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Mr. Jack: 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 gives estimates of the cost to UK consumers and taxpayers of all forms of agricultural support of £4.15 per person per week in 1993, the most recent year for which information is available. The equivalent figure for 1985 is estimated at £2.39 per person per week. Both estimates include national agricultural expenditures as well as transfers resulting from the operation of the CAP. These estimates are based on calculations of total transfers resulting from agricultural policies in the European Union, made by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Comparable figures for 1975 are not available. The estimates are likely to overstate the savings which could be made by consumers and taxpayers if agricultural support policies were removed, because, in the absence of support, world prices would be higher than at present.
In 1965, the UK operated a system of deficiency payments. The cost to UK taxpayers of these and other measures was equivalent to £0.08 per person per week--or £0.82 per person per week in 1994 prices. In addition, there were a number of policies which had the effect of raising prices to consumers. It is not possible to quantify these costs, but it is likely that they were smaller in real terms than the present consumer costs of the CAP.
Column 335the English farming community in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Suicides of farmers and farm workers in England |1989 |1990 |1991 |1992 |1993 |Total ------------------------------------------------------- Farmers |32 |33 |36 |31 |31 |163 Farm workers |21 |21 |18 |17 |14 |91 Total |53 |54 |54 |48 |45 |254 Source: OPCS
The relatively high rate of suicides among farmers is, of course, a cause of concern and with other agencies we are seeking means to reduce it. However, the underlying causes are many, and there is no single solution to this complex issue.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the number of cases of ectoparasitic infection in sheep for (a) the two years before compulsory dipping was abolished and (b) the two years since compulsory dipping was abolished. 
Other ectoparasitic infections of sheep have never been notifiable in England and consequently information on the number of cases of these diseases is not available.
Mr. Barnes: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish information held in his Department and all readings for levels of sulphur, molydenum, fluorides and dioxins at the farm of Wareing Bros., the Breck, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, Derbyshire since 1984. 
Mrs. Browning [holding answer 22 March 1995]: The results of investigations undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on behalf of individual farmers are not published for reasons of commercial confidentiality. The Ministry, as part of its own investigations, took samples of milk for dioxin analysis in April 1991 and May 1993 from several farms in the Bolsover and Staveley areas, including the Breck. The Ministry published the results of these surveys for dioxins in August 1992 and May 1993 respectively. Mr. M. J. Wareing was informed of the dioxin levels in the samples which he provided.
Mr. Barnes: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make assessments and publish a report on investigations undertaken by the veterinary investigation service, ADAS, the alkali inspector, HM inspectorate of pollution and environmental health officers into the farm of Wareing Bros., the Breck, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, since 1984. 
Column 336investigation service and ADAS, as for similar investigations into individual animal disease outbreaks, contain information which is inappropriate for disclosure on commercial confidentiality and other grounds. The alkali inspector, HM inspectorate of pollution and environmental health officers are not a part of MAFF and it is up to those organisations to decide whether to make any information they hold public.
Mr. Barnes: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the records he holds on cattle reared on the farm of Wareing Bros., the Breck, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, since 1984, including details of stillborn calves, calves born with eye defects and cattle which have not been able to be sold directly to market since the introduction of the Animals, Meat and Meat Products (Examination for Residues and Maximum Residue Limits) Regulation 1991. 
Mrs. Angela Browning [holding answer 22 March 1995]: No, reports on the investigations carried out by the veterinary investigation service, as for similar investigations into individual animal disease outbreaks, contain information which is inappropriate for disclosure on commercial confidentiality and other grounds.
Mr. Barnes: To ask the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make assessments and publish a report on the impact of sulphurs, molydenum, fluorides and dioxins on crops, soil, cattle, residents and workers at the farm of Wareing Bros., the Breck, Barrow Hill Chesterfield, Derbyshire and in its vicinity; and if he will take steps to recommend a spray programme for the crops and fodder at the farm. 
