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Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Viscount Goschen: The environmental benefit of grant applications is calculated by applying the following rates per lorry mile of road journeys avoided over qualifying routes:

motorways, rural dual carriageways and urban grade separated dual carriageways0.05
rural single carriageways1.00
urban single carriageways and urban non-grade separated dual carriageways1.50

Civil Enforcement Agents

Baroness O'Cathain asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): The discussions referred to in my Written Answer of 29th June 1995 (Official Report, WA 63) have now concluded. Following careful consideration of the proposals which emerged from these discussions, I believe that the best way of achieving a proper and professional service for creditors and debtors lies in a package of initiatives, specifically focused on the areas of concern identified in the course of the review.

I therefore intend to implement a range of measures which will increase creditors' access to enforcement by the sheriffs, while increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the county court bailiff service for those who continue to use it. At the same time, my department will be working with other government departments and relevant bodies to modify and strengthen the certification procedure for other bailiffs and to ensure that redress is both available and accessible for those aggrieved by the actions of private bailiffs.

Marriage: Interdepartmental Working Party

Baroness Young asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Lord Chancellor: The interdepartmental working party on marriage is made up of officials from the Lord Chancellor's Department, the Home Office, the Department of the Environment, the Department of Social Security, the Department of Health, the Department for Education and Employment, the Northern Ireland Office and the Welsh Office. The composition of the working party was agreed by the Government.

The working party's terms of reference are to seek to identify:

    the needs of couples in relation to preparing for marriage and for guidance and support during marriage;

    the range of services currently available in this area, the extent to which their existence is known and how this knowledge might be increased; and

    how existing resources might best be used to meet the needs of couples who are considering marriage or whose marriage is in difficulty.

The working party has not published any report, but has given a preliminary indication of the types of initiatives at which it believes resources may need to be targeted. This information was given in response to parliamentary Questions in both Houses on 11th January (House of Lords, 11th January, col. WA 35: House of Commons, 11th January, col. 292).

I will write to the noble Baroness about the costs of the working party.

The Ombudsman: Advisory Booklet

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

    Whether they will take steps to publicise their publication The Ombudsman in Your Files of December 1995.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): The Ombudsman In Your Files is a guidance document for civil servants, and it would not be appropriate to spend time and money publicising the booklet to the general public. However, the booklet has been circulated widely within those departments and bodies that come within the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration. It is also available to members of the public on request from the Office of Public Service.

Remploy: Annual Performance Agreement

The Earl of Orkney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What targets Remploy has been set in its 1996-97 Annual Performance Agreement.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley): I have written to the chairman of Remploy approving the 1996-97 annual performance agreement between the department and the

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company. This agreement covers the year from 1st April 1996. It has been negotiated by the Chief Executive of the Employment Service, on behalf of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment. The targets are:

    the average number of disabled people employed by Remploy Ltd. will be at least 9,400;

    the average number of disabled people employed under the Interwork scheme will be at least 2,400;

    at least 175 disabled employees will move from Remploy factories to Interwork having been employed there for at least one year, or from Interwork or factories to open employment;

    Remploy Ltd. will keep within a total unit cost target (operating deficit per disabled worker) of £10,170;

    the unit cost of Interwork should be no more than £4,540;

    Remploy Ltd. will keep within an operating deficit of £99 million (including reorganisation costs).

The text of the annual performance agreement is being placed in the Library.

Bilingual Teaching Projects

Baroness Hayman asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they believe that bilingual teaching projects are of value in promoting the acquisition of fluency in a foreign language.

Lord Henley: The limited evidence, from the handful of bilingual projects of which we have heard, suggests that they can lead to increased motivation and success in modern foreign language learning. It is not clear however whether they necessarily promote high standards in the other curricular subjects involved.

Modern Language Teaching in Secondary Schools

Baroness Hayman asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What initiatives they have taken to promote the successful teaching of modern languages in secondary schools.

Lord Henley: We have made a modern foreign language a compulsory part of the curriculum for all children aged 11 to 16 in maintained secondary schools. Support for modern foreign language teaching is available to schools through the Grants for Education Support and Training (GEST) scheme, totalling over £900 million for all national curriculum subjects since

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1989. In 1991-92 we made a special grant of £1.49 million to 60 local education authorities for first foreign language diversification. In addition we provide core funding for the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, which provides a wide range of advice and support for language teachers.

In November 1994 we extended the specialist schools initiative to include modern foreign languages. It is open to all maintained secondary schools to apply to join the initiative, which aims to raise the standard of teaching and learning in modern foreign languages through participating schools putting special emphasis on this area of the curriculum while still teaching the full national curriculum. So far, 16 schools have successfully applied and many more are expressing strong interest.

Modern Language Skills

Baroness Hayman asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the inclusion of a modern language in the national curriculum reflects a view that the acquisition of fluency in a foreign language is central to the future success of both individual pupils and of the country.

Lord Henley: That is indeed our view. Young people need to be prepared for a world in which language skills will be very much in demand and where trading advantage will go to those who can communicate with trading partners in their own languages. Language learning also provides enjoyment and intellectual stimulation, and encourages positive attitudes to other cultures and civilisations.

Grant-Maintained Schools

Lord Dormand of Easington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools have obtained grant-maintained status in each of the years 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995.

Lord Henley: The information requested is contained in the table below.

Type of School


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Downe Hall

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they authorised the repairs to Downe Hall, near Bridport in Dorset; and, if so, whether they did so before West Dorset District Council agreed to the principle of enabling development

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): An application for the external alteration and conversion of Downe Hall into five flats, including certain repair work, was submitted to West Dorset District Council on 10 May 1995. On 11th January 1996 the Secretary of State was notified that the application was one which the council proposed to approve, and on 29th January he informed the council that he did not intend to direct that the application be referred to him for determination. The council therefore granted listed building consent on 16th February. An application seeking outline planning permission for eight dwellings in the grounds of Downe Hall was also submitted to the council, for which, I understand, planning permission was granted on 1st April.

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