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Written Answers

Volume 177: debated on Monday 23 July 1990

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 23 July 1990

Civil Service

Trade Unions

101.

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service when he last met representatives of the civil service unions to discuss working conditions.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave earlier to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner).

Morale

102.

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what plans he has to improve morale within the civil service.

Maintaining good morale is an important policy for all involved in the management of the civil service. The next steps initiative will provide many opportunities to engage the enthusiasm and talents of staff.

National Finance

Manufacturing

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the manufacturing sector productivity growth for each European Community country on the nearest comparable basis for the last three years; and if he will make a statement.

Following are the relevant data.

Average annual percentage growth of Labour Productivity in Manufacturing
1986–89
United Kingdom5·2
Germany2·3
France4·9
Italy14·8
Belgiumn/a
Netherlands-1·2
Spain1·2
1 The figure for Italy is for 1986–88.

Sources: OECD Main Economic Indicators

OECD Quarterly Labour Force Statistics

CSO Economic Trends.

Of the major EC countries for which data are available, the United Kingdom has had the fastest growth of labour productivity in manufacturing since 1986. Reliable data for other EC countries are not available.

International Monetary Fund

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the board of the International Monetary Fund will next discuss International Monetary Fund assistance to Vietnam.

Vietnam is in arrears to the IMF and in 1985 was declared ineligible for further loans while these arrears persist. The IMF board regularly reviews Vietnam's ineligibility, most recently on 12 March.

Manufacturing Industry

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the reasons for the deterioration in the balance of trade in manufactures since 1985.

[holding answer 18 July 1990]: The balance of trade in manufactures deteriorated because United Kingdom demand for consumer and, especially, investment goods, grew faster than industry's capacity to meet it. The excess was met by imports. But the strong investment growth of the last three years will add to domestic capacity and enable British industry to meet more domestic and foreign demand. Industry has already exploited export opportunities. Indeed, in 1989, exports of manufactures, excluding erratic items, increased by 11 per cent., the fastest annual rate since 1973, and in the latest three months they rose by 14 per cent. Increased capacity, along with tight monetary policy continuing to restrain the growth of domestic demand, will provide the right conditions for an improvement in the balance of trade in manufactures.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of the reasons for the deterioration in the balance of trade with the United States in manufactures since 1987; and whether he will publish a table showing imports and exports of manufactures less erratics to the United States of America in 1987, 1988, 1989 and this year to date.

[holding answer 18 July 1990]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave earlier today about the balance of trade in manufactures as a whole. The information requested is not available. Trade in manufactures including the erratic items is, however, readily available in the House of Commons Library in Business Monitors MA20 (annual data) and MM20 (monthly data), published by the Central Statistical Office.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the gross output of manufacturing industry other than food and fuel excluding inter-industry transfers within the sector as defined in 1973, 1979 and the latest available year.

[holding answer 18 July 1990]: Current price information on the gross output of each manufacturing industry is published annually in Business Monitor PA1002, report on the census of production summary volume. Copies of this volume up to 1987, the latest available year, are available from the House of Commons Library.The value of the transfer of goods between industries is not separately identified in the census, but guidance on the sales by manufacturing industries to other sectors can be obtained from the input-output tables for the United Kingdom. These have been published for 1974, 1979 and 1984 and are available in the House of Commons Library.

Gilts

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his most up-to-date estimate of the level of gilts sales in the final quarter of the current (a) calendar year and (b) financial year.

[holding answer 19 July 1990]: It is not the Government's practice to provide the information requested.

Public Sector Borrowing Requirement

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his most up-to-date estimate of the public sector borrowing requirement in the current financial year.

[holding answer 19 July 1990]: The most up-to-date estimate of the public sector borrowing requirement in the current financial year is £6·5 billion, covering the outturn for April to June. The Budget forecast for the public sector borrowing requirement in 1990–91 as a whole is minus £6·9 billion, that is, a net repayment.

Minimum Wage

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Stretford, 2 February, Official Report, column 375, on minimum wage effects, what estimates have been made of the relationship between employment and wages using the current version of the Treasury model; and what estimates have been obtained using alternative economic models.

[holding answer 20 July 1990]: Most economic models, including the current version of the Treasury model, show that slower growth of real wages will raise employment in the long run.It has not, since 1978, been the practice to run particular simulations on the Treasury model to meet specific outside requests; but the hon. Member will be aware that the current version of the model is available for Members' use through the Library.

Diplomatic Properties (Rates Arrears)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many European Community countries are in rates arrears for diplomatic properties in London; what are the respective amounts involved; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 20 July 1990]: The Rating of Government Property Department collects the beneficial portion of the rates on properties occupied by diplomats. The following members of the European Communities have arrears outstanding in respect of claims made to date

£
France91,856·89
Portugal2,031·34
The Rating of Government Property Department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office regularly approach countries that are in arrears and urge them to make payment.

Overseas Development

Know-How Funds

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether further education level initiatives qualify for know-how fund initiatives;(2) what funding the British Council is receiving in order to fund further education college level initiatives in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

Under the know-how-fund, the British Council has been asked to manage programmes of academic links between British and Hungarian and Czechoslovakian institutions. The annual level for funding for each country is currently set at £100,000. Colleges of further education can submit proposals for consideration under these schemes, which also operate in Poland, where the annual level of funding is £150,000.

Overseas Aid

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of gross domestic product Government support for overseas aid made up in 1989–90; and what are the estimates for 1990–91, 1991–92 and 1992–93.

The proportion of United Kingdom gross national product devoted to official development assistance in 1989 was 0·31 per cent. Estimates for future years are not available.

Cambodia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government will now give Government-to-Government aid to Cambodia.

We welcome America's decision to ease the flow of private humanitarian assistance to Cambodia. Britain has been building up its humanitarian aid since November 1989, by providing support for the activities of British NCOs and international agencies. Direct Government-to-Government aid is ruled out as we have no official dealings with the Hun Sen regime.

Colonial Service Pensioners

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the actual cost of public funds of the concession awarding war service credit to colonial service pensioners for the financial year 1989–90; and what is the estimated cost for 1990–91.

The additional cost of pensions attributable to the concession to grant credit for war service to colonial service pensioners was approximately £1·8 million in 1989–90 and is estimated at £3·3 million for 1990–91. Expenditure was lower in 1989–90 because a substantial number of those eligible chose to forgo the payment for the period April to December 1989 in exchange for an addition to their contingent widow's entitlement.

Prime Minister

Marine Life

To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement outlining the mechanisms for, and extent of, co-operation between the Department of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in respect of research into the long-term effects of dredging on marine life.

The Department of the Environment co-ordinates the comments of Government Departments on applications for licences issued by the Crown Estate Commission to extract aggregates from the sea bed. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food provides comments on applications in respect of the potential impact of extraction on the fishing industry and on the marine environment.Research into effects of aggregate dredging on the sea bed is conducted by the Ministry, which has recently decided to undertake a further programme of research in this area. The work will be part-funded by the Crown Estate Commission. The Ministry will draw on the results of this research in commenting to the Department on extraction policy and on dredging applications.

Child Benefit

To ask the Prime Minister whether the views expressed in her written answer on child benefit given to the hon. Member for Eltham (Mr. Bottomley) on 17 March 1981, Official Report, column 55, remain her policy.

The Government's policy on child benefit remains as set out in our last manifesto. As I have said on many occasions we stand by that commitment.

Colin Wallace

To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her answer of 2 July, Official Report, column 413, when she expects a reply to be sent on her behalf to Colin Wallace's letter of 10 June about alleged links between Charles Haughey and the IRA.

Scotland

Radioactive Discharges

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the volume and nature of radioactive discharges into the Firth of Forth from (a) Torness power station and (b) Rosyth royal dockyard; and what arrangements are made for monitoring and recording such discharges and any residues in the marine environment.

Details of the quantity of waste discharged and of the environmental monitoring undertaken and of the results obtained are published in a series of bulletins issued by the Scottish Development Department. These are available in the Library.The operators are required, as a condition of the authorisation, to sample and analyse all discharges, to keep records and to send a copy of the records to Her Majestys' industrial pollution inspectorate. Check samples of the liquid waste are periodically taken on behalf of the Inspectorate and analysed.A condition of the authorisation is that environmental monitoring as specified by the Secretary of State must be undertaken by the operator. To provide an independent check on the operators results a separate sampling and analyses programme is undertaken by the inspectorate. The Torness nuclear power station authorisation relates to dscharges of liquid waste into the North sea.

Mental Welfare Commission

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the nominating bodies for the four new commissioners appointed to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland on 1 May and for the three reappointments to the commission.

Under section 2(5) of the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984, my right hon. and learned Friend, before making recommendations to Her Majesty the Queen for appointment to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland, is required to consult such bodies as appear to him to be concerned. These bodies are invited to nominate suitable candidates and any names put forward are considered along with other possible candidates. The final recommendations submitted to Her Majesty are solely a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend.

