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Written Answers

Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 12 May 1987

Social Services

National Insurance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, further to his reply dated 13 March, Offical Report, column 330, concerning the cost of a reduction in the employee's contribution to national insurance, whether he will provide an estimate for the cost in 1987–88 together with an estimate of the effect on the revenue by extending the proposed scheme to the earnings of the self-employed in classes 2 and 4, and of removing the upper limit on such contributions.

I assume that the first part of the hon. Member's question refers to a cut of five percentage points in the standard rate of employers' national insurance contributions. This, together with the lower rates paid in respect of the lower paid falling in proportion, would reduce the full year yield of employers' contributions by £8·3 billion in 1987–88.A cut of five percentage points in the rate of class 4 national insurance contributions. to 1·3 per cent. would reduce the full-year yield of class 4 contributions by £320 million in 1987–88.Removing the upper profits limit for class 4 national insurance contributions (currently £15,340) would increase the full-year yield of class 4 contributions by £240 million in 1987–88.

Hospital Hostels

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the seminars for National Health Service planners about provision of hospital hostels which he intended to arrange early in 1987 have now been held; and if he will make a statement.

It is intended that there will be about five seminars in different parts of the country and arrangements are currently in hand to set these up. The objective of the seminars is to spread knowledge of the best ways of providing long-term in-patient care for those people chronically disabled by mental illness, whilst avoiding the institutional environment of traditional long-stay wards.

Aids

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received calling for compensation to be paid to patients who contract AIDS from blood supplied by the National Health Service; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has not received any representations regarding compensaton for patients who may have contracted AIDS following transfusion of whole blood. The risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection from whole blood has always been very small and since October 1985 has been reduced to minimal proportions by the introduction of screening for all blood donations.Details of the numbers of representations for compensation for those infected with HIV from blood products, were given in my reply to the right hon. Member for Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale (Mr. Steel) on 19 March at column

626.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what training is made available to port medical officers to enable them to diagnose AIDS sufferers.

All port medical inspectors are fully qualified and experienced medical practitioners. Their professional qualifications are sufficient to enable them to assess the health of persons referred by immigration officers to them for medical examination, and to make the appropriate recommendation.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give his most recent projections of the numbers of people (a) who will be suffering from AIDS and (b) who will be carrying the HIV virus for each of the next five years.

The communicable disease surveillance centre, which collects information about persons suffering from AIDS, has predicted that the number of new cases of AIDS will be 1,300 in 1987 and 3,000 in 1988. As yet there are insufficient data for reliable forecasts beyond 1988 to be made.Forecasts of the numbers of persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus have not been made. The numbers currently infected in the United Kingdom are estimated to be about 40,000.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give his most recent estimate of the average total cost (a) to the National Health Service and (b) to local authority social services of caring for and treating a person suffering from AIDS.

I regret that this information is not available. The best estimate of the average total hospital in-patient cost of caring for a person with AIDS is £17,600 from diagnosis to death.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when his Department first became aware that supplies of Factor VIII were contaminated; and if he will make a statement.

I assume that my hon. Friend is concerned with the transmission of the AIDS virus. Evidence emerged from the United States of America in 1982 that haemophiliacs were contracting AIDS and although the mechanism of infection was not known, it was presumed that it had been transmitted through the use of blood products such as Factor VIII.It was not until October 1984 that experimental work showed that the human immunodeficiency virus in Factor VIII could be inactivated by heat treatment. Following this discovery manufacturers took steps to increase supplies of heat treated Factor VIII. All Factor VIII now used by haemophiliacs in this country is heat treated.The new Blood Products Laboratory at Elstree was officially opened last month. Substantial production is expected from this facility later this year, building up to self-sufficiency in early 1989.

Attendance Allowance

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many claims regarding attendance allowance are awaiting determination resulting from the recent Court of Appeal decision regarding the interpretation of continual supervision; and if he will make a statement.

Some 6,000 cases are awaiting determination because they may be affected by the recent Court of Appeal judgment. The attendance allowance board expects soon to issue guidelines to its delegated doctors on the application of the judgment, which will enable decisions to be given in these cases.

Queen Elizabeth Ii Hospital, Welwyn Garden City

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) between what dates the Essendon ward of Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City has been closed;(2) between what dates the Ayot ward of Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City has been closed;(3) how many admissions to the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City have been cancelled due to the closure of the Ayot ward;(4) how many urgent admissions have been made to neighbouring hospitals due to the closure of the Ayot ward at Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City.

The provision of services at Queen Elizabeth II hospital, Welwyn Garden City, is a matter for the East Hertfordshire health authority. The hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman of the health authority for detailed information about Ayot and Essendon wards.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make funds available to the North West Thames regional health authority to ensure that East Hertfordshire health authority is given adequate resources to open the Essendon ward at the Queen Elizabeth 11 hospital in Welwyn Garden City.

The allocation of resources to East Hertfordshire health authority is a matter for the North West Thames regional health authority.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received about the closure of the Essendon ward at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Mr. Murphy) on 12 February at column 341. Since that date we have received correspondence specifically referring to the closure of the Essendon ward at Queen Elizabeth II hospital, Welwyn Garden City, from my hon. Friends the Members for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Wells) and for Watford (Mr. Garel-Jones); and from the hon. Member for Ross, Cromarty and Skye (Mr. Kennedy).

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City has closed to all but emergencies; and if he will make a statement.

For details of the latest position on routine admissions, the hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman of the East Hertfordshire health authority.

Dental Rates Study Group

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will deposit in the Library paper DRSG 86/16 by the dental rates study group.

Numbered papers in the DRSG series are not normally placed in the Library but are made available on request after the conclusion of the group's work each year. However, as requested by the hon. Member, I have arranged for a copy of DRSG 86/16 to be placed in the Library.

Disabled People (Library Facilities)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what representations he has received from the Cassette Library for the Blind and Handicapped concerning the provisions of library facilities for people unable to read; and if he will make a statement;(2) what assistance is provided by his Department towards the Cassette Library for the Blind and Handicapped; and if he will make a statement;(3) if he is satisfied that local authorities are fulfilling their duty under section 2(1)

(b) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 to make arrangements for library services for people with disabilities, in particular for books on cassette for people unable to read; and if he will make a statement.

It is for local authorities to satisfy themselves as to what is necessary to meet the needs of individual disabled people under section 2(1)(b) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.The cassette library of recorded books (CALIBRE) received grants under section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 from 1976 to March 1987. Although further requests and representations have been made, when the last grant was awarded it was made clear then that no commitment could be given to further funding.

Disabled People

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his answer to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) on 26 March, Official Report, column 260, whether he has now received the report from Wakefield district council relating to telephone attachments and rentals; and if he will publish the figures in the Official Report.

For the year ending 31 March 1986, Wakefield district council social services department provided no telephone attachments, but funded 924 rentals.

Claims (Processing)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give details of the average time taken to process claims at Social Security offices in Chorlton, Rusholme and Sale for the most recent period for which figures are available.

The average time taken to process claims to social security benefits is shown in the table. Figures, in days, are for the four weeks ending 7 April 1987:

ChorltonRusholmeSale
Supplementary Benefit864
Sickness/Invalidity Benefit7914
Maternity Allowance9711
Retirement Pension633341

Waiting Lists

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish the monthly waiting list for the North West regional health authority from 1974 to the most recent date for which figures are available.

I am sorry I cannot give the hon. Member all the information he seeks in precisely the form requested. The information available centrally is given in the table. Over this period the number of in-patient cases treated increased by 27·6 per cent. from 483,978 to 617,628. For the rest of the information he seeks, the hon. Member may wish to write to the chairman of the North Western regional health authority.

Number of cases on in-patient waiting list at 30 June1, 31 December, 31 March, 30 September, North Western region
MonthYearNumber
June197459,475
December197460,236
June197559,311
September197558,168
December197568,503
March197668,149
September197666,893
December197667,930
March197766,366
September197764,560
December197765,639
March197863,532
September197863,123
December197866,069
March197977,368
September197971,948
December197970,192
March198068,976
September198065,513
December198062,997
March198162,394
September198160,252
December198159,752
March198261,357
September198269,697
December198268,767
March198364,853
September198362,525
December198360,745
March198459,289
September198459,417
December198459,031
March198558,600
September198558,465
December198556,927
March198660,242
September198661,143
1 Statistical return discontinued 1976.

