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Mr. Enright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent discussions she has held concerning a strategy to deal with disruptive and troubled children in schools; and what conclusion she has reached thereon.
Mr. Forth: Following very wide consultations, the Department issued a set of circulars in May giving guidance on pupil behaviour and discipline, the education of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties, and other subjects within the broad heading "Pupils with Problems". Children with emotional and behavioural difficulties have special educational needs and the circular complements provisions in the code of practice on the identification and assessment of special educational needs. Local education authorities must have regard to the code
Column 529which came into effect on 1 September. Copies of these documents are available in the Library.
Column 53079 and each subsequent year in cash terms, real terms and as a proportion of average earnings.
Value of The Standard Maintenance Grant and Grant Plus Loan |Standard |Standard |Standard |Standard |maintenance grant |Standard |maintenance grant |Standard |maintenance grant |maintenance grant |plus loan as a |maintenance grant |plus loan |maintenance grant |plus loan |as a percentage of|percentage of Academic Years |(cash terms) £<1> |(cash terms) £<2> |(real terms) £<3> |(real terms) £ |average |average earnings |earnings<5> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1978-79<4> |1,100 |- |3,143 |- |24 |- 1979-80<4> |1,245 |- |3,054 |- |22 |- 1980-81<4> |1,430 |- |3,027 |- |22 |- 1981-82<4> |1,535 |- |2,917 |- |22 |- 1982-83<4> |1,595 |- |2,826 |- |21 |- 1983-84<4> |1,660 |- |2,797 |- |20 |- 1984-85 |1,775 |- |2,856 |- |20 |- 1985-86 |1,830 |- |2,780 |- |19 |- 1986-87 |1,901 |- |2,804 |- |18 |- 1987-88 |1,972 |- |2,792 |- |17 |- 1988-89 |2,050 |- |2,742 |- |16 |- 1989-90 |2,155 |- |2,680 |- |16 |- 1990-91 |2,265 |2,685 |2,540 |3,011 |15 |18 1991-92 |2,265 |2,845 |2,440 |3,065 |14 |18 1992-93 |2,265 |2,980 |2,356 |3,100 |12 |16 1993-94 |2,265 |3,065 |2,314 |3,132 |13 |18 1994-95 |2,040 |3,190 |2,040 |3,190 |n/a |n/a <1> The standard maintenance grant rate is that applicable to students living away from home and studying outside London. In 1994-95 the corresponding London rate of grant is £2,560 and the parental home rate of grant is £1,615. <2> Since 1990-91 student support has included grant and loan; the grant was frozen at the 1990-92 level (ie £2,265) until 1994-85 when it was reduced to £2,040. Figures for 1990-91 and subsequent years include grant plus full year loan for students living away from home. The full year loan for students studying in London in 1994-95 is £1,375 and £915 for those living at their parents' home. <3> Based on the September Retail Price Index of each academic year. <4> Up to and including 1983-84 students claimed, and were individually reimbursed, full travelling expenses; from 1984-85 a flat rate amount for travelling costs was incorporated within the main rate of grant. The rates of grant for 1983-84 and earlier years exclude the excess travelling expense element. <5> Average annual earnings approximated from weekly earnings in April from the New Earnings Survey of full-time employees whose pay for the survey pay period was not affected by absence. This survey may not include bonuses paid at other weeks than the survey week and does not capture seasonal work. For 1979-80-1982-83 earnings are compiled on the basis of men aged 21 + and women aged 18 +. From 1983-84 earnings are compiled on the basis of employees on adult rates.
Mr. Grocott: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will list the number of press officers currently employed by her Department who are normally based (a) in the Department in London, (b) in the House and (c) at each other location.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what quantities of low level radioactive waste have been co-disposed in landfills since 1979; and what proposals exist to increase the amounts.