Nurses (Bridging Course)

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if the Government intend to allocate additional funds to increase the number of available places on the bridging course for nurses.

Health boards are already in receipt of additional funding for Project 2000 purposes and are free to decide how much of that money should be spent on bridging and conversion courses for enrolled nurses.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the ratio of enrolled nurses applying to undertake the registered general nursing bridging course and the number of available places on the bridging course in Grampian.

As at May 1990, the latest date for which figures are available, the ratio of applicants to places was 15:1. Work is in hand to increase the rate of enrolled nurse conversion generally.

Broadleaved Woodland

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is in a position to announce the outcome of the review of the Government's present policy for broadleaved woodland.

The Government's policy for broadleaved woodland was announced on 24 July 1985 in a statement to the House by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) at columns 557–62. The main objective of the policy was described in the statement as being

"to maintain and enhance the value of Britain's broadleaved woodland for timber production, landscape, recreation and nature conservation".
The statement also listed a number of complementary aims which would involve the planting of more broadleaved trees and the better management of broadleaved woodlands to serve a range of needs.Several new measures designed to achieve the policy aims were introduced or foreshadowed by the 1985 statement, such as the preparation of Forestry Commission guidelines on the management appropriate to various types of broadleaved woodland; a substantial reduction in the volume of timber—both broadleaved and conifer—that could be felled without a licence, directed mainly at arresting the depletion of ancient woodlands; and the introduction of a broadleaved woodland grant scheme designed to assist in the rehabilitation of neglected woodland and to encourage the creation of new multi-purpose broadleaved woods. The main features of the broadleaved woodland grant scheme were incorporated in the woodland grant scheme following our decision to remove forestry from the scope of income tax and corporation tax in 1988.In the 1985 announcement we stated that the operation and effectiveness of the new measures would be reviewed after some three years. That review was put in hand in October 1988. As a first stage, information was assembled by the Forestry Commission on the progress achieved against the aims and measures set out in 1985 and presented in a report entitled "Broadleaved Policy—Progress 1985–1988". Copies of the report were sent to more than 600 individuals and organisations for comment. A great many helpful and constructive replies were received by the summer of 1989, and the Forestry Commission then held bilateral discussions with the Nature Conservancy Council, the Countryside Commissions, Timber Growers United Kingdom, the Country Landowners Association, the Institute of Chartered Foresters, the National Farmers Union and Wildlife Link. We are also indebted to the Agriculture Committee of this House for the observations it made on this topic in its report issued earlier this year "Land Use and Forestry"—HC 16–1.What became immediately clear from the review was the very considerable success that the policy has had in extending the area of broadleaves throughout the country. In 1984–85, some 9 per cent. of grant-aided planting by private owners was with broadleaves; by 1988–89 this had risen to around 17 per cent. The policy has also been successful in arresting the loss of broadleaved woodland and in focusing attention on the irreplaceable contribution that the semi-natural woodlands make to our environment.A number of bodies saw a need for further increases in the broadleaved planting grants. The Government have considered the case for this with care, but, against the background of the considerable expansion in broadleaved planting that has taken place since 1985 and the substantial rise in grant rates which occurred with the introduction of the woodland grant scheme in 1988, we have concluded that there is no evidence that the grants on offer have been inadequate. The Government will, however, keep the rates of grant under review.The most important single issue to emerge from the broadleaves policy review, however, and one which was shared by the broad spectrum of forestry and environmental interests consulted, relates to the need to encourage good multi-purpose management of the various types of broadleaved woodland. Concern over this issue has been highlighted by the decision taken in the 1988 Budget to remove tax reliefs on woodland management expenditure, although transitional provisions were introduced for these reliefs to continue for existing woodland owners until April 1993.The comments received on this issue have related not only to the costs of managing broadleaved woodlands over the very long period between establishment and the first returns from the sale of timber, and of bringing neglected woodlands back into production, but to the lack of the necessary incentives to encourage owners to adopt practices that would have environmental benefit over and above normal maintenance work. Particular concern has been expressed by a number of bodies that owners are not receiving the special help required to enable them to meet the more exacting multi-purpose objectives and the associated higher costs of managing ancient semi-natural woodlands.The Government accepts that more needs to be done to ensure the better management of our broadleaved woodlands in the future, to encourage owners to bring neglected woodlands into a healthy and productive state, and to provide owners with the necessary incentives to maintain and improve the environmental value of their woodlands. We have therefore decided to make woodland management grants available under the Forestry Commission's woodland grant scheme. In the light of the changes to the forestry tax arrangements and the considerable scope which exists to improve the environmental value of all types of woodland, we have further decided that woodland management grants will be made available for conifer as well as broadleaved and mixed woodlands.To qualify for the new grants, woodland owners will be required to agree to a five-year plan of operations with the Forestry Commission which will set out the management objectives for the woodland and prescribe operations which will advance those objectives during the period of the plan. The grants will be paid annually in arrears subject to satisfactory implementation of the plan. A lump sum payment of £100 will also be available from the Forestry Commission for owners who draw up management plans for the first time with the benefit of professional advice for areas eligible for the woodland management grants. This assistance will not be available, however, for planting plans.There will be two types of woodland management grant:—

  • (a) standard management grants, which will be payable during the normal maintenance period following the initial establishment phase of the woodland—for conifer woodlands between 11 and 20 years of age and for broadleaved woodlands between 11 and 40 years. In return for these grants owners will be obliged not only to carry out normal silvicultural operations to a high standard but also to take such steps as may be agreed between them and the Forestry Commission to increase the environmental value of the woodlands;
  • (b) special management grants, which will be payable for woodlands of special environmental value of any age above 10 years. In return for these grants, the owner will be required to agree to take specified action which will maintain and enhance the woodland's special character. Woodlands in this category will be those which in the Forestry Commission's view are of special value for nature conservation, landscape, public recreation or a combination of these by virtue of their nature, location or use. There will be a presumption that conifer and broadleaved woodlands properly classified as ancient and semi-natural on the inventory being drawn up by the Nature Conservancy Council will qualify, as will those of special landscape value in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and national scenic areas or which are covered by woodland tree preservation orders, but each case will, of course, have to be considered on its merits. Any woodland, whether or not in a nationally designated area, may qualify if the owner has proposals to establish, develop or improve free facilities for public access or for public recreation in the woodland, provided the proposals are in keeping with public demand for such facilities and are accepted by the Forestry Commission. Owners in receipt of this special management grant will not be eligible to claim the standard management grant in respect of the same area.
  • A supplementary grant will be paid for woodlands of less than 10 hectares in either of the above categories in recognition of the higher management costs involved.

    Woodlands which are currently in receipt of grants from other public bodies will not be eligible for the woodland management grant, except for those established under the farm woodland scheme. The annual payments to farmers under that scheme are compensation for agricultural income forgone, and are not provided for the purpose of defraying maintenance expenditure.

    The rates of woodland management grant and their periods of eligibility are given in the following table.

    Subject to clearance by the European Commission under the terms of article 93 of the treaty of Rome, this significant extension to the woodland grant scheme will come into operation on 1 April 1992, with the first grants being paid in 1993–94. It is estimated that the annual cost of the new grants will be of the order of £5 million once the system has built up; this will be found by the Forestry Commission from within existing resources.

    The commission will be issuing detailed guidance on the management grants early next year, to enable woodland owners to put the preparation of management plans in hand. Some woodland owners are able to claim tax relief on the cost of managing their woodlands under the transitional taxation arrangements that will continue until April 1993, but tax relief for 1992–93 will not be available on woodlands for which management grants are received for that year.

    Turning to other features of the review, it is clear that the guidelines for the management of broadleaved woodland prepared by the Forestry Commission in 1985 have generally served their purpose well. It was advanced, however, by a significant number of commentators that the guidelines were not being interpreted by all the parties concerned with sufficient sensitivity to regional or local variations. The Government are clear that the guidelines must not be treated as hard and fast rules, but should be interpreted flexibly enough to enable appropriate local and regional factors which affect woodland management to be taken into account. We have asked the Forestry Commission to ensure that this is done.

    Under the present provisions of the woodland grant scheme, planting grants are paid for the initial establishment of new coppice stools but only on the basis of traditional coppice rotations. We have decided that this is unnecessarily restrictive and the Forestry Commission will be introducing an amendment to the scheme so that the establishment of short rotation coppice will be eligible for planting grants, subject of course to the silvicultural and environmental conditions of the scheme being met. Coppice woodland can have particularly high conservation value if managed in a traditional way and will be eligible for the woodland management grant provided that the other conditions are met.