Pensions

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the rate of decline in the real purchasing power of the pension for a married couple between the date of implementation of the increase in 1975 and the date when the 1976 increase took effect; and what was the rate of decline in the real purchasing power of the pension for a married couple between the date of the implementation of the increase in 1985 and the date when the 1986 increase took effect.

By the date of the November 1976 pension uprating, the real value of the November 1975 pension rate for a married couple had fallen by 15 per cent. By the date of the July 1986 uprating, the real value of the November 1985 pension uprating had fallen by 1·7 per cent.

Diabetics (Syringes)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when disposable syringes for diabetics are to be made available on National Health Service prescription; and if he will make a statement.

Burnley, Pendle And Rossendale Health Authority (Contracting Out)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will call for an investigation into the contracting out of work by the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale health authority to Gisburne park hospital using resources provided to reduce waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the part played in the negotiations by the senior officer of the authority who subsequently took an appointment with the Gisburne park hospital.

Two projects have been agreed which will remove 255 patients from waiting lists at a cost of £195,746. No senior officer involved in the contracting out of this work has taken up employment with the Gisburne park hospital. If the hon. Member has concerns about these arrangements he should raise these with the chairman of the Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale health authority.

Post-Medical Officers (Health Controls)

asked the Secretary of State for Social Service if he will list the diseases which may be used by port medical officers as grounds for restricting entry into Britain.

The conditions which, in certain circumstances, could justify a medical inspector recommending to an immigration officer that the admission to Britain of a person referred to him was undesirable include:—

  • (i) mental disorder which might cause a breach of public order, or threaten the safety of the public;
  • (ii) drug dependence;
  • (iii) diseases which endanger the health of persons in this country;
  • (iv) other medical or physical conditions which may require medical treatment or affect the person's ability to support himself or his relatives.
  • All cases are considered on their merits. Special provisions applicable to European Community nationals are listed in the annex to European Community directive 64/21, a copy of which is being placed in the Library.

    Nurses

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what steps he is taking to encourage qualified nurses not working in nursing to take up employment in the National Health Service; and if he will make a statement;(2) what steps he is taking to encourage an increase in the number of men entering the nursing profession; and if he will make a statement.

    The recent pay increases for nurses ranging from 5 per cent. to 12·7 per cent. are largest for qualified staff and reflect the need to recruit and retain staff in these grades. Health authorities, which are responsible for recruitment, have been asked to increase male recruitment, organise "Back to Nursing" campaigns, including refresher training courses and to give more opportunities for flexible working arrangements, part-time working and job sharing.Other current central activities which have implications for recruitment and retention of qualified nursing staff include a joint DHSS/NHS working group on equal opportunities for women. In particular, it is expected that it will make recommendations for management of the career break. The management and staff sides of the Nursing and Midwifery Staff Negotiating Council are reviewing the nursing clinical grading structure. The council's aim is to develop a structure which is appropriate to current and future needs. Once the council has agreed a new grading structure, it will be for the review body to recommend appropriate pay levels. The Department also produces material for local recruitment campaigns and is currently reviewing its national nurse "image" advertising (which already features the work of male nurses) with a view to emphasising the opportunities for qualified staff to return to nursing.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what representations he has received from nurses about nurses' pay and conditions since the announcement on 23 April of the Government's response to the 1987 recommendations of the Review Body for Nurses and Midwives Remuneration; and if he will make a statement about nursing shortages (a) in London, (b) in the South-East Thames region, and (c) in other parts of the United Kindom;(2) when the National Health Service Management Board steering group will report on its study of nursing services in London; and if he will make a statement.

    Elderly People (Home Help And Day Care Services)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is his policy towards requiring elderly people in receipt of supplementary benefit to pay charges for local authority home help and day care services; and if he will make a statement.

    It is for the individual local authorities to decide on the charging arrangements for domiciliary and day care services. We would expect authorities to take account of both the costs of services and the financial position of those using them (whether in receipt of supplementary benefit or not) in determining charges. Under section 17 of the Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983, where a user of the services satisfies the authority that his means are insufficient to meet its charges he shall not be required to pay more than it appears to the authority reasonably practicable for him to pay.

    Health Care (Inequalities)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he is taking aimed specifically at reducing social inequalities in health and health care delivery.

    I refer the hon. Member to my reply to him on 10 April at columns 506–507.

    Economic Deflators

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing figures for the gross domestic product deflator, and for the National Health Service pay and prices deflator for each year since 1974, and figures for the cumulative difference between those two deflators as at each year from a 1974 base.

    Diabetics

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the number of diabetics who died from kidney failure during each of the most recent five years for which he has figures; and if he will make a statement about the availability of kidney transplants for diabetics within the National Health Service.

    Reliable information is not available on the number of diabetics who die from kidney failure.The renal transplant programme as a whole is currently constrained by a shortage of donor kidneys. A working party under the chairmanship of Sir Raymond Hoffenberg, President of the Royal College of Physicians, is currently examining ways of increasing the availability of organs, and we expect to receive its advice during the summer. The suitability of a patient for transplantation is a matter for the clinician concerned.

    Nhs (Staff Shortages)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about recruitment, retention and shortages of (a) hospital pharmacists, (b) laboratory staff, (c) secretaries, and (d) record clerks in the National Health Service.

    Such information is not collected centrally, but we are aware of some problems affecting certain grades in particular areas. Apart from action by local management, measures to alleviate these problems have been taken or are under discussion in the appropriate Whitley councils.

    Benefits

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give, for a single person, the basic rate of unemployment and supplementary benefits, broken down to component amounts and the areas those amounts are intended to cover.

    The standard weekly rate of unemployment benefit is £31·45 for a person under pension age. This benefit is intended to provide a measure of compensation for loss of earnings for people who become unemployed and is not related to a claimant's needs or requirements.The principal basic weekly rates of supplementary benefit for a single unemployed person are as follows:

    CircumstancesRate £
    1. Householder;30·40
    2. Member of someone else's household; aged 18 years and over24·35
    3. Member of someone else's household; aged 16–17 years18·75
    These rates are not made up of separately calculated component parts but are composite amounts intended to cover all items of normal expenditure on day-to-day living expenses. It is for the claimant to decide how much is allocated to particular areas of expenditure.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will estimate the total number of claimants applying to his Department for benefit resident in (a) Orkney and (b) Shetland for each year from 1979 to 1986.

    Separate figures are not available for Orkney and Shetland, nor are they available prior to 1983–84. The total number of benefit claims made by residents in Orkney and Shetland are included in the figures for the Lerwick and Wick offices as follows:

    Lerwick ILO Benefit Claims received
    Benefit1983–841984–851985–861986–87
    Sickness/Invalidity benefit489439555353
    Injury Benefit15
    Maternity Benefit276194235255
    1Retirement Pension6691,3041,091922
    Widows Benefit14222347
    Death Grants230226239208
    Disablement Benefit71878
    Non-Contributory Invalidity Pension731
    Severe Disablement Allowance125
    1Supplementary Benefit1,4881,8021,6161,662
    Wick ILO Benefit Claims received
    Benefit1983–841984–851985–861986–87
    Sickness/Invalidity Benefit3411,0611,226876
    Injury Benefit
    Maternity Benefit194327440465
    1Retirement Pension1,1212,4293,5203,119
    Widows Benefit23558177
    Death Grants206392767675
    Disablement Benefit161822
    Non-Contributory Invalidity Pension522
    Severe Disablement Allowance6620
    1Supplementary Benefit5,1725,3905,4995,182
    1 Decisions processed not claims received.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are his latest estimates of family income supplement and housing benefit take-up.

