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Written Answers

Volume 130: debated on Monday 21 March 1988

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 21 March 1988

Environment

Home Insulation (Stoke-On-Trent)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the number of people in Stoke-on-Trent, North who have ceased to be eligible for grants under the home insulation scheme which came into force on 1 February; and what percentage of those are on low incomes.

The information is not available. For householders with adequate means, loft insulation is a very cost-effective measure which pays for itself very quickly. The new scheme provides a 90 per cent. grant, up to an increased ceiling of £137, to eligible householders on low incomes, that is, those in receipt of supplementary benefit, housing benefit or family income supplement.

Drinking Water

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment in which areas in England and Wales the maximum nitrate level in drinking water of 50 mg of nitrates per litre, set by the European Community, is exceeded; and how many people are affected.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply of 13 January to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) at column 279.

Local Authorities (Bartering Agreements)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has anything to add to his statement on 9 March, with particular reference to bartering agreements between local authorities and property developers.

It is my right hon. Friend's intention to table amendments to the Local Government Finance Bill to secure that where a local authority acquires properly, or where works or improvements are carried out to local authority property, in return for valuable consideration, prescribed expenditure will be scored regardless of whether the consideration is or is not in money.

Gipsy Sites

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals his Department has to revise or update planning guidance on gipsy sites, including specifying the varying responses which local authorities should make to applications for (a) individual plots of land for use by a gipsy and (b) sites for gipsy encampments.

My Department has no immediate plans to revise or update planning guidance on gipsy sites, though the matter is kept under review. In his statement to the House of 6 February last year my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said that the need for gipsy sites would continue to be a material consideration in planning decisions.

92 Ormside Street, Se15 (Sale)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to when the London residuary body will complete the sale of 92 Ormside street, SE15.

Housing Starts

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many housing starts were made in each of the last 10 years in (a) the public sector, (b) the private sector, and (c) the housing association sector.

In 1987, it is provisionally estimated that there were 197,300 dwellings started in England for the private sector and 24,600 for the public sector including 9,500 for housing associations. Figures for the earlier years appear in table 6.1(a) of "Housing and Construction Statistics 1976–1986" which is available in the Library.

Rating Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give estimates for the total number of adults expected to register for community charge in England and Wales.

I estimate that there are 38·3 million adults in England and Wales. About half a million of these are expected to be exempt from the community charge. As I said in my reply of 16 March to the hon. Member for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) at column 82, I do not believe that evasion will be a serious problem.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will reconsider joint and several liability of spouses in respect of the proposed community charge, in the light of the planned changes to the income tax status of married women from 1 April 1990.

No. The changes to which the hon. Member refers will affect married women with incomes. Joint and several liability for the community charge is designed to ensure that the charge is paid where a person (man or woman) has no income of his or her own and is married to or living with a person who has an income.

G-Mex Exhibition Centre, Manchester

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give details of the total financial contribution made by his Department to the G-Mex exhibition centre in greater Manchester; and if he will make a statement.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will detail his involvement with the G-Mex centre in Manchester; and if he will make a statement.

My involvement with the G-Mex Centre in Manchester has been to provide urban programme funding of £8·9 million towards an estimated main project cost of £23·7 million and a further UP contribution of £0·9 million towards the cost of landscaping and other works on the site. I retain a continuing interest as there is a provision for grant to be paid back if sufficient income is generated.

House Condition Survey

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when the results of the English house condition survey will be available.

I refer to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction on Wednesday 3 February 1988 at column 650.

Grant-Related Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the studies into alternative or improved methods of calculating grant-related expenditure which have been funded by his Department since January 1980; and if for each study listed he will give (a) the name of the body or bodies undertaking the study, (b) the terms of reference of the study, (c) the names of other bodies tendering for the study, (d) the criteria by which the successful applicants were selected, (e) the cost of the study and (f) the outcome of the study.

The following studies into grant-related expenditure assessment have been funded by my Department since January 1980:

  • 1. (i) 'Grant Related Expenditure Assessment: A Review of the System and Potential Development In It'.
  • (ii) Conducted by the School for Advanced Urban Studies at the University of Bristol.
  • (iii) A comprehensive general review of the system seeking to clarify the objectives and underlying principles of GRE, and to evaluate how far the system developed in practice measured up to these objectives and principles. Followed by in depth case studies examining the case for, feasibility and implications of alternative methods of GRE assessment in relation to particular components of local authority expenditure. The four case studies dealt with recreation, adult education, capital finance and public transport.
  • (iv) Cost: £38,300.
  • (v) Outcome: Published Reports (1983–84) of the overall review of the GRE system and of each of the four case studies.
  • 2. (i) The 'Measurement of Inter Authority Cost Differences'.
  • (ii) Conducted by Cambridge Economic Consultants.
  • (iii) The objective of the project was to investigate whether and how to extend and improve the existing system for unit cost adjustments such that it covered authorities outside the London Weighting area and inputs other than labour.
  • (iv) Cost: £16,000.
  • (v) Outcome: Unpublished Report (1983).
  • 3. (i) Development of the Grant Related Expenditure Assessment for Personal Social Services for the Elderly.
  • (ii) Conducted by the Centre for Health Economics, York University.
  • (iii) The objectives of the research arc to assess the feasibility of the main options for improving the method of calculating PSS GRE for the elderly; to then develop a more simple and comprehensible method of assessment whilst taking full account of the requirement to adequately reflect variations in needs between authorities; and to consider and report on the future stability of the new methodology as well as its effective presentation.
  • (iv) Cost: £36,566.
  • (v) Outcome: The research is still in progress.
  • 4. (i) `Review of Statistical Methods Used to Construct Indicators of Social Disadvantage'.
  • (ii) Conducted by Professor Bartholomew, London School of Economics.
  • (iii) The objectives of the research are to review the methods of constructing composite measures of disadvantage at present used in GREs; to examine the applicability of new developments in the construction of such indexes; and to recommend the most appropriate of these statistical techniques.
  • (iv) Cost: £3,000.
  • (v) Outcome: The research is still in progress.
  • Four organisations tendered for the second of these projects; the measurement of inter-authority cost differences. These were Cambridge Economic Consultants, Coopers and Lybrand and Associates Ltd, Peat Marwick Mitchell and Co. and the Public Sector Economics Research Centre at the University of Leicester. The contract was placed on the basis of price and of quality of tender proposal. The other three research contracts were placed on a single tender basis.

    Local Authority Expenditure

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for (a) each county council, (b) each metropolitan district, (c) each London borough and (d) each non-metropolitan district those services on which authorities spend below the national average; and by how much.

    [holding answer 15 March 1988]: I have today placed this information in the House of Commons Library.

    Waste Disposal

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on the disposal of potassium waste by France and Belgium in the English channel; what action he proposes to take; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 17 March 1988]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given today by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

    Overseas Development

    Malaysia (Waterworks)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department took to ensure the technical soundness of Biwater's project to equip 174 Malaysian villages with waterworks before allocating funds from his 1986 water sector budget to support it.