    A number of bodies thought that increased provision should be made for open spaces in determining the areas eligible for Forestry Commission planting grants. In administering the woodland grant scheme the commission is already fully aware of the value of open ground and the associated edge habitats for reasons of landscape, nature conservation, recreation and game management. There can be no question of planting grants being paid on large areas left unplanted. We have, however, asked the commission to continue to adopt a flexible approach, particularly where a modest amount of open space over and above what is normally required for roads and rides would bring significant benefits to the woodland environment.

    We are very conscious of the cost and difficulties of growing some species of broadleaves in those areas where populations of grey squirrel are high. The review has indicated that the setting up of grey squirrel control groups has met with only limited success. We have asked the Forestry Commission to persevere with these initiatives since co-operative effort is essential. In areas vulnerable to grey squirrels, prescriptions for their control will be an obligatory part of the approved management plan on which grant will be paid.

    In our recent response to the Agriculture Committee's report "Land Use and Forestry", we agreed that Coed Cymru was a useful illustration of the effective integration of advisory services which had been successful in delivering advice to woodland owners. We have asked the Forestry Commission to consider encouraging parallel projects as one of the important means of providing an effective advisory service elsewhere in Britain. The Forestry Commission will also seek to increase the help which its own foresters can give, particularly in the co-ordination of advice, the training of advisers and the better marketing of the produce from broadleaved woods.

    The Government are grateful to all those who contributed so constructively to this review of broadleaves policy, and we are sure that the decision to introduce woodland management grants will be particularly welcomed by both forestry and environmental interests. The policy we introduced in 1985 has proved to be soundly based and has already had a significant impact on British forestry. With the changes I have announced, we are well placed to continue with the important task of conserving and enhancing the value of our woodland heritage.

    Woodland management grants: Grant rates effective from 1 April 1992

    Type of grant

    Period of eligibility (age of wood in years)

    Rate of grant (£ per ha per annum)

    Standard Management Grant
    Conifer11–2010
    Broadleaved11–4025
    Special Management Grant11 onwards35
    Supplement for small woods
    Standard: Conifer(as for main grant)5
    Broadleaved(as for main grant)10
    Special grant(as for main grant)10

    Note: Mixed woodlands will be eligible for the broadleaved and conifer element of the grant in proportion to the area occupied by the two categories.

    Northern Ireland

    Security

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the current security situation in Northern Ireland.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 19 July 1990 to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) at column 1162.

    Trade Union Law

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to bring trade union law in Northern Ireland into line with that in the rest of the United Kingdom.

    It is my intention to bring forward a proposal for legislation in Northern Ireland which will reflect the provisions of the Trade Union Act 1984 and the industrial relations provision of the Employment Acts 1988 and 1989. The application to Northern Ireland of provisions equivalent to those in the current Employment Bill will be considered in due course following discussions with interested bodies.

    Stevens Inquiry

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects any trials arising out of the Stevens inquiry to begin.

    [holding answer 3 July 1990]: Eleven persons interviewed by the Stevens team have so far been brought before a court. Other investigation files have also been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland by the police. His directions are awaited.

    Offences

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many persons were charged with (a) non-scheduled offences, and (b) scheduled offences; and how many persons were found not guilty of all or some of the offences with which they were charged in 1989.

    [holding answer 4 July 1990]: Information in the precise form requested is not readily available. However, the number of persons proceeded against in Northern Ireland courts during 1989 for non-scheduled offences totalled 42,800 of which 3,153 were found not guilty; 456 people were proceeded against for scheduled offences of whom 42 were found not guilty.

    Security Forces

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will give (a) the number of incidents where security forces in Northern Ireland opened fire on vehicles taken without their owner's consent and (b) the number of (i) persons injured and (ii) persons killed, in such incidents separately, for 1987, 1988 and 1989.

    [holding answer 4 July 1990]: The following table details the number of incidents where the security forces in Northern Ireland opened fire at either stolen, hijacked or suspect vehicles, and the number of injuries arising from such incidents.

    YearNumber of incidentsInjuries
    198782
    1988153
    19892619
    No deaths have occurred as a result of these incidents.

    Plastic Bullets

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many formal complaints have been made about incidents of police use of plastic baton rounds in 1989; in how many cases the complaint has been upheld; and in how many cases disciplinary action has been taken against the officers involved.

    [holding answer 4 July 1990]: During 1989, seven complaints were made concerning the use of plastic baton rounds by the Royal Ulster Constabulary. One case was subsequently withdrawn. Three cases have been investigated and files forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions, who directed no prosecution in each case. No disciplinary action has been recommended in any of these cases. The other three cases are at present under investigation.

    Sexual Offences

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many men in Northern Ireland were convicted of the offences of procuring or attempting to procure the commission of acts of buggery and gross indecency in each of the years 1980 to 1989, inclusive.

    [holding answer 6 July 1990]: I am advised by the Chief Constable that information is not available in the form requested. However the following figures are available from 1986 which the hon. Member may find helpful.

    Convictions for1986198719881989
    Soliciting by males1
    Gross indecency11972019
    Indecent assault on a male9102015
    1 Includes buggery.

    Attorney-General

    Data Protection

    To ask the Attorney-General 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.

    There have been no subject access requests under the terms of the Data Protection Act in respect of data held by the legal secretariat to the Law Officers, the Treasury Solicitor's Department or the Serious Fraud Office. The Crown prosecution service has received seven subject access requests. I had estimated that the number of requests would be low and I have at present no plans to introduce a subject access fee.

    Bereavement Damages

    To ask the Attorney-General (1) if he will name the individuals or organisations who replied to his consultation paper on bereavement damages and who are in favour of (a) increasing the limit to (i) £5,000 and (ii) £10,000 or (b) leaving the limit unchanged;(2) if he will make a statement on his evaluation of the responses to his consultation paper on bereavement damages before the summer recess.

    The Government are not yet ready to make a statement, but will do so as soon as possible.

    Child Abduction

    To ask the Attorney-General what steps the Lord Chancellor's Department is taking to prevent child abduction to the Isle of Man.

    The Lord Chancellor's Department is working with other Departments and the Isle of Man authorities to extend to the Isle of Man the Hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction and the European convention on recognition and enforcement of decisions concerning custody of children and on restoration of custody of children, and to provide for the reciprocal enforcement of orders between the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom in the same circumstances that currently allow enforcement between the three United Kingdom jurisdictions under part I of the Family Law Act 1986. Criminal sanctions already exist in relation to abductions from England and Wales to the Isle of Man.

    To ask the Attorney-General how many children have been abducted to the Isle of Man by a parent during each of the last five years.

    The Lord Chancellor's Department does not hold any information as to the number of children abducted by a parent to the Isle of Man, as the Child Abduction and Custody Act 1985 does not extend to the Isle of Man.

    Social Security Commissioners

    To ask the Attorney-General what is the estimated cost of extending legal aid to cover representation of claimants at social security commissioners' hearings.

    The current estimate of the cost of extending legal aid to cover representation of claimants at social security commissioners' hearings is £300,000. This figure, however, assumes that the remuneration rates will be the same as those for matrimonial proceedings, that 90 per cent. of claimants will receive legal aid, that barristers will not be instructed and that hearings will be on average two hours long. None of these assumptions may prove to be correct.In addition, this figure assumes that the number of appeals would not increase if legal aid were to become available, which is unlikely to be the case. These additional resources may therefore be available only if savings can be made from elsewhere in the legal aid scheme.

    To ask the Attorney-General whether he will make arrangements for representation at social security commissioners' hearings of claimants who would otherwise be unrepresented.

    In line with my answer to the hon. Member on 16 July about legal aid for representation at Social Security Commissioners' hearings, my right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Chancellor has no current plans for the representation of appellants to the commissioners, because the necessary additional resources cannot be provided at present.

    Laurence Rosen

    To ask the Attorney-General whether, in the light of documentary evidence, the confession of an accessory, and information supplied by persons both in the United Kingdom and abroad, criminal proceedings relating to the fraudulent misappropriation of funds will now be instituted against Mr. Laurence Rosen; and if he will make a statement.

    No. The position with this case remains as I explained to my hon. Friend in my letter to him of 3 July. Both the senior Crown prosecutor responsible for the case and counsel instructed to advise the Crown prosecution service consider that the available admissible evidence is insufficient to justify criminal proceedings against Mr. Rosen consistently with the code for Crown prosecutors. I am satisfied that that view is correct.

    Divorce Law

    To ask the Attorney-General when he expects to receive the report of the Law Commission in respect of divorce law reform.

    The Law Commission is expected to publish its report on the reform of the law of divorce in the autumn of this year.

    Transport

    Mv Marine

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will establish an inquiry into all the circumstances surrounding the ownership, management and loss of the MV Marine;(2) when he received the report by the Bahamian authorities on the loss of the MV Marine; what consideration he has given to its conclusions; and if he will make a statement.