    I have today placed in the Library copies of reports presenting take-up estimates for Family Income Supplement in 1983–84 and Housing Benefit in 1984. Full explanations are included of the methods and assumptions used in the estimates. Copies of the reports are also available on request from DHSS at Room 536A, New Court. 48 Carey Street, London WC2A 2LS, Telephone Number 01–831–6111 extension 2556.

    Benefits

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people are presently in receipt of supplementary benefit in Coventry; what is the total number of people that benefit has to support, namely, claimants plus dependants; what were the comparable figures for 1979; what is the percentage change; and what percentage change has taken place in the number of his Department's staff over the same period.

    The city of Coventry is covered by two of the Department's local offices — Coventry (east) and Coventry (west) — but their boundaries are not conterminous.The table shows the numbers of people receiving supplementary benefit from those offices on the latest date for which information is available and on a comparable date in 1979:

    15 May 19795 May 1987Increase (per cent.)
    Coventry(east)12,25622,01279·6
    Coventry(west)9,83217,87781·8

    Source: 100 per cent. count of cases in action.

    I regret that information about the total number of people in Coventry supported by supplementary benefit is not available.

    The percentage change in staff allocated to supplementary benefit over the period 1979 to 1987 is as follows:

    Per cent.

    Coventry (east)+48·4
    Coventry (west)+74·1

    Direct comparisons between numbers of claimants and staff are misleading as work loads vary considerably by type and duration of claim and the action that has to be taken. All these factors vary over time as a result of legislative, policy and procedural changes. Examples of such changes are the introduction of housing benefit and postal claim forms.

    Telford District Hospital

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when the new Telford district hospital will open; and to what extent immediate use will he made of the accident and emergency facilities.

    Waiting Lists

    asked the Secretary of State for Socal Services if he will give figures for the bids for 1987–88 for money from the waiting list fund he announced on 6 November 1986 by (a) regional health authorities in total, (b) each regional health authority, (c) district health authorities in total and (d) each district health authority.

    Regional health authorities initially submitted bids in December 1986 for projects to be supported from the 1987–88 allocation of the waiting list fund. The priority order of these bids was determined by regions. Some projects were later revised in the light of further discussions locally and with the Department. Since an important part of the process was to assess regional and district proposals to identify those which were best targeted and most cost-effective, it necessarily entailed districts putting to regions, and regions to the Department, bids for projects totalling in excess of the allocation for the year. The extent to which a district's or a region's proposed projects exceeded in total the planning guideline given in November varied according to local decision and comparisons would have no significance. Lists of the projects to be funded as agreed by regions in March 1987 have been placed in the Library.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services to what extent figures for numbers on hospital waiting lists after 1 April 1987 will be comparable with those for numbers on hospital waiting lists before 1 April 1987; and if he will make a statement.

    Telephone Information Services

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the health topics for which there are telephone advice or information services wholly or partly subsidised by his Department; and if he has any plans to extend the range of telephone information services he subsidises.

    Prescriptions

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any plans to assess whether students or other young people under the age of 21 years should have free prescriptions or free dental treatment wholly or partly on the basis of their parents' income; and if he will make a statement.

    Ward Closures

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the temporary hospital ward closures of which his Department is aware since 1 September 1986 giving, in each case, the hospital and health authority involved, the number of beds closed, the period of closure and the reason for the closure.

    The day-to-day management of local hospital services is a matter for district health authorities. Whilst for different reasons we may from time to time learn in general terms of temporary ward closures we do not keep a central record which is comprehensive in either coverage or detail.

    Normacol Standard

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make Normacol Standard available again on a National Health Service prescription.

    At its meeting on 28 April the advisory committee on National Health Service drugs considered a submission from the makers of Normacol Standard for the drug to be returned to National Health Service prescription. We are considering the committee's recommendations.

    Tattoo Removal

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the answer of 30 April to the hon. Member for Leicester, East, Official Report, column 221, if any information about waiting lists for operations for tattoo removal is held centrally; if he will take steps to collect detailed information from each health authority on this subject in future; and if he will make a statement.

    Waiting list information is held centrally by consultant department and not according to intended method of treatment. While individual consultants and health authorities need to be aware of the composition of their waiting lists, information in this detail is not required nationally.

    Family Planning And Well Women Clinics (Hertfordshire)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey of 10 April, Official Report, column 507, if he will state in the Official Report his response to representations he has received from the North Hertfordshire community health council and from members of the public about the closure of family planning clinics and well women clinics in North Hertfordshire district health authority.

    Speech Therapists

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about recruitment, retention, shortages and pay of speech therapists.

    Information about recruitment, retention and any shortages is not collected centrally, but we are not aware of widespread problems affecting funded posts. Pay is a matter for the Whitley councils.

    St Bartholomew's Hospital (Admissions)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if the decision by St. Bartholomew's hospital to bar the admission of patients from outside its district will lead to a reallocation of funds to the areas affected.

    The allocation of resources to district health authorities within a region is a matter for the regional health authority concerned. Patient flows between regions are taken into account in allocating resources to regional health authorities.

    Kidney Dialysis

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what standards have been laid down by the European Community for kidney dialysis; and if a directive to this effect has been issued from Brussels by the Commission.

    No directive on this subject has been agreed by the European Community, but measures for the protection of dialysis patients by minimising the exposure to aluminium are set out in a resolution adopted in June 1986 by the Council of the European Communities and the representatives of the member states, meeting within the Council. The resolution was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJ No. C204, 23 July 1986, page 16) which is available in the Library.

    Chief Adjudication Officer (Report)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he will make available the second annual report of the chief adjudication officer; and if he will make a statement.

    The report is being published today. The publication of the report follows from the provisions of the Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983, which sought to improve the quality of social security adjudication by a number of measures, including the requirement for the chief adjudication officer to report annually to the Secretary of State on the standards of social security adjudication. We are grateful to the chief adjudication officer for the efforts which he and his staff have put into the report. The report makes a number of constructive suggestions which we shall consider carefully.

    Mentally Disabled People (Sexuality And Contraception)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, in the light of the recent House of Lords decision on sterilisation, he will reconsider his response to the recommendation of the Social Services Committee in its Second Report of Session 1984–85 on Community Care, HC 13-I, that his Department institute an independent expert review of law and practice on sexuality and contraception in relation to mentally disabled people.

    I understand that the authors of the Standing Medical Advisory Committee's handbook of contraceptive practice are already considering for their next edition what guidance on contraception might be given to mentally disordered people. Before deciding whether any further action is appropriate, the Government think it right to allow time for public discussion of the implications of the recent House of Lords judgment, concerning the sterilisation of a young girl with a mental handicap.

    Severe Weather Payments

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list by his Department's offices how many people applied for the extra £5 payment for exceptionally cold weather allowance made available for the weeks beginning 12 and 19 January; how many applications have been processed; and how many payments have been made.

    I shall let the hon. Member have the information that is available as soon as possible.

    Clinical Services (Competitive Tendering)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about his policy in relation to the scope for and the applicability of competitive tendering for clinical services generally.

    Post-Operative Convalescence

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what changes have been made in policy or practice at departmental, regional or district level in relation to the provision on the National Health Service of convalescence after operations;(2) on what terms and under what conditions convalescence is available on the National Health Service after

    (a) hysterectomies and (b) other operations.

    Departmental policy remains that post-operative care should be available under the National Health Service for those patients for whom it is prescribed as medically necessary by a hospital consultant. The level and extent of provision of convalescence beds is a matter for local decision. Modern concepts of patient care and rehabilitation have resulted in a diminishing demand for convalescence in its traditional form.

    Patients (Notes)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he has received reports of proposals by hospital consultants to charge for summaries of patients' notes held on computer to which access is required under the Data Protection Act;(2) whether his Department has given any advice about the charges to be levied by consultants within the National Health Service for the production of summaries of patients' notes held on computer to which access is required under the Data Protection Act.

    I am aware of the press reports speculating about the level of charge that might be made to hospital patients wishing to have information from their computerised case notes. The maximum amount of any fee which might he charged by a data user to a data subject for access to personal information held on computer, will be prescribed by regulations to be made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. It is not expected that the fee will be so high as generally to deter data subjects from exercising their rights.Consideration is currently being given to the administrative procedures which may be required in the National Health Service hospital service to implement access. The question of charges for work undertaken by consultants has not yet been considered. To the extent that such charges may exceed the maximum prescribed fee, these will not be passed on to the patient.

