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Written Answers

Volume 130: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1988

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 29 March 1988

Environment

Ec (Non-Quota Textile Scheme)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what money is available for allocation in the final round of bids under the European regional development fund non-quota textile allocations scheme; what bids have been submitted for consideration; and if he will make a statement.

:£13·2 million of grant remains available under the textile non-quota special measure, for which applications worth £4·3 million have been received. £37·9 million of grant has already been awarded under this measure.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals there are for an EEC scheme to replace the European regional development fund non-quota textile scheme on its expiry.

I have been asked to reply.None. However, as stated in my answer on 3 March, at columns

641–42, to which I would refer the hon. Member, small and medium sized firms throughout Great Britain may now apply for consultancy grants under my Department's enterprise initiative. In the urban programme area of Burnley these are available at the higher (two thirds) rate.

Chlorofluorocarbons

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on levels of production of (a) CFC 11, (b) CFC 12, (c) CFC 13 and (d) CFC 14 for each year since 1975 in (i) the EEC, (ii) the United States of America and (iii) the rest of the world.

Following is information on production of (a) CFC 11 and 12 and (b) CFC 113 and 114 in the European Community, the United States and globally.

Kilotonnes
(a)(b)
CFC 11/12CFC 113/114
ECUSWorldECUS1World
1975n.a.n.a.695n.a.n.a.n.a.
1976326n.a.7512431n.a.
1977319n.a.7032437n.a.
1978307n.a681n.a.39n.a.
1979304209647n.a.50n.a.
1980296206640n.a.57n.a.
1981300221638n.a.57n.a.
1982289180599n.a.57n.a.
1983310207647n.a.57n.a.
19843222376945468n.a.
19853362027036473158
19863722357486660185
1 CFC 113 only.

Sources:

(i) EC: European Council of Chemical Manufacturers' Federation (CEFIC). No figures for CFC 113–114 mailable between 1978 and 1983.

(ii) US: 1979–85: "Product Uses and Market Trends for Potential Ozone Depleting Substances 1985–2000" — Rand Corporation 1986. 1980 figures are United Kingdom industry estimates.

(iii) World: CFC 11/12: Chemical Manufacturers' Association—do not include Eastern bloc countries. CFC 113/114: 1985 figures: Rand Corporation. 1986 figures are United Kingdom industry estimates.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to sales of (a) CFC 11, (b) CFC 12, (c) CFC 113 and (d) CFC 114 in (i) the United Kingdom, (ii) the EEC, (iii) the United States of America and (iv) the rest of the world, for each year since 1975.

Global sales of CFCs may be taken as roughly equivalent to the global production figures which I am giving in response to another question by the hon. Member. Separate figures are not available for the United States or (since the EC took collective action on CFCs in 1980) for the United Kingdom. Sales within the EC are as follows:

Kilotonnes
(a)(b)
CFC 11/12CFC 113/114
1975n.a.n.a.
197624418
197723319
1978231n.a.
1979220n.a.
1980217n.a.
1981210n.a.
1982207n.a.
1983216n.a.
198421839
198522844
198625948

Source:

European Council of Chemical Manufacturers' Federations (CEFIC). No figures for CFC 113/114 available between 1978 and 1983. All figures exclude exports outside the EC.

Pollution Paper No 15

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to commission research to update the findings of his Department's pollution paper No. 15 of 1979; and if he will make a statement.

Pollution paper 15, published in 1979, reviewed research on chlorofluorocarbons and their effect on stratospheric ozone.The Department now supports a broadly based programme of research into stratospheric ozone; I refer the hon. Member to my replies of 2 November 1987, at column

437, and 17 March 1988, at column 645. In addition, the stratospheric ozone review group presented an assessment of our current understanding (which updates pollution paper 15) to the Department last August. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library of the House. A follow-up report from it is due this autumn.

Rockwool And Glasswool Fibre

To ask the Secretary of State for Ihe Environment what information he has on the cancer risks of rockwool and glasswool fibre padding; how many houses have this material installed; what steps he is taking to minimise any risk; and if he will make a statement.

I refer to the reply by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) on 1 December 1987, at column 551, on the health risks to householders from man-made mineral fibre (MMMF) loft insulation. Rockwool and glasswool fibre padding are forms of MMMF widely used for loft insulation. They are also used in new buildings for cavity wall insulation. Only limited information is available on rockwool and glasswool cavity wall insulation but this indicates that the risk to health from them is of no more consequence than that from loft insulation. Information from Audits Great Britain Ltd. suggests that at the end of 1986 14 million households at most had these materials installed as loft insulation. The Department has no information on the number of houses with rockwool or glasswool cavity wall insulation. The risk to health from these materials is extremely small, but people handling them are advised to wear a face mask conforming to BS 6016 or BS 2091 to reduce the risks still further. The Secretary of State has published further advice in the booklet "All about loft, tank and pipe insulation," which is sent to persons seeking assistance under the homes insulation scheme.

Consultancy Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total amount spent by his Department in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

The Department's financial records relate to financial years. In 1986–87 DOE (Central) spent £5·7 million on management and other consultancies (including computing). The forecast outturn for 1987–88 is £4·7 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total amount spent by the Property Services Agency in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

Expenditure by the Property Services Agency, on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases, in 1987 was £3,572,487.

Local Authorities (Superannuation Funds)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to table regulations allowing local authorities to charge administrative expenses of superannuation funds directly to those funds; and if he will make a statement.

The proposal to charge the administration expenses of local government superannuation funds to those funds was the subject of statutory consultations with representatives of local government and others in 1987. In the light of those consultations my right hon. Friend expects to make later this year the amending regulation effective from 1 April 1986 charging the above expenses to the funds.

Rnad, Coulport

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment of what material the floating jetty for the RNAD, Coulport, is to be constructed; and if he will make a statement.

Tenderers are free to make offers using either concrete or steel for the pontoons.

Chemical Warfare Research (Marmosets)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information is available on attempts by the Government of the Netherlands to secure marmosets from the United Kingdom for the purpose of chemical warfare research; and if he proposes to take steps to prevent such animals being exported for such purposes.

The Department has no information on attempts by the Government of the Netherlands to secure marmosets from the United Kingdom for the purpose of chemical warfare research.

Litter

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what specific proposals and projects are currently in operation to combat littering in the urban centres of the north-east.

Projects currently in operation to combat littering in the north-east include Operation Clean-up at Middlesbrough under the urban programme and Tidy Britain Group's projects on cleaning and renovating the railway corridor between Newcastle and South Tyneside and cleaning areas on the River Tyne, together with a Tidy Up Middlesbrough campaign. The Tidy Britain Group has an ongoing programme to combat litter in collaboration with all sections of the community in all the urban centres of the north-east.

Rating Reform

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has yet completed his consideration of responses to the consultative paper "Non-Domestic Rates: Amendments to the Rating Legislation in England and Wales", published in July 1987; and if he will make a statement.

I have today written to the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) setting out the Government's conclusions, including some modifications to the Government's proposals in the light of consultees' views. These mainly concern the power to remit rates on grounds of hardship; local authorities' involvement in the determination of rateable values; the proposed limit on the period in which ratepayers may propose alterations to rateable values; the backdating of alterations to the valuation list; and the duty on local authorities to consult business ratepayers. I have placed copies of that letter in the Library. The changes will be given effect in the Local Government Finance Bill or in regulations made under it.

Waterways

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has received a response from the British Waterways Board to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on the maintenance of the boards' waterways; and if he will make a statement.

I am grateful to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission for its wide-ranging investigation of BWB. The board has carefully studied the Commission's report under its new chairman, Mr. David Ingman, and I am placing copies of its initial response in the Library of the House.The commission proposed a major programme of changes and improvements, some of which BWB has already begun or identified as necessary, for implementation over the next two to three years. Its recommendations cover the definition of maintenance standards and tasks, achieving the optimum balance between in-house work and the use of contractors or consultants, the development of procedures for project appraisal, the basis for allocating resources to individual waterways, BWB's freight operations, the raising of revenue both from leisure use and from BWB's estate, the management of BWB's direct labour force and salaried staff, and some aspects of management systems and structure. The Government broadly endorse the commission's findings.BWB has accepted most of the commission's recommendations and has set in hand the process of management change. Key elements are the development of comprehensive plans for individual waterways as a basis for budgetary control and resource allocation, structural reorganisation, the appointment of new commercial and personnel directors, and the overhaul of cost control systems. I welcome the board's positive response to the report and its commitment to change. I support both its overall approach and the action it is taking to implement the report's recommendations. I attach particular priority to making progress with the recommendations on maintenance and contracting out, direct freight activities, project appraisal, and the management of BWB's estate.The Department is liaising with BWB on the development project appraisal procedures, and will review the guidelines on submission of schemes to the Department for approval in the light of the new arrangements. I shall also keep under review BWB's responsibilities for public road bridges over canals.Some of the commission's recommendations on BWB's financial and budgetary framework would require Government action. The commission thought it important that the guidance figures which BWB is given on grant levels for future years should be respected. It also recommended that the Government should consider the possibility of relating part of the grant to meeting the cost of non-revenue earning requirements and that BWB should be given an incentive to increase its income from users by being allowed to retain at least part of any such increase.These issues need further consideration in consultation with BWB. I recognise that BWB would like as much assurance as possible about future grant levels, subject always to public expenditure constraints. I also attach importance to incentives. The existing grant arrangements do, however, already allow BWB to use all receipts within the same financial year and to carry over to the following year, subject to approval, receipts from the sale of land. Further work is needed to assess the feasibility and practical value of splitting the grant between revenue and non-revenue earning requirements.

