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Written Answers

Tuesday 2 July 2002

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Scottish Executive

Alcohol Misuse

Janis Hughes (Glasgow Rutherglen) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what statistics are available on the incidence of foetal alcohol syndrome.

Holding answer issued: 20 June 2002

(S1W-26533)

Janis Hughes (Glasgow Rutherglen) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has any plans to record the incidence of foetal alcohol syndrome.

Holding answer issued: 20 June 2002

(S1W-26534)

Mrs Mary Mulligan: Continuous Morbidity Records (CMR), Scottish Morbidity Records (SMR), Pre-school and Child Health Surveillance systems and the Special Needs system allow recording of diagnosis or other concerns, including Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). However, it is recognised that, at present, prevalence of FAS is probably under-recorded in national data.

Information from Scottish Morbidity Records (SMR) indicated the following numbers of babies born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome over the past four years.

1998

3

1999

2

2000

6

2001

3

Information from the Child Health Surveillance systems indicated that only two children born in 2001 were diagnosed with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. The other recording systems are at earlier stages of development and thus any data on FAS is unreliable at the present time.

Notes:

1. Information is available centrally only for those patients seen in General Practice or in NHS hospitals.

2. Information on patients discharged from acute non-obstetric, non-psychiatric hospitals is available from SMR 01 and on patients discharged from neonatal units from SMR 11.

3. Information about GP consultations is gathered centrally as part of CMR in General Practice (CMR). Currently 81 GP practices contribute to CMR in Scotland out of a total of 1,058. CMR practices cover 8% of the Scottish population and are considered to be broadly representative of age, sex, and deprivation category and rural/urban mix. However, the number of FAS cases recorded is very low and is unlikely to reflect the true prevalence across Scotland.

4. Ten NHS boards currently participate in the Pre-school Child Health Surveillance system accounting for some 80% of the pre-school population. The School Child Health surveillance system is relatively new with only three NHS boards and one NHS trust having implemented the system. Because of the variation both in national coverage and in recording practices, it is not possible, at present, to regard them as present as sound sources of data on FAS .

5. The Special Needs System is another potential new source of information on FAS but not all NHS boards currently contribute data.

Janis Hughes (Glasgow Rutherglen) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what action it is taking to raise awareness of foetal alcohol syndrome.

Holding answer issued: 20 June 2002

(S1W-26535)

Mrs Mary Mulligan: The Scottish Executive ensures that information about foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is included, as appropriate, in relevant publications. The risk of FAS is highlighted in the Health Education Board for Scotland (HEBS) booklet Alcofacts. A guide to sensible drinking which is distributed widely across Scotland. Moreover, a specific reference to FAS will be included in the HEBS booklet given to all new mothers Ready, Steady, Baby a guide to pregnancy, birth and early parenthood which is currently being revised. The risks of FAS are also highlighted in the Framework for Maternity Services published by the Executive in February 2001 and in Getting our Priorities Right offering guidance to agencies on working with families affected by problem drug use, which was published in September 2001.

Janis Hughes (Glasgow Rutherglen) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what safe alcohol levels it recommends for pregnant women.

Holding answer issued: 20 June 2002

(S1W-26536)

Mrs Mary Mulligan: The Scottish Executive endorses the recommendations of the Sensible Drinking report which suggests that women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant should drink no more than one or two units of alcohol, once or twice a week.

Animal Disease Surveillance

John Scott (Ayr) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive what progress is being made on animal disease surveillance.

 

(S1W-26885)

Ross Finnie: I refer the member to the answers given to questions S1W-26283, 26677 and 26748 which outline the work being taken forward to develop an animal health surveillance strategy.

Richard Lochhead (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive how much was spent on animal disease surveillance facilities by its Environment and Rural Affairs Department in each of the last three years and what the projected budget is for the next three years.

 

(S1W-26887)

Ross Finnie: For financial years 2001-02, 2000-01 and 1999-2000 the figures are respectively 2.0787 million, 1.775 million and 1.2977 million. The projected budget for 2002-03 is 2.107 million.

