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21 Jan 1998 : Column WA249

Written Answers

Wednesday, 21st January 1998.

Cabinet Committees

Lord Evans of Parkside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What new Ministerial Committees of the Cabinet have been established since 9 June 1997.[HL260]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard): I have set out below the names and membership of the Cabinet Committees established since 9 June. In addition to the members listed, other Ministers are invited to attend meetings as necessary.

Ministerial Sub Committee on Energy Policy [EA(N)]

Composition:


    Chancellor of the Exchequer (Chair)


    Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions


    President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry


    Paymaster General


    Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office


    Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry


    Minister of State, Scottish Office


    Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office


    Minister without Portfolio


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Welsh Office

Terms of Reference:

"To consider the principles and objectives which should underlie the United Kingdom's energy strategy; and make recommendations for an energy strategy to the Ministerial Committee on Economic Affairs".

Ministerial Sub-Committee on House of Lords Reform [CRP(HL)]

Composition:


    Lord Chancellor (Chair)


    Secretary of State for the Home Department


    President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons


    Lord Privy Seal


    Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury


    Captain of the Gentleman at Arms


    Minister without Portfolio

Terms of Reference:

"To consider policy and other issues arising from the Government's plans for reform of the House of Lords and to make recommendations to the Ministerial Committee on Constitutional Reform policy".

21 Jan 1998 : Column WA250

Ministerial Sub-Committee on Freedom of Information [CRP(FOI)]

Composition:


    Lord Chancellor (Chair)


    Chancellor of the Exchequer


    Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs


    Secretary of State for the Home Department


    Secretary of State for Education and Employment


    President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry


    Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food


    Secretary of State for Scotland


    Secretary of State for Defence


    Secretary of State for Health


    President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons


    Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport


    Secretary of State for Social Security


    Secretary of State for Northern Ireland


    Secretary of State for Wales


    Secretary of State for International Development


    Lord Privy Seal


    Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster


    Minister for Transport


    Attorney General


    Lord Advocate


    Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury


    Minister without Portfolio

Terms of Reference:

"To consider policy and other issues arising from the Government's decision to legislate on freedom of information; to promote and oversee progress of the relevant legislation through Parliament and its subsequent implementation; and to report as necessary to the Ministerial Committee on Constitutional Reform Policy".

Ministerial Group on Youth Justice [MISC 2]

Composition:


    Secretary of State for the Home Department (Chair)


    Chief Secretary, Treasury


    Solicitor General


    Minister of State, Home Office


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Employment


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health


    Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department

21 Jan 1998 : Column WA251


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Welsh Office


    The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Minister without Portfolio also receive papers and may attend or be represented as necessary.

Terms of reference:

"To oversee the Government's programme for reform of youth justice, including the preparation of proposals for agreement by the Ministerial Cabinet Committee on Home and Social Affairs".

Ministerial Group on Utility Regulation [MISC 3]

Composition:


    President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Chair)


    Minister of Transport


    Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


    Paymaster General


    Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry


    Minister of State, Scottish Office


    Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office


    Parliamentary Secretary, Office of Public Service

Terms of Reference:

"To oversee an inter-departmental review of regulation of the utility industries, to consider issues arising from the review and to report to the Ministerial Committee on Economic Affairs".

Ministerial Group on the Millennium Date Change [MISC 4]

Composition:


    President of the Board of Trade and Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Chair)


    Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster


    Paymaster General


    Minister of State, Scottish Office


    Minister of State, Ministry of Defence


    Minister of State, Department of Health


    Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Employment


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry


    Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food


    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Welsh Office

21 Jan 1998 : Column WA252

Terms of Reference:

"To drive action across the public and the private sectors to ensure that the national infrastructure is not damaged by the failure of electronic systems related to the year 2000 date change".

The Chairman of Action 2000 is invited to attend.

Joint Consultative Committee with the Liberal Democratic Party [JCC]

Composition:

The Committee is chaired by the Prime Minister. Other Ministers and Liberal Democratic Spokesmen are invited to attend as necessary.

Terms of Reference:

"To consider policy issues of joint interest to the Government and Liberal Democratic Party".

Local Government Decision-Making Arrangements

Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proposals they have for issuing guidance to those authorities wishing to adopt experimental arrangements in the event of the Local Government (Experimental Arrangements) Bill being enacted.[HL274]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): Our current intention is that, in the event of such an enactment, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions would issue guidance to local authorities on the making of applications to him for approval of proposed experimental decision-making arrangements. A first draft of such guidance has today been placed in the Library of the House.

Art and Design in the National Curriculum

Lord Renfrew of Kairmsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What role they now see for art and design within the National Curriculum in the light of the recent statement by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, and whether they feel that the position of art and design in recent years within the National Curriculum has been of benefit to school children.[HL161]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): History, PE, art, music, geography and design and technology remain foundation subjects which all schools continue to be required to teach. From September 1998 primary schools will have more flexibility in how to teach these subjects as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. Development of a child's creativity and imagination is an essential part of a balanced education.

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Students' Tuition Fee Contributions

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to paragraph 22(f) of the memorandum submitted by the Department for Education and Employment to the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee on the Teaching and Higher Education Bill, under what existing legislation they propose to introduce contributions to tuition fees from students; and in what words it was made clear to Parliament during the passage of that legislation that such action would be within the vires conferred by that legislation.[HL115]

Baroness Blackstone: The Education (Mandatory Awards) Regulations to be made for the 1998-99 academic year will provide for a student's resources to be set first against any tuition fees payable by him. The regulations are made under Section 1(5) of the Education Act 1962 and apply to students in England and Wales. Students' resources were set against fees from the academic year 1962-63, when that Act came into force, until 1976-77.

Similar arrangements will apply in Northern Ireland, where the arrangements for student support have maintained a broad parity with the position applying to England and Wales. The Student Awards Regulations (Northern Ireland) made under Article 50(1) of the Education and Libraries (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 are based on the Mandatory Awards Regulations.

Similar arrangements will also apply in Scotland in academic year 1998-99 under the terms of the Students' Allowances (Scotland) Regulations 1996, as amended. The original legislation in Scotland was the Education (Scotland) Act 1962 and the relevant provisions are now consolidated in Sections 73 and 74 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980. Students' resources were set against fees from the inception of the scheme in the 1960s until academic year 1977-78.


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