The Government's consultation paper, "Review of Radioactive Waste Management Policy: Preliminary
Column 530Conclusions", proposed that there would be advantage in encouraging waste producers to make greater use of the controlled burial of low-level radioactive waste. Responses on this and other issues raised in the review are being carefully considered.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what contribution the United Kingdom has made to the preparation of an international convention on waste management being developed under the International Atomic Energy Agency's radioactive waste safety standards programme;
(2) what steps Her Majesty's Government plans to take to fulfil the resolutions agreed at the International Atomic Energy Agency 38th annual conference in Vienna in September calling for an assessment by IAEA member states of the impact of the sea disposal of radioactive wastes.
Mr. Atkins: The 38th general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency resolved on 21 September this year to invite the board of governors and the director general to commence preparations for a convention on the safety of radioactive waste management. It also invited them to consider further measures that would enhance international co- operation in
Column 531this field, including assessment of the impact of the land and sea disposal of wastes. I expect that the United Kingdom will participate fully, as is appropriate, in such work. As regards the International Atomic Energy Agency's radioactive waste safety standards programme, which is aimed at securing international consensus on technical and regulatory aspects of radioactive waste management, the United Kingdom has participated fully, and continues to do so.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to amend the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 enabling landfill tips, including those located in Bradford, West Yorkshire, to take nuclear waste; and if he will made a statement.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 24 October 1994]: The Government have no plans to amend the provisions in theRadioactive Substances Act 1993 concerning the controlled burial of low-level radioactive waste in landfill sites. The consultation paper, "Review of Radioactive Waste Management Policy: Preliminary Conclusions", proposed that there would be advantage in encouraging waste producers to make greater use of the existing controlled burial provisions. Responses on this and other issues raised in the review are being carefully considered. There are no plans in relation to particular sites.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to investigate, or to require Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution to investigate the import of wastes from Germany for incineration at the Edmonton incineration plant; and if he will investigate the activities of the International Waste Consultants, brokers for the import of German waste.
Mr. Atkins: I am aware that contracts exist for the import of garage waste for disposal at the North London waste authority's incinerator in Edmonton. The circumstances surrounding these contracts are under investigation by the NLWA and the London waste regulation authority. I am sure that these authorities are taking the appropriate action to protect human health and the environment.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library the paper by David Massingham of his Department, presented at the waste management forum at the Institution of Civil Engineers on 22 September.
Mr. Atkins: On 22 September, the Waste Management Forum held a half- day seminar on the Environment Select Committee's report on recycling, under the title "Recycling Reappraised". Mr Massingham of my Department attended, and was among a number of people invited to comment briefly as a focus for discussion. No formal paper was prepared for this occasion, but the main points made at the seminar are contained in the report prepared by the Waste Management forum, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many visits have been paid to the United Kingdom, and for what purpose, by the International Atomic Energy Agency's waste management advisory programme.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what contracts have been issued by his Department for the assessment of the applicability to waste management policy of life-cycle analysis.
Mr. Atkins: I am pleased to announce that my Department has issued recently a contract to develop a methodology for the life cycle analysis of waste management options for different wastes. This contract is the first part of a major project under the Department's waste research programme. The project will provide an analysis of the environmental costs and benefits of different wastes management options over the entire life cycles of selected wastes. The results from the project are intended to inform waste management policy at both the national and local level.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent communications his Department has had with the Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee on the options for returning to countries of origin radioactive wastes arising from spent fuel reprocessed at Sellafield and Dounreay.
Mr. Atkins: The chairman of the radioactive waste management advisory committee wrote to me on 4 July with further advice on British Nuclear Fuels' proposals for waste substitution. A copy of the committee's advice was appended to the consultation document, "Review of Radioactive Waste Management Policy: Preliminary Conclusions", which the Department published on 5 August.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The Government's view of the assisted areas map, which defines those parts of Great Britain eligible for regional assistance, was completed last year. The new map reconfirmed Wirral's development area status for regional assistance purposes, and the Government, do not propose to review the assisted areas again for at least two years.
