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Written Answers

Volume 124: debated on Wednesday 9 December 1987

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 9 December 1987

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Hill And Upland Areas

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if Her Majesty's Government have completed their review of the economic conditions in the hill and upland areas; and if he will make a statement on the rates of hill livestock compensatory allowances and associated scheme conditions for 1988.

My right hon. Friends and I have now completed the annual review of economic conditions in the hills and uplands.Even allowing for recent bad weather, the economic prospects for farmers in the less-favoured areas are currently looking significantly better than at this time last year. Most LFA livestock producers have benefited from a 35 per cent. rise in suckler cow premium and the green pound devaluations, which have provided increased support through the sheep annual premium and beef variable premium. The Government have decided that the rates of hill livestock compensatory allowances should be maintained at their present levels for 1988. The associated conditions will also remain unchanged, apart from some minor amendments to the scheme rules. We shall be laying a statutory instrument shortly to give effect to these changes, which will he explained to claimants when the application forms are dispatched.The Government continue to recognise the importance of the hill and upland areas in the United Kingdom and their reliance on the compensatory allowances for the economic well-being of livestock production. A healthy livestock sector in the hills and uplands makes a major contribution to agriculture, the rural economy and the environment. The Government are committed to providing appropriate support to meet the special needs of livestock producers in those areas. This commitment is demonstrated by the fact that total HLCA payments next year are expected to be over £110 million, virtually double the 1979 levels.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the responsibilities of each of the deputy secretaries in his Department and the numbers and ranks of staff reporting to each.

Information on the five grade 2 posts, which include deputy secretary appointments, in my department and the number of staff reporting to them on 1 October 1987 is as follows:

PostNo. of Staff
Deputy Secretary (Agricultural Commodities)222·0
Deput) Secretary (Land and Resources)781·5
Deputy Secretary (Fisheries and Food)1065·5
Legal Adviser and Solicitor68·0

Post

No. of Staff

Director General of ADSAS and Regional
Organisation6585·5

Details of their responsibilities prior to 1 October 1987 are set out in the "Civil Service Year Book 1987", which is available in the Library of the House. From I October the Director General of ADAS took over responsibility for the regional organisation, although the Deputy Secretary (Land and Resources) retains responsibility for liaison on policy issues with that command.

There are about 200 grades in my Department and a breakdown of staff in each grade by each of the grade 2 commands is not readily available. There are 24 grade 3 posts. For grades 4 in the open structure and below, the numbers by grade are given in Her Majesty's Treasury publication "Staff in Post: Civil Service: Departmental Totals by Sex: Non-Industrial Staff: Grade by Department Analysis on I April 1987", a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. Similar details are not available for industrial staff, of which there were 573·5 on 1 October 1987, mainly in the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service.

The figures exclude staff in establishments, finance and management services groups, the secretariat and vacant posts.

Butter

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has as to the average retail price of (i) Welsh, (ii) English, (iii) Danish and (iv) New Zealand butter.

information collected for the purposes of the retail prices index indicates that, in October 1987, the average prices of butter were as follows:

pence per gramme
Home produced52p per 250g
Danish56p per 250g
New Zealand50p per 250g
No separate information is collected on prices for Welsh or English butter.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his reply of 30 November, what has been the cost to the United Kingdom Treasury to date of the cost of disposing of the 97,190 tons of butter released between 1 December 1986 and 31 October 1987; and if this full amount will fall to be repaid by the Community after 1989 under the arrangements agreed in March 1987.

[holding answer 7 December 1987]: Disposal of this butter has saved money for the Exchequer from reduced storage charges. Without the special scheme the butter would have remained in store and, as I explained in my previous reply, no reimbursements for loss on sale would have been received from the Community. Under the scheme these reimbursements will be paid, but delayed to the four years from 1989. Therefore, the Exchequer is no worse off in this respect. 97,190 tonnes occupy a considerable volume of cold storage, which would have cost about £7.5 million per year to provide.

Poultry Farming

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many representations he has received over the past five years regarding the adverse environmental impact of the establishment of intensive poultry farming in England.

Information is readily available only for the period from 1 January 1985 to date, during which my Department received 11 representations about environmental concerns in relation to poultry units.

Tree Disease

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will review the dangers of disease spreading from trees uprooted in the recent hurricane to other healthy trees; and if he will make a statement.

There is no immediate danger of disease spreading from windblown trees, because the insects and fungi active in the rotting of wood are dormant during the winter months. The Forestry Commission will, however, be keeping a watch on the situation.

Environmentally Sensitive Areas

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many environmentally sensitive areas have been or are being designated in Devon.

[Holding answer 7 December 1987]: No environmentally sensitive areas have been or are about to be designated in Devon. The areas which have been chosen for designation now include all those in England shortlisted by the Countryside Commission and Nature Conservancy Council.

Tomato Imports

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what system he has to ensure that on occasions when it is known that growing conditions in the Canary Islands are going to give rise to exports of tomatoes of poor intrinsic condition, the Horticultural Inspectorate is deployed to ensure that no out-of-grade fruit leaves the dockside in the United Kingdom or is admitted in roll on-roll off vehicles from the continent.

[holding answer 8 December 1987]: When problems with quality of horticultural imports arise or are expected, it is the practice to redeploy horticultural marketing inspectors, so as to intensify quality control at main points of entry. Produce failing to meet minimum standards is outgraded. Although such intensive action has not so far been needed for the Canary Islands tomatoes, we would not hesitate to take action if necessary.

Common Agricultural Policy

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will give details of expenditure in 1986–87 and 1987–88 by the agricultural departments on agricultural grants and subsidies, excluding market regulation, under the common agricultural policy.

Details are given in the table of the outturn for 1986–87 and the latest forecast of outturn for 1987–88.

(£ million)
Outturn 1986–87Latest fore-cast of out-turn 1987–88
Price Guarantees
Wool8·12·5
Potatoes
8·12·5
Support for capital and other improvements
Environmentally sensitive areas3·6
Agriculture and Horticulture development scheme45·343·1
Guidance premiums3·22·0
Farm accounts0·70·7
Farm structure0·30·2
Northern Ireland agricultural development programme4·02·2
Agriculture and Horticulture grant scheme25·61·9
Agriculture improvement scheme (EC)7·529·8
Agriculture improvement scheme (National)8·98·6
Others0·20·5
95·792·6
Support for agriculture in special areas
Hill livestock compensatory allowances121·7114·8
Additional benefit to farmers in special areas under AHDS, NIADP, AHGS, AIS(EC) and AIS(nat)29·925·3
Others4·93·8
156·5143·9
Other payments
Milk outgoers scheme9·510·9
Weather aid 1985
Sheep compensation scheme4·31·0
Cooperation grants2·72·5
Producer organisation1·00·8
Forage groups0·40·4
17·915·6
Grand total278·2254·6
Some of this expenditure attracts contributions from the European agricultural guidance and guarantee fund. These are mainly received in the following year. In 1987–88, £36.7 million is expected to be received from the fund, compared with £41.5 million in 1986–87.The individual figures may not add up to the totals shown due to roundings.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will provide details of expenditure in 1986–87 and 1987–88 by the Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce and the agricultural departments on market regulation under the common agricultural policy.

Details of the outturn for 1986–87 and the latest forecast of outturn for 1987–88 are as follows:

(£ million)

Outturn 1986–87

Latest forecast of outturn 1987–88

(i) Expenditure by the intervention board for agricultural produce

Cereals114·5191·1
Beef and Veal229·7243·0
Pigmeat-2·4 -1·7
Sugar114·9136·8
Processed Goods41·645·5
Milk Products299·6282·1
Oil Seeds118·4195·9
Sheepmeat102·3124·7
Others18·128·8
1,036·71,246·2

(ii) Expenditure by the agricultural departments

Payments to milk producers giving up milk production51·0
Milk Non-Marketing Premiums
Suckler Cow Premium Scheme26·937·0
Annual premium on ewes101·7143·8
Small cereals producers3·4
Grand Total128·6235·2

Expenditure includes the beef and sheepmeat variable premium schemes (net of clawback for sheepmeat and charges on beef exported and sold into intervention), the premium schemes for the non-marketing of milk and the conversion of dairy herds, suckler cow premium scheme, annual premium on ewes, payments to producers giving up milk production, scheme to aid small cereal producers, refunds on imports and exports (net of levies), the school milk subsidy, and the net cost of buying commodities into intervention less proceeds from sales. It also takes account of certain receipts treated as negative expenditure, namely monetary compensatory amounts levied on intraCommunity trade and the co-responsibility levies on cereals and milk producers and supplementary levy on milk producers. Of the estimated outturn for 1987–88 £1,333.1 million is expected to be financed from the European agricultural guidance and guarantee fund (EAGGF), the balance being financed from Exchequer funds. In 1986–87, £1,439–3 million was financed from EAGGF. Some of the expenditure shown above benefits consumers and trade interests rather than United Kingdom producers.

