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Written Answers

Volume 202: debated on Tuesday 21 January 1992

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Written Answers To Questions

Tuesday 21 January 1992

Attorney-General

Criminal Legal Fees

To ask the Attorney-General if the Lord Chancellor will raise the level at which criminal legal fees are referred to the central taxation units from £4,000 to £8,000 for a trial period.

No. The central taxing teams were established only 10 months ago for the purpose of determining claims over £4,000. They are still settling into their role and it would be premature to consider changing it.When a number of claims for less than £4,000 are linked to claims for between £4,000 and £8,000, circuit taxing directors have authority to release these claims to the court for determination and this is done wherever possible. This enables the teams to concentrate on those cases which properly require their expertise. The Lord Chancellor keeps the progress of the teams under close review.

Sunday Trading

To ask the Attorney-General when he received an invitation from Hull city council for him to join them in an enforcement action against illegal Sunday trading; and what was his response.

The town clerk and chief executive of Hull city council wrote to me on 11 September 1991 and 29 November 1991 and invited me to co-operate with local authorities in enforcing the provisions of the Shops Act 1950. He was informed on both occasions that I did not consider that it was appropriate for me at present to intervene. I explained my views in the answer which I gave to the private notice question from my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) on 27 November 1991 at column 913.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Treaty Of Rome

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements have been made to ensure that copies of the consolidated treaty of Rome, as amended at Maastricht, are available (a) to Members of Parliament and (b) to members of the general public; and when these arrangements will be put in place.

A total of 838 copies of the draft treaty on European union agreed at Maastricht were made available to Members of Parliament on 16 December 1991. The text is now being prepared for signature, provisionally scheduled for 7 February. The final text of the treaty will then be published as a Command Paper. Once this has been laid before I he House, it will be available to the public through HMSO.

Saudi Arabia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to Saudi Arabia about financing the military training of young muslims in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement.

Since the US/Soviet agreement of last September to halt arms supplies to both sides in Afghanistan we have urged the Saudis, both bilaterally and with our EC partners, to provide only humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. The Saudi Government have told us that they fully support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to find a political solution to the conflict.

Immigration

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the present number and current waiting time for interviews of (a) men and (b) women in (i) Bombay, (ii) New Delhi, (iii) Karachi and (iv) Islamabad, who are seeking entry visas to join either their wife or husband in the United Kingdom, as of 14 January.

As at 14 January, the numbers of husbands and wives waiting for a first interview for an entry clearance to join their spouses in the United Kingdom, together with the estimated waiting times in months, are:

(a) Husbands((b)WivesWaiting time
(i) Bombay732383
(ii) New Delhi801583
(iii) Karachi40412
(iv) Islamabad9786903
There is no difference in the waiting times for husbands and wives.

Libya

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set out the provisions of treaty and other international law underlying Her Majesty's Government's assessment that the Government of Libya is not a competent authority to investigate and try the two Libyan nationals named in the warrant issued by the Lord Advocate.

It is not international law which has led us to the conclusion that it would be wholly inappropriate for Libya to try the accused. The reasons for our conclusion are contained in the written reply I gave the hon. Gentleman on 17 January 1991, at column 713.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will supply a copy of the prosecution evidence against the Libyan citizens alleged to be responsible for the murders at Lockerbie to the Libyan court inquiring into the case.

No. As the Lord Advocate said in his statement on 14 November 1991, proceedings became active for the purpose of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 when the sheriff granted warrants for arrest and he could not therefore comment on the evidence on which the charges are based. The statement made by the Lord Advocate contains details of the allegations against the accused. Copies of the statement are available in the Library of the House.

British Visas (Teheran)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to start issuing the full range of British visas in Teheran.

As I said to my hon. Friend on 17 January, at column 712, visas for some categories of visitors from Iran are already issued by our embassy in Tehran. We expect to expand the operation in stages as circumstances allow.

Iran

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for Ministers or officials of the Iranian Government to meet their British opposite numbers in London and Teheran.

We are in regular contact with the Iranians through diplomatic channels in both London and Tehran. There have been occasional contacts at ministerial level.

Commonwealth Of Independent States

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to reorganise his Department following the break-up of the former Soviet Union and establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Over the past five months the FCO department that deals with political questions in the former Soviet Union has been reorganised and reinforced to take account of the independence of former Soviet republics. Departments dealing with economic aspects, including the know-how fund, are devoting increased time and resources to the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States; and the redeployment of further resources in the area is now being considered. Interdepartmental co-ordination has also been strengthened.

East Timor

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will obtain for his Departmental library a copy of the Yorkshire Television's "First Tuesday" programme broadcast on 7 January on the massacre of civilians at the Santa Cruz cemetery in East Timor in November last year; and what recent representations he has made to the Indonesian Government over these murders.

We have a copy of the broadcast. The Indonesian authorities have been made fully aware of our views and those of the European Community on the incident.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the continuing occupation of East Timor by Indonesia.

The Indonesian authorities are well aware that we do not recognise their annexation of East Timor. We continue to support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General to bring about a solution.

North Korea

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has about how North Korea was able to build a military grade plutonium production reactor outside international safeguards based on blueprints of the United Kingdom military magnox plants at Calder hall, Sellafield.

Technical information about the Magnox reactors at Calder hall, Sellafield has been in the public domain for over 25 years. We continue to urge the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to fulfil her obligations under the non-proliferation treaty and sign an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency which would place all of her nuclear facilities under safeguards.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the United Kingdom as a depository state for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty was consulted by the respective Governments of North and South Korea during their recent successful negotiations to establish a full nuclear safeguards inspection regime at nuclear facilities in North Korea.

The recent joint declaration between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which provides, inter alia, for mutual inspection of each other's nuclear facilities is a wholly bilateral agreement which does not fall within the remit of the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons—NPT. While we naturally welcome the conclusion of the agreement, we still look to the DPRK to fulfil her obligations under the NPT and sign a fullscope safeguards agreement with the IAEA.

Soviet Troops

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the Governments of the Baltic states on the continuing presence of Soviet troops in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia; and if he will make a statement.

President Landsbergis of Lithuania raised the matter of former Soviet troops in the Baltic states with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and me when he visited the United Kingdom in October 1991. The President asked Her Majesty's Government for their support in demanding the complete withdrawal of the former Soviet forces. We were happy to give our support.Although we have not received any direct formal representations from the Baltic states on this matter since October, the Baltic states have raised it since at bilateral and multilateral meetings.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the relevant authorities on the continuing presence of Soviet troops in the Baltic states; and if he will make a statement.

HM ambassador to Russia has raised our concerns over the presence of former Soviet troops in the Baltic states with the authorities of the Commonwealth of Independent States. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs also discussed this matter with the President of the Russian Federation on 20 January. We have expressed the hope that early agreement will be reached on a timetable for the withdrawal of these forces.

Southern Somalia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will take steps to ensure that the continued conflict and instability in southern Somalia is on the agenda for the current month's New York summit on the role of the United Nations.

We do not expect the Heads of Government Security Council summit to address regional issues in detail.

Kenya

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Kenyan Government about the recent detention of Professor Wangari Maathai by the Kenyan authorities; and if he will make a statement.

Professor Wangari Maathai is one of a number of Kenyan citizens arrested for alleged participation in a press conference held on 10 January at which President Moi was accused of planning an imminent military coup.Professor Maathai has been charged with publishing false rumours under section 66 of the Kenyan penal code and has been released on bail. Her case will be heard on 27 January. She has categorically denied that she was ill-treated while in police custody.

Environment

Rating Appeals (Bournemouth)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many appeals against the 1990 rating assessments in the Bournemouth area are outstanding; and if he will make a statement.

Appeals against 1990 rating assessments in the Bournemouth area are dealt with by the Dorset valuation and community charge tribunal. At the end of 1991 the tribunal had outstanding some 9,100 such appeals in respect of the whole of Dorset.Valuation and community charge tribunals are independent bodies. The prioritisation and timing of cases is primarily a matter for them. However, the Department wrote to all English tribunals in June 1991 urging them to progress 1990 list appeals as quickly as possible.

