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Written Answers

Volume 170: debated on Friday 20 April 1990

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 20 April 1990

Prime Minister

Children

To ask the Prime Minister whether she will attend the summit meeting of world leaders to be held by the United Nations on 29 to 30 September to address the urgent needs of children in the 1990s; and if she will make a statement about the role of Her Majesty's Government in planning the agenda for the meeting.

I cannot yet say whether it will be possible for me to attend this summit. The United Kingdom is, however, contributing actively to its preparation. We are a member of the planning committee set up by the six original sponsors, and are also playing a full part in the working groups set up to prepare particular aspects.

Education And Science

Teachers (Criminal Proceedings)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish for each of the last five years for each local education authority the number of teachers who lost their posts following a successful prosecution in the criminal courts.

The information requested is not available. A teacher's employment may be terminated as a result of misconduct (whether evidenced by criminal conviction or otherwise) either following a decision by my right hon. Friend to exclude him or restrict his employment, or as a result of internal disciplinary proceedings by his employer. The available information relates only to decisions taken by my right hon. Friend and is not categorised by local education authority area.

Asbestos (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schools have asbestos in them; and where they are located.

The Department does not keep records of how many individual schools contain asbestos.

Home Department

Vagrancy

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people of no fixed abode were arrested in the years 1988 and 1989 in (a) the Metropolitan police district and (b) England and Wales.

Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the total sums airlines have been fined under the Immigration (Carriers' Liability) Act for each year since its introduction; and what are the figures for each airline.

The number of demands for payment of the currently set penalty of £1,000 issued to all carriers (that is, airlines and sea operators) in each year since the introduction of the Act in March 1987 was as follows:

Number
19873,921
19884,211
19896,337
Information on demands issued to individual airlines is not readily available.

Justices' Clerks

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who has responsibility for instigating disciplinary procedures against justices' clerks.

Environment

European Environment Commissioner

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met the European Environment Commissioner; and what was discussed.

My right hon. Friend met Commissioner Ripa di Meana at the meeting of the Environment Council on 22 March. The outcome of these discussions was reported in my right hon. Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Gedling (Mr. Mitchell) on 27 March.

Wargaming

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the impact of wargaming upon the environment; and whether he plans to take any protective measures.

Sensitive environments are protected in appropriate cases by regulations and byelaws against damage from recreational activities. Local authorities and local residents have powers to take action against excessive noise or other forms of nuisance. The need for additional protective measures is kept under constant review.

London Demonstration

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the organisers of the anti-poll tax march and rally held in London on 31 March asked to transfer the rally venue to Hyde park; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley) on 19 April.

Charge Capping

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report the precise criteria used to decide the extent of the budget reduction required for each local authority designated for charge capping in 1990–91.

The cap which my right hon. Friend has proposed for each designated authority reflects his view, on the basis of all the information available to him, of a reasonable and appropriate level of budget reduction for that authority in all its circumstances.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the local authorities which would have been subject to the capping of the community charge had his selection of expenditure levels not been included as a qualification.

[holding answer 18 April 1990]: It would not be right for me to speculate about the consequences of adopting some selection principles different from those which my right hon. Friend has determined and which he is satisfied are reasonable, appropriate and in accordance with the statute.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many district councils will be affected by his statement on capping which was given to the House on 3 April; what is the number of adults liable for the poll tax in each district council area and what is the total; what is the number of people eligible for rebates or transitional relief in each district council area and what is the total; and if he has any estimate of the likely costs of rebilling and recalculating for the total number of people affected.

[holding answer 18 April 1990]: My right hon. Friend designated 10 district councils for capping on 3 April 1990. Another 14 district councils (excluding Bristol which itself was designated) will be affected by capping by virtue of the designation of Avon and Derbyshire county councils. Following is a list of the district councils concerned together with the relevant population of each and the total. The Department does not have information about the numbers of people eligible for community charge benefit or transitional relief in each area.

(i) District Councils designated for capping
CouncilRelevant Population
Barnsley167,712
Basildon119,185
Bristol290,725
Calderdale143,540
Doncaster218,650
North Tyneside151,181
Rochdale158,227
Rotherham201,284
St. Helens136,039
Wigan231,410
Total1,817,953
(ii) Other District Councils affected by capping
CouncilRelevant Population
Bath57,700
Kingswood67,953
Northavon94,745
Wansdyke60,311
Woodspring140,098
Amber Valley86,949
CouncilRelevant Population
Bolsolver54,433
Chesterfield77,412
Derby164,676
Erewash83,899
High Peak63,382
North East Derbyshire75,126
South Derbyshire54,510
Derbyshire Dales53,569
Total1,134,763
Grand Total2,952,716
The Department estimates that the cost of issuing new charge bills, including recalculating community charge benefit and transitional relief as appropriate, would on average be about £200,000 per charging authority.

Local Authority Debt

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total amount of debt incurred by each English shire county for the latest year for which figures are available.

The information requested is set out in the table:

Total debt outstanding at 31 March 1989
£ million
Avon155
Bedfordshire178
Berkshiren/a
Buckinghamshire123
Cambridgeshire105
Cheshire193
Cleveland282
Cornwall91
Cumbria105
Derbyshire203
Devon211
Dorset138
Durham53
East Sussex128
Essexn/a
Gloucestershire92
Hampshire156
Hereford and Worcestern/a
Hertfordshire128
Humberside157
Isle of Wight35
Kent221
Lancashire360
Leicestershire181
Lincolnshire104
Norfolk53
Northamptonshire147
Northumberland48
North Yorkshire99
Nottinghamshire208
Oxfordshire82
Shropshire68
Somerset72
Staffordshire245
Suffolk108
Surrey249
Warwickshire92
West Sussex32
Wiltshire47
n/a = Berkshire, Essex and Hereford and Worcester have not yet submitted returns.

Atmospheric Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress the United Kingdom has made towards meeting its target reduction of nitrous, nitric and sulphuric oxides emissions by 1993.

Using 1980 as a baseline, the UK is committed to reducing emissions of sulphur dioxide (S02) by 20 per cent. and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 15 per cent. from existing large combustion plants by 1993 as the first stage of directive 88/609/EEC. The current "Digest of Environmental Protection and Water Statistics" (a copy of which is in the House of Commons Library) shows that in 1988 relevant emissions of SO2 and NOx were 21 per cent. and 10 per cent. lower, respectively, than in 1980.

