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School Improvement Index Initiative

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the schools which received awards under the voluntary school improvement index initiative; and if he will make a statement about the factors which were significant in accounting for their success. [38881]

Mr. Jonathan Evans: The school improvement index is a Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales initiative sponsored by the Midland bank. It is part of our "Bright Future" programme which, among other things, encourages all schools in Wales to set targets for improved performance, year on year.

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Awards are made on an area and national basis to those participating schools with the most improved GCSE results over the last three years. The award winners for 1995 were;


Closed Circuit Television

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much money his Department contributed towards each of the projects which were successful in the closed circuit television competition; and what percentage this was of the total cost of each project. [38876]

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The majority of funds for the closed circuit television competition were provided by the Home Office. From the Department, additional money was provided so that seven school-only bids, which would not otherwise have been successful, could also be funded.

Highways

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much in (a) cash (b) real terms each highway authority spent on (i) highway maintenance and (ii) road safety improvements. [38884]

Mr. Gwilym Jones: Information on expenditure by local highway authorities is published each year by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy in Highway and Transportation Statistics. Expenditure by my right hon. Friend on trunk roads in Wales is detailed in the Welsh Office departmental report (Cm 3215). Copies of these publications are available in the Library of the House.

Education and Training

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 16 July, Official Report, column 426, if he will list those applications for education and training funds from the European Union of which he has been informed. [39018]

Mr. Jonathan Evans: I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible and place a copy of my reply in the Library of the House.

Food Strategy

Mr. Sweeney: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what measures he is taking to monitor the progress of a food strategy for Wales. [39333]

Mr. Hague: The food strategy advisory group which I set up in March will continue to meet on a regular basis in order to monitor the implementation of the strategy.

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Planning Inspectorate

Mr. Sweeney: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what performance targets he has set for the Planning Inspectorate agency's work in Wales for the financial year 1996-97. [39334]

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The key objectives for the agency in 1996-97 continue to be to preserve the impartiality and quality of the inspectorate's work while seeking further to improve its efficiency. I have set the following key targets for the agency's work in Wales, in particular the timeliness target has been extended to include the three different methods of hearing appeals:


DUCHY OF LANCASTER

Millennium Exhibition

11. Mr. Spearing: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer of 24 June, Official Report, column 10, on the millennium exhibition if he will make a statement on the outcome of his work with Sir Peter Levene. [36791]

The Deputy Prime Minister: Many leading companies have already pledged their support for the millennium exhibition. Sir Peter is continuing discussions with other interested concerns, and encouraging progress is being made.

Civil Servants

12. Sir David Knox: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many civil servants were employed by the Government and by Government agencies at the most recent count; and what was the figure in May 1979. [36792]

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Mr. Willetts: In 1979, when we came to office, there were 735,000 civil servants. There are now 494,000: a fall of 33 per cent.

Deregulation

13. Mr. Flynn: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what new proposals he has to reduce harmful effects arising from deregulation. [36793]

Mr. Freeman: I am satisfied that deregulation does not diminish necessary protection whether for consumers, employees, or the environment. The Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 includes safeguards to ensure that any necessary protection under existing legislation is maintained.

25. Mr. Steen: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the work undertaken by (a) the deregulation task force and (b) the deregulation unit in the last 12 months; and what has been the cost to the public purse of each. [36806]

Mr. Freeman: The deregulation task force's first report recorded its work up to September 1995 and its programme for the following 12 months. A copy is available in the House Library. The work of the deregulation unit is shown in the Cabinet Office departmental report published as Cm 3220 in March 1996. Direct expenditure, excluding overheads, for the deregulation task force and the deregulation unit for 1995-96 was £14,700 and £1,480,600 respectively.

Government Policy

15. Mr. Pike: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what have been the main changes he has made to the presentation of Government policy. [36795]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I chair the Ministerial Committee on the Co-ordination and Presentation of Government Policy. The committee considers all aspects of presentation and works to ensure that the Government take every opportunity to emphasise the benefits of their policies for the UK.

21. Mr. Winnick: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what was the principal Government policy with which he was concerned in the week beginning 8 July. [36802]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I have continued to work on a full range of those Government policies for which I am responsible.

New Policies

16. Mr. Ainger: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what percentage of his Department's time is spent in developing new policies for other Departments of state.[36796]

Mr. Willetts: None. However, the work of the Office of Public Service impacts across all Government Departments because it promotes competitiveness, deregulation, improving standards in public services and greater efficiency and effectiveness throughout the civil service.

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Policy Initiatives

17. Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the three policy initiatives which will constitute his Department's priorities for the next six months. [36798]

Mr. Willetts: The priorities for the Office of Public Service will be to promote the competitiveness agenda, the deregulation initiative and the effective administration of the services for which the Department is responsible.

24. Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the three policy initiatives to which his Department has devoted most resources since the creation of his office. [36805]

Mr. Willetts: The priorities for the Office of Public Service have been to promote the competitiveness agenda, the deregulation initiative and the effective administration of the services for which the Department is responsible.


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