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Written Answers

Volume 171: debated on Friday 4 May 1990

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 4 May 1990

Environment

Wild Birds

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the reply the Minister for the Environment and Countryside promised to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) on 15 February, Official Report, column 409.

Returnable Containers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action is being considered by his Department to encourage the use of returnable containers especially with regard to those made from glass and plastic.

The Environmental Protection Bill will require every local authority involved in waste collection or disposal to make plans that will give priority to the recovery of containers for reuse and recycling wherever practicable. Different systems of recovery will be appropriate in different areas, but it is our intention to review all systems in preparing the White Paper on the environment and we hope to publish guidance for local authorities to assist them in their choice of method. In doing so we shall take account of all the environmental implications, including storage, energy and transport costs, when comparing the use of returnable containers with those that can more easily be recycled.

River Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has had from the National Rivers Authority over the funding of its monitoring of pollution discharges; what response he has made; and if he will make a statement.

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

Nitrates

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the cost of the implementation of the European Community rules for nitrates in surface waters on British farms.

The European Commission has not published a compliance cost assessment for the proposed directive on nitrates. Without this it is difficult at present to assess the implementation costs for British farms.

Water Metering

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects the additional progress report on the national water meter trials to be available in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to receive the report on the national water metering trials; and when he expects to publish it.

I understand that the national water metering trials co-ordinating committee intends to publish a second interim report towards the end of June. A copy of the report will be placed in the Library.

Pollution Report No 28

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to publish the Department of the Environment pollution report No. 28.

Pollution report No. 28, "UK Blood Lead Monitoring Programme 1984–1987: Results for 1987", was published today and a copy of the report has been placed in the House of Commons Library.The report shows the detailed results of a programme of monitoring carried out by the Department of the Environment, in conjunction with local authorities, health authorities and police forces. Summary results were published in the Department's "Digest of Environmental Protection and Water Statistics" No. 11 in February 1989.

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all those Acts of Parliament since 1979 which have a direct application to local government, indicating those which are concerned with local government finance.

[holding answer 1 May 1990]: Public general Acts of Parliament between June 1979 and the end of the last Session of Parliament which affect local authorities in England include:

  • Education Act 1979
  • Justices of the Peace Act 19792
  • Representation of the People Act 1980
  • Child Care Act 1980
  • Foster Children Act 19802
  • Residential Homes Act 19802
  • Police Negotiating Board Act 1980
  • Education Act 1980
  • Transport Act 1980
  • Coroners Act 1980
  • Magistrates Courts Act 19802
  • Housing Act 1980
  • Local Government, Planning and Land Act 19801
  • Highways Act 19802
  • European Assembly Elections Act 1981
  • Water Act 1981
  • Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981
  • Disused Burial Grounds (Amendment) Act 1981
  • Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1981
  • Animal Health Act 1981
  • Food and Drugs (Amendment) Act 1981
  • Fisheries Act 1981
  • Representation of the People Act 1981
  • Town and Country Planning (Minerals) Act 1981
  • Zoo Licensing Act 1981
  • Local Government and Planning (Amendment) Act 1981
  • Education Act 1981
  • New Towns Act 19812
  • Compulsory Purchase (Vesting Declarations) Act 19812
  • Acquisition of Land Act 19812
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • Travel Concessions (London) Act 1982
  • Fire Service College Board (Abolition) Act 1982
  • Children's Homes Act 1982
  • Planning Inquiries (Attendance of the Public) Act 1982
  • Social Security and Housing Benefits Act 1982
  • Food and Drugs (Amendment) Act 1982
  • Local Govenment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982
  • Local Government Finance Act 19821
  • Derelict Land Act 1982
  • Representation of the People Act 19832
  • Water Act 1983
  • Level Crossings Act 1983
  • Miscellaneous Financial Provisions Act 1983
  • Mobile Homes Act 1983
  • Litter Act 1983
  • Social Security and Housing Benefits Act 1983
  • Education (Fees and Awards) Act 1983
  • Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications Act 1983
  • Local Authorities (Expenditure Powers) Act 1983
  • Town and Country Planning Act 1984
  • Education (Grants and Awards) Act 1984
  • Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 19842
  • Registered Homes Act 1984
  • Road Traffic Regulation Act 19842
  • Housing and Building Control Act 1984
  • Food Act 19842
  • London Regional Transport Act 1984
  • Rates Act 19841
  • Cycle Tracks Act 1984
  • Animal Health and Welfare Act 1984
  • Housing Defects Act 1984
  • Local Government (Interim Provisions) Act 1984
  • Building Act 19842
  • New Towns and Urban Development Corporations Act 1985
  • London Regional Transport (Amendment) Act 1985
  • Mineral Workings Act 1985
  • Cinemas Act 19852
  • Town and Country Planning (Compensation) Act 1985
  • Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1985
  • Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985
  • Charter Trustees Act 1985
  • Further Education Act 1985
  • Food and Environment Protection Act 1985
  • Representation of the People Act 1985
  • Local Government Act 19851
  • Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act 1985
  • Wildlife and Countryside (Service of Notices) Act 1985
  • Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985
  • Transport Act 1985
  • Housing Act 19852
  • Housing (Consequential Provisions) Act 19852
  • Housing Associations Act 19852
  • Weights and Measures Act 19852
  • Education (Amendment) Act 1986
  • Museum of London Act 1986
  • Local Government Act 19861
  • Statute Law (Repeals) Act 19861
  • Highways (Amendment) Act 1986
  • Drainage Rates (Disabled Persons) Act 19861
  • Civil Protection in Peacetime Act 1986
  • Health Service Joint Consultative Committees (Access to Information) Act 1986
  • Road Traffic Regulation (Parking) Act 1986
  • Children and Young Persons (Amendment) Act 1986
  • Airports Act 1986
  • Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986
  • Education Act 1986
  • Rate Support Grants Act 19861
  • Education (No. 2) Act 1986
  • Housing and Planning Act 1986
  • Public Order Act 1986
  • Teachers' Pay and Conditions Act 1987
  • Rate Support Grants Act 19871
  • Local Government Finance Act 19871
  • Reverter of Sites Act 1987
  • Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987
  • Local Government Act 19871
  • Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988
  • Local Government Act 19881
  • Coroners Act 19882
  • Environment and Safety Information Act 1988
  • Education Reform Act 1988
  • Local Government Finance Act 19881
  • Housing Act 1988
  • Rate Support Grants Act 1988
  • Police Officers (Central Service) Act 1989
  • Water Act 1989
  • Parking Act 1989
  • Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989
  • Control of Smoke Pollution Act 1989
  • Common Land (Rectification of Registers) Act 1989
  • Representation of the People Act 1989
  • Children Act 1989
  • Local Government and Housing Act 19891

