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Written Answers

Volume 171: debated on Wednesday 25 April 1990

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 25 April 1990

Attorney-General

Magistrates

To ask the Attorney-General if he has any plans to substitute stipendiary magistrates for lay magistrates in Wales.

No. Stipendiary magistrates are appointed in order to give support to the lay magistracy not to supplant them.

Immigration Appeals (Scotland)

To ask the Attorney-General on how many occasions the immigration appeal tribunal has sat in Scotland in each of the last five years.

None. The immigration appeal tribunal sits at its headquarters at Thanet house, London.

To ask the Attorney-General how many persons qualified in Scottish law have sat as members of the immigration appeal tribunal in the last five years.

In the last five years none of the members of the immigration appeal tribunal has been qualified in Scottish law.

Transport

Private Street Works

107.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the allocation of grant aid for the improvement of private street works.

I do not give specific grant aid for the improvement of private street works. Where these are undertaken by local authorities they normally bill the frontagers, but they can meet some of the costs themselves where they consider that wider community benefits justify it.Under section 13 of the Industrial Development Act 1982 I give grants both to private sector developers and to local authorities towards providing road access for new industrial development in assisted areas. Expenditure by a local authority on these schemes which could otherwise be rechargeable to domestic frontagers can be taken into account in assessing eligible expenditure for these grants.

Marine Radionavigation

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what conclusions he has reached on the future of marine radionavigation in United Kingdom waters.

Following a lengthy period of public consultation and careful consideration, I have concluded in principle that, on technical and cost grounds, the balance of advantage for the United Kingdom would be to join the international civil Loran C system currently proposed for north-west Europe and the north Atlantic. This would be dependent on a satisfactory international agreement being reached within an acceptable time scale with the other interested states.This decision has not been an easy one. It would mean closing down in 1997 the present widely respected United Kingdom Decca navigator system, the origins of which date back to the second world war. The Decca system has been successfully operated by Racal Decca Marine Navigation Ltd. and its predecessors for several decades, and the marine community owes a considerable debt to the service, which is highly regarded.I have had the benefit of a wide range of responses to the Department's consultative document of June 1989. Many in the marine community, here and abroad, agree that we should not be wholly dependent for marine navigation on non-European military satellite systems such as the American global positioning system (GPS) and the Soviet GLONASS system and that a terrestrial civil alternative is needed. I am satisfied that the Loran C system would meet the United Kingdom's navigational requirements to acceptable technical standards and additionally would provide more extensive cover, and be less affected by seasonal and night-time errors.I have given particular consideration to the representations from the fishing industry, which is concerned about the costs of convering to Loran C. I fully appreciate the industry's extensive use of the Decca system for fishing as well as for navigation and I have considered the industry's points very carefully. However, if we introduce Loran C the fishing industry will gain some important benefits. Loran C's avoidance of seasonal and night skywave effects makes it a more consistent system. Moreover, a Loran C system would allow significant cost reductions, which will work through as lower light dues paid by fishermen. In the meantime I will look specifically at the light dues paid by fishermen at present, in light of representations they have made. The fishing industry will also be aware that I am currently considering a report by the British Ports Federation which recommends that pleasure craft should be brought into the light dues system so as to share the costs falling on the general lighthouse fund.Moreover, I am determined to ensure that there is a reasonable transitional period between Loran C becoming fully available and the Decca system being switched off. Given satisfactory progress in the international negotiations, the new United Kingdom transmitter could be operating by the end of 1992 and satisfactorily validated for use in repeatable mode before the end of 1993. This would allow a transitional period of over three years to 1997 for the conversion of the fishing industry's Decca records. The final reconfiguration of the new system would be in place at the latest by January 1995. I am also satisfied that the financial considerations favour adopting the Loran C scheme. There would be an even stronger financial case for Loran C, were it not for the cost of running both systems in the transitional period. I am satisfied that the cost to users of premature replacement of receivers, while difficult to assess, is not sufficient to undermine the case for change.My conclusion, therefore, is that the United Kingdom should not stand aside from the opportunity now offered for adopting a standard terrestrial regional radionavigation system under independent European control. Many countries are awaiting the United Kingdom decision before reaching their own, and in the longer term a favourable decision by the United Kingdom seems likely to increase the prospects of there being continuous Loran C cover throughout Europe, including the Mediterranean, the Iberian peninsula and the Baltic.It remains to be seen whether an acceptable Loran C international agreement can be concluded among a sufficient number of interested countries to produce a suitable international system. Our appraisal of the proposal has been on the assumption that there would be cost sharing with Canada, Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway. My officials will be making it clear to the countries involved in the international discussions that the United Kingdom will finally commit itself to a binding agreement only if the terms are right. This means that the eventually agreed system must remain a genuinely international dimension and have sufficient financial support from other benefiting countries in terms which for the United Kingdom are no worse than the current cost and cost share provisionally attributed to it. The United Kingdom's final commitment is also conditional on

(a) the location of, and the obtaining of the necessary approvals for, suitable sites for the new transmitter stations needed in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland; and (b) Parliament's approval of an order under section 34(3) of the Merchant Shipping Act 1979 to define Loran C as a beacon for the purposes of the general lighthouse fund, which would bear the United Kingdom costs. I expect to lay a draft order shortly.

The United Kingdom will also be making it clear to the other potential partners in the international agreement that our window for a decision in favour of Loran is time limited. In the event of a firm commitment to Loran C, I would wish to give the marine community about six years' notice of the ending of Decca transmissions. Under Racal Decca's current contract with the general lighthouse authorities, the system could not continue beyond February 1997. I am also conscious of the need for an adequate transition period of at least three years during which both the Decca and Loran C systems would be operating. These constraints mean that a delay beyond early to mid-1991 in ratifying an acceptable international agreement would, as far as can currently be seen, effectively rule out the United Kingdom's adoption of Loran C. Thus, if a firm agreement acceptable to the United Kingdom has not been reached by then, it would be my intention to withdraw from the international discussions and to consider with the general lighthouse authorities whether to arrange for modernisation of the United Kingdom Decca navigator system so that it could continue to operate beyond 1997.

Scottish Lowland Airports

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, further to his answers to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley of 3 April, Official Report, column 501, when he decided not to publish the responses received to the consultation document on Scottish lowland airports policy; what objections were raised by respondents to the proposals of paragraph 17 of the consultation document on Scottish lowland airports policy that it was assumed that respondents have no objection to their responses being published, unless they specifically indicate otherwise; and what considerations of public policy underlay his decision to change his policy regarding the publication of responses to the consultation document on Scottish lowland airports policy from that set out in paragraph 17 of the consultation document.

Paragraph 17 of the consultation document did not represent a policy statement. A presumption of publication was offered as the basis for respondents to make their wishes on this known. In the light of the wishes expressed, my right hon. Friend took a policy decision not to publish any responses, for the reasons explained to the hon. Member in my reply of 3 April 1990, Official Report, column 501.

Road Construction Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the average cost of construction of one mile of virgin road in respect of (a) single carriageway roads, (b) dual carriageway roads and (c) six-lane roads including average costs of land acquisition and design work; and if he will make a statement.

Construction costs of roads vary substantially depending on factors such as location and the need for structures. In view of this, the Department does not prepare information on the average construction costs per mile."Trunk Roads, England into the 1990s" contains full details, including estimated works costs, of all schemes in the trunk road programme.

Railways (Safety)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will list the amount of money spent by the railways and financed by Government on safety of the railways over the past five years, and the amount planned to be spent for the next three years for safety on the railways.

It is not possible to identify separately figures for British Rail's expenditure on specific safety measures over the last five years. Much general investment brings with it enhancements in safety. On 20 March I announced that the public sector obligation grant cash ceiling for 1989–90 would be increased by £8 million specifically to accommodate the grant-aided sector's share of additional safety-related expenditure. We have endorsed BR's plans for expenditure of £125 million on specific safety measures over the next three years. BR is currently assessing the costs of implementing the longer-term recommendations of the Hidden report on the Clapham accident, and will include them in its 1990 corporate plan.

Coach Accidents (Schoolchildren)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what information he has on the number of children of school age killed or injured in bus or coach accidents while on a journey to and from school, or on school-sponsored trips, over the last 10 years, five years and one year or over such period as such relevant information is available;

(2) what information he has on the number of children of school age killed or injured while boarding or alighting from buses or coaches while on a journey to or from school or on school-sponsored trips over the last 10, five or one year or over such period as such relevant information is available.

The table shows the numbers of children up to 16 years of age killed and injured while on a journey to or from school on a public service vehicle for each of the

Children up to age sixteen: Killed or injured on public service vehicles: On journeys to and from school; by activity
Casualties
SeverityBoardingAlightingStandingSeatedAll1
1979
Killed11002
Injured245747261391
All casualties255847261393
1980
Killed11002
Injured366771310484
All casualties376871310486
1981
Killed00000
Injured215057241369
All casualties215057241369
1982
Killed03003
Injured358475200397
All casualties358775200400
1983
Killed02002
Injured258698206415
All casualties258898206417
1984
Killed00000
Injured3778101342564
All casualties3778101342564
1985
Killed00000
Injured367068346529
All casualties367068346529
1986
Killed00101
Injured197381290463
All casualties197382290464
1987
Killed00000
Injured244653362485
All casualties244653362485
1988
Killed00000
Injured174654331452
All casualties174654331452
1 Includes a small number of cases where the activity of the passenger was not reported.

