Written Answers To Questions
Wednesday 4 June 1986
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
Ec (Export Rebates)
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the cost per day in 1985 of European Economic Community payments of export rebates for food surpluses, storage of food surpluses and disposal through destruction or other internal disposal of surpluses, respectively, expressed in £ sterling; and what were the comparable totals for 1980.
The table sets out Community expenditure on export refunds public storage and disposal of commodities which have been in structural surplus (cereals, sugar, milk products, beef and wine).
|Export Refunds (£/day)||9·4 million||8·2 million|
|Storage costs (£/day)||2·1 million||0·6 million|
|Disposal costs (£/day)||8·6 million||4·1 million|
Sources: 1980 EAGGF Financial Report
1985 EC Commission provisional outturn figures.
Agricultural Development And Advisory Service
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, pursuant to his reply of 27 February, to the hon. Member for Teignbridge (Mr. Nicholls) Official Report, column 644, he is now able to announce further details of the economies and improvements in the efficiency of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have now revised our proposals for economies and improvements in the efficiency of ADAS, so as to save a total of 334 ADAS posts and 75 non-ADAS posts. These savings take account of independent market research on certain animal health schemes, which suggests that demand for these schemes justifies the retention of a number of posts which would otherwise have been lost. As a result, the post losses in the State Veterinary Service can be reduced from 141 to 108. The new figures also take account of 30 badger operator posts which are no longer needed, consequent on the recommendations of the report on badgers and bovine tuberculosis by Professor Dunnet's review team which was published on 7 April. The revised distribution of ADAS post losses is accordingly Agriculture Service, 107; Agricultural Science Service, 82; Land and Water Service, 37; and the State Veterinary Service, 108.As part of the measures to improve efficiency and economy it is intended to make some changes in the local organisation of ADAS. In a number of cases, adjacent animal health offices will be amalgamated under one divisional veterinary officer, although veterinary services will continue to be provided from most of the offices affected. Analytical chemistry facilities will be withdrawn from Newcastle, Reading. and Bristol to concentrate this discipline on one laboratory per region. The local offices at Chester and Brigg (Humberside) will close, with services being provided from the divisional offices at Crewe and Beverley respectively. The Ulverston (Cumbria) office will also close, except for market days, service at other times being provided from the Kendal area office.I have placed in the Library of the House a more detailed statement of these economies.
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on the results of tests being carried out into the absorption of radioactive elements by sheep and cattle in the county of Cumbria.
[pursuant to her reply, 3 June 1986]: Results of tests issued by my Department on 30 May show that levels of Iodine 131 are now very low in milk and meat from sheep and cattle in Cumbria and continuing to fall. Levels of Caesium 137 and 134, which are more persistent radionuclides, are generally low, but higher readings have been found in the meat of some hill sheep and lambs in upland areas in Cumbria which were subject to high rainfall over the weekend of 2–3 May. These animals are not yet ready for slaughter and no specific action is required at present. My Department will continue to keep a close watch on levels in livestock in Cumbria and other areas of high deposition throughout the summer and as animals become ready for slaughter.
General Practice Finance Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has any plans to review the financing of the General Practice Finance Corporation.
The corporation's net borrowing has been cash limited since 1 April 1985 and this seems an opportune time to review the corporation's financing in the light of the experience gained. My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and Scotland and I propose to commission an independent study by consultants.The terms of reference will be:
"To examine the scope for and means of reducing public sector involvement in funding loans to gmps for the provision of surgery premises and in particular to advise on the feasibility and cost effectiveness of sales from the General Practice Finance Corporation's loan portfolio."
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to receive the Ernst and Whinney report on private and voluntary residential care; and if he will make a statement.
We have now received the report from Ernst and Whinney and are considering whether and, if so, in what form it should be published.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many instances have been recorded of employers' failure to pay national insurance contributions in full or in part (a) as a total nationally, (b) in the north-east of England, (c) within Cleveland
|Action in respect of employers who have failed to pay N.I. contributions|
|Number of employers prosecuted||Number of employers sued||Number of employers where arrears were written off|
|April 1983 to April 1984||1,971||2,080||4,990|
|April 1984 to April 1985||1,326||1,570||6,310|
|April 1985 to April 1986||13||1,259||4,652|
|North East Region:—|
|April 1983 to April 1984||437||344||522|
|April 1984 to April 1985||235||145||469|
|April 1985 to April 1986||Nil||120||470|
|Numbers of employers who became insolvent owing arrears of N.I. contributions|
|Company liquidations||Personal bankruptcies|
|April 1983 to April 1984||13,716||1,435|
|April 1984 to April 1985||13,980||1,876|
|April 1985 to April 1986||14,042||1,846|
Note: No separate figures are available for the north east.
Number of employers involved in Inland Revenue actions to obtain payment of employees' N.I. contributions
|November 1982 to November 1983||20,808|
|November 1983 to November 1984||22,642|
|November 1984 to November 1985||22,287|
Note:No separate figures are available for the north east.
(a) The marked reduction in the numbers of employers prosecuted in 1985–86 was due to the announcement on 12 November 1984 of the intention to repeal section 152(4) of the Social Security Act 1975. Previously a criminal conviction was sought under that section against a limited liability company before proceeding against the directors personally for recovery of outstanding arrears of NI contributions. The announcement resulted in the cessation of criminal proceedings under that section.
(b) Under section 152(4) (now repealed), the same employer will often have been both prosecuted and sued. The sum of the two figures does not therefore represent the number of employers involved.
(c) Some of the insolvent employers will be also included in the prosecution or civil action figures, because civil proceedings can result in petitions to make an employer insolvent, and most section 152(4) proceedings were instituted against limited companies in liquidation.
(d) The Inland Revenue initiate action against employers to recover unpaid NI contributions but if they are unsuccessful they transfer the outstanding debt to my Department for continuing action. Therefore the figures of Inland Revenue actions will include some employers included in the figures in the first two tables.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people in Slough are in receipt
county, (d) in Stockton-on-Tees and (e) broken down between major industries in line with standard Department of Trade and Industry classifications, in each of the last three years for which figures are available.
The Department does not keep records in the form requested, but the following table gives some relevant information.of
(a) child benefit, (b) housing benefit, (c) additional heating allowance, (d) invalidity benefit, (e) mobility allowance, (f) special diet allowance and (g) sickness benefit.
Separate records for the Slough area are not held detailing the numbers of claimants in receipt of child benefit, housing benefit, additional heating allowance, mobility allowance or special diet allowance. The number of claimants at the Department's local office at Slough in receipt of sickness and invalidity benefit as at 6 May 1986 (the latest date for which information is available) is 2,384. Separate records are not kept of the number of claimants in receipt of sickness and invalidity benefit.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people in the London borough of Newham are in receipt of (a) child benefit, (b) housing benefit, (c) additional heating allowance, (d) invalidity benefit, (e) mobility allowance, (f) special diet allowance and (g) sickness benefit.
The London borough of Newham is served by three of the Department's local offices, Canning town, Plaistow and Woodgrange park. Separate records are not kept by local office areas on the number of claimants who are in receipt of child benefit, housing benefit, additional heating allowance, mobility allowance or special diet allowance. The number of claimants in receipt of sickness and invalidity benefit at these offices as at 6 May 1986 (the latest date for which information is available) is as follows:
|Sickness and Invalidity Benefit|
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many registered disabled persons there are in Slough.
This information is not available centrally for the area requested.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many registered disabled persons there are in the London borough of Newham.
The latest available data about the number of persons registered with the Newham social services department as physically or sensorily handicapped are set out in the table. There is no information held centrally about the numbers of registered mentally disordered persons.
|Newham—Number of registered handicapped people|
|As at 31 March||Type of Register||Number of persons registered|
|1982||Blind and Partially Sighted*||880|
|1983||Deaf and Hard of Hearing*†||334|
|* Includes persons multiply handicapped and therefore on other registers.|
|†But excludes persons on the Register of the Blind.|
Supplementary Benefit (Blind People)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will estimate the number of blind householders aged over 85 years now claiming supplementary benefit who will be entitled to less than their current income under the provisions of the Social Security Bill, disregarding the protection of the transitional arrangements; and if he will give the basis of his calculations;(2) how many blind people claiming supplementary benefit now get a diet addition; and how many of these will be entitled to less than their current income under the provisions of the Social Security Bill, disregarding the protection of the transitional arrangements;(3) how many blind people claiming supplementary benefit also get mobility and attendance allowance; and how many of these will be entitled to less than their current income under the provisions of the Social Security Bill, disregarding the protection of the transitional arrangements.