    Kidney Patients

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many people were receiving dialysis treatment at National Health Service hospitals in the United Kingdom on 31 March;(2) how many people are now awaiting dialysis treatment from National Health Service hospitals; and what is the average time a person has to wait to receive such treatment.

    Information on the numbers of people receiving dialysis treatment is collected on an annual basis by the European Dialysis and Transplant Association. The latest figures available are for the year ending 31 December 1985, when a total of 12,154 patients were being treated. This is a 97 per cent. increase on the 1979 total.The length of time a patient has to wait for treatment and the numbers awaiting treatment are not recorded centrally.

    Abortions

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what representations he has received about the decision of Brent health authority to put its requirements for abortion services out to competitive tender;(2) if he will make a statement about his policy in relation to the scope for and the applicability of competitive tendering for abortion services;(3) if he will list the health authorities known to his Department to have contracted out their abortion services giving in each case the organisation and the clinic providing the service and the cost to the health authority;(4) if he will list the health authorities known to his Department to have engaged in competitive tendering exercises for their abortion services;(5) if he will give for each year since 1979 the total National Health Service expenditure on abortion services provided

    (a) in-house, (b) through charitable organisations and (c) through commercial organisations.

    The statistical information requested is not available, since health authorities are not required to report on contractual arrangements they may make about clinical services with the private or voluntary sectors, and their accounts as submitted to the Department do not show separately the amount spent on abortions.I understand that Brent health authority already has an arrangement whereby some abortions are undertaken on an agency basis by a private nursing home approved for this purpose under the 1967 Abortion Act. It has now invited tenders for such an arrangement. I am not aware of any representations about the matter.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give for each year since 1979 the total number of abortions on the National Health Service provided (a) in-house, (b) through charitable organisations and (c) through commercial organisations.

    Infant Deaths (Croydon)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received about infant deaths in Croydon.

    Hospital Services, East Hertfordshire

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the ability of the hospital services in east Hertfordshire to cope with a major outbreak of infection or major emergency.

    Arrangements to cope with a major outbreak of infection or major emergency in east Hertfordshire are in the first instance the responsibility of the East Hertfordshire Health Authority. The hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman should he require details of any local contingency planning.

    Breast Cancer

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he now expects the first breast cancer training centres to open.

    The location of four breast cancer screening centres to provide a national training facility has been discussed with regional health authorities. An announcement will be made very shortly.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he now expects the regional breast cancer screening service in each region to come into operation.

    Each regional health authority has been asked to have at least one screening centre, each serving a population of about half a million, in operation by March 1988. General guidance on how they should set up and organise their first screening centres was issued on 31 March.The location of these centres should be decided before the end of May. Regional health authorities have also been asked to submit plans before the end of this year to extend the number of centres over the following two years to cover all eligible women by March 1990.

    Radiotherapy Unit, Southend

    55.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many letters he has now received from the general public about the proposal by the North East Thames regional health authority to close the radiotherapy unit at Southend; and if he will make a statement.

    We have received 15 letters which have been referred by hon. Members, together with about 1,970 letters direct from members of the public.If Ministers are required to make a final decision on the proposal, we will take into account all representations which have been received.

    Hospital Chaplains

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many hospital chaplains have been officially appointed in each health region in England and Wales, broken down by ecclesiastical denomination.

    The appointment of hospital chaplains is a matter for health authorities. Information on the number of part-time chaplains is not held centrally. Although we estimate there may be over 4,000 such appointments in England, there are no details of the denominations from which they come. The numbers of full-time chaplains in England are given in the table; three are from Free Church denominations and one is Roman Catholic, while the remainder are Anglicans. Figures for Wales are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

    Numbers of whole-time chaplains employed in the NHS at 30 September
    RegionNumbers
    Northern RHA10
    Yorkshire RHA10
    Trent RHA15
    East Anglian RHA4
    North West Thames RHA18
    North East Thames RHA16
    South East Thames RHA20
    South West Thames RHA17
    Wessex RHA13
    Oxford RHA6
    South Western RHA7
    West Midlands RHA18
    Mersey RHA10
    North Western RHA9
    London PG(T)3
    England Total176

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

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list in the Official Report, hospitals, broken down by health region in England and Wales, whose annual turnover of in-patients averages more than 25 per cent. of people of a religious faith other than Christian and which do not have the official services of a hospital chaplain whose denomination is non-Christian.

    Deaths from drowning, road accidents and horse-riding, England and Wales 1976–86
    Drowning (994·1)2Road accidents (E810–E829)2Horse riding3
    19761,1886,11510
    19771,0815,9438
    19781,0906,77220
    19791,1565,9278
    19801,1945,90511
    19811,1344,15010
    19821,1165,38019
    19831,0775,22118
    19849715,17223
    19859854,97315
    198619084,89513
    1Provisional. Excludes registered deaths to non-residents of England and Wales
    2International Classification of Diseases 8th and 9th Revisions.
    3 Figures taken from a special OPCS study of sporting and leisure deaths. Because of a change in the collection of this data in 1982, figures prior to this year are not strictly comparable to those after; (for details of the changes in 1982, see OPCS Monitor DH4 84/3, "Fatal Accidents occuring during sporting and leisure activities, 1982".)

    Incontinence Advisers (Training)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will examine the quality of education training for incontinence advisers; and if he will make a statement;

    Information about the religious faith of hospital patients in England is not held centrally. I understand that most hospital chaplains are currently from Christian denominations, but I would encourage health authorities to meet sympathetically any requests for appointments from other faiths.

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has any plans to improve the provision of chaplaincy services to non-Christian hospital in-patients.

    This is a matter for health authorities in the first instance. However, I recognise that we now live in a multi-faith society, not all of whose members will share the Christian concept of a hospital chaplain. I would encourage authorities to ensure that their chaplaincy services provide as appropriate for all faiths.

    Medical Students

    asked the Secretary of' State for Social Services how many British medical students, who had not passed their university final examinations, qualified as doctors during the last five years by virtue of obtaining the licence in medicine and surgery of the Society of Apothecaries of London.

    Deaths (Statistics)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what have been the number of deaths from (a) drowning, (b) road accidents and (c) horse riding in each of the last 10 years in England and Wales.

    The information is shown in the table.(2) if he will examine the educational documentation available for the training of incontinence advisers; arid if he will make a statement.

    It is for health authorities to determine the training requirements of nurses as incontinence advisers. I understand that the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, the statutory body responsible for the provision of the education and training of nurses, provides the material for a course on the promotion of continence and the management of incontinence.

    Organ Donations

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what discussions have taken place regarding required request for donations of cadaver organs; what estimate has been made in the possible increase in the supply of such organs which may follow the introduction of a system of required request; and if he will make a statement.

    I anticipate that the "required request" approach to organ donation will be considered by the working party under the chairmanship of Sir Raymond Hoffenberg, president of the Royal College of Physicians, which is at present examining ways of increasing the availability of cadaver organs. No reliable estimate is available at this stage of the possible increase in supply which might result from the introduction of a "required request" system.

    Clinics (Closures)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received about the planned closure of family planning and well-women services in Lewisham and north Southwark; and if he will make a statement.

    Seven representations have been received about family planning and well woman services in Lewisham and north Southwark; six from staff employed by the health authority and one from a member of the public.I understand that Lewisham and North Southwark health authority will be discussing possible changes to these and other services at its meeting on 18 May. If any significant changes are proposed by the health authority they will be the subject of full consultation in the normal way. The hon. Member may wish to contact the chairman of the health authority for further information.

    Day Nurseries

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services which local authorities have reduced the number of places in day nurseries since 1979; and what has been the percentage reduction in each case.

