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Competitiveness

18. Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures he is taking to promote competitiveness. [36799]

The Deputy Prime Minister: The wide range of measures we are taking to promote competitiveness are set out in the 1996 competitiveness White Paper published last month.

23. Mr. William O'Brien: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what proposals he has to help small businesses improve their competitiveness; and if he will make a statement. [36804]

Mr. Willetts: The wide range of measures we are taking to help small firms are set out in the 1996 competitiveness White Paper. The benefits of our approach are clear. More than a million new businesses have been created since 1979, and our small businesses are more optimistic than their European counterparts: 70 per cent. of UK businesses expect to increase turnover this year, compared with less than half on the continent.

28. Mr. Dykes: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his latest assessments of the impact of his competitiveness campaign. [36810]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I believe that our annual analysis of the UK's competitive position, through the competitiveness White Papers, is now widely accepted, and having an increasing impact on national performance. The 1996 White Paper, published last month, has been widely welcomed by business, including the Confederation of British Industry, the Engineering Employers Federation and the Institute of Directors.

Private Finance Initiative

19. Mr. Alan W. Williams: To ask the Deputy Prime Minster if he will make a statement on his responsibilities in respect of the promotion of the private finance initiative. [36800]

Mr. Freeman: The central IT unit, which reports to me, is responsible for advising Departments, HM Treasury and agencies on the best application of the private finance initiative in the provision of information technology-based services.

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Small Businesses

20. Mr. Hunter: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a further statement on the measures he is taking to deregulate the activities of small businesses. [36790]

Mr. Freeman: We are pressing ahead with the package of new measures for small business announced at the "Your Business Matters" conference on 11 March. These include a draft Bill on industrial tribunals, a single notification point for tax and national insurance, and new rights for business in enforcement actions.

Food Industry

22. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent steps he has taken to improve the presentation of Government policy in so far as it affects the food industry. [36803]

Mr. Freeman: On 5 June, my hon. Friends the Parliamentary Secretary and the MAFF deregulation Minister hosted a food and drink seminar in Leeds for business and enforcement officers. Delegates supported our goal of fewer, better, simpler regulations which ensure consumer safety and choice while strengthening the competitiveness of the food and drink industries.

Information Technology

26. Mr. Timms: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his responsibilities in respect of information technology policy. [36807]

Mr. Freeman: I am responsible for the work of the central IT unit, the principal task of which is to advise Ministers on the development of an IT strategy for improving the internal efficiency of government and the delivery of public services. It is also responsible for advising Departments and agencies on the application of the private finance initiative to information systems and information systems and information technology projects.

Performance-related Pay

27. Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the use of performance-related pay in his Department. [36809]

Mr. Willetts: For this purpose, the Deputy Prime Minister's office forms part of the Cabinet Office.

The White Paper "The Civil Service: Continuity and Change", published in 1994, set out the Government's intention to proceed with comprehensive pay delegation from 1 April 1996. Since then, the Cabinet Office has been adhering to the principles set out in the White Paper

22 Jul 1996 : Column: 102

for its own staff--that there should be a clear link between an individual's pay and their contribution to the achievement of the Department's objectives.

European Union

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on co-ordinating Government policy initiatives between member states. [36794]

Mr. Freeman: During the past year, I have had regular contact with the Commission and with Ministers in other member states pressing the case for fewer, better and simpler regulations in Europe. Progress to date includes the SLIM--simpler legislation in the internal market--initiative to review and simplify areas of existing legislation, and a recently agreed Council resolution to help ensure that future rules from Brussels are proportionate, goal-based and small firm friendly.

Appeals Mechanisms

Mr. Steen: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many appeals mechanisms in accordance with statutory instrument 1678 he expects to incorporate into new and existing legislation by 1 January 1997. [38408]

Mr. Freeman: The model appeals mechanism will be considered for all appeals against enforcement action in appropriate legislation put before the House before January 1997, and thereafter. The recently enacted Chemical Weapons Act 1996 contains provision which will allow the appeals mechanism to be utilised for enforcement.

SCOTLAND

Obesity

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the estimated percentage of (a) men and (b) women, aged (i) 16 to 64 years and (ii) 64 years and over, who were obese for each year since 1979; and if he will make a statement. [37368]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: This information is not available for all the years and age groups requested. Such data on obesity in Scotland as are currently held are given in the following table.

Physical measurements, including obesity, are included in the current Scottish health survey and the resultant data will be published in the first report, which is expected in spring 1997.

22 Jul 1996 : Column: 101

Longitudinal body mass index data for adolescents and adults in Scotland showing percentage in each BMI category

AgeYearNumber assessed<2020-24.925-29.9<30
Under-weightNormalOverweightObese
Adolescents
Boys
15198746250.943.15.20.9
18199042219.264.214.52.1
Girls
15198749438.751.28.51.6
18199047022.355.316.45.7
Adults
Men
3519884206.443.341.78.6
40-5919854,6763.236.549.510.8
45-6919891153.542.646.07.8
5519883963.834.151.510.6
55-7519888083.340.648.37.8
Women
35198851612.056.422.19.5
40-5919854,2256.149.032.412.4
45-6919891274.744.027.523.6
5519885285.344.133.117.4
55-7519887825.944.633.516.0

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22 Jul 1996 : Column: 103

Banned Animal Feeds

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how his Department plans to enforce legislation making it illegal for farmers to have outstanding stocks of banned feed on their premises; when that legislation comes into force; and if he will make a statement. [37356]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 19 July 1996, Official Report, column 699.

NHS Staff

Mr. Chisholm: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the overall cost of management staff and administrative staff in the NHS in Scotland in (a) 1989-90 (b) 1995-96. [37372]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The overall cost of management staff and administrative staff in the NHS in Scotland in (a) 1989-90 was £130,055 million and (b) 1994-95 was £255,732 million. The figures for 1995-96 are not currently available. The expenditure shown for 1994-95 includes senior nurses and clinicians who have transferred to the general/senior mangers' pay scales.


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