I will make a further statement this autumn in the light of the first substantive report which BWB will prepare then on progress in implementing the commission's recommendations.

Energy

Nuclear Installations (Incidents)

125.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has met the Chairman of the Health and Safety Commission to discuss the report "Statement of Incidents at Nuclear Installations".

A range of nuclear issues was discussed when I met the HSC chairman in November 1987.

Nuclear Power Stations

126.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what action he intends taking following the Health and Safety Commission's recent publication, "The Tolerability of Risk from Nuclear Power Stations".

The document was published by the Health and Safety Executive. The Health and Safety Commission will be considering the document and comments thereon, including those of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Nuclear Installations, before formulating its own view. Comments have been requested by 6 May 1988.

Consultancy Contracts

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what was the total amount spent by his Department in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

My Department expects its total expenditure in the 1987–88 financial year on management and computer consultancy contracts to be about £283,000.

Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, when he next meets the chairman of British Coal, he will seek an assurance that the corporation will provide the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, as a director of the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation, with details of the number of members of each union in accordance with the memorandum and articles of association of CISWO as amended by Statutory Instrument No. 1225 of 1987, so that individual unions can satisfy themselves as to the fairness of allocation of seats; and if he will make a statement.

British Coal has provided to the unions concerned all the information required under the amended memorandum and articles of CISWO. That information, including the allocation of seats, was verified by the corporation's auditors as required by the articles. A procedure is incorporated in the articles for the unions to challenge the information provided. None did so.

Sizewell B Power Station

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what information he has as to how many contracts for the building of Sizewell B have been awarded to date; what percentage of them have gone to East Anglian firms; and what is his estimate of the number of Suffolk residents being employed at Sizewell B;(2) if he will make a statement on the progress of building work at Sizewell B;(3) what is his assessment of the current and projected impact of the Sizewell B project on the labour market in

(a) East Anglia and (b) Suffolk.

This is a matter for the CEGB, and I have asked the chairman to write to my hon. Friend.

Amersham International

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he intends to exercise his option, under the articles of association, to require Amersham International plc to redeem on 31 March his special rights preference share in the company.

Attorney-General

Magistrates (Sentencing Policy)

To ask the Attorney-General whether, in the light of the most recent Home Office statistics in relation to sentencing and the ethnic minorities, the Lord Chancellor intends to provide (a) guidelines and (b) training to magistrates; and if he will make a statement.

The magisterial committee of the Judicial Studies Board (which advises the Lord Chancellor on the training of magistrates) has in the last 12 months taken two initiatives to improve arrangements for the training of magistrates in sentencing and the ethnic minorities. In April last year the committee sent to all magistrates' courts committees, which are responsible for delivering training to magistrates locally, the first two in a series of cards to be issued, setting out a structured, step-by-step approach to decision making. One of these cards covered sentencing, and is designed to ensure that all relevant considerations relating to the offence, the offender and other matters are taken into account by magistrates in arriving at a sentence.In June last year the committee organised a seminar on training in ethnic minority cultures, attended by representatives of selected magistrates' courts committees. This subject is listed as an approved subject in the training syllabus, so it may be included by magistrates' courts committees in a training programme without prior application to the Lord Chancellor for approval. The seminar has been a stimulus to action and such training is increasingly being provided to magistrates.

Consultancy Contracts

To ask the Attorney-General what was the total amount spent by his office in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

To ask the Attorney-General what was the total amount spent by the Lord Chancellor's Department in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

The total amount spent by the Lord Chancellor's Department in this financial year on management and computer consultancy, excluding hardware and software purchases, is £348,593·75.

To ask the Attorney-General what was the total amount spent by Her Majesty's Land Registry in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

The sum spent by Her Majesty's Land Registry on management and computer consultancy contracts in 1987 was £487·02.

Prime Minister

Q16.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will raise at the next meeting of the European Council the size of the United Kingdom's trade deficit with the EEC; and if she will make a statement.

No. The EC is our largest market, which takes about 50 per cent. of our exports; it is up to United Kingdom exporters to take further advantage of the market of 320 million people that the EC provides. The removal of remaining barriers to trade leading to the achievement of a single market in 1992 will afford plenty of opportunities to do so.

China (Ministerial Visits)

To ask the Prime Minister whether she will list the Ministers who have paid official visits to China in each of the last five years and the year of each such visit.

According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's records, the information requested is as follows:1983

  • January:—The right hon. Patrick Jenkin, MP, Secretary of State for Industry.
  • November:— The right hon. Peter Walker, MBE, MP, Secretary of State for Energy.

1984

  • March:—The right hon. Paul Channon, MP, Minister for Trade.
  • April:—The right hon. Sir Geoffrey Howe, QC, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
  • July:—The right hon. Sir Geoffrey Howe, QC, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
  • December:—Mr. A. Buchanan-Smith, MP, Minister of State, Department of Energy.
  • The right hon. Margaret Thatcher, FRS, MP, Prime Minister.
  • The right hon. Sir Geoffrey Howe, QC, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

1985

  • March:—The right hon. Lord Young of Graffham, Minister without Portfolio, and trade delegation.
  • September:—The right hon. Nicholas Ridley, MP, Secretary of State for Transport.
  • November:—The right hon. Michael Jopling, MP, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
  • December:— The right hon. Lord Young of Graffham, Secretary of State for Employment.

1986

  • January: —Mr. Timothy Renton, MP, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
  • April:—Mr. Norman Lamont, MP, Minister of State for Defence Procurement.
  • The right hon. Richard Luce, MP, Minister for the Arts.
  • July:—The right hon. Timothy Raison, MP, Minister for Overseas Development.
  • October:—State Visit by Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by the right hon. Sir Geoffrey Howe, QC, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
  • November:— The right hon. Lord Young of Graffham, Secretary of State for Employment.
  • Mr. George Walden, CMG, MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science.

1987

  • May:— Mr. Michael Spicer. MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport.
  • September:—The Lord Skelmersdale, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security.
  • October:—The right hon. Lord Young of Graffham, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

Consultancy Contracts

To ask the Prime Minister what was the total amount spent by the Cabinet Office in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

The total amount spent by the Cabinet Office on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases, during the calendar year 1987, was £355,000.

Litter Collection (St James' Park)

To ask the Prime Minister what was the cost to public funds of the dispersal of litter in St. James' park on Tuesday 22 March, prior to her attendance; and on which vote this expenditure will be borne.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) on 28 March, at column 280. The cost of less than £60 will be met from the Department of the Environment's provision for expenditure on the royal parks (class X, vote 4).

Interception Of Communications Act 1985

To ask the Prime Minister when the commissioner appointed under the Interception of Communications Act 1985 will present his annual report; and if she will make a statement.

A copy of the 1987 annual report by Lord Justice Lloyd has been laid before the House today in accordance with section 8(7) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985. The confidential appendix to the report has been excluded from that copy in accordance with section 8(8) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985. I am grateful to the commissioner for his work on the report and the reassurance it contains, that care is taken by all concerned to observe not only the letter but also the spirit of the Act. The commissioner's report suggests a small number of improvements to the procedures observed in dealing with these cases. Careful consideration is being given to ways of implementing these suggestions.

Engagements

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 March.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 March.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 March.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 March.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 March.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 29 March.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, including the Prime Minister of Fiji and the Mayor of Shanghai. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today.

Trade And Industry

Electrical Installations (Safety)

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what recent representations he has received about safety standards for electrical installations; and if he will make a statement.