Prime Minister

Japan (British Investment)

To ask the Prime Minister what information she has received regarding the Japanese Government's undertaking to license a second KDD international telecommunications consortium, including British investment through Cable and Wireless plc; and whether in the light of previous representations made by herself, other Ministers and parliamentarians of all parties, Her Majesty's Government will take a continuing interest in the progress of further negotiations.

I understand that Mr. Nakayama, the Japanese Minister for Posts and Telecommunications, has now awarded a licence to the International Digital Communications consortium, of which Cable and Wireless is a member. I very much welcome this decision.The Government have expressed consistent support for Cable and Wireless's involvement in the IDC consortium and I raised the issue personally with Mr. Nakasone earlier this year.We shall continue to follow with close interest the progress of this project.

Education And Science

Soviet Studies

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much is being spent in the current academic year on Soviet studies in universities and polytechnics; and what proposals he has to increase such allocations.

Student Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many full-time students in higher education receive no maintenance grant from public funds.

[holding answer 20 November 1987]: In 1985–86, some 89,000 students in receipt of mandatory or full-value discretionary awards received fee payments, but no maintenance, because of high parental or other income. In 1983–84, some 20,000 students in full-time higher education were estimated to be receiving neither maintenance nor fees from public funds. More recent estimates are unavailable.

Trade And Industry

Funerals

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what evidence he has of variations in prices for funerals, and of regional differences; and how many complaints have been received by his Department on this matter in the last five years.

My Department has received around 70 representations concerning funeral prices in the last five years. In the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on the acquisition by the Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd. of the Scottish funerals business of House of Fraser plc, there is some discussion of regional differences in costs. I am not aware of other evidence of price variations.

Belgian Carpet Imports

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will provide information, on a quarterly basis, showing total imports into the United Kingdom of Belgian carpets for 1985, 1986 and for the first three quarters of 1987.

United Kingdom imports of carpets from Belgium-Luxembourg

Value:£000's

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

198520,61023,47325,33530,240
198624,40224,08329,35434,346
198726,28330,53732,280

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics.

Notes:

1. Carpets defined as Standard International Trade Classification Revision 2, Sub-group 659 less items 659.1, 63 and 7.

2. Imports Country Whence Consigned; cif basis.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what action he intends to take in relation to low-cost Belgian carpets being imported into the United Kingdom; what representations he has made concerning Belgian state aid to their textile and carpet industry; and if he will make a statement.

The Government have made a number of representations in support of action by the European Commission against Belgian subsidies to their textile and carpet industry. Further representations will be made as appropriate in consultation with the United Kingdom industry.

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what representations he has received from within the United Kingdom concerning unfair competition resulting from the importing into the United Kingdom of low-cost Belgian carpets, and what share of the United Kingdom carpet market Belgian carpet suppliers now take.

I have received various representations from time to time concerning the provision of aid to the Belgian carpet industry but none recently relating specifically to low-cost imports into the United Kingdom. Belgian carpets accounted for 13 per cent. by value of the United Kingdom carpet market in 1986.

Council Of Industry Ministers

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a report on the outcome of the Council of Industry Ministers' meeting on 8 December.

I attended a meeting of the Council of Industry Ministers in Brussels on 8 December and took part in a discussion on the future of the steel market after the present quota arrangements end on 31 December 1987. I pressed for the earliest practicable return to a quota-free market in all categories of steel products and for progress with the further restructuring of the European industry that is necessary for the return to free market conditions to be orderly. I argued the case for steel users in British industry to be able to purchase steel at competitive and not artificial prices. I also underlined the point that the British Steel Corporation has carried out very extensive restructuring of its plants, has raised its performance and productivity, and is now inhibited by the present quota regime from taking full advantage of its competitive position. So far as the British position on further restructuring is concerned, I adhered to the position I outlined to the House in my statement on 3 December.The Council and the Commission are agreed on the need to restructure the European industry and to end the quota system at the earliest suitable moment. Considerable

discussion took place, however, on the pace of change and on the details, on which a wide range of views emerged. No final decisions could be reached, but the following conclusions were agreed unanimously as the basis for further discussion at another meeting of the Council on 22 December:

  • (a) The Council will take a decision on the basis of a Commission proposal on 22 December 1987 on whether the quota system should be continued beyond 31 December 1987. It will take its decision in the light of the efforts that each member state concerned has undertaken to make in the meantime concerning reduction of excess capacity in each of the categories Ia and Ib, II and III. To that end the Commission will arrange for appropriate consultations of member states before 22 December 1987, with a view to producing clear and credible indications by 22 December 1987 of the willingness of Governments, after consultation with their industries, to undertake a sufficient reduction of capacity in both state and private sector undertakings by means of closures.
  • (b) On 22 December the Council and the Commission will consider whether the result of the efforts referred to in (a) is satisfactory. Before 22 December 1987, the Commission will consider the situation of category I in the light of the comments of Ministers. If the results have been satisfactory the Council will consider the Commission's proposals for the extension of the quota system for categories I, II and III until 30 June 1988.
  • (c) Before 10 June 1988, all member states concerned should produce specific and binding undertakings by Government and industries as to the share of their state-owned and private sector industries in the reduction of the surplus.
  • (d) The reference of the quota system should be updated and simplified in the context of the decision to be taken before the end of June on the extension of the quota system.
  • The extension covering categories II and III should run until 31 December 1990, provided the necessary undertakings on reduction of production capacity mentioned under (c) is achieved. As regards category I, the Commission will make proposals in the light of the situation in this category and of the undertakings of the industry concerning closures and in the perspective of parallel treatment of this category with categories II and III.
  • (e) Should the above-mentioned procedure fail to produce the undertakings mentioned under (c), the quota system expires automatically by the end of June 1988.
  • The Commission also made the following declaration to clarify the effect of point (a) of these conclusions, in terms accepted by the Council:

    "With regard to point (a) of the conclusions of the Council, the Commission confirms that 'sufficient reduction' means capacity reductions of the scale indicated by the Three Wise Men in their final report, and by the Commission in the communication to the Council."

    In my opinion, the progress of these negotiations so far poses no problem at all for the preparations for privatisation of the British Steel Corporation which I announced last week.

    National Finance

    Child Benefit

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will examine the possibility of reclassifying as a child tax relief that part of child benefit received by families who pay more in income tax than they receive in child benefit.

    No. Payments made by the Government are usually treated as public expenditure rather than negative taxation unless the payments are an integral part of the tax system. The definition of public expenditure used in the public expenditure White Paper follows in the main national accounting conventions which in turn follow international guidelines.

    Distribution Of Income

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the figures on the distribution of income in the United Kingdom for 1984–85 will be published.

    The estimates for the distribution of income in the United Kingdom for 1984–85 are to appear in the November issue of Economic Trends, which is expected to be published on Friday 18 December.

    Overseas Assets

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the sterling value of British-owned assets held abroad (a) in the United States of America and (b) elsewhere, as at 16 October 1987, and on 7 December 1987.

    [holding answer 7 December 1987]: I regret that the information is not available.

    Job Creation

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his reply of 26 November, Official Report, column 293, how many of the jobs created between 1983 and 1986 were (a) in manufacturing industry and (b) in the services sector.

    [holding answer 7 December 1987]: For Great Britain, the figures of net changes in employment are as follows:

    Grew Britain employment (including self-employed): thousands, seasonally adjusted (changes on a year earlier in brackets)
    ManufacturingServicesTotal (Manufacturing, services and other)
    June 19835,58014,48522,716
    June 19845,49615,00723,166
    (-84)(+552)(+450)
    June 19855,47815,44523,553
    (-18)(+438)(+387)
    June 19865,36015,74823,666
    (-118)(+303)(+113)
    Change between
    June 1983 and
    June 1986-220+1,263+950

    Home Department

    Metropolitan Police (Manpower Wastage)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he proposes to take any measures to reduce wastage of manpower from the Metropolitan police force.

    We fully support the Commissioner's efforts to reduce wastage and to improve recruitment. Currently, about half the retirements from the Metropolitan police are voluntary resignations or transfers to other forces.The reasons for leaving the force are monitored, but most, such as domestic ties and the quality of life, are outside the control of the Commissioner. None the less, counselling and advice is given by divisional managers to officers seeking to leave the force early to see if their difficulties may be overcome and their decisions reversed. We hope, too, that the pay review which will be undertaken soon by the Police Negotiating Board will consider whether the remuneration package for officers in London needs revision to meet the problem of wastage.A special effort to recruit Londoners, who may be less likely to move away, is part of the current programme of recruitment, which is running at an all-time high., as is the strength of the force.

    Upholstery

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to amend the standard required for Home Office contract upholstery from BS5852 part 2 crib 5 to crib 7; and if he will make a statement.

