Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

London: Advisory Bodies

Baroness Nicol asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Ferrers: There are a number of organisations from both the public and private sectors advising on London affairs and some of these are also members of the Joint London Advisory Panel. Each organisation plays a voluntary role and as a result bears any costs which it incurs.

GLC Abolition: Cost Effect

Baroness Nicol asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Ferrers: It was estimated in 1987 that over 6,000 posts had been saved immediately following abolition of the GLC and the metropolitan councils. The projected long-term annual savings were of the order of some £100 million per annum resulting from staff reductions.

It is not practicable to produce estimates of the current annual cost of providing these functions because of the difficulty of disaggregating data provided by the successor authorities. But in the 10 years since the GLC was abolished the savings will have been substantial.

14 Mar 1996 : Column WA77

Asylum Seekers: Help to Local Authorities

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to Lady Cumberlege's answer that local authorities will receive help with the cost of asylum seekers for "80 per cent. of their unavoidable additional expenditure above a certain threshold" (H.L. Deb., 4th March, col. 7), what is the threshold to which Lady Cumberlege referred.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): The threshold has not yet been determined. Necessary evidence about the scale of the possible expenditure by individual local authorities has been sought from the local authority associations. The special grant will be paid in arrears to local authorities on the basis of audited expenditure.

Consultant Physicians: Classification

Lord Walton of Detchant asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they now classify consultant physicians in public health medicine as managers in the National Health Service and whether their number is being reduced, in the light of recent reports that 26 senior registrars in this specialty have resigned because of deteriorating promotion prospects, seven of whom have emigrated.

Baroness Cumberlege: Consultant physicians in public health medicine are not classified as managers by the Department of Health, although they contribute to the core functions of health authorities and may undertake management functions. We have no evidence to suggest that their numbers are being reduced. In fact, the latest information available, as follows, shows an increase in the number of consultants (including directors) in public health medicine in England.

    1992: 390

    1993: 390

    1994: 440 (Whole time equivalents; numbers rounded to the nearest 10; figures were as at 30th September in the relevant year; source: medical and dental workforce census 1992-1994).

Lloyd's: Compliance

The Earl of Lindsey and Abingdon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Council of Lloyd's decision to allow certain groups, including Lloyd's insurance brokers, to acquire an interest in managing agents contravenes Sections 10 to 12 of the Lloyd's Act 1982.

14 Mar 1996 : Column WA78

Baroness Miller of Hendon: The Council of Lloyd's has made it clear that compliance with the Lloyd's Act 1982, including Sections 10 to 12, will be one of the main tests in implementing this decision.

ECGD: Payments

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What sums have been paid to exporters in each year since 1st April 1988 by the Export Credits Guarantee Department, and whether they can break down the total paid according to the countries involved.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: The amounts paid by ECGD by way of claims since 1st April 1988 are as follows:

Year£ million

(1) To 31st December.

A breakdown of these totals by country, detailing the top 10 markets for each year, is attached.

Ford Motor Company: Subsidy

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to their written reply (H.L. Deb, 16th October 1995, col. WA 71), whether they have yet secured the permission of the Commission of the European Union to pay the proposed subsidy of £80 million to the Ford Motor Company in order to secure the expansion of the capacity of the Jaguar car company.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: A favourable decision by the Commission is expected very shortly.

A small portion of the package of support will remain to be clarified but it is not expected that this will cause difficulties with the Commission.

Business Support Agencies

The Earl of Kintore asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the respective objectives and purposes of Training and Enterprise Councils, Business Links and Enterprise Agencies.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs) have a remit to develop strategies for training and enterprise which are key elements in the drive towards improving the competitiveness

14 Mar 1996 : Column WA79

performance of businesses. The TEC role is, therefore, essentially long-term and strategic. It is about defining what needs to be done in each area to improve the effectiveness of training and enterprise support and doubt deploying the available funds effectively in order to reach agreed objectives.

Business Links are partnerships of all the relevant local business support agencies. Their job is to improve the effectiveness of the delivery of business support services. In doing so, they will need to work within the overall strategy agreed between the TEC and the government office and within the constraints of the resources made available by the TEC and by other partners.

Local Enterprise Agencies promote or encourage industrial and commercial activity or enterprise in locally defined areas of the UK with particular reference to encouraging the formation and development of small businesses. They are usually Business Link partners and provide a range of business services to new and established small firms including business advice and counselling, specialist financial services, business skills training and the provision of managed workspace.

Nursery Education Voucher Scheme

Lord Walton of Detchant asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress is being made with their pilot study of the voucher scheme for the support of nursery education, what percentage of those eligible for such vouchers in the areas under study have applied, how it is proposed to assess the outcome and acceptability of the scheme, and when it is anticipated that a formal report will be made.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley): Good progress is being made with Phase 1 of the nursery education voucher scheme. Almost 600 providers in the private and voluntary sectors have applied to join the scheme, alongside maintained schools. The parents of almost half the estimated number of eligible children have been sent vouchers.

The department will monitor the operational arrangements for Phase 1, including the issue and redemption of vouchers, and will make available its findings. Inspection reports on the quality of provision at individual institutions will become available from later this year. The benefits of the scheme for children's later education will be evaluated over the longer term.

Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Regulations

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were their reasons for postponing the coming into force of regulation 3 of the Sex Discrimination

14 Mar 1996 : Column WA80

    and Equal Pay (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 1996 until 31st July 1996.

Lord Henley: Regulation 3 of the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations requires consequential amendments to the Industrial Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 1993. These and other amendments to the regulations are not expected to come into force until 31st July 1996. It made sense, therefore, to bring Regulation 3 of the Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations into effect on the same date.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination Bill [H.L.]

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to Lord Henley's comment during the Second Reading debate on the Sexual Orientation Discrimination Bill that "strong and compelling evidence from those making the case is necessary" (H.L. Deb., col. 405), what would, in the Government's view, constitute such evidence.

Lord Henley: The evidence would have to be sufficiently strong and compelling to outweigh the Government's long-standing and well-known opposition to further legislation in the employment field the effect of which would be to add to the burdens on business and adversely affect job creation.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page