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Local Authorities (Severe Weather)

25. Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much additional financial help he has given to local authorities to deal with the problems caused by the recent severe weather. [10812]

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Mr. Kynoch: We have made it clear that we are prepared to consider sympathetically claims both for Bellwin scheme assistance and for additional capital consents. My officials are already working with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to gather detailed information on revenue costs. We have received, very recently, a number of initial requests for capital consent, but further information will be required before we can consider these. As soon as detailed claims are received, they will be considered as a matter of urgency.

School Buildings

26. Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the standard of school buildings; and if he will make a statement. [10813]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson: It is the responsibility of individual education authorities to maintain relevant information about their buildings.

Industrial Development

27. Sir Hector Monro: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the prospects for (a) industrial investment and (b) employment levels in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [10814]

Mr. Kynoch: The prospects for industrial investment and employment in Scotland remain excellent. Recent business survey evidence in Scotland confirms this. The Government's economic policies are providing the necessary conditions for investment and job creation--low interest rates, low taxation and low inflation within a climate of sound public finances.

Tree Diseases

29. Mr. Pawsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what Government grants are available for research into tree diseases; and what was the total expenditure on such grants in 1994-95. [10816]

Mr. Kynoch: Several Government Departments undertake or commission research into tree diseases, notably the Forestry Commission, and we also fund some projects by universities and other bodies. However, we do not offer grants specifically for forestry research. Our expenditure on research into tree diseases in 1994-95 amounted to £1.3 million.

Scottish Parliament

30. Mr. Nigel Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received about the costs of a Scottish Parliament. [10817]

Mr. Michael Forsyth: I have been made aware on numerous occasions of the deep-rooted apprehension felt by Scots about the costs that a Scottish Parliament would place upon them.

Angling

31. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he next expects to meet representatives of the hotel and tourist industry to discuss projects to improve angling in Scotland. [10818]

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Mr. Raymond S. Robertson: I recognise fully the importance of angling to the Scottish hotel and tourist industry but have no plans at present to meet the industry to discuss angling.

Housing (Edinburgh)

32. Mr. Chisholm: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will meet the Edinburgh Tenants Federation to discuss housing needs in Edinburgh. [10819]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson: My right hon. Friend and I have no plans for such a meeting. Meeting housing needs in Edinburgh is a matter for Edinburgh district council in the first instance. However, the federation has been offered a meeting with officials of my Department, if it wishes.

Fire Services (Strathclyde)

33. Mr. Ingram: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the chief firemaster of Strathclyde regional council to discuss operational matters; and if he will make a statement. [10820]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: My right hon. Friend last met the firemaster of Strathclyde fire brigade, in his capacity as chairman of the Scottish district of the Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers Association, on 25 September 1995. A number of operational and other matters were discussed.

Private Finance Initiative

34. Mr. Robert G. Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what policies he is pursuing to expand PFI activities in Scotland. [10822]

Mr. Kynoch: Private sector alternatives must be fully considered for all capital spending for which the Scottish Office is responsible before public finance is made available. I have recently strengthened the private finance unit in the Scottish Office in order to help local authorities, in particular, take full advantage of the PFI.

Rutherglen Maternity Hospital

35. Mr. McAvoy: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recommendation he has had from Greater Glasgow health board about the future of Rutherglen maternity hospital. [10823]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Greater Glasgow health board has recommended that Rutherglen maternity hospital should close once replacement maternity services are available from a purpose-built maternity unit at Glasgow royal infirmary. The recommendation is being considered along with others in the acute and maternity services strategy, submitted by Greater Glasgow health board to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, on 20 December 1995.

Lothian Electric Machines, Haddington

Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many redundancies have been notified by Lothian Electric Machines of Haddington for the eight months to the end of March 1996; what discussions he has had with IBM about the decision to transfer the

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manufacture of computer keyboards from Scotland to the far east; and if he will make a statement. [10838]

Mr. Kynoch: During the period in question, Lothian Electric Machines of Haddington notified the Department of Employment of 273 redundancies. Decisions by IBM about the sourcing of its purchases are of course a matter for the company, but the hon. Gentleman should be aware that Scottish Enterprise works closely with indigenous companies and major original equipment manufacturers--OEMs--across a range of industrial sectors to improve the competitiveness of local suppliers and, as a result, increase overall the proportion of purchases made by these OEMs from Scottish companies. These sourcing and business development activities have proved highly successful. Scottish Enterprise's manufacturing services group is available to discuss with Lemac what assistance can be made available.

Unemployment (East Lothian)

Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the current level of unemployment in east Lothian; what will be the impact of redundancies notified by Lemac of Haddington; and if he will consult the East Lothian council and Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise Ltd. about action to create jobs in east Lothian. [10837]

Mr. Kynoch: In December 1995, there were 844 people--5.8 per cent. of the work force--in the Haddington travel-to-work area who were registered as unemployed or claiming benefit. If the redundancies notified by Lemac take place, there will be a further 73 indirect and induced job losses in the Haddington travel-to-work area. Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise Ltd. has arranged an early meeting with the company to discuss the retraining of staff who are made redundant, and to discuss the scope for assisting towards product development by the company. I understand that those affected by these redundancies will be eligible for immediate entry for training for work support.

Public Authority Dwellings (Sales)

Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list for each district and island council, for each of the years between 1979-80 and 1994-95 the number of sales of public authority dwellings which were not owned by new towns, Scottish Homes or fell within district and islands councils' housing revenue account; and if he will indicate for each year and each district or island area to which public organisation the dwellings belonged. [10854]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson [holding answer 29 January 1996]: Since the available information--which covers dwellings owned by district, islands and regional authorities, but not Government Departments--is rather lengthy, I have arranged for it to be sent to the hon. Member. A copy is also being placed in the Library.

Interdicts

Mr. Connarty: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many interdicts are currently in force to prevent a parent in Scotland from approaching his or her children. [12395]

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Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: This information is not collected centrally.

North Lanarkshire Council

Mr. David Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to receive the report of the inquiry into the appointment procedures of North Lanarkshire council. [13419]

Mr. Michael Forsyth: I received Mr. MacLeod's report on 25 January. I am grateful to him for a comprehensive report which has been completed within a very short period. I am placing copies in the House Library today.

Mr. MacLeod's report concludes that the North Lanarkshire council has not failed to comply with the requirements of section 7 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 to appoint staff solely on merit and no further action is required by me.


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