Mr. Atkins: The National Rivers Authority has reported that in 1992 95 per cent. of the water company sewage treatment works it monitored complied with their discharge consent standards, and that in 1993, the figure was 93 per cent. Because of new reporting procedures introduced by the NRA, the information for 1993 is not directly comparable with earlier statistics. The underlying trend is one of significant improvements in performance:
Column 533only 83 per cent. of sewage works complied in 1988. This reflects the water industry's substantial investment programmes since privatisation.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many houses recorded in the 1994 housing investment programme data as being empty in the (a) council, (b) housing association, (c) public and (d) private sectors; and what percentage of the overall stock this represents;
(2) how many households are recorded in the 1994 housing investment programme data collected by local authorities as being on council waiting lists (a) nationally and (b) by region.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many applications in respect of homeless persons have been made to local authorities since 1979; and what proportion of these were accepted for rehousing as statutorily homeless.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how the position of a homeless family will differ from the current situation as a result of proposals contained in the statement on access to local authority housing and explanations of its intent given in written answers to questions 15, 20 and 27.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The court's interpretation of part III of the Housing Act 1985 has the effect of requiring local authorities to secure a tenancy for life for an eligible homeless household. Under our reform proposals the duty would be to secure accommodation for at least 12 months; that duty would recur if the household continued to be eligible for assistance.
Average weekly rents, before and after deduction of housing benefit |Before deduction of|After deduction of |HB |HB -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990 |28.10 |15.60 1991 |30.10 |14.80 1992 |35.10 |16.00 1993 |39.60 |16.90
These figures are from the Family Expenditure Survey and are subject to sampling error.
The estimates do not take into account the income of householders other than the head of household, and information is not available to enable the calculation of average rents paid by households with incomes less than £10,000 per annum.
Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he has taken to monitor the take up of the leasehold enfranchisement provisions of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Leasehold enfranchisement is a private transaction between the leaseholders and the landlord, and it is therefore not possible to monitor take up comprehensively. But my Department does monitor the number of cases coming before leasehold valuation tribunals where the parties cannot agree terms. Currently 32 cases have been heard or are listed to be heard in the near future.
We are about to let a research contract to follow up the experiences and progress of those who have approached the Leasehold Advisory Service, which has been established jointly by the Department and the private sector. To date it has received about 3, 000 inquiries.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many properties rented privately in each region are currently deemed to be unfit for human habitation under the current fitness standard.
Mr. Curry: The 1991 English house condition survey estimates that the following numbers of privately rented dwellings are unfit for human habitation under the current fitness standard, by Government office regions:
|Number ------------------------------------- Northern |13,000 Yorkshire/Humberside |27,000 North West |58,000 East midlands |20,000 West Midlands |39,000 South West |34,000 Eastern |24,000 Greater London |56,000 South East |54,000 Merseyside |8,000 |------- England total |333,000
administration and (b) accommodation; and how many staff were employed by the corporation in each year since 1980.
Year ending 31 |Administrative|Accommodation |Numbers of March |Costs £ 000's |Costs £ 000's |Staff --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1980 |6,413.0 |1,457.0 |649 1981 |9,096.0 |1,879.0 |780 1982 |9,014.0 |2,522.0 |639 1983 |9,790.0 |2,500.0 |663 1984 |10,336.0 |2,700.0 |715 1985 |10,955.0 |2,781.0 |713 1986 |11,657.0 |2,924.0 |714 1987 |12,354.0 |2,929.0 |728 1988 |13,400.0 |3,100.0 |720 1989 |16,700.0 |3,500.0 |787 1990 |16,600.0 |3,300.0 |745 1991 |18,400.0 |4,100.0 |745 1992 |20,700.0 |4,500.0 |734 1993 |23,500.0 |4,400.0 |726 1994 |24,600.0 |4,500.0 |718 Notes: 1. Figures to 1989 are for England, Scotland and Wales. 2. Figures from 1990 onwards are for England only (Housing Act 1988 and Housing (Scotland) Act 1988).