Community Charge Register

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures exist to protect single women listed in the community charge register from being trageted by mail order firms, telephone canvassers and door-to-door salesmen; and if he will make a statement.

The extract of the community charges register which each charging authority must hold available for public inspection may show only property addresses and chargepayers' surnames and initial letters of any other names. It may not provide any indication of sex. Registration officers may not supply the extract to any other person except so far as it is necessary to permit inspection.

Boundary Commission

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the areas where the Boundary Commission is carrying out reviews in the county of Essex.

The Local Government Boundary Commission is carrying out reviews on the Greater London-Essex boundary and also on the parish boundaries of Rochford district council.

Right To Buy, Northamptonshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many dwellings were owned by each district council in Northamptonshire at the time that the right to buy was introduced; how many are owned at the latest date; what percentage that is of the original figure; and how many uncompleted applications there are at the latest date.

The information available from local authorities' annual housing investment programme returns is as follows.

Number of dwellings owned by the authority at 1 April
19801991(2) as percentage of (1)
(1)(2)
Corby13,6288,14360
Daventry6,0824,13368
East Northamptonshire6,0474,84980
Kettering6,6265,01676
Northampton12,92516,350126
South Northamptonshire5,7453,85967
Wellingborough7,7506,00978
Right to buy was introduced in October 1980. Changes in local authorities' dwellings stocks include other losses and gains apart from sales through the right to buy. In the case of Northampton district council, the 1991 stock reflects the acquisition of some 6,400 dwellings from the Commission for New Towns in April 1985.Information on uncompleted applications to these authorities is not collected centrally.

Council Tax

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to relieve householders whose property has been repossessed from the liability to pay either the community charge or the council tax on more than one property.

Since 1 April 1991 no standard community charge has been payable where the person subject to the charge is the mortgagor and the lender is in possession under the mortgage. We intend to continue this provision under the council tax.

Burley-On-The-Hill, Rutland

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is now in a position to announce his decision on the planning appeal regarding Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland, a grade one listed building.

The Secretary of State is in receipt of the inspector's report and will announce his decision soon.

Property Services Agency

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the failures of security in the privatised Property Services Agency that permitted unauthorised individuals access to Government safes and cabinets.

PSA Services has not yet been privatised and is still a Government Department. The accounting officer will be giving evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on 27 January on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General which comments on the accounting problems relating to security furniture. The Government will, of course, consider any report the committee makes on this issue.The computer recording the accounting material had no data on it which would facilitate access to Government safes and cabinets. Unauthorised access to it would not have created any threat to security.

Gipsies

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce his decision on the application by Bassetlaw district council to build a permanent site for gipsy travelllers at Fox Covert, Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

My right hon. Friend expects to reach a decision shortly, and I will write to the hon. Member.

Local Authority Members

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to review the present system of payment of allowances to members serving on local authorities; and if he will make a statement.

The new system took effect in April 1991. It will be reviewed after a year's operation, in consultation with the local authority associations.

Rents

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has on the extent to which private landlords reduce the rent charged to their tenants after a rent officer has assessed a market rent for housing benefit subsidy purposes which is substantially lower than the initial rent charged.

We have no evidence as to whether the rents asked by private sector landlords reflect the assessments of market rents provided by rent officers to local authorities for housing benefit purposes. Rent officers interpret the rental market, which is influenced by many factors.

National Parks

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to publish the Government's response to the Countryside Commission's review of national parks.

My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for Wales have today published the Government's response to the national parks review. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.The Government are grateful to the Countryside Commission for initiating a review of the policies and practices of the national parks in England and Wales. The review was undertaken by an independent panel under the chairmanship of Professor Ron Edwards. He and his team are to be congratulated on their work, which was wide ranging and thorough.The Government reiterate in the strongest terms their commitment to the national parks. We have addressed those recommendations, drawn from the review, which were commended to us by the Countryside Commission and the Countryside Council for Wales. Our response is a positive one which reflects our concern to ensure the future of the parks into the next century and strikes a balance between the park purposes of conservation and public enjoyment on the one hand and the needs of those who live and work in them on the other. We are confident that our response is the firmest assurance to all those who cherish the parks that their future is secure and that the proper protection and management of Britain's finest landscapes is assured.The response confirms our intention to create all national park authorities as independent bodies, as the Lake District and Peak District already are, though still within the local government framework. We propose further detailed consultation on the membership of national park authorities designed to secure, among other things, truly local representation and to explore the establishment of local consultative bodies for each park to ensure that the views of those who live and work in the parks are fully taken into account in the policies and practices of park authorities.The Government intend to restate national park purposes to refer expressly to quiet enjoyment and understanding and to conservation of the wildlife and cultural heritage; to take steps to ensure that responsibility for detailed planning in their areas should rest with national park authorities; and to invite local highway authorities, where they have not already done so, to delegate rights of way responsibilities to national park authorities.The Government's objective is that major development should not take place in the national parks save in exceptional circumstances, but, if it is, the work should be done to high environmental standards. Because of the serious impact that major developments may have on the natural beauty of the parks, applications for such development must be subject to the most rigorous examination. In our response, we have developed a single test against which all major proposals should be considered.We also intend to consider further the countryside agencies' recommendations that there should be a statutory duty on Ministers and public agencies in the exercise of their responsibilities as they affect national parks. In considering the wording of such a duty, it will be necessary to recognise that it cannot simply override the purposes or objectives of individual Ministers or public bodies but should be designed to ensure that they take national parks' purposes into account in any situation where there is a potential conflict.The Countryside Commission endorsed the review panel's conclusion that the New Forest should be formally recognised as a national park with a tailor-made constitution. The New Forest is a uniquely valuable area in landscape and nature conservation terms and it deserves the strongest protection in keeping with its national and international importance, while accepting the review panel's conclusion that it would not be appropriate to establish the New Forest as a national park under the 1949 legislation. We believe, however, that the recommendations put forward by the New Forest committee—on which the national and local government bodies with interests in the forest are represented—provide a sound basis for achieving improved protection. The Government therefore intend to take steps to designate the New Forest area as one of national significance within which the strongest protection of landscape and scenic beauty should apply. With this would be linked a mechanism for funding and statutory status for the committee to reflect its role in co-ordinating the management of the area. The position would be essentially analogous to that of the Broads which enjoys the same degree of protection as a national park but has its own institutional arrangements tailored to the local situation. Following local consultation legislation will be needed to implement these proposals.The Government look to the Countryside Commission and the Countryside Council for Wales to work closely with the national park authorities in carrying forward those recommendations of the review panel which do not call for direct Government action.

Watch Tower House

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received from local residents and preservation societies at the prospect of substantial extensions to Watch Tower house in the site zoned as green belt on the Ridgeway at Mill Hill; and if he will give an assurance that he has no plans to alter Government policy in a way that would facilitate further developments on this site; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 20 January 1992]: No representations have been received about proposed extensions to Watch Tower house on the Ridgeway at Mill Hill in the London borough of Barnet.It is for the local planning authority to consider any applications for planning permission, having regard to their recently adopted unitary development plan arid to determine applications in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.The Government's policy on green belts remains as set out in planning policy guidance note 2 and circular 12/91. There are no proposals to alter the policy that:

"Inside a Green Belt, approval should not be given, except in very special circumstances, for the construction of new buildings or for the change of use of existing buildings for purposes other than agriculture and forestry, outdoor sport, cemeteries, institutions standing in extensive grounds, or other uses appropriate to a rural area".

Renewable Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newport, West, 13 December, Official Report, column 554, he will list the energy organisations to which he sent the policy planning guidance notes on renewable energy, to which he makes reference.

