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Classic Vehicles

Sir Irvine Patnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motor vehicles over 25 years of age are currently registered in the Sheffield area. [5243]

Mr. Norris: An estimated 18,250 vehicles over 25 years of age are currently licensed in the Sheffield post town area. Of these, 11,550 are in private and light goods, motorcycle or tricycle taxation classes and will qualify for exemption from vehicle excise duty as a result of the vehicle taxation changes announced in the Budget on 28 November 1995.

London Regional Transport Smart Card

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with London Transport in respect of the design of the smart card currently being considered by London Regional Transport with particular reference to data protection matters. [5339]

Mr. Norris: None.

Data Protection Act Certificates

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what occasions certificates under section 27 of the

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Data Protection Act 1984 were signed by a member of his Department; for how long each certificate was valid; if he will make a statement on the other circumstances in which vehicle owner records or driver licence details can be used for the purpose of safeguarding national security; to what extent circumstances will extend to the digitised form of the photograph on the new driving licence; and if he will make a statement. [5340]

Mr. Norris: Certificates under section 27 of the Data Protection Act 1984 must be signed by a member of the Cabinet or the Attorney-General or the Lord Advocate. The Secretary of State for Transport has not signed such a certificate. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is registered under the Act.

I also refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave him on 25 January 1995, Official Report, column 367.

Official Hospitality

Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on official hospitality in 1994-95 and the financial year to date; and what is the 1995-96 projected budget for official hospitality. [5579]

Mr. Norris: The Department of Transport, excluding its agencies, spent £127,247 on official hospitality in 1994-95. The overall budget for 1995-96, which now also includes some non-entertainment costs such as those for eyesight test for VDU users, is £202,524, of which £84,351 has so far been spent.

Ministerial Offices

Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on furnishing and decorating ministerial offices in his Department in each of the last three years. [5562]

Sir George Young: The annual costs for the Department of Transport are as follows:



Figures exclude VAT.

(1) To date. The Department moved to new premises in 1995.


Special Educational Needs Tribunal

Mr. Lester: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when the first annual report of the president of the special educational needs tribunal will be published; and if she will make a statement. [5845]

Mrs. Gillan: The report has been published today, and copies have been placed in the Library.

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I very much welcome the report which shows that, during its first year of operation, the special educational needs tribunal has met the targets it was set for dealing with appeals. This is an excellent start.

The SEN tribunal president, staff and members have worked very hard and have achieved a great deal during the year. This has been achieved despite extreme and unexpected pressure--the tribunal has done well to adapt to meet this. The report is a tribute to their hard work.

The tribunal has been very well received by both parents and local education authorities. It has gained a deserved reputation for impartiality, informality and, above all, fairness. This is something which I applaud.

This is an excellent base on which to build. I hope the tribunal will continue the excellent work it has begun.

Supported Employment (Disabled People)

Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what studies her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated of the net Exchequer costs of moving disabled persons off benefits and on to supported placement schemes; if she will list the (a) calculations and (b) conclusions contained in these studies; and if she will estimate the costs involved in respect of Remploy's employees.[4691]

Mr. Paice: A 1989 study "The Net Exchequer Costs of Sheltered Employment" examined these issues. It is available in the Library. More recently, the Department has commissioned a study by the Welsh Centre for Learning Disabilities to look at the effectiveness of supported employment agencies, which among other things will revisit some of the issues of the earlier study. This study has not yet been completed, and we will consider its findings in due course.

Standard Spending Assessments

Sir Peter Emery: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the average standard spending assessment provision for (a) primary pupils and (b) secondary pupils in each English county in 1995-96 and 1996-97, in current prices.[4919]

Mr. Robin Squire: The table sets out each English shire authority's education standard spending assessment per five to 10-year-old and per 11 to 15-year-old for the relevant years in cash terms. The figures for 1996-97 are provisional.

SSA per pupil (5-10) SSA per pupil (11-15)
LEA name££££
East Sussex2,0002,0432,6722,730
Hereford and Worcester 1,827 1,914 2,439 2,558
Isle of Wight Council 2,016 2,070 2,696 2,757
North Yorkshire(2) 1,827 n/a 2,422 n/a
West Sussex1,9321,9872,5712,649

(2) LEAs that ceases to exist on 1 April 1996 as a result of Local

Government Reorganisation.

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Discretionary Awards (Dance and Drama Students)

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is her most recent estimate of the number of local education authorities that do not make discretionary awards to students of dance and drama. [4957]

Mr. Forth: Discretionary awards are a matter for local education authorities. The Department does not collect data on the discretionary awards policies of individual authorities.

Class Sizes

Mr. Heppell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what consideration has been given to health and safety issues in the context of increases in class size. [5286]

Mrs. Gillan: Local education authorities and school governors have a general duty to ensure that school premises are safe. They will obviously want to bear that duty in mind in considering how to accommodate any increase in pupil numbers.

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