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Written Answers

Volume 175: debated on Tuesday 3 July 1990

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 3 July 1990

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Romania

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy with regard to aid to Romania.

It remains our policy that long-term economic aid, but not humanitarian aid, to Romania is conditional on a genuine commitment to democracy and economic freedom in Romania. The conditions for aid to be released have not yet been met.

Zimbabwe

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to Zimbabwean authorities regarding the recent murder in Harare of Mr. Brian Angel, a United Kingdom citizen.

We have expressed our concern about Mr. Angel's death to the Zimbabwe Government both in Zimbabwe and, most recently, in London on 22 June 1990 when the permament secretary of the Zimbabwe Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We have called for a full investigation and understand that this is under way. We expect to be informed of the outcome.

South Africa

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the South African Government on their responsibility for Namibian debt.

The pre-independence debt question is a matter for resolution between the Governments of Namibia and South Africa and discussions have already begun. Both Governments are aware of our hope that early solutions satisfactory to both sides will be found to this and other aspects of their future economic relations.

Soviet Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the content of the 28 April letter to him from the Soviet Foreign Minister; what was his response; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Shevardnadze's letter proposed a ban on all nuclear weapons from Baltic waters, airspace and the sea bed. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs' reply made clear that, while we agreed on the importance of maintaining stability in northern Europe, we did not believe that a nuclear-free Baltic would contribute to the security of that region.

Rights Of The Child

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has yet set a timetable for the verification of the UN convention on the rights of the child; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Clydesdale (Mr. Hood) on 9 May column 176.

Namibia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what timetable he has been given by the South African Government for their withdrawal from and control of Walvis bay in Namibia in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 432.

The future of Walvis bay is a matter for negotiation between the Governments of Namibia and South Africa. We hope that an early solution satisfactory to both sides can be found.

Angola

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the recent talks in Portugal between the two sides in the Angolan civil war.

We welcome the Portuguese initiative in bringing the MPLA Government of Angola and UNITA together for talks. We are encouraged by the signs that some progress has been made towards resolving differences. We urge the two sides to continue to work for an early ceasefire and a lasting political settlement.

Council Of Ministers

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a statement of forthcoming business in the European Community Council of Ministers.

The Foreign Affairs Council will meet on 16 and 17 July. Ministers will discuss how to carry forward work on institutional reform on the basis of the agenda approved by the Dublin European Council. Ministers will also have a short discussion of economic and monetary union and possibly of presidency plans for the social action plan. They will hold an orientation debate on development co-operation. Ministers will discuss assistance to central and eastern Europe against the background of political and economic reform, and will review Community relations with Romania. The Council will further discuss the Commission's proposals on developing the Community's relations with Yugoslavia. It may also again discuss proposals for strengthening EC relations with the Mediterranean countries in general. Discussion is also expected on EC aid to Chile and Colombia, Namibia's application for accession to the Lomé convention and the Communities' position on the forthcoming Paris conference on least-developed countries. The Council will discuss the GATT Uruguay round and will look forward to the Trade Negotiation Committee in Geneva the following week. It is possible that Ministers will discuss EC/EFTA relations, and will consider whether or not to call a Youth Council later in the year. The Council will discuss preparations for a meeting of the EC/Malta Association Council which will take place in the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council. It is expected that the Maltese Foreign Minister will present Malta's application for EC membership.The Internal Market Council will meet on 17 July. We expect discussion of a number of measures relevant to the completion of the single market. The "utilities directive" liberalising public procurement in the water, energy, transport and telecommunications sectors is close to adoption, but may not be ready for adoption at the Council. The last IMC of the Irish presidency completed consideration of a number of outstanding items: hence the current agenda is thinner than usual.The Economic and Finance Council will meet on 23 July. On 8 May 1990, the Commission published its technical proposals for VAT, mutual assistance and intra-trade statistics based on the agreements reached at ECOFIN at the end of 1989. The Council will have an initial discussion of these proposals. There will be a discussion of the state of preparations for the intergovernmental conference on economic and monetary union.The Agriculture Council will meet on 23 and 24 July and may discuss the welfare of pigs and calves, reform of the dried grape regime, non-food uses of agricultural products, aromatised wines, organic production, pathogens in feedingstuffs and poultry and hatching eggs.The Budget Council will meet on 26 or 27 July to consider the 1991 preliminary draft budget submitted by the Commission.

Energy

National Power

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he is able to make an announcement about the chairmanship of National Power.

I am delighted to announce the appointment of Sir Trevor Holdsworth as chairman of National Power. Sir Trevor retired as chairman of GKN plc in 1988 and was president of the CBI from 1988 to 1990. He is chairman of British Satellite Broadcasting and Allied Colloids Group plc and deputy chairman of Prudential Assurance plc.

Nuclear Electric

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what month he expects Nuclear Electric plc to publish its annual accounts.

I have nothing to add to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) on 2 July, Official Report, column 432.

Electricity Privatisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) whether he will review the appointment of Kleinwort Benson as his merchant banking advisers on the privatisation of the electricity supply industry of England and Wales;

(2) what action he proposes to take to extend the range of merchant banking advice he has available to him on the privatisation of the electricity industry of England and Wales.

I am entirely satisfied with the role Kleinwort Benson is performing as merchant banking advisers on the privatisation of the electricity supply industry in England and Wales.

Sizewell B

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he expects to ask the chairman of Nuclear Electric to carry out a further review of the progress on the Sizewell B nuclear power station in 1991.

Nuclear Electric will continue to review regularly progress at Sizewell B.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what assessment he has made of the need for new electricity generating capacity requiring to be completed in England and Wales in the 1990–1998 period (a) assuming the completion of Sizewell B nuclear power station and (b) assuming that it is not completed; and if he will make a statement.

The need for new capacity by 1998 is uncertain and will depend upon a number of factors including the future demand for electricity and commercial judgments on the economic life of existing plant. These are matters for the industry.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will exempt public electricity suppliers from paying the non-fossil fuel levy in respect of all the costs of Sizewell B nuclear power station incurred after his letter to the hon. Member for Rochford (Dr. Clark) of 26 June.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what estimates were made of the level of the non-fossil fuel levy in 1994, 1995 and 1996 in the event of the cancellation of Sizewell B nuclear power station.

The effect on the fossil fuel levy of the cancellation of Sizewell B would depend on the closure dates and performance of Nuclear Electric's other stations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what independent financial advice he took on the comparison between the economics of combined cycle gas turbine stations and the completion of Sizewell B described in his letter of 26 June to the hon. Member for Rochford (Dr. Clark).

My Department undertook the analysis using the best available information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what comparisons he has made of the costs and benefits of expenditure on (a) Sizewell B nuclear power station and (b) research and development on the UKAEA safe integral reactor and other advanced nuclear power station designs;(2) what assessment he has made of the impact on the environment of expenditure of £990 million on

(a) Sizewell B nuclear power station and (b) energy efficiency and conservation.

The assessment of the case for continuing with the construction of Sizewell B concentrated on economic grounds, although it also took into account environmental and other considerations. We perceive a need for new generating capacity in the mid-1990s, taking into account the potential for greater energy efficiency. The case for completing Sizewell B must therefore be assessed against the economics of alternative forms of generation, available for immediate construction. It is not likely that an alternative design of nuclear plant could be brought into operation within the time scale required.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make it his policy to carry out a further review of the economics of the Sizewell B nuclear power station when it is (a) 50 per cent. complete and (b) 66 per cent. complete.

We will continue to monitor closely the costs of Sizewell B through six-monthly progress reports which Nuclear Electric will continue to provide to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Any further economic analysis of Sizewell B will be carried out as necessary.

Home Department

Brixton Prison

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) prison officers in Brixton prison and (b) prisoners committed suicide in Brixton prison last year.