Budget allocations for 2003-04 and 2004-05 have not yet been made.

Richard Lochhead (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what steps have been taken by its Environment and Rural Affairs Department to increase the level of animal disease surveillance facilities in the past year and what plans there are to increase the level further.

 

(S1W-26888)

Ross Finnie: An animal disease surveillance strategy is currently being developed and will be put to stakeholder consultation later this year. Before that strategy has been produced it would be premature to consider any changes to the current level of surveillance facilities.

Care of Elderly People

Mr Duncan Hamilton (Highlands and Islands) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive how many assessments on free personal care for elderly people are still outstanding in (a) Argyll and Bute NHS Board area and (b) the Highlands and Islands.

 

(S1W-26891)

Nicola Sturgeon (Glasgow) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive how many assessments for free personal care for elderly people still require to be processed in each local authority area.

 

(S1W-26893)

Nicola Sturgeon (Glasgow) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether any elderly people will have to wait until after 1 July 2002 to learn what level of assistance they qualify for under its free personal care policy.

 

(S1W-26894)

Mr Frank McAveety: All local authorities have indicated they will meet the regulatory and legislative requirements to implement free personal care for people currently in receipt of care in their area.

Child Abuse

Mr Gil Paterson (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what agencies are involved when a child has been found to have been abused through participation in the sex industry; what actions are taken by these agencies to return such a child to a safe environment and to assess the effects on a child of such participation, and what resources are in place to deal with these issues

Holding answer issued: 24 June 2002

(S1W-26576)

Cathy Jamieson: Agencies including social work, police, education, health, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration and the voluntary sector, work together to protect children considered to be at risk of harm through participation in the sex industry. Action taken would depend on the circumstances of the individual child. If necessary the child can be removed to a place of immediate safety. A range of resources is available to support vulnerable young people.

Child Protection

Mrs Lyndsay McIntosh (Central Scotland) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive whether there are any plans to introduce new measures to protect vulnerable pre-school children.

Holding answer issued: 19 June 2002

(S1W-26447)

Cathy Jamieson: We are continually looking at ways to protect vulnerable children and young people.

The current review of child protection is due to report in the summer and is expected to make recommendations to assist in reducing abuse and neglect, as well as improving services for abused children. Legislation will be introduced in the autumn, to establish an Index of Adults Unsuitable to Work with Children.

Community Care

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive how the amount of respite care available in each local authority area is measured, assessed and monitored.

Holding answer issued: 24 June 2002

(S1W-26613)

Mr Frank McAveety: Local authorities are responsible for planning and delivering local services, including the provision of respite care or short breaks, based on available resources and local needs and priorities. Authorities report on their delivery of services in annual Community Care Plans, which are publicly available. In recognition of the importance of short breaks we are providing local authorities with substantial new resources to provide an additional 22,000 weeks of breaks each year across Scotland by 2003-04. We are monitoring the effective use of these resources through local outcome agreements with individual councils.

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether local authorities are required to be accountable for their use of funding allocated to new services and support for carers; if so, in what way and, if not, what the reason is for this position.

Holding answer issued: 24 June 2002

(S1W-26614)

Mr Frank McAveety: The Executive allocates resources to local authorities to provide a full spectrum of community care services, including support for carers and the people they look after. Additional resources were allocated to local authorities from 2000-01 onwards to implement the Carers Strategy, and the Executive has made it clear to authorities that it expects these additional resources to be used to benefit carers. Detailed decisions about the use of resources are for local authorities, taking account of local needs and priorities, and authorities are answerable to their local communities for these decisions. Authorities report on their use of these resources in annual Community Care Plans, which are publicly available. We are also allocating local authorities further new resources to develop an additional 22,000 weeks of respite services across Scotland by 2003-04 each year and we will be monitoring the outcomes achieved through local outcome agreements with individual councils.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Brian Fitzpatrick (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S1W-25554 by Mr Jim Wallace on 27 May 2002, what information it holds on the number of members of the Law Society of Scotland likely to be employed for the determination of applications for compensation by victims of criminal injuries to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority by the end of 2002-03 in light of the reduced volume of outstanding non-statutory scheme cases in respect of which they are mainly employed.

