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Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Trust chairmen are expected to commit two to three days per week to trust work.


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Temporary Teachers

Ms. Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list for each of the past five years, the number of (a) teachers and (b) auxiliary school staff in Scotland who are employed on a temporary basis, also expressing the data as a percentage of the total numbers in each respective staff group.      [17763]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The information requested on the number and percentage of teachers employed on a temporary basis in Scottish education authority schools for the years which data are available in the most recent five-year period is as follows:


                  |Number (full time|Percentage of all                  

Year at September |equivalents)     |teachers                           

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

1990              |1,838            |3.7                                

1992              |1,942            |3.9                                

These figures include teachers employed in nursery, primary, secondary and special schools. Figures for years subsequent to 1992 are not yet available.

Information is not held centrally in respect of auxiliary school staff employed on a temporary basis.

Higher Education Institutions

Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those higher education institutions which are discussing private finance for upgrading or developing facilities with private sector firms; and which firms are involved in these discussions.      [17474]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Higher education institutions are free to enter into discussions on private finance with the private sector as they consider appropriate. The names of the institutions or the private sector firms involved are matters of commercial confidence to the institutions concerned.

Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he intends to refuse to approve any capital projects in higher or further education unless private finance options have been explored.      [17473]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: We would expect institutions to consider the private finance option. However, projects may proceed to procurement without a private finance option being considered if it is clear that transfer of control and risk is not feasible. It is for the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council to approve capital projects in higher education using criteria based on guidance issued by the Secretary of State.

Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will provide a list of those invited to attend the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council conference on the private finance initiative; and what specific developments, if any, arise from this conference.      [17472]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council was responsible for organising the conference on the private finance initiative. Attendance was not by invitation but by application. I have asked the funding council to write to the hon. Member and provide details of those who attended.

It is now for higher education institutions and the business community to decide on the feasibility of specific developments.


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Highland Railway Services

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will place in the Library a copy of the social and economic assessments which he has made over the impact of proposed rail service changes to the highlands.      [17751]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Responsibility for the railways rests with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport. No such assessments have been undertaken by the Scottish Office.

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will place in the Library a copy of all representations, which he has received from Highlands and Islands Enterprise since autumn 1994, in respect of rail connections to the highlands.      [17752]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise wrote to me on 22 March about sleeper services to Fort William and Motorail services. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library of the House.

Racial Incidents

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many racial incidents have been recorded in Scotland in each year since 1991.      [17858]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The numbers of racial incidents recorded by the police in Scotland in each year since 1991 are as follows:

1991: 678

1992: 663

1993: 756

1994: 791

Prisoners (Ethnic Minorities)

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of the (a) male and (b) female prison population in Scotland are from ethnic minority groups.      [17859]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The subject of this question relates to matters undertaken by the Scottish Prison Service. I have asked its chief executive, Mr. E. W. Frizzell, to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from D. A. Stewart to Mr. Jimmy Wray, dated 3 April 1995:

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton has asked the Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service, Mr. E. W. Frizzell, to reply to your Question about the percentage of the male and female prison population in Scotland from ethnic minority groups. I am replying in his absence.

Information on the ethnic origin of persons received into Scottish penal establishments has not been collected. The new Scottish Prison Service Prisoner Records Database which is currently being implemented across the Service, however, will enable us to provide such information after the Summer.

NHS Staff

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list for each of the past five years, the number of NHS staff in Scotland who are employed on a temporary basis, breaking the data down into (a) nursing and midwifery staff, (b) medical and dental staff, (c) ambulance staff, (d) ancillary staff and (e) managers and


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administrative staff, also expressing the data as a percentage of the total numbers in each respective staff group.      [17758]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Statistics on the number of NHS staff in Scotland employed on a temporary basis are not maintained centrally.

Water Authorities and Customers Council

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many applications he has received for membership of (a) the three new water authorities and (b) the consumer bodies; when he expects to announce the full membership of each of them; and if he will make a statement.      [17301]

Mr. Kynoch [holding answer 30 March 1995]: We have received 759 applications for membership of the new water authorities; 384 for membership of the Customers Council; and 103 for chairmanship of the Customers Council.

Membership will be announced in the late spring or early summer.

Dental Services

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list the total number of patients in Scotland registered with a dentist; and what was the number of patients that ceased to be registered with a dentist for each financial year since 1985 86;      [15539]

(2) if he will list for each health board area in Scotland the number of patients registered with a dentist and the number of patients who ceased to be registered with a dentist for each financial year since 1985 86.      [15540]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 23 March 1995]: Registration of patients with a dentist was introduced in October 1990. Patients may cease to be registered with a dentist for a number of reasons, including lapse of registration owing to non-attendance, transfer to another dentist, agreement between patient and dentist to enter private arrangements, or decision by a dentist no longer to provide NHS treatment to a patient. Patients whose registration lapses may subsequently register with the same or another dentist and cannot be separately identified. The information available is shown in the tables.


