Written Answers To Questions
Friday 15 April 1988
Education And Science
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether his Department has any plans to increase the security of internal departmental memoranda; and if he will make a statement.
It is not the usual practice to give information on such matters.
National Curriculum (Staffing Levels)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent representations he has received concerning the implications of the implementation of a national curriculum for staffing levels in schools.
We have received over 10,000 responses to our proposals; a number of these raised questions about the implementation of the national curriculum, including the teaching and other resources required for it. Our decisions on the phasing of its introduction will take account of all relevant factors, including staffing levels.
Merchant Navy College, Greenhithe
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received about the proposed closure of the Merchant Navy college at Greenhithe; and what reply he has given.
My right hon. Friend has received representations from right hon. and hon. Members, from the principal and staff of the college, and from parents or employers of past, current and prospective students.While recognising that the college has won praise for the quality of its work; the question of its future is a matter for the college itself and for the Inner London education authority which maintains it.
Education Assets Board
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will state the emoluments to be paid to the chairman of the education assets board; and what other posts in the public service the chairman holds.
The chairman of the education assets board, Mr. Tom McDonald OBE, will be paid £17,330 per annum for a time commitment of two days a week. Mr. McDonald is currently also chairman of the West Yorkshire residuary body and unpaid chairman of the Yorkshire and Humberside and East Midlands industrial development board.
Nerc Centre, Barry
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what representations he has received concerning the future of the Natural Environment Research Council's research vessels services centre at Barry in South Glamorgan; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will make a statement on the future of the Natural Environment Research Council's research vessels services centre at Barry in South Glamorgan.
My right hon. Friend has received no representations concerning the future of the Natural Environment Research Council research vessels services centre at Barry in South Glamorgan. The future of the centre is a matter for NERC, and I understand that the council is investigating the feasibility of resiting the centre to Southampton as part of a proposed interdisciplinary research centre on deep sea oceanography.
To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on the outcome of the meeting of officials which took place on 7 April to which he referred in his written answer to the hon. Member for Edmonton (Dr. Twinn) on 30 March, Official Report, column 484. when he expects next to meet the Attorney-General of the Irish Republic and when he now expects to agree extradition arrangements with the Government of the Irish Republic.
The meeting of officials on 7 April clarified several matters. I am very hopeful that there will shortly be effective extradition between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland under the new Irish legislation.
Birmingham Pub Bombings
To ask the Attorney-General who selected the Law Lords to hear the application for leave to appeal by the six men convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings.
In accordance with the usual practice the principal clerk of the Judicial Office, acting under the general authority of the Lord Chancellor, selected the names of the law lords to sit on the appeal committee which considered the application for leave to appeal in the Birmingham pub bombings case.As a matter of general practice the Lord Chancellor does not intervene in the arrangements for particular law lords to hear particular cases and did not do so in this case.
Value Added Tax
To ask the Prime Minister what recent representations she has received over the suggested introduction of value added tax charges on children's shoes; and if she will make a statement.
I have received a number of representations about value added tax including on children's clothing.
To ask the Prime Minister what messages of sympathy have been conveyed by Her Majesty's Government to the bereaved relatives and friends of those killed in the arms explosion in Pakistan, and to relatives and friends of those injured in the explosion; and if she will make a statement.
Her Majesty the Queen sent a message of sympathy to President Zia, to the families of those who suffered, and to the people of Pakistan. I sent a similar message to Prime Minister Junejo.
Water (Nitrate Levels)
To ask the Prime Minister what is the remit of the Cabinet Office working party set up to look at nitrate levels in drinking water; what external representatives are on the working party; when any recommendations are due to be made; and if the conclusions will be published.
It is not the practice to provide such information. I also refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Thompson) on 26 January 1988 at column 133.
Departmental Correspondence (Confidentiality)
To ask the Prime Minister what action her Office has taken to investigate the circumstances of the unauthorised disclosure of recent correspondence between her Office and that of the Secretary of State for Scotland concerning opting out of the educational system in Scotland.
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given to him by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland on 12 April 1988, at column 44, and my reply of 14 March 1988 at column 425.
To ask the Prime Minister when she last visited (a) a jobcentre, (b) a Department of Health and Social Security office (c) a military establishment and (d) a trade union office.
In the course of each year I visit a wide variety of companies, offices, organisations and establishments. Information going back to 1979 is not immediately available in the form requested. I did, however, recently visit Wellington barracks. I have not visited a trade union office.
"Management Of Private Practice In Nhs Hospitals"
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will place in the Library a copy of the Home and Health Department's handbook, "Management of Private Practice in NHS Hospitals".
A copy of the handbook has already been placed in the Library.
Health Boards (Agency Workers)
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much each Scottish health board spent on agency workers in the most recent available year; and what percentage this was of their overall nursing costs.
Relevant information in health boards' annual accounts is recorded under the category of "non-payroll" nursing costs. While this relates principally to the cost of engaging agency nursing staff, some other expenditure (such as payments for nursing staff in non National Health Service hospitals which have contractual arrangements with health boards) is also included. The figures for 1986–87 are given in the table.
|Health board||Non-payroll nursing costs £ thousand||Per cent.1|
|Argyll and Clyde||2||0·01|
|Ayrshire and Arran||—||—|
|Dumfries and Galloway||—||—|
|1 As proportion of total expenditure on nurses' salaries and wages.|
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the current cost to each district council of housing homeless persons; and what proportion of this is for bed and breakfast accommodation.
The information requested is not held centrally.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many military personnel have left the armed services in each year since 1974;(2) how many military personnel have left the armed services at the end of a fixed term of service in each year since 1974;(3) how many military personnel have left the armed services for medical reasons in each year since 1974;(4) how many military personnel have left the armed services at retirement age in each year since 1974;(5) how many military personnel have been dismissed from the armed services in each year since 1974;(6) how many military personnel have left the armed services for reasons other than
(a) end of a fixed term of service, (b) medical reasons (c) retirement age (d) dismissal, in each year since 1974.
Details of the numbers leaving the armed forces by cause in each financial year are shown in the table. It is not possible to distinguish between exits at the end of a fixed term of service and exits at retirement age and a single category covering these two groups has therefore been shown. This category includes those leaving the Army having given notice. The numbers shown as dismissed include administrative dismissals as well as disciplinary discharge.
|Year||Total Outflow||Time and age expiries||Medical and Death||Dismissal||All other reasons|
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many military personnel have left the Army in each year since 1974;
|The numbers shown as dismissed include administrative dismissals as well as disciplinary discharges|
|Total outflow||Time and age expiries||Medical and death||Dismissal||All other reasons|
|April to December 1987||16,707||6,861||814||2,931||6,101|
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people have joined the armed services as military personnel in each year since 1974.
