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Mr. Bowis: The Education Act 1993 introduced a duty on health authorities and national health service trusts to co-operate with local education authorities in the assessment of children with special educational needs. A


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code of practice issued under the Act emphasises the need for external consultation when children are suspected of having visual difficulties and there are well-established arrangements within child health services for referral to orthoptists and, where necessary, ophthalmologists.

Malaria

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when malaria protection for travellers ceased to be available under the national health service.      [16239]

Mr. Sackville: Advice on the precautions which should be taken when travelling to a malarious area continues to be available under the national health service. The regulations--SI 1995/80--giving general practitioners the power to charge for drugs for malaria prophylaxis, and thus ending NHS provision of anti-malarial drugs for travellers, came into effect on 6 February. Patients who have contracted illnesses requiring the same drug therapy, such as malaria or rheumatoid arthritis, will continue to receive these drugs on the NHS.

NHS Purchasing

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent by the NHS on purchasing care from non-NHS bodies in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.      [16888]

Mr. Sackville: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) on 9 December 1994, column 401 . This information was not available centrally prior to 1991 92.

Child Care

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the child care or nursery facilities within her Department; and what is the breakdown in their use (a) by grade and (b) by gender.      [15228]

Mr. Sackville: The Department provides the following childcare facilities for its staff: 43 nursery places; holiday playschemes each half term and major school holidays; a child care co-ordinator to provide Leeds- based staff with advice on local child care facilities and a subscription to "Childcare Solutions", an information service on child care facilities available nationally. Except for nursery places, records of usage of child care facilities are not kept by grade and gender. The table shows the current allocation of nursery places by grade and gender.




Grade  |Male  |Female       

----------------------------

G7     |2     |2            

SEO    |2     |1            

HEO    |2     |5            

EO     |4     |8            

AO     |-     |1            

AA     |-     |1            

SPES   |-     |1            

PES    |-     |8            

NHS Hospitals

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS hospitals there were in England (a) by region and (b) in total in each year since 1979.      [17068]

Mr. Sackville: Information on the number of hospitals in England by region is as shown in the table.


Approximate number of hospitals on 31 March 1994             

NHS region             |Approximate number                   

-------------------------------------------------------------

Northern and Yorkshire |230                                  

Trent                  |115                                  

Anglia and Oxford      |120                                  

North Thames           |190                                  

South Thames           |190                                  

South and West         |320                                  

West Midlands          |140                                  

North West             |135                                  

                                                             

Total                  |1,440                                

Figures include an estimate for incomplete returns.

This information was not available centrally for previous years.

Accident and Emergency Treatments

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been (a) the percentage change of accident and emergency treatments and (b) the total number for each region in each of the last three years.      [17082]

Mr. Sackville: The information on activity in accident and emergency departments is for new attendances and total attendances. Regional information for each of the last three years is published in table 8 of "Outpatients and Ward attenders, England, Financial Year 1993 94", copies of which are available in the Library.

Publicity

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 17 March, Official Report, column 742, what was the total expenditure on all forms of publicity by her Department and its agencies for (a) 1992 93 and (b) 1993 94.      [17245]

Mr. Sackville: Expenditure on publicity for 1992 93 and 1993 94 is as follows:


Year      |£ million          

------------------------------

1992-93   |19.053             

1993-94   |19.147             

This largely represents public health campaigns; information for the national health service, general practitioners and the medical professions.

EDUCATION

Child Care

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what are the child care or nursery facilities within her Department; and what is the breakdown in their use (a) by grade and (b) by gender.      [15243]


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Mr. Forth: London based staff are able to use the Westminster holiday play scheme, which is organised by the Office of Public Service and Science. The cost of places is shared equally by parents and the Department.

Darlington-based staff have access to a holiday play scheme which was set up at the instigation of the Department for Education. Places are shared with civil servants working in the Darlington area. The table provides a separate breakdown of usage of the holiday play schemes in London and Darlington for (a) grade and (b) gender.


                                |Number       

----------------------------------------------

London                                        

(a)                                           

Grade 7                         |2            

HEO                             |4            

EO                              |3            

AO                              |1            

Personal Secretary              |2            

Support Grade                   |1            

                                              

(b)                                           

Four male and nine female staff |-            

                                              

Darlington                                    

(a)                                           

SEO                             |4            

HEO                             |5            

EO                              |6            

AO                              |21           

AA                              |3            

Typist                          |1            

Support Grade                   |1            

                                              

(b)                                           

Five male and 36 female staff   |-            

The figures are of staff using the holiday play scheme for their children on one or more occasions for the year ending 28 February 1995.

