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Written Answers

Volume 173: debated on Wednesday 6 June 1990

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 6 June 1990

Northern Ireland

North Eastern Education And Library Board

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what evidence was reported by the Royal Ulster Constabulary investigating team of fraud, misappropriation or financial losses attributable to the management of mechanical and electrical services by the former principal engineer of the North Eastern education and library board;(2) what was the total cost of Royal Ulster Constabulary investigation into allegations made against the former principal engineer of the North Eastern education and library board; if he will publish the conclusions arrived at by the Royal Ulster Constabulary investigation team; and if he will make a statement.

An RUC investigation into allegations of irregularities in North Eastern education and library board contracting commenced in June 1986. As a result of the investigation, in August 1987 the RUC forwarded a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions who directed "No prosecution". Details of the costs of the police investigation are not available.

Seat Belts

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the wearing of seat belts by drivers and front-seat passengers in Northern Ireland.

Lives should be saved if all drivers and front-seat passengers wear their seat belts. The Northern Ireland seat belt survey, based on data collected in August 1989, indicates a gradual decline in seat belt usage since May 1983 when 92 per cent. of car drivers wore belts compared with the most recent results when 84 per cent. of observed front-seat passengers were wearing seat belts. Seat belts usage overall in Northern Ireland is lower than the rest of the United Kingdom; 81 per cent. of all observed drivers of all vehicle types in Northern Ireland wore seat belts, compared with a 93 per cent. usage rate of all driver observed in Great Britain.In addition to the evidence produced by the survey, RUC statistics for 1988 showed that in those cases of front-seat fatalities where it was possible to determine whether seat belts had been worn almost half of those killed were not wearing seat belts.Failure by front-seat occupants to wear seat belts is against the law though there are certain exemptions. The RUC, in the light of the recent report, will be increasing its vigilance to detect law breakers and to advise and protect them from the folly of their actions.We shall continue to draw attention to the dangers of failing to wear seat belts within our programme of road casualty reduction.

Departmental Savings

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what were the value-for-money savings in his Department's operations identified by internal audit and internal efficiency arrangements, and by external audit and by management consultants retained by his Department between 1983–84 and 1988–89; and what is the amount of those savings fulfilled to date.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: The improvements resulting from inquiries and studies of the kind the hon. Member mentions are taken into account in the setting of annual budgets and internal targets. The results are not collected centrally.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what mechanisms exist in his office for identifying and tracking value-for-money savings in its operations.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: The annual public expenditure round plays a key role in promoting value for money through the top down pressure exerted by taut allocations on programme and administrative expenditure. Departments are required to achieve efficiency savings of at least 1·5 per cent., per annum in their running costs, and to produce management plans detailing how these savings are to be achieved. Potential savings can be identified from a variety of sources such as efficiency studies, audit reports, purchasing studies, market testing of in-house operations and policy reviews, as well as by routine management action. All such activities inform the detailed planning and scrutiny of programme and running cost expenditure.

Education And Science

Grant-Maintained Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schools in England and Wales have held ballots on grant-maintained status.

Parental ballots have been held at 90 schools in England and four schools in Wales.

Chalvedon School

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to make a decision on the application of Chalvedon school for grant-maintained status.

The governing body of Chalvedon school has not yet published proposals for grant-maintained status. When it does so my right hon. Friend will consider them carefully, together with any objections that are received.

Independent Schools (National Curriculum)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what assessment he has made of the likely impact on educational diversity and choice of independent schools adopting the national curriculum.

My right hon. Friend is committed to the breadth and diversity of educational choice provided by the independent sector. He is pleased that many independent schools are choosing to adopt the national curriculum.

Special Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether membership of the joint working party for residential special schools will be affected by any new arrangements for determining the pay and conditions of teachers; what bodies form the membership of the joint working party for residential special schools; and how membership of the joint working party for residential special schools was determined.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to him on 23 March 1990, Official Report, column 760.

Education Ministers (Meeting)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the outcome of the meeting of Education Ministers in Brussels on 31 May.

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and I attended the meeting on 31 May of the Council and the Ministers of Education meeting within the Council. The Ministers adopted conclusions on meetings of senior officials in the education sector, on the treatment of equality of educational opportunity in the training of teachers, and on the preparation of a new convention for the European schools. The Ministers also adopted a resolution on the integration of children and young people with disabilities into ordinary systems of education. There were also discussions on education for enterprise and distance education and training.The conclusions relating to the European schools invite the commission to draft a new convention which would codify the existing statute and its amending instruments. The conclusions envisage that the draft convention should be finalised with a view to its adoption by the intergovernmental conference to be held before the end of 1991. Unanimity would be required for the adoption of a new convention, which would be subject to ratification by all of the member states. All the member states noted the possibility that the draft convention could incoporate a change in the voting arrangements on the board of governors of the European schools from unanimity to a qualified majority of two thirds, subject to the safeguarding of the specific interests of member states on whose territory European schools are situated. All the member states except the United Kingdom noted the possibility that the Community could become a contracting party to the agreement establishing the European schools alongside the member states. The Government favour the adoption of majority voting in the board of governors, but is not convinced that contracting party status for the Community is necessary or would bring any practical benefit to the management of the European schools.

The Arts

National Museums

To ask the Minister for the Arts how many qualified accountants are employed by each of the national museums; and when each institution was last audited.

I am advised that the number of qualified accountants currently employed by each of the national museums is as follows:

Number
British museumnil
Imperial war museumnil
National maritime museum1
National museums and galleries on Merseyside2
Natural history museum1
Science museum3
Victoria and Albert museum1
All national museums are audited annually by the National Audit Office, the last time being 1989.

To ask the Minister for the Arts how many staff were seconded from national museums to regional institutions and vice versa during 1989.

I understand that during 1989 four national museums staff were seconded out to regional institutions; and that two members of staff from regional institutions were seconded to work in national museums. I welcome exchanges of staff of this kind.

To ask the Minister for the Arts how many outreach programmes by national museums were initiated (a) to schools and (b) to regional museums during 1989.

Detailed information on outreach programmes by national museums initiated during 1989 are not held centrally, but the following cases are examples of the wide range of programmes undertaken to schools and regional museums last year.The British museum provided teachers' packs, training aids and professional advice to about 6,000 teachers individually and in connection with about 2,000 schools groups visiting the museum. The museum's two travelling exhibitions "Celtic Britain" and "Thomas Rowlandson Prints" toured to four regional venues.The natural history museum's travelling discovery centre was initiated last year in conjunction with sponsorship from the Clore Foundation.The science museum undertook an extensive programme of 10 travelling exhibitions to 29 venues during 1988–89.The Victoria and Albert museum loaned a total of 1,875 objects to 184 venues, of which three were schools and colleges, during 1989.In addition to these examples the Museums and Galleries Commission's travelling exhibitions unit is actively encouraging national museums to regularly tour their temporary exhibitions to regional venues.

Arts Council

To ask the Minister for the Arts when he last met the chairman of the Arts Council; and what was discussed.

I meet Mr. Palumbo from time to time, to discuss matters of mutual interest.

Media Programme

To ask the Minister for the Arts what assessment he has made of the assistance that the European Community's MEDIA programme has given to enable British film producers to work in Europe.