Railway Gauges

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what gauge railway lines will be used for the channel link route.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has received representations seeking a change from

last 10 years. Figures for children as seated passengers, as standing passengers, and in the acts of boarding and alighting are shown separately.

The data are taken from the information provided on casualties in the STATS19 accident report form. The information provided on vehicles in the accident report form does not identify school buses; nor does it record the purpose of bus journeys or give general information about passengers. Figures relating to school-sponsored trips are, therefore, unavailable.

the United Kingdom railway gauge to one that is compatible with continental railways; and if he will make a statement.

I have received some suggestions that BR should begin to convert some or all routes to the continental loading gauge. This is a matter for BR to consider but any ungrading must be commercially justified. BR considers that the cost of conversion to continental loading gauge is prohibitive and that it is more effective to use new wagon technology. All wagons presently in service with BR can run on continental gauge railways. BR are looking to develop a fleet of new, smaller wheeled intermodal and conventional wagons which have the same loading capacities as those generally available in mainland Europe.

Energy Efficiency

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the conclusions of the energy technology support unit report entitled "Energy Use and Energy Efficiency in UK Transport" up to the year 2010; and if he will place a copy in the Library.

I have been asked to reply.This report was published in January as the 10th paper in the Energy Efficiency Series with the results and conclusions as chapter 6.I have arranged for a copy of the report to be placed in the Library of the House.

Trade And Industry

Inner-City Task Forces

106.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many projects have been funded by the inner city task forces since they were set up.

I am answering this question because the inner cities task forces are a responsibility of the DTI. Between the start of the initiative in February 1986 and the end of March this year, 1,870 projects have been approved.

Benzene

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if his Department is aware of any evidence to suggest that the use of benzene in consumer products is carcinogenic.

I have been asked to reply.We are not aware of any evidence which indicates a link between benzene in consumer products and the onset of cancer. Benzene is toxic at high doses and is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a human carcinogen on the basis of data from workers who were exposed to high levels in the past. The maximum concentration of benzene permitted under European directives in consumer products is 0·1 per cent.; except for motor fuels which are covered by a separate directive, this limits the amount of benzene in petrol to 5 per cent.

Rover Group

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will deposit in the Library (a) a copy of the provisional contractual agreement of March 1988 for the sale of Rover Group to British Aerospace, and (b) a copy of the final contractual agreement of July/August 1988 for the sale of the Rover Group to British Aerospace.

I have today made arrangements to put in the Libraries of both Houses copies of both documents. The provisional agreement with British Aerospace of 29 March 1988 was subject to EC Commission clearance and was superseded by the final contractual agreement of 14 July 1988.

Northern Ireland

Mr Charles Haughey

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what is the total estimated cost of the Royal Ulster Constabulary operation in connection with the visit of Mr. Charles Haughey to Belfast; on what date the operation commenced; and on what date the operation was ended;(2) how many members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary were involved each day in connection with the security operation for the visit of Mr. Charles Haughey to Belfast on Wednesday 11 April.

The extra cost incurred by the Royal Ulster Constabulary in the operation could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. It is not considered appropriate, for security reasons, to give details of the number of police involved and the time scale of the operation.

Student Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the level of grants applicable to Northern Ireland students studying in Great Britain will be increased in the 1991–92 academic year to take account of the liability of students for community charge.

Robberies

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the bank, post office, wages and comparable robberies which have occurred in Northern Ireland since the beginning of 1989 where the Provisional Irish Republican Army or other paramilitary groups are deemed to have been involved; and what is the amount of moneys stolen in each case.

[holding answer 2 April 1990]: It is not always possible to attribute robberies to particular organisations. Nor do paramilitary organisations have a monopoly of armed robbery. However, in the period from 1 January 1989, there are believed to have been around 751 armed robberies of all kinds in Northern Ireland, in which the amount of money stolen is estimated at over £1·7 million.

Home Department

Patients (Thefts)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received any representations about thefts of personal valuables from hospital patients.

I am not aware that any such representations have been received by the Home Office.

Police Officers' Salaries

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the increases or otherwise in real terms of the pay of police constables, at various levels of seniority, for the periods (a) 1974 to 1979, (b) 1979 to 1984 and (c) 1984 to 1989; and if he will list other significant changes in the terms and conditions of service of police officers and the dates at which they became effective.

Increases in real terms in the basic pay of police constables for the periods in question are set out in the table. Since 1974 other significant changes in the terms and conditions of service of police officers have included changes in pension arrangements in 1975 (counting of war service) and 1982 (increase in contributions) and increases in annual leave (1979; 1983 and 1987). Allowances payable in addition to basic pay have been uprated on a regular basis.

1. 1974–19791
Rank and ServicePercentage Increase (Real Terms)
ConstablePercentage
Under 1 Year16·74
After 1 Year17·52
After 2 Years17·84
After 3 Years16·39
After 4 Years15·75
After 5 Years11·67
After 6 Years8·00
After 7 Years9·95
After 8 Years13·76
After 9 Years8·48
After 13 Years13·97
After 17 Years13·26
1 1 April 1974—1 April 1979.
2. 1979–841
Rank and ServicePercentage increase (real terms)
ConstablePer cent.
Under 1 year28·84
After 1 year29·95
After 2 years30·94
After 3 years29·76
After 4 years29·18
After 5 years31·12
After 6 years32·91
After 7 years34·59
After 8 years33·93
After 12 years34·90
After 15 years35·27
1 1 April 1979–1 April 1984
3. 1984–891
Rank and ServicePercentage increase (real terms)
ConstablePer cent.
Under 1 year11·20
After 1 year4·77
After 2 years10·44
After 3 years10·47
After 4 years10·43
After 5 years10·46
After 6 years10·44
After 7 years10·45
After 8 years10·62
After 12 years10·48
After 15 years10·44
1 1 April 1984–1 April 1989

Child Care And Family Services

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms his Department has to deal with services and policies on child care and family services.

A ministerial group on women's issues was established in 1986 under Home Office chairmanship to co-ordinate policy issues of special concern to women. The group meets regularly and has focused in particular on child care and domestic violence in the last 12 months.Home Office Ministers and officials also maintain regular contacts with the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Women's National Commission and with many voluntary organisations and groups.In addition there are staff in the Home Office establishment department responsible for equal opportunities for women, and the Department's equal opportunities officers play their part in Cabinet Office-led activities designed to promote equal opportunities in the civil service.

Visa Stamps

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken to introduce a standardised form of passport visa stamp.

Responsibility for the format of visa stamps rests with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. My officials are consulted about the inclusion of safeguards against forgery. I understand that the possibility of introducing a single format, stick-in visa for the United Kingdom at all overseas posts is now under active consideration, although no final decision has been taken.

Football (Restriction Orders)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the provisions to make restriction orders under section 15 of the Football Spectators Act 1989 will come into effect; and if he will make a statement.

These provisions came into effect on 24 April. Guidance to the courts, the police, and to the Football Spectators Restriction Orders Authority which will administer the scheme centrally has been placed in the Library. These provisions are expected to be of value in deterring and preventing hooliganism in respect of certain football matches outside England and Wales by prohibiting offenders who are made subject to restriction orders by the courts from attending those matches.

Medical Care (Prisons)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what different types of medical qualification exist for prison staff involved in medical care of prisoners; and what is the minimum level of such personnel available at all times in prison.

All prison service establishments are served by one or more medical officers all of whom are registered medical practitioners. Many have psychiatric or other special qualifications. Twenty-four hour medical cover is required and is achieved by a combination of daily attendance and an emergency "on call" rota.Nursing services are provided by hospital officers (prison officers who specialise in health care) and civilian nurses. All the latter, and about 16 per cent. of hospital officers, have a recognised professional nursing qualification. Other hospital officers have received in-service training (currently of 24 weeks duration) in basic nursing techniques. The staffing levels and working patterns are conditioned by the size and function of individual establishments.

Average population of Cardiff remand centre and local prison: by type of prisoner
1979 to 1990
Remand prisonersSentenced prisoners1Non-criminal prisonersAll prisoners
Under 21AdultUnder 21Adult
NumberNumberNumberNumberNumberNumber
1979
Remand centre444084
Local prison733055383
1980
Remand centre464893
Local prison882893380
1981
Remand centre6148109
Local prison862885379
1982
Remand centre6348112
Local prison863241410
1983
Remand centre523587
Local prison933011395
1984
Remand centre493888
Local prison782433323
1985
Remand centre5147198
Local prison1282451375
1986
Remand centre613192
Local prison1132962410
1987
Remand centre7438113
Local prison973281427
1988
Remand centre7138107
Local prison1003203422
1989
Remand centre661985
Local prison1022912394
19902
Remand centre701787
Local prison1172452364
1 Including fine defaulters.
2 31 January and 28 February.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the maximum number of prisoners accommodated at Cardiff prison at any point during each of the past 10 years and in the current year to date; and how many were (a) sentenced offenders, (b) remand prisoners and (c) young prisoners in each case.

Cardiff Prison

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what was the average number of prisoners accommodated at Cardiff prison during each of the past 10 years;(2) what was the average number of

(a) sentenced offenders, (b) remand prisoners and (c) young prisoners accommodated at Cardiff in each of the past 10 years, and in the current year to date.

