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Written Answers

Volume 115: debated on Friday 8 May 1987

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 8 May 1987

Energy

Coal Mining (Subsidence)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he is yet in a position to publish his response to the Waddilove committee on coal mining subsidence compensation; and if he will make a statement.

The Government are still finalising the terms of their response, which will be published as soon as practicable.

Energy Management Companies

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what progress has been made in classifying guidance to public sector bodies in the use of contract energy management companies.

The Treasury and Department of Energy have issued a guidance note to other Government Departments on contract energy management. I believe the guidance to be an important step forward in the Government campaign to increase energy efficiency in the public sector, where potential savings total at least £400 million. The guidance emphasises that cost-effective energy efficiency measures should be encouraged and explains that contract energy management may well be an attractive option; it promotes worthwhile collaboration between the skills of the private and public sector, and guarantees improved energy management at no risk to the public sector.The guidance makes clear that there are a range of options for improving energy efficiency. Contract energy management schemes are to be welcomed when they provide the best value for money.Because they may provide an alternative means of financing energy efficiency capital investment, adjustments might also be required to public expenditure control totals where CEMs are used, to ensure consistent treatment with other directly funded schemes. The guidance describes what the adjustment should be, and when they are necessary.The guidance will be kept under review in the light of experience. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. The Energy Efficiency Office will continue to encourage the public sector to take up the opportunities offered by investment in the more efficient use of energy.

Education And Science

Handicapped Students

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action he intends to take in response to the survey of provisions for students with special educational needs in further and higher education undertaken for his Department by the National Bureau for Handicapped Students; and if he will make a statement.

This survey report was commissioned by my right hon. Friend to provide the first full statistical summary of students with special educational needs in maintained, assisted and grant-aided institutions of further and higher education, and the courses provided for them. The Government intend to update this information periodically. They have been aware of developments in this area and have already taken related initiatives. A working group was set up last year to consider the training needs of further education college staff concerned with students with special needs, and its report will be published in the summer. Training for certain categories of such staff and local education authority staff has been made a national priority area under the LEA training grants scheme announced last year. An earlier initiative funded by the Government provided in 1985 a resource pack for teachers of students with special needs in colleges of further education. And the further education unit, which the Government fund, has also undertaken much valuable work in the special needs field in recent years, including the publication of guidance to colleges.

University Of Wales

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish a table giving the numbers of United Kingdom students who were awarded degrees and diplomas from the University of Wales in the following subjects in the years 1979 and 1986, or the most recent year for which figures are available (a) social, administrative and business studies, (b) engineering and technology and (c) science.

Butler Report

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science for what reason publication of the Butler report on geological surveying has been delayed.

I understand that the Advisory Board for the Research Councils and the Natural Environment Research Council, which jointly commissioned the study group into geological surveying chaired by Sir Clifford Butler, received the report on 29 April. It is for those two bodies to decide on what recommendation to make to my right hon. Friend concerning publication.

University Funding

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give details of revised cash limits for his Department's Votes in respect of university funding in 1987–88.

Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the cash limit on class XII, vote 3 is being revised to take account of the increased provision of £40 million for the restructuring of academic staff pay announced to the House on 5 March at column 671–672; and of a further increase of £3·250 million in respect of the pay award to clinical academic staff. This increase takes account of the treatment given to the hospital and community health service in respect of the recommendations of the doctors and dentists review body. The effect of these changes is as follows:

£'000
ClassXII
Vote3
Description of ExpenditureUniversities, etc
Current Cash Limit1,664,683
Revision+43,250
Revised Cash Limit1,707,933
The increase of £43·25 million will be charged to the Reserve, so will not add to the public expenditure planning total.

Education Reforms

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the educational reforms instituted since May 1979 together with any changes in the level of resources available to the education system; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 5 May 1987, c. 307]: The Government's policies for raising educational standards in schools were set out in the White Paper "Better Schools" (Cmnd. 9649). We are seeking improvements in the school curriculum, including the establishment of a national foundation curriculum, to secure achievement by all pupils across a broad range of subjects necessary to prepare them better for adult and working life.We have given financial support to promote technical and vocational education for 14–18-year-olds in schools and colleges and supported programmes for lower attaining pupils.We have introduced the GCSE to improve examinations at 16 and are introducing the AS level to broaden sixth form studies. We are developing records of achievement for all school leavers.The Education (No. 2) Act 1986 promotes the more effective management of maintained schools by in particular enhancing the role of governing bodies and the influence of parents. We have announced plans for the first two of a number of city technology colleges to be established in urban areas. The proportion of 3 and 4-year-olds at school has increased from 37 per cent. in 1979 to 43 per cent. in 1986. Spending per primary pupil has risen 17 per cent. in real terms; spending per secondary school pupil has risen 20 per cent. in real terms. The pupil-teacher ratio has improved from just under 19·1:1 in 1979 to 17·6:1 in 1986. Average class sizes have fallen and there are 41 per cent. fewer classes with over 30 pupils. £40 million is being spent this year on the assisted places scheme which is helping some 25,000 children from less well-off backgrounds to take up places in independent schools.There are now 157,000 more students in higher education than in 1979 (85,000 full-time, 72,000 part-time). The number of mature students entering higher education has risen by 25,000 since 1979 and stands at 42,000. This has been achieved without loss of quality and with a higher proportion studying science and engineering, thanks partly to the Government's information technology initiative and engineering and technology programme. The number of science and engineering graduates has risen 30 per cent. since 1979. Greater cost-effectiveness has been achieved, especially in the polytechnics where unit costs have fallen substantially. the funding of universities now includes greater selectivity in the interest of concentrating support for research on the best centres. The Open University has increased its range of courses, especially in technology and in continuing education, and is admitting more students. Further major reforms to be implemented over the next few years were announced in the recent higher education White Paper.In further education, development plans have been introduced with gains in relevance and efficiency. Course and qualification patterns continue to evolve, including the certificate of pre-vocational education, which the Government launched in 1983. Greater cost-effectiveness has been pursued through the NAFE joint efficiency study, the promotion of better management information systems and otherwise: student/staff ratios in the sector are being steadily tightened without loss of quality or opportunity. Across further and higher education the Government's professional, industrial and commercial updating programme has helped secure a big increase in work-related continuing education and is continuing its success.The work of the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education is leading to improvements in initial teacher training, and new specific grant support for in-service teacher training is being introduced in 1987–88. The introduction of special bursaries and the establishment of teaching as a career unit are helping to improve the supply of teachers in shortage subjects. Education support grants are now well established.The Government's plans provide for total public expenditure on education in the United Kingdom of £19·6 billion in 1987–88, more than double the equivalent figure for 1978–79.

Overseas Development

Deaf And Dumb Children (St Helena)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in the education of deaf and dumb children in St. Helena.

An ODA supported specialist visited St. Helena in 1985 and 1986 to help establish a programme of special education for such children. Since then the St. Helena Government have reported good progress. A St. Helenian teacher is currently studying for a certificate in education (teaching of hearing-impaired children) at Oxford polytechnic. She will become one of the island's new co-ordinators for children with special needs when she returns to St. Helena later this year.