I regularly receive correspondence from colleagues, trade associations and members of the public concerning safety standards for electrical installations, most recently arising from the exhibition on safety and electricity presented by the Electrical Contractors Association in the Upper Waiting Hall between 2 and 6 November last, arranged by my hon. Friend.In response to these inquiries, I have welcomed the efforts to promote greater awareness of the dangers of electricity and the potential hazards arising from the misuse of electrical equipment. In order to emphasise the importance of this area, my own Department, in collaboration with the industry, will shortly be launching an electrical safety canpaign with the specific aim of heightening people's awareness of the benefits to be gained by the installation of residual current devices in providing additional protection against electric shocks.

Telecommunications Industry

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what information he has as to (a) the number of employees in the British telecommunications industry per telephone subscriber and (b) the comparable figure for West Germany and France.

The latest edition of the "International Telecommunication Union's Yearbook of Common Carrier Telecommunication Statistics" gives the following information:

Total staff in telecommunication servicesMain lines (telephone exchange connections)
United Kingdom (British Telecom) 31 March 1986230,19721,653,639
Germany (Federal Republic) (Bundesministerium fur das Post-und Fernmeldewesen) 31 December 1985212,36425,588,585

Total staff in telecommunication services

Main lines (telephone exchange connections)

France (Direction generate des telecommunications) 31 December 1985166,78823,031,972

Direct comparison of such figures can be misleading as different operators offer different services whilst the amount of sub-contracted work also differs. A comparison of prices charged suggests that for typical telephone use United Kingdom prices are at least in line with France and Germany.

China

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what has been the level of United Kingdom exports to China in each of the last five years in (a) records, (b) television programmes and (c) films;(2) what has been the level of

(a) exports to and (b) imports from China in manufactured goods in each of the last five years;

(3) what has been the level of (a) exports to and (b) imports from China in each of the last five years;

(4) whether he will list the five industries which have exported goods or services to the highest value to China in each of the last five years;

United Kingdom trade with China 1983 to 1987

I—Total trade and trade in manufactured goods

£ million

1983

1984

1985

1986

January to December 1987

Total exports160·3317·3396·5535·9416·0
Of which:
Manufactured goods136·1308·3369·4511·7391·1
Total imports231·4278·4308·0327·0391·8
Of which:
Manfactured goods132·5163·0171·4185·3270·3

II—Analysis of exports by SITC R2 divisions equating to broad industrial sectors

£ million

Division (s)

1983

1984

1985

1986

January to December 1987

71–14 (Industrial machinery and plant)27·274·7132·0209·4148·6
78–79 (Transport)9·612·450·362·472·5
67 (Iron and steel)11·115·344·841·538·7
87 (Professional and scientific instruments)18·041·035·733·436·3
Section 5 (Chemical)31·535·242·638·035·4

III—United Kingdom exports of books, records, videos and films

£ thousand

1983

1984

1985

1986

January to December 1987

Books414937507343808
Records690
Recorded videos282064
Developed cinematographic films942261111

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics.

Notes:

  • 1. 1987 figures provisional.
  • 2. Manfactured goods are defined as sections 5 to 8 of the standard international trade classification revision 2 (SITC R2):
  • 3. Books are defined as United Kingdom tariff headings 4901 0010 and 4903 0000:
  • 4. Records are defined as United Kingdom tariff headings 9212 3400, 3510 and 3599:
  • 5. Recorded videos are defined as United Kingdom tariff heading 9212 3950:
  • 6. Films are defined as SITC R2 item 883.00.
  • To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will list the number of trade delegations to China that his Department has supported in each of the last five years.

    The numbers of outward missions to China supported by the Department for the period were:

    Number
    19833
    19848

    (5) what has been the level of United Kingdom exports of books to China in each of the last five years.

    Information on the value of exported goods to China by industries, as defined in the standard industrial classification, is not available: figures have been compiled using standard international trade classification revision 2 divisions equating to the broad industrial sectors. Information on the value of services and the "performance fee" value of television programmes and films exported to China is not available. Television programmes are not identified in the Overseas Trade Statistics; figures for recorded videos have been provided and may include television programmes. The available information is given in the following tables:

    Number
    19857
    198612
    19877
    Total37
    In addition, the Department supported 14 seminars in China over the same period:

    Number
    1983None
    19844
    19851
    19864
    19875

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many United Kingdom companies have established joint ventures in China in each of the last five years.

    Opening DateCityTitle
    1983–84
    12 April 1983ShanghaiMultinational Instrumentation Conference and Exhibition
    18 July 1983ShanghaiNaval Technology and Shipboard Electronic Defence Equipment Show
    26 August 1983GuangzhouInternational Telecommunications Scientific and Technical Expo Conference
    21 October 1983ShanghaiInternational Marine Equipment Show (Marintec)
    7 November 1983ShanghaiInternational Congress and Exhibition on Heat Treatment.
    22 November 1983GuangzhouOffshore Oil Exhibition and Conference
    20 February 1984TianjinAll-British Scientific Instruments Exhibition/Seminar
    27 February 1984PekingMulti-Nation Medical Equipment and Instrument Exhibition
    1984–85
    5 April 1984BeijingInternational Electronic Production Conference
    10 June 1984ShanghaiInternational Exhibition on Textiles
    17 September 1984ShanghaiInternational Exhibition of Rubber and Plastics Industries
    9 October 1984ShanghaiInternational Environmental Control Measuring and Testing Equipment
    30 October 1984BeijingInternational Tourism and Hotel Facilities Exhibition
    30 October 1984BeijingBeijing International Printing Technology Exhibition
    5 November 1984BeijingInternational Telecommunications, Computer and Electronics Exhibition and Conference
    19 November 1984HangzhouInternational Food Processing and Packaging Equipment Exhibition
    21 November 1984BeijingRailway and Subway Expo/China '84
    29 November 1984TianjinElectric Power and Water Expo
    4 December 1984ShanghaiInternational Exhibition on Advanced Electronic Technology
    1985–86
    21 April 1985ShanghaiSemiconductor International
    16 May 1985NanjingInternational Exhibition on Building Equipment, Building Material Machinery and Building Material
    22 May 1985GuangzhouPort Development and Coastal Transportation Expo
    3 July 1985ShanghaiInternational Exhibition on Automotive Industry
    18 September 1985Beijing2nd International Environmental Control, Measuring and Testing Equipment Exhibition
    8 October 1985ChengduChina Medical Expo
    22 October 1985BeijingInternational Packaging Conference and Exhibition
    4 November 1985BeijingInternational Agrobusiness Exhibition and Conference
    26 November 1985Guangzhou3rd Offshore Oil Exhibition and Conference
    2 December 1985ShanghaiMarintec China
    7 December 1985BeijingInternational New Computer Technology Exhibition
    22 February 1986BeijingNuclear and Power China '86
    13 March 1986BeijingInternational Textile Industry Exhibition
    14 March 1986Beijing2nd International Petroleum Equipment Show
    20 March 1986BeijingInternational Exhibition on Machine Tools, Metalworking and Allied Industries
    28 March 1986BeijingInternational Amusement and Educational Technology Exposition
    1986–87
    8 April 1986ShanghaiInternational Exhibition on Textile Machinery
    16 April 1986BeijingMulti-National Instrumentation Conference and Exhibition
    18 April 1986BeijingInternational Electronic Production Conference

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he will list the British trade fairs supported by the British Overseas Trade Board in China in each of the last five years.

    The trade fairs held in China over the past five years which attracted support through the British Overseas Trade Board are as follows:

    Opening Date

    City

    Title

    16 May 1986Shanghai3rd International Exhibition of Construction Equipment and Material
    5 June 1986BeijingInternational Trade Fair for Education Equipment
    10 June 1986BeijingInternational Exhibition of Rubber and Plastics Industries
    3 July 1986BeijingInternational Exhibition on Automotive Industry
    16 October 1986BeijingInternational Telecommunications/Computer Exhibition and Conference
    18 October 1986BeijingInternational Foundry Conference and Exhibition
    4 November 1986BeijingAsian Defence Technology Exposition
    10 November 1986BeijingRailway, Urban Transport and Subway Expo/China '86
    27 November 1986GuangzhouInternational Agrotechnology and Food Processing Exhibition and Conference
    9 December 1986Guangzhou1st Onshore Oil Exhibition and Conference
    10 March 1987Beijing2nd Electric Power and Water Expo

    1987–88

    24 April 1987ShanghaiSemiconductor International
    7 May 1987BeijingChina Coal
    17 June 1987Shanghai3rd International Exhibition on Automotive Industry
    24 June 1987Beijing3rd Environmental Pollution and Control, Measuring and Testing Equipment Exhibition
    12 September 1987Beijing2nd International Exhibition on Medical Equipment and Supplies
    14 October 1987BeijingAviation Expo/China
    24 November 1987Guangzhou2nd International Packaging Conference and Exhibition
    24 November 1987Beijing4th International Exhibition on Rubber and Plastic Industries "Chinaplas"
    4 March 1988BeijingInternational Exhibition Machine Tools, Metalworking and Allied Industries

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what discussions he has had with the Chinese Government about the problems of unauthorised publication of British books in China.