    The Home Department's draft guide to fire precautions in existing residential care premises advises that upholstered seating should satisfy as a minimum standard the cigarette and match ignitability tests to BS5852 part 1 and crib ignition source 5 of BS5852 part 2. There is no present intention to amend this to crib 7. The draft guide to fire precautions in places of entertainment (which is currently the subject of consultation) proposes that in temporary structures, tents, marquees etc. upholstery should satisfy ignition source 5 but that where there is a higher than normal risk to life in these premises, it may be necessary to require upholstery to satisfy ignition source 7.

    British Nationality Act 1981

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning the extension of the time limit for registration under the British Nationality Act 1981.

    We have received six letters from hon. Members and two from organisations.

    Prisons

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were (a) the categories and (b) the numbers of individual doses of drugs administered to inmates at (i) Her Majesty's prison Pentonville, (ii) Risley remand centre and (iii) Appleton Thorn youth custody centre in the latest available year.

    The following table provides the information requested in respect of Her Majesty's prison Pentonville and Her Majesty's remand centre, Risley.The larger part of the medical services at Her Majesty's youth custody centre Thorn Cross (Appleton Thorn) are provided by one doctor. It is a long established policy not to publish information about the prescribing practice of individual doctors.

    Number of doses of medicine administered to inmates (Year ended 31 March 1987)

    Prescription only medicines

    Establishment

    (1) Medicines available without prescription in the community

    (2) Psychotropic drugs1

    (3) Hypnotic drugs

    (4) Drugs acting on the central nervous system2

    (5) Other drugs and medicines

    (i) HMP Pentonville112,80120,8631,50420,18590,583
    (ii) HMRC Risley162,10024,8149,22322,66768,345

    1 ie antidepressants, sedatives and tranquillisers.

    2 Other than those shown in columns (2) and (3).

    Prevention Of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects Lord Colville's review of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984 to be completed; and if he will make a statement.

    Lord Colville's report of his review of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984 is published today. We are very grateful to Lord Colville for his wide-ranging and detailed study. My right hon. Friend informed the House on 23 July at column 338 that he had decided that it would not be wise to discontinue the powers in sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Act. The Government have considered the recommendations made by Lord Colville on the use of these powers, and have concluded that the decision announced on 23 July should be confirmed. In considering their response to the report's other recommendations, the Government will wish to take full account of views which may be expressed in Parliament and elsewhere. Lord Colville's scrutiny of the operation of the Act in 1987 will be published in advance of the debates on the renewal of the Act.

    Nationality Registration

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those journals in which he has recently advertised details of how to apply for British nationality by registration; if information that such an option will cease on 31 December 1987 was included; and what steps he took to ascertain the level of readership by different ethnic minority groups of such journals.

    Details of how to apply for British nationality by registration were advertised in 55 local newspapers and 11 ethnic minority papers in March of this year. A further advertisement was placed in 29 local papers and 10 ethnic papers in September of this year. Lists of the newspapers are as follows.The local advertising was placed in newspapers which cover areas with high concentrations of ethnic minorities, as indentified from data provided by the Office of Population Censuses and Survey.The local and the ethnic minority press serving these areas were identified in consultation with a specialist ethnic minority advertising agency.The advertisements drew attention to those options to apply for British nationality by registration which will cease on 31 December 1987.

    Advertisements in March 1987 appeared in:—

    • Barnet Independent
    • Birmingham Daily News
    • Birmingham Evening Mail
    • Blackburn Citizen
    • Bradford Star
    • Bradford Telegraph & Argos
    • Brent Leader
    • Cardiff Post
    • Coventry Citizen
    • Coventry Weekly News
    • Croydon Post
    • Croydon Comet
    • Derby Trader
    • Ealing Leader
    • Ealing Recorder
    • Enfield Advertiser
    • Greenwich Mercury
    • Hackney Echo
    • Hackney Gazette
    • (Hammersmith) West London Leader
    • Haringey Advertiser
    • Haringey Independent
    • Harrow Leader
    • Hillingdon Leader
    • Hounslow Informer
    • Hounslow Chronicle Extra
    • Ilford Independent
    • Islington Gazette
    • (Kirkless) Huddersfield Daily Examiner
    • (Kirkless) Huddersfield Weekly News
    • Lambeth Streatham Guardian
    • Lewisham & Sydenham Comet
    • Lewisham & Catford Mercury
    • Leeds Weekly News
    • Leicester Mail
    • Leicester Trader
    • Manchester Advertiser
    • Manchester A.M.
    • Merton and Wimbledon Informer
    • Newham Recorder
    • Nottingham Trader
    • Preston Citizen
    • Reading Standard
    • Sandwell Trader
    • Sheffield Weekly Gazette
    • Slough Express Midweek
    • Southwark Sparrow
    • Stratford and Newham Express
    • Streatham and Lambeth Comet
    • Waltham Forest Extra
    • Waltham Fellow Advertiser
    • Wandsworth and Putney Guardian
    • Harrow and Wembley Recorder
    • Ilford Yellow Advertiser
    • Barnet Borough Times
    • Voice
    • Gleaner
    • Caribbean Times
    • Asian Times
    • New Life
    • Surma Bengali News
    • Daily Jang
    • Guvari Gujarati
    • Punjabi Times
    • Amar Deep
    • African Times

    Advertisements on 10 September 1987 appeared in:

    • Birmingham Daily News
    • Glasgow Evening Times
    • Daily Jang
    • African Times
    • Bristol Observer
    • Barnet Independent
    • Blackburn Citizen
    • Bradford Star
    • Cardiff Post
    • Coventry Citizen
    • Croydon Advertiser & Post
    • Derby Trader
    • Ealing Leader
    • Edinburgh Advertiser
    • Hackney Gazette
    • Haringey Advertiser
    • Harrow Leader
    • Hounslow Informer
    • Huddersfield News
    • Leeds Weekly News
    • Lewisham & Catford Mercury
    • Leicester Mail
    • Manchester Advertiser—West
    • Nottingham Trader
    • Putney & Wandsworth Guardian
    • Slough Observer Midweek
    • South London Press
    • Stratford & Newham Express News
    • Waltham Forest Extra
    • Brent Leader
    • Amar Deep
    • Caribbean Times
    • Garavi Gujarati
    • Ravi Asian Newspaper
    • Surma Bengali News Weekly
    • Weekly Gleaner
    • Des Pardes
    • Stardust

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to extend the deadline of 31 December registration of British nationality in the event of interruption to the postal service.

    We have no power to extend the deadline. There is, however, limited power to consider late applications on their individual merits.

    Immigration

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Horne Department (1) what was the number of dependants of men and women settled in the United Kingdom after 1973 who were refused entry clearance, under the immigration rule change, HC503, on the grounds that they would have recourse to public funds, in that they required provision of temporary accommodation by a local authority;(2) what is his estimate of the number of dependants of men and women settled in the United Kingdom after 1973 who will be refused entry clearance, if section 1.5 of the Immigration Act 1971 is repealed, on the grounds that they would have recourse to public funds, in that they would require the provision of temporary accommodation by a local authority.

    In the period 26 August 1985 to 30 June 1987, 10 wives and children in the Indian subcontinent were initially refused entry clearance to the United Kingdom under the 1985 immigration rules (HC 503) solely because there was no adequate accommodation without recourse to public funds, and 40 were refused partly for this reason. These wives and children were not covered by section 1(5) of the Immigration Act 1971—ie their sponsor was not a man who had been a Commonwealth citizen settled in the United Kingdom on 1 January 1973. Corresponding information for other countries is not available centrally. Information is not available on which to estimate how many will fail to satisfy the accommodation requirement if section 1(5) is repealed.

    Prescriptions (Fraud)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for reports from the chief constables of the west midlands, Northumberland and west Yorkshire on the progress of police inquiries into the alleged offences involving fraudulent use of prescriptions, referred to in the questions from the hon. Member for Workington answered on 3 December by the Attorney-General.

    I understand from the chief constables of the West Midlands police, the Northumbria police and the West Yorkshire police that inquiries into the allegations referred to are now being made.

    British Shooting Sports Council

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he did not consult the British Shooting Sports Council between 20 August arid 22 September, the date on which he announced his initial proposals on firearms.

    Following the tragic shootings at Hungerford and the level of public concern, it was right for the Government to make an early, considered response. In doing so, we took into account the well-known views of the various interests concerned, including those of the shooting community. We have since consulted widely on our proposals to improve firearms controls and this process is continuing.

    Firearms

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what will be the implications for the cost of a firearms certificate and a shotgun certificate, respectively, of implementing the proposals announced in the White Paper Cm. 261.

    The proposals announced in the White Paper Cm. 261 will have no implications for the cost of a firearms certificate since the procedures for issue and renewal will remain as at present. The fee for the issue of a shotgun certificate will need to reflect the increased time and work involved in processing issues and renewals, but the level has not yet been determined.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many additional police man hours he estimates will be required if his proposals in White Paper Cm. 261 are implemented.