Mrs. Browning [holding answer 22 March 1995]: It is appropriate for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to undertake such assessments only if issues of public concern such as food safety are involved. No evidence exists to indicate that this is the Breck or other farms in its vicinity as, for example, the levels of dioxins in cows milk taken from the Breck in April 1991 and May 1993 were within the normal background range for milk in the UK. It is not the Ministry's responsibility to provide advice on a spray programme for crops and fodder on the Breck as this information is available from commercial consultants.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what monitoring arrangements are in place to assess whether vulnerable groups are reducing their consumption of fuel as a result of the imposition of VAT. 
Mr. Roger Evans: From April 1996 we propose that couples receiving income support or jobseeker's allowance should have the first £10 of their earnings in any week disregarded, rather than the current £5 each. From October 1996 we will also be introducing the back to work bonus, which will provide a lump sum payment of up to £1,000 to claimants with earnings above the disregard when they move off benefit into work.
Letter from Tony Laurence to Mr. Stephen Byers, dated 22 March 1995:
As Michael Bichard is on leave at the moment, the Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the number of Invalidity Benefit (IVB) recipients in North Tyneside.
The information is not available in the form requested. This is because Benefits Agency (BA) District areas do not correspond with county or borough boundaries.
The BA North Tyneside District, comprising North Shields District Office (DO) and Wallsend Branch Office (BO), has responsibility for administering claims for almost all IVB customers resident in the North Tyneside District Council administrative area. However, that District also deals with a small number of IVB customers who reside within the Newcastle City Council administrative area. Furthermore, the Newcastle East Branch Office of the BA Newcastle District also deals with a small number of IVB customers resident in the North Tyneside District Council area. Figures relating specifically to these small groups of customers would only be available at disproportionate cost.
For this reason, I am providing the latest figures available for IVB customers within the BA North Tyneside District only:-
Number of IVB Customers in North Tyneside District at 28 February 1995 |Number ------------------------------- North Shields DO |4,501 Wallsend BO |3,504 Total |8,005
These figures include a very small number of customers who are entitled to IVB but are not actually receiving it because they are receiving an overlapping benefit (such as Widows Benefit) payable at a higher rate.
I hope you find this reply helpful.
Mr. Rogers: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people are currently receiving invalidity benefit in the Rhondda benefit district; what percentage this is of the total population of working age; and what are the average percentages for (a) Wales and (b) England and Wales. 
Column 338The available information is in the tables.
Table A: People in receipt of invalidity benefit in the Taff Rhondda District Office area on the last working day of February 1995 |Number ------------------------------------------- Taff Rhondda District Office |18,235 Notes: 1. Figures obtained from 100 per cent. clerical count of cases in the Benefits Agency offices. 2. The figure will include some people who have claimed but are not actually receiving Invalidity Benefit because they are in receipt of a higher overlapping benefit.
Table B: People in receipt of invalidity benefit on 3 April 1993 by country and percentage of working population Country |People in receipt of|Percentage of the |invalidity benefit |working population ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Wales |172,000 |10 England |1,184,000 |4 England and Wales |1,356,000 |4 Notes: 1. The working population has been taken to be 16 to 64 for men and 16 to 59 for women. 2. Invalidity benefit information based on a 1 per cent. sample of claimants, rounded to the nearest thousand. 3. Estimated mid-year-1993-population figures supplied by the population estimates unit, OPCS.
Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what he estimates would be the cost to the Exchequer if war pensions awarded to widows continued for their natural life and not until their re-marriage or permanent co-habitation. 
Ms Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security in what circumstances participants on Government programmes including training for work and community action can obtain help from the social fund; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Roger Evans: People who were in receipt of income support prior to starting these programmes continue to be eligible to apply to the social fund. Such people will be eligible for awards of both community care grants and budgeting loans. People can apply to the social fund for crisis loans whether or not they are in receipt of an income-related benefit.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans the Government have to make social fund loans available for the purchase of gardening equipment, allotment rents and seed, so that people can begin to grow their own vegetables. 
Mr. Roger Evans: In considering whether or not to make an award from the fund, social fund officers are required to take account of the nature, extent and urgency of the need. Although loans for gardening equipment are not excluded, social fund officers take account of all the individual circumstances surrounding each application, as
Column 339well as the priority guidance provided by the Secretary of State and the area social fund officer, when using their discretion to reach a decision.