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give for each financial year since 1981 82, the total sale price of the dwellings sold under the right to buy and the average discount for sales during the year.
However, figures of receipts from sales of all council dwellings and the discounts allowed are collected by the Department. Data on the value of these sales and the average percentage discount given are shown in the table.
Value of dwellings sold by local authorities in England, 1981-82 to 1993-94<1> |Value of sales |Percentage |(net of discount)|discount Year |£ million |on sales ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1981-82 |1,241 |42 1982-83 |1,769 |42 1983-84 |1,316 |42 1984-85 |1,108 |44 1985-86 |1,061 |46 1986-87 |1,237 |46 1987-88 |1,697 |47 1988-89 |2,653 |50 1989-90 |2,700 |51 1990-91 |1,616 |52 1991-92 |1,086 |52 1992-93 |841 |51 1993-94 |1,034 |49 Note: <1> Excluding receipts from block transfers.
Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what role he has in connection with proposed new port facilities by the Merseyside development corporation; what effect these proposed facilities will have on sea traffic from Belfast to the north-west of England; what interests from outside the United Kingdom are involved in the provision or operation of these proposed facilities; what funding the proposed project will receive from the European Community; and if he will make a statement about these proposals by the Merseyside development corporation.
Sir Paul Beresford: Merseyside development corporation, which is sponsored by this Department, has marketed a 55-acre riverside at Twelve Quays, Birkenhead, for a business park and an in-river ro-ro terminal. I am encouraged by the interest that has been shown in the proposed ferry terminal.
MDC has given preferred developer status for the site to London and General, acting with Capital and Regional Properties, which are both United Kingdom development companies.
The corporation's disposal of the site is a matter for the MDC to determine in accordance with the Department's disposal guidelines. Any application for grant assistance that the developer may make to MDC will also be subject to approval in accordance with Departmental guidelines; similarly any application for European Community funding will be subject to the appraisal process for objective 1 funds.
Mr. Gummer: I have today written to Sir John Banham, chairman of the Local Government Commission for England, giving my decisions on the Commission's recommendations for Avon, Humberside Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire and Somerset as set out in its reports "Final Recommendations on the Future Local Government of Avon, Gloucestershire and Somerset" and "Final Recommendations on the Future Local Government of North Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire". I announced my decision, on 1 March, to ask the Commission to undertake a further review of Gloucestershire. Avon and Somerset--
I have carefully considered the Commission's recommendations for both Avon and Somerset counties and the many representations which have been made about them. I have concluded, for Avon, that abolishing Avon County Council and establishing four unitary authorities for the area (Commission recommendations 1, 2, and 3), would best reflect local identities and interests and achieve effective and convenient local government. I propose to accept Commission recommendations 8 to 12 (on strategic planning and electoral arrangements) for Avon as submitted.
I am still considering the recommendation (Commission recommendation 16) that a town council should be established for the unparished area of Weston -super-Mare. I am also still considering whether to ask the Commission to conduct a review of electoral arrangements in the area before its normal statutory periodic review. I support recommendation (Commission recommendation 18) about consultation between principal
Column 537authorities and parish and town councils, but, this is for the relevant principal authorities to take forward.
