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Mr. Douglas Hogg: The dispute is about allocating the total allowable catch from Greenland halibut among the contracting parties in the North West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation--in particular the EU and Canada. The goal of all involved must be to conserve fish stocks so as to allow fishermen from both the EU and Canada a viable future. This requires proper conservation measures, including an equitable division of the agreed total allowable catch. It also requires strict enforcement to
Column 658ensure that the rules are obeyed by all. We are pleased to hear that the Spanish vessel detained last week has been released. All concerned can now concentrate on resolving the wider issues through negotiation, in a way acceptable to the members of NAFO.
The UK has been using its position as a member of both the Commonwealth and the EU to promote solutions to the immediate difficulties and to contribute to an outcome in the longer term which is satisfactory to all. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs yesterday spoke to his Canadian and Spanish opposite numbers as part of those efforts. The way ahead must be through negotiations undertaken in a calm and co-operative spirit and by avoiding actions which might make a solution more difficult.
(2) how many and what percentage of schools fail to provide one toilet for every 20 pupils over five years old;
(3) how many and what percentage of schools do not have hot and cold running water in all hand basins for their toilet areas.
Mr. Forth: This information is not yet available. Local Education Authorities and the Funding Agency for Schools are required to provide such data to the Secretary of State after 1 May and by 1 June 1995, and biennially thereafter.
Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment she has made of the extent to which local education authorities are expanding in relation over the last two years non-statutory services at the expense of statutory education services; and if she will list the increase in expenditure on non-statutory services in each local education authority in the last two years.
Mr. Robin Squire: Information at LEA level on statutory and non- statutory spending is not available, as LEAs' returns of their expenditure do not distinguish between expenditure on pupils of statutory and non statutory school age.
Column 659Estimated outturn expenditure in 1994 95 by LEAs on under-fives, further education for adults, the youth service and discretionary awards total £1,964 million. Provisional outturn expenditure on these headings in 1993 94 was £1,858 million.
Mr. William O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what recent representations she has received from parents and governors about the standards of reports published by school inspectors; and if she will make a statement;
(2) if she will make a statement on the publication of parent-friendly reports by school inspectors;
(3) what action she intends to take to ensure that teachers in schools in West Yorkshire have full confidence in inspectors working for the Office of Standards in Education; and if she will make a statement;
(4) what recent representations she has received on the standards of reports issued by school inspectors; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Forth: The Department has received two letters about the standards of individual school reports in the last six months. Such letters are normally referred to Her Majesty's Chief Inspector as the independent Office for Standards in Education is responsible for monitoring the quality of inspection reports. Ofsted is also responsible for the employment of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools and for the training and monitoring of registered inspectors. The content of inspection reports is similarly a matter for HMCI. The Government's intention is that reports should be rigorous, clear and easily understood by parents. HMCI has recently issued guidance to registered inspectors on making inspection report summaries more user friendly. He is also consulting on a revision to the framework for inspection and this includes taking the views of parents, teachers and others.
Mr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is the average standard spending assessment for primary school pupils for local education authorities in England; and what is the average for local education authorities excluding the Isles of Scilly and inner London boroughs.
Mr. Robin Squire: The average amount per five to 10-year-old which local education authorities in England will receive in the primary sub- block of their education standard spending assessments for 1995 96 is £1,981. The comparable figure for local education authorities excluding the Isles of Scilly and inner London boroughs is £1,941.
Mr. Robin Squire: The local government finance settlement for England for 1995 96 allows a 1.1 per cent. cash increase over the equivalent figure for 1994 95. The effect of the settlement will depend on decisions made by local education authorities and schools.
Column 660child of primary school age and (b) a child of secondary school age in Shropshire and in the London borough of Southwark for the financial year 1995 96.
Mr. Robin Squire: The standing spending assessment for a pupil of primary school age for the financial year 1995 96 in Shropshire is £1,862 and in Southwark £2,947. For a child of secondary school age, the figures are £2,482 for Shropshire, and £4,097 for Southwark. These differences arise from disparities in assessed education spending need and costs between different areas.
