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Lord Sewel: Chief Constables in Scotland must submit to their police authority or joint board an annual report on the policing of their force area. These reports must also be copied to the Secretary of State and to the sheriff principal for the area. In addition, the police authority or joint board, the Secretary of State, or the relevant sheriff principal may require the chief constable to submit to them a report at any time on any matter connected with the policing of the force area.
Lord Sewel: Police grant is paid by the Scottish Office to police authorities and joint police boards on expenditure for police purposes. Costs of attendance by a police officer at an international conference would be eligible for police grant as long as they met that criterion. No guidance has been issued on attendance of police officers at international conferences.
Lord Sewel: Section 29 of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967 empowers the Secretary of State to arrange for a local inquiry to be held by a person appointed by him, into any matter connected with the policing of any area.
Lord Sewel: The chief constable alone is responsible for operational matters within his force. Under Section 15(2) of the Police (Scotland) Act 1967, however, a police authority may require a chief constable to submit a report to them on any matter connected with the policing of the area for which he is responsible.
Lord Sewel: This information is not held centrally in the form it has been requested. The department does, however, hold information, based on Scottish qualifications authority data, which shows that for session 1995-96 the percentage of school leavers who held a Standard Grade English Award at Grades 1-7 was 88.5 per cent. In addition the Scottish School Leavers Survey showed that in Spring 1995 4 per cent. of 18-19 year olds have no qualifications.
Lord Sewel: The national guidelines set out in the document The Structure and Balance in the Curriculum 5-14 recommend that Scottish primary schools spend 15 per cent. of curriculum time (3¾ hours per week) on each of language (reading and writing) and mathematics. This total of 30 per cent. on language and mathematics can be increased by an additional 20 per cent. of built in flexibility time (5 hours per week) wherever there is concern with standards of literacy or numeracy. This allows for a total of 50 per cent. (12½ hours) of curriculum time to be devoted to language and mathematics. It is a matter for education authorities and individual schools to decide how much time to spend on language and mathematics within these parameters.
Lord Sewel: Our consultation document Developing an Integrated Transport Policy, which we published last August, invited views about the future role of trunk roads within an integrated transport system. We have received nearly 500 responses which are currently being analysed in order to help inform the development of policy. Furthermore, as part of the strategic review of motorways and trunk roads in Scotland, the Scottish Office will issue a consultation document in the spring on the revised trunk road appraisal system which is one of the key components of the review.
Lord Sewel: The Government's aim is to ensure greater consistency in the organisation of important support services like hospital meals, laundries and sterile supply service units across Scotland, as well as to eliminate waste and duplication. The focus of our efforts is to provide higher quality services for patients.
Lord Sewel: Where planning authorities receive applications for opencast mining within designated green belt it falls to them, in the first instance, to consider such applications against the development plan and all other material planning considerations, including the Government's policy for the protection of green belt areas. Planning authorities are, also, required to notify the Secretary of State where they propose to grant permission for certain types of development, for example where they consider the development is a significant departure from the approved structure plan or affects a site of special scientific interest or certain classes of agricultural land, although there is no separate notification requirement for mineral workings in green belt areas. My right honourable friend can then consider whether or not to call in the application for his own determination.
Lord Sewel: The public local inquiry into the planning application for a proposed opencast coal mine at Greengairs is expected to commence some time in April. The precise timing depends on agreement being reached with the parties to the inquiry. If the inquiry takes place in April, the reporter should be in a position to present his report to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland by early August.
Lord Sewel: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland announced on 26 January the arrangements for the selection of a design team for the Scottish Parliament building. Advertisements will be placed in the Official Journal of the European Communities and professional journals inviting architect-led design teams to register their interest. From those applicants, the most suitable 12 or so will be interviewed and from these a shortlist of three or four invited to produce indicative design approaches for the building. Those design approaches will be put on public display, following which the successful design team will be selected.
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