The numbers of people joining the Army from civil life in each financial year since 1974–75 are shown below:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people have joined the armed services as military personnel in each year since 1974.
(2) how many military personnel have left the Army at the end of a fixed term of service in each year since 1974;
(3) how many military personnel have left the Army for medical reasons in each year since 1974;
(4) how many military personnel have left the Army at retirement age in each year since 1974;
(5) how many military personnel have been dismissed from the Army in each year since 1974;
(6) how many military personnel have left the Army for reasons other than (a) end of fixed term of service, (b) medical reasons (c) retirement age, or (d) dismissal, in each year since 1974.
Details of the numbers leaving the Army by cause in each financial year are shown in the table below. It is not possible in the available statistics to distinguish between exits at the end of a fixed term of service and exits at retirement age and a single category covering these two groups has therefore been shown. This category includes those leaving the Army having given notice.
:The numbers of people joining the armed services from civil life in each financial year since 1974–75 are shown below:
Hanover Air Show
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to visit the Hanover air show in May.
I hope to do so subject to the pressure of Government business.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of complaints received about low flying in 1987 were identified as relating to (a) fast jets, (b) light jet trainers, (c) heavy propeller-driven aircraft, (d) light propeller-driven aircraft and helicopters.
[holding answer 22 February 1988]: The proportion of complaints and inquiries about low flying received in 1987 identified as relating to fast jets, light jet trainers, heavy propeller-driven aircraft and light propeller-driven aircraft and helicopters is, respectively, 71·4 per cent., 0·1 per cent., 2·1 per cent. and 2·7 per cent. In the remaining 23·7 per cent. of cases the type of aircraft involved is not known.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of complaints received about low flying in 1987 were identified as relating to (a) British military aircraft, (b) United States air force aircraft and (c) other military aircraft.
[holding answer 22 February 1988]: The nationality of the aircraft involved is rarely mentioned in complaints, and the majority of complaint records do not include this information. Where it is available, in 5·71 per cent. of all cases, the percentages of the total relating to British military aircraft, United States air forces aircraft and other military aircraft are 4·51 per cent., 1·18 per cent. and 0·02 per cent. respectively.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many low flying sorties were carried out over (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland during 1987.
[holding answer 22 February 1988]: Fixed-wing low-flying training is not currently undertaken in Northern Ireland. Otherwise, a typical low-level sortie covers some 300–500 miles and commonly covers more than one of the areas mentioned. The information requested is not available.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise the question of the self-determination of the Baltic states under principle VIII of basket 1 of the Helsinki Final Act at the current review conference in Vienna; and if he will make a statement.
We have no plans to do so. Our position of de facto but not de jure recognition of the incorporation of the Baltic states into the Soviet Union is well-known. Our delegation in Vienna have raised a number of human rights violations which have taken place in the Baltic states.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to when the inquest on the shootings of the three Irish Republican Army members in Gibraltar will take place.
The timing of the inquest into the deaths of the three IRA terrorists is a matter for the coroner in Gibraltar. A date has not yet been fixed for the inquest hearing.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice is made available to British travel companies as to the inadvisability of offering holidays in the western Sahara, the war zone of the conflict between the Polisario guerillas and the Moroccan army, in view of the fact that a number of holiday makers have been killed in that area.
Our current advice is that the territory of the western Sahara is disputed and the United Kingdom regards sovereignty as undetermined.Much of the territory is under military jurisdiction and travel is subject to restriction. We have no diplomatic representation in the territory and normal consular services are not available. We would, therefore, discourage travel outside the tourist areas.To the best of our knowledge there are no organised tours to the area.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will arrange for information about the names of the dead and injured in the recent explosion disaster in Pakistan to be available and for telephone inquiries for information to be received from British citizens or overseas nationals, settled in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
Her Majesty's embasssy in Islamabad reports that its checks have not revealed any deaths or injuries amongst the British community.Inquiries about the safety of non-British nationals in Pakistan should be addressed to either the Pakistan embassy in London or the authorities in Pakistan.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance has been offered by Her Majesty's Government to the Government of Pakistan to relieve suffering following the armament explosion disaster; what assistance has been sought of Her Majesty's Government by the Pakistan Government; and if Her Majesty's Government will make a contribution to any disaster appeal established in Pakistan.
My noble Friend, Lord Trefgarne, who was in Islamabad at the time of the disaster, asked the Pakistan Prime Minister to let us know if there was any assistance which we could provide. If a specific request for help is received, we shall do what we can to meet it.
South African Embassy
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what sums were paid to his Department in compensation for damage to the South African embassy following the conviction of Mr. Adam Bowles and two associates of offences during an antiapartheid demonstration.
Mr. Adam Bowles was sentenced at Southwark crown court on 23 March to 14 days' imprisonment. His two associates were conditionally discharged and ordered to pay £250 each compensation for damage, the payment to be made within 60 days. No payment has yet been made.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the cost of dealing with a genuine application for immigration into the United Kingdom from Bangladesh (a) where DNA fingerprinting is used to verify the genuineness of the application, and (b) where only existing administrative techniques are used; and if he will make a statement.
The cost of commercial DNA testing is met by those who initiate it. The time taken to process cases, whether or not DNA testing is involved, varies considerably from case to case. For this reason costs are not broken down as to type of application or on an individual basis.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the amount by which the increased revenues from changes in taxes and duties announced in his Budget Statement will be offset by additional expenditure on benefits and other payments linked to the retail price index; and if he will make a statement.
The direct impact on the retail price index of the changes in taxes and duties announced in the Budget is estimated to be an increase of 0·4 per cent. The cost of a corresponding increase in social security benefits linked to the index from April 1989 is estimated to be about £165 million in 1989–90. Other payments directly affected by changes in the retail price index include public sector pensions. However, these costs are not additional to the Government's public expenditure plans set out in the public expenditure White Paper Cm. 288 for two reasons:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will commission an audit of Government expenditure by region.
All central Government expenditure throughout the United Kingdom is subject to audit by the National Audit Office. The Government also publish extensive information on the geographical distribution of public expenditure as was explained in evidence provided by the Treasury to the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee (published as appendix 5 to the Committee's Second Report of the current Session).