Wales

Eec Visits

asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many times he has visited Brussels since he took office to discuss Welsh agriculture; and if he will make a statement.

I have visited Brussels on a number of occasions to discuss Welsh agriculture. Apart from the negotiations on the sheepmeat regime in which I took part, the United Kingdom's representation in discussions with European Community Ministers on the common agriculture policy is effectively led by a single Minister and takes full account of the interests of Wales. A senior official of my Department is normally present on these occasions to advise on specifically Welsh interests.

Physical And Sensory Disabilities

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the total annual expenditure by social services departments in Wales on people with physical and sensory disabilities in each of the last 10 years at 1986–87 prices.

Rural Schools

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement concerning his policy on rural schools.

My right hon. Friend's policy on rural schools is that they should provide the best possible quality of education for children in rural areas. The Welsh Office is supporting, through education support grants, projects to improve the quality and range of the curriculum provided in rural schools. We are also supporting research undertaken by Powys local education authority into the effectiveness of ways of providing support to small rural schools.I have consulted interested bodies on a draft circular on the organisation of school provision: "Providing for Quality: the Pattern of Organisation to Age 19" and I am considering the comments received.Where proposals for the closure of rural schools come before my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales they are decided on the merits of the individual case, taking account of all the evidence and in particular the effects of the proposals on the quality of education provided.

The Arts

Education

asked the Minister for the Arts if he will make a statement on the role of arts organisations, including museums and libraries, in education and in particular in the general certificate of secondary education syllabuses.

I am convinced of the importance of the role that the arts and heritage can play in the provision of education and specifically in the GCSE syllabuses and wider development of the curriculum. This is a major opportunity to be grasped by museums, libraries and performing arts organisations for the future. My discussions with arts organisations around the country have indicated a keen awareness of the role they can play.I am pleased to have had reports of the very active stance being taken by museums in the public and private sectors towards the GCSE. The facilities which museums and galleries have to offer are highly relevant to the new GCSE syllabuses, and my Department has sought to promote the linkage between museums and the education establishment in order to optimise the use of museums' resources. I welcomed a report by HMI, following a study in the north-west of England, which recommended schools to use museums and art galleries to interest and inspire pupils, and as part of new activity-based syllabus work. My Department, in consultation with HMI, has circulated to the area museum councils practical guidance on the GCSE and their prospective role in new syllabuses. I am delighted to learn that museums have reported a high level of demand from all parts of the country for GCSE-related visits.In the field of the contemporary arts, a vital opportunity also exists for the arts—drama, literature, music, art and crafts — to play an important role in personal education and within the developing curriculum. The Arts Council, the British Film Institute and the Crafts Council each have education sections concerned to increase awareness in schools and colleges of the importance of the arts. Various schemes exist to bring the arts to education, for instance the project work of the Arts Council and the Regional Arts Associations undertaken in association with educational authorities and individual schools.The library services also play a major role in meeting the needs of education within schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities, and in the community. Educational institutions, as well as their students and pupils individually, draw upon the services of the public library system. Public libraries also provide information, publicity, accommodation and support materials for a wide range of courses, and the development of the Open University and of open learning and distance learning has made their role even more vital. Within the educational curriculum, the increasing emphasis on resource-based learning and on the acquisition of information skills is placing additional responsibility on the library system, and presents new opportunities to the young and to adults in education to make use of public library facilities.I am in touch with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education to explore further ways in which the links between arts organisations and education can be strengthened.

Home Department

Overseas 'Voters

ed the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) to which branches of the organisation known as Conservatives Abroad overseas registration documents have been supplied;(2) by whom the review of the need for guidance on the distribution methods of overseas electors' declaration forms referred to in his answer to the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, West on 22 April,

Official Report. column 531, is being carried out.

Overseas electors' declarations forms were distributed widely by our diplomatic missions. Information is not available centrally on all the bodies which received copies of the forms, but in practice missions would have supplied copies to any body, including a branch of Conservative Abroad, which requested them.

Police Overtime (Solihull)

Taylor asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of the west midlands as to how the police overtime resources at the disposal of the chief superintendent of police in Solihull in respect of D division compares with comparable forces and as to the extent to which overtime worked by Solihull police officers is actually discharged in other boroughs in the west midlands.

The chief constable has informed me that in the financial year 1986–87 a total of 37,617 hours' overtime was worked by police officers in the Solihull divisions at a cost of £299,176. Information on the extent to which overtime worked by Solihull police officers is actually discharged in other boroughs of the west midlands could only be obtained at disproportionate cost, and attempts to compare a division in one force with other forces would not be of value.

Mv Earl William

ed the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how much the ferry Earl William is costing to hire; how long it will be moored at Harwich; what regulations it is subject to; how many and what categories of detainees will be detained there; what will be the total weekly cost of keeping detainees on the ferry; and if he will make a statement;(2) from which detention centres those detainees to be detained on the ferry, the Earl William moored at Harwich, are to be transferred; and if he will make a statement.

Burglaries (Merseyside)

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the detection rate for burglaries in the Merseyside police authority area between: (a) 1975 and 1979 and (b) 1979 and 1986.

In Merseyside the average ratio of offences of burglary cleared up to offences of burglary recorded by the police was 36·5 per cent. in 1975–79, compared with 37·5 per cent. in 1979–86.

Vietnamese Refugees

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further steps he is proposing to alleviate the problems caused by the continuing flow of Vietnamese refugees to Hong Kong.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to make a statement on his plans regarding possible admission of Vietnamese refugees from Hong Kong in 1987.

This Government have an excellent record of participation in international efforts to relieve the problems caused by the outflow of Vietnamese to Hong Kong and elsewhere in south-east Asia.Between 1979 and 1981 we accepted for settlement here, following the initial surge of departures from Vietnam, nearly 20,000 Indo-Chinese refugees of whom over 12.000 were Vietnamese from Hong Kong. Subsequently we continued to accept Vietnamese but applied the normal immigration rules governing family reunion. In 1985, however, following a recommendation by the Home Affairs Committee's Sub-Committee on Race Relations and Immigration, we agreed to accept around 500 Vietnamese (50 of whom were not from Hong Kong) whose family relationship with those already here did not meet the normal criteria. Following that agreement, some 1,200 further offers of individual resettlement from Hong Kong were made by other countries.We have now considered what further steps might be taken against a background of the need on the one hand to maintain tight immigration controls and, on the other, to do everything possible to help Hong Kong. We have concluded that we should take a further number of Vietnamese from Hong Kong as a contribution to reducing the population in the camps in Hong Kong both as a contribution to reducing the population in the camps in Hong Kong and to give a signal to other resettlement countries of our continuing commitment to Hong Kong. We have decided therefore to accept for settlement here 468 named individuals who have been identified as close relatives of those already here. They will be resettled at a rate of about 20 a month spread over almost two years to ensure that our reception facilities are not overstretched. We believe that as in the past, other countries are likely to follow suit and offer a substantial number of further resettlement places for Vietnamese refugees in Hong Kong. We shall be making every effort to persuade them to do so. We do not, however, consider that resettlement alone is a sufficient answer to Hong Kong's refugee problem. Concerted international action aimed at a durable solution to the problem is required and, to this end, we shall be seeking to put to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the main resettlement countries the case for a common approach. In doing so we shall stress our own continuing commitment to Hong Kong of which the resettlement commitment announced today is clear evidence.