    Assistance for the rural water supply project in Malaysia was provided from the aid and trade provision in association with export credit finance. As in all such cases, approval of ATP assistance was subject to satisfactory appraisal of the economic, financial and technical viability of the project. In this particular case, assistance was approved in the light of the findings of an ODA appraisal mission to Malaysia.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why his Department approved a grant of nearly £60 million towards Biwater's Malaysia contract which was not subject to domestic competitive tendering.

    Within the aid programme, we seek to secure value for money for the taxpayer and for the recipient country. This is generally best achieved by competitive tendering. In the absence of competition, the ODA carries out value-for-money checks. In this case, the Malaysian Government wished to proceed with the project by negotiating a contract with a single contractor (Biwater). An independent check established value for money.

    Cameroun, Chile And Thailand (Waterworks)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if his Department will submit to domestic competitive tender proposals which it is currently considering for water supply or sewerage projects in Cameroun, Chile and Thailand.

    Before deciding whether or not to provide aid and trade provision support for these projects, we shall consider how best to secure value for money for the aid programme in the circumstances of each particular case.

    Education And Science

    Polytechnics

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science which polytechnics in England and Wales provide specialist non-advanced further education on a nationwide basis; what subjects are covered by such provision; and how he intends that such provision should be funded following the establishment of the Polytechnic and Colleges Funding Council.

    There is no settled definition of specialist non-advanced further education. The Government have said that it will be open to local education authorities, as part of their duty to secure the provision of adequate facilities for further education in their areas, to contract for the continued provision of non-advanced further education courses in polytechnics and colleges which, under the provisions of the Education Reform Bill now before Parliament, will transfer to the new polytechnics and colleges funding council (PCFC) sector. Local education authorities' will receive credit for such provision in that grant-related expenditure. The Government are also ready to consider, in consultation with the local authority associations, whether it would be desirable to put the PCFC in funds to support a tightly defined category of further education courses whose provision in PCFC institutions is essentially national in character.

    Consultative Document

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make it his policy that responses received to consultative documents issued by his Department be made publicly available in his Department's library, except where the respondent has specifically asked that this be not done; and if he will arrange for this procedure to be made clear when future consultative documents are issued.

    The treatment of responses to consultation documents will depend on the purpose and nature of the consultative process. In the case of the recent consultation carried out by the Department of Education and Science preceding the introduction of the Education Reform Bill, copies of all responses, other than those from individuals, were placed in the House Library.

    Religious Instruction

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of primary schools and secondary schools in each local education authority are not adhering to the locally agreed syllabus of religious instruction for that authority.

    Education Reform Bill

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has any plans to amend the pupil register regulations for the power of holding ballots in relation to the Education Reform Bill; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend intends to amend the pupils' registration regulations to ensure that all parents will be given the opportunity to have their names recorded in schools' admission registers.

    Local Financial Management

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to discuss with head teachers the implementation of local financial management; and if he will make a statement.

    Both Ministers and officials of my Department have had a number of meetings with representatives of the head teacher associations and with groups of head teachers about local financial management. My right hon. Friend will shortly be consulting LEAs, head teachers and others on preliminary guidance.

    Defence

    Prisoners Of War (Experiments)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received about progress in investigating allegations of experiments on prisoners of war held by the Japanese at Mukden and elsewhere during world war 2; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 22 April 1987 at column 586. Since that date, the Ministry has received a further 16 inquiries. Of these two had been addressed to the Prime Minister and 14 to Ministers. During this period our inquiries have continued. But despite further and lengthy investigation we still have no proof that the Japanese experimented on Allied prisoners of war held at Mukden.

    Low Flying (Wales)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received concerning low-flying military aircraft over Wales.

    Between 1 January 1988 and 14 March 1988, the Ministry of Defence received some 70 inquiries or complaints from Wales about low-flying military aircraft.

    Consultative Documents

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy that responses received to consultative documents issued by his Department be made publicly available in his Department's library, except where the respondent has specifically asked that this be not done; and if he will arrange for this procedure to be made clear when future consultative documents are issued.

    Yes, arrangements will be made for responses to formal consultative documents, such as Green Papers, to be available, provided that the respondent has not asked that his response should be kept confidential.

    Raf Molesworth

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to make a decision on future uses of RAF Molesworth.

    I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to the hon. Member on 20 January at column 764.

    Raf Wethersfield

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any limitations are planned on activities at RAF Wethersfield in the light of proposals for expansion of Stansted airport.

    RAF Wethersfield is a standby deployment base at which no regular flying activity currently takes place, aside from weekend gliding by air cadets. Therefore any question of the expansion of Stansted airport affecting base activities does not arise.

    Raf Feltwell

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the rôle and function of the proposed satellite receiver dishes and ancilliary equipment at RAF Feltwell; and if he will make a statement.

    Subject to the appropriate planning approvals, the United States Air Force proposes to site a deep space tracking station at RAF Feltwell. This will be a passive facility for tracking man-made objects in deep space.

    Montebello Decision

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the current position with regard to SACEUR's 1985 proposals to implement the Montebello decision.

    As part of the continuing process of reviewing NATO's nuclear force requirements, NATO Defence Ministers at the 1983 nuclear planning group meeting in Montebello examined the question of the future size and composition of NATO's theatre nuclear stockpile and agreed both to a reduction of 1,400 warheads from NATO's land-based nuclear stockpile in Europe and on the need for improvements to ensure the continuing effectiveness, responsiveness and survivability of remaining systems. SACEUR was asked to come forward with proposals for implementing this decision and his recommendations were presented to the nuclear planning group Minister at their meeting in Luxembourg in March 1985.The reduction in warheads has been completed. Recommendations for improvements are being pursued by SACEUR with the nations concerned, and progress with implementation is being kept under review by the nuclear planning group. The details of the recommendations as they affect individual countries are classified, but in broad terms they include the deployment of a tactical air-to-surface missile, the deployment of a follow on to Lance, the introduction of improved nuclear artillery shells, and the continued modernisation of NATO's dual-capable aircraft. No decisions on the specific modernisation measures addressed by SACEUR to the United Kingdom have yet been taken.Other measures called for by SACEUR involve the correction of some maldeployments of nuclear forces and improvements in their effectiveness, survivability and command and control. In this context the United Kingdom is withdrawing completely from the 8 in nuclear artillery role in order to concentrate resources on the 155 mm dual-capable gun now in service, as explained by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 23 July 1987 at column

    390.

    NATO Heads of Government at the summit on 2–3 March reaffirmed the long-standing policy of the Alliance, that it should continue to maintain

    "an appropriate mix of adequate and effective nuclear and conventional forces which will continue to be kept up to date where necessary".

    The United Kingdom will play its full part in this process.