    Chinese law does not extend copyright protection to foreign works and such works may therefore be published in that country. Contact on the subject of copyright has been made over a number of years with the Chinese Government, both at ministerial and official level. Recently, the Chinese Government have made good progress in drawing up a comprehensive law for the protection of both domestic and foreign works. In doing this, they have consulted widely with international experts. We understand that they hope to have the new law in force by 1990 and that they intend to join one of the international copyright conventions. We will continue to encourage the Chinese Government in this process.

    Consultancy Contracts

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the total amount spent by his Department in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    My Department's expenditure on consultants employed to improve the efficiency of the Department in the financial year 1987–88 is estimated to be £6,463,000, of which £5,280,000 is for computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.Expenditure on management consultants is not recorded separately from other consultancy spend.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the total amount spent by the Office of Fair Trading in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    This is a matter for the Director-General of Fair Trading, and 1 will ask him to write to my hon. Friend.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the total amount spent by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    Disabled People (Inner Cities)

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps are being taken to ensure that, in Government plans to rehabilitate and revitalise the inner cities, provision will be made to meet the needs of disabled people.

    Several Government inner city programmes include schemes specifically targeted on the disabled, such as the urban programme, skills and training initiatives and support for arts and sports. I have invited comments from the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation on the action for cities proposals.

    Magistrates

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what information he has concerning the decision of the Oldham magistrates' bench interviewing committee that no one who is an elected member of the Oldham metropolitan borough council will be considered for appointment as a magistrate.

    I have advisory committees to assist me with the selection of persons for appointment as magistrates. In doing so they follow certain guidelines, of which the main criterion is suitability for office. Subject to this, I desire my committees to balance the bench so that it broadly reflects the make-up of the community of the area. For example, it would be wrong to have an overlarge proportion of persons on the bench involved in the work of local government.My committee at Oldham selects candidates for appointment on merit, follows the guidelines and does not bar elected members of the local authority from appointment.

    Advertising Standards Authority

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if his Department has considered an application for an exhibition relating to the Advertising Standards Authority to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.

    Yes. Arrangements have been made for such an exhibition in the Upper Waiting Hall to take place from Monday 25 April to Friday 29 April 1988.

    Internal Market

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if the invitation list to the EC internal market conference in Lancaster house on 18 April includes trade union representatives or Opposition hon. and right hon. Members of the House.

    [holding answer 28 March 1988]: The Lancaster house conference is primarily for senior business people. The general secretary of the Trades Union Congress has also received an invitation. My right hon. and noble Friend has invited all right hon. and hon. Members to a separate briefing at Lancaster house on the afternoon of 18 April.

    Investment Intermediaries

    To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what submissions he has made to the European Commission on the proposed directive on the authorisation of investment intermediaries.

    [holding answer 25 March 1988]: The Commission has put forward no proposals for a directive dealing specifically with investment intermediaries. The Commission is considering a possible directive on investment services, but this has not yet been submitted to the Council of Ministers.

    Home Department

    Fire Inspectorate

    124.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the remaining inspectors at the fire inspectorate will be replaced when they retire.

    I assume that the hon. Member is referring to members of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Fire Services. A number of serving members of the inspectorate will be retiring in the near future and it is intended that each will be replaced.

    Prisoners (Ethnic Origins)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will update his Department's 1968 statistical bulletin on the ethnic origins of the prison population; and if he will make a statement.

    We have no plans to update the detailed analyses of the ethnic origin of prisoners contained in Home Office statistical bulletin 17/86. Information on the ethnic origin of the population in prison department establishments by type of prisoner and by offence group for sentenced prisoners is now published annually in "Prison Statistics, England and Wales" (tables 1.11 to 1.13 of the 1986 issue, Cm. 210) copies of which are in the Library. The latest available information for 1987 is given in my reply to the question from the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Stoke Newington (Ms. Abbott) on 3 December 1987 at column 681.

    Operational Emergency Centres

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those (a) district, (b) London borough and (c) metropolitan district authorities which have an operational emergency centre.

    The information requested is as follows. It is based on local authorities' returns due by 1 October 1987 under the Government's planned programme for implementation of the Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1983.

    (a) Districts with an operational emergency centre

    Avon:

    Bath City; Wansdyke

    Bedfordshire:

    Luton; Mid Bedfordshire; North Bedfordshire; South Bedfordshire

    Berkshire.

    Bracknell; Windsor and Maidenhead

    Buckinghamshire:

    South Bucks (Beaconsfield); Chiltern; Milton Keynes

    Cambridgeshire:

    East Cambridgeshire; South Cambridgeshire

    Cleveland:

    Hartlepool; Middlesbrough; Stockton on Tees

    Clwyd:

    Colwyn; Glyndwr

    Cornwall:

    Caradon; North Cornwall; Penwith

    Cumbria:

    Allerdale

    Devon:

    East Devon; Exeter; Plymouth Mid-Devon (Tiverton)

    Dorset:

    Bournemouth; Poole; Weymouth and Portland; Wimborne

    Durham:

    Chester-le-Street; Darlington; Derwentside; Durham; Easington; Teesdale

    Dyfed:

    Carmarthen.

    Essex:

    Chelmsford; Colchester; Epping Forest; Maldon; Tendring.

    Gloucestershire:

    Cheltenham; Cotswold; Forest of Dean; Gloucester.

    Gwynedd:

    Aberconwy; Meirionnydd.

    Hampshire:

    Basingstoke; Eastleigh; East Hampshire; Fareham; Gosport; Hart; New Forest; Portsmouth; Rushmoor; Southampton; Winchester.

    Hereford and Worcester:

    Leominster.

    Hertfordshire:

    East Hertfordshire.

    Humberside:

    Beverley; Cleethorpes; East Yorkshire.

    Kent:

    Dartford; Gillingham; Sevenoaks; Shepway; Swale; Tonbridge and Mailing; Tonbridge Wells.

    Lancashire:

    Chorley; Clyde; South Ribble.

    Leicestershire:

    Blaby; Harborough; Hinckley and Bosworth; Melton; Rutland.

    Lincolnshire:

    Boston; North Kesteven; South Kesteven.

    Norfolk:

    Breckland; Great Yarmouth.

    Northamptonshire:

    Daventry; Kettering; Wellingborough.

    Nottinghamshire:

    Broxtowe; Mansfield; Nottingham City.

    Powys:

    Radnor.

    Salop:

    Bridgnorth; Shrewsbury and Atcham.

    Somerset:

    Sedgemoor; Taunton Deane.

    Staffordshire:

    Lichfield; Staffordshire Moorlands.

    Suffolk:

    Ipswich; St. Edmundsbury; Mid Suffolk.

    Surrey:

    Mole Valley; Surrey Heath; Waverley; Woking.

    East Sussex:

    Hove; Lewes; Rother; Wealden.

    West Sussex:

    Arun; Mid Sussex.

    Warwickshire:

    Rugby; Stratford on Avon.

    Wiltshire:

    Kennet; North Wiltshire; Salisbury.

    North Yorkshire:

    Hambleton; Harrogate; Selby.

    (b) London boroughs with an operational centre

    North West Group

    Hammersmith; Hillingdon

    North East Group

    Waltham Forest

    South East Group

    Bexley; Bromley; Lewisham; Southwark

    South West Group

    Kingston-upon-Thames; Lambeth; Merton; Richmond-upon-Thames

    (c) Fire and civil defence authority districts with an operational emergency centre

    Greater Manchester:

    Bury; Trafford

    Merseyside:

    Wirral

    West Yorkshire:

    Calderdale

    Civil Defence

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those (a) county and (b) fire and civil defence authorities that have (i) an operational county main emergency centre and (ii) an operational county standby emergency centre; and if he will list those London group emergency centres that are currently operational.

    The information requested is as follows. It is based on local authorities' returns due by 1 October 1987 under the Government's planned programme for implementation of the Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1983.

