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Written Answers

Volume 176: debated on Wednesday 18 July 1990

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Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 18 July 1990

Attorney-General

Social Security Commissioners

To ask the Attorney-General what was the average waiting time between an appeal to the social security commissioners and a commissioner's decision being made.

The average waiting time from receipt of the appeal in the commissioner's office to notification of the commissioner's decision in 1989 was 404 working days.

To ask the Attorney-General how many social security commissioners' decisions were made in each of the last five years; how many oral hearings occurred in each of the last five years; and what percentage of commissioners' decisions are reported.

The answer in each category for each of the last five years is listed in the tables.

England, Wales and Scotland

Number of social security commissioners' decisions

in each of the past five years
Location19851986198719881989
England and Walesn/a1,8391,89412,1361,909
Scotland4863344076601703
1 Revised figures.
n/a=Not available.
Number of cases heard by social security commissioners in each of the past five years
Location19851986198719881989
Lodonn/a5195721346287
Cardiffn/a6425637
Liverpool2nilnilnil5354
Leeds3nilnilnilnil39
Edinburgh5164686377
1 Revised figures.
2 No hearings before 1988.
3 No hearings before 1989.
n/a = Not available.
Percentage of commissioners' decisions reported in the past five years
Percentage
1985n/a
19862·5
19871·9
19881·5
19891·8
n/a=Not available.

To ask the Attorney-General how many social security commissioners there are; how they are appointed; and what salaries or fees they are paid.

There are 12 full-time social security commissioners in England and Wales and three in Scotland. They are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Lord Chancellor from among persons who are barristers, advocates or solicitors of not less than 10 years standing. Commissioners are paid an annual salary of £51,000. The chief commissioner is paid £56,000.

Serious Fraud Office

To ask the Attorney-General when he expects to lay before Parliament and to publish the annual report of the Serious Fraud Office for the year 1989–90.

The report has today been laid before Parliament. I have caused a copy of the report to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Employment

Training Managers

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many training managers have not yet signed the new contract from each of the (a) private, (b) local authority and (c) voluntary sectors.

The latest available information shows that 35 private sector, 11 local authority and six voluntary sector training managers have not yet signed new employment training contracts. A number of these will relate to contracts agreed in principle but awaiting final signatures.

Social Fund

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the level of provision per trainee for (i) employment training trainees and (ii) comparable trainees funded by the European social fund.

The average Exchequer cost per person on employment training is about £106 per week, including the trainee's allowance. Information is not available on comparable average costs of trainees on European social fund funded courses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many training managers have (a) withdrawn from the scheme or (b) reduced the number of trainees they take, with the introduction of the new contract, from each of the (i) private, (ii) local authority and (iii) voluntary sectors.

The latest available information shows that nine private sector, three local authority and four voluntary sector training managers have withdrawn from employment training following the introduction of new contracts. Information about those training managers who have reduced the number of their trainees is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Social Charter

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress has been made by the European Community Commission in preparing directives arising out of the principles of the social charter; and if he has received any guidance from the Commission on whether the directives are to be considered by majority vote.

The European Commission has published four draft directives from its social action programme; one concerns asbestos, and three concern part-time and temporary work. The Commission's proposal is that the draft directive on asbestos and two of the draft directives on part time and temporary work, should be decided by qualified majority voting.I understand that the Commission is well advanced in drafting a number of other directives. We do not yet know how many of these are likely to be proposed for qualified majority voting.

Employment Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what representations he has received about the current level of expenses paid to those on employment training schemes.

I have received no representations on the current level of expenses paid to those on employment training schemes.

Youth Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the development of youth training.

New youth training is a major step forward. It offers the promise of a level-2 qualification or more for every trainee who can achieve it. It offers flexible design and duration of training and wider eligibility. It will provide improved help for those with special training needs and those seeking employment after training.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to improve the quality of the initial assessment of trainees on employment training courses.

A number of initiatives are continuing to develop and improve the quality of initial assessment of trainees seeking training within employment training.

Tourist Attractions (Wheelchair Access)

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will outline his Department's policy on wheelchair access for the disabled to major tourist attractions.

My Department concurs with the findings and recommendations of the "Tourism for All" report, which was published last year by the English tourist board. The national tourist boards, in collaboration with the holiday care service, are currently taking forward those recommendations, which are designed to improve access for people with special needs to the whole range of tourist facilities.

Training And Enterprise Councils

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many training and enterprise councils have been created.

Twenty training and enterprise councils have signed operational contracts. A further 57 TECs are in their development stage and preparing their corporate and business plans.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the companies and organisations represented on training and enterprise councils.

Twenty TECs have now signed operational contracts and I will arrange for a list of board members for these TECs together with their companies/organisations to be placed in the House of Commons Library as soon as possible.

Government Training Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many trainers were involved with Government training schemes on (a) 18 June 1979 and (b) the latest date for which figures are available.

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

Telephone Chatlines

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will take steps to ensure that jobs with chatline companies are not advertised in Government jobcentres if they carry bonus incentives to keep callers talking for long spells.

The Employment Service became an executive agency on 2 April 1990. Mr. Mike Fogden, the Employment Service agency's chief executive, will be replying in writing to the hon. Gentleman.

Training Centre, Cardiff

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what alternative provision he will make for the accommodation of the employee rehabilitation centre, Western avenue, Cardiff, after 1993.

[holding answer 13 July 1990]: Plans for the alternative provision for the accommodation of the employment rehabilitation centre, Western avenue, Cardiff, after 1993 have yet to be made. The South Glamorgan committee for the employment of disabled people will be consulted in drawing up any such plans.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consultations he has undertaken regarding the future provision and location of services provided by the employee rehabilitation centre, Western avenue, Cardiff.

[holding answer 13 July 1990]: In the consultative document on employment and training for people with disabilities published by my Department on 29 June, my right hon. and learned Friend invited comments on plans for developing employment rehabilitation provision. The document has been sent to over 1,400 individuals and organisations including the South Glamorgan advisory committee for the employment of disabled people. Consultations about the future provision and location of services specifically provided by the employment rehabilitation centre in Cardiff have not yet commenced.

Prime Minister

Exchange Rate Mechanism

To ask the Prime Minister whether Her Majesty's Government will publish a White Paper making an economic assessment of the effect of joining the ERM of the European monetary system at the current rate of exchange.

Her Majesty's Government have no plans to publish such a White Paper. Participation in the exchange rate mechanism will help to reinforce counter-inflationary policy.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Mr Surendra Paul

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information Her Majesty's high commissioner to India has in relation to a warning given in advance to the Assam state police about the murder of Mr. Surendra Paul.

Ec (Irish Presidency)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the period of the Irish presidency of the European Community.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement made to the House on 28 June by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 28 June at columns 489–90.

Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those countries in each of the past five years to which Her Majesty's Government have made representations over human rights violations.

In the last five years we have made representations to the Governments of many countries, both bilaterally and with our EC partners. The precise information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many subject access requests under the terms of the Data Protection Act his Department has received; what was his estimate of the number of requests that would be received; what consideration he is giving to the subject access fee charged by his Department as a result; and whether he will make a statement.

The diplomatic and aid wings together have so far received 35 requests for subject access, all from present or former members of staff: this figure is in line with forecasts of likely numbers of applications. We do not propose to change the arrangements for charges set out in the reply given by my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to the hon. Member on 30 October 1987, Official Report, column 478.

Albania

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Albania concerning the refugees that are seeking to leave the country.

On behalf of the whole Community, the ambassadors of the four member states represented in Tirana called on the Albanian Minister of Foreign Affairs on 7 July. They delivered an agreed statement urging the Albanian Government to ensure that the safety of the refugees, to refrain from reprisals against their families, to allow them to receive such assistance as necessary and to guarantee their departure from Albania.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for establishing new links with the Albanian Government.

Following the apparent thaw in early 1990 in Albania's attitude towards the outside world we renewed on 20 April our 1980 offer to establish diplomatic relations without pre-conditions.

