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Coal Miners (Compensation)

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 20 January 2000,

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Official Report, column 521W, what has been the average proportion of compensation paid to successful claims on coal miners' compensation for chronic bronchitis and emphysema, which relates to general damages for pain suffering and loss of amenity. [107175]

Mrs. Liddell: Of the 1,047 claims settled to date the vast majority have been on the basis of a claimant electing to accept an expedited payment following screening spirometry rather than proceeding through a full medical assessment. Such payments are not broken down separately into general and special damages. Nine claims have been settled to date where general and special damages have been separately assessed. The average proportion of compensation paid that relate to general damages, in these cases, is 53 per cent.

Parental Leave

Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which other EU member states provide (a) paid and (b) unpaid parental leave; and if he will make a statement about paid parental leave. [108111]

Mr. Alan Johnson: From the information that we hold, it appears that some form of payment is provided in Italy, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany and Luxembourg during parental leave, subject to each member state's qualifying conditions.

There does not appear to be any universal provision for payment in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland or the Netherlands.

We have introduced unpaid parental leave in line with the agreement concluded by the social partners and our commitment in the "Fairness at Work" White Paper. Our task now is to monitor the take-up, impact and effectiveness of the new right, which will help to inform future thinking on parental leave.

Departmental Consultation

Dr. Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the public consultation exercises on policy matters carried out by his Department and its agencies in each of the last five years; who was consulted and by what means; how responses were analysed; how and in what form the results were transmitted to those responsible for the consultation; how the results of the consultation were published; and what analysis has been carried out of the extent and nature of policy changes resulting from the consultation. [106295]

Mr. Byers: This Government are keen to hear what people have to say about their new proposals and policies. My Department has a broad range of responsibilities and interacts directly with the business community and many other interest groups. We consult widely on many issues, using a range of different mechanisms depending on the subject matter and interest groups involved. I regard this as an important aspect of the modernising government initiative. Comprehensive and detailed information in the form requested is, however, not held centrally and the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

Maintained Schools

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what information his Department collects on the number of pupils attending each maintained school in England and Wales; if this information is held centrally; and if it is made available to the public. [107025]

Ms Estelle Morris: For England, the most comprehensive source of information about the number of pupils in maintained schools is that derived from returns made by schools to the Department in January. The annual school Performance Tables (Secondary and Primary) publish, for each school in the tables, the total number of pupils of all ages on the school register in January. This information has been checked with the individual schools as part of the Performances Tables checking exercise.

Matters relating to the collection and release of pupil data in maintained schools in Wales is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education for Wales.

Durham LEA

Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what was the aggregate schools budget for Durham Local Education Authority in (a) 1998-99 and (b) each of the previous four years. [108010]

Ms Estelle Morris: The Aggregate Schools Budgets (ASB) for Durham Local Education Authority in 1998-99 and the previous four years are as shown in the table. Figures up to 1996-97 are not comparable with those for later years because of local government re-organisation.

£ million
1998-99144.4
1997-98138.4
1996-97159.6
1995-96154.2
1994-95152.3

Standards Fund Grants

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) how many bids for standards fund grants have been received for 2000-01, broken down by category of grant and by local education authority; [108070]

Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 1 February 2000]: The information requested is currently being collected and I will write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Teachers (Early Retirement)

Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many teachers took early retirement in each of the last five years. [108011]

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Ms Estelle Morris: Teachers retiring early from the maintained nursery, primary, secondary and special sector in England and Wales under the premature or ill-health retirement arrangements in each of the last five years were as follows:

Financial yearPremature (8)Ill-health (9)
1994-957,6605,290
1995-969,0805,190
1996-9710,7305,400
1997-9812,6003,640
1998-99(10)2,5202,500

(8) Since September 1997 the additional cost of premature retirement has been borne by the employer rather than the Teachers' Pension Scheme.

(9) Changes in the statutory regulations governing ill-health retirements came into force in April 1997. To qualify for ill-health retirement benefits since April 1997 a teacher must be regarded as permanently unfit to teach.

(10) 1998-99 data are provisional.


Youth Support Service

Mr. Stephen Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when he will be publishing details about the proposed youth support service. [108603]

Mr. Wicks: I am pleased to announce that we will publish tomorrow a policy document which sets out the Connexions strategy designed to raise educational achievement for all teenagers and how we envisage the new youth support service will operate. This service, outlined in the White Paper, "Learning to Succeed", will be called the "Connexions Service". Copies of the document will be available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office at 9 a.m. on 3 February. Copies will also be placed in the Library.

We will be publishing a more detailed Connexions Service Prospectus and Specification in the spring.

National Lottery

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when the National Lottery funded school sport co-ordinators will be in post. [107163]

Kate Hoey: I have been asked to reply.

The aim is that the first tranche of school sport co-ordinators should be in post during the autumn term 2000.

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

Street Lighting

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what funding provision he has made to local authorities for the urgent replacement of lighting columns which are in a critical condition within the United Kingdom in the last twelve months. [107370]

Mr. Hill: Some central Government funding is available to local authorities for new street lighting schemes under the Private Finance Initiative. Where local authorities apply for this funding, proposals should be appraised in line with

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the Department's "New Approach to Appraisal" to ensure that the benefits and costs (including environmental and safety benefits) are presented in a consistent way.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what guidance his Department has provided on how to assess the condition of concrete lighting columns. [107371]

Mr. Hill: Highways Agency Standard TD23, Inspection and Maintenance of Lighting Columns, details procedures for all types of lighting columns, including concrete. It is used as part of routine maintenance procedures on motorways and trunk roads. The Standard is included in "The Design Manual for Roads and Bridges" and is available for use by local authorities on local roads.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions which local authorities have undertaken programmes to test systematically the integrity of lighting columns since 1997. [107372]

Mr. Hill: This information is not available centrally.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent assessment he has made of the condition of the street lighting network within the United Kingdom. [107369]

Mr. Hill: There is no comprehensive central data collected on the condition of the street lighting network. Routine inspections conducted on motorway and trunk road lighting provide a continuous assessment of the condition of the lighting equipment on those roads. Local highway authorities are responsible for the condition of street lighting on local roads.


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