Public Bodies

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what was the average number of days worked per week by the chairmen of each non- departmental public body sponsored by her Department.      [17353]

Mr. Boswell: The information requested is given in the following table:


                                             |Number of days                   

                                             |expected to be                   

                                             |worked per                       

                                             |week averaged                    

Non-departmental                             |over a year<1>                   

Public Body                                                                    

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Unit         |<2>0.25                          

Centre for Information on Language Teaching  |<2>0.1                           

Education Assets Board                       |3                                

Funding Agency for Schools                   |2                                

Further Education Unit                       |<2>1.7                           

Further Education Funding Council            |2                                

Higher Education Funding Council in England  |2                                

National Council for Education Technology    |<2>0.35                          

National Youth Agency                        |0.4                              

School Curriculum Assessment Authority       |2.5                              

Special Educational Needs Tribunal           |<3>2                             

Teacher Training Agency                      |1                                

University Commissioners                     |-                                

<1> Chairmen can often work for more days than is usually expected of them.    

<2> These chairmen are unpaid. The others are either paid or receive an        

honorarium.                                                                    

<3> The President of the SEN tribunal is appointed by the Lord Chancellor's    

Department.                                                                    

<4> The main body of work carried out by the commissioners ended in 1993-94.   

The chairman will work on an ad hoc basis until the residual work is           

completed.                                                                     

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what was the total number of staff employed by all non-departmental public bodies sponsored by her Department, including the National Council for Vocational Qualifications and Ofsted, for each year since 1987;      [17249]

(2) if she will list the names and most recent salaries and other emoluments of the chief executives and chairmen of the (a) National Youth Agency, (b) National Council for Vocational Qualifications, (c) National Council for Education Technology, (d) Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, (e) Education Assets Board, (f) School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, (g) teaching as a career unit, (h) Further Education Funding Council, (i) Higher Education Funding Council for England, (j) Funding Agency for Schools, (k) Teacher Training Agency and (i) Ofsted;      [17247]

(3) if she will give the total expenditure on the salaries and other emoluments of the chief executives and the chairmen of all non-departmental public bodies sponsored by her Department, including the National Council for Vocational Qualifications and Ofsted, for each year since 1987.      [17250]

Mr. Boswell: I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible with the information requested.

Mr. Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what are the total running costs of all non-departmental public bodies sponsored by her Department including the National Council for Vocational Qualifications and Ofsted for each year since 1987.      [17248]

Mr. Boswell: The National Council for Vocational Qualifications is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment.

I will write to the hon. Member with information on running costs of the non-departmental public bodies sponsored by this Department as soon as possible.

Grant-maintained Schools

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make a statement on future funding for grant-maintained schools.      [17984]

Mrs. Gillian Shephard: I am pleased to announce that the Government propose to introduce legislation amending the Education Act 1993 to allow


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grant-maintained schools to borrow from sources other than the Funding Agency for Schools. This measure opens the way for increased business investment in schools in accordance with the Government's private finance initiative. Local education authorities can already, within limits, borrow commercially and fund their school capital programmes from a mix of capital receipts, revenue monies and borrowing. GM schools are at present almost entirely dependent on central Government grant.

GM schools have expressed keen interest in the possibility of commercial borrowing. They have demonstrated that they are able to manage their own budgets effectively, and it is right that they should be able to benefit from the flexibility that such legislation will bring. Vital schools assets must of course be protected, and the new arrangements will provide for that.

Student Loans

Mr. Mills: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what factors led to the inclusion in the calculation of grants for mature students of student loans; and if she will make a statement.      [17220]

Mr. Boswell: The Education (Mandatory Awards) Regulations, which govern the payment of mandatory awards, require that account be taken of a student's income from all sources reduced by income tax and social security contributions. Student loans, however, are specifically disregarded for the purpose of calculating a student's income.

Schools Science Week

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is the cost to her Department of the Schools Science Week.      [17187]

Mr. Forth: None. Support for national science week is a matter for the Office of Science and Technology.

