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Written Answers

Volume 171: debated on Friday 27 April 1990

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 27 April 1990

Northern Ireland

Bovine Tuberculosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the Stormont research laboratory on the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

Copies of relevant papers have been placed in the Library. The papers include articles published in veterinary journals, a departmental press release and the Department of Agriculture's annual report on research and development 1988–89 which contains relevant material.

Replacement Dwellings

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many replacement dwellings have been approved by the planning authorities in each of the last 10 years; and in how many cases the new dwellings were more than 100 ft away from the site of the original house which was to have been replaced.

In the 10 years from 1980 to 1989 planning permission has been given for the following numbers of replacement dwellings:

Number
1980613
1981548
1982330
1983419
1984435
1985441
1986412
1987529
1988443
19891530
1 Provisional.
The other information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Multiple Births

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

YearOver 4,0003,000–3,9992,000–2,9991,000–1,999500–999Below 499Total
1986637152195
1987224652566319,0089,986
198865041,38019,55121,441
19891235571,81722,05224,450
19901371,2491,287

The information will not be available until the end of May 1990, when a copy will be sent to the hon. Member.

Police Authority

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which member of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland was appointed following intergovernmental consultation between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the Republic of Eire under article 6 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement; and what was the period of the appointment.

It is not our policy to reveal the identity of members of the Police Authority for Northern Ireland. Nor is it our practice to disclose whether any views have been put forward under article 6 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement on the composition of individual public bodies such as the police authority.

Killyleagh Yacht Marinas Inquiry

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the results will be published of the public inquiry held in June 1989 into three proposals for yacht marinas with associated development in Killyleagh.

I expect consideration by the Department of Environment for Northern Ireland of the Planning Appeals Commission's report on the public inquiry will be completed and decisions issued on the three planning applications within the next month.

Radioactivity

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the number of (a) farms, (b) sheep and (c) acres currently subject to post-Chernobyl restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 24 April 1990] The information requested is as follows:

  • Number of farms: 123.
  • Number of sheep and lambs: approximately 33,000.
  • Area of land: 21,612 acres.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the number of sheep sampled for radioactivity in Northern Ireland for (a) 1986, (b) 1987, (c) 1988, (d) 1989 and (e) to date in 1990 including the number of sheep with levels of radioactivity (i) over 4,000 bq/kg, (ii) 3,000 to 3,999, (iii) 2,000 to 2,999, (iv) 1,000 to 1,999, (v) 500 to 999, and (iv) below 499; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 24 April 1990]: The information requested is as follows:

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the number of sheep sampled for radioactivity in each county in Northern Ireland for (a) 1986, (b) 1987, (c) 1988, (d) 1989 and (e) to date in 1990; and if he will make a statement.

YearCounty
AntrimDownLondonderryArmaghTyroneFermanagh
1986653336133513
19873,2681366,1497827580
19887,40314,038
19899,32715,123
1990503784

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many sheep have been monitored for radioactivity in slaughterhouses in each county in Northern Ireland in each year since 1986; how many were found to be above the 1,000 bq/kg limit; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 24 April 1990]: No sheep monitored at slaughterhouses were found to be above the 1,000 bq/kg limit.The other information requested is as follows:

County19861987198819891990
Antrim34370138163
Down271939
Londonderry55424816563160
Armagh75831
Tyrone38
Fermanagh

Udr Soldiers

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers were killed by terrorists on 9 April; if he will now embark upon a new security policy; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 20 April 1990]: Four members of the Ulster Defence Regiment were murdered at the Ballydugan road near Downpatrick on 9 April 1990 by the Provisional IRA. The Government fully support the efforts of the Chief Constable of the RUC, assisted by the General Officer Commanding to bring to justice those responsible for this appalling crime. Security policy in Northern Ireland is under continuous review and the Government and their security advisers will take into account any facts emerging from the investigation of these murders.

Education And Science

Polish Students

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what provision is made for Polish students to study in the United Kingdom;(2) what funding exists to help Polish students study in the United Kingdom.

In addition to the overseas research students awards scheme, which is competitive and administered on behalf of the Department of Education

[holding answer 24 April 1990]: The information requested is as follows:and Science by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, Polish students are eligible for support under various schemes run by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I understand that for 1990–91 the FCO expect to make available some £150,000 under their scholarship and awards scheme, to enable some 37 Polish students to study in Britain—some in conjunction with the Soros Foundation. If approved by the Council of Ministers of the European Communities the TEMPUS programme will also be available to support Polish students wishing to study in this country.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many Polish students are currently studying in advanced education in the United Kindom; and how many are likely to be studying over the next three years.

In academic year 1988–89—the latest for whih data are available—53 full-time students domiciled in Poland were taking higher education courses in British universities, polytechnics and other publicly-funded colleges. No forecasts are available for the next three years but numbers are likely to grow, as a result of the Government's own programmes and of the introduction of the proposed TEMPUS programme currently before the Council of Ministers of the European Communities.

Teacher Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent intiatives have been taken by his Department to encourage more students to study shortage subjects during initial teacher training.

The Department has supported expenditure of over £56 million since July 1986 on a range of measures to combat teacher shortages. These measures include a bursary scheme to improve recruitment to initial teacher training in the shortage subjects; national advertising and publicity, spearheaded by the Teaching as a career unit; taster courses, to enable those seeking a career change to obtain some experience of teaching; new initial and in-service training courses; and support for local initiatives to attract mature new entrants and former serving teachers. The majority of these initiatives are focussed on the shortage subjects.My right hon. Friend announced on 12 March his intention to increase funding for the bursary scheme. He proposes to extend it to include modern foreign languages alongside the existing subjects of craft, design and technology, chemistry, mathematics, technology and physics, and to raise the level of the bursary from £1,300 to £1,500 for all subjects except physics where the bursary will be increased to £2,000.

United Nations Youth Forum On The Environment

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if his Department has made available any grant in aid to assist students in schools and institutions of higher and further education to attend the special United Nations youth forum on the environment to be held in New York on 11 May.

The Department has received no applications for assistance to attend the forum.

Teacher Appraisal

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress is being made on the introduction of the appraisal of teachers.

The consultation period on the recommendations of the national steering group on appraisal ended very recently. My right hon. Friend is now considering the comments submitted, including those on the appropriate timetable for bringing in regulations requiring the introduction of appraisal for all teachers in England and Wales. In the meantime, we plan to issue guidance, taking into account the response to the consultation, on which LEAs and schools can draw.

Assisted Places

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

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) on 15 February, Official Report, columns 319–22. No statistics are available for the number of assisted place pupils from each local education authority area.

Head Teachers

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what provision he is making when determining the pay and conditions of head teachers for 1990–91 for those head teachers of small rural schools who teach a full timetable, but who also need time to assimilate new Government initiatives, particularly those associated with the implementation of the national curriculum.

The pay of head teachers will increase by between 9·9 per cent. and 10·9 per cent. as a result of the implementation of the recommendations contained in the third report of the interim advisory committee on school teachers' pay and conditions.

Overseas Development

Natural Resources Institute

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress made since 1988 by the Overseas Development Natural Resources Institute of the Overseas Development Administration.

(a) Relocation of the institute on to a single site at Chatham began in 1988 and will be completed shortly. The institute was formerly housed on eight widely scattered sites across southern England. Relocation has enabled the institute to move from ill-adapted buildings into facilities which will serve its needs well into the next century.