    (a) County authorities with operational emergency centres

    The County authorities with both main and standby centres operational are:

    Cleveland; Clwyd; Durham; Essex; West Glamorgan; Gwent; Gwynedd; Hampshire; Isle of Wight; Leicestershire; Nottinghamshire; Suffolk; Surrey; Warwickshire; Wiltshire; North Yorkshire.

    The County authorities with main centres only operational are:

    Bedfordshire; Cambridgeshire; Cheshire; Cumbria; Devon; Kent; Lancashire; Norfolk; Oxfordshire; Powys; Salop; Somerset.

    The County authorities with standby centres only operational are:

    Avon; Berkshire; Buckinghamshire; Gloucestershire; Lincolnshire; Northamptonshire.

    (b) Fire and civil defence authorities (FCDAs) with operational emergency centres

    Merseyside and West Yorkshire have main and standby centres operational.
    Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire have main centres only operational.

    (c) London group operational emergency centres

    The London groups with operational centres are:

    North East; South West and South East.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will identify those local authorities that will receive civil defence grant towards the construction or conversion of emergency centres during each of the years 1988–89, 1989–90 and 1990–91; and if he will indicate the likely scale of the provision involved in each year.

    We expect grant-eligible expenditure on emergency centres to total about £3·5 million for each of the financial years mentioned but details will not be available until relevant expenditure for each authority has been approved.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will identify those local authorities that have received civil defence grant towards the construction or conversion of emergency centres during each of the years 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87 and 1987–88; and if he will indicate the scale of the expenditure involved in each year.

    The local authorities concerned are listed as follows. Expenditure attracting grant at the rate of 75 per cent. totalled £1·7 million in 1984–85, £2·1 million in 1985–86 and £3·3 million in 1986–87. The expected figure for 1987–88 is £3·5 million.

    County authorities in receipt of grant in all years stated

    Avon; Bedfordshire; Berkshire; Buckinghamshire; Cambridgeshire; Cleveland; Cornwall; Derbyshire; Devon; Dorset; Durham; East Sussex; Essex; Gloucestershire; Gwent; Gwynedd; Hampshire; Hereford and Worcestershire; Hertfordshire; Humberside; Isle of Wight; Kent; Lincolnshire; London; Norfolk; Northumberland; North Yorkshire; Nottinghamshire; Oxfordshire; Somerset; Suffolk; Surrey; Wiltshire.

    County authorities in receipt of grant in some of the years stated

    • Cheshire: 1986–87; 1987–88
    • Clwyd: 1984–85; 1987–88
    • Cumbria: 1984–85; 1985–86; 1987–88
    • Dyfed: 1984–85; 1985–86; 1987–88
    • Greater Manchester: 1984–85; 1985–86; 1986–87
    • Lancashire: 1985–86; 1986–87; 1987–88
    • Leicestershire: 1984–85; 1985–86; 1987–88
    • Merseyside: 1987–88
    • Powys: 1984–85; 1986–87; 1987–88
    • Salop: 1984–85; 1985–86; 1987–88
    • South Glamorgan: 1984–85; 1985–86; 1986–87
    • Staffordshire: 1985–86; 1986–87; 1987–88
    • Warwickshire: 1984–85; 1985–86; 1986–87
    • West Glamorgan:: 1985–86; 1987–88
    • West Sussex: 1986–87; 1987–88

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many local authority emergency centres have been inspected by officials from his Department; and if he is satisfied with the facilities provided by local authorities for emergency communications and control.

    Visits by officials to local authority emergency centres occur in support of detailed consideration of a number of issues, including the installation of new communications equipment, but no comprehensive record is kept of the instances. Progress made by local authorities in meeting their statutory responsibilities to establish, equip and maintain emergency centres is monitored under the Government's planned programme for implementation of the Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations 1983.

    Crime Prevention

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in the light of recent evidence, including opinion polls, showing a higher than average incidence of the fear of crime in inner cities, he will take further steps to improve his crime prevention measures through the urban programme or other means.

    In reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. Knight) on 7 March 1988, at columns 3–4, my right hon. Friend reported the launch of the Government's safer cities programme which is specifically designed to tackle crime and the fear of crime in inner city areas with high crime levels. The programme will comprise safer city projects in 20 areas, to be established over the next three years. these will aim to complement and strengthen a range of initiatives, funded both from Government funds (including the urban programme) and the private sector.

    Police (Subject Access Requests)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many subject access requests under the terms of the Data Protection Act each police force has received to date; and whether he will make a statement.

    The information is not at present available centrally. It is being sought from forces and I shall write to the hon. Member as soon as it is available.

    Consultancy Contracts

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total amount spend by

    Police officer strength
    Region and forceMay 1979January 1988IncreasePer cent.
    Midlands
    Derbyshire1,5871,788+20112·7
    Leicestershire1,7011,760+593·5
    Northamptonshire9091,069+16017·6
    Nottinghamshire2,1202,253+1336·3
    Staffordshire1,9802,147+1678·4
    Warwickshire843980+13716·3

    the Metropolitan police in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the Metroplitan police spent £1,673,923 on management and computer consultancy contracts in 1987.

    Iranian Refugees

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons of Iranian nationality claiming to be refugees have arrived in the United Kingdom from Turkey in each of the past four years; how many were given asylum in the United Kingdom; how many were returned to Turkey; and what representations he has received regarding the Turkish practice of returning such people to Iran.

    As applicants for asylum are recorded by nationality and not by country of embarkation, the figures requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Whilst we have received representations on individual cases of Iranian asylum-seekers from Turkey, I am unaware of any case of an Iranian refugee being sent back to Iran following return to Turkey from this country. Turkey is a signatory to the 1951 UN convention on refugees. There is a UNHCR presence in Turkey to which any Iranian may look for assistance.

    Firearms Certificates

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he intends to take in relation to the letter ref. MLB.JD dated 19 January 1985 from the prosecuting solicitors' office Gwent police authority to an applicant for a firearms certificate.

    Responsibility for the administration of the Firearms Act 1968 is vested with chief officers of police. My right hon. Friend has no authority to intervene in individual cases.

    Police

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will provide a table depicting police force strength in numbers of officers for all regions of the United Kingdom and the percentage increases or decreases these figures represent from 1979 to the latest available date.

    My right hon. Friend has responsibility only for England and Wales, for which the information is as follows:

    Region and force

    May 1979

    January 1988

    Increase

    Per cent.

    West Mercia1,7521,948+19611·2
    West Midlands6,0316,675+64410·7

    North East

    Cleveland1,3471,465+1188·8
    Durham1,3121,335+231·8
    Humberside1,8611,955+945·1
    Lincolnshire1,1751,174-1(0·1)
    Northumbria3,2853,473+1885·7
    North Yorkshire1,3371,379+423·1
    South Yorkshire2,5602,930+37014·5
    West Yorkshire4,7395,188+4499·5

    South West

    Avon and Somerset2,8293,009+1806·4
    Devon and Cornwall2,6672,804+1375·1
    Dorset1,1401,243+1039·0
    Gloucestershire1,0811,158+777·1
    Wiltshire1,0011,093+929·2

    South East

    Bedfordshire900997+9710·8
    Cambridgeshire1,0711,160+898·3
    City of London832784-48(5·8)
    Essex2,4902,719+2299·2
    Hampshire2,9553,099+1444·9
    Hertfordshire1,4551,607+15210·4
    Kent2,7302,901+1716·3
    Metropolitan22,22527,449+5,22423·5
    Norfolk1,2291,302+735·9
    Suffolk1,0771,187+11010·2
    Surrey1,4421,640+19813·7
    Sussex2,7592,871+1124·1
    Thames Valley2,6533,478+82531·1

    North West

    Cheshire1,7871,839+522·9
    Cumbria1,0641,150+868·1
    Greater Manchester6,4406,991+5518·6
    Lancashire3,0933,149+561·8
    Merseyside4,4414,660+2194·9

    Wales

    Dyfed Powys913925+121·3
    Gwent971975+40·4
    North Wales1,2691,303+342·7
    South Wales2,9453,119+1745·9
    England and Wales109,998122,131+12,13311·0

    Visas

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what effects the imposition of a visa requirement on the nationals of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ghana and Nigeria have had at ports of entry to the United Kingdom particularly with regard to the delays which were experienced on immigration control during 1985 and 1986.