The greatest number of prisoners held in each establishment at a point during each year is calculated annually, and published in the report of the work of the prison service. Details are set out in the tables. Figures are not routinely collected in a way which enables the provision of a breakdown into the categories requested, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Greatest number of inmates held at Her Majesty's Prison and Her Majesty's Remand Centre Cardiff
YearLocal prison1Remand centre1
1989–90238284
1988–89465128
1987–88487147
1986–87482128
1985–86452137
1984–853379126
1983461130
1982465142
1981435141
1980454127
1979422104

Notes:

1 Greatest numbers of inmates in the local prison and the remand centre may not necessarily occur simultaneously.

2 Period from 1 April 1990 to 20 April 1990.

3 Period from 1 January 1984 to 31 March 1985.

Energy

Electricity Privatisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether, subsequent to privatisation, he will require electricity companies to publish information about pollution control either in the directors' report or separately.

I have no plans to require electricity companies to publish information about pollution control which is, in any case, a matter for the Department of the Environment. However, the Government will continue to collect and publish information on fuel consumption and pollution from the electricity industry.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether the electricity privatisation prospectus will give information about the cash flow of the Central Electricity Generating Board.

The prospectuses of those successor companies to the Central Electricity Generating Board to be floated will contain information about sources and applications of funds. The final years of the existence of the CEGB will be covered.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will seek powers to require electricity companies to publish information about the safety of its operations.

I have no plans to do so. The industry has published information on safety matters annually both centrally and on a board-by-board basis and I see no reason why this should not continue. Should he consider it necessary, the Director General of Electricity Supply has the power to arrange for the publication of such material.

Overseas Development

Chile

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what aid has been offered to the new Government in Chile; and if he will make a statement.

We are aiming for some expansion in the existing level of UK programmes for training Chileans in this country and for supporting links between Chilean and UK academic institutions. We also hope to develop a new programme of assistance in the technical education sector, and an English language training project. We have in addition agreed to increase our support to the World University Service (UK) by providing £100,000 a year for three years from 1990 to assist Chilean exiles in the UK to return to Chile.

Defence

Stores Depot, Trecwn

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any plans to close the royal naval stores depot at Trecwn in Dyfed.

There are no plans at present to close the royal naval armaments depot at Trecwn, but MOD storage requirements are kept under review in the light of changing needs and circumstances.

Low Flying

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if any Royal Air Force low-flying training aircraft using Wales for exercises carry any live ammunition or weapons.

Practice bombs, using only small spotting charges, and practice ammunition are carried frequently in the United Kingdom. Inert bombs may also be used on some ranges. Live weapons with full charges are not generally carried in training, but there is a need for aircrew to have some very limited practice in their use and a range in Sutherland is normally used by the Royal Air Force for this purpose.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of and list any regular low-flying exercises which concern the United Kingdom.

Regular exercises which incorporate a major military low flying element over the United Kingdom include Exercises Elder Forest (once every two years), Elder Joust (once a year), Central Enterprise (once a year), Mallet Blow (twice a year), OSEX (once a year) and Salty Hammer (once a year). Some of these exercises test and practice the United Kingdom air defences while others primarily provide aircrews with training in tactical low flying techniques. Several airborne exercises are also held each year to provide joint Army/RAF training in the parachuting or airlanding of troops and stores.

Radiation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to publish the results of the survey into the effects of low-level radiation on the long-term health of those service men who served on Christmas Island in 1957 and 1958.

The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) published its report on mortality and cancer incidence in United Kingdom participants in "UK Atmospheric Nuclear Weapon Tests and Experimental Programmes" (NRPB-R214) in 1988. The study included service men who served on Christmas Island.The NRPB concluded in its report that a long-term health study along the lines suggested by the hon. Member was impracticable and unnecessary and its advice has not changed. The Government must rely, of course, on the expert and wholly independent advice of the NRPB on this matter.A follow-up mortality study is due to be completed by the end of 1991. The Government are confident that safety procedures during the tests were such that no one should have suffered harm as a result of exposure to ionising radiation. This was confirmed by the 1988 report which established no causal relationship between exposure to ionising radiation and increased incidence of any disease.

Exercise Elder Forest

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the exercise named Elder Forest and whether this is a regular exercise; how many of these exercises have recently taken place; which nations' aircraft were involved; over which countries the exercises took place; what aircraft were involved; what was the cost of each exercise to the United Kingdom; and if he will give details of any accidents which took place during the exercises.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many exercises along the lines of Elder Forest are planned for the years 1990–95; what is the number of missions in each exercise; what is the type of aircraft expected to be involved; which nations' aircraft are expected to be involved; over which countries are the exercises expected to take place; over which areas of the United Kingdom are the exercises projected to take place; and what will be the projected cost of each exercise.

Elder Forest is a biennial United Kingdom air defence exercise, centred on the United Kingdom air defence region, but involving aircraft from a number of NATO nations as well as the RAF. This year's is the sixth such exercise. Participating nations have typically included the United States, France, Germany, Norway, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands, contributing attack and electronic warfare support aircraft. The RAF will contribute tanker, air defence and attack aircraft. The costs of individual exercises are not kept centrally and it would involve disproportionate cost and effort to collate them. There has been one major accident involving an aircraft participating in Exercise Elder Forest since the series began. This occurred on 20 April 1988 when an RAF Phantom crashed into the sea 20 nautical miles east of Dundee. It is not possible at this stage to say how many missions will be flown in this year's exercise or in future ones.We expect the Elder Forest series of exercises to continue biennially for the foreseeable future, but it is too early to give precise details.

Iraq (Exports)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what communications took place between his Department and Sheffield Forgemasters regarding the sale of metal tubes to Iraq prior to 11 April.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what communications took place between his Department and the firm Walter Somers regarding the sale of equipment to Iraq prior to 11 April.

My Department has records of two occasions on which telephone conversations took place between Walter Somers Ltd. and a Ministry of Defence metallurgical expert in 1988.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what communications took place between his Department and the hon. Member for Bromsgrove (Sir H. Miller) concerning contracts with Iraq prior to 11 April.

Arms Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice is provided by his Department to firms who have queries regarding the application of the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1989.

Queries of this nature are a matter for the Department of Trade and Industry. My Department is not responsible for advising firms in this regard.

Binary Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has on the development of binary fuels for use in large-scale artillery.

My Department monitors developments in this field but is not currently undertaking any such research.

Wrns (Pay)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the pay of members of the Women's Royal Naval Service.

The Government have consulted the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) about the implications for pay of the decision announced earlier this year that members of the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) will in future be eligible to serve at sea. The AFPRB has recommended that from I April 1990 all WRNS non-commissioned personnel liable to serve at sea, whether as new entrants or as volunteers from among existing members of the WRNS, should receive the rates of basic pay already applicable to male ratings. The review body proposes that volunteers should be accepted as liable for sea service once they have completed a sea safety course.The Government have accepted these recommendations in full. WRNS officers already receive the same rates of basic pay as male officers of the Royal Navy.Members of the WRNS, in common with members of the other women's services, will continue to receive a rate of X factor 1 per cent. below that received by men. The AFPRB has stated that it intends to review this differential in its next report in the light of the initiatives being taken to widen the role of women in all three services.

Dr Gerald Bull

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the work of Dr. Gerald Bull.

No formal assessment has been made, but interested Ministry of Defence staff kept abreast of professional papers written by Dr. Bull.

Education And Science

Earthquakes

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what research into further possible earthquakes is taking place, in the light of the earthquake that occurred in England and Wales on 2 April.

It is not possible at this time to assess the likely occurrence and location of future events with any precision because earthquakes are rare in the United Kingdom, and because the forces that cause them are not well known. However, important information can be obtained by monitoring the aftershocks which generally occur after an earthquake. In the week following the "Bishop's Castle" earthquake of 2 April 1990, the Natural Environment Research Council's British geological survey (BGS) installed 10 seismometer stations within 25km of the epicentre to study the aftershocks, in order to learn more about the earthquakes in that area and their implications for seismic risk assessment. Together with the information from the improved national seismic monitoring network, this approach will eventually lead to a better capacity in seismic risk assessment.

First Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made in ensuring all schools attain his Department's guidelines standards in first aid provision.

Responsibility for first-aid arrangements in schools rests with local education authorities and other education powers. The results of a recent survey by St. John Ambulance are being studied by my Department in consultation with the Health and Safety Executive, and we shall consider the need for any possible additions to the existing guidance.

Teachers (Financial Incentives)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information his Department collects about financial incentives paid to teachers, particularly in repect of their numbers, values and distribution on scales A to E between infant, junior and senior schools; and if he will make a statement.

The Department's database of teacher records contains information, collected on an annual basis, on the numbers of incentive allowance holders in maintained schools. The data can be disaggregated by rate of allowance, local education authority, type of school and by various other factors.

Student Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the percentage increase in the amount allocated for student grants for the current academic year over the amount allocated for 1988–89; and whether the increase includes an amount to meet students' community charge payments.

The main rates of mandatory student grant are 5 per cent. higher (9·4 per cent. higher for those studying away from home in London) in the current academic year than in 1988–89. In setting these, students' net liability for 20 per cent. of the community charge following abolition of domestic rates was among the factors taken into account.

Seismic Monitoring

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what funds have been allocated, or what proposals exist for such funding, to the British geological survey for an improved seismic monitoring network; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 24 April 1990]: The British geological survey's (BGS's) programme of monitoring and studying earthquakes has been supported principally by grant-in-aid from my Department to the natural environment research council (NERC) for the past 20 years. The BGS's work has been supplemented by seismographic stations established by Department of the Environment (DOE), Department of Energy (DEng) and others.In 1989–90, the NERC and the DOE consolidated the BGS work within the framework of the United Kingdom seismic monitoring and information service, co-sponsored by a customer group of Government Departments and commercial organisations, to support the improvement of the seismic monitoring network. In 1989–90, funding amounted to £400,000—70 per cent. contributed by NERC grant-in-aid. The cost of upgrading to a uniform network at 70 km spacing is estimated at £1 million spread over three years, with total running costs of about £1 million per year. Further efforts are being made to enlarge the customer group in order to achieve this.

Wales

Welsh Language

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales by what percentage Government support for the Welsh language has increased since 1978–79.

In 1990–91 direct Government support for the Welsh language will total £5·87 million. This compares with £349,542 in 1978–79; a cash increase of 1,579 per cent. or 580 per cent. in real terms.

Drinking Water

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will estimate what percentage of drinking water in Wales is contaminated by faecal organisms.

I have been informed by Dwr Cymru that between January 1989 and March 1990 the company examined some 52,000 samples of treated public water supplies in its area of which 0·66 per cent. showed possible faecal contamination. Water quality standards and sampling regimes relating to public supplies are prescribed by the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 1989 (SI 1989 No. 1147). Advice on remedial action to be taken in the event of water quality standards being infringed is contained in the Department of Environment-Welsh Office publication "Guidance on Safeguarding the Quality of Public Water Supplies".Local authorities have a duty to monitor the quality of water supplied for domestic purposes in their areas, including private supplies. Information on the results of samples taken by authorities is not held centrally.

Waste Discharges

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will estimate what percentage of the volume of sewage discharged into the Welsh coastal waters has received (a) primary treatment only and (b) primary and secondary treatment.

I understand from information provided by Dwr Cymru that, based on population served, approximately 7 per cent. of the sewage discharged into Welsh coastal waters, including estuarial waters, receives primary treatment only and 22 per cent. receives primary and secondary treatment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will place in the Library a copy of the report that his Department funded jointly with the Welsh water authority concerning viruses in sea and fresh water by Dr. J. M. Tyler.

Yes. The results of the research have been broadcast in various seminars and symposia and in a number of publications.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a list of actual pollution incidents in Wales during the last three years whereby industrial chemicals were discharged illegally into surface waters.

School Inspectors

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish in the Official Report (i) the number of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools and (ii) the number of Her Majesty's inspectors of schools who (a) have had no experience of teaching in primary schools, (b) have had no experience of work outside education, (c) whose gross salary is below £30,000 per annum, (d) hold the qualification of D.Sc., (e) are graduates of universities outside Wales, (f) hold masters or doctoral degrees in mathematics, (g) hold masters or doctoral degrees in physics, (h) hold masters or doctoral degrees in chemistry and (i) hold masters or doctoral degrees in engineering.

The numbers are as follows:

  • (i) 54 with two more in process of appointment;
  • (ii) (a) 47 I also refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on 18 March 1986:
  • (b) 2 have not held permanent posts outside education although most have some experience of work outside education;
  • (c) 8;
  • (d) none;
  • (e) 21;
  • (f) 1;
  • (g) 2;
  • (h) 2;
  • (i) 2.
  • School Management

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the date when final approval of the scheme for local management of schools was given by his Department for each local education authority.

    The information is as follows:

    LEADate of Approval
    Clwyd9 March 1990
    Dyfed29 March 1990
    Gwent30 March 1990
    Gwynedd9 March 1990
    Mid Glamorgan16 March 1990
    Powys29 March 1990
    South Glamorgan28 March 1990
    West Glamorgan29 March 1990

    Assisted Places Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give the number of assisted place pupils in each school in Wales in the scheme and the number of assisted place pupils from each Welsh local education authority.

    As at September 1989 the number of assisted place pupils in participating schools in Wales was:

    Number
    Monmouth boys school139
    Monmouth girls school67
    Howells school, Llandaff190

    Number

    Christ college, Brecon58
    Llandovery college32
    Howells school, Denbigh67
    Rydal school32
    Penrhos college46
    631

    The Department does not collect information on individual pupils and their home local authority.

    Health Authorities

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what target he has set for each health authority in Wales to seek through (a) donations, (b) charitable gifts and (c) direct fund-raising activities (i) in 1990–91 and (ii) over the next 10 years.

    School Buildings

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give, on a county-by-county basis, the funds allocated by the Government to meet the costs of (a) repair and (b) maintenance of the fabric of schools in the public sector in Wales.

    [holding answer 24 April 1990]: The information is not available in the form requested. Allocations of credit approval to local authorities are formula-based. Capital allocations since 1984–85 are unhypothecated between services. The public expenditure provisions for education capital at an all-Wales level are shown in the table:

    Constant 1988–89 prices
    YearNumber
    1984–8537
    1985–8637
    1986–8738
    1987–8844
    1988–8946
    1989–9048
    For 1990–91 I have already announced credit approval for local authority education purposes of some £50·1 million with an assumed gross capital expenditure of £53·7 million. Because of changes in the capital control system effective from April 1990 these figures are not directly comparable with those in the table.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give, on a county-by-county basis, the most recent assessment of the costs of (a) repairing and (b) maintaining the fabric of schools in the public sector in Wales.

    [holding answer 24 April 1990]: Responsibility for the repair and maintenance of schools rests with the local education authorities, and the Department has no comprehensive information in the form requested.In the context of my efficiency initiative, local authorities have established a property management group and this is addressing the condition of the local authority estate, including educational establishments. A report on property management has been prepared which recommends the setting up of appropriate records in regard to the age and condition of buildings including schools.

    Health

    National Health Service Reform

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list the health authorities and units that are working on specimen contracts for health care in respect of his National Health Service reforms;(2) if he will list the research programmes his Department is running on the National Health Service reform proposals;(3) if he will list the health regions and health districts that are working on the detail of the internal market for his proposed National Health Service reforms.

    All health authorities are now preparing to implement the proposals in the White Paper "Working for Patients", subject to the passage of the necessary legislation. The Government are, in addition, supporting development work in a number of authorities where this is more advanced. The purpose of this support is to build up practical experience and understanding of how the new arrangements will operate so that this can benefit the service as a whole. The Department is supporting a programme of development work rather than research but the results will be evaluated fully.The following health authorities are involved in work on contracting for services, including the development of specimen contracts:

    • Newcastle
    • Sunderland
    • South Tees
    • Yorkshire (region and districts)
    • East Anglian (region and districts)
    • City and Hackney
    • West Dorset
    • South Western (region and districts)
    • Coventry
    • Kidderminster
    • North Western (region and districts)

    North Staffordshire Dha

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will reconsider his decision not to approve the nine consultant posts and support staff to the North Staffordshire district health authority out of the funds to alleviate excessive waiting lists.

    The new consultant posts provided under the 100 consultants scheme, announced in the White Paper "Working for Patients", were allocated on the basis of criteria set out when bids for these posts were invited. These were that posts should:

  • (i) reduce long waiting lists and times;
  • (ii) help reduce junior doctors' hours;
  • (iii) help improve the career structure in "out of balance specialties.
  • North Staffordshire's bid for a consultant gynaecologist was successful and is to be funded from April 1990. We will not be reconsidering the distribution of other posts under this scheme.

    Nhs Trusts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the hospitals and other units that are seeking trust status.

    Formal applications for NHS trust status can be invited only when Parliament has approved the necessary legislation. However, the following 83 units have expressed interest in seeking NHS trust status in 1991:

    Northern Regional Health Authority

    • Darlington Hospital and Community Services
    • Freeman Hospital
    • Newcastle General Hospital
    • Newcastle Mental Health Services
    • North Tyneside District
    • Northumbria Ambulance Services

    Yorkshire Regional Health Authority

    • Bradford Acute Services
    • Leeds General Infirmary and Associated Hospitals
    • St. James University Hospital, Leeds

    Trent Regional Health Authority

    • Children's Hospital, Sheffield
    • Doncaster Royal Infirmary and the Montagu Hospital
    • Lincolnshire Ambulance Service
    • Nether Edge Hospital, Sheffield
    • Northern General Hospital
    • Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield
    • South Lincolnshire Mental Handicap Services
    • University Hospital, Nottingham

    East Anglian Regional Health Authority

    • East Suffolk Community Services
    • Great Yarmouth and Waveney Priority Services
    • Norfolk Ambulances
    • West Norfolk and Wisbech Community Services
    • West Norfolk and Wisbech Acute Services

    North West Thames Regional Health Authority

    • Central Middlesex Hospital
    • Harefield Hospital
    • Hillingdon Hospital
    • Mount Vernon Hospital
    • North West Hertfordshire Priority Services Unit
    • North Hertfordshire Acute and Community Services
    • Northwick Park Hospital

    North East Thames Regional Health Authority

    • City and Hackney (St. Bartholomew's, Homerton, St. Marks Hospital Trust)
    • North Middlesex Hospital
    • Southend District Services
    • The London Hospital Group
    • The Royal Free Hospital
    • The Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital
    • Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital

    South East Thames Regional Health Authority

    • Brighton Acute Services
    • Bromley Acute Services
    • Eastbourne Acute Services
    • Guy's and Lewisham Hospitals and associated Mental Illness Services
    • King's/Camberwell Acute Services and associated Community Services
    • St. Thomas's Hospital and associated Community Services

    South West Thames Regional Health Authority

    • Croydon Mental Handicap Unit
    • Croydon Community Unit
    • Kingston Hospital
    • Mid-Downs West Unit
    • Mid-Surrey General Unit
    • North West Surrey Mental Handicap and Mental Health Units
    • South West Surrey Acute Unit
    • St. Helier and Sutton Hospitals

    Wessex Regional Health Authority

    • Lymington Hospitals
    • Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases
    • West Dorset Community and General Hospital Services
    • West Dorset Mental Health Services

    Oxford Regional Health Authority

    Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford

    South Western Regional Health Authority

    • Bristol
    • Cornwall Mental Handicap Services
    • Cornwall Community Services
    • East Somerset
    • East Gloucestershire NHS Trust
    • Exeter Community Services North Devon
    • Plymouth Acute Services
    • Royal Cornwall Hospitals
    • South Devon Health Care Trust
    • West Somerset
    • West Cornwall
    • Weston
    • Wonford Acute Services

    West Midlands Regional Health Authority

    • Alexandra Hospital
    • Mid Staffordshire Mental Health Unit
    • Mid Staffordshire Community Unit
    • Rugby District Services
    • Walsall Acute Services

    Mersey Regional Health Authority

    • Arrow Park and Clatterbridge Hospitals
    • Broadgreen Hospital, excluding Mersey Regional Cardio-Thoracic Unit
    • Crewe Acute Services
    • Halton Community Services
    • Regional Adult Cardio-Thoracic Unit, Liverpool
    • Royal Liverpool Children's Hospitals
    • Whiston St. Helens Hospital

    North Western Regional Health Authority

    • Central Manchester Hospital and Community Services
    • Christie Hospital

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the units which have indicated that they wish to develop their application for National Health Service trust status over a longer time scale.

    Formal applications for NHS trust status can be made only when Parliament has approved the necessary legislation. Individual sponsors will then decide whether or not to submit an application for trust status in April 1991 at this stage, it would be premature to identify those units which may or may not wish to develop their application over a longer time scale.

    Multiple Births

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has as to the number of (a) twins, (b) triplets, (c) quadruplets, (d) quintuplets and (e) sextuplets born in England and Wales in 1989; and what was the total number of maternities in that year.

    Details of multiple births occurring in 1989 are not yet available; it is hoped that the information will be ready in early May; the information will be sent to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

    Broadmoor Special Hospital

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he intends to take in the light of the report on the death of Joseph Watts in Broadmoor special hospital; and whether he will publish the report of the special hospital service board.

    The report of the inquiry team has been the subject of detailed consideration within the Department and, in the light of the Department's initial comments, by the general manager of Broadmoor hospital. The report, with the hospital's interim response, has now been referred to the Special Hospitals Service Authority (since 1 October 1989, the body responsible for the management of the special hospitals). The authority has been asked to address the report's findings; review follow-up action taken to date; and consider the further handling of the report, including the arrangements for its wider distribution. We expect to receive the authority's proposals shortly, and then to make a further statement.

    Hospital Travel Costs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to increase public awareness of the hospital travel costs scheme.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Boswell) on 30 January at column 129. An announcement will be made as soon as possible.

    Aids

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what additional resources have been given to Dorset to help in the care of AIDS victims.

    Wessex regional health authority has been allocated £5,027,000 in 1990–91 towards additional costs incurred in preventing the spread of HIV infection and in providing treatment and care for those who have the virus. It is for the RHA to decide allocations to district health authorities to cover the needs of people living in Dorset. We have separately given Dorset county council a grant of £13,897 this year towards the costs of its planned expenditure on social services for people with AIDS and HIV infection.

    Revenue expenditure on hospital and community health services (HCHS)
    Total salaries and wages expenditure
    Review body staffAll other staffTotal Non-payExpenditure
    £000£000£000£000£000£000
    (cash)(at 1989–90 prices)(cash)(at 1989–90 prices)(cash)(at 1989–90 prices)
    1974–75953,8594,030,226838,8413,544,254558,4282,359,459
    1975–761,253,1634,210,9411,105,4413,714,558722,5762,428,036
    1976–771,437,3134,261,2741,254,4333,719,080820,6062,432,892
    1977–781,552,6994,044,0671,368,9003,565,3551,009,5032,629,291
    1978–791,745,3534,106,4671,533,0993,607,0751,143,0392,689,342
    1979–802,312,7094,659,0681,680,0113,384,4661,340,2022,699,904
    1980–813,161,7775,382,4192,081,0183,542,6001,642,6362,796,325
    1981–823,466,2155,374,5052,258,3073,501,5951,905,4632,954,497
    1982–833,746,0245,417,2382,333,3463,374,3222,061,8592,981,716
    1983–843,957,2605,467,3902,456,3943,393,7792,211,7033,055,711
    1984–854,227,1135,563,7262,551,3223,358,0502,356,4193,101,519
    1985–864,520,8205,647,0472,594,5673,240,9262,494,0123,115,320

    Translators (Hospitals)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that in all Health Service contracts placed with hospitals there is a requirement that translators are provided where any patients might need them.

    Guidance to the NHS has made it clear that each district health authority will be required to place contracts which secure access to a comprehensive range of high-quality services for all members of its resident population. In doing so, they will need to take account of any particular linguistic or cultural needs. A number of interpreters and linkworkers are already employed in the NHS and the Department is encouraging the appointment of more. It must be for district health authorities themselves to negotiate the exact specifications of contracts in the light of local needs and circumstances. It would be too prescriptive to insist that all contracts required the provision of translators or interpreters.

    Wheelchairs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of the report from the Disablement Services Authority regarding the provision of powered wheelchairs for outdoor use; if he will publish the recommendations in the Official Report; and if he intends to accept them.

    I understand that the Disablement Services Authority has now completed the indoor/outdoor electric wheelchair pilot study. A copy of the report on the study has been placed in the Library. The authority is in touch with the Department about the next steps to be taken and we shall make an announcement in due course.

    Hchs Expenditure

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the level of hospital and community health services expenditure on (a) staff now covered by pay review bodies, (b) other staff and (c) goods and services, in cash and constant prices in each year since 1974–75.

    [holding answer 5 March 1990]: Information derived from annual accounts submitted to the Department is shown in the table.

    Total salaries and wages expenditure

    Review body staff

    All other staff

    Total Non-pay

    Expenditure

    £000

    £000

    £000

    £000

    £000

    £000

    (cash)

    (at 1989–90 prices)

    (cash)

    (at 1989–90 prices)

    (cash)

    (at 1989–90 prices)

    1986–874,949,8995,981,4582,735,1573,305,1642,632,1103,180,642
    1987–885,556,8646,376,9462,911,0903,340,7092,808,7573,223,273
    1988–896,454,4126,906,2213,107,1823,324,6852,993,4513,202,993

    Source:

    Annual accounts of regional and district health authorities in England and those of the special health authorities for the London postgraduate teaching hospitals. (Predecessor authorities for the years prior to 1982–83).

    Notes to the table:

    1. The figures have been expressed at 1989–90 prices by the use of the Gross Domestic Product deflator.

    2. Revenue expenditure on HCHS covers the total revenue expenditure by the health authorities concerned including that on hospital, community health, patient transport (i.e. ambulance), blood transfusion and other services. All capital expenditure and expenditure on family practitioner services is excluded. However, the figures for the years prior to 1 April 1985 include small elements related to the administrative expenses of family practitioner committees (FPCs) which before that date were included in the accounts of the health authorities with which the FPCs were associated and are not separately identifiable.

    3. The figures of salaries and wages expenditure are gross costs including employers superannuation and national insurance contributions. Those for the "review body stafF. for the earliest years are slightly understated (with corresponding overstatement of those for "all other staff-) as the annual accounts did not provide for the separate identification of salaries and wages costs currently attributed to "professions supplementary to medicine" until 1979–80. The costs of employing all non-National Health Service (agency, etc.) staff are included with "all other staff".

    4. The figures of total non-pay expenditure are essentially for the purchase of goods and services but include some miscellaneous costs (e.g. staff travel and subsistence expenses, student bursaries, patients allowances, etc.).

    General Practitioners

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he intends to alter the guidelines given to family practitioner committees on the drawing of general practitioners' practice boundaries.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: No. Subject to approval by the medical practices committee, a general practitioner may choose the area from which his patients are drawn provided he can fulfil his obligation to visit patients on his list. A general practitioner must, however, notify the family practitioner committee of his proposed practice area as a condition of acceptance on to the medical list. He may, at any time, change this area with the consent of the family practitioner committee or on appeal to the Secretary of State.

    Employment

    Child Care And Family Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what mechanisms his Department has to deal with services and policies on child care and family services.

