Previous Section Index Home Page


Executive Agencies

Mr. David Nicholson: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement about the progress of the sales of HMSO, Chessington Computer Centre, Recruitment and Assessment Service and the Occupational Health and Safety Agency. [41081]

Mr. Freeman: These sales have now been completed. Chessington Computer Centre was sold on 31 July to a consortium made up of a management and employee buy-out team, Integris UK--the outsourcing division of Bull Information Systems Ltd.--and financial backers, Close Brothers. The consideration was £12.5 million, of which £1.25 million is deferred until 31 December 1999.

15 Oct 1996 : Column: 850

The Occupational Health and Safety Agency--OHSA--was sold on 18 September to BMI Health Services, which is part of General Healthcare Group plc. The consideration was £350,000. In addition, BMI is acting as agents for the Government to collect trade debts owed to OHSA which were estimated to be about £1.4 million when the sale was completed.

Her Majesty's Stationery Office was sold on 30 September to National Publishing Group--NPG--a consortium led by Electra Fleming, to trade under the name The Stationery Office. The consideration was £54 million. In addition, NPG has raised £71 million to fund investment, restructuring and working capital for The Stationery Office. In a separate transaction in September, the Government sold an HMSO site near Manchester for £1.4 million.

Recruitment and Assessment Services was sold on 30 September to the Capita Group plc. The consideration was £7.25 million.

SCOTLAND

Ethnic Minorities

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many women from ethnic minorities are employed by his Department and its agencies; at what grade; and what measures he has taken to encourage the (a) recruitment, (b) employment and (c) promotion of women from ethnic minorities within his Department and its agencies. [39895]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: There are seven women members of staff who have declared themselves to be from an ethnic minority background in the Scottish Office and its agencies. Three hold posts at AO grade and four at AA grade. As an employer committed to equal opportunities for all staff we monitor the recruitment, employment and promotion of men and women whatever their background to ensure that no discrimination takes place. In recent months we have established a network group to support staff from an ethnic minority background. That group has discussed awareness raising of employment opportunities in the Scottish Office among ethnic minorities.

Blind People

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the total number of registered blind people in Scotland by category. [40033]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The latest complete figures are those for 1995:

Number of persons registered blind and partially sighted: Scotland--1995

Number registered at 31 March (include those registered as new cases)
BlindPartially sighted
Age (as at 31 March or date of registration) MaleFemaleTotalMaleFemaleTotal
Under 5 years972012985578133
5-151281102388785172
16-29301213514214145359
30-498736651,538403365768
50-649428361,778412399811
65-741,1971,5302,7275448101,354
75 and over4,0479,98414,3011,5304,2245,754
All ages--total7,58513,53921,1243,2456,1069,351

15 Oct 1996 : Column: 851

Prisons (Hepatitis)

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps are being taken to monitor the levels of hepatitis B and C within prisons in Scotland; how many inmates in the prison system have hepatitis B and C; what guidance his Department gives for the treatment of prisoners with hepatitis B and C; what measures are being taken to minimise the spread of hepatitis B and C within Scottish prisons; and if he will make a statement. [39891]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The subject of the question relates to matters undertaken by the Scottish Prison Service. I have asked its chief executive, Mr. E. W. Frizzell, to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from E. W. Frizzell to Mr. Archy Kirkwood, dated 15 October 1996:


NHS Funds

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the reasons for delaying further reconsideration of the Scottish health authorities revenue equalisation--SHARE--formula for

15 Oct 1996 : Column: 852

distribution of health service funds, with specific reference to rural areas; and when he plans next to have discussions with officials of Highland health board on this matter. [40676]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: I anticipate that all health boards will be moved to their SHARE parity position at 1 April 1997. Evaluation of technical aspects of the formula is continually undertaken by my officials. Any proposals for changes to the formula would be subject to consultation with health boards and others at the appropriate time.

NATIONAL HERITAGE

Millenium Exhibition

Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will make a progress report on plans for the millenium exhibition funding from the (a) public and (b) private sectors; and by what date a final decision will be made. [40648]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 14 October 1996]: This is a matter for the Millenium Commission. I shall reply to the hon. Member in my capacity as chairman of the commission and place copies of my reply in the Libraries of the House.

Millenium Festival

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what progress has been made in preparing for the millennium festival. [37928]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 14 October 1996]: This is a matter for the Millenium Commission. I shall reply to the hon. Member in my capacity as chairman of the commission and place copies of my reply in the Libraries of the House.

TRANSPORT

Transport Security Director

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has published the 1995-96 annual report of the Director of Transport Security. [40952]

Sir George Young: Copies of this report are available in the Library of the House.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Child Support Agency

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he is taking to reduce the level of unpaid maintenance as assessed by the Child Support Agency. [40056]

Mr. Andrew Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

15 Oct 1996 : Column: 853

Letter from Ann Chant to Mr. Frank Field, dated 14 October 1996:


Mr. Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many cases deferred by the Child Support Agency following the announcement of 20 December 1994 (a) have been taken on by the agency and (b) have yet to be taken on. [40059]

Mr. Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Ann Chant to Mr. Frank Field, dated 14 October 1996:


Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the number and percentage of women, since the establishment of the Child Support

15 Oct 1996 : Column: 854

Agency, whose cases have been examined by the Child Support Agency who (a) have not named the father, (b) are accepted by the agency as not knowing the name of the father and (c) claim not to know the name of the father but whose claim has been rejected by the Child Support Agency. [40141]

Mr. Mitchell: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Ann Chant to Mr. Harry Cohen, dated 14 October 1996:



Next Section Index Home Page