    The report of the investigation by the Bahamian authorities into the loss of MV Marine was received by the marine accident investigation branch on 29 May. Following his initial consideration of the report the chief inspector raised certain questions with the Bahamas, to which answers have now been received. We shall, in addition, be asking them to publish and expanded report which more fully reflects the depth of their investigation. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will decide whether any further inquiry is required when review of the Bahamian response is completed.

    Unroadworthy Vehicles

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has about the number of vehicles in use that have been constructed from two or more written-off vehicles.

    This information is not available. Many vehicles written off by insurance companies are capable of satisfactory repair, including the use of parts from other accident-damaged vehicles. If rebuilding work is not carried out properly, there are offences of using, offering for sale and selling an unroadworthy vehicle. A prospective purchaser is well advised to have a second-hand vehicle inspected by an independent expert before buying it.

    Vehicle Purchase

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from the Director General of Fair Trading about measures required to protect potential purchasers of unroadworthy vehicles; and if he plans to seek changes to the law in this field.

    The Director General has suggested that we strengthen that part of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which makes it an offence to sell unroadworthy vehicles. We have told him we propose to amend the Act at the earliest legislative opportunity.He has also supported the trading standards officers' request 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.

    Parking Management, Cologne

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will initiate an urgent study of the parking management system used in Cologne, with regard to the applicability of a similar system in major British towns and cities.

    We are already aware of the Cologne system which uses a comprehensive arrangement of variable signs to inform drivers which city car parks have space available. Comparable systems are already in operation in various towns and cities in Britain.

    A1 Roadworks

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements he is making to ensure that, in respect of any tenanted farmhouse occupied by a working farmer which will require to be demolished for the construction of the A1 Marshall Meadows improvement north of Berwick-upon-Tweed, an alternative farmhouse can be provided on the affected holding.

    Matters of compensation relating to this proposed road improvement are currently being discussed and considered by the district valuer and objectors' representatives.

    Dial-A-Ride

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the numbers using Dial-a-Ride during each of the past five years.

    Information on the number of members of London Dial-a-Ride and the number of journeys made by them in each of the last five financial years is as follows:

    MembersJourneys
    1985–8637,000307,000
    1986–8747,734416,000
    1987–8851,009463,000
    1988–8963,263544,000
    1989–9066,301622,000
    In 1990–91 it is estimated that over 70,000 members will make 690,000 journeys.

    Newly Qualified Drivers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to introduce an identification scheme for newly qualified drivers; and if he will make a statement.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to restrict the engine size of cars driven by drivers within 12 months of passing their driving test; and if he will make a statement.

    I refer my hon. Friend to my reply of 27 June to my hon. Friend the Member for Wyre Forest (Mr. Coombs), column 211.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of the total number of private motor vehicle drivers were involved in (a) fatal, and (b) non-fatal accidents within 12 months of passing their driving test for each of the last three years.

    Information is not collected in the form requested, but research studies show that young and inexperienced drivers have a much higher accident rate than mature drivers.

    Driving Licences

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many drivers obtained their private motor vehicle driving licence for each of the last three years.

    The number of drivers who obtained their first provisional or full private motor vehicle driving licence for each of the last three years is as follows:

    Provisional (learner) licencesFull licences
    1987–881,167,630750,165
    1988–891,142,005722,850
    1989–901,157,532890,611

    Roads (Legislation)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he is yet in a position to announce the introduction of legislation to implement the proposals in "The Road User and the Law".

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what administrative action has been taken so far to implement proposals contained in "The Road User and the Law".

    Further to the answer I gave my hon. Friend on 10 May, Vol. 172, col. 215, responses to the consultation papers on drivers' physical fitness and rehabilitation are now being considered. A feasibility study on enhanced data linkages between the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the police national computer has recently been completed. In the light of its recommendations, work is now in hand to achieve police access to driver records. This will provide a valuable aid to improved enforcement of road traffic law.

    Traffic In London

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made on the proposals in "Traffic in London", which he announced he was going to pursue on 27 March.

    My announcement on 27 March followed successful public consultation on the broad proposals set out in "Traffic in London" on 14 December. I have today published a consultation document on the results of the more detailed work necessary for the legislative processes on those initiatives. I hope that everyone concerned will consider the contents carefully and make any observations on them by the due date of 28 September. I have placed copies in the Library.

    Microlights

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to make it compulsory for microlight pilots to be insured at least for third party risks; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend has received, in response to a request to the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, initial advice from the authority on the issues which would have to be dealt with by a compulsory third party insurance scheme for civil aviation including microlights, and he is now considering that advice.

    Truck Stops

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what help has been given by his Department to truck-stops situated beside motorways and major trunk roads regarding signing to allow them to attract service from motorways and trunk roads and compete with motorway service areas; and if he will make a statement.

    On motorways, the general policy is to sign only motorway service areas, but signs to truckstops and other off-route facilities will be allowed in special circumstances, in particular where there is no service area within a reasonable distance. There are overriding road safety reasons for limiting the numbers of signs to be read by motorway users, and operators of off-route facilities can identify conveniently the junctions to use for reaching them by quoting their number in their publicity material.On other roads, signs to truckstops are acceptable subject to criteria relating to safety and the nature of services on offer. Advice on these criteria has been made available to local highway authorities which also have a discretion to allow signing to local destinations.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the provision of services for truck drivers as defined under section 115 of the Highways Act 1980 in the United Kingdom and similar provision in France and other European countries.

    Except in Northern Ireland, which has a limited length of motorway, our aim on motorways is to ensure that service areas are available at which all motorway users can rest and obtain fuel and refreshments without leaving the motorway. The parking areas and associated facilities at these sites are designed to meet demands from all roads users, including lorry drivers.For other trunk roads the policy is to rely primarily on private initiative to provide facilities to meet needs. In areas, however, where there are clear deficiencies of services we are encouraging joint action with local highway authorities to identify sites for comprehensive provision of services.Her Majesty's Government have no responsibility for service provision in other European countries. It is understood that the arrangements vary considerably from country to country. In France, however, and other western European countries the initiative to provide facilities lies largely with the private sector within the framework of control by highway and other authorities.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the specialist facilities as laid down by section 115 of the Highways Act 1980 for lorry traffic are provided for lorry drivers by highway authorities in the United Kingdom; and how many have been provided by the private sector.

    Information is not available on the total number of facilities provided by highway authorities and the private sector respectively. Needs on motorways are catered for by motorway service areas.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken to improve the specialist services for commercial vehicle drivers on Britain's motorways and major trunk roads, as suggested by the Prior committee.

    The Prior committee was concerned with motorway service areas (MSAs) only. At such areas we now encourage operators, where feasible, to allow for overnight (as well as daytime) parking of lorries. Almost all operators now permit this. At new MSAs we require provision of showers and shaver points, and encourage provision of separate catering facilities for lorry drivers. Where MSAs are modernised, we invite operators to make similar provision.On other trunk roads, the policy is to rely primarily on private initiative to provide the facilities needed. However, the Department has discussed with both the local authority associations and representatives of the main oil companies and caterers the need for local joint planning exercises to identify suitable sites. The guidance note attached to the Department's circular roads 4/88 on "The Control of Development on Trunk Roads", issued in November 1988, sets out advice on the desirability of establishing a comprehensive range of services including fuel, refreshments, toilets and parking facilities, together with parking for heavy goods vehicles, at intervals of between 12 and 25 miles.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what specialist facilities for commercial vehicles are provided at the new Thurrock motorway service area.

    The full basic range of services is available now at Thurrock MSA to all motorway users. Catering is being provided from temporary buildings pending completion of permanent facilities. When the main amenity building is completed in 1991, there will be a separate dining area for drivers of commercial vehicles and separate shower, shaving and toilet facilities.

    Motorway Service Areas

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the planned motorway service areas have been built; and what reasons he has identified for the delay between the opening of the M25 and the opening of motorway service areas.

    Of the 59 motorway service areas (MSAs) planned by the Department, 43 are built and operating. In addition Thurrock MSA is in operation but with catering provided in temporary buildings. The main amenity building will be completed in 1991; the rest of the development is finished.On the M25 we intend to provide four MSAs. Services at South Mimms and Thurrock are open. At Clacket Lane, near Westerham, progress had been delayed by public inquiry and High Court proceedings, but we expect to seek tenders for a developer-operator shortly. M25 widening proposals caused us to abandon our plan to provide services at Iver. We are looking again at how best to provide services on that part of the motorway.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the current motorway service areas on the M25 will be able to cope with the increased traffic arising from the opening of the channel tunnel.

    All motorway service areas are designed to cope with forecast traffic levels for the stretch of motorway served. We are continuing to assess the need for additional MSAs or expansion of existing ones following the announcement of the increased road building programme detailed in the "Roads for Prosperity" White Paper and the publication of the new national road traffic forecasts last year. On the M25 there are four MSAs planned, two of which are now open. We will keep under review the need for additional services on the M25.