Indonesia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to meet the Indonesian Foreign Minister.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has no immediate plans for a meeting with the Foreign Minister though he hopes one will be possible before long.

North And South Korea

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government have made with regard to the opening of the border between North and South Korea.

None. We have consistently supported all realistic initiatives which might lead to peace on the Korean peninsula. We welcome the resumption of official contacts on 3 July. How these contacts might be expanded must be left to discussion between North and South Korea.

Liberia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contacts he has had in the previous 12 months with the Liberian Government.

None. Her Majesty's ambassador in Monrovia however has regular contacts with members of the Liberian Government.

Kenya

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of Kenya for the release of political prisoners and the establishment of multi-party democracy there; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the reply I gave to the honourable Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) on 17 July, Official Report, column 496.

China

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many diplomatic contacts and at what levels, have taken place with Chinese diplomatic representatives over the past month.

Regular contacts on a variety of subjects have been maintained between the two Governments through channels up to and including the Chinese ambassador in London and the British chargé d'affaires in Peking.

Visas

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from which European countries visitors to the United Kingdom are required to have visas; and what plans he has for removing these restrictions on a country-by-country basis.

Visitors to the United Kingdom from the following European countries require visas:

  • Albania
  • Bulgaria
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Soviet Union
  • Turkey
We have no plans to abolish visas for Turkey, which were only recently imposed—in June 1989. We welcome the moves towards greater democracy and the freer movement of people in eastern Europe. We are examining our visa policies towards these countries on a case-by-case basis, in the light of developments, and keeping in touch with our European Community partners.

Ivory

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Hong Kong Government will comply in full with the CITES ban on all commercial trade in ivory when the six-month reservation is withdrawn on 18 July.

The Hong Kong Government have already enacted legislation to implement the CITES ban on international commercial trade in ivory. The legislation will come into effect when our reservation is withdrawn on 18 July 1990. A potential loophole in the legislation which might have enabled tourists to export ivory as souvenirs up to a weight of 5 kg has been closed. Hong Kong legislation now fully reflects the CITES convention.

Education And Science

Data Protection

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the reason for the delay in issuing advice to school governors about their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act; whether his Department has any plans to indemnify or compensate any school governor prosecuted under the Act; and whether he will make a statement.

Preparation of guidance is well under way, but proving to be more complex than expected. The Data Protection Registrar is aware of the position and will be consulted in the course of its preparation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many subject access requests under the terms of the Data Protection Act his Department has received; what was his estimate of the number of requests that would be received; what consideration he is giving to the subject access fee charged by his Department as a result; and whether he will make a statement.

This information is not collected by the Department. The subject access fee for external requests is £8, which is below the maximum set in central guidance. Current and previous employees are not charged.

Grant-Maintained Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received on the issue of parents of first-year pupils, or children due to become first-year pupils at the start of the next school year, being disenfranchised from ballots on opting out due to the fact that the procedure was initiated in the period shortly before their children became formally registered at the school; and if he will make a statement.

The Department has received a number of letters on this subject. Guidance is contained in the Department's booklet "School Governors: How to become a Grant-Maintained School", which was sent last year to every school eligible to apply for GM status. It advises governors and parents to think carefully about the timing of actions they take.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals are being considered for amendments to the Education Reform Act in order to make it easier for schools to opt out; whether the introduction of a procedure to opt back into local education authority control, on the same basis as that to opt out, is under consideration; and if he will make a statement.

This September there will be 44 GM schools with a total of 30,000 pupils. That means the number of GM schools has more than doubled in 12 months. That is an impressive measure of the strength of interest among parents and governors in becoming grant maintained. My right hon. Friend will be keeping a careful watch to ensure that LEAs do not abuse their position when dealing with individual schools; and will be ready to take further action should it prove to be necessary.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much his Department's booklet "Grant-Maintained Schools: Questions Parents Ask" cost to produce and distribute.

The cost of printing the booklets and of posting an initial distribution to all schools eligible to apply for grant-maintained status was £32,275.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received about the introduction of a standard wording for parents' petitions requiring the governing body of schools to organise a ballot on whether or not the school should opt out of local education authority control; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has received one letter on this subject. Guidance on the wording of parental petitions was given in the booklet "School Governors: How to Become a Grant-maintained School", which was sent last year to every school eligible to apply for GM status. Paragraph 11 of the booklet said:

"The wording of the petition should make it clear that it is to require the governing body of the school, in accordance with Section 60 of the Education Reform Act, to hold a ballot of parents on the question of whether the school should apply to the Secretary of State for grant-maintained status".

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received about the organisations referred to in his Department's booklet "School Governors: How to become a Grant-Maintained School" as sources of information on the subject; and if he will make a statement.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received from local education authorities and local authority associations concerning his Department's booklet "Grant-Maintained Schools: Questions Parents Ask".

There has been correspondence between the Association of County Councils and the Department about the booklet. My right hon. Friend has not received representations from individual local authorities about the booklet.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received a copy of the booklet published by Local Schools Information called "Grant-Maintained Schools: Questions Parents Ask"; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has seen a copy of the booklet. The booklet suggests that grant-maintained schools could be isolated, but the facts point the other way. GM schools are working together constructively, sharing experiences and co-operating in joint ventures. The booklet also suggests that an application for GM status would be a leap in the dark. Yet the first GM schools have welcomed their new status and are already making full use of their greater freedom and responsibilities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what guidelines he has issued in respect of the arrangements he would expect a governing body to make in order to enable parents of a school where opting out was being considered to have an informed debate about the options available.

Guidance on this point is contained in the Department's booklet "School Governors: How to become a Grant-Maintained School", which was sent to all schools eligible to apply for GM status last year. Paragraph 21 of the booklet says

"That debate [for and against grant-maintained status for a particular school] will have to take place locally … and will no doubt be well under way before the ballot is actually held. The Secretary of State has made it clear that he expects such debate, and any ballot on grant-maintained status or its procedures to be properly conducted: if this proves not to be the case, he may require the ballot to be held again."
In addition a letter was sent from the Department to every local education authority in February 1989 about the responsibilities of LEAs during ballots on grant-maintained status. The letter made clear the Secretary of State's intention that parents, governors and school staff should be able to consider the option of grant-maintained status without fear of intimidation or harassment.

Special Educational Needs

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many appeals under section 8(6) of the Education Act 1981 he is currently considering; how mnay of those appeals concern hearing-impaired children; and how many have been under consideration for 12 months or more.

My right hon. Friend is currently considering 48 appeals under section 8(6) of the Education Act 1981, four of which concern hearing-impaired children. Of these 48 appeals, 22 have been under consideration for 12 months or more. Appeals are complex and involve the consideration of a large number of documents and representations. The Department has recently revised its procedures in order to minimise the time taken to reach decisions on individual cases but has to balance the need for speed with the need for thorough and careful consideration of the details of each case. My right hon. Friend must ensure that, in line with the rules of natural justice, each party has the chance to present his or her version of the facts and be able to comment on the other's version. This process can involve several lengthy exchanges between parents, the Department and the LEA.

Reading Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many 10-year-old children in state schools in England and Wales were recorded as experiencing reading difficulties in the school sessions (a) 1979–80 and (b) 1989–90.

Such national data do not exist currently, although the national curriculum assessment arrangements will in due course provide information about the reading levels of pupils at seven, 11, 14 and 16.

City Technology Colleges

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the companies that have been contracted to build each of the city technology colleges so far designated.