Government Securities (Redemption)
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the cost to the Exchequer of redeeming (a) 3½ per cent. war loan and (b) all undated Government securities.
The cost of redeeming 3½ per cent. war loan would be £1,909 million. The cost of redeeming all undated Government securities would be £3,220 million.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the adult average per capita personal debt, not including mortgages; and if he will make a statement.
[holding answer 12 April 1988]: The adult average per capita stock of personal sector debt, excluding mortgages, is estimated to have been a little over £1,300 at the end of the third quarter 1987.This figure includes debts of unincorporated businesses since these are part of the personal sector.
Farmers Union Of Wales
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he last met the president of the Farmers Union of Wales; and what matters were discussed.
I last met the president of the Farmers Union of Wales on Wednesday 10 February when we discussed the full range of issues of concern to the union.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimates of the yield of fishing rates in Wales are available to him.
This information is not held centrally.
A548 (Shotton-Connah's Quay Bypass)
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he estimates the start of the A548 Shotton to Connah's Quay bypass rail bridge; and what is (a) the target completion date, (b) its estimated cost and (c) the length of carriageway.
These matters are for Clwyd county council, the local highway authority responsible for the scheme. I understand that the scheme is in progress.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when the A548 Shotton to Connah's Quay bypass river crossing and completion of dualling will begin; what is the length of carriageway; and what is its estimated cost.
These matters are for Clwyd county council, the local highway authority responsible for the scheme.
Voluntary Bodies (Grants)
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list those voluntary organisations, projects and bodies assisted by his Department with grant aid during the financial year 1986–87, together with the amount of grant in each case.
I shall write to the hon. Gentleman shortly, and place a copy of my reply in the Library of the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list all the non-European languages taught as foreign languages in Wales and list those secondary schools in which they are taught.
Japanese is taught to a group of sixth-formers, on an informal basis, at Heol Ddu comprehensive school, Mid Glamorgan, and is available as a nine-week module to fourth and fifth-formers in Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan, Clwyd. No other maintained schools teach non-European languages.
|Pupils Who …|
|speak Welsh at home||do not speak Welsh at home but who can speak it with fluency||speak Welsh but not fluently||cannot speak Welsh at all|
Public Service Broadcasting
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on Government plans for public service broadcasting in the next decade.
We have it in mind to publish a White Paper within the next few months setting out proposals for the future of broadcasting, including public service broadcasting which will continue to play a major part in the broadcasting system in the 1990s.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of present national and international methods of control of the laundering of illegal drug trafficking money.
The powers to trace, freeze and confiscate the proceeds of drug trafficking in the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986 provide an effective new weapon against drug trafficking and money laundering. Intelligence about the financial activities of suspected drug traffickers is now co-ordinated centrally in the national
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list those primary schools in Wales where a language other than Welsh or English is employed as a language of instruction.
There are no maintained primary schools in Wales where the language of instruction is a language other than Welsh or English.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what information he has as to the numbers and proportion of primary school pupils in each Welsh county who (a) speak Welsh as their first language, (b) speak Welsh fluently as their second language, (c) speak some Welsh and (d) speak very little or no Welsh at all.
The information is not collected centrally in the form requested. However, data in respect of primary school pupils, aged five and over, by home spoken language at September 1987 are as follows:drugs intelligence unit. We recently signed an agreement with the United States on co-operation in this field, and we expect to conclude further such agreements this year. We are also active in discussions in the Council of Europe and the United Nations towards more effective international co-operation.
London Roads (Access)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many weekends during (a) January, (b) February and (c) March, public access to roads in central London was restricted in order to allow demonstrations to take place; in each case to which roads access was impaired and for what period; and whether he expects such restrictions to increase during the summer months.
I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that, in relation to larger demonstrations, he issued directions enabling constables to stop or to divert vehicular and pedestrian traffic in central London on two weekends in each of January and February and on one weekend in March (when two separate directions were made). I have placed copies of the directions in the Library which give their duration and which show the roads affected. The number of directions issued during the summer is expected to decrease.
Prevention Of Terrorism
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to the actions taken following the arrests under the Prevention of Terrorism Act of (i) Dierdre Whelan, (ii) Patrick Shanahan, (iii) Tina Smith, (iv) Pamela Kane, (v) James Keegan, (vi) Hugo Reavey and (vii) David Kane and with particular reference to (a) the length of time each was held prior to any charge, (b) which of them were released bail having been charged, (c) which of them were released without charge, (d) what criminal charges have been preferred and against whom and (e) at what stage each was allowed to see a solicitor.
No charges were brought against any of those named. Martina Smith was told at the start of her detention that she could have access to a solicitor and David Kane saw a solicitor within 24 hours of his detention. Deirdre Whelan, Patrick Shanahan, Pamela Kane, Joseph Keegan and Hugo Reavey were all allowed access to a solicitor after they had been detained for 48 hours.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many hail hostels there are in England and Wales.
There are 16 approved bail hostels in England and Wales and a further 85 approved probation/ bail hostels, the majority of which provide places for persons on remand.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many bail beds are currently available to the courts in England and Wales.
There are 248 places available in approved bail hostels and a further 1,593 in approved probation/bail hostels, the majority of which are available to persons on remand.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many remand prisoners occupied a place in a bail hostel during (a) 1986 and (b) 1987 in England and Wales.
In 1986, at all approved probation/ bail and bail hostels in England and Wales, 410 places were occupied on average each month by persons on remand; the corresponding figure for 1987 was 538. Based on an average length of stay of nine weeks it is estimated that 2,378 persons on remand occupied approved hostel places in 1986 and 3,120 occupied places in 1987.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many remand prisoners who were resident in bail hostels absconded during (a) 1986 and (b) 1987;(2) how many remand prisoners who were resident in bail hostels committed a further offence whilst on bail during
(a) 1986 and (b) 1987.
The information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to make a statement concerning the outcome of his Department's pilot study into the use of DNA fingerprinting for the identification of genuine applicants for immigration into the United Kingdom; and if he will provide statistics evidencing the use of DNA testing techniques during the pilot study, and the results.
My right hon. Friend expects to place a copy of the report of the pilot trial in the Library shortly. The report will include statistical information about the outcome of DNA tests during the trial.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passengers arriving at Heathrow airport from abroad during 1987 were new arrivals to the United Kingdom; and how many were referred for medical examination on arrival.