    It is not possible at this stage to calculate precisely the additional police man hours, because the exact number of weapons which will require certification under a new category is not known. However, the cost of additional manpower will be offset by increased fee revenue.

    Asylum

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the number of persons claiming asylum in Europe over the last three years and their nationalities; and if he will make a statement.

    The information readily available is:

    Numbers of asylum seekers from 1984–86 by country of application
    198419851986Total 1984–86
    Austria7,2006,7008,65022,550
    Belgium3,6505,3007,65016,600
    Denmark4,3008,7009,30022,300
    France15,90025,80023,40065,100
    Germany Federal Republic35,30073,85099,650208,800
    Netherlands3,6005,6505,85014,100
    Norway3008502,7003,850
    Sweden12,00014,45014,60041,050
    Switzerland7,4509,7008,55025,700
    United Kingdom3,8505,4503,90013,200
    Total92,550156,450184,2504,332,350
    Numbers of asylum seekers from 1984 to 1986 in Europe1 by country of origin
    Country of origin198419851986Total 1984–86
    Afghanistan1,5503,1003,4508,100
    Bangladesh7002,2503,4006,350
    Chile1,8002,8003,4508,050
    Czechoslovakia5,3504,8004,75014,900
    Ethiopia3,4504,3004,30012,050
    Ghana5,2508,60010,60024,950
    Hungary2,2503,1504,1009,500
    India1,7505,6508,05015,450
    Iran13,55023,50041,80078,850
    Iraq2,4502,9502,3007,700
    Lebanon3,4508,75012,35024,550
    Pakistan3,2504,8005,00013,050
    Poland11,20014,25020,70046,150
    Romania3,6504,5007,05015,200
    Sri Lanka13,65029,60010,25053,500
    Turkey10,90016,60019,75047,250
    Yugoslavia1,0002,0502,7505,800
    Zaire2,4003,6004,25010,250
    Others16,15024,85036,00077,000
    TOTAL103,750170,100204,300478,150
    1 Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

    Transport

    Breath Tests

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give the numbers of casualties in road accidents in which at least one driver or rider failed a roadside screening breath-test in (a) England and Wales and (b) Scotland, during the years 1975, 1978 and 1981, broken down between fatal and non-fatal injuries.

    Casualties in accidents in which at least one driver or rider failed the roadside screening breath test:

    England and Wales, Scotland: 1975, 1978, 1981.

    England and Wales

    Scotland

    Total

    1975

    Fatal47638514
    Non-fatal19,8821,26021,142
    Total20,3581,29821,656

    1978

    Fatal43276508
    Non-fatal17,7752,03619,811
    Total18,2072,11220,319

    1981

    Fatal41348461
    Non-fatal16,9612,09619,057
    Total17,3742,14419,518

    Driving Tests

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has to reduce the time of waiting for driving tests.

    We have been recruiting examiners—the number has increased by 100 (7 per cent.) since September 1985, when waiting times peaked at a national average of 17 weeks—and we are continuing to do so as quickly as we can.The recently published review of driver testing has recommended additional measures for more rapid improvement in waiting times. These are being considered urgently and where appropriate will be put into effect as soon as possible in the new year.

    M1 Road Works

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) for how long road works will continue on the southbound carriageway of the M1 between junctions 3 and 4; and what is the average length of time taken for vehicles to pass through these road works during peak traffic times;(2) how many accidents have occurred on the southbound carriageway of the M I between junctions 3 and 4 during the period of road works on this section; what assessment he has made of the road safety implications of these works; and what steps have been taken to improve safety.

    These works should be completed by 18 December, but may be completed earlier if conditions permit. During peak traffic times, vehicles take 15 minutes on average to pass through the works. There have been no reported personal injury accidents on the MI southbound carriageway between junctions 4 and 3 during the period of the roadworks. One damage-only accident has been recorded, but its cause was unrelated to the works. There is no evidence that our standard safety measures are other than satisfactory here, with the advance warning signs provided.

    Heavy Goods Vehicles

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to review the regulations concerning the safety of heavy goods vehicles and their enforcement; and if he will make a statement.

    We do have plans for improving the safety of heavy goods vehicles. I announced last month that we will be introducing requirements for heavy articulated vehicles to be fitted with anti-lock braking systems. Other improvements to lorry design and to enforcement will come from current work at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory and in the vehicle inspectorate.

    Rail Network

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of British Rail's total network will be continuous welded track in the years 1988–89, 1989–90, 1990–91 and 1991–92.

    The proportion of railway track operated by British Rail that will be continuous welded track in the years listed is as follows:

    Per cent.
    1988–8961
    1989–9063
    1990–9164
    1991–9265

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the £1,020 million planned to be spent by British Rail on infrastructure improvement in the period 1987–88 to 1991–92, as set out in its current five-year corporate plan, he expects to authorise to be spent on replacing existing track and new track.

    I understand that British Rail plans to spend about £700 million on track renewal and replacement in the period 1987–88 to 1991–92.

    British Rail Engineering Ltd

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his reply of I December, Official Report, column 485, whether British Rail Engineering Ltd. has been allowed to submit a tender for the new class 60 locomotives; and if he will make a statement.

    The Railways Board issued invitations to tender to a number of British and overseas companies, but the only three tenders it has received are all from British firms. I understand that the Board did not invite BREL to tender as a lead contractor, but that BREL is involved with at least one of the tenders.

    Environment

    Deputy Secretaries

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the responsibilities of each of the deputy secretaries in his Department and the numbers and ranks of staff reporting to each.

    The responsibilities and staff of the deputy secretaries in my Department (other than in the Property Services Agency) are as follows:

    Deputy Secretary, Planning, Inner Cities, Regional Development, Land and Property
    Planning, inner cities, regional development, land and property questions; and responsibility for the Department's regional organisation.
    At Headquarters, two Under Secretaries (Grade 3), two Grade 4s, 91/2 grade 5s and 244 other grades. In the Regional Organisation, nine Under Secretaries, one Grade 4, 191/2 Grade 5s and 8971/2 other grades.
    Of the Regional Directors eight (seven Grade 3s, and one Grade 4) are common servants of both DOE(C) and the Department of Transport.

    Deputy Secretary, Finance and Local Government

    Principal finance officer: and responsibility for policy on local government matters, including local government finance. Three Under Secretaries (Grade 3), one Grade 4, 15 Grade 5s and 4031/2 other grades.

    Deputy Secretary, Environment Protection (also Chief Scientist)
    Policy questions on environmental protection as a whole; Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution; air, noise and wastes; water supply and water privatisation; rural afffairs, countryside and wildlife conservation. As Chief Scientist, overview of science and research policy, and service as Head of Profession for scientific staff.
    Five Under Secretaries (Grade 3), one Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories, 19 Grade 5s and 4921 other grades.

    Deputy Secretary, Housing, Construction and the Built Heritage
    Housing policy and public expenditure; housing subsidy for local housing authorities; housing associations; house renovation; private rented sector; housing monitoring and analysis; new towns; building regulations; relations with the construction industry; ancient monuments and historic buildings; sport and recreation. Management responsibility for the Building Research Establishment.
    Seven Under Secretaries (Grade 3), one Grade 4, 28 Grade 5s and 2,186 other grades.

    Deputy Secretary, Solicitor and Legal Adviser
    Legal advice to the Department.
    Two Under Secretaries, 11 Grade 5s and 54 other grades including 25 non-professional staff, nine of whom also discharge some functions for the Department of Transport.

    Director General of Organisation and Establishments

    The Director General of Organisation and Establishments is the Department's Principal Establishments Officer who with his staff provides a common service to both the Department of Transport and the Department of the Environment (Central). Management responsibility for the Planning Inspectorate.
    Four Under Secretaries, three Grade 4s, 16 Grade 5s and 1,9711/2 other grades. Many of the staff of this command are common servants of both DOE(C) and the Department of Transport.

    Chief Architectural Adviser on the Built Environment
    Chief Architectural Adviser to the Department. (The Chief Architectural Adviser also serves as the Director General of Design Services in the Property Services Agency.)
    In his capacity as Chief Architectural Adviser, supported by staff who also serve in the Housing command. As Director General of Design Services, supported by PSA staff.

    In the figures shown above, part time officers are shown as half posts. A further 158 departmental staff are not attached to any of the commands shown above.

    Water And Sewerage

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is now in a position to announce a decision on the proposal in the consultation paper on water and sewerage law, that responsibility for unadopted sewers, except those connected to a private sewage works, should be transferred to the water authorities.

    Final decisions are still to be taken on the various proposals in the consultation paper. An announcement will be made shortly.

    Rating Reform

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether self-employed persons living on their own business premises will be liable for (a) community charge and (b) the unified business rate.

    Self-employed people will be liable to the community charge in the normal way. Rates will be charged only on buildings and parts of buildings in non-domestic use. Thus, for example, a shopkeeper who lives over his shop will be liable for rates only on the shop, not on both parts as at present.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, using the latest statistical information available, he will publish in the Official Report the constituencies of England and Wales ranked accordingly to the percentage of (a) losers and (b) gainers under the community charge proposals showing these percentages alongside that ranking.