Holding answer issued: 11 June 2002

(S1W-26374)

Brian Fitzpatrick (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S1W-25554 by Mr Jim Wallace on 27 May 2002, how many hearings of the Criminal Compensation Authority were conducted for the authority in Scotland by persons other than members of the Law Society of Scotland in each of the last three years for which figures are available.

Holding answer issued: 11 June 2002

(S1W-26375)

Mr Jim Wallace: This is a matter for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. The information requested is not held centrally.

Education

Mr Duncan McNeil (Greenock and Inverclyde) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what action is being taken to tackle truancy.

Holding answer issued: 19 June 2002

(S1W-26451)

Cathy Jamieson: The Scottish Executive funds a number of initiatives aimed at, or impacting on, truancy including the Scottish Schools Ethos Network, the Anti Bullying Network, the Alternatives to Exclusion Programme, Support for Parents, Study Support and New Community Schools.

In addition the Scottish Executive, local authorities and individual schools are currently implementing the 36 recommendations made in the recent Discipline Task Group (DTG) report, Better Behaviour – Better Learning.

Michael Russell (South of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what information collection procedures are being replaced by the ScotXed initiative.

Holding answer issued: 21 June 2002

(S1W-26573)

Nicol Stephen: The ScotXed (Scottish Exchange of Educational Data) project envisages that, by 2005, all major exchanges of data between ScotXed partners should be electronic. As well as transfers of data to the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED), this will include data transfers between schools, local authorities, colleges, the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education.

It is planned that most of SEED’s school education statistical surveys will be carried out by ScotXed by 2005, starting with the Scottish School Census this autumn. Further details are on the ScotXed website at: http://www.svtc.org.uk/scotxed/.

Michael Russell (South of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether meeting the ScotXed requirements will assist in diminishing the burden of administration on teachers.

Holding answer issued: 21 June 2002

(S1W-26575)

Nicol Stephen: The ScotXed (Scottish Exchange of Educational Data) project is a partnership of the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) with local authorities, schools, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, HM Inspectorate of Education and Learning and Teaching Scotland to promote the electronic exchange of educational information to common standards. The project will provide better quality information and link-ups between education partners in Scotland and will encourage the good use of management information by schools and education authorities.

Most of the information needed by different ScotXed partners already exists on school Management Information Systems. Adopting a common approach to the format in which this information is held and the way it can be transmitted will reduce the bureaucratic burden on teachers, administrative staff and school managers. Data will only have to be entered once and then can be used to meet the information needs of all ScotXed partners. This will be much more straightforward for teachers, administrative staff and school managers to provide information to those who need it.

The introduction of automatic quality assurance procedures on school Management Information Systems will make the administrative burden lighter, since less time will have to be spent checking data to make sure they are accurate. ScotXed will also make possible a much wider range of benchmarking information, which will enable schools and authorities to produce analyses of data that are tailored to their particular needs, and assist with targeting resources where they are needed most.

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will list all individuals and organisations that were consulted before the introduction of the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data and how the consultation was publicised.

 

(S1W-26874)

Nicol Stephen: The strategic planning for the ScotXed project is undertaken by the School Education Information Advisory Group (SEIAG), which has endorsed plans for the 2002 Scottish School Census and beyond. The SEIAG membership includes representatives of: the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the Headteachers Association of Scotland, the Association of Head Teachers in Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland, the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, Learning and Teaching Scotland, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education, as well as representatives from the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED).

Consultations have also taken place with the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, the Scottish Parent Teacher Council and with the Scottish School Board Association who have publicly welcomed the project.

Regular consultations take place with each local authority. SEED hosted two rounds of ScotXed Forum Meetings in January and March 2002. Each local authority and their corresponding school management information system software supplier attended these meetings.

Additional information about the ScotXed project has been made available on the ScotXed website at: http://www.svtc.org.uk/scotxed/.

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data requires the inclusion of individual pupils’ names and addresses and, if so, what the reason is for this position.

 

(S1W-26875)

Nicol Stephen: The ScotXed (Scottish Exchange of Educational Data) project is a partnership of the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) with local authorities, schools, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), HM Inspectorate of Education and Learning and Teaching Scotland to promote the electronic exchange of educational information to common standards. The project will provide better quality information and link-ups between education partners in Scotland and will encourage the good use of management information by schools and education authorities.

Each partner has differing information needs which will be collected through ScotXed. Schools, local authorities and the SQA require individual pupils’ name and address for administrative purposes. The information required by SEED, to be collected through ScotXed for the September 2002 School Census, is detailed on the ScotXed website http://www.svtc.org.uk/scotxed/. This includes individual pupils’ name and postcode but not address.

SEED will be collecting the names of individual pupils to assist in technical and administrative checks to ensure the completeness and accuracy of data. SEED will be collecting the postcode of pupils in order to analyse educational data by local geographical areas. The Scottish Executive, under the Neighbourhood Statistics initiative, is committed to producing local area statistics across a range of public services including education. All ScotXed information collected by SEED will be transferred, processed and stored to comply with the Data Protection Act and the National Statistics Code of Practice, to safeguard confidentiality of individuals.

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive for what specific purposes the personalised information collected in the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data will be used.

 

(S1W-26876)

Nicol Stephen: Partners of the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data (ScotXed) project, will use information held on individuals for purposes of administration, self-evaluation and, in the case of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the processing of examination data.

The Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) will use data collected through ScotXed for statistical and research purposes, to inform the development, implementation and monitoring of policy.

SEED will fully comply with the Data Protection Act in the collection, processing and storing of information relating to individuals. SEED will also comply with the National Statistics Code of Practice, in the use of ScotXed information, to safeguard confidentiality of individuals. SEED will not publish information on individuals, nor shall we make any use of names or other personal details beyond technical and administrative checks to ensure the completeness and accuracy of data.

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive how many complaints have been received about the introduction of the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data and whether any pupils and parents have refused to provide the requested information.

 

(S1W-26877)

Nicol Stephen: The Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) has received a small number of representations regarding the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data (ScotXed) project. Most of these representations have been queries from parents asking for clarification on issues of data confidentiality and the collection of information on ethnic background and national identity of pupils, in the 2002 Scottish School Census.

SEED has provided explanations on the importance of collecting accurate information on the ethnic background and national identity of all pupils in order to meet the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000. Although SEED encourages all pupils and parents to provide this information, SEED also appreciates the sensitivity of collecting this information and has provided an option for pupils and parents to state that they do not wish to disclose this information.

SEED is not aware of how many parents or pupils may decline to disclose this information, which will be collected through ScotXed in September 2002.

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive how pupils, or their parents, may prohibit (a) the collection of personal information for any purpose other than internal school administration and (b) the subsequent disclosure of such information to any other party.

 

(S1W-26879)

Nicol Stephen: All partners within the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data (ScotXed) project are clear about the need ensure full compliance with the Data Protection Act when dealing with information relating to individuals, including the disclosure to third parties.

Under section 82 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, local authorities are required to provide information for the series of statistical surveys carried out by the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED).

For the first time this year, the 2002 Scottish School Census in September will be conducted electronically as part of the ScotXed project. In order to maintain high levels of data quality and to minimise the administrative burden on schools in providing the required information, it is important that the response is as complete as possible.

SEED will fully comply with the Data Protection Act in the collection, processing and storing of information relating to individuals. SEED will also comply with the National Statistics Code of Practice, in the use of ScotXed information, to safeguard confidentiality of individuals. SEED will not publish information on individuals, nor will it make any use of names or other personal details beyond technical and administrative checks to ensure the completeness and accuracy of data.

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive by what means pupils, or their parents, will be (a) able to scrutinise all information collected about them in the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data and (b) notified of any disclosure of such information by their school to any other party.

