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25 Nov 1997 : Column WA109

Written Answers

Tuesday, 25th November 1997.

Remploy: Performance Figures

Lord Davies asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was Remploy's performance against the targets set in its 1996-97 annual performance agreement.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): Now that Remploy has published its report and accounts for 1997 and audited figures are available, I am, on behalf of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment delighted to confirm that Remploy has exceeded its 1996-97 APA targets. The targets and achievements are listed in the following table. Copies of Remploy's 1997 annual report and accounts are available in the Library.

TargetAchievement
The average number of disabled people employed by Remploy:at least 9,4009,662
Average number of disabled people employed under the Interwork scheme:at least 2,4002,704
The number of disabled employees to move from Remploy factories to Interwork having been employed there for at least 1 year, or from Interwork or factories to open employment:at least 175182
Remploy will keep within a unit cost target (operating deficit per disabled worker) of:£10,170£9,967
The unit cost of Interwork to be no more than: £4,540£4,230
Remploy to keep within an operating deficit (including reorganisation costs) of:£99 million£98.9 million

HIV/AIDS Treatment: Costs

Lord Belhaven and Stenton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the annual cost to the NHS of treating (a) active male homosexuals; and (b) AIDS in male homosexuals.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Information concerning the annual cost to the National Health Service of treating active male homosexuals is not collected. The total amount allocated for all HIV/AIDS treatment and care in 1997-98 in England was £199.6 million and in Scotland was £9.6 million. The amount spent on AIDS in male homosexuals cannot be separately identified. Details of annual expenditure on HIV/AIDS related treatment and care for Wales and Northern Ireland are not available.

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Gulf War Veterans

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What study they have made in respect of the United States President's recent announcement on the handling of inquiries about the Gulf War illnesses suffered by 60,000 United States veterans; and whether they consider any further action to be necessary in Britain to correspond with his stated intention to make it easier for the former United States servicemen and women stricken by these illnesses to receive appropriate treatment and benefits.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The Government have studied very carefully the statement made by President Clinton on 8 November concerning the actions he proposes to take in the light of the recent Special Report of the US Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses. We will closely monitor the implementation of these actions as part of our ongoing close co-operation with the US authorities, in order to ensure that our handling of British Gulf veterans' health concerns benefits from the US experience. As set out in our policy statement Gulf Veterans' Illnesses: A New Beginning, published on 14 July this year, the Government are committed to ensuring that all British Gulf veterans receive appropriate medical help and financial provision with the minium delay.

Special Nuclear Materials Flights

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the special nuclear materials (SNM) flights from RAF Brize Norton to the United States are continuing, and whether SNM flights which have taken place have carried plutonium or highly-enriched uranium; and, if so, whether this has presented any danger or been in breach of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Lord Gilbert: The Ministry of Defence continues to use RAF flights to transport special nuclear material to the United States under the provisions of the 1958 UK/US agreement for co-operation on the uses of atomic energy for mutual defence purposes. The term, special nuclear material, encompasses materials such as plutonium tritium and highly-enriched uranium. These movements do not contravene the non-proliferation treaty. All such movements are carried out in accordance with stringent safety procedures. In the more than 40 years that the UK has been a nuclear power, there has never been a transportation accident in the UK that has posed any radiation hazard to the public.

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Human Rights Bill: "Public Authority" Definition

Lord Coleraine asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their intention that the words "public authority" in Clause 6 of the Human Rights Bill are to have the same meaning, according to the law of the United Kingdom, as those words have in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): A direct comparison between the approach of the convention institutions in determining what is a public authority in Clause 6 of the Human Rights Bill is not appropriate, because the convention institutions will consider whether an alleged violation engages the responsibility of the United Kingdom itself, as a state party to the convention, rather than any particular public authority. Nevertheless, the Human Rights Bill is designed to enable a person to invoke the convention rights in the United Kingdom against any public authority in respect of whose actions the United Kingdom is answerable before the convention institutions.

European Convention on Human Rights: "Public Authority" Definition

Lord Coleraine asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their interpretation of the words "public authority" in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights; and what is the legal basis of that interpretation.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The jurisprudence of the convention institutions contains no statement of general principle as to what constitutes a public authority for the purpose of Article 8. Bodies which the convention institutions have treated as public authorities for the purposes of Article 8 in cases against the United Kingdom, include the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Security Service, the police, prison authorities and local authorities.

European Movement: Grants

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the European Movement has received any money in the last three financial years from any Ministry or Government department for either educational purposes or in order to conduct an information campaign.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): No. Until 1985 the Government made grants of £30,000 a year to the European Movement. These were phased out over nine years, and the last grant of £10,000 was paid in January 1994.

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Students: Maintenance Grants

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the value of the current full maintenance grant for a student from the West Highlands attending university in Glasgow.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): For academic session 1997-98, the maximum standard maintenance grant payable under the students' allowances scheme to students undertaking a normal 30 week full-time university degree or equivalent course and living outwith the parental home is £1,685. In addition, they are entitled to a student loan of £1,685 and reimbursement of necessary travel costs in excess of £70.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the value of the current full maintenance grant for a student attending university in Glasgow and residing at home with his parents in Glasgow.

Lord Sewel: For academic session 1997-98, the maximum standard maintenance grant payable under the students' allowances scheme to students undertaking a normal 30 week full-time university degree or equivalent course and living in the parental home is £1,290. In addition, they are entitled to a student loan of £1,290.

Scottish Office: Roads Programme

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made by the Scottish Office on the review of the roads programme.

Lord Sewel: Work is progressing on the development of an improved method of appraising trunk road schemes and on reviewing the scope for achieving improved value for money from trunk road expenditure, including that allocated to repairs, maintenance and minor schemes. The revised appraisal method will reflect the Government's criteria of economy, safety, environmental impact, accessibility and integration. This will be the subject of public consultation during the first half of 1998 and, thereafter, it is expected that the outcome of the review will be announced in the Summer of 1998. Decisions on the major road schemes to be undertaken in future will be made following the review, except in the case of those schemes identified at the outset of the review for earlier consideration, the M.8 Baillieston-Shotts and the Kincardine Bridge.


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