Mr. Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement on the standard spending assessment for Hereford and Worcester following the transfer of five schools to Birmingham from 1 April.
Sir Michael Neubert: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what representations she has received following the announcement of the education settlement for 1995 96 for the London borough of Havering.
Mr. Forth: We have received representations from the hon. Member and others about Havering's education standard spending assessment for 1995 96. The reduction results from a number of factors, including a below average increase in pupil numbers and other reductions in indicators of spending need.
Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many schools had to close all or part of a school building because its condition posed a danger to staff and pupils in each of the last two years.
Mr. Forth: The national curriculum, which all maintained schools must provide, requires that pupils are taught about the harmful effects of solvent abuse. My Department is providing £6 million of new grant to support teacher training and innovative projects concerned with the prevention of drug and solvent abuse. Following recent consultation, we will also issue shortly guidance on drug prevention and schools, together with guidance on teaching about drugs within the school curriculum and a digest of drug education teaching materials.
Mr. Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Eduction how many people were employed in the (a) grant-maintained schools branch, (b) further education branch, (c) teacher training branch and (d) higher education branch of her Department for each year since 1992 93; how many are forecast to work in each branch
Column 661in 1995 96; what was the pay bill for each branch in each year since 1992 93; and what is the forecast pay bill in 1995 96.
Mr. Boswell: The distribution of responsibilities among branches within the Department was reorganised in 1994. No one branch is or has been solely responsible for grant-maintained schools: presently both school organisation branch and schools funding branch have, among their other duties, responsibility for such schools. Certain duties also fall to the Funding Agency for
Column 662Schools. The further education branch and higher education branch also took their present form in 1994, each taking over some of the responsibilities of the former student affairs branch. Work on teacher training is part of the work of the teachers branch; significant responsibilities also rest with the teacher training agency. Figures are not therefore available in the form sought. The full-time equivalent staff employed in the five branches at 14 March 1995, forecast average staff numbers in 1995 96 and budgets for the two years are as follows:
1994-95<1> 1995-96<2> |Staff at 14 |March 1995 |£ million |Staff |£ million --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- School organisation branch |283 |6.6 |304 |7.1 Schools funding branch |95 |2.3 |107 |2.7 Further education branch |66 |1.6 |74 |1.9 Higher education branch |79 |2.0 |78 |2.0 Teachers branch |72 |1.8 |65 |1.4 <1> Forecast outturn. <2> Budget allocations.
Mr. Ancram: We have expressed a willingness, in the joint framework document, to amend or replace what little remains of the Government of Ireland Act as part of and contingent upon an agreed, comprehensive settlement, to emphasise the principle of consent. The precise detail of any changes would be a matter for discussion, negotiation and agreement with the political parties in future talks.
15. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when was the last occasion, and in what year, Her Majesty's Government had reason to suppose that Libya-based sources supplied explosives and arms to organisations associated with the island of Ireland.
Sir John Wheeler: Substantial quantities of Libyan arms and explosives reached the Provisional IRA in the mid-1980s. Their recovery has been the objective of intensive searching by the Garda in the Republic of Ireland and by the police and Army in Northern Ireland. For operational reasons it would not be appropriate to give details of the amount of arms and explosives expended and recovered.
16. Mr. Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to provide political training, political, educational and exchange programmes for young people, politicians and community groups in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Ancram: The Government have no plans at present to introduce programmes on the scale and in the manner indicated by the question. The Government remain committed, however, to encouraging mutual understanding within the community wherever possible, and to assisting political and educational development among young people in Northern Ireland.
Sir John Wheeler: Since the cease-fires, Ministers and officials have continued to hold meetings with interested bodies and individuals, including district councils, political parties, community organisations and police staff associations, on a variety of issues related to the police service. Several letters have also been received, mostly from members of the public. A wide range of views has been expressed; a key note to emerge has been the welcome for debate on policing matters, especially on strengthening links between the community and the police. The Government welcome this debate and are keen to hear constructive comments and proposals.