(b) Within the Overseas Development Administration, the institute became an executive agency on 1 April 1990. Its principal objectives are to maintain its international record and comparative advantage as a source of multidisciplinary, problem-solving expertise; to reflect in its programme the particular needs of the British aid programme; to undertake work for other donors; and to strengthen links with scientific institutions and universities in the United Kingdom and overseas.

(c) The institute's first corporate plan has been published, covering the three years 1989–90 to 1991–92. Copies are available in the Library of the House. The plan has been prepared as a response to the wider mandate of the unified institute, to the opportunities which arise from the move to Chatham and to the priorities of the ODA's renewable natural resources research strategy. The institute has reorganised its entire operational programme into three strategy areas which broadly correspond to stages of the agricultural production cycle—resource assessment and farming systems, integrated pest management and food science and crop utilisation.

The purpose of this restructuring is to improve coherence and effectiveness by planning and managing related activities together.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list in the Official Report all papers published and conferences attended in 1990 by staff of the Overseas Development Natural Resources Institute.

The Natural Resources Institute publishes about 200 hundred papers a year of which about 150 are in international journals. They cover work which promotes and sustains natural resource productivity through land use planning for agriculture, forestry and conservation, applied research into pest and disease control and developing the storage, processing and marketing of agricultural and forest products.All publications are listed in the institute's annual report, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.Institute staff have attended 93 conferences overseas and 127 in the United Kingdom during the past year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what training courses are undertaken by the Overseas Development Natural Resources Institute.

The institute runs formal specialist courses in the United Kingdom for overseas professionals on mycotoxins, the storage of durable agricultural products in the tropics, post-harvest technology of fruits, vegetables and root crops, food microbiology, analysis of soil and plant materials and analysis of pesticide residues. Also during 1989–90, 19 courses were held in developing countries. In addition, about 50 scientists from developing countries come to the institute each year for individual training attachments. Most of the institute's projects contain informal, on-the-job training components.

Burma

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what aid and trade provisions relate to British companies doing business with Burma; and if he will make a statement.

None, Sir. Disbursements were completed on the last case involving the aid and trade provision in Burma in 1989, and no further ATP support is presently contemplated.

Transport

Vehicle Taxes, Germany

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he will take to ensure that the Federal Republic of Germany conforms with articles 76 and 95 of the European Community treaty by not imposing additional taxes on heavy goods vehicles.

The EC Commission announced on 10 April that it would serve on the German Government a letter under the procedure laid down in article 169 of the EC treaty. It is understood it will state that the Commission considers the Federal Republic of Germany has failed to fulfil its obligations under articles 5, 76 and 95, and is the first step in a process leading to the European Court of Justice. The United Kingdom strongly supports this action.

Kent-Hampshire Motorway

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he has made an assessment of the impact on traffic levels on the A27 Folkestone to Honiton trunk road as a result of the construction of a new Kent-Hampshire motorway; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he has any plans to construct a new motorway from Kent to Hampshire; and if he will make a statement;(3) whether a provisional route for a new Kent-Hampshire motorway has been decided upon; and if he will make a statement.

I have no plans for a new motorway from Kent to Hampshire. The possible need for a new east-west route has not been established.

Crash Barriers

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what criteria the decision was taken to fit crash barriers along the central reservation of the A27 between Kingston and Falmer; what is the cost; and if he will make a statement.

For reasons of road user safety, it is our policy to provide central reserve safety fences on all dual carriageway trunk roads where justified by the volume of traffic using the road. They are being provided on all new trunk roads and those existing roads which are subject to major maintenance and renewal works. For other existing roads, priority is given to those with traffic flows in the range of 18,000 to 36,000 vehicles per day. The A27 between Kingston and Falmer meets the criterion, with traffic flows of about 32,000 vehicles per day. The cost of the work is £158,277.

Drink-Drive Offenders

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how he proposes to pursue the major experiment in the use of retraining for drink-drive offenders proposed in the White Paper "The Road User and The Law"; and if he will make a statement.

We have today issued a consultation paper inviting comments on the details of how such a scheme might work. As indicated in our White Paper "The Road User and The Law"—Cm. 576—we want the courts to have forms of disposal available that will improve offenders' driving behaviour. This will cut the risks not only to themselves but to all other road users. Experience here and overseas suggests that retraining courses can help offenders change their attitudes to drinking and driving. The three-year experiment we propose will provide a basis for assessing this.We are inviting organisations who might be interested in running such courses to contact us now.

Wave-Piercing Catamaran

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the safety of the wave-piercing catamaran to be introduced on the Portsmouth/Cherbourg service; and if he will make a statement.

I understand that the vessel in question will be registered in the Bahamas and it is primarily for that Administration to consider whether the standards of safety for passengers and crew are adequate. However, because the design of these craft is novel and they require exemption from internationally agreed standards, the Department has called for technical and operational details to make its own assessment. The craft will not be permitted to carry passengers from a United Kingdom port until I am satisfied that it is safe to do so.

Exeter-Plymouth Link

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends announcing details of the proposed study of the future Exeter-Plymouth road link and second road crossing of the Tamar estuary as outlined in his May 1989 roads for prosperity strategy; and what will be the terms of reference for these studies and their projected timetable.

[holding answer 24 April 1990]: I hope to be able to announce details of the proposed study by the middle of the year. The terms of reference are still under consideration and the projected timetable will be a matter to be agreed with the consultant when appointed.

Environment

Local Authority Spending

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those authorities which are neither contributors to nor receivers from the safety net, with their community charges and percentages over or under their standard spending assessments.

The information can be derived from the information placed in the Library of the House on 25 April.

Pollution Control

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are his plans for introducing integrated pollution control under part I of the Environmental Bill.

On the assumption that the Environmental Protection Bill is given Royal Assent later this year, my right hon. Friend intends to introduce the new system of integrated pollution control (IPC) in England and Wales on 2 January 1991. All new processes prescribed for IPC, and all existing processes which are to be substantially altered, will be required to apply for an authorisation under part I of the Bill from that date. Existing processes other than those which are substantially altered will be brought sector by sector into the IPC system by means of a phased programme. The first sector, combustion processes, which will include the most significant plant covered by the large combustion plants directive, will be required to seek an authorisation from 2 January 1991.I am today placing in the Library copies of the proposed programme for introducing IPC, which also gives details of our proposed timetable for the various preparatory stages of introducing the system, including the issue of the necessary regulations for public consultation and the drafting of the guidance for industry and others.The guidance will include a general description of the new system. I am also today placing in the Library the draft of the section of that guidance setting out the Government's general interpretation of the concept of `best available techniques not entailing excessive cost' (BATNEEC) that is applied under part I of the Bill so that the release of certain substances into the environment is prevented or minimised and that substances released from prescribed processes are rendered harmless.

International Waste Disposal Fair

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he, or a member of his Department, will be attending the international waste disposal fair in Munich on 22 to 26 May.

Yes, I hope to do so, since the fair will be an important showcase for British manufacturers of waste disposal and recycling equipment.

Land (Dereliction)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action his Department is currently taking to prevent land becoming derelict.

The derelict land policy review published by my Department in September 1989 indicated that the Government are considering a number of new measures which would reduce the amount of land becoming derelict. The Department will publish in due course a further consultation paper setting out these proposals in more detail. I also refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 4 April 1989 to my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Mr. Brandon-Bravo) about an agreement with British Coal under which it would accept responsibility for restoration of collieries and tips closing in the next four years.