Three prison officers employed at Brixton prison committed suicide in 1989. Eight inmates died by their own hand in the same year. At the coroners' inquests verdicts of suicide were returned in two cases; other verdicts were returned in the remaining cases.

Race Relations

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to make a decision about the application from Staffordshire county council for section 11 funding for bilingual assistant posts.

The application was received on 28 March and is currently under consideration. A decision will be taken as soon as possible.

Political Asylum

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for (a) political asylum and (b) variation of leave to remain in the United Kingdom have been received in each quarter since 1 January 1988; how many have been (i) granted, (ii) refused and (iii) await decision; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 26 June 1990]: The available information is given in the tables.

Table A: Applications for refugee status, or variation of leave to
remain in the United Kingdom, made during the period 1 January
1988 to 31 March 1990, by quarter.

Applications for refugee status

Applications for variation of leave2

1988

Quarter 11,32777,200
Quarter 21,19773,700
Quarter 31,36174,500
Quarter 41,37871,000

1989

Quarter 1

12,275

64,800
Quarter 2

15,645

59,900
Quarter 3

13,025

70,200
Quarter 4

13,380

72,900

1990

Quarter 1

12,450

72,100

1 Provisional figures.

2 Includes referred entry clearance applications, and enquiries submitted by letter, as well as variation of leave cases. Includes both general and Eastern European immigration casework.

Table B: Decisions made during the period 1 January 1988 to 31
March 1990 on applications for refugee status, or for variation of
leave

Refugee cases

Variation of leave cases

Grants

112,475

2 3 4420,545

Refusals1,615

3 430,005

Cases outstanding as at 31 March 1990

516,272

5 627,968

1 Grants of refugee status or of exceptional leave.

2 Grants of extensions or of settlement.

3 Includes both general and Eastern immigration casework

4 Does not include decisions on referred entry clearance applicationa, or enquiries submitted by letter.

5 This figure is a total of all work outstanding in the Refugee Unit.

6 Includes referred entry clearance applications as well as variation of leave cases. The figure comprises 26,359 general immigration cases and 1,609 Eastern Europe.

Multi-Faith Education

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much money has been spent by the Commission for Racial Equality in the last five years in promoting multi-faith education.

[holding answer 19 June 1990]: The quantifiable cost of this work over the last five years is £12,850, being the net cost of three publications designed to convey factual information about different religions.

Education And Science

Higher Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about the numbers due to enter higher education in October 1990.

Our latest projection indicates that, at over 208,000 the number of home students entering full-time higher education this autumn will be more than 4 per cent. above last year's record level.

Further Education, Isle Of Wight

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he will list the capital allocations for further education for the Isle of Wight for the last two years; and if he will tabulate the projects to which the sums apply;(2) if he will list the allocations for the Isle of Wight college of art and technology for

(a) a residential block, (b) a short-course teaching block, (c) minor works and (d) equipment.

Annual capital guidelines to the Isle of Wight authority for the college of art and technology for 1990–91 were as follows:

£
a. Residential Block200,000
b. Teaching Block155,000
c. Minor Works20,000
d. Equipment22,000
For 1988–89, a total of £40,000 was allocated for further education equipment. There were no capital allocations for further education in 1989–90.

Alzheimer's Disease

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what research is being undertaken at his instigation by the Medical Research Council to establish any possible connections between Alzheimer's disease and human spongiform encephalopathies; and if he will make a statement.

Under the terms of its royal charter, it is for the council itself to decide what research to undertake. The council is not currently undertaking research into a possible connection between Alzheimer's disease and human spongiform encephalopathies. Until now there has been no scientific evidence to suggest that there is any possible link between these two diseases which show separate and distinct neuropathologies. The council is always willing to consider soundly based proposals for research.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish in the Official Report the text of the reply to the letter of 21 June from the head teacher at Beaufort Street county primary, junior mixed and infants school, Liverpool.

The following is the text of the Department's reply:Dear Mrs. RedmondThank you for your letter of 21 June 1990 to the Secretary of State.You have in your letter raised some very important issues. I understand that after nineteen years at Beaufort County Primary School you will be retiring with mixed feelings.The Secretary of State wrote recently to all head teachers stressing his appreciation for the hard work teachers are undertaking in our schools. He has made clear on many other occasions that the teaching profession deserves gratitude, recognition and respect for its professionalism and the commitment shown to pupils. Ministers value that commitment very highly indeed.I hardly need to tell you that teaching remains a very attractive career for many people. You may know that about 25,000 people enter or re-enter the profession each year. Despite what we are sometimes led to believe, wastage is generally low. The latest data indicate that less than 1% of teachers leave for other paid employment.The Government's proposals for local authority current spending in 1990/91 allow for almost £15 billion to be spent on education. That is 9.6percnt; higher than the comparable total for this year. Within the £15 billion total, specific grants of over £180 million will be available under the Education Support Grants programme and the LEA Training Grant Scheme to help implement the education reforms. Given effective management, the total should be sufficient to allow good progress to be made in getting the reforms into place. It allows for LEAs and schools to give more priority to spending on key areas of books and equipment, repairs and maintenance compared with the levels of spending assumed for this year.The vast majority of teachers support the aims of the National Curriculum, which is founded on current best practice. Its introduction together with other education reforms does place extra demands on teachers, and the Government has responded to pleas that further reforms might overstrain teachers' goodwill and commitment. The intention is to ensure that the reforms are implemented at a reasonable pace, while retaining the momentum already gained.You express particular concern about children with special educational needs (SEN) in relation to the National Curriculum. The Government believes that all children, including those with SEN should follow the National Curriculum to the maximum extent possible. The levels of attainment within the National Curriculum are being flexibly designed so that almost all pupils, including those with special educational needs, will be able to show what they have achieved and, more importantly, what progress they have made over time. Up until now too many pupils have had limited educational opportunities, and that includes children with SEN. Their curricula have often lacked breadth and balance and they have not been challenged into achieving their full potential. The Government firmly believes that the National Curriculum will lever up standards in education and benefit children including those with special educational needs.Maintained schools are under a duty to offer the National Curriculum to all their pupils unless exceptions are made in accordance with the relevant Sections of the Education Reform Act (ERA). Some children with SEN, such as those referred to at the end of your letter, may have a statement of their special educational needs drawn up in accordance with the Education Act 1981. That Act rejects the concept of labelling pupils and concentrates instead on identifying individual pupils' needs and ensuring that those needs are met. In future each statement will be able to specify how the National Curriculum is to apply to the individual pupil. A statement can modify or disapply the National Curriculum requirements, and where appropriate offer an individual programme of study. However, where exceptions are made, maintained schools are still under duty to ensure that the curricula they offer pupils are balanced and broadly based, in accordance with the requirements of Section 1 of the ERA.The quality of your own commitment to teaching and the development of your pupils is very clear from your letter. We too are dedicated to the well being of education and to giving the best support we can to teachers. Important changes are taking place, particularly with the introduction of the National Curriculum and Local Management of Schools, and I would ask you to have faith that those who will be working in and on behalf of education after you have retired will carry forward the best values and build upon the best practices of teachers in your generation.Yours sincerelyG. A. HOLLEYSchools 2 Branch

City Technology Colleges

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) in respect of each city technology college, what amount of annual per capita grant he has agreed to pay for the financial year beginning in September; what unit of cost per pupil has been used in calculating the amount of annual per capita grant; how this cost has been determined; and what enhancement of annual per capita grant has been allowed under the terms of paragraph 11 of the model funding agreement;(2) in respect of each city technology college, what amount of earmarked annual grant he has agreed to pay in the financial year beginning in September; and for what purpose each element of earmarked annual grant has been approved.

The level of recurrent expenditure for city technology colleges for the academic year beginning this September has not yet been agreed.