The information that the hon. Member requested is listed below:

Company
Kingshurst phase 1Miller Construction
phase 2Wimpey
Djanogly, NottinghamNorwest Holst
Macmillan College, TeessideWimpey
BradfordMiller Construction
Company
TynesideJohn Laing Construction Ltd.
Leigh, DartfordCrispin Borst
Harris, CroydonWalter Lawrence (City and Southern)
BritschoolWallis Ltd.
BaconsWoolf Construction
City technology collegeSponsorAmount £ million
KingshurstHanson Industries1·00
Djanogly, NottinghamMr· Harry Djanogly1·10
Macmillan College, TeessideBAT Industries1·00
BradfordThe Dixons Group plc1·10
Emmanuel College, GatesheadThe Reg Vardy Foundation1·00
SylvanThe Philip and Pauline Harris Charitable Trust1·25
Leigh, DartfordMr.G.N.Leigh1·00
BritschoolThe British Record Industry Trust1·10
BaconsSouthwark Diocesan Board of Education1·50
Haberdashers' Aske's, New CrossThe Robert Aske Charity3·20
CorbyMr.H.de Capell Brooke1·10
DerbyThe Landau Foundation1·15
TelfordThe Mercers' Company1·00
Tarmac plc1·00
WandsworthADT1·00
In addition, a further 80 companies/individuals have pledged over £9 million to the programme as a whole. Discussions are continuing with other prospective sponsors, and I am confident that these talks will provide further sponsorship.

Home Department

Political Parties (Funding)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received concerning the introduction of state funding for political parties.

Passport Offices

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many days have been lost through sickness at each of the passport offices in the United Kingdom.

The information requested is shown in the table for the financial year 1989–90 and for the period 1 April to 8 July 1990.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the individual companies that have agreed to sponsor city technology colleges, indicating in each case the amount of money promised.

The principle sponsors of the city technology colleges announced to date are as follows:

Total days lost April 1989–March 1990Total days lost 1 April 1990–8 July1990
London3,538828
Liverpool5,7491,399
Peterborough2,997918
Newport3,7821,140
Glasgow4,8761,305
Belfast347199

Passport Office, London

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he has taken to make the passport office waiting room in Petty France more congenial.

A comprehensive refurbishment of the passport office waiting room in Petty France is now almost complete. The work has included redecoration and the replacement of floor covering, seating and lighting. Improved toilet facilities and other amenities have also been provided, and consideration is being given to some pictorial displays.

Child Care

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give details of the ministerial group on women's issues, 1989 and 1990 five-point plans on child care.

In April 1989 the ministerial group on women's issues discussed and agreed the following five-point plan designed to encourage the development of a range of high-quality child care options:

  • 1. to amend the then Children Bill so as to improve the registration and enforcement arrangements for day nurseries, child minders and playgroups;
  • 2. to encourage the providers of child care and employers to consider the need for a voluntary accreditation scheme, which would provide information about the availability of child care facilities and guarantee the quality of the provision;
  • 3. to issue guidance to local education authorities and school governors in England, encouraging the use of school premises for after school and holiday play schemes;
  • 4. to give further support to the voluntary sector through pump-priming of projects and encouragement of partnerships between employers and the voluntary sector;
  • 5. to give further encouragement to employers to use the tax reliefs available to provide child care facilities.
  • Having implemented the April 1989 plan, the group approved a follow-up programme of action in February 1990:

  • 1. to issue new guidelines and regulations to local authorities on day care services for children under eight years, as part of the implementation of the Children Act 1989;
  • 2. the Department of Health to work with local authorities to help them improve their practice on the registration of day care services;
  • 3. to encourage the development of information services on child care for both parents and employers;
  • 4. to continue to encourage employers to become involved in providing help with child care for their staff;
  • 5. to continue to set an example to employers, by developing a range of flexible working patterns and child care facilities to assist civil servants who choose to combine paid work and family responsibility.
  • Domestic Fires

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action is planned by the Government to reduce the risk to human life caused by fires in domestic property.

    Population1 of adult male sentenced prisoners in local and training prisons in England and Wales on 31 December 1989: by Prison Service region and security category of prisoner.
    Prison Service Region2ABCDNot recordedTotal population
    Midland624223,2841,1264135,307
    North2091,8594,2421,3611,2188,889
    South East1251,9473,8201,4452,1369,473
    South West658612,1518668384,781
    All regions4615,08913,4974,7984,60528,450
    1 The figures are those recorded centrally and are approximate: detailed checking of individual cases would involve disproportionate cost.
    2 Including prisoners provisionally placed in category A.

    Pregnant Prisoners

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women who have been known to be pregnant have been sentenced to prison in each of the last 10 years.

    [pursuant to his reply, 9 May 1990, c. 142]: I regret that incorrect information was contained in that answer. The reply should have read as follows:The information requested is not available. However, the annual reports on the work of the prison service record the number of pregnant females temporarily removed to outside hospitals for delivery and returning to establishments afterwards. The figures are:

    The Home Department regards fire prevention publicity and education as an important element in helping to reduce and minimise the risk to human life in domestic fires. Our proposals for fire prevention activity were described in the reply I gave to a Question from the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) on 11 June at column 17. In addition, a mobile information unit for the elderly on fire prevention and fire safety will be used to tour major urban retail market areas. A television filler film dealing with fire safety for young children will be produced later this year.

    Police (Complaints)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the number of complaints received by the Police Complaints Authority originating from Newham in the last two years; and how many (a) were investigated and (b) are being investigated.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: We have no such information. Under the provisions of part IX of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, there are matters for the Police Complaints Authority and the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. I understand from the commissioner that this information is not available in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Prisoners

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many category A, category B, and category C inmates were serving their sentence in each prison region in England and Wales for the latest date available; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 5 July 1990]: The latest information readily available centrally is given in the table.

    Numbers
    1988–8963
    1987–8875
    1986–8762
    1985–8671
    1984–85170
    198370
    198251
    198174
    198075
    197974
    1 Covers 15-month period.
    Additionally, there were eight deliveries within prison service establishments between 1 January 1979 and 31 March 1989:

    Numbers

    1988–892
    1987–881
    1985–861
    1984–851
    19831
    19821
    19791

    Child Emigrants

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received about child emigrants; and if he will make a statement.

    I have been asked to reply. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 9 July at columns 209–10.

    Environment

    Owner-Occupation

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the level of owner-occupation in Britain and in each European Community country.

    The available information is as follows:

    Percentage of owner-occupied housingYear
    Belgium611981
    Denmark561987
    France511984
    Germany411985
    Greece721982
    Ireland761981
    Italy641986
    Luxembourg601982
    Netherlands441985
    Portugal561981
    Spain761980
    Corresponding estimates for Great Britain are 58 per cent. for 1982 and 66 per cent. for 1989. Figures for the various countries are not all compiled on a comparable basis and should be interpreted with caution.

    Homelessness

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the latest available figure for homelessness; and what the figure was in 1979.

    I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to the hon. Member on 27 June, Official Report column 276.

    Housing (Young People)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what studies he has undertaken of the availability of affordable housing for young people.

    Various projects in my Department's research programme bear on aspects of availability and affordability.

    Rights Of Way

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met the director of the Ramblers Association to discuss rights of way in the countryside.

    My hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment and Countryside last met representatives of the Ramblers Association, including the director, on 8 February, when they had a useful and productive discussion on a wide range of access issues.

    Beaches

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the present standard of cleanliness of the beaches in Britain.

    In 1989 a total of 76 per cent. of our bathing waters met the standards set in the EEC bathing water directive compared with only 51 per cent. in 1986. Over the next 10 years, around £2.9 billion will be invested to bring all of our bathing waters up to standard and to treat all significant discharges of sewage.

    Common Land

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to come to a decision on common land before the summer recess.

    My right hon. Friend still hopes to make an announcement soon on the Government's intentions on common land legislation but cannot commit himself to do so before the summer recess.

    Ancient Monuments

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to amend the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 so as to make it an offence to remove, without consent, any item of historical or archaeological interest from the site of a scheduled ancient monument; and if he will consider less formal measures relating to finds made on an unscheduled site.

    Yes. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment proposes to amend the 1979 Act when a suitable legislative opportunity arises. He is also considering the most appropriate measures for finds made on unscheduled sites.

    Wetlands Conservation

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) of 25 June, Official Report, column 39, he will raise at the special session of the United Nations Environmental Programme the problem of wetlands conservation as a priority evolving environmental issue, in relation to Halvergate marshes; and if he will make a statement.

    I see no need to raise the subject of wetlands conservation at the UNEP governing council since such issues were recently discussed in some depth at the fourth conference of the Ramsar convention on wetlands of international importance in Montreux, Switzerland.

    Since 1987 Halvergate marshes have been afforded the protection provided by designation of the Broads as an environmentally sensitive area under article 19 of EC regulation 797/85. In 1989 a substantial proportion of the marshes was given additional protection by inclusion in the second tier of the ESA scheme, which imposes more restrictions on operations by participating farmers.

    Listed Buildings

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will publish a table listing all buildings which are protected by grades I and II status.

    Local planning authorities hold copies of the lists of buildings of special architectural or historic interest in their areas and are required to make them available for public inspection free of charge. A complete set of lists is similarly available for inspection at the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, Fortress house, Savile row, London W1. Since there are now over 435,000 listed buildings in England, with the lists being constantly added to or amended, the hon. Member will understand that publication of a single table listing all such buildings is not a practical proposition.

    Quarry Dust Emissions

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those statutory functions presently discharged by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution in respect of quarry dust emissions; and if he will make a statement.

    The Health and Safety (Emissions to the Atmosphere) Regulations 1983 prescribes certain classes of mineral works as requiring registration under section 9 of the Alkali Works etc. Regulation Act 1906. In these cases, the operator of the process must make an application to the Secretary of State in accordance with the Health and Safety (Emissions to the Atmosphere) Regulations 1989 for a registration. The regulations provide for the advertising of the application and for both it and any subsequent registration granted to be available on a public register maintained by the relevant local authority. These registrations are granted, on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Environment, by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution.Before granting a registration, the operator of the process must, by virtue of section 5(1) of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 demonstrate that he is using best practicable means for preventing the emission into the atmosphere from the premises of noxious or offensive substances and for rendering harmless and inoffensive such substances as may be so emitted.Part I of the 1974 Act also provides the necessary powers for the appointment by the Secretary of State of inspectors and inspection of registered processes. It also provides for the serving of improvement notices where operators are failing to comply with the terms of their registration and for subsequent legal action for failure to comply with the terms of such a notice. The pursuit of formal legal remedies would normally only be undertaken when discussions between the operator and the inspectorate had failed to secure the necessary improvements.

    National Rivers Authority

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met the chairman of the National Rivers Authority to discuss progress on implementing anti-pollution measures.

    I met the chairman of the National Rivers Authority on 9 July to discuss a range of issues relating to the water environment. Since then I have announced that an additional £11 million will be made available to the authority this financial year, if required, over and above the £93 million grant-in-aid already agreed. This decision will enable the authority to continue its planned capital programme and to carry out its pollution control and other functions, in line with the Government's commitment to maintaining the quality of the water environment.

    Warrington And Runcorn Development Corporation

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much was paid by the Warrington and Runcorn development corporation in redundancy payments to the general manager, the estates officer (Warrington), and heads of the architecture, marketing, landscaping and interior design departments.

    [holding answer 12 July 1990]: In accordance with its contractual obligations Warrington and Runcorn development corporation made the following redundancy payments:

    £
    General Manager78,955
    Chief Architect and Planner44,433
    Sales Manager32,354
    Marketing Manager25,248
    Chief Landscape Architect34,390
    The estates officer (Warrington) did not receive a redundancy payment. The development corporation did not have an interior design department.

    Recycling

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the local authorities that have made written submissions on the subject of recycling credits; and if he will make those submissions available to the public on request.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: The information requested is given in the table. The submissions cannot be made available without the agreement of the individual authorities concerned since they were not sought on the basis that they would be published.

    Avon

    • Woodspring DC

    Bedfordshire

    • Mid-Bedfordshire DC

    Berkshire

    • Berkshire CC
    • Wokingham DC
    • Corporation of Slough

    Buckinghamshire

    • Buckinghamshire CC

    Cambridgeshire

    • Cambridgeshire CC
    • East Cambridgeshire DC

    Cheshire

    • Congleton BC

    Cleveland

    • Cleveland CC
    • Middlesbrough BC

    Clwyd

    • Alyn & Deeside DC
    • Wrexham Maelor BC
    • Borough of Rhuddlan

    Cornwall

    • Borough of Restormel

    Cumbria

    • South Lakeland DC

    Devon

    • Devon CC
    • Teignbridge DC

    Durham

    • Durham CC

    Dyfed

    • Ceredigion DC
    • Borough of Dinefwr

    East Sussex

    • East Sussex CC
    • Wealden DC

    Essex

    • Essex CC
    • Brentwood DC
    • Rochford DC
    • Colchester BC

    Gloucestershire

    • Gloucester CC
    • Tewkesbury BC

    Greater London

    • London Waste Regulation Authority
    • North London Waste Authority
    • West London Waste Authority
    • City of London
    • Barking and Dagenham LBC
    • Barnet LBC
    • Bromley LBC
    • Croydon LBC
    • Hackney LBC
    • Harrow LBC
    • Kingston-upon-Thames LBC
    • Richmond-upon-Thames LBC
    • Sutton LBC
    • City of Westminster

    Greater Manchester

    • Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority
    • Trafford MBC

    Gwent

    • Borough of Blaenau Gwent

    Gwynedd

    • Aberconwy BC

    Hampshire

    • Hampshire CC
    • Eastleigh BC
    • Rushmoor BC
    • Basingstoke and Dean BC
    • Test Valley BC
    • City of Portsmouth

    Hereford and Worcester

    • City of Worcester

    Hertfordshire

    • Borough of Watford
    • City and District of St. Albans

    Humberside

    • Humberside CC
    • Borough of Beverley

    Isle of Wight

    • Isle of Wight CC

    Kent

    • Tonbridge and Malling BC
    • Swale BC
    • Maidstone BC

    Lancashire

    • Lancashire CC
    • Preston BC
    • Burnley BC
    • South Ribble BC

    Leicestershire

    • Harborough DC
    • Melton BC

    Lincolnshire

    • South Holland DC

    Merseyside

    • Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority

    Norfolk

    • Norfolk CC
    • North Norfolk DC
    • Norwich City

    Northumberland

    • Berwick-upon-Tweed BC

    North Yorkshire

    • North Yorkshire CC

    Nottinghamshire

    • Nottinghamshire CC
    • Newark and Sherwood DC
    • City of Nottingham
    • Mansfield DC

    Oxfordshire

    • Oxfordshire CC
    • Cherwell DC
    • City of Oxford

    Shropshire

    • North Shropshire DC

    Somerset

    • West Somerset DC

    South Yorkshire

    • Barnsley MBC

    Staffordshire

    • Newcastle-under-Lyme BC
    • South Stafford DC
    • City of Stoke-on-Trent

    Surrey

    • Borough of Epsom and Ewell
    • Spelthorne BC

    Tyne and Wear

    • Gateshead MBC
    • South Tyneside MBC
    • Borough of Sunderland

    Warwickshire

    • Warwickshire CC
    • North Warwicks BC
    • Rugby BC

    West Glamorgan

    • Neath BC

    West Sussex

    • West Sussex CC
    • Mid-Sussex DC
    • Arun DC

    West Yorkshire

    • West Yorkshire Waste Management

    Wiltshire

    • West Wiltshire DC

    European Football Competitions

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the text of the memoranda sent to the European Football Association by the Minister for Sport recommending the return of English clubs to European football.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]:I am arranging for copies of my letter to the president of UEFA and the report which accompanied it to be placed in the Library of the House. As the report indicates, the information contained in annexes A and B was provided by the police to the Home Office. The information in annex C was provided by the Italian authorities.

    River Mersey (Waste Discharges)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made in encouraging industries which discharge waste into the River Mersey to establish treatment facilities.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: Encouraging the proper discharge of waste into the Mersey by private industry is a key aim of the Government's Mersey Basin campaign. The campaign is making good progress and many of the known major dischargers have programmes of remedial work and effluent management plans. As an example my hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment and Countryside opened the third and final phase of an effluent treatment programme at Bridgewater Paper Company in Ellesmere Port on 2 July. At the national level the National Rivers Authority is already the regulatory body and watchdog to safeguard water resources; and the Environmental Protection Bill when enacted will provide for continuing improvements in emission standards as techniques and technology improve.

    River Mersey (Oil Spillage)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement concerning the oil spillage on the River Mersey on 12 July.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will make a statement on the financial help he will be awarding to Wirral council following the clean-up operation of oil which leaked from a Kuwait Petroleum Company tanker on 12 July;(2) if, following the major spillage of oil from a Kuwait Petroleum Company tanker, he will set up an inquiry to consider the question of responsibility and compensation.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: On Thursday 12 July, an estimated 30 tonnes or so of Kuwaiti crude oil was spilled into the River Mersey at the Tranmere oil terminal of Shell Ltd. during tank cleaning operations on the United Kingdom registered MV Tonbridge owned by the Kuwaiti Oil Tanker Company. The marine pollution control unit—MPCU—of the Department of Transport were informed immediately and carried out an aerial reconnaissance of the scene. Under the terms of the Mersey oil spill plan, Mersey and Cheshire fire brigades directed operations to contain the spill and Wirral borough council prepared to carry out a beach cleaning operation using equipment made available by MPCU and on the basis of advice provided by an MPCU expert at the scene. Shell UK Ltd. also commissioned oil recovery and containment operations by specialists from the commercial oil spill service centre at Southampton. Other relevant agencies such as the Nature Conservancy Council and National Rivers Authority were informed and advised on remedial action as appropriate.As a result of this action, some oil has been recovered and the remainder widely dispersed, partly as a result of wind and tides. By the weekend, only small quantities were being deposited on the shoreline mainly in the Rock Ferry area close to the tanker terminal on the south bank of the river. Remaining slicks of oil in the river contained mainly a light sheen which was expected to disperse rapidly. No significant impact on areas of importance to wildlife has been reported. The clean-up operations have been scaled down and I applaud the rapid response of all the parties concerned to minimise the impact of this incident.Meeting the costs of the clean up operation is a matter for the vessel owners and insurers under the 1969 international convention on civil liability for oil pollution damage. Liability for this accident has been accepted by the Kuwaiti Oil Tanker Company and the clean-up action taken has been approved by the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation. It is for local authorities and other parties seeking to recover costs to submit claims accordingly.

    Housing

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he intends to take to reverse the fall in dwellings started in Great Britain between May 1989 and May 1990; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]: My right hon. Friend's responsibilities extend only to England. We have nearly doubled public expenditure provision for the Housing Corporation, and enabled housing associations to use private finance; this will make possible a near-doubling of their output over the next three years. Output of dwellings by private builders is determined by the market; there has been a temporary downturn in response to tight monetary policy, which is the only way to get on top of inflation.

    City Grants

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria his Department uses for awarding city grants within the private sector.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]: The criteria used in awarding city grants to the private sector are set out in section two of my Department's city grant guidance notes, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

    Radioactive Waste

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give details of the methods used by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution to monitor the disposal of radioactive waste; and what is the current level of monitoring staff in post and the number at the same date in each of the past three years.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]: Details of methods used for monitoring radioactivity in the environment including those employed by HMIP, are contained in the following HMSO publications which are available in the Library:

  • 1. "Sampling and Measurement of Radionuclides in the Environment". (Details of the HMIP monitoring programme are shown in the Appendix headed "Establishment F" on page 119).
  • 2. "Monitoring of Radioactivity in the UK Environment".
  • 3. "The Assurance of Quality in Environmental Radionuclide Analyses".
  • Available information on professional staffing levels in HMIP and prior to that in HM radiochemical inspectorate over the past three years is contained in the Department's management information system returns—MINIS 8–10 —also available in the Library. The MINIS 11 report covering 1989–90 will be placed in the Library in due course.

    Community Charge

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish his latest estimates of the numbers of people who have been exempted from the poll tax for each category of exempt persons.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]: Estimates of numbers of exempt persons were published in the Population Report (England) laid before the House on 11 January 1990. I shall publish further estimates when data are available from local authority returns.

    Pollution

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to ensure that the guidance notes being prepared by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution for part A and B processes of the Environment Protection Bill are comprehensive in respect of what constitutes excessive cost; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]: These notes will not address what constitutes excessive cost. A draft of the guidance setting out the Government's interpretation of the concept of best available techniques not entailing excessive cost—BATNEEC—was placed in the Library on 26 April 1990.

    Tenants' Incentive Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many local authorities are participating in the tenants' incentive scheme; and if he will make a statement;(2) if he will list, for each local authority participating in the tenants' incentive scheme

    (a) the amount offered to tenants, (b) how many council houses have been vacated and (c) the total number of tenants applying to take part in the scheme; and if he will make a statement;

    (3) what plans he has to increase the participation rate in the tenants' incentive scheme.

    [pursuant to his reply, 21 June 1990, c. 639]: The table sets out details of 89 local authorities which have been given approval to operate cash incentive schemes in 1990–91, the maximum expenditure to be incurred, and the grants to be made available to households. Details of vacancies created by these schemes and of grant applications will be supplied to my Department by the local authorities concerned at the end of the year.Cash incentive schemes can be very valuable in helping existing tenants to move into homes of their own while releasing vacancies for reletting to homeless families. The Department encourages local authorities whose areas would benefit from a cash incentive scheme to bring forward proposals for approval. Once a scheme has been approved, details are published by the local authority and tenants are invited to make applications for grant.

    Local authority cash incentive schemes approved 1990–91

    89 schemes; maximum expenditure £41.6 million; maximum number

    of vacancies 2,700
    Local authorityMaximum expenditure 1990–91 £Maximum number of households assistedMaximum grant for each household £
    London
    Barnet600,0003020,000
    Brent1·8 million15013,000
    Bromley1·5 million12013,000
    Camden200,0002020,000
    Croydon500,0003322,000
    Ealing2·2 million14025,000
    Enfield1 million5520,000
    Hackney1 million5020,000
    Hammersmith and Fulham540,0003018,000
    Haringey1·5 million10020,000
    Harrow1 million5025,000
    Havering150,0001016,000
    Hillingdon2·25 million15015,000
    Hounslow150,0002015,000
    Islington1 million5025,000
    Kensington and Chelsea750,0007013,000
    Lambeth400,0002520,000
    Lewisham1 million7015,000
    Merton2 million14015,000
    Redbridge3·92 million14028,000
    Richmond300,0003015,000
    Southwark300,0003410,000
    Wandsworth1·95 million10022,000
    Westminster2 million10020,000
    Eastern
    Aylesbury Vale400,0002020,000
    Harlow150,0001510,000
    Huntingdon150,0001213,000
    Luton200,0001513,000
    Maldon100,000812,500
    Peterborough100,000205,000
    Rochford100,000911,250
    South Bucks40,000411,000
    St· Albans150,000625,000
    Watford200,0001513,500
    East Midlands
    Charnwood100,0001010,000
    East Northants102,000176,000
    South Kesteven500,000628,000
    South East
    Adur100,0001010,000
    Local authorityMaximum expenditure 1990–91 £Maximum number of households assistedMaximum grant for each household £
    Arun50,000510,000
    Basingstoke and Deane250,0001025,000
    Brighton301,5001520,000
    Canterbury300,0001522,500
    Cherwell300,0002512,500
    Dover220,0001022,000
    East Hampshire100,0001010,000
    Elmbridge240,0001220,000
    Fareham107,475521,495
    Gillingham70,000515,000
    Gravesham100,0001010,000
    Hart200,000825,000
    Hastings200,0002010,000
    Havant150,0001015,000
    Horsham250,0001417,000
    Hove500,0005010,000
    Lewes250,0002510,000
    Maidstone500,0002025,000
    New Forest250,0001517,000
    Oxford500,0003315,000
    Portsmouth1,000,0005020,000
    Reading300,0001520,000
    Reigate and Banstead300,0001520,000
    Rother400,0001723,000
    Runnymede100,000814,000
    Rushmoor100,000148,000
    Shepway200,000921,600
    Slough500,0003813,000
    Southampton200,0001415,000
    Spelthorne200,000824,000
    Tandridge252,0002012,000
    Test Valley100,0001010,000
    Ton bridge and Malling500,0002025,000
    Tunbridge Wells250,0001124,000
    Vale of White Horse150,0001015,000
    Wealden200,0001020,000
    West Oxfordshire100,000520,000
    Woking135,0001013,500
    Worthing240,0001615,000
    South west
    Exeter50,000510,000
    Kennet100,0001010,000
    Purbeck75,0001010,000
    Mendip120,0001210,000
    North Cornwall45,00067,500
    Poole50,00077,500
    Salisbury100,0001010,000
    South Somerset100,0001010,000
    Taunton Deane200,0002010,000
    Teignbridge7,50017,500
    West Midlands
    Stafford300,0004010,000
    Yorkshire and Humberside
    Hambleton100,0001210,000

    Health

    Centre For Applied Microbiology And Research

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what income the agreement between his Department and Porton International Ltd. involving the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research has generated in each full year of its existence.

    There are no agreements between the Department and Porton International plc but there are various agreements between the public health laboratory service board and companies in the Porton International group concerning the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research, one of which is an agreement on distributorship and marketing of certain products. The amount of income directly generated by this agreement cannot be separately identified, but total receipts from companies in the Porton International group are as follows:

    Year ending£
    March
    19856,300
    1986165,644
    1987824,525
    19881,404,613
    19891,647,370
    19902,719,150
    Total6,767,602

    Porton International

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account he will be taking in considering the bid from Porton International Ltd for the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research, Porton of any previous advice offered by his Department to companies in the Porton International group about the centre.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what meetings have been held between representatives of the Department and representatives of Porton products Ltd or Porton International Ltd since January 1984; and whether any of these meetings were attended by Ministers in the Department.

    There have been a number of meetings between representatives of the Department and representatives of Porton International plc and its associated companies since January 1984. Ministers were present when appropriate.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects a new fermentation unit to be installed at the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research; and what has been the cause of the delay in its installation.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]: The arrangements for the installation of a new fermentation unit at the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research depend primarily on the centre's future functions and ownership. Until these matters are determined, it would not be sensible to proceed with the installation of a new unit.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the reply given to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central of 5 July, Official Report, column 672, on current licences held by the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research, now many of the licences are covered by the right of marketing and distributorship agreement between Porton Products and the public health laboratory service.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]:Eighteen of the licences relate directly to products or procedures in the distributorship and marketing agreement.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what valuations of plant, equipment, collections and good will have been carried out at, or on behalf of, the Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research; and on what dates.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]:A valuation of the land, buildings, plant and fixed equipment at the

    In-patient cases treated1, Northern Region Health Authority, 1982 and 1988–89
    Change
    Health Authority19821988–89NumberPer cent.
    Hartlepool14,53918,8574,31830
    North Tees21,08223,8332,75113
    South Tees40,55255,46414,91237
    East Cumbria20,61825,7645,14625
    South Cumbria17,31322,4835,17030
    West Cumbria13,57215,6822,11016
    Darlington14,98718,8583,87126
    Durham15,82518,9913,16620
    North West Durham12,21612,6033873
    South West Durham14,12717,6203,49325
    Northumberland24,97328,4333,46014
    Gateshead18,33620,6852,34913
    Newcastle72,96892,09419,12626
    North Tyneside14,84220,3875,54537
    South Tyneside14,55817,6043,04621
    Sunderland45,55951,6756,11613
    Northern RHA376,067461,03384,96623

    Source: SH3 return 1982 SH3a return 1988–89

    1 Discharges and Deaths.

    Salmonella

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many outbreaks of salmonella have occurred in national health service hospitals in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement.

    The provisional totals for 1989 and to the week ending 13 July 1990 for reports to the public health laboratory service communicable disease surveillance centre of outbreaks of salmonellosis in national health service hospitals in England and Wales are nine and three respectively. Totals for previous years for comparison are 1986=19; 1987=11; 1988=11.

    Finished consultant episodes (ordinary admissions and day cases) and treatment rates for ICD 290 to National Health Service Hospitals and Units, in England, during 1988–89
    Aged less than 45Aged 45 to 64Aged 65 to 74Aged 75 to 84Aged over 85Total
    Males
    Hospital episodes1001,0004,0009,1003,20017,400
    Population (Millions)15·185·031·870·940·1723·19
    Rate (per 1,000)0·010·202·139·6919·080·75
    Females
    Hospital episodes1001,0004,80015,10010,30031,300
    Population (Millions)14·725·142·341·640·5124·35
    Rate (per 1,000)0·010·192·059·2320·171·29

    Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research was completed on 14 March 1990. A valuation of other equipment is currently in hand.

    In-Patients

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the number of in-patients treated in (a) 1982 and (b) 1988–89 for all the district health authorities in the northern region, giving the percentage change in each case.

    Alzheimer's Disease

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his estimate of the number of (a) men and (b) women who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other dementia who are aged (a) under 40 years, (b) 50 to 60 years, (c) 60 to 70 years, (d) 70 to 80 years, (e) 80 to 90 years and (f) over 90 years; and what proportion that figure is per 1,000 of the population in each band.

    The only information available centrally is the number of hospital episodes. The table shows estimated number of finished consultant episodes— ordinary and day case—in National Health Service hospitals and units in England, for the 1988–89 financial year where the diagnosis was senile and presenile dementia —ICD 290—and the corresponding rates per 1,000 population.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the mental illness specific grant, respite care and Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

    It is the Government's policy that all people suffering from mental illness, including Alzheimer's disease and similar dementias, should benefit from an appropriate range of services, including respite care. The Government will introduce a specific grant to social services authorities from 1 April 1991 to encourage them to increase the level of social care available to this group of clients.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what methodology is used to assess the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and related dementia.

    The Government are not aware of any studies to assess the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and related dementia.

    Bracken

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to the letter of 22 May, POH 3/2342/31, to the hon. Member for Linlithgow, what has been the response to the recommendation made by his Department's independent advisory committee on the carcinogenicity of chemicals in food, consumer products and the environment for long-term research into bracken; and if he will make a statement.

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has commissioned research to study the possible transmission of carcinogens from bracken into the human food chain. It is hoped that the results of the study will be available next year. The Department of the Environment is funding research into the distribution, growth and spread of bracken in the United Kingdom.

    Disabled People

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information is available to him on the adequacy of interpreter services provided by local authorities for people with disabilities who are unable to speak English and, in particular, for those who have additional communication handicaps; and if he will make a statement.

    Comprehensive information about interpreter services provided by individual local authorities is not held centrally, but it is unlikely that interpreters are appointed solely to help disabled people. A number of local authorities have interpreter and translator posts, to deal with a wide range of business, funded under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966. Departmental guidance encourages social services departments to consider the use of professional interpreters where appropriate and the departmentally-funded race equality unit compiled a list last year of some 30 translation and interpretation units run or funded by local authorities. People with additional communication problems tend to look for help to health authorities, a few of which have appointed either multilingual staff to work with speech therapists or speech therapists who themselves speak other languages.

    World Health Organisation Food Agency

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the circulars issued by the World Health Organisation food agency in Geneva since 1983; and what action has been taken on the basis of each one by his Department.

    The World Health Organisation has no single agency with sole responsibility for food. However, through a variety of routes the World Health Organisation issues advice and information from time to time on matters related to food. In each case this is carefully considered, in the light of specialist scientific opinion, for its implications for food and food safety policy in this country.

    Etidronate

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if there are any plans to license prescription of the drug Etidronate; and if he will make a statement.

    Product licences for Sodium Etidronate were granted in 1987 for use in the treatment of Pagets disease and hypercalcaemia.

    Welfare Milk Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of the implementation of the revised welfare milk scheme; and if he will make a statement.

    The Department has kept the effects of the amendments to the welfare milk reimbursement scheme under constant review since their implementation in January. My noble Friend Baroness Hooper has been in correspondence with the main organisations in the dairy and retail trade and has met representatives of the milk marketing boards and the Dairy Trade Federation—DTF. Departmental officials have also had a number of meetings with the DTF branches of the National Dairymen's Association and other interested bodies.Arrangements to share the cost of discounted reimbursement prices are already in operation between most processors and distributors. Similar arrangements between processors and producers have yet to be agreed between the Dairy Trade Federations and the milk marketing boards. The boards have indicated that the effect of the Welfare Food (Amendment) Regulations January 1990, can be taken into account under the established joint committee procedure for negotiating changes in the board's selling price.Most recently, the Dairy Trade Federation made formal proposals to the Department for future discounted reimbursement arrangements for welfare milk supplies. We have now authorised negotiations to proceed on the basis of these proposals. The first meeting took place this week.

    District Health Authorities

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish a table for each of the district health authorities in England showing the cost of administrative and clerical staff as a proportion of net revenue expenditure, respectively, for 1988–89; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 8 June 1990]: Information derived from the 1988–89 annual accounts of district health authorities in England has been placed in the Library.The administrative and clerical staff group within the national health service covers a diversity of grades including catering, laundry and other managers and certain ambulance officers as well as administrative, clerical and secretarial staff as such. A number of hospital staff are employed at local levels on clerical and secretarial grades but in fact provide essential support in various departments and without them patient treatment cannot effectively take place. Some such staff work in direct support of clinicians and as ward clerks, releasing qualified staff to carry out tasks for which they are trained.

    Private Patients (Bad Debts)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give, for each district health authority, regional health authority and special health authority, the amount written off in respect of bad debts from (a) private in-patients and (b) private out-patients for the latest available year.

    [holding answer 14 June 1990]: The information requested derived from the 1988–89 annual accounts—the latest available—of regional and district health authorities in England together with those of the special health authorities for the London postgraduate teaching hospitals has been placed in the Library. Sums written off in a particular financial year may include amounts due from earlier years.We expect health authorities to take all reasonable action to collect their debts. For 1988–89 the total sums written off in respect of private patient debts—£575,819 in-patients and £157,206 out-patients—represented approximately 1 per cent. of the equivalent income figures —£62,422,151 and £14,473,125 net of sums written off— for that year and which represented a valuable resource for the health authorities concerned.

    Food Hygiene

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about progress on the proposed amendments to the Food Hygiene Regulations.

    I have today laid before Parliament the Food Hygiene (Amendment) Regulations 1990—S.I. 1431. These will introduce for the first time a system of temperature controls throughout the food chain, and especially during storage, distribution and retail sale in order to minimise the opportunity for growth of pathogenic micro-organisms such as listeria and salmonella. There will be a phased implementation of the provisions to allow all businesses time to ensure that their refrigeration equipment can keep food at the required temperatures.

    Basildon and Thurrock DHA1
    YearAverage daily number of available hospital beds2Discharges and deaths2Hospital nursing and midwifery staff (WTE)3Hospital medical and dental consultants (WTE)4Administration and clerical staff (WTE)
    1960n/an/an/an/an/a
    19662,36014,930n/an/an/a
    19702,43019,010n/an/an/a

    From 1 April 1991 all foods covered by the Regulations must be kept at or below 8 deg. Centigrade. The foods concerned include all ready prepared meals, soft cheeses, cooked meats, pates and prepared salads.

    From 1 April 1993, the foods which are most at risk of contamination with listeria must be kept at or below 5 deg. Centigrade. These foods include soft cheeses, pates and other prepared foods which are to be eaten without further cooking.

    From 1 April 1992, small delivery vehicles—less than 7.5 tonnes gross weight—will be required to deliver foods in the controlled categories within the 8 deg. Centigrade limit but the regulations as laid will exempt small delivery vehicles making local deliveries from complying with the 5 deg. Centigrade requirement. This provision will be kept under review as the technology develops which would allow small delivery vehicles to comply.

    In all cases there is a 2 deg. Centigrade tolerance to the specified temperatures to allow for the defrost cycle or for the temporary breakdown of the equipment. movement of the food or a step in processing.

    There are exemptions from these temperature provisions for example for canned food and dehydrated foods. Freshly prepared foods do not have to comply with the temperature requirements for limited periods of time.

    The regulations also require foods which are to be served hot to be kept at or above 63 deg. Centigrade.

    The regulations contain detailed provisions. so that everyone affected will know what is required of them, including manufacturers, retailers, caterers, distributors and enforcement officers, the Department of Health is consulting on guidelines for that purpose. These will give details of the foods which are subject to the temperature controls and suggest ways of monitoring refrigeration equipment to ensure that the temperatures are being met. Copies of the draft guidelines will be made available in the Library of the House.

    The temperature control provisions introduced by these regulations are a further step forward in ensuring the safety of our food. They are the first statutory temperature controls for most food businesses. We intend to keep their operation and effectiveness under review in the light of experience and any related European Community measures subsequently introduced.

    Hospitals

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the total number of (a) hospital beds, (b) nurses, (c) consultants and (d) all administrative staff in the national health service hospitals in (i) England and (ii) the Basildon and Thurrock health authority or its predecessor for each of the years 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985 and the most recent date for which figures are available.

    [pursuant to the reply, 6 July 1990, c. 710–12]: I regret that one of the tables published contained an error. The corrected table for Basildon and Thurrock DHA is as follows:

    Year

    Average daily number of available hospital beds2

    Discharges and deaths2

    Hospital nursing and midwifery staff (WTE)3

    Hospital medical and dental consultants (WTE)4

    Administration and clerical staff (WTE)

    19751,86022,920n/an/an/a
    19801,88029,450

    51,820

    n/a

    5310

    19851,95033,3002,140n/a490
    19881,72033,7101,970n/a520

    1 All figures are rounded to the nearest ten (10).

    2 For years 1966 and 1970 the data is for Tilbury and South East Essex and South Ockenden hospital management committee.

    3 There was a change in nurses' working hours in 1980–81 from 40 to 37.5 hours per week. This has not been taken account of in the calculations.

    4 Figures are not available as consultant's contracts ae not directly held by non-teaching district health authorities.

    5 Due to reorganisation of district boundaries in 1982, 1980 district data is not directly comparable to later years.

    n/a = not available.

    Northern Ireland

    Offences

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will give separately for magistrates courts and Crown courts for (a) 1988 and (b) for 1989 the number of cases involving non-scheduled offences in which pleas of not guilty were entered; in how many of these cases verdicts of not guilty were returned; and in how many of these cases trial was by jury.

    [holding answer 4 July 1990]:(a) Figures for 1988 are:

    Magistrates courtsCrown courts
    Plea: Not guilty4,696188
    Verdict: Not guilty3,20991

    (b) Figures for 1989 are:

    Magistrates courts

    Crown courts

    Plea: Not guilty4,006144
    Verdict: Not guilty3,07291

    All Crown court cases involving non-scheduled offences where not guilty pleas were entered were tried by

    Sentenced male prison population, 28 December 1989

    Ages

    Sentence group

    Less than 18 years

    18 to under 25 years

    25 to under 30 years

    30 to under 40 years

    40 to under 50 years

    50 to under 60 years

    60 years plus

    Total

    Up to 3 months
    Scheduled00121003
    Non-scheduled0123210018
    3 to 6 months
    Scheduled05211009
    Non-scheduled5167760041
    6 to 12 months
    Scheduled172100011
    Non-scheduled343141551182
    12 to 18 months
    Scheduled01110003
    Non-scheduled182111115
    18 months to 4 years
    Scheduled11013426400166
    Non-scheduled3302022144194

    jury. Figures for magistrates courts include all offences with a plea of not guilty and therefore include a small number of 'terrorist-type' offences.

    Prison Population

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the size of the prison population in Northern Ireland at the end of 1989, divided into terrorist-type offenders and other offenders categorised by sex in the groups: under 18 years old, 18 to 25 years, 25 to 30 years, 30 to 40 years, 40 to 50 years, 50 to 60 years and over 60 years; and if he will give a breakdown of the length of sentence being served by each age group under the headings (i) up to three months, (ii) over three months and up to six months, (iii) over six months and under 12 months, (iv) over 12 months and under 18 months, (v) over 18 months and up to four years, (vi) over four years and up to eight years, (vii) over eight years, and (viii) life.

    [holding answer 4 July 1990]: The size of the prison population at 28 December 1989 was 1,371, including 16 female prisoners.The statistical tables detail the breakdown by sex and age. Statistical information is given for scheduled and non-scheduled offences, information on terrorist-type offenders is not readily available and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

    Ages

    Sentence group

    Less than 18 years

    18 to under 25 years

    25 to under 30 years

    30 to under 40 years

    40 to under 50 years

    50 to under 60 years

    60 years plus

    Total

    4 to 8 years
    Scheduled0645646811176
    Non-scheduled0111220102257
    Over 8 years
    Scheduled05185911640247
    Non-scheduled2571183137
    Life
    Scheduled0244625268123405
    Non-scheduled00000101
    Total1637829249814229101,365

    Sentenced female prison population, 28 December 1989

    Ages

    18-Under 25

    25-Under 30

    30-Under 40

    40-Under 50

    50-Under 60

    Total

    Sentence Group

    Up to 3 months
    Non-Scheduled001001
    3–6 Months
    Scheduled020002
    6–12 Months
    Non-Scheduled011013
    18 Months–4 Years
    Scheduled100001
    4–8 Years
    Scheduled100001
    Over 8 Years
    Scheduled011002
    Life
    Scheduled121206
    Total3642116

    Notes:

    1. Age refers to age of prisoner on 28 December 1989.

    2. Includes YOC prisoners.

    3. Life includes those detained at pleasure of the Secretary of State.

    4. Includes fine defaulters and civil prisoners.

    School Closures

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many schools in Northern Ireland of less than 50 pupils closed in (a) 1975, (b) 1980, (c) 1985 and (d) 1989; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: The information requested is as follows:-

    Number
    197516
    198010
    198510
    19892
    Our policy remains to support the rationalisation of small schools since this is in the best educational interests of pupils. However, in considering proposals for rationalisation we take into account the likely effects on local communities, particularly in isolated areas.

    Fair Employment

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if he will list in the Official Report those firms and employers which are registered with the Northern Ireland Fair Employment Commission for each district council in the county of Tyrone; and if he will indicate for each such firm and employer the number of employees;(2) if he will list in the

    Official Report those firms and employers which are registered with the Northern Ireland Fair Employment Commission for each district council in the county of Fermanagh; and if he will indicate for each such firm and employer the number of employees;

    (3) if he will list in the Official Report, those firms and employers which are registered with the Northern Ireland Fair Employment Commission for each district council in County Londonderry; and if he will indicate for each such firm and employer the number of employees;

    (4) if he will list in the Official Report those firms and employers which are registered with the Northern Ireland Fair Employment Commission for each district council in County Down; and if he will indicate for each such firm and employer the number of employees;

    (5) if he will list in the Official Report those firms and employers which are registered with the Northern Ireland Fair Employment Commission for each district council in County Antrim; and if he will indicate for each such firm and employer the number of employees;

    (6) if he will list in the Official Report those firms and employers which are registered with the Northern Ireland

    Fair Employment Commission for each district council in the county of Armagh; and if he will indicate for each such firm and employer the number of employees.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]: Information in the form requested is not readily available and could be compiled only at disproportionate cost. I am advised, however, that the Fair Employment Commission has provided all Northern Ireland Members of Parliament with a draft of its alphabetical register of concerns indicating the number of employees in each concern.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects the Fair Employment Commission to release information on community composition from individual monitoring returns from employers.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]: The commission has not yet announced its intentions in relation to releasing such information.

    Ace Project (Londonderry)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the ACE project sponsored by the Inner City Trust in Londonderry falls within the Northern Ireland fair employment legislation.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]: As a sponsor under the Action for Community Employment programme the Inner City Trust, Londonderry is the employer of ACE workers. Consequently the trust's ACE project falls within the Fair Employment (NI) Acts 1976 and 1989.

    Housing (Repairs And Improvements)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the number of (a) repair and (b) improvement grant applications (i) approved and (ii) refused by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, in each district council area in each year since 1980.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: The matters raised are for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Information on the individual grant types or of approvals and refusals of grant in district council areas is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Social Security

    Employment Training

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he has received a report by Camden training centre on long-term savings in the social security budgets arising from their training provision; and if he will make a statement.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what research has been done on the savings for social security budgets arising from the employment training and other Government training schemes.

    The monitoring of the employment training and of other Government training schemes, including all aspects of expenditure on them, is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Employment.

    Independent Living Fund

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many Independent Living foundation grants were made to people (a) under 75 years and (b) 75 years or over in 1988–89 and 1989–90.

    Retirement Pension

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security pursuant to his answer on 4 July, Official Report, column 607, what increases in national insurance contribution rates would be needed to pay for a basic retirement pension of £58.65 for a single person and £94.05 for a couple if the Treasury supplement to the national insurance fund were reintroduced at the same rate as in 1979.

    There would be no increase needed in national insurance contributions were the Treasury supplement to the national insurance fund to be reintroduced at its 1979 level. However a supplement at that level is equivalent to, for example, nearly 5p in the pound on basic rate income tax in 1990–91.

    Transport

    Trading Standards Officers

    145.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from trading standards officers on the need for further legislation to tackle unroadworthy vehicles.

    146.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from trading standards officers on the need for further legislation to tackle unroadworthy vehicles.

    Trading standards officers want us to strengthen that part of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which makes it an offence to sell unroadworthy vehicles. We agree and propose to amend the Act at the earliest legislative opportunity.They have also asked for powers to inspect used cars on dealers' premises. This requires special expertise and we have pointed out that these powers are already available to authorised examiners including examiners from the vehicle inspectorate. The vehicle inspectorate is keen to respond to any requests from individual trading standards officers.

    M2 Motorway

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about proposals for widening the M2 motorway; and when consideration will be given to making it three lanes each way as far as Faversham.

    The scheme to widen the M2 between junctions 1 and 3 was extended earlier this year to include the section between junctions 3 and 4. In the light of this the programme for the whole scheme is being reviewed. Meanwhile my Department's consultants are continuing to investigate possible options for carrying out proposed widening.My Department has no plans at present to widen the M2 beyond junction 4 to Faversham but the need to do so will be kept under review.

    Newport Docks (Traffic Controls)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the safety implications of Associated British Ports' intermittent discontinuing of traffic controls on Newport docks and the River Usk estuary.

    The operation from Newport pierhead of a radio information service for vessels is a matter for Associated British Ports. I understand that this information service is at present operated for 24 hours a day on weekdays, and also at the weekend whenever vessels are using Newport docks. During the periods of operation the service is available at the request of Newport harbour commissioners also to vessels using the River Usk. Vessels are in any event obliged to comply with the Collision Regulations as modified by harbour byelaws relating to navigation within the area of the relevant harbour authority.

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