 

(S1W-26880)

Nicol Stephen: All Scottish Exchange of Educational Data (ScotXed) partners are responsible for ensuring compliance with the Data Protection Act when dealing with information relating to individuals. Schools and local authorities are the principal collectors of information relating to individual pupils, which they already hold and use for their own administrative, educational and managerial purposes. As such, schools and local authorities are responsible for the accuracy of the information they hold and can, on request, give appropriate access to pupils and their parents. Schools and local authorities are also responsible for informing pupils and parents of any disclosure of personal information by their school to any other party.

The Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) will use data collected through the ScotXed project from schools and local authorities for statistical and research purposes. Under section 33 of the Data Protection Act, SEED is exempt, in relation to ScotXed data, from the obligation to provide access to information on individuals that it may hold. No disclosure of ScotXed information relating to any particular individual will occur.

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether personal information collected on pupils in the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data will be automatically deleted; if so, when it will be deleted and, if no such action is planned, how individual data subjects may effect such deletion.

 

(S1W-26881)

Nicol Stephen: Within the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data (ScotXed) project, schools and local authorities are the principal collectors of information relating to individual pupils. Much of this information is held on management information systems within schools and local authorities, and local policies and procedures will apply for retaining or deleting this data.

Information transferred through ScotXed to the Scottish Executive Education Department (SEED) will be accumulated over time. This will enhance the long-term statistical and research capability, especially in relation to monitoring the impact over time of education policies.

Within SEED, access to the complete ScotXed data will be subject to strict data security procedures.

Colin Campbell (West of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive how many (a) primary and (b) secondary headteachers have had a grievance made against them by a member of staff, and how many of these grievances (i) failed, (ii) were upheld, (iii) led to disciplinary proceedings, detailing the outcome of these proceedings, and (iv) resulted in headteachers losing their job in each of the past three years, broken down by local authority area.

 

(S1W-26889)

Nicol Stephen: The information requested is not held centrally.

Europe

Richard Lochhead (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S1W-25090 by Mr Jim Wallace on 30 April 2002, what percentage of the total number of European Council working group meetings its officials attended in the year to 28 February 2002.

Holding answer issued: 11 June 2002

(S1W-26052)

Mr Jim Wallace: The information requested is not held centrally.

Health

Dorothy-Grace Elder (Glasgow) (Ind): To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S1W-22468 by Malcolm Chisholm on 12 February 2002, what efforts have been made towards the creation of a combined community and hospital medicines utilisation database of drugs dispensed in hospitals and what role the Commons Services Agency and the public have played in this process.

 

(S1W-26868)

Malcolm Chisholm: The Right Medicine: A Strategy for Pharmaceutical Care in Scotland commits the Scottish Executive Health Department to explore the creation of a combined community and hospital medicines utilisation database by July 2003.

Highlands and Islands Airports

Mr Kenny MacAskill (Lothians) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what the increased costs to Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd were of new security measures introduced following 11 September 2001 in each month since such measures were introduced, broken down by airport.

Holding answer issued: 24 June 2002

(S1W-26607)

Lewis Macdonald: The additional costs to Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd in meeting the new security measures each month since 11 September 2001 has been:

 

Oct ()

Nov ()

Dec ()

Jan ()

Feb ()

Mar ()

Apr ()

May ()

Total ()

Barra

8,295

9,926

1,596

8,695

2,509

2,976

2,369

2,797

39,163

Benbecula

1,241

5,856

2,355

1,605

1,862

1,792

1,901

3,188

19,800

Campbeltown

5,754

10,532

2,457

7,342

1,875

2,075

2,044

2,950

35,029

Islay

9,901

12,834

6,978

8,680

5,654

4,070

3,128

3,647

54,892

Kirkwall

412

1,009

1,009

1,009

1,009

1,009

1,679

1,679

8,815

Stornoway

3,029

2,716

2,716

2,716

2,716

2,716

1,326

1,326

19,261

Tiree

2,183

10,338

2,341

6,847

1,978

4,408

3,174

2,500

33,769

Wick

1,146

1,212

1,045

1,034

999

2,051

-18

1,498

8,967

 

31,961

54,423

20,497

37,928

18,602

21,097

15,603

19,585

219,696

 

Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill

Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will consult the Parliament before reaching a position on the impact in Scotland of the Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill.