The Commission has recommended a move to a structure of three unitary authorities in Somerset (Commission recommendations 6). However, after taking account of the number and strength of the representations which I received opposing the recommendations and the lack of support for the alternative options considered by the Commission in its draft report, I have concluded that to retain the present two-tier system would best reflect local identities and interests and achieve effective and convenient local government in Somerset. I have therefore decided not to accept this recommendation. Consequently I am also rejecting recommendations 8 (in so far as it applies to Somerset) and 13 to 15. I am still considering the recommendation (Commission recommendation 17) that a town council should be established for the unparished area of Bridgwater. Fire and Police Services
My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, is making a separate announcement about the arrangements for the Fire and Police Services in Avon and Somerset (Commission recommendation 7). Ceremonial Issues
As regards ceremonial issues (Commission recommendation 4), I do not have the power to include unitary authorities in counties where the two tier structure is to be retained. I am therefore obliged to modify some of the Commission's recommendations in this respect. The Commission recommended that the County of Avon, should for ceremonial purposes be divided between Gloucestershire and Somerset, with Bristol as a separate city and county. I propose to establish Bristol as a separate county, and to deem that for ceremonial purposes the unitary authorities of North West Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset should be part of Somerset. It is not possible to make a final decision on the nature of the ceremonial arrangements for South Gloucestershire until the outcome of the Commission's further review of Gloucestershire is known. However, I am minded that, by deeming or otherwise, the South Gloucesterhsire unitary authority and the present county area of Gloucestershire should be united for ceremonial purposes.
Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire
In its report "Final Recommendations on the Future Local Government of North Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire", for Humberside, the Commission has recommended the abolition of both the County Council and the County of Humberside and their replacement with four unitary authorities (Commission recommendation 1). I have concluded that, subject to some minor modifications, effective and efficient local government and local identities and interest would best be served by accepting the Commission's main recommendation. I propose to accept the recommendation (Commission recommendation 2) that a unitary authority be established upon the present boundaries of the City of Kingston upon Hull. However, because I take the view that the present boundaries of the City may be too tightly drawn, I intend to direct the Commission to undertake a further review of the City's boundaries with the East Yorkshire unitary authority in due course. I also accept the recommendations (Commission recommendations 3, 11 and 12) for three unitary authorities covering the greater part of the rest of Humberside. However, because of my decision not to accept recommendation 8, the reasons for which are set out below, I propose that Goole, the remaining part of Boothferry, should be incorporated in Selby district in North Yorkshire.
I propose to accept the recommendations (Commission recommendations 16, 17, 21, 22 and 25) covering the electoral arrangements for authorities in Humberside. However, I am still considering whether to ask the Commission to conduct a review of electoral arrangements in the area before its normal statutory periodic review. I am also still looking at whether there should be a review to consider the scope for further emparishment in the area (Commission recommendation 24). I support the recommendation (Commission recommendation 23) about consultation between
Column 538principal authorities and parish and town councils, but again, this is for the relevant principal authorities to take forward. On Commission recommendation 4, because of my decision to abolish the County of Humberside, the statutory requirement for all authorities to be within a county area, I have decided that, for ceremonial purposes, the City of Hull and East Yorkshire unitary authorities should be included in a new county area to be known as East Riding of Yorkshire.
I have decided to accept the Commission's recommendation for no change to the existing structure in Lincolnshire, and my reasons for doing this are dealt with below. I do not have the power to include unitary authorities in counties where the two tier structure is to be retained (Commission recommendation 10). I am therefore obliged to modify some of the Commission's recommendations in this respect. However, for ceremonial and related purposes I propose to accept the Commission's recommendation that the two authorities south of the Humber should be deemed to be part of Lincolnshire.
I propose to accept the recommendations (Commission recommendations 26 and 27) for minor changes to parish boundaries. Lincolnshire
The Commission has recommended retaining the present two-tier structure in Lincolnshire (Commission recommendation 13). I have looked closely at this recommendation. The Commission found little support for change in the County, and where there was support, no consensus about what form any change should take. This view is supported by the representations which I have received, and I have, therefore, concluded that I should accept the Commission's recommendation.