Table 1: Dental patients registered at 31 March-by health board in                     

Scotland                                                                               

                       Financial year                                                  

Health board          |1990-91     |1991-92     |1992-93     |1993-94                  

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

Scotland              |1,710,947   |2,502,684   |2,548,095   |2,514,816                

                                                                                       

Argyll and Clyde      |146,481     |213,990     |212,219     |207,647                  

Ayrshire and Arran    |170,743     |221,072     |200,998     |198,376                  

Borders               |38,118      |52,771      |53,897      |53,238                   

Dumfries and Galloway |50,535      |74,290      |71,220      |68,292                   

Fife                  |116,263     |167,285     |171,475     |170,690                  

Forth Valley          |84,505      |129,146     |133,441     |131,571                  

Grampian              |175,734     |246,479     |259,362     |260,173                  

Greater Glasgow       |296,476     |458,557     |474,592     |464,351                  

Highland              |69,124      |102,894     |99,161      |92,670                   

Lanarkshire           |150,452     |233,418     |242,743     |240,001                  

Lothian               |252,816     |374,659     |389,764     |385,702                  

Orkney                |3,535       |5,525       |7,267       |7,961                    

Shetland              |4,710       |7,034       |7,004       |7,823                    

Tayside               |146,881     |207,270     |216,441     |217,565                  

Western Isles         |4,574       |8,294       |8,511       |8,756                    


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Table 2: Dental patient registrations ended prematurely<1>-by health                   

board in Scotland                                                                      

                       Financial year                                                  

Health board          |1990-91     |1991-92     |1992-93     |1993-94                  

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

Scotland              |<2>n/a      |3,027       |11,336      |15,391                   

                                                                                       

Argyll and Clyde      |n/a         |338         |1,208       |426                      

Ayrshire and Arran    |n/a         |236         |1,264       |1,050                    

Borders               |n/a         |69          |286         |1,531                    

Dumfries and Galloway |n/a         |92          |3,791       |3,025                    

Fife                  |n/a         |133         |217         |1,172                    

Forth Valley          |n/a         |156         |298         |301                      

Grampian              |n/a         |227         |719         |335                      

Greater Glasgow       |n/a         |563         |475         |1,500                    

Highland              |n/a         |255         |132         |2,393                    

Lanarkshire           |n/a         |170         |563         |340                      

Lothian               |n/a         |474         |2,216       |3,178                    

Orkney                |n/a         |66          |2           |0                        

Shetland              |n/a         |16          |0           |5                        

Tayside               |n/a         |273         |165         |128                      

Western Isles         |n/a         |4           |0           |7                        

<1> Registrations ended prematurely either by dentist without patient's agreement, or  

by agreement between dentist and patient. This does not include registrations which    

lapse because the patient does not re-attend during the registration, or registrations 

which end automatically when the patient registers with another dentist.               

<2> n/a = not available.                                                               

SOCIAL SECURITY

Fraud

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what he estimates is the value of extra alternative benefits claimed by recipients of fraud savings and of the extra benefit entitlement in cases where there were no fraud savings.      [16164]

Mr. Arbuthnot: The information requested is not available.

Mrs. Beckett: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if statistics kept by his Department on fraud savings include savings arising from non-fraudulent irregularities; what is his estimate of such non- fraudulent savings; and if he will make a statement.      [16163]

Mr. Arbuthnot: Statistics kept by the Department on fraud savings do not include savings arising from non-fraudulent irregularities.

Retirement Pensions Forecasting Unit

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what account he has taken in conducting a market test of his Department's retirement pensions forecasting unit of the proposed pensions legislation currently before Parliament.      [16983]

Mr. Arbuthnot: The effect of the changes proposed by the Pensions Bill on the work of the Benefits Agency's retirement pensions forecasting unit will be taken fully into account when deciding on the feasibility of a market test.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will instigate an urgent inquiry to advise on the security implications of ensuring that private firms do not have direct or indirect access to the confidential national insurance information handled by the retirement pensions forecasting unit, in connection with the market testing exercise.      [16984]


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Mr. Arbuthnot: The study into the feasibility of market testing the work of the retirement pensions forecasting unit will take the security of confidential information fully into account.