 

(S1W-26860)

Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what specific representations it has made to Her Majesty's Government about the impact in Scotland of the Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill.

 

(S1W-26861)

Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what the impact of proposals to remove housing benefit from any individual not subject to any court order, but living with a tenant who meets the criteria proposed in the Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill, would be on social justice in the context of the European Convention on Human Rights and whether such proposals are compatible with its policies in this area.

 

(S1W-26862)

Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S1W-26232 by Ms Margaret Curran on 6 June 2002 giving its position that it is for landlords, local authorities and the police to determine the most effective response to anti-social behaviour, whether it will make representations to Her Majesty's Government that the Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill does not apply to Scotland.

 

(S1W-26863)

Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what its position is on the impact in Scotland of the Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill.

 

(S1W-26864)

Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether any Ministers have been involved in making representations to Her Majesty's Government about amendments to the Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill and, if so, which ones.

 

(S1W-26865)

Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what impact the Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill in its current form would have on social justice in the context of the European Convention on Human Rights and what the reasons are for its position on this matter.

 

(S1W-26866)

Ms Margaret Curran: I refer the member to the answer given to question S1W-26834 on 1 July 2002.

Language Teaching

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether there are any plans to downgrade and phase out the teaching of the German language in schools.

Holding answer issued: 19 June 2002

(S1W-26441)

Irene McGugan (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it supports the recommendation of the Ministerial Action Group on Languages which called for the consolidation and extension of language learning in primary schools and the further diversification of languages at all levels of secondary education.

Holding answer issued: 19 June 2002

(S1W-26442)

Nicol Stephen: The Scottish Executive response to the report, copies of which are available in the Parliament’s Reference Centre (Bib. number 16335), accepts the recommendations made by the action group.

Local Government Finance

Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what further action it is taking to address the mismatch effect as identified by Professor Arthur Midwinter in his report Grant Distribution and the Mismatch Effect: An Assessment of its Impact on Councils since Reorganisation.

Holding answer issued: 13 June 2002

(S1W-26425)

Mr Andy Kerr: I am due to meet with COSLA again next month to talk about the Spending Review and the distribution of resources for all local authorities. This will be the forum to discuss such matters. Any other meetings will be considered after my discussions with COSLA.

Ministerial Visits

Richard Lochhead (North-East Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive when each of the ministerial visits to drug agencies in the Grampian area in May and June 2002 were originally arranged.

Holding answer issued: 20 June 2002

(S1W-26478)

Dr Richard Simpson: Agreement was reached with Aberdeenshire Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) at the turn of the year that I would meet with the DAAT and visit local drug agencies during the Parliament’s presence in Aberdeen at the end of May. Arrangements had to be revised due to unforeseen parliamentary commitments on Tuesday 28 May (the Queen’s Address and a member’s debate on drug misuse in the North East of Scotland). The visit to the DAAT went ahead on Wednesday 29 May and Mary Mulligan, Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care, also attended.

The First Minister and I visited a local drugs project on the same day, the arrangements for which were made the previous day. I also formally opened the Drug Treatment and Testing Order Office in the Gallowgate, Aberdeen on Wednesday 29 May. This was arranged in mid-May.

I unfortunately had to cancel, at short notice, two visits in my programme to Turning Point, Peterhead and the Kenmay Drug Project. This was due to my being called away on business related to the parliamentary debate on drug misuse in North East Scotland.

Prison Service

Michael Matheson (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive whether any civil servant or member of staff of the Scottish Prison Service has ever provided any advice or assistance to the operators of HM Prison Kilmarnock on the answering of any communications from (a) MSPs and (b) members of the public and, if so what advice or assistance was provided.