    As I explained in my reply to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) on 26 October at column 38, it is not possible to produce estimates of gainers and losers by parliamentary constituency.

    Homes In Multiple Occupation

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy towards the proposal put forward in its newsletter on homes in multiple occupation by the Institution of Environmental Health Officers, to provide a local homes in multiple occupation sample survey service to local authority; and if he will make a statement.

    It is for local authorities to decide whether they wish to use the proposed sample survey service. Any improved means of locating houses in multiple occupation is welcome if it provides a firm basis for policy making.

    No-Fines Properties

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when the hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive a reply to his question on no-fines properties due for answer on 25 November.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice is to be given by his Department to the tenants of the Wimpey no-fines properties in Walsall, in the light of his Department's recognition of the unsatisfactory state of these properties, as to what action they should take during the winter months; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 25 November]: The Department has already issued general guidance to householders on remedies for condensation, damp and mould growth. Any tenants who have particular difficulties with heating should discuss these with Walsall metropolitan borough council, who have, I understand been able to help tenants of no-fines houses to apply to the Department of Health and Social Security for assistance.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if further consultations have taken place between his Department and Walsall metropolitan borough council regarding the financial aspects of bringing up to an acceptable standard the Wimpey no-fines properties in the borough; and if he will make a statement;(2) what further consultations have now taken place between his Department and Walsall metropolitan borough council regarding the technical matters relating to bringing the Wimpey no-fines properties up to satisfactory standard;(3) if extra funding will now be given to Walsall metropolitan borough council in order that the Wimpey no-fines properties in the borough can be brought up to satisfactory standards; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 25 November 1987]: HIP allocations for 1988–89 will be announced shortly. These will take account of all the information provided by local authorities on technical and financial factors. Both aspects of the repair and improvement of Wimpey no-fines houses in Walsall were raised during the recent HIP round, and there has been no further consultation with Walsall metropolitan borough council since then.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if a Minister from his Department is now willing to receive a deputation from the tenants of the Wimpey no-fines properties in Walsall borough; and if he will make a statement;(2) if a Minister from his Department now intends to visit the Wimpey no-fines properties in Walsall; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer Wednesday 25 November]: Officials have provided Ministers with a full report of the earlier meeting with tenants. There would therefore be little purpose in receiving a further deputation at this stage, and there are no plans for Ministers to visit these properties.

    Crown Suppliers

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to privatise the Crown Suppliers; and if he will make a statement.

    I am considering various possibilities for the future of the Crown Suppliers, following two reports by consultants, one of which concerned the feasibility of privatisation. I have recently received detailed and comprehensive comments from representatives of the staff of the Crown Suppliers, and I do not propose to announce a decision until these have been fully considered.

    Nitrite Levels (Derogations)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the number of derogations currently in force, issued by his Department, in respect of nitrate and nitrite levels above 50mg/1; and if he will list those areas, geographically and by water authority area, for which these derogations are in force.

    Derogations have been given for 47 public water supplies where nitrate levels exceed 50mg/1, and for three supplies where nitrite levels exceed 0·1 mg/1. The Chief Medical Officer has advised that there is no danger lo public health from these supplies. The water authority areas, water undertakers and geographical areas served by the supplies are given in the following table.

    Nitrate Derogations

    WATER AUTHORITY AREA AND AREA OF SUPPLY

    Anglian
    • Cambridge Water Company
      • Parts of Huntingdon and South Cambridgeshire Districts
    • Anglian Water Authority
      • Dersingham and Snettisham
      • Docking
      • Heacham and Hunstanton
      • Moulton and Kennet
      • Wisbech
      • Ha bough—part of Lincolnshire
      • Aswarby—Saltersford—part of Lincolnshire
      • Scunt horpe
      • Binbrook—part of Lincolnshire
      • Bully Hill—Barnoldby—part of Lincolnshire
      • Bully Hill—Otby—part of Lincolnshire
      • Clay Hill—Drove Lane, Sleaford
      • Sleaford
      • Potterhanworth—part of Lincolnshire
      • Saltersford
      • Waneham Bridge—Saltersford
      • Bucklesham—part of Ipswich
      • Ely and Littleport
      • Habrough—Covenham, part of Cleethorpes
      • Bowthorpe, part of Norwich
      • Heigham—Thorpe part of Norwich
      • Otby
      • Otby—Waddingham

    Severn- Trent

    • Severn-Trent Water Authority
    • Parts of Leamington, Kenilworth, Warwick and Stratford District Council
    • Parts of Rutland District Council
    • Parts of South Derbyshire District Council
    • Parts of Newark and Ashfield District Council
    • Part of Stourbridge, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (Coalbournbrook Source)
    • Part of Wychavon District Council area
    • Part of Stourbridge Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (Millmeadow source)
    • Parts of Wychavon District Council
    • Malvern Hills and Wyre Forest District Council
    • Parts of Wrekin District Council (Lilleshall source)
    • Parts of Worksop, Bassetlaw District Council
    • Parts of Worksop and Mansfield Woodhouse
    • Part of South Shropshire District Council
    • Part of Wrekin District Council (Puleston Bridge source)
    • Parts of Bridgnorth and Wrekin District Council (Shifnal source)
    • Bromley Lane area of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council
    • Parts of Newark District Council (Farnsfield source)
    • Parts of Nottingham City Council area primarily Hucknall

    South Staffs Waterworks Company

    • Parts of Lichfield District Council Sutton Coldfield area
    • North Warwickshire County Council and Walsale Metropolitan area
    • Parts of Kingswinford, Pensnett and Brierley Hill Dudley Metropolitan area
    • Parts of Lichfield and Whittington, Lichfield District Council

    Thames

    • Lee Valley Water Company Part of Luton

    Yorkshire

    • Area north east of Ripon North Yorkshire

    Nitrite Derogations

    WATER AUTHORITY AREA AND AREA OF SUPPLY

    Anglian

    • Essex Water Company
      • Part of London Borough of Redbridge (Seven Kings Well)
      • Part of London Borough of Redbridge (Roding Well)

    Severn-Trent

    • South Staffs Waterworks Company
      • Parts of North Warwickshire District Council, Lichfield District Council, South Derbyshire
      • District Council and East Staffordshire District Council

    Selective Rate Limitation

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has reached decisions on any applications by authorities subject to selective rate limitation in 1988–89 for their expenditure level to be redetermined at a higher amount; and if he will announce the proposed rate limits for all the selected authorities.

    Two of the 17 authorities designated for selective rate limitation in 1988–89 applied for a redetermination of their expenditure level. These were the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Southwark. After careful consideration of those applications and of other relevant matters, I have decided to redetermine the EL for Tower Hamlets at £126·033 million, an increase of £2 million on the original figure: associated with this increase is a requirement that the authority reports to me at intervals about the steps it is taking to improve its efficiency. In the case of Southwark I have decided to confirm the EL at the original figure of £134·193 million.I am also today sending notification to each of the 17 designated authorities of the proposed rate limit which I have determined for 1988–89. The figures are ac follows:

    Pence
    Camden115·41
    Greenwich125 72
    Hackney123·80
    Lambeth92·32
    Lewisham131·76
    Southwark98·02
    Tower Hamlets123·21
    Haringey214·69
    Newcastle upon Tyne270·01
    Basildon49·68
    Middlesbrough32·16
    Thamesdown51·10
    Ealing125·06
    Waltham Forest199·14
    Manchester285·63
    Liverpool268·17
    Kingston upon Hull47·51

    Wales

    Aids

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what contingency plans his Department has in the case of an AIDS epidemic amongst heterosexuals in Cardiff in the next five years.

    In December 1985, the Welsh Office asked all district health authorities to establish AIDS coordinating teams to ensure that there was proper management of the response to AIDS in their areas. Earlier this year, district health authorities were asked to prepare district operational plans on AIDS. Planning guidelines were published to assist them in this task. The Welsh Office will be responding shortly to draft plans that have been received from all nine authorities.Along with efforts centrally to monitor the progress of AIDS and to ensure that the Government have access to the best available advice, these measures provide a firm foundation for dealing with the incidence of the syndrome.

    Rating Reform

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether, in the light of the fact that they do not have a vote in local elections, he intends to exempt all the residents of Caldey Island, Pembrokeshire, from the community charge.

    I will write to my hon. Friend and place a copy of my reply in the Library of the House.

    Singleton And Velindre Hospitals

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will detail the steps he has taken to implement the recommendations of the Welsh review of radiotherapy and oncology services in south Wales, with particular reference to (i) Singleton and Velindre hospitals, providing data on the same basis, (ii) the provision of scanning facilities at both radiotherapy centres, and (iii) the appointment of a fourth consultant radiotherapist and additional radiographers at Singleton hospital.