Neighbourhood Watch

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evaluative research is available to his Department on the effectiveness of neighbourhood watch schemes; and if he will make a statement.

I have received a summary of the results of an evaluation of the effect of two schemes, one in Acton, the other in Wimbledon. This research was funded by the Home Office and was carried out by the Cambridge Institute of Criminology. Crime and attitude surveys were carried out in both areas before the schemes were launched in 1985 and again after 12 months. Although there was no evidence of a change in crime levels as measured by the crime surveys, the attitude surveys showed a decrease in the fear of household crime, an improvement in residents' involvement with others in home protection, a reduction in fear of crime for females and an increase in social cohesion.I also understand that Merseyside police manpower development unit has completed an evaluation of four of its home watch schemes. This shows a substantial decrease in recorded burglary in three of the areas as well as a decrease in total recorded crime.

Prisons

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners have access to integral sanitation; how many are obliged to slop out; what plans he has to improve toilet facilities in prisons; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 5 May 1987, c. 314]: According to the most recent information available to us (which relates to the number of certified places rather than to the total number of inmates), about 19,000 places have sanitary facilities and 22,270 do not. All new inmate accommodation will contain access to sanitation. In existing establishments, we are increasing the number of places with sanitary facilities in the course of our substantial refurbishment programme.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

North Atlantic Assembly

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list in the Official Report the United Kingdom parliamentary delegation to the North Atlantic Assembly.

The following represent the United Kingdom at the North Atlantic Assembly:

  • Sir Patrick Wall MP (Leader)
  • Mr. Roberts Banks MP
  • Mr. John Browne MP
  • Sir Peter Emery MP
  • Sir Philip Goodhart MP
  • Sir Geoffrey Johnson Smith MP
  • Mr. Robert McCrindle MP
  • Sir Julian Ridsdale MP
  • Mr. Jerry Wiggin MP
  • Earl of Kimberley
  • Earl de la Warr
  • Mr. David Clark MP
  • Mr. Patrick Duffy MP
  • Mr. Bruce George MP
  • Mr. Kevin MacNamara MP
  • Lord Ardwick
  • The Right Honourable Lord Mayhew
  • Mr. John Cartwright MP
My right hon. Friend the Member for Hampshire, East (Mr. Mates) is a substitute member of the delegation.

Employment

Hfw Plastics, Gateshead

asked the Paymaster General (1) what was the nature of the involvement of the Manpower Services Commission in the recent recruitment of workers at HFW Plastics of Albany road, Gateshead;(2) what financial support is being given to HFW Plastics of Gateshead by his Department; and for what purpose.

Nuclear Power Stations

asked the Paymaster General if, in the light of the recommendations by Sir Frank Layfield in the report of the Sizewell public inquiry concerning further work to be undertaken by Her Majesty's nuclear installations inspectorate, he will indicate what discussions he has arranged with the director general of the Health and Safety Executive on the resources implications of such further work; when he expects to be informed of such resource implications; if he will publish a report of the potential resources implications; and if he will make a statement.

Age Concern (Scheme)

asked the Paymaster General why the Manpower Services Commission has reduced the funding of the Age Concern scheme in St. John's centre, Stourbridge; and if he will make a statement.

Construction Equipment

asked the Paymaster General (1) if he will make a statement on the background to the case currently being heard by the Fair Competition Committee in Brussels which refers to the anti-competitive implications of the United Kingdom proposal contained in CON (LO) 1981/82 which deals with the use of excavators as cranes;(2) if he will make a statement outlining the case which Her Majesty's Government will be putting forward in Brussels in support of condition 6 of CON (LO) 1981/82 when the matter is considered by the Fair Competition Committee;(3) if his Department has made or received any estimate of the cost to the United Kingdom construction industry of the reduced performance which would result from the fitting of restrictive check valves to construction equipment as required by CON (LO) 1981/82; and if he will make a statement.

Deregulation

asked the Paymaster General when he plans to publish a report on the progress made on deregulation since the publication of the White Paper, "Building Businesses … Not Barriers," Cmnd. 9794 in May 1986.

A report to Parliament is being published today, setting out the progress that the Government have made over the last year to reduce the impact of regulation on business. Copies of the report, "Encouraging Enterprise", and a summary leaflet entitled "Lightening the Load", have been placed in the Library and are available from the Vote Office. We intend to make the leaflet widely available to the business community. Copies of the full report will be available on request from the enterprise and deregulation unit.The report reviews the experience of the arrangements that have been set up to pursue the deregulation initiative across Government and, in particular, the procedures for assessing the cost to business of new proposals. It sets out the valuable progress that has been made at European level to tackle red tape. The report also gives a detailed account of action by Government Departments over the past year, and sets out a number of new proposals for future action. In his foreword to the report my right hon. and noble Friend, the Secretary of State for Employment makes clear the Government's continuing commitment to reducing the burden of regulation and identifies a number of priorities for the future.

Women's Skills Centre (Tyneside)

asked the Paymaster General if he will continue to assist in the funding of the Tyneside women's non-traditional skills centre.

I have been asked to reply.The Tyneside women's non-traditional skills centre is jointly funded by the five district councils in Tyne and Wear. In 1985–86, the Department agreed to provide urban programme grant to assist in the funding of the centre and this funding will continue to be made available if it is required by the local authorities.

Transport

Public Transport, London

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received about public transport in London.

My right hon. Friend receives representations from time to time on various aspects of public transport in London. Detailed matters concerning services are the responsibility of the operator concerned.

Helicopters (Stornoway)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland, of 30 April, Official Report, column 224, he will state precisely when he anticipates the Sikorsky S61N mark II helicopter will be on station at Stornoway; what operations the standard S61N machine will be able to perform at night until it is replaced; and if he will make a statement.

The precise date when the definitive Sikorsky S61N mark II will be based at Stornoway is dependent on acquisition, installation and thorough testing of certain specialised avionics equipment, which, presently being unique to the Sumburgh helicopter, is not available off the shelf. However, the fully fitted aircraft is expected to be available for service in the autumn prior to the onset of winter weather.In the meantime it is considered more satisfactory to place a standard S61N at Stornoway with suitably upgraded navigational and rescue equipment rather than have no facility at all. The only limitation to the interim aircraft operating effectively in most respects at night is the availability to the pilot of external references and good horizons for hovering; such a limitation is not particularly restrictive during the long hours of daylight during the summer and the relatively low incidence of thick weather.

Road Safety Review

asked the Secretary of State for Transport when the Government's road safety review will be concluded; and if he will make a statement.