Market Testing

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what information he has on the number of staff years allocated since 1992 to his Departmental market testing programme.      [16978]

Mr. Roger Evans: This Department has allocated some 306 staff years in support of the market testing programme since 1992.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what delays there have been to the commencement of contracts let to the private sector, following the market testing of accommodation and office services; and if he will make a statement.      [16959]

Mr. Roger Evans: This Department has awarded 23 accommodation and office services contracts to external contractors as part of the "Competing for Quality" initiative. Of the five that were subject to minor delays, three were at the request of the Department.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which firms have requested and received permission to delay the commencement of the provision of contracted-out services to his Department; and what were (a) the reasons for each delay and (b) the financial penalties imposed on each firm.      [16960]

Mr. Roger Evans: Two companies have requested and received permission to delay the provision of some accommodation and office services to the Benefits Agency. Procord and BET both experienced unexpected staffing difficulties and payments have been adjusted accordingly.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what extra costs his Department incurred over the past 12 months as a result of private sector companies that were unable to provide contracted-out services at the scheduled contract start date.      [16961]

Mr. Roger Evans: None. The prices for five contracts have been adjusted to take account of minor delays.

Pensions (Overseas Residents)

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the cost of uprating the retirement pensions payable to present or former United Kingdom citizens living in those countries where uprating has not hitherto been payable (a) to restore them to the level at which the pension would have been payable if they had remained resident in the United Kingdom (i) with and (ii) without full backdated payments and (b) as if the only uprating payable to them since leaving the United Kingdom were that coming into payment in the current year; and if he will estimate separate totals in each case for British pensioners resident in (1) Australia, (2) Canada and (3) New Zealand.      [17344]


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Mr. Arbuthnot: Such information as is available is in the table:


£ millions                                                                          

                     |(a) Estimated cost  |(b) Estimated cost                       

                     |of                  |of                                       

                     |paying fully indexed|paying April 1994                        

Country              |pensions            |uprating only                            

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

Australia            |110                 |7                                        

Canada               |60                  |4                                        

New Zealand          |20                  |2                                        

Rest of the world    |45                  |3                                        

Total                |235                 |16                                       

Notes:                                                                              

1. The estimated costs relate to all state retirement and widow pensioners living   

abroad whose benefits are not uprated. Separate figures are not available on the    

cost of uprating benefits only for retirement pensioners or those who are, or were, 

citizens of the United Kingdom.                                                     

2. An estimate of the cost of backdating payments to make good upratings forgone in 

the past is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.      

Invalidity Benefit

Mr. Dewar: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many (a) men and (b) women opted to remain on invalidity benefit on reaching retirement age in the latest year for which figures are available;      [17347]

(2) how many (a) men and (b) women over the age of retirement are in receipt of invalidity benefit at the latest date for which figures are available.      [17346]

Mr. Hague: The available information is in the tables.


Table 1: The number  

of recipients who    

reached pension age  

in the               

year ending 3 April  

1993 who opted to    

remain on invalidity 

benefit and were     

receiving invalidity 

benefit on 3 April   

1993                 

Gender |Number       

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

Men    |53,000       

Women  |14,000       

Notes:               

1. Based on a 1 per  

cent. sample of      

claims rounded to    

the nearest          

thousand.            

2. The figures       

exclude people who   

reached pension age  

in the year ending 3 

April 1993 but whose 

claim to invalidity  

benefit terminated   

before the end of    

that year.           


Table 2: The number of  

people over retirement  

age receiving           

Invalidity Benefit on 3 

April 1993              

Gender  |Number         

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

Men     |229,000        

Women   |53,000         

Note:                   

Based on a 1 per cent.  

sample of claims        

rounded to the nearest  

thousand.               

Child Support

Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he intends to meet the chief executive of the Child Support Agency to discuss the release of personal details about Marc Calder of Plymouth;      [17094]


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(2) if he will make a statement concerning the release of the personal details of Mr. Marc Calder from Plymouth to a local newspaper by the Child Support Agency in Plymouth; and what action he proposes to take.      [17096]

Mr. Burt: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has been kept fully appraised of the incident but has no plans to meet the chief executive of the Child Support Agency on the matter. I understand that the agency immediately instigated an investigation into the incident and as a result a member of staff at the Plymouth Child Support Agency centre was suspended from duty the same day pending further inquiries. Staff disciplinary action is a confidential matter between management, personnel and the member of staff involved. At this stage of the investigation, I cannot provide the hon. Member with any further details of this case which would not breach that confidentiality.

Public Information Telephone Service

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the public information telephone inquiry lines operated by his Department, in each case indicating the costs of establishing, operating and publicising these lines and the number of calls made to them up until this point; when they were established; and what assessment his Department has made of their effectiveness.      [17458]

Mr. Hague: The full information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The available information is as follows.

The public inquiry office is available to members of the public at national call rate. The number of calls taken from January to December 1994 was 86,355. This service is monitored routinely to establish how many incoming calls are presented to the system; the number answered and the average waiting time for answers. This line is not intended to provide a full public enquiry service for the Department, only for members of the public who need to contact the administrative headquarters in London. Other public information lines are available in the Department's agencies, as follows:


                                 |January-December                 

                                 |1994                             

                                 |Calls handled                    

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

Benefits agency                                                    

Freeline                         |2,688,000                        

Benefit inquiry line             |930,000                          

Family credit advice line        |2,173,000                        

Disability living allowance line |2,206,000                        

Pensions advice line, introduced                                   

  June 1994                      |60,392                           

An assessment of effectiveness is included as part of a national customer service survey undertaken on behalf of the Benefits Agency by Public Attitudes Survey Ltd. It is intended that this will continue annually.