Nature Conservancy Council

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to respond to the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology on the future of the Nature Conservancy Council.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 April to the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthrope (Mr. Morley) at column 784.

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what proposals he has to collect information from local authorities about the level of their standard community charge;(2) when he expects to know which local authorities are levying a standard community charge at less than twice the personal community charge.

We are collecting information about standard charge multipliers for 1990–91 in a return which authorities have been asked to make to the Department in May.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list for each district authority in England (a) the amount of Government grant per authority, (b) the amount of UBR income per authority, (c) the taxable income per authority and (d) the revenue from taxable income per authority assumed in the 1990–91 "Illustrative Capital Value Rates and Local Income Tax" published by his Department on 4 April;(2) if he will set out the formula for taxable income used to produce the 1990–91 "Illustrative Capital Value Rates and Local Income Tax" published by his Department on 4 April;(3) if he will set out the grant formula used to produce the 1990–91 "Illustrative Capital Value Rates and Local Income Tax" published by his Department on 4 April.

[holding answer 18 April 1990]: The illustrative capital value rates and local income tax figures published on 4 April assume that Government funds and business rates are distributed to achieve full equalisation of local income tax rates. This means that in every area the same local income tax rate could apply if all local authorities were spending at the level needed to provide a standard level of services. The level of grant entitlement would vary if expenditure were at a different level in order to ensure that each £1 per head of additional spending in any area would lead to exactly the same change in the local income tax rate. Areas with high average taxable incomes would receive less grant with higher spending, while areas with low taxable resources would receive more grant with higher spending. No reliable estimate of the taxable income of residents in each local authority area is available and hence no estimate of grant and business rate payments to each authority was made when producing the illustrative figures.

Bathing Water

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a list of those bathing beaches sampled by the water research centre in its project on rotaviruses in sewage discharges.

In the centre's research for the Department, samples were taken from the north and south beaches and bathing water at Tenby; bathing water and sediment at Watchouse bay, near Barry; bathing water at Barmouth and, in Dyfed, Pendine East and Pembrey, Cefn Sidan.

Demolition (Planning Control)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will issue a consultation pa per inviting views on whether planning controls should he extended to the demolition of dwelling houses.

My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for Wales have today issued a consultation paper. It describes the issue, invites views on the scale of the problem, and seeks comments on various options for extending planning controls to the demolition of dwelling houses.

Storm Damage

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will announce the special financial assistance under the Bellwin scheme to be given to those local authorities whose coasts suffered damage as a result of the severe storms during 25 and 26 February.

Radioactive Gas Emissions, Sellafield

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment has been made of the extent to which emissions of radioactive gas from Pond 5 fuel handling plant at Sellafield arising from works carried out and chemical reactions in the pond itself, comply with statutory requirements.

[holding answer 18 April 1990]: The emissions of radioactive gas from this plant are continuously sampled and monitored by BNFL. The measurements demonstrate that these discharges comply with statutory requirements.

Defence

Submarines

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish a list of Z-berth locations for submarines in the United Kingdom and those sites which he is planning to use.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Bow and Poplar (Ms. Gordon) on 5 May 1989 at column 276. We have, since this date, decided to establish Swansea as a Z-berth. The Royal Navy's requirements for port visits by nuclear-powered submarines are continually under review. When a port appears suitable and practical, the safety considerations are discussed with local civil authorities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to the development of Milford Haven as an operational base for submarines.

Energy

British Coal (Notification Procedures)

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to receive the results of the attitude survey carried out to assess public satisfaction with British Coal's notification procedures.

I have now received this report and the accompanying data and have placed copies in the Library of both Houses. It clearly shows that there is a strong wish for individual notification of households and we are discussing with British Coal how best this can be implemented.

Environmental Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what steps he will take to ensure that the timetable for reviewing the proposals for renewable energy projects does not preclude a full environmental assessment.

All renewable energy projects will have to comply with normal planning procedures.My Department's research programme on renewable energy includes extensive work on environmental assessment to help provide information on which the environmental acceptability of renewable energy technologies could be judged.

Mains Supply (Rural Areas)

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what forms of grant aid or subsidy will be available after privatisation to electricity distribution companies seeking to connect rural areas to the mains supply.

I do not believe that the post-privatisation arrangements for rural supplies require financial assistance by the Government.

Fuel Exports And Imports

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will give for each month from January 1989 the total export and import of (a) oil, (b) gas and (c) coal in tonnes and in value on the same basis as his answer of 9 November 1989, Official Report, columns 767-68;(2) if he will give for each month from January 1989 the total export and import of

(a) oil, (b) gas and (c) coal in coal-equivalent tonnes for both gas and oil.

The equivalent information for exports and imports of oil, gas and coal for each month from January 1989, set out on the same basis as my earlier answer of 9 November 1989, Official Report, columns 767-68, are shown in tables 1 and 3. I have also set out figures in tonnes of coal equivalent, for both gas and oil, in table 2.

Table 1
Thousand tonnes
1989Exports (f.o.b)Imports (c.i.f)
CoalOil1CoalGas2Oil
January1676,5199401,4565,332
February1264,3469301,5664,820
March1756,2981,2141,4744,506
April1195,3201,1001,5864,693
May1264,3791,0341,5264,610
June1705,6819991,1764,824
July1795,6886539624,756
August1755,2867719064,195
September1755,8839028545,450
October2607,1841,0059065,511
November2186,8761,6381,3164,944
December1825,8499491,3564,443
1990
January2697,5521,1941,4626,523
February1816,2098931,4335,292

Source: Customs and Excise Overseas Trade Statistics (The oil exports figures include adjustments to the Overseas Trade Statistics data for the under-recording of direct exports of crude oil).

1 Contains a small amount of natural gas exports.

2 Coal equivalent.

Table 2

Thousand tonnes of coal equivalent

1989

Exports (f.o.b)

Imports (c.i.f)

Gas

Oil

Gas

Oil

January11,1421,4569,094
February7,4341,5668,216
March10,7741,4747,687
April9,1051,5867,993
May7,4761,5267,871
June29,6871,1768,230
July9,7279628,103
August49,0179067,152
September210,0528549,296
October12,2499069,394
November11,7301,3168,447
December9,9911,3567,587
1990
January12,9011,46211,122
February610,5971,4339,023

Table 3

£ million at 1985 prices

1

1989

Exports (f.o.b.)

Imports (c.i.f.)