1 Concerns (at least in part) local government finance.

2 Consolidation Act.

Not all the foregoing Acts were based on Bills introduced by the Government.

National Finance

Civil Service (Language Skills)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many positions in the civil service are open only to those with a workable knowledge of one or more European Community languages other than English.

The knowledge and experience required for particular posts in the civil service is a matter for the Minister responsible for each Department and the information requested is not held centrally.

Higher Rate Taxpayers

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the last period for which figures are available how many wives whose husbands paid higher rate tax had no declarable income.

Provisionally estimates are that in 1990–91 about 700,000 wives whose husbands are liable to the higher rate of income tax have insufficient income to be liable to tax. A small proportion of these have no earned or investment income. Estimates are based on a projection of the distribution of income between husbands and wives reported in the 1987–88 survey of personal incomes.

Taxation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what would be the estimated income from a 1p in the pound extra levy on income tax on graduates earning in excess of £16,000;(2) what would be the estimated income from a 1p in the pound extra levy on income tax on graduates.

I regret that the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Energy

Euratom Safeguards

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he received a copy of the report on the operation of Euratom safeguards, SEC(90) 452 final, dated 26 March; and what evaluation he has made of its accuracy in regard to its reference to nuclear activities and plants in the United Kingdom.

My officials received the report on the operations of Euratom safeguards on 10 April and copies have since been placed in the Library of the House. The report does not refer specifically to Euratom's inspection activities in any one member state; however, paragraph 58

1987–881988–891989–9021990–913
£ million£ million£ million£ million
Royal Navy Museums10·9541·2261·3121·244
National Army Museum1·5821·7222·6072·974
Royal Air Force Museum4·6002·0751·7532·011

Notes:

1 Includes: Royal Naval Museum.

Royal Naval Submarine Museum.

Royal Marines Museum.

Fleet Air Arm Museum.

2 Estimated.

3 Funding allocation.

All these museums are non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and funded by means of grants in aid. The figures do not include any moneys which might have been made available to the museums from other sources.

In addition, there are around 100 Army regimental and corps museums which are funded either directly from MOD votes or by local authorities or private institutions. The costs to MOD are not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Women At Sea

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the WRNS have volunteered for sea service; what is his estimate of the number of Royal Navy personnel who are taking premature voluntary retirement or refusing to re-enlist because of the decision to employ women at sea in warships; and whether he has reviewed his policy on the posting of members of the WRNS to aircraft carriers and assault ships.

To date 278 WRNS ratings and 90 officers have volunteered to go to sea this year. Of these, 147 ratings and 16 officers will be trained to serve on the first group of five ships currently being prepared to provide suitable accommodation. Further volunteers will be called for in due course and, from the autumn, all new entrants will have liability for sea service.There is no evidence that RN personnel are refusing to re-enlist or taking premature voluntary retirement because of the decision to employ women at sea, and we do not intend to review that decision.

of the report notes that in pursuing its inspection activities during 1988 Euratom did not obtain evidence of diversion of nuclear material.

Defence

Service Museums

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what funding has been made available to museums operated by (a) the Royal Navy, (b) the Army and (c) the Royal Air Force during each of the last three years; and what funding is to be made available during the next year.

Spending from Ministry of Defence votes for the years in question is as follows:

Turkey

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will meet the Secretary-General of NATO to discuss the level of Turkish defence forces in the light of defence reductions by Bulgaria; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend will be meeting Dr. Woerner at NATO meetings later this month. A range of current defence issues will be discussed, including progress on conventional arms negotiations which would lead to reductions in NATO and Warsaw pact levels in certain categories.