I have today sent a copy of the Review to the Chairman of the Transport Committee and will be placing copies in the Library of both Houses.The main conclusions in the report are

  • —there is no simple formula for solving the problem of road accident casualties
  • —there needs to be a deeper understanding in society of the existing dangers on the road and how to tackle them
  • —more research is required, both to expand knowledge of the human factors at work in road accidents, and to develop insights for future progress
  • —the key task is the substantive reduction of casualties among vulnerable road users occurring on roads in urban areas
  • —the key strategy is the redirection of available resources towards measures—existing and potential, national and local—which are demonstrably cost-effective in terms of casualty reduction, particularly in the fields of road and vehicle safety engineering.

Wheelchair Passengers

asked the Secretary of State for Transport which existing construction and United Kingdom regulations apply to community transport vehicles used for conveying wheelchair-bound passengers; if he intends to introduce fresh regulations applying only to new vehicles of this type; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 1 April 1987, c. 525]: The department has now completed a revised version of the code (which was first published in 1982) in consultation with manufacturers and other interested organisations. It will be printed shortly.The purpose of the code is to give detailed guidance on safe practice for the boarding, securing and carrying of wheelchairs and wheelchair bound passengers in minibuses and buses. We shall be encouraging voluntary groups and other operators to make the greatest possible use of the code in planning their purchase, hire or adaptation of vehicles. We have chosen to issue guidance rather than making new regulations, because of the need to avoid inhibiting innovation in an area in which new equipment is being developed and because many serviceable older vehicles cannot economically be improved to meet all the detailed provisions. The code will be available for the mobility roadshow on 12 June at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory where many of the latest vehicles and equipment for carrying people in wheelchairs will be on display.

Defence

Engagements

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list his official engagements for Monday 4 May.

I spent the day in my constituency and returned to London in the evening.

Search And Rescue (Privatisation)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has received from commercial companies advocating privatisation of the search and rescue services provided by the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy; and whether he is giving consideration to these proposals.

The Department has received proposals from Bristow Helicopters Limited advocating the transfer of responsibility for United Kingdom search and rescue helicopter units to civil contractors. These are being given careful consideration.

Nuclear Weapons

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the dates when the high level group, the nuclear planning group, and the Defence Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation each agreed to support the deployment of the W-79 nuclear shell by the United States in Germany; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the dates when the high level group, the nuclear planning group and the Defence Planning Committee of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation each agreed to support the deployment of the W-79 nuclear shell by the United States in Germany.

[pursuant to his reply, I May 1987, c. 301–2]: The discussions of the high level group, nuclear planning group and Defence Planning Committee are classified. I cannot add to the public communiqúes issued after NPG and DPC meetings.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what information he has received from the United States authorities as to which variant of the W-79 nuclear shell has been deployed by the United States in Europe;(2) what information he has received from the United States authorities regarding the deployment of W-79 nuclear shells with those United States custodial units which support the British Army or the Rhine; and if' he will make a statement;(3) when he was informed by the United States authorities of the deployment of the W-79 nuclear shell in Germany; and when he was first informed of the United States intention to carry out the deployment;(4) what information he has received from the United States authorities about the deployment by the United States Army of W-79 nuclear warheads in the NORTHAG area of NATO;(5) what information he has as to when deployment of the W-79 nuclear shell by the United States of America in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation commenced.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what information he has received from the United States authorities as to which variant of the W-79 nuclear shell has been deployed by them in Europe; and if he will make a statement;(2) when he was informed by the United States authorities of the deployment of the W-79 nuclear shell in Germany; and when he was first informed of the United States intention to carry out the deployment;(3) what information he has as to when deployment of the W-79 by the United States in Europe commenced;(4) what information he has received from the United States authorities about the deployment of W-79 nuclear shells with those United States custodial units which support the British Army of the Rhine; and if he will make a statement;(5) what information he has received from the United States authorities about the deployment by the United States Army of W-79 nuclear warheads in the Northern Army Group area of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

[pursuant to his replies, 1 May 1987, c. 301–2, and 5 May 1987, c. 364]: I refer the hon. Members to the replies I gave to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) on 22 April at column 588 and on 27 April at column 28. Information exchanges between Her Majesty's Government and the United States authorities on nuclear matters are confidential.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the grades and ranks of the civil servants and military officers who attend each of the following North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bodies: the High Level Group, the Special Consultative Group, the Nuclear Planning Group, the Study Group of the Nuclear Planning Group and the Defence Planning Committee.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the grades and ranks of the civil servants and military officers who attend each of the following North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bodies: the high level group, the special consultative group, the nuclear planning group, the study group of the nuclear planning group and the Defence Planning Committee.

[pursuant to his replies, 1 May 1987, c. 307 and 5 May 1987, c. 364]: The Secretary of State for Defence heads the UK delegation to the Defence Planning Committee and the nuclear planning group and is supported by a team of senior officials and serving officers, whose composition may vary from meeting to meeting, drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK delegation to NATO in Brussels. The DPC and NPG also meet at regular intervals between ministerial sessions at permanent representative level. The senior UK representative on the high level group is a grade 2 official from the Ministry of Defence and, for the special consultative group, a senior trade official from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. They are supported by teams of officials and serving officers drawn from both Departments. The UK representative on the nuclear planning group staff group is a grade 7 official.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether Her Majesty's Government's approval is required prior to the allocation of W-79 nuclear warheads by the United States to its custodial units supporting the British Army of the Rhine; and if he will make a statement.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether Her Majesty's Government's approval is required prior to the allocation of W-79 nuclear warheads by the United States to its custodial units supporting the British Army of the Rhine; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his replies, 1 May 1987, c. 302 and 5 May 1987, c. 364]: Modernisation of any United States nuclear warheads allocated to the British Army of the Rhine would require the approval of Her Majesty's Government.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what information he has received from the United States Authorities regarding their deployment of the W70–4 variant of the nuclear warhead for Lance in Germany;(2) what information he has received from the United States Authorities concerning a potential enhanced radiation capability in relation to the W-79 nuclear shell deployed by the United States of America in Europe.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what information he has received from the United States Authorities regarding the deployment of the W70–4 variant of the nuclear warhead for Lance in Germany;(2) what information he has received from the United States Authorities concerning a potential enhanced radiation capability in relation to the W-79 nuclear shell deployed by the United States of America in Europe.

[pursuant to his replies, 1 May 1987, c. 302 and 5 May 1987, c. 364]: Information exchanges between Her Majesty's Government and the United States Authorities on nuclear matters are confidential. There have been no deployments of enhanced radiation weapons to Europe, nor has NATO any plans to introduce these weapons into Europe.

Environment

Freshwater Biological Association

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received regarding the proposed closing of the Windermere and River Frame laboratories of the Freshwater Biological Association; and if he will make a statement.

My Department has received some 20 representations about the future of the Freshwater Biological Association. The association is, however, an independent body grant-aided by the Natural Environment Research Council which is a responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

Estuarial Developments

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy on granting permission for developments which, in the opinion of the Nature Conservancy Council, would cause significant damage to the scientific interest of an estuary which supports nationally or internationally important populations of wild birds.