Holding answer issued: 11 June 2002

(S1W-26388)

Mr Jim Wallace: I have asked Tony Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) to respond. His response is as follows:

The monitoring process of the contract at Kilmarnock involves daily interaction between the Prison Director and his staff and the Controller and his staff in the course of which a wide range of topics are covered as necessary.

These discussions will include, as necessary, how appropriately to respond to any communications from third parties but SPS has provided no formal advice or assistance to the operators.

Fiona McLeod (West of Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what energy efficiency targets have been set for HM Prison Kilmarnock in each year since the prison was established and whether these targets were achieved in each year.

Holding answer issued: 24 June 2002

(S1W-26595)

Mr Jim Wallace: I have asked Tony Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Prison Service to respond. His response is as follows:

HM Prison Kilmarnock was designed in accordance with the energy saving measures outlined in the Energy Efficiency Office Guide to Best Practice in Prisons, Emergency Buildings and Court, including 95.1 kWh/sq m/annum for electrical consumption and 183.5 kWh/sq m/annum for fossil fuels. Annual targets were not set.

Road Safety

David Mundell (South of Scotland) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive what the current incidence of road rage is and how it compares with levels in the 1970s.

Holding answer issued: 19 June 2002

(S1W-26457)

Mr Jim Wallace: The information requested is not available. As there are no specific crimes associated with "road rage", the available recorded crime statistics cannot distinguish incidents of road rage.

Roads

David Mundell (South of Scotland) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive what the current position is in respect of the disposal of each dwelling acquired by it during the construction of the M74 from Douglas to Gretna.

Holding answer issued: 19 June 2002

(S1W-26439)

Lewis Macdonald: Twelve dwellings acquired for the construction of the M74 continue to be held by the Scottish Executive. Two have been sold, subject to conclusion of missives (Upper Howcleugh and Broomlands House). Two are on the market (Fairfield and Glenevan). One is to be demolished for safety reasons (Jocksthorn). Of the remaining seven dwellings, plans are being prepared to effect disposal either through offer-back to previous owners or by open market sale (Longbedholm Cottage, Longbedholm Farmhouse, Middlegill, Milagro, Nether Howcleugh, and Raecleugh Farm). The twelfth property, Cauldwellknowe, is tenanted and will be sold once shared access arrangements have been resolved.

Linda Fabiani (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive, further to the answer to question S1W-8553 by Sarah Boyack on 19 July 2000, whether it will place in the Scottish Parliament Information Centre copies of the latest Route Accident Reduction Plan studies carried out on the A725 trunk road between Whirlies Roundabout, East Kilbride and Whistleberry Toll, Bothwell and between Raith Interchange and the Shawhead Junction with the A8.

 

(S1W-26854)

Lewis Macdonald: The A725 Whirlies Roundabout to Whistleberry Toll Route Accident Reduction Plan (RARP) study report was submitted to the Scottish Executive in February 2000 and its recommendations have in the main been addressed. No further RARPs have been carried out on this section of trunk road.

A further RARP study is currently being carried out on the A725 between Raith Interchange and Shawhead Junction, known as the Bellshill Bypass. A copy of the study report will be placed in the Parliament’s Reference Centre when completed.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Mr Duncan Hamilton (Highlands and Islands) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive when the report of the review of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency is expected to be published.

Holding answer issued: 12 June 2002

(S1W-26390)

Allan Wilson: The review will be published as soon as practicable after its completion. Completion is expected by summer 2003.

Scottish Executive Announcements

Phil Gallie (South of Scotland) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it distributes news releases to opposition parties and other interested groups at the same time as to the media.

 

(S1W-26869)

Mr Andy Kerr: The main audience for news releases lies in media organisations, but the Press Office also sends by email copies of press releases to a small number of MSPs, researchers and others in Parliament who have requested copies. In practice the best vehicle to keep in touch with Executive news releases is the Executive news website which carries all news releases shortly after they have been issued to the media: (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/pages/news/today.aspx).

Phil Gallie (South of Scotland) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive whether the publication of figures on its website and on the websites of non-departmental public bodies coincides with announcements in its news releases.