Sgl Defence Ltd And Link Miles Ltd

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the contractual relationship between his Department, SGL Defence Ltd. and Singer-Link-Miles.

The Ministry of Defence has contracts with Link Miles Ltd. for a range of equipments, primarily aircraft simulators. It has no contracts with SGL Defence Ltd. Bilateral relations between Link Miles Ltd. and SGL Defence Ltd. are a matter for the companies themselves.

Home Department

Breath Tests

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many annual reports of county constabularies the classification under the heading breath tests includes a category no requirement or impairment; what is the total number of such tests administered; and how this is classified in the annual tables published by his Department.

I understand that four county constabularies specify a category of "no requirement" or a category of "impairment" in the details of evidential breath tests recorded in their annual reports under breath tests. These categories cover circumstances where a person who is required to provide a specimen for analysis at a police station has been arrested either because of obvious signs of impairment or for other reasons and has not been required before arrest to take a roadside screening breath test. In the Home Office statistics of breath tests, England and Wales 1988, a copy of which was placed in the Library on 7 August 1989, it is shown in figure 1 (page 12) that, out of 126,500 drivers required to provide an evidential sample for analysis, 9,500 were arrested for impairment or for other reasons. Statistics for 1989 are not yet available.

Remand Prisoners

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners were in (a) long-term (b) short-term and (c) remand prisons, respectively, in May 1979; how many prisoners are held in each prison at present; and what changes in capacity for each category of prison have taken place since May 1979.

The information is not available in the form requested. Prison service establishments are generally categorised according to whether they hold young offenders or adults, sentenced or unsentenced, or a mixture of these. Long and short-sentenced prisoners are, in many cases, held in the same establishment.Comparative information of population and certified normal accommodation (CNA) broken down by types of establishment is as follows:

31 May 1979March 1990
PopCNAPop1CNA2
Local prisons3 and remand centres (male)19,29013,57819,89814,421
Training prisons4 (male)14,46215,36019,87420,933
Young offender institutions5 (male)7,1607,6965,8896,976
Female establishments61,4571,2561,6431,823
Total42,36937,89047,30444,153
1 Population figures for Friday 30 March 1990.
2 CNA figures for Sunday 11 March 1990.
3 Holds sentenced and unsentenced adults and young offenders.
4 Holds sentenced adults.
5 Holds sentenced young offenders.
6 All types of establishment.

Magistrates Courts

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether consultants have now been appointed to provide detailed and accurate estimates of cost for the different options for changing the management structure and organisation of the magistrates courts service.

Following the consideration of tenders from a number of consultancy firms, Coopers and Lybrand Deloitte have been appointed to undertake the task. The consultants are expected to report by the end of August 1990.

Wakefield Prison

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the number of uniformed prison officers at Her Majesty's prison, Wakefield, to reach the agreed staffing levels.

[holding answer 27 April 1990]: On 14 April there were 440 officers (including principal and senior officers and specialists) in post at HMP Wakefield. This was four officers below Wakefield's staffing requirement for 1990–91, although two of the posts are temporary and may no longer be needed. Regional management keep the staffing of HMP Wakefield under close review.

Court Houses

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to publish new guidelines on the construction of court houses.

Wales

Nursery Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of children in the three to four-year-old group are currently receiving pre-compulsory education in maintained schools in Wales.

At January 1989, 82 per cent. of pupils aged three or four at 31 August 1988 were receiving education in maintained nursery and primary schools in Wales.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many publicly maintained nursery schools there are currently in Wales.

Loft Insulation

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total expenditure by his Department on grants towards the cost of loft insulation under the homes insulation scheme for (a) 1988–89 and (b) 1989–90.

Expenditure by the Department towards the cost of loft insulation under the homes insulation scheme amounted to £1·545 million in 1988–89 and £1·451 million in 1989–90. These amounts include administration fees to local authorities.

Badger Sett, Balgan

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to make the badger sett at Balgan a wildlife reserve; and if he will make a statement.

The powers under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to designate sites as national or local nature reserves lie with the Nature Conservancy Council and the local authorities respectively.

Chernobyl

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make further provision to assist Welsh farmers still subject to restrictions on the sale and movement of their sheep as a result of radioactive contamination following the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl; and if he will make a statement.

Visual Arts

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to establish a resource centre for visual arts in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

Social Security

Social Security Upratings

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish a table showing the annualised notional provision made for poll tax in the April 1989 social security upratings.

The amounts included in income support levels in April 1989 provided help during 1989–90 towards the community charge in Scotland and domestic rates in England and Wales. They were equivalent to 20 per cent. of an annual payment of £229 for single people aged 18 to 24 and for each member of a couple, and £338 for single people aged 25 or over. Following the general uprating of benefits in April 1990, the equivalent figures for 1990–91 are £315 and £356 respectively. This gives a weighted average for all income support beneficiaries of £340, which may be compared with an average community charge liability for claimants in Great Britain of £340, after transitional relief.