    Armed Forces (Alcohol Abuse)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on measures to control alcohol abuse in the armed forces; whether non-alcoholic beers are stored in service bars; what is the ratio of alcoholic to nonalcoholic drinks stocked in service bars; and what is the price differential.

    Drunkenness is a specific offence under the service discipline Acts. If service personnel, whilst not committing actual drink related offences, become by regular heavy drinking a risk or burden to their service that is also regarded seriously.A series of alcohol education programmes, making use of pamphlets, films and lectures has been produced to alert all personnel to the dangers of abuse. Where abuse occurs, the aim is to rehabilitate abusers where this is possible. Adequate facilities for medical treatment are available. A range of deterrent administrative and disciplinary actions are also available and persistent offenders may be discharged.Stocking of service bars and the pricing of drinks are matters for mess committees or NAAFI managers and are not centrally directed by the Ministry of Defence, but nonalcoholic or low-alcohol beers and soft drinks would normally be available. The ratio of alcoholic to nonalcoholic drinks would depend on demand.

    Exercises

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list Royal Air Force participation in Maple Flag exercises in Canada since 1979, giving the number and type of Royal Air Force aircraft involved and dates of the exercise on each occasion.

    [holding answer 4 December 1987]: The information requested is as follows:

    YearDateAircraft involved
    1979128 April—12 May8 × Buccaneer
    2 × Jaguar
    1980114 April— 7 May8 × Harrier
    1981114 April—16 May8 × Buccaneer
    1982114 April—17 May8 × Harrier
    1983112 May—27 May8 × Buccaneer
    2 × Hercules
    198428 April—26 May8 × Harrier
    198527 April—25 May8 × Tornado
    198627 April—24 May8 × Harrier
    198727 April—25 May8 × Jaguar
    1 Precise central records are not available for the period before 1984 although the details given above are thought to be broadly accurate.

    Home Department

    Violent Crime

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will provide a table depicting the percentage change in violent crimes, by category, in all regions of the United Kingdom from 1979 to the latest available date.

    Statistics of notifiable offences recorded by the police, by type of offence and police force area, are published in "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1979" (Cmnd 8098, table 32), and in the "Criminal Statistics Supplementary Tables Volume 3" (table S.3.1.) for each year from 1980 to 1986. Copies of these volumes are available in the Library. Recorded numbers of some types of violent offences are small and subject to appreciable year-to-year fluctuation so percentage changes calculated from them might be misleading.

    Safe City Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which urban areas are to be initially targeted by the safe city schemes; and when they will commence.

    It is our intention over the next three years to establish some 20 "safer city" projects in areas selected from those which are currently urban programme areas. The participating areas will be chosen and announced after consultation with local interests in the areas concerned.

    Seaside Promenades

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to approve new byelaws regulating the use of seaside promenades; and if he will make a statement.

    Last month, Thanet district council submitted five draft schemes of byelaws for provisional approval. We will reply to the council as soon as possible, but there are a considerable number of other applications awaiting attention.

    Firearms

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many firearms certificates are at present held by owners in England and Wales.

    The latest available information relates to 31 December 1986 and is published in table 2 of the Home Office statistical bulletin, issue 2/88, "Statistics On The Operation Of The Firearms Act 1968", a copy of which is in the Library. Figures for the end of 1987 will be published in a similar bulletin later this year.

    Dogs

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Horne Department if he will give figures for the number of stray dogs reported to the police in England and Wales during 1985–86 and 1986–87.

    No central record is kept of the number of stray dogs reported to the police. The information requested could, therefore, be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many dogs were destroyed, annually, in England and Wales in each of the last 10 years.

    Dogs are destroyed by owners and by a wide variety of organisations and individuals. We have no information on the total numbers destroyed.

    Hounds (Organised Packs)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to make it a criminal offence to allow an organised pack of hounds To attack cats or dogs, with a range of fines and imprisonment available against the master of such hounds; and if he will make a statement.

    We are concerned about any unnecessary suffering which is caused to domestic animals. However, existing legislation — in particular the Dogs Act 1871, the Town Police Clauses Act 1847. the Metropolitan Police Act 1839—provides for the control of dangerous dogs. We have no plan to introduce further measures.

    Immigration (Entry Clearance)

    To ask the Secrertary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer by the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex on 22 February, Official Report, column 4, whether the 130 outstanding entry clearance applications included applications which had been referred to his Department by entry clearance officers but had not yet been allocated to an immigration office.

    The total of 130 outstanding entry clearance applications given in my previous answer referred to those cases which had been received from entry clearance officers abroad and had been passed to the immigration service to arrange interview. The number of applications made abroad which had not reached that stage is not recorded centrally under the location of the sponsors, and information in respect of the Birmingham area is therefore not readily obtainable.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Ethiopia

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criticism the United Kingdom's representative at the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva made about the human rights record of the Government of Ethiopia.

    My hon. Friend the Paliamentary Under-Secretary of State drew attention in his statement at the Commission on 18 February to the particular problem of long-term prisoners in Ethiopia. In a subsequent statement under the agenda item dealing with human rights violations in any part of the world, the United Kingdom representative again expressed our concern about the continued detention of long-term prisoners in Ethiopia, some of whom have been held without trial since 1974.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why Her Majesty's Government made no attempt to have Ethiopia included on the agenda of the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission recently convened in Geneva; and if he will make a statement.

    In 1986 the United Kingdom supported a draft resolution on Ethiopia tabled at the Commission by the United States which would formally have put the situation in Ethiopia on the Commission's agenda for its 1987 session. This resolution was defeated on a procedural motion. We have continued to raise the matter of long-term prisoners in Ethiopia in our statements at the Commission.

    Cnd (Representations)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament since the Washington summit of December 1987.

    [pursuant to his reply, 2 March 1988, c. 589]: I should have said that we have received one direct representation from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament since the Washington summit of December 1987.

    Employment

    Deaf People (Training Schemes)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the average number of hours of communication support required by a YTS trainee under the communication service for the deaf.

    Information on the average number of communication support required by YTS trainees is not available. Communication support is provided for a maximum of 500 hours per trainee over a two-year scheme. Trainees' use of this resource varies according to their individual needs.

    Enterprise Allowance Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give a regional breakdown of the number of people receiving payment under the enterprise allowance scheme.

    The number of people receiving the enterprise allowance at the end of February 1988 is shown below, by region.

    RegionRecipients
    South East11,951
    London10,085
    South West10,006
    West Midlands9,402
    East Midlands10,194
    Yorkshire and Humberside9,102
    North West14,330
    North5,118
    Wales5,863
    Scotland8,739
    Total94,790

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to increase the size of the payment under the enterprise allowance scheme.

    No. Demand is buoyant and £40 per week remains sufficient compensation for the loss of unemployment or supplementary benefit that occurs when an unemployed person starts up in business.

