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WALES

Economic Regulation Review

Sir Raymond Powell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects the review of economic regulation in Wales to be published. [38805]

Mr. Hain: The Economic Strategy for Wales will be published in early summer. It will have no regulatory content.

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New Deal

Sir Raymond Powell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects the Wales New Deal Advisory Task Force to report. [38926]

Mr. Hain: The Wales New Deal Advisory Task Force reports to Ministers at quarterly meetings. These are held alternately with the Task Force Chairman and with the full Task Force. The next such meeting is scheduled for 27 April.

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Film Industry

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales in what ways and by what amounts he has assisted the film industry in Wales. [39430]

Mr. Ron Davies: The Welsh Office does not provide direct support for the film industry but Sgrin, the new Media Agency for Wales which replaced the Wales Film Council and Screen Wales, receives a large part of its core funding from the Arts Council of Wales, Cardiff Bay Development Corporation and the Welsh Development Agency. The Arts Council has also awarded £2.2 million of Lottery money to 21 film projects in Wales.

NHS Trusts

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects the trust formed by the merging of the Maelor Hospital Trust and the Clwydian Community Trust to be operational; and if he will make a statement. [39437]

Mr. Win Griffiths: If it is decided to proceed with the merger of the NHS trusts in this area, the new trust will become operational on 1 April 1999. However, this is subject to the outcome of the forthcoming public consultation exercise.

Public Health

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he intends to introduce health action zones in Wales. [38365]

Mr. Win Griffiths: I refer the hon. Gentleman to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd), on 22 April 1998, Official Report, column 806.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the link between poverty and ill health in Wales. [38367]

Mr. Win Griffiths: The Chief Medical Officer's 1996 Annual Report examined the links between Health, Work and the Economy (Chapter 5). Overall, the report concluded that the excess of people who are economically inactive in Wales is due, firstly to a higher prevalence of limiting long-term illness, and secondly to a higher proportion of the long-term ill not working. There is evidence to suggest a correlation between poor living and working conditions and illness and disease. For example, the Welsh Health Survey (1995) found that people doing unskilled work have higher than average levels of heart disease, respiratory disease, mental illness, arthritis and pain.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the advantages to the health of the people in Wales of a closer working relationship between health services and social services. [38366]

Mr. Win Griffiths: Effective joint working between health services and social services is essential if vulnerable people are to receive high quality care which meets their needs and provides good value for money.

The recent Audit Commission report 'Coming of Age' demonstrated that improved joint planning and investment by health and local authorities is needed. The Welsh

23 Apr 1998 : Column: 692

Office has therefore issued guidance seeking better collaboration at a local level to improve the quality and range of services provided for vulnerable and older people. I have agreed a programme of follow up action to support this process and ensure that priority is given to securing strategic operational change in this vital area. There is a clear agenda for health and local authorities to address together which will have significant benefits when fully implemented.

Nurses

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many nurses were recruited by each trust and how many nurses left each trust (a) through retirement, (b) to work for a nursing agency and (c) for other reasons in (i) 1995-96, (ii) 1996-97 and (iii) 1997-98. [39301]

Mr. Win Griffiths: The information is not held centrally. However, data on the number of qualified nurses recruited by each Trust and the overall number leaving each Trust in the years 1996-97 and 1997-98 are being collected but they will not be available until later in the year. I will write to the hon. Member when the data become available.

Gwent Tertiary College

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what report on the position of the College in respect of European funding the Corporation of Gwent Tertiary College received at their June 1997 meeting; what was the substance of that report; and what action they took in response to it; [39440]

Mr. Hain: I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as possible. Detailed questions of this kind are largely matters for the college itself or for the Department for Education and Employment but, as he is aware, I am anxious that he receives all the information I can provide for him on this matter.

DEFENCE

Aircraft Repairs

Mr. Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future arrangements for the in-house deep repair of aircraft. [39844]

Dr. Reid: The deep repair and overhaul of aviation equipment are currently provided in the Ministry of Defence facilities (known as Third Line) and by Industry (known as Fourth line). Third Line work is currently undertaken by two separate Defence Agencies, the Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation (NARO) for helicopters and the RAF Maintenance Group Defence Agency (RAF MGDA) for fixed wing aircraft.

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We now propose to bring together Third Line repair in a single management structure, which would be known as the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA). I will be setting work in hand immediately in order to launch the DARA as a new Agency on 1 April 1999 with a view to moving the organisation to Trading Fund Status as soon as practicable thereafter.

The aim is to recruit a Chief Executive for the DARA by open competition to take forward this challenging task. The Agency will be overseen by an Owner's Board chaired by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence.

Chemical Weapons

Mr. Livingstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many meetings of sub-group E on chemical and biological defence of the Technical Co-operation Programme have taken place since 1 January 1995; which countries took part in these meetings; where these meetings were held; and who represented the British Government at each meeting. [38612]

Mr. Spellar: The Technical Co-operation Programme, TTCP, involves collaboration between the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia. In 1997, the TTCP structure was reorganised and the former Sub-group E was renamed the Group on Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defence.

Since 1 January 1995, the Group has met annually in June. The 1995 meeting took place in Melbourne, Australia and was attended by Director CBD Porton Down as UK National Leader. In 1996, the meeting was held at the Chemical and Biological Defence sector of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, DERA, at Porton Down in the United Kingdom and was attended by Director CBD Porton Down as Executive Chairman plus an assistant and Chief Scientist, CBD Sector as UK National Leader. The 1997 meeting was held at Edgewood in the United States and was attended by MD Science, DERA as Executive Chairman, together with an assistant and Director CBD Sector as UK National Representative. All British attendees were MOD staff.

Mr. Livingstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many International Task forces have been established under the 1980 Memorandum of Understanding on chemical and biological defence between Britain, the United States of America and Canada since 1 January 1995; and what subjects each of these task forces cover. [38610]

Mr. Spellar: Seven International Task forces have been established under the 1980 Memorandum of Understanding on chemical and biological defence between Britain, the United States of America and Canada since 1 January 1995. They cover collaboration between the three nations to address defences against chemical and biological agents of concern. I am unable to give the individual topics as these are classified and I am therefore withholding these details under exemption 1 of Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Mr. Livingstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the technical panels and action groups which have been active under sub-group E on chemical and biological defence of the Technical Co-operation Programme since 1 January 1995. [38613]

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Mr. Spellar: The Technical Co-operation Programme, TTCP, involves collaboration between the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia. In 1997, the TTCP structure was re-organised and the former sub-group E was renamed the Group on Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defence.

The technical panels active since 1 January 1995 are:



    Chemical and biological hazard assessment;


    Biological agent detection;


    Low burden individual protective clothing.

The action groups since 1 January 1995 are:



    Medical countermeasures against vesicant agents;


    Absorbents;


    Decontamination of chemical and biological hazards;


    Treaty analytical methodologies;


    Gene probes II;


    Radiological hazards.


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