    M25 (Thames Crossings)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the past and forecast commercial vehicle traffic figures for the M25 through the Dartford tunnel and across the Dartford river crossing for the years 1987 to 2007.

    The actual and estimated figures as provided by Dartford River Crossing Ltd.—the crossing operators—for commercial vehicles using the Dartford-Thurrock crossing are as follows:

    Light 000'sHeavy 000'sTotal 000's
    19874,0702,6706,740
    19884,4702,9607,430
    19894,5203,2407,760
    19904,8603,2008,060
    19915,0503,3208,370
    19925,3003,4908,790
    19935,4503,5909,040
    19945,6003,6809,280
    19954,7303,1107,840
    20005,3603,5308,890
    20055,9403,9109,850
    20106,5104,28010,790
    These assume that the east London river crossing will be open by 1995, with consequential effects on traffic using the Dartford-Thurrock crossing.

    Whitechapel Road, London

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to improve the flow of traffic along Whitechapel road, London E1.

    I have no plans to improve the traffic flow on Whitechapel road since this is a local authority road and the responsibility of the London borough of Tower Hamlets.

    Pedestrian Crossings

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has further to improve pedestrian safety at pedestrian crossings; and if he will make a statement.

    My Department looks continually at ways of improving pedestrian safety at crossings. We are researching improved techniques for identifying sites where crossings would improve safety. In June we announced the trial of a new type of audible signal to help blind people using staggered pelican crossings. We are currently testing a new type of crossing incorporating pedestrian detectors which will improve the safety of those who need longer to cross, while minimising traffic delay. Initial responses from groups representing pedestrians and disabled people have been favourable.

    London Underground (Safety)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 3 July, Official Report, column 496, what action he intends to take in respect of authorities which have restricted traffic on busy routes across London Underground passenger transport lines in order to repair these routes and remove any future danger of bridge collapse.

    It is the responsibility of each highway authority to determine what action to take if a structure is found to fail the criteria set out in departmental standard BD 21/84.My Department has set up a working group including representatives from the London boroughs, London Underground Ltd., British Rail, the British Waterways Board and the Metropolitan police, whose terms of reference are to co-ordinate the work of assessing and strengthening road carrying structures in London by highway authorities and structure owners to achieve a programme of optimum priority, and to ensure minimum disruption to London's transportation systems.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with representatives of British Rail and London Underground regarding the incident at Waterloo station on 3 July involving a potentially dangerous build-up of passengers; what evaluation he has made of the explanation provided; and what plans he has to pursue the matter further.

    An officer of the railway inspectorate has discussed with British Rail (BR) and London Underground Ltd. (LUL) both the cause of the incident and possible means of improving passenger movement at Waterloo. I understand that a direct telephone line has now been installed between BR and LUL operations rooms at Waterloo and, in the longer term, a joint operations room will be established. BR will also be installing closed circuit TV to monitor subways and escalators in the peak hours.The inspector will be submitting a full report on this incident and on subsequent action taken by the operators, to the chief inspecting officer railways. He will consider in due course whether any further action is necessary.

    Dock Workers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the number of registered dock workers now employed for each appropriate port.

    With the abolition of the dock labour scheme in July 1989, there ceased to be any register of dock workers, so this information is not available.

    A27

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether, following the ministerial visit on 31 January and the meeting between his Department's Dorking office and representatives of West Sussex county council on 5 July, he will indicate the prospects for adopting the modified orange route for the A27 Arundel bypass which would move the alignment of this route in a more southerly direction.

    Further investigation of the alternative modified orange route for the proposed Arundel bypass is needed before my right hon. Friend decides whether to amend the preferred route. A further announcement will be made as soon as possible.

    Staff Based Abroad

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list, with details of their grades and duties, those staff from his Department and the Civil Aviation Authority, based abroad.

    Fifteen members of staff from my Department are at present based abroad. One grade 5 and two grade 7s are seconded to the European Commission in Brussels as detached national experts, and another grade 5 is the United Kingdom representative to the Council of International Civil Aviation Organisation in Montreal. Three officers at grade 5, grade 7 and HEO level are on loan to the FCO and deal with transport and aerospace matters at the British embassy in Washington. One grade 7, also on loan to the FCO, serves in the office of the United Kingdom permanent representative to the European Community in Brussels, dealing with transport matters. The remaining seven officers, who are at grade 7 level or equivalent, are engaged as professional advisers (on aviation, ship safety and statistics) to a number of foreign and dependent territory Governments.My hon. Friend should seek information about staff of the Civil Aviation Authority from the chairman of the authority.

    Public Transport, London

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the budget for London Underground in real terms in (a) 1989, (b) 1975, (c) 1980 and (d) 1985; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 20 July 1990]: Questions about the annual budgets of their subsidiaries are for London Transport. However, investment by London Underground Ltd. in those years was as follows (in 1989–90 prices):

    £ million
    1989–90307
    1975148
    1980136
    1984–85151
    Investment has more than doubled since the Government took over responsibility for funding from the GLC in 1984–85. Over the next three years it will double again.

    Marchioness

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport to which bridge the river police directed the fire boat when they first heard of the collision between the Marchioness and the Bowbelle on the River Thames on 20 August 1989; when the fire boat and other emergency services were subsequently directed to another bridge; and what was the interval between the directions.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: I have been asked to reply.I understand that the marine accident investigation branch of the Department of Transport has included a review of the whole rescue operation as part of its investigation and that the role of Thames division of the Metropolitan police will be covered in the chief inspctor's report.

    Home Department

    General Elections

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proportion of recycled paper is used in general elections by the returning officers;(2) how many reams or tonnes of paper are used for general election notices, regulations and ballot papers;(3) if he will estimate the increased consumption of paper required for the simplest form of proportional representation.

    The information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Some forms of proportional representation might require little or no increase in the volume of paper used at an election.

    Crime Statistics

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many deaths in England and Wales were as a result of assault with (a) a household axe, (b) a kitchen knife, (c) a Stanley knife and (d) a coal hammer in each year since 1980;(2) how many convictions for grievous bodily harm in England and Wales were as a result of assault with

    (a) a household axe, (b) a kitchen knife, (c) a Stanley knife and (d) a coal hammer in each year since 1980.

    Information on the exact weapon used is not collected for cases of homicide, although the table gives the number of homicides each year between 1980 and 1988 where the principle weapon was a "sharp instrument" or a "blunt instrument"; the figures for 1989 are not yet available.Information is not collected centrally on the type of weapon used in offences which lead to grievous bodily harm convictions.

    YearSharp instrumentBlunt instrument
    198015862
    198117555
    198219168
    198315068
    198418776
    198518065
    198622067
    198720282
    198819849

    Police Housing Allowances

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if he will publish details of the new force housing allowance for each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

    Responsibility for fixing the new housing allowance, lies with the police authority concerned. I understand that the standard housing allowances for federated ranks in those authorities which have fixed a figure are as follows:

    £

    Avon and Somerset1,914·81
    Bedfordshire2,451·84
    Cambridgeshire1,970·77
    Cheshire2,381·47
    Cleveland2,041·91
    Cumbria1,920·24
    Derbyshire3,069·72
    Devon and Cornwall2,680·08
    Dorset2,200·68
    Durham1,766·04
    Dyfed-Powys1,842·00
    Essex3,447·51
    Gloucestershire2,719·21
    Greater Manchester2,022·49
    Gwent2,543·80
    Hampshire3,249·60
    Hertfordshire2,880·00
    Humberside2,424·00
    Kent3,117·70
    Leicestershire2,346·00
    Merseyside1,818·11
    Norfolk2,579·31
    Northumbria1,513·42
    North Wales2,012·28
    North Yorkshire3,212·41
    Nottinghamshire2,244·00
    South Wales2,850·43
    South Yorkshire1,998·52
    Staffordshire1,935·40
    Suffolk3,181·44
    Surrey2,932·92
    Sussex2,425·28
    Thames Valley3,428·36
    Warwickshire2,937·69
    West Mercia2,560·00
    West Midlands2,206·99
    West Yorkshire2,293·46
    City of London4,133·77
    Metropolitan4,133·77

    Death of 15–20 year olds at their own hand in prison custody 1986–90

    Age

    Total

    15

    16

    17

    18

    19

    20

    19864(2)1(1)5(3)
    19871(1)1(1)1(1)4(4)7(7)
    19882(2)2(1)3(3)2(1)9(7)
    1989

    14(3)

    7(4)

    111(7)

    1990

    11(-)

    13(-)

    11(-)

    14(-)

    1 Inquests have yet to be held on the inmates who have died in 1990 and on one of the 18-year-old inmates who died in 1989.

    Police Forces (Annual Reports)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which police forces have not yet published their annual report for the year ended 31 December 1989; and if the Chief Inspector of Constabulary has been informed of this.

    I understand that all police forces have now published their annual reports for the year ended 31 December 1989.

