Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work
Lord Monkswell asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to Baroness Jay of Paddington's reply of 23 July (WA 165-166), what contextual matters will be taken into account in the Review of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work and what will be the full Terms of Reference for the Review.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Further to my reply to my noble friend on 23 July, column WA 165-166; three contextual matters for the review of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work should have been included. A full text of the announcement including these three matters is as follows:
The Department of Health, in collaboration with the Scottish Office, Welsh Office and Department of Health and Social Services Northern Ireland, will conduct a thorough review of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work. The review, which is now due as part
of the regular five yearly examination of non-departmental public bodies, will take the form of a prior options study. It will assess the extent to which the functions of the Council are necessary for the achievement of the Government's policies and consider, with particular regard to the importance of securing the best value for money, the scope for rationalisation, privatisation, contracting out, market testing or transferring all, or part, of its functions to another body. We will consult widely with all parties who have an interest in the work of the Council.
The review will have regard to and take account of:
the implications of the Government's national training organisation initiative for the personal social services sector;
the recommendations of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education (Dearing Report);
the Government's plans for the training of probation officers;
the Government's proposals for devolution in Scotland and Wales, and
the Government's intention to establish a general social services council.
To minimise uncertainty, we expect this fundamental review to be completed by the end of October. Throughout, the Government's objective remains to ensure that quality services are delivered through a workforce trained and qualified to appropriate levels of competence. Nothing must get in the way of achieving that objective.
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Tobacco Industry: Employment Figures
Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many people are employed in the tobacco industry, including manufacturing, distribution and retailing.
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): The Office for National Statistics' Annual Employment Survey provides the following information for Great Britain in 1995:
Employees in Employment in the Tobacco Industry
Manufacture of Tobacco Products:7,300
Wholesale of Tobacco Products:1,300
Retail Sale of Tobacco Products:5,200
Industrial Performance: Publications
Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:
What indicators of the performance of industry they monitor; what the values were at the latest date for which figures are available; and which of these measures they have proposed, or intend to propose, should be used in the benchmarking process which they intend to implement.
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): Statistics of industrial performance, including the latest figures, can be found in the following publications, all of which are available in the Library of the House: Economic Trends, National Income Accounts, Annual Abstract of Statistics, Monthly Digest of Statistics. The Government's approach to competitiveness and benchmarking will be set out in an audit of UK competitiveness to be published in the autumn and in a White Paper to be published next year.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Research
The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:
What funds have been allocated for research into the organic aetiology of chronic fatigue syndrome and allied syndromes since 1987; how many research proposals have been submitted to the Medical Research Council in that period; of those, how many have been accepted; what reasons have been given for rejection of others and on whose decision.
Lord Simon of Highbury: Since 1987 the Medical Research Council has allocated around £152,220 for research into the organic aetiology of chronic fatigue syndrome and allied syndromes.
Since 1993 there have been nine grant applications to the MRC in this area, of which only one was accepted. Between 1987 and 1993 the basis for indexing and retrieving data was different to the current system which
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makes direct comparisons difficult. However, in that period the MRC has been able to establish that at least seven applications were made for research into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and two awards were made.
The Council's scientific advisory boards and committees decide on whether or not to award a grant following peer review of applications. The reason for declining the above applications was that they did not meet the competitive standard required for funding.
Planning Inquiries: SID Technology
The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have any plans to use SID (Spatially Immersive Display) technology to assist in determining the outcome of major planning inquiries.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The Government have no immediate plans to use SID technology to assist in the conduct of planning inquiries. The planning inspectorate keeps a close watch on developments in technology that can improve its service.
Seat Belts: Correct Adjustment Advice
Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will consider amending the Highway Code to draw attention to the danger of wearing a seat belt with too much slack.
Baroness Hayman: Retractable seat belts have been compulsory in new cars since April 1981. The Highway Code is being revised this year and all relevant suggestions will be considered during the revision process. Advice on how to wear seat belts correctly is given in the department's Choosing Safety publication.
Radon: Free Measurement Programme
Lord Dean of Beswick asked Her Majesty's Government:
What plans they have for the radon free measurement programme.
Baroness Hayman: We are concerned by the threat posed to health by high concentrations of radon gas in homes and we therefore propose to complete the two-year programme, initiated by the previous Government, the second phase of which began in February this year. From early autumn, invitations for a free radon measurement will be sent to the remaining homes in England--nearly 178,000--which have a greater than 5 per cent. chance of being above the recommended radon action level and which have not already received an invitation. These invitations will ensure that every household in the most radon-affected
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parts of the country will have been offered a free radon measurement.