The MEDIA programme is an initiative of the European Commission. They have not yet produced a full evaluation of the results achieved in film and television distribution, production, training and so on, so it is not easy to assess at this stage the precise assistance given to British film producers.

To ask the Minister for the Arts if the Government will support the European Commission's proposal to increase the budget of its MEDIA 92 programme to 250 million ecu over the next five years.

The European Commission made proposals last month for an action programme to promote the development of the European audiovisual industry at a cost of 250 million ecu over the years 1991–95. This is based on its existing MEDIA programme, the outcome of which has yet to be evaluated. I am considering with colleagues what our approach should be to its new proposals.

To ask the Minister for the Arts what support he has given to the work of (a) Media Guarantee, (b) Media Venture, (c) Media Investment Club, (d) CARTOON, (e) European Audivisual Entrepreneurs, (f) Euro Aim, (g) Broadcasting Across the Barriers of the European Language, (h) the European Film Distribution Office and (i) the European Script Fund under the MEDIA 92 project.

The MEDIA programme is a specific initiative of the European Commission which has not been presented to member states for approval. It is funded direct by the Commission from the general budget, to which the United Kingdom is a contributor. Her Majesty's Government do not provide direct support to these individual MEDIA projects.

Energy Consumption

To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will give for each year from 1978 the energy consumption, broken down by fuel, of the buildings occupied by the offices for which he is responsible, expressing the figures in (a) cash terms, (b) 1978–79 money terms and (c) units of consumption for electricity in kilowatt hours, gas in therms, liquid fuel in litres and solid fuel in tonnes.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: The figures requested by the hon. Member are available only in (a) cash terms and (b) 1978–79 money terms, for the following years:

ElectricityGasLiquid fuel
£££
1987–885,0691,349659
(2,470)(657)(321)
1988–896,717970845
(3,056)(441)(384)

Electricity

Gas

Liquid fuel

£

£

£

1989–9015,877872778
(2,511)(373)(332)

Note: () denotes 1978–79 money terms.

1 1989–90 expenditure relates to eleven months consumption only.

To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will give the number of dedicated energy managers in the offices for which he is responsible and the number of person-years devoted to energy management in the latest year.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: The Office of Arts and Libraries has no dedicated energy manager. It is advised by the Cabinet Office in such matters.

To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will give the number of energy audits carried out in the offices for which he is responsible in the last five years and for each audit statement of its main conclusions.

[holding answer 5 June 19901]: No energy audits have been carried out in the Office of Arts and Libraries, but surveys to improve energy efficiency have been undertaken and measures to reduce energy consumption have been, and are being, taken.

Departmental Savings

To ask the Minister for the Arts what were the value for money savings in his Department's operations identified by internal audit and internal efficiency arrangements by external audit and by management consultants retained by his Department between 1983–84 and 1988–89; and what is the amount of those savings fulfilled to date.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: Improvements resulting from inquiries and studies of the kind referred to are taken into account in the setting of the office's annual budgets and internal targets. It is not possible, however, to quantify savings fulfilled in the way suggested because of the effect of wider organisational changes within the office.

To ask the Minister for the Arts what mechanisms exist in the Office of Arts and Libraries for identifying and tracking value for money savings in its operations.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: The Office of Arts and Libraries has no mechanisms for identifying and tracking value-for-money savings, but is advised by the internal audit and staff inspection teams of the Cabinet Office.

National Finance

Unemployment Benefits

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide estimates for each of the years 1987–88, 1988–89 and 1989–90 of the amount of income tax collected from the taxation of unemployment benefits.

The latest estimates of the yield from taxing unemployment benefit and supplementary benefit or income support paid in lieu of unemployment benefit are as follows:

£ million
1987–88320
1988–89220
1989–90180
These estimates are based on national amounts of benefits paid each year to the unemployed and information on income of the unemployed derived from the results of the 1987 family expenditure survey. The figures are subject to revision.

Inflation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he now expects inflation to fall below 5 per cent.

The "Financial Statement and Budget Report" forecast that all-items RPI inflation would be 5 per cent. in the second quarter of 1991 and would fall further thereafter.

Investment

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on current levels of investment.

Total investment in 1989 was at record levels. Since 1979 total investment has increased by over 40 per cent. or an average of 3½ per cent. a year. This compares to the last Labour Government's record where investment grew by an average of only ¼ per cent. a year.

Poor People

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what fiscal policies the Government have to protect the poorest in society.

The main objective of the Government's fiscal policies is to improve the performance of the economy, which benefits everybody, including the poorest. Since 1979, the basic rate of income tax has been cut from 33 to 25 per cent., benefiting all taxpayers; the main personal allowances have been increased by about 25 per cent. in real terms, taking about 2 million individuals out of tax, compared to the 1978–79 regime indexed for inflation; and the structure of national insurance contributions has been reformed, benefiting in particular the low paid.

Overseas Financial Assets

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the present stock of the overseas financial assets; and what was the level of such assets in 1979.

The estimated level of identified United Kingdom external assets, net of identified liabilities, at the end of 1989 was about £110 billion ("Financial Statement and Budget Report 1990", paragraph 3·39), compared with about £.12½ billion at the end of 1979. Later information will be published in the balance of payments Pink Book in August.

Paye

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what instructions the Inland Revenue has issued relating to PAYE to be applied on fees paid to one-man service companies; and under what statutory authority such instructions were formulated.

Schedule E (PAYE) applies to the emoluments of an individual arising from either an employment or an office. Whether in any particular case there is a contract of employment with an individual, or his services are supplied under a contract with a one-man service company, are questions to be decided by reference to all the facts and circumstances.

Tax Debts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the tax debts at the latest date for which figures are available for (a) overall income tax, (b) PAYE and (c) corporation tax.

The amounts of tax outstanding at the annual balance date to the end of October 1988 (the latest published figures), together with provisional figures for the year to October 1989, are as follows:

£ billion
Assessed taxesOctober 1988October 1989 (provisional figures)
Income tax2·32·3
Corporation tax1·51·6
CGT0·10·2
PAYE
Closed years0·80·8
Current year0·60·7
Total5·35·6
The outstanding balances at October are equivalent to 7·75 per cent. and 7·25 per cent. respectively of the total tax due for 1988–89 and 1989–90. They include over £1 billion which had only recently become due, and the bulk (about four-fifths) attracts interest. The amounts actually remitted or written off—mostly due to insolvency—in these years were less than 1 per cent. of the tax due.

Financial Statistics

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish for each year since 1978–79, including estimates for 1990–91, showing revenue at current and at constant, April 1990, prices from (a) local authority domestic rates/community charge, (b) local authority commercial rates/uniform business rate, (c) employers' national insurance contributions, (d) employees' national insurance contributions, (e) self-employed national insurance contributions and (f) personal income tax.

In so far as it is available, the information requested is given in the tables. In the second table the figures are expressed in constant 1989–90 prices.