Coal

Oil

2

Coal

Gas

Oil

January61,12450109860
February575150118777
March71,06965111727
April591259119757

1989

Exports (f.o.b.)

Imports (c.i.f.)

Coal

Oil

2

Coal

Gas

Oil

May574955115743
June79715388778
July79723572767
August79004168677
September71,0124864879
October101,2225468889
November81,1658899797
December799351102716

1990

January101,287641101,052
February71,06648108853

1 Figures at 1985 constant prices have been derived by applying the unit value for exports in 1985 to the relevant volumes in 1989 and 1990.

2 Contains a small amount of natural gas exports.

Accountancy Firms

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the accountancy firms which are being used for the electricity privatisation.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) on 5 February 1990 at columns 454-58.

Social Security

Disablement Benefits

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what response he has received to "The Way Ahead: Benefits for Disabled People" from the Spastics Society; and if he will make a statement.

The Spastics Society was represented at a meeting I held on 5 April with the Disability Benefits Consortium to discuss "The Way Ahead". We shall give careful consideration to all the society's comments in carrying forward the detailed work on our proposals.

Nursing Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will indicate projected expenditure in the current year and the next five years on (a) private residential homes, (b) private nursing homes and (c) Department of Social Security payments to local authorities for community care; and if he will indicate the expected number of elderly persons who in each case will benefit.

At August 1989, the latest date for which figures are available, total income support expenditure on an annualised basis for people in independent residential care homes and nursing homes was estimated to be £1,073 million to 173,000 claimants. Of that total £639 million is for those receiving residential care, £434 million for nursing care. All figures are rounded. Information about expected numbers of income support claimants and expenditure for future years is published in the public expenditure White Paper (Cm. 1014). It has never been the practice to publish separate forecasts about expenditure specifically on people in residential care and nursing homes.

Community Charge Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many poll tax payers in Scotland who are in receipt of benefit have been subject to deduction of benefit; and if he will classify benefit recipients by size of income and on that basis, indicate for each category, how many persons have been subject to deduction of benefit of (a) less than 20p a week, (b) 20p to 49p a week, (c) 50p to 99p a week, (d) £1 to £1·99 a week, (e) £2 to £4·99 a week, (f) £5 to £9·99 a week and (g) over £10 a week.

The information requested is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Transport

Motorways (Speed Restrictions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish for motorways in England a list of any sections where speed restrictions up to 50 mph have been in existence for periods of (i) up to one year, (ii) one to three years, (iii) three to five years and (iv) over live years.

Mandatory speed restrictions for some motorway maintenance schemes were introduced in August 1988 for reasons of safety. Since then the following sections have been subject to speed restrictions for major (over £0·5 million) maintenance schemes. All had durations of less than one year.

1988–89Section
A1(M)Barton—Burtree
M1J4-5
M1J14
M1J40-41
M2J5
M2J5-6
M3j5-6
M4J12-11
M4J16-18
M5J9-11
M5J24-25
M6J6-7 (Thornbridge Viaduct)
M6J16-17
M6J29-31
M6J34-35
M11South of J7
M25J24
M27J2-3
M40J5-7
M62J37—Ouse Bridge
1989–90Section
A1(M)Sprotborough—Alverley
A1(M)Warmsworth—Marr
Al(M)Aycliffe—Bradbury Interchange
M1J9
M1JI2-13
M1J15-16
M1J25—R. Trent
M1J29-30
M1J34 (Tinsley Viaduct)
M1J37-38
M2Park Pale—Thong Lane
M2J4-5
M2J5 Slip Roads
M2J5-6 (2 Schemes)
1989–90Section
M4JI6-17
M5JI-M6 (stages 1 and 2)
M5JI6-17
M5J20
M5J25-26
M6J16-17
M6J34—County Boundary
M6J41-42
M11North and South of J5
M11J12
M25J18-20
M27J8-10
M40J5-7
M42J4-5
M42J6-7
M53J1-4
M56J6-7
M61J1-3
M61J6-8
M61J8-M6
M62J7-9
M62J23-Scammonden
M62J34-35
M62/M18Langham Interchange
M180J1-M18 (J5)
M180West of R. Trent
M606Bradford
In addition a relatively small number of motorway non-major maintenance schemes will have been subject to mandatory speed restrictions for the same reason. These schemes would be of short duration, considerably less than one year.There have also been the following recent motorway improvement schemes where mandatory speed restrictions were in force:

Section
Less than one year
M25J10-13
M42J3A
M56J3-5
M61J2-4
M62J12-19
M62J21-22
M63J8-10
M63J11-12
M67J1-2
M602J1-2
Less than one year to date, but ongoing
M1J23A
M20J8
M40J7
One to three years
M5J4-4A
M5J4A-5
M5J5-6
M20J11-12
M42J1-M5
M63J3-5
There have not been any such restrictions lasting more than three Years.There are payments speed restrictions on the following sections of motorway:

Section
M1J43-47 (50 mph)
M4 (London)Elevated Section (50 mph)
M41Severn Bridge (40 mph)
Section
M6/M62Croft Interchange (40 mph)
M621J1-3 (50 mph)
1 Mandatory speed limit imposed in 1986 during bridge strengthening and resurfacing work. This will remain in force until about the end of this year.

Speed Limits

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to extend mandatory speed limits where roadworking is in operation to those roads for which local authorities are the highways authority.

Local highway authorities already have the power to introduce mandatory speed limits at roadworks where they consider it appropriate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures, other than mandatory speed limits, are in force to ensure the safety of roadworkers and motorists where road repairs and maintenance are being carried out.

In addition to any speed limit, measures to ensure safety at roadworks, both for road users and workers, comprise provision of proper signing and traffic management together with maintenance of an appropriate safety zone between moving traffic and the works. Advice on the signing of roadworks is given in chapter 8 of the traffic signs manual. A report prepared jointly by the Department of Transport, the County Surveyors Society and the Health and Safety Executive provides guidance for ensuring the safety of personnel undertaking works.

Substandard Shipping

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the number of defective merchant vessels that have been detained at British ports for each of the last five years.

The number of merchant ships which have been detained in United Kingdom ports as a result of defects indentified by Department of Transport marine surveyors in the course of general or port state control inspections in each of the last five years is as follows:

Number
198533
198633
198726
198848
198947
1199023
1 January—March

Compulsory Head-Guards

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to make it compulsory for cyclists to wear protective head-guards.

If everbody wore cycle helmets, a great many injuries and deaths would be prevented, particularly among children. While I have no present plans for making it compulsory, I urge cyclists to wear them, and parents to encourage their children to do so.

Maritime Safety

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what current statutory regulations exist concerning the seaworthiness of vessels and the number of shipmen relative to size that should be sailing a ship.

Statutory regulations issued under the various Merchant Shipping Acts are promulgated by way of a merchant shipping notice. There are many such regulations in force covering, inter alia, crew matters, dangerous goods, fire, life-saving, marine pollution, navigation, ship construction and equipment, and health and safety. Each year the list is revised, and I have placed a copy of the latest notice in the Library. (Merchant Shipping Notice No. M.1407, Principal Acts and Regulations on Merchant Shipping, published by the Department of Transport in February 1990.)Apart from the statutory requirements for certificated officers, the minimum safe complement of other seafarers depends on other factors as well as size—the ship's equipment, trading areas and the nature of cargo all have to be taken into account when assessing a safer manning level. Passenger ships must have an adequate crew to muster and assist the passengers in an emergency.

Private Security Firms

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what weapons private security firms are empowered to employ in dockyards and ports.

Private security firms are not empowered to carry firearms in dockyards and ports unless they have a firearms certificate from the chief officer of police under section 1 of the Firearms Act 1968.

Southend (Official Visit)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make an official visit to Southend-on-Sea by train.

My right hon. Friend or I will be happy to do so when a suitable opportunity arises.

The Arts

British Library

To ask the Minister for the Arts what progress has been made on the British Library; when he expects work on it to be completed and at what cost; and if he will make a statement.

Construction on the first phase of the building is proceeding within its budget of £300 million and a schedule which will enable the British Library to start moving books into St. Pancras by mid-1991. The first phase is planned to be fully operational by mid-1993.The completion phase upon which I will shortly be making a separate announcement is scheduled to be opened to the public in 1996.

Bathgate Fossil

To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will make a statement on his latest discussions with Dr. Robert Anderson and Dr. Ian Rolfe of the Scottish Museum on the issue of the 340-million-year old reptile found in the constituency of the hon. Member for Linlithgow.

I have had no discussions with either Dr. Robert Anderson or Dr. Ian Rolfe of the National museum for Scotland, on the issue of the Bathgate fossil, but as the hon. Gentleman knows the question of bringing natural heritage items under existing controls has been referred by me to the reviewing committee on the export of works of art for advice.

Lieu Of Tax

To ask the Minister for the Arts if there have been any items accepted in lieu of tax or allocated since he last made an announcement on the subject to the House.

Since my announcement on 29 March, Official Report, col 264, I am very pleased to announce the acceptance of three further offers in lieu of tax: a portrait of the children of Henry Herbert, first Lord Porchester, by William Beechey in lieu of £151,489 tax; a painting by Lucas de Heere, entitled "The Family of Henry VIII: An Allegory of the Tudor Succession", in satisfaction of £527,898 tax, and a group of four paintings in satisfaction of £6,650,000 tax; two portraits by Thomas Gainsborough, a portrait of Peirre Pecquis by Sir Peter Paul Rubens and "View of -Wageningen" by Hercules Seghers. The acceptance of the Lucas de Heere and the group of four paintings was made possible by the arrangements for a call on the Reserve first announced by Lord Gowrie in 1985 and brings the total call on the Reserve for 1989–90 to £9,977,898 and total expenditure on the acceptance in lieu scheme for that year to over £11·5 million. This is a record amount for a single financial year and demonstrates beyond doubt the investment and vital role of the scheme, and its benefits to individual estates.In accordance with the conditions on which they were offered, the Beechey and de Heere paintings will remain in situ at Highclere castle, Berkshire, and Sudeley castle, Gloucestershire, respectively while the group of four paintings from the estate of the late Mrs. Eva Borthwick-Norton will be allocated in consultation with my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland in a manner consonant with the testator's wishes as expressed in her will. The Secretary of State for Scotland will make an announcement about this in due course.

Civil Service

Health Hazards

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service whether assessments under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations have been undertaken for all workplaces used by civil servants within the civil service.

[holding answer 18 April 1990]: The civil service is a multi-departmental organisation and in common with other major employers assessments under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations are the responsibility of individual Departments. There is no requirement to record these assessments centrally and it is not possible to confirm that all assessments have been carried out.In the period leading to enactment of the regulations representatives of many Departments attended training and information courses within the civil service and externally.

In October 1988 representatives of the civil service occupational health service (CSOHS) discussed the requirements of the regulations with departmental establishment officers. The CSOHS issued a detailed briefing note in January 1989 to assist Departments in meeting their statutory obligations. CSOHS health advisers and hygienists have provided information and advice on the regulations during routine visits and on request.

Departments which require professional support on assessments can obtain those on request from CSOHS who continue to provide advice, guidance and specialist input as required.

Scotland

Vacant Accommodation

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those local authorities known to him which have allowed in 1989–90 an extension of beyond three months to the period when a poll tax is not payable in respect of empty and unfurnished accommodation.

I understand that in 1989–90, all levying authorities made use of the powers given to them under section 10(8) of the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987 to determine different periods from the statutory minimum of three months during which the standard community charge is not payable in respect of unoccupied and unfurnished premises. Some authorities determined a longer period in respect of all unoccupied and unfurnished premises in their area, while others restricted the use of their discretionary power to certain classes of premises.

Tourism

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement concerning the provision of accommodation within the tourist industry following the implementation of the poll tax.

As a consequence of the Abolition of Domestic Rates Etc. (Scotland) Act 1987, property which was previously valued as a dwellinghouse will have been removed from rating as from 1 April 1989, but if the assessor considers that the degree to which a particular property is used for commercial purposes is such that it should fall within the non-domestic sector, he will enter it in the valuation roll. There remains a valuation judgment for the assessor to make.However, to ensure a consistent approach throughout Scotland, my right hon. and learned Friend recently decided to clarify the boundary between the domestic and non-domestic sectors for self-catering properties and bed-and-breakfast establishments. The Abolition of Domestic Rates (Domestic and Part Residential Subjects) (Scotland) Regulations 1990 accordingly provide that dwellinghouses made available for letting, commercially, as self-catering accommodation for short periods amounting to at least 140 days per year are to be treated from 1 April 1990 as non-domestic, thus rendering them liable to non-domestic rates.In the case of bed-and-breakfast establishments, we have been consulting interested parties on a proposal to include within the statutory definition of domestic subjects any dwellinghouse which is made available for the provision of bed-and-breakfast accommodation for at least 100 days per year or which provides such accommodation for no more than six guests. My right hon. and learned Friend is likely to bring forward appropriate regulations on this before long.