Ms Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many private hours of study should be included by adjudication officers when calculating the 21-hour rule; what counts as private study to be included in the total number of hours studied; when and where the rule about private hours was established; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Roger Evans: A course, for the purpose of the 21-hour rule, is defined in regulations as including time spent receiving instruction of tuition, undertaking supervised study and other course requirements, which does not exceed 21 hours a week. A social security commissioner in a decision dated May 1990, held that, for the purpose of this rule, supervised study can include work set by a supervisor and done privately by the student in his own time. Decisions on income support, including the 21- hour rule, are the responsibility of the independent adjudication officers who apply the law and case law taking into account the fact of each individual case.
Ms Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if participants in training for work or community action who are unable to get jobs after they leave their scheme can immediately take advantage of the 21 -hour rule and take up part-time places on education or training courses and retain their right to income support; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Roger Evans: One of the qualifying conditions for the 21-hour rule is that immediately before the start of the course the claimant was in receipt of income support, unemployment benefit or sickness benefit for three months. People who have completed the learning for work scheme or the community action programme have to satisfy the normal qualifying conditions before they can take advantage of the 21-hour rule concession. Those who receive an element of income support during their participation will be treated in the same way as other income support recipients. The three months in receipt of a qualifying benefit required under the 21-hour rule can therefore include time spent in either scheme.
Ms Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assistance his Department can provide to unemployed people who, on joining training for work, find that their insurance cover for mortgage, hire purchase and other agreements becomes invalid as they are no longer technically unemployed; and if he will make a statement. 
Total benefit expenditure as a percentage of GDP 1974-75 to 1994-95 (cash prices) |Benefit expenditure| |(£ billion) |(£ billion) |of GDP ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1974-75 |6.6 |89.4 |7.4 1975-76 |8.9 |111.2 |8.0 1976-77 |10.6 |130.0 |8.2 1977-78 |12.8 |151.3 |8.5 1978-79 |15.9 |173.7 |9.2 1979-80 |18.8 |208.6 |9.0 1980-81 |22.7 |237.7 |9.6 1981-82 |27.7 |261.0 |10.6 1982-83 |31.6 |285.8 |11.1 1983-84 |35.3 |310.0 |11.4 1984-85 |38.3 |332.1 |11.5 1985-86 |41.8 |364.9 |11.5 1986-87 |44.9 |392.7 |11.4 1987-88 |46.7 |434.8 |10.7 1988-89 |47.3 |484.1 |9.8 1989-90 |50.2 |525.8 |9.6 1990-91 |56.5 |556.8 |10.2 1991-92 |66.1 |580.8 |11.4 1992-93 |75.2 |604.8 |12.4 1993-94 |82.4 |639.0 |12.9 1994-95 |<1>85.2 |678.0 |12.6 <1> Estimated outturn.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what grant support is available to encourage the development of fibre-optic cabling of towns and villages in Wales; what proportion of Wales now has fibre-optic cable links already established of a standard adequate for the foreseeable needs of the super-highway technological revolution; and what take-up there has been to date of grant support for the further development of this network.
Mr. Redwood: Cabling is one of my priorities for Wales. I have been pressing for swifter action on licences. Local delivery franchises have already been awarded for areas covering West Glamorgan, Cardiff and Newport. An announcement about a franchise operator for most of the remainder of mid, south and west Glamorgan and Gwent is expected in the summer. This should be followed by the offer of a franchise for an area of north Wales. My Department does not hold full details of the miles of fibre optic cable in existing networks, but this is known to be significant.
I have been told by cable companies that radio links may provide high quality access to less densely populated areas. They are also looking at ways of making greater use of existing pylons and telegraph poles. The development of these alternative technologies will, I hope, ensure that the whole of Wales can be linked to the super-highway.
I will provide grant support for this work in remote areas, if it is needed, through the strategic development scheme and other existing grant schemes. I am looking closely at the powers at my disposal. I am told by those interested that grant availability is not the crucial issue. For remoter areas, technology holds the key.