    Thirty-six local authorities in England reduced the number of their day nursery places between 1981 and 1986; the percentage reduction in each case is given in the table. Detailed information for 1979 and 1980 is not readily available.The information relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and Northern Ireland and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

    Percentage change in local authority provided day nursery places for authorities which reduced their provision between 1981 and 1986

    Local authority

    Percentage change 1981–861

    Durham-13·3
    North Tyneside

    2-1·1

    South Tyneside-39·0
    Sheffield-5·4
    Wakefield

    2-71·4

    Cheshire-1·8
    Bolton-12·6
    Oldham-8·6
    Stockport-7·9
    Knowsley-35·7
    St. Helens

    2-9·1

    Wirral-4·5
    Coventry-24·1
    Nottinghamshire-1·8
    Berkshire

    2-62·7

    Cambridgeshire-2·8
    Hertfordshire-46·4
    Suffolk

    2-100·0

    Hammersmith-9·3
    Wandsworth-6·6
    Westminster-8·0
    Barking-10·3
    Ealing-2·8
    Enfield-4·8
    Havering-18·4
    Hillingdon-19·6
    Merton-14·4
    Newham-1·2
    Richmond upon Thames-4·6
    Waltham Forest-1·8
    Dorset-4·8
    Hampshire-7·1
    Kent

    2-53·1

    East Sussex-40·9
    Devon

    2-75·7

    Gloucestershire

    2-54·7

    1 For some authorities the percentage change is based on estimated figures for 1981 and 1986.

    2 In these authorities there were less than 100 day nursery places provided by the local authority in 1986 and so the percentage changes are based on relatively small numbers.

    Mentally Handicapped People

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress is being made in the use of core and cluster housing for former patients of mental and mental handicap hospitals who are now living in the community.

    There are no central statistics on the numbers of former patients in mental illness and mental handicap hospitals who are now living in core and cluster housing schemes. It is not possible, therefore, to indicate progress in numerical terms.Core and cluster housing is one of a range of accommodation options available to health and local authorities as they develop modern local services. Other forms of provision, such as residential care homes, hostels, group homes, supported lodgings and ordinary flats and houses, all have a part to play in creating the accessible and comprehensive services that our policy envisages. The information available to us confirms that authorities are making steady progress in providing these community-oriented services.One example is the Chichester project, as part of our £16 million care in the community pilot projects exercise, which will provide up to 30 places for former Graylingwell patients in core and cluster housing.

    Acid Rain

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what research has been performed in Britain to investigate any possible links between acid deposition and the following ailments: dialysis dementia, dialysis osteomalacia, dialysis dystrophy. and Alzheimer's disease; and if he will summarise the results.

    [pursuant to her reply, 6 May 1987, c. 428]: Acid rain normally leads to the deposition of mildly acidic substances based on oxides of carbon, nitrogen and sulphur. It is suggested that an increased level of aluminium in water sources may occur because acidic solutions can leach aluminium from the soil, rocks and sediments, but there is no direct evidence of a link between acid rain and aluminium concentrations in water sources. Water undertakers monitor and adjust the level of aluminium in supply to conform with the requirements of European Community directive 80/778 on the quality of water intended for human consumption, and therefore levels in supply generally do not reflect levels in sources.Aluminium in dialysis fluids is known to be a cause of dialysis dementia, dialysis osteomalacia and dialysis dystrophy. So that dialysis patients may be safeguarded, water undertakings have been asked to notify health authorities if, for technical reasons, aluminium levels in water supplies are raised; in these circumstances, water used for dialysis would be expected to be treated to remove excess aluminium.Aluminium is not readily absorbed through the digestive tract, and from this source is not considered to have adverse health effects on the general population. The suggestion that it may be related to Alzheimer's disease is being investigated by a number of Medical Research Council research units. The MRC is the main Government-funded agency for United Kingdom biomedical research receiving a grant-in-aid from the Department of Education and Science. The director of the Medical Research Council neuroendocrinology unit at Newcastle recently stated that there is no evidence that aluminium by itself is the cause of Alzheimer's disease, and that much evidence points to the contrary.

    Ambulance Service (London)

    asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what study has been made of the impact of the reducion in non-emergency ambulance services of the London ambulance service on the administration and efficiency of out-patient departments in hospitals which they serve.

    [pursuant to her reply, 6 May 1987, c. 430]: I am not aware of any specific study. We would, however, expect all health authorities as part of their normal management responsibility to monitor the efficiency of the arrangements for bringing patients to out-patient departments and to discuss problems with the appropriate ambulance service.I understand that the London ambulance service is now meeting all requests for non-emergency transport. Where there are problems action is being taken to improve the quality of the service, that is, to ensure patients arrive on time for appointments and do not have long waits for transport home.

    Prime Minister

    Engagements

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 May.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 May.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 May.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 12 May.

    This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.

    Guinness Plc

    Q94.

    asked the Prime Minister if she will acquire for the Library at 10 Downing street a copy of "Is Guinness Good for You — the Bid for Distillers — the Inside Story", by Peter Pugh, published by Financial Training; and if she will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's role in the Guinness takeover affair.

    Darlington

    Q165.

    asked the Prime Minister whether she has any plans to pay an official visit to Darlington.

    Home Department

    Neighbourhood Watch Schemes

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest information he has about the effect of neighbourhood watch schemes in Chatham.

    There are currently 32 neighbourhood watch schemes in Chatham, covering some 5,250 households. One of the first schemes in Kent was introduced in 1984 at Chatham's Davis estate, covering some 1,250 households. Since its introduction there has been a 57 per cent. reduction in all reported crime including a 58 per cent. reduction in burglaries. Many of the other schemes now active in Chatham have been initiated by local communities following the success of the pioneering scheme at the Davis estate.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the effect of neighbourhood watch schemes in the Bradford area.

    There are now some 45 neighbourhood watch schemes in the Bradford area and there are some encouraging signs of success. For example, in the Wycke area, particularly notable for the close involvement of special constables in neighbourhood watch, there were four burglaries in the first nine months of 1986 compared with 24 in the same period of 1985. Auto crime has also shown a downward trend. Thefts of motor vehicles are down by 41 per cent. and thefts from motor vehicles are down by 11 per cent.

    Advertisements

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions his Department sponsored advertisements in national newspapers in the last three years; which newspapers were chosen for these campaigns; which local newspapers were used in these campaigns; and which newspaper publishing groups received payment for advertising space.

    Over the past three years the Home Office has advertised in every national newspaper and in a wise range of regional, local and ethnic minority newspapers. However, information is not readily available in the form requested and could not be provided without disproportionate cost.

    Firearms (Frontier Controls)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration was given by the Council of Ministers to the proposals by the Commission to remove frontier controls on the movement of firearms; and if he will make a statement.

    No such proposals have yet been placed before the Council of Ministers. The proposal for an EC directive dealing with the movement of firearms across internal Community frontiers was discussed at the meeting of Trevi Ministers on 28 April. We agreed to inform the European Commission of our view that any new measures to facilitate the free movement of goods within the Community should not inhibit national authorities making such checks as they thought appropriate on the movement of firearms across Community frontiers.

    Tamils

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will update his reply of 7 April, Official Report, column 130, regarding release of Tamil detainees, given to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East.

    On 11 May, 23 of the 64 Sri Lankans who sought entry on arrival on 13 February were still detained in the following places:

    Number
    Harmondsworth5
    Foston Hall10
    Latchmere House8
    Since my reply of 7 April, temporary admission was authorised for a further eight on the following dates:

    • Five on 16 April 1987.
    • Three on 24 April 1987.

    One was granted bail on 7 May 1987.

    Interception Of Communications

    asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications have been made to the Interception of Communication Tribunal since 10 April 1986; and in how many of these cases the tribunal concluded that there had been a contravention of sections 2 to 5 of the Interception of Communications Act 1985.

    There have been 41 applications for a tribunal investigation under section 7(2) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985 during the period 10 April 1986 to 9 April 1987. Investigation of 36 applications has been completed: on no occasion has the tribunal concluded that there has been a contravention of sections 2 to 5 of the Act.

    National Finance

    Tourism (Vat)

    56.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect on the tourist industry of the extension announced in the Budget of value added tax to the gross margins earned by tour operators on sales tours within the European Community; and if he will make a statement.