Engineering Apprenticeships

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the numbers of engineering apprenticeships available in (a) Greenock and Port Glasgow, (b) Strathclyde and (c) Scotland as a whole in (i) 1979, (ii) 1984 and (c) the latest year for which figures are available.

Statistics are not collected about the number of available engineering apprentices. However, the engineering industry training board compiles a register of those completing the first stage of engineering craft training. For the Strathclyde area the figures are 1,071 in 1978–79, 418 in 1983–84 and 360 in 1988–89. For Scotland the figures are 1,694 for 1978–79, 686 for 1983–84 and 769 for 1988–89. No separate figures are available for the Greenock and Port Glasgow area.

Northern Ireland

Eastern Health And Social Services Board

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the managerial relationship between the newly appointed director of public health in the Eastern health and social services board and (a) environmental health officers and (b) the area board chief medical officer.

The title of chief administrative medical officer (that is, the area board's chief medical officer) changed to director of public health on 1 September 1989. Environmental health officers are employed by local councils and have no managerial relationship with the Eastern health and social services board.

Accountancy Firms

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list accountancy firms used by his Department.

During 1989–90 the information requested is as follows:

  • Binder Hamlyn
  • Capita Muir and Addy
  • John Compton Associates
  • Coopers and Lybrand
  • CSL Group Ltd—formerly known as CIPFA Services Ltd
  • Deloitte Haskins and Sells
  • F.M. Donaghy and Company
  • Ernst and Young
  • Hanna Thompson
  • KPMG Peat, Marwick, McClintock
  • D. J. MacRitchie
  • B. R. McGuire and Company
  • John McVeigh and Company
  • Muir and Addy
  • Price Waterhouse
  • Brendan Quinn and Company
  • Stoy Hayward
  • Touche Ross and Company
  • Witt Thornton

Fair Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a list of types of employment in each church-based society or organisation in Northern Ireland for which the Fair Employment Agency and/or Commission has advised that the successful applicant must belong to the same religious denomination as the church-based society or organisation which is inviting applications to fill vacancies.

Neither the Fair Employment Agency nor the Fair Employment Commission has ever advised any organisation that a successful applicant for employment must belong to a particular religious denomination. The agency/commission has, however, taken the view that in the case of staff of organisations with a religious basis who had to act in a "in loco parentis" role, the organisations could take religion into account when making such appointments.An individual has the right to challenge the organisation's view of the nature of a particular job and the onus is on the organisation to show that the "essential nature of the job" requires it to be done by a person holding, or not holding, a particular religious belief or political opinion as permitted under section 37 of the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1976.

The Sunday Times

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what requests were received from The Sunday Times for assistance in defence of the libel action brought by Mr. T. Murphy and Mr. P. Murphy; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 18 April 1990]: The Government received a number of requests from members of the staff and representatives of The Sunday Times for assistance in defence of the libel action brought against the newspaper in the Irish High Court by Thomas and Patrick Murphy. After careful consideration it was decided that there was no direct help which the Government could usefully or properly provide in the Irish courts.

Trade And Industry

Cotton Goods

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the current output of cotton goods in north-east Lancashire.

[holding answer 18 April 1990]: Sectoral output statistics are not readily available at sub-regional level. However, in the north-west standard region (Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire) latest figures (1988) show that the net output from the cotton and silk industries amounted to £263·1 million (or 54·7 per cent. of United Kingdom net output).(Source: Central Statistical Office).

Paper Production

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has on progress within the paper and pulp industry for the increased use of straw as a resource.

[holding answer 18 April 1990]: I am aware of a commercial venture which Berisford Bristar is investigating for the production of pulp from straw on a site near Immingham. In addition I am aware of an application for support of collaborative research and development on the use of United Kingdom-grown crops for industrial use under the LINK initiative. This programme, which is receiving consideration, will be able to cover the necessary research to enhance the potential use of straw.

Health

Leukaemia

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) of 2 April, Official Report, columns 430-34, he will list the other studies currently under way on leukaemia clusters referred to in column 430 and state who is funding them; if he will list the other studies of workers receiving high radiation doses referred to in column 431 and state who is funding them; which Government Departments are involved in the co-ordination of research and what arrangements have been made; and if he will list the related research proposals into the offspring of radiation workers referred to in column 431.

In respect of the studies currently under way on leukaemia clusters, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) on 15 February at columns 397-98. The studies are being funded by the Scottish Office (Dounreay studies) and the Department of Health.The studies referred to in my earlier reply comprise those referred to previously and, in addition, a number of proposals for research submitted to the Department and to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as well as research commissioned independently of Government. The HSE has drawn up a protocol investigation at Sellafield. This investigation will be in two parts: the first will consist of an epidemiological case-control study comparing the occupational records of the case fathers with those of matched controls; the second is a case-only study into the particular operational histories of the fathers of the leukaemic children.The lead Government Department involved in co-ordination of research is the Department of Health, in collaboration with HSE, and a co-ordination group has been established for the purpose of expediting progress on existing and proposed research. Other Government Departments and the Medical Research Council will provide representation as appropriate.In relation to the proposed studies of the health of the offspring of radiation workers, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) on 7 March at columns

646-47.

Scanner Unit (North Devon)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received about the need for a scanner unit within the North Devon health authority area.

Hospital Doctors

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the change in the pay and conditions of hospital doctors in the National Health Service since 1979.

Between April 1979 and April 1990 the pay of hospital doctors in the National Health Service has increased in real terms by 37·2 per cent. From April 1990 they will receive a further 7 per cent. rise in their pay and subsequently a further 2·5 per cent. from 1 January 1991.The terms and conditions of service for hospital doctors are frequently amended following negotiations between the Health Departments and the medical and dental professions. Copies of the current version of the handbook of terms and conditions of service for medical and dental staff have been placed in the Library.

Hospital Incinerators

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library details of all hospital incinerators in England, by health authority area, specifying for each incinerator (a) the date commissioned, (b) the name of the manufacturer, (c) the temperature in the main chamber, (d) the temperature in the after-burner, (e) the type of temperature control used and (f) the monitoring regime for air pollution.