The advice of the Nature Conservancy Council on the conservation implications of proposed development in estuaries of scientific interest is an important consideration which is taken into account with other appropriate factors, before decisions are reached.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will inform the European Commission of the likely implications for bird conservation of development proposals currently relating to those British estuaries which have been designated or identified for designation as special protection areas under European Community Directive 79/409 on the conservation of wild birds.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make it a requirement that any application for planning permission relating to a river estuary which has been designated or identified for designation as a special protection area under European Community Directive 79/409 be accompanied by an environmental impact assessment.

We published proposals for the implementation of the EC directive on environmental assessment, so far as it applies to projects coming within planning control, in April 1986. The measures necessary to comply with the directive will be taken by 2 July 1988.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state the relative importance of Britain's estuaries for international wild bird populations, and list the international conventions on this subject to which Her Majesty's Government adheres.

British estuaries provide a substantial proportion of the wintering grounds and staging posts for migratory breeding waterfowl of the Palearctic region. The United Kingdom is a party to the following relevant international conventions:

  • —The convention of wetlands of international importance especially as waterfowl habitat (the Ramsar Convention).
  • —The convention on the conservation of European wildlife and natural habitats (the Berne convention)
  • —The convention on the conservation of migratory species of wild animals (the Bonn convention).

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what statements he intends to make to the forthcoming conference of contracting parties to the convention on the conservation of wetlands of international importance at Regina, Canada, concerning threats to the importance of estuary sites in the United Kingdom which have been designated or identified for designation under the convention.

In preparation for the Regina conference, the Government have submitted to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources a detailed report on the implementation of the Ramsar convention in Great Britain. This includes details of actual and potential changes to areas listed under the convention as wetlands of international importance — including some estuarial areas — and outlines the steps which have been or will be taken in response. I am arranging for copies of the report to be placed in the Library of the House.

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will issue new guidance to local planning authorities on the importance to nature conservation of river estuaries and the need to protect such sites from damaging development.

We have no plans to issue further specific advice on this subject. However, we shall shortly be issuing revised and updated advice to local authorities reaffirming the importance we attach to the conservation of the natural heritage generally, and outlining the part which local authorities can play in this process.

Ministerial Speech

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will arrange for a copy of the speech by the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) to senior industralists on Friday 1 May to be placed in the Library; and if he will make a statement.

I did not deliver a speech to any group of industrialists on Friday 1 May. In the course of constituency engagements, I did have informal discussions with the Bristol Engineering Manufacturers' Association.

"Action For Cities"

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library the text of the statement made by the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, the hon. Member for Oxford and Abingdon, at a press conference held in London on 28 April on the subject, "Action for Cities".

A text of the "Action for Cities" presentation held at Limehouse studios on 28 April has been placed in the Library.

River Avon (Fish)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will provide funds for a research project into the problems affecting fish for survival in the River Avon in Hampshire; and if he will make a statement.

There are a number of proposals for research projects into problems affecting fish in the Hampshire Avon. The Department is willing in principle to support research into these problems but I want to be satisfied that the specific proposals which have been put forward will assist in establishing the nature of the problem and possible solutions. Officials are seeking to reach agreement with other interested parties on the best way forward.

Conference Centre, Harrogate

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his answers of 22 April, Official Report, columns 644–5, he will state (a) the size of the deferred purchase arrangements entered into by Harrogate BC to finance the construction of a conference centre, and (b) the size and timing of the additional conventional borrowing approval given to Harrogate in respect of the deferred purchase arrangement.

I understand that the maximum facility offered by the deferred purchase scheme was £20·25 million. The additional borrowing approval was for a maximum of £16 million and was issued on 18 February 1982.

Enterprise Zones

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations he has had from traders outside enterprise zones about unfair retail competition from within such zones; and if he will make a statement.

Power Station Emissions

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to control nitrogen oxide emissions from power stations.

The Government have endorsed plans by the Central Electricity Generating Board to begin a major 10-year action programme to install low nitrogen oxide (NOx) burners at the board's 12 largest power stations, at an estimated capital cost of £170 million.Low-NOx burners technology will also be a requirement for all future fossil-fuel fired power stations, and discussions are taking place with Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution to determine appropriate standards.The CEGB estimates that these measures will lead to a reduction in CEGB NOx emissions of nearly 30 per cent. on 1980 levels by the end of the century, despite rising electricity demand. The programme will result in a steady flow of work for boiler manufacturers.I am particularly glad to be able to announce this programme during the European year of the Environment. It is a worthy contribution and, along with the measures announced last September to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions, shows again our determination to tackle the international problem of air pollution.I expect today's announcement to be widely welcomed as a trend-setting example to other countries when delegates meet early next week in Geneva to resume negotiations for an international agreement on NOx controls, and at the EC Council of Ministers meeting later this month.

Capital Allocation (Hampshire)

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from Hampshire county council about the availability of an additional capital allocation under the arrangements announced in the Department's letter of 26 January about the rate support grant; and what response has been given.

Hampshire county council has sought an additional capital allocation in order to assemble a site at Chineham, Basingstoke, which will be sold for private sector development for industrial purposes. My right hon. Friend has decided to make available an additional capital allocation of £1,045,000.

New Towns

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the future of the north-east new towns.

On 22 December 1986 I undertook consultations under section 41 of the New Towns Act 1981 inviting comments on my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment's proposals to wind up the new town development corporations of Aycliffe and Peterlee and of Washington on 31 March 1988; to dispose of their remaining assets to the private sector; to give English Estates the opportunity to purchase any unsold industrial assets; and to transfer any remaining assets and liabilities to the Commission for the New Towns.My right hon. Friend and I have considered carefully the various responses received; we are most grateful to all those who let us have their comments. Having taken these into account, my right hon. Friend confirms his intention to wind-up the two development corporations on 31 March 1988. The necessary order will be made later this year.My right hon. Friend and I are grateful to the development corporations for the steps they have so far taken in encouraging tenants to purchase their properties and in marketing their assets to the private sector, through, for example, the appointment of agents. We look forward to seeing the results of the marketing exercise. In assessing these, we shall want to take into account not only the size of the offers made but also the interests of the region.Where assets are not purchased by the private sector, we continue to take the view that English Estates should have the opportunity to acquire industrial properties and that otherwise the remaining assets and liabilities should be transferred to the Commission for the New Towns.

Radiochemical Inspectorate

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the total number of staff employed by the Radiochemical inspectorate annually since 1979 to 1987; and if he will give the projection for the next two years.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1987, c. 462]: The numbers of professional staff (that is excluding clerical and administrative support staff) dealing with radioactive waste management since 1979 are:

Number
197911
198012
198116½
198219½
198320½
198418½
198525
198625
198725
Currently 23 of these hold warrants from Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution.A total of 37 professional posts have been authorised up to 1 April 1988. The number of staff in post will depend on progress with recruitment. No decisions have been taken beyond that date.

Hedgehog Ladders

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance is given by his Department on the construction of hedgehog ladders.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1987, c. 480]: My Department does not give guidance on the construction of hedgehog ladders. Advice on this matter is provided by the Agricultural Development Advisory Service.