    I am a member of the interdepartmental ministerial group on women's issues which was established in 1986 to co-ordinate policy issues of special concern to women. The group meets regularly and has focused in particular on child care and domestic violence in the last 12 months.I also chair the advisory committee on women's employment which meets regularly to discuss matters affecting women's employment. This committee includes the Equal Opportunities Commission's chair, my hon. Friend the Member for Broxbourne (Mrs. Roe), the hon. Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson), representatives of the CBI, TUC and the Women's National Commission.My ministerial colleagues and I also meet interested groups and address meetings. In addition the Department

    maintains regular contact with the Equal Opportunities Commission, Women's National Commission and other women's organisations.

    Employment Training

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when results will be available from the follow-up survey of employment training trainees, and if he will place a full copy of results in the Library.

    When sufficient data are available to satisfy my right hon. and learned Friend of the reliability of more detailed analyses he will consider placing a report in the Library.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the number of accidents on employment training, fatal, major and minor, for each month since the start of the scheme to the latest available date.

    ET accident figures are collected quarterly, as for YTS. The table gives the accident figures.

    Accidents1
    FatalMajor2Minor
    5 September 1988 to 31 December 1988nil2491
    1 January 1989 to 31 March 1989nil31161
    1 April 1989 to 30 June 1989nil53276
    1 July 1989 to 30 September 1989nil52286
    1 October 1989 to 31 December 19891367246
    1 Training Agency figures have been compiled on a similar basis to those prepared by the Health and Safety Executive on employed persons. However, the Training Agency's figures will include a number of accidents to trainees in educational establishments and road traffic accidents which may not have been reportable to the Health and Safety Executive had the individuals been employed.
    2 Major injuries are classified according to the severity criteria laid down in the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985.
    3This was a road traffic accident.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many employer-based work placements and how many project-based work placements have either been rejected or closed on health and safety grounds since employment training was introduced.

    Separate figures for closures and rejections for employer-based and project-based work placements are not kept. The table gives figures of closures and rejections on health and safety grounds from 5 September 1988 to the present date. The figures are provisional.

    ClosedRejected
    15nil

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the annual expenditure on ET from the start of the programme to the estimated outturn for 1990–91; how much of that budget in cash terms was used to pay (a) the trainees' training allowances, and (b) the trainees' training premium; and if he will make a statement.

    The table shows the annual expenditure on employment training (ET) from the start of the programme to 1990–91.

    (£ million)
    1988–891989–901990–91
    (from 5 September 1988)provisional outturnestimate
    Total Employment
    Training
    expenditure4251,0961,156
    Training
    allowances151527585
    Training premium
    (estimated)34102108
    Employment training is currently helping over 200,000 unemployed people to obtain the skills and experience they need to get jobs. The Government believe that the level of financial support for ET trainees is reasonable given the need to devote adequate resources to maintaining the quality of training.

    Availability For Work

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment in what circumstances will an unemployed claimant, following the changes in regulations under the

    Actively Seeking Work and Refusal of Employment Referrals and Disqualifications
    Period 9 October 1989—23 February 1990
    Actively Seeking EmploymentRefusal of Employment
    RegionsClaimants Issued Warning LettersClaims Referred to Adjudication OfficerAllowedDisallowedClaims Referred to Adjudication OfficerNot DisqualifiedDisqualified
    Northern914156235733616
    Yorkshire and Humberside8741422846891513
    East Midlands and Eastern1,13118637461907355
    London and South East5,8289301801911,048117159
    South West8262073957732110
    Wales1,1861933740912021
    West Midlands1,438258711141934135
    North West1,91822556751072022
    Scotland2,2912788072782410

    Social Security Act 1989, have good cause for refusing to take a temporary or a short-term job offered by the employment service, and if he will make a statement.

    The 1989 social security provision on refusal of employment makes no distinction between long-term, short-term or temporary work. If a job is offered to an unemployed person by the employment service which he or she can reasonably be expected to do, it is for the person to show good cause for refusal. The temporary or short-term nature of the job would be only a factor to be considered by the independent adjudicating authorities, in the event of refusal, with any other reasons put forward by the claimant.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what guidance is given to offices about the treatment of a legally separated unemployed person with access rights to children at weekends in respect of the availability for work effect on his or her entitlement to benefit.

    There is no specific guidance issued to offices about the treatment of unemployed persons who are legally separated and who have access rights to children at weekends. A person with domestic or other commitments who restricts himself or herself to working only on certain days of the week would need to show that the restriction is reasonable and that it would not limit his or her prospects of obtaining work. Benefit can be disallowed for those days that the claimant is clearly not available, and for other days claimed if, because of restrictions imposed, he or she has no reasonable prospects of obtaining work. Each case has to be considered individually.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many unemployed claimants in each month since 9 October 1989, for each region and for Great Britain as a whole, have been (a) issued with warning letters for not actively seeking work, (b) had their claims referred to an adjudication officer for not actively seeking work, (c) had their claims (i) allowed or (ii) disallowed, and (d) have been referred to an adjudication officer for refusing suitable employment; and how many of those in (d) have had their benefit disqualified.

    The table shows the statistical information for the period 9 October 1989 to 23 February 1990 on questions of "actively seeking employment" and "refusal of employment".

    Actively Seeking Employment

    Refusal of Employment

    Regions

    Claimants Issued Warning Letters

    Claims Referred to Adjudication Officer

    Allowed

    Disallowed

    Claims Referred to Adjudication Officer

    Not Disqualified

    Disqualified

    National16,4062,5755516981,895337345

    Marchon Chemical Plant (Fire)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will instruct the Health and Safety Executive to carry out an urgent independent investigation into the fire on Thursday 19 April at the Marchon chemical plant in Whitehaven and publish its findings; and if he will make a statement.

    Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have already begun their investigation into the circumstances of the fire at the Marchon Chemical plant in Whitehaven on 19 April 1990. The HSE does not consider that the incident warrants any special report.

    Health And Safety

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many field inspectors there were within the Health and Safety Executive for each year from 1974 to 1989 inclusive; how many workplaces they were responsible for in each year and what was the ratio of inspectors to workplaces in each year.

    [holding answer 24 April 1990]: The information available is given for those factory, agricultural, mines and quarries inspectors working from district or area offices and the number of registered workplaces for which they were responsible. Field inspectors do not include nuclear installations or specialist inspectors.

    YearInspector numbers1 2 3Workplaces registered4Ratio of inspectors to workplaces5
    (1 July) 1975615·0n.a.
    (1 April) 1976670·5n.a.
    1977878·0n.a.
    (1 January) 1978889·0280,7161:456
    1979888·0309,7571:432
    1980934·5318,9361:422
    1981905·5318,0501:432
    1982857·56585,2961:843
    1983803·56477,4091:734
    1984781·0668,0371:855
    (1 April) 1985793·0724,2271:913
    1986754·0720,2431:955
    1987757·5719,7381:950
    1988711·5707,4741:994
    1989722·0692,0781:959
    1HSE was established on 1 January 1975. Centrally maintained staffing figures became available from July of that year.
    2 Agricultural inspectors joined HSE from MAFF from March 1976, with the field force being in place by March 1977.
    3The Industrial Air Pollution Inspectorate transferred to the Department of Environment on 1 April 1987 and have been excluded from the figures.
    4The total for 1978 is for fixed premises registered with Factory Inspectorate only. Premises registered with Mines and Quarries Inspectorate are included from 1979, with those registered with Agricultural Inspectorate being included from 1984.

    5 For consistency, mines and quarries inspectors have been excluded from the calculation of the ratio in 1978, and agricultural inspectors have been excluded from 1978 to 1983 (see Note 4 ).

    6 The 1982 figure was the first produced from a computerised database based on the Department of Employment Census. The database initially included premises for which HSE was not the enforcing authority: this accounts for the high figures for 1982 and 1983.

    House Of Commons

    Command Papers

    To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will state the respective numbers of Command Papers, under selected types or subject headings of their main topics, of Command Papers Cm 1–1,000.

    All recent Command Papers are indexed on the Library's POLIS system. If the hon. Member will give more specific details of his particular requirements to the Library then, from the POLIS data base, references could be produced to Command Papers for the period in question, either under specific subject headings; or by issuing Department; or by type, such as White Papers or the treaty or European Communities series.

    Social Security

    Enterprise Allowance Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what impact a spouse or domestic partner of an income support claimant joining an enterprise allowance scheme has on the benefit entitlement of the claimant; and if he will make a statement.

    Income support is not normally payable to a couple when either member is participating in the enterprise allowance scheme because the participant is deemed to be in remunerative work. However, if their income is low they may continue to receive help from housing benefit and community charge benefit. In addition, family credit is available to those with a dependent child.

    Disabled People

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

    The Disablement Income Group has published a report, "Short Changed by Disability" in response to "The Way Ahead" proposals. The group is a member of the Disability Benefits Consortium, which I met on 5 April to discuss "The Way Ahead". We shall give careful consideration to all their comments in carrying forward the detailed work on our proposals.

    Local Government Finance

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he has issued any guidance to local authorities as to what amounts of community charge can be demanded from applicants for community charge benefit before their entitlement to benefit has been determined; and whether he will make a statement.

