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Ministerial Visit

19. Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to visit North Wales to discuss health issues. [2612]

Mr. Win Griffiths: My right hon. Friend has no plans at present to visit North Wales, but as Minister with responsibility for health issues in the Welsh Office, I will be visiting trusts in the area tomorrow.

Social Chapter

20. Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate the has made of the number of jobs that will be lost in Wales as a result of increased employment costs arising from the minimum wage and social chapter. [2613]

Mr. Hain: We will ask the Low Pay Commission, before it reaches a recommendation on the level at which the National Minimum Wage might be set, to take into account all the economic circumstances, including its likely impact. I will not speculate about the possible effects of hypothetical levels before the Commission has had a chance to consider the issues. Current Social Chapter directives do not impose significant burdens on business.

GP Fundholding

21. Mr. Rhodri Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the future of GP fundholding in Wales. [2614]

Mr. Win Griffiths: We are committed to a comprehensive and equitable health service and to the abolition of the two tier system and internal market. We have deferred approval of the 8th wave of fundholding in Wales until July 1998 to provide a breathing space to allow the development of alternative commissioning models. We have also asked GMSC Wales and the Welsh Association of fundholding Practices to work with us to determine the direction of Health Care in the Principality, building on current best practice. Changes are needed to the existing arrangements but it is important that they are the right changes.

Intergovernmental Conference

23. Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will asses the implications of the outcome of the intergovernmental conference for Welsh agriculture; and if he will make a statement. [2616]

Mr. Ron Davies: An announcement on the outcome of the Intergovernmental Conference will be made in due course.

Ministerial Responsibilities

24. Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement as to the allocation of ministerial responsibilities for environmental and rural matters. [2617]

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Mr. Win Griffiths: I have been allocated these responsibilities.

Small Businesses

25. Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action he is taking to encourage more small businesses to set up in Wales. [2618]

Mr. Hain: Our Manifesto for Wales identified a comprehensive package of measures in support of small firms. This includes action to encourage more new good quality enterprises, particularly high technology start ups which could help to revitalise parts of the Valleys and other disadvantaged areas. The TECs in Wales have also been set a target of assisting the unemployed to establish 1,500 new businesses in 1997-98. This total should be boosted by the New Deal package to help tackle youth and long-term unemployment.

Regional Policy

26. Mr. Donald Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he proposes to reduce the current economic regional imbalance in Wales. [2619]

Mr. Hain: We intend to publish an economic development strategy document later this summer. This will set out our general approach and priorities.

Angling

27. Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the benefits of angling to the Welsh economy. [2620]

Mr. Ron Davies: We fully recognise the popularity of angling in Wales and its benefit to the Welsh rural economy. We have a long-standing commitment to angling and the protection of the aquatic environment. We intend to review legislation on salmon and freshwater fisheries in England and Wales covering all aspects of policy and management governing inland fisheries.

Beef Export Ban

28. Mr. Livsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of when the export ban on beef from Wales to the EU and world markets will be lifted. [2621]

Mr. Win Griffiths: The export ban has been in place for over a year now. We have fulfilled the Florence pre-conditions and we now need recognition for the measures taken and the sacrifices made. Lifting the ban will not be easy, but we hope the present Government's constructive and positive approach will pay dividends. We are exploring with the Commission how we can most quickly get the export ban lifted. As well as certified herds proposals we will be considering other options.

Inward Investment

29. Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps the Government are taking to encourage more investment from foreign firms in Wales. [2622]

Mr. Hain: Our commitments to improve the skills level of our people, create a buoyant economy, improve the infrastructure, and take a positive attitude towards the

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European Union, as well as our proposals to create an economic powerhouse, will make Wales even more attractive to inward investors.

Education

30. Mr. Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what changes he plans to make to education in Wales. [2623]

Mr. Hain: The Welsh Office will publish its proposals for education in Wales in a White Paper in July.

NDPBs

Mr. Rowlands: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what were the gross and net budgets of non-departmental public bodies in 1992-93; what are the estimated budgets for 1997-98; and what percentage increase or decrease has taken place. [2707]

Mr. Ron Davies: The information is as follows:

Budget Estimated budgetPercentage change
1992-931997-98
££
Gross517,693,000826,268,70037.3
Net347,742,000701,773,70050.4

1. The figures provides are cash prices.

2. There are 18 Executive non-departmental public bodies in existence. The Arts Council of Wales, the Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales, the Residuary Body for Wales and the Welsh Language Board were not in existence in 1992 and cannot be taken into account for the figures for 1992-93. The Further Education Funding Council for Wales and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales were established in May 1992 but did not become fully operational until April 1993.


Mr. Rowlands: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the cost of remuneration to members appointed by the Secretary of State to non-Departmental public bodies in 1992-93; and what is the estimated cost for 1997-98. [2706]

Mr. Davies: The cost of remuneration to members appointed by the Secretary of State to Executive non-Departmental public bodies is contained in the annual publication "Public Bodies", copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

The cost for 1992-93 was £729,914 and the estimated cost for 1997-98 is £948,750.

Referendums

Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much public money at current prices was made available for the "Yes" campaign and how much for the "No" campaign in each referendum, since 1979; how much will be available for each in the forthcoming referendum; and if he will make a statement. [3287]

Mr. Ron Davies: There have been no referendums in the United Kingdom since 1979. No public money will be made available for "Yes" or "No" campaigns for the forthcoming referendum.

18 Jun 1997 : Column: 226

School Leavers

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of (a) female and (b) male children leave school at 16 in Wales, broken down into local authority areas; and if he will make a statement. [3667]

Mr. Hain: The information requested is shown in the following table. The figures include children continuing in full-time education outside the school sector.

Percentage of children leaving school at age 16(12)
Per cent.

Leaving rate
Local education authority areaMalesFemales
Blaenau Gwent7163
Bridgend5953
Caerphilly7570
Cardiff6565
Carmarthenshire6658
Ceredigion4635
Conwy4941
Denbighshire6051
Flintshire5757
Gwynedd7970
Isle of Anglesey6350
Merthyr Tydfil6148
Monmouthshire3833
Neath Port Talbot9189
Newport5850
Pembrokeshire5043
Powys5446
Rhondda, Cynon, Taff5853
Swansea7677
Torfaen7671
The Vale of Glamorgan5753
Wrexham8884
Wales6560

(12) Includes maintained secondary and special schools and independent schools. The leaving rate is estimated using figures from the Schools' Censuses of 1995 and 1996. It should be noted that the percentage leaving school in a locality will be influenced by the provision for further education in the locality.



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