£ billion

Domestic rates1

Business rates

Employers' NICs2

Employees' NICs3

Income tax

1978–792·363·438·244·0918·75
1979–802·843·9910·264·8520·60
1980–813·715·0412·055·9424·30
1981·824·606·0812·777·5228·72
1982–835·216·8812·029·2030·36
1983–845·017·2512·4510·5331·11
1984–855·327·6312·2011·2932·51
1985–865·658·2312·5312·1135·35
1986–876·549·1613·8212·7938·50
1987–887·299·8315·3314·1341·40
1988–898·3510·5517·2815·6543·43
1989–9059·1711·2918·3314·7148·69
1990–9l611·2812·1420·6215·2754·98

1989–90 prices4

£ billion

Domestic rates1

Business rates

Employers' NICs2

Employees' NIC3

Income tax

1978–895·518·0119·249·5543·73
1979–805·687·9820·519·7141·15
1980–816·278·5220·3610·0441·01
1981–827·099·3719·6811·5944·22
1982–837·509·9017·2913·2443·64
1983–846·889·9617·1114·4742·69
1984–856·969·9815·9514·7642·46
1985–867·0210·2215·5615·0443·86
1986–877·8611·0116·6115·3646·21
1987–888·3011·1917·4516·1047·10
1988–898·8911·2418·4116·6746·21
1989–9059·1711·2918·3314·7148·69
1990–91610·5911·4019·3614·3452·04

1 Includes community charge.

2 Includes national insurance surcharge in the period to 1984–85.

3 Includes national insurance contributions by self-employed for which separate data are only available from 1986–87 to 1988–89.

4 Treasury estimate of GDP deflator in 1989–90 is used to convert current prices to constant 1989–90 prices.

5 Estimate.

6 Budget forecast.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish figures, at constant 1990 prices, for each year since 1979, showing (a) revenue from North sea oil and gas, (b) revenue from privatisation, (c)

£ billion at 1989 prices
North sea revenues1Privatisation proceeds1PSBR1Current accountRPI inflation in AprilInterest rates at end of April2
19794·60·819·9-1·110·112
19806·30·721·24·821·817
198110·00·813·310·312·012
198211·30·712·86·69·413
198312·11·613·35·24·010
198415·72·813·22·65·28·5–8·75
198514·13·47·03·96·912·5–12·75
19865·75·34·3-0·13·010·5
19875·35·9-3·9-5·04·29·5
19883·47·6-15·4-1·603·98
19892·34·2-7·9-20·98·013
19909·415
1 Data in first three columns are for financial years. A Treasury estimate of the GDP deflator in 1989–90 has been used to convert current price figures to constant 1989–90 prices as the outturn is not yet available.
2 Base rates of selected retail banks.

Cannabis

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps are taken to minimise environmental pollution when seized cannabis is disposed of.

public sector borrowing requirement, (d) balance of payments current account, (e) the rate of inflation at April of each year and (f) interest rates at April of each year.

In so far as it is available, the information requested is given in the table. The appropriate figures are expressed in 1989 (or 1989–90) prices.

Most cannabis seized by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise is destroyed by incineration within Queen's warehouses. The incinerators used are designed to comply with the emission requirements of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, ensuring total burnout of solid and gaseous material.Customs staff are instructed to consult with local authorities for advice where destruction of drugs might lead to environmental hazard.

Inland Revenue

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether Inland Revenue databanks cover by name people living long term in lodging houses;(2) how many individuals are included by name on Inland Revenue databanks;(3) whether Inland Revenue databanks include the home as well as place of work addresses of all people recorded in them.

The Inland Revenue records an address for all individuals whom it may need to contact in connection with their own tax liabilities or their accountability for PAYE as an employer. The type of accommodation is of no relevance to the Department.A taxpayer's computer record will include his personal address. It will not show his place of work address, unless he is a self-employed person working from his home. It is not possible to say at any given time exactly how many individuals are on record, but we would expect currently to have approximately 33 million.

National Savings

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will take further measures to change National Savings products.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget increases of 1 per cent. in the interest rate on the national savings investment account and income bonds. Changes to the terms of some other key national savings products which encourage long-term savings are being made over the next three to four weeks, as follows:

a new fixed interest savings certificate, offering a tax free guaranteed return of 9·5 per cent. a year if held for five years; a similar improvement in the associated regular monthly savings scheme, the yearly plan;
a new index-linked savings certificate revalued monthly by reference to the RPI, and offering tax free guaranteed extra interest of 4·5 per cent. a year, if held for five years;
a new series capital bond offering a guaranteed return of 13 per cent. a year (taxable, but credited without prior deduction of income tax), if held for five years.
These measures show the determination of my right hon. Friend to encourage more people to save, and people to save more. They maintain the momentum of the savers' Budget, and demonstrate that national savings will play a significant part in continuing to stimulate the savings habit.

Teachers' Salaries

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost to public funds in the current financial year and with retrospective effort to 6 April of transferring the total cost of teachers' salaries from local government to the Exchequer but leaving the current level of grant to local authorities unchanged; and what addition that would require to (a) income tax and (b) value added tax if the extra cost were divided equally between them.

[holding answer 23 May 1990]: If local authorities spent in line with the education component of total standard spending in England and Wales, and total current expenditure in Scotland, the total cost of teachers' salaries would be around £9½ billion. If there were no change to revenue support grant and the cost of teachers' salaries were divided equally between local authorities and the Exchequer, this would imply additional central Government expenditure of around £4¼ billion. This is equivalent to an increase of around 3p in the basic rate of income tax or an increase of around two percentage points in the VAT rate.

Energy Consumption

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the number of energy audits carried out in his Department in the last five years and for each audit a statement of its main conclusions.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: Surveys of the lighting efficiency of Treasury buildings were carried out in 1987. The main recommendation was that there was scope for greater lighting efficiency, mainly in the Parliament street building. This is being taken into account in the forthcoming rewiring.

Income Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish his estimates of the numbers of people paying income tax in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: The estimated number of individuals resident in England liable to income tax is 20·4 million for 1987–88, the latest available year. The corresponding estimates for Scotland and Wales are 2,160,000 and 940,000 respectively. Married women are included where their earned income exceeds the wife's earned income allowance and any personal allowances and reliefs unused against the husband's income.

Prime Minister

Greek Prime Minister

To ask the Prime Minister what subjects she discussed during her meeting with the Prime Minister of Greece in London on 16 May.

We discussed a wide range of topics including East-West relations, Cyprus, Greece's relations with Turkey, South Africa, the European Community, the case of Mr. Paul Ashwell, and the opportunities for strengthening bilateral links between our two countries.

South Africa

To ask the Prime Minister if, during her discussions with the President of South Africa on. 19 May at Chequers, she or Mr. De Klerk raised the matter of the prospects of South Africa joining the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.

No. But my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs raised the nuclear non-proliferation treaty with the South African Foreign Minister.

Executive Agencies

To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her answer on 15 May, Official Report, column 375, whether Ministers will continue to give substantive answers to questions on matters delegated to executive agencies where the Member concerned has indicated that he or she does not wish in the first instance to deal directly with the agency chief executive.

As I told the hon. Member on 15 May, Ministers remain fully accountable to Parliament for the work of their Department, including executive agencies and are, therefore, ready to reply to questions about any aspect of this work. But one of the objectives of establishing executive agencies is to respond better to the concerns of hon. and right hon. Members. Chief executives and agency managers will have the immediate detailed knowledge which the hon. Member is seeking, as well as the necessary delegated authority to take appropriate action. Where right hon. and hon. Members' concerns relate to an operational matter for which the Minister has delegated authority to the chief executive under the agency's published framework document, they will therefore best be met by going direct to the chief executive or, as appropriate, the local agency manager to get a prompt and effective response.

Energy Consumption

To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her answer of 30 April, Official Report, column 385, whether the figures quoted on energy consumpton for the Cabinet Office include accommodation occupied by the Privy Council Office.

To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her answer of 11 May, Official Report, column 256, what energy consumption figures are available for the buildings occupied by the Cabinet Office.

Energy consumption figures for 1989–90 are available for approximately 76 per cent. of Cabinet Office holdings. The consumption was:

Consumption
Electricity3,497,992kWh
Gas34,092therms
Liquid fuel488,110 litres

Efficiency Unit

To ask the Prime Minister what topics have been covered in the efficiency unit's central scrutiny programme in the last financial year; and how many of the scrutiny reports have been published.

Twenty-three efficiency scrutinies have been undertaken by Departments in 1989–90 in association with the efficiency adviser and the efficency unit. The programme of scrutinies, including those which are not yet completed, is as follows:

Department and title of scrutinyReport publicly available
Her Majesty's Customs and Excise Entry Processing Arrangements (Import and Export Freight)No
Department of Employment Take-up of Employment Department ProgrammesNo
Department of Energy UKAEA Programme Letters for Nuclear R&D and other nuclear workNo
Department of Education and Science Education Support Grants and LEA Training Grants SchemeYes
Department of the Environment Housing Management TrainingNo
Departments of Health and Social Security Provision and Cost-effectiveness of External ConsultancyYes
Department of Social Security Departmental DebtNo
Department of Trade and Industry Charging for Central ServicesYes
Department of Transport Vehicle Excise Duty EnforcementNo
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Financial Management at FCO HeadquartersNo
Home Office Government Funding of the Voluntary SectorYes
Prison Medical ServiceNo
Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce Middle Management StructureNo
Inland Revenue Repayment ClaimsNo
PAYE Payment DatesNo
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food EC Product Classifications for Export Refund PurposesYes
Ministry of Defence Married Quarters in London AreaNo
NAAFINo
Fixed Wing Aircraft MaintenanceNo
Overseas Development Administration Aid Expenditure ManagementNo
Property Services Agency Cost-competitiveness InitiativeNo
Scottish Office Roads DirectorateNo
Welsh Office Education Grants (Welsh Office)No
Decisions on the publication of scrutiny reports are taken by the Ministers responsible for the scrutinies concerned. In a number of cases, where a scrutiny has been recently completed or is not yet complete, no decision on publication has been made.A number of other scrutinies have also been conducted according to full scrutiny disciplines and with guidance from the efficiency unit:Metropolitan Police Scrutiny Programme

  • Thames Division

Other Police Forces

  • Communication
  • Training
  • Force Administration
  • Recruitment
  • Police Hostel Accommodation
  • Criminal Investigation Department
  • Community Relations
  • Prosecution Process
  • Accident Reporting Procedures
  • Force Inspectorate

Energy

Mines

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) how many people were employed in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales in (i) British Coal opencast mines, (ii) licensed private opencast coal mines, (iii) British Coal deep mines and (iv) licensed private deep coal mines in each of the last five years;(2) how many

(a) British Coal opencast mines, (b) licensed private opencast coal mines, (c) British Coal deep mines and (d) licensed private deep coal mines were in operation in (i) England, (ii) Scotland and (iii) Wales in each of the last five years.

Radioactive Wastes

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, pursuant to the reply to the hon. Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr. Barnes) of 21 May, Official Report, column 11, if he will set out those suggestions made by the International Atomic Energy Agency which have been incorporated by Nuclear Industry Radioactive Waste Executive into the future research programme.

British Gas

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Riddick) of 14 May, Official Report, column 315, if there are any issues discussed at his regular meetings with the chairman of British Gas which he does not consider fall within his responsibility in so far as he is ready to give answers to parliamentary questions.

Yes. My right hon. Friend and I discuss a range of matters relating to the gas industry and its development; such discussions are no different from those we also have routinely with representatives of other major United Kingdom energy companies.

Research

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give for each year from 1979–80 to 1991–92 inclusive the outturn estimate, provision or planned expenditure on research funded by his Department into (a) coal technology, (b) nuclear power and (c) energy efficiency expressing these figures in (i) money terms, (ii) 1990–91 real terms and (iii) as a percentage of his Department's total research expenditure.

Figures for the years up to and including 1990–91 are given in the table. Figures for 1991–92 are not available separately but are incorporated in table 5.1 of chapter 5 of the 1990 public expenditure White Paper (Cm. 1005).

Money terms £ million

1990–91 real terms £ million

Percentage of total R and D expenditure

(a) Coal technology

1979–801·83·81·0
1980–812·74·91·2
1981–824·98·02·1
1982–833·45·21·4
1983–843·45·01·4
1984–850·91·30·4
1985–860·81·10·4
1986–871·92·41·0
1987–881·41·70·8
1988–890·91·00·5
1989–902·62·81·5
1990–917·67·64·2

(b) Nuclear energy

1979–80145·5310·683·6
1980–81188·0339·184·7
1981–82203·2333·885·1
1982–83212·4325·486·9
1983–84203·8298·385·7
1984–85196·2273·684·6
1985–86189·6250·985·4
1986–87159·7204·483·0
1987–88141·0171·479·9
1988–89159·3180·783·8
1989–90140·9150·174·5
1990–91128·9128·972·0

(c) Energy efficiency

1979–801·43·00·8
1980–813·15·61·4
1981–822·54·11·0
1982–834·56·91·8
1983–847·010·22·9
1984–856·28·62·7
1985–863·34·41·5
1986–873·84·92·0
1987–884·15·02·3
1988–892·93·31·5
1989–908·08·54·5
1990–9111·011·06·1

Notes:

1. 1979–80 and 1980–81 figures include some non-R and D expenditure but do not include associated Departmental staff costs.

2. 1981–82 to 1987–88 are taken from the "Annual Review of Government Funded R and D" and cover R and D plus associated Departmental staff costs (ie Frascati R and D). 1988–89 figures are calculated on the same basis.

3. 1989–90 figures are forecast outturn and 1990–91 figures are taken from Estimates. These are R and D only and do not include associated Departmental staff costs. The 1989–90 figure may be subject to end year adjustment.

Generation Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give, for the latest available year, a regional breakdown of figures consistent with those on fuel used for generation in table 53 of the "Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 1989".

Information on fuel used for electricity generation by region is not collected by the Department.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give 1988–89 figures consistent with the figures for previous years on the fuel used for generation in table 53 of the "Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 1989".

The quantities of fuel used for electricity generation by the public supply system in 1988–89 were as follows:

Type of fuelMillion tonnes of coal or coal equivalent
Coal180·69
Oil for firing boilers26·81
Oil for lighting up boilers31·47
Natural gas40·01
Nuclear19·67
Hydro2·33
Other50·16
Total fuel used111·14
1 Used in coal fired stations, and coal fired sections of mixed fired stations.
2 Used in oil fired stations, and oil fired sections of mixed fired stations, plus all oil used in Northern Ireland.
3 Used in coal fired stations, and pulverised coal fired sections of mixed fired stations. Also used for flame control and overburning. Oil used at coal fired power stations in Northern Ireland is included with oil for firing boilers.
4 Used in mixed fired stations.
5 Includes oil used in diesel engine and gas turbine stations or sections (excluding Northern Ireland—see footnotes 2 and 3).

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give, for the latest available year, figures for each power station on the fuel used for generation consistent with those in table 53 of the "Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 1989".

Information on fuel used for electricity generation by individual power stations is not collected by the Department.

Electricity Privatisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether any individual who has advised the Conservative party on advertising or public relations was involved in selecting the company awarded the advertising contract for electricity privatisation.

In deciding which company to appoint as advertising agency for the flotation of the regional electricity campaign, I and the companies were advised by a panel of officials and advisers of Government Departments and the regional electricity companies. One of these advisers was Mr. Tim Bell the chairman of Lowe Bell Communications who are the Department's marketing advisers. Mr. Bell has provided general advice to the Conservative party.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what budgetary provision has been made for the cost of the advertising campaigns to promote the flotation of the electricity supply industry in England and Wales.

All expenses in respect of the advertising campaigns for the sale of the electricity supply industry will be met from the proceeds of the sale.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether any individual who has advised the Conservative party on advertising or public relations is involved in the company awarded the advertising contract for electricity privatisation.

The Government and the regional electricity companies have already announced the appointment of WCRS Mathews Marcantonio as advertising agency for the flotation of the companies. The chairman of the agency is Mr Robin Wright who provided some advice on advertising issues to the Conservative party over two years ago.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy in the case of each of those companies advising him and also advising electricity boards on electricity privatisation what is the percentage of fees borne by his Department; and what was the equivalent percentage in 1988–89 and 1989–90.

Where the appointment is solely by the Department it meets 100 per cent. of the costs involved. Where, however, the appointment is made jointly by the Department and the industry, the costs are apportioned between the parties. The precise split in costs varies from contract to contract and is commercially confidential between the Department, the company or companies concerned and the firm of advisers appointed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether before entering into a binding contract with an advertising agency for the campaigns to privatise the electricity supply industry on the basis of competitive tenders, the agency was given an indication of the likely budget for the campaigns.

Electricity Generation

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the cost of one kilowatt hour of electricity generated by (a) coal, (b) oil, (c) gas and (d) nuclear power, respectively; and what are his Department's latest estimates for (i) wind power, (ii) wave power and (iv) tidal power.

The costs of generating electricity from coal, oil, nuclear and gas are a matter for the industries. The Department's latest estimates for wind, wave and tidal power are as contained in Energy Paper No. 55, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Mr Andrew Balfour

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Don Valley on 6 March, Official Report, column 559, whether he has yet made a decision in respect of the future career of Mr. Andrew Balfour.

Mr. Balfour was informed by letter dated 16 March that he had been suspended from his duties in accordance with departmental regulations pending inquiries into what further action should be taken. Mr. Balfour has now replied formally. The case will be dealt with under internal diplomatic service procedures.

Bulgaria

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what commitment he has made on the provision of economic aid to Bulgaria following the elections on 10 June.

We have made no commitment. What assistance we offer will depend on whether the elections on 10 and 17 June are free and fair and how far the new Government are committed to economic and political reform.

Civil Nuclear Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent changes there have been in the responsibilities of his Department for international civil nuclear affairs and safeguards matters.

The overall responsibilities of this Department have not changed. There has, however, been an internal reorganisation, as a result of which non-proliferation and safeguards matters are handled by the non-proliferation department and civil nuclear matters are handled by the environment, science and energy department.

Hong Kong (Laboratory Tests)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to discuss with the appropriate authorities in the Crown territories of Hong Kong the introduction of a standardised laboratory testing scheme along the lines of the United Kingdom national measurement accreditation service.

No. The Hong Kong Government have already introduced a laboratory accreditation scheme along the lines of the United Kingdom national measurement accreditation service (NAMAS) and this has entered into a mutual recognition agreement with NAMAS.

Nuclear Energy Safeguards

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which states, party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, have nuclear energy programmes not within the safeguards regime of the International Atomic Energy Agency; and what steps have been taken to encourage such states to conclude such agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The only party to the non-proliferation treaty—the NPT—which has significant nuclear facilities and has not concluded a safeguards agreement with the IAEA is North Korea. We do not recognise North Korea as a state, but we have made clear our concern about the absence of a safeguards agreement, as required under article III of the NPT, at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Libya

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any information concerning (a) the possession of and (b) attempts to produce nuclear weapons by Libya.

No. Libya is a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and, as such, has undertaken not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons.

Nato Foreign Ministers

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list all the items on the agenda for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Foreign Ministers meeting in Scotland on 7 and 8 June.

This meeting will be an important opportunity to discuss the Vienna negotiations on conventional forces in Europe, and options for further conventional arms control; developments in east-west relations and the CSCE process; the security aspects of German unification; the need to adapt NATO in response to changes in Europe; and preparations for the NATO summit, to be held in London in early July. Ministers are also likely to consider the negotiations in confidence and security-building measures and "open skies"; nuclear issues; and NATO science, environment and fellowship programmes.

Trade And Industry

Council Of Industry Ministers

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals he intends to put forward at the next European Ministers Industry Council.

An Industry Council meeting was held on 28 May to discuss steel, shipbuilding, small and medium-sized enterprises and semiconductors. The next meeting is scheduled for 21 September, and at present I have no plans for the United Kingdom to table any proposals.

Environmental Audits

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has any plans to meet the chairman and the officials of the Co-op to discuss the utility of the recent Co-op decision to conduct a full environmental audit of its own brands.

Ministers have no plans to meet the chairman and officials of the Co-op to discuss their environmental audit. The Government have made clear their commitment to introduce an official environmental labelling scheme for consumer goods as soon as possible and recently announced the establishment of an advisory group to assist its development. In the meantime, the initiative of the Co-op to audit its own brand products is to be welcomed.

Rolls-Royce

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has recently exercised his powers as special shareholder in Rolls-Royce plc.

Consent was given on behalf of the special shareholder to a resolution passed at the company's annual general meeting on 30 May amending article 43 of the articles of association which deals with United Kingdom control of the company. The amendment will facilitate the setting up of a depositary receipts programme by the company enabling foreign investors to purchase an interest in shares in Rolls-Royce more easily while maintaining the overall limit on foreign shareholdings of 29·5 per cent.

Securities And Investments Board

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has received a report from the Securities and Investments Board on the exercise of its functions under the Financial Services Act.

A copy of the board's report, made in accordance with section 117 of the Act, was laid before Parliament yesterday. The report covers the period from I April 1989 to 31 March 1990. Copies are now available in the Library.

Departmental Savings

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what were the value-for-money savings in his Department's operations identified by internal audit and internal efficiency arrangements and by external audit and by management consultants retained by his Department between 1983–84 and 1988–89; and what is the amount of those savings fulfilled to date.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: In my answer to another question from the hon. Member today, I described the mechanisms for identifying and tracking value-for-money savings within my Department. These mechanisms have been refined over the period referred to in the question. Prior to 1988–89, follow-up was specific to each of the mechanisms. Since 1988–89 the Department has been committed to achieving efficiency savings averaging at least 1·5 per cent. of departmental running costs each year over three years from these and other sources. In 1989–90 it is estimated that the Department achieved savings on running costs from all sources of 3·2 per cent. Savings aggregated centrally are not attributed to specific mechanisms: the figures requested cannot therefore be given.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what mechanisms exist in his Department for identifying and tracking value-for-money savings in its operations.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: The Department has a variety of efficiency review mechanisms such as efficiency scrutinies, staff inspection and internal audit. These include arrangements for follow-up action where they identify efficiency savings. In addition, the Department conducts an annual review of activity and resource management which takes into account in the allocation of resources the outcome of these reviews and other efficiency savings identified.

Research And Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will estimate the amount of money manufacturing industry spends on research and development, excluding military research, in the United Kingdom and its major industrial competitors.

Collection of separate figures for United Kingdom non-military research and development performed by manufacturing industry began only this year, relating to calendar year 1989. An analysis of the returns, prepared by the Central Statistical Office, is scheduled to he published during 1991. Data in the form requested are not available for the United Kingdom's major industrial competitors.

Bankruptcy

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many licences have existed to enable persons to act as trustees for the purposes of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 for each year since 1985–86.

The information is as follows:

Schedule of authorisations under the Insolvency Act 1986
Totals at the year end
198719881989
Competent authority Secretary of State486284
Recognised professional bodies
Insolvency Practitioners Association226225265
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales790860970
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland175184205
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland8593100
Chartered Association of Certified Accountants9599111
Law Society637097
Law Society of Scotland253133
1,5071,6241,865

Food Storage (Temperature)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has received about the refrigeration industry's ability to meet statutory temperature requirements for storage of food; and if he will make a statement.

My Department has participated in discussions between the refrigeration industry and the Department of Health, which is responsible for temperature requirements for food storage. Decisions about these will take account of the timely availability of suitable refrigeration equipment.

Overseas Development

Tobacco Exports

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of the Minister for Overseas Development on Monday 14 May, Official Report, column 596, what action his Department is taking to look into the matter of British American Tobacco exports of cigarettes to the third world.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) on 24 May, at column 370, which set out the Government's policy on aid to the tobacco sector. Aid funds are not used to finance imports of cigarettes and tobacco into developing countries. The Government have no plans at present for an inquiry into their export from the United Kingdom.

Brazil

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what matters were discussed with the Brazilian Environment Minister, Dr. Josè Lutzenberger, during his recent visit to the United Kingdom.

I had a very useful meeting with Dr. Lutzenberger. We discussed Brazil's environmental problems, including the preservation of the rain forests and the protection of the Indian population, the role of sustainable agriculture in conservation, and progress with the United Kingdom environmental co-operation programme with Brazil.

Nicaragua

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further assistance he proposes to provide to the new Government in Nicaragua.

We plan to provide a grant of £600,000 in support of one or more sectors of the Nicaraguan economy. The offer will be made at the conference of aid donors to Nicaragua which is being held in Rome on 6 and 7 June.

Home Department

Immigration

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he intends to make changes in the immigration rules.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary has today laid before Parliament a "Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules", which removes Argentina and the German Democratic Republic from the list of countries whose nationals need visas for the United Kingdom. The changes come into effect on 8 June.

Iba (Transmission Functions)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Torridge and Devon, West (Miss Nicholson) of 8 May, Official Report, columns 32–33, by what criteria it will be judged appropriate to remove the restrictions on British Telecom and the Channel 3 and 5 franchises.

It is our intention to remove the ownership restrictions on British Telecom and the Channel 3 and 5 franchisees as soon as the United Kingdom broadcasting and telecommunications markets are sufficiently competitive to guard against the dangers of market domination and vertical integration.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received on his proposals to introduce ownership restrictions in respect of the transmission company which will replace the Independent Broadcasting Authority's transmission functions.

We have received three representations in connection with the proposed ownership restrictions which were announced on 8 May.

Dog Fighting

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions were taken against those involved in dog fighting activities in 1989 and so far in the current year.

Wandsworth Prison

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with the Wandsworth branch of the Prison Officers Association on staffing levels at Wandsworth prison; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Lord Ferrers, visited Wandsworth in January and staffing levels were included in discussion with the local POA branch secretary. Since then, staffing levels have been discussed in the normal course between the governor and the local branch of the POA.

Television Licences

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) black and white and (b) colour television licences were issued in 1989.

Licence issues are recorded by financial year. A total of 17·4 million colour and 2·2 million monochrome licences were issued in 1988–89. Figures for 1989–90 are expected in several weeks time.

Transport

School Buses

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the consultation paper, referred to in his answer of 14 November 1989 to the hon. Member for Torridge and Devon, West (Miss Nicholson), Official Report, column 111, on the requirement for a distinctive sign to be carried on school buses, will be issued; and if he will make a statement.

Today. Draft regulations are being circulated to interested parties and their comments invited by 31 August.The proposed regulations would require all buses—except those running scheduled services for the general public—to display a distinctive sign while carrying children to or from their school. They would also permit the fitting of flashing amber lights near such signs, and their use when children are getting on or off the bus.The use of these signs will make a significant contribution to improving the safety of children using school buses. They will alert motorists to the fact that children are about and might be crossing the road. Motorists should exercise extra caution every time they overtake a stationary bus displaying the sign, whether or not it is equipped with the additional flashing lights.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced recently a wide programme of steps to promote safety of children on roads. We hope that, taken together, all these measures will help to bring about the reduction in child road deaths that we all want to see.

The regulations would also require better reflective rear markings on new large lorries in future. The new markings are much brighter than those required by the present British standard. They would have to meet the latest European standard, ECE regulation 70. The new markings would also he permitted on existing vehicles as an alternative to the Btitish standard markings, which were introduced nearly 20 years ago.

Rush-Hour Traffic

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the saving in costs of road building, road maintenance, policing and congestion if the volume of rush-hour traffic in our major cities were reduced by 10 per cent.

Motor Insurers Bureau

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list the number of claims registered with the Motor Insurers Bureau in each year since the operation of the voluntary agreement; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he has any plans to review the operation of the voluntary agreement entered into by the Motor Insurers Bureau; and if he will make a statement;(3) if he will list the average period of time taken to deal with claimants applying to the Motor Insurers Bureau in each year since the operation of the voluntary agreement; and if he will make a statement.

The numbers of claims submitted to the Motor Insurers Bureau each year under its agreements with the Secretary of State are listed in the table. The figure for 1989 includes 3,154 claims for property damage only, which are admissible under the revised uninsured drivers agreement which came into force on 31 December 1988.

YearNumber
1946547
1947
1948436
1949320
1950357
1951402
1952400
1953448
1954434
1955503
1956581
1957592
1958667
1959808
1960943
19611,131
19631,207
19641,393
19651,883
19661,930
19672,106
19682,443
19692,208
19702,759
19712,618
19723,172
19733,164
19743,718

Year

Number

19753,667
19763,669
19774,153
19784,462
19794,409
19805,312
19815,098
19825,363
19836,326
19846,028
19857,000
19868,854
19879,596
198810,208
198914,392

I understand that claims to the bureau settled in the first three months of 1990 took on average approximately 10 months from receipt to settlement. The agreements have been revised from time to time since the bureau was formed in 1946. I have no plans to revise the present arrangements.

Transport Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to commission a study along the lines of that undertaken by the United States Department of Energy and Argonne National Laboratories, published by the United States national technical information service, on the potential for reducing atmospheric pollution from transport vehicles through the introduction of alternative transport fuels.

The options, including the potential for using alternative fuels, to further reduce pollution from motor vehicles are currently being reviewed. This may lead to the commissioning of more detailed assessments to complement the results of existing national and international research.

Reprocessed Waste (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies have been commissioned by his Department in regard to the design and development of transport flasks or other containers for the movement of vitrified high-level waste back to its countries of origin, following reprocessing.

Design and development studies are undertaken by the consigners, who then submit them to the Department for independent assessment. Shipments of vitrified high-level waste by any mode of transport will be required to be carried in containers which have been approved and certified by my Department as fully complying with stringent national and international safety regulations.

Roads

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his Department's planned expenditure on road construction and repair for (a) the United Kingdom, (b) the north of England and (c) County Durham in the present financial year.

[holding answer 5 June 1990]: Planned expenditure on trunk road construction and repair in 1990–91 is as follows:

£ million
England1,808·1
North of England342·1
County Durham5·2
Figures for any single year are a poor indicator of the geographical balance of the programme. The road programme contains schemes in the north worth £2·9 billion (works cost, November 1987 prices) amounting to one quarter of the total for England. Major improvements to the A167 in County Durham form part of this programme.

Health

Medicines Control Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the Medicines Control Agency is included among those autonomous agencies, as defined by Treasury documents Cm. 914, on "The Financing and Accountability of Next Steps Agencies", published in December 1989.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) under what statutory authority he has ruled that the Medicines Control Agency may not charge turnover-related fees;(2) whether the Medicines Control Agency may charge turnover-based fees;(3) why a system of turnover-related fees has not been adopted by the Medicines Control Agency, as authorised by the Medicines Act 1988.

No ruling has been given prohibiting the MCA from charging turnover-related fees. In order to meet the criteria for exemption from gross running cost control the agency has to be self financing from receipts which vary in line with the demand for its services. Another requirement was that such fees had to be seen as related to the cost of the services provided: a turnover-related levy could not satisfy this criterion.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health under what statutory authority the Medicines Control Agency budget for 1990–91 is projected to make a net profit.

The Medicines (Fixing of Fees Relating to Medicinal Products for Human Use) Order 1989 SI 1989 No. 684 sets out the matters to be taken into account in setting fees under the Medicines Act 1971. There is no statutory requirement to make a net profit, but any past deficit is subsequently recovered.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will define the interpretation and meaning of the exemption from gross running costs control, applied to the operation of the Medicines Control Agency.

The meaning of running cost control and of exemption from such control is explained in paragraph 21.3.10 of the 1990 public expenditure White Paper (Cm. 1021). The Medicines Control Agency, while remaining part of the Department of Health, may be exempted from gross running cost control provided certain conditions are met, one of which is that its costs, excluding British Pharmacopoeia Commission activities, are recovered from fees payable by licence holders and applicants. Like other parts of the Department, the MCA is required to submit a bid for funds each year. The effect of exemption from gross running cost control is that, once funds have been voted by Parliament, the MCA will not be subject to a reduction in those funds, otherwise than by supplementary estimates submitted to and approved by Parliament or other parliamentary instructions.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the statutory instruments or other legislation which sets out the establishment and basis of the existence of the Medicines Control Agency.

No statutory instrument or other legislation was needed to establish the Medicines Control Agency.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the projected revenue, gross running costs and net profit or loss for the Medicines Control Agency for 1990–91.

The latest published figures are contained in the Department of Health supply estimates 1990–91 dated 20 March 1990, copies of which are available in the Library. The forecast net profit or loss figures for 1990–91 are not yet available. They await the completion of the agency's accounts for the year to 31 March 1990.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when, and by what authority, the Medicines Control Agency became, or is proposed to become, an autonomous agency.

The Medicines Control Agency is not an autonomous agency but remains part of the Department of Health. No decision has been taken on whether in due course it might become a next steps agency.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how his Department has applied the provisions of the Health and Medicines Act 1988 in relation to the charging of licence fees for medicines on the turnover of a company and of a product as well as on a fixed basis, and authorisation of the Medicines Control Agency to fix charges on those criteria.

Until 31 March 1989 fees in relation to applications for licences or certificates under the Medicines Act 1968 were charged on two bases—an annual fee or turnover levy related to the turnover of licensed products and capital fees in relation to particular applications payable on submission of the application. From 1 April 1989 the annual fee was abolished.Section 21 of the Health and Medicines Act 1988 clarified the basis under which regulations could be made in relation to an annual fee and also validated the basis on which previous annual fees had been charged.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines setting out their relationship and terms of reference for the operation of the Medicines Control Agency have been issued by him.

The Medicines Control Agency was set up from 1 April 1989 following the recommendations of the Evans Cunliffe report on the control of medicines. I refer my hon. Friend to the reply my right hon. Friend the then Minister for Health gave my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Maples) on 14 April 1988 at column 206, indicating the particular recommendations which were accepted as the basis of the agency's operations.

Nurses (Regrading)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses are awaiting decisions on their regrading nationally, and in the Norwich health authority; and in each case, what percentage they are of total nurse employment.

Operating Theatre Closures

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give by region the number of operating theatres closed in 1989.

Hospital Closures

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give by region the number of hospitals closed (a) wholly and (b) partly during 1989.

The table gives the numbers of hospitals or facilities which we are aware were approved for closure in total or in part in 1989. It is important to bear in mind that closures are often balanced by openings or other reprovision.

Region(a) Whole(b) Part
Northern25
Yorkshire42
Trent137
East Anglia1
North West Thames11
North East Thames2
South East Thames45
South West Thames23
Wessex4
Oxford211
South Western42
West Midlands65
Mersey53
North Western52

Nhs Trusts

To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what basis he will set the annual financing limit for each national health service hospital trust.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State will set the external financing limit for each trust annually in the light of the trust's business plan and available resources.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the target number of national health service trusts to be developed for ministerial approval set by the national health service management executive in its 1990–91 operational programme.

The NHS management executive has indicated that it aims to develop for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State's approval approximately 50 NHS trusts. There is no firm target and some 80 Health Service units currently intend to prepare applications for NHS trust status in April 1991, subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary legislation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the financial proformas to be submitted by national health service trust status applicants.

No. The supporting financial statements to be submitted by applicants for NHS trust status will include detailed information on their financial plans which it would not be appropriate to make publicly available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those potential first-wave trusts identified by the Department's analysis of regions short-term programmes as having problems eliminating underlying deficits in 1990–91.

No. The NHS management executive is engaged in continuing discussions with regional health authorities. Such information is not yet available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans his Department has to employ outside consultants to evaluate national health service trust applications.

Outside consultants will assist the Department in the analysis of financial management and information systems in potential NHS trusts as part of the assessment of trust applications when the necessary legislation has been passed.

District Health Authority Allocations

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list for each district health authority its (a) population, (b) revenue allocation, (c) capital allocation, (d) revenue allocation expressed as a sum per head of population and (e) capital allocation expressed as a sum per head of population.

Financial allocations are made to regional health authorities. Information is not held centrally about allocations made by regions to their districts.

Blood

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will identify for each national health service region the value of sales of blood and blood products outside national health service services.

[holding answer 23 May 1990]: Health authorities make a handling charge designed to recover the costs of supplying whole blood and blood components to non-NHS hospitals. No charge is made for the blood itself which is freely donated by volunteer donors.Information derived from the annual accounts of health authorities for 1988–89 (the latest available) is as follows:

Income from blood handling charges
Region(£)
Northern17,930
Yorkshire61,198
Trent66,069
East Anglia67,564
North West Thames621,618
North East Thames82,686
South East Thames474,276
South West Thames
Essex87,733
Oxford92,085
South Western92,833
West Midlands203,333
Mersey19,597
North Western93,725
Totals1,980,647
Information on the sales of blood products manufactured by the bio-products laboratory, whether to NHS or non-NHS hospitals is commercially confidential.
Net weekly incomeNet weekly income after housing costs and community chargeMarginal deduction rate
October 1989April 1990October 1989April 1990October 1989April 1990
Single person
Gross earnings (per week)
5065·4968·1939·6941·778682
10082·483·6756·657·253434
150115·4116·6789·690·253434
200148·4149·67122·6123·253434
Married couple
Gross earnings (per week)
5072·8179·1747·0146·049090
10092·88102·9267·0869·799087
150123·04127·0897·2493·953444
200156·04157·94130·24124·813434
Married couple, two children (assumed aged 5 and 12)
Gross earnings (per week)
50131·86143·05101·06106·158682
100134·22146·55103·42109·658480
150143·57154·96112·77118·068080
200170·54173·14139·74136·243434

Note — The methods and assumptions are those used in the published Tax/Benefit Model Tables except that from April 1990 community charge is assumed at £350 per annum and assumed national average rents have been inflated for 1990.

Residential Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he intends to publish the Government's response to the second report of the House of Commons Social Services Committee of the current Session, on the future funding of private and voluntary residential care.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will give figures for spending on income support for people living in private residential care in Sunderland for each year from 1985 including the first quarter of 1990;(2) if he will give the number of people in Sunderland who are in receipt of income support and who are living in private residential care for each year since 1985 including the first quarter of 1990

Social Security

Community Charge

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will set out the net weekly and marginal tax rate spending of (a) a single person, (b) a married couple, one working, (c) a man and wife and two children, one parent working, whose wage was £50, £100, £150 and £200, respectively, after taking into account income tax and national insurance and any benefits or rebates to which they could be entitled (i) before 1 April and (ii) after 1 April, to show the effect of the introduction of the community charge.

The answer is set out in the tables. It should be noted that the results in the tables remain arbitrary. They cannot reflect, except by chance, the actual circumstances of particular people and cannot claim to be representative of the population at large. The tables use hypothetical community charges and rents, so they do not reflect the full range of community charge and housing costs which people can pay.

I regret that information in the form requested is not available.

Attendance Allowance

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the number of people in Sunderland who are in receipt of attendance allowance for 1988, 1989 and the first quarter of 1990; and how many receive payments from the independent living fund.

Severe Disability Premium

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give the number of people in Sunderland who are in receipt of severe disability premium for 1988 and 1989.

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

Mr O

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the reasons for the delays in resolving the case of Mr. O reference RM173P/C0999/71/ 83/3; and what steps have been taken to resolve this case.

I regret that we are unable to identify this case from the information supplied. If the hon. Member will let me have full details I shall be pleased to look into the matter.

Disallowed Unemployment Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what information is available regarding the duration of periods of unemployment benefit disqualification imposed in each quarter since April 1989.

No information is available on the duration of periods of unemployment benefit disqualification since April 1989.

Hardship payments of income support to claimants who were not available for full time work or who had not actively sought work
Social Security RegionNorth EastMidlandsLondon NorthLondon SouthWales and South WestNorth WestScotlandNational Total
Number of hardship payments where claimant:
October 1989
Was unavailable1:
Awards made20123732412313178
Awards refused12101215381510112
Did not actively seek work:
Awards made45122531243
Awards refused1405331127
November 1989
Was unavailable1:
Awards made17167871271319241
Awards refused17131416351511121
Did not actively seek work:
Awards made381614832981
Awards refused12111631438
December 1989
Was unavailable1:
Awards made411722335331416379
Awards refused12810161510677
Did not actively seek work:
Awards made5523973759
Awards refused332141115
January 1990
Was unavailable1:
Awards made30185642611117235
Awards refused971711391219114
Did not actively seek work:
Awards made55297104666
Awards refused135124723
February 1990
Was unavailable1:
Awards made33107028282123213
Awards refused951242682387
Did not actively seek work:
Awards made71119692458
Awards refused633120217

Income Support

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Birkenhead, (Mr. Field), on 8 May, Official Report, column 87, what was the proportion and number of income support and unemployment benefit claimants who (i) successfully and (ii) unsuccessfully claimed reduced income support under the hardship rules in each month since 9 October 1989 and, for each category, the numbers whose claim was in doubt due to (a) actively seeking work, (b) availability and (c) restricted availability, and the numbers in each case whose claim was awaiting adjudication, had been disallowed, or was subsequently allowed; and if he will break the figures down by region.

The statistics kept are given in the table. The remainder of the information requested is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Social Security Region

North East

Midlands

London North

London South

Wales and South West

North West

Scotland

National Total

March 1990

Was unavailable1:
Awards made27107824292430222
Awards refused8717720101281
Did not actively seek work:
Awards made11327101831486
Awards refused034283121

April 1990

Was unavailable1:
Awards made37133913412013176
Awards refused18934168462
Did not actively seek work:
Awards made53151083145
Awards refused1051544332

1 Includes unavailability for total or part week, and unreasonable restriction on occupation where appropriate.

Notes:1. All figures are provisional and subject to amendment.

2. No individual figure in the table exceeds 0·01 per cent. of the latest available number of Income Support claimants.

Actively Seeking Work Test

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps have been and are being taken to improve liaison between adjudication officers in the Departments of Employment and Social Security in respect of adjudication on actively seeking work; and if he will make a statement on the process of adjudication in both Departments on claimants whose actively seeking work is brought into question, and the benefit sanctions which can be imposed by the staff in each Department before and after adjudication.

Instructions are in place to ensure close liaison between the Department and the employment service. These instructions are kept under review.When a doubt arises as to whether a claimant is actively seeking work unemployment benefit is suspended for the weeks of doubt, usually the two weeks since the claimant was last paid. The case is then referred to an employment service adjudication officer to make a decision on title to unemployment benefit. If only income support is in payment he gives an opinion. If he decides that the claimant did not actively seek work, unemployment benefit will be disallowed. His decision/opinion is passed to the Department of Social Security adjudication officer to help him decide what income support should be paid. This happens for each fortnight during which the claimant fails to fulfil the actively seeking work condition.The Department of Social Security adjudication officer has to decide entitlement to income support, and, if awaiting the employment service adjudication officer's decision/opinion, will assume it to be adverse to the claimant. Income support will then be withdrawn until such time as he satisfies the adjudication officer that he is again actively seeking work. If, in the adjudication officer's opinion, hardship will result, income support reduced by 40 per cent. of the personal allowance element can be paid. If the employment service adjudication officer's subsequent decision/opinion is that the claimant did actively seek work, arrears of benefit can be paid.

Wath Upon Dearne Office

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what expenditure has been incurred in the maintenance or improvement of the Wath upon Dearne office of his Department during the last five years; and what further expenditure on this office is planned.

Expenditure incurred over the last five years has been as follows:

YearExpenditure
(£)
1985–8610,581
1986–8739,444
1987–8853,173
1988–8965,530
1989–90103,713
Total272,441
The projected expenditure for 1990–91 is around £18,000.

Rotherham Offices