    Juvenile Prisoners

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many boys aged 15 and 16 years were being held in gaols in England and Wales on remand and after sentence on the latest available day.

    According to the records held centrally, on 30 April 1990. the latest date for which this information is

    In Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Wiltshire a figure has not yet been finally fixed.

    Kevin Taylor

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 18 June to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) Official Report, column 429, if he will name the independent senior officer appointed in respect of matters related to the case of Mr. Kevin Taylor.

    The Police Complaints Authority announced on 19 July that Chief Superintendent Rothwell of the Merseyside police has been appointed to conduct this investigation, under its supervision.

    Prisons (Suicides)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many males aged (a) 15, (b) 16, (c) 17, (d) 18, (e) 19 and (f) 20 years committed suicide or attempted suicide whilst in prison establishments in England and Wales during 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 and thus far in 1990.

    The number of male inmates between the ages of 15 and 20 who died by their own hand in prison service establishments in England and Wales in the years 1986 to 1990 is shown in the table. The figures in brackets give the number of cases where a verdict of suicide was returned at the coroner's inquest. Total figures for attempted suicides in prison service establishments have been held centrally since 1989—I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Sir C. Irving) on 12 March at column 18—but a breakdown of this information by age group is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.readily available, 65 untried, 19 convicted unsentenced and 19 sentenced juvenile males were held in prisons and remand centres in England and Wales. Of these, 44 untried and 18 convicted unsentenced juveniles were held in remand centres for prisoners aged under 21.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many boys aged 15 and 16 years were being held in (a) Hull, (b) Swansea and (c) Leeds gaol on the latest available day.

    Hindley Remand Centre

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are in custody at Hindley remand centre; what recent significant changes there have been in this number; and for how many prisoners it is intended.

    On Friday 20 July 1990, the latest date for which information is available, 420 people were held in custody at Hindley remand centre. The average population at the establishment in 1989–90 was 389, but since the disturbances at Manchester prison in April this year the population at Hindley has averaged around 429. The recent transfer of sentenced young offenders awaiting allocation from Hindley to Stoke Heath young offenders institution has relieved some of the pressure. Further relief is planned when some of the convicted, unsentenced young offenders held at Hindley are also transferred to Stoke Heath. This should happen within the next two weeks.The certified normal accommodation at Hindley remand centre is currently 312.

    Prison Population

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current ratio of prisoners to prison officers; and what it was in 1979.

    [pursuant to his answer, 12 July, 1990, c. 320]: The officer to inmate ratio on 1 June 1990 should read 1:2·201.

    Metropolitan Police

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on the steps being taken to halt the decline in applications from ethnic minorities to join the Metropolitan police; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: The Commissioner is committed to recruiting and retaining more members of ethnic minority communities. Earlier this year the height requirements for entry to the Metropolitan police, which represented above average heights in certain ethnic minority communities, were abolished.A pre-employment course has been introduced for candidates who have completed the selection process and who have the potential to be successful police officers but have narrowly failed the police initial recruitment test.Research was undertaken to find out why people from ethnic minority communities may or may not want to join the police and what they think a career in policing may be like. The current multi-media advertising campaign which targets the recruiting effort towards ethnic minority communities drew on the results of this research.Further research is under way to find out why some officers from ethnic minority communities resign prematurely from the service.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken by the Metropolitan police to encourage more women to join the force; and what information he has regarding the representation of women in the higher ranks.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: In March of this year the Metropolitan police and the Equal Opportunities Commission issued a report of their collaborative exercise. The exercise began in 1984 and continued for four years. It concentrated particularly on the recruitment, deployment and career prospects of women in the Metropolitan police.The Commissioner is committed to ensuring that the Metropolitan police offers—and is perceived as offering—good career opportunities to all members of society. Since the abolition of the quota system, which limited women officers to 10 per cent. of force strength, in 1984 there has been a considerable increase in the recruitment of women; 25 per cent. of recruits are now women.The Commissioner is looking at ways of making the service more attractive to women, both to increase further the number of recruits and to improve retention. He has arranged research into job sharing and part-time working and more formal career breaks to enable women to raise families and still return to the service. The outcome of this research is under consideration.The representation of women in the rank of chief inspector and above in the Metropolitan police is as follows:

    Strength on 31 December 1989
    WomenTotal
    Commissioner; Deputy Commissioner; Assistant CommissionerNil6
    Deputy Assistant CommissionerNil18
    Commander138
    Chief Superintendent3168
    Superintendent6254
    Chief Inspector8496

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for information from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on how many new recruits in Newham in 1989 were (a) from ethnic minorities, (b) women and (c) both; and how many officers from the ethnic minorities there are stationed in Newham and at what ranks.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: The London borough of Newham is policed by West Ham and Plaistow divisions and the total number of new recurits posted to these divisions in 1989 was 53 of whom 12 were women; none were members of ethnic minority communities.On 15 July 1990 there were eight officers from ethnic minority communities serving on West Ham and Plaistow divisions: seven constables and one sergeant.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to put into practice the agreed consultation between the London borough of Newham and the Metropolitan police prior to the production of the Commissioner's Strategy report in January 1991; and if he will make a statement.

    [holding answer 16 July 1990]: Each Metropolitan Police division prepares plans which highlight their objectives for the year. These help to inform the Commissioner's strategy statement. In Newham the chief superintendents from Plaistow and West Ham divisions discuss objectives with a sub-group of the police consultative group in that borough. Two councillors sit on the sub-group.

    Hong Kong

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any proposals to give additional assurances to the spouses of British citizens resident in Hong Kong about their right of entry to the United Kingdom.

    All spouses of British citizens have the assurance that under the immigration rules they would be entitled to settle in the United Kingdom with that British citizen provided that:

  • (i) the primary purpose of the marriage was not to obtain admission to the United Kingdom;
  • (ii) the parties to the marriage have met and intend to live permanently together; and
  • (iii) the parties can maintain and accommodate themselves adequately without recourse to public funds.
  • In view of the concern felt by British citizens in the particular circumstances of Hong Kong about the position of their spouses if they died, we have given an assurance that the widow or widower of a British citizen resident in Hong Kong at the time of his death will be allowed to settle in the United Kingdom at any time, either before or after 1997, as if coming here as the spouse of a British citizen. To benefit from this assurance the widow or widower must still be resident in Hong Kong and not have remarried. In addition, we have decided that this assurance—which originally excluded those who were nationals of a third country—should now be available irrespective of the widow or widower's nationality.We are in addition making arrangements whereby the spouse of a British citizen resident in Hong Kong may approach the Hong Kong immigration department with evidence of the marriage. The details will be noted in a register of non-British citizen spouses of British citizens and the spouse will be given a formal letter issued on my right hon. and learned Friend's behalf confirming that the holder is married to a British citizen. The letter will explain that the spouse is eligible to settle in the United Kingdom providing that the immigration rules requirements are met. It will also include an assurance that a later application for entry clearance will be given priority treatment in view of the information which has already been noted. We are still finalising the details of this, but we hope it will be possible to start providing this service very soon.I believe that the assurances we have given, and the new arrangements for recording and confirming spouse's details, should remove any fears which British citizens in Hong Kong may have had about their spouses' position and they need feel no reason to leave Hong Kong simply to secure their spouses' immigration status.

    Police Interviews

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what are his plans for the introduction of video recordings of police interviews with suspects;(2) what are his plans for the introduction of video recording of police interviews with suspects.

    We have no such plans at present. Officials are keeping in touch with experimental schemes for the video recording of interviews with suspects which are being carried out in some police forces.

    Child Care

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with, and what representations he has received from, the CBI and individual employers, about the part they can play in providing child care.

    [holding answer 18 July 1990]: Home Office Ministers have not been directly involved in dicussions with employers about child care, nor has the Home Office received any representations from employers. The role of the Home Office, through the Ministerial Group on Women's Issues, which I chair, is to co-ordinate action by responsible Departments. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Employment has made known employers' views on child care when it has been considered at the ministerial group.

    Education And Science

    European School, Culham

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the likely liability of Her Majesty's Government for the funding of the European school at Culham in the financial years 1989–90, 1990–91 and financial years thereafter; and if he will indicate the principal items of expenditure for each year and the number of pupils and staff at the school in the current year.

    The cost of maintaining the European schools is shared between individual member states and the European Commission. In the case of the European school at Culham the Government are responsible for the costs of maintaining the school's premises and for the costs of the national salaries of the United Kingdom teachers which it seconds to the school. Premises costs in 1989–90 were £219,000, and in 1990–91 are expected to amount to £456,000; costs in future years have yet to be settled. Salaries costs for United Kingdom teachers in 1989–90 were £346,000, and in 1990–91 are expected to amount to about £400,000; subject to national salaries increases for teachers in the United Kingdom, expenditure in future years is expected to be on the same pattern. There will be 827 pupils and 111 teaching staff, of whom 18 will be United Kingdom teachers, in the school at the start of the academic year beginning this September.

    Gcse

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what target the Government has for the percentage of 16 to 18-year-olds who will have five GCSEs at grade A to C or better or equivalent (a) in the current year and (b) by 1995.

    The Government's objectives are to promote a significant increase in attainments of this age group through the introduction of the national curriculum and improvements in the GCSE and other qualifications. It would not be appropriate in our view to establish quantified targets for such attainments. Such targets could imply that the Government have control over the outcome, which is not the case; and there is a risk that their promulgation could lead to adjustments in the standards demanded, so that the targets would be reached on paper. It is for pupils themselves, their teachers and schools, to strive to achieve the highest possible success rate within the context set by Government policy.

    Attainment Statistics

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will publish tables for each local education authority and for England, giving the four benchmarks of attainment, adjusting the data to take account of socio-economic background in a manner consistent with statistical bulletins 12/83 and 13/84.

    No. We have considered this, but adjustments to the attainment data to allow for socio-economic background would have to be based on data from the 1981 census of population, which would no longer accurately reflect the current position in all local education authorities.

    Prosthetics And Orthotics Courses

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations his Department has received regarding the delay in funding prosthetics and orthotics courses at Salford and their consequences; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend received four letters earlier this year about proposals to establish courses in prosthetics and orthotics jointly at Salford university and Salford college of technology. It is for higher education institutions themselves to determine the priority they give to such developments, in consultation with the funding councils as appropriate.

    Higher Education Corporations

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to publish a guide to the law for governors of higher education corporations; and if he will list the published guidance already available.

    My right hon. Friend has no such plans; nor has he a list of existing guidance published elsewhere. It is for each individual higher education corporation governing body to conduct its own affairs within the framework provided by the relevant provisions in the Education Reform Act and the corporation's articles of government, and taking its own legal advice as necessary.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information his Department records on the number of complaints and the frequency with which directions are issued under section 68 of the Education Act 1944 in respect of higher education corporations.

    Complaints in respect of higher education corporations are received, considered and, when a response has been made, placed on departmental files in the normal way.

    Ministerial Speeches

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many copies of the summary of messages from his recent speeches to teacher associations have been distributed to schools.

    More than 76,500 copies of the Secretary of State's summary from recent speeches to teacher associations have been distributed to schools.

    Student Loans

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what would be the estimated difference in cost to the Exchequer in financial years 1990–91, 1991–92 and 1992–93 of (a) the student loans scheme and (b) the grants system.

    The information is as follows:

    1Costs of
    2Loans scheme £ million3Grants scheme £ million
    1990–91193222
    1991–92227267
    1992–93248304

    Notes

    1 In academic years on the basis of forecast student numbers underlying the forecast of costs and savings associated with the introduction of the loans scheme published on 18 December 1989 at columns 36–40. Information on a financial year basis is not available in the form requested.

    2 Including the forecasts of loans outlay, repayments and estimated administration costs.

    3 On the hypothesis that what the Government intend should be available for each eligible student as loan will instead be given as grant.

    Teaching (Recruitment)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals he has to recruit bright young people into the teaching profession; and if he will make a statement.

    Bright young people completing first degrees are an important source of teachers.Initial teacher training bursaries are available to attract students to train to teach in shortage subjects. A number of innovative and more flexible courses are starting this autumn. The teaching as a career unit attends university careers fairs and places advertisements specifically designed to attract new graduates into teacher training. Young, first-degree students responding to the current national teacher advertising campaign are sent information packs specially compiled to meet their interests and needs. A work experience scheme in schools is being made available for students this September, and teaching taster courses will also be extended to undergraduates.

    High Schools (Redundancies)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement concerning the number of staff redundancies in high schools in England since 1 January 1989.

    The employment and deployment of teachers is a matter for local education authorities and, following the introduction of local management of schools from April 1990, for governing bodies of schools with delegated budgets.

    Soviet And East European Studies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will now make a statement on the recommendations of the Wooding report on Soviet and east European studies in higher education.

    The Government welcomed the proposal to review the state of Soviet and east European studies in British higher education, and is grateful to the Universities Funding Council for commissioning the review undertaken by a working party under the chairmanship of Dr. Norman Wooding. A copy of the report on that review has been placed in the Library. While some of the recommendations in the report are addressed to the Government, many of them are for consideration by individual higher education institutions, the agencies that fund them and other bodies.The Universities Funding Council issued the report to universities. I am sure that they will have examined carefully its conclusions and proposals as they prepared their academic plans for future years, taking into account both national priorities as well as local circumstances. The council will be responding to those plans when it decides how to allocate funding to each university. The Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council is engaged in similar planning and funding processes with its institutions.The Department has been considering the recommendations to which it is proper for the Government to respond, and consulting other Government Departments and organisations.Government funding is helping to develop Soviet and east European studies. The Prime Minister announced the creation of additional lectureships during her recent visit to the Soviet Union. The scheme will be administered by the British Council through a special advisory committee whose members will include Dr. Wooding. The sum involved will be in the order of £300,000 over the financial years 1991–92 to 1993–94. The aim is to establish up to 10 posts, with the costs to be shared with the higher education institutions and other sources including the private sector. I hope that this initiative will encourage higher education institutions to develop their provision in Soviet and east European studies.In addition, both the Economic and Social Research Council—ESRC—and the British Academy are at present using a substantial proportion of their budgets to support activities in this field with the number of ESRC studentships in this subject area more than doubling over the past four years. There are currently 25 research postgraduates and 12 postgraduates on advanced courses being supported by council funds, and I understand that the council stands ready to award more studentships as suitable applicants come forward. In addition, the council is embarking on a major research initiative to investigate the economic, social and political changes occurring in eastern Europe, and is also funding 18 other projects in the field of Soviet and east European studies.The total public funding made available to universities, polytechnics and colleges in 1990–91 is being increased by some 10 per cent. over the funding available in 1989–90, and should allow institutions to plan for growth in different areas, including Soviet and east European Studies. It will, however, continue to be for the institutions themselves, in consultation with the funding councils, to determine how such funding will best be distributed.

    The responsibilities of the funding councils for funding their respective institutions were given statutory effect through provisions of the Education Reform Act 1988. This Act also extended the university tradition of self-government and self-regulation to all higher education institutions. The processes for allocating public funds for higher education pay due regard both to the funding councils' responsibilities and to the institutions' autonomy in using the public funds at their disposal. As a consequence, the DES does not earmark funds for specific purposes such as Soviet and east European studies out of its general expenditure programme.

    Both the Government and the funding councils are adopting funding processes which avoid over-emphasis on central planning for higher education. The development of academic policy within individual institutions in the 1990s will be subject to a wider range of external influences. Student choice and the demands of employers will play a more important part. This approach is necessary to avoid past inefficiencies and produce a better match between national needs and the output of our educational system.

    For these reasons, it is not considered appropriate for the Government to set up the kind of central administrative body recommended in the Wooding report. A co-ordinating body which might help to define the market for Soviet and east European studies generally and encourage the involvement of the private sector may have a contribution to make, and I would hope that institutions would take the initiative in setting up such a body if they consider that their planning processes would be assisted by so doing.

    I am sure that there is scope for greater collaboration between higher education institutions and industry in the field of Soviet and east European studies. The Wooding report hints at this and suggests some ways forward. There are now more opportunities for trade with the Soviet Union and the countries of central and eastern Europe than ever before. A growing number of business men are pursuing export and investment activities in eastern Europe and they should be made aware of the considerable expertise available in higher education which can help them to expand in these markets.

    A network of language export centres has been set up to serve local businesses, and there are opportunities for sponsoring research and other activities in academic departments offering Soviet and east European studies.

    Business men have often been reminded of the advantages of doing business in the language of the customer. If they make good use of the increasing number of students graduating in Soviet and east European studies, even more students will want to specialise in these subjects. And greater student demand will in turn prompt institutions to expand provision.

    Finally, the Wooding report made some recommendations relating to the teaching of Russian in schools. The inclusion of a modern foreign language in the national curriculum and the Government's policy of diversifying first foreign language provision will help to rectify previous deficiencies in language learning generally. I am convinced that there will be more opportunities for learning modern languages such as Russian in our secondary schools as these policies take effect. Through various measures the Government are also addressing the shortage of language teachers and expanding the exchange programmes which involve teacher and pupil visits to the Soviet Union.

    All this should in time stimulate the demand for language teaching at the tertiary level, and work through to stronger provision for Soviet and east European studies in higher education.

    Medical Research Council

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the research projects and amount of funding by the Medical Research Council for each of the past five years, identifying those which relate to natural medicine.

    [holding answer 17 July 1990]: Details of all the research projects supported by the Medical Research Council are listed in its handbook, published annually, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. Total expenditure by the council on research projects in the period 1985–86 to 1988–89 was:

    £ million
    1985–86117·9
    1986–87123·5
    1987–88132·7
    1988–89146·2
    An expenditure figure for 1989–90 will be available at the end of July. The council takes natural medicine to mean homeopathy. It has not supported any research relating to homeopathy in the last five years. In the general area of complementary medicine, the council has recently funded the trial of chiropractic treatment of low back pain. It is always willing to consider soundly based proposals in competition with other applications.

    City Technology Colleges

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the criteria for deciding whether to approve the establishment of city technology colleges on sites occupied by existing schools at the time of application.

    [holding answer 20 July 1990]: I refer the hon. Member to the paper "CTCs established in existing schools", which has been placed in the House of Commons Library.

    House Of Commons

    Recess (Members' Facilities)

    To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will list in detail the reductions to the services and facilities available to hon. Members which take place during the summer recess in both the main buildings and the Norman Shaw blocks.

    The Members and Strangers Cafeterias will be closed until Monday 10 September. The Westminster Hall Cafeteria will be closed from Monday 10 September to Tuesday 25 September. When open, all cafeterias will operate between 10 am and 4 pm.The Strangers' Bar will be closed until Monday 3 September and will then be open between 11 am and 3 pm. The Terrace Pavilion and Dining Rooms A to D will be closed until 4 September when they will reopen for banquets.

    The Souvenir Kiosk will be open throughout the recess between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm; and the vending machines in the Upper Waiting hall and in Norman Shaw South building will continue to operate.

    The Members and Strangers Dining Rooms, the Pugin Room, the Members Tea Room, the Smoking Room, the Harcourt Grill Room, and Annie's Bar will be closed throughout the recess.

    Certain other minor services and facilities, usually available to hon. Members when the House is in Session, will not be available for practical or economic reasons.

    Statutory Instruments

    To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will state the number of occasions in each of the Sessions 1987–88, 1988–89 and 1989–90 when the House of Commons has approved any statutory instrument which (a) annuls existing statutory instruments and (b) repeals any part of or whole Acts of Parliament consequent on any treaty, regulation, or directive of the European Community; and if he will list by name and part all Acts included in (b) above.

    [holding answer 4 July 1990]: The information requested is as follows.

    Statutory instruments made under section 2(2) of the

    European Communities Act 1972 which have revoked

    existing statutory instruments
    Number
    1987–8811
    1988–898
    1989–903
    Statutory instruments made under section 2(2) of the 1972 Act which have repealed any part of or whole Acts of Parliament
    Number
    1987–8811
    1988–890
    1989–9024
    1 Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Section 52(2) and (3), in part.
    2 Food Act 1984, sections 3(3) and (4), 36(1)(c), 48(1), (2) and (4), 48(3) in part;
    Food and Drugs (Scotland) Act 1956, sections 17(2), 18(1), (2), (4) and (5), 18(3) in part.

    Lord President Of The Council

    Group Of Seven Legislatives

    To ask the Lord President of the Council what information he has on the normal starting times of legislatures in the Group of Seven countries.

    Normal starting times of lower Houses are at present as follows:

  • (a) Canada: Mondays—1300, Tuesdays—1100, Wednesdays—1400, Thursdays—1100, Fridays—1000;
  • (b) France: 0930, except that there is a nine-hour pause after late-night sessions;
  • (c) Federal Republic of Germany: 0900;
  • (d) Italy: 0930;
  • (e) Japan: 1300;
  • (f) United States of America: Mondays and Tuesdays—1200, Wednesdays—1400, Thursdays and Fridays—1100.
  • Trade And Industry

    Fire Safety

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many prosecutions have been brought against furniture retailers-manufacturers for contravention of the new fire safety regulations.

    Enforcement of the Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and the 1989 amendment is a matter for the local authorities trading standards departments in Great Britain and for district councils in Northern Ireland. The limited information available centrally shows that there have been nine prosecutions under these regulations, to June 1990 in the United Kingdom, resulting in fines totalling £4,870.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry since the new safety regulations were introduced for furniture manufacturing and importing, how many consignments of furniture landing at United Kingdom ports have been found to fail the appropriate standard of safety levels; and how many consignments have been tested.

    The information requested about inquiries undertaken in connection with the furniture regulations, is not collected centrally and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.

    Summary Financial Statements

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether, further to the reply to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby on 14 March, Official Report, column 304, he will list the organisations which endorsed the publication of summary financial statements.

    There was general support for this proposal among those consulted. However, it is not the usual practice of my Department to disclose the nature of individual responses to requests for views on company law matters. Comments were received from the following organisations:

    • the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants;
    • the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants;
    • the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy;
    • the Confederation of British Industry;
    • the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales;
    • the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland;
    • the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland;
    • the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators;
    • the Institute of Directors;
    • the International Stock Exchange;
    • the Securities and Investment Board; and
    • the Wider Share Ownership Council.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give a breakdown of the savings which companies are expected to make following the enactment of section 15 of the Companies Act 1989.

    Accountancy Firms

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a statement on his co-operation with the European Community Commission's inquiry into price-fixing by accountancy firms.

    The consultants who are carrying out a study on audit and consultancy on behalf of the European Commission met my officials on 19 March this year. My officials made it clear that they were happy to provide any further information that was required.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many of the unpublished reports of his Department's inspectors contain criticisms of accountancy firms.

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central (Mr. Cousins) on 19 July 1990, Official Report, column 679.

    Auditing Standards

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will bring forward legislation to enable the litigant, in the event of a successful negligence lawsuit against an auditing firm, to sue the Auditing Practices Committee for the promulgation of inadequate auditing standards.

    Textiles And Clothing

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the current level of duty including all additional duties on United Kingdom exports of knitted outerwear to (a) Turkey, (b) India and (c) Pakistan; and what non-tariff barriers to these exports exist in the same countries.

    Duties on knitted outerwear under chapter 61 of the harmonised system exported from the United Kingdom to Turkey, India and Pakistan are 15, 160, and 125 per cent. respectively. Turkey also applies various additional taxes which add roughly 50 per cent. to the total cost of imports of knitted outerwear.In addition, imports of knitted outerwear are banned in Pakistan, and in India are permitted only under licences which are issued only if the goods do not compete with domestic production. India also applies numerous other non-tariff barriers, including customs formalities, exchange control procedures and facilities for local producers, on these and other items.

    Knowledge-Based Systems

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures he is adopting to encourage United Kingdom manufacturers to take advantage of progress in the area of knowledge-based systems.

    I am pleased to announce that my Department has recently agreed to support a £3·8 million programme to encourage United Kingdom manufacturing and processing industries to adopt the computer software technology of knowledge-based systems, also known as "expert systems". The DTI contribution will be £1·9 million. The programme, called manufacturing intelligence, is targeted at strategic decision makers. It aims to increase awareness of how this technology can enable companies to improve their operational effectiveness and suggests ways in which they might best implement the new methods in their own factories. Innovative applications will be promoted through industrial collaborative projects. The programme is intended to promote the uptake of new technology in United Kingdom industry and should substantially contribute to increased productivity and competitiveness.

    David Abell

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in his Department's investigation into allegations of insider trading by David Abell, chairman of Souter; when the report of the investigation will be published; and whether the investigation extends to the conduct of the Souter supplementary pension fund and the Souter group pension fund.

    The appointment of inspectors to investigate possible insider dealing offences is not normally announced and section 179 of the Financial Services Act 1986 precludes the publication of their reports. If the hon. Gentleman has information which he believes I should consider I should be pleased if he would pass it to me.

    Electrical Contractors (Exhibition Halls)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if any appeal has been lodged against his decision, following the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report, to ban ties between electrical contractors and exhibition hall owners; and if he will make a statement.

    An application for leave for judicial review of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on electrical contracting at exhibition halls in London has been filed by Earls Court and Olympia Ltd., Philbeach Events Ltd. and Ecando Ltd. I understand that they have received leave for judicial review and I expect papers to be served during the course of this week.

    Germany (Contracts)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions are being held with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany regarding opportunities for British firms to compete with West German firms in tendering for contracts in the former German Democratic Republic.

    In our recent contracts with the Governments of both the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic both have repeatedly stressed their wish to see British firms extend their activities in the East German market. My own visit to East Berlin last month with a delegation of British business men took forward the process of British involvement. A number of invitations were secured to pursue business opportunities and to submit plans and tenders for work. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State expects to meet his West German opposite number, Dr Haussmann, in Berlin on 17 September, accompanied by teams of top-level business men. Discussions will focus on the opportunities for Anglo-German trade and co-operation in central and eastern Europe with particular reference to the German Democratic Republic, and on the single market.

    Shops (Customer Toilets)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will introduce legislation to require supermarkets and chain stores to provide toilet facilities for customers' use; and if he will make a statement.