No such estimates can be made, since no decisions have yet been taken about either the benefit rates payable from April 1987 under the present system, or the benefit rates payable from April 1988 under the system proposed in the Social Security Bill.
Legionnaire's Disease (Stafford)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the report of the public inquiry into the outbreak of legionnaire's disease at Stafford district general hospital.
I refer my hon. Friend to my statement earlier today.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate (a) the number of awards of the supplementary benefit non-householder housing addition to those aged 21 to 24 years, (b) the number of households receiving housing benefit containing non-dependants between the ages of 21 and 24 years, in respect of whom deductions from housing benefit are made and (c) the net annual saving in benefit expenditure he expects to make as a result of the proposed changes to the rules governing non-householders and non-dependants aged between 21 and 24 years in July 1986.
[pursuant to his reply, 12 May 1986, c. 381.]: Precise information is not available. We estimate that there are 180,000 non-householders aged 21–24 in receipt of supplementary benefit who receive the non-householder addition. Information is not collected centrally on non-dependent deductions from housing benefit but we can make some estimates based on a computer simulation model of housing benefit entitlement. These suggest that some 180,000 households which receive housing benefit contain non-dependants between the ages of 21–24 in respect of whom deductions are made. Of these there are about 30,000 where the non-dependants receive supplementary benefit. The figures available would suggest a gross saving of about £8 million to £9 million in 1986–87 and £26 million in 1987–88. We estimate that the corresponding change to the arrangements for non-dependants might reduce the gross savings by around a tenth. The year 1987–88 is the only full year before the wider social security changes which are planned, and since the change applies to new claims it will not affect all claimants.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will place in the Library copies of the correspondence he has exchanged with the Riverside health authority concerning the future of Westminster hospital.
[pursuant to his reply, 19 May 1986, c. 66]: In accordance with normal practice, I have placed in the Library a copy of my letter of 22 May 1986 to the chairman of the North-West Thames regional authority following the annual review meeting held with that authority. That letter briefly records the outcome of a discussion with the chairman of riverside health authority about the future provision of services in Riverside district.
Nursing Staff (Lodging Charges)
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services on what date board and lodging and meals charges for nurses and auxiliary staff in hospitals were last raised.
[pursuant to his reply, 3 June 1986]: Lodging charges for nursing and midwifery staff, including nursing auxiliaries, were last raised on 1 April 1985. The prices of most meals are set locally, but nursing staff are also entitled to standard meals at charges agreed nationally for ancillary staff by the ancillary staffs councils. These standard meal charges were last increased on 4 October 1985.
Trade And Industry
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action has been taken on the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on the supply of animal waste; and if he will make a statement.
In his statement of 3 April 1985 my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Fletcher) the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for corporate and consumer affairs, set out the commission's findings and recommendations and said that the Government were arranging for discussions to be opened with Prosper De Mulder Limited about giving effect to the commission's recommendations.Following discussions with the Office of Fair Trading, Prosper De Mulder has given undertakings not to offer for or enter into gut-room contracts without having first established a reasonable expectation that the operation of any particular gut-room, taken on its own, would be carried on at a profit or to engage in cross-subsidisation between the gut-room business and other parts of the company's business or between any individual gut-room operations. The company has undertaken to provide the Director General of Fair Trading with financial information to enable him to monitor these undertakings. In addition, the company has given assurances that it will not pursue a policy of conditional buying and that it will notify the Director General of Fair Trading in advance of any proposal to acquire any other rendering business.The commission also expressed an interest in a suggestion made to it that a system of voluntary arbitration might be set up under which a member of the Institute of Environmental Health Officers and a member of the United Kingdom Renderers Associations would visit plants with odour problems and suggest remedies. My hon. Friend asked the Secretary of State for the Environment to consider the commission's suggestion, and I am pleased to say that, in response to this request, the commission's suggestion will be taken into account in a consultation paper discussing possible changes in the clean air legislation that the Government hope to publish in due course.I welcome the undertakings given by Prosper De Mulder and the action being taken by the Department of the Environment. I consider them sufficient to remedy and prevent the adverse effects specified in the commission's report.I have arranged for copies of the full text of the undertakings to be placed in the library of the House.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many people were employed by British Shipbuilders in (a) the northern region and (b) Sunderland for each year since 1979.
The information, which reflects disposals and closures as well as reductions in employment, is as follows:
|(a) Northern Region||(b) Sunderland|
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give the terms of reference, membership and current budget of the city action team referred to in his statement of 14 May, Official Report, column 1705, on British Shipbuilders.
The main task of the city action team is to target and co-ordinate the range of Government programmes, to bring them to bear most effectively, and to further new initiatives, working with private sector interests and local authorities. This city action team, originally set up for Newcastle—Gateshead, comprises the regional directors of the Manpower Services Commission (chairman), the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of the Environment. It has no normal budget as such, since it draws on the resources available to the three Departments. It will however have available, for the region as a whole, the £1 million referred to in the statement on 14 May by my right hon. Friend.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what guns have been imported from South Africa in each of the past five years.
The information is not available.
Director General Of Fair Trading
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he intends to publish the report by the Director General of Fair Trading for the year 1985.
The 12th annual report by the Director General of Fair Trading, covering the period 1 January 1985 to 31 December 1985, is published today. Copies of the report have been laid before Parliament.
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is his estimate of the number of firms in the northern region which have received regional development grant payments since 1979 and have subsequently closed down or announced redundancies; and if he will give an estimate of the number of jobs involved.
[pursuant to his reply 3 June 1986, c. 409]: As the hon. Gentleman will appreciate, the precise information requested is not available. To provide estimates could only be misleading.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any plans to seek to amend the legislation for taxing ex-gratia lump sums paid to individuals on the termination of their employment.
The Inland Revenue has been advised that the effect of the legislation governing the tax treatment of such payments where they exceed £50,000 is to give more relief than was originally intended when these rules were amended in 1982, or than the Revenue has hitherto believed the legislation permitted. The Government therefore propose to amend the rules for the future so that they accord with our original intentions. The necessary provision will be introduced at Committee stage of the Finance Bill and a new clause to that effect has been tabled. We propose that the corrected rules should apply to lump sums paid in respect of a termination of employment, or such other event which gives rise to a charge to tax under section 187 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1970, occurring on or after today's date—4 June 1986.This also means that tax relief given on any lump sums exceeding £50,000 paid since 6 April 1982 will have been calculated incorrectly. As a result, anyone who has paid tax on such a lump sum may now be entitled to a repayment of tax. The Inland Revenue press release issued today, of which copies are available in the Library, explains fully what steps a taxpayer should now take to claim a repayment.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the provisions on charities in the Finance Bill; and if he will make a statement.
In the Budget I announced important new tax reliefs to encourage charitable giving by individuals and businesses. These reliefs have been widely and warmly welcomed, and it is already clear that charities will be seeking to ensure that they are well used.I also proposed measures to curb the growing misuse in some quarters of charity reliefs for tax avoidance purposes. In the light of consultations on these proposals, it is agreed that the provisions as drafted—in clause 29 and schedule 7 to the Finance Bill—were drawn too widely and would have unintended and undesirable effects on some genuine charities. I have decided, therefore, that they need to be substantially amended, in order to overcome the legitimate concerns.The consultations have revealed a wide agreement that effective action should be taken to curb the most serious of the abuses in the interests of encouraging charitable giving and the good reputation of the vast majority of responsible charities, especially in the light of the generous extensions of relief this year, as well as to protect the revenue. I have concluded, therefore, that the right course is to concentrate this year on tackling situations where a charity: applies its funds for non-charitable purposes; or passes funds to an overseas body, without taking reasonable steps to satisfy itself that the funds will he applied for charitable purposes; or loans or invests funds in certain limited ways, for example by lending or returning them back to the original donor, or to those connected with him, in circumstances in which the charity cannot show that the loan or investment is made for genuine charitable purposes.Accordingly, a charity will be subject to a restriction of its tax relief only if its funds are used in any of the above ways and, even then, only if its taxable income and gains exceed its allowable expenditure and certain specific reserves.I propose to retain in the Bill provisions under which: grants paid by one charity to another are to be regarded as chargeable to tax, but eligible for exemption if applied to charitable purposes; covenant payments made by a subsidiary company to its parent charity are to be paid under deduction of tax. The tax will, however, be repayable to the parent, provided the charity satisfies the conditions for exemption; and in these cases arrangements will be made to ensure that the charity and its subsidiary do not suffer a cash-flow disadvantage; higher rate relief for covenanted donations may be withheld where, under the revised rules, the donee charity's own relief is restricted.I am proposing generally to exclude from some aspects of the new provisions all charities whose taxable income and gains (including grants from other charities) do not exceed £10,000. Furthermore, for the vast majority of charities there will be little or no change in the extent (if any) to which they are required to supply information to the Inland Revenue.On this basis, I do not propose to proceed in this year's Finance Bill with two particular features of the original proposals which caused nearly all of the concern: the distinction betwen "private indirect" and other charities; and the possible restriction of tax relief where the charity accumulates income.I have concluded that action in these areas is not essential in the current Finance Bill, but rather that they are matters which should be considered further, over the coming months, in consultation with the charity movement, with a view to establishing as far as possible a consensus on whether any further legislation is needed here and, if so, what form it should take.The Government will be bringing forward revised proposals accordingly, when we come to discuss clause 29 and schedule 7 to the Finance Bill in Committee. The Inland Revenue will be issuing a press notice giving the text of the amendments as soon as they are tabled.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing the total percentage tax liability, including national insurance contributions, of the gross wage of (a) a single person, (b) a married person, (c) a married person with one child, and (d) a married person with two children each earning £40, £60, £80, £100, £120, £140, £160, £180 and £200 per week, as a result of his 1986 Budget proposals and as compared with the 1984 Budget proposals and the 1978 Budget proposals.
