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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 10 July 1992

EDUCATION

Access Funds

Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what was the total amount of access funds available to (a) universities, polytechnics and institutions of higher education and (b) institutions of further education, for each academic year since the inception of the scheme ; and what will be available for the 1992-93 academic year.

Mr. Patten : Details of the access funds made available for higher and further education institutions in England since the inception of the scheme in 1990-91 are as follows :


B

                                    |Academic |Academic           

                                    |year     |year               

                                    |1990-91  |1991-92            

                                    |£ million|£ million          

------------------------------------------------------------------

(a) Universities, polytechnics and                                

       colleges of higher education |18.1     |18.7               

(b) Colleges of further education   |4.2      |4.31               

                                                                  

Total                               |22.3     |23.01              

Details for 1992-93 will be announced shortly.

Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the access funds made available to institutions of further and higher education.


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Mr. Patten : The present access funds will meet their purpose if properly targeted to genuinely needy students.

Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many students have applied for assistance from access funds during academic years 1990-91 and 1991-92 ; how many were successful ; what was the average amount of assistance per individual given as (a) grant and (b) repayable loan ; and what were the main criteria used.

Mr. Patten : The information is not available in the form requested. For the academic year 1991-92, the information will not be available until later in the year.

Information so far available in respect of academic year 1990-91 is that approximately 70,000 higher education students, or 12 per cent. of all eligible students, received a payment from either the HE or postgraduate access funds ; more than 15,500 students, or 18 per cent. of all eligible students, received a payment from the FE access funds ; payments averaged just under £200 for undergraduates and about £600 for postgraduates ; the average payment for FE students was just over £225.

The purpose of the funds is to provide financial help to students who face real financial difficulties, for whatever reason. Institutions are free to devise their own criteria provided they are consistent with these requirements and are in line with the general guidance and conditions by the funding councils and, in the case of FE funds, the Department.

Public Bodies

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Education which non- departmental public bodies are sponsored by his Department ; which of these are audited by the National Audit Office ; which firms of private accountants audits each of the others ; by what method of tendering contracts to such firms are awarded ; and for what duration.

Mr. Forman : The information is as follows :


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Non-departmental public body                             |Audit arrangements           |Method of tendering contract |Duration                                                   

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Executive                                                                                                                                                                        

Business and Technical Education Council                 |Private firm:                                                                                                          

                                                         |   Binder Hamlyn             |Renewal subject to AGM review|1 year                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Central Bureau for Educational Visits and                |Private firms;                                                                                                         

   Exchanges                                             |Internal audit: Ernst & Young                                                                                          

   External audit: Knox Kropper                          |Competitive tender           |No set period                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research                                                                                                                         

Buzzacott & Co.                                          |Competitive tender           |1 year                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Council for National Academic Awards<1>                  |Private firm:                                                                                                          

                                                         |   Price Waterhouse          |Not tendered                 |Continuous                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Education Assets Board                                   |NAO<2>                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Further Education Unit                                   |Private firm:                                                                                                          

   Chantrey Vellocott                                    |Renewal subject ot AGM review|1 year                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                 

National Council for Educational                         |Private firm:                                                                                                          

   Technology                                            |Kidsons Impey                |Renewal subject to AGM review|1 year                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Higher Education Funding Council                                                                                                                                                 

  (England)                                              |NAO                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                 

National Curriculum Council                              |NAO                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                 

National Youth Association                               |Private firm:                |Currently not tendered                                                                   

                                                         |   Peat Marwick McLintock    |from 1993 competitve tender  |3 years                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council                |NAO                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                 

School Examinations and Assessment                                                                                                                                               

   Council                                               |NAO                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Teaching as a Career Unit                                |Private firm:                                                                                                          

   Saffery Champness                                     |Not tendered                 |1 year                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                 

University Funding Council                               |NAO                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Advisory<3>                                                                                                                                                                      

Council for the Accreditation of Teacher                                                                                                                                         

   Education                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Open University Visiting Committee<4>                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Visiting Committee for Cranfield Institute                                                                                                                                       

   of Technology<4>                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Visiting Committee for the Royal College                                                                                                                                         

   of Art                                                                                                                                                                        

<1> CNAA will cease to function from March 1993.                                                                                                                                 

