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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 16th January 1997


Scottish Pre-School Play Association

Mr. Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from the Scottish Pre-School Play Association concerning core grant funding; and when he expects to be able to respond. [10666]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The association has applied under section 10 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 for an increase in core funding from 1997-98. Its application is being carefully considered. We will shortly be advising it of the outcome at the same time as other grant applicants.


Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make an environmental assessment of the beach adjoining the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority plant at Dounreay to take account of reports his Department has received of the presence of plutonium particles. [10800]

Mr. Kynoch [holding answer 13 January 1997]: The Scottish Environment Protection Agency, as regulator, is responsible to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. It monitors the Dounreay site closely, including the environmental impact of discharges from the site and the strict independent assessment of routine beach surveys undertaken by UKAEA.

Water and Sewerage Charges

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the estimated cost in 1996-97 to each water authority in Scotland of continuing the relief from water and sewerage charges given by former local authorities to (a) the premises of charitable organisations under the Water (Scotland) Act 1967 and (b) the premises of nursing and care homes under the Rating (Disabled Persons) Act 1978. [10451]

Mr. Kynoch: Water authorities cannot provide at reasonable cost accurate estimates of relief given to charitable organisations in 1996-97. Water authority estimates of the relief given for the premises of nursing and care homes are as follows:

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which local water and sewerage authorities gave discretionary relief under the Water (Scotland) Act 1967 to charitable organisations in 1995-96. [10440]

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Mr. Kynoch: All former regional and islands councils gave discretionary relief to charitable organisations in 1995-96. The Water (Scotland) Act 1980 gave the relevant statutory power.

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what was the value in 1995-96 of the rebate in respect of relief for water and sewerage charges granted under the Rating (Disabled Persons) Act 1978 in the area now covered by (a) North of Scotland Water Authority, (b) East of Scotland Water and (c) West of Scotland Water; [10442]

Mr. Kynoch: The information requested is shown in the table.

Water AuthorityOld undertakingAmount of non-domestic water and non-domestic sewerage rate rebated (£)Amount of Government grant payable at 90 per cent. of total rebated (£)
East of Scotland
Borders regional council151,377136,239
Central regional council103,79693,416
Fife regional council283,789255,410
Lothian regional council969,759872,783
Central Scotland Water Development Board (eastern)(1)see belowsee below
West of Scotland
Dumfries and Galloway regional council(2)102,172(2)91,955
Strathclyde regional council1,862,4151,676,174
Central Scotland Water Development Board (western)(1)see belowsee below
North of Scotland
Grampian regional council(2)521,876(2)469,688
Highland regional council(2)282,339(2)254,105
Tayside regional council(2)419,271(2)377,344
Orkney islands council(2)24,472(2)22,025
Shetland islands council23,08420,776
Western Isles islands council(2)57,405(2)51,665

(1)Information relating to reliefs provided in the Central Scotland Water Development Area is not held centrally and is included in figures for Strathclyde and Central Regional Councils.

(2)Unaudited returns.

Cornton Vale Prison

Mr. Gallie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps are being taken to prevent further suicides at Cornton Vale prison; what is being done to deal with the drug problems among the prisoners there; and if he will make a statement. [11854]

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Mr. Michael Forysth: The care of prisoners and the prevention of suicide in prisoners are operational matters for the chief executive of the Scottish Prison Service, and I have had full discussions with him about the recent cluster of suicides at Cornton Vale.

The chief executive shares my concern at the number of suicides at the prison and joins me in offering condolences to the families of those who have died. I have reviewed with the chief executive the steps being taken to address the problem of suicide at the prison, in the light in particular of the recent recommendations from Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons. The vast majority of those recommendations are already being implemented.

As indicated in my response to the chief inspector when his report was published last year, the governor had already put in place new arrangements for the induction of remand prisoners, for extra time out of cell, and for increased access to education, physical training and other regime opportunities. A number of outside agencies are also now working in the prison, including the Samaritans, Rape Crisis, Cruse and Women's Aid, and a listeners scheme has been put in place. All remand prisoners now share a cell, to encourage mutual support.

In addition to the extra staffing provided last year, more money is being provided to address the drug-related problems experienced by a very large proportion of the prisoner population. A further addictions worker post has been approved, together with additional psychiatric sessions; and the increased resources I have provided to the Scottish Prison Service for the forthcoming financial year will enable the governor to fund five additional posts to assist with drug reduction work and to expand the programme already in operation. The purpose of these changes is to ensure that all prisoners at Cornton Vale who have been identified as having a drug problem have the opportunity to address their addiction either on an individual basis or through organised group work as appropriate.

If work on drug reduction undertaken in the prison is to be effective, it is important that there is adequate throughcare on release, and my officials are discussing with local authorities and voluntary agencies what steps may be taken to ensure that this is available. In particular, discussions are in hand with the City of Glasgow council on the provision of further drug rehabilitation facilities for Glasgow and what was before local government reorganisation the wider Strathclyde area.

I have offered to provide through the 100 per cent. funding mechanism two additional posts to the council related to the delivery of addiction programmes. One post would be aimed at providing links between drug misusers, particularly those released from custody, and community-based programmes. The other post would be located in the stipendiary/sheriff court with a view to identifying and making arrangements for those for whom a non-custodial disposal might be appropriate. I also propose to extend bail information and supervision services to the stipendiary court in Glasgow.

I have also offered £50,000 to convert properties operated by the Church of Scotland and Sacro for use as bail accommodation, and my officials are discussing with

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the City of Glasgow council financial support for the addition to existing provision of a further 15 bail bed spaces.

An independent researcher is currently undertaking a six-month study to obtain detailed information on the extent and type of drug and alcohol misuse among women prisoners at Cornton Vale, both before and after conviction, and this will provide information in targeting resources for the future.


Deaf-blind People

Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many deaf-blind people are supported in employment through the placement advisory council team scheme. [9474]

Mr. Forth: Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service Agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Leigh Lewis to Mr. Alfred Morris, dated 16 January 1997:

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