In North Yorkshire, the Commission has recommended the abolition of the County Council and that the existing eight districts should be combined to form three unitary authorities (Commission
recommendations 5 to 8). I have decided to accept the recommendation that a unitary authority be established for the City of York, with its boundaries extended to include the Greater Planning Area (Commission recommendation 76). The Commission identified evidence of strong community identity amongst its residents and support for unitary status and I agree that the residents and support for unitary status and I agree that the present boundary is particularly restrictive. Because of the significant increase in the size of the City, in terms of the area it will cover, its population, and the additional functions for which it will become responsible, I have concluded that a unitary York will be considered a new and not a continuing authority. However, in the light of the strong representations which I have received opposing the Commission's recommendations for North and West Riding authorities (Commission recommendations 6 and 8), and in the absence of any consensus about alternatives, I have concluded that to retain the present two-tier system would best reflect local identities and interests and achieve effective and convenient local government in North Yorkshire outside the City of York. I have therefore decided to reject the recommendation for these two authorities and to retain the two-tier system in the remainder of North Yorkshire. A small number of district wards and county divisions would be split by the proposed boundary changes and it will be necessary to consult the authorities concerned about how the areas remaining outside York should be combined with other wards or divisions.
I have decided to accept the recommendations (Commission recommendation 19 and 25) covering the electoral arrangements for the new unitary authority for the City of York. However, as a consequence of my decision not to introduce unitary authorities elsewhere in North Yorkshire I shall not be accepting recommendations 18 and 20. Planning
I am still considering the recommendations for planning (Commission recommendation 15) in the three counties in the light of my decisions about local government structure in the area.
Column 539Police and Fire Service
My Right hon. and Learned Friend, the Home Secretary, is making a separate announcement about the arrangements for the Fire and Police Services in these three counties (Commission recommendation 14). Ceremonial Issues
I propose to deem the unitary authority for the City of York to be part of North Yorkshire for ceremonial and related purposes. Implementation
In all areas where I am agreeing with the establishment of unitary authorities, I have given careful consideration to representations which I received about the implications for those services and functions currently performed on a wider basis. My decisions are based on the presumption that the authorities which are to become unitary will work together, and where relevant with existing authorities, to plan for these services and functions, and will forge effective links with other bodies such as health authorities.
Once I have had the opportunity to consult the affected local authorities, orders giving effect to the Commission's recommendations for these counties, with the aforementioned modifications, will be laid before the House. I intend that elections to unitary authorities in these counties should be held next May, with them assuming full responsibility for their new functions from 1 April 1996. A copy of my letter to Sir John Banham has been placed in the Library. Conclusion
My decisions mean that nine further unitary authorities will be established from April 1996. Local people in these areas will enjoy the benefits which we believe that unitary local government brings; improved accountability and understanding of where responsibility for services lies; less duplication and improved cost-effectiveness; and improved quality and co- ordination of local services. Where there is to be change, I believe that the costs of change will be justified by the savings and other benefits which it will bring. Elsewhere, where I have judged that this would best provide efficient and effective local government which reflects local identities, I have decided to retain the present two-tier system. This diversity reflects our determination not to impose a uniform structure on local government in England. Instead, we wish to see the structure which works best for each area, which reflects the local preferences, history and tradition, and meets the needs and wishes of local people.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The New Earnings Survey is a well-established and comprehensive survey of earnings across the country. It is, therefore, a very suitable basis for establishing the relative wage rates paid in different regions in occupations relevant to local authorities. The sample numbers in the survey are, however, not large enough to produce reliable estimates of wage rates in individual local authorities. For this reason, the area cost adjustment is calculated at a regional level.
Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what would be the effect on counties in the east midlands of removing £1.5 billion distributed through area cost adjustment to counties in the south east and dividing the proceeds to increase the general amount of the standard spending assessment of every other county and metropolitan authority outside the south east.
Column 540without applying the area cost adjustment to authorities in London and the South East, but with no other change either to the national total of SSAs, or to the detailed formulae applied to each service.
|SSA with |Actual |no area cost |1994-95 SSA |adjustment |Change in SSA |£ million |£ million |£ million* ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Derbyshire |553 |576 |23 Leicestershire |561 |584 |23 Lincolnshire |365 |380 |15 Northamptonshire |364 |37 |15 Nottinghamshire |627 |653 |27 * figures may not sum due to rounding to nearest pound million