    A report of the review has been made available to health authorities in South Wales and their views invited. These have been received and considered and an announcement on the implementation of the review's recommendations will be made as soon as possible. In advance of that, arrangements have been made for the early provision of computerised tomography scanning facilities at both hospitals.

    Maternity Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to improve maternity services in the rural areas of Wales; and if he will make a statement.

    The Welsh Office issued a circular to all Welsh health authorities and family practitioner committees in December 1986 which commended to them the recommendations of the perinatal mortality initiative report for improvements in maternity and neonatal services in all areas of the Principality. Progress in implementing the recommendations is being monitored by the Welsh Office.

    Farmers (Sites Of Historical Interest)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether CADW is considering adopting measures similar to English Heritage's plans to offer more money to farmers to preserve archaeological and other sites of historical interest.

    Yes. My right hon. Friend is considering the introduction of a carefully targeted scheme of management agreements involving payments to the owners of scheduled ancient monuments, including farmers.

    Gwynedd Health Authority

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on what date the last appointment was made to the Gwynedd health authority; and at what date he will next be required to make such appointments.

    The last appointment was made by the Gwynedd county council in July 1987; during 1988, those appointments which are due to expire on 31 July will be considered.

    Flooding

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what guidance he is giving local authorities in Wales on the acceptability for financial assistance from his Department of schemes to alleviate flood dangers which not only reinstate the status quo prior to the October flood emergency, but go further in taking steps to avoid or limit flood incidents of this sort suffered last October.

    I refer the hon. Gentleman to my right hon. Friend's statement to the House on 21 October in column 745. The Department's letter of 23 October, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House, detailed the provisions of the Bellwin scheme.

    Health Authorities (Members)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the basis of reimbursement of incurred expenses, or the payment of fees or salaries to (a) chairpersons, (b) vice-chairpersons and (c) members of health authorities in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

    District health authority chairmen in Wales are paid a flat rate taxable honorarium of £11,259 per annum based on a notional three days a week commitment, together with travel and subsistence allowances. Vice-chairmen and members of health authorities do not receive an honorarium, but are entitled to travel and subsistence allowances and loss of earnings payments as appropriate.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish in the Official Report the terms of reference laid down by him for each of the chairpersons of health authorities in Wales; and on what date a change was last made to these terms of reference.

    It is not the Department's practice to provide terms of reference as such for chairpersons of health authorities.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Afghanistan

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received on the human rights record of Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement.

    We have seen the interim report by Dr. Ermacora, special rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and we are also in regular contact with organisations providing relief to Afghan refugees. We supported a further resolution in the UNGA this year which condemned by an overwhelming majority the widespread violation of human rights in Afghanistan by the Kabul regime and Soviet troops.

    East-West Relations

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about East-West relations following the visit of Secretary Gorbachev.

    We welcome the results of the United States/Soviet summit in Washington and hope that the agreement on intermediate range nuclear forces will lead to progress on further measures of arms control. The opportunity is there to establish a healthier and safer relationship between East and West. But this requires lasting confidence which needs much greater Soviet respect for human rights and greater co-operation over the peaceful settlement of regional conflicts, including in particular the early withdrawal of all Soviet forces from Afghanistan.

    African National Congress

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received about the Government's policy towards meeting the African National Congress.

    We have received a variety of representations from overseas, from hon. Members and from the public, some in favour of and some against the policy of the Government towards meeting the African National Congress.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next intends to meet representatives from (a) the African National Congress of South Africa or (b) the South-West Africa People's Organisation of Namibia.

    The Gulf

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement on the situation in the Gulf.

    There has unfortunately been little change since the answer given to my hon. Friend on 18 November. Attacks in the Gulf by both Iran and Iraq continue at a high level, including the two recent attacks by Iran on Danish and Singapore-registered tankers, with the loss of one life and the destruction of one ship, and a further missile attack on Kuwait which hit a decoy barge. We continue to press both sides to implement Security Council resolution 598 without further delay, and thus reduce the dangerous level of tension in the Gulf.

    Fiji

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what standing vis-a-vis the Commonwealth is afforded to Fiji by Her Majesty's Government; and what are the status and composition of the British mission there.

    We and other Commonwealth members acknowledged at Vancouver that Fiji's membership of the Commonwealth had lapsed. No Commonwealth Government have so far changed the designation of their diplomatic mission accredited in Suva. The British mission has seven United Kingdom-based officers in post.

    Employment

    Jts (London)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment which managing agents have been given contracts by the Manpower Services Commission to provide new job training scheme places in Greater London; how many contracted places each has been given; and in which London boroughs they are providing places.

    The following table shows the managing agents contracted by the Manpower Services Commission to provide the new job training scheme in Greater London and the number of starts each agent has contracted to provide. It is not possible to say in which boroughs places will be provided.

    Contracted starts
    ADM650
    Barking Skillcentre1,200
    Bexley Training Services500
    Chelmer Training Association250
    Cranbrook Training Centre800
    Delta480
    Deptford Skillcentre1,200
    Enterprise Training250
    Focus400
    Forest Project250
    Future Framework1,000
    GWS Technical Training400
    Hotel and Catering ITB900
    J and J Consultants250
    JJP200
    Key Training Consortium750
    London Chamber of Commerce and Industry1,200
    LEC156
    Microtech Training Ltd750
    Merton Training Consortium400
    Microtech (and Cable Training)1,400
    David Morgan Training Association200
    Open Learning250
    Park Royal Enterprise Trust100
    PCL Training Services400
    Personnel Consultancy Services500
    Personnel Development Association400
    Pitmans250
    Sight and Sound1,000
    SE Adult Training900
    Southern Training Services1,000

    Contracted starts

    STC50
    Sumlock Calculating Services850
    Supreme Hairdesign200
    TEAM1,000
    Training for Jobs Ltd1,000
    Training International100
    VGA250

    Jts (Statistics)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, what are the industry and occupational categories of new job training scheme trainees who have entered work placements.

    The information is not available. New JTS provides training. Trainees may undertake a variety of practical experience during training placements with employers.

    Yts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report the number of YTS schemes correctly in operation in each London borough and the number of individuals (a) male and (b) female currently registered for each.

    [holding answer 7 December 1987]: The following table gives the number of YTS schemes based in each London borough and the numbers of male and female trainees on such schemes as at 31 October 1987.

    Schemes may draw trainees living in other boroughs.
    London BoroughNumber of local YTS schemesNumber in training—October 1987
    MaleFemale
    Harrow6189103
    Brent1031585
    Enfield5506308
    Barnet31853
    Haringey15274253
    Newham7302179
    Barking8384225
    Havering8366300
    Redbridge11333533
    Waltham Forest3242140
    Table 1
    TotalEnvironmentalBuilding and land-scapingHome insulationResearch and surveysLibraryYouth workVoluntary actsOther social servicesCultural
    Local authority4,1833081161264121100
    Local education authority2002000000
    voluntary organisation1000000000
    Nationalised industry44002100000
    Private sector2330025970008
    Health authority980018100001
    Government department44000050005
    Other18000100000
    Education institution151000183500024
    Ex-offenders organisations62710651880004
    Churches4810011980010
    Youth organisations249011410003
    Old peoples groups66001000000
    Disability groups209000410002
    Ethnic groups860004100021
    Environmental and conservation groups467001125201005
    Other voluntary organisations2,283001147611600079
    Quasi-commercial body6650021221900213
    Total9,96341335365497223280
    London BoroughNumber of local YTS schemesNumber in training—October 1987
    MaleFemale
    Kensington & Chelsea153870
    Hammersmith35220108
    Camden24289731
    Westminster55260161
    City of London17459139
    Islington20389352
    Hackney12146108
    Tower Hamlets11411163
    Bromley9272233
    Bexley7307284
    Croydon11436149
    Sutton38154488
    Merton21234114
    Lambeth62264232
    Southwark18256258
    Lewisham27290212
    Greenwich34232109
    Wandsworth44272200
    Hillingdon36355214
    Ealing34262123
    Hounslow37405251
    Richmond-upon-Thames135256
    Kingston-upon-Thames22296123

    In addition there are 3,518 male and 1,384 female trainees in London in schemes negotiated with the Manpower Services Commission's large companies unit; information on the numbers in each borough is not readily available.

    Special Employment Measures

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish the most recently available tables to show the total number of community programme projects and places by type of project and type of sponsor.

    [holding answer 4 December]: The total number of community programme projects and authorised places, by project and sponsor type, are as follows. Table 1 gives information about projects, and table 2 places as at 14 October 1987.