                                          |January-December                 

                                          |1994                             

                                          |Calls handled                    

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

Contributions agency                                                        

Social security advice line for employers |240,000                          

Independent research has predicted the demand for this service will increase by 30 per cent. during the next two years.


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                                 |January-December                                                 

                                 |1994                                                             

                                 |Calls handled                                                    

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

War pensions agency                                                                                

War pensions help line           |Approximately 600,000 calls                                      

                                 |  since start up in January 1992                                 

A customer perception survey started six months after set up has been started on a rolling basis to assess customer satisfaction.


l

                                    |January-December                                                       

                                    |1994                                                                   

                                    |Calls handled                                                          

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

Child support agency                                                                                        

National inquiry line               |356,569 calls answered since June                                      

                                    |1994 when a centralised service was                                    

                                    |established. This was previously                                       

                                    |administered from individual agency                                    

                                    |centres.                                                               

TRANSPORT

Sleeper and Motorail Services

16. Mr. Robert G. Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had on the future of sleeper and Motorail services from Scotland; and if he will make a statement.      [15705]

Mr. Watts: My right hon. Friend and I have had a number of discussions about Anglo-Scottish sleeper and Motorail services with, among others, the franchising director, the chairman of British Railways Board, and the Central Rail Users Consultative Committee.

Ship Crew Safety

17. Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has to modify the legislation and regulations governing the occupational safety of the crews of both United Kingdom registered merchant vessels and fishing vessels.      [15706]

Mr. Norris: Domestic legislation governing the occupational safety of crews in United Kingdom merchant ships and fishing vessels is under continuous review through the Marine Safety Agency. In addition, further modification to United Kingdom legislation is being undertaken through the implementation of EU directives in consultation with the shipping and fishing industries.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link

18. Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will authorise the fast rail link between (a) the channel tunnel and London, (b) the channel tunnel and Scotland, (c) the channel tunnel and the north of England and (d) the channel tunnel and Wales.      [15707]

Mr. Watts: The construction of the channel tunnel rail link between the channel tunnel and the London terminus at St. Pancras will be authorised by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill when it becomes law.

The rail link will provide access for direct international trains to Wales, Scotland and the north of England and also convenient connections to domestic services to those countries and regions.

Rail Franchises

19. Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he last met the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising to discuss the award of franchises; and if he will make a statement.      [15709]


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Dr. Mawhinney: I last met the franchising director to discuss franchising on Wednesday 22 March. I welcome his recent announcement that 37 organisations have applied to pre-qualify for the first group of eight franchises. This is a vote of confidence in railway privatisation.

Public Transport, London

21. Mr. Carrington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans next to meet the chairman of London Transport to discuss improvements to public transport in London.      [15711]

Mr. Norris: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I meet the chairman of London Transport regularly to discuss a variety of issues including improvements to LT's services.

M1

22. Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to complete the lighting of the M1.      [15712]

Mr. Watts: Current plans are to light a total of 155 miles of the M1.

Railway Station Platforms (Accessibility)

23. Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many railway stations in Britain have platforms which need raising to allow access totrains for wheelchair users or others with mobilitydifficulties.      [15713]

Mr. Norris: The information requested is not available. Facilities for disabled passengers vary from station to station. Government proposals to improve accessibility at stations for disabled passengers are included in the Disability Discrimination Bill, published in January.

Rail Services

25. Mr. Hain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the future of rail services in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) Wales.      [15715]

Dr. Mawhinney: Railway privatisation can be expected to bring benefits to Wales as well as other parts of the United Kingdom by delivering better services more closely attuned to customers' needs.

Seat Belts

26. Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his estimate of the cost to local education authorities of introducing seat belts and other safety requirements pertaining to the transportation of children, as stipulated in the draft regulations announced on 15 March.      [15716]

Mr. Norris: Costs to individual local authorities have been taken into account in the local government settlement for 1995 96.

Motorway Facilities

Mr. Brandreth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has to improve the standards and frequency of rest and recreation facilities on motorways; and if he will make a statement.      [15694]


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Mr. Watts: In 1992 we deregulated the provision of new motorway service areas with the aim of providing more services more quickly.

British Rail

Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many parts of British Rail have been sold since November 1993.      [15714]

Mr. Watts: Since November 1993, sales of the following British Rail businesses have been completed:

Meldon Quarry

Special Trains Unit.

In addition, since November 1993 British Rail has offered for sale some 20 other businesses, the sales of which are now under way.


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