    Children

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to bring the pay of working children within the ambit of wages council legislation.

    Youth Training

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current provision made for young people to undertake part-time study whilst they are on a YTS programme.

    All YTS training programmes must include a minimum period of planned and directed learning away from the normal workplace and outside the day-to-day pressures of a job. Any study which is of direct relevance to a training programme may therefore be considered for inclusion as part of such "off-the-job" training. Trainees are also free to pursue additional studies outside YTS, and managing agents are encouraged to offer support by allowing time off to study and sit for examinations which would contribute to the training programme.

    Midland Professional Cleaning Services Ltd, Wolverhampton

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if any applications for payments in lieu of wages from the insolvency fund have been accepted by former employees of Midland Professional Cleaning Services Ltd. of Stewart Street, Wolverhampton.

    No applications are at present being considered. I understand the company is not formally insolvent.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Agricultural Development And Advisory Service

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he proposes to make changes in the prices charged by the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service for its commercial services.

    I have instructed ADAS that the prices it charges for its commercial services should be adjusted from time to time taking account of changes in costs, the competitive position in the market place as well, of course, as the legal requirement that such charges must be reasonable. The first adjustments will be made from the beginning of the 1988–89 financial year.The most familiar ADAS charges are perhaps those for advice. For these the hourly charge will remain at £28 (plus VAT) for up to two hours of advice which will help protect smaller farmers. However, if a contract necessitates over two hours of advisers' time, charges for the excess period over two hours will, from 1 April 1988, be levied at a rate of £30 (plus VAT) per hour.

    Drainage Authorities

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to issue revised guidelines to drainage authorities on discharging their environmental and conservation responsibilities.

    The revised guidelines, issued jointly by the Minister and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales, are being distributed to land drainage bodies and conservation organisations today. Copies have also been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.The guidelines have been completely revised in the light of a thoroughgoing review of the experience of the past five years and I should like to put on record our gratitude to the many organisations both in the fields of conservation and of land drainage whose assistance has been of such value in the drawing up of the new guidelines. My colleagues and I are confident that the strengthened and consolidated guidance that we are publishing today will serve to enable drainage authorities to proceed with their necessary work in ways that will further the conservation interest and enhance environmental features affected by these operations. Much progress has been made in this direction in recent years and we must see to it that we build on what has been achieved. The new guidelines are central to this. I commend them to drainage and conservation organisations alike.

    Bass

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress is being made towards the European Economic Community accepting a bass quota.

    There are no proposals for establishing an EC bass quota. The European Commission has been informed of the Government's proposals for the management of the bass fishery and if these are confirmed in the light of our consultations with the industry, we shall be asking the Commission to propose an increase in the Community minimum landing size for bass to 36 cm.

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how he intends to ensure that the proposed bass regulations prevent the French from fishing the adult spawning stock in mid-channel.

    Waste Disposal

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has on the disposal of potassium waste by France and Belgium in the English channel; what action he proposes to take; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 17 March 1988]: From our contacts with the relevant authorities in France and Belgium and with the secretariat to the Oslo convention on sea disposal, it has been established that up to 750 tonnes of salt wastes from the potassium mining industry were disposed of at sea by France last month on an experimental basis, at a point five miles north of Dunkirk, and some 28 miles from the nearest United Kingdom coast. This disposal will be discussed at next week's meeting of the Oslo commission's standing committee for scientific advice when more detailed information on its likely environmental impact, and on any plans for future disposals of this nature, will be sought from the French authorities.

    J R Perkes And Son, Brixham

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will now reply to the hon. Member for South Hams' letter of 9 February asking him to deal, as a matter of urgency, with the matter of J. R. Perkes and Son, Brixham fishermen, and requesting a meeting.

    [holding answer 18 March 1988]: I have been giving very careful consideration to the matter of J. R. Perkes and Son about which my hon. Friend the Member for South Hams wrote to me on 9 February, and I hope to be able to reply to my hon. Friend very shortly.

    Scotland

    Rating Reform

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will amend his recent regulations in relation to the community charge to give individuals who appear on the community charge register the option as to whether or not they would like their name and address to be sold;(2) if he will amend his recent regulations in relation to the community charge so that individuals who appear on the community charge register will be told of the fact that their name and address may be sold without their knowledge or consent.

    I refer to the answers I gave on 3 November 1987 at columns 550–51, on 28 January 1988 at column 325 and on 6 July at column 35. My right hon. and learned Friend is still considering these matters. Pending that consideration, I do not consider that formal notification to individuals of the present position is required.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he has taken to account for the problems of adult literacy, dyslexia or English as a second language when producing the regulations in relation to the community charge.

    The notification and inquiry forms prescribed in the Community Charges (Registration) (Scotland) Regulations 1988 have been made as simple and straightforward as possible in the light of comments made on the draft regulations.

    Labour Statistics

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, if he will give the latest unemployment figures for Motherwell.

    On 11 February 1988 the number of unemployed claimants in Motherwell district was 10,314.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the latest unemployment figures for Motherwell, North.

    On 11 February 1988 the number of unemployed claimants in the Motherwell, North parliamentary constituency was 5,689.

    Incontinence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give his latest estimate of the number of males and females in Scotland who suffer from incontinence; if he will express this figure in percentage terms; and if he will make a statement.

    Inverclyde Initiative

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow on Friday 8 March, Official Report, column 135, he will break down the figure for

    Penalties imposed
    Year toNumber of cases heardStruck offSuspendedFinedPractising certificate restrictedCase dismissed (no finding)
    31 October 198638121877
    31 October 198731121463
    The number of cases heard does not necessarily correspond to the total number of penalties imposed. More than one case may be dealt with by a single penalty.

    Grant Thornton

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 11 March, Official Report, column 384, what information he has as to when Messrs Grant Thornton were appointed.

    Scottish Development Agency expenditure of £8·75 million on the Inverclyde initiative, showing on what it has been spent.

    The expenditure of £8·75 million by the Scottish Development Agency on the Inverclyde initiative is detailed in the table:

    £ million
    Pre-project development studies and development grants2·20
    Factory Building0·50
    Environmental Improvements2·55
    Land acquisition3·50

    Solicitors (Code Of Practice)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether it is his intention to introduce legislation to implement the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Legal Services in relation to a legally binding code of ethics and practice for solicitors in Scotland.

    No. I understand that the Law Society of Scotland is committed to the preparation and early publication of guidance on professional standards and ethics.

    Lay Observer

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cases were referred to the Lay Observer in 1987; in how many of these she found some justifiable complaint against the Law Society in its dealing with complaints; and what were the comparable figures in 1986.

    The Lay Observer for Scotland handled 248 cases in 1987 and in 62 of these she criticised aspects of the handling of the complaint by the Law Society of Scotland. The comparable figures in 1986 were 232 and 43 respectively.