 

(S1W-26870)

Mr Andy Kerr: Yes, in respect of the Scottish Executive website. Release of information and statistics via press release and news content appearing on the Scottish Executive’s news website are two separate systems which run concurrently.

We aim to ensure the same occurs in respect of the websites of non-departmental public bodies, although the running of their websites is a matter for them.

Phil Gallie (South of Scotland) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive whether all its press releases are available on its website and what the reasons are for the position on this matter.

 

(S1W-26871)

Mr Andy Kerr: All press releases are contained in the news archive and can be accessed by date or ministerial department search.

Scottish Qualifications Authority

Jackie Baillie (Dumbarton) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has agreed performance measures for 2002 for the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

 

(S1W-27253)

Nicol Stephen: I have today written to the Acting Convenor of the Education, Culture and Sport Committee informing her that performance measures have been agreed for this year and enclosed these for the committee’s interest. I have placed copies of my letter, and its enclosure, in the Parliament's Reference Centre.

Tourism

Alex Neil (Central Scotland) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive how much it has spent on tourism (a) in each of the last two years, (b) in the current year and (c) has been allocated for next year, broken down by department and agency.

Holding answer issued: 12 June 2002

(S1W-26405)

Mike Watson: The Information requested is as follows:

Organisation

VisitScotland

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Natural Heritage

Historic Scotland

Local Authorities

Total

Year

( million)

( million)

( million)

( million)

( million)

( million)

( million)

2000-01

25.9

5.3

27.9

4.6

10.2

7.9

81.8

2001-02

40.6

6.2

19.57

5.4

10.6

7.8

90.1

2002-03

28

n/a1

n/a3

3.9

7.4

n/a4

n/a

2003-04

28

n/a2

n/a5

2.86

7.7

n/a4

n/a

Notes:

1. Local spend unavailable before July 2002.

2. No planned allocation at this time.

3. Local spend by LECs unavailable before July 2002.

4. Figures unavailable before summer 2002

5. No planned allocation at this time.

6. Committed to date.

7. Estimate.

Transport

Ms Sandra White (Glasgow) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive how the Glasgow Underground is monitored to ensure that it operates safely and efficiently.

 

(S1W-26883)

Lewis Macdonald: Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive has primary responsibility for monitoring the safety and efficiency of Glasgow Underground. On safety, which is a reserved matter, they are accountable to Her Majesty’s Inspector of Railways.

Ms Sandra White (Glasgow) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what powers it has to intervene in circumstances where public transport services, such as the Glasgow Underground, are found not to be operating to the optimum levels of safety and efficiency.

 

(S1W-26884)

Lewis Macdonald: Rail safety is a reserved matter and the efficiency of Glasgow Underground is the responsibility of Strathclyde Passenger Transport.

Ms Sandra White (Glasgow) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Executive what discussion it has had recently with Strathclyde Passenger Transport Authority concerning the safe and efficient running of the Glasgow Underground.

 

(S1W-26886)

Lewis Macdonald: No meetings dealing specifically with these issues have taken place recently.

Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body

Holyrood Project

Mr David Davidson (North-East Scotland) (Con): To ask the Presiding Officer whether any black granite being supplied for the new Parliament building at Holyrood is sourced from Zimbabwe and, if so, why Scottish granite was not sourced instead.

 

(S1W-26890)

Sir David Steel: No black granite is being sourced from Zimbabwe for the Scottish Parliament. The Convener of the Holyrood Progress Group has informed me that some black granite is required for cladding purposes, to provide a contrast with the other cladding, and supplies of Belfast Black granite are being obtained from a quarry in South Africa. Black granite is not available in Scotland, but the vast majority of all granite supplies being procured for the Parliament building project is being sourced from Kemnay Quarry in Aberdeenshire.

The following questions were given holding answers:

S1W-26853

S1W-26855

S1W-26856

S1W-26857

S1W-26858

S1W-26859

S1W-26867

S1W-26873

S1W-26872

S1W-26878

S1W-26892

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