Noxious Emissions

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will outline the technological measures applied between 1970 and 1980 and between 1981 and 1987 at fossil fuel power stations operated by the Central Electricity Generating Board aimed specifically at reducing emissions of sulphur dioxide:(2) if he will outline the technological measures applied between 1970 and 1980 and between 1987 at fossil fuel power stations operated by the Central Electricity Generating Board aimed specifically at reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides;(3) what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the target for reducing emissions from power stations of sulphur dioxide by 1993 and 1998, respectively; on what year's level those targets are based; what is the Government's policy on reduction of nitrogen oxide emissions from power stations; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1987, c. 456]: The Central Electricity Generating Board is required to use the best practicable means to prevent emissions, and to render them harmless and inoffensive, to the satisfaction of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. In the Inspectorate's view, abatement of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions has not until recently been practicable. The board has, therefore, been required to construct stacks sufficiently high to ensure that emissions are dispersed and diluted in the air to reduce ground level concentrations of the gases to the minimum. Battersea A and Bankside power stations also operated systems of flue gas desulphurisation up to 1974 and 1981 respectively.The inspectorate now considers that taking account both of the costs and availability of abatement technology, any new large fossil fuel-fired combustion plant should be equipped with means to limit SO

2 and NOx emissions.

The Government aim to reduce emissions of both SO2 and NOx by 30 per cent. on 1980 levels by the end of the 1990s, which in the case of SO2 will imply reductions of about 50 per cent. from 1970. The decision to require new plant to be fitted with appropriate abatement technology will make a contribution to the achievement of these targets, but in addition the Government have authorised the Central Electricity Generating Board to retrofit flue gas desulphurisation equipment to three major power stations and, as indicated in my answer today to the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Carlisle) to install low-NOx burners at the board's largest power stations.

The Government have set no targets for specific emission reductions by 1993 and 1998. In negotiations on the draft European Community directive on the control of emissions from large combustion plants, the Belgian Presidency has proposed 1993 and 1998 as dates for target emission reductions, to be achieved on a 1980 base. Negotiations on the directive are continuing, although substantial problems remain for several countries including the United Kingdom.

Land Use

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when, following consultation, he intends to publish a circular on planning and agricultural land.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1987, c. 712]: I am publishing today the joint DOE/Welsh Office circular "Development Involving Agricultural Land" (DOE circular 16/87, Welsh Office 25/87). Copies are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Anti-Fouling Paint Regulations

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to be able to announce the date for publication of anti-fouling paint regulations; and whether he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 10 April 1987, c. 476]: The Control of Pollution (Anti-fouling Paints and Treatments) Regulations 1987 were laid before the House yesterday. They will come into force on 28 May.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Government Support

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to support the agricultural industry.

Farm Animals

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to improve the welfare of farm animals.

Milk Quota

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what are the reasons for the cuts in milk quotas; and to what extent Britain contributes to dairy surpluses;(2) what were the reasons for choosing 1981 as the year on which the United Kingdom's milk quota was based; and if he will estimate the difference from choosing 1983 as the base year.

Butter

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his policy on retaining stocks of butter in intervention.

Bovine Somanotropin

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the Government's policy on the use of bovine somanotropin.

New Zealand

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the Government's policy on the import of agricultural produce from New Zealand.

Discrimination

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he has taken to resist discrimination against British agriculture.

Fertilisers

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the Government's policy on the supply and use of nitrogenous fertilisers.

Pesticides

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to control the supply and use of pesticides.

Food Safety

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to ensure the safety of food.

Sheepmeat

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to support British sheepmeat producers.

Dairy Farming

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to support British dairy producers.

Fishing

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to support the British fishing industry.

Rural Economy

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to diversify the rural economy.

Farming (Young Entrants)

asked the Minister of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to support young entrants to farming

Capital Taxes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government has taken since 1979 to reduce the burden of taxes on capital on farmers.

Marketing

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to promote the marketing of British agricultural produce.

Small Producers

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to support small-scale agricultural producers.

Marginal Areas

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to support farming in marginal areas.

Beef

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to support British beef producers.

Environment

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to balance the needs of agriculture and the environment.

Tenancies

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to improve agricultural tenancies.

Salmonella

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his assessment of the effectiveness of the Diseases of Animals (Protein Processing) Order 1981 and the Importation of Processed Animal Protein Order 1981 in reducing the incidence of salmonella in processed animal protein.

Children's Food

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what definition of young children he now uses when considering requirements relating to foods sold as being suitable for young children.

Meat And Livestock Commission

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to review the Meat and Livestock Commission; and if he will make a statement.

As part of the Department's ongoing programme for reviewing the non-departmental public bodies, I arranged, with the agreement of my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales, for a financial management survey of the Meat and Livestock Commission. This study, which was undertaken as an efficiency scrutiny, was started last December. The aim of the scrutiny was to examine the MLC with regard to the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of its operations.My right hon. Friends and I have now received the scrutineer's report and will be studying its recommendations which will be discussed in full with the Meat and Livestock Commission. I am arranging for copies of the report to be placed in the Library of the House and for it to be published.

Farm And Countryside Initiative

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many community programme places have been allocated to the farm and countryside initiative; and if he will make a statement.

I am delighted to inform the House that the farm and countryside initiative has continued to make excellent progress since its launch on 3 February 1986. Indeed, during the past few days not only has the milestone of 2,000 places been passed, but the latest total stands at 2,287 community programme places relating to 119 F and CI projects in England.In rural areas the value of F and CI in providing jobs for long-term unemployed people and in affording opportunities for schemes to be undertaken which benefit the rural environment and rural communities is now widely recognised. I should like to pay particular tribute to those who have now come forward with suggestions for F and CI projects and to offer my good wishes to all those engaged on such projects.

Hedgehog Ladders

asked the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what resources are made available by his Department for the construction of hedgehog ladders.

[pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1987, c. 473]: The Agricultural Development and Advisory Service offers a wide range of advice to farmers on the protection of wildlife including, for example, the provision of escape routes for small animals when cattle grids are being constructed. Escape routes can normally be provided at little or no extra cost to the farmer.

Northern Ireland

Health And Social Services (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the total annual expenditure by health and social services boards in Northern Ireland on people with physical and sensory disabilities in each of the last 10 years at 1986–87 prices.

The expenditure of the health and social services boards is not analysed in such a way as would enable the information requested to be separately identified.

Disabled People

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress he has made in his consultations concerning the extension by order to Northern Ireland of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986; if he will host a conference on the Act for voluntary organisations, professional workers and people with disabilities; and if he will make a statement.

Consultations have already been undertaken within the Department of Health and Social Services and other interested Government Departments and the views of health and social services and education and library boards are now being sought. While there are no plans to organise a conference on the lines suggested, initial comments on the Act have also been invited from the Northern Ireland Council on Disability, which acts as an umbrella organisation for voluntary groups concerned with the disabled.