I shall let my hon. Friend have a reply as soon as possible.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will propose at the next meeting of the Council of Finance Ministers that the budget of the European Assembly should be reduced by the sum which the European Court determined recently had been unlawfully granted by that Assembly to certain political parties; and if he will make a statement.
[pursuant to his reply, 22 May 1986, c. 308]: As my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs stated in his answer on 22 May, at column 303, this is a matter for the Bureau of the European Parliament, which is still considering the implications of the judgment of the European Court of Justice.
asked the Prime Minister if she will identify Government funds currently devoted to investigation of means of independent verification of nuclear weapon tests of other states; and if she will make a statement.
The most important verification technology is seismology. Government expenditure on unclassified work in this area is currently £1·6 million. The Government also undertake classified work in related areas, details of which cannot be revealed on grounds of national security.
Republic Of Ireland (Territorial Claims)
asked the Prime Minister if, in the light of the obligations of the United Kingdom Government and the Irish Republic under the Helsinki agreement, Her Majesty's Government will raise with the Irish Government the future of their claim, in article 2 of their constitution, to part of the national territory of the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement.
No. The agreement between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland signed on 15 November 1985—in particular the joint affirmation that any change in the status of Northern Ireland would come about only with the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland — is fully consistent with the commitments of the two Governments under the Helsinki accords in regard to the inviolability of frontiers, the territorial integrity of participating states and the right to self-determination of peoples.
asked the Prime Minister if, in the light of the obligations of the United Kingdom Government and the Irish Republic under the Treaty of Rome, Her Majesty's Government will raise with the Irish Government the future of their claim, in Article 2 of their constitution, to part of the national territory of the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement.
No. The agreement between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland signed on 15 November 1985—in particular the joint affirmation that any change in the status of Northern Ireland would come about only with the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland — is fully consistent with the obligations of the two Governments under the Treaty of Rome. Indeed, the preamble to the Anglo-Irish agreement begins by emphasising the wish of the two parties to develop the unique relationship between their peoples and the close co-operation between their countries as friendly neighbours and as partners in the European Community.
Nuclear Free Zones
asked the Prime Minister (1) if she will list the local authorities which have notified Her Majesty's Government that they have declared a nuclear-free zone in their area;(2) what response has been sent to local authorities which have notified Her Majesty's Government that they have declared a nuclear-free zone in their area.
Local authorities are not required to notify the Government of any decision to declare a so-called nuclear-free zone in their area, and there is no central list of local authorities which have done so.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many men and how many women, respectively, have been imprisoned for non-payment of fines during each of the last five years for which records are available;(2) of those men and women, respectively, who have been imprisoned for non-payment of fines during each of the past five years for which records are available, what has been the minimum, the maximum and the average length of such sentences.
The readily available information on the numbers of male and female defaulters received into Prison Department establishments in each of the years 1980 to 1984 and the periods of imprisonment or detention imposed is published in table 7.3 of "Prison Statistics England and Wales 1984" (Cmnd. 9622). Data for 1985 are not yet available. For the longest period in default to be served by a male received in 1984, I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply given to a question from the hon. Member for Knowsley, North (Mr. Kilroy-Silk) on 17 April 1986, at column 467. The rest of the information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, of the men and women respectively who have been imprisoned for non-payment of fines during each of the past five years for which records are available, what has been the maximum, the minimum and the average amount of the unpaid fine in respect of which imprisonment has been imposed.
The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated average cost of keeping a person in prison in the United Kingdom; and what is the average cost of keeping in prison a person sentenced to one week for non-payment of a fine.
The average weekly cost of keeping a person in prison in England and Wales in the financial year 1984–85—the latest year for which figures are available—was £256.It is not possible to distinguish the costs of keeping different types of prisoner in prison. It is, however, likely that a person committed to prison for one week in default of payment of a fine would be held in a local prison, for which the average weekly cost per inmate in the financial year 1984–85 was £241.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the total cost of keeping in prison persons sentenced to prison for non-payment of fines, during each of the last rive years for which records are available.
The information is not available.
Terminally Ill Prisoners
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) by what means a reminder will be given to prison medical officers of the need to give urgent and sympathetic consideration to cases of prisoners who are terminally ill and who seek early release on that ground;(2) what was the frequency of review of first refusals of release to terminally ill patients seeking release on the grounds of their illness; and how frequent are the reviews now that such frequency has been increased;(3) what was the frequency of review where there was a need for further information regarding terminally ill patients seeking release on the grounds of their illness and how frequent the reviews are now that such frequency has increased;(4) by whom additional guidance will be given to prison medical officers in respect of the treatment of terminally ill patients and when; and whether he will place a copy in the Library;(5) when he proposes undertaking a sample study of cases of all seriously ill prisoners, in order to check that merit worthy cases are not overlooked; by whom such sample study will be carried out and where; when he expects the results of that sample study to be available; and whether he will place a copy thereof in the Library;(6) who is to conduct a study of cases to give him a better basis for whether further changes may be needed in the arrangements for deciding whether to grant early release to terminally ill prisoners; when such a study will be carried out; when he expects its findings to be completed; and whether he will then place a copy of the results thereof in the Library.
The director of Prison Medical Services proposes to write to all prison medical officers in charge of medical arrangements at Prison Department establishments in England and Wales. The letter will remind medical officers of the need to give urgent and sympathetic consideration to cases of prisoners thought to be terminally ill, and will give further guidance on the consideration and reporting of these cases. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library.Officials dealing with such cases in the criminal department have been reminded both orally and in writing by their line managers of the need to take particular and urgent care in the consideration of cases of prisoners whose illnesses may mean that their early release by special remission under the royal prerogative of mercy is justified.There is and can be no fixed period for review of decisions not to recommend special remission. The period of review must be determined by the circumstances of each case. All officials concerned with these cases have been instructed to ensure that no undue delay in reviewing cases is allowed to occur.We intend to start a monitoring exercise relating to cases of seriously ill prisoners this month. Prison medical officers are required by the prison standing orders to submit reports on seriously ill prisoners to the governor. For a limited period they will be asked to send copies of such reports to the directorate of Prison Medical Services and to the criminal department which will consider whether the cases thus presented call for consideration of the grant of special remission. We expect to be able to make the results of this exercise known to the hon. and learned Member and the House later this year.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many representations he has received from hon. Members concerning the failure to release prisoners alleged to be suffering from terminal illnesses, during each of the last sever, years for which records are available.
Records of such representations are not kept in a form which enables precise information to be provided without disproportionate cost. However, I can say that apart from the hon. and learned Member's own, I can recall representations on this matter from only one hon. Member in the last three years.
Mr Karman Zahoor
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will order a full investigation as to what took place on Wednesday 23 April when police and immigration officers went to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Naqvi of 7 Park Lodge, Olive Road, London NW2, looking for Mr. Karman Zahoor, a visitor to the United Kingdom, Home Office reference number Z 68597.
Inquiries are being made and I shall write to the right hon. Member as soon as they are completed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has about the recent trends in the incidents of football hooliganism; and if he will make a statement.
The Association of Chief Police Officers for England and Wales has now collected figures which show that the numbers of arrests at Football League Division 1 games fell from 3,752 in the 1984–85 season to 2,005 in 1985–86, and at Division 2 games from 1,765 in 1984–85 to 1,086 in 1985–86. This represents a general reduction of 44 per cent., and is a clear and welcome indication of the progress which has been made in combating football hooliganism.The package of measures agreed between the Government and the football authorities, the unremitting efforts of the police and the co-operation of clubs have helped to bring about this improvement. The new controls on alcohol and the use of closed circuit television have made an important contribution. The Government remain determined to achieve further progress next season, in partnership with the football authorities, through agreed measures, including, for example, the wider adoption of membership card schemes and the use of exclusion orders.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to how many nuclear reactors are situated within 250 miles of the United Kingdom; in which countries; and what intergovernmental machinery exists for consultation on their environmental impact and for notification of accidents.
According to "Nuclear Power in Western Europe; Status Report for 1986" published by
|per cent.||per cent.||per cent.||per cent.||per cent.||per cent.|
Tower Blocks (Rochester And Strood)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his consent has been sought by the district of Rochester upon Medway for the sale or demolition of 360 units of accommodation in tower blocks at Rochester and Strood.
While there have been some discussions with my Department, it was Rochester upon Medway district council which took the decision to demolish these properties. My right hon. Friend's consent was not required.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the overall average unrebated domestic bill paid by householders in England in each year since 1966–67 on a constant price basis.
The estimated figures are as follows:
|Average (unrebated) domestic rate bills in England at 1986–87 prices*|
FORATOM, there are 12 foreign nuclear power stations within 250 miles of the coast of the United Kingdom (excluding research reactors). Seven are in France, two in Belgium, two in the Netherlands and one in West Germany. An Anglo-French "Nuclear Emergency Information Exchange Agreement" was made on 18 July 1983 (Cmnd. 9041).
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out the average increase in water prices for the domestic user in real terms for each of the last six years, in each of the English water authorities.
Increases in average household bills for unmeasured consumers, deflated by RPI, for the past six years are as follows:
|* Estimated average rate bills have been inflated to 1986–87 prices by using the retail prices index for April of each year.|
|† Figures up to 1973–74 are not comparable with those for 1974–75 and later years. This is due to the change in local authorities' responsibilities in 1974, in particular the transfer of water and sewerage services from local authorities to water authorities.|
Leicester (Empty Houses)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to (a) how many and (b) what percentage of houses in (i) the public and (ii) the private sectors in the city of Leicester are now empty.
The latest information available is from the city council's housing investment programme return for 1985, a copy of which is available in the Library. This return showed that 1,096, or 2·8 per cent. of the dwellings owned by the council and housing associations were vacant at 1 April 1985 and 3,851, or 5·6 per cent., of the privately owned dwellings. The council was unable to supply an estimate of how many of the 325 public sector dwellings other than those owned by the council and housing associations were vacant.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his latest estimate of the land area of England and Wales covered by (a) national parks, (b) green belt areas, (c) areas of outstanding natural beauty and high landscape value. (d) heritage coasts, (e) conservation areas and (f) sites of special scientific interest.
Estimates of land area are as follows:
|£ thousands (cash)|
|n/a=Not readily available.|
Landowners (Footpaths And Bridleways)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will bring forward proposals to pay a subsidy to landowners for footpaths and bridleways which cross their land.
This is one of a number of propositions on which views are currently being canvassed by the Countryside Commission in its "Recreation 2000" discussion paper, and I would wish to await any recommendation the commission might make following its consultations.
Joint Manpower Watch
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement regarding the joint manpower watch arrangements.
The joint manpower watch has been in operation, in England and Wales, since 1975. The
|Areas of outstanding natural beauty||1·71|
|Sites of special scientific interest||0·82|
Heritage coasts are measured by length rather than area. The latest estimate is that 1,260 kilometres of the coast of England and Wales are covered.
No figures are available of the amount of land area covered by conservation areas, of which however there are some 5,500. There is some overlap between the categories—for example, there are extensive SSSIs in national parks and AsONB.
Departmental Telephone And Telex Charges
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how much was spent by his Department on telephone calls and telex charges; and what was the total cost of telephone rental for each year since 1979.
The costs to my Department of British Telecom telephone calls, telex charges and telephone rental since 1979–80 were:figures are published each quarter and are discussed within the Consultative Council on Local Government Finance. We are now incorporating the new authorities—bodies in the survey following the Local Government Act 1985. Although the arrangements are under constant review by the joint manpower watch working group, which has both central and local government representation, there are currently no plans to make major changes. In the main, the arrangements have worked well.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what response he is making to the world conservation strategy document.
The Government welcomed and endorsed the principles of the world conservation strategy when it was published in 1980. My hon. Friend the Minister for Environment, Countryside and Local Government is attending a conference in Ottawa called by the authors of the strategy to assess it six years after its publication.The Government have published a report — "Conservation and Development; The British Approach" — setting out the ways in which the United Kingdom has approached the issues raised by the strategy. Copies have been made available in the Vote office.
Radiochemical Inspectorate (Annual Report)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when the annual report by Her Majesty's radiochemical inspectorate for 1984–85 will be published.
The report has now been published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House of Commons.
Housing (Land Release)
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy towards proposals in development plans for phasing the release of land for housing and other development; and whether he will make a statement.
Paragraph 8 of my Department's circular on land for housing (15/84) refers to phasing the release of housing land. It recognises that the provision of infrastructure and other services may affect the programming of development, but advises that phasing should not be used as an arbitrary rationing process governing the release of land available for development. The purpose is to discourage the practice of specifying in development plans the precise number of acres or houses to be developed each year. Such precision is inappropriate in plans covering several years ahead. Room for flexibility is necessary to enable developers to respond to short-term changes in housing demand. Highly detailed phasing can impose unnecessary costs and constraints on orderly site development.Where the plan extends over a long period and there are strong pressures for development which it is desirable to resist, it is reasonable for the planning authority to indicate in its plan, in reasonably broad terms, how it intends development to be programmed over the period of the plan. In the absence of such broad phasing, it would be impossible to prevent planning provision from being exhausted in the early years of the plan. The key requirement is that such proposals for phasing should be explained and justified.
London Docklands Development Corporation
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements are made by the LDDC over opening its files to the public in respect of planning applications.
[pursuant to his reply, 3 June 1986]: The London Docklands Development Corporation makes open to the public its planning committee meetings, officers' reports on applications, its planning register, and it publishes a weekly list of applications received. Like other local planning authorities, it has no arrangements for public inspection of its planning files.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total amount paid by his Department in 1985 in respect of parking fines incurred by Government Departments.
[pursuant to his reply, 3 June 1986]: The total amount paid in parking fines by the Department in 1985 was £4,334·50.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when his Department became responsible for paying parking fines on behalf of Government Departments.
[pursuant to his reply, 3 June 1986]: The Department became responsible for paying parking fines on behalf of GCS vehicles used by Government Departments in 1973.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide an analysis of the parking fines incurred by each of the Government Departments as listed in his answer of 15 May, at column 554, excluding the Scottish Office and the Department of Energy; and how many of the fines were in respect of ministerial vehicles in each case.
[pursuant to his reply, 3 June 1986]: All but six of the 106 parking fines incurred by Government Departments listed in the answer of 15 May were in respect of ministerial vehicles. These were incurred at the following locations.
- 34 parking offences occurred in Whitehall, SW1
Department of Employment
- 9 parking offences occurred in Tothill Street, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Duke Street, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Warwick Way, SW1
- 10 parking offences occurred in Whitehall, SW1
Department of the Environment
- 1 parking offence occurred in South Audley Street, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Petty France, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in St. James Street, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Clifford Street, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Emery Hill Street, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in London Bridge Street, SE1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Causton Street, SW1
Management and Personnel Office
- 2 parking offences occurred in Victoria Embankment, SW1
- 2 parking offences occurred in Victoria Street, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Stanhope Gate, W1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Ave Maria Lane, EC4
- 1 parking offence occurred in Lombard Street, EC3
- 1 parking offence occurred in Greek Street, W1
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
- 6 parking offences occurred in Whitehall Place, SW1
National Audit Office
- 6 parking offences occurred in Victoria Embankment, EC4
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- 2 parking offences occurred in Victoria Street, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Howick Place, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Buckingham Palace Road, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Great Peter Street, SW1
Department of Trade and Industry
- 1 parking offence occurred in Arlington Street, W1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Warwick Way, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Berkley Square, W1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Bayliss Road, SE1
- 1 parking offence occurred at London Airport
Her Majesty's Treasury
- 2 parking offences occurred in Thirleby Road, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Vauxhall Bridge Road, SW1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Queen Victoria Street, EC5
- 1 parking offence occurred in Beresford Square, SE18
- 1 parking offence occurred in High Holborn, WC1
- 1 parking offence occurred in Endell Street, WC2
Department of Education and Science
- 1 parking offence occurred in Basil Street, SW3
- 1 parking offence occurred in Erasmus Street, SW1
Central Office of Information
- 2 parking offences occurred in Fleet Street, EC4
Northern Ireland Office
- 1 parking offence occurred in Victoria Street, SW1
National Economic Development Corporation
- 1 parking offence occurred in Clerkenwell Road, EC1
- 1 parking offence occurred in St. James's Square, SW1
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what departmental business took a ministerial car to Greek Street, W1 in 1985 which led to a parking ticket being issued.