    Solicitors Discipline Tribunal

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cases were heard by the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal in 1987; what were the results of the cases heard; and what were the comparable figures in 1986.

    I understand that Grant Thornton were engaged in December 1987 by health board general managers acting jointly.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 10 March, Official Report, column 384, how much money from public funds has been paid to Grant Thornton; and in respect of what services.

    Grant Thornton were engaged by health board general managers acting jointly to provide assistance to boards in the preparation of tender documents and in the financial and technical vetting of major firms of contractors. The fee for these services is a matter covered by commercial confidentiality.

    Radioactive Discharges

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list all the non-nuclear industrial sites in Scotland making authorised discharges of radioactive substances into the atmosphere.

    [holding answer 11 March 1988]: The following are authorised by the Scottish Development Department to discharge low level gaseous waste to the atmosphere:

    National Semiconductors (UK) Ltd., Larkfield Industrial Estate, Greenock.
    Crowther Arts Display Ltd., 5 Hawbank Road, College Milton North, East Kilbride.
    Ferranti Ltd., Dunsinane Avenue, Dundee.
    Organon Laboratories Ltd., Newhouse Industrial Estate, Newhouse, Lanarkshire.
    ICI plc in respect of the Brae B platform in the North Sea.
    In addition the South of Scotland Electricity Board is authorised to burn, at its power stations at Longannet and Inverkip, waste oil contaminated with trace amounts of radioactivity; authorisations are held also by Aberdeen and Dundee district councils permitting them to burn combustible low-level radioactive wastes in their waste disposal incinerators.In all the cases, the limits of discharge permitted by the authorisations are very low and the quantities of radioactivity being released to atmosphere are entirely negligible in radiological terms.
    Population (1986)1Non-industrial Civil Service (1 April 1987)
    RegionNumber ('000s)PercentageNumber2Percentage
    Scotland5,1219·350,21410·1
    Northern3,0805·631,3596·3
    North West6,37411·550,90210·2
    Yorkshire/Humberside4,8998·931,0556·2
    East Midlands3,9207·120,1234·1
    West Midlands5,1819·429,8766–0
    East Anglia1,9923·613,3902·7
    South East17,26431,3195,82639·4
    South West4,5438·247,0319·5
    Wales2,8215·127,3365·5
    Great Britain55,196100·0497,112100·0

    Source:

    1. Population Estimates, Scotland, 1986; Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys Monitor PM 87/1

    2. Full time equivalents.

    Income Tax

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has about the starting rates and top rates of income tax and the level of gross income at which those rates become payable in (a)

    National Finance

    Gross Domestic Product

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the latest comparative figures for levels of gross domestic product per capita in each of the United Kingdom regions, taking the figure for the United Kingdom as a whole to be 100.

    [holding answer 18 March 1988]: I refer the hon. Member to the November 1987 edition of Economic Trends. The latest figures are available on page 86 of that document.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the latest figures for levels of gross domestic product per capita in each of the United Kingdom regions, including the continental shelf.

    [holding answer, 18 March 1988]: I refer the hon. Member to the November 1987 edition of Economic Trends which presents the latest available data. As the November edition of Economic Trends states, it is not possible to include the continental shelf in the calculation of regional GDP per capita figures.

    Civil Service Redeployment

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update table 1(4) in annex A of the Hardman report, Cmnd. 5322, on Civil Service redeployment.

    [holding answer 18 March 1988]: Information on the division between headquarters and non-headquarters staff is no longer held centrally. The latest available figures for population by region and for non-industrial Civil Servants are as follows:Canada,

    (b) France, (c) Germany, (d) Italy, (e) Japan and (f) the United States of America, for a married couple with no children.

    [pursuant to his reply, 16 March 1988, c. 566–68]: I regret that the figure for the level of gross income at which the top rate of tax becomes payable in the United Kingdom was wrongly given as £19,301. The figure is £23,396. The revised table is as follows:

    Country

    Starting rate Per cent.

    Starting rate threshold (£)

    Top rate

    Top rate threshold (£)

    Canada25·55,00343·525,000
    France12·86,69856·853,463
    Germany22·03,43956·065,670
    Italy22·03,35862·0253,924
    Japan17·54,28678·0152,607
    United States of America15·05,08634·722,086
    United Kingdom25·04,09640·023,396

    Attorney-General

    Judges

    To ask the Attorney-General how many judges in England and Wales are (a) from ethnic minorities and (b) women; and what is the total number of judges in England and Wales.

    No records are kept of the ethnic origin of members of the judiciary. As at 16 March 1988, there were 20 women judges, comprising one Lord Justice of Appeal, two High Court Judges and 17 circuit judges. The total number of Court of Appeal, High Court and circuit judges in England and Wales is at present 500.

    Magistrates

    To ask the Attorney-General what is the total number of magistrates in England and Wales; and how many are (a) members of ethnic minorities and (b) women.

    At January 1988 there were 27,846 active lay magistrates, of whom 11,934 were women. There are currently 48 metropolitan stipendiary magistrates of whom eight are women and 14 provincial stipendiary magistrates, of whom none are women.No records are kept of the racial origins of magistrates, but surveys conducted last year revealed that 528 lay magistrates were members of an ethnic minority.

    Hunts (Trespass)

    To ask the Attorney-General what is his prosecution policy in respect of alleged offences of criminal trespass by hunts on British Rail land.

    The prosecution policy of the Crown prosecution service, in respect of all offences prosecuted by that service, is contained in the code for Crown prosecutors, which is issued pursuant to section 10 of the Prosecution of Offences Act, 1985.

    Prime Minister

    Education Testing (Leak Of Letter)

    To ask the Prime Minister if, pursuant to her answer of 14 March, she will set up an inquiry to discover the source of the leak of a letter from Mr. Paul Gray to Mr. Tom Jeffrey on educational testing.

    I have nothing to add to my reply to the hon. Gentleman on 14 March, at column 425.

    Biwater

    To ask the Prime Minister on what assessment of Biwater's previous record in the supply of waterworks to Nigeria she gave Biwater her personal backing in the negotiations for a contract to supply Malaysia with similar equipment.

    One of the main purposes of my visits abroad is to support the efforts of reputable British companies to secure contracts. The Biwater contract was therefore raised in discussion with Ministers on my visit to Malaysia in 1985.

    Energy

    South Normanton Depot

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will issue a direction to British Coal to name the consortium and the cost involved in the purchase of south Normanton depot and other transport undertakings including the mobile plants in the Nottinghamshire coalfield.

    No; these are management matters for the British Coal Corporation.

    "Bribes, Brothels And Nuclear Waste"

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will seek to obtain a copy of the transcript of the Thames Television programme "This Week" entitled "Bribes, Brothels and Nuclear Waste" broadcast on 10 March for his departmental library.

    Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what are his plans for the Berkeley nuclear laboratories following plans for the privatisation of the electricity supply industry; and if he will make a statement.