Strip Searching

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many strip searches were made of female prisoners in Her Majesty's prison, Maghaberry, in March and April 1987, respectively; if he will give the number of persons involved and the number of times each person was searched; whether any prison contraband, smuggled item or illegal correspondence was discovered in any search, indicating which items; in how many cases prisoners refused to be searched and had to be restrained while the search was being concluded; and if he will indicate the reasons for the search, namely making an appearance in court on remand and in which court, attending trial, inter-prison visit or other reasons;(2) how many strip searches were made of female prisoners in Her Majesty's prison, Maghaberry, in June 1986; if he will give the number of persons involved and the number of times each person was searched; whether any prison contraband, smuggled items or illegal correspondence was discovered in any search, indicating which items; in how many cases prisoners refused to be searched and had to be restrained while the search was being concluded; and if he will indicate the reasons for the search, namely making an appearance in court, and in which court, on remand attending trial, inter-prison visit or other reasons;

Police Federation

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland why he has not consulted the Northern Ireland Police Federation about measures to enhance security in Northern Ireland; and what steps he is now taking to respond to the 13-point proposals on this and related matters made recently to his Department and the Chief Constable by the secretary of the federation.

Scotland

Physical And Sensory Disabilities

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the total annual expenditure by social work departments in Scotland on people with physical and sensory disabilities in each of the last 10 years at 1986–87 prices.

Information available is provided in the following table. Column 1 of the table shows separately the annual gross current expenditure on services provided specifically or primarily for adults with physical disabilities. Column 2 shows the total gross current expenditure on other relevant services used by the groups in question; an expenditure figure for usage of these services by disabled groups alone cannot be identified separately.

Local authority gross expenditure on persons with physical and sensory handicap
At 1986/87 prices£000
Day Centres and Residential HomesOther Relevant Services (see Note 1)
12
1976–775,003119,159
1977–786,080113,219
1978–795,709127,262
1979–805,333135,252
1980–816,285140,743
1981–825,673141,707
1982–835,981143,194
1983–848,051147,747
1984–858,301147,111
1985–868,784145,046

Note:

1 Includes expenditure on residential accommodation for the elderly, meals on wheels and lunch clubs. Expenditure on aids to daily living and adaptations to property are included for the years for which

information is available (1983–84 to 1985–86). Expenditure on training, administration and field social work is excluded.

2 Comparable information for 1986–87 is not yet available.

Pipeline Assembly Yard, Ross-Shire

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to be in a position to announce his decision over the proposed pipeline assembly yard at Marrich Mhor, near Tain, Ross-shire; and if he will make a statement.

Capital Projects

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the answer of 5 May, Official Report, column 392, if he will list those capital projects that have received support from his Department since 1983, about which his Department has maintained a record; and what was the expenditure involved in each case.

A list of the kind requested could only be compiled at disproportionate cost. Information about capital projects in Scotland funded by central Government expenditure is available in successive editions of the Supply Estimates for vote XVI (vote XV before 1986–87); and of "Public Expenditure: A Commentary on the Scotland Programme" copies of which were sent to my hon. Friend on publication. Information at project level about Government-supported expenditure by non-departmental public bodies, local authorities and the private sector is not held centrally.

Electoral Registers

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to ensure that electoral registration officers release to authorised persons in each constituency in Scotland representing political parties lists of those who have died since the inception of the electoral registers for 1987–88; and if he will make a statement.

There is no requirement for electoral registration officers to be supplied with, or to maintain, lists of persons who have died; or to supply such lists to the political parties. My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to introduce such requirements.

Postal Voters

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has as to how many persons registered as postal voters in Scottish constituencies are resident in England and Wales.

This information is not held centrally. Each electoral registration officer is, however, required to make available for public inspection at his office a copy of the records he must keep of persons who have been granted a postal vote, showing the addresses to which their ballot papers are to be sent.

Student Fees

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will announce the fees to be charged to students attending Scottish institutions other than universities in the academic year 1987–88.

For the academic year 1987–88, I have prescribed the following fee levels for home students and for students from other European Community countries on full-time advanced courses in the central institutions and colleges of education (fees for 1986–87 are shown in brackets):

££
Postgraduate courses1,730(1,680)
Undergraduate and equivalent courses556(536)
Fees for home and other European Community students on courses at local authority colleges are the responsibility of the local authorities. I understand that the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has decided to recommend fees as follows:
££
Postgraduate courses1,730(1,680)
Advanced full-time courses556(536)
Non-advanced full-time courses360(325)
For overseas students the Government's policy is that students should pay fees that cover the cost of their education. Local authorities and institutions are free to determine the fees to be charged in accordance with that policy, and in the light of their own circumstances.I understand that the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has decided to recommend to local authorities the folowing fees for students at local authority colleges paying the overseas rate who began their courses on or after 1 September 1980:
££
Advanced courses3,720(3,540)
Non-advanced courses2,055(1,947)

Prescriptions (Low Income Earners)

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what evidence he has of an increase in the number of patients who are unable to pay for medicines prescribed by their doctor because of low incomes; and what consideration he proposes to give to the suggestion, put to him recently by Greater Glasgow North health council, that pharmacists should mark "not dispensed" on the prescription form as a means of ascertaining the extent of patients declining to pay for medicines.

There are existing arrangements whereby those on low income can be exempted from prescription charges and no one need therefore be prevented from obtaining prescribed medication on hardship grounds. In the circumstances I do not consider that there is any benefit to be obtained from introducing monitoring arrangements of the kind suggested by Greater Glasgow North health council.

Forestry Commission

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the members of the Forestry Commission, with biographical details, and their dates for reappointment.

Date on which present appointment ends

Sir David Montgomery (Chairman) Landowner and farmer. Prior to his appointment he was Vice Convener of Tayside Regional Council, Vice Chairman of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, a member of the Nature Conservancy Council, and Chairman of the Council's Scottish Committee.31 August 1989
G. J. Francis (Deputy Chairman and Director General) A full-time appointment at Grade 2 level. Professional forestry qualifications. Held various posts in the Forestry Commission since 1954, including Commissioner Operations.
D. T. J. Rutherford (Commissioner, Administration and Finance) A full-time appointment at Grade 3 level. Professional accountancy qualifications. Management accounting and computing experience in the private sector prior to joining her Majesty's Stationery Office in 1975 where he held various posts including Principal Finance and Establishment Officer.
R. T. Bradley (Commissioner, Private Forestry and Development) A full-time appointment at Grade 3 level. Professional forestry qualifications. Held various posts in the Forestry Commission since 1960, including Senior Officer for Wales and director for Harvesting and Marketing.
D. L. Foot (Commissioner Operations) A full-time appointment at Grade 3 level. Professional forestry qualifications. Held various posts in the Forestry Commission since 1961, including Conservator for South Scotland and Director for Harvesting and Marketing.
I. D. Coutts (Part-time Commissioner) Chartered Accountant with wide commercial and local government experience. Chairman of Norfolk County Council Planning and Transportation Committee.30 September 1987
G. O. Hutchinson (Part-time Commissioner) Timber merchant. The first Chairman of the Timber Research and Development Association's Stress Grading Committee. 30 September 1987
J. D. Pollock (Part-time Commissioner) General Secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland. President of the European Committee of the World Confederation of Organisations of the Teaching Professions. Member of Manpower Services Committee Scotland. Chairman of the Scottish Trades Union Congress.30 September 1988

Date on which present appointment ends

Captain W. F. E. Forbes (Part-time Commissioner) Woodland owner and farmer. Former Chairman of Scottish Woodland Owners' Association. Chairman of Scottish Branch of National Playing Fields Association. Chairman of the Central Scotland Countryside Trust.30 September 1988
James Forbes (Part-time Commissioner) Chartered Accountant with wide business and commercial experience. 31 October 1988
C. R. Woosnam (Part-time Commissioner) Woodland owner and farmer in Wales. Chartered Surveyor with wide commercial and local government experience. Prior to his appointment, he was Deputy Chairman of Timber Growers UK. 17 October 1990

Social Services

Chiropodists

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many chiropodists are employed in each of the health districts within the South Western regional health authority; and what were the corresponding figures for each year since 1975.