Special Needs

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans her Department has to increase resourcingfor the implementation of the special needs code ofpractice.      [17217]

Mr. Forth: The grant for education support and training programme in England in 1994 95 includes support of £5.6 million to enable schools to develop their policies for special educational needs in the light of the code of practice, and support of £3.7 million to enable LEAs to develop local parent-partnership schemes as recommended in the code of practice. These figures will be increased respectively to £10.2 million and £4 million, in 1995 96.

Statutory References

Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what statutory references to hon. Members have been made in the legislation introduced by her Department, or its predecessors, since 1965.      [17040]

Mr. Forth: It is extremely unlikely that the Education Acts contain any reference to an individual hon. Member. There are frequent statutory references to Parliament and to officers of state where functions are conferred upon them. Information on references to Parliament, individual


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hon. Members or officers of sate could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

References to the House of Commons, as opposed to references to Parliament or "either House of Parliament", are rare.

Teacher Quality (Universities)

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many university departments have failedto achieve a satisfactory rating for their teachingquality.      [16898]

Mr. Boswell: Under the assessment arrangements operated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, three university departments have failed to achieve a satisfactory rating for teaching quality out of over 600 assessments and one of those has subsequently been regraded as satisfactory on a follow up visit. over 99 per cent. of assessed provision is graded as satisfactory or better.

Padstow School

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) when she expects to notify the Nottinghamshire county council of her decision on the proposals for Padstow school published on 30 June 1994; and if she will make a statement;      [16664]

(2) when she expects to notify the Nottinghamshire county council of her decision on the proposals for Padstow school published on 30 June 1994; and if she will make a statement.      [16664]

Mr. Robin Squire: Nottinghamshire county council was notified in a letter dated 23 March that my right hon. Friend proposed to give grant- maintained status to Padstow comprehensive school and, subject to the governor's agreement to certain modifications, to reject the proposal published on 30 June 1994 to cease to maintain the school.

TREASURY

Balance of Trade

13. Mr. Bayley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about theUntied Kingdom's balance of trade and its effect on theeconomy.      [15287]

Mr. Aitken: Our balance of payments figures show a current account surplus of £2 billion in the last six months. Exports are growing by 13 per cent. These excellent results have contributed to the UK's gross domestic product growth of around 4 per cent.

Self-assessment for Tax

15. Ms Lynne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what evidence he has that payment on taxthrough self-assessment is likely to improve the taxcollection rate.      [15290]

Sir George Young: Tax collection should be streamlined by moving to a current year basis of assessment and through self-assessment by largely removing the lengthy process of estimated assessments and appeals.


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Private Finance Initiative

16. Mr. Mark Robinson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the contribution which the private finance initiative could make to (a) infrastructure and (b) other projects by the end of the decade.      [15291]

Sir George Young: My right hon. and learned Friend announced in his Budget speech that contracts leading to £5 billion worth of capital investment are due to be signed in 1995 under the PFI. He announced a further £1 billion of projects in January. Much more will follow as PFI becomes the procurement route of choice.

Tax Increases

17. Mr. Hanson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect on the economy of the direct and indirect tax rises announced in the 1994 Budget statement.      [15292]

Sir George Young: The tax changes announced in the 1994 Budget statement are expected to have a broadly neutral effect on the economy.

Direct Taxation

18. Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the effect on the economy of changes in the level of direct taxation since 1979; and if he will make a statement.      [15293]

Sir George Young: Since 1979, we have reduced the standard rate of income tax from 33p in the pound to 25p in the pound, and a loser rate of 20p in the pound now covers over 5 million people. We have also reduced the main corporation tax rate, from 52 per cent. to 33 per cent. These changes have improved incentives and helped the supply side.

Interest Rates

19. Mr. Miller: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what effect recent changes in interest rates have had on the economy.      [15294]

Mr. Nelson: The recent rises in interest rates are intended to ensure inflation remains under control and healthy economy recovery is sustained.

Alcohol Smuggling

20. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress Customs and Excise has made in the past 12 months in tackling cross-border smuggling of alcohol.      [15295]

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: Customs and Excise has continued to take vigorous action against those engaged in cross-border smuggling of alcohol. In the 12 months to 31 January 1995, it made 910 detections related to alcohol with a review value of £1,970,953.

Government Debt

21. Mr. Garnier: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the gross general Government debt as a percentage of gross domestic product for European Union member states in 1994 in descending order.      [15296]

Mr. Aitken: The information requested is shown in the following table. This shows that among EU member


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states, only Luxembourg has a lower debt-GDP ratio than the United Kingdom.