    Nuclear Power Stations (Decommissioning)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions he has had with the Central Electricity Generating Board about withdrawal of funds from research into the decommissioning of nuclear power stations; and if he will take steps to prevent any delay in the Sellafield research project.

    The CEGB's decision to withdraw its contribution towards the cost of UKAEA research into decommissioning of the Windscale advanced gas cooled reactor is a management matter for the board. The Department will be discussing with UKAEA the implications of the CEGB's decision in the course of negotiations on the authority's R and D programme.

    Dounreay

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether Dounreay has been in receipt of any consignments of nuclear waste (a) before May 1979 and (b) since May 1979.

    [holding answer 14 March 1988]: Since 1986, some 423 cu m of wastes arising from the development of fast reactor fuels at Sellafield have been moved to Dounreay. Prior to 1986 very small quantities of waste totalling less than 7 cu m and arising mainly from work undertaken in support of the Dounreay programme were transferred from other UK AEA sites to Dounreay. Small quantities of waste are transferred regularly to Dounreay from the adjacent Vulcan naval reactor test establishment.

    Nuclear Power

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards proposals by the Central Electricity Generating Board to build new nuclear generating capacity, in the context of the overall development of national electricity supplies.

    [pursuant to his reply 17 December 1987, c. 639–640]: It appears to me, on the information so far available to me, that the following economic, safety, environmental and planning matters are likely to be relevant to my consideration of the CEGB's application to construct a pressurised water reactor at Hinkley Point:

  • (1) the applicant's requirement for the power station (particularly in the light of Government policy as set out in the answer given on 17 December 1987 and in the White Paper "Privatising Electricity" (Cm. 322), in particular paragraphs 44–49);
  • (2) the safety feature of the design, construction and operation of the station, taking into account the conclusions on the safety of the Sizewell B PWR contained in the report of Sir Frank Layfield QC and the views of the nuclear installations inspectorate, as representing the Health and Safety Executive (the licensing authority);
  • (3) the on-site management of radioactive waste arising from the station and radioactive discharges from the station to the environment in the light of the views of the authorising Departments; and
  • (4) the implications of the proposed development (including construction, operation and decommissioning) for: (a) agriculture and fisheries; (b) the local economy including employment; (c) water supply and disposal; (d) transport requirements; (e) coast protection and sea defences; (f) housing and public services generally; (g) local amenities and in particular areas of special landscape value or nature conservation interest; (h) emergency arrangements.
  • I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Mr. Michael Barnes, QC, to act as inspector at the public inquiry. The inspector will hold a first pre-inquiry meeting, starting on 1 June 1988, at the Somerset college of agriculture and horticulture at Cannington near Hinkley Point and it is expected that a second pre-inquiry meeting will be held in the period 12–14 July 1988.I consider it impracticable to open a major inquiry of this kind in a busy holiday area during the season. The inquiry is therefore expected to open on 4 October 1988, the earliest date I consider practicable. Further details about the second pre-inquiry meeting and the inquiry itself, including details of the times and places, will be announced at a later date.The inquiry will also consider the CEGB's separate application for my consent to realign the final span of each of the Hinkley Point-Melksham and Hinkley Point-Taunton double circut of 400 kV overhead transmission lines.The electricity generating stations and overhead lines (inquiries procedure) rules 1987 will apply to the inquiry. The code of practice "Electricity Generating Stations and Overhead Lines — Preparing for Major Inquiries in England and Wales" will also apply. I have placed a copy of the code of practice in the Libraries of both Houses.

    Trade And Industry

    Support For Design Scheme (Northern Ireland)

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what proposals he has to replace the support for design scheme in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

    I am discussing the implications of the termination of the support for design scheme with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. An announcement will he made in due course.

    Consultative Documents

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make it his policy that responses received to consultative documents issued by his Department be made publicly available in his Department's library, except where the respondent has specifically asked that this not be done; and if he will arrange for this procedure to be made clear when future consultative documents are issued.

    No. Frank expression of views could be inhibited if there were a presumption in favour of publication. But I continue to be ready to do so in appropriate cases and when the respondent has explicitly agreed to publication.

    Film Industry

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the turnover of the British film industry in 1986–87, exclusive of overseas earnings.

    Company Registrations

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many new company registrations there have been in Yorkshire and Humberside to the nearest convenient date since 1983.

    The number of companies which presently have their registered offices in Yorkshire and Humberside and which were incorporated in the period 1983 to 1986 is 15,096. To date 2,499 companies formed during 1987 have registered offices in Yorkshire and Humberside. This figure may change appreciably over the next few months as many companies are bought off-the-shelf from registration agents and their address in this early period is therefore the address of these agents.

    Country Of Origin Labelling

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he proposes to introduce any changes regarding country of origin requirements in the labelling of manufactured goods; and if he will make a statement.

    Provision is made in the Consumer Protection Act 1987 for the repeal of the Trade Description Act 1972 which is concerned with the origin marking of imported goods generally. I propose to introduce successor requirements, by means of an order under section 8 of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 at the same time as effect is given to the repeal of the 1972 Act and to this end my Department is currently considering paper and draft order issued on 18 December last.

    Departmental Accommodation

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will give the accommodation costs per square metre of his Department's buildings in London at (a) 1–19 Victoria street, (b) Allington towers, (c) Ashdown house and (d) Kingsgate house; and how many civil servants are employed in each location.

    Year and sponsoring organisationOther countries visited
    1982
    London Chamber of Commerce
    North of England Development Council
    Engineering Industries Association
    Cardiff Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    City of Westminster Chamber of Commerce
    Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    Association of British Offshore Industry
    Export-IT (British Information Technology Export Organisation)
    Federation of Sussex Industries and Chamber of Commerce
    1983
    Birmingham Chamber of Industry and Commerce
    Defence Manufacturers AssociationDubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE
    London Chamber of Commerce
    Manchester Chamber of Commerce and IndustryYemen Arab Republic
    Engineering Industries Association
    Export-IT (British Information Technology Export Organisation)
    Engineerng Industries Association
    British Food Export CouncilKuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Yemen
    Federation of Sussex Industries and Chamber of Commerce
    1984
    British Water Industries Group
    London Chamber of Commerce
    Birmingham Chamber of Industry and Commerce
    British Food Export CouncilGulf States
    Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
    1985
    London Chamber of Commerce
    Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd.
    Birmingham Chamber of Industry and Commerce
    Engineering Industries AssociationBahrain
    Export-IT (British Information Technology Export Organisation)
    Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
    British Health-Care Export Council
    1986
    British Food Export CouncilMiddle East scatter, Gulf States scatter
    Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    1987
    Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
    The Middle East Association

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer, given on 2 March at column 584 by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment. Details of accommodation costs on leasehold buildings are treated by the Property Services Agency as commercially confidential. The numbers currently employed in the buildings referred to are:

    LocationNumber
    1–19 Victoria Street1,101
    Allington Towers259
    Ashdown House783
    Kingsgate House672

    Saudi Arabia (Trade Missions)

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list in the Official Report the trade missions from the United Kingdom to Saudi Arabia since 1 January 1982, indicating (a) which received financial assistance from his Department, (b) the main organising bodies, (c) the purposes, and (d) the precise destination of each.