[pursuant to his reply, 3 June 1986]: I regret that in my reply of 23 May, at column 369, this offence was wrongly attributed to the Scottish Office. The fine was in respect of a Government car service pool vehicle ordered by the Management and Personnel Office to collect an official from No. 10 attending an official lunch-time engagement in the area.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
South Africa (Sharpeville Six)
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the Government of South Africa concerning the prisoners known as the Sharpeville Six; and if he will make a statement.
The South African Government are well aware of our views: the British ambassador at Cape Town has made representations about the Sharpeville Six to the South African Deputy Foreign Minister. The six were recently granted leave to appeal against their convictions.
Council Of Ministers
asked the Sectetary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a statement of forthcoming business in the European Community Council of Ministers.
The usual forecast was deposited in the House earlier today. Heads of State and Government will meet at The Hague on 26, 27 and 28 June. At present 13 meetings of the Council of Ministers are planned for June.The Energy Council met on 3 June. The Council was to consider the new Community energy objectives. Further consideration was also expected to be given to the coal dossiers—coal state aids and coal social measures—and to Commission papers on new and renewable sources of energy, the oil market and refinery industry, rational use of energy in industry, and on peat and lignite. It was proposed that nuclear issues would be discussed over lunch.The Labour and Social Affairs Council will meet on 5 June to consider directives on occupational social security equal treatment for self-employed women and the proscription of certain specified carcinogens, a recommendation on the employment of the disabled and an action programme for women. Ministers are also expected to debate long-term unemployment and give preliminary consideration to a discussion paper put forward jointly by the UK, Italy and Ireland on "Employment Growth into the 1990s: a strategy for the Labour Market."The Industry Council will meet on 9 June and is expected to consider a Commission proposal for a directive concerning the first phase of the establishment of the mutual recognition of type approval for telecommunication terminal equipment. The Council is likely to discuss a proposal for a Council directive on the adoption of common standards for direct broadcasting by satellite. The Council may discuss the inter-institutional integrated services information system (INSIS). The Council is likely to consider a proposal on an action plan for standardisation in the field of information technology and telecommunications. It is expected that the Commission will, after discussions with member states, be in a position on 9 June to outline to Industry Ministers its proposals for the arrangements to follow the fifth directive on aid to shipbuilding. The Commission will submit an analysis of the factors which have affected the competitive performance of European industry and invite the Council to discuss the implications for industrial policy in the Community. The Council may also consider the progress of the Commission's proposed directive on the legal protection of original topographies of semiconductor products.The Education Council is due to meet on 9 June. It will discuss the proposal for a European Community action scheme for the mobility of university students (ERASMUS) and a presidency paper on the medium-term activities in the field of education. It is expected that a resolution on consumer education will be adopted.The Research Council will meet on 10 June. The Council is expected to discuss various aspects of the EC research and development framework programme for 1987–91.The Environment Council will meet on 12 June. The Council will consider a draft directive on large combustion plants which aims to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and dust. It is expected that further consideration will be given to the Seveso directive on industrial handling of dangerous chemicals. The Council will look at proposals to amend the waste oils directive. In addition, it is expected that the Council will consider draft directives on sulphur content of gas oil, vehicle emissions, titanium dioxide and animal experimentation.
The Economic and Finance Council will meet on 16 June. The Council is expected to discuss: monetary and financial relations between the European Community and Japan; the work of the high level group on tax approximation; and the liberalisation of capital movements within the Community. The Council may also continue its consideration of the Community's current budgetary situation; and may discuss the economic situation in preparation for the European Council later in the month.
The Foreign Affairs Council will meet on 16–17 June. It is likely to discuss the new GATT round and in particular its overall approach towards a new round of multilateral trade negotiations with a view to reaching agreement on a broad strategy. The Council again may discuss the overall climate in EC-US relations. The Council is likely to consider two Commission proposals for community programmes under the ERDF main regulation. The first proposal (STAR) is to provide ERDF aid towards improving access to advanced telecommunications services and the other (VALOREN) towards the exploitation of indigenous energy potential, both in least-favoured regions of the Community, including Northern Ireland. The Council is also expected to consider a revised mandate for negotiations with Mediterranean third countries on the adaptation of their Co-operation-Association agreements to take account of enlargement; to fix a date for the EC-Turkey Association Council and review progress on the normalisation of relations; and to review relations between the EC and the Gulf Co-operation Council.
The Transport Council is due to meet on 18 and 19 June. The Council will discuss Community policy on shipping and civil aviation. The Council is also expected to give further consideration to transport issues and, in particular, to road haulage liberalisation.
The Internal Market Council will meet on 23 June. The Council is likely to discuss progress on the implementation of the Commission White Paper, including a report by the Commission and the report to be presented by the Dutch presidency to the European Council 26–27 June. The Council is likely to discuss a presidency report on public purchasing and in particular the Commission's proposals for improving the effectiveness of the supplies directive. The Council may discuss the proposed commercial agents directive which seeks to regulate the relationship between commercial agents and their principals. The industrial truck directive, which seeks to harmonise construction and safety standards, will be discussed. The Council is likely to discuss standards for simple pressure vessels. The Council will also discuss directives on frontier controls, noise of motor cycles, tractors (roll-over protection controls) and a right of residence.
The Consumer Council will meet on 24 June. The Council will discuss further the proposal for a directive on consumer credit. Following inconclusive discussions at an earlier Council meeting, the Consumer Council is also likely to discuss further proposals for unit pricing directives.
The Agriculture Council is expected to meet on 24 and 25 June to discuss the Commission's proposed socio-structural package, less-favoured areas in Germany, Spain and Portugal, flavourings, extraction solvents, quick frozen foodstuffs, animal feedingstuffs (Aflatoxin) and food harmonisation. The Fisheries Council is also expected to meet on 25 June to discuss technical conservation measures, fisheries structural policy, inspection and control and relations with third countries. An informal meeting of Ministers will be held on 8, 9 and 10 June to debate the effects on agricultural policy of developments in international markets.
The European Council will meet on 26 and 27 June in The Hague.
Less-Favoured Area Status
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any plans to meet the Scottish National Farmers Union to discuss the possibility of designation of the whole of Scotland as a less-favoured area within the common agricultural policy.
No. My right hon. and learned Friend has received no request for such a meeting from the National Farmers Union of Scotland.
Government Agencies (Aberdeen)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received about proposed closures and cutbacks of Government agencies and Government-funded institutions in Aberdeen.
My right hon. and learned Friend has received a number of representations about this matter, including a request to meet a delegation from Grampian regional council, which he is considering.
Scottish Development Agency
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of the Scottish Development Agency budget was spent in each Scottish district other than Renfrew district.
The information is as follows:
|Scottish Development Agency expenditure by district and islands council area|
|1 January to 30 April 1986|
|District||Total £'000||Per cent.|
|Argyll and Bute||113||0·3|
|Kilmarnock and Loudon||317||0·8|
|Cumnock & Doon||175||0·4|
|Kyle and Carrick||244||0·6|
|Ettrick and Lauderdale||767||1·9|
|District||Total £'000||Per cent.|
|North East Fife||92||0·2|
|Perth and Kinross||219||0·5|
|Banff and Buchan||133||0·3|
|Annandale and Eskdale||81||0·2|
|Kincardine and Deeside||12||—|
|Badenoch and Strathspey||—||—|
|Skye and Lochaber||—||—|
1. Figures do not add up to 100 per cent. because of rounding.
2 The figures in the above table exclude expenditure on running costs. The unallocated entry is made up of categories of spend which the Agency does not allocate to districts. These are under the following headings:
Maintenance—Dilapidations, estate land maintenance, security, land marketing signs, fire and engineering insurances.
Land and Buildings—Plant and equipment, notice boards, owner controlled insurance, gas, water and electricity supplies, feasibility studies and surveys,
Development Grants — Programme for Rural Initiatives and Development, Development of Rural Area Workshops, Better Business Services, Training and Employment Grants Scheme and Craft Grants.
3. Figure for Renfrew adjusted to take into account final settlements. (see Hansard 6 May 1986, column 13).
Scottish Development Agency Budget
Initial Gross Provision
Revised Gross Provision
1. Gross provision represents the gross grant-in-aid provision plus net provision for investment finance from the National Loans Fund and public dividend capital.
2. The excess of expenditure over provision in 1985–86 was financed by additional receipts.
Council House Sales
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is satisfied with the progress being made with the sale of council houses in Scotland.
Yes. Since 1979, over 78,000 public sector tenants have bought their houses, binding contracts of sale having been concluded in a further 3,300 cases, and there are approximately another 5,800 applications at an earlier point in the pipeline. Local authorities are also increasingly appreciating the need to process sales quickly. The average time to complete transactions continues to fall and is now approximately eight months.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the radiation levels recorded in Scotland as a consequence of the nuclear accident in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
I would refer the hon. Member to the replies which I gave to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes), on 8 May, at columns 217–19 and on 21 May, at columns 225–28, to the reply to the hon. Member for Gordon, (Mr. Bruce) on 9 May, at column 294 and to the hon. Member himself on 14 May at column 472.These replies provided a broad range of information on the radiation levels in Scotland resulting from the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. In general levels have been raised above the normal background levels of radioactivity which are always present in the environment. With the exception of rainwater, where advice against continuous consumption of fresh rainwater was issued for the limited period from 5 May to 10 May, radioactivity levels in the environment and in food such as milk, milk products and vegetables have remained below the internationally recommended levels at which action would have been considered, and have now declined considerably. Monitoring will be continued as necessary and the results will be issued to the press.
Hill Farming Research Organisation
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to announce a decision about the future of the Hill Farming Research Organisation.
I hope to be able to announce a decision as soon as possible.
Local Government Finance
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he plans to increase local government expenditure in Scotland.
My right hon. and learned Friend is presently considering the provision to be made for local authority current expenditure in 1987–88 and will be consulting the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he plans to make arty additional funds available to local authorities to defray the cost of the recent teachers' pay award; and if he will make a statement.
In respect of 1985–86, I have nothing to add to my answer on 29 April, at column 368. For 1986–87, the Government are awaiting the outcome of the main committee's inquiry into teachers' pay and conditions before deciding whether to provide additional resources for 1986–87.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will extend the date for submissions from bodies other than local authorities on the Green paper, "Paying for Local Government".
I see no need to do so.
Football (World Cup)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent consultations he has had with the Scottish Football Association about Scotland's participation in the World Cup in Mexico.
I have been in constant touch with the Scottish Football Association in the run-up to the World Cup, paying particulr attention to issues relating to the behaviour of Scottish football supporters in Mexico. I am confident that their record of good behaviour will be sustained.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received against nuclear development and reprocessing in the light of the Chernobyl accident.
In addition to the right hon. Member's letter to me of 29 April, my Department has received, up to 22 May, 11 letters from right hon. and hon. Members concerning nuclear development or reprocessing in the light of the Chernobyl accident. A further 30 letters have been received from the general public.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when next he expects to meet the new general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress to discuss the Scottish economy.
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply my right hon. and learned Friend gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Motherwell, North (Mr. Hamilton).
Annan Bypass And Carrutherstown Diversion
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he hopes to let the contract for the Annan bypass on the A75; and when he will announce the line for the Carrutherstown diversion on the A75.
I expect to let the contract for the Annan bypass in September. Discussions are still proceeding on the route of the Carrutherstown to Hetland diversion, but I hope to be in a position to announce the preferred line by about the same time.
Rating Relief (Disabled Persons)
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people in Scotland obtained rating relief under the Rating (Disabled Persons) Act 1978 in the latest year for which figures are available: what was the total value of the relief; and what was the cost (a) to his Department and (b) to local authorities.
For 1984–85 total rebates granted by rating authorities under the Rating (Disabled Persons) Act 1978 amounted to £12·328 million, of which £17,000 was not eligible for the 90 per cent. Government grant payable; the grant therefore was £11·080 million. It is estimated that some £11·976 million was in respect of 790 institutions for the disabled and £0·352 million for facilities for disabled persons in some 5,924 households.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has plans for the expansion of the authorised police establishment; and if he will make a statement.
It is for police authorities in the first instance to determine what level of police manpower is required for the effective policing of their areas. Already this year I have approved applications involving a net increase of 99 posts in the authorised police establishment. No other applications for increases in authorised establishments are currently before me, though I am aware that manpower reviews are being conducted in some Scottish forces. I am ready to consider further modest increases in police manpower to meet proven needs.
Fine Enforcement Officers
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many fine enforcement officers are now in post in Scotland; in what sheriff court districts they are based; whether the percentage of fines unpaid in those districts as a percentage of total fines imposed has varied since their appointment; and if he will make a statement.
Following the completion of a successful experiment, fines officers are presently in post in Scotland based in the sheriff courts at Glasgow (three), Edinburgh (two), Airdrie (one) and Hamilton (one). The fines officers based at Edinburgh, Airdrie and Hamilton were appointed on 1 July 1985, and those based at Glasgow on 3 February 1986.Given the relatively recent appointment of the seven fines officers, it is still too early to determine whether the percentage of fines unpaid in those districts as a percentage of total fines imposed has changed.Arrangements are in hand for the appointment of an additional eight fines officers once consultation on their possible deployment has been completed.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the effect of falling oil prices on the Scottish economy.
Lower oil prices should generally be of benefit to consumers and to the non oil-related sector of industry in Scotland. For the oil-related sector we expect production from existing fields to be largely unaffected by lower prices. Some cutbacks in exploration and development activity have been announced. These could have adverse implications for parts of the Scottish economy.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his latest estimate of the land area of Scotland covered by (a) national scenic areas, (b) conservation areas and (c) sites of special scientific interest.
There are 40 national scenic areas with a total area of 1,001,800 hectares. Conservation areas designated under the Town and Country Amenities Act 1974 are generally small parts of built-up areas of architectural or historic importance; there are 527 areas in this category,. There were, at 31 December 1985, 1,075 sites of special scientific interest in Scotland with a total area of 604,330 hectares.
Longannet Power Station
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the amount of radioactive material discharged by Longannet power station during the course of its operation and the component and sources of the discharge.
Coal ash produced at Longannet generating station contains naturally occurring radioactive potassium, uranium and thorium and uranium and thorium decay products. Some 8 gigabecquerels of activity are normally discharged annually in ash in flue gases to atmosphere and 680 gigabecquerels to the ash lagoons. The concentrations of radioactive materials in the ash are smaller than those for which authorisation under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 is required.Under an authorisation given to the Hunterston generating station to dispose of lubricating oil to Longannet for incineration, some 36 cu m of oil containing in aggregate some 9 gigabecquerels tritium, 1·7 gigabecquerels beta and 70 kilobecquerels alpha activity were disposed of in the years 1977 to 1979. No lubricating oil has been disposed of to Longannet since 1979.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the number of vacancies at each careers office in Scotland and the number of school leavers in each town served.
As at 4 April 1986, the latest date for which figures are available, the number of unfilled employment vacancies at each careers office in Scotland is as set out in the table.Data on the number of school leavers are not available centrally in the form sought.
|Unfilled Vacancies at Careers Offices in Scotland as at 4 April 1986|
|Education Authority and Careers Office||Vacancies Unfilled|
|Education Authority and Careers Office||Vacancies Unfilled|
|Dumfries and Galloway|
|Education Authority and Careers Office||Vacancies Unfilled|
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer of 22 May, Official Report, columns 306–7, what levels of radioactivity were discovered on the cargoes arriving from Europe and the Eastern bloc at the Scottish ports listed.
I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will report on progress that he has made in the inquiry into teachers' pay and conditions of service.
As I told the House on 6 March, the committee of inquiry has been asked to report by the end of the summer. The Government have submitted evidence to the committee. A copy of the Government's evidence has been placed in the Library.
Solicitor-General For Scotland
Official Secrets Act
asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland on how many occasions since May 1979 the Lord Advocate has formally considered the bringing of prosecutions under the Official Secrets Act.
Three such cases were reported for the Lord Advocate's consideration.
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish figures for 1983–84, 1984–85 and 1985–86 showing expenditure in Northern Ireland on (a) student awards, distinguishing between awards for fees and awards for maintenance, and on (b) vocational training allowances, job creation allowances and similar outlays, which in the rest of the United Kingdom are administered by the Manpower Services Commission.
The information is as follows:
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the number of vacancies at each careers office in Northern Ireland and the number of school leavers in each town served.
The numbers of unfilled vacancies for young people (aged under 18) at each Jobmarket in Northern Ireland is as follows:
|Unfilled vacancies for young persons at 4 April 1986|
asked the Paymaster General what discussion the Manpower Services Commission has had with local education authorities and local education authority associations about rates of remuneration for colleges providing courses under the restart scheme.
Fee rates for colleges of further education in England and Wales were discussed and agreed with the Association of County Councils and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. Fee rates for colleges of further education in Scotland were agreed with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.
asked the Paymaster General how many job vacancies there were in the Burnley travel-to-work area at the last date for which figures are available; and what were the comparable figures in 1979 and subsequent years.
The table shows the numbers of unfilled vacancies at the Burnley and Padiham jobcentres, which cover an area closely corresponding to the Burnley travel-to-work area, for April of each year from 1979 to 1986. Vacancy figures before April 1982 exclude self-employed vacancies.
asked the Paymaster General what was the level of long-term unemployment in Burnley at the latest date for which figures are available; and what were the comparable figures in 1979 and subsequent years.
The following information is in the Library. On 10 April 1986 the number of claimants in the Burnley travel-to-work area who had been unemployed for more than 12 months was 2,425. The corresponding figures for April 1984 and April 1985 were 2,360 and 2,411 respectively. This comparison is affected by the change in the timing of compilation of unemployment statistics in March 1986. Larger discontinuities occurred in the local area statistics in 1982 and 1983, with the change in the basis of the count, the 1983 Budget provisions, the introduction of ward-based statistics and the revision to boundaries of travel-to-work areas. Therefore the figures for earlier years are not directly comparable.
Health And Safety
asked the Paymaster General if he proposes to amend section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act to ensure that (a) an element of reasonable foresight on the part of designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers is clearly established as a legal requirement, (b) imports and domestic products are treated the same and (c) health ard safety information reaches product users.
Yes. Changes to secure these effects are included in the proposals referred to in the answer I gave to the hon. Member on 29 January 1986.
asked the Paymaster General whether he will seek the agreement of those responsible for the "Programmes Analysis Review on Tourism" in 1974 to make the study papers available.
I understand that the programmes analysis review on tourism was submitted to the then Government in 1974. It has not been made public and in accordance with practice it has not been available to subsequent Governments. I do not intend to depart from this practice in this instance.
asked the Paymaster General how many people in Slough are unemployed under the age of 25, between 25 and 40 and between 41 and 60 years.
The following information is in the Library.
|Unemployed claimants in the Slough local authority district on 10 April 1986|
|25 to 39||1,562|
|40 to 59||1,549|
asked the Paymaster General what is the number of people in Slough who have been unemployed for (a) less than six months, (b) six months to one year, (c) one year to two years and (d) more than two years for the latest date available.
The following information is in the Library.
|Unemployed Claimants in the Slough local authority district on 10 April 1986|
|Under six months||2,201|
|Six months to one year||894|
|One year to two years||633|
|Over two years||936|
asked the Paymaster General if he will list the benefits, payments and education authority grants, where appropriate, to which young people on YTS courses are entitled.
Young people on YTS courses receive training allowances. In general, this precludes their receiving any other payments from public funds. However where, exceptionally, the allowances paid fall short of a trainee's overall financial needs as assessed by the Department of Health and Social Security, the balance may be paid by that Department in the form of supplementary benefit.YTS trainees do not themselves receive education authority grants for their off-the-job training, because the block grant paid to managing agents by the Manpower Services Commission makes provision for the necessary tuition fees.
Careers Offices (Vacancies)
asked the Paymaster General if he will list the number of vacancies currently on offer at each careers office and the number of school leavers in each town served.
The following table shows the numbers of unfilled vacancies at careers offices in England and Wales as at 4 April 1986. Data on the numbers of school leavers are not available centrally for areas smaller than local education authorities. I understand that my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Scotland, is replying in respect of vacancies at Scottish careers offices.
|Unfilled vacancies at Careers Offices—4 April 1986|
|Careers office||Vacancies unfilled|
|Careers office||Vacancies unfilled|
|Welwyn Garden City||23|
|Bury St. Edmunds||37|
|Careers office||Vacancies unfilled|
|Elephant and Castle||54|
|Kingston on Thames||36|
|Bodmin (North Cornwall)||3|
|Bristol East and Central||20|
|Bristol North West||9|
|Careers office||Vacancies unfilled|
|East Avon Area||11|
|North West Somerset||4|
|South East Somerset||11|
|Burton on Trent||8|
|Newcastle Under Lyme||7|
|Ross On Wye||3|
|Careers office||Vacancies unfilled|
|Stratford on Avon||97|
|Yorkshire and Humberside|
|Careers office||Vacancies unfilled|
|Hull (East Riding)||6|
|Newton le Willows||2|
|Careers office||Vacancies unfilled|
|Chester le Street||0|
|Houghton le Spring||2|
|Stockton on Tees||1|
|Careers office||Vacancies unfilled|
Occupational Health Services
asked the Paymaster General what action the Government have taken with regard to the ratification of International Labour Convention No. 161 and acceptance of International Labour Recommendation No. 171, concerning occupational health services, adopted by the International Labour conference in June 1985.
The texts of the convention and recommendation were included in a White Paper (Cmnd. No. 9727) presented to Parliament on 31 January. Be fore reaching decisions on the action to be taken on these instruments, the Government have sought the advice of the Health and Safety Commission, and the commission issued a consultative document in February inviting the comments of all interested parties as a basis for considering its advice. The Government's decision on whether to ratify the Convention and accept the Recommendation will be taken when this advice has been received, and an announcement will be made to Parliament in due course.
Nuclear Power Stations
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will publish (a) the total capital investment costs, in present-day prices, of the nuclear facilities at British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. Springfields, Capenhurst, and Sellafield, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority facilities at Atomic Energy Research Establishment Harwell, and the nuclear power development plant at Dounreay and (b) the percentage investment and upkeep cost of each of these establishments paid for by the Central Electricity Generating Board and the South of Scotland Electricity Board.
The information is as follows:
British Nuclear Fuels plc (BNFL)
Capital expenditure to 31 March 1986 on the facilities operated at Springfields is £260 million; at Capenhurst £610 million; and at Sellafield £1,980 million. These figures are in March 1986 prices. They exclude the Calder Hall reactors, but include expenditure prior to 1971, when BNFL was formed, on facilities which were inherited from the AEA and are still in use. Each of BNFL's sites renders services to a range of costomers and the cost allocations differ from year to year and site to site. However, in the financial year 1984–85 some 54 per cent. of total sales reflected services to the two generating boards.
The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (AEA)
Information on the AEA's facilities at Harwell and Dounreay is not readily available in this form. I am asking its chairman to write to the hon. Member.
Ncb (Enterprise) Ltd
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many jobs have been created in the northern region by NCB (Enterprise) Ltd. in each year since it was established; and how many are expected to be created in the current year.
By 26 April 1986 NCB (Enterprise) Ltd. had, since its foundation in October 1984, contributed to the creation of 920 job opportunities in the north-east. During 1986–87 the company intends to double its activities nationally and is aiming to support projects to create 10,000 new job opportunities.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is planning to investigate the viability of the Manoil process for producing oil from refuse.
The Manoil process for the liquefaction of rubbish to oil was looked at by the energy technology support unit (ETSU) at Harwell in 1985. The indications at that time were that although there appeared to be great potential in the process, a number of technical and economic factors still needed to be overcome. In particular, the process appeared to provide less energy, at considerably higher cost, than direct combustion of refuse.In April this year my Department again considered the Manoil process and I personally discussed its prospects with our technical advisers at ETSU. As a result of this, I have decided that it would be useful to have an independent evaluation of the process carried out by a firm of consulting engineers. This assessment will be put in hand shortly and will provide an up-to-date appraisal of the technical and economic prospects and of the major problems that remain to be overcome.
Coal, Gas And Electricity Prices
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has on the changes in real terms for each of the previous six years in domestic coal, gas and electricity prices.
The information requested is set out in the table.
|per cent.||per cent.||per cent.|
|1979 to 1980||+8·9||-0·6||+8·5|
|1980 to 1981||+5·9||+13·6||+8·3|
|1981 to 1982||-0·7||+15·2||+1·5|
|1982 to 1983||+2·1||+7·6||-0·3|
|1983 to 1984||+2·4||-1·6||-3·8|
|1984 to 1985||+0·4||-1·9||-2·8|
Source: Department of EnergyNorth Sea Oil
North Sea Oil
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list all those countries to which oil exporting companies have refused to export United Kingdom North sea oil, as a consequence of the Government's declared policy which limits the export of North sea oil to members of the European Economic Community, the international Energy Agency and according to established patterns of trade.
The information requested, which concerns the commercial activity of individual companies exporting North Sea oil, is not held by Her Majesty's Government. On the scope of the guidance given by Her Majesty's Government to these companies, however, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 22 April of this year, at column 117.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy, in view of the Government's declared policy of restricting exports of United Kingdom North sea oil to members of the European Economic Community, the International Energy Agency and according to established patterns of trade, what information he has about North sea oil being exported in the last few years to a number of countries outside those permitted areas; and what penalties have been applied to the exporting companies.
I am aware of two instances since 1979 in which cargoes of North sea crude oil were by oversight exported to destinations outside the scope of the guidance given by Her Majesty's Government in that year to companies exporting such oil. I am satisfied that there was no intention on the part of the companies concerned to disregard the guidance, and they have taken steps to prevent any repetition.
National Coal Board (Recruitment)
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what proportion of new recruits required by the National Coal Board between the ages of 16 and 19 years during the past two years have been rejected on medical grounds, both nationally and in the Nottinghamshire area.
I shall ask the chairman of British Coal to write to the hon. Member.
Magnox Reprocessing Plant, Sellafield
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether agreement has been reached on the introduction of an inspection regime by Euratom of the Magnox reprocessing plant at Sellafield; and if he will make a statement about the reprocessing of civil and non-civil spent fuel in the plant.
Euratom safeguards inspectors have had access to all areas at Sellafield except the mixed civil/non-civil areas, because of the presence of non-civil material which has been co-processed with civil material.Consultations on an inspection regime to cover the mixed areas have now been completed. Following meetings between Euratom, United Kingdom officials and BNFL, agreement has now been reached with Euratom to commence inspection on a routine basis of the civil material in the mixed Magnox reprocessing plant and associated process areas of the Sellafield site. The Government welcome the agreement enabling the inspectorate to verify all the civil material at Sellafield.The co-processing of civil and non-civil material will phase out during 1986 and thereafter separate civil and non-civil reprocessing operations will be carried out sequentially, rather than simultaneously. During the transitional period Euratom will be enabled to verify the flows and inventories of the civil material.Basic technical characteristics of plants involved have been provided to Euratom and its inspectors have visited the plant to verify that the data are correct. Euratom inspectors were also present at the plant at the end of March 1986 when the latest verification of stocks of civil nuclear material took place.The safeguards procedures to he followed will meet the requirements of the treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community. They include:
(a) the keeping of records of the flow and stocks of civil nuclear material;
(b) the provision of monthly accountancy reports to Euratom;
(c) Inspector access to the records and to the civil nuclear material to verify the opening and closing physical holdings and all inventory changes to verify that there has been no net gain to the non-civil cycle in either quantity or quality. These verifications procedures will include the application of non-destructive measurement techniques and the taking of samples for analysis including the determination of the isotopic composition of the nuclear material.
Euratom inspectors will have access to all civil material at Sellafield on a continuing basis.
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Walthamstow, East, Mr Deakins, Official Report, column 292, of 5 December 1985, he will (a) make an estimate of the cost of implementation of the full separation of civil and military facilities and activities at Sellafield and (b) state what proportions of the annual United Kingdom payment to the International Atomic Energy Agency such a safeguards system would require.
[pursuant to his reply, 3 June 1986]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend has given today to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and the Border (Mr. Maclean) in which he announced the agreement with Euratom of an inspection regime to cover the mixed civil-military areas at Sellafield. The co-processing of civil and defence material will phase out during 1986, and thereafter separate civil and defence operations will be carried out sequentially rather than simultaneously. The costs of the new inspection regime will be met by Euratom, which is funded from the European Community's resources.
Mr Simon Fletcher
asked the Attorney-General if he will publish the information which led him to apply for an order under section 42 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 in respect of Mr. Simon Fletcher.
No. All the evidence upon which I relied was served upon Mr. Simon Fletcher before the commencement of the section 42 proceedings. The documents may be inspected with leave of the court in accordance with order 63, rule 4 of the Rules of the Supreme Court.
asked the Attorney-General if he has given consideration to the cost implications of the recommendations made by the Law Commission in its 1982 report "Family Law: Illegitimacy- Law Commission (No. 118) to reform the law relating to illegitimacy; and if he will make a statement.
The Government have considered the cost implications of the recommendations made by the Law Commission in its report on illegitimacy. If and when the Family Law Reform Bill appended to that report is enacted, the cost implications will have to be considered again when determining the dates on which the provisions of the Bill should be brought into effect.
asked the Attorney-General what plans he has to implement the recommendations of the Law Commission (No. 118) report "Family Law: Illegitimacy."
The recommendations of the Law Commission in its report No. 118 on illegitimacy have been accepted by the Government and legislation will be introduced at the earliest possible opportunity.
Commons Registration Act 1965
asked the Attorney-General what, over the last two years, has been the average interval between the close of a hearing by a Commons Commissioner under section 6 of the Commons Registration Act 1965 and the publication of his decision; what decisions currently outstanding have been outstanding for a longer period; and if he will in each such case give the date on which the hearing was concluded.
I have been asked to reply.Over the past two years the average interval between the close of a hearing by a Commons Commissioner and the publication of the decision has been four months. This figure has been to some extent distorted by a series of very complex Dartmoor decisions, which involved hearings lasting for over 90 days, and over 8,000 applicants.Currently outstanding for a longer period are 12 South Yorkshire cases which were heard on 2 December 1985 and one Devon case, West Anstey, which went to the Court of Appeal and was reheard on 8 October 1985.
asked the Attorney-General how many disputed claims under the Commons Registration Act 1965 remain to be heard by a Commons Commissioner in accordance with section 6 of that Act; how long these hearings have been outstanding and when he expects all such hearings to be completed.
I have been asked to reply.Seventeen local authorities have outstanding cases, but they are not all able to estimate the exact number. It is thus not possible to provide figures for the total number of disputed claims, nor how long it will take to resolve these.
M25 (Traffic Figures)
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what are the latest traffic figures for the stretch of the M25 from Hunton bridge to the M40; and how they compare with the original forecast.
The information is as follows:
|M25 Traffic Flows (Thousands)|
|Forecasts for 1987|
|Section||Junction Numbers||April 1986 Average 16-hour Weekday flow||Original||Updated (1984)|
|A405–A41||19–20||Opening late 1986||45–55||50–58|
London Transport Works, Aldenham
asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will discuss with the chairman of London Regional Transport the future prospects of the London Transport Works at Aldenham; and if he will make a statement.
The future prospects of the Aldenham works are a management matter for LRT and its subsidiary BEL, and not something with which we would expect to interfere.
Air Services Agreements
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that the air service
|(a) under construction||A20||Sidcup Bypass|
|A2||Rochester Way Relief Road|
|A406||South Woodford-Barking Relief Road|
|(b) approved (ie statutory processes complete) but awaiting the start of construction||A406||Great Cambridge Road (A10) junction|
|(c) proposed, but not yet approved (ie subject to completion of statutory processes)||A13||Hackney Wick-M11 link, Thames Avenue-Launders Lane|
|A40||Ealing, Gipsy Corner junction|
|A40||Ealing, Western Circus junction|
|A40||Hillingdon, Swakeleys Road junction|
|A40||Hillingdon, Long Lane junction|
|A406||Chingford Road-Hale End Road|
|A406||Falloden Way-Finchley High Road|
|A406||Hanger Lane-Harrow Road|
|A406||Popes Lane-Western Avenue|
|A406||Bounds Green-Green Lane|
|A406||Dysons Road-Hall Lane|
|A406||East London River Crossing|
|A406||Golders Green Road junction|
|A406||Regents Park Road junction|
|A406||East of Silver Street-A1010|
British Airports Authority
asked the Secretary of State for Transport what restrictions are proposed on the ownership of shares in the privatised British Airports Authority.
A provision will be included in the articles of association of the privatised BAA restricting the shareholding of any individual, or of parties acting in concert, to 15 per cent. of the total issued share capital. The Secretary of State will retain a special share which will give him the right to veto any proposed change to this article.
agreements between the United Kingdom and other European Economic Community member countries are compatible with the Treaty of Rome in the light of the recent judgment of the European Court in the Nouvelles Frontieres case.
We notified other member states in June 1984 that we would no longer require airlines to consult their competitors before submitting tariff proposals to us, even where the relevant air services agreement imposed such a requirement. To that extent we have anticipated the judgement. We are continuing our efforts to secure more liberal bilateral arrangements and, during our presidency of the EC council, will be giving high priority to securing an agreement to liberalise air transport in the Community.