This information is not available centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

Constituencies

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the constituencies of (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland in order of size based on the 1990 register, indicating in each case the extent to which the electorate is above or below the electoral quota.

Information about the 1990 electoral registers has now been collected by OPCS from electoral registration officers. The number of electors in each local authority area will be published in "OPCS Monitor EL 90/1" on 26 April, before the local elections. The figures are still being reassembled by parliamentary constituency. They will be published in the latter form in "Electoral Statistics 1990 (Series EL No. 17)" in July.

Human Spermatozoa

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the reply to the question from the hon. Member for Linlithgow of 2 April, Official Report, column 982, if he will make a statement on the use of the hamster test in the study of chromosomal abnormalities of human spermatozoa.

To achieve penetration by a human sperm the hamster egg must first have had its zona pellucida removed by a chemical. The normality of chromosomes derived from the human sperm can be assessed by examining them within the product of fusion of a human sperm and a hamster egg. The test is completed about 24 hours after fusion begins and at that point the material is destroyed. Normally it will not have divided into two cells. Schedule 2 to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill would require that if two cells did appear they must be destroyed.

Microbiology

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the future of the centre for applied microbiology and research.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Salisbury (Mr. Key) on 19 April.

Nurses

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will review the current levels of nurse staffing.

I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Bridgend (Mr. Griffiths) on 18 April at column 875.

Eye Tests

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his Department's latest estimate of the reduction in the number of eye tests since the introduction of charges.

We have commissioned an independent survey into the number of sight tests carried out during the first quarter of 1990. The figures collected will be compared with earlier periods; results should be available by the early summer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether figures are collected nationally to show whether the detection of illnesses such as diabetes has been influenced by the introduction of charges for eye tests on 1 April 1989.

Information is not collected centrally on the number of patients referred by their optometrist or ophthalmic medical practitioner to a doctor for further medical investigation and diagnosis following a sight test. The number of cases seen by the hospital eye departments since April 1989 is unlikely to be available before the end of the year.

General Practitioners

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what modification he is proposing for screening targets in the new contract for general medical practitioners; and if he will make a statement.

A modification to the operation of screening targets was announced on 10 April. This change means that entitlement to target payments will be based on partnership lists rather than individual practitioner's lists. No further modifications are planned.

Indicative Drug Budgets

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he intends to issue guidelines on the operation of indicative drug budgets; and whether he has any modifications to propose to the proposals originally outlined in the White Paper.

We intend to publish in May a further working paper on the operation of indicative prescribing budgets. The working paper will set out details of the development of our proposals since the White Paper was published.

Mental Hospitals

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will update information given in the answer to the hon. Member for Dagenham on 20 March 1987, Official Report, column 669.

[pursuant to his reply, 4 April 1990, c. 650-52.]: I regret that due to a typing error there was an omission in the answer given. Table 2 should have ended after the sixth entry and been followed by a third table. The correct information is contained in the following tables.

Table 2

Mental illness hospitals closed between 1987 and 1989.

Yorkshire

  • Naburn Hospital, Near York

Trent

  • Saxondale Hospital
  • St. John's Hospital, Lincolnshire

South Western

  • Horton Road Hospital
  • Digby Hospital, Exeter

West Midlands

  • Powick Hopsital Worecester

Table 3

Mental Illness Hospitals which have, or have had, over 200 beds, which Regional Health Authorities have indicated they plan to close, subject to consultation and to suitable alternative provision being made, by about 1995.

Latest numbers of inpatients

Yorkshire

Storthes Hall Hospital, Near Huddersfield389

Trent

Rauceby Hospital, South Lincs.304
Pastures Hospital, Southern Derbyshire454
Carlton Hayes Hospital, Leicestershire470
Mapperley Hospital, Nottingham305
Middlewood Hospital, Sheffield606
Towers Hospital, Leicestershire394
Kingsway Hospital, Southern Derbyshire363

East Anglian

St. Audry's Hospital, Woodbridge372
St. Nicholas' Hospital, Great Yarmouth and Waverney131
St. Andrews, Norwich335

North East Thames

Friern Hospital1673
Claybury Hospital722

South East Thames

Cane Hill Hospital343
Tooting Bec Hospital420
Hellingly Hospital154
St. Augustines Hospital235

South West Thames

Long Grove Hospital, Epsom404
Brookwood Hospital489

Wessex

Whitecroft Hospital75

Latest numbers of inpatients

Herrison Hospital, Dorchester263
Old Manor Hospital1216

Oxford

St. John's Hospital, Aylesbury282
St. Crispin's Hospital, Northampton263
Littlemore Hospital, Oxford226

West Midlands

Barnsley Hall Hospital, Bromsgrove and Redditch169
Rubery Hill Hospital, South Birmingham211
Central Hospital, South Warwickshire298
Hollymoor Hospital, Solihull279

Mersey

Rainhill Hospital487
Parkside Hospital485
Winwick Hospital815

North Western

North Manchester (Springfield) Hospital1145

Northern

St. Mary's, Stannington495

South Western

Mendip Hospital96
Moorhaven Hospital157

1 With some facilities remaining on site.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Soviet Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the Soviet authorities about Mr. Adolf Borisovich Gorvitz.

We have made numerous representations to the Soviet authorities about this case—most recently during my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs' visit to the USSR from 9 to 12 April. We shall continue to raise it until there is a satisfactory outcome.

Hong Kong

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many seizures of illegally imported endangered species were made by the Hong Kong authorities in the second six months of 1989; how many seizures were made of similar categories intended for export; and if he will make a statement giving details of all seizures made, including country of origin.

[holding answer 29 March 1990]: The Hong Kong authorities made 60 seizures of illegally imported endangered species during the period July to December 1989:The following illegal imports were seized:

SpeciesNumber
Gibbon2
Slow Loris1
Pangolin3 live, 2 carcasses, 25·45 kg meat, 20 pieces of scale and l·5 kg of scale
SpeciesNumber
Rhino (horn)17 pieces
Whale (bone)1 piece
Bear (paw)4 pieces
Otter (skin)2 pieces
Wild cat82 skins and 1 stuffed specimen
Monitor Lizard (skin)16,342 pieces
Alligator/crocodile1,498 pieces (skin), 56 kg (meat) and 1 stuffed specimen
Python (skin)86 pieces
Turtle/tortoise (live)8
Sea turtle34 stuffed specimens and 119 eggs
Giant salamander (carcass)1
Parrot (live)15
Bird of prey plus owl11 live, 4 carcasses and 2 stuffed specimens
Asiatic bony tongue fish (live)29 tails
Black coral (skeleton)4
Giant clam (live)4
Orchid1
Ivory2·39 tonnes
Countries of export included China, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Federal Republic of Germany, Spain, France, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, United States of America, Venezuela, South Africa.Only one seizure was made of endangered species intended for export: a live parrot destined for Switzerland.

