland |292 |1,009 Lanarkshire |541 |2,181 Lothian |965 |2,242 Orkney |- |- Shetland |- |- Tayside |140 |1,609 Western Isles |- |65 Total |4,675 |17,252 Notes:<1> Private nursing homes and hospitals subject to the Nursing Homes Registration (Scotland) Act 1938, as amended. <2> The first year in which comparable information was centrally available.
Ms Rachel Squire: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which geographic areas in Scotland are eligible to receive urban programme support in 1995 96; and how many enumeration districts within these areas are in the worst 10 per cent. based on the analysis of the 1991 census data.
Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the number of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease aged (a) 65 years and over or (b) under 65 years in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 9 March 1995]: This information is not available. The range of estimates which may be adduced from specific studies of the prevalence of dementia in the population is discussed in an article by Dr. P. W. Brooks which appeared in the March 1992 edition of the "Health Bulletin", a copy of which has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Marlow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on Lanark blue cheese, setting out the United Kingdom and EC legal instruments governing its production and what assessment he has made of the application of the relevant legislation in France as respects French cheeses.
Sir Hector Monro: The hygienic production of cheese is regulated at present by the Food Hygiene (Scotland) Regulations 1959 as amended and by the provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990. All existing milk and dairies legislation is being consolidated into a new set of regulations which will also implement the EC milk hygiene directive 92/46/EEC.
Although as Minister I have no involvement with proceedings which have been instituted, I understand that on 6 March 1995 a justice of the peace approved an application by the food authority for the destruction of some Lanark blue cheese, that an interim interdict to halt that destruction has subsequently been granted to the manufacturer and that the matter is now before the courts. My right hon. Friend has no information on which he can base an assessment of the application of legislation in France as respects French cheeses.
Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on what date approval was given to provide public funds from the Scottish Office budget for the tourist-related capital project at Discovery point, Dundee; and which Government Department or agency was responsible for approving the project.
Mr. Kynoch: Financial assistance was provided to the Discovery project from the Scottish tourist board and Scottish Enterprise Tayside. The provision of that assistance was in both cases within the delegated authority of the body concerned, and the question of Scottish Office approval did not therefore arise.
Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give details of the value of public funds which have been spent on building the Discovery centre, Dundee; and if he will list the Government and local government share of these funds.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The number of households accepted as homeless by rural local authorities is set out in the table. Rural authorities are as defined in the "Scottish Economic Bulletin" in 1985.
Operation of the homeless persons legislation households accepted as being homeless in rural areas Year |Total number |accepted --------------------------------------- 1979-80 |1,821 1980-81 |1,556 1981-82 |1,810 1982-83 |1,843 1983-84 |1,946 1984-85 |2,132 1985-86 |2,209 1986-87 |2,487 1987-88 |2,606 1988-89 |2,782 1989-90 |3,243 1990-91 |3,800 1991-92 |4,478 1992-93 |5,058
Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what changes have been made to the statutory provision for public support towards tourist-related capital projects with the transfer of responsibility from the Scottish tourist board to Scottish Enterprise.
Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list by name and value tourist-related capital projects in Tayside in the last five years; and which Government body approved the projects;
(2) how many tourist-related capital projects in East Perthshire have received public support in the last five years.
tourist-related capital projects in Tayside by funds under the control of Scottish Enterprise Tayside.
Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on what date the statutory power for tourist-related capital projects was transferred from the Scottish tourist board to Scottish Enterprise Tayside; and what impact this had on projects under consideration by the Scottish tourist board.
Mr. Kynoch: The Secretary of State and HM Treasury approved the suspension of the arrangements for the giving of financial assistance under section 4(1)a of the Development of Tourism Act 1969 with effect from 29 June 1993. Those completed applications for assistance received by the Scottish tourist board on or prior to that date were considered by the board and approved or rejected in accordance with the provisions of the scheme. Incomplete applications held by the board on that date or those applications received after that date were passed to the relevant local enterprise companies.
Mr. Bill Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many inquiries he has received about tourist-related capital projects which have been affected by the change from Scottish tourist board approval to Scottish Enterprise Tayside approval.
Dr. Strang: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many sites of special scientific interest have been (a) damaged and (b) destroyed by (i) development and (ii) other means in Scotland in each year since 1979.
Sir Hector Monro: Details of damage to sites of special scientific interest are published in the annual reports of Scottish Natural Heritage and the former Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland and Nature Conservancy Council, copies of which are in the Library of the House.
As part of the work on its national countryside monitoring scheme, Scottish Natural Heritage will be producing, by the end of 1995, further Scottish estimates for the period 1970 to 1988.
Dr. Strang: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what area of Forestry Commission (a) land and (b) woodland has been sold off in (i) England, (ii) Scotland and (iii) Wales in each year since 1979; and what area he now proposes for future sales.
|All land |Forestry land Year ended 31 March |(hectares) |(hectares) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- England 1980 |<1>- |300 1981 |414 |189 1982 |1,309 |676 1983 |2,523 |2,126 1984 |4,680 |4,025 1985 |6,976 |6,561 1986 |2,789 |2,489 1987 |2,786 |2,377 1988 |4,593 |4,108 1989 |1,629 |1,386 1990 |1,989 |1,824 1991 |1,556 |1,452 1992 |1,737 |1,673 1993 |1,006 |883 1994 |1,171 |1,091 Scotland 1980 |<1>- |300 1981 |1,465 |368 1982 |7,371 |1,510 1983 |8,135 |4,061 1984 |36,543 |11,345 1985 |18,359 |7,671 1986 |10,555 |4,055 1987 |6,220 |2,674 1988 |3,359 |1,662 1989 |4,286 |1,716 1990 |4,620 |2,633 1991 |4,754 |2,384 1992 |3,517 |3,359 1993 |8,437 |4,930 1994 |12,462 |12,105 Wales 1980 |<1>- |0 1981 |361 |131 1982 |1,743 |161 1983 |1,450 |445 1984 |3,347 |1,137 1985 |3,522 |1,840 1986 |3,229 |1,770 1987 |1,950 |1,135 1988 |977 |617 1989 |1,760 |1,226 1990 |1,242 |1,102 1991 |1,118 |934 1992 |1,657 |1,231 1993 |1,146 |1,014 1994 |1,317 |1,223 <1> Before 1980 central records were kept only of forestry land.
As announced in the Government's expenditure plans 1995 96 to 1997 98, the commission plans to sell 15,000 hectares of forest land in Britain in each of the next three years.
Column 440established, and 1992 the latest year for which figures are available. This extremely encouraging change has taken place against a background of reduced smoking prevalence among adults and other improvements in lifestyles.
Mr. Richards: The pattern and level of Welsh medium provision is primarily a matter for local education authorities in fulfilment of their statutory duties. Authorities' proposals for Welsh medium education should be considered when they draw up schemes under the Welsh Language Act 1994, and they should take into account parental wishes when doing so.