    The following trade missions have visited Saudi Arabia with DTI assistance since 1 January 1982:

    Year and sponsoring organisation

    Other countries visited

    Federation of Sussex Industries
    Birmingham Chamber of Industry and Commerce
    British Health-Care Export Council
    Croydon Chamber of Commerce and IndustryOman

    1988

    BEAMA (Federation of British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers Association)Dubai, Kuwait
    London Chamber of Commerce
    Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

    The purpose of each mission was the promotion of British exports.

    Information about missions since 1982 receiving no DTI financial assistance is not readily available.

    Airbus

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many aircraft have been firmly ordered and how many options have been secured since his Department announced official support for the A330 and A340 aircraft; and if he will make a statement.

    As at 15 March 1988, the total number of commitments for the Airbus A330–340 was 145 aircraft. As the programme is still in its early stages, figures broken down between the A330 and the A340, and between firm orders and options, are not available.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many aircraft have been firmly ordered and how many options have been secured since his Department announced official support for the A320 aircraft; and if he will make a statement.

    As at 15 March 1988, 294 firm orders and 189 options had been placed for the Airbus A320 aircraft.

    Departmental Logos

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make it his policy that in redesigning logos, and so on for his Department, he will continue to use the historical emblem of the Board of Trade of which the Secretary of State is President.

    The historical emblem of the Board of Trade will continue to be used in selected areas where it is particularly appropriate, but in the majority of cases the new DTI logo will be employed. This logo covers all the activities of the Department of Trade and Industry rather than those of just one of the predecessor Departments. It has been introduced to support the major restructuring of DTI policies set out in the White Paper "DTI—the department for Enterprise" which was presented to Parliament on 12 January 1988.

    Export Credits Guarantee Department

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will now make it his practice to answer questions concerning the Export Credits Guarantee Department's involvement in (a) particular transactions and (b) particular countries.

    It has been the policy of successive Administrations not to make public the terms under which guarantees issued by the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) are made available for particular markets nor to disclose details of the support provided by ECGD for individual transactions. Such disclosure of commercially confidential information could prejudice the negotiating position of the United Kingdom exporters. Disclosure of the ECGD's assessment of other countries' creditworthiness could damage relationships between Her Majesty's Government and the Government concerned.

    Animal Skins

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many (a) dog pelts and (b) cat skins were exported in each of the last five years and to which main countries; what checks are made on the sources of such skins, with particular regard to their legality; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 4 March 1988]: Statistics on the export of dog pelts and cat skins, other than wild feline skins, are not available. No checks are made on the sources of such skins.

    Wales

    Neonatal Facilities

    12.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the provision of neonatal facilities in hospitals in Wales.

    I am pleased that improvements in services for newly born babies and their mothers have been accompanied by a dramatic reduction in the perinatal mortality rate in Wales, which has fallen from 15·6 per 1,000 births in 1979 to 10·3 in 1986.

    Inward Investment

    18.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give a county by county break-down of inward investment in Wales for the last year for which full figures are available.

    The total recorded number of inward investment projects secured for Wales during 1987 was 113, involving investment of £244 million. I have arranged for a breakdown by county to be placed in the Library of the House.

    Health Disadvantage

    19.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he plans to take to compensate for the relative disadvantages in health experienced by residents of (a) Mid-Glamorgan and (b) other parts of Wales.

    Relative health needs are taken account of in the formulae used in determining the allocation of resources to district health authorities.

    Tourism And Leisure

    20.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what new proposals he has to support or initiate measures to increase jobs in the tourist and leisure industries in (a) Gwent and (b) Wales.

    The increase in resources we have made available for the Wales tourist board and assistance announced under the Enterprise Wales package will help the tourist industry create jobs in all parts of Wales.

    A55 (Chester-Bangor)

    21.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what further schemes are required to complete the dualling of the A55 between Chester and Bangor; and if he will make a statement.

    Five schemes are under construction. Four further schemes—the Traveller's Inn, Pen-Y-Clip, Aber and Rhaullt Hill improvements—are planned. Dualling is expected to be completed in the early 1990s.

    Labour Statistics

    22.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people were (a) unemployed and (b) employed in Wales in May 1979; and what are the latest figures.

    On a seaonally adjusted basis, there were 73,100 and 136,700 unemployed claimants in Wales in May 1979 and February 1988 respectively. At September 1979, there were 1,160,000 in employment in Wales. The comparable details for September 1987, the latest available, are 1,021,000.

    25.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what are the latest unadjusted figures for unemployment in (a) Newport, (b) Gwent and (c) Wales; and if he will give the equivalent figures for 1979 on the most closely comparable basis.

    On 11 February 1988, the number of unemployed claimants in Newport district, Gwent and Wales were 7,841, 22,923 and 145,458 respectively. Unadjusted figures for 1979 are not available on a basis that enables a valid comparison to be made.

    Council House Building

    23.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many council homes were started in 1987 in Wales; and how many were completed.

    A total of 908 dwellings were started by local authorities in Wales in 1987 and 795 were completed.

    Welsh Language

    24.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to promote the use of Welsh in official business.

    This is one of several issues which the working group, established by my right hon. Friend under my chairmanship, is considering.

    Lamb (Radioactivity)

    26.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will set up an inquiry into the alleged sale to the public of radioactive lamb above the official safety levels.

    No. I am satisfied that controls on the movement and slaughter of sheep have ensured that there has been no threat to public safety.

    Kidney Dialysis

    27.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to expand kidney dialysis treatment in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

    Kidney dialysis treatment in Wales has expanded rapidly under this Government, and the acceptance rate for new patients is now well above the average for the United Kingdom. Further progress will be made this year with the construction of two more subsidiary renal units in south-east Wales and an expansion of the Morriston hospital unit.

    Consultative Documents

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy that responses received to consultative documents issued by his Department be made publicly available in his Department's library, except where the respondent has specifically asked that this not be done; and if he will arrange for this procedure to be made clear when future consultative documents are issued.

    It is already the policy of my Department to make responses to consultative documents available to the public on request except where a respondent has specifically asked for this not to be done. These arrangements are made clear when consultative documents are issued.

    Aids

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what special arrangements have been made for the treatment of persons suffering from AIDS; and if he will make a statement.

    In December 1985 all district health authorities were encouraged to establish AIDS coordinating teams to ensure the proper management of the response to AIDS in their areas, and to ensure that treatment and care facilities were available for those who needed them. In May 1987 district health authorities were asked to prepare district operational plans on AIDS. Planning guidelines were published which contained advice on the arrangements for the treatment of AIDS sufferers including the need to consider the provision of facilities for treatment in hospital and in the community. The Welsh Office has responded to draft plans received from all authorities. Final plans are due to be submitted by 1 April 1988.