    The Community Charge (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations provide that local authorities should issue rebated or unrebated community charge bills as soon as practicable after setting the community charge level. The Community Charge Benefit (General) Regulations provide that entitlement to community charge benefit should be determined within 14 days—or as soon as practicable—of the claim being received, with sufficient information, by the local authority. The administration of the benefit scheme is a matter for local authorities who must decide what action to take if they are unable to meet this requirement.

    Scotland

    Whimbrel

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those areas of land which support more than 1 per cent. of the British population of breeding whimbrel and in each case indicate those which have been notified and confirmed as sites of special scientific interest under section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

    The Nature Conservancy Council advises that the majority of breeding whimbrel in Great Britain are to be found in Shetland. I refer the hon. Member to the NCC report "Shetland Moorland Bird Surveys 1986", a copy of which has been placed in the Library. Sites of special scientific interest are

    Expenditure (£s) per head of population
    (a)(b)(c)(d)(e)(f)
    Total Net ExpenditureGrant Aided ExpenditureCommunity Charge IncomeRevenue Support GrantNon-Domestic Rate IncomeSpecific Grant
    Borders8517701315599750
    Central77568615838417744
    Dumfries81775414051112343
    Fife81969318337420240
    Grampian76469512443716340
    Highland1,01785914361318053
    Lothian83465123431620857
    Strathclyde85374115945017659
    Tayside81771716144415150
    Regions83872116643017653
    Orkney1,2421,0949876134638
    Shetland2,4571,219651,37193147
    Western Isles1,5961,1701071,26716060
    Islands1,7661,165921,16444750
    Berwickshire99792348171
    Ettrick and Lauderdale104842940281
    Roxburgh118873256221
    Tweeddale99853148201
    Clackmannan1631177635511
    Falkirk1231013227571
    Stirling1931337935747
    Annandale and Eskdale109834233280
    Nithsdale108893631351

    selected according to the guidelines published by the NCC in 1989. The assessment of individual sites is based upon the range and quality of the habitat required to sustain populations of protected species such as whimbrel. Other factors are also taken into account in the process of site notification in Shetland and elsewhere. As a result sites are not generally attributed to a single species but usually represent the best example of the habitat available in a particular area.

    Hedgerows

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

    Local Government Finance

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report in relation to each local authority in Scotland and the average for all local authorities in Scotland for the financial year 1990–91 (a) the level of net expenditure per head of population, (b) the level of net expenditure per head of population as set out in the Government's assessment of expenditure need, (c) the level of income per head of population from personal, standard and collective community charges, (d) the income from revenue support grant per head of population, (e) the income from non-domestic rates per head of population and (f) the income from the other sources per head of population all excluding reference to the water community charge.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: The information is in the table:

    (a)

    (b)

    (c)

    (d)

    (e)

    (f)

    Total Net Expenditure

    Grant Aided Expenditure

    Community Charge Income

    Revenue Support Grant

    Non-Domestic Rate Income

    Specific Grant

    Stewartry96833136190
    Wigtown115913050201
    Dunfermline1281124425530
    Kirkcaldy1341104918561
    North East Fife1401066050291
    Aberdeen1831176835743
    Banff and Buchan1201064237401
    Gordon1201033051172
    Kincardine and Deeside90991950200
    Moray1041112944311
    Badenoch and Strathspey101912640291
    Caithness103871943310
    Inverness97911930451
    Lochaber138943638572
    Nairn101862057141
    Ross and Cromarty142973562401
    Skye and Lochalsh135952173271
    Sutherland14110713104161
    East Lothian1761165723621
    Edinburgh1981218342695
    Midlothian1441104555291
    West Lothian1191084041352
    Argyll and Bute1791185859511
    Bearsden1251005357200
    Clydebank2291076894486
    Clydesdale1551055747351
    Cumbernauld1241064037410
    Cumnock1411064457291
    Cunninghame1561135012853
    Dumbarton1631047334542
    East Kilbride1431017619460
    Eastwood961013147130
    Glasgow28616564761089
    Hamilton1421075444432
    Inverclyde1591105070352
    Kilmarnock1311014042411
    Kyle and Carrick1481166438491
    Monklands1781146263407
    Motherwell1561104756403
    Renfrew1671216442512
    Strathkelvin1421075965252
    Angus1141083943301
    Dundee1801236347646
    Perth and Kinross1291063945411
    Districts1681175547563
    Scotland1,01784321948723556

    Notes:

    1. Population as estimated by the Registrar General for Scotland at 30 June 1988 has been used in calculating "per head" figures.

    2. Total net expenditure is based on local authority budget estimates.

    3. Grant Aided Expenditure (formerly assessed needs) excludes loan charges against which Revenue Support Grant is also paid.

    4. Community Charge income from personal, collective and standard charges is as estimated by local authorities.

    5. Revenue Support Grant for 1990–91 is payment made by the Scottish Office.

    6. Non-Domestic Rate Income as estimated by the Scottish Office.

    7. Specific Grant as estimated by local authorities.

    8. No allowance is made for use of balances to finance expenditure.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give details for each region of Scotland showing how the non-domestic rates are affected by revaluation and the Government's scheme to reduce the actual cash required to be paid by businesses with rateable values above and below 10,000 for the years 1990–91.

    [holding answer 24 April 1990]: The table sets out the non-domestic rate for each region, islands and district council for 1989–90, and for 1990–91 following revaluation. The effect of revaluation is to reduce the levels of non-domestic rate in real terms in inverse proportion to the average increase in rateable values (column 2). The rates for 1990–91 have been further

    reduced by 6·25 per cent. as the first step towards the introduction of a national non-domestic rate in Scotland (column 3).

    Rateable values have increased by an average of 34·4 per cent. as a result of revaluation. Only those ratepayers facing an increase in rateable value in excess of the average will see their non-domestic rate bills increase in real terms. In order to protect ratepayers from any significant increases in rate bills resulting from revaluation we are limiting annual increases in rateable value. In 1990–91 no ratepayer will be required to pay non-domestic rates on more than 1·613 times his 1989–90 rateable value and where the rateable value on 1 April 1990 is less than £10,000 the limit will be reduced to 1·546 times the 1989–90 rateable value. In order to maintain the level of rate income limits have also been placed on the amount by which rateable values may be reduced following revaluation so that these arrangements have no effect on the level of rate poundages.

    Column 1

    Column 2

    Column 3

    1989–90 Rate poundage

    1990–91 Rate poundage

    1990–91 Rate poundage

    Pre-NNDR Reduction

    Post-NNDR Reduction

    p

    p

    p

    Borders48·538·436·0
    Central56·144·541·7
    Dumfries and Galloway51·640·938·3
    Fife62·149·246·1
    Grampian46·036·534·2
    Highland55·644·141·3
    Lothian63·950·647·5
    Strathclyde61·949·146·0
    Tayside57·945·943·0
    Orkney52·941·939·3
    Shetland50·039·637·1
    Western Isles77·661·557·6
    Berwickshire10·18·07·5
    Ettrick and Lauderdale11·59·18·5
    Roxburgh12·710·19·4
    Tweeddale9·77·77·2
    Clackmannan20·115·914·9
    Falkirk16·413·012·2
    Stirling24·319·318·1
    Annandale and Eskdale12·29·79·1
    Nithsdale12·29·79·1
    Stewartry10·68·47·9
    Wigtown10·07·97·4
    Dunfermline13·610·810·1
    Kirkcaldy16·913·412·6
    North East Fife15·212·011·3
    Aberdeen City14·811·711·0
    Banff and Buchan13·210·59·8
    Gordon10·68·47·9
    Kincardine and Deeside8·76·96·5
    Moray11·18·88·2
    Badenoch and Strathspey8·56·76·3
    Caithness13·210·59·8
    Inverness10·18·07·5
    Lochaber15·312·111·4
    Nairn8·56·76·3
    Ross and Cromarty13·210·59·8
    Skye and Lochalsh12·710·19·4
    Sutherland9·57·57·1
    East Lothian18·014·313·4
    Edinburgh City17·714·013·1
    Midlothian18·014·313·4
    West Lothian15·912·611·8
    Argyll and Bute20·115·914·9
    Bearsden and Milngavie13·810·910·3
    Clydebank20·616·315·3
    Clydesdale17·814·116·2
    Cumbernauld and Kilsyth17·513·013·0
    Cumnock and Doon Valley18·014·313·4
    Cunninghame21·717·216·1
    Dumbarton20·115·914·9
    East Kilbride15·112·011·2
    Eastwood10·68·47·9
    Glasgow City28·122·320·9
    Hamilton19·115·114·2
    lnverclyde16·913·412·6
    Kilmarnock and Loudoun17·513·913·0
    Kyle and Carrick18·014·313·4

    Column 1

    Column 2

    Column 3

    1989–90 Rate poundage

    1990–91 Rate poundage

    1990–91 Rate poundage

    Pre-NNDR eduction

    Post-NNDR Reduction

    p

    p

    p

    Monklands19·115·114·2
    Motherwell17·313·712·9
    Renfrew19·115·114·2
    Strathkelvin16·913·412·6
    Angus14·311·310·6
    Dundee City22·818·116·9
    Perth and Kinross14·811·711·0

    Notes

    1. Column 2 shows rate poundages which would have been required in 1990–91 following revaluation were it not for the Government's national non-domestic rate policy.