    Workshop

    Community programme agent management

    Environmental and landscaping

    Building and construction

    Archaeological digs

    Children's services

    Young peoples services

    Services for the elderly

    Services for the disabled

    Centres for the unemployed

    Local authority1472811,2634535317431950431263
    Local education authority0000000000
    Voluntary organisations0000000100
    Nationalised industry15750121370
    Private sector1034533902102970
    Health authority
    Government department031020017200
    Other0252002420
    Education institution164286296111
    Ex-offenders' organisations4884135882213091301
    Churches4541446813043124461
    Youth organisations71612180201134580
    Old people's groups04040015420
    Disability groups91311S025101440
    Ethnic groups462303122532
    Environmental and conservation groups93926041101713060
    Other voluntary organisations115168273206814125348923411
    Quasi-commercial body35441396731837190523
    Total4347592,2341,020854429001,62089484

    Table 2

    Total

    Environmental

    Building and Landscape

    Home in-sulation

    Research and surveys

    Library

    Youth work

    Voluntary acts

    Other social services

    Cultural

    Authorised places

    Local Authority96,508331,4711,6282,950132631,478
    Local education authority4848
    Voluntary organisation3
    Nationalised industry1,0833917
    Private sector5,4284909974140
    Health authority1,953413614467
    Government department74578114
    Other40519
    Education institution2,288218539365
    Ex-offenders' organisation14,484171,3742047396
    Churches11,7451907782125
    Youth organisations4,871131154598
    Old people's groups1,89277
    Disability groups4,040901152
    Ethnic groups2,24811540423
    Environmental and conservation groups9,10125435418510113
    Other voluntary organisations49,4742,3448601,2021,384
    Quasi-commercial body18,08143021521935198
    Total225,51450136,7324,1325,6142326334,688

    Workshop

    Community programme agent management

    Environmental and landscaping

    Building and construction

    Archaelogical digs

    Children's services

    Young people's services

    Services for the elderly

    Services for the disabled

    Centres for the unemployed

    Authorised places

    Local authority2,7795,52837,81513,8591,1792,0694,92914,2315,785682
    Local education authority
    Voluntary organisation3
    Nationalised industry27112230124621379128
    Private sector2576561,0821,49335161831110
    Health authority581476334680124361423
    Government department382334021923
    Other5113457257841
    Education institution1395119222079437510111921
    Ex-offenders' organisations1,4651,6993,6932,302233383802,12767111
    Churches1,3958181,3592,669384307172,86895621
    Youth organisations1882632464084142,102912157
    Old people's groups6114861,58515
    Disability groups23518231632012641702,582
    Ethnic groups16319053133423826344522
    Environmental and conservation groups2384905,3431,132212218253193106
    Other voluntary organisations3,3033,1547,3475,4661452,1874,20112,7324,852297
    Quasi-commercial body1,0401,0934,3822,4971194145105,7461,14637
    Total11,19014,61962,81831,2741,9236,36614,55943,08417,1891,115

    Job Training Schemes

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what at the latest available date is (a) the cumulative entrants total, (b) the cumulative leavers total, (c) the cumulative total of those who have completed their course, and (d) the numbers who have entered work placements, for each new job training scheme managing agent contracted in (i) Scotland, (ii) Greater London and (iii) Great Britain as a whole.

    [holding answer 4 December 1987]: The information requested for each of the 314 new job training scheme managing agents contracted in Great Britain including Scotland and Greater London could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

    Energy

    Coal Industry (Private Investment)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he has any plans to create opportunities for private investment in coal mines at present in National Coal Board ownership.

    National Coal Board (Management Accounting)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he has received any representations concerning National Coal Board management accounting criteria.

    Bradwell Power Station

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what part the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate played in the selection of two firms of nuclear engineers selected by the Central Electricity Generating Board to examine the decommissioning of Bradwell nuclear power station; and if he will make a statement.

    The Health and Safety Executive's Nuclear Installations Inspectorate played no part in the selection of the four firms recently awarded contracts to carry out studies into various aspects of the decommissioning of Bradwell and Berkeley nuclear power stations.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the deadlines set by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate in respect of safety at Bradwell power station; to what those deadlines related; whether those deadlines due to be met in the last two months have been met; and if he will make a statement.

    The key requirements and completion dates for issues arising from the long-term safety review of the Bradwell nuclear power station are listed in the table in the Health and Safety Executive's report "The findings of NII's assessment of the CEGB's long term safety review" which was published in July 1987. Information required to date has been received and is being assessed by the Health and Safety Executive. A copy has been placed in the Library.

    Central Electricity Generating Board (Insurance)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has on the total insurance cover held by the Central Electricity Generating Board for (a) nuclear power stations and (b) other power stations in respect of (i) damage to property owned by the board, (ii) potential claims by employees of the board and (iii) potential claims by third parties; and what is the cost of this insurance cover in each case.

    Under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 (as amended) nuclear power station operators must provide financial security of £20 million, by insurance or otherwise, to meet claims for injury or damage arising from a nuclear accident. The costs of this insurance cover and the extent and cost of insurance against other risks are matters for the Central Electricity Generating Board.

    Cegb (Decommissioning)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has as to the financial provision made by the Central Electricity Generating Board to cover the decommissioning of all its nuclear power stations; and in what years this expenditure is anticipated to occur.

    The annual report and accounts of the Central Electricity Generating Board show that at 31 March 1987 the board had made financial provisions of £462.9 million for the decommissioning of its nuclear power stations. The decommissioning of power stations is, however, a matter for the industry and I have asked the chairman of the CEGB to reply to the hon. Member about the years in which the expenditure is anticipated to occur.

    Electricity Boards (Advertising)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has on the amount spent by (a) the Central Electricity Generating Board and (b) each of the 12 area electricity boards on advertising in each year from 1983–84 to 1986–87 and projected spend in 1987–88 and 1988–89, showing in each case the sums spent on (i) television, (ii) newspapers, (iii) hoardings and billboards and (iv) others.

    The amount spent by the electricity industry on advertising is a commercial matter for the industry. I have asked the chairman of the Electricity Council to write to the hon. Member.

    Electricity Boards (Borrowing)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (I) what rate of return he expects to receive from each of the 12 area electricity boards on the outstanding borrowing from him over the next 10 years;(2) what rate of return he expects to receive from the Central Electricity Generating Board on the outstanding borrowing from him over the next 10 years.

    The funding requirements of the area electricity boards and the CEGB are met by the Electricity Council. The rates of interest payable on United Kingdom loans to the Electricity Council outstanding at 31 March 1987 vary between 5 per cent. and 16·75 per cent. Further details are set out on page 52 of the Electricity "Council Annual Report and Accounts 1986/87."

    Renewable Energy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he has any proposals to seek powers to compel the electricity industry to investigate the use of renewable energy powers before embarking on investment in nuclear, coal or oil-fired power stations.

    I have no plans to seek such powers. In co-operation with industry, the Government are supporting research into renewable energy sources with the object of ensuring that so far as possible they are developed to the stage where they can compete fairly with traditional energy sources.

    Electricity Boards (Profits)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what the profits were for (a) the Central Electricity Generating Board and (b) each of the 12 area electricity boards for each of the last eight years; and what are the projected profits for the next two years.

    The current cost profit after interest and taxation for the Central Electricity Generating Board and each of the 12 area electricity boards, for each of the last eight years, is given in the table.

    £ million
    Area Board1979–801980–811981–821982–831983–841984–851985–861986–87
    London(-)29·2(-)0·117·022·641·2(-)41·142·532·9
    South Eastern(-)18·0(-)7·4(-)0·92·715·7(-)45·521·724·7
    Southern(-)21·1(-)5·82·210·630·2(-)68·926·833·4
    South Western(-)13·3(-)0·28·79·215·4(-)41·023·916·1
    Eastern(-)20·121·112·920·540·0(-)79·443·236·8
    East Midlands(-)9·213·09·8(-)5·619·3(-)73·114·028·1
    Midlands(-)24·70·2-2·0(-)3·525·0(-)77·628·826·3
    South Wales(-)11·7(-)1·97·112·49·9(-)33·28·711·4
    Merseyside and North Wales(-)12·0(-)1·6(-)1·4(-)6·42·4(-)39·14·48·6
    Yorkshire(-)21·6(-)5·511·414·616·0(-)86·717·417·5
    North Eastern(-)15·7(-)0·18·78·313·9(-)47·921·714·0
    North Western(-)15·2(-)2·68·314·116·2(-)78·920·319·4
    CEGB(-)287·6(-)281·3(-)167·4232·1219·1(-)1,945·0141·0317·8

    Note: In 1984–85, the figures for area boards include their share of a contribution of £933·7 million towards the additional costs of £2,020 million incurred by the CEGB as a result of the miners' strike. The CEGB's loss is before this contribution.

    Home Insulation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many homes occupied by (a) pensioners and (b) other high-risk groups have been given financial grants for insulation of their homes by year since 1979.