Information about the total number of new arrivals is not available, but in 1987 14,387 passengers were given leave to enter for settlement on first arrival at Heathrow airport. In the 12 months 1 April 1986 to 31 March 1987 34,708 passengers at Heathrow were referred by immigration officers for medical examination. This figure includes other categories in addition to settlement cases. The figures for 1987 are not yet available.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many immigration officers are employed at Heathrow airport; and how many are medically qualified.
On 29 February 1988, 533 immigration officers were in post at Heathrow airport. As far as I am aware, none is medically qualified.
Heathrow Airport (Medical Checks)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the procedure for checking the medical condition of passengers arriving from abroad at Heathrow airport; and if he will make a statement.
Immigration officers have the power to refer for medical examination any passenger subject to control who (a) intends to remain in the United Kingdom for more than six months; (b) mentions health or medical treatment as a reason for his visit; (c) appears not to be in good health; or (d) appears to be mentally or physically abnormal.Immigration officers also have discretion, which the immigration rules require them to exercise sparingly, to refer for examination in any other case. Medical examinations are conducted by port medical inspectors, appointed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passengers on flight BA 222 from Islamabad which arrived at Heathrow airport on the evening of Monday 11 April were referred for medical examination; and how many received subsequent treatment.
Twenty-four, none of whom was referred for treatment as a result.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) male and (b) female prisoners in police or court cells committed suicide between 1 April 1987 and 31 March; and how many of these were on remand.
There were no deaths in police or magistrates court cells, between 1 April 1987 and 31 March 1988, in which a coroner's inquest returned a verdict of suicide. There were three instances where an open verdict was returned. In a further case the inquest is pending. None of these prisoners was on remand.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) male and (b) female prisoners committed suicide between 1 April 1987 and 31 March 1988; and how many of these were on remand.
Verdicts of suicide have been returned on 31 inmates who died in prison department establishments in England and Wales between 1 April 1987 and 31 March 1988. Thirty of these were male, of whom 18 were on remand; the one female was also on remand. Inquests are yet to be held on eight other inmates (all male, four of whom were on remand) who die in prison department custody during the period in question and whose deaths are thought to have been suicide.
South Africa (Trade Ban)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent action Her Majesty's Government have taken to secure the return to the United Kingdom of the four business men accused of smuggling goods to South Africa in breach of a trade ban, who broke their undertaking, given as a condition of bail, to return to the United Kingdom to face those charges; and if he will make a statement.
The United Kingdom has no extradition treaty with South Africa, and therefore no means of securing the return of these men. Bail of £400,000 has been forfeited.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to review the state of Britain's civil defence; and if he will make a statement.
Civil defence arrangements are kept under continual review.
Prisons (Contract Provision)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Government will reply to the fourth report of the Select Committee on Home Affairs on contract provision of prisons, published on 6 May 1987, HC 291.
I have today written to my hon. Friend setting out the Government's response to the report. I have mentioned in particular my intentions, which I announced to the House on 30 March, at columns 1083–85, as part of the measures I am taking to deal with the current and projected growth of the prison population, to invite the private sector to make proposals for the faster provision of urban remand facilities and open prisons; to publish a Green Paper and set up a consultancy on the scope for involving the private sector in all aspects of the remand system; and to examine the possibility of the private sector providing and managing secure bail hostels. I am arranging for a copy of my letter to be placed in the Library.
Ruc (Chief Constable)
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what his reasons were for asserting recently that the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary was to meet his Garda counterpart.
The Chief Constable of the RUC and the Commissioner of the Garda Siochana attended a meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference on 25 March.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has any proposals to seek to limit Sinn Fein's access to the broadcasting media in Northern Ireland.
No, but all measures which might assist the combating of terrorism are kept under review.
Woodland Grant Scheme
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what are the present rates of grant for planting conifers and broadleaves; whether he proposes to amend the woodland grant scheme; and if he will make a statement.
I refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply given to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Stamford and Spalding (Mr. Davies) on 23 March 1988, at columns 167–68.
Ruc Code Of Conduct
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will place a copy of the Royal Ulster Constabulary code of conduct in the Library.
The guidance to officers entitled "Professional Policing Ethics" has been incorporated in chapter 1 of the RUC manual which is issued to each member of the force. The Chief Constable has agreed that this guidance should be publicly available. At his request, therefore, l have today placed a copy in the Library of both Houses and copies are available in the Vote Office.
Sea Fish Industry Authority
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the sum allocated to the Sea Fish Industry Authority for boat building grants in each year since 1984–85 (a) in cash terms and (b) at 1987 prices.
The information requested is as follows:
|At 1987 prices||7·97||9·58||10·42||15·10|
Chernobyl (Press Conference)
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which newspapers and other publications were invited to his Ministry's press conferences on Chernobyl on (a) 21 April 1987 and (b) 21 March 1988.
No press conferences on Chernobyl were held by my Ministry on 21 April 1987 and 21 March 1988. However, officials did give background briefings, as they do from time to time on various issues.
Institute Of Personnel Management (Exhibition)
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if his Department has considered an application for an exhibition relating to the 75th anniversary of the work of the Institute of Personnel Management in the Upper Waiting Hall; and if he will make a statement.
The Institute of Personnel Management has invited me to open this exhibition on 23 May, and I have accepted.
Acas (North-West Branch)
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment in how many cases the north-west branch of ACAS has been involved or instrumental in producing a settlement.
I understand from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service that in 1987, the latest complete calendar year for which figures are available, ACAS north-west region was involved in conciliation in 245 disputes. A settlement, or progress towards a settlement, was achieved in 209 (85·3 per cent) of these cases.
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has about the employment and industrial background of serving members of the north-west region ACAS board.
ACAS has no regional boards.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when construction work on the A 1 /M1 link Thrapston bypass will start.
Construction work on this section is programmed to start towards the end of this year.
Concessionary Bus Fares
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department has monitored changes arising in the provision of concessionary bus fares for children arising from the Transport Act 1985; and if he will make a statement.
My Department sought information from local authorities on a voluntary basis in 1986–87 about their concessionary fares schemes. The information supplied is still being analysed. But the preliminary indications confirm that, as I stated in reply to the hon. Member's similar question on 20 July 1987, some local authorities have used the powers introduced under the Transport Act 1985 to provide for new or improved concessionary fares for children, but in most cases there has been no change.
Public Service Vehicle Licence Test
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the average waiting time for a public service vehicle licence test in (a) Scotland, (b) Orkney and (c) Shetland.