Income Support

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many recipients of income support declare earnings (a) within the earnings disregard limit and (b) resulting in some reduction of benefit.

[holding answer 20 April 1990]: The information is in the table:

ClaimantPartner
Number of people with earnings up to the level of the disregard32,0005,000
Number of people with earnings above the level of the disregard85,00028,000

Note: These figures apply to individuals, not to claims.

Source: Annual Statistical Enquiry, May 1988.

Prime Minister

Accountancy Firms

To ask the Prime Minister whether she has sought to curb the award of Government contracts to accountancy firms criticised by the Department of Trade and Industry inspectors.

Not as a general act of policy and it would be wrong to do so. However, Government Departments are aware of the need before awarding such contracts to take into account all relevant considerations and to make such inquiries as are necessary to establish the professional competence of the firm concerned.

Ec Economic And Political Union

To ask the Prime Minister what steps her Ministers are taking to advise the general public on the implications of economic union and political union within the European Economic Community; and if she will make a statement.

I and my ministerial colleagues speak regularly both in public and in the House of Commons on the implications of both political union and economic and monetary union.

Interception Of Communications

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

A copy of Lord Justice Lloyd's fourth annual report, for 1989 has been laid before the House today in accordance with section 8(7) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985. The confidential appendix to the report has been excluded from that copy in accordance with section 8(8) of the 1985 Act. I am grateful to the commissioner for his work in keeping under review the issue of warrants and note that he remains satisfied that the Secretaries of State involved continue to exercise the greatest care in issuing warrants. Careful consideration is being given to the whole of the commissioner's report.

Health

Eye Checks

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people had eye checks in March 1988, 1989 and 1990.

Data on NHS sight tests are collected on a six-monthly, not a monthly, basis. During the six-month period ending 31 March 1988, 6·1 million sight tests were paid for in England; the comparable figure for the six months ending 31 March 1989 was 6·7 million. Figures on the number of NHS sight tests only for the six-month period ending 31 March 1990 are not yet available. These figures will not include details on the number of private sight tests carried out during that period and will not therefore be directly comparable.

Transplant Operation (Killingbeck Hospital)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations have been made by his Department to either the Yorkshire regional health authority or the Leeds eastern authority regarding the recent heart and lung transplant operation performed on a three-year-old boy at Killingbeck hospital, Leeds; and if he will make a statement.

We have drawn the attention of the regional health authority to the Department's policy on the provision of heart transplant services. Our policy, which is based on the advice of the supra-regional services advisory group and the Royal College of Surgeons, is that heart and heart-lung transplantation should be provided within the designated supra-regional units.

Residential Homes (Television Cameras)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if, in the light of the recent decision by a registered homes tribunal in the case of Haughton v. Kirklees metropolitan council, he will make it his Department's policy actively to discourage the installation of closed-circuit televison cameras in residential or nursing homes.

The installation of closed-circuit television is a matter for social services authorities to decide with respect to homes under their own management and for registration authorities where it affects private and voluntary homes. Authorities need to be sure that their use is fully justified in any particular home.The installation of closed-circuit television cameras in residential or nursing homes may have a role to play in resident security and safety but it may constitute an invasion of privacy and lead to a reduction in personal contact between staff and residents.

Hospitals (Food Safety)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance is given by his Department to health authorities regarding monitoring the safety of food bought privately by patients, relatives or friends from outside premises for consumption within hospitals by patients.

It is for health authorities to make any necessary arrangements for monitoring the safety of food in hospitals including any food brought in privately. In doing so they will draw on the hygiene guidance issued by the Department.

Regional Health Authorities

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South, 19 February, Official Report, column 544, if he will rank the regional health authorities according to the growth money (a) they received per head of population in 1989–90 and (b) will receive on current assumptions in 1990–91.

The table gives the ranking for each regional health authority according to the amount of cash increase over the previous baseline for the region, allocated per head of population for 1989–90 and 1990–91.

RegionRankingRanking
1989–901990–91
Northern98
Yorkshire79
Trent37
E Anglian812
NW Thames54
NE Thames146
SE Thames1114
SW Thames1210

Region

Ranking

Ranking

1989–90

1990–91

Wessex111
Oxford21
S. Western413
W Midlands63
Mersey102
N Western135

Notes:

1. 1989–90 is based on allocations for services provided within the region using the resource allocation working party formula. (RAWP).

2. 1990–91 is based on allocations for resident population calculated using the new allocation formula, adjusted for the effect of cross boundary flows, so that they are on comparable basis to 1989–90.

3. Both 1989–90 and 1990–91 are before the additions for SIFT, supra-regional services and other special items specific to individual regions.

4. Calculated using actual populations within regional administrative boundaries.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Dementia

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Mr. Davis) of 2 February, Official Report, column 421, if he will estimate the numbers of deaths from Creutzfeldt-Jakob dementia in each of the last five years by (a) county and (b) health authority; and what information is kept on the identity and medical history of CJD sufferers.

Accurate information on numbers of cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and collated records of individuals' medical history are not at present available for the last five years. The study to be conducted by Dr. R. G. Will, with support from the Department of Health, will attempt to gather together this information from the recent past, as well as to collect it prospectively.

Whooping Cough Vaccine

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what changes there have been in the nature of the whooping cough vaccine since it was first recommended for general use by his Department.

[holding answer 30 March 1990]: For reasons of commercial confidentiality it is not the practice of the Department to disclose information about commercial products. Requests for such information about licensed products should be made directly to the company holding the licence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the estimated percentage efficacy of the whooping cough vaccine currently used in the United Kingdom; and from which research studies the figure was obtained.

[holding answer 30 March 1990]: The estimated efficacy of the current British whooping cough vaccine in preventing clinically typical disease is 80 per cent. The figure derives from a national study carried out in England and Wales during 1978–80.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what comparative studies there have been of the efficacy and toxicity of the whole-cell whooping cough vaccine used in Britain as against the acellular one used in other countries;

(2) when, and for what reasons, his Department decided to investigate the value of whooping cough vaccines other than the whole-cell one.

[holding answer 30 March 1990]: It was decided that acellular vaccines should be studied when it became known that such vaccines were becoming available. In a phase two trial, three acellular vaccines (one made in Britain, one in France and one in Japan) have been compared with British whole-cell vaccine for toxicity and immune response. A phase three (main trial) study to compare the protective efficacy of one or more of these acellular vaccines with whole-cell vaccine is now being planned in the United Kingdom. These investigations into whole-cell and acellular vaccines are being undertaken by the Medical Research Council

England—Average hospital costs
In-patient caseOut-patient caseDay case attendance
££££££
(cash)(at 1989–90 prices)(cash)(at 1989–90 prices)(cash)(at 1989–90 prices)
1979–80466·721,108·2861·58146·2335·8085·01
1980–81593·081,100·6878·22145·1745·1683·81
1981–82640·401,098·4087·55150·1651·7488·74
1982–83689·831,110·5894·23151·7059·5395·84
1983–84687·741,053·2998·21150·4158·7189·92
1984–85708·291,025·43102·25148·0360·6987·86
1985–86718·94989·89108·88149·9165·8090·60
1986–87759·52978·05116·14149·5670·6090·91
Patients using a bed-consultant episodeOut-patient referral
££££
(cash)(at 1989–90 prices)(cash)(at 1989–90 prices)
1987–88445·60528·8196·71114·76

Employment

Employment Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the average time in London that training agents take to assess employment training clients' training needs and draw up an action plan.

The length of time a client spends in assessment will always vary according to individual needs. Some clients may need to spend several days with a training agent before a realistic action plan can be agreed. Others with a clear and realistic idea of their own employment aims can be referred directly to training with minimal need for counselling, assessment etc.The average length of time that training agents in London take to assess employment training clients' needs and draw up an action plan is about five hours spread over one to two days.

Energy Grant

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the total expenditure by his Department on the administration of the energy grant through employment training in (a) 1988–89 and (b) 1989–90.

(MRC), which is the body funded by the Government to support clinical research. The MRC receives its grant in aid from the Department of Education and Science.

Nhs Costs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Livingston of 5 April, Official Report, columns 753–54, if he will publish the average cost figures shown there adjusted by the HCHS pay and prices index.

[holding answer 25 April 1990]: Pursuant to the reply of 5 April 1990 at columns 753–54, following is a table which shows the figures at 1989–90 prices revalued by the use of the hospital and community health services (HCHS) pay and prices index.The source and general notes to the earlier reply continue to apply.

Training And Enterprise Councils

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if trainees from ethnic minorities and trainees with special needs and projects covering both categories are excluded from the positive outcome criteria being used to deliver output-related funding for training and enterprise councils.

Scotland

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about the profile of 1990–91 revenue support grant payments to Scottish local authorities.

Having considered the case submitted by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities on 9 April and in particular the points they put to me about the effect of the introduction of the community charge transitional relief scheme on their billing arrangements, I have decided that the profile of revenue support grant payments for 1990–91 should be advanced so that authorities receive 25·2 per cent. of their total entitlement to grant by the end of May.

Trade And Industry

Osteopaths

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has plans to introduce legislation to permit osteopaths to advertise by direct mail; what representations he has had against such advertising from professional bodies; and if he will make a statement.

Representations against direct mail advertising have been received from the General Council and Register of Osteopaths (GCRO). The Secretary of State is considering these in the light of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's recommendations on advertising by professionally regulated osteopaths.

Export Licences

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will set up an inquiry into export licence applications and the way in which these are vetted within his Department.

The administration of export licensing by my Department was thoroughly reviewed in 1988 and the need for changes to ensure that the controls remain effective, and are efficiently administered, is kept under continuous study.

Internal Market Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry which Minister from his Department is to attend the EC Internal Market Council on 8 May.

The next meeting of the EC Internal Market Council is on 14 May; the United Kingdom will be represented by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Corporate Affairs.

Recycled Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are being considered for publishing nationally the advantages of recycling paper in order to stimulate demand for recycled paper products.

[holding answer 3 May 1990]: We are considering a large number of options aimed at stimulating all parts of the recycling chain not just for paper but for a wide range of materials. The outcome of this examination will be put forward in the White Paper on the environment, due to be published in the autumn.

Obscene Telephone Calls

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to receive a report from British Telecom on the findings of its task force on obscene telephone calls; and if he will place it in the Library.

[holding answer 3 May 1990]: This is a matter for the director general of Telecommunications, who has maintained a close interest in British Telecom's initiative on nuisance calls.

The report has been sent by British Telecom to the director general in view of his responsibilities under the Telecommunications Act 1984. He is currently considering the findings of the report.

"The Three Graces"

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will further defer a decision on the application for a licence to export Antonio Canova's "The Three Graces"; and if he will make a statement.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 March 1990, c. 344]: On 2 March I announced that in considering whether or not to grant an export licence for heritage items I proposed from now on to take account of an offer to buy the object from any source, whether public or private. I then invited representations from people who might be affected by this change of policy. I received a number of comments on the proposal and, with my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Arts, have considered them very carefully. I can now confirm that offers to an owner from any source, whether public or private, will be taken into account in making the decision on the export licence. I believe that it would be useful now to set out in some detail the context of this change of policy and the reasons for it.The purpose of the policy for controlling the export of heritage items is to provide a balanced system for retaining the most important items of our cultural heritage in this country. Retention has been the main consideration underlying the policy and will continue to be so in the future.The policy which I am confirming today will ensure that our export control system provides reasonable protection for our heritage in an increasingly competitive world art market.The Export of Goods (Control) Order 1989 prohibits, with very limited exceptions, the export without a licence of goods manufactured or produced more than 50 years before the date of export. The responsibility for granting or refusing a licence is mine, as the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; however, in exercising these functions I am advised by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Arts who in turn receives valuable advice from the reviewing committee on the export of works of art.Our system is based on the procedures recommended in the report of the Waverley committee in 1952. This report proposed criteria for determining whether an object is of national importance. Where an individual licence is required and the reviewing committee considers that the item meets any of the Waverley criteria the policy up till now has been to defer consideration of the application for the licence for a short period, usually up to six months. The purpose of this deferral was to give a public institution in the United Kingdom the chance to make an offer to the owner at a specified price which the reviewing committee had recommended as the fair market price. The aim has been that an export licence should not normally be refused unless the owner has received an offer at the fair market price, or has made it clear that he would not accept such an offer were it to be made.That such offers would be financed from public resources was assumed in the Waverley report. But it has always been possible for an offer to come from a private source. At all stages in the consideration of an application for a licence the applicant is free to accept, or indeed reject, an offer from any source at any price. There has never been any question of the Government having power to accept or reject offers or to make anyone else do so.The new policy is much the same as the old, with one important difference. Under the new policy there will be, as there is now, a deferral to enable an offer to be made to the owner at the fair market price recommended by the reviewing committee. It may be an offer from a public institution or from a private source. As now, the owner will be free to accept or refuse any offer. He may also, if he chooses, make it clear that he would not accept an offer from any source. If he does this or if there is an offer in existence following deferral, whether from a public or private source, this will be taken into account and normally a licence will be refused. Of course, if he accepts an offer the application for a licence will lapse. The new elements are that the existence of an offer from a private source will be taken into account when the decision on the export licence is made, as will a general refusal to consider offers from either source in advance of their being made.So the existence of any offer from any source will influence my decision on whether an export licence should be granted. I should emphasise that the only decision I am empowered to take is whether to grant an export licence or not. I have no power to decide who is to be the owner of the item.I must emphasise, too, that where a private offer for a heritage item is successful and the new owner then, at any time, wishes to sell or take the object abroad, he will be subject to the normal export licensing requirements.The consequence of public ownership, which was assumed and encouraged by the Waverley report, has been to ensure public access to the objects purchased. Obviously I am keen that the public should have access to important heritage items, and the extent to which private offers involve some kind of arrangement enabling the public to have access could be an important factor in my consideration. Indeed, my right hon. Friend will be glad to use his good offices to assist in establishing such arrangements. But even where a private offer does not involve any kind of public access we should not presume that ultimately such access would never occur or that the item in question would never be publicly owned. Where an owner of a heritage item wishes to export it and refuses an offer from a private source which involves significant and continuing public access arrangements, I believe that normally he should not be granted a licence to export the item and even when minimal or no public access is provided for in an offer, I will wish to take the existence of that offer into account in deciding whether to grant an export licence. But I must reiterate that the main purpose of the controls is to retain these few important items in this country.I believe that this extension of our policy to take account of private offers can only enrich our heritage. We have a long and continuing tradition in this country of private collections of antiques and works of art. Private ownership in this as in all other spheres is to be encouraged. It is neither possible nor desirable for the retention of major items of our heritage to be dependent on one source of funding—the taxpayer.By encouraging the continuing injection of private money into the acquisition of heritage items, we will be creating a greater funding base for them. I am confident that this will enable a larger number of these outstanding heritage items to remain in this country.

It is my intention in due course to issue a revised "notice to exporters" containing guidance on the detail of procedures which will be put into effect as a result of the change of policy outlined above. When issued, a copy of this notice will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

I have carefully considered all the circumstances of the application for a licence to export "The Three Graces" by Canova, including the representations made by interested parties. I have noted the existence of the offer by Messrs. Barclay to purchase the statue at the price recommended by the reviewing committee. The choice before me, as I have said, is to refuse or to grant an export licence.

I have taken into account also the recommendation of my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Arts that a licence be refused. In all the circumstances, I have decided that the new policy should apply to this export licence application and decided to refuse the licence. If I had taken a decision to grant an export licence "The Three Graces" would have gone abroad.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Lithuania

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with Sajudis, the pro-independence movement in Lithuania.

Our officials have met members of Sajudis in London and the Soviet Union on a number of occasions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has made any representations to the Soviet Union about the situation in Lithuania.

We have constantly stressed the need for progress to be made through dialogue between the Soviet authorities and the Lithuanians, so that a settlement acceptable to both sides can be reached, enabling the Lithuanian people to decide their own future. We do not believe that coercive measures will contribute to such an outcome. We have emphasised that restraint is necessary on both sides.

Multiple Warheads

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterparts in other Governments and NATO about the possibility of agreement restricting multiple warheads on (a) land-based missiles and (b) sea-based missiles; and if he will make a statement.

Poland

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth of 27 April, Official Report, column 372, about Community support for Poland, if he will detail the specific measures which have been put in place by the Community to help Poland.

In order to support the political and economic reforms in Poland, the European Community has: removed/suspended all quantitative restrictions on Polish imports to the Community; donated £117 million of free food to Poland; granted generalised scheme of preferences status and reduced some associated tariffs/ levies on Polish imports; approved £210 million for structural project aid expenditure on agriculture, environment and training in Poland and Hungary in 1990; granted a £750 million lending facility with the European investment bank.The establishment of the European Training Foundation, the TEMPUS student exchange programme and the European bank for reconstruction and development will also benefit Poland.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth of 27 April, Official Report, column 372, over what period the £117 million of free food has been provided to Poland; and what plans exist for further shipments of such food over the course of the next 12 months.

In the period August 1989 to March 1990, £117 million of food was delivered by the European Community to Poland. The Polish Government have not requested any further food aid.

Antarctica

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further protection will be given to Antarctica when the Antarctic minerals convention is ratified.

The Antarctic treaty system currently provides no formal means of protecting the Antarctic environment against mineral activities.The Antarctic minerals convention (CRAMRA) would provide for a rigorous regulatory mechanism to control, or prevent, mineral exploration and development. Consent to proceed with any mineral activity would, under CRAMRA, be permitted only after consensus agreement by all Antarctic treaty consultative parties (numbering 22) and then only if the activity in question was judged not to have a significant impact on the environment. CRAMRA incorporates some of the strictest environmental protection provisions known in international law and its ratification would greatly enhance existing provisions for the protection of the Antarctic environment.

Greenland

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the United Kingdom's current relationship with Greenland; when a Minister of the Crown or senior official last visited there; and if any such visit is planned in the near future.

Greenland is an autonomous region of Denmark, with which the United Kingdom enjoys good relations. The last visit to Greenland by a senior United Kingdom representative was by Her Majesty's ambassador at Copenhagen in February 1990. During that visit, the ambassador installed the first honorary British consul. There are no plans for other visits in the immediate future.

Csce Conference

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the recent conference on security and co-operation in Europe in Bonn.

I refer my hon. Friend to the written answers given to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Dr. Thomas) on 27 April and 1 May at columns 369 and 480.

Iceland

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the United Kingdom's current relationship with Iceland; when a Minister of the Crown or senior official last visited there; and if any such visit is planned in the near future.

The United Kingdom and Iceland have close and friendly bilateral relations reflecting historical ties and common interests. My hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces visited Iceland in April 1989, and Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are to pay a state visit to Iceland in June this year. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be in attendance.

Diplomatic Immunity (Drink-Driving Offences)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals his Department has for amending the diplomatic immunity conventions to withdraw immunity from drink-driving offences.

Israel

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether there are any negotiations to encourage Israel to support the amendment of the partial test ban treaty to a comprehensive test ban treaty at the test ban treaty conference, January 1991.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether there are any negotiations to seek to persuade Israel to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

The United Kingdom is not currently involved in any such negotiations, but we have frequently made clear our view that the best way to achieve a nuclear weapons-free zone in the middle east is for all states in the region to accede to the non-proliferation treaty.

Know-How Fund (Seminars)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether seminars for Polish Members of Parliament funded through the know-how fund on introduction to British parliamentary concepts, took place in the United Kingdom or Poland; and how many British hon. Members were involved.

A seminar for Polish Members of Parliament on British parliamentary and political organisation, financed by the know-how fund and organised by the Great Britain/East Europe Centre, took place in the United Kingdom last October. Approximately 17 British hon. Members were involved in either discussions in the House or constituency visits.A further seminar for Polish parliamentary officials, requested by the Polish Senate, will take place in the United Kingdom later this month. It will also be organised by the Great Britain/East Europe Centre with the close involvement of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the overseas office of the House of Commons.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Iraq's nuclear installations at Osiraq and Tuwaitha were last inspected by IAEA; and when they are expected to be inspected again.

The most recent inspection of nuclear facilities in Iraq by the International Atomic Energy Agency was in the early part of April 1990. Dates of future inspections are treated as confidential between the state concerned and the IAEA inspectorate.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Drift Nets

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list areas designated by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea in which drift nets are used by United Kingdom fishing boats.

United Kingdom vessels may use drift nets in any ICES zone save where there are specific provisions applicable to United Kingdom waters out to six miles.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the management measures applied specifically to the United Kingdom herring drift net fishery.

All British fishing boats over 10 m overall length are prohibited from fishing for herring unless authorised by a licence. No new licences are available; to obtain one a fisherman would have to take over a licence given up by another fisherman, or buy an already licensed boat. In addition, boats 10 m and under need a licence to fish for herring in the Irish sea—including the area known as the Mourne—and the Thames and Clyde estuaries. Exceptionally in the Mourne and Thames estuary, fisheries drift netting is the only permitted method of fishing. Fisheries departments closely monitor uptake from all United Kingdom herring fisheries and regulate catches where necessary with the aim of maximising fishing opportunities to the extent compatible with national quotas and a responsible conservation policy.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the average length of drift nets in use on United Kingdom fishing boats.

The length of drift nets varies widely by locality. An average figure cannot be readily calculated, but it is estimated that a substantial proportion are between 200 and 400 m. These figures refer to the overall length of netting used which normally comprises several individual nets joined together.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether there is a restriction on the total length of net which may be used or carried by United Kingdom drift net fishing boats.

As the drift net fisheries around the United Kingdom are relatively small scale, they do not give rise to the same environmental concerns as the very large-scale drift netting operations for tuna in the Pacific, in respect of which restrictive action has been taken. There is therefore no general restriction, but some specific restrictions are provided for under legislation concerned with salmon, trout, freshwater fish and eels.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has on the incidence of drift nets in use on United Kingdom fishing boats being joined together in use to form a single length of a longer net; and if he will make a statement.

It is the common practice to join together a number of individual drift nets, each typically about 50 m in length, to form a longer net, most frequently between 200 and 400 m. This facilitates net handling and repairs.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the type of net filament in use on United Kingdom drift netting boats and the mesh size of these nets for each species fished.

United Kingdom drift netters generally use either monofilament or multifilament nets. Monofilament nets predominate except in Scottish inshore waters where they are banned. The filaments are usually of nylon, but non-synthetic yarn is still used in certain areas.The mesh sizes used normally range from 40 to 60 mm for herring and mackeral, 90 to 130 mm for bass arid mullet, and 100 to 130 mm for salmon and trout.

Badgers

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 19 April, Official Report, column 980, what conclusion he has drawn from the Stormont study's findings that the presence of a substantial population of infected badgers was not associated with tuberculosis breakdown in the study area.

An internal study by the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland concluded that the main origin of breakdowns in the limited study area appeared to be cattle-to-cattle contact. There is no reason to doubt the validity of this conclusion for the area studied. Nor is there any contradiction between this conclusion and the firm evidence that exists of badgers being implicated in outbreaks of tuberculosis in other areas of the United Kingdom.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the connection between local badger populations and the level of local cattle infected with tuberculosis.

In 1989, badgers were implicated in 69 of the 96 new confirmed cattle breakdowns in south-west England and in one of the 28 occurring elsewhere in Great Britain.

Cattle Exports

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what restrictions are currently enforced by West Germany on the import from the United Kingdom of live cattle or cattle products.

Under a European Community decision, exports of cattle from the United Kingdom to West Germany and other member states are restricted to animals under six months which are slaughtered before they reach that age. West Germany did seek additional certification requirements for exports of beef and offal, which for a time restricted trade, but for the principal trade in boneless beef this is no longer required.

Salmon Netting

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he intends to announce the results of his review into commercial salmon netting.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to my right hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow) on 26 April, at column 317.

Restricted Commodities (Ec)

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all those commodities currently restricted in their intra-Community trade by the application of article 36 indicating in each case the state applying the ban.

Milk And Dairy Inspections

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the amount charged for milk and dairy hygienic inspections for each year from 1979 to the present; how many inspections were carried out during the same time period; and if he will make a statement.

Charges for inspection and sampling visits to farms to enforce milk and dairies regulations were introduced on 30 March 1987. Levels of charge since then have been as follows:

30 March 1987 to 31 March 1989From 1 April 1989
1. Routine dairy husbandry inspection visit
(a) higher rate£90£78
(b) lower rate£80£60
First follow-up visit
Second and subsequent follow-up visits
(a) higher rate£78
(b) lower rate£60
2. Routine sampling visit£22£26
Follow-up visit
Numbers of routine and follow-up inspection and sampling visits to farms in England and Wales over the same period were as follows:
1987–881988–891989–90
1. Dairy husbandry inspection visits24,13118,33519,641
2. Sampling visits8,3797,4426,899
My officials are currently consulting interested parties about proposals to increase charges.