<2> NAO-National Audit Office.                                                                                                                                                   

<3> Advisory Bodies are subject to the audit arrangements of the Department.                                                                                                     

<4> Bodies will cease to function following final report in July.                                                                                                                

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@`

Wages Council                                     |1973                                         

                                                  |(All workers)                                

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Aerated waters (E and W)                          |20,000                                       

Aerated waters (Scotland)                         |2,500                                        

Boot and floor polish                             |1,250                                        

Boot and shop repairing                           |12,500                                       

Brush and broom                                   |8,000                                        

Button manufacturing                              |4,000                                        

Coffin furniture and cerement making              |550                                          

Corset                                            |13,000                                       

Cotton waste reclamation                          |1,000                                        

Dressmaking and womens light clothing                                                           

   (E and W)                                      |125,000                                      

Dressmaking and womens light clothing                                                           

   (Scotland)                                     |10,000                                       

Flax and hemp                                     |4,000                                        

Fur                                               |8,500                                        

General waste materials reclamation               |26,000                                       

Hair, bass and fibre                              |500                                          

Haidressing undertakings                          |140,000                                      

Hat, cap and millinery (Great Britain)            |7,000                                        

Hollow-ware                                       |1,500                                        

Industrial and staff canteen undertakings         |218,000                                      

Keg and drum                                      |5,600                                        

Lace finishing                                    |1,500                                        

Laundry                                           |86,000                                       

Licensed non-residential establishment            |340,000                                      

Licensed residential establishment                                                              

   and licensed restaurant                        |390,000                                      

Linen and cotton handkerchief and household                                                     

   goods and linen piece goods                    |6,500                                        

Made-up textiles                                  |5,500                                        

Milk distributive (E and W)                       |75,000                                       

Milk distributive (Scotland)                      |22,000                                       

Ostrich and fancy feather and artificial flower   |750                                          

Paper box                                         |35,000                                       

Perambulator and invalid carriage                 |5,000                                        

Pin, hook and eye and snap fastener               |1,500                                        

Ready-made and wholesale bespoke tailoring        |115,000                                      

Retail bespoke tailoring (E and W)                |7,000                                        

Retail bespoke tailoring (Scotland)               |500                                          

Retail bookselling and stationery trades          |25,000                                       

Retail bread and flour confectionery trade (E and                                               

   W)                                             |54,000                                       

Retail bread and flour confectionery trade                                                      

   (Scotland)                                     |10,000                                       

Retail drapery, outfitting and footwear trades    |440,000                                      

Retail food trades (E and W)                      |293,000                                      

Retail food trades (Scotland)                     |36,500                                       

Retail furnishing and allied trades               |200,000                                      

Retail newsagency, tobacco and confectionery                                                    

   trades (E and W)                               |84,000                                       

Retail newsagency, tobacco and confectionery                                                    

   trades (Scotland)                              |13,000                                       

Road haulage                                      |220,000                                      

Rope, twine and net                               |7,000                                        

Rubber proofed garment making industry            |1,000                                        

Sack and bag                                      |3,000                                        

Shirtmaking                                       |43,000                                       

Stamped or pressed metal wares                    |20,000                                       

Toy manufacturing                                 |40,000                                       

Unlicensed place of refreshment                   |160,000                                      

Wholesale mantle and costume                      |60,000                                       

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'P

Wages councils                     |1979          |1987                         

                                   |(All workers) |(excluding                   

                                                  |under 21s)                   

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Aerated waters                     |14,900        |5,500                        