When we have the data generated by this programme we will be able to consider, with local authorities, the best way to deal with this problem on a local basis.
Greater London Authority: Green Paper
Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:
When they intend to publish the Green Paper setting out their proposals for a greater London authority.
Baroness Hayman: We will publish a consultation paper on our proposals for a greater London authority tomorrow. Copies of the Green Paper will be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:
What progress has been made with the roads review.
Baroness Hayman: My right honourable friend the Minister for Transport has today launched a public consultation on the roads review. This seeks views on the role which the trunk road network should play in our integrated transport strategy. Our general approach is to look at the transport problems which lie behind proposals for roads schemes and then to seek solutions which are environmentally sustainable. We invite comments on how we should respond to increasing congestion. We intend to bring a fresh approach to the process of making decisions on the roads programme. We will take a more strategic view and judge proposals on the criteria of accessibility, safety, economy, the environment and integration--which we are adding to the four manifesto criteria as it is fundamental to our whole approach to transport policy.
A further key aspect is the development of an investment strategy for the trunk road network. The consultation invites contributions to this process. Other issues raised include where responsibility should lie for the trunk roads; how trunk roads investment should be planned in the future as part of strengthened arrangements for co-ordinating the planning of land-use, economic development and transport at the regional level; and funding of the trunk road system. The Government remain committed to seeking ways for the private sector to contribute to the provision of transport infrastructure including, where appropriate, road construction and maintenance projects. The review will consider the possibilities.
Copies of the consultative document, What Role for Trunk Roads in England? are being sent to interested parties and placed in the Library of the House. It is also available from my department and on the Internet.
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My right honourable friend has also announced the results of our accelerated review of 12 urgent cases. They have all been assessed against the criteria of integration, accessibility, safety, economy, and environmental impact. We have concluded that:
The environmental disbenefits including, in particular, the impact on a sensitive landscape, of the proposed Salisbury bypass outweigh the benefits to through traffic and to Salisbury and the villages bypassed. The scheme has therefore been cancelled. A study will consider alternative solutions to the area's traffic problems. The remaining schemes in the former Wessex link project will be considered on their merits in the main review.
The inspector's recommendations on the Birmingham Northern Relief Road should be accepted and the scheme approved. This is a nationally strategic route of the first importance. The capacity of the M.6 at this point cannot be increased. The BNRR also opens up opportunities for more integrated road-rail freight links. The full reasons for this decision are set out in the decision letter, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. It is now up to the concessionaire to show what the private sector can do and deliver this vital project quickly.
The A.13 Thames gateway schemes will be taken forward. These will provide the transport infrastructure needed for regeneration of east London and Docklands. They will help improve accessibility to areas of east London including the Royal Docks and the Lower Lea Valley where key development sites are capable of generating significant job opportunities.
The M.66 Denton Middleton Contract 3 and the A.564 Derby Southern Bypass Contract B will go ahead. Both are final links necessary to unlock the full benefits of much larger projects. The M.66 scheme is the final six mile section of the strategic Manchester motorway box. The Derby Southern Bypass is similarly the final section in a strategic east-west route.
We will honour the commitment given by the previous government to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) Bill Committee to use all reasonable endeavours to see that the M.2/A.2 widening works are completed within the period of the construction of the CTRL and that the construction arrangements of the two projects are co-ordinated to minimise disruption to the public. This scheme will facilitate integrated road and rail investment and services, for example by encouraging full use of Ebbsfleet station on the CTRL.
The M.62/M.606 link roads will be considered further in the main review. An early decision is not required on transport grounds.
The A.40 scheme in the west of London would have the effect of encouraging car commuting where public transport alternatives exist. This would not be justified and the scheme will
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therefore be cancelled. Alternative solutions to local problems will be sought.
Having reviewed the Cumbria-Bradford, south Midlands and Weald and Downland projects on transport grounds against our criteria, we have concluded that the individual schemes in these projects do not merit priority over many similar schemes which are to be considered in the main review. The schemes which made up these projects will be considered in the main review.
We will continue to consider in detail whether the M.25 should be widened between Junctions 12 and 15 as proposed as a controlled motorway, with appropriate traffic management measures, complemented by other transport strategies.