[holding answer 20 January 1992]: The energy organisations to which the draft planning policy guidance notes were sent are as follows:

  • Association of Independent Electricity Producers
  • Mersey Barrage Company Ltd.
  • British Wind Energy Association
  • Severn Tidal Power Group
  • Office of Electricity Regulation
  • Combined Heat and Power Association
  • Water Power Users' Association
  • Non-Fossil Purchasing Agency
  • Electricity Association Ltd.
  • Centre for Alternative Technology
  • Adaprojects Ltd. (Ecogen Ltd.)
  • Anglesey Mining plc
  • Wind Power Systems Ltd.
  • Northumbrian Water Ltd.
  • South Wales Electricity
  • Abbey Produce (Ramsey) Ltd.
  • Cambridge Health Authority
  • Oiltools Offshore Services Ltd.
  • James Paget Hospital
  • West Beacon Farm Power
  • UK Wind Farms Ltd.
  • Resource Conservation plc
  • Blyth Harbour Wind Farm
  • J. Stobart & Sons Ltd.
  • Ren Energy Sys Ltd.
  • Carters Wind Turbines Ltd.
  • Windcluster Ltd.
  • Whitendale Generation Ltd.
  • Taff-Ely Windfarm Ltd.
  • Windstar Turbines Ltd.
  • Cornwall Light and Power Co. Ltd.
  • West Coast Wind Farms
  • Aylescott Driers
  • Cold Northcott Wind Farm Ltd.
  • Wind Energy Group Ltd.
  • Yorkshire WT Ltd.
  • D. Gillson & Son Ltd.
  • Century Steels Ltd.
  • Mr. Hector Buckley
  • Y. W. Enterprises Ltd.
  • Sutcliffe Hockenhull
  • Severn Trent Water
  • Low Wood Products Ltd.
  • Miss Cooke and Miss Newton
  • National Power
  • R. J. Armstrong Evans
  • Arc Ltd.
  • Thomas Graveson Ltd.
  • Blue Circle WM
  • Aveley Methane Ltd.
  • Landfill Gas Ltd.
  • EME Generation Ltd.
  • Tarmac Econowaste Ltd.
  • BFI Packington Ltd.
  • Bidston Methane Ltd.
  • WWM Mainsprint
  • NORWEB Generation
  • Wimpey WM
  • O'Brien Energy Europe Ltd.
  • Merseyside Power Trading Ltd.
  • Summerleaze Ltd.
  • Darrington Quarries Ltd.
  • Broom Energy Ltd.
  • W. Yorks Waste Management
  • British Coal Corporation
  • S. E. London CHP Ltd.
  • Cory Environmental Ltd.
  • Energy Supplies Ltd.
  • Northfleet Waste to Energy
  • Babcock Power Investments Ltd.
  • Southampton Geothermal Heating Co. Ltd.
  • Wessex Waste Management
  • Yorkshire Renewable Energy
  • Thames Water Utilities
  • Biogas Generation Ltd
  • North West Water Ltd.
  • Arigen Ltd.
  • Adams Integrated Waste Ltd.
  • Northumbrian Environmental Management Ltd.
  • Slough Estates
  • MANWEB plc
  • Midlands Electricity plc
  • Northern Electric plc
  • South Western Electricity plc
  • Southern Electricity plc
  • SEEBOARD plc
  • London Electricity plc
  • Yorkshire Electricity Group plc
  • East Midlands Electricity plc
  • Eastern Electricity plc
  • OFFER
  • Vestas Danish Wind Technology
  • Renewable Energy Systems Ltd.
  • UK Atomic Energy Authority
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas Industry
  • Petroleum Industry Association
  • Onshore Oil Operators' Group
  • British Nuclear Fuels Ltd.
  • The National Grid (CEGB)
  • British Gas plc
In addition to the 100 energy organisations mentioned, comments were also invited from more than 200 other organisations and individuals including local authority associations, professional and planning bodies, and conservation organisations.

Prime Minister

Non-Proliferation Treaty

To ask the Prime Minister what steps Her Majesty's Government intend to take in the current year to achieve full compliance with United Kingdom obligations under article VI of the United Nations nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

The Government's policy continues to be to work for secure defence at the lowest possible level of armaments, both conventional and nuclear, building on the arms reductions announced by us and others in 1991. The immediate priority is to ensure full compliance in the Commonwealth of Independent States with the arms control undertakings of the former Soviet Union.

United Nations Security Council

To ask the Prime Minister if he will set out the plans Her Majesty's Government have to promote the role of the United Nations in (a) disarmament and (b) environmental protection, during the United Kingdom presidency of the United Nations Security Council in 1992.

We hope that the high-level meeting of the United Nations Security Council which I shall be chairing on 31 January, will stress the importance the council attaches to arms control, to the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and to responsibility in the export of conventional arms. We are also playing a full part in the preparations for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in June.

Ec (United Kingdom Contribution)

To ask the Prime Minister if he will raise at the next meeting of the European Council the size of the net contribution made by the United Kingdom to the EC; and if he will make a statement.

I have at present no plans to do so. The Fontainebleau mechanism negotiated in 1984 continues to provide a significant abatement to our contributions, with a cumulative benefit of some £12.5 billion by the end of 1992.

Overseas Development

Indonesia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Indonesian Government with regard to President Suharto's accelerated transmigration programme.

We have not had any recent discussions with the Indonesian Government on this subject.

Bulgaria

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to increase the amount of aid to Bulgaria; and if he will make a statement.

The know-how fund was extended to Bulgaria in February 1991 to provide British advice, skills and training in assisting the transition to democracy and a market economy. In this first year an initial range of projects has been developed involving some £1.3 million of commitments mainly in the financial, management, employment and public administration sectors. I expect the programme to expand as more know-how fund projects are identified.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will meet his EC counterparts to increase the amount of food aid to Bulgaria; and if he will make a statement.

The need for food aid for central and eastern European countries is kept under close review by the Council and Commission. Aid to these countries will be considered by the Council on 3 February. Neither Her Majesty's Government nor the Commission is aware of any Bulgarian requests for food aid this winter.

Education And Science

Schools (Performance Information)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will specify the information to be made available to parents and the general public concerning a school's performance; and if he will make a statement.

We issued on 10 January a consultation document covering our proposals for the publication of performance information in 1992. Copies of the document were placed in the Library.We shall extend the content and coverage of our proposals from 1993 using the powers to be made available under the Education (Schools) Bill.

Special Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if Her Majesty's inspectorate will continue to employ inspectors with a specific responsibility for and experience in special educational provision; and if he will make a statement;(2) what measures he proposes to ensure that the proposed local school inspection teams take account of provision of special education; and if he will make a statement;(3) what plans he has to ensure that the Department continues to receive information and independent advice on special education from Her Majesty's inspectorate.

Under the Education (Schools) Bill. Her Majesty's chief inspector of schools will be under a duty to keep the Secretary of State informed about the quality, standards and efficiency of education in schools, and to advise the Secretary of State on specific issues either on request or as the chief inspector sees fit. The provision of information and advice on special educational needs will therefore form part of the chief inspector's duties. The arrangements made to meet this responsibility will be a matter for the chief inspector.The Bill will also place a general duty on registered inspectors to report on quality, standards and efficiency when carrying out inspections under the new arrangements. Provision made for pupils with special educational needs will fall to be considered under each of these headings. I am confident that the chief inspector's guidance to registered inspectors will deal with the need to cover this aspect in every school inspection.

Citizens Charter

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much money his Department has spent on producing its citizens charter proposals, arising from production, distribution and publicity costs.

The citizens charter promised publication of a charter for parents and an updated Guide to the national curriculum. The total cost as at 31 December 1991 of producing, distributing and publicising the parents charter was £1.853 million. The estimated cost to date of producing and distributing the guide to the national curriculum is £0.423 million; no publicity costs have been incurred.

Seven-Year-Old Children (Testing)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science why it was decided to abandon the undertaking to local education authorities that the tests for seven-year-old children would not be published.

Parents and others involved in education have every right to see the results nationally and at local level: the assurance given when collecting the results was that neither individual schools' nor individual pupils' results would be identified. This assurance has been honoured by my Department.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science why it was decided not to moderate the tests for seven-year-old school children undertaken in 1991 to ensure consistency of testing between local education authorities.

Consistency of testing seven-year-olds was secured through the use by all schools of standard tests against the clear criteria of the national curriculum; the guidance to all schools provided by the School Examinations and Assessment Council—SEAC—and the duty on local education authorities, under the oversight of SEAC, to monitor and ensure the consistency of their schools' assessments in relation to national standards.

Examination Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many boys and girls passed one of more A-level subject for each year from 1985–86; and how many pupils gained one or more O-levels from 1985–86 both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the 17-year-old population for A-level subjects and as a percentage of all maintained school leavers for O-level subjects.

For the academic years 1985–86 to 1989–90, the latest year for which information is available, the numbers and percentages of pupils gaining one or more A-level or O-level passes in maintained schools were as are shown in the following table.

School leavers with one or more A/AS passes Maintained schools—England
Number of leavers (thousands)As a percentage of the 17-year-old population
BoysGirlsTotalBoysGirlsTotal
1985–8646.4245.4591.8712.212.512.3
1986–8746.8446.1893.0212.512.912.7
1987–8847.1945.9793.1612.913.213.0
1988–8946.9248.6895.5912.713.813.2
1989–9051.0054.31105.3114.716.515.6
School leavers with no passes at A-level but with one or more passes at O-level at grade C or better (including passes at GCSE grade A-C and CSE grade 1) Maintained schools—England
Number of leavers (thousands)As a percentage of leavers from maintained schools
BoysGirlsTotalBoysGirlsTotal
1985–86119.90139.64259.5535.142.038.5
1986–87119.10139.27258.3734.942.238.5
1987–88112.95134.44247.4036.044.740.2
1988–89114.25129.72243.9639.246.442.8
1989–90106.57122.35228.9239.146.642.8

East Devon College Of Further Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science for each of the financial years 1991–92, 1992–93 and 1993–94, whether it is Government policy that any surplus of revenue over expenditure should be at the disposal of the governors of East Devon college of further education at Tiverton or that it should be paid over to the local education authority.

For 1991–92 the treatment of any surplus of revenue over expenditure is determined by the provisions of the scheme for local management of further education colleges in Devon.The position in 1992–93 and thereafter will be subject to the passage of the Further and Higher Education Bill currently before Parliament. It is proposed that the balance of a college's income and expenditure in local authority accounts for 1992–93 will transfer to the new corporate body to be established under the legislation. Regulations will be drawn up under which such balances can be determined and attributed to colleges. Wherever possible, that will be by reference to the arrangements set out in the local management scheme for the local authority concerned.Subject to the financial memoranda agreed between individual colleges and the Further Education Funding Council (England), which, from April 1993, will fund institutions, it is intended that any surplus of revenue over expenditure after that date will be at the disposal of the new corporate bodies.

Higher Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the number of students in advanced education now and in 1979.

There were 1,103,700 higher education students in Great Britain institutions in the academic year 1990–91 compared with 777,800 in 1979–8.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the number of students attending polytechnics this year; and what was the corresponding figure for 1987.

There were 317,500 students attending polytechnics in England in the academic year 1990–91, compared with 242,200 in 1987.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the number of students currently in higher and university education; and what were the numbers in 1979, 1983 and 1987.

The numbers of students in higher education in Great Britain universities, polytechnics and colleges, including the Open university and the centrally funded colleges in Scotland in the years 1979, 1983 and 1987 were 777,800, 871,300 and 1,066,700 respectively. Numbers of students in academic year 1990–91, the latest for which information is available, were 1,103,700.

Universities

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what assessments his Department makes of the comparative level of achievement of British universities relative to those in other countries.

Comparisons between education systems are notoriously difficult. However, statistical comparisons based on internationally accepted definitions show that the proportion of the relevant age group gaining higher education qualifications in the United Kingdom is among the highest in Europe. Her Majesty's inspectorate, as part of its foreign travel programme, compares and contrasts the quality of provision in higher education institutions at home and abroad.

Foreign Students

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the number of foreign students with places at universities, and the approximate revenue generated.

In the academic year 1990–91, there were 56,409 students from overseas attending full-time courses at universities in Great Britain. Universities received a total of approximately £232 million in tuition fee income from these students.

Illiteracy

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the extent of adult illiteracy in the United Kingdom; what definition he uses of illiteracy; and if he will make a statement.

There are very few adults in the United Kingdom who cannot read or write at all, but there are substantial numbers who cannot cope with the demands of everyday life. They cannot, for example, fill in forms, check pay-slips or give the correct change. Such people are often described as being "functionally illiterate".The adult literacy and basic skills unit—ALBSU—which advises the Government, estimates that 5.5 million people in England and Wales have some difficulty with reading, writing, spelling and basic mathematics. That cannot be a precise figure, but there is no doubt that there are still many people requiring help.The Government give high priority to basic skills—that is literacy and numeracy—education for adults. Local education authorities are currently the main providers of this, but central government also gives support, to ALBSU, and through a number of central initiatives. Grants to ALBSU have increased more than six-fold over the past decade, to over £3 million in 1991–92.The Further and Higher Education Bill, which is currently before Parliament, will strengthen the position of basic skills. The further education funding councils will be under a specific duty to secure adequate provision of basic skills education for adults.Such provisions should make the best use of whatever facilities and expertise are available and should be readily accessible to local communities.

Energy

Renewable Energy

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects the renewable energy advisory group strategy review to be reported to him; and what arrangements he proposes to make to publish its contents.

The report of the renewable energy advisory group is expected by April and it will be published shortly after that.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, pursuant to his oral statement to the House on 5 November, Official Report, columns 329–31, on the 1991 Renewable Energy Order, what is his most up-to-date estimate of the amount of up-and-running installed capacity measured on a declared net capacity basis, on I January 1993, 1994 1995, 1996 and 1997, based on an equivalent basis to the 472 MW of capacity to be installed by 1 January 1998.

Orders setting a non-fossil fuel obligation specify the amounts of non-fossil sourced generating capacity that the regional electricity companies must have available during the periods covered by the order, and the regional electricity companies must satisfy the Office of Electricity Regulation that they have made arrangements to secure that capacity. However, the amount of such capacity that is actually available to the regional electricity companies at any particular time will largely depend on the extent to which new projects are able to obtain planning permission, and any other necessary consents, and to go forward to commissioning.

Major Energy Users Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what date he has set for his meeting with the Major Energy Users Council; what is the proposed agenda for the meeting; and if he will make a statement.

I have offered to meet the Major Energy Users Council to discuss electricity prices; a meeting has been arranged for next month.

Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list those advanced gas-cooled reactors belonging to Nuclear Electric which have their main steam and hot reheat steam pipework manufactured from 0.5 per cent. chrome, 0.5 per cent. molybdenum and 0.25 per cent. vanadium (CMV) alloy steel.

Uranium (Dounreay)

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy on what date he was first advised of the recorded disappearance of 10.1 kg of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay.

My Department was advised of the nuclear materials discrepancy at Dounreay on 3 December 1991.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what estimate he has made of loss of revenue to Dounreay reprocessing plant following its closure after the recorded disappearance of 10.1 kg of highly enriched uranium.

None. This is a commercial matter for the management of the Atomic Energy Authority.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what aspects of the accounting procedures at Dounreay are to be re-assessed following the recorded disappearance of 10.1 kg of highly enriched uranium from Dounreay.

The inquiry report into the nuclear materials discrepancy at Dounreay has just been received and is being studied by officials of my Department. I will consider what information may be provided when examination of the report and its findings have been completed.

Dounreay

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy on how many occasions in the past three months he has had (a) written and (b) telephone communication with the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority about the operations of Dounreay nuclear reprocessing plant.

We have regular contact with the UKAEA regarding all aspects of their activities, including those carried out at Dounreay.

Sudbury House

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the arrangements for disposal of Sudbury House by Nuclear Electric; and what proportion of the proceeds will be taken by the Exchequer.

The arrangements for any disposal of Sudbury House are a commercial matter for Nuclear Electric plc. Any proceeds from disposal would remain in the public sector.

Gas Pipelines

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the process whereby gas pipelines are granted planning permission; what provisions exist regarding public inquiries in relation to gas pipelines; and if he will make a statement.

The following procedures apply.Gas pipelines over 10 miles long which are authorised by the Secretary of State for Energy under section 1 of the Pipelines Act 1962 receive deemed planning permission under section 5 of the Act except in those cases where a local planning authority maintains an objection. In these circumstances a planning inquiry is held.Gas pipelines 10 miles long or less are covered by section 2 of the Act and must have planning permission from the relevant local planning authority.British Gas has permitted development rights under the General Development Order 1988 which gives it a general grant of planning permission.