    Visa requirements were introduced in October 1986 for nationals of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Ghana and on 1 February 1987 for Nigeria. Since introduction there have been very substantial improvements at the Heathrow and Gatwick terminals in easing congestion, reducing delays at peak periods and improving conditions for passengers, their friends and relatives meeting them, and for the staff at the immigration service.In 1986 a total of about 24,000 persons were refused entry and removed; in 1987 the figures had dropped to just over 19,000. Because of the pressure on the control in 1986 many of those who arrived before October were not refused entry and removed until the following year. The fall in the refusal rate is therefore even greater than the apparent 20 per cent.The figures for Heathrow terminal 3 given in the table are illustrative of the reduction in casework at the major terminals dealing with passengers from the five countries.At terminal 4, which also handles intercontinental traffic, the position was very similar. Summer 1986 saw a steady increase in the volume of difficult casework. Some 466 passengers were referred for further examination in June swelling to 847 in the first two weeks in October. By contrast the same figures for the second half of 1987 remained relatively constant varying between extremes of 270 and 316 cases per month. A random sample of passengers arriving on Saturdays during last September revealed that only five passengers from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan were referred to the further examination area whereas 241 such passengers were set aside for further examination on the corresponding four days of September 1986.

    Without the visa imposition, and with a 13 per cent. increase in passenger traffic in 1987, pressure on the control at terminal 4 last year would have been intolerable notwithstanding an additional allocation of staff.

    Similar improvements were experienced at Heathrow terminal 2 and Gatwick. Of the major ports only Heathrow terminal 1 and Dover did not experience any substantial change in 1987 because nationals of the five countries involved do not use these in substantial number.

    Terminal 3

    June-July-August 1986

    June-July-August 1987

    Per cent.

    Total passengers898,2591,048,791+17·5
    Average number of immigration officers available222195-12
    Passengers refused admission2,1791,041-52
    Passengers referred for secondary examination4,4851,876-58
    Members' of Parliament representations94582-91
    Passengers with entry clearance who were refused admission3768+83

    Wales

    Consultancy Contracts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total spent by his Department in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    The Department's expenditure on such centrally managed consultancy contracts in 1987 was £30,938·21. It is not possible to identify without disproportionate costs fees paid on management and computer consultancy contracts in respect of projects not centrally managed.

    Summary of impact of Local Government Finance Bill proposals for non-domestic rates and the grant system in Wales 1988·89
    Community Charge per adultRevenue Support Grant per adultNon-domestic Rate Revenue per adultDomestic Rate PoundageSafety Net (County and District) per adultAverage Rate Bill per adultExpenditure per adult
    £££Pence£££
    Alyn and Deeside195729226·58-35176104
    Colwyn266129239·60-50198115
    Delyn276729228·45-26176122
    Glyndwr274729232·20-6155102
    Rhuddlan159129227·42-33170135
    Wrexham Maelor306429233·69-9162123
    Carmarthen195429236·6728123102
    Ceredigion96029229·55413697
    Dinefwr45429227·662511087
    Llanelli297429252·4423137131
    Preseli Pembrokeshire56129226·841012695
    South Pembrokeshire78129233·08-13152117
    Blaenau Gwent369729239·8940116161
    Islwyn348629233·0027127149
    Monmouth254529235·86-2216798
    Newport307929232·01-35185138
    Torfaen326729241·58-2154127
    Aberconwy316329238·32-36173122
    Arfon297429231·386129132
    Dwyfor309029234·79-24160149
    Meirionnydd348229228·77-18158145

    Factory Closures

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many plants in Wales which employed more than 500 persons in 1983 have since been closed down; and how many of these were foreign-owned.

    Four manufacturing plants with more than 500 employees in 1983 have since closed, including one which had been British-owned but had been acquired by a German company in 1980.

    Rating Reform

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what, assuming the full replacement of rates by the community charge and the implementation of the proposals in the Local Government Finance Bill for non-domestic rates and the grant system, in 1988–89 (a) for Wales, (b) for each class of local authority and (c) for each local authority, showing precepting authorities separately the following items in pounds per adult would be: (i) the community charge without safety net, (ii) the safety net, (iii) needs grant, (iv) redistributed non-domestic rate revenue, showing also the corresponding 1988–89 domestic rate poundage and in pounds per adult the average rate bill and local authority expenditure.

    [holding answer 28 March 1988]: Illustrative figures are given in the following table. These figures are provisional and will be updated as better information is received from local authorities. Calculations have been based on present needs assessments which are under review. The expenditure of individual community councils is not available and has been included with the appropriate district council's expenditure. The Government no longer propose to pay separate needs and standard grants to authorities. These have been replaced by a single revenue support grant as shown in column 3 of the table. Average rate bills per adult are on a basis comparable with the community charge figures and exclude any use of balances.

    Community Charge per adult

    Revenue Support Grant per adult

    Non-domestic Rate Revenue per adult

    Domestic Rate Poundage

    Safety Net (County and District) per adult

    Average Rate Bill per adult

    Expenditure per adult

    £

    £

    £

    Pence

    £

    £

    £

    Ynys Mon247229227·82-24154125
    Cynon Valley189829246·7348108145
    Merthyr Tydfil3011229254·7644124171
    Ogwr276229260·5513151118
    Rhondda1912529258·507185173
    Rhymney Valley347229258·9733139135
    Taff Ely266229255·8318145116
    Brecknock215729225·452131107
    Montgomeryshire55229205·82-1112886
    Radnor115129213 42-1113591
    Cardiff09329207·05-69179117
    Vale of Glamorgan115729213·48-4516696
    Port Talbot428029283·8251154150
    Lliw Valley225629285·8343142107
    Neath126329287·8721154104
    Swansea369129295·437192156
    Clwyd123363152231·33637
    Dyfed131391152235·29674
    Gwent120383152235·83655
    Gwynedd105411152232·13668
    Mid Glamorgan137407152257·05696
    Powys112482152214·23746
    South Glamorgan110376152208·80638
    West Glamorgan164377152291·35692
    Districts227429238·77125
    Total counties128390152238·77670
    Total Wales150465180238 77794

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Ratu Mara And Penaia Ganilau

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what details he has about the proposed visit of Ratu Mara and Penaia Ganilau to Britain; and if he will make a statement.

    The Prime Minister of Fiji, Ratu Mara, is visiting Britain from 27 to 31 March and will have talks today, 29 March, with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and learned Friend. The President of Fiji, Ratu Penaia Ganilau, is not with him.

    Consultancy Contracts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the total amount spent by his Department in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    Foreign and Commonwealth Office expenditure to date for the financial year 1987–88 on management and computer consultancy is as shown. The figures include expenditure for both the diplomatic and aid wings of the office:

    £
    Management consultancy257,272
    Computer consultancy1,171,347

    China (Town Twinning)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has on which British towns and cities are twinned with towns or cities in China.

    Twinning activity in the United Kingdom is co-ordinated by the secretariat of the Joint Twinning Committee of Local Authority Associations of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The secretariat keeps a record of all United Kingdom twinnings, including ones with China. Such information is held in the Library of the House.

    Iranian Refugees

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Turkey regarding the Turkish practice of sending Iranian refugees, who have come to the United Kingdom from Turkey and been returned to Turkey, back to Iran.

    None. Neither we, nor the representative in Turkey of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, have any specific evidence of Iranian refugees returned to Turkey from this country being sent back to Iran.

    Agricultural Produce (Radioactivity)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has about cases of companies within the European Community seeking to sell to Third world countries agricultural produce heavily contaminated with radioactivity; and if he will make a statement as to what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to prevent this.

    None. In the light of a rigorous national monitoring programme instituted following the Chernobyl accident, we are satisfied about the safety of all United Kingdom foodstuffs placed on the domestic market or exported.

    Ec (Information)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to how much money is being paid to United Kingdom political parties by the European Parliament for information purposes relating to the European Community and its institutions; and if he will make a statement.

    The draft budget for 1988 now under discussion contains 27·7 million ecu which is for information work by the European Parliament. Under EP rules this money is distributed to the political groups in the European Parliament. It is up to each political group itself to decide how to disburse its allocation among its members in the different member states.

    Education And Science

    Higher Education (Engineering)

    122.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many representations he has received following the publication of the Engineering Council's proposals on the restructuring of engineering higher education; and if he will make a statement.

    None. The Government await the outcome of responses to the Engineering Council's discussion document with interest.

    Education Reform

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how he intends to ensure that the new national tests contain no inherent bias against (a) children from different cultural backgrounds and (b) multi-lingual children whose first language is not English.

    The task group on assessment and testing has recommended that assessment instruments should be reviewed regularly by statistical and other means for any evidence of bias, particularly in respect of gender and race. The group also suggested that children whose first language is not English might be exempted if their language problems made tests unworkable; and that assessment in other skills, particularly at age seven, should wherever practicable and necessary, be conducted in the pupil's first language.

    Open University (Exhibition)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if his Department has considered an application for an exhibition relating to the Open University to be displayed in the Upper Waiting Hall.

    I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Services Committee, arrangements have been made with the authorities of the House for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from Monday 18 April to Friday 22 April.

    Chinese Universities (British Students)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will publish a table showing the number of British students who have studied at universities in China in each of the last five years; and what subjects such students have been studying.

    The readily available information is drawn mainly from the UNESCO statistical yearbook; subject of study is not recorded in this source.

    YearNumber of Students
    198154
    198245
    1198360
    1198472
    1198565
    1 Data refer to full-time students.

    Chinese Students

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will publish a table showing how many students from China have studied at British (a) universities and (b) polytechnics in each of the last five years; and what subjects such students have been studying.

    The number of students from China studying at institutions in Great Britain is provided in the following table. Information on the subjects such students studied is not available.

    Students from China at institutions in Great Britain
    Academic year beginning in19821983198419851986
    University182212362594711
    Polytechnics and Colleges41274877117

    Consultancy Contracts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total amount spent by his Department in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    A total of £364,152 was spent on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases, in the calendar year 1987. In addition, the Department spent some £535,030 on costs associated with the privatisation of the Plant Breeding Institute.

    School Population (Suffolk)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations Suffolk county council has made on the increase in its school population while the Sizewell B power station is being built; and what responses he has given.

    Medical Research (Charges)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received seeking legislation to prevent universities from imposing charges for medical research funded by charities; what specific representations he has received about the charges imposed in respect of research into Freidreich's Ataxia disease; and if he will make a statement.

    The Government much appreciate the substantial sums which charities provide for research in universities — in 1986–87 they contributed about £66 million to medical research. In general, charitable moneys cover only part of the cost of the specific research projects which they support, with a substantial part of the costs — for academic staff time, premises, equipment, materials and overheads — being met from general university funds.In the light of advice from the Advisory Board for the Research Councils, we are currently reviewing the balance of funding responsibilities between universities and the research councils for projects which the latter support. This may have implications for charitable funding of medical research which in most cases is treated analogously with research councils' grants. I discussed this matter on 10 March with the Association of Medical Research Charities.My right hon. Friend has not received any representations seeking legislation on these matters. We have received 47 representations from members of the Friedreich's Ataxia Group about the possibility of their having to meet a larger proportion of the costs of the research which the group supports in universities. These representations will be taken into account in our consideration of the wider issues.

    Computer Services (Skill Shortages)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science, pursuant to the reply of 1 March, Official Report, column 539, what resources have been made available under the engineering, science and technology initiative to increase relevant higher education opportunities; and what proposals he has to meet skill shortages in the computer services sector.

    The Government have made available a total of £43 million between 1985 and 1988 to fund additional higher education places under the engineering and technology programme. Future expenditure plans support the additional places in the longer term beyond this period.To secure the skills they want employers in the computer services and other sectors must provide proper incentives for people to acquire those skills, develop internal recruitment, and make the vital investment needed in training and in the upgrading of skills.The Government have given the lead through their investment in the engineering and technology programme, which is one of a number of initiatives already being taken to increase output in particular areas where it is clear that demand outstrips supply.

    The Arts

    Consultancy Contracts

    To ask the Minister for the Arts what was the total amount spent by his office in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    In 1987, £2,300 was spent by my office to meet in part the cost of a computer consultancy contract for the Government art collection. No money was spent on management consultancy.

    National Finance

    Taxation

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will provide the Treasury model estimate of the full year impact of the cuts in the higher rates of income tax announced in the Budget; and if he will provide a similar estimate of the impact of an additional annual £2 billion of current public expenditure;(2) if he will estimate the full year impact on the current account of the balance of payments of the cuts in the basic and higher rates of income tax announced in the Budget.

    It has not been the practice to publish estimates of the economic effects of changes in tax rates or public expenditure.

    Interest Rates

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about interest rates since the Budget; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations on this subject.

    Consultancy Contracts

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what was the total amount spent by Her Majesty's Treasury in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases;(2) what was the total amount spent by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    In 1987 total Treasury expenditure was some £5·6 million (including some £5·3 million by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency).

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total amount spent by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    British Rail (Customs Controls)

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will detail the facilities and procedures required of British Rail by the Board of Customs and Excise to allow for the performance of effective on-train customs controls.

    Discussions are at present taking place between Customs and British Rail about the facilities that would be required on the through trains travelling via Olympia. These include adequate space for baggage examination and interviews. Back-up facilities will also be required at Olympia for the more protracted investigations where serious offences are detected or suspected, for the detention of offenders and suspects and for communications and administrative support. Discussions with BR on the Olympia requirements will begin shortly.

    Ec (Own Resources)

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the European Commission has paid to member states the 400 mecu traditional own resources refunds deferred from 1987 under Council regulation 3952/87.

    Yes. The Commission paid to member states on 24 March the refunds of traditional own resources deferred from 1987. These refunds are set at 10 per cent. of traditional own resources (levies and duties) paid over to the Commission by member states and are intended to cover costs of collection.As I reported to the House on 3 July last year, at column

    175, the Budget Council decided on 2 July to defer 400 mecu of these refunds until early 1988 to help deal with the Community's budgetary problems last year. The Commission accordingly deferred most of the refunds due to member states in respect of the traditional own resources established between June and October 1987. In the event, the total amount deferred (and now refunded to member states) came to 443 mecu rather than 400 mecu because these own resources were running at a higher level than expected. The United Kingdom's share of the sums now refunded is some 91 mecu (£63·1 million).

    In accordance with the conclusions of the Brussels European Council in February, the existing arrangements for 10 per cent. refunds of traditional own resources are to be replaced, with effect from the beginning of 1988, by a new system whereby member states will make a 10 per cent deduction from their monthly payments of these own resources to the Commission (which relate to own resources established two months previously). In keeping with this, the Commission does not propose to pay to member states refunds in respect of own resources established from November 1987 onwards (and for which there is no budgetary provision). It proposes instead to invite member states to deduct from their first payments of traditional own resources after the 1988 budget has been adopted the total deductions due in respect of own resources established from November 1987 onwards. In this way member states will effectively receive the 10 per cent. collection costs due to them in respect of all the months concerned.

    Business Expansion Scheme

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the proposed restriction on companies raising finance under the business expansion scheme.

    My hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury announced during the Budget debates on 17 March that provided a company had issued a prospectus before Budget day and issued the shares before the end of the present tax year, the £500,000 limit would be increased to £1 million. However, there are some companies which do not offer shares to the public and do not need therefore to issue a prospectus. In order to help these companies the announced relaxation will also apply to a share issue made in pursuance of an offer for sale in writing made before Budget day, provided that the shares are issued before the end of the present tax year.It has also been suggested that the limitation on the amount raised in any period of 12 months could prevent a company using the BES to raise finance when it needs it. So we propose to amend this rule in a way which will give companies more flexibility while retaining the principle of an annual limit. The amended limit will apply to the amount raised in a tax year, but in order to prevent companies effectively doubling the limit by making share issues both at the end of one tax year and the beginning of the next, the limit will also apply to the amount raised in any period of six months.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Small Farmers Association

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met the chairman of the Small Farmers Association; and what matters were discussed.Mr. MacGregor: I have not met the chairman of the Small Farmers Association in my present ministerial capacity, though I have very frequent contact with all sections of the farming community.

    Forestry

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will state the area of land approved for forestry grant-aid in each of the five years to 31 March 1987 and from 1 April 1987 to date in England.

    The information is as follows:

    Year ended 31 MarchArea of land (hectares)
    198311,225
    198416,290
    198517,379
    198616,002
    198725,245
    The total area of land approved for planting in the period 1 April 1987 to 31 December 1987 was 23,932 hectares. Figures are not yet available beyond 31 December 1987.

    Consultancy Contracts

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the total amount spent by his Ministry in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    Sheep Exports (Restrictions)

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what restrictions were placed on the export of sheep from the restricted areas of Cumbria from 20 June 1986 to 2 September 1986.

    [holding answer 28 March 1988]: All sheep in the restricted area in Cumbria were subject to movement restrictions. Movements were authorised from 18 August under specific approvals which precluded the slaughter of marked sheep. Export of live sheep to third countries is not permitted for welfare reasons, other than for the purpose of breeding. All live sheep exported to EC member countries are subject to Ministry veterinary control.

    Scotland

    Mental Hospitals

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list the mental hospitals which are scheduled to (a) open and (b) close in Scotland in each of the next seven years;(2) how many residential places in the community will be provided for those discharged from mental hospitals in Scotland in each of the next seven years;(3) how many new mental hospital beds have been opened in Scotland in each of the last 10 years;(4) how many mental hospital beds have been closed in Scotland in each of the last 10 years.

