Previous Section Index Home Page


Public Bodies (Women)

15. Ms Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to increase the representation of women on public bodies in Wales. [28413]

Mr. Ron Davies: I am very anxious to increase the representation of women on public bodies in Wales.

My Department is developing a programme with representative organisations to increase the pool of good candidates from a variety of backgrounds, making the public appointments process more accessible; making criteria more explicit and laying them open to comment; making sure that independent assessors also reflect diversity; and giving applicants more feedback and constructive suggestions about routes into public life.

As part of this programme, the Department has at my request developed proposals for two exciting and innovative pilot projects which will be put into action in consultation with Welsh women MPs, local MPs and other interested organisations. I will announce further details of these projects shortly.

NHS Trusts

16. Mr. Alan W. Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the NHS trust re-configuration exercise. [28414]

Mr. Win Griffiths: I refer my hon. Friend to the oral answer I gave today to my hon. Friend the Member for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Rowlands) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli (Mr. Davies).

Partnership Council

17. Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what he expects will be the cost of setting up and running the partnership council in Wales. [28415]

Mr. Win Griffiths: It will be for the National Assembly and local government in Wales to decide on the size and work of the Partnership Council and, therefore, its costs. However, there is no reason why the overall costs of running the Council should be significantly different from those associated with the Central Local Partnership Wales.

Millennium Dome

20. Mr. Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has held with the Minister without Portfolio about the representation of Wales in the millennium dome, Greenwich. [28418]

18 Feb 1998 : Column: 667

Mr. Ron Davies: I am assured by my hon. Friend the Minister without Portfolio that following the Prime Minister's five commitments made in June last year, the Millennium Experience will involve the whole UK. Its content will appeal to and be relevant to people of all ages and interests wherever they may live. The overarching theme, "Time to Make a Difference", and the way that this will be presented at Greenwich, will engage, inspire and educate all who visit the Experience.

School Standards

21. Mr. Touhig: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on his priorities in respect of school standards in Wales. [28419]

Mr. Hain: The Government's priority is to work with teachers to raise the standards of education achieved by all our young people. We have placed a particular emphasis on the need to improve literacy and numeracy skills in primary schools within the context of a broad and balanced curriculum.

Agricultural Sector

23. Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the (a) short-term and (b) long-term prospects of the agricultural sector in Wales. [28421]

Mr. Win Griffiths: I do not underestimate the serious nature of the difficulties that the agricultural sector in Wales is currently facing. For the longer term, general commodity markets are likely to be increasingly competitive. The way for Welsh agriculture to compete is to develop well-branded products, which can command premium prices, with a greater degree of value being added in the food supply chain in Wales. In this context, I want to see Wales developing a strong reputation for extensive, farm-assured production, including organic food.

Road and Canal Transport

24. Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on his policy concerning road and canal transport. [28422]

Mr. Hain: The role that all transport modes should play in improving transport links is being considered as part of our plans to develop an integrated transport policy. The consultation exercise launched last August will lead to a UK-wide White Paper on transport later this year. At around the same time, a Welsh Transport Policy Statement will be published drawing out those issues of particular relevance and importance to Wales.

Optec DD

26. Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the closure of the Optec DD factory at Buckley, Flintshire. [28424]

Mr. Hain: We were very disappointed to hear of this closure and greatly regret the job losses involved. But such decisions must remain a commercial matter for the company. The Welsh Office and its agencies nevertheless stand ready to assist wherever they can.

18 Feb 1998 : Column: 668

Health Clinics

27. Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has for the expansion of health clinics in Wales. [28425]

Mr. Win Griffiths: The delivery of health care is a matter for local consideration, and it is for Health Authorities to make detailed arrangements in response to local needs. This may include the provision of health clinics by general practitioners.

In July 1997, I announced a package of £2.5 million to support the development of primary and community health care in Wales. The Package, which is intended to help provide more local flexibility, included an Equity Fund of £500,000 to address inequalities in the provision of primary care services.

Road Traffic

29. Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has made for road traffic growth in Wales in 1998. [28427]

Mr. Hain: The National Road Forecast (Great Britain) 1997 publication predicts that road traffic will grow between 0.65 per cent. and 2.79 per cent. during 1998. The average growth on trunk roads in Wales over recent years has tended to follow the higher prediction and I expect this to continue this year.

Buildings Refurbishment

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the cost of buildings refurbishment carried out by his Department in (a) 1995-96, (b) 1996-97, (c) 1997-98 to date and (d) 1997-98 full year; and if he will make a statement. [26616]

Mr. Ron Davies [holding answer 5 February 1998]: Such costs are included within my Department's general administrative expenditure which is published every year in the Annual Report.

Periodicals

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the expenditure of his Department on newspapers and magazines in (a) 1995-96, (b) 1996-97, (c) 1997-98 to date and (d) 1997-98 full year; and if he will list the newspapers and magazines purchased or subscribed to on a regular basis. [26615]

Mr. Ron Davies [holding answer 5 February 1998]: My Department purchases a range of publications. Approximate expenditure is as follows:


(a) £80,000, (b) £87,500, (c) £50,000, (d) £65,000.

Absenteeism

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will estimate the rates of absenteeism in his (a) Department, (b) agencies and (c) non- departmental public bodies, for (i) 1995-96, (ii) 1996-97 and (iii) 1997-98 to date; and if he will make a statement. [26613]

18 Feb 1998 : Column: 669

Mr. Ron Davies [holding answer 5 February 1998]: The average number of working days sickness absence per member of staff for the Welsh Office, including the Cadw Agency, during the 1995 and 1996 calendar years was 10 and 9.03 days respectively. Statistics for the 1997 calendar year are not yet available. Separate statistics are not available for Cadw.

Details of absenteeism in non-departmental public bodies sponsored by my department are not held centrally.

Market Research

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what expenditure has been incurred by his Department, agencies and non-departmental public bodies (a) in 1996-97 and (b) since 1 May 1997 on (i) opinion polling, (ii) focus groups and (iii) other forms of market research; if he will list the surveys commissioned and the purpose of each; and if he will make a statement. [26611]

Mr. Ron Davies [holding answer 5 February 1998]: The following expenses have been incurred by my agencies and non-departmental public bodies:




























18 Feb 1998 : Column: 670






































18 Feb 1998 : Column: 671







Next Section Index Home Page