    2. Column 3 shows the actual rate poundages for 1990–91 which the Secretary of State prescribed following the £80 million reduction in the burden on ratepayers in Scotland as the first move towards the introduction of a national non-domestic rate.

    European Community Housing Ministers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has held concerning the meeting of European Community Housing Ministers in Lille in December 1989.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990 ]: My right hon. and learned Friend has held no such discussions.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he or the Under-Secretary of State has to attend future meetings of European Community Housing Ministers.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: My right hon. and learned Friend will consider attendance at future meetings of European Community Housing Ministers in the light of the agenda for any such meetings.

    Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of farms by region in Scotland, on which cattle were found to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also had sheep on them.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: The percentage of farms from which cattle have been confirmed as suffering from bovine spongiform encephalopathy on which sheep were also present is as follows:

    per cent.
    Borders90·9
    Central91·6
    Dumfries88·2
    Fife80·0
    Grampian79·0
    Highland93·3
    Lothian100·0
    Orkney60·0
    Shetland100·0
    Strathclyde86·4
    Tayside80·0

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cattle have been confirmed as having bovine spongiform encephalopathy in each region of Scotland for each year since the disease was discovered.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: The numbers are as follows:

    Region198719881989
    Borders119
    Central38
    Dumfries41332
    Fife11
    Grampian1243
    Highland514
    Lothian127
    Orkney22
    Shetland11
    Strathclyde1164
    Tayside517
    Western Isles

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the incidence in percentage terms of bovine spongiform encephalopathy affected herds in each region of Scotland at 31 December 1989.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: The incidence in relation to BSE-affected dairy herds in Scotland is as follows:

    per cent.
    Borders5·19
    Central6·09
    Dumfries2·16
    Fife3·88
    Grampian7·35
    Highland3·66
    Lothian4·26
    Orkney
    Shetland3·70
    Strathclyde2·62
    Tayside6·06

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list by age the cattle confirmed as having bovine spongiform encephalopathy in 1989.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: The answers are as follows:

    AgeNumber
    2 years1
    3 years14
    4 years48
    5 years43
    6 years19
    7 years3
    8 years1

    Dogs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the organisations and bodies which have responded to the consultation document "Action on Dogs."

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: One hundred and six organisations responded to the consultation paper. I am writing to the hon. Member with the details.

    Radiation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department contributed towards the funding of the aerial survey of radioactive contamination in Galloway and Upper Nithsdale which was carried out by the Scottish Universities Research and Reactor Centre in February 1988; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: The Scottish Office supported the survey by making available, on a shared cost basis, an inshore fisheries patrol aircraft. This contribution was equivalent to £700.

    Birds Of Prey

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he is taking to eliminate illegal poisoning of birds of prey; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: Birds of prey are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The Nature Conservancy Council is presently reviewing the effectiveness of the legislation and expects to report this year. We shall consider its report and any recommendations for change most carefully.

    Bed-And-Breakfast Businesses

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a further statement on the liability of bed-and-breakfast businesses for non-domestic rates; and if he intends to give any guidance to local authorities on the collection of rates on those bed-and-breakfast businesses which have been assessed for non-domestic rates for 1989–90.

    [holding answer 23 April 1990]: We have made clear our intention to clarify in legislation the boundary between domestic and non-domestic in the case of bed-and-breakfast establishments. We have recently consulted interested parties on our proposals in this respect and we are currently considering the responses to that consultation exercise before bringing forward appropriate regulations. These regulations cannot apply retrospectively and any bed-and-breakfast operator faced with an assessment for rates in respect of 1989–90 which he considers not to be justified should appeal through the normal channels. We see no need to provide guidance to local authorities on the collection of rates from bed-and-breakfast businesses.

    The Arts

    Arts (Devon)

    To ask the Minister for the Arts what assistance he is giving to the promotion of the arts in Devon.

    Promotion of the arts is a matter for the Arts Council and the regional arts associations. In 1990–91 it is estimated that direct spending on the arts in Devon by South West Arts and the Arts Council will he in excess of £1·25 million.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Sulphadimidine

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has received any information from the United States Food and Drugs Administration about the safety of sulphadimidine.

    The Department has received no new information from the Food and Drugs Administration or any other source which would affect the conclusion of the Veterinary Products Committee and the committee on toxicity that sulphadimidine can be used safely.

    Caseons Lymphademitis

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the number of outbreaks of caseons lymphademitis reported to his Department; what is the number of restriction orders placed on farms; what action he intends taking; whether compensation will be paid to affected farmers; and if he will make a statement.

    Caseons lymphademitis has been confirmed on two premises and movement restrictions placed on a further 10 premises to date. Material taken from suspect goats and sheep is still being examined and tracing of animals connected with the source of infection is continuing. More information on the extent and nature of the infection is needed before decisions are taken on what further action is required.

    Departmental Research

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether he has estimated the effect on sales of home grown potatoes in United Kingdom supermarkets if retailers' views were taken into consideration in assessing the research priorities of his Department;(2) whether the views of

    (a) retailers and (b) growers are considered when assessing his Department's research priorities for apples and pears;

    (3) whether the views of (a) retailers and (b) growers are taken into consideration when assessing his Department's research priorities for potatoes.

    In setting research priorities, we take full account of the advice of the priorities board for research and development in agriculture and food. In preparing its advice to Agriculture Ministers and the chairman of the Agricultural and Food Research Council, the priorities board draws on the views of retailers, as well as food manufacturers, farmers, growers, academics and others.

    National Finance

    Local Government Finance

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much local authorities overspent in 1989–90 and 1988–89; what were the effects on inflation; and if he will make a statement.

    Local authorities' total net current expenditure exceeded their grant-related expenditure (GRE) by 7 per cent. in both 1988–89 and 1989–90. Increases in total domestic rates added around 0·36 per cent. and 0·4 per cent. to the level of the RPI in 1988–89 and 1989–90 respectively.

    Supply Side

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent measures he has introduced affecting the supply side of the economy.

    The Government have introduced many measures designed to improve the operation of the supply side of the economy, through improved incentives, more open markets, the abolition of unnecessary or obsolete regulations, and the introduction of greater competition to the public sector. The following are among the most recent measures introduced which should have important supply side effects.The successful transfer of the 10 water supply companies to the private sector last December means that since 1979 we have reduced the size of the state-owned sector of industry by almost half. The future privatisation programme includes the sale of the 12 regional electricity distribution companies in England and Wales in the autumn. And, of course, more competition has been introduced into the electricity generating industry with the splitting of the CEGB into National Power and PowerGen, leading up to their intended privatisation early next year. The Scottish electricity industry will also be sold next year.The Employment Act 1989 has continued the Government's process of gradual reform of industrial relations legislation to remove inflexibilities from the labour market and reduce unions' capacity to abuse their market power. Specifically the Act removed the remaining legal protection from all types of closed shop, and from secondary industrial action. The Dock Work Act 1989 repealed the national dock labour scheme, so removing the unneccessary costs imposed by its restrictive labour practices.Last October saw two highly significant reforms: the reform of employees' national insurance contributions which cut contributions for virtually all employees, and removed a major disincentive to the low-paid who previously lost out when their income rose above the two intermediate steps, now abolished; and the abolition of the pensioners' earnings rule which also removed a severe disincentive, allowing a large number of pensioners to work and earn more income without having their pensions abated or eliminated altogether.We have now launched the first training and enterprise councils, or TECs (local enterprise councils in Scotland), which will be charged with developing the quality effectiveness and relevance to local labour markets of the Government's existing training and business assistance programme.The Budget last month included a number of measures of specific help to small businesses, whose general success is vital to the efficient operation of the supply side. These included an increase in the small firms corporation tax threshold, a comprehensive system of relief from VAT on bad debts, simplification of VAT registration rules, and the maximum increase in the VAT registration threshold allowed under EC law.The Budget also gave a further boost to the Government's measures to encourage wider share ownership by increasing the annual limit on investment in a personal equity plan, and providing capital gains tax deferral for sales of shares to employee share ownership plans. In addition, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the Government's intention to abolish stamp duty on share transactions. This will reduce the cost of share dealing, improving the competitiveness of the United Kingdom equity market and encouraging the spread of share ownership. This reform will take effect in late 1991–92, to coincide with the introduction of the stock exchange's TAURUS dematerialised (paperless) share register and settlement system.

    Public Sector Investment

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about changing guidelines on public sector investment criteria.

    The Treasury issues guidance on investment appraisal by central Government, as do Departments for their own programmes. These documents are revised from time to time to reflect improvements in methodology, the objective in all cases being to achieve best value for money.

    Farm Land (Sporting Rights)

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations he has received about the valuation of sporting rights on farm land;(2) representations he has received about value added tax on sporting rights on farm land.

    The only recent representations on these matters of which I am aware are contained in a letter from my hon. Friend to my noble Friend the Paymaster General.

    Community Support Loans

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the legal conditionality which might attach to any Community support loans referred to in his answer to the hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) on 3 April, Official Report, column 523.

    The possibility of attaching binding economic conditions to support loans from the Community to an individual member state was discussed at the last informal ECOFIN, but no formal proposal has been put forward.

    Delors Plan

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest proposals of the European Community Commission on the Delors plan and the financing by member states of budget deficits by monetary means.