    Incoming and internal tourists are already charged United Kingdom VAT on the full price paid for goods and services liable at the standard rate of tax. The scheme should not affect the total amount of VAT chargeable by the United Kingdom sector of the tourist industry, but it will affect the way in which the tax is accounted for to Customs and Excise by tour operators supplying United Kingdom tours.Outgoing tourists proceeding to other member states and buying from United Kingdom tour operators will pay a small element of United Kingdom VAT for the first time from I April 1988. It is difficult to predict accurately the effect on tour operators' prices because the Association of British Travel Agents has been unable to supply an estimated weighted average of what its members' gross margins on standard-rated supplies will be. However, assuming that the extra VAT is passed on in full, it is estimated that the price of typical packages to destinations in other member states will be increased by about 1 per cent. This is unlikely to have any significant effect on the number of packages sold.

    Finance Bill

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the Government's intentions in relation to the Finance Bill.

    The Government propose to reintroduce all those provisions which have had to be left out of the shortened Finance Bill as early as possible in the next Parliament. For those measures which would have taken effect from Royal Assent to the original Bill, the operative date will be Royal Assent to the new legislation. In other cases it is intended to retain the operative date proposed in the original Bill.

    Trade And Industry

    Regional Aid

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish for Great Britain and for each region, for Scotland and Wales, his latest figure for the amounts paid in regional development grants in the financial year 1986–87; and if he will publish his estimate for the amount he expects to spend in Great Britain and for each region, Scotland and Wales, on regional development grants in 1987–88.

    Provisional figures for payments of regional development grants in 1986–87 are as follows:

    Area£ million
    North East89·8
    North West113·7
    Yorkshire and Humberside27·2
    East Midlands8·4
    South West14·6
    Scotland170·0
    Wales88·9
    Great Britain Total512·6
    Provision for expenditure on RDGs in 1987–88, as set out in the Supply Estimates, is as follows:

    £ million
    England108·5
    Scotland69·0
    Wales33·6
    Total211·1

    Notes:

    (1) All figures are gross, before deducting recoveries and EC receipts.

    (2) Estimates for future RDG expenditure are produced only for England as a whole and are not broken down by region.

    As the Prime Minister pointed out in her letter of 12 February to the hon. Gentleman, this projected fall in expenditure is the result of the Government's 1984 decision to replace the old RDG scheme, which supported capital investment without reference to employment, by a new and more cost-effective scheme linked to the creation of jobs.

    Satellite Information Services

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will refer to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission the various links between the big four bookmakers, Satellite Information Services and their position in the racing and betting industries.

    The Director General of Fair Trading is currently considering whether he should make a complex monopoly reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission under the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973 in relation to the supply of off-course bookmaking services. Complaints from a number of bodies connected with horse and greyhound racing (including the National Greyhound Racing Club Ltd. and smaller bookmakers) about the possible effects of the Satellite Information Services operation are being taken into account as one of the matters on which the Director General's decision will be based.

    Advertisements

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on how many occasions his Department sponsored advertisements in national newspapers in the last three years; which newspapers were chosen for these campaigns; which local newspapers were used in these campaigns; and which newspaper publishing groups received payment for advertising space.

    The information is not readily available in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Cosmetics

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry why the Council of Ministers decided to harmonise legislation on cosmetic products; if he will provide details of the form and content of the agreed Community labelling which cosmetic products will row he required to display; and if he will make a statement on The cosmetic products which are covered by the legislation.

    There is an important international trade in cosmetics, and the EC cosmetic products directive is intended to remove barriers to trade in the Community and to ensure that the public throughout the Community are protected from dangerous ingredients. The directive operates by prohibiting the use of certain substances in cosmetics, specifying those which may be used, but with restrictions and specifying warning labelling where necessary. Cosmetic products covered by the directive are all those applied to the external surface of the body to clean, perfume, decorate or maintain it.

    Radio Paging Service

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will increase the radio spectrum allocation available to the national radio paging service operated by British Telecommunications.

    Not at present, but, in anticipation of growing needs as customer demand expands and services develop, I have earmarked an additional channel for future use by the BT service, subject to the company demonstrating to my satisfaction that it has a commercial need and to any other conditions which are generally applicable at the time. I would expect to seek the advice of the Director General of Telecommunications on these questions. I do not expect the additional channel to be brought into commercial use until BT's competitors have had the opportunity to establish themselves in the market.

    London Residuary Body

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what moneys are owed by his Department: to the London Residuary Body in respect of Greater London council activities prior to abolition.

    [pursuant to his reply, 11 May 1987, c. 23]: A detailed answer could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, if there are any such moneys I have no reason for believing they are significant.

    Komatsu (Hydraulic Excavators)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 6 May, Official Report, column 418, about hydraulic excavators what information is available to his Department about the quantity and value of components imported by Komatsu in any recent period.

    [pursuant to his reply, 11 May 1987, c. 21]: Information relating to individual importers is held by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, but is not normally made available to anyone outside that Department. Components for hydraulic excavators are not separately identified in the Overseas Trade Statistics.

    Advertising (Space Satellites)

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received from observatories and from astronomers about the impact on their work of the launching into space of satellites for the purpose of advertising; if he proposes to take any action; and if he will make a statement.

    [pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1987, c. 418]: The British National Space Centre has received representations from United Kingdom astronomers, both individually and collectively through the Royal Astronomical Society, on the potential threats to astronomy posed by various plans to launch reflecting satellites into space for advertising or other purposes. The Goverment believe that the launch of such objects should become subject to an internationally accepted code of practice. We are considering, initially with our partners in ESA, how best to pursue such an arrangement.

    Unemployment

    asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the latest figures available to him of the percentage unemployment rates for each of the 50 regions of the European Community with the worst unemployment rates.

    I have been asked to reply.The latest available comparisons of unemployment rates among regions of the European Community, which

    April 1979–March 1986April 1986–December 1986
    All salesFlatsAll salesFlats
    Greater London Council115,19811,079
    City of London807761185183
    Barking and Dagenham6,04395n.a.n.a.
    Barnet3,707815498158
    Bexley2,16210422731
    Brent11,3131182n.a.n.a.
    Bromley4,28843456195
    Camden52634911394
    Croydon4,209116654259
    Ealing13,99714171144129
    Enfield3,65648340099
    Greenwich2,3491141203115
    Hackney156110n.a.n.a.
    Hammersmith and Fulham1,682678233151
    Haringey1,89823232770
    Harrow1,57918119152
    Havering4,82930719217
    Hillingdon13,5991238n.a.n.a.
    Hounslow2,28512821148
    Islington18261344n.a.n.a.
    Kensington and Chelsea608382127122
    Kingston-upon-Thames1,37227210740
    Lambeth11,0451220n.a.n.a.
    Lewisham11,9861170n.a.n.a.
    Merton3,05333734576
    Newham12,79410n.a.n.a.
    Redbridge12,511132419578
    Richmond-upon-Thames1,48233411442
    Southwark1,4823771138146
    Sutton1,92826822933
    Tower Hamlets14921107n.a.n.a.
    Waltham Forest12,2261220n.a.n.a.
    Wandsworth8,8374,9131,073867
    Westminster11,39511,016338272
    n.a. = Not available.
    1 Incomplete total of sales.

    relate to April 1985, are published in "Basic Statistics of the Community", 24th Edition, which is available in the Library.

    Environment

    Council Properties (Repairs)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his present estimate of (a) the total cost of outstanding repairs to council properties and (b) the cost of outstanding repairs to council properties in each local authority.

    The 1986 "English House Condition Survey", now being analysed, will provide up-to-date information on the extent of disrepair in council properties nationally. It is for individual local authorities to monitor the repairs outstanding in the properties they own.

    Council House Sales

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many council (a) houses and (b) flats were sold by each London borough between May 1979 and May 1986; how many have been sold since then; and if he will make a statement.

    The sales of dwellings reported by the London authorities are given in the table.

    Housing Waiting Lists

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has about the number of households on local authority housing waiting lists in each London borough, as at 1 April 1987.

