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Local Authority Funding

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the pilot schemes announced since 1 May 1997 by his Department that involve local authorities in a lead or partnership capacity; if he will list each of the local authorities involved in each case; and what revenue and capital funding each local authority will receive through the pilot in (i) 1997-98, (ii) 1998-99, (iii) 1999-2000 and (iv) 2000-01. [46053]

Mr. Win Griffiths [holding answer 15 June 1998]: The following are amongst the larger pilot schemes for which the Welsh Office is responsible.

Best Value

On 4 December 1997, I announced that 21 authorities, one police authority, and one combined authority had been chosen to test the best value framework in Wales in advance of the introduction of the Government's best value policy. No additional funding is being provided. These authorities were:

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Social Exclusion

I announced on 1 May this year a Social Exclusion Programme for Wales which will feature up to 10 pilot projects consisting of small communities within different local authority areas. The participating authorities have not yet been chosen. £750,000 is available in 1998-99 for a mix of revenue and capital expenditure.

PFI Pathfinders

In June 1997, we announced support for 6 "pathfinder" PFI projects proposed by local authorities in Wales. The authorities were:

The project at Blaenau Gwent was subsequently withdrawn. Each authority has been offered assistance of up to £75,000 during 1997-98 and 1998-99 to help meet the costs of engaging professional advice to help bring these projects forward.

Multiple Births

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many sets of (a) twins, (b) triplets, (c) quadruplets, (d) quintuplets and (e) sextuplets were born in Wales in each year from 1990 to 1997; what was the total number of maternities in each year; and how many multiple births of each type in each year were conceived as a result of (i) in-vitro fertilisation, (ii) gamete intra-fallopian transfer and (iii) other forms of assisted conception. [46928]

Mr. Win Griffiths: The available information on multiple maternities to Welsh residents recorded by the Office for National Statistics is as follows:

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TwinsTripletsQuadrupletsQuintupletsSextupletsAll maternities

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The only information on assisted conceptions leading to multiple births available from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority relates to those treated at licensed clinics in Wales rather than Welsh residents treated. The latest verified data, covering treatments in the period from 1 August 1991 (the start of the HFEA register) to 31 March 1996, record 42 multiple births.

Gender Impact Assessments

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will place in the Library copies of gender impact assessments which have been undertaken in respect of legislation introduced in this Parliament; if he will make it his policy to do so in respect of future legislation; and if he will make a statement. [47014]

Mr. Ron Davies: The Welsh Office supports the mainstreaming initiative recently launched by the Ministers for Women, which will address the gender perspective in policy making. The Government of Wales Bill gives the National Assembly for Wales a duty to take the principle of equality of opportunity for all into account in exercising its functions and to report annually on how it has done so.

Action Zones

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the initiatives undertaken by his Department since 1 May 1997 which have involved the establishment of (a) action zones and (b) pilot schemes limited to particular geographical areas, indicating the name of the programme and the action zone or pilot scheme areas covered in each instance. [47058]

Mr. Ron Davies: On 1 May this year, I announced a Social Exclusion Programme for Wales which will feature at least six, and up to ten, "demonstration projects" across Wales consisting of small communities within different local authority areas. The actual communities have not yet been selected. The total funding available for 1998-99 for this Programme is £750,000, which can be used for revenue or capital expenditure.

On 7 November 1997, I announced the creation of three NHS locality commissioning pilot schemes in the Blaenau Gwent, Taff Ely and Teifi Valley areas. The purpose of the initiative is to explore and evaluate alternative models of locality commissioning of health services; to identify robust and viable mechanisms for a primary-care-focused commissioning function; and to increase the degree to which groups of GPs and other primary care professionals, working with local government and others, are involved in commissioning health services for their patients. The lessons may inform the process of implementing the NHS Wales White Paper "Putting Patients First".

In July 1997, an additional £250,000 was provided for the continuation of the Welsh Office £3 million dental initiative, first launched in 1995, which has enabled Health Authorities to offer unprecedented levels of grant

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(up to £50,000 in some areas) to attract new dentists into those parts of Wales where they are most needed and for the expansion of the Community Dental Service.

Optec DD Factory

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the prospects for finding a new tenant for the previous Optec DD factory in Drury, near Buckley, Flintshire. [47417]

Mr. Hain: I refer my hon. Friend to the replies I gave to him on 25 March 1998, Official Report, column 172, and 20 May 1998, Official Report, column 417.

I understand that the owner of the premises has instructed agents to market the property with a view to finding a new occupier. The property has also been entered onto the Welsh Development Agency's North Wales property database and, if appropriate, is being put forward for any projects by potential inward investors or indigenous companies.

Child Care

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will list those (a) individuals and (b) organisations who have made representations to him on child care; and if he will make a statement; [47421]

Mr. Win Griffiths: I launched our Green Paper, "The National Childcare Strategy for Wales", on Monday 22 June.

Since I announced the Strategy last November, we have received representations on child care, either directly or through hon. Members from: (a) several individuals; (b) the following organisations: Chwarae Teg; Confederation of British Industry; Clybiau Plant Cymru; Kids' Clubs Network; Equal Opportunities Commission; Daycare Trust; Wales Pre-school Playgroups Association; Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin; Professional Association of Nursery Nurses; Vale of Clwyd Labour Party; Highway Methodist Playgroup; The Nursery, Nelson; and from my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, North (Ms Morgan).

Ms Julie Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how the funding allocated to Wales for the Welsh child care strategy will be divided up; and who will be responsible for allocating the money to the different sectors. [47844]

Mr. Win Griffiths: The consultation document on the National Childcare Strategy for Wales (Cmnd 3974), which I launched on 22 June, set out in full our proposals, which include funding of over £2.5 million in 1998-99. This will support a range of immediate priorities and will assist in the establishment of child care partnerships in each local authority in Wales. Work is now under way by

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the Welsh Office to determine the specific allocations for local authorities and other agencies within the broad framework set out in the Strategy, and I hope to make a further announcement as soon as possible.

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