Mr. Richards: A total of 32.5 million prescription items were dispensed by community pharmacists in 1993 with a total net ingredient cost of £215.4 million. The figures include all items prescribed by hospitals and dispensed in the community and items prescribed by GPs, excluding dispensing doctors, and dentists.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from psychiatric doctors and other professionals in Wales concerning the inadequacy of treatment centres available in Wales for those suffering from drug dependency; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the latest figure for the number of general dental practitioners in practise in the county of Gwynedd; and how many of these are giving no service on the NHS. 
Mr. Richards: Information available centrally relates to the number of general dental practitioners who have some NHS patients on their lists. At 31 December 1994 there were 66 such practitioners in Gwynedd.
Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of annual maintenance grants is held in reserve by (a) grant- maintained schools in Wales and (b) non grant-maintained schools. 
Mr. Richards: At the end of the 1993 94 financial year, the latest date for which these details are available, grant-maintained schools in Wales held reserves of £845,458. This represented 6 per cent. of the total annual maintenance grant allocated in that year. According to financial outturn statements prepared by local education authorities under section 42 of the Education Reform Act 1988, during that same period LEA maintained schools were allocated £758,376,907 under authorities' local management of schools schemes. Of this, 6.28 per cent. was carried forward into the next financial year.
Mr. Jon Owen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total number of representations received by the Welsh Office on the issue of licensing of housing in multiple occupation; and what percentage of these representations was in favour of a licensing scheme. 
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The Welsh Office received 46 replies to my right hon. Friend's letter of 8 December 1994. Eighty per cent. were broadly in favour of licensing. However, there was no clear consensus on the way in which a licensing system should operate and the replies raised a wide range of issues for further consideration.
Mr. Richards: We are considering guidance on improving the way in which local authorities apply and enforce the Registered Homes Act 1984. We intend to ensure that there is a sensible level of regulation which safeguards residents by ensuring there are uniform standards throughout Wales.
Mr. Richards: At 31 December 1994, there were 119,339 people waiting for a first out-patient appointment at NHS hospitals in Wales. This represents a reduction of 9 per cent. on the number reported for 30 September 1994.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the per capita average cost of resettling people from long stay hospitals into the community, excluding the costs of decommissioning the hospitals themselves. 
Mr. Richards: It is for local and health authorities to determine individuals' care and support needs and to provide facilities and services accordingly, consequently the information requested is not available centrally.
In 1994 95 agreement was reached on the transfer of 50 individuals with a learning disability into the community. Approximately £1.7 million will be made available each year from mental handicap strategy funds to pay for these individuals' care and support. A further £0.53 million each year will come from resources released from long stay mental handicap hospitals. This is in addition to funds from other sources, such as authorities' own resources and social security and housing benefits, where appropriate.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 20 February, Official Report, column 79 , if he will now make it his policy to collect information on those communities in Wales where there are no dentists providing a service on the NHS. 
Mr. Richards: Local situations can change quickly and often. Welsh Office officials keep in close touch with the family health services authorities who are best placed to provide the most up-to-date information on local availability of NHS general dental services. It would be unnecessarily bureaucratic to require the submission of formal returns.