Boot and shoe repairing            |7,900         |5,000                        

Button manufacturing               |3,300         |1,000                        

Clothing manufacture               |294,500       |147,000                      

Coffin furniture and cerement                                                   

   making                          |500           |200                          

Cotton waste reclamation           |400           |300                          

Fur                                |5,100         |1,500                        

Flax and hemp                      |2,300         |500                          

General waste materials                                                         

   reclamation                     |20,200        |13,000                       

Hairdressing undertaking           |128,600       |64,000                       

Hat, cap and millinery             |7,800         |4,000                        

Lace finishing                     |700           |900                          

Laundry                            |39,200        |26,000                       

Licensed non-residential                                                        

   establishment                   |470,000       |492,000                      

Licensed residential establishment                                              

   and licensed restaurant         |530,000       |379,000                      

Linen and cotton handkerchief                                                   

   and household goods and linen                                                

   piece goods                     |5,600         |2,500                        

Made-up textiles                   |6,500         |3,000                        

Ostrich and fancy feather and                                                   

   artificial flower               |1,500         |500                          

Perambulator and invalid carriage  |2,100         |2,000                        

Retail bespoke tailoring           |5,000         |4,000                        

Retail food and allied trades      |522,800       |465,000                      

Retail trades (non-food)           |563,700       |745,000                      

Rope twine and net                 |4,000         |2,500                        

Sack and bag                       |1,800         |1,000                        

Toy manufacturing                  |23,300        |11,000                       

Unlicensed place of refreshment    |121,900       |96,000                       

<1> In 1979 there were seven councils covering the clothing manufacturing       

trade.                                                                          

EMPLOYMENT

Wages Councils

Mr. Hutton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will list the numbers of people employed in each industry covered by a wages council in (a) 1970, (b) 1979 and (c) 1992.

Mr. McLoughlin : Statistical returns of the number of workers in establishments within the scope of the wages councils are not collected but periodic estimates are made. The results of exercises conducted for the years closest to those specified are shown in the tables. The figures for 1987 exclude young people under 21 years of age for whom the councils are not empowered to fix minimum rates.

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Youth Training

Mr. Patchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if she will increase youth training allowances ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : There are no plans to increase minimum YT allowances. I believe that the current minimum allowances are sufficient to meet the normal requirements of trainees living in the parental home. Trainees who live independently may apply for income support if they consider their income is insufficient to meet their needs. Employers benefit considerably from Government expenditure on YT and are strongly encouraged to supplement trainee incomes wherever possible.

Public Bodies

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment which non- departmental public bodies are sponsored by her Department ; which of these are audited by the National Audit Office ; which firms of private accountants audits each of the others ; by what method of tendering contracts to such firms are awarded ; and for what duration.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The non-departmental bodies currently sponsored by the Department of Employment are set out in the tables, with the information requested on their audit arrangements. Executive Bodies

The following executive bodies are audited by the National Audit Office :

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

Commissioner for the Rights of Trade Union Members.

Equal Opportunities Commission.

Wages councils.

Health and Safety Commission.

Health and Safety Executive.


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The following executive bodies are audited by private accountants :

National Council for Vocational Qualifications.

Currently audited by Coopers and Lybrand, Deloitte. The appointment is made by the NCVQ Council which reviews the contract annually. Renewal is not subject to formal competitive tendering.

Remploy Limited.

Currently audited by KPMG Peat, Marwick McLintock. Competitive tendering is used to appoint the auditors and the contract is normally for a duration of five years.

Industry Training Boards.

The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board and the Road Transport Industry Training Board are both currently audited by Touche Ross and Co. The Construction Industry Training Board is currently audited by BDO Binder Hamlyn. These are long-standing arrangements, not subject to competitive tendering.

Advisory Bodies and Tribunals etc.

Any costs incurred by the following non-executive bodies are included in departmental expenditure which is audited by the National Audit Office.

Civil Service Arbitration Tribunal.

National Advisory Council on Employment of People with Disabilities.

National Training Task Force.

Race Relations Employment Advisory Group.

Women's National Commission.

Committees for the Employment of People with Disabilities. Employment and Training Advisory Committee for the Resettlement of Ex-Regulars (ETAC).

Sheltered Employment Consultative Group.

Central Arbitration Committee.

Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Industrial tribunals.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Green Minister

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will outline the priorities for future action of the green Minister in his Department (a) over the next year and (b) over this Parliament ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : As the green Minister, with a close personal interest in environmental matters, my priorities both for this year and for the duration of this Parliament are that the Department shall continue and intensify its efforts to improve energy efficiency ; that the work already begun to maintain and, where appropriate, upgrade the historic buildings on our estate shall be sustained ; that the design of new court buildings shall take full account of environmental concerns ; and, in the procurement of goods and services, all reasonable steps shall be taken to use recycled and renewable resources.

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

Eastern and Central Europe

Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of the Secretary of State for Education of 3 July, Official Report, column 714, if some of the know-how funds could be made available to the scouting movement in those countries of eastern and central Europe, and any


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other comparable youth organisation, which were proscribed, or prevented from participating in the international organisation during the period of communist rule and which now wish to rebuild or establish their domestic organisation and rebuild international links.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Limited funds are available to help rebuild the capacity of voluntary organisations in eastern and central Europe through the charity know-how scheme. A number of grants have already been made to help the development of youth organisations in the region, including scouting groups in Hungary and Slovakia. Applications for youth exchanges can only be considered in so far as they are directly linked to the development of specific voluntary organisations based in central and eastern Europe.

Guyana

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will provide details of Her Majesty's Government's bilateral and multilateral support for development in Guyana.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd [holding answer 9 July 1992] :] We have made it clear to the Guyana Government that no new pledges of capital aid or technical co-operation commitments will be made until free and fair elections have been held and a government with sound economic policies is in place. Bilateral aid commitments already made in support of Guyana's economic reform programme have been fulfilled. The main contributions have been :

£13.7 million of programme aid in support of the balance of payments.

a $10.5 million (£6.135 million) short-term loan to assist payment of arrears to the international financial institutions.

technical co-operation running at about £1.5 million a year. a grant of about £3.4 million to meet payments due to British companies for development projects.

In addition, we have waived about £6 million and deferred about £3 million of aid debt payments, and rescheduled official commercial debts on concessional terms.

We have supported Guyana's economic reform programme in the relevant multilateral fora. Britain contributes resources to the main multilateral agencies assisting Guyana, but there are no internationally agreed data on multilateral aid received by individual countries and attributable to donor countries.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Secretary of State (Salary)

Ms. Corston : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the gross salary of the Secretary of State in his Department or its predecessor for each of the years from 1979 to 1989, inclusive, at 1989 prices.

Mr. Burt : The information is in the table.


Year          |Secretary of |Parliamentary|Total gross  |Total gross                

              |State salary |salary       |salary       |salaries in                

              |£            |£            |£            |1989 prices                

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1979          |19,650       |5,265        |24,915       |55,614                     

1980          |23,500       |6,930        |30,430       |59,902                     

1981          |27,825       |8,130        |35,955       |59,925                     

1982          |28,950       |8,460        |37,410       |55,753                     

1983          |29,367       |9,543        |38,910       |53,374                     

1984          |30,304       |10,626       |40,930       |53,714                     

1985          |31,271       |11,709       |42,980       |53,658                     

1986          |32,208       |12,792       |45,000       |53,003                     

1987          |33,145       |13,875       |47,020       |53,130                     

1988          |34,157       |16,911       |51,068       |51,068                     

1989          |34,479       |18,148       |52,627       |52,627                     

Source:H M Treasury                                                                 

Turner Village Hospital

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps he has taken to satisfy himself that income support payments made towards the cost of residential care provided by the Ling Trust in Essex for former residents of Turner Village mental handicap hospital were made in accordance with regulations allowing such payments to be made only in circumstances where the care provider is independent of a health authority.

Mr. Burt : The administration of income support is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member and copies will be placed in the Library and the Public Information Office.

Household Incomes

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he will be publishing the latest households-below-average-income figures.

Mr. Burt : The next edition of "Households Below Average Income", covering the period 1979 to 1988-89, will be published on 15 July.

Public Bodies

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security which non-departmental public bodies are sponsored by his Department ; which of these are audited by the National Audit Office ; which firms of private accountants audits each of the others ; by what method of tendering contracts to such firms are awarded ; and for what duration.