    School-Industry Links

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he proposes to take to strengthen contacts and co-operation between senior classes in Welsh comprehensive schools and local industries; and if he will make a statement.

    A Welsh Office survey conducted last year indicated that there was a generally high incidence of school-industry interaction in Wales. This is an encouraging base on which to bring in new initiatives on top of existing ones, such as general work experience currently provided through schools, local authorities, TVEI and link bodies. On 13 January I announced the Enterprise Wales package, a significant and important element of which is the business and education initiative. An aim of the initiative is that, within two or three years, every young person in Wales should be given personal experience of the world of work during their last year in school.I am also exploring the possibilities of establishing one or more compacts in Wales, which would considerably strengthen links between schools and local industrial and commercial concerns. Finally "Working Together for a Better Future", the careers initiative launched last year in England and Wales, affirms the key place of careers education in the school curriculum, to inform school leavers in their choice of occupation, including careers in industry.

    Repair Grants

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he is taking to improve the position of elderly householders whose dwellings are in need of repair and whose grant applications have not yet been met.

    We are aware of the particular problems elderly home owners face and have made available substantial financial support to establish care and repair home improvement services to assist them in repairing and improving their homes. A number of the changes we have suggested to the home improvement grant arrangements could be of particular help to the elderly.

    Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from representatives of sufferers from myalgic encephalomyelitis; and if he will make a statement.

    In the past year we have received two representations from hon. Members, and an application from the national chairman of the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Association for grant-aid under section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968. We shall be making our decision on this application shortly.

    Incontinence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give his latest estimate of the number of males and females in Wales who suffer from incontinence; if he will express this figure in percentage terms; and if he will make a statement.

    Home Insulation Grants

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he has received any representations concerning the change in regulations affecting home insulation grants in Wales.

    Before the new arrangements for the homes insulation scheme were introduced our Department consulted the Association of District Councils in Wales. Two district councils have written to the Welsh Office since the introduction of the new scheme.

    Social Services

    Social Security Regulations

    28.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any estimate of the number of gainers and losers in Wales when the new social security regulations come into force in April.

    I regret that statistically reliable estimates for Wales only cannot be provided.

    Cohabitation Rule

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many women have been cut off from social security benefit as a result of the cohabitation rule in the following categories (a) women receiving widow's allowance, 60 plus years, (b) women receiving widow's allowance, under 60 years, (c) women receiving supplementary pension, 60 plus years and (d) women receiving supplementary allowance, under 60 years; and how many men have been cut off benefits, pensions and allowances as a result of the cohabitation rule.

    The information available is as follows, given for the latest possible date. Records of disqualification do not show the age and sex of the beneficiaries.Widow's benefit: 1,722 disqualifications in year ended December 1987.Supplementary benefit: 8,152 disqualifications in year ended November 1987.

  • (i) Widow's benefit records include recipients of war widows' benefit but exclude industrial widows' benefit for which records are not kept centrally and the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
  • (ii) Widow's benefit recipients over age 60 have concurrent title to retirement pension which does not carry a similar disqualification.
  • Medical Treatment (Reciprocal Arrangements)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services which countries have reciprocal arrangements with the United Kingdom for free medical treatment of their nationals.

    Normally, arrangements for reciprocal health care between countries do not provide for free treatment but for treatment to be provided to visitors to the host country on the same basis as to residents of that country. The Department's information leaflet SA41 "The Traveller's Guide to Health: Before You Go" lists those countries and territories with which we have reciprocal agreements on pages 18 to 19 and 24 to 27. Copies of this leaflet, and its companion SA40 "While You're Away", have been placed in the Library and are available from DHSS local offices, and travel agents and a number of other outlets.

    Computer Purchases

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to introduce greater accountability for computer purchasing by the health regions; and if he will make a statement.

    Decisions relating to the purchase of computer equipment and any other goods and services are for local health authority management to take, having regard to value for money. Such decisions are subject to normal audit scrutiny.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to introduce compulsory tendering for all National Health Service computer equipment costing over £10,000; and if he will make a statement.

    The decision on what equipment to purchase and how to purchase it is a matter for individual health authorities, having regard to their standing financial instructions and value for money. The Department has, however, recently issued guidance which draws attention to current public purchasing policy, which recommends the use of competitive tendering.

    Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham (Radiology System)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services which companies tendered for the supply of a computerised radiology system for the Queens medical centre, Nottingham; which system was requested by the medical staff at the centre; on what basis the contract was awarded to Datamed; what operational experience the Datamed system had; what assessment was made of the ability of HM Systems to provide the service; and if he will make a statement.

    The following companies tendered for the supply of the Queens medical centre radiology system:

    • Datamed
    • AJR Systems (now HM Systems)
    • Guardian
    • SIFO
    I understand that the medical staff at the centre were fully consulted during the procurement process and were satisfied with the decision to proceed with the successful company. The Datamed system was selected on the basis that, while a new development, the operating system it employed was compatible with other computing developments within the region and the company offered comprehensive support arrangements. The solution proposed by HM Systems was considered against the same criteria as those for Datamed.I further understand that a number of districts within the Trent region are now using the Datamed system, and several others are considering its use.

    Aids

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he has any plans to revise upwards the official figures for deaths from AIDS in the light of the evidence given to a recent conference on AIDS by Dr. Anna McCormick, senior medical statistician at the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys; and if he will make a statement.

    We are aware of Dr. McCormick's interesting study and we understand that a full report will be published shortly. The current system of voluntary reporting of cases of AIDS that meet the internationally accepted definition of AIDS is working well. If this system were extended to include other HIV-related deaths, the United Kingdom's system would then not be consistent with that used in other countries. The reporting arrangements for AIDS and other HIV-related deaths are being kept under review.

    London Postgraduate Teaching Hospitals

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will now announce details of the appointment and reappointment of chairmen of district health authorities and of the special health authorities for the London postgraduate teaching hospitals from 1 April.

    I am placing in the Library a list of the appointments made with effect from 1 April.

    Incontinence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give his latest estimate of the number of males and females in England who suffer from incontinence; if he will express this figure in percentage terms; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to him on 25 February 1988 at column 294–5.The epidemiological survey conducted by the Medical Research Council's epidemiology and medical care unit, which is the latest source of information available, was completed in 1978 and was part of a 10-year survey on incontinence. I regret that there are no figures to show the prevalence of incontinence in England alone, nor is it possible to give details in the form requested.However, the Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys is currently carrying out a major survey of the numbers, circumstances and needs of disabled people. The results, which will include statistics on incontinence, will be published in a series of reports starting later this year.

    Medicines (Raw Materials)