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Inward Investment

16. Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what new proposals he has in respect of inward investment. [21978]

Mr. Hain: We will continue to seek to build and improve on our successful record on inward investment. Since the election we have secured 66 new projects promising over 7,000 new and safeguarded jobs and capital investment of over £445 million.

24. Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the prospects for inward investment in Wales. [21986]

Mr. Hain: Since the election 66 investment projects have been recorded which forecast over 7,000 new and safeguarded jobs and capital expenditure of over £445 million. This augurs well for the future and I believe the prospects for future inward investment are good.

27. Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what has been the trend of new inward investment announcements for Wales over the last three months. [21990]

Mr. Hain: In the last three months there has been a number of significant announcements in respect of new inward investment and major reinvestment projects in Wales. During that period 2,150 new jobs have been forecast, involving capital investment of some £226 million, compared with 1,500 new jobs and capital investment of £198 million for the same period a year ago.

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Health Service

17. Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's strategy for the NHS in Wales. [21979]

Mr. Win Griffiths: The Government's strategy for the NHS in Wales is set out in the White Paper "NHS Wales: Putting Patients First" (Command Paper number 3841), which was published on 15 January. Copies are available in the Library of the House.

Beef on the Bone

18. Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received regarding the ban on beef on the bone. [21980]

Mr. Win Griffiths: I have received numerous representations regarding the prohibition on the sale of bone in beef products.

Beef Farming

20 Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the state of beef farming in Wales. [21982]

Mr. Win Griffiths: My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced proposals for a one-off £85 million package on 22 December 1997, Official Report, columns 677-98. It included £60 million under the terms of the agrimoney compensation rules and £25 million for Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances. This aid is contingent upon approval by the European Commission and will be in addition to the £1.4 billion already budgeted to support the beef sector during the current financial year. This is in addition to significant funding in 1997-98 for the beef sector. Every effort is being made to have the export ban lifted. Nevertheless the beef sector remains in long term structural surplus and reform of the CAP beef regime is essential.

Cold Weather Payments

22. Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from Welsh pensioners regarding the Cold Weather Payments (Wind Chill Factor) Bill. [21984]

Mr. Win Griffiths: No representations have been received from Welsh pensioners regarding the Cold Weather Payments (Wind Chill Factor) Bill.

Home Starts

25. Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the number of home starts for Wales in 1998-99. [21987]

Mr. Win Griffiths: I estimate that there will be around 9,300 starts in 1998-99. The recently announced spending plans for Tai Cymru will allow 2,300 starts and this will be supplemented by a further 50 housing association starts funded by local authorities under the capital receipts initiative. In the private sector, work is expected to commence on more than 6,900 new homes.

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Hill Farmers

26. Mr Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to increase support to hill farmers. [21989]

Mr. Win Griffiths: I refer to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 22 December 1997, Official Report, columns 677-98.

Dental Services

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action he is planning to take in 1998 to assist those in rural areas of Wales who do not have access to an NHS dentist. [21977]

Mr. Win Griffiths: In July of last year I announced that I was making £2.5 million available to finance a package of proposals for developing primary care in Wales. This included £250,000 to extend the Welsh Office dental initiative to attract new dentists into Wales. The package also contained £500,000 to finance an Equity Fund which can be used to tackle any deficiencies in NHS dental provision which cannot be addressed by the dental initiative.

Tourism Grants

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the benefits which section 4 tourism grants have provided in Wales. [21981]

Mr. Hain: The scheme was last reviewed in September 1995. It has proved to be a cost effective mechanism for stimulating investment in tourism.

Livestock Market

Mr. Livsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the state of the farm livestock market in Wales. [21983]

Mr. Win Griffiths: Trade at livestock markets has been affected by the wider problems facing farmers recently, particularly beef producers. Since September 1997, prices and the number of animals traded have both been on a generally downward trend. The Government announced on 22 December 1997, Official Report, columns 677-98, a substantial one-off aid package of £85 million to help alleviate the current difficulties that producers face. In the longer term, the Government believe that there needs to be a substantial restructuring of the European beef industry and we will be having early consultations with the farming industry on this.

Poor People

Mr. Pond: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will carry out an assessment of the impact of his Department's current policies on the (a) income, (b) employment opportunities and (c) living standards, of the poorest 30 per cent. of the population. [23339]

Mr. Hain: The Welsh Office continually evaluates its policies using a variety of methods. Our objective is to spread prosperity throughout Wales, and to offer educational and employment opportunities for all.

21 Jan 1998 : Column: 593

The best way of improving the living standards of most people at the bottom of the income distribution is to help them into work, and we are implementing a range of policies under the New Deal to achieve this aim.

We have also established a Social Exclusion Programme to help co-ordinate action across the Welsh Office and to find new and more integrated ways of tackling the worst problems.

Road Safety

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how he proposes to improve road safety in the vicinity of schools in Deeside. [24157]

Mr. Hain: Children are a road safety priority. Road safety education is an integral part of our approach to reducing road accidents amongst all school children complementing publicity, enforcement and engineering measures. For example, we provide the services of the Traffic Education Adviser for Wales to promote road safety education, particularly through the medium of the Welsh language. We are also supportive of projects which encourage children to take the bus to school or walk and cycle in safety.

I have established the Welsh Transport Advisory Group to provide advice on the development and implementation of an integrated and sustainable transport policy for Wales. The Advisory Group are looking specifically at Safe Routes to School initiatives and will be advising shortly on action which might be taken in this area.

IT Equipment

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his Department's policy regarding the recycling of information technology equipment within his Department and relevant agencies and to other Government departments or agencies; and what arrangements have been made in this respect. [23236]

Mr. Ron Davies: Under a Private Finance Initiative the Department's IT equipment is provided, owned and disposed of by Siemens Business Services. IT equipment that SBS cannot use for spares is sold to a third party for recycling.

Health Common Services Authority

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what plans he has to enable the functions of the Welsh Health Common Services Authority to be carried out after the proposed abolition of the authority; [23778]

Mr. Win Griffiths: The activities now carried out by the Authority will be located in the Assembly, health Authorities or NHS Trusts and a review group established by the Department is now considering options. It will report in the Spring.


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