Miss Widdecombe : The Department sponsors the following non- departmental public bodies :

Independent Tribunal Service

Central Adjudication Services

Occupational Pensions Board

Attendance Allowance Board

Central Advisory Committee on War Pensions

Industrial Injuries Advisory Council

Social Security Advisory Council

War Pensions Committees

None of these produces separate accounts. Their expenditure is recorded in the Department's administrative vote and audited by the National Audit Office.


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PRIME MINISTER

International Agreements

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list all the international agreements, other than the United Nations target for overseas aid, which Her Majesty's Government agreed to in 1974 but have not yet met ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton : I have been asked to reply.

It is the practice of the Government to comply with all legally binding obligations under international agreements. There is no international agreement which we concluded in 1974 which we are not implementing, or have not implemented.

G7 Summit

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what proportion of the discussion time at the Group of Seven summit in Munich was devoted to environmental matters.

Mr. Newton : I have been asked to reply.

The environment was one of a number of issues discussed at the G7 summit.

Food Aid

Mr. Michael : To ask the Prime Minister what fresh initiatives he intends to promote during the period of the British Presidency of the EC in regard to the use of grain and other foodstuffs stored by the EC as emergency food aid for third world countries.

Mr. Newton [holding answer 9 July 1992] : The primary aim of emergency food aid must be to reach those who need it as quickly and effectively as possible. European food surpluses, being for the most part perishable, or otherwise not well suited to the purpose, are used only on a modest scale for famine relief. Emergency food aid is generally purchased from open market surpluses or from regions closer to areas in need. Third country purchases also help to encourage regional trade, ensure that food purchased is closely in line with local needs and avoid distortion of local markets. The Government will encourage the Commission to continue to provide food aid in the most efficient way possible, taking full account of local needs.

Subsidiarity

Mr. Michael : To ask the Prime Minister if he plans to convene any meetings in Wales to discuss the principle of subsidiarity during his presidency of the European Community ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton [holding answer 9 July 1992] : The conclusions of the meeting of the European Council held at Lisbon on 26 and 27 June invited the Commission and the Council

"to undertake urgent work on the procedural and practical steps" to implement the principle of subsidiarity. Both institutions will report to the European Council in Edinburgh. The British presidency will take forward this work.

Wales will host an informal meeting of the Council of Employment and Social Affairs Ministers on 12 and 13 October. No agenda has been set for that meeting.


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NATIONAL FINANCE

North Sea Oil and Gas

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many companies involved in oil and gas production in the North sea have sought relief for reimbursement expenditure under abandonment guarantees as provided for under section 106 of part III of the Finance Act 1991.

Mr. Dorrell : None.

Inheritance Tax (Exemptions)

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list for each county of or region in England, Scotland and Wales the number of landowners and estates, where there are five or more such cases, that have benefited under the tax procedures by which tax liability is reduced on condition that there is an undertaking to manage and protect the land from development and allow reasonable public access.

Mr. Dorrell : As I explained in my reply to the hon. Member on 30 June, at columns 469-70, a detailed breakdown by county or region for conditional exemptions from inheritance tax of land and buildings is not readily available.

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 7 July, if he will now take steps to collect figures for Scotland and Wales on the area of land where there is exemption from inheritance tax for access purposes.

Mr. Dorrell : Yes. I will write to the hon. Member with this information when it is available and place a copy in the Library.

Civil List

Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what changes have taken place in the frequency of reports to the House on the civil list and the requirement for the House to approve the civil list with the cessation of annual voted supplements under the Civil List Act 1975.

Mr. Lamont : The Civil List Act 1972 enables the royal trustees to report from time to time on relevant matters. In their October 1990 report- -HC 629--the royal trustees indicated that they accepted the logic of the views of the 1971 Select Committee on the Civil List that 10 years was an appropriate period over which to operate. For the record, reports were made by the royal trustees in January 1975, December 1983 and October 1990.

Judge Margaret Jackson

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the treatment at Heathrow airport of Judge Margaret Jackson by customs officials.


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