European Investment Bank

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what projects in the United Kingdom have received support, in each year since 1979, from the European investment bank; and if he will set out in each case the level of financial support received.

I have been asked to reply.The projects supported by the European investment bank and the levels of financial support in 1987, 1988 and 1989 are given in the table. To go back to earlier years would involve disproportionate cost.

Amount of loan £ million
1987
PROJECT
Construction of units at Torness Nuclear Power Station19
Construction of storage facilities for nuclear waste. Sellafield16+34
Nuclear Fuel reprocessing facilities Sellafield60
Conversion of Kilroot Power Station to duel coal/oil firing system30+33
Amount of loan £ million
Development of Arborathoil field50
Construction of municipal waste recycling plant at Hastings0·700
Reduction of traffic congestion in Plymouth8
Construction of approach road to Ramsgate Harbour and inner Chatham ring road3
Construction of A120 by pass4
Upgrading of five roads in Powys1·2
Improvement of traffic conditions on three of main Swansea approach roads2·5
Improvement to approach and landing systems at several airports5
Construction of second terminal at Gatwick150
Construction of airport in London Docklands4
Construction of new passenger terminal at Norwich airport2·6
Improvement to water supply and sewerage schemes in Edinburgh area8
Sewerage schemes in Mersey area20+18
Improvements to drinking water supply network and reduction of river and coastal pollution in Wales8
Construction of Roadford Storage reservoir in Devon10
Land drainage and sewerage system in Birmingham area, River Tame flood protection20
Water supply and sewerage schemes in Humberside, East Anglia, East Midlands and South East England45+20
Water supply and sewerage schemes in York, Bradford and Sheffield areas10+20+20
Improvements to sewerage works in East Lothian5
Sewerage works in coastal areas of North East England10·5
Sewerage works in coastal areas in South West England11
South Cardiff: construction of access road to city centre development of industrial estate6+5+6·5
Industrial development schemes in Lancashire1
Road schemes, water supply networks and sewerage facilities in Tayside5
Development of three industrial areas, construction of tourism and exhibition centre, development of marina and runway at airport near Plymouth6·3
Road, water supply, sewerage, drainage schemes and improvements to an agricultural college in Dumfries and Galloway4
Development of six industrial estates, improvements to Coventry Technical College, Museum of Transport and road schemes to reduce traffic congestion5
Road, water supply, sewerage schemes in Dunfermline and Kirkaldy5
Road, water supply and sewerage schemes in Strathclyde13
Improvements to roads and sewerage plant in Durham3·3
Expansion of industrial estate in Rossendale, North West England0·100
Road schemes, new ferries, improvements to industrial sites and water supply and sewerage schemes in the Shetlands10
Infrastructure work in Newcastle11·5
Construction of Bridge over Loughor River and of western approach road, new building's at Haverford West Technical College2·5
Development of road network, industrial and business infrastructure/waste disposal sites in North Cheshire10
Expansion of industrial estate in County Durham Road schemes, enlargement of Technical College, energy conservation schemes in Staffordshire2
Construction of relief road, factory buildings, enlargement of Polytechnic and removal of asbestos from public buildings in Manchester5
Road schemes, industrial estates and coastal protection works in Lancashire2
Amount of loan £ million
Construction of M65 Calder Valley motorway section, science park, college buildings; and conversation of quarry3
Improvement of industrial sites, construction and improvement of factory buildings in oldham4
Motorway and road development, pedestrianisation schemes, Manchester5
Modernisation of alumium plants in North West England, the Midlands and Wales20
Installation of new computerised management system in retail chain1·4
Improvements to paperpulp recycling plant and construction of clinical Waste incinerator in Manchester1
Electrification of Glasgow/Ayr railway line and purchase of rolling stock10
Total of loans signed in the United Kingdom in 1987£801·3
1988
PROJECT
Nuclear fuel processing facilities, Sellafield190
Municipal waste recycling plant in Hastings1
Construction of Channel tunnel70
Improvements to port installations, Plymouth, Southampton, Hull, Immingham, Grimsby, Barry and Ayr16
Approach and landing systems at several airports18
Second passenger terminal at Stansted airport100
Development of telecommunications, Scotland200
Water supply, sewerage, road schemes in the Grampians10
Modernisation of production facilities and factory, Gateshead3·3
Modernisation and extension of aircraft engine overhaul facilities at Nantgarw7·3
Design and construction of wings for Airbus A-320 at various plants in England50
Facilities for overhaul of jet engines and components in Prestwick11
Construction of textile mill in Bradford and modernisation of dyeing and finishing plant in Huddersfield2
Polysterene production plant in Manchester3
Construction of hotel in Birmingham17
Trusthouse Forte: Construction of metals5
Construction of new computer centre, Manchester1·5
Global loans. Barclays Bank Investors in Industry Group plc10
(to on lend to small and medium sized enterprises in the UK)10
Lending under the New Community Instrument to small and medium sized enterprises
Intermediary
Barclays Bank plc30
Investors in Industry Group35
Total of loans signed in the United Kingdom in 1988£790·1
1989
PROJECT
British Aerospace A320B100
Stag Furniture Factory1·85
Fownes Hotel Solihull5
Ravenspurn North Gas Field A15
Ravenspurn North Gas Field B50
Ravenspurn North Gas Field C30
Trade Centre Cardiff12
Trusthouse Forte Motels7
East Sussex Fuel Plant0·50
Trusthouse Forte II3·80
Hurtsman Chemicals Manchester2
National Computing Centre0·70
Hall UK Projects5·7
Irvine PaperMill50
Slaley Hall Hexham3
Eurotunnel25+50
BAA Stansted100
Amount of loan £ million
Lancashire Industrial Estates5
ISE Chairs Cardiff0·75
Pall Newquay0·50+5·97
Shotton Paper20
Port of Felixstowe25
Cerestar UK Glucose2·70+2·00
Wytch Farm Oilfield33·60
Cadbury Schweppes50
Stadco2·95
Pilkington Glass40
Burrendale Hotel, Northern Ireland1
Slough Heat and Power15
United Biscuits10
Yorkshire Water Authority21+20
Wessex Water25
Severn Trent Water100
Thames Water75
Anglian Water15
WWA Wessex Environment38
Safeway Bellshill Scotland25
Slumberland Lancashire3·50
Barclays Bank Global Loan140
31 Global Loan VB115
Barclays Bank Global Loan III130
Total of loans signed in the United Kingdom in 19891,084·1
1 For on lending to small and medium sized enterprises.