    The information is not available in the precise form requested.Financial assistance for insulation is provided through the homes insulation scheme (HIS), which provides a general grant at 66 per cent. and a means-tested grant at 90 per cent.: and the community insulation projects, which provide a free or low-cost basic insulation service for low-income households. The 90 per cent. grant under the HIS has been available to the elderly and severely disabled on supplementary benefit or housing benefit, and will be extended to all householders on those benefits. Separate figures are not available for the take-up of HIS grants by pensioner households. It is estimated that pensioner households account for some 60 per cent. of the homes insulated by the community insulation projects, but, again, firm figures are not available.The following data therefore relate to the vulnerable low-income groups assisted through the HIS 90 per cent. grant and the community insulation projects.

    Government assistance for low income households in Great Britain
    (a) Number of 90 per cent. HIS grants paid12(b) Number of households insulated by community insulation projects12
    19792410,000
    198026,000
    198194,00055,000
    1982110,000510,000
    198394,000520,000
    198472,00044,000

    I announced financial targets for the industry for the next two years in my statement of 3 November 1987 in the House of Commons. It will be for the boards to earn sufficient profits to ensure that the targets are met.

    (a) Number of 90 per cent. HIS grants paid

    1

    2

    (b) Number of households insulated by community insulation projects

    1

    2

    198578,00083,000
    198668,000120,000
    Total

    6542,000

    6292,000

    1 Rounded.

    2 Homes insulation scheme statistics for England are compiled on a calendar year basis; for Scotland and Wales, on a financial year basis.

    3 Financial year basis.

    4 Estimate: very few projects were operating and statistics were not collected at the time.

    5 Estimates: statistics were only collected on a sampling basis.

    6 In addition to their draught-proofing work, some community insulation projects also do loft insulation using HIS grants claimed on behalf of their clients. For this reason simple addition of columns (a) and (b) would involve a limited degree of double counting.

    Licensed Coal Mining

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what grants have been made by British Coal Enterprise for licensed coal mining.

    Loans made by British Coal Enterprise Ltd. are a matter for the company and I am asking the chairman to write to the hon. Member.

    Scotland

    Devolution

    2.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received about the financial effects of implementing proposals for devolution to Scotland involving an assembly with tax-raising powers.

    Since the election I have received 62 letters on the subject of devolution. Those correspondents who referred specifically to the financial effects of the creation of an assembly with tax-raising powers were almost unanimously opposed to the idea.

    Industrial And Tourist Developments

    20.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the major new industrial and tourist developments announced for Scotland in the current year; and if he will estimate the number of new jobs created.

    So far in 1987 total unemployment in Scotland has fallen by 55,000. This clearly shows the favourable effects of our policies in Scotland's economy. I am arranging for a table of the most important industrial and tourist developments to be placed in the Library.

    Roadworks (Tenders)

    21.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on his proposals to reduce the threshold at which roadworks must be put out to tender; and if he will make a statement.

    The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities has made known its opposition to increased competition for roads work undertaken by roads authorities' direct labour organisations. The Government's intentions will be announced once the second survey of the performance of Scottish roads authorities has been analysed.

    Rating Reform

    22.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations he has had from organisations concerned with mental health regarding the poll tax.

    We have received a number of responses to our consultation document of 22 October on the procedure for identifying severely mentally handicapped people to be exempted from liability to pay the community charge. All the representations will be fully considered.

    23.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last discussed the poll tax with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

    My right hon. and learned Friend and I met the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities last Friday to discuss local government finance. At that meeting we announced the provision of additional resources to cover capital expenditure on the implementation of the community charge, both this year and next. My officials are in regular contact with the convention about the implementation of our proposals.

    60.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of the increase in student grants in the first year of operation of the poll tax will be for their poll tax contribution, and how much for the normal yearly increase.

    The Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987 provides that students undertaking a full-time course of education will be liable to pay only 20 per cent. of the community charge. That liability will not arise until 1989–90 and the detailed arrangements for students' grants in that year have not yet been determined.

    School Boards

    24.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a further statement on his proposals for election and co-option to school boards.

    We have received a number of comments on these proposals and will announce our conclusions on them in due course.

    Housing

    25.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give a list of organisations whom he intends to consult on the Government's White Paper on Scottish housing; and whether he intends to attend joint public meetings with critics of the Government's proposals.

    The White Paper, "Housing, the Government's Proposals for Scotland", is a statement of our intent in regard to future housing policy. We have issued and will continue to issue consultation papers on particular aspects of that policy to a variety of interested bodies. The bodies consulted vary according to the subjects of the individual consultation papers. My right hon. and learned Friend and I will speak publicly about the proposals on a variety of appropriate occasions, including the debates which will take place in the House on the Housing (Scotland) Bill.

    31.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many representations he has so far received regarding his consultation paper on Scottish Homes; and if he will make a statement.

    We received 247 responses to the consultation paper, "Scottish Homes—A New Agency for Housing in Scotland". In addition, a number of letters referring wholly or partly to Scottish Homes were received, but these have not generally offered any comment on the substance of the proposals contained in the consultation document.

    42.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received on the White Paper on housing in Scotland (Cm 242).

    We continue to receive a number of letters from individuals and organisations referring wholly or partly to the Government's housing proposals. The comments made on the White Paper cannot be identified separately from those made on the consultation papers issued about various of the proposals contained in the White Paper or those which are based on reports of the Government's proposals, rather than the proposals themselves.

    47.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authorities, housing associations and federations and charities have so far made representations on his consultation paper on housing, "Housing: The Government's Proposals for Scotland".

    Comments have been received from 42 local authorities, 59 registered housing associations, (some of which have charitable status) and 72 voluntary groups and representative organisations.

    Enterprise Culture

    26.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the effect in Scotland of implementing Her Majesty's Government's policy for the fostering of an enterprise culture; and if he will make a statement.

    The growing spirit of enterprise which now exists in Scotland is already producing tangible results. For example, some 45,000 more people are now in self-employment than in 1979. Again VAT records show that there was a net increase of nearly 10,000 Scottish businesses between 1980 and 1985. As the enterprise culture takes deeper root in Scotland, so prosperity will grow further.

    Coal-Burning Power Stations

    27.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will next be meeting the Scottish director of British Coal to discuss the coal-burning Scottish power stations.

    I have no plans at present to do so. However, my officials are in regular contact with officials of British Coal and as recently as 2 December they met the Scottish director to discuss matters of mutual interest.

    Industrial Disputes

    28.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are the most recent figures for the number of working days lost in industrial disputes in Scotland; and if he will make a statement.

    In 1986, 312,000 working days were lost in Scotland as a result of industrial stoppages. Apart from 1983, this is the lowest figure for 20 years.

    "The Way Forward"

    29.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received regarding the Nirex discussion document "The Way Forward".

    No representations have been received on this document.

    School Management

    30.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the timetable for the implementation of the school management proposals.

    We hope to announce our conclusions following the consultation period before the end of the year and to introduce a Bill in the new year. Assuming enactment by October 1988, the first board constitutions would be issued for consultation in March 1989 and the boards would begin to operate at the commencement of the 1989–90 school year.

    32.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many representations he has now received on his proposed reforms for the management of schools; and if he will make a statement.

    33.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many responses he has received to his discussion document on Scottish education; and if he will make a statement.

    58.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many representations he has how received on the proposals contained in his paper "School Management and the Role of Parents"; and if he will make a statement.

    53.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the answer of Friday 20 November on the consultative paper "School Management and the Role of Parents", if he will specify under what headings and categories he has catalogued the responses received to date, with specific reference to those submissions commenting on the ceiling proposals; and if he will make a statement.

    Responses have been divided into two categories; those requesting confidentiality and those available for public inspection. Copies of the latter are being placed on open file in the library of St. Andrew's house. I have arranged for further copies to be available in the House Library.

    54.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the responses so far to the school management consultation paper.

    We have received some 7,600 responses. We are considering these carefully and hope to announce our conclusions shortly.

    57.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to complete his consideration of the representations he has received on the consultation paper "School Management and the Role of Parents", and if he will make a statement.

    New Towns

    34.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his policy on the future of Scotland's new towns; and if he will make a statement.

    The new towns continue to make a significant contribution to economic growth and employment opportunities in Scotland. The Government adhere to the decision, announced in 1984, that no Scottish new town development corporation should begin the wind-up process before 1 April 1990. It also remains our intention to reassess before that date the probable timing of wind-up of the five development corporations, taking account of developments since 1984 and the circumstances and prospects of each town.

    Regional Aid

    35.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to investigate alleged abuses in regional aid.

    All projects in receipt of grant under regional aid schemes are closely monitored where abuse of the schemes is suspected. Cases are investigated thoroughly and reported to the appropriate authorities for consideration of prosecution.

    Industrial Investment

    36.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has as to the current level of investment in industry in Scotland and its impact on the Scottish community, in particular in the Inverclyde area.

    Recent CBI and Scottish business surveys report an improvement in investment intentions in Scottish manufacturing, and higher investment will enhance the competitiveness of Scottish industry. This can only benefit the Scottish community.As regards Inverclyde district, regional selective assistance offers of £3·4 milli