    It is our general policy that mentally ill people capable of living in the community should have the opportunity of doing so, but it is important that discharges from hospital should not take place before appropriate community provision is available. It is for individual local authorities to make provision for their areas in consultation with health boards and voluntary organisations.We accept, however, that there is a need to continue to treat certain types of mental illness in a hospital setting. Suitable hospital facilities must therefore continue to be provided with the emphasis on smaller units related to the communities they serve.I am not able to predict the mental hospital openings or closures which may take place over the next seven years. It is up to health boards to deliver services in the light of their strategic plans which in turn reflect Government's policy for the services concerned. Boards have no plans at present to build any completely new mental hospitals. Their strategic plans propose the eventual closure of some hospitals, but this would require an application to my right hon. and learned Friend for his approval.Details of new mental hospital beds the bulk of which are replacement beds are held centrally only from 1979. The information is as follows:

    Number
    1979120
    198060
    198160
    1982Nil
    1983432
    1984240
    1985600
    1986270
    1987120
    Details of mental hospital beds closed in Scotland are held centrally only in relation to formal applications for closure made to the Secretary of State. The information, which is available only from 1979, is as follows:

    Number
    1979Nil
    1980Nil

    Number

    1981Nil
    1982Nil
    1983Nil
    1984Nil
    198585
    198658
    198787

    Forestry

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the likely geographical and topographical distribution of new tree planting over the next 10 years in the United Kingdom.

    We expect to see a higher proportion of planting than hitherto taking place on lower land of better quality. The rate of planting in Scotland is likely to continue to exceed that in England and Wales.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many acres of land are planted with (a) conifers and (b) broadleaves; and if he will make a statement.

    At 31 March 1987 the area of productive woodland in Great Britain was 1,490,000 hectares of conifers and 604,000 hectares of broadleaves.

    Psychiatric Nurses

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many community psychiatric nurses there were in Scotland in 1979; how many there are now; and how many he estimates there will be in 1991.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 2 November 1987, at column 435.

    Mentally Ill People

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the amounts provided for the forthcoming year for bridging funds in Scotland for local care of patients discharged or excluded from mental hospitals; how much in each case is provided for long-term patients still to be discharged from hospitals and how much for those already discharged from hospital; what the figure per patient is in each case; and if he will make a statement.

    The arrangements for the funding of community care in Scotland do not provide for bridging funds. Under NHS circular 1985(GEN)18, health boards may make lump sum or continuing payments to a local authority or voluntary agency towards the cost of projects which make it possible for people such as the mentally ill to return to, or remain in, the community. The indicative level for 1988–89 notified to health boards is £4·7 million.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what experiments in hospital hostels for discharged mental patients have been conducted in Scotland; what lessons have been learnt; and if he will make a statement.

    Hospital hostels are regarded as part of the psychiatric hospital provision and generally do not accommodate patients who have been discharged. These hostels care for patients who are preparing to re-enter the community. Initiatives in these programmes are conducted and developed on a continuing basis.

    Civil Defence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those regional and island authorities with an operational (i) main and (ii) standby emergency centre, and those district authorities that have an operational emergency centre.

    On the basis of returns provided by local authorities for October 1987, information about operational emergency centres which meet the standards set out in the emergency planning guidance to local authorities is as follows:

    Regions

    • Borders Region—Main and standby
    • Grampian Region—Main and standby

    Districts

    • Gordon1
    • Kincardine and Deeside1
    • Roxburgh
    • Tweeddale1

    1 Co-ordinated with a regional emergency centre.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will identify those local authorities that will receive civil defence grant towards the construction or conversion of emergency centres during each of the years 1988–89, 1989–90 and 1990–91; and if he will indicate the likely scale of the provision involved in each year.

    Grant-eligible expenditure on civil defence capital projects, predominantly, but not exclusively, emergency centres, is expected to be £904,000 in 1988–89, £948,000 in 1989–90, and £995,000 in 1990–91. It is expected that Orkney islands council and Dumfries and Galloway regional council will receive further grant to complete their emergency centres in 1988–89. Details of other authorities receiving grant will not be available until the relevant expenditure has been approved.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will identify those local authorities that have received civil defence grant towards the construction or conversion of emergency centres during each of the years 1984–85, 1985–86, 1986–87 and 1987–88; and if he will indicate the scale of the expenditure involved in each year.

    The information is not available in this form for 1984–85 or 1985–86. In 1986–87, grant towards the construction or conversion of emergency centres was paid to Grampian and Borders regional councils and in 1987–88 to these two councils and to Dumfries and Galloway regional council and Roxburgh district council. Expenditure attracting grant was £92,064 in 1986–87 and is expected to be £433,514 in 1987–88.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authority emergency centres have been inspected by officials from his Department; and if he is satisfied with the facilities provided by local authorities for emergency communications and control.

    All the operational emergency centres have been visited by Scottish Office officials. Steps have been taken to remedy deficiencies in communications facilities identified as a result of these visits.

    Consulting Contracts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total amount spent by his Department in 1987 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases.

    In 1987 my Department spent £191,308 on management consultancy and £504,431 on computer consultancy.

    Rating Reform

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he proposes to issue any guidance to community charge registration officers on the conduct of door-to-door canvassers, and on the information which they may legitimately request and record.

    No. The training of canvassers is a matter for community charges registration officers. The information required to be supplied by responsible persons is set out in the inquiry form and supplementary inquiry form prescribed in schedules 3 and 4 respectively of the Community Charges (Registration) (Scotland) Regulations 1988.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what provision he will make to require community charge registration officers to inform persons liable for a community charge of the identity of the responsible person who has been asked to supply information about them.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) whether he proposes to publish, or to encourage community charge registration officers to publish, any advice to members of the public who may be considering appealing against designation as responsible persons in terms of section 17(6) of the Abolition of Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 1987, including advice about the evidence which might be considered relevant to such an appeal;(2) whether he proposes to publish any further guidance to community charge registration officers on the consideration which they should take into account in determining whom it would be appropriate to designate as the responsible person in relation to any premises.

    Under section 17(6) of the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987 the responsible person will be either the owner-occupier or tenant-occupier of the premises. In the small number of cases where this might give rise to difficulties, the registration officer may designate any other person to be the responsible person. The provisions of the Act are flexible enough to allow registration officers to arrive at sensible decisions in these cases and it is therefore unlikely that there will be many appeals against designation as a responsible person.The considerations which registration officers will take into account in making any designation, and the evidence which may be relevant to any appeals, will vary according to the circumstances of individual cases. My right hon. and learned Friend does not, therefore, intend to publish any advice or guidance on these matters.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he proposes that the amounts of interest payments and surcharges owed in connection with a liability to pay community charge for a back-dated period should be eligible for rebate under the community charge rebate scheme.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to require community charge registration officers not to impose interest charges or surcharges on persons who have arrears or back-dated liability for payment of community charge as a result of release from prison following trial, after a period on remand.

    The arrangements for interest to be charged on backdated community charges and for the imposition of surcharges in certain circumstances are laid down in Section 18 of the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987. My right hon. and learned Friend is considering whether prisoners on remand should be exempt from the personal community charge.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what powers a non-resident or institutional owner or tenant of premises designated as a responsible person for the provision of information on the occupiers of those premises in terms of section 17(6)(b) of the Abolition of Domestic Rates (Scotland) Act 1987 will have to obtain information required by the registration officer; and what penalties the occupiers will incur if they refuse to supply the responsible person with information.

    Under section 17(6)(b) of the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987, either the owner of the premises, the tenant-occupier or, any non-occupancy tenant with a lease for 12 months or more will he the responsible person. Only in the few cases where this might give rise to difficulty will the registration officer designate another person to be the responsible person.A responsible person has no specific powers to require another person resident in the premises to provide information for community charge registration purposes. There are no penalties for refusing to provide the responsible person with information. The information required is however straightforward and it is unlikely that responsible persons will be unable to supply it.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what guidelines his Department will issue to community charge registration officers on the information which they will be able to require the police force to supply them with; and if he will make a statement.

    The Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987 gives community charges registration officers no powers to require the police to supply them with information.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether community charge registration officers will be able to delegate their powers to door-to-door canvassers employed by local authorities to obtain information from members of the public.

    Members of the registration officer's staff may assist with the handling of inquiry forms, but do not have the powers of registration officers. Such powers may be exercised only by the registration officer himself or by any depute registration officer appointed by a regional or islands council under section 12(3) of the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987.