Sir John Wheeler: The Secretary of State has had no formal meetings with representatives of FAIT. I last met representatives from this group in September 1993. Since then there have been no further meetings with Ministers but contact at official level has been maintained.
20. Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what quantities of firearms and explosives have recently been voluntarily surrendered by Republican terrorist organisations in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Ancram: The year 1993 94 was Northern Ireland's most successful from an inward investment standpoint. The Industrial Development Board secured 13 new inward investment projects, together representing an investment potential of £259 million and 2,309 jobs.
22. Mr. Simon Coombs: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his estimate of the level of inward investment to Northern Ireland since the cease-fire; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram: The climate for investment in Northern Ireland from overseas has been greatly enhanced by a sustained absence of violence. Though it is too early to quantify the results in terms of new projects secured there are substantial indicators of heightened interest in Northern Ireland as an investment location--particularly in its primary target markets of the far east and the United States.
Mr. Ancram: My noble Friend Baroness Denton, the Minister for the Economy, is already heavily involved in meetings with potential inward investors. Her programme last week alone included a meeting with seventy Korean businessmen and the president of a potential Japanese investor. Baroness Denton will also meet business leaders during her visits to North America and Japan. Additionally, my noble Friend meets regularly with the business organisations in Northern Ireland.
Sir John Wheeler: There is no general practice of early release for prisoners. Those convicted by the courts and given sentences of imprisonment will serve their sentences according to the law. Individual prisoners may be released early by exercise of the royal prerogative, but this power will be used only in exceptional circumstances such as when a prisoner is terminally ill or has given assistance to the prison authorities or the police.
25. Mr. Ronnie Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proposals he has to transfer responsibility for trade and economic development to a devolved assembly in Northern Ireland.
Column 664comprehensive political settlement, these will have legislative and executive responsibility over as wide a range of subject as in 1973, including those aspects of trade and economic development currently discharged by the Department of Economic Development.
27. Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what machinery exists for regular dialogue between Ministers and the trade unions representing workers in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram: There is no formal machinery for dialogue between Ministers and the Northern Ireland trade unions. Ministers meet trade union leaders from time to time to discuss specific matters and are always ready to give favourable consideration to requests for such meetings.
Mr. Moss: The joint council machinery, which is responsible for the implementation of Whitley council agreements in Northern Ireland, is to be abolished from 1 April 1995. As in Great Britain, the application of such agreements will be left to management and staff interests at local level.
I have met staff representatives, including the professional officers of the Royal College of Midwives, and they have been given an assurance that their organisations will continue to be recognised by all employers as representing staff on joint council terms and conditions of service. This will include those staff transferring to health and social services trusts. Such staff have their joint council terms and conditions protected.
HSS trusts are, of course, completely free to establish their own arrangements for deciding the pay and conditions of service for new staff.
Sir John Wheeler: The Government published proposals last year for the reform of the framework for policing in Northern Ireland. On 15 December 1994 my right hon. and learned Friend announced that work is in hand, in continued consultation, to develop ideas for legislation.
Mr. Clifford Forsythe: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what consultations he intends to have with representatives of (a) the Housing Executive and (b) the Royal Ulster Constabulary to resolve the problem of Housing Executive dwellings being used by tenants alleged to be associated with supplying illegal substances.
Mr. Moss: This is a matter for the chief executive of the Housing Executive and the Chief Constable of the RUC. However, I have been assured that there is regular contact between the Housing Executive and the RUC and where evidence is available in relation to drugs offences, appropriate action will be taken under the criminal law to search premises, arrest offenders and bring them before the courts.
Sir Ralph Howell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total net cost to the Exchequer of support for agriculture and the common agricultural policy, after deducting any relevant refunds and grants received in each year since 1991; and what amount per week per family of four this net figure represents for each year since 1990 91.