    Livestock Units

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are his reasons for extending planning controls to livestock units.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Ludlow (Mr. Cockeram) on 13 November 1986, at columns 3–4.

    Homelessness

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the number of homeless people in Coventry, the west midlands and nationally at the latest available date, in 1983 and in 1979, respectively.

    Local authorities reported accepting responsibility for securing accommodation for the following numbers of households during the years 1979, 1983 and 1986:

    YearCoventryWest Midlands RegionEngland
    19791516,41057,200
    19833589,34078,240
    198639711,780102,980
    The figures for 1979 are not directly comparable to those for 1983 and 1986, because of a change in the method of reporting.

    Housing

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is his latest estimate of the numbers of houses, also expressed as a percentage of the total, in Coventry, the west midlands and nationally which are (a) sub-standard dwellings: unfit, (b) fit but lacking one or more basic amenity and (c) non-substandard dwellings in need of renovation;(2) what was Coventry city council's bid to central Government for housing expenditure; and what was his Department's allocation, for each year since 1979, expressed in 1987 prices.

    Housing Management

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further steps the Government have taken to encourage the development of new housing management courses, following their announcement in February of funding for studentships at the Salford centre for housing studies.

    Following negotiations between my Department, the Institute of Housing, the University of Bristol and Bristol Polytechnic, a new full-time, o-year postgraduate course in housing studies will be launched at Bristol next autumn. It will meet the necessary professional criteria.My right hon. Friend intends to provide funding through the Economic and Social Research Council for 15 studentships a year on this course, beginning in 1987. A contribution will also be made towards the setting-up and development costs.The studentships will provide for maintenance and fees in the first year and for fees only in the second year, when the students are on placement.This initiative is particularly welcome because of the close co-operation between the university and the polytechic.Similar studentships for housing diploma courses are already being provided at the Salford centre for housing studies, the London school of economics and Sheffield polytechnic.I hope to see more courses which are worthy of our support come forward.

    Advertisements

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment on how many occasions his Department sponsored advertisements in national newspapers in the last three years; which newspapers were chosen for these campaigns; which local newspapers were used in these campaigns; and which newspaper publishing groups received payment for advertising space.

    My Department, including the Property Services Agency, has advertised nationally in the following newspapers. Local newspapers are listed when they have formed part of the newspaper campaigns. (The lists do not include advertising on recruitment, tendering and statutory orders).

    Financial year—1984–85

    Subject—Right to Buy

    National Newspapers

    • Daily Mirror
    • Daily Star
    • The Sun
    • Sunday People
    • News of the World

    Local Newspapers

    • Newcastle Evening Chronicle
    • Sheffield Star
    • Hull Daily Mail
    • Leeds Evening Post
    • The Standard (London)
    • Coventry Evening Telegraph
    • Sandwell Evening Mail
    • Wolverhampton Express and Star
    • Huddersfield Daily Examiner
    • Manchester Evening News

    Subject—Rates Act

    National Dailies

    (Southern Edition only)

    • Daily Express
    • Daily Mail
    • Daily Mirror
    • Daily Star
    • The Sun
    • Guardian

    National Dailies

    (National)

    • Daily Telegraph
    • Times

    National Sundays

    (Southern edition only)

    • Mail on Sunday
    • News of the World
    • Sunday Express
    • Sunday Mirror
    • Sunday People

    National Sundays

    (National)

    • Observer
    • Sunday Telegraph
    • Sunday Times

    Local Newspapers

    • Brent Recorder
    • Harrow/Wembley Informer
    • Independent-Harrow/Wembley
    • Greenwich Mainline
    • Greenwich News Shopper
    • Haringey Advertiser
    • Haringey Independent
    • Islington Advertiser
    • Basildon Evening Echo
    • Billericay Gazette
    • Brentwood Gazette and Mid Essex Recorder
    • Hampstead and District Advertiser
    • Standard Recorder
    • Basildon
    • Billericay
    • Wickford
    • Yellow Advertiser—Basildon Edition
    • Billericay and Wickford Advertiser plus Brentwood Advertiser
    • Greater London Greater Press Group
    • Leicester Mercury
    • Loughborough Echo
    • Leicester Mail
    • Leicester Trader
    • Sunday Extra (Leicester)
    • North Leicester Shopper
    • Liverpool Echo
    • Liverpool Post
    • Mersey Regional Newspapers
    • Southport Visitor Group
    • Wirral Newspaper Group
    • St Helens Star Series
    • Ormskirk Advertiser Group
    • The News (Portsmouth)
    • Street Life (Portsmouth-Gosport-Fareham-Waterlooville)
    • West Sussex Gazette
    • Swindon Evening Advertiser
    • Wiltshire Gazette and Herald
    • Wiltshire Star and Cirencester Advertiser
    • Swindon and District Messenger
    • Sheffield Star
    • Sheffield Morning Telegraph
    • Sheffield Weekly Gazette
    • South Yorkshire Times
    • Worksop Guardian Series
    • Barnsley Chronicle
    • Barnsley Independent
    • Barnsley Chronicle Shopper
    • Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express
    • Doncaster Free Press
    • Doncaster Advertiser
    • Rotherham and South Yorkshire Advertiser and Messenger

    Financial Year—1985–86

    Subject—Right to Buy

    National Newspapers

    • Daily Mirror
    • The Sun
    • Sunday Mirror
    • Sunday People
    • Sunday (News of the World)

    Financial Year—1986–87

    Subject—Right to Buy

    National Newspapers

    • The Sun
    • Daily Mirror
    • Daily Star
    • News of the World
    • Sunday Mirror
    • Sunday People

    Parking Fines

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state (a) the total amount paid by his Department in 1986 in respect of parking fines incurred by ministerial vehicles and (b) provide a breakdown by Government Department in terms of offence, fine, date and location.

    [pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1987, c. 459]: The sums paid in parking fines in respect of Government car service vehicles in 1986 was £3,134 for 279 offences; a significant reduction on 1985.The details by Department are as follows:

    Number
    Scottish Office166
    Department of Energy37
    Welsh Office22
    Department of Employment6
    Foreign and Commonwealth Office6
    Department of the Environment5
    Department of Transport6
    Department of Health & Social Security6
    Home Office2
    Lord Advocates Office1
    Department of Trade and Industry4
    Management and Personnel Office7
    Northern Ireland Office1
    Department of Education and Science3
    Her Majesty's Treasury2
    Treasury Solicitors1
    Central Office of Information1
    ACAS1
    Ministry of Defence1
    Privy Council1
    279
    A further breakdown could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Residuary Bodies

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give details of consents sought by residuary bodies for disposal of land or buildings for less than the best price offered.

    [pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1987, c. 459]: Applications have been made in the following cases:

    Greater Manchester Residuary Body:

    The Greater Manchester Museum of Science and Industry; 18 residential properties in various districts.

    Merseyside Residuary Body:

    Land at Caryle Street, Liverpool; Gardners Row Business Centre, Liverpool.

    West Yorkshire Residuary Body:

    Land at Humboldt Street, Bradford.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give details of all applications for the acquisition of land made to his Department by residuary bodies since their establishment.

    [pursuant to his reply, 6 May 1987, c. 459]: Applications were made in the following cases:

    London Residuary Body:

    A sub-undcrlease of part of the first floor of 20 Albert Embankment SE1 55Ib High Road N17; Land at the rear of Western Arms Public House, W10; Part of 14–20 Glass Street, EC2.

    Greater Manchester Residuary Body:

    Part of County Hall Car Park, 32–40 Bloom Street, Manchester; sub-lease of 19 and 21 Dicconson Street, Wigan.

    Tyne and Wear Residuary Body:

    Part of 23 Megstone Court, Killingworth; seven sites in Gateshead area.

    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.

    [pursuant to his reply, 8 May 1987, c. 559]: No record is kept of the number of representations received about enterprise zones, but I am well aware of the concern expressed by some businesses outside the zones.

    Trees

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the health of yew trees in Britain; and what information he has as to how many years' needles a healthy tree of this species should usually be holding.

