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Baroness Hayman: The Government have received written representations from a number of bodies, including the British Diabetic Association (BDA), about the effect of implementation of Directive 91/439 on insulin-treated diabetic drivers. I met representatives of the BDA on 12 February to discuss their concerns.
Baroness Hayman: Evidence of the dangers of driving by insulin-treated diabetics predates Directive 91/439 and has led to the introduction of restrictions on such driving in many countries, reflecting international medical opinion. At the EU level, restrictions on the driving of heavier and larger vehicles were required by the First Driving Licence Directive, adopted in 1980. The further harmonisation under Directive 91/439
Baroness Hayman: The directive requires that licences to drive Group 2 Vehicles are not granted or renewed to insulin-treated diabetics other than in very exceptional cases. Any change to that requirement would be for the European Commission to propose. The Government are implementing the directive in accordance with advice received from the Secretary of State's Advisory Panel on Diabetes and Driving.
Baroness Hayman: The Government support the proposed directive, which we believe to be a useful and practical measure to help enforcement authorities across the Community combat vehicle crime. In particular, we welcome the encouragement which the directive gives to the electronic exchange of vehicle registration information, as a means to combat the illegal transfer of vehicles between member states.
Baroness Hayman: The Government have no present plans to reduce the national 30 mph urban speed limit to 20 mph. We intend to propose amending existing legislation in order to make it easier for local highway authorities to make 20 mph speed limits in particular
Baroness Hayman: It was announced on 3 December that the Government were accelerating that part of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review which was considering the institutional arrangements for delivering rural policy. The Rural Development Commission, the Countryside Commission, English Nature and the Farming and Rural Conservation Agency are being consulted about this work. Terms of reference for the Comprehensive Spending Review of rural and countryside policy were published on 24 July 1997, with comments invited. We shall be considering, in the light of the outcome of the specific work on institutions, whether any wider consultation would be appropriate.
The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): Music remains a foundation subject in Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the English National Curriculum, which all state schools are required to teach. From September 1998 primary schools in England will have greater flexibility in how to teach music as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. In Wales, the position of music in the National Curriculum is being considered as part of a wider review. The Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC) is consulting teachers and others so as to identify options for reducing overload within the curriculum which reflect the distinctive nature of the National Curriculum in Wales.
Baroness Blackstone: Support from public funds for the tuition fees charged by publicly-funded universities and colleges will be provided on a means-tested basis up to £1,000 a year for every eligible home and EU full-time undergraduate entering higher education from the academic year 1998-99 (apart from those who are, exceptionally, to be treated as continuing students). Means-testing will not apply to fee support for continuing students.
This means that new home and EU entrants to full-time undergraduate courses at the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and Trinity College of Music should not have to pay fees if they come from lower-income families. Those from middle-income families will receive help with fees up to £1,000, depending on their own and their parents' or spouse's income. Others from well-off families will receive no assistance with fees. But tuition for all home and EU students will be subsidised from public funds through the grant that their institution will receive from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. The Government plan no changes in the financial support for postgraduate students at these institutions.
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is not a publicly-funded institution, so different arrangements will apply. For Guildhall students, the maximum tuition fees that will be paid from public funds for each eligible home full-time undergraduate in the academic year 1998-99 will be three instalments of £1,200 each. The remaining costs of tuition will be met from private sources, as the school receives no public funds from the HEFCE.
Baroness Blackstone: The Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations were laid in 1996 to ensure the safety of schoolchildren and other young people under 18 years of age taking part in certain outdoor pursuits in Great Britain. Since a voluntary accreditation scheme--without the age limit--already exists in Wales and another is currently being piloted in Scotland, it would clearly be good practice for complementary schemes within Great Britain to be harmonised in so far as that is possible; but the Government's role would be to encourage, not lead on, non-statutory measures.
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