Mr. Jack: Figures on total Exchequer expenditure on agricultural support within the United Kingdom, and associated receipts from the European Community budget, are available for each of the years in question in table 9.1 of the publication "Agriculture in the United Kingdom 1993", a copy of which has been deposited in the Library of the House. The 1994 version will be available shortly. In addition, the UK contributes to the cost of EC-funded agricultural support in other member states through its net contributions to the EC budget. A note entitled, "The Cost of the Common Agricultural Policy to Taxpayers and Consumers", produced by my Department, was deposited in the Library of the House on 9 March. This includes details of transfers from taxpayers to farmers both in the UK and in other member states under the common agricultural policy. For the purpose of expressing costs per person or per family of four, the population of the UK is assumed to be 58 million.
Mr. Jack: The sea fisheries inspectorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food employs 81 fisheries inspectors, based mainly at the major fishing ports in England and Wales. At end 1994, there were
Column 66610,296 UK-registered fishing vessels, of which 5,332 vessels were administered by MAFF.
Mr. Jack: On the basis of scientific advice, the common fisheries policy of the EU already contains a number of provisions, which are modified when necessary, defining areas in which fishing for certain species is prohibited or restricted for some or all of the year, in order to conserve fish stocks.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will recommend to the European Commission that it funds an educational campaign across southern Europe to inform consumers about dangers to fish stocks from the purchase of under-sized fish.
Mr. Jack: I believe that the problem, which the hon. Member rightly identifies, about the danger to fish stocks when under-sized fish are marketed, is best addressed at the point at which the problem arises. That is, when the fish are caught. It is essential that the Commission ensures that the existing provisions of the EU's common fisheries policy, which are intended to protect fish stocks and prevent the landing of under-sized fish, are rigorously enforced in all member states. I made the point to the EU Fisheries Commissioner, Signora Emma Bonino, when I met her recently.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what Britian vessels are fishing in north Atlantic waters off Canada; what vessels fished there last year; and what catch is allocated to them and by whom.
Mr. Jack: No British vessels have fished in the regulatory area of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation last year or this. The United Kingdom had a quota of three tonnes of cod in area 3NO and 1, 022 tonnes of cod in area 3M in 1994. For 1995, there is a moratorium for cod 3NO. The cod quota for area 3M is 1,022 tonnes. These quotas are allocated to the United Kingdom by the Fisheries Council in accordance with relative stability.
(2) what plans he has to disassociate Her Majesty's Government from Spanish overfishing and use of prescribed nets and gear in the north Atlantic; and if he will issue a statement on the representation he is making to Canada on its fishing dispute with Spain.
Mr. Jack: In the present dispute over Greenland halibut, we are taking all the steps we can to promote a reduction in tension, avoidance of confrontational action, and an early return to negotiations to result in an equitable settlement.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what EEC controls are applied to Spanish vessels fishing the north Atlantic outside Canadian waters; what inspection of mesh sizes, gear, catch quotas and discards is applied on those fishing grounds; what control is exercised of the port of landing;
Column 667and what representations he is making to the Commission for more effective controls.
Mr. Jack: Rules of fisheries conservation and technical measures, including mesh size, minimum fish sizes, gear, catch quotas and discards, agreed in the North West Atlantic Fisheries Organization, are incorporated into EU law by the Fisheries Council. Fishing vessels may be inspected by the enforcement vessels of any NAFO contracting party operating the NAFO enforcement and controls scheme and apparent infringements are followed up by the flag state. There is an EU-funded enforcement vessel operating in the NAFO regulatory area. All Spanish and Portuguese vessels fishing in the area last year were inspected at sea on a number of occasions and all were checked at the port of landing. Any proposals for further enforcement and control measures would be considered at a meeting of the organisation.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what monitoring his Department carries out for organochlorine levels in sea birds or their eggs, and what range of chemicals has been found.
Mrs. Browning: The Department is not conducting monitoring of organochlorines in sea birds or their eggs. If any sea birds were suspected of being poisoned by OC or other pesticides, the incident would be investigated under the Department's wildlife incident investigation scheme.