    I have been asked to reply.Like all trees, yew is subject to a range of diseases and disorders. The most noteworthy event in recent years was the browning of foliage which occurred in parts of the country in the spring of 1986, following the very cold February of that year.No systematic study of needle retention has been made. Loss of needles which arc two or more years of age occurs on some trees from time to time, but this has not been linked to any reduction in shoot growth.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on his Department's plans for surveying the health of Britain's trees in 1987.

    I have been asked to reply.The Forestry Commission's plans for surveys of tree health in 1987, some of which will be carried out in cooperation with other bodies, are described in Forestry Commission Research Information Note 117/87/SSS published on 5 May. I have arranged for copies of the note to be placed in the Library of the House.

    Transport

    Research Expenditure

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the answer of 1 April, Official Report, column 509,if he will specify the items included in current road safety research expenditure referred to in that answer; and if he will make a statement on levels of research expenditure for future years, following his recent review.

    The road safety research budget for 1987–88 has been increased by £100,000, bringing the allocated budget on road safety research to £5,914,000. The extra funds will be used to expand our existing programmes, particularly in motorcycle safety. This is the first step towards the major expansion of the road safety research budget recommended by the interdepartmental review of road safety— which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport sent to the chairman of the Transport Committee last week. A copy is in the Library.I am still considering the appropriate level of expenditure for subsequent years. I am writing to my hon. Friend.

    A1 Improvements

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will make a statement on the improvements that are taking place, planned and proposed for the A1 road between Doncaster and Scotch Corner; and what is his estimate of the likely cost of these improvements.

    I have just announced that the Al between Dishforth and Scotch Corner will be widened to three lanes. This scheme brings the total value of our investment in the Al in Yorkshire to £126·2 million. A schedule of schemes from Bramham to Scotch Corner is as follows.The need for improvements between Bramham and Scotch Corner is being examined as part of the east of Leeds study, on which I hope to make an announcement later this year.In addition a programme of safety measures is currently in hand, which includes safety barriers, gap closures and improved signing.

    A1 trunk road
    Improvements currently under construction
    £ million
    1. Baldersby junction improvement2·8 to be completed Summer 1987
    2. Wetherby bypass (includes three junctions between Wetherby and Walshford)11·8 to be completed Summer 1988
    Improvements in preparation
    1. Bramham to Wetherby10·1 Planned start of works—1989
    2. Wetherby to Dishforth49·3
    Planned start of works—1989 (four contracts, four year construction)
    3. Dishforth interchange6·2
    Planned start of works—1988
    4. Dishforth to Scotch Corner phase 1 Gatenby lane1·5 Planned start of works—1990
    5. Dishforth to Scotch Corner phase II junction improvements14·5 Planned start of works—1991
    6. Dishforth to Scotch Corner carriageway improvements30·0 Planned start of works—1991 onwards
    Total value126·2

    Motorways (Surface)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department has yet determined whether concrete or tarmacadam is the more cost-effective surfacing for new motorways; and if he will make a statement.

    It is impossible and unnecessary to make a national decision on which material is the most cost effective. Recent research on performance and whole-life costs has shown that, within the limits of the information available, both materials can give equally satisfactory performance. Their relative merits for any given construction scheme depend on local conditions, and a number of designs and materials are included in the Department's standards and specifications to meet these conditions. Tenders for suitable designs in both forms of construction are sought on a competitive basis and the one of lowest initial cost is accepted. It is planned to extend research to examine the feasibility of evaluating individual tenders to take account of all whole life costs, including those arising from traffic delays which may be sensitive to local conditions.

    Motorway Noise (Double Glazing)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport what are his current criteria for determining whether householders living near a new stretch of motorway are eligible for double glazing; and if he will make a statement.

    The criteria applying to dwellings near a new motorway are those in the Noise Insulation Regulations 1975. Regulation 3 requires that traffic noise at a facade of a property shall rise by at least ldB(A) to 68dB(A) or more and that noise from the new highway shall contribute at least IdB(A) to the overall increase.I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of a booklet which explains the position in more detail.

    Heathrow Flight Paths

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the present controls on flight paths from Heathrow airport, in view of a recent near miss involving Concorde; whether the density of air traffic at Heathrow is approaching a level which would he considered a hazard to safety; if he will ask the Civil Aviation Authority to inquire urgently into the situation at Heathrow; and if he will make a statement.

    The Civil Aviation Authority fulfils its responsibilities for air traffic control through the National Air Traffic Services. In the London area, air traffic control is exercised by the NATS from the London air traffic control centre at West Drayton and from air traffic control units at the three London airports. The arrival and departure routes to and from those airports, including Heathrow, form part of a complex airspace system in which pilots fly in accordance with prescribed air traffic control procedures. Following the recent incident in which a Concorde was involved, the relevant ATC procedures have been reviewed and confirmed to be satisfactory.With regard to the increase in air traffic at Heathrow, air traffic management measures are taken to ensure that in busy periods the capacity limits of the airport are not exceeded. These measures include a European-based system of flow control where, if necessary, aircraft are kept on the ground until an airspace slot becomes available. I am assured by the Civil Aviation Authority that the NATS would not allow the pressure of demand in any way to jeopardise the safe operation of aircraft at Heathrow or elsewhere in the United Kingdom airspace for which it is responsible.

    Level Crossing Accidents (Aston By Stone)

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will discuss with the chairman of British Rail the request by the Stafford borough council for an inquiry into two potentially fatal incidents at the level crossing at Aston by Stone in the constituency of the hon. Member for Mid-Staffordshire; and if he will make a statement.

    No incidents or accidents have been reported to the Railway Inspectorate since the automatic half-Barrier crossing was commissioned in 1983, and consequently there has been no request for an inquiry by this Department. If there is concern it would be appropriate for British Rail and Stafford borough council to discuss it.

    Rospa

    asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has made a new agreement with ROSPA for its road safety work in England.

    I pay tribute to the work ROSPA has achieved in the past and to the challenge it has set for the future.A new agreement has just been signed. It follows extensive discussion with ROSPA, and reflects ROSPA's new marketing-led, business-orientated approach to road safety. The views of the local authority associations have been taken into account. ROSPA has set itself ambitious but achievable targets for streamlining and improving cost-effectiveness. Grant for England will be for £530,000 in 1987–88 but will reduce as ROSPA achieves its longterm plans. Additional grant will continue to be available for specific activities which offer good value for money.

    Wales

    Community Care

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has any method of knowing the number of employees of (a) local authorities and (b) other public bodies funded in part or in whole from Exchequer funds, who are engaged wholly or in part in providing care services within the community for elderly or disabled people in Wales.

    The required information is not available centrally. Details of staffs of health authorities and local authorities social services departments are published annually by the Welsh Office, but the numbers engaged solely on care for the disabled and elderly cannot be separately identified.

    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.

    [pursuant to his reply, 8 May 1987,c. 547]: The information held by the Department does not enable the total cost of all local authority services provided to people with physical and sensory disabilities to be identified.The following table shows separately the annual current expenditure on residential services for this group of people together with total current expenditure on all other services used by physically and sensorially disabled people but from which an expenditure figure for services used exclusively by this group cannot be separately identified.

    Current Expenditure1—Wales
    (1986–87 prices)2
    YearHomes for the younger physically handicapped, blind and deafAll Other relevant services3
    £000's£000's
    1976–771,94147,156
    1977–781,95846,928
    1978–792,35948,989
    1979–802,22951,373
    1980–812,44051,245
    1981–822,57251,196
    1982–832,80351,006
    1983–842,91654,712
    1984–852,90955,419
    1985–862,30155,752
    1Current expenditure is provided net of sales, fees, charges and other income.
    2Figures are gross current expenditure revalued to 1986–87 prices using the gross domestic product deflator.
    3Comprises expenditure on residential accommodation for the elderly and all adult day care excluding that provided in adult training centres, together with current expenditure on meals, home helps, laundry services, aids, adaptations, telephones and holidays. Expenditure on training administration and field social work is excluded.

    Defence

    Weu Meeting (Luxembourg)

    asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the part his Department played in the Western European Union meeting in Luxembourg on 27 and 28 April.