Birmingham City Action Team

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what actions he has undertaken in the past six months in support of the Birmingham city action team and the east Birmingham task force.

As a member of a team of Ministers with responsibility for oversight of city action teams and inner-city task forces in various parts of England, I became sponsor Minister for the Birmingham city action team and the east Birmingham task force late last year. I have sought to encourage co-operation between business, local authorities, the voluntary sector and local people. In this capacity, since the beginning of this year I have visited Birmingham seven times, meeting a variety of local groups and visiting local projects.

Overseas Development

India

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether United Kingdom Government aid will be given to support any development of the Rihard II power generation project in northern India.

At the request of the Government of India, the Department of Trade and Industry has nominated a main contractor for the second stage of the power station. An offer of aid has been made subject to appraisal of the project.

National Finance

Company Reports

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what reports other than reports prepared under the Companies Acts may be required under clause 78(2) of the Finance Bill 1990.

The proposed tax return for companies under pay and file, which has been developed in consultation with bodies representing businesses and the legal and accountancy professions, requires companies to provide a copy of their full accounts prepared under the Companies Act, which will include the directors' and auditor's reports, with the return. Insurance companies will also be required to provide a copy of the report made to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry under part II of the Insurance Companies Act 1982.

House Purchase

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to amend the provisions of subsection (6) of section 354 of the Taxes Act 1988 in order to provide that interest eligible for relief on bridging finance for house purchases is extended beyond the initial 12-month period of relief as of right and not discretion.

[holding answer 2 July 1990]: None. I am not aware of any need for a change in the present rules.

Documents

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of and how many documents in 1989 he estimates were (a) passed on to the Public Record Office intact, (b) passed on to the Public Record Office in censored form, (c) retained by his Department in full (d) retained by his Department in part, (e) destroyed, (f) otherwise disposed of and (g) otherwise unaccounted for.

[holding answer 2 July 1990]: No document falls due for selection and transfer to the Public Record Office until it is at least 30 years old. A document's suitability for permanent preservation under the terms of the Public Records Act 1958 will be reviewed during that period. The Act does not require statistics to be kept in the form requested and to do so would inevitably incur disproportionate cost. However, in order to comply with their duties under the Act, Departments are obliged to ensure that all documentary records are properly preserved with a view to possible transfer to the Public Record Office and eventual release to the public. The general criteria under which Departments may retain documents over 30 years old are set out in section 3(4) of the Public Records Act.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria he uses when deciding which documents to pass on to the Public Record Office.

[holding answer 2 July 1990]: My right hon. Friend's Departments comply with the guidelines issued by the Public Record Office on the selection of documents for permanent preservation. Decisions on which documents are transferred to the Public Record Office for this purpose are taken in consultation with PRO inspecting officers.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what systems he employs to classify, log and otherwise record each document generated by his Department; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 2 July 1990]: The Treasury does not record each document generated. Papers are collected on to files which are given specific titles. These files are then registered on to a records management computer system. These practices are in accordance with the Public Records Acts 1958 and 1967. Each file bears the classification of the highest classified document enclosed in each file.

Pensions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the effects of the level of inflation on pensions.

I have been asked to reply.The Government have maintained their commitment to increase the state retirement pension fully in line with prices, as measured by the retail prices index.

Wales

Nhs Trusts

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the latest figure for the number of national health service hospitals in Wales seeking self-governing trust status.

The Department has so far received no applications for self-governing status, but has received one formal expression of interest from Pembrokeshire health authority.

Countryside Council For Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to establish the headquarters of the Countryside Council for Wales in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion; and if he will make a statement.

We have decided that the headquarters of the Countryside Council for Wales will be at Plas Penrhos, Ffordd Penrhos, Bangor, which is currently the Nature Conservancy Council's headquarters for Wales. The present buildings can accommodate most of the new headquarters staff although some additional accommodation may be needed later. It will probably be necessary to relocate the north Wales regional office of the Nature Conservancy Council which at present shares the headquarters buildings; the precise location will depend on the availability of suitable alternative accommodation but it is envisaged that it will be in, or within daily travelling distance of Bangor.We have received representations for the headquarters to be situated at a number of other locations in Wales which we have considered very carefully. However, on balance we have chosen Bangor mainly because suitable accommodation requiring the minimum of adaptation is immediately available and it will reduce staff inconvenience and relocation costs to a minimum.

Crown Buildings, Cathays Park

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects the Export Credits Guarantee Department insurance services group to vacate the New Crown building, Cathays park, Cardiff.

I expect the new company which is to be formed from the insurance services group of ECGD to move from the New Crown building, Cathays park as soon as alternative accommodation can be found; this is not expected to be for some time after incorporation of the company as a new building is likely to be necessary.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the energy efficiency of the Crown buildings, Cathays park.

A consulting engineer was commissioned by the Property Services Agency to produce an energy survey report on the Crown buildings in Cathays park. My Department and Property Holdings—Department of the Environment—are now considering the consultant's recommendations.

Quarrying

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will call in the application by Pioneer Aggregates to extend Aberduna quarry, Maeshafn, Llanferres, Clwyd; and if he will make a statement.

No. On present information, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales sees no reason why an application of this nature, which does not appear to raise planning issues of more than local importance, should not be decided by Clwyd county council.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will now pursue an appeal against the quashing of an enforcement notice relating to the activities of Messrs. F. G. Whitley and Co. in respect of the quarry Moel Findeg, Maeshafn, Llanferres, Clwyd; and if he will make a statement.

No. The notice was quashed by my right hon. Friend in accordance with the ruling given by the High Court and he has no present jurisdiction in the matter. He understands however that Clwyd county council is pursuing the case to the Court of Appeal.

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the latest figure for the number of confirmed cases of BSE in (a) the east midlands and (b) Nottinghamshire.

Following is the information:

CountyConfirmed cases
Warwickshire159
Northamptonshire115
Nottinghamshire83

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of holdings which have had at least one case of BSE in the last two years, by county, in the United Kingdom.

The information for Great Britain for the two years from 30 June 1988 to 29 June 1990 is as follows:

CountyHoldings
Bedfordshire15
Cambridge22
Essex32
Hertfordshire40
Lincolnshire58
Norfolk96
Northamptonshire64
Suffolk66
Cheshire208
Derbyshire119
Hertfordshire and Worcestershire161
Lancashire191
Leicestershire156

County

Holdings

Manchester8
Merseyside5
Nottinghamshire48
Shropshire199
Staffordshire164
West Midlands11
Avon150
Cornwall569
Devon849
Dorset482
Gloucestershire207
Somerset578
Wiltshire394
Clwyd103
Dyfed362
Glamorgan Mid16
Glamorgan South18
Glamorgan West5
Gwent72
Warwick85
Cleveland11
Cumbria194
Durham43
Humberside46
Northumberland32
Tyne and Wear1
Yorkshire North327
Yorkshire South30
Yorkshire West43
Berkshire43
Buckinghamshire54
Hampshire217
Isle of Wight33
Kent110
London4
Oxon104
Surrey69
Sussex East96
Sussex West145
Borders11
Central17
Dumfries69
Fife19
Grampian82
Highland20
Lothian10
Orkney7
Shetland1
Strathclyde112
Tayside25
Gwynedd38
Powys116

Silver Foxes

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many silver fox farms there are in the United Kingdom; and whether there is a feral population of silver foxes.

Farmers do not need licences to keep silver foxes and we do not collect this information. There is no evidence of feral silver foxes in the United Kingdom.

Agricultural Dwellings

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what action he takes to ensure the independence of his Department's assessment of the financial viability of proposals for agricultural workers' dwellings; and if he will make a statement;(2) what action he takes to ensure that his Department's independent advice to local authorities on proposals for agricultural dwellings is not compromised by the commercial advice given by the Agricultural Development Advisory Service; and if he will make a statement.