The average waiting time for public service vehicle driving tests in Scotland is five weeks. Arrangements for tests on Orkney and Shetland depend on the level and incidence of local demand. On average the waiting time for tests on the islands is about eight weeks.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many applications for public service vehicle tests were received in 1987 from (a) Scotland, (b) Orkney and (c) Shetland.
This information is not readily available. Some 2,711 test appointments were booked in Scotland in 1987. Four tests were conducted in Orkney and 16 in Shetland.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the impact of tourist coaches on traffic movement on roads for which he is responsible near the Palace of Westminster.
Responsibility for all roads in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster rests with Westminster city council as local highway authority.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken to mitigate the effects of tourist coaches in central London traffic.
Traffic management and the provision of parking for tourist coaches in central London are primarily the responsibility of London borough councils as highway and planning authorities. We encourage local authorities and private bodies to improve existing facilities and provide additional ones.We issued a report on tourist coaches in London in 1986. Copies were placed in the Library of the House. More recently we have co-operated with the Bus and Coach Council, Westminster city council, the Metropolitan police and the London tourist board in developing a code of practice. This was launched on 2 March. It should lead to better routeing and parking of coaches.
London Regional Transport
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the current salaries and other remuneration of board members of London Regional Transport.
Current annual salaries of the board members of London Regional Transport are as follows:
|Salary £||Time Commitment|
|Sir Keith Bright||64,000||Full time|
|Dr. Tony Ridley||60,000||Full time|
|Mr. John Telford Beasley||55,000|
|Mr. Michael Marsh||60,000|
|Sir Neil Shields||18,000||2 days per week|
|Mr. Keith Brown||5,500||Half day per week|
|Miss Eileen Cole|
|Dr. Stephen Glaister|
|Mrs. Helen Robinson|
|Miss Patricia Steel|
|Mr. Roy Thomas|
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the Government's expenditure on public service obligation grant to British Rail during each year since 1979; and what was the percentage in each of the British Rail's regions.
The figures for central Government support for the British Railways Board taken from the final claims for grant in compensation for the public service obligation under EC regulation 1191/69 and section 3 of the Railways Act 1974 in respect of the years since 1979 are as follows:
1984–85 is a 15-month period reflecting a change in the British Railways Board financial year. The figures for 1985–86, 1986–87 and 1987–88 remain provisional; final claims have not been agreed. All figures are cash.
The public service obligation grant is not paid on the basis of allocation between British Rail's regions and it is not possible to provide a percentage breakdown between regions.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will state the total public expenditure on road signs on trunk roads and motorways in England in each year since 1966 at outturn and 1986–87 prices.
This information is not readily available and can be provided only at disproportionate costs.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list, separately for freight and passenger trains, all the reported occasions in the last 10 years when locomotive drivers have passed signals at danger; and in which of those incidents wheel slide has been a contributory factor.
Signals passed at danger by train drivers are reported to this Department only if a notifiable accident results. The number of collisions attributed to drivers passing signals at danger over the past 10 years is as follows. The numbers involving freight trains and passenger trains separately are not readily available, nor are the numbers in which wheel slide has been a contributory factor.
|Collisions caused by train crews passing signals at danger|
|Year||Number of collisions|
|1 The figures for 1987 are provisional at this time.|
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of serious leg injuries sustained by motor cyclists in road traffic accidents result in disability.
[holding answer 29 March 1988]: Just before Easter, the hon. Gentleman asked what proportion of serious leg injuries sustained by motor cyclists in road traffic accidents resulted in disabilities. The information was not available at the time. I said that I would write.A transport and road research laboratory study at a hospital accident and emergency department showed that about half of motor cyclists sustaining serious leg injuries were still suffering disability six months after their accident. As this study was at one hospital only, this figure may not be representative of the national situation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has received representations about the funding of the teaching hospitals as part of the National Health Service review.
Yes, and we shall bear in mind the importance of medical teaching and research.
West Middlesex University Hospital
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether the detailed plans for the redevelopment of the West Middlesex University hospital, set out in the Minister for Health's letter dated 5 March 1987 to the right hon. Member for Brentford and Isleworth, remain generally valid; and if any amendments have been made;(2) when proposals for the redevelopment of the West Middlesex University hospital were submitted for approval by Her Majesty's Treasury and his Department; and when he expects that approval will be given;(3) what action he has taken with reference to the approval of phase one of the new West Middlesex University hospital since the debate on the National Health Service on 26 November 1987.
The plans outlined in my right hon. Friend's letter related to the total redevelopment of the hospital, which would cost some £47 million.The submission on the phase 1 redevelopment of the West Middlesex University hospital is under consideration. A revised submission was received in June 1987. Further information on the proposals has been required, some re-costing work has been necessary, and there have been detailed discussions with the health authority about the provision proposed for elderly mentally ill patients. Proposals of this magnitude will also require Treasury approval. Decisions will be taken as soon as possible.Detailed work on later phases—which will require separate submissions—is still in progress at the regional health authority.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many people will receive reduced housing benefit as a result of the changes in social security in April;(2) how many people who lose entitlement to housing benefit in April are families with children.
I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Derby, South (Mrs. Beckett) on 18 December 1987 at columns 916–18. This continues to be the most up-to-date information available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many (a) direct, and (b) indirect maternal deaths in England in each year between 1976 and 1978 occurred in National Health Service hospitals without consultant obstetric units; and how many were associated with anaesthesia.
In 1976–78 there were 30 direct maternal deaths directly due to anaesthesia in England and Wales. There were also a further 10 deaths where the administration of anaesthesia made a contribution, and of these deaths five were direct and five were indirect maternal deaths. Information on where death occurred and the type of obstetric unit is not available.
Westfield House, Bradford
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the estimated cost of repairing the damage done to the reception area of the Westfield house office of his Department in Bradford, including the replacement of reinforced glass screens; when the office will reopen; what arrangements have been made to refer callers to other DHSS offices in Bradford; and if he will make a statement.
The cost of repairing the damage to the public area, including replacement of reinforced glass screens, has been estimated at between £1,700 and £2,000. It is hoped that the work will be completed in time for the office to reopen to the public by the beginning of the week commencing Monday 18 April. Callers are being directed to Bradford south local office which is situated about one mile away. A notice on the public entrance sets out the alternative arrangements, which have also been publicised in the local press. The public caller office at Shipley is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays and extra staff have been deployed to deal with inquiries.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to his answer of 12 April to the hon. Member for Wakefield, what policy objective is served by maintaining the confidentiality of performance-related payments to Health Service general managers.
