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Housing Stock

Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was, for each district and islands council area, the mid-1995 estimates of (a) the total housing stock, (b) the number of vacant dwellings and (c) the number of other non-effective housing stock. [10855]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson: The information requested is not yet available. Local authorities are being consulted about the estimates which should be finalised shortly.

Prison Visiting Committees

Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the members of the visiting committee to (a) Her Majesty's prison, Barlinnie, (b) Her Majesty's prison, Greenock and (c) Her Majesty's prison, Cornton Vale. [10856]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The information is set out in the table:

EstablishmentName
BarlinnieBaillie A. Adam
Ms Y. Anderson
Mr. J. Andrews
E. Divine
F. McAveety
A. McCartney
C. McDonach
R. McGarrity
Mrs. I. Graham
Ms V. Grandon (N/E)
S. Purcell (N/E)
Ms E. Smith (N/E)
I. Wilson (N/E)
R. Campbell
G. McElroy JP BA
Dr. C. Mason
R. McGerty
J. Shaw
R. Quinn
J. Anderson JP (N/E)
A. Devlin (N/E)
Mrs. S. Duke (N/E)
J. Gilleece (N/E)
Cornton ValeMs A. Dickson
Mrs. M. Brisley
Mrs. C. Cumming (N/E)
Ms A. Greasley (N/E)
A. Henderson (N/E)
J. Robertson (N/E)
Mrs. V. Simpson (N/E)
P. Kelly
Mrs. H.A. Livingston JP
Ms M. Pollack
Ms E. Taylor
Ms T. McNally (N/E)
Mrs. M. Smith (N/E)
Mrs. H. Wright (N/E)
GreenockMs C. Allan
A. Nimmo
J. O'Rourke
GreenockP. Arkely (N/E)
(Cont.)R. Jackson (N/E)
J. Thomson (N/E)
E. Gray
A. McGhee

(N/E) denotes non-elected member.


29 Jan 1996 : Column: 547

Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to modify the criteria by which persons are appointed to prison visiting committees; and if he will make a statement. [10857]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: My right hon. Friend has no such plans. He does not appoint members to visiting committees for adult prisons: they are appointed in terms of section 8(1) of the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1989 by local authorities prescribed by rules made under the Act.

Maintenance Orders

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many maintenance orders were pursued in each year in Scotland by him under schedule 2, section 6 of the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders (Hague Convention Countries) Order 1993. [12205]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The number of cases received each year since 5 April 1993, when the order came into force, is as shown in the table.

YearNumber
19932
19945
19955
1996 (to date)1
Total13

Glasgow Business Table Speech

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he first saw the press release of the speech he gave in Glasgow on Wednesday 17 January; and if he approved it before it was released to the press. [11950]

Mr. Forsyth: The press release was not approved by me but consisted of extracts from the speech which had been approved by me.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the names of those not employed in his Department who contributed to the drafting of his speech to the Glasgow Business Table. [11951]

Mr. Forsyth: Although I have advice and support from officials, my special adviser and, where necessary, others, my speeches are my responsibility and mine alone.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland at what hour and minute the original press release of the speech he gave to the meeting of the

29 Jan 1996 : Column: 548

Glasgow Business Table on 17 January was released; when it was withdrawn; and when the second draft of the press release was released. [11952]

Mr. Forsyth: I understand that the original press release started issuing at 10.30 am and the withdrawal and release of the second press release finished transmission at 12.49 pm.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what factors underlay his decision to withdraw the original press release of his speech to a meeting of the Glasgow business Table on 17 January. [11953]

Mr. Forsyth: The decision to withdraw the original press release was made by staff of the Scottish Office information directorate as soon as they realised that they had made an error.

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the compliance of his second press release on his speech to the Glasgow Business Table with the central Government conventions on publicity and advertising. [11948]

Mr. Forsyth: None. This is a matter in which I rely on official advice.

Ministerial Discussions

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) when he last met ministerial colleagues to discuss Cabinet Office guidelines on publicity and advertising; [11954]

Mr. Forsyth: Successive Administrations have declined to answer questions on discussions between Ministers or between Ministers and their official advisers.

Heart Surgery

Mr. Canavan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will take action to reduce the waiting times for patients who require heart surgery. [12428]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Since November 1994 a national guarantee has been in place which ensures that all adult patients who are referred for cardiac surgery receive it within 12 months. It is for the patient's clinician to determine clinical priority and of course patients requiring emergency or urgent treatment are seen much sooner than the 12-month limit. It is a matter for health boards to purchase the appropriate level of services to ensure that guarantees are met.

EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

Classroom Assistants

Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, pursuant to her answer of 19 December, Official Report, column 1019, what is her

29 Jan 1996 : Column: 549

estimate of the number of classroom assistants who work in a voluntary capacity, and if these were included in the figures given. [10525]

Mr. Robin Squire: Classroom assistants who work in a voluntary capacity were not included in the figures given. Information about unpaid education support staff is not collected centrally.

Waste Management and Recycling

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps she is taking to encourage sustainable waste management and recycling throughout her Department. [11179]

Mr. Robin Squire: The Department operates to a green environmental and energy strategy which as Green Minister I approved in October 1995. This includes guidelines and rules on the management of waste by careful procurement, by minimisation and by separation for recycling. The Employment Service follows a similar strategy, tailored to suit its national network of offices. Objectives and, where feasible, targets are set and progress is monitored.

Undergraduate Degrees

Mr. George: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans her Department has to lower the time spent on studying for an undergraduate degree to 18 months. [11895]

Mr. Forth: The length of individual degree courses is a matter for individual universities. The length of undergraduate courses generally will be considered in the context of the higher education review alongside other issues concerned with the effective use of public funds.

Pupil Numbers (Costs)

Mr. Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what will be the estimated cost of the projected increase in pupil numbers from April 1996 to March 1997. [11707]

Mr. Robin Squire: The latest available estimate shows a 1 per cent. increase in pupil numbers next year. How they are accommodated, and at what cost, will depend on decisions made by local education authorities and schools. The cost should be well within the 4.5 per cent. increase in provision for education made by the Government.

29 Jan 1996 : Column: 550

Student Grants

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Eduction and Employment if the calculation of a student's income for entitlement to a grant takes into account a mortgage held by the student. [11824]

Mr. Forth: Under the mandatory awards regulations, in assessing a student's income a local education authority has discretion to take account of payments made in pursuance of any obligation, such as a mortgage, incurred before the start of his course.


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