Rivers (Pollution)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to increase the grant to the National Rivers Authority to assist in pollution monitoring.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 April to my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Bennett), at column 121.

Genetically Modified Organisms

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements have been made for advice to be obtained on proposals to release genetically modified organisms to the environment.

At present, advice is obtained from a sub-committee of the Health and Safety Commission's advisory committee on genetic manipulation and from my Department's interim advisory committee on introductions.I have agreed, in conjunction with the Health and Safety Commission, that these two committees will be replaced by a single committee to give advice on all aspects of the safety of proposed releases to the environment of genetically modified, and other novel organisms. I announced during Second Reading of the Environmental Protection Bill on 15 January,

Official Report, column 42 that Professor John Beringer of Bristol university has agreed to be chairman of a new committee to advise on release in relation to the new legislation. I anticipate that the new committee, whose establishment I am announcing today, will evolve in due course into the committee to advise on the new legislation.

The full terms of reference of the committee will be to advise the Health and Safety Commission and Executive, Secretaries of State, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and other bodies as appropriate, on all aspects of the human and environmental health and safety of the introduction into the United Kingdom environment of genetically modified and other novel organisms; and in particular to advise on proposals for specific introductions, on research needs, and on proposed regulations and written guidance.

I am pleased to announce that members of the committee will include people from a wide range of backgrounds, including different scientific disciplines,both sides of industry, local authorities, farmers and environmental experts.

Name

Expertise

Organisation

Prof. J. E. Beringer(Chairman)Microbial ecologist and geneticistUniversity of Bristol
Sir Kenneth Blaxter, FRSApplied biologist and agronomistFormer Director, Rowett Research Institute
Prof. M. P. Hassel, FRSPopulation biologistImperial College
Prof. D. OnionsVeterinary biologistUniversity of Glasgow
Prof. M. WilliamsonBiologist and ecologistUniversity of York
Prof. A. AtkinsonMicrobiologistCentre for Applied Microbiology and Research, Porton Down
Prof. D. JeffriesHuman virologist/medicSt. Bartholomew's Hospital
Dr. D. R. LangslowBiologist and ecologistChief Scientist, Nature Conservancy Council
Dr. D. RobinsonPlant virologistScottish Crops Research Institute
Dr. C. GliddonPlant population geneticistUniversity of Bangor, North Wales
Dr. A. WatkinsonPlant ecologistUniversity of East Anglia
Dr. M. ElliottFreshwater biologistInstitute of Freshwater Ecology
Mr. J. E. MoffittCattle breeding and arable farmerStockswell, Northumberland
Prof. N. J. PooleMicrobiologistICI Seeds
Dr. P. G. BoseleyMolecular biologistDirector of Research and Development, Agriculture Genetics Co. Ltd., Cambridge
Dr. G. M. SchofieldMicrobiologistProject Leader, Expert Systems, Unilever
Dr. J. KinderlererBiochemistUniversity of Sheffield
Ms. J. HillEnvironmentalistGreen Alliance
Ms. D. HaberHealth and safetyManufacturing Science and Finance Union
Mr. P. HurstHealth and safetyTransport and General Workers Union
Mr. C. F. FranksBorough Environmental Health OfficerBrighton

One other member, an agricultural scientist, is still to be appointed.

Structure Plans

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is satisfied that the availability of adequate water resources is fully taken into account in the preparation of structure plans.

[holding answer 26 April 1990]: The memorandum accompanying Department of the Environment circular 22/84 explains that local authorities are required to have regard to the likely availability of resources when preparing structure plan proposals. This includes water resources, and local authorities will wish to consult the National Rivers Authority and water and sewerage undertakers during plan preparation. The explanatory memorandum accompanying structure plan proposals should include an indication of the assumptions made about the resources likely to be available for carrying out the plan's policies and proposals.

Fish Farms

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to amend the General Development Order for England and Wales along the lines of that now applying to Scotland in so far as fish farms are concerned; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 26 April 1990]: The Government are awaiting the report of the Select

The members will be:

Committee on Agriculture before deciding whether there is any need to change the extent of planning control over fish farming in England and Wales.

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report in relation to each local authority in England and the average for all local authorities in England 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 other sources per head of population.

[holding answer 23 April 1990]: The available figures for all local authorities in England are as follows:

£
Average community charge363
Demands and precepts1918
Standard spending assessment1836
Revenue support grant1266
Non domestic rate income1293
1 £ per head of relevant population.

The amount of non-domestic rate income per head of relevant population is the same for every authority. Corresponding information for individual authorities is given or can be derived from the information placed in the Library of the House on 25 April 1990.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether residents of sheltered housing schemes are eligible for either transitional relief or special transitional relief under the poll tax provisions; and whether he will make a statement.

[holding answer 23 April 1990]: In general, transitional relief is automatically paid at 100 per cent. of the difference between the assumed rates bill for 1989–90 on the property in which the chargepayer lives and either one or two units, according to household size, of the assumed community charge in 1990–91 plus a threshold of £156. Certain chargepayers who at 1 April 1990 were of pensionable age or were disabled and who, among other special conditions, paid neither rates nor rent during 1989–90 may apply for a special form of transitional relief which reduces their liability to £156 plus any difference between the actual and assumed charge. Whether the occupiers of any sheltered housing scheme are entitled to one of these forms of relief would depend on how these rules apply in their particular circumstances. Any individual or couple living in sheltered accommodation may, of course, be entitled to community charge benefit if they have a low income.

Energy

British Coal

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects the British Coal Corporation to complete its review of its business prospects; and if he will make a statement.

I understand that work is in progress on the corporation's consideration of its future business strategy, and that it will be completed as soon as practicable.

Offshore Wave Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for East Lothian of 23 April, Official Report, column 97, what specific changes to the assessment of offshore wave power costs have been notified to the public by the energy technology support unit recently; and what is the revised official assessment of the cost of large scale duck wave power devices in pounds per kilowatt hour.

No such assessment has yet been concluded. A preliminary report from a contractor on methodology for costings of renewable energy has recently been made available to interested parties in a revised version taking into account comments received on an earlier version. Until the full study on prospects for wave energy referred to in my earlier answer has been completed, revised official assessments of the costs of wave power will not be available.

Social Security

Income Support

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will consider paying income support directly into claimants' bank accounts or building society.

The facility to have benefit paid directly into a bank account is restricted to beneficiaries paid by computer because a transfer of magnetic tapes is required to effect the payment to a bank. As income support is paid clerically in most local social security offices, an automated payment facility cannot be made available at present.However, we anticipate that when the computerisation of income support is completed next year, we will be able to offer this facility as part of our scheduled programme of improvements.

Retired And Redundant Mineworkers

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what representations he has received over the error in British Coal information in assessing current earnings for claims by retired and redundant mineworkers for the reduced earnings allowance; and if he will make a statement.(2) how many redundant and retired mineworkers have been refused benefit under the reduced earnings allowance scheme because of the error in the current earnings assessment provided by British Coal; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware of one representation involving one case which was revised on appeal.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what advice he has given to local offices where claims have been made by retired and redundant mineworkers and have been refused on inaccurate evidence given by British Coal on current earnings; and if he will make a statement.

It would be inappropriate to issue advice because decisions on claims for reduced earnings allowance are a matter for the independent statutory authorities and not the Secretary of State.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what action he is intending to take to alert redundant and retired mineworkers who have lost benefit under the reduced earnings allowance scheme because of incorrect figures provided by British Coal when assessing current earnings; and if he will make a statement.

None. We are aware of neither national nor local problems arising out of the arrangements with British Coal.

Defence

Hilex

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether previous NATO exercises in the HILEX series have included the exercising of national home and civil defence crisis procedures.

The series of HILEX exercises have been designed to test the alliance's consultation and collective decision-making machinery in a crisis.

Exercise Bright Fire

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will indicate the date, purpose and scope of Exercise Bright Fire 1989.

Exercise Bright Fire was a two-phase exercise held in September and October of last year and was designed to test home defence communications across the United Kingdom.

Heat Injuries

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action has been taken by his Department's chief of public relations concerning the BBC television programme entitled "Taking Liberties" about heat injuries in the services.

The chief of public relations has raised with the BBC the Ministry of Defence's concerns about the balance of this programme.

Iran And Iraq (Commercial Links)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what special initiatives were taken within his Department and particularly within the DESO to promote or examine the prospects of commercial links with both Iran and Iraq following the end of the war between those two nations.

My Department and the defence export services organisation within it have continued to work in accordance with the guidelines for exports to Iran and Iraq as announced by my right hon. and learned Friend the then Foreign Secretary on 29 October 1985, at column 450.

Attorney-General

Mr Paul Malone

To ask the Attorney-General if he will inquire into the disappearance from Chester Crown court, of handwritten interview records, in the case of the trial of Paul Malone in March 1987; and if he will make a statement.

Three handwritten interview records were produced as exhibits during the trial of Paul Malone. Two remain in the possession of the crown court at Chester and the third, which was released to the discipline and complaints department of the West Yorkshire police on 25 August 1988, remains in the custody of the West Yorkshire metropolitan police.

Health

Leukaemia

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the number of cases of children developing (a) leukaemia and (b) non-Hodgkins lymphoma, where a parent worked in (i) farming, (ii) chemicals, (iii) iron and steel, (iv) the nuclear industry, (v) coal mining and (vi) other occupations in each of the last four years; and if he will make a statement.

Ec Food Hygiene Directive

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the progress of his discussions with the European Commission on the draft food hygiene directive.

The draft "Food Hygiene" directive has not yet been submitted by the Commission to the Council and there is currently no timetable for discussions. However, an early draft of a proposal for a Council directive on the protection of human health by monitoring the wholesomeness of foodstuffs and observing basic principles of hygiene during their production handling and sale (the "Food Hygiene" directive) has recently been circulated to interested parties for comments on its scope, principles and approach.

Natural Medicines

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has any plans to request the medicines advisory research committee of the Natural Medicines Society to assess natural medicines; what proportion of those persons serving on the Medicines Control Agency practise alternative or complementary medical techniques; and if he will make a statement.

We have no plans to request such outside bodies to undertake assessment functions which, under the Medicines Act 1968, are a matter for the licensing authority. It is however open to companies to support their applications with opinion from such advisers as they consider appropriate.Professional staff of the Medicines Control Agency (MCA) are qualified in medicine, pharmacy and related sciences.I understand the Natural Medicines Society to be supportive of herbal, homeopathic and anthroposophic medicines. Different factors apply in each case. Herbal medicines are, in European Community (EC) law, subject to the main pharmaceutical directives. Herbalism holds in common with conventional medicine that efficacy is proportional to dose. Guidelines for the assessment of herbal medicine were discussed with industry and published in 1985.Homeopathic products are not at present subject to EC directives, but a Commission proposal has very recently been put to the Council of Ministers. It would be premature to anticipate the adoption of the directive with arrangements peculiar to homeopathic medicines. Officials have already had informal preparatory communication with those interested in the United Kingdom in homeopathic medicines. This communication will be developed during negotiations in Brussels.Anthroposophic medicine has some characteristics in common with homoepathy, but there are distinctions. It will have to be clarified whether it is the intention that the directive is to apply to such medicines and, if so, what modifications should be considered.

Nhs Trusts

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many expressions of interest have been made for hospitals to opt out of existing arrangements within the National Health Service.

A total of 191 units have expressed an interest in NHS trust status, including a number with more than one hospital.

Cot Deaths

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to receive the report of the chief medical officer from the expert group examining the work of Mr. Barry Richardson on chemical emissions and cot deaths.

The chief medical officer has asked the group of independent experts to report as soon as possible. However, Mr. Richardson's theory—that emission of toxic gases from fungal growth on cot mattresses could be responsible for some cases of sudden infant death syndrome—is a complex one and requires careful and responsible examination involving a range of scientific disciplines. It is difficult to forecast precisely when this ongoing work will be completed.

Geriatric Wards (Staffing)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the staffing levels on the geriatric wards at Stepping Hill, Stockport; and whether he has discussed the matter with either the regional or district health authorities.

[holding answer 23 April 1990]: We have been assured by the chairman of the Stockport district health authority that local managers, with the agreement of senior nursing and medical colleagues, have assessed and will continue to keep under review the nurse staffing levels on the geriatric wards at Stepping Hill hospital. We do not intend to erode local responsibility for managing the hospital services by intervening in this matter.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will review staffing levels in geriatric wards in the light of correspondence from Mr. Pink, a charge nurse at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport.

[holding answer 23 April 1990]: The Department of Health does not and could not prescribe the staffing requirements on geriatric wards across the country because, for example, nursing requirements depend upon the number and individual needs of patients, the design of wards, and the skills and experience of nurses. That is why general managers working with medical and nursing colleagues decide such matters at the local level.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish in the Official Report or place copies in the Library, the replies sent by Ministers to correspondence from Mr. Pink, a charge nurse at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport.

[holding answer 23 April 1990]: Replies on behalf of Ministers and the chief executive of the management board of the National Health Service were sent to Mr. Pink on 28 November 1989 and 5 April 1990. I am arranging for copies of these replies to be placed in the Library.

Trade And Industry

Iraq (Arms Component Exports)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) when his Department saw the contract involving Sheffield Forgemasters for the Iraqi order;(2) what special checks were made of the 44 items of piping now sent to Iraq;(3) how many approaches were made to his Department by Walter Somers querying the Iraqi order for equipment;(4)what action was taken after the report of Walter Somers that they had been approached about aiming equipment in the Iraqi supergun order;(5) what specifications of the Iraqi export order were given to his Department.

In the light of charges laid against an individual on 25 April, and in the light of the continuing investigation by Customs and Excise, it would be inappropriate to give any further information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what was the day on which his Department was first made aware that Iraq was acquiring export material for a major gun or launcher;(2) what information he has on non-military research done by the Space Research Corporation;(3) when he was made aware of changes in the specifications of the steel for the Iraq order placed with Walter Somers;(4) if he will make a statement on the involvement of the Advanced Technology Institute in the Iraqi gun order.

[holding answer 26 April 1990]: In the light of charges laid against an individual on 25 April, and in the light of the continuing investigation by Customs and Excise, it would be inappropriate to give any further information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are now being taken by his Department to check on the items being manufactured in the United Kingdom for export to Iraq; and if he will make a statement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the technical specifications of the steel ordered for the pipes intended for Iraq that were the subject of correspondence between his Department and Sheffield Forgemasters in July 1988.

[holding answers 24 April 1990]: In the light of charges laid against an individual on 25 April, and in the light of the continuing investigation by Customs and Excise, it would be inappropriate to give any further information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has as to which overall contracts the gun components for Iraq were part of; and whether any such contracts were promoted by his Department through the British Overseas Trade Board export intelligence service.

[holding answers 23 April 1990]: In the light of charges laid against an individual on 25 April, and in the light of the continuing investigation by Customs and Excise, it would be inappropriate to give any further information.

Product Development, Sheffield

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he last met the director of the Centre for Product Development Services in Sheffield; what matters were discussed; and what plans he has to hold another meeting.

I have not met the chairman of the Centre for Product Development Services in Sheffield: nor have I met the directors. I have no immediate plans to do so.

Pollution Regulations

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent representations he has received from the national council of the Confederation of British Industry in regard to the effects on the competitive position of British industry of proposals to tighten environmental pollution regulations.

The CBI has recently sent the department a copy of its submission to Government on the forthcoming White Paper on the environment. Among other things the submission addresses the important question of the competitive implications for British business of action to secure environmental improvements.

National Finance

Taxation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of taxation, including national insurance contributions, was derived from (a) direct taxation and (b) indirect taxation, in each year since 1979.

Internationally, there is no general agreement on the criteria for distinguishing between direct and indirect taxes. However, broadly speaking, taxes on income and capital can be regarded as direct taxes, and taxes on expenditure as indirect taxes. On this basis, and including relevant non-tax items (such as national insurance, community charge and royalties), the figures requested are as follows:

(1)(2)
197849·051·0
197946·253·8
198046·553·5
198147·452·6
198248·351·7
198348·751·3
198449·250·8
198549·750·3
198647·352·7
198746·853·2
198847·053·0
198948·151·9
(1) Taxes on income plus taxes on capital plus employees' social security contributions plus community charge plus royalties as percentage of (3).

(2) Taxes on expenditure (including rates) plus employers' social security contributions as percentage of (3).

(3) Total taxes (including rates) plus social security contributions plus community charge plus royalties.

Roads

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Ryrie rules have been modified or disposed of to take account of the announcement of privately funded roads.

The Ryrie rules were formally retired by the then chief secretary in his speech to the Institute of Directors in Glasgow on 5 May 1989. He also clarified the Government's general position on private finance which remains as set out in the Treasury paper of February 1988 entitled "Private Finance in Public Expenditure". In the particular case of privately financed roads, he gave an explicit assurance that reductions would not be sought in the roads programme on a scheme basis to offset privately financed projects. A copy of the Treasury paper and the speech have been placed in the Library of the House.

Lending Limits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the information he has on those European countries which have limits on the amount their building societies or equivalents can lend as a percentage of the purchase price of a house.

Housing finance systems in other European countries are quite different from the United Kingdom. No comprehensive information is held centrally. However, a book published by the European Community Mortgage Federation entitled "Mortgage credit in the European Community" lists the conditions applying in most EC member states. A copy is in the House Library.

Schedule D Debts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing, for schedule D debts, what proportion and how much of the total debt outstanding at 1 January 1989, 1 July 1989 and 1 January 1990 was accounted for by debt attributable to taxpayers in (a) band 1, (b) band 2, (c) band 3, and (d) others; and what proportion of and how many taxpayers were accounted for by each band.

The information is not available in the form requested.The categorisation of accumulated debts referred to the local collector applies to all assessed taxes. Assessed taxes comprise corporation tax, capital gains tax and income tax. Assessed income tax comprises schedule D, schedule E and taxed income.The Department analyses debts referred for local action into those for company cases (corporation tax) and those for individual taxpayers (capital gains tax) and income tax).For individual taxpayers, the figures of debts outstanding at mid-month counts in January 1989, July 1989 and January 1990 are set out in the table.

Income tax and capital gains tax

Taxpayer debts referred for local action

January 1989

Number of debts

Proportion of debts in band percentage

Amount of debts £ million

Proportion of amounts in band percentage

Band 19760·0926519
Band 24,0270·3715211
Band 327,1392·4821515
Others1,060,87397·0677455
Total1,093,0151001,406100

July 1989

Number of debts

Proportion of debts in band percentage

Amount of debts £ million

Proportion of amounts in band percentage

Band 14390·04978
Band 23,5120·3313211
Band 326,3822·4520917
Others1,047,00897·1877664
Total1,077,3411001,214100

January 1990

Number of debts

Proportion of debts in band percentage

Amount of debts £ million

Proportion of amounts in band percentage

Band 18520·0821616
Band 23,7700·3314410
Band 326,7512·3621315
Others1,103,88497·2380659
Total1,135,2571001,379100

Notes:

Band 1 = over £100,000.

Band 2 = between £20,000 and £100,000.

Band 3 = between £4,500 and £20,000.

Others = below £4,500.

The table shows the numbers of tax debts. No figures are available for the numbers of taxpayers involved.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a graph similar to figures 3 and 4 in the National Audit Office report on the collection and enforcement of debts by the Inland Revenue, showing the effect of Inland Revenue actions on schedule D debt clearance in relation to the first instalment due on 1 January 1990.

Accurate and processed statistical data showing the effect of Inland Revenue actions on schedule D clearance in relation to the first instalment due on 1 January 1990 is currently only available for up to 13 weeks after this date. A graph showing the requested details for the first 13 weeks has been placed in the Library.

Education, Police And Fire Services

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what would be the level of value added tax required if education, the police and the fire service, currently in part funded by local authorities, were funded from this source;(2) what would be the basic rate of income tax if it had to cover expenditure at present met by local authorities on education, the police and the fire service.

[holding answer 23 April 1990]: If local authorities spent in line with total standard spending in England and Wales, and total current expenditure in Scotland, the total cost of education, the police and fire service (including civil defence) in 1990–91 would be around £24 billion. If this expenditure were transferred to central government with no change to revenue support grant and specific grants for the police and fire service eliminated, this would imply additional expenditure of around £21·5 billion. This is equivalent to an increase of around 14p in the basic rate of income tax.The estimated revenue from VAT in 1990–91 is £32·1 billion. For each one percentage point increase in the VAT rate, the extra revenue yield is around £2 billion in a full year.

Prime Minister

Iraq (Arms Sales)

To ask the Prime Minister which Departments have been involved in considering the export order for the Iraqi gun.

Export controls are administered by the Department of Trade and Industry who seek advice from the Ministry of Defence and other Departments as necessary.

Gallipoli

To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on parliamentary representation at official ceremonies to mark the anniversary of Gallipoli.

The Defence Secretary and I represented Her Majesty's Government at the ceremonies in Gallipoli on 25 April.As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said in a letter to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) on 5 March, he hoped that a cross party ANZAC group of Members of Parliament and Peers would be represented.The ceremonies at the Cenotaph and Westminster abbey were attended by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary as well as by other Members of Parliament from a number of parties.

National Curriculum

To ask the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on the introduction of the arrangements for the national curriculum under the Education Reform Act 1988; and what action is being taken to reduce the burden of form filling by teachers.

We need the national curriculum to raise standards in our schools. There is welcome evidence from Her Majesty's inspectorate that many schools are making satisfactory progress with implementing the national curriculum. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science is taking

CompanyDate of privatisationNet proceeds to HMC £ million Number of shareholdersProfit/(loss) before privatisation £ million
British Petroleum (residue sale)1979276
19818
1983543
19875,322592,602n/a
British Aerospace19814397,60052·8
1985347
Cable and Wireless1981181170,14664·1
1983263
1985580
Amersham International1982605,8544·8
National Freight Consortium198253145,0004·3
Britoil21982626165,200423·1
1985426
Associated British Ports198346112,0005·5
198451
Enterprise Oil198438210,20783·2
Sealink (trade sale)19843n/a12·8
Jaguar19843441,78950
British Telecom19843,6811,203,243990
British Shipbuilders Warship Yards (trade sale)1984–853n/a18
British Gas198657,7312,695,450782
British Airways198785038,350195

great care that the new requirements are introduced in a way that does not overburden teachers. He has been particularly concerned to limit the paperwork required of teachers and has taken a number of steps to this effect, including, for example, changes to the proposed requirements for statutory curriculum information.

Privatisation

To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the Government's privatisation programme since 1979, and what were (a) the net receipts from each sale, (b) the number of shareholders now registered for each privatised company, (c) the number of employee shareholders in each privatised company and (d) the profit or loss for each company in their final year in state ownership.

Privatisation is recognised worldwide as one of this Government's bold and far-reaching achievements. Twenty-nine major businesses have been privatised and almost 50 per cent. of the 1979 state sector and around 800,000 jobs have been transferred to the private sector. Receipts so far amount to some £27·5 billion, with future sales projected at a rate of about £5 billion a year.The information my hon. Friend requests is as follows. Figures for the number of shareholders are taken from the latest published reports and accounts of the companies, which do not provide the figures for employee shareholders.

Company

Date of privatisation

Net proceeds to HMG £ million

Number of shareholders

Profit/(loss) before privatisation £ million

Royal Ordnance (trade sale)1987185n/a26
Rolls Royce19871,028738,659120
BAA19871,183889,06784
Rover (trade sale)1988150n/a28
British Steel19882,437419,726207
10 Water Companies1989

63,480

Anglian Water1989

7274,167

72·7
Northumbrian Water1989255,4766·4
North West Water1989244,49144·3
Severn Trent1989317,67397·5
Southern Water1989261,70465·1
South West Water1989129,06438·1
Thames Water1989680,816207·2
Welsh Water1989143,09924·9
Wessex Water1989188,54124·1
Yorkshire Water1989210,09155·7

Notes:

n/a—Not available.

1 Approximate.

2 Part of BP since 1988. Shareholder figure given for 1987.

3 Proceeds went to the nationalised industry as vendor as follows:

Sealink: £66 million to British Rail;

Jaguar: £297 million to British Leyland;

Warship Yards: £54 million to British Shipbuilders.

4 Jaguar shares no longer listed—part of Ford. Figure as October 1989.

5 Includes £2,500 million debenture repayable to the Consolidated Fund.

6 Includes £73 million debenture repayable to the Consolidated Fund.

7 Shareholder figures for the water companies represent the number of original allocatees recorded on the interim register for each company. This information was originally given by the Minister with responsibility for Water in a Written Answer on 24 January 1989 (Vol. 165, col. 747.)

Upper Bann

To ask the Prime Minister whether she proposes to visit the constituency of Upper Bann before 17 May.

Council Of Europe

To ask the Prime Minister if she will announce the composition of the United Kingdom delegation for the 42nd session of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe.

The 42nd session parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe will be opened in Strasbourg on 7 May 1990. The delegation from the United Kingdom for the session will consist of 11 members of the Conservative party, six members of the Labour party and one member of the Liberal Democrats. I have also appointed a number of substitute delegates.The appointments of representatives and substitutes have been made on the basis of nominations by the leaders of those parties concerned.The same delegation will be representing the United Kingdom Parliament at the assembly of the Western European Union, which next meets in Paris on 5 June.Representatives from the Conservative Benches will be my hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Sir. G. Finsberg), who will act as leader of both delegations, and the hon. Members for Warwick and Leamington (Sir D. Smith), for Southampton, Test (Mr. Hill), for Twickenham (Mr. Jessel), for Northampton, South (Mr. Morris), for Halesowen and Stourbridge (Sir J. Stokes), for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson), for Ashford (Mr. Speed), for Streatham (Sir W. Shelton), for Medway (Dame P. Fenner) and the Earl of Kinnoull.Representatives from the Labour party will be the hon. Members for Neath (Mr. Coleman), for Wallsend (Mr. Garrett), for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy), for Tooting (Mr. Cox), for Liverpool, Riverside (Mr. Parry), and for Falkirk, East (Mr. Ewing).Representatives from the Liberal Democrats will he the hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn and Lochaber (Sir R. Johnston).The following substitutes have been appointed to act as necessary on behalf of the delegates. From the Conservative Benches, the hon. Members for Bournemouth, East (Mr. Atkinson), for Broxbourne (Mrs. Roe), for Norfolk, North (Mr. Howell), for Poole (Mr. Ward, for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone), for Brighton, Kempton (Mr. Bowden), for Suffolk, Central (Mr. Lord), for Ravensbourne (Sir J. Hunt), Lord Newall and Lord Rodney.From the Labour Party, the hon. Members for Wansbeck (Mr.Thompson), for Manchester, Central (Mr.Litherland), for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond), for Warley,East (Mr. Faulds), for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks),for Cunninghame, South (Mr. Lambie) and Lord Kirkhill.From the Liberal Democrats, Lord Mackie of Benshie.

Employment

Nuclear Installations Inspectorate

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the recent publications by the Health and Safety Executive on the work of the nuclear installations inspectorate.

I welcome the publication by the Health and Safety Executive of the booklet and leaflet entitled "The Work of HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate" and "Nuclear Energy and the NII" respectively. These should assist public understanding of the important work carried out by the inspectorate to ensure a safe operating regime for civil nuclear installations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many copies of the publication, "The work of HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate" have been printed since publication; to which outlets the brochure has been distributed; and if he will make a statement on the reasons for the production and distribution of the publication.

Some 3,400 copies of the booklet entitled "The Work of HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate" have been printed for sale by Her Majesty's Stationery Office and its accredited agents. The booklet brings up to date the booklet of the same name published in 1982. Copies have been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Skills Training Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has obtained the agreement of the appropriate trade unions over safeguards with regard to the sale of the skills training agency; and if he will make a statement.

There are requirements to inform and consult trade unions under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981. These have been and will continue to be met in full. There have been extensive consultations with union representatives throughout the sale process and I have met them on two occasions.

Hazardous Substances

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many organisations have been given authorisation to conduct full health and safety surveys under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988; and what information he has concerning the availability of computer databases to facilitate the standardisation of information collected in Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations audits.

There is no requirement under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988 for an organisiation to be authorised by the Health and Safety Executive or any other body to undertake health and safety assessment on behalf of an employer.Commercially produced computer database packages to assist employers in recording information relating to the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988 are widely available and extensively publicised in the health and safety press.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he received a copy of the European Commission proposal for a Council directive on the laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances (COM [89] 575 final-SYN 277, dated 9 January 1990); and what response he has made to the Council or Commission on the proposal.

The proposed directive was brought to my right hon. and learned Friend's notice on 9 March 1990. Since formal discussion of this proposal in EC Council has yet to start, no response has been made.

Radiation

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what new guidance has been issued in regard to the implementation by industries using radioactive materials of the provisions of the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1985.

On 7 February 1990, the Health and Safety Executive published a guidance note, "Respiratory protective equipment for use against airborne radioactivity".

Environmental Protection Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people were employed in training schemes leading to qualifications in environmental protection or environmental improvement techniques for each of the last five years.

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

Home Department

Nato Civil Wartime Agencies

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether agreements have been drawn up to cover the legal aspects of the proposed employment of United Kingdom civil servants as staff of NATO civil wartime agencies; and whether agreement has been reached on the status under international law of United Kingdom civil servants and representatives of private industry when they take up their proposed roles as NATO civil wartime agencies staff.

Unlawful Parking, Newham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on how many police and traffic warden hours have been devoted in the current year to keeping Green street and Katherine road in the London borough of Newham clear of unlawful parking; how many fixed penalty notices have been issued in those roads in the current year; and what priority is given to keeping these streets clear of unlawful parking.

No specific records are kept of the number of hours worked by police officers and traffic wardens undertaking enforcement duties in Green street and Katherine road. Similarly, no specific records are kept of the number of fixed penalty notices issued at these locations.Both roads received substantial enforcement attention from traffic wardens, with Green street being patrolled on a daily basis. In addition, police traffic patrols also target the area on a rota basis to supplement the traffic warden effort.

Fire Stations (South Yorkshire)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the fire stations that cover the Don Valley constituency area.

I understand that the Don Valley constituency area is covered by three fire stations—Edlington, Mexborough and Rossington.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the fire stations in south Yorkshire that are under threat of closure.

I understand that the chief fire officer of South Yorkshire fire and civil defence authority has completed a review of fire risk categorisation and that he is now reviewing the standards of fire cover throughout his area.I understand that the chief fire officer has not yet submitted a report or recommendations to South Yorkshire fire and civil service defence authority concerning the provision of fire cover. It would, therefore, be inappropriate for my right hon. and learned Friend to comment on speculative statements about fire station closures.A fire authority which proposes to reduce the operational establishment of its brigade is required to seek the approval of my right hon. and learned Friend to the reductions under the terms of section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1947. My right hon. and learned Friend is committed to maintaining nationally recommended minimum standards of fire cover and to the maintenance of an effective fire service.

Crime Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what are the rates of burglary (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) in other European Economic Community member states;(2) what are the most recent figures for

(a) violent crime and (b) rape; and what are the comparable rates of these crimes in other European Economic Community member states.

The most recent comparative information on crime rates in different countries relates to 1988 and is published in "Experiences of Crime across the World" (Key findings of the 1989 International Crime Survey), for example in table E1. A copy of this publication is available in the Library.

Special Branch

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he received the special branch document ref. no. 10368/74; and what action he has taken.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Mr. Alexander) on 30 March 1990 at columns 375–77.

Young Prisoners

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to provide for the incarceration of younger healthy prisoners in an outdoor working environment with the minimum possible time spent in cellular confinement.

Inmates need to be kept in conditions of security appropriate to the nature of the individual prisoner and his offence. Establishments already seek, within available resources, to provide balanced and integrated regimes which keep inmates as fully occupied as possible. Programmes of activities include physical education, exercise and, where practicable, opportunities for outside work.

Overseas Voters

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with Ministers from those countries that have residents applying for votes in future British elections; and if he will make a statement.

Armley Gaol

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many fine defaulters are currently imprisoned at Armley gaol, Leeds; how many of these are serving sentences of six months or less; and in each case, what percentage of the total current prisoner population of Armley these prisoners represent.

According to records held centrally, which are approximate, 28 fine defaulters were held in Leeds prison on 28 February, 1990. They formed between 2 and 3 per cent. of the population of Leeds prison. All had been committed for periods of six months or less.

Somalian Refugees

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funds have been received from the United Nations or any other agency for the settlement of Somalian refugees; and on what projects such funds have been spent.

None. The United Nations does not make any formal contribution towards the resettlement of Somalian refugees in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom does, of course, contribute to the costs of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 1989 we gave £19,366,000 to UNHCR. Arrangements for the reception and resettlement of refugees in the United Kingdom assume that their basic needs are adequately met by existing services provided by both central and local government but, in addition, grant aid is made available to encourage community development through national and regional voluntary bodies.

Risley Remand Centre

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place a copy of the Dunbar report into the 1989 riot at Risley remand centre in the House of Commons Library.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question from the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mr. Parry) on 25 January at column 890.

Wakefield Prison

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment has been made by his Department of the security implications for Her Majesty's prison, Wakefield, of the recent temporary transfer of staff to Her Majesty's prison, Manchester.

The operation of contingency arrangements for the deployment of staff on detached duty to assist at another establishment has full regard to the need not to compromise the security of the sending establishment.

Rural Violence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to discuss with chief officers of police measures to deal with violent incidents involving groups of young people in or outside licensed premises in rural areas.

In February 1989, an interdepartmental circular provided advice on how local organisations in England and Wales might work together to tackle the problems associated with alcohol misuse. Local organisations including the police are encouraged to identify local needs and decide how best these might be met. In addition, in seven selected areas in England, the Home Office is monitoring experimental byelaws which provide the police with additional powers to control drinking in public places. I understand that a similar experimental byelaw is in operation in one area in Scotland and it is planned to extend the scheme to two further areas. The results of these experiments will be discussed with chief officers of police. I have no further plans, at present, for discussions with chief officers on this subject.

Neighbourhood Watch

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many neighbourhood watch schemes are operating in Leicestershire; how many were operating in 1988; and if he will make a statement.

I understand from the Leicestershire police that at the end of March 1990 there were 1,136 neighbourhood watch schemes in Leicestershire, covering approximately 70,000 households. This compares to 990 schemes at the end of 1988, an increase of 146 schemes over the last 15 months.

Wales

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales approximately how many letters have been received by his Department during the past four weeks relating to the community charge system of local taxation (a) from hon. Members and (b) from others; and if he will make a statement.

Between 26 March and 20 April inclusive, my Department received 82 letters from hon. Members and 130 letters from members of the public and other organisations about the community charge.

Planning Applications

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what guidelines are issued by his Department to local planning authorities in Wales as to the appositeness or otherwise of considering the financial viability of large scale development projects requiring planning permission prior to undertaking expensive consultation procedures in relation to the planning application.

Radioactive Substances Act

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many firms or organisations have been successfully prosecuted in each year since 1979 under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960; and what penalty was incurred in each case.

Health Authorities (Voluntary Contributions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what guidance he has given to health authorities in Wales on the extent to which voluntary and charitable contributions should be sought and to what classes of project they should be applied; and if he will publish any letters or guidance documents on these issues issued by his Department.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave him on Monday 23 April, at columns 38–39.

Waste Recycling

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will set a target for Welsh local authorities responsible for waste disposal, in respect of the recycling of paper, glass and cans in household refuse;(2) whether he will encourage all waste disposal authorities in Wales to provide a comprehensive service for collection from households of paper, glass and cans for recycling.

The Government have set a target of 50 per cent. of recyclable household waste to be recycled by the year 2000. Proposals in the Environmental Protection Bill will give district councils in Wales duties to prepare plans and to report on recycling, and powers to arrange for the provision of recycling facilities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultation he has had with Welsh district councils on the resources required for providing an effective waste disposal service, including the provision of a collection service for recycling of paper, glass and cans.

The resources required by local government are discussed with local authorities at meetings of the Welsh consultative council on local government finance and its various sub-groups. Representatives of the Welsh Office and Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution also attend meetings of the regional waste management groups where all waste management matters, including recycling, are discussed.

Dumping At Sea

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action is being taken to assist coastal local authorities with the removal of debris on beaches dumped by ships at sea.

[holding answer 24 April 1990]: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to him by my right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment on 25 April 1990 at columns 261–62.

House Of Commons

Security

To ask the Lord President of the Council who is responsible for maintaining and updating security provisions in the Palace of Westminster.

Final responsibility for security policy in the House of Commons rests with Mr. Speaker and, in the House of Lords, with the Lord Chairman of Committees, acting on behalf of the House of Lords' Administration Committee. Day-to-day executive responsibility for security policy is delegated to the Serjeant at

Present levelsRevised levels
Grant £Loan £Total £Grant £Loan £Total £
New House8,70013,50022,20011,50017,50029,000
House Improvement1,5008,0009,5002,00010,50012,500
Grant is at 50 per cent. Loans are at 7 per cent. rate of interest.The new levels of assistance will be available to new applicants and applicants whose applications are currently under consideration. They will also be available to those that have had applications approved but who have not yet started work, provided that they re-apply and accept the revised conditions set out in the Crofters etc. Building Grants (Scotland) Regulations 1990.These regulations and the related guidelines have been modified to emphasise that assistance under the crofters building grants and loans scheme is provided for those who live on and cultivate their crofts and is designed to benefit the crofting community at least as much as the individual crofter.The period to which grant conditions apply to new houses has been extended from 10 to 20 years. Disposal of an assisted croft house to someone other than a member of the family or a crofter working a croft in the area and in certain circumstances the disposal of the croft land other than the house, to someone other than a member of the family, may result in recovery of a proportion of grant. These changes should provide a disincentive to disposal of croft houses to those who do not work a local croft.I have reviewed the circumstances in which housing assistance might be made available where a house or house site has been detached from the croft and assistance for a house on the bareland croft is sought.

Arms and Black Rod in their respective areas of the building. Operational responsibility for security throughout the Palace of Westminster rests with the head of security, who works in support of these authorities and is answerable to them.

To ask the Lord President of the Council what matters relating to the security of the Palace of Westminster he makes it his practice to answer questions on.

Within the limitations of my own role as Leader of the House, I endeavour to be as helpful as possible in answering parliamentary questions on security matters, but for reasons which the hon. Member will appreciate, it has not been the practice of my predecessors, nor is my practice, to answer questions relating to security policy or to cases affecting individual Members or staff.

Scotland

Crofter Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on assistance to crofter housing.

With effect from 16 May 1990 the maximum rates of assistance available under the crofters building grants and loans scheme (CBGLS) will be increased as indicated in the table.Each case will be taken on its merits; but applications will be considered in two sets of circumstances. These are:(a) where a crofter has acquired a house or house site pertaining to the croft and the tenancy of the remainder of the croft has passed by assignation or otherwise to a member of the crofter's family, or, where the former crofter was aged or infirm, to any named individual who requires a house to enable him to cultivate the croft;(b) where the croft could not be satisfactorily cultivated without the provision of a new house and it would benefit the township if a new house were provided to enable the crofter to reside on the croft.Assistance will not generally be provided where the detached house might reasonably have been made available to the incoming crofter, where the crofter is already adequately housed within reasonable working distance of the croft, and where the price paid for an assignation and any associated permanent improvements or other circumstances suggest that the main object of an assignation is to make an incoming crofter eligible for assistance under the scheme. Where a house has been provided with grant assistance, assistance for a new house pertaining to the same croft will not be made available for 20 years unless the Secretary of State considers that there are special circumstances which would justify it.

Employment Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many employment training scheme trainees are placed with (a) Grampian Holdings, (b) John Wood Group plc, (c) W. & J. Barners, (d) IBM United Kingdom Ltd., (e) The Royal Bank of Scotland, (f) Guinness, (g) GEC Plessey (Kirkcaldy), (h) Roche Products (Dairy), (i) Polaroid (UK), (j) McQueen Ltd. (Galashiels) and (k) Rolls Royce and Associates Ltd. (Thurso).

[holding answer 24 April 1990]: In employment training placements are negotiated between training managers and placement providers and embodied in a contract between those parties: the content of such contracts is deemed to be commercial in confidence. The information sought is therefore not available.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Gibraltar (Incident)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his decision to issue certificates under the Crown Proceedings Act in respect of legal action relating to the deaths of three persons in Gibraltar.

Proceedings have been brought against the Ministry of Defence in the High Court in Northern Ireland by relatives of the three members of the Provisional IRA who were shot dead in Gibraltar. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has signed certificates under section 40(3)(a) of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947, as extended to Northern Ireland, to the effect that any liability of the Crown alleged in the actions arises neither in respect of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, nor in respect of Her Majesty's Government in Northern Ireland. Copies of the certificates were served on lawyers acting for the relatives on 26 March.

East-West Co-Operation

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the meeting of the conference on security and co-operation in Europe held in April on the lifting of restrictions on west-east co-operation.

The concluding document of the Bonn CSCE meeting on economic co-operation in Europe represents a valuable contribution towards stimulating market-oriented economic principles throughout Europe and to the general development of economic co-operation. The document contains an invitation to the OECD to consider hosting meetings of experts drawn from CSCE and OECD states to continue the dialogue in specific fields, including trade. This proposal was originally put forward by the United Kingdom.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Her Majesty's Government first learnt of attempts by Iraq to obtain krytrons in the United States for potential use in nuclear warhead triggers.

The interception of a consignment of capacitors bound for Iraq on 28 March at Heathrow was the result of co-operation between the United States and United Kingdom customs authorities over a period of several months. We are not aware of any attempt by Iraq to obtain krytrons in the United States.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the status of the Iraqi nuclear programme.

Iraq is a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and, as such, has undertaken not to develop nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. We expect Iraq to abide by her international legal obligations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the United Kingdom will raise the violation by Iraq of its commitment not to obtain nuclear weapons capability as a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty at the next meeting of parties to the treaty.

Parties to the non-proliferation treaty are currently meeting in Geneva for the third preparatory committee to the NPT review conference. Since the committee is largely devoted to administrative matters, we do not consider it an appropriate forum in which to raise this matter. We would, however, expect the interception at Heathrow of a consignment of capacitors bound for Iraq on 28 March to be discussed at the review conference on 20 August-14 September.

Argentina

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what matters were raised by Ministers or officials of this Department during the visit to the United Kingdom by the Foreign Minister of Argentina, Senor Cavallo, in April, with his counterpart, or members of the Foreign Minister's visiting party.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State to my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Shersby) on 18 April, at column 845.

Hong Kong

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what matters concerning civil or military aspects of nuclear energy the hon. Member for Warwickshire, North (Mr. Maude) discussed during his visit to the Crown Territories of Hong Kong in April.

During my visit to Hong Kong in April, I held no specific discussions about civil or military aspects of nuclear energy. I did, however, pay a visit to the Castle Peak power station, where I held discussions with the China Light and Power Company, whose interests in the nuclear power station under construction at Daya bay in southern China was mentioned in passing.

Indian President

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was discussed during his meeting with President Venkataraman of India during his recent visit to London.

During his meeting with President Venkataraman, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs discussed international and regional issues. The meeting confirmed the excellent state of Indo-British relations.

Ussr

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what matters he or his officials raised with his Soviet counterpart, other Soviet Foreign Ministers or Foreign Ministry officials during his visit to Moscow on 9 to 11 April.

During his recent visit to the Soviet Union, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs discussed the full range of bilateral and international issues.

Biotechnology

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on steps Her Majesty's Government have taken and plan to take to ensure the detection of any diversion by any other state of biotechnology for offensive military purposes.