It respects the position of those individuals who do not wish the awards they have received to be made public.
Eye Tests And Dental Examinations
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services, pursuant to the answer of Tuesday 12 April, how many of the 206,524 eye tests and 652,660 dental examinations were undertaken free of charge in 1986; and for which additional categories charges will be levied under terms of the Health and Medicines Bill.
All the 206,524 sight tests and the 662,660 dental examinations carried out in Trent region in 1986 under the general optical and dental services were free of charge. Once enacted the Health and Medicines Bill will permit charges to be made for dental examinations and will confine the NHS sight test to specified groups.As regards dental examinations, these will continue to be free for children and young people under 18, full-time students under 19, expectant and nursing mothers and people on a low income. This will account for nearly half of the dental examinations provided in the future.As regards sight testing, a free NHS sight test will continue for children under 16, full-time students under 19, the registered blind and partially-sighted people on a low income and also, as I announced in the House on 14 April 1988, those with diabetes or glaucoma who are referred by the doctor managing their condition. It is estimated that these groups account for over one third of sight tests.
Single Payments (Sunderland)
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many outstanding claims for single payments there were at (a) Dunn house and (b) Phoenix house in Sunderland on 11 April.
There were 3,118 single payment claims outstanding at Dunn house (Sunderland, North office) and approximately 7,000 at Phoenix house (Sunderland, South office) on 11 April 1988.
Income Support (Sunderland)
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many assessments for income support were outstanding at (a) Dunn house and (b) Phoenix house in Sunderland on 11 April.
The exercise to convert supplementary benefit payments to income support was completed in both these offices by 11 April.
Richmond Terrace (Ministerial Cars)
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to ensure that ministerial cars are not parked outside his Department's new headquarters in Richmond terrace in such a way as to cause an obstruction to those seeking to enter the building; and if he will make a statement.
I am not aware of a general problem resulting from the existing arrangements although current work to complete the building sometimes causes some necessary short-term disruption to Ministers, staff and visitors to the building.
Income Support Regulations
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if Her Majesty's Government will take steps to ensure that any British citizens or overseas nationals, settled in the United Kingdom, who visit Pakistan for urgent family reasons arising from the recent explosion disaster in Pakistan are not penalised on their return under the provisions of the new social security regulations, relating to the effect on benefit entitlements of time spent outside the United Kingdom.
The new Income Support (General) Regulations 1987 and the Income Support (General) Amendment Regulations 1988 carry forward into income support the former rules for the payment of supplementary pensions and allowances during absences abroad. Under these rules certain people who are not required to be available for work for income support purposes and who temporarily go abroad remain entitled to income support for the first four weeks of absence. If the absence abroad results in a break in entitlement, that break will lead to the immediate loss of any transitional addition of less than £10, and to the loss, after eight weeks, of transitional additions of £10 or more. In the case of certain unemployed couples, breaks in entitlement of eight weeks or more will lead to the loss of the higher (£15) earnings disregard.If a husband and wife go abroad and the wife is widowed while in Pakistan she will be entitled to widow's payment if she returns to the United Kingdom within four weeks of her husband's death.We have no plans to change these rules.
Social Security Provisions
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will arrange for British citizens or overseas nationals settled in the United Kingdom, who are dependent on benefit, to be able to apply for help towards their expenses to travel to Pakistan for urgent family reasons, arising from the recent explosion disaster in Pakistan; and if he will make a statement.
It would be inappropriate to make provision in this way since the social security system is not, and was not previously, designed for this purpose.
Foreign Visitors (Medical Examinations)
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the variety of medical conditions found amongst those passengers who arrived at Heathrow airport during 1987 and were referred for examination on arrival; and how many were refused entry on medical grounds.
The principal port medical officer at Heathrow has listed the following medical conditions as found amongst passengers arriving at Heathrow airport between 1 April 1986 and 31 March 1987 referred to the health control unit:
- Pyrexia of unknown origin
- Food poisoning
- Glandular fever
- Bornholm's Disease
- Chicken pox
- Cardiac Arrest/Failure
- Renal Colic/Failure
- Drug Abuse
- Obstetric Emergency
- Attempted Suicide
- Abdominal Pain
- Urine Retention
- Non Hodgkins Lymphoma
- Anxiety State
- Chest Pains
- Acute Asthmatic Attack
- Acute Allergic Condition
- Acute Back Pain
- Mental Illness
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will redistribute social fund budgets between the local office at Liverpool, West Derby, and Liverpool, Edge Hill.
Following the announcement of social fund allocations in my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory) on 4 November 1987, at columns 774–81, the local office at Liverpool, Edge Hill has assumed from the local office at Liverpool, West Derby the responsibility of serving the residents of the postal district Liverpool 13. Accordingly, the allocation to Liverpool, West Derby has been reduced proportionately and the money reallocated to Liverpool, Edge Hill. The new allocations are as follows:
|Grants budget £||Loans budget £|
|Liverpool, West Derby||70,780||167,504|
|Liverpool, Edge Hill||258,534||714,113|
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services whether women who have left the marital home for fear of violence will be excluded from income support where their share of the marital home exceeds £6,000; and if he will make a statement.
It is not our policy to deny income support to the partner who has left the marital home in the event of marital breakdown simply because of the capital value of her or his share in the home. We shall propose amending regulations as soon as possible so as to be able to disregard the person's interest in the property until its value can be realised. In the interim, arrangements have been made to pay such claimants the amounts that they would have received had income support been payable.
National Health Service Administrators
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish all annual figures available to him on the numbers and ratio of administrators to total staff in the National Health Service.
[holding answer 24 February 1988]: Such information as is available is shown in the table.
30 September: England1
Administrative and Clerical3
Total Directly Employed4
Administrative and clerical as percentage of tatal directly employed5
1 Because of the 1974 NHS reorganisation figures prior to 1974 are not consistent with those for 1974 and later years.
2 Figures are not independently rounded to the nearest (100) one hundred wholetime equivalents.
3 Includes general managers.
4 Includes medical and dental locums and nursing and midwifery agency staff. Not adjusted to take account of the reduction in nurses working hours (from 40 to 37·5 per week) during 1980–81. Reduction in total staff since 1983 is mainly due to effects of competitive tendering of ancillary staff services.
5 Percentages calculated on unrounded figures.
Lower Don Valley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what type of partnership was recommended for the regeneration of the Lower Don Valley in the Coopers and Lybrand report, jointly sponsored by local and central government.
The Coopers and Lybrand report, which was jointly sponsored by the Government, local business and Sheffield city council, considered a range of management mechanisms including an urban development corporation. The preferred option was for an urban regeneration project, but this could not guarantee the necessary resources to secure the regeneration of the lower Don Valley. An urban development corporation would bring that certainty.
Water (Nitrate Content)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many cases have been reported in the past 12 months in the Nottingham area of water containing nitrate in excess of the European Economic Council recommended levels.
One water supply serving the Hucknall area of Nottingham has marginally exceeded the EC drinking water directive limit for nitrate during the last 12 months. Although this level of nitrate is not considered to be a public health risk, the water authority is now drawing up a programme of action which will ensure compliance with the directive.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the maximum penalty for non-compliance with European Community law relevant to water quality standards in the United Kingdom.
European Community measures relevant to water quality standards are contained in directives which are implemented in member states through national legislation. In the United Kingdom the individual laws contain their own penalty provisions.
British Standards Institution
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any plans to implement the recommendations of the Bennett committee published in 1979 in respect of the separation of the standards-making function of the British Standards Institution and procedures for the certification of innovative products.
Following consideration of the Bennett report, the Government concluded in 1980 that the Agrement Board (now the British Board of Agrement), which issues certificates primarily for innovative building products, should remains independent. That remain our view.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the overlap between the roles of the British Board of Agrément and the British Standards Institution.
Under an agreement reached between the chairman of the BSI and the chairman of the BBA in April 1983, the BBA offers
The agreement goes on to say that the"to assess materials, products, systems and techniques for Agrément Certification when there is no relevant British Standard or, if a relevant British Standard exists, when the subject of the certificate:
(a) contains some innovative element of manufacture or use and has a level of performance in use at least as good as that of the material, product, system or technique complying with the British Standard, or (b) has a performance in use which is substantially better than that of the material, product, system or technique complying with the British Standard."
"BBA will not renew or maintain existing Agrément Certificates once a product or system is fully covered by amendments or revision of existing British Standard specifications or by new British Standard specifications."
A joint BSI/BBA liaison committee meets regularly, under an independent chairman, to resolve any problems as they arise.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all the unused sites owned by public bodies within the district of Corby, together with their owners and sizes in acres.
Registers of public bodies' land which is unused or underused are compiled and maintained by the Secretary of State under section 95 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980. The following sites are currently entered on the register for the district of Corby:
|Corby District Council|
|Owner/location||Size (in acres)|
|British Steel Corporation|
|Iron and Steelworks, Corby works||1·4|
|Timber stores road one, Corby works||1·2|
|Ex-steelworks buildings, Corby works||5·6|
|Training centre, Corby works||2·6|
|Northamptonshire County Council|
|Bears lane junction, Weldon||1·4|
|Oakley road roundabout, Corby||2·4|
|Rear of Tresham college, Corby||2·9|
|Rowlett road, Corby||12·5|
|Oakley road roundabout, Corby||3·0|
|Part of Earlstrees playing field, Corby||8·8|
|Commission for the New Towns|
|Gretton brook road, Corby||8·9|
|Causeway road, Corby||3·4|
|Causeway road, Corby||6·9|
|Causeway road, Corby||3·7|
|Land off Macadam road, Corby||11·7|
|Gretton brook road, Corby||8·6|
|Brunel road, Corby||5·2|
|Hunters road, Weldon||1·4|
|Land in Great Oakley village||27·2|
|Land in Great Oakley village||6·1|
|George street, Corby||1·2|
|Pywell road, Corby||2·0|
|Pywell road, Corby||1·4|
|Shelton road, Corby||1·4|
|Shelton road, Corby||4·5|
|Shelton road, Corby||3·2|
|Sondes road, Corby||6·7|
|Sondes road, Corby||9·7|
|Sondes road, Corby||7·1|
|Shelton road, Corby||5·0|
|Shelton road, Corby||11·8|
|Saxon way east, Oakley Hay||6·3|
|Saxon way east, Oakley Hay||2·8|
|Saxon way east, Oakley Hay||2·4|
|Sedge close, Oakley Hay||4·1|
|Sedge close, Oakley Hay||5·4|
|Pywell road, Corby||2·0|
|Pywell road, Corby||2·4|
|Kettering road roundabout, Oakley Hay||1·2|
|Corby District Council|
|Orchard close, Weldon||1·0|
|Church street, Weldon||2·6|
|Southfield road, Gretton||1·0|
|Rockingham road, Corby||1·6|
|Weldon road, Corby||5·0|
|Geddington road, Corby||1·0|
|Ennerdale road, Corby||6·5|
|Saxon way, Oakley Hay||41·6|
|"The heavy end", Weldon road, Corby||201·4|
|Longhills slag bank site, Weldon||22·5|
|Ex-British steel site, Weldon road, Corby||24·8|
|Oxford Regional Health Authority|
|Willow brook road, Corby||4·0|
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all the unused sites owned by public bodies within the district of East Northamptonshire, together with their owners and sizes in acres.
Registers of public bodies' land which is unused or underused are compiled and maintained by the Secretary of State under section 95 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980. The following sites are currently entered on the register for the district of East Northamptonshire:
|East Northamptonshire district|
|Owner/location||Size (in acres)|
|Anglian water authority|
|Northampton road, Rushden||30·5|
|Kings meadow lane, Higham Ferrers||15·8|
|Barnwell road, Oundle||1·2|
|Stanwick road, Raunds||3·5|
|Ex-station site, King's Cliffe||11·0|
|Ex-branch line north of Fineshade||1·5|
|Ex-branch line north east of Fineshade||4·4|
|Ex-branch line east of Fineshade||10·7|
|Ex-branch line south east of Fineshade||5·0|
|Ex-branch line north west of King's Cliffe||2·2|
|Ex-branch line north east of King's Cliffe||8·5|
|Nassington goods yard||6·2|
|British steel corporation|
|Kettering road, Islip||26·7|
|Northamptonshire county council|
|Ex-railway land, Rushden||22·0|
|Ex-station yard, Higham Ferrers||2·0|
|Melloway school site, Keats way, Rushden||2·9|
|East Northants district council|
|Newton road, Rushden||17·0|
|Bedford road, Rushden||10·4|
|Ditchford lane, Rushden||31·7|
|Midland road, Thrapston||3·9|
|Ashton road, Oundle||2·9|
|Wood lane, King's Cliffe||6·3|
|Eastfields, upper Queen street, Rushden||6·6|
|East midlands electricity board|
|Allan road, Irthlingborough||8·5|
|Colleyweston road, King's Cliffe||1·6|
|Aldwincle road, Islip||5·7|
|Oxford regional health authority|
|Rushden hospital, Wymington road, Rushden||1·5|
|Rushden hospital, Wymington road, Rushden||3·5|
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to ban the use of chlorofluorocarbons.
We are in negotiation with our partners in the European Community on a proposed regulation that will bring into force the reductions in consumption of chlorofluorocarbons required by the Montreal protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
Thistlebrook Caravan Site
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he has given to the effect of the Appeal Court's judgment that the Thistlebrook caravan site does not meet the requirements of the Caravan Sites Act 1986 on (a) the London borough of Greenwich and (b) local authorities generally; and what steps he is taking to clarify the situation.
We have noted the Court of Appeal's Judgment in Greenwich LBC v. Powell. I understand that the London borough of Greenwich has made application to appeal. We must now await the outcome of that application.
Urban Development Corporations
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list, for each urban development corporation, the amount of money attracted in investment commitments the amount of public money spent.
The information is as follows:
|English urban development corporations||Grant-in-aid (cumulative to 31 March 1988) £ million||Estimated private sector investment committed £ million|
|Black country Development Corporation||2||0·2|
|London docklands Development Corporation||390||13,000|
|Merseyside Development Corporation||168||68|
|Teesside Development Corporation||5||2|
|Trafford park Development Corporation||10||5|
|Tyne and Wear Development Corporation||4||5|
Note: Figures over £½ million shown to nearest £ million.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list, for each urban development corporation the amount of loans outstanding.
The only English urban development corporation with outstanding borrowing at present is Merseyside development corporation, amounting to £785,000.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he has taken, or plans to take, to ensure that motorists are given full information on the availability of lead-free petrol at filling stations in their areas.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, North (Sir T. Skeet) on 22 March at column 58.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many additional toad tunnels have been constructed since May 1987.
I am pleased to report the recent construction of a further toad tunnel at Stamford Bridge, near York.
London Residuary Body
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment pursuant to his reply of 13 January, Official Report, column 277, if he will state the total amount owed to the London residuary body by Government Departments, what are the subjects of the discussions between the London residuary body about his Department.
The total amount owed to the London residuary body (LRB) by Government Departments will not be known until all final audited claims for grants and subsidies have been submitted by the LRB to the appropriate Departments. Discussions between Departments and the LRB are continuing and good progress towards settlements is being made.My Department has regular meetings with the LRB to discuss a wide range of issues.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on his reasons for agreeing to the transfer of Hampstead heath to the charge of the City of London corporation.
My right hon. Friend has not yet reached a conclusion on the proposal submitted on 30 March by the London residuary body that its functions, properties, rights and liabilities in respect of Hampstead heath be transferred to the corporation of the City of London.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if Her Majesty's Government will provide support for local authorities seeking to assist British citizens, or overseas nationals, settled in the United Kingdom, who are in financial hardship, wishing to visit Pakistan for urgent family reasons arising from the recent explosion disaster in that country; and if he will make a statement.
The main means of central Government support for local authorities is by way of block grant, which is in aid of their services generally. It is entirely for local authorities to decide what provision to make for particular activities.
Local Valuation Panel Offices (Staffing)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he proposes to take on the recommendations made by Messrs Ernst and Whinney, following its review of the staffing and procedures of local valuation panel officers.
I have today placed in the Libraries of the House a summary of the recommendations of the Ernst and Whinney report and the Government's proposals for action on them.The report made a number of useful recommendations for improving administrative efficiency in local valuation panel offices and making more efficient use of staff. The Government accept the majority of these recommendations. Work is already in hand on the introduction of computer systems and a review of staffing will follow.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to the answer given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Chope), on 13 April, Official Report, column 127, he will explain how the figure for local rate increases is made up; and if he will list in ascending order by class of authority the local rate poundages for all counties, boroughs and districts in England.
The local rate for a district or borough is made up from the rate charged by the district itself together with the average of parish precepts and special district expenses and precepts charged by certain other specialised bodies such as waste disposal authorities. It does not include the precepts charged by higher tier authorities, that is, county councils in the shires, police, fire and civil defence and transport authorities in metropolitan areas and London, and the Inner London education authority. A ranked list of the available information on local rates poundages in 1988–89 for districts and boroughs and precepts for county councils by class of authority is as follows.
|Shire County Precepts 1988–89|
|Hereford & Worcester||185·0|
|Isle of Wight||227·2|
|1 includes Northumbria Police Authority precept|
|London boroughs local rates 1988–89|
|City of London||67·1|
|Kensington and Chelsea||4·2|
|Hammersmith and Fulham||133·3|
|Barking and Dagenham||181·4|
|Metropolitan districts local rates 1988–89|
|Shire Districts local rates 1988–89|
|Vale of White Horse||9·2|
|Basingstoke and Deane||9·7|
|Rochester on Medway||10·2|
|Windsor and Maidenhead||16·1|
|Hinckley and Bosworth||18·9|
|Local rates 1988–89|
|Southend on Sea||21·0|
|Oadby and Wigston||21·5|
|Kings Lynn/West Norfolk||22·2|
|Weymouth and Portland||23·0|
|Forest of Dean||25·0|
|Shrewsbury and Atcham||26·3|
|Reigate and Banstead||29·1|
|Newcastle under Lyme||30·3|
|Newark and Sherwood||31·3|
|Ellesmere and Neston||31·5|
|Tonbridge and Malling||31·9|
|Crewe and Nantwich||33·9|
|Epsom and Ewell||33·9|
|Barrow in Furness||35·2|
|North West Leicester||35·7|
|Stockton on Tees||37·2|
|Chester le Street||43·8|
|Nuneaton and Bedworth||44·1|
|North East Derbyshire||46·2|
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what evidence he has of fatalities caused to the British wild bird population by aflatoxin poisoning; and if he will make a statement.
[holding answer 12 April 1988]: I am informed by the Government's advisers on nature conservation matters, the Nature Conservancy Council, that there is no evidence of fatalities caused to the British wild bird population by aflatoxin poisoning.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will take steps to ensure that aflatoxin-poisoned peanuts are not sold for use as wild bird food; and if he will make a statement.