Local authorities receive advice on the rehousing of agricultural workers from agricultural dwellings house advisory committees—ADHACs. These consist of an independent chairman and one representative each of employers and employees. These representatives must be unconnected with the case. The role of the Agricultural Development Advisory Service is confined to the provision to ADHACs of a factual account of the agricultural enterprise in question. ADHACs are entitled to seek alternative sources of information on this point if they so wish.

Attorney-General

Marchioness

To ask the Attorney-General (1) if he will bring charges under the Merchant Shipping Act 1988, section 30, in connection with the collision between the Bowbelle and the Marchioness on 20 August 1989;(2) if he will bring manslaughter charges against any of the parties involved in the collision between the Bowbelle and the Marchioness on 20 August 1989;(3) if he will bring charges under the Merchant Shipping Act 1988, section 31, in connection with the collision between the Bowbelle and the Marchioness on 20 August 1989.

The Director of Public Prosecutions announced on 26 April 1990 that the master of the Bowbelle was to be prosecuted for an offence contrary to section 27 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1970 as substituted by section 32 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1988. The charge alleges that he failed properly to discharge a duty, namely to ensure that a proper lookout was kept by all available means, to such an extent as to be likely to cause the loss or destruction of, or serious damage to, another ship or the death of, or serious injury to, another person.Those proceedings are now pending at Bow Street magistrates court. The Director of Public Prosecutions does not envisage any further charges.

Prime Minister

National Health Service

Q6.

To ask the Prime Minister whether she will make a statement on the progress of preparations on the Government's proposed changes in the financing of the national health service.

Royal Assent for the National Health Service and Community Care Act was received on 29 June. Preparations for implementation of the new financial arrangements are proceeding well.

European Community Summit

Q71.

To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on the recent European Community summit of Heads of Government held at the conclusion of the Irish presidency; and if she will list the principal conclusions.

I refer my hon. Friend to the statement I made to the House on 28 June.

Ussr (Financial Aid)

Q105.

To ask the Prime Minister if she has recently held discussions with Chancellor Kohl and other European Community Government leaders concerning the subject of the provision of financial aid to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and if she will make a statement.

Aid to the Soviet Union was discussed at the Dublin European Council. I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made to the House on 28 June.

Metrocentre, Gateshead

Q116.

To ask the Prime Minister when she next proposes to make a visit to the Metrocentre at Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

Retirement Pensions

Q130.

To ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of the recent decision by the House of Lords in the case of James v. Eastleigh borough council, she will introduce amending legislation to provide equal age eligibility between men and women for the state retirement pension.

The James case was concerned with concessions to people by reference to their age. It has no effect on the law on social security and, therefore, there is no need to amend that law in the light of this judgment.

Film Studio, Rainham

Q134.

To ask the Prime Minister what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to encourage proposals by MCA to build a film studio complex in Rainham, Essex.

I have met Mr. Lew Wasserman, chairman of MCA Inc. A number of Government Departments and agencies have had discussions with the company about its proposals.

Ira

To ask the Prime Minister whether any representations were made to Her Majesty's Government by the Government of Australia about Irish terrorism following the murder of two Australian tourists by the IRA operating in Holland.

Engagements

To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 3 July.

This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, including one with Chief Anyaoku, the new Secretary General of the Commonwealth. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today, including one with the Chinese ambassador. This evening I hope to have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen.

Environment And Health

To ask the Prime Minister what steps have been taken by the Government to implement the European charter on environment and health; and if she will make a statement.

The European charter on environment and health consists in the main of a broad statement of principles and priorities for the protection of the environment and health. Government policy is already fully consistent with these principles and we are active in all the priority areas listed in the charter. We will be publishing a full statement of our policies for the environment in a White Paper later this year. As to the specific proposals in the charter for further international action, my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, indicated at the Frankfurt conference that the United Kingdom stood ready to discuss these through existing international machinery. A copy of his speech is in the Library.

Transport

London Underground (Bridges)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many bridges which traverse the London underground network have failed the BD21/84 guidelines; and if he will make a statement.

I understand from London Underground Ltd. that, as of 26 June 1990, 59 structures carrying highways over its network have failed the criteria of BD21/84.In all these cases it has notified the highway authorities concerned so that necessary measures can be taken to maintain traffic and safeguard the public.Strengthening work is in hand on six structures and temporary measures are either in force or being investigated for the rest.

Cycle Lanes

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his most up-to-date estimate of the additional cost to public funds of incorporating a cycle lane on the second Severn bridge.

The most recent estimate, provided in 1988, put the cost of incorporating a cycle lane in the second Severn bridge at almost £10 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received regarding cycle lanes on the second Severn crossing.

Representations have been received from cycling organisations, including Cyclebag and the Cyclists Touring Club, requesting that the second Severn crossing include provision for cyclists.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will incorporate a cycle lane in the second Severn road bridge.

No, it is not the intention that a cycle lane should be incorporated in the second Severn road bridge.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the decision to omit a cycle lane from the design of the second Severn bridge was made.

When tenders were invited in spring 1989 for the design and construction of a second Severn crossing, my Department suggested to tenderers that they should consider incorporating cycling facilities, although it was not a firm requirement that such facilities should be provided. None of the tenderers put forward proposals for a cycle lane on the new crossing.

Newbury Bypass

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he anticipates he will be in a position to announce jointly with the Secretary of State for the Environment the decision on the route to be adopted for the Newbury bypass on the A34.

My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for the Environment hope to be able to make an announcement soon following the public inquiry into the A34 Newbury bypass.

Railway Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with British Rail about improvements to existing rail links from the south coast to the north and Scotland.

East Usk Sidings

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he next expects to respond to the petition by residents of Newport, Gwent, against British Rail's operations at East Usk sidings, presented by the hon. Member for Newport, East on 18 June.

The matters raised in the petition are for British Rail and the local authority to resolve. I understand that BR has had discussions with local residents and Newport borough council and plans to take remedial measures to alleviate the disturbance caused by its operations at East Usk sidings.

Mv Derbyshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will now make an ex-gratia payment to the families of the people who died when the MV Derbyshire sank.

I have no plans to make an ex-gratia payment to the dependants of those who were lost in the MV Derbyshire tragedy.

Private Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the total number of air hours flown in United Kingdom airspace for the last three years for which figures are available by (a) commercial and (b) private aircraft.

The figures are not available in precisely the form requested, but the most likely numbers are given in the table.The commercial aircraft figures relate to aircraft of more than 2,300 kg mass. The private aircraft figures are for United Kingdom-registered aircraft only, but for all flying including that flown outside United Kingdom airspace.

CommercialPrivate
1987606,000800,000
1988655,000876,000
1989706,000991,000

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many private pilots are currently registered in the United Kingdom.

The Civil Aviation Authority has issued 55,135 private aeroplane licences and 2,203 private helicopter licences. However, the CAA has no knowledge of how many of these licence holders are currently exercising the privileges of the licences.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents for each of the last three years have involved aircraft flown by private pilots.

Not all accident reports indicate the type of licence held by the pilot. A flight which is clearly a private flight may well be flown by the holder of a commercial licence and conversely many private aircraft are registered in the public transport category so that they can be flown on payment by, for example, other club private pilots. Taking these points into consideration, the safety data analysis unit of the CAA believes that the following table represents the accidents involving pilots with private or student licences.

Accidents involving United Kingdom registered aircraft flown by pilots with private or student licences
Fatal accidentsTotal accidents
198719137
198811165
198911203
Accidents to foreign registered aircraft in United Kingdom airspace flown by private licence holders
198723
198812
198911

Nuclear Waste

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to ban the transport of nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel on roll-on, roll-off passenger ferries; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 2 July 1990]: No. I am satisfied with the safety arrangements for such transport, which is permitted within the conditions prescribed in the international maritime dangerous goods code.

Rail Industry (Injuries)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many railway staff have been killed or suffered major injuries for the period 1979–83 and 1984–88; and what they represent as a proportion per 1,000 railway staff employed.

[pursuant to his reply, 24 May 1990, c. 294]: In the period 1984–88, 98 staff died and 979 suffered major injuries, totalling 1,077. The average number of staff employed during that period was 181,200. The proportion of deaths and major injuries to 1,000 employed was 5.94.In the period 1979–83, 153 railway staff died and 1,613 suffered major injuries, totalling 1,766. The average number of staff employed during that period was 228,200. The proportion of deaths and major injuries to 1,000 employed was 7.74.In the period 1974–78, 209 railway staff died and 3,023 suffered major injuries, totalling 3,232. The average number of staff employed during that period was 246,400. The proportion of deaths and major injuries to 1,000 employed was 13.1.

Trade And Industry

National Physical Laboratory

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made towards the establishment of the National Physical Laboratory as an executive agency.

I am establishing the National Physical Laboratory—NPL—and an executive agency with effect from 3 July. The NPL is the eighth executive agency to be established within the DTI. Nearly 50 per cent. of the Department's staff are now working in agencies.Establishing the NPL as an executive agency will assist it to improve further the quality and cost effectiveness of its services. The primary measure of the NPL's performance will be its ability to satisfy its customers in terms of value for money and the quality of its work whilst fully covering its costs. I am also setting the NPL quality of service and efficiency targets as follows:

to improve to 90 per cent. by 1994–95 the percentage of calibrations completed within six weeks;
to complete at least 95 per cent. of contract research investigations on time over the period 1990–91 to 1994–95;
to increase by at least 3 per cent. the number of research milestones achieved annually per scientist over the period 1990–91 to 1994–95;
to reduce the cost of administrative support so that by 1994–95 it represents no more than 20 per cent. of NPL's full economic cost;
to increase the proportion of staff time attributed to programme-related work by 5 per cent. over the period 1990–91 to 1994–95;
to reduce the cost of NPL per member of project staff by 2 per cent. per annum over the period 1990–91 to 1994–95; and
to secure a combination of output efficiency and cost reduction measures which, taken together, represent a requirement on NPL to improve its overall efficiency by more than 2 per cent. a year over the period 1990–91 to 1994–95.

Defence

Parachute Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply to the right hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South on 9 May, Official Report, column 137, how many of the 97 cases of injury and death of parachute trainees at RAF Brize Norton in 1989 were related to ill health; how many had seen a medical officer prior to the incident; and of these, how many were certified unfit to continue with immediate training.

There were no cases of injury or death at No. 1 parachute training school which were related to ill health. It is not known how many had seen a medical officer prior to the incident; medical records for those attending parachute training at RAF Brize Norton are returned to the trainees unit for regular soldiers and to general practitioners for territorials at the end of the course. If trainees were certified as unfit to continue immediate training they would not parachute again until cleared by the medical officer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if there was an outbreak of sickness and diarrhoea at the RAF Brize Norton parachute training camp during the first two weeks of August 1989.

No. On a station the size of RAF Brize Norton, with upwards of 7,000 personnel, sickness and diarrhoea are endemic.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what training is given to parachute instructors so that they will recognise concussion or other forms of illness which could impair the safety of parachute trainees; and what first aid training is given.

All NCO parachute jumping instructors are required to obtain a first aid certificate during basic training as a physical training instructor; this includes recognition of some forms of concussion. There is no training given in the recognition of any forms of illness as the trainees have immediate access to fully qualified medical officers the moment they feel unwell. During all forms of parachute training there is a fully qualified medical attendant and ambulance available at all times. There is always an individual responsibility to report sick if the trainee considers he is unfit to continue training. Queen's regulations demand this for all services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many parachute trainees at RAF Brize Norton reported to a medical officer and were categorised as requiring 48 hours or more withdrawal from the course in 1989.

Army Personnel (Summer Camps)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps will be taken to ensure that the safety of Army personnel attending summer camps can be secured, in the light of information provided by his Department to Messrs Deansway Catering of Worcester; and if he will make a statement.

Appropriate measures are taken to provide adequate security, in the light of the threat, to all personnel attending summer camps run by the Army. In the case of those units on which information was provided by Deansway Catering Company Ltd., steps have already been taken to alert the relevant districts and units on the need to be particularly vigilant.

Oil Pollution, Aquila

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cause of the recent leak of oil from his Department's site at Aquila on to adjoining land; what steps have been taken to remove the pollution caused; on how many previous occasions similar incidents have occurred; what steps are being taken to prevent a recurrence; and if he will make a statement.

Extensive investigations made by my Department have not revealed any recent leakage of oil from the MOD Aquila site. It appears that the source of the recent pollution was outside the MOD site and that oil was introduced into one of the drains which run underneath the site. Two minor incidents involving oil spillage have occurred on the Aquila site, in February 1988 and June 1989. In each case immediate action was taken to limit and repair any damage.

Environment

Drinking Water

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the operation of the drinking water inspectorate; and if he will make a statement.

Housebuilding Starts and Completions
(Thousands)
StartsCompletions
19881989Per cent. change19881989Per cent. change
North10.39.8-48.69.7+13
Yorkshire and Humberside17.915.9-1116.914.4-15
East Midlands21.716.8-2319.915.9-20
East Anglia16.511.4-3113.213.7+3
South East:
London15.413.7-1112.512.9+4
Rest of South East63.741.9-3455.547.9-14
South West30.219.2-3623.721.0-11
West Midlands19.115.6-1917.614.2-19
North West18.718.0-418.516.3-12
England213.4162.3-24186.3166.0-11
In 1988 private enterprise housebuilding was at its highest since 1973. Because of the need to raise interest rates to keep down inflation the fall during 1989 and early 1990 is not surprising. Interest rates will remain at current levels as long as is necessary to defeat inflation.

Greenhouse Effect

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on alternatives to chlorofluorocarbons currently in use which are greenhouse gases.

The drinking water inspectorate was established on 2 January 1990. Its principal tasks will be to check that the quality of public water supplies complies with legal requirements and that water companies are carrying out improvement programmes to which they are committed by undertakings under section 20 of the Water Act 1989. Before the end of the year, the inspectorate will make an inspection of each of the 39 water companies. It will publish a report upon its first year of operations, copies of which will be placed in the Library of the House of Commons.

Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing the number of housing starts and completions in the Northern region in each quarter of 1988 and 1989 and the first quarter of the current year.

Latest available figures for the Northern region show 2,027 dwelling starts reported in the fourth quarter 1989, and 2,428 in the first quarter of 1990. Corresponding figures for dwellings completed were 2,837 and 1,996, respectively. The latest quarterly figures for 1988 up to the third quarter of 1989 appear in table 1.3 of "Housing and Construction Statistics, Part 1, No. 40", which is in the Library.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing the number of housing starts and completions in each standard region in 1988 and 1989, together with the percentage change between 1988 and 1989.

The latest available figures for all housebuilding, private and public, are as follows:

HCFC 22 is an important transitional substance to replace CFC 12. Its global warming potential (GWP) is about a fifth of CFC 12. Other new chemicals are being developed which are also greenhouse gases but with a fraction of the GWP of the CFCs they are to replace.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy in respect of the use of HFC 134A as an alternative to chlorofluorocarbons.

HFC 134A is an environmentally acceptable alternative to CFC12—it has no ozone depletion potential and its global warming potential is less than a sixth that of CFC12. The Government expect industry to use substitutes in a way which ensures minimum emission to atmosphere.

Mink

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the number and distribution of feral mink in Great Britain.

My Department maintains no records of numbers or distribution of feral mink.

Pavements

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what statutory requirements and regulations concerning the minimum and maximum heights of pavements local authorities are required to observe.

[holding answer 29 June 1990]: The law on highways is a matter for the Department of Transport, but I understand that there are no such statutory requirements.

Joint Committee For Nature Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether the proposed joint committee for nature conservation will assume responsibility for the peatland resource survey currently being undertaken by the Nature Conservancy Council;(2) whether the proposed joint committee for nature conservation will have a responsibility for establishing the criteria for identifying and safeguarding blanket and raised peatland bogs of national or international importance.

[holding answer 29 June 1990]: The main duties and responsibilities of the joint committee were set out in the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment to my hon. Friend the Member for Wyre (Mr. Mans) on 23 November 1989, Official Report, columns 16–17. The committee will be responsible for establishing guidelines to assist the county councils in designating sites of special scientific interest and sites of national or international importance for nature conservation. Proposals for the detailed programme of work to be undertaken or overseen by the committee are currently being drawn up in consultation with the Nature Conservancy Council and the other Government Departments involved.

Ozone Layer

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans the Government have to reconsider their position on phase-out targets, for chemicals that destroy the ozone layer, before the forthcoming Montreal protocol renegotiations; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 2 July 1990]: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made in the House by the Secretary of State yesterday.

Sewage Discharges

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to his oral answer of 27 June, Official Report, columns 309–10, whether his undertaking that new outfalls will be designed to be fully treated includes schemes which are currently at the planning stage.

My officials wrote on 7 June to the National Rivers Authority to explain how the policy announced on 5 March by my right hon. Friend, at column 452, would be applied. A copy of this letter has been placed in the Library.This makes it clear that discharges to estuaries must receive secondary treatment where the dry weather flow exceeds 1,500 cu m a day. The outfall at Lavernock will therefore be designed to discharge sewage which has received secondary treatment.

Crown Buildings, Cathays Park

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the requirement for modern air conditioning in the (a) Crown building and (b) New Crown building, Cathays park.

(a) The Crown building at Cathays park has no air conditioning except for one small computer room in the basement. There has been no assessment of the requirement for air conditioning in the remainder of this listed building.

(b) The New Crown building was built with air conditioning throughout. Following an assessment of the additional requirements of modern information technology, the system is currently being enhanced.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the application of combined heat and power to the future energy requirements of the Crown buildings complex, Cathays park, Cardiff.

No assessment has been made of the application of combined heat and power to Cathays park. Such an assessment would normally be appropriate when the existing plant became due for renewal.

Construction Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department will fund further research into the use of Mundic in the construction industry.

Tyneside Enterprise Zone

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his replies given to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central on 7 June, Official Report, column 688, and 20 June, Official Report, column 566, what was the sum added to the revenue support grant for England 1990–91 in respect of business rates otherwise payable in (a) the Newcastle and (b) the Gateshead portions of the Tyneside enterprise zone.

[holding answer 27 June 1990]: A total of £81 million was added to the revenue support grant for England in 1990–91 as being broadly equivalent to the amount of rates that would have been paid in 1990–91 but for the exemption from rating of properties in enterprise zones. No part of this figure is specifically attributed to any individual enterprise zone. As all business rates are gathered into a central pool and then paid out to authorities on the basis of their relevant populations an authority containing an enterprise zone would not lose income as a result. Any difference between authorities in the amount which they need to spend to provide a standard level of service at average efficiency is measured in their standard spending assessments and is provided for in their RSG.

Tourist Resorts

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider specific grants for capital projects to tourist resort local authorities.

[holding answer 27 June 1990]: My Department has no plans to make such grants. I understand that the English tourist board is the agency through which taxpayers' money is made available for tourism in England.

Property Services Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the expected magnitude of the liquidated damages that the Property Services Agency will recover from the main contractor at the RAF St. Mawgan site in relation to the building of nine hardened aircraft shelters.

[holding answer 28 June 1990]: The extent of liquidated damages, if any, cannot be assessed until the contract is complete.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which company is supplying the main door drive units at RAF St. Mawgan; and whether extensive prototype tests have been carried out to the satisfaction of the Property Services Agency.

[holding answer 28 June 1990]: The units were supplied by NEUERO Industrieanlage Technik of Melle, West Germany. Prototype tests were carried out several years ago before NEUERO units were used for similar projects at other RAF stations, where the units are operating satisfactorily.

ConsultancySubjectOutcome
1980–81
Beecom (NI) Ltd.Monitoring the implementation of productivity/bonus schemesSystems implemented
1981–82
Beecom (NI) Ltd.Monitoring the implementation of productivity/bonus schemesSystems implemented
1982–83
Beecom (NI) Ltd.Monitoring the implementation of productivity/bonus schemesSystems implemented
1983–84
Beecom (NI) Ltd.Monitoring the implementation of productivity/bonus schemesSystems implemented

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library a copy of the site welding diary at RAF St. Mawgan recognised by the Property Services Agency in its contract specification.

[holding answer 28 June 1990]: There is no specific requirement for a "site welding diary" in the specification. The clerk of works' diaries recording the labour on site and areas of work in hand on each day are commercial in confidence.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many representations he has received complaining about the quality of Property Services Agency overseeing of the steel-work element used in Government-funded contracts;(2) if he will place in the Library the detailed criteria used by the Property Services Agency when choosing specialist sub-contractors.

[holding answer 28 June 1990]: It is the responsibility of a main contractor to deliver a project in accordance with the contract specification, including dealing with any problems relating to products incorporated in the design. No project in which Cimolai has been involved has included defective products when handed over to the PSA. Representations have been received about problems arising between Cimolai and its sub-contractors, but these have not related to the quality of PSA oversight. In considering the choice of sub-contractors (whether selected by the main contractor or nominated by the PSA) PSA has regard to a firm's expertise and experience in the field of work concerned and previous performance, and to its resources and financial stability.

Northern Ireland

Management Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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.

With the exception of the cost, which consider would be a breach of commercial confidentiality, the information is as follows:

Consultancy

Subject

Outcome

1984–85

Beecom (NI) Ltd.Monitoring the implementation of productivity/bonus schemesSystems implemented
Institute of Manpower StudiesDevelopment of an Equal Opportunities Monitoring SystemSystem developed

1985–86

Beecom (NI) Ltd.Monitoring the implementation of productivity/bonus schemesSystems implemented
Deloitte Haskins and Sells (now Coopers and Lybrand Deloitte)Development of an improved Management Information SystemIntroduction of an improved Management Information System
Gilpin Black AssociatesDeveloping input/output measures for individual assignment teamsImproved means of measuring performance
Institute of Manpower StudiesDevelopment of an Equal Opportunities Monitoring SystemSystem developed

1986–87

Beecom (NI) Ltd.Monitoring the implementation of productivity/bonus schemesSystems implemented
Coopers and Lybrand Associates (NI) Ltd.Castlenavan Quarry, (DOE owned). Advising the Department on accounting procedures appropriate to a quarrying operationMajority of recommendations accepted and implemented
Design of Bookkeeping system for Government Accounts BranchSystem introduced
Deloitte, Haskins and SellsFinancial Management Survey in two of the Education and Library BoardsRecommendations translated into Action Plans for implementation
Institute of Manpower StudiesDevelopment of an Equal Opportunities Monitoring SystemSystem Developed
Purchasing Index (UK) Ltd.Assistance with establishment and developing Central Unit of PurchasingUnit established and operational
Touche RossReview of current Management Information Systems within the Standard Capital Grants SchemeOf the 16 recommendations made, three were rejected because they were already in place, eight referred to variations on current practice and the remaining five were implemented
PA Management ConsultantsReport on shift and complementing study (Fresh Start)Report commissioned aid with Fresh Start. Proposals were ultimately rejected

1987–88

Coopers and Lybrand AssociatesAwareness and effectiveness of the Standard Capital Grants SchemeThe report showed that the Capital Grants Scheme was not cost effective and did not provide good value for public money. It was decided to end the scheme as from 31 March 1988 and re-target resources more effectively
Financial Management Survey in other three Education and Library BoardsRecommendations translated into Action Plans for implementation
Deloitte Haskins SellsFinancial Management Survey in two of the Education and Library BoardsRecommendations translated into Action Plans for implementation
Diane Bailey AssociatesTo provide training for Senior Management in the introduction of the new Staff Appraisal SystemStaff Appraisal System successfully implemented
Institute of Manpower StudiesDevelopment of an Equal Opportunities Monitoring SystemSystem developed
PA Management ConsultantsDevelopment of Organisation Development ProgrammeImplemented Organisation Development Programme
Miss D. M. PhillipsLegislative and functional review of the Department's Historic Monuments and Buildings BranchRecommendations partially accepted
Purchasing Index (UK) LtdDevelopment of permanent arrangements following Central Unit of Purchasing and the monitoring of oil buying for Northern Ireland public sectorAgreement to establish Government Purchasing Service
A. A. WrightDevelopment of car leasing schemeSavings across Northern Ireland public sector

1988–89

BIS-Beecom International Ltd.To prepare incentive bonus schemes to improve the efficiency of the directly employed labour in the Department's Water ServiceIncentive bonus schemes being introduced

C. Dermot BoylanNorthern Ireland share of Whitehall investigation into works contractsLectures to project sponsor
Capita Ltd.Presenting Market Testing SeminarPresentation
CIPFA Services Ltd.Engaged by DOE's Water Service to undertake a purchasing studyRecommendations partially implemented
Coopers and Lybrand Associates (NI) Ltd.Review of privatization options on vehicle inspectionRecommendations partially implemented
Evaluation of tenders for sewer and mobile plant maintenance in the DOE's Water ServiceImplemented
W. HalcrowEfficiency Study of the DOE's Environmental Protection DivisionConclusions still under consideration
PA Management ConsultantsTyping ServicesRecommended that typing service should conduct an organisational Development (OD) Programme
Development of OD ProgrammeRecommendation implemented Organisation Development Programme
Miss D. M. PhillipsLegislative and functional review of the Department's Historic Monuments and Buildings BranchRecommendations partially accepted
Policy Research InstituteEvaluation of the Belfast Action Teams (1–6)Ongoing
Purchasing Index Ltd.Monitoring of oil-buying for Northern Ireland public sectorOil buying monitoring

1989–90

BIS-Beecom International Ltd.to prepare incentive bonus schemes to improve the efficiency of the directly employed labour in the DOE's Works ServiceIncentive bonus schemes being introduced
Business and Economic InitiativeMarket Testing Computer BureauIn house bid prepared
CapitaTo lead the market testing exercise of the TC Stores which service the Training Centre NetworkOngoing—for completion in 1990
Coopers and Lybrand Associations (NI) Ltd.Financial Management Survey in other three Education and Library BoardsRecommendations translated into Action Plans for implementation
Review of privatization options for vehicle inspectionRecommendations partially implemented
Evaluation of tenders for sewer maintenance and repairs in the DOE's Water ServiceImplemented
Evaluation of the Belfast Action Teams (7–8)Ongoing
Coopers and Lybrand DeloitteMarket Testing Computer BureauUsed to support decision to move towards formal tender action
Gilpin Black AssociatesAdvice to Training Centre network on means to achieve registration of Ballymena TC for British Standard 5750 (Quality Assurance Level)Ongoing—for completion in 1990
Institute of Manpower StudiesDevelopment of an Equal Opportunities Monitoring SystemSystem Developed
MMM Consultancy Ltd.Review of Transport and Mobile Plant in the Department of the EnvironmentRecommendations under consideration
Peat Marwick McLintockEngaged by the DOE's Roads Service to undertake efficiency study at Castlenavan QuarryMajority of recommendations accepted and being implemented
Price WaterhouseReview of Departmental investment arrangementsRecommendations being considered
Purchasing Index (UK) Ltd.Monitoring of oil-buying for Northern Ireland public sectorOil buying monitoring
J. C. Stott1. Effect of Government purchasing on smaller firms in the single European MarketGovernment purchasing service developing arrangements for accreditation of suppliers, improve vetting, better information, better links with EC
2. Development of public purchasing system
J. W. StruthersCrown car lease hire schemeScheme implemented
WDR TaggartFeasibility of contracting out grounds maintenance of country parksThe study concluded that very limited savings could be achieved
Medical Director, Home OfficeReport on Workings of Prison Medical Services for MMRD ReportMMRD Report on Prison Medical Services
Psychological Services for KentPsychological tests for new recruitsAdvice on recruitment by using psychological tests analysis. As a result the Northern Ireland Prison Service was able to eliminate a number of unsuitable candidates

Kidney Disease

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the number of renal units in the Province; and what is the number of persons receiving kidney dialysis.

There is one regional renal unit in the Province together with a satellite renal dialysis unit in Omagh. At present 145 persons are receiving kidney dialysis.

Gas Pipeline

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will commission a study of the feasibility of installing a branch gas pipeline to Northern Ireland from the gas pipeline crossing the Irish sea from Morecambe bay.

The possibility of using natural gas for electricity generation in Northern Ireland is currently being examined. It is too early to speculate on the likely route of any gas interconnector from Great Britain.

Population Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the proportion of the Northern Ireland population aged (a) under 10 years, (b) under 15 years, (c) under 20 years, (d) under 25 years, (e) under 35 years, (f) over 60 years, (g) over 65 years and (h) over 80 years.

Period EndingPublic Funding £Source
31 December 1978140,953Department of Manpower Services
31 December 1979272,624Department of Manpower Services
31 December 1980393,890Department of Manpower Services
7,500Historical Buildings Council (Department of the Environment)
16,161European Social Fund
3 December 1981387,960Department of Manpower Services
5,000Historical Buildings Council (Department of the Environment)
31 December 1982585,565Department of Manpower Services
31 March 1983179,810Department of Economic Development
31 March 1984670,728Department of Economic Development
31 March 1985807,898Department of Economic Development
31 March 1986815,437Department of Economic Development
31 March 1987986,000Department of Economic Development
31 March 1988975,081Department of Economic Development
31 March 19891,148,980Department of Economic Development
31 March 19901,301,134Department of Economic Development
The purpose of this funding was to provide training and work experience for the development of young people in the Londonderry area.The Derry youth and community workshop has not been investigated by either the Fair Employment Agency or the Fair Employment Commission. The latter determines its own investigation policy.

Fair Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many permanent employees the Inner City Trust, Londonderry has; and how many are (a) Protestants, (b) Roman Catholics and (c) others; whether the Fair Employment Agency or its successor carried out any investigation into this body or is any investigation contemplated.

The latest available information taken from the 1989 mid-year population estimates is as follows:

Per cent.
Under 10 years17.0
Under 15 years24.9
Under 20 years33.5
Under 25 years42.2
Under 35 years56.7
Over 60 years16.5
Over 65 years12.3
Over 80 years2.5

Derry Youth And Community Workshop

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a table in the Official Report to show, for each year since it was set up, the sums paid from public funds to the Derry youth and community workshop; which body provided funds and for what amounts; for what purposes they were granted and used; and whether the Fair Employment Agency or its successor has carried out or is considering an investigation into this body.

The information requested on the sums paid from public funds is set out in the table:

When registered by the Fair Employment Commission on 6 February 1990 the Londonderry Inner City Trust had 150 employees. The Fair Employment Commission is not releasing information on community composition from individual monitoring returns at present.Neither the Fair Employment Commission nor the former Fair Employment Agency has conducted investigations into this body.

Health Centres

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a table in the Official Report to show (a) each health centre in the council areas of (i) Londonderry, (ii) Limavady and (iii) Strabane, (b) the number of employees at each such centre, (c) the number who are male and female and (d) the number of (1) males and (2) females who are (x) Roman Catholics, (y) Protestants and (z) others and if he will indicate how many shown as others were born or educated in (A) Great Britain, (B) the Irish Republic and (C) elsewhere.

[holding answer 20 June 1990]: The Western health and social services board has made its return to the Fair Employment Commission as required by the fair employment legislation. The information requested by the hon. Gentleman is not required by the fair employment legislation, is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Social Security

Elderly People

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what response he has made to the European Commission communication on aging (COM(90)80 FINAL).

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply to him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health today.

Table 1 All retired households
Average percentage2 income derived from:
Original income3Retirement pension and supplementary benefit4Housing benefitGross income5
Quintileper cent.per cent.per cent.£
Lowest1080847.50
214642163.70
322611280.50
435526109.80
Highest75230254.80
Overall47446111.20
1Source: Family Expenditure Survey.
2 Percentage figures may not sum to one hundred as Social Security benefits, other than those listed are not included.
3 Original income consists of all gross income less all income from benefits.
4 It is not possible to accurately identify the state retirement pension and supplementary benefit separately from the Family Expenditure Survey.
5 £s per week at 1987 prices.
Table 2: Single retired households
Average percentage income derived from:
Original income per cent.Retirement pension and supplementary benefit per cent.Housing benefit per cent.Gross income
Quintile
Lowest785644.00
213711455.80
313622264.90
426511777.10
Highest71233167.50
Overall39481081.90
Table 3: Single male retired households
Average percentage income derived from:
Original income per cent.Retirement pension and supplementary benefit per cent.Housing benefit per cent.Gross income
Quintile
Lowest587747.00
216701359.80
318602069.40
43747987.40

Blind People

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many blind people receive the disability premium.

Retired Households (Income)

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if, on the basis of data in the family expenditure survey for 1987, he will state the average percentage income of (a) all retired households, (b) single retired households, (c) retired one-man households and (d) retired one-woman households; in each case in all five quintile groupings, which is derived from (i) original income, (ii) contributory retirement pension, (iii) supplementary benefit and (iv) housing benefit; and what is the total average income of each group in each quintile.

Average percentage income derived from:

Original income per cent.

Retirement pension and supplementary benefit per cent.

Housing benefit per cent.

Gross income

Highest77201204.50
Overall4644793.50

Table 4: Single female retired households

Average percentage income derived from:

Original income per cent.

Retirement pension and supplementary benefit per cent.

Housing benefit per cent.

Gross income

Quintile
Lowest785643.40
213711554.80
313632364.00
423521974.70
Highest68243156.90
Overall36491178.80

Independent Living Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of those receiving assistance from the independent living fund are (a) in part-time employment or (b) in full-time employment.

Information on the employment status of the fund's beneficiaries is not available. However, I understand from the fund that only a small number of beneficiaries is working full or part-time.

Residential Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what directions have been given by his Department to local social security offices with regard to the publication of local statistics on the numbers of claimants in residential care or nursing homes in receipt of income support payments.

Statistics which show the characteristics of income support recipients are not generally made available from individual local offices but collated and published centrally in a way consistent with uniformity, the reliability of the data concerned and economical practice. Following recent requests to local offices for information of varying scope and detail about people in homes, local offices have been advised not to respond but to refer them if necessary to headquarters for consideration. Responses to all the referrals so far received have been made.

Scotland

Rents To Mortgages

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if a survey has been conducted of the average incomes of individuals or families who have made inquiries or applications for participation in the rents to mortgages scheme; and if he will make a statement.

Scottish Homes conducted a postal survey in April 1990 of 118 applicants for rents to mortgages. Details of income levels of those who responded are given in the tables. A further, larger survey is being undertaken, the results of which are expected to be available this autumn.

Table 1
Net Weekly Income of ApplicantNumberPercentage
Under £5011.5
£51–10057.7
£101–1503248.4
£151–2002030.3
£201–25069.1
£251–30000.0
Over £30123.0
Table 2
Net Weekly Household IncomeNumberPercentage
£51–10023.0
£101–1502131.3
£151–2002435.8
£201–2501116.4
£251–30034.5
£301–40046.0
Over £40123.0

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the average cost of a home purchased under the rents into mortgages scheme; what is the average discount expected on each home; and what is the geographical spread of inquiries/applications for participation.

The data available are as yet insufficient to provide a meaningful average house value under the rents to mortgages (RTM) scheme. Scottish Homes' initial estimate of house prices, based on experience of right-to-buy sales indicates a market value of houses sold under RTM of £26,000 in the current year.Scottish Homes' survey of early applicants suggests that the average discount entitlement in RTM house sales will be 31 per cent.Inquiries and applications in respect of the RTM scheme have been received from all areas of Scotland but in particular from Lothians and Borders, Renfrew and Inverclyde, Glasgow and central Scotland.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress of Scottish Homes' rents into mortgages scheme.

Early experience of the rents to mortgages trial scheme is encouraging. More than 1,000 inquiries have been received from eligible tenants, with 154 applications in process and three sales having been completed.The scheme is being closely monitored. Any modification or extension to the scheme which seems desirable in the light of experience will be introduced as soon as practicable.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent representations he has received from tenants' groups in Scotland regarding the extension of Scottish Homes' rents into mortgages scheme.

Inquiries have been received from individual tenants about a possible extension to the scheme but no such representations have been submitted by tenant groups.

Protection Of Birds

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those areas of special protection for birds as well as those Ramsar sites and areas with dual designation for the protection of birds.

Special Protection Areas

  • Rhum
  • Priest Island
  • Laggan Peninsula
  • Firth of Forth Islands
  • Abernethy Forest
  • Handa Island
  • Ailsa Craig

Ramsar

  • Loch an Duin

Combined Special Protection Areas and Ramsar Sites

  • Loch Druidbeg
  • Loch of Skene
  • Loch Gye
  • Gruinart Flats
  • Glean Na Muice Duibhe (Duich Moss)
  • Bridgend Flats
  • Gladhouse Reservoir
  • Din-Moss-Hoselaw Loch
  • Fala Flow
  • Glac na Criche
  • Feur Lochairn

Sheltered Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will provide extra funds to local authorities to enable them to build more sheltered housing complexes; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 2 July 1990]: Resources for housing capital expenditure in 1990–91 were allocated to local authorities in March on the basis of their relative housing needs and with reference to their capital programmes and housing plans. It is for local authorities to determine their own priorities for use of these allocations in the light of local circumstances, including the need for sheltered housing projects if this is seen as a priority in their area.

Sites Of Special Scientific Interest

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what advice he has received from the Nature Conservancy Council on the designation of extensive sites of special scientific interest as a means of protecting the natural environment in Caithness and Sutherland; and what response he has made.

[holding answer 2 July 1990]: The Nature Conservancy Council provided advice on the need to protect peatland areas of international significance in Caithness and Sutherland in its two publications: "Birds, Bogs and Forestry" and "The Flow Country". The council also gave detailed evidence to the Highland regional council working party on land use strategy in Caithness and Sutherland and set out a two-stage notification programme of SSSIs. The working party report listed the areas of actual and potential SSSI and recommended an indicative forestry strategy. My right hon. and learned Friend endorsed that report and in his announcement of 21 March 1989 encouraged the relevant public agencies to use it as a framework for land use change.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he will take to ensure that the recommendations of the Highland regional council working party report on land use strategy are followed by the Nature Conservancy Council in its proposed descriptions of sites of special scientific interest in Caithness and Sutherland.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton