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Cigarette Prices: Deterrent Effect

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): While it is known that the price of tobacco affects consumption, it is not possible to relate price rises directly to the number of deaths caused by smoking.

However, the recently published Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health's report has highlighted the subject of price and consumption of tobacco (which was addressed in the British Medical Bulletin (January 1996) by Joy Townsend, MRC Epidemiology and Medical Care Unit, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine. The Medical College of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London), where it was found that cigarette consumption decreases by about 0.5 per cent. for a 1 per cent. increase in price adjusted for inflation.

Children at Nursery School: LEA Information Gathering

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: There is no requirement under the Children Act 1989 for local authorities to collect the names of 2½-year olds attending such provision. With the introduction of Early Years Development Plans, intended to secure a free nursery education place for all 4-year olds and which operate on a three-year cycle, local authorities will, in each

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planning cycle, need to know the number of children within their area who will attain the age of four years during the period. This is so they can ensure that sufficient places will be available for all the relevant children.

Disabled Civil Servants

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of employees in each government department were disabled at the latest date for which figures are available.[HL1277]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The proportion of disabled non-industrial civil servants by department as at 1 April 1997 is set out in the table below:

Disabled staff as a percentage of all staff at 1 April 1997 by department (1)

Departments% of Disabled Staff
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service4.5
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food3.5
Cabinet Office (including OPS)1.4
Charity Commission3.8
Crown Prosecution Service2.2
Culture, Media and Sport, Department for1.1
Customs and Excise2.2
Defence3.9
Education and Employment, Department for5.6
Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED)3.2
Environment (including Property Holdings)1.4
Health and Safety Commission/Executive2.9
Export Credits Guarantee Department9.7
FCO: Diplomatic Service2.0
Friendly Societies, Registry of2.9
Government Actuary3.8
Health3.1
HM Prison Service0.3
Home Office2.0
Information, Central Office of0.5
Inland Revenue3.9
International Development, Department for2.6
Intervention Board8.2
Land Registry4.2
Legal Secretariat--
Lord Chancellor's Department2.6
National Investment and Loans Office2.7
National Savings, Department for2.8
National Statistics, Office for1.5
Northern Ireland Office0.9
Office of Electricity Regulation--
Office of Fair Trading3.0
Office of Gas Supply0.9
Office of Passenger Rail Franchising2.9
Office of Telecommunications--
Office of the National Lottery--
Office of the Rail Regulator1.7
Office of Water Services0.6
Ordnance Survey2.6
Privy Council Office--
Public Record Office7.2
Royal Mint2.5
Scottish Office1.5
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal0.5
General Register Office--Scotland0.9
Lord Advocate's Department--
Registers of Scotland2.9
Scottish Courts Administration--
Scottish Courts Service1.0
Scottish Prison Service0.1
Scottish Record Office2.4
Security and Intelligence Services1.1
Serious Fraud Office1.8
Social Security6.6
Trade and Industry3.8
Transport1.1
Treasury1.0
Treasury Solicitor6.9
Welsh Office (including OHMCIS)3.9
Total3.8

Source:

(1) Mandate and Departmental Returns

Figures are for non industrial staff and are calculated on a head count basis.

My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has today [Thursday, 2 April] published the Progress Report on Equal Opportunities in the Civil Service 1995-97, and the Equal Opportunities in the Civil Service Data Summary 1997.

Against a background of falling Civil Service numbers, progress continues to be made in the important field of equality of opportunity in the Civil Service. For example, the proportion of staff with disabilities now stands at 3.8 per cent.


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Special Waste Regulations 1996

Baroness Young of Old Scone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to amend the Special Waste Regulations 1996.[HL1383]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The Special Waste Regulations, which came into force on 1 September 1996, implement the EC Hazardous Waste Directive (91/689/EEC), which covers the most difficult and dangerous wastes. The regulations provide for movements of hazardous ("special") waste to be pre-notified to the Environment Agencies and to be tracked through a system of consignment notes.

With some 18 months having elapsed since these regulations came into force, it is clear that some fine-tuning is desirable, in the light of operational experience by the Environment Agencies and of representations from industry. The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, the Scottish Office and the Welsh Office have therefore today issued a public consultation paper proposing a number of changes to the regulations. These include certain relaxations to the procedures under which multiple loads can be moved for a single fee, designed to assist small businesses, including those involved in recycling lead acid batteries; minor changes to the format of the consignment note to assist monitoring and enforcement; and technical changes to ensure that island communities are not penalised by the fees system.

We are also proposing a small number of adjustments to the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994

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(SI 1994/1056, as amended) aimed at encouraging the recovery/recycling of waste, particularly waste affected by the revised definition of "Special waste" contained in the 1996 Special Waste Regulations.

I have placed copies of the consultation paper and associated draft regulatory appraisal in the Libraries of both Houses.

Policy Appraisal and the Environment Guidance

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish policy guidance on policy appraisal and the environment.[HL1382]

Baroness Hayman: We are determined to ensure that environmental issues are considered in the development of all government policies to deliver an improved and lasting quality of life. Today we publish new guidance to remind policymakers when and how to consider potential environmental impacts as part of the appraisal of specific policies and programmes. The guidance reminds staff of the need to incorporate environmental considerations into policy appraisals where the impact on the environment might be significant, and to set out the steps that ought to be taken in doing so.

I am placing copies of the guidance in the Library.

Planning Inspectorate Agency: Performance Targets

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What performance targets they propose to set for the Planning Inspectorate Agency for the financial year 1998-99.[HL1381]

Baroness Hayman: We have today set new performance targets for the Planning Inspectorate Agency under which it will be expected to achieve significantly improved handling times for its work while preserving the impartiality and quality for which it is deservedly highly respected, and while seeking also to improve efficiency. The targets are as follows:


    Timeliness


    (a) 80 per cent. of all planning appeals decided by written representations to be determined in 18 weeks;


    (b) 80 per cent. of all planning appeals decided by hearings to be determined in 24 weeks;


    (c) 80 per cent. of all planning appeals decided by inquiries to be determined in 36 weeks;


    (d) To provide an inspector for local plan inquiries in at least 80 per cent. of cases on the date requested by a local authority provided that the objection period has ended and at least 6 months' notice has been given;

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    (e) To deliver 90 per cent. of inspectors' reports on local plan inquiries to local authorities according to timescales agreed under service agreements.


    Financial


    (a) Unit costs of planning appeals decided by written representations not to exceed £839;


    (b) Recover 80 per cent. of receipts due within eight weeks of invoice date.


    Efficiency


    Generate a 3 per cent. efficiency improvement in the use of running costs compared with 1997-98;


    Quality


    To satisfy the Advisory Panel on Standards, and thus the Secretaries of State, annually and following rigorous monitoring that the quality of the inspectorate's work is being maintained at a high standard, with 99 per cent. of its casework free from justified complaint.


    Information and Guidance


    To carry out a customer survey of public satisfaction with the inspectorate's handling of planning appeals dealt with by the written representations procedure.


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