National Finance

Monetary Union

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the outcome of the discussions at the Council of Ministers on the issue of monetary union on 1 April; and if he will make a statement.

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement my right hon. Friend the Chancellor made to the House on 3 April, Official Report, col 523.

Purchasing Costs

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his Department achieved the target of 5 per cent. saving in purchasing costs in 1988–89, set by the Paymaster-General, through use of the central unit on purchasing.

I am pleased to report that the Treasury (excluding CISCO) achieved an 8·5 per cent. saving in overall purchasing costs in 1988–89.

Employment

Bed-And-Breakfast Accommodation

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether his Department has commissioned any research into the provision of bed-and-breakfast acommodation within the British tourist industry after the introduction of poll tax.

Wages Council Inspectors

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has any plans to increase the numbers of wages council inspectors.

Disabled People

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answers to the hon. Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) of 18 January, Official Report, column 401, and Stoke-on-Trent, South of 14 March, Official Report, column 252, if he will give the most recent figures for the percentage of (a) firms and (b) public sector employers satisfying their quota obligations under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944;

[holding answer 5 April 1990]: In June 1989, the latest date for which figures are available, 23·3 per cent. of private sector employers subject to the obligations of the quota scheme employed 3 per cent. or more registered people with disabilities. At the same date 4·7 per cent. of the public sector employers who are subject to the obligations of the quota scheme employed 3 per cent. or more registered people with disabilities.In both the public and private sectors 0·9 per cent. of employees of employers subject to the obligations of the quota scheme are registered as disabled.

Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether a training credit pilot scheme will operate in Scotland.

[holding answer 18 April 1990]: The prospectus which I have issued on training credits for young people invites training and enterprise councils, and local enterprise companies in Scotland, to bid to run local training credit pilots. There is to be a geographical spread of pilots throughout Great Britain. The actual range will depend on the bids received.

Wales

M4

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to improve the M4 east of the Baglan roundabout.

Currently the only work planned for this part of the M4 is renewal work on the Groes-Pentyla section which is expected to start this summer. The whole of the M4 is included in the south Wales traffic study which will identify sections of the trunk road network where traffic is likely to exceed recommended traffic flow levels, and consider solutions.

Hedgerows

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many miles of hedgerows have been removed, and how many miles planted (a) since 1 January 1960 and (b) since 1979.

Although various estimates have been made for past periods none covers precisely the periods referred to.A survey of landscape change in England and Wales carried out for the Department of the Environment and the Countryside Commission by Huntings Survey and Consultants Ltd. showed annual hedgerows losses in Wales of some 250 miles (out of a total of 2,600 miles for England and Wales) between 1947 and 1969, 400 miles (England and Wales total 2,900 miles) between 1969 and 1980, and 500 miles (England and Wales total 4,000 miles) between 1980 and 1985. A postal survey of environmental topics on farms carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, however, showed annual losses of 500 miles for England and Wales between 1980 and 1985 with losses in Wales accounting for just over 100 miles of the total. The two surveys used different methodologies and neither can be regarded as definitive.Since 1973 grants have been offered to farmers for planting of new hedgerows and for hedgerow laying. In Wales in the two years 1987 and 1988, grant was paid for the equivalent of almost 500 miles of new hedge planting.Work is continuing to improve information on the rate of removal and on the extent of new planting.

Ford Plant, Bridgend

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he has plans to visit the Ford plant at Bridgend.

Burns Unit, St Laurence Hospital

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will specify the date when the plastic and burns unit will be transferred from the St. Laurence hospital, Chepstow to Morriston hospital.

I understand that the managing health authority, West Glamorgan health authority, and the Welsh health common services authority expect that the new burns, plastic and maxillo-facial surgery unit being developed at Morriston hospital, Swansea, should be completed in mid-1994, after which the service can be transferred from St. Laurence hospital, Chepstow.

General Practitioners

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many general practitioners and general practitioner practices in Wales have indicated an interest in becoming budget-holding practices.

To date, 42 practices comprising some 217 general practitioners have expressed an interest in becoming fund-holding practices.

Meat Processing Plant

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on what grounds he turned down the Development Board for Rural Wales proposals to assist the financing of the proposed integrated meat processing plant at Three Cocks, near Brecon.

Since the Development Board for Rural Wales withdrew its application in respect of these proposals, my Department has taken no formal view of this particular scheme.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he is taking to ensure that an integrated meat processing plant is established in south Powys, pursuant to the requirements of the single European market.

The question of the establishment of a meat processing plant in any particular location is entitely a matter for the commercial judgment of the company concerned.

Special Needs Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he proposes to make changes to the funding arrangements for special needs projects undertaken by housing associations in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Special needs housing projects financed by Housing for Wales will be subject to new funding arrangements introduced from 1 April 1990.The capital element of these projects will be funded by a mixture of housing association grant from Housing for Wales and private finance, as is already the case with the general needs housing. The level of grant will take into account the higher costs of providing special needs housing. This means that from 1 April 1990 all new allocations for housing association schemes funded by Housing for Wales will be on a mixed funding basis.

A new revenue allowance, to be known as special needs management allowance, will cover the additional housing management costs incurred for special needs housing; it will replace hostel deficit grant. Care costs will continue to be met from other topping-up sources.

These new arrangements will lead to the more effective and efficient use of public money in the funding of special needs schemes and improvements in estimating future expenditure demands.

Initially, the level of the new allowance will average £2,800 per bed space for existing schemes and £3,600 per bed space for all new schemes coming into occupation in 1990–91. Existing schemes will continue to claim hostel deficit grant until 1991–92 when they, too, will be eligible for the new allowance.

To allow payments of the allowance to be paid from the start of the financial year, parliamentary approval of the revised estimate (class XVI vote 6 1990–91) is being sought for expenditure estimated at £168,000 to be met from repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund.