Written Answers To Questions
Monday 18 June 1990
To ask the Attorney-General how many cases involving lenient sentences he has referred to the Court of Appeal for review; and if he will make a statement.
Since 1 February 1989, when this power took effect, I have applied for leave to refer the sentencing in 15 cases to the Court of Appeal. Four cases have not yet been heard, and I have withdrawn two cases in the light of further information. Leave has been granted in eight of the remaining nine cases, and sentences have been increased in seven of the cases. I have referred one case to the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland; the sentence in that case was also increased.
To ask the Attorney-General what was the smallest amount paid in legal aid in the past year; and if he will make a statement.
There is no minimum sum below which a claim for legal aid will not be met. Details of legal aid fund expenditure are contained in the legal aid annual report, a copy of which is placed in the Library each year.
House Of Fraser
To ask the Attorney-General if he will discuss with the Director of Public Prosecutions the arrangements for promoting prosecutions on breaches of company law, in the light of the publication of the House of Fraser report.
Primary responsibility for the enforcement of company law rests with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. The Crown prosecution service prosecutes Companies Act offences where they are relevant to other proceedings which they have brought. The relevant principles are clearly established, and I have no present plans to discuss them with the DPP.
Judges (Retirement Age)
To ask the Attorney-General if he has any proposals to lower the retirement age for judges.
To ask the Attorney-General when he last discussed the Maguire case with the Director of Public Prosecutions.
I refer the hon. Member to my reply today to the hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore).
To ask the Attorney-General if he will list the studies conducted inside his Department by management consultants over the last 10 years, naming the consultancy, the cost, the subject and the outcome in each instance.
No such studies have been conducted within the legal secretariat to the Law Officers or the Serious Fraud Office. In the case of the Treasury Solicitor's Department the firm of Peat Marwick McLintock advised on the installation of a computerised time recording and billing system. The cost of this consultation was £86,337·63 and the system has now been installed.Since the service was created in 1986, the following studies by management consultants have been carried out in the Crown prosecution service.
- Strategic planning and budgeting study by Hay Management Consultants, completed April 1987, cost £37,000, results—strategy set and planning system implemented;
- Telecommunications strategy study by Logica, completed January 1987, cost £20,000, result—strategy set;
- Internal communications study by Charles Barker Communications, completed December 1987, cost £29,000, result—internal communication manager appointed and work on improving internal communications put in hand;
- Information study, assistance from The Mindworks Partnership, cost £37,000, completed December 1988, result—programme of work to develop internal information systems put in hand;
- Staffing model feasibility study by PA Management Consultants, cost £37,000, completed December 1988, result—feasibility established leading to full study;
- Staffing model development by PA Management Consultants, completed January 1990, cost £135,000, result—model produced, currently being tested and refined;
- Evaluation of the use of information technology to present evidence in court by The Human Science and Advanced Technology Research Centre, Loughborough University, completed February 1990, cost £15,000, result —evaluation report produced and supplied to other relevant organisations;
- Review of CPS contract car-hire scheme by Transtech Consultancy Services, completed April 1990, cost £14,000, the report is now being considered.
To ask the Attorney-General how many licensed conveyancers are presently registered to practise in England and Wales.
There are presently 766 licensed conveyancers holding licenses, of whom 270 are practicing on their own account. The remaining 496 are employed as conveyancers.
To ask the Attorney-General what educational requirements and what technical educational qualifications are required before an applicant can be accepted as a licensed conveyancer.
To be- accepted as a licensed conveyancer a person must have successfully completed or obtained exemption from the Council for Licensed Conveyancers' examinations and the prescribed practical training. Information about the educational requirements and training for licensed conveyancers is available from the Council for Licensed Conveyancers at Golden Cross house, Duncannon street, London WC2N 4JF.
To ask the Attorney-General when he expects legislation concerning leaseholders to be presented to Parliament.
The Lord Chancellor announced in June 1988 that the Government had arranged for draft legislation to be prepared at the Law Commission to give effect to the proposals contained in the report of the working group on commonhold (Cm. 179) under the chairmanship of Mr. T. M. Aldridge. That work is taking longer to complete than was originally expected and a number of important issues remain to be resolved. No final decision has yet been taken about the implementation of the report, nor can I give any indication of when legislation on commonhold may be introduced.
Mr Kevin Taylor
To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his answer of 13 June to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe, whether the Director of Public Prosecutions has yet received a reply to his letter of 19 January to the chief constable of Greater Manchester.
Yes. The terms of the reply are confidential between the chief constable and the DPP. The right hon. Member will, however, be aware of the announcement by the chief constable of Greater Manchester that he has decided to ask a senior officer from another police force to investigate the issues raised by the DPP.
Social Security Commissioners
To ask the Attorney-General what steps have been taken to reduce delays in deciding appeals to the social security commissioners and in notifying claimants of commissioners' decisions and what effect those steps have had or are expected to have on the average length of such delays.
The following steps have been taken within the last month by the Lord Chancellor's Department and local management of the office of social security commissioners (OSSC):
The Department believes that these measures will start to reduce the average length of delays over the next three months, but it is too early to predict the scale of that reduction.
To ask the Attorney-General how much legal aid for divorce cases cost in the latest year for which figures are available; and how much this cost in 1985.
The latest year for which figures are available is 1988–89. The cost of full civil legal aid in all matrimonial cases was £116·91 million in 1988–89 and £74·88 million in 1984–85.
Aid Recipients (Growth Rate)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what studies have been made of the impact of British aid on the growth rate of recipient countries.
The ODA's own evaluation studies examine the specific impact of our aid projects and programmes. There have been many other studies of the impact of global aid flows on the economies of aid-recipient countries, but I am not aware of any which focused on the relationship between British aid and the growth rate of recipients.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the last meeting of European Community Development Ministers.
European Community Development Ministers last met on 29 May. We discussed the direction of the Community's aid to Asia and Latin America. I emphasised the importance of focusing on poor countries and poorest sectors of the population. We agreed on a resolution stressing the importance of environmental aspects of development. I gained the support of all partners to my call for reform of the tropical forestry action plan and for further discussion on completion of the review. We also discussed food aid policy; the role of women in development; and evaluation of projects.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the European Community Council of Development Ministers meeting of 29 May.
At the European Community Development Ministers meeting on 29 May we discussed the direction of the Community's aid to Asia and Latin America. I emphasised the importance of focusing on poor countries and poorest sectors of the population. We agreed on a resolution stressing the importance of environmental aspects of development, and I repeated my call for reform of the tropical forestry action plan. We also discussed food aid policy; the role of women in development; and evaluation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he plans to take as a result of the Bergen ministerial declaration; and if he will make a statement.
The Bergen ministerial declaration will be helpful in informing the Government's views on the global aspects of implementing sustainable development. Where appropriate we shall be following up in the relevant fora, especially in the preparations for the UN conference on environment and development in Brazil in 1992.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has recently had with representatives of the Vietnamese Government on the subject of aid relief to Vietnam.
During the visit of my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to Hanoi from 18 to 21 February the possibility of British aid was discussed in the context of a satisfactory overall settlement to the problem of returning all non-refugees from Hong Kong to their country of origin.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to visit Vietnam to discuss with the Government of Vietnam future aid programmes to that country.
I have no current plans to visit Vietnam.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to establish a government-to-government bilateral aid programme with Vietnam.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration he is giving to establishing a government-to-government bilateral aid programme in Vietnam.
I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Lester) on 17 May. The Government have made it clear that the provision of direct bilateral aid would depend on the co-operation of the Vietnamese Government in reaching a satisfactory solution to the Hong Kong boat people and on a continuing commitment to economic reform.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with non-governmental organisations about aid for people in southern Africa; and if he will make a statement.
I have regular meetings with representatives of non-governmental organisations, and aid to southern Africa is often discussed.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what resources have now been committed by the Overseas Development Administration to help developing countries to combat the spread of AIDS.
To date we have provided £16·83 million as our contribution to the global programme on AIDS being run by WHO. We have also committed £6·58 million to help finance a number of individual country AIDS control programmes in Africa and the Caribbean; these have been formulated under the umbrella of the WHO global programme.In addition, we have contributed £2·98 million over six years to the International Planned Parenthood Federation's AIDS programme; and £3 million for AIDS-related research studies in developing countries in a number of key fields by a range of British institutions and experts.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to help relieve the debts incurred by Namibia before independence.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the hon. Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney) on 14 May.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the application of African, Caribbean and Pacific trade preferences to Namibia was discussed at the meeting of the European Community Development Council on 29 May; and if he will make a statement.
Namibia's application for accession to the Lomé convention was not discussed at the Development Council. The Commission is in con tact with the Namibian Government and will be making proposals for accession arrangements which will cover trade preferences. The United Kingdom Government have told the Namibian Government that we will view their application sympathetically, and we hope their accession will be formalised as soon as possible.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on how his Department is monitoring the impact of Britain's bilateral aid programme on global warming.
It is not possible to monitor specifically the overall impact of the bilateral aid programme on global warming. The ODA's manual of environmental appraisal guides managers in assessing environmental issues in all bilateral projects and programmes.Our programmes in forestry and energy efficiency are designed to help developing countries pursue their development objectives while limiting their contribution to global warming.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much of the current Overseas Development Administration budget is directed towards chlorofluorocarbon and carbon dioxide reductions in developing countries.
We have so far committed over £340,000 to assist developing countries to phase out substances that deplete the ozone layer. This support covered a study of the options open to India for phasing out these substances; funding for an international conference on tropical ozone and atmospheric change which was held in Penang, Malaysia in February; and help to enable developing countries take an active part in international meetings of the Montreal protocol.It is not possible to monitor specifically how much of the current aid budget is directed towards carbon dioxide reductions in developing countries. However, key programme activities like our tropical forestry initiative and our energy efficiency initiative are designed to help developing countries pursue their development objectives, while limiting their contribution to global warming through reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. During my visit to India last month I announced a new aid package under the energy efficiency initiative which will provide £50 million to improve energy efficiency in India.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action the Government are taking to protect the livelihoods of Caribbean banana workers when the European single market comes into effect.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what effect he expects the European single market to have on the economies of the main banana-producing Caribbean states.
The European Commission has not yet come forward with a proposal for the arrangements to apply for bananas post-1992. It is not possible at present to say what impact the creation of the single European market will have on Caribbean banana-producing countries. However, we are encouraging the Commission and other member states to ensure that any new arrangements fulfil our commitments to our Commonwealth Caribbean suppliers, and that they take account of consumer interests and the competition and efficiency objectives of the single market initiative.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the British Government are contributing to the fund to help developing countries participate in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The Overseas Development Administration and the Department of the Environment have each contributed £25,000, and the Overseas Development Administration has offered a further £25,000.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to discuss the position of refugees; and if he will make a statement.
I met the new High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Stoltenberg, in Geneva on 5 June. We had a most useful and wide-ranging discussion, focusing particularly on Mr. Stoltenberg's plans for reorganising UNHCR and improving its operational effectiveness. I also announced new British contributions totalling £5 million which will help UNHCR over its current financial difficulties.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to establish a bilateral aid programme with Cambodia.
Britain has no relations with the Hun Sen regime. This rules out the provision of normal bilateral aid. We are, however, committed to providing humanitarian assistance inside Cambodia through British non-governmental organisations and UN agencies.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the effect of developments in eastern Europe on the global availability of funds from multilateral institutions.
OECD member Governments are agreed that assistance to eastern Europe must not detract from the high priority placed on international co-operation with the developing countries; and this was reaffirmed in the declaration by the UN special session on international economic co-operation held from 23 April to 1 May.European Community aid to eastern Europe has not been at the expense of any other development assistance. Any increase in World Bank lending would be funded from borrowings in the financial markets. Additional funds will be made available for eastern Europe through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the latest information he has on the famine situation in Ethiopia.
Although the situation remains critical, it has so far been possible to avert mass starvation and mass migration of people in search of food. There are some grounds for hope that the threat can be contained, provided that relief operations are not further disrupted by the civil conflict and that there is good rainfall over the coming months.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to ensure that food supplies reach northern Tigray and Eritrea.
We are providing both food and logistical support for the southern line operation which, by the end of May, had delivered more than 15,000 tonnes of food to the famine-affected areas of northern Wollo and Tigray. We are also providing support for deliveries of relief supplies from Sudan into Eritrea and Tigray, and for the United Nations-organised airlift of supplies for vulnerable groups in Asmara, the besieged capital city of Eritrea. We have also been pressing for the reopening of the port of Massawa and welcome recent reports of the Ethiopian Government's willingness in principle to agree to this.
Romania (Hiv-Infected Babies)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further plans he has to make funds available to help HIV-infected babies in Romania.
The Government have already given 1 million disposable syringes and a quantity of HIV testing equipment to Romania; and we have paid for the transport to Romania of disposable gloves, syringes and other supplies generously donated by British companies. We have also asked the World Health Organisation to use for AIDS work a substantial part of the £500,000 we recently gave to the World Health Organisation's programme of aid to the Romanian health services. We have no plans for further aid at present.
Third World Debt
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs by how much he estimates developing countries have benefited from the Brady plan for third world debt.
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington (Mr. Corbett) on 14 May at column 340.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what he estimates the benefit to have been to developing countries of the Toronto plan for the poorest indebted countries.
I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave to the hon. Members for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Eastham) and for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Dunnachie) on 14 May at column 340.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what proposals the Government have made to the World Bank about the cancellation of debt owed by the poorest developing countries.
Britain has taken the lead in international efforts to assist the poorest debtors. We have cancelled over £1 billion-worth of old aid loans. On other official debt, we proposed concessions which were agreed at the 1988 Toronto economic summit. We regularly review the debt strategy with the management and other members of the IMF and World Bank.
Southern Africa Universities
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much money was given in aid by the United Kingdom to universities during (a) 1988–89 and (b) 1989–90 in (i) South Africa, (ii) Malawi and (iii) Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement.
The figures in the table represent the cost of the following activities—
|1988–89 £||1989–90 £|
Southern Africa Development Co-Ordination Conference
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on British support for SADCC.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) on 24 May at column 368.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what priorities Her Majesty's Government use in their aid programme for Zambia.
Our main priority is support for Zambia's structural adjustment programme, which is being monitored by the International Monetary Fund, and to which we have pledged £30 million in balance of payments support. In addition we are spending over £14 million per annum, largely on manpower support projects involving some 200 aid personnel in Zambia and training for over 300 Zambians in the United Kingdom; and on the strengthening of institutional capacity at district level in the northern and central provinces.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what new measures he proposes to take to ensure an integrated and comprehensive approach to aid designed to protect Amazonian forests.
The United Kingdom is supporting the development of effective tropical forestry action plans in the Amazon countries as an important means of encouraging an integrated and comprehensive approach towards protection of the Amazonian rain forests. We are doing this both by seeking reforms of the tropical forestry action plans mechanism in general and by helping in specific countries.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on British aid to black South Africans.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 19 March to my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Hughes) at column 431.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what help has been given during the last 12 months to extend the services of the British Council in Sri Lanka; and if he will make a statement.
The British Council has not contemplated an extension of its services in Sri Lanka over the last 12 months in view of the security situation in the country. Help for this purpose has neither been sought from, nor offered by the Government. When the security situation permits, further assistance for English language teaching is one of a number of possibilities that we are prepared to consider under our bilateral aid programme to Sri Lanka.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans further to assist forestry projects overseas; and if he will make a statement.
The Overseas Development Administration is currently implementing a forestry initiative with the aim to commit a further £100 million bilaterally to assist forestry activities over the next three years.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much will be made available by his Department for animal conservation schemes in 1990–91.
We expect to spend over £2 million. This includes projects jointly funded by the ODA and non-governmental organisations which concentrate on environmental issues and their impact on local communities, but which are expected to have an indirect but distinctly beneficial effect on animal conservation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what he is doing to fund research designed to increase the productivity of tropical forests, particularly non-timber products.
We are funding 40 projects at a total cost of £6·2 million under the forestry research programme managed for the ODA by the Oxford Forestry Institute. These include projects on, for example, agro-forestry and buffer zones. The Natureal Resources Institute is considering research on the economic potential of rain forest products.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the new projects in preparation which will be financed from the new £100 million for rain forest-related projects.
As the Prime Minister told the hon. Member on 11 December 1989, at column 459, details of particular projects will be made known when formal agreement has been reached with the country concerned. I summarised recent developments in my speech to the rain forest harvest conference on 17 May.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to strengthen forestry departments of tropical countries, where they are charged with conservation and management.
An ODA report on forestry projects of November 1989, a copy of which is in the Library, lists ongoing bilateral forestry projects aiming to strengthen forest departments in tropical countries. Many of the projects in preparation also have this as a major aim. I gave examples in my speech to the rain forest harvest conference on 17 May, a copy of which is also in the Library.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the contract with Professor Malcolm Wilkins, regius professor of botany at the university of Glasgow, on the development of space-based monitoring of rain forest.
Professor Wilkins has recommended that the ODA should contact the European Space Agency and the British National Space Centre. Officials will do this.
House Of Commons
To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will list the airline used and the destination of each of the overseas visits undertaken by the Select Committee on Employment for the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement.
Since April 1989 the Committee has undertaken two visits overseas. The first, in July 1989, was to Copenhagen and Amsterdam, using British Airways flights except for the flight between Copenhagen and Amsterdam (KLM Royal Dutch Airlines) and one Member's return flight to Manchester (NLM Dutch Airlines). The second, in October/November 1989, was to Rome and Bordeaux; the flight to Rome was by British Airways; from Rome to Bordeaux by Air France and Air Inter; from Bordeaux to London by Air France.
To ask the Lord President of the Council what representations he has received from the Royal National Institute for the Deaf concerning sign language inserts on broadcasts of Parliament.
I have received no recent representations from the Royal National Institute for the Deaf on the subject of sign language inserts. However, the Select Committee on Televising of Proceedings of the House, which I chair, has been examining the issue as part of its monitoring of the experiment, during the course of which evidence has been received from the RNID and other organisations representing the deaf. A closed-circuit trial with the signing of Prime Minister's questions was arranged by the Select Committee during the first two weeks after the Whitsun Adjournment and the relevant tapes were shown in the Division Lobby. The Select Committee's report, which will cover this aspect of the experiment, is expected to be published by about early July.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to extend the eastern European know-how fund to Romania.
We have no plans to do so at present.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received any offers of help from the Government of Syria with regard to the Lockerbie air disaster.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many representations he has received calling for his Department to put pressure on the Turkish Government to release Demetrios Leuka and Christalis Savvides; and if he will make a statement.
Nineteen. We have made it clear to the parties concerned that neither incursions into territory controlled by the Turkish Cypriots, nor the continued detention of the two youths, contributes to the creation of the right atmosphere for progress towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
Bbc World Service
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give the reasons for his approval of the BBC's decision to end World Service broadcasts in Japanese and Malay.
The BBC and the FCO have jointly reviewed new broadcasting opportunities against the effectiveness of world service output. It was agreed, subject to the outcome of the 1990 public expenditure survey, to increase broadcasts in Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Vietnamese, as well as programmes in English for south-east Asia, the Indian sub-continent and west Europe.The review identified offsetting savings, including the ending of broadcasts in Japanese and Malay. In both countries, audiences for these services are small and there are many other sources of news and information from Britain, including the world service in English.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if his Department is party to the discussions between the United States Government and central European Governments on relaxations in the COCOM rules.
Following an agreement reached at the COCOM high-level meeting on 6 and 7 June, we and other COCOM member Governments will be discussing with certain eastern and central European countries a more favourable application of the COCOM rules. These discussions will build upon earlier soundings carried out by the United States and other COCOM partners.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the Government of Israel following the gas grenade attack on the United Nations health centre in Gaza city on 12 June; what information he has as to the number and ages of the casualties; and if he will make a statement.
We condemn any use of excessive force by the Israeli Defence Force.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on regrading for dental hygienists in the national health service.
The pay and grading of dental hygienists are matters for negotiation in the professional and technical staffs B Whitley council. The management side of the council recently carried out a review of all dental auxiliary grades in order to inform this year's negotiations on pay. I understand that negotiations on the staff side's claim are expected to begin shortly.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the total number of hospital beds available in each of the past five years within the constituency of Norfolk, North-West.
Information about hospital beds is collected centrally by district health authority, and is not available for individual parliamentary constituencies. The figures for West Norfolk and Wisbech health authority are given in the table.
|Average daily available beds, and in-patient cases treated, West Norfolk and Wisbech district health authority, 1984 to 1988–89|
|Year||Available beds||In-patient cases treated||In-patient cases treated per available bed|
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has on the number of cases prescribed by statute as requiring the attention of social workers which are not currently receiving appropriate attention.
This information is not collected centrally.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health when sections 1 and 2 of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 will be implemented.
No decisions on the implementation of these sections can be taken until we have established their resource and service implications. We are consulting the local authority associations on these issues and are currently awaiting their preliminary assessments as a basis for discussion.
Medical And Dental Education
To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the second report of the steering group on undergraduate medical and dental education will be published; and if he will make a statement.
The report is published today, and is available in the Library. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science and I are sending copies of the second report to all interested parties under cover of a message which reads as follows:
The report from the Steering Group on Undergraduate Medical and Dental Education has been prepared in response to the remit which our predecessors gave the Group to consider how the current arrangements for undergraduate medical (and subsequently dental) education can be improved to ensure that the policies and programmes of the bodies concerned are properly co-ordinated and directed. The Group was later invited to assess the implications for these matters of the proposed NHS reforms, and to make recommendations. The present report subsumes the Interim Report which was published in June 1989.
We welcome, and endorse, this new report. We are grateful to the members of the Steering Group, and to the organisations which have been associated with it, for working effectively together to support the common purpose of the NHS and the universities in maintaining and improving standards of undergraduate medical and dental education.
The organisational and financial arrangements must encourage those responsible in both the universities and the NHS to work together to teach students, advance knowledge through research and provide and develop services for patients. These three functions are integral, something as true in the reformed NHS as it is today. That is why the Steering Group has emphasised the essential common purpose of the universities and the NHS in the fostering of medical knowledge and skills, an emphasis which we support. The ten key principles proposed by the Steering Group to underpin jointly agreed working arrangements have already been promulgated with our endorsement. The sense of common purpose will be strengthened by the new provision in the NHS and Community Care Bill regarding university membership of those health authorities and NHS Trusts having significant involvement in medical and dental education.
The Steering Group has given close attention to certain details of finance and management. It has proposed revised procedures for the distribution of the Service Increment For Teaching (SIFT) which again have been promulgated, and are being implemented, with our support. It has made proposals for handling the relationship known as "knock for knock", emphasising the importance of changing only by agreement the balance of expenditure between co-operating institutions. It has also suggested that the flexibility essential to the management of the job plans of clinical academics who are honorary consultants in the NHS might be achieved through a tightly defined package of clinical service commitments, to be delivered by university staff under the management of heads of clinical academic departments in consultation with NHS managers. We endorse these proposals, which encourage an agreed approach to the management of those areas in which the universities and the NHS must engage together in responsibilities which neither can discharge alone.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people on family credit or income support received free eye tests in England (a) in each quarter in 1988–89 and (b) in each quarter in 1989–90.
Statistics prior to 1 April 1989 were not broken down by patient group. Since then, family practitioner committees have collected data on sight tests paid for under the general ophthalmic services on a six-montly basis. A tota of 530,660 national health service sight tests for adults receiving income support for family credit were paid for in England during the period 1 April to 30 September 1989. This figure is based on a 2 per cent. sample of NHS sight test application forms processed by family practitioner committees. It does not take into account sight tests paid for after 1 April but conducted before that period.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what method statistics relating to the collection of information on the number of (i) national health service eye tests and (ii) non-national health service eye tests have been collected.
Information on NHS sight tests is collected from family practitioner committees. The data are obtained from a count of the forms signed by patients at the time of their sight test and forwarded by the optician to the family practitioner committee for payment. Routine statistics on non-NHS sight tests are not collected. The NOP survey, the results of which were made available to the House on 6 June, was commissioned by the Department to provide an independent measure of total volume during the first quarter of 1990.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he will consider appointing to the Committee on Safety of Medicines a consultant specialising in allergic diseases, such as hay fever and asthma.
Appointments and reappointments to the Committee on Safety of Medicines and its sub-committees were made as from 1 January 1990: members include specialists in allergic diseases. Additional experts in this or other fields may be consulted or appointed as temporary members as necessary.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from local authorities on the provision of nursing home care; and if he will make a statement.
Ministers and officials have frequent meetings with representatives of local authorities at which this and other aspects of community care are discussed.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consultation has taken place with local authority organisations on the additional staff required to carry out the necessary assessment for the provision of community care; and if he will make a statement.
We are not aware of any specific consultations with local authority organisations on this matter although there have been frequent discussions with local authority associations on the implementation of the proposals in the White Paper "Caring for People". It is for individual local authorities to determine their own staffing needs.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has as to how many extra social workers and support staff are being appointed; what training provisions have been made to implement the proposed community care programme; and if he will make a statement.
Information on the number of appointments of social workers and support staff is not collected centrally. The White Paper "Caring for People" recognises that its proposals have implications for the training of staff involved in community care. The social services inspectorate has established a community care training strategy group to identify and address these needs. We have increased this year's training support programme to £19·4 million in grant to local authorities, £2 million of which is targeted towards the training of management staff in social services departments.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the general practitioner practices in Manchester which have indicated that they wish to become fund-holders.
This information is not available centrally.
Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many beds were operational at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport on (a) 1 June 1979 and (b) June 1989.
The number of available beds at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport on 21 June 1979 and 1 June 1989 was 589 and 791 respectively.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) trained and (b) untrained nursing staff were employed at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport on 1 June 1979 and 1 June 1989.
The number of trained and untrained nursing staff at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport on 1 June 1989 was 432 and 116 respectively. Comparable figures for 1 June 1979 are not available centrally.
Water Pollution, Camelford
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to establish whether children in the Camelford area have suffered any intellectual impairment as a result of the water pollution incident there on 6 July 1988; and if he will make a statement.
The report of the Lowermoor incident health advisory group, which was published in July 1989, a copy of which is available in the Library, concluded that no long-term effects on the health of people in the Camelford area were expected. It is for the district health authority to take any further measures it thinks necessary for the health of the population.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many ambulance services have expressed an interest in becoming self-governing trusts; and if he will list them.
Five ambulance services have expressed interest in NHS trust status including two which are incorporated in other units. The units are:
- Northumbrian Ambulance Service
- Lincolnshire Ambulance Service
- Norfolk Ambulances
- Cornwall Community Services
- Swindon Health Authority—All District Services
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the income generated from a contract under the National Health Service and Community Care Bill by a district health authority-managed hospital will be credited specifically to that hospital.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms exist in his Department for identifying and tracking value-for-money savings in its operations.
[holding answer 5 June 1990]: The Government's policy is to secure significant improvements in value for money within the NHS through the reforms contained in the NHS and Community Care Bill. The NHS management executive has also established a value for money unit to stimulate—in collaboration with local NHS management—opportunities for improving value for money within the NHS.The Department has various mechanisms for improving value for money within its own operations. The departmental accounting system, the public expenditure survey and the Department's management plan all place heavy emphasis on value for money and are supplemented by other mechanisms such as internal audit, staff inspection and consultancy.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health 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]: I refer to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security on 12 June 1990 at column 166.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of total cost of storm damage to health authority property in England and Wales since 1987; and what consideration he is giving to enabling health authorities to insure against future risks of this sort.
[holding answer 15 June 1990]: No central estimate has been made. NHS property is not covered by commercial insurance and authorities are expected to make provision within their allocations to meet such contingencies. While there are no plans to alter the current policy on commercial insurance, we are seeking powers in the National Health Service and Community Care Bill which would enable us to establish a scheme for meeting the losses and liabilities to health authorities and NHS trusts. However, no decision has yet been taken on when such a scheme would be implemented.
To ask the Prime Minister what steps she has taken since 26 October 1989 to improve co-ordination at ministerial level in the formulation and implementation of economic policy.
Economic policy is co-ordinated in the usual way at ministerial level with meetings between Ministers, including discussion at Cabinet.
To ask the Prime Minister what steps she has taken since 27 October 1989 to ensure the confidentiality of official information relating to the conduct of the Government's economic policies.
The normal rules of confidentiality for official information apply to information relating to the conduct of the Government's economic policies.
To ask the Prime Minister what steps she has taken since 26 October 1989 to remove obstacles to the efficiency of communication within Government in respect of developments in economic policy.
I am entirely satisfied with the degree of consultation and communication between Ministers on matters of economic policy.
To ask the Prime Minister what has been the cost of hospitality given at No. 10 Downing street since 31 March to visitors other than representatives of overseas governments and representatives of official bodies from within the United Kingdom; and if she will list each such visitor and the identifiable costs of associated hospitality.
This information is not available in the form requested.
To ask the Prime Minister when she hopes to complete her consideration of what role Britain might best play in the ecological research centre the Soviet Union is proposing to establish at Lake Baikal.
We are in close consultation on this with interested scientific bodies. We will also be pursuing contacts with the appropriate Soviet authorities in the near future.
To ask the Prime Minister in what capacity, in what role and at whose expense the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster accompanied her on her visit to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and what duties he performed.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster accompanied me for part of my visit to the Soviet Union, and did so as a member of Her Majesty's Government. The principal reason for my right hon. Friend's visit was to attend the opening of the Lord Byron school in Armenia, a gift from the British people following the Armenian earthquake tragedy of December 1988. My right hon. Friend was Secretary of State for Education and Science when the offer to build the school was made. The idea was his.There was no cost to the taxpayer for my right hon. Friend's visit.
To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her (a) paid and (b) unpaid economic advisers.
The provision of economic advice is primarily a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and other ministerial colleagues and their staff. In addition, members of my policy unit also provide economic advice. There is no shortage of unpaid economic advice which comes from a wide variety of sources.
To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her statement of 12 June, Official Report, column 138, concerning the establishment of new lectureships in Soviet studies at British universities, whether any of the lectureships will be established in Bradford university; and if she will make a statement.
The British Council will be given funds for the financial years 1991–92 to 1993–94 inclusive to enable it to contribute to the cost of additional lectureships in Soviet and east European studies in this three-year period. The aim is to establish 10 posts, the costs to be shared with the universities, polytechnics and other sources including the private sector. A committee of leading academics will be set up by the British Council to help decide how the funds should be used.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will take steps to ensure that information is provided by his Department when someone returns to employment as to their entitlement to make up full contributions for any missing time.
The Department writes automatically to relevant groups of contributors following the end of any year in which their contribution record is insufficient to count towards basic retirement pension. Full information is always provided to contributors on request. No change to these arrangements is proposed.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make it his policy to rename income support refugee support in cases where it is awarded to non-British nationals claiming political asylum in the United Kingdom.
We have no plans to make such a change.
Independent Living Fund
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will raise the level of funding for the independent living fund to £20 million per year.
Provision for the fund in the current year was already set at £24 million. Following my announcement to the House on 3 April, a further £8 million is to be made available bringing the provision for the fund to £32 million in 1990–91.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement as to the reasons for the subtraction of the state earnings-related pension scheme from the entitlement of persons in receipt of invalidity benefit when they reach 65 years of age.
Where an invalidity pensioner who reaches pension age—65 for men, 60 for women—chooses not to retire, the amount of invalidity benefit payable is determined by the amount of retirement pension that would have been payable had he retired.The earnings-related additional pension—AP—element of retirement pension can be paid either by the state or through an occupational pension scheme, which is contracted-out of the state scheme. Persons in contracted-out schemes and their employers pay a lower national insurance contribution and in return the employer is required to provide a guaranteed minimum pension— GMP—to the employee from age 65—or 60. Up to pension age, AP is paid with invalidity benefit, but thereafter the amount of any AP payable is reduced by the amount of the GMP received from the employer. This ensures that people contracted out of the state scheme are not treated more favourably than those who are not.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many refugees from overseas are currently in receipt of income support.
People from other countries who have been granted a right of abode in the United Kingdom are not separately identifiable for income support purposes. People arrived in the United Kingdom whose applications for refugee status are under consideration are eligible for income support at a reduced rate. We estimate that there are approximately some 8,000 such claimants at present.
Wath Upon Dearne Local Office
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what moneys were provided as grant allowances, pensions or loans through the Wath upon Dearne office of his Department in 1989–90.
Information regarding the numbers of and amounts paid as community care grants and budgeting loans for each local office is placed in the Library. I regret that neither information about the numbers of, nor the amount paid to, pensioners residing in a particular locality is recorded.
Private Residential Homes
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security in what circumstances his Department contributes towards the costs of the care of a person in an unregistered private home.
Some independent residential care homes are not required to be registered under the Registered Homes Act 1984. Adjudication officers may decide to treat claimants for income support purposes in such homes in the same way as those in registered homes if the accommodation has fewer than four residents and provides board and personal care and satisfies certain conditions defined by regulation, or is run by the Abbeyfield Society, or is managed or provided by a body set up by Act of Parliament or incorporated by royal charter, or in Scotland is run by a housing association registered with the Housing Corporation.
Attendance And Mobility Allowance
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many doctors are employed by his Department for the purpose of assessing attendance allowance and mobility allowance claims in each region; on what basis they are employed; what salaries or fees they receive; and whether such payments are affected by the number of claimants they see.
On average there are between 600 and 700 doctors in each region who carry out examinations in connection with attendance allowance and mobility allowance claims. The work is of a casual nature, the available cases being allocated among the doctors who are available and have been trained in the work. Payment is from a scale of fees agreed between the Treasury and the medical profession's representatives. A fee is paid for each case completed, individual case fees depending on the time taken to deal with that case.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement about the fraudulent use of national insurance numbers.
The Department makes every effort to ensure that members of the public have correctly issued national insurance numbers and that others cannot use them to make fraudulent claims to benefit.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list for the last available year the number of (a) national insurance numbers used by more than one person and (b) credits made by employers to false or non-existent national insurance numbers.
The information regarding the misuse of NI numbers is not available. Employers cannot credit NI accounts. Contributions paid by employers on behalf of themselves and their employees are subject to strict accounting controls.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people in Lambeth are entitled to community charge rebate based on claims for refund of rebate received from Lambeth council; what percentage of charge payers this represents; and what was the percentage of ratepayers who received housing benefit for rates in 1989–90.
Information in the detail requested for community charge benefit is not yet available from the local authority. However, approximately a quarter of domestic ratepayers received rate rebates in 1989–90.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps his Department is taking to rectify the shortage of leaflets and benefit application forms in offices; and how widespread and severe this problem is.
We are aware that difficulties have been experienced this year in obtaining bulk supplies of some benefit application forms. The Department has been in discussion with HMSO to remedy this. However, we are satisfied on information available that local offices in all areas have sufficient supplies of benefit application forms and leaflets to meet the needs of our customers.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he expects to reply to the questions of the hon. Member for Oldham, West of 23 April and 17 May relating to further information pursuant to an answer of 4 April, and to the question of the hon. Member for Oldham, West of 17 May concerning the estimated income rises of the poorest tenth of the population.
I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave to him today and on Thursday 14 June.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if, further to his reply of 4 April, Official Report, columns 689–90, he will (a) provide a breakdown of tables 1 and 2 differentiating SERPS as a separate source of income, (b) indicate what is covered in table 2 by related benefits and other benefits, (c) state the average annual percentage increase implied in the last two columns of tables 1, 2 and 3 and (d) provide whatever similar information is available for 1988–89;(2) if he will set out the actual incomes in pounds sterling and pence which underlie his answer to the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Meacher) on 4 April,
Official Report, columns 689–90, table 2, which lists the percentage increase in components of pensioners' income from 1974 to 1979 and 1979 to 1987; what is the source of
Components of pensioners' income by decile 1974 at 1987 prices
RP. Supplementary Benefit and Housing Benefit
Other SS benefits
Tax and National Insurance
each of these items of data; and if he will list exactly which benefits are covered by RP and related benefits and other benefits;
(3) what are the actual income levels on which table 2 is based in his answer on 4 April, Official Report, columns 689–90, regarding the percentage increase in the components of pensioners' incomes in 1974, 1979 and 1987.
[holding answers 23 April and 6 June 1990]: The source for the figures used in this and the previous reply is the family expenditure survey. The information on SERPS is not available; it is not separately identified from state retirement pension in the source data. Information is not available beyond the latest available family expenditure survey data of 1987.The term "RP and related benefits" in table 2 refers to the state retirement pension, supplementary benefit and housing benefit. The term "Other benefits" refers to all other social security benefits than those listed above.The annual average percentages implied in the last two columns of table 1 of the reply given to the hon. Member on 4 April,
Official Report, columns 689–90, are set out in table 1; the same figures in respect of tables 2 and 3 are set out in table 2.
The figures requested, which underlie the percentage movements at table 2, are set out in tables 3, 4 and 5.
Pensioners' Incomes: 1974, 1979 and 1987—Percentage Increase and Average Annual Increase
Real increase 1974–79 per cent.
Annual rate per cent.
Real increase 1979–87 per cent.
Annual rate per cent.
|Total Social Security Benefits||12||1·5||17||2·0|
|Total Gross Income||2||0·3||34||3·8|
|Total Net Income||3||0·4||31||3·5|
Pensioners total net incomes: Percentage increases 1974–79 and 1979–87
Increase 1974–79 per cent.
Annual rate of increase per cent.
Increase 1979–87 per cent.
Annual rate of increase per cent.
RP, Supplementary Benefit and Housing Benefit
Other SS benefits
Tax and National Insurance
Components of pensioners' income by decile 1979 at 1987 prices
Retirement pension, supplementary benefit and housing benefit
Other statutory state benefits
Tax and National Insurance
Components of pensioners' income by decile 1987 at 1987 prices
Retirement pension, supplementary benefit and housing benefit
Other statutory state benefits
Tax and National Insurance
All tables source: Family Expenditure Survey.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security. pursuant to his answer of 4 April, Official Report, columns 687–92, what information is available on the contribution of state earnings-related pension to the real rise in pensioner incomes since 1979.
[holding answer 17 May 1990]: Information is not available in the family expenditure survey on the state earnings-related pension scheme.
However, data from the Department's biannual statistical inquiry of retirement pension and widows benefit1 shows that between 1979 and 1987 the average amount2 of net additional component in payment rose from £0·65 to £2·713 .
Figures from the family expenditure survey show that pensioners' average net incomes rose from £75·90 in 1979 to £99·903 in 1987.
1 Copy available in the Library.
2 Average is for those pensioners receiving an additional pension.
3 All amounts are £s per week at 1987 prices.
International Monetary Fund
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the recent quota increase for the International Monetary Fund.
The interim committee of the board of governors of the International Monetary Fund met in Washington DC on 7 to 8 May and agreed that the present total of fund quotas should be increased by 50 per cent. to SDR135 billion. This decision has to be ratified by the board of governors.
North Sea Oil
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is (a) the monthly market value of North sea oil for the purposes of petroleum revenue tax from 1984 onwards and (b) the number of relevant transactions that were used as the base for each month.
There is no single, overall monthly market value of North sea oil for petroleum revenue tax purposes and I cannot disclose the tax position of individual taxpayers. The other information requested could not be provided without disproportionate effort.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions the Inland Revenue has used section 772 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988.
The power at present contained in section 772 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 has only once been formally invoked. Companies almost invariably supply the information in response to informal requests.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what was the level of manufacturing investment in the United Kingdom in 1979 and 1989 on a constant value basis, by regions;(2) if he will publish a table, using 1979 at a value of 100, of investment in real terms in manufacturing in the north-west for each of the last 11 years.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to him on 16 May, Official Report, column 442. Constant price estimates are not made because there are no regional price indices.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give for each year from 1979 to date manufacturing investment, including leased assets, at 1985 and current prices (a) including and (b) excluding company cars as defined for the purposes of taxation by the Inland Revenue.
Estimates of manufacturing investment from 1979 to 1989 are given in the following table:
|Manufacturing investment, including leased assets|
|Year||Current prices||1985 prices|
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will remove value added tax on repairs and maintenance and impose zero rating; and impose 15 per cent. value added tax on extensions to listed buildings.
No. Our obligations under the EC sixth VAT directive prevent such extensions of zero rating.
Capital Gains Tax
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the cost, in each case, of extending business relief for capital gains tax so that (a) there was no age limit, (b) there was a share qualification of 5 per cent. and (c) there was no limit on the amount of the gain.
I regret that appropriate information on which to base reliable estimates is not available.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he intends to take to control or regulate contractors involved in the disposal of chlorofluorocarbons; and if he will introduce a licensing system for such contractors.
Waste chlorofluorocarbons from industry, commerce or households are controlled waste, the disposal of which already requires a licence from a waste disposal authority. Under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989, persons carrying any controlled waste will be obliged to register. The Environmental Protection Bill will also impose a duty of care on any person who produces, carries or disposes of controlled waste.
Waste Into Energy
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of industrial and municipal refuse is currently converted into useful energy by combustion in the United Kingdom, each of the EEC and Scandinavian countries.
The World Health Organisation has made the following estimates of percentages by weight:
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will estimate the reduction in greenhouse gas release he expects from combustion of waste into energy projects, as a contribution to the Government's declared target by 2005.
Power generation by waste incineration or the combustion of methane from landfill sites results in no net addition of CO2 to the environment. Indeed, in replacing power generated by fossil fuel burning, it may actually help to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.Estimates of the contribution of such technologies to reduction in greenhouse gas release are under development. Overall Government strategy to stabilise CO
2 emissions at 1990 levels by 2005 will be presented in the environment White Paper to be published in the autumn.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the incineration plants currently operational in the United Kingdom, identifying those that convert waste into useful heat or electricity; how much such energy is produced: and which incinerators currently meet the agreed proposed EEC pollution standards.
There are 35 incinerators, as follows:
|Location||Energy produced (megawatts)|
|Edmonton, north London||40|
|Marchwood, Fawley, Hants||—|
|Stoke on Trent||—|
|Location||Energy produced (megawatts)|
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will estimate the increased proportion of waste he expects will be combusted into useful energy, as a result of the Environmental Protection Bill; and if he will seek to amend the Bill in order to provide stronger incentives or regulation, to achieve the potential.
The waste disposal provisions in the Bill, aimed at improving standards, will undoubtedly have the effect of increasing landfill costs, thus improving the competitiveness of incineration as a disposal option. In tandem with this, the Bill also requires the waste disposal authority, when framing the terms of disposal contracts, to have regard to the desirability of including conditions designed to maximise the recycling of waste under the contract. These measures should have the effect of encouraging energy-from-waste schemes. The Government have no intention of further amending the Bill in the way my hon. Friend suggests.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many written and oral questions on pollution and the protection of the environment by the hon. Member for Norfolk, North-West (Mr. Bellingham) he has answered in the current year.
In this Session the Department has replied to five questions from my hon. Friend on environmental matters.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he proposes to introduce any United Kingdom legislation in addition to Community regulation 3322/88 relating to chlorofluorocarbons and halons in order to achieve the agreed target for reductions in chlorofluorocarbons.
Community regulation 3322/88 on chlorofluorocarbons and halons is due to be replaced by the end of the year, to reflect the changes which we expect to be made to the Montreal protocol at the end of the month. Any more stringent action which member states consider can be implemented within the Community.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has yet made a decision regarding the Government's intention to legislate to protect common land.
No. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms. Walley) on 12 June, Official Report, column 157.
Sites Of Special Scientific Interest
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many sites of special scientific interest have been established since 1981 and are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
I am advised by the NCC that by 30 April 1990 it had notified 5,283 sites under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This included 3,329 sites which had previously been notified under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and have now been renotified.
Housing Action Trusts
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what evidence he received (a) from ballots, (b) from opinion surveys made available to him and (c) otherwise, in respect of tenant attitudes towards the proposed designation of housing action trusts in (i) Tower Hamlets, (ii) Lambeth, (iii) Southwark, (iv) Sandwell, (v) Leeds and (vi) Sunderland.
In Sunderland, the Electoral Reform Society conducted a ballot on the proposal to designate a housing action trust. In Leeds, Leeds polytechnic ran a ballot for the tenants on the issue of continuing the discussions about the HAT proposal. I am also aware of a MORI poll in Lambeth. In addition, the Department has used consultants, chairmen designate and meetings between Ministers and tenants' representatives to inform themselves of tenants' views.