The table shows the figures for the years 1982 to 1985 inclusive. I am sorry that I am unable to give my hon. Friend all the information he has asked For. Because of the 1982 National Health Service reorganisation, information for years period to 1982 would not be comparable with those for 1982 and later years.

National Health Service Chiropodists South Western Regional Health Authority 30 September whole-time equivalent1
District Health Authorities1982198319841985
Bristol and Weston16181618
Frenchay10111514
Southmead11101214
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly20182318
Exeter16241517
North Devon5453
Plymouth910711
Torbay12181617
Cheltenham14101111
Gloucester15161817
Somerset13151615
Regional total142153154154

Source: DHSS Annual census of NHS non-medical manpower.

1 All figures are independently rounded to nearest 1 whole-time equivalent.

Physical And Sensory Disabilities

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the total annual expenditure by social services departments in England on people with physical and sensory disabilities in each of the last 10 years at 1986–87 prices.

I shall let the right hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.

Disability (Assessment)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from the Disability Alliance concerning the proposed scales for assessing the severity of disability devised by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys; what reply he has sent; and if he will make a statement.

I have received a copy of a recent letter sent by Professor Peter Townsend on behalf of the Disability Alliance to an official in the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, who I understand will reply shortly.

Elderly And Disabled People

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will introduce legislation to empower local authorities to regulate private organisations which provide domiciliary care to elderly and disabled people; and if he will make a statement.

We welcome the extension of consumer choice provided by the growth of private domiciliary services for elderly and disabled people. We are keeping developments under review but are not aware at present of any need to regulate firms providing these services and have no plans to introduce legislation to this effect.

Mentally Ill People

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will issue a directive to health authorities on co-operating with local authorities in carrying out surveys on identifying premises being used by patients with a history of mental illness on being discharged from hospital; (2) why his Department pays enhanced allowances to non-registered establishments which provide housing for people with a history of mental illness after discharge from hospital;(3) why his Department withdrew support from a pilot survey in Birmingham to identifying the dwellings used by people with a history of mental illness after discharge from hospital;(4) if he will make a statement on action by his Department following complaints about treatment of people with a history of mental illness after their discharge from hospital into the community by landlords

(a) restricting access during the day, (b) imposing unreasonable curfews, (c) overcharging for electricity, (d) supplying poor quality bedding, (e) making charges for toilet paper, (f) offering poor quality and quantities of food and (g) misusing Department of Health and Social Security pocket money.

District Health Authorities (Expenditure)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will tabulate in the Official Report the gross revenue expenditure of each district health authority in the Greater London area for each of the financial years of their operation since inception at 1985–86 prices.

Nhs Capital Schemes

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply of 5 May relating to National Health Services capital schemes, if he will list all such information as is available to him in the forms of his replies of 10 December 1985, official Report, columns 613–14.

National Health Service Staff (Statistics)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now publish the outturn figures for 1985–86 for compensation payments to National Health Service staff in respect of redundancies and early retirements in the manner described in the Government's reply to the first report from the Social Services Committee of Session 1984–85, breaking down the figures to distinguish between competitive tendering and other cases.

The outturn figures for 1985–86 are as follows:

Number of casesCompensation costTotal cost including superannuation
££
Competitive tendering
New cases1,1792,133,0004,766,000
Continuing cases300195,000391,000
Other cases
New cases9632,889,00010,444,000
Continuing cases6,84711,000,00030,071,000

Cash And Cost Limits

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether any changes will be made to cash limits or gross running cost limits for the Department of Health and Social Security.

Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates, the following changes will be made:

The cash limit for class XIV, vote 1 (Hospital and Community Health and Other Services, England) will be increased by £262,060,000 (from £10,078,558,000 to £10,340,618,000) and that for class XIV, vote 3 (Miscellaneous Health and Personal Social Services, England) by £1,940,000 (from £397,724,000 to £399,664,000). These increases should enable services to continue to be delivered and developed as planned following the decision to implement, from 1 April 1987, the recommendations of the review bodies in respect of doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives and professions allied to medicine, as announced by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 23 April 1987.
As a result of these changes, the gross running cost limit of the Department of Health and Social Security is increased by £1,635,000 from £1,699,178,000 to £1,700,813,000.The public expenditure costs of these changes have been charged to the Reserve and do not add to the public expenditure planning total.

Christmas Bonus

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what plans he has to pay the Christmas bonus in 1987.

A Christmas bonus of £10 will be paid to people who for the week beginning 7 December are entitled to payment of one of the qualifying benefits. The special stickers for the value of the bonus will be included in some benefit hooks to be issued from the week after next. These will cover a 26-week period including the week beginning 7 December.

Trade And Industry

Fireworks

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many shopkeepers have been prosecuted and convicted of selling fireworks to under-age children for the latest period of 12 months for which figures are available.

The figures for the number of convictions under the Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1986, which enable persons selling fireworks to children under the age of 16 to be tried in a magistrates' court, will be published in the early autumn. Figures for convictions under previous legislation are not available.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has any plans to seek to amend legislation controlling fireworks; and if he will make a statement.

The Fireworks (Safety) Regulations 1986, which enable persons selling fireworks to children under 16 to be tried in a magistrates' court were made last summer, and similar provisions relating to persons throwing fireworks in the streets are included in the Consumer Protection Bill now going through Parliament. This legislation will need to be in place for some time before its effect can be evaluated. My Department reviews annually with the Health and Safety Executive and the firework industy the legislative and other steps needed to reduce firework injuries in the light of the accident arid injury statistics and of a careful assessment of existing measures.

Companies (Purchasing Policy)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what Her Majesty's Government are doing lo encourage companies, in both private and public sectors to use their purchasing power to buy goods produced in the United Kingdom and at the same time assist the export potential through the achievement of a greater customer base.

Pinewood Studios

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will receive a deputation from the work force of Pinewood film studios to discuss the proposed loss of over 250 permanent jobs there; if, in the light of the redundancies at Pinewood studios and the decline in British feature film production, he will review the operation of the Films Act 1985; and if he will make a statement.