Gross general Government  

debt up to 1994 as a      

percentage of             

GDP                       

                          

--------------------------

Belgium           |140    

Italy             |124    

Greece            |121    

Ireland           |89     

Sweden            |79     

Netherlands       |79     

Denmark           |78     

Portugal          |70     

Finland           |70     

Spain             |64     

Austria           |65     

Germany           |51     

France            |50     

United Kingdom<1> |49     

Luxembourg        |9      

Source:                   

<1> End March 1995        

For UK, excessive         

deficits return 1 March   

1995; for other EU        

countries, European       

Commission Economic       

Forecast, November 1994.  

Personal Debt

22. Mr. Alton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the present level of personal debt in the United Kingdom.      [15297]

Mr. Nelson: At the end of December 1994, total personal sector debt was £523 billion. Personal sector financial assets were £1,645 billion.

Inheritance Tax

23. Mr. Nigel Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total amount of money raised via inheritance tax for the last year for which figures are available.      [15298]

Sir George Young: Net receipts of inheritance tax for the year ending March 1995 are provisionally estimated at £1,425 million.

Gaming Machines

24. Mr. Gunnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the income in 1995 96 from the tax on fruit machines and other game machines in public houses; and if this estimate takes into account the withdrawal of some machines as a result of his proposals.      [15299]

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The 1995 96 forecast for all betting and gaming duties in the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" is £1.2 billion. This figure takes account of policy measures announced in the Budget; there are no separate forecasts for the different duties.

Direct Taxation

25. Mr. Brandreth: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he had made of the effect on the economy of reductions in the levels of direct taxation since 1979; and if he will make a statement.      [15301]

Sir George Young: Since 1979, we have reduced the standard rate of income tax from 33p in the pound to 25p


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in the pound, and a lower rate of 2p in the pound now covers over 5 million people. We have also reduced the main corporation tax rate, from 52 per cent. to 33 per cent. These changes have improved incentives and helped the supply side.

Small Businesses

26. Sir Donald Thompson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the progress of measures to help small business announced in his November 1993 and 1994 Budgets.      [15302]

Mr. Aitken: The Government have taken action to implement all measures aimed at small businesses announced in the November 1993 and 1994 Budgets. Progress on the main measures is as follows:

Enterprise Investment Scheme

The scheme, announced in 1993 and enhanced in the 1994 Budget, has been implemented with effect from 1 January 1994. Early indications are that, on average, companies are raising £80,000 under the EIS and over 50 per cent. of EIS equity issues involve a business angel.

Venture Capital Trusts

The necessary legislation is expected to come into force from 6 April 1995 following Royal Assent.

Relaxation of audit requirements

In August 1994, regulations were introduced exempting most small companies with a turnover of up to £350,000 from the statutory requirement to have their annual accounts audited; companies with a turnover of up to £90,000 may dispense with audit altogether, while the remainder only need a simple report by an independent accountant.

Prompt payment

A package of measures aimed at improving payment performance in the public sector has now been implemented. The Government are also working with the business community through a CBI working group to develop proposals for a British standard for prompt payment; consulting on the implementation of a requirement on public companies to state their payment policies in their directors' reports and reviewing court systems and procedures for debt recovery. These measures are aimed at bringing about a change in business culture and hence, shorter payment times.

Insolvency reform

A further consultation paper will be issued shortly.

Financial Management Certificate

A consultation paper will be issued shortly.

Loan Guarantee Scheme

A consultation document was issued on 10 March.

Small businesses have also benefited from the various tax measures and refinements announced in these budgets and from the continuation of the scheme of transitional relief to ease the impact of the revaluation in business rates.

Feel-good Factor

27. Mr. Hain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of when the feel-good factor will permeate the economy.      [15303]

Mr. Kenneth Clarke: I believe that consumer confidence will strengthen as people come to feel more secure about their jobs and living standards. This will happen progressively through sustained economic growth, which Government policies are achieving.


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Privatised Utilities (Executive Pay)

28. Ms. Church: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what new proposal he has with regard to executive remuneration in the privatised utilities.      [15304]

Sir George Young: Remuneration is a matter for the companies and their shareholders. The Greenbury committee is reviewing best practice for companies and we will consider the need for any Government measures, if appropriate, in the light of its conclusions.

Funding Programme

Mr. Matthew Banks: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give details of the Government's funding programme for 1995 96.      [17875]


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