Column 343non-departmental public body in Wales are shown in the following table:
End date of contract/appointment Name of NDPB |Chairman |Chief executive -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Agricultural Wages Committee-6 |31.12.95 |<1>See note Arts Council of Wales |29.03.97 |18.04.98 Cardiff Bay Development Corporation |1.04.96 |30.06.95 Countryside Council for Wales |4.11.96 |<2>See note Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales |30.09.96 |<3>13.02.97 Development Board for Rural Wales |6.07.97 |<4>30.08.95 Further Education Funding Council for Wales |5.05.95 |5.05.97 Higher Education Funding Council for Wales |5.05.95 |5.05.97 Housing for Wales |30.11.96 |<5>See note Land Authority for Wales |25.11.95 |<6>See note Local Government Reorganisation Residuary Body |31.01.00 |<7>See note National Library of Wales |<8>See note |<9>See note National Museum of Wales |<8>See note |31.10.98 Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales |<10>31.12.95 |<1>See note Sports Council for Wales |31.03.96 |31.03.96 Wales Tourist Board |30.09.95 |<5>See note Wales Youth Agency |31.03.95 |31.03.97 Welsh Development Agency |30.06.96 |<5>See note Welsh Language Board |20.12.96 |10.12.96 Welsh National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting |31.03.97 |<5>See note Notes: <1> No Chief Executives. <2> After 21 November 1995, the Countryside Council for Wales can terminate the contract by giving 6 months notice in writing. The Chief Executive can resign at any time by giving 13 weeks notice in writing. <3> Unless extended by mutual agreement. <4> Initial fixed term contract of 5 years, subject to annual redetermination. <5> Permanent Post. <6> Chief Executive's contract expires on retirement. <7> Chief Executive not yet appointed. <8> Appointment not made by Secretary of State. <9> The Librarian is a permanent employee. <10> The chairman is appointed under Royal Warrant.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the number of cases of ectoparasitic infestation in sheep for (a) the two years before compulsory dipping was abolished and (b) the two years since compulsory dipping has been abolished. 
Mr. Gwilym Jones: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 20 January 1995, Official Report, column 269, for the number of cases of sheep scab during the period in question. Other ectoparasitic infections of sheep have never been notifiable in Wales and consequently information on the number of cases of these diseases is not available.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales by what mechanism he plans that adults already living in the community but with significant learning difficulties, will in future be enabled to secure living accommodation which will enable them to have an independent life of their own in the community without dependency on ageing parents; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Richards: It is for local and health authorities to provide care and support for individuals with a learning disability. A key objective in guidance on the Welsh mental handicap strategy, which was issued in July last year, is provision of support to help individuals with a learning disability who already live in the community to continue to do so. Furthermore, Welsh Office Circular 7/95 "Mental Handicap Strategy: Planning Alternative Care and Support for Individuals Living Unnecessarily and Inappropriately in Long Stay Mental Handicap Hospitals", stresses the need for authorities to consider the future accommodation and support needs for individuals already living in the community, when drawing up plans for the resettlement, into the community, of individuals living inappropriately and unnecessarily in long-stay hospitals.
Mr. Richards: There are 117 GP fundholding practices, comprising over 30 per cent. of GPs, in Wales covering one third of the population. A further 29 practices are preparing to become fundholders from1 April next, at which time general practitioner and population coverage is expected to increase to some 35.5 per cent. and 40 per cent. respectively.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what are the guidelines issued by his Department to local education authorities with regard to using private recruitment agencies to provide supply teachers to state sector schools; what quality controls exist to ensure that supply teachers provided in this way meet the necessary standards required of teachers in state schools, in terms of professional competence and record of conduct; and what assessment he has made of whether children are vulnerable to being taught by unsuitable teachers as a result of the recruitment system. 
Mr. Richards: The responsibility for the appointment and continued employment of teachers is primarily for local education authorities and school governing bodies. The Welsh Office has not issued guidance to them on the use of private recruitment agencies although consideration is being given to the issue of such guidance. LEAs and schools should ensure that all the necessary checks, including those in relation to the qualifications of teachers and their past employment record, have been carried out before an individual is recruited to a teaching post in a maintained school; this applies regardless of the method of recruitment used. It is, amongst other things, a statutory requirement that teachers employed to teach in maintained
Column 345schools in England and Wales have qualified teacher status.
Mr. Redwood]: Seasonally adjusted claimant unemployment fell from 123,500 in February 1992 to 107,600 in February 1995, an average fall of 442 claimants a month. It is difficult to say when unemployment would reach the same percentage as 1979 as that depends on whether more women wish to join the workforce or not. There has been a big expansion in numbers joining the workforce in the last 15 years. Over the past year unemployment has been falling at the faster average rate of 1,567 claimants a month.
Mr. Denzil Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the hospital trusts and health authorities who will release medical records to patients only if they first guarantee not to take legal action against the authorities or trust.