The Arts

Works Of Art (Exports)

To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will list the items for which the issuing of export licences was withheld on the recommendation of the reviewing committee on the export of works of art during the half-year ended 31 December 1991, specifying in each case the valuation and whether an item was eventually exported

Description of itemValuation £outcome
The Bromley Davenport Altarpiece, by Taddeo Gaddi2,011,500.00Export licence granted
A documentary urbino dish of Cardinal's hat form189,975.00Export licence granted
A drawing, 'A wooded landscape with low hills: a view of the Tiber',by Nicholas Poussin156,450.00Purchased jointly by the Ashmolean and Fitzwilliam museums
A drawing, 'A wooded landscape with a River God gathering fruit', by Nicholas Poussin134, 100.00Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'St. George and the Dragon', by Francesco Di Rossi il Salviati104,97500Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'The head of the Oriental in profile to the left', by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione201,15000Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'The head of a women looking up', by Guido Reni145,27500Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'A reclining nude women lifting a curtain',' by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri il Guercino106,162–50Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'A wooded upland landscape with figures outside the gate of a castle', by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri il Guercino61,462–25Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'Saint Ivo intervening on behalf of the poor, Christ with Saint Jerome and three saints above', by Pietro Berrettini da Cortona72,637–50Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'A wooded river landscape with fishermen in a boat', by Pietro Berrettini da Cortona72,637–50Export licence refused
A drawing, 'A wooded rover landscape with cascades and three men dragging a net', by Pietro Berrettini da Cortona268,200.00Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'The Sacrifice of Isaac' by Giovanni Battista Gaulli il Baciccio111,750.00Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'Two women and a baby with a cat', by Francessco Vanni78,225.00Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'An allegory of the labours of Hercules', by Ciro Fern35,760.00Purchased by the Fitzwilliam Museum
A drawing, 'Design for a tomb slab of Cardinal Carlo Emanuele Pio Da Carpi', by Gian Lorenzo Bermini40,230.00Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'A philosopher pointing to the ground, a youth beside him', by Salvatore Rosa50,287–50Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'The head of a young boy looking up to the left', by Jan Cossiers44,700.00Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'The adoration of the shepherds', by Jusepe de Ribera83,812–50Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
A drawing, 'A squirrel', by Giovanni da Udine85,000–00Decision deferred until after 15 March 1992
An inlaid bronze pyxis33,525–00Purchased by the British Museum Society
The Clarence Book of Hours510,000.00Export licence granted
A French 19th Century silvered and bronze mirror, 1867, by Barbedienne110,00000Decision deferred until after 16 April 1992
A portrait of Pope Clement VII by Sebastiano del Piombo6,314,581–00Decision deferred until after 16 February 1992
The 'Middleham Ring'45,980–00Decision deferred until after 16 April 1992
Two paintings of the allegorical tombs of Cadogan and Godolphin by Francesco Monti, Pietro Paltronieri and Nunzio Ferraiuoli450,000.00Decision deferred until after 16 February 1992
or retained, with particulars in the latter event of the acquiring institution; if he will list any items for which licences have been withheld but the final disposal of which is not yet decided, specifying in each case (a) the valuation and (b) the relevant time limit; and whether a press notice will be issued from the Office of Arts and Libraries covering the information given in his reply, including that relating to the outcome in individual cases.

The information is as follows:

Description of itemValuation £outcome
A George III silver-gilt dinner service, designed by Robert Adam251,445.00Decision deferred until after 16 April 1992

Items In Lieu Of Tax

To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will list the allocations made to public institutions in the United Kingdom during the half-year ended 31 December 1991 of individual works of art and museum objects pre-eminent for national, scientific, historic or artistic interest which have been accepted in satisfaction of inheritance tax, together with information, where applicable, as to conditions or wishes expressed in the

ItemTo whom allocatedConditions/wishes expressed
Painting by Lucas de HeereNational Museum of WalesConditional
Portrait of Professor Hill by RaeburnUniversity of EdinburghWish to go to Edinburgh
Harpsichord by Burkat ShudiUniversity of EdinburghWish to go to Edinburgh
Collection of musical instrumentsUniversity of EdinburghWish to go to Edinburgh
Starhemberg Dinner ServiceNational TrustWish to go to National Trust
Louis XV Bas D'armoireNational TrustWish to go to National Trust
Collection of English PorcelainFitzwilliam MuseumConditional
Watercolour by Rex WhistlerMuseum of LondonWish to go to Museum of London
Portrait of Lady Caroline Morrell by Augustus JohnNational Portrait GalleryWish to go to National Portrait Gallery
Collection of papers by George Bellas GreenoughUniversity College, LondonWish to go to Cambridge University
Two portraits by Gainsborough, one by Rubens and a landscape by SeghersRoyal Scottish AcademyConditional
Items awaiting allocationDate of acceptance
Portrait of Beechy20 April 1990
Collection of drawings by Runciman26 April 1991
A vintage motor car and two vintage motor cycles28 November 1991
Press notices have already been issued announcing the acceptance of all of these items and the allocations that have been made to date.

Museums And Galleries (Attendance)

To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will publish in the Official Report the attendance figures for 1991 reported by the national museums and galleries in England for which he is responsible, broken down into the individual institutions, but including their outstations, with figures in each case of the percentage increase or decrease on the attendance figures for 1990.

The estimated number of visitors during 1991 to the 11 national museums and galleries for which I am responsible are as follows: matter of allocation by testators or executors; if he will list the works of art and museum objects which are still awaiting allocation with the respective dates of their acceptance in satisfaction of inheritance tax; and whether a press notice will be issued from the Office of Arts and Libraries in the event of any information being given in his reply which has not previously been announced.

The information the hon. Gentleman requests is as follows:

Estimated attendance in 1991Percentage change from 1990
British Museum5,410,422+6.5
Imperial War Museum1,045,144-16.9
National Gallery4,300,000+16.8
National Maritime Museum579,015-2.7
National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside1,242,422-3.9
National Portrait Gallery867,361+44.1
Natural History Museum1,500,000+2.8
Science Museum2,525,128-5.9
Tate Gallery2,436,370+10.2
Victoria and Albert Museum1,389,057+2.4
Wallace Collection140,143+3.1
Total21,435,062+5.3

Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

Truro Office

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) when he expects to make a decision on the future of his Department's regional office in Truro;(2) how many jobs will be lost if his Department's Truro office is closed.

The location of the Ministry's regional service centre for Devon and Cornwall has been the subject of a further study, the results of which are currently being assessed.

Regional Reorganisation

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many jobs will be lost in total as a result of his Department's regional reorganisation; and what are the net financial savings expected.

It is projected that the regional reorganisation will result in a net loss of about 150 posts across the country as a whole and a net annual financial saving of about £3 million. The saving will be fully realised in 1993–94, by which time the restructuring, which will improve the cost effectiveness and efficiency of the Ministry's services, will have been completed. Where posts are to be lost, every effort is being made to find staff alternative jobs. We are doing all we can to avoid compulsory redundancies.

Fallen Stock

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the estimated cost to the industry of the disposal of fallen stock; and what measures he proposes to take to limit the impact of this cost.

The costs of disposing of fallen stock will vary according to the method, location, nature of the carcase, including species, size and condition and the current market prices for animal by-products. It is for the livestock sector, as with other industries, to find ways of disposing of its waste, and to meet the costs involved.

Ear-Tagging

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assistance he proposes to give to farmers to offset the costs of ear-tagging livestock.

Farmers meet the cost of statutory cattle and deer identification, and of other identification measures for commercial purposes. I have no plans to alter this.

Sea Fish Industry Authority

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make an announcement about the review of the Sea Fish Industry Authority carried out by fisheries departments.

[pursuant to his reply, 20 November 1991, c. 189]: The Government have carefully considered the additional comments received from the fishing industry and other interested parties about our proposals for action arising from the review of the Sea Fish Industry Authority —SFIA.

Fisheries Ministers have now reached decisions as follows. We call on the SFIA board to make proposals to reduce the levy by £1 to £7.40 a tonne. This would represent a substantial reduction in the cost of the SFIA to the industry, as the majority of those who pay the levy clearly want. At the same time, a reduction to £7.40 rather than £7, as originally proposed, would take into account that some of the SFIA's costs have increased, and allow scope for a somewhat greater range of services to continue.

Subject to the statutory procedures for publicising a proposal to change the levy, it will be for the SFIA board to decide on the exact range of operations to be continued at this new rate. It would be open to the board to include an element of generic advertising which parts of the industry still support.

Ministers have further decided that the levy should not be extended to salmon or trout, or to canned and bottled fish, nor applied on an ad valorem basis; and that the conversion rates for deriving the levy rate on fish fillets should remain unchanged.

We are asking the SFIA to agree plans with the industry for greater industry participation in the advisory committees which will cover the work of SFIA departments. We look to the industry to co-ordinate their nominations for seats on the SFIA board.

We request the chairman of the SFIA to follow up the reviewers' recommendations for improvements in its organisation, structure and efficiency, in consultations with fisheries departments.

Ministers believe that this programme of action will help the industry and the SFIA to continue to promote an efficient seafish industry and one which will be able to meet the challenges for the future.

Wales

Integrated Development, South Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales who are the members of the monitoring committee of the industrial south Wales integrated development operation; what are their occupations and who appoints them.

There are 72 members of the industrial south Wales integrated development operation monitoring committee, comprising officers representing central and local government, other public and private sector bodies, and the European Commission, under the chairmanship of the Welsh Office, which is responsible for appointing members to the committee.

Mineral Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will review the mineral policy guidance notes of January 1988 to take into account the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Planning and Compensation Act 1991.

Minerals planning guidance notes—MPGs—are kept continuously under review in order to take account of legislative and other changes. Two MPGs were issued in January 1988—MPGI "General Considerations and the Development Plan System" and MPG2 "Applications, Provisions and Conditions"—and we intend to review MPG! to reflect recent changes in the development plans system. A draft is expected to issue for consultation later this year.

Mineral Planning

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to review mineral planning guidance note 3 on opencast coal mining and mineral planning guidance note 6 on guidelines for aggregates provision.

Although its operation is continuously monitored, there are no current plans to revise minerals planning guidance note 3. Minerals planning guidance note 6 on aggregates provision is currently being revised and a draft is expected to issue for consultation later this year.If the hon. Gentleman has any representations he wishes to make on these notes I would, of course, be happy to consider them.

Coal Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total annual coal tonnage currently produced in the coalfield areas of Wales and used in power stations outside Wales.

Between 350,000 and 400,000 tonnes of Welsh coal are used annually in power stations outside Wales.

Waste Disposal Sites

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment has been made by his Department on the impact of the changes in public sector waste disposal upon the number of waste disposal sites in Wales.

None. Local authorities have yet to finalise their new arrangements for waste disposal.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list all disused mineral excavation sites used as general waste disposal sites in Wales.

Traffic Congestion

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will meet Shotton town council to discuss his plans to build the third Dee crossing;(2) if he will meet Queensferry town council to discuss plans to alleviate traffic congestion;(3) if he will meet the community council of Sealand to discuss the impact of traffic congestion upon the environment;(4) if he will meet Connahs Quay town council to discuss the impact of traffic congestion upon the environment.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the replies I gave him on 20 December 1991, at column 361, and 14 January 1992, at columns 547–48.

School Inspectors

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on his response to the Adams report on the future of Her Majesty's inspectorate of schools service in Wales.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave him on 13 January 1992, at column 506.

National Museum Of Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish in the Official Report the attendance figures for 1991 reported by the National Museum of Wales, including its outstations, with the percentage increase or decrease on the attendance figures for 1990.

A total of 683,743 people visited the National Museum of Wales during 1991, an increase of nearly 2 per cent. on the attendance reported by 1990.

Neath And Port Talbot Hospital

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when it is now expected that the first contract will be entered into for the building of the new Neath and Port Talbot general hospital; and how much money has been allocated for its construction in each year.

Subject to availability of funds, I understand that West Glamorgan health authority anticipates work commencing towards the end of 1992. Details of the all-Wales capital building programme for 1992-93, and the funds to be allocated for each constituent scheme will be announced by my right hon. Friend in due course.

Further And Higher Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his parliamentary answer to the hon. Member for Cardiff, North, 15 January, Official Report, column 587–88, what will be the remuneration of the chairman of the Further Education Funding Council for Wales, the chairman of the Higher Education Council for Wales and the chief executive of the two councils; and if he will state their expected hours of work, terms of secondment and length of term of appointment.

The Chairman of the Further Education Funding Council for Wales will be paid £18,500 on the basis of two days commitment a week. The chairman of the Higher Education Funding Council will be paid £10,000 on the basis of one day a week. The chief executive will be paid £50,000 per annum. The appointments will not be made until the Further and Higher Education Bill receives Royal Assent. The chairman will be appointed for a three-year term and the chief executive for five years. The individuals will be engaged as chairmen and chief executive-designate from dates still to be determined.

Development Board For Rural Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what policy considerations will govern his choice of chairman or chairwoman for the Development Board for Rural Wales for the three years commencing 1 April; and when he expects to make an announcement.

I always give the very fullest consideration to all relevant factors relating to each public appointment for which I have responsibility. I will announce this appointment at the appropriate time in the light of these considerations.

National Finance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to protect the United Kingdom spirits industry against the effect of EC proposals in relation to taxation of spirits.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) on 13 January, at columns 444–45.

Share Ownership

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 13 January, Official Report, column 445, what percentage of the adult population own shares in (a) privatisation issues and Abbey National combined only, (b) privatisation issues and TSB combined only and (c) privatisation, Abbey National and TSB combined only.

The 1991 Treasury-stock exchange survey showed that 1 per cent. of the adult population in Great Britain had combined shareholdings in Abbey National and privatisation issues only. Figures for combined shareholdings in TSB and privatisation issues only and combined shareholdings in Abbey National, TSB and privatisation issues only are not available.

Central Office Of Information

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the latest corporate plan of the Central Office of Information.

The Central Office of Information's corporate plan is commercially sensitive and contains information that would weaken COI's negotiating position if it were disclosed. I do not therefore propose placing a copy of the corporate plan in the Library.

Correspondence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to reply to the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth's letter of 29 August 1991 about Mr. A. Wiles of Rugby.

I wrote to my hon. Friend on 21 January. I apologise for the delay in replying.

Tax Allowances And Reliefs

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the effect on Treasury revenues in a full year in (a) 1991–92 and (b) 1992–93 of introducing an upper limit on all income tax allowances and reliefs of (i) £10,000, (ii) £15,000 and (iii) £20,000 a year, (1) with the current tax allowances and reliefs, (2) limiting all personal tax allowances except the single person's allowance to the basic rate, (3) limiting relief on contributions to personal pensions to the basic rate and (4) limiting relief on employees' contributions to occupational pension schemes to the basic rate, giving the total revenue in each case and the numbers of people affected;(2) if he will estimate the effect on Treasury revenues in a full year in

(a) 1991–92 and (b) 1992–93 of introducing

an upper limit on all income tax allowances and reliefs of (i)£10,000, (ii)£15,000 and (iii)£20,000 a year, (1) limiting relief on contributions to personal pensions and occupational pension schemes to the basic rate, and (2) combining (1) with a limiting of all personal tax allowances except the single person's allowance to the basic rate, giving the total revenue in each case and the numbers of people affected;

(3) if he will estimate the effect on Treasury revenues in a full year in (a) 1991–92 and (b) 1992–93 of introducing an upper limit on all income tax allowances and reliefs of

(i) £10,000, (ii) £15,000 and (iii) £20,000 a year, and limiting all personal tax allowances except the single person's allowance to the basic rate, (1) limiting relief on contributions to personal pensions to the basic rate, and (2) limiting relief on employees' contributions to occupational pension schemes to the basic rate, giving the total revenue in each case and the numbers of people affected.

It is estimated that imposition of the specified limits for allowances and reliefs within the current income tax system would yield the following amounts in a full year at 1991-92 levels of income:

Limit £Yield £
10,000590
15,000240
20,000140
After restriction of the relevant allowances and reliefs to the basic rate, the estimated further yield from imposing the specified limits would be as follows:

Full year yield at 1991–92 incomes levels
£ million
Limit for total allowances and reliefs
After restriction to the basic rate of:£10,000£15,000£20,000
(a) All personal allowances
except the basic personal
allowance510230130
(b) Relief for personal pension
contributions490190110
(b) Relief for personal pension
Contributions490190110
(c) Relief for employees'
contribution to
occupational pension
schemes520230130
(d) Allowances and reliefs in
(a) and (b)440190110
(e) Allowances and reliefs in
(a) and (c)480220130
(f) Reliefs in (b) and (c)430180110
(g) Allowances and reliefs in
(a) and (b)(c)420180110
The number of people with total allowances and reliefs in excess of £10,000 is about 635,000. The corresponding figures for £15,000 and £20,000 are about 75,000 and 35,000 respectively. The estimates of revenue yield do not take account of any behavioural effects which might result from the introduction of the changes. It is not possible to provide detailed information for 1992–93.

Life Expectancy

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the life expectancy rates for each year between 1985–86 and 1990–91 for males and females for (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales, (d) Northern Ireland, (e) Great Britain and (f) each of the member states of the European Community; and what information he has on (i) Finland, (ii) Norway, (iii) Sweden and (iv) Switzerland for the same period.

Expectation of life at birth (years) in the calendar years 1985–90
198519861987198819891990
Males
Scotland69.970.070.470.470.571.1
England71.972.172.572.672.973.2
Wales71.071.371.872.372.372.7
Northern Ireland70.270.370.970.771.371.8
Great Britain71.771.972.372.472.672.9
Belgium72.4
Denmark71.671.772.0
France71.371.572.072.5
Germany71.572.6
Greece74.2
Ireland70.471.0
Italy73.2
Luxembourg70.670.6
Netherlands73.073.7
Portugal70.270.770.9
Spain72.573.4
United Kingdom71.771.972.372.472.672.9
Finland70.5
Norway72.8
Sweden74.2
Switzerland73.9
Females
Scotland75.776.176.476.676.176.8
England77.577.878.178.178.278.6
Wales77.077.477.778.077.878.6
Northern Ireland76.376.577076.777.177.4
Great Britain77.377.677.978.078.078.4
Belgium79.0
Denmark77.577.677.7
France79.579.780.380.7
Germany78.179.0
Greece79.3
Ireland76.079.7
Italy77.379.7
Luxembourg77.9
Netherlands79.679.9
Portugal77.177.577.9
Spain78.680.1
United Kingdom77.377.677.978.078.078.4
Finland78.7
Norway79.6
Sweden80.2
Switzerland80.7

sources: Government Actuary's Department and United Nations and EC publications.

European Parliament Budget

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking following the adoption by the European Parliament of a budget for 1992 in excess of that permitted by Community legislation.

In view of doubts about the legality of the budget adopted by the European Parliament, the Council is considering the basis for legal action later this month.In the mean time the Government do not consider that they should treat the budget as agreed; or that contributions by the United Kingdom, in excess of the amounts required under Community legislation in the event of a budget not having been adopted, may be paid

The information that is currently available is given in the table. Expectations of life are normally calculated for calendar years, but for some of the countries outside the United Kingdom the expectations are the average for three or more years centred on the year in the heading to the column.directly out of the Consolidated Fund under section 2(3) of the European Communities Act 1992, but will instead have to be paid out of moneys voted by Parliament in estimates. Parliamentary approval of this new service will be sought in a new estimate for the budget of the European Communities—class XX, vote 1. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £150 million monthly will be met from repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund. An advance was made on 3 January 1992 in respect of the first instalment.

Departmental Staff

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the number of staff in post in central Government Departments at 1 October 1991.

On 1 October 1991 there were 561,903 staff in post in central Government. Of those, 498,735 were non-industrials and 63,168 were classified as being in industrial work.

Trade And Industry

Company Accounts

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress is being made on the implementation of the EC directive on small and medium-sized company accounts.

My Department has today issued a consultation document inviting comments on draft regulations to implement the EC directive on small and medium-sized company accounts.These draft regulations, and our decision to bring the directive into force well in advance of the required date, give a clear indication of the Government's commitment to continue to reduce the regulatory burden on small companies.The directive enables EC member states to reduce accounting requirements, and to increase the maximum financial limits defining small and medium-sized companies by 25 per cent.In addition to implementing the directive, the regulations would exempt small companies from a number of existing accounting requirements, as foreshadowed in the current programme of work under the deregulation initiative, which I announced on 18 December 1990.Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Library. Views are invited by 19 March.

Environmental Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if Her Majesty's Government intends to take additional powers to require companies to provide information on environmental matters.

I have been asked to reply.The Environmental Protection Act 1990 contains requirements for companies carrying out prescribed processes to provide information on environmental matters to enforcing authorities and inspectors, and for enforcing authorities to maintain public registers. The Government do not see any need for additional powers at present.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what were the results in increased trade that resulted from visits made by Ministers within his Department to Iraq in the past four years.

[holding answer 20 January 1991]: Only one DTI Minister has visited Iraq in the past four years. The visit was to attend the meeting of the UK-Iraq joint commission in 1988. It is impossible to gauge its effect on bilateral trade.

Home Department

Citizens Charter

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much money his Department has spent on producing its citizens charter proposals, arising from production, distribution and publicity costs.

Since the launch of the citizens charter the Home Office has not incurred any production, distribution or publicity costs in taking the initiative forward.

Armley Prison

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations have been made to him over the past year about staffing levels at Her Majesty's prison, Armley; and what concern has been expressed about the number of staff available to search visitors with hand-held metal-detecting equipment.

Staffing levels at Her Majesty's prison, Leeds, were the subject of discussions between management and the local branch of the Prison Officers Association in July 1991 and new target staffing figures have been agreed. The availability of staff for searching is an area which has been identified for further review. Leeds is one of the prisons holding category A inmates for which the Home Secretary has agreed X-ray machines and walk-through metal detectors should be provided. An order has been placed for the equipment and Leeds should receive it in the next few weeks. Hand-held metal detectors are available for use by staff in the visits area and are used where warranted by the circumstances.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when hand-held metal-detecting equipment for searching visitors was first made available at Her Majesty's prison, Armley; and on how many days since then the equipment has not been used to search visitors because of insufficient staff.

The date when hand-held metal detectors were first issued to Her Majesty's prison, Armley is not readily available but was prior to October 1986.The equipment is used to screen-selected visitors including those to prisoners considered to present a high risk to security. There is no record of detectors not being used because of a shortage of staff.

Remand Prisoners, Bradford

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice was given to prison authorities over the placing of prisoners on remand for offences arising from a violent incident in Bradford earlier this year.

I understand from the chief constable of West Yorkshire and the governor of Leeds prison that it was not considered necessary to make special arrangements in respect of the location of the prisoners concerned. No advice from the police on the question of location was therefore passed to the prison.

equipment for searching visitors was first made available at Her Majesty's prison, Armley; and on how many days since then the equipment has not been used to search visitors because of insufficient staff.

The date when hand-held metal detectors were first issued to Her Majesty's prison, Armley is not readily available but was prior to October 1986.The equipment is used to screen-selected visitors including those to prisoners considered to present a high risk to security. There is no record of detectors not being used because of a shortage of staff.

Remand Prisoners, Bradford

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice was given to prison authorities over the placing of prisoners on remand for offences arising from a violent incident in Bradford earlier this year.

I understand from the chief constable of West Yorkshire and the governor of Leeds prison that it was not considered necessary to make special arrangements in respect of the location of the prisoners concerned. No advice from the police on the question of location was therefore passed to the prison.

Prison Security

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will arrange for the installation of X-ray and metal detecting equipment at Her Majesty's prison, Armley, Leeds, to be expedited; and what steps are being taken to ensure that sufficient staff are available to ensure that the equipment will be operational at all times;(2) by what date all of Her Majesty's prisons within the United Kingdom will have X-ray and metal-detecting equipment available; and whether additional staff w)11 be required at any of Her Majesty's prisons to ensure such equipment is operational at all times.

As my right hon. Friend announced following the report of the inquiry by Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons into the escape of two prisoners from Her Majesty's prison Brixton on 7 July 1991, it is intended to install X-ray machines and metal detector portals into prisons holding category A prisoners. His statement concerned prisons in England and Wales, the position in Scotland and Northern Ireland is a matter for my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Northern Ireland.A contract for the provision of X-ray machines to 23 designated prisons has been let. Deliveries will commence in February and continue into May. Deliveries are being arranged so that each prison, including Her Majesty's prison Leeds will have one X-ray machine by 31 March 1992 with further machines being supplied later.Staffing requirements will be determined by the area manager for each establishment. It is anticipated that additional staff will be required and financial provision has been made.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training is being given to the staff of Her Majesty's prisons within the United Kingdom in the operation of X-ray and metal-detecting equipment.

The contract which has been let to supply the X-ray machine to selected prisons in England and Wales includes basic training, of one day's duration, for 20 staff from each establishment and supervisors' training, of two days duration, for two staff from each establishment. Additional training in the interpretation of X-ray pictures is being arranged.In addition, arrangements are being made to train a radiation protection supervisor for each establishment. Training in the use of metal detectors is much more straightforward and will be provided at the establishment by prison staff.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total cost of supplying x-ray and metal-detecting equipment to prisons in the United Kingdom in the current year; where the equipment is manufactured; what is the minimum delivery date; and what is the total cost of training staff in the use of such equipment.

The estimated cost of supplying x-ray machines to selected prisons in England and Wales in 1992 is £1.6 million. Metal detecting equipment will cost a further £75,000.The equipment is manufactured in Croydon. It is estimated an initial delivery of one machine per establishment will be completed by 31 March with the remaining machines installed by the end of May.Metal detector portals are purchased as required.The total cost of training staff to use this equipment is estimated at £150,000.

Immigration Rules

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

I have today laid before Parliament a statement of changes in the immigration rules which adds to the list of countries and territorial entities whose nationals need visas for the United Kingdom, the following former constituent republics of the Soviet Union: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Moldovia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan. The effect of this will be to ensure that those Soviet nationals who required visas continue to do so. At the same time the opportunity has been taken to remove from the list the United States Pacific trust territories for which a visa requirement is no longer necessary.

Coopers And Lybrand

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the projects, the purposes, and the cost of his Department's use of the Coopers and Lybrand group since 1989.

The Coopers and Lybrand group have assisted my Department with 10 projects since 1989. Details are as follows:

1989

  • 1. Review of the suitability and performance of PIMIS in the Glasgow/Liverpool Passport Office.
  • 2. External Audit: Justice Clerk's Account.
  • 1990–91

  • 3. Magistrates Courts Agency Costings of the start-up and running.
  • 4. Review of EFS paperwork.
  • 5. MIS Consultancy.
  • 6. Review of MICROB.
  • 7. Restructuring of HMIC.
  • 8. Review of Computer Production Planning Systems (MICROSS).
  • 1991–92

  • 9. Warehouse Distribution System for Supply and Transport Branch.
  • 10. MIS for Prison Service Industries and Farms.
  • Royal Navy Reserve

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the occasions when port divers from the Royal Navy Reserve have rendered assistance to police and other civil authorities in England and Wales in the last five years; and if he will make a statement on the effect of the closure of the Royal Navy Reserve port diving branch on such authorities.

    This information is not held centrally, but, as far as I am aware, there have been no occasions when such assistance has been rendered in England and Wales during the last five years and I do not anticipate that the closure of the Royal Navy Reserve port diving branch will have any effect on such authorities.

    Prisons

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if privately run prisons will take prison inmates who are on rule 43.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the same prison rules that exist in state run prisons will apply to privately run prisons.

    Yes, the substance of the rules will largely remain the same. Some changes will however be necessary to reflect the different terminologies in use in the two systems and the different circumstances, such as the division of a governor's duties between the director and the controller of a contracted-out prison.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department who will appoint boards of visitors of privately run prisons; whom they will be responsible to in making observations on the running of such prisons; and if he will make a statement.

    As in the case of other boards of visitors, members of boards of visitors of privately run prisons will be appointed by the Home Secretary under section 6(2) of the Prison Act 1952 and will be required to make an annual report to him under prison rule 97. They will have the same right of access to him to make comments and observations as boards of visitors in state-run prisons.

    Empty Commercial Premises

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to stop unauthorised entry into, and trading use of, empty commercial premises.

    My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary published in November a consultation paper on squatting which considers the problems caused by the unlawful occupation of commercial premises. Copies of the document have been placed in the Library. The Government will decide what form any further action should take in the light of the responses to this consultation exercise.

    Obscene Publications

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, following the publication of the Marquis de Sade's "Juliette", he has any plans to meet book publishers in the United Kingdom to discuss the publication of books openly advocating sadism, torture, child abuse and other such practices.

    I have no plans to do so. The Government in this country have no powers to ban or censor books or other publications. It is for publishers to ensure that they abide by the criminal law. If they do not, they can be prosecuted and punished, but Ministers cannot intervene in this.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received concerning the publication of the book, "Juliette," by the Marquis de Sade.

    I have received a number of representations from Members of Parliament and others.

    Sexual Offences

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what was the average length of sentence of imprisonment imposed in each of the last 10 years upon offenders convicted of (a) rape, (b) buggery and indecency between males, (c) indecent assaults on adults, (d) gross indecency between children, and (e) other sexual offences;(2) how many individuals convicted of offences of

    (a) sexual assaults on an adult, (b) buggery or indecency between males, (c) rape, and (d) gross indecency with a child were given sentences of (i) immediate imprisonment, (ii) suspended imprisonment, (iii) community service, (iv) probation, (v) a fine, and (vi) discharge in each of the last 10 years.

    The information for England and Wales for the years 1980, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1989 is given in the tables. To produce further information for the other years requested would involve disproportionate cost. The 1990 data are not yet available.

    Table A Number of offenders sentenced to immediate custody and average length of sentence imposed for certain sexual offences by type of court 1980, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1989

    England and Wales

    Magistrates' Courts

    Crown Court

    Offence

    Year

    Total immediate custody

    Average sentence length (months)

    Total immediate custody1

    Average sentence length (months)

    Rape19802329644
    198531054
    198732575
    198838775
    198943375
    Buggery and indecency between males19807414234
    19852519032
    19876522243
    19885224643
    19892320342
    Indecent assaults on adults19805046412
    198564413314
    198749420823
    198847323722
    198948428923
    Gross indecency with children19801362413
    19852345614
    19871139213
    19881058713
    1989935911
    Other sexual (indictable) offences1980170468523
    1985185491622
    198714241,26826
    198812941,29225
    19897341,24727

    1 Excludes 'Lifers' if which:—

    In 1980 there were 4 for rape and 2 for buggery and indecency between males;

    In 1985 there were 9 for rape and 1 for other sexual (indictable) offences;

    In 1987 there were 12 for rape and 1 for buggery and indecency between males and 1 for other sexual (indictable) offences;

    In 1988 there were 10 for rape and 2 for buggery and indecency between males and 1 for other sexual (indictable) offences; and

    In 1989 there were 12 for rape, 6 for buggery and indecency between males and 1 for other sexual (indictable) offences.

    2 Denotes less than one month.

    Table B Number of offenders sentenced for certain sexual offences by type of court and result 1980, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1989 England and Wales

    Offence

    Year

    Total sent

    Imm. custody

    Fully suspended sentence

    Community service order

    Probation order

    Fine

    Absent or conditional discharge

    Other

    Magistrates' courts

    Indecent assault on an adult19807415034712231612092
    19855616440171261708757
    19875164931141221657263
    19885934743111222098873
    198966348401612523812967
    Buggery and indecency between males19801,4897231311,29111818
    1985611241174938311
    1987874662270911615
    19881,2335153301,03412917
    19891,391293241,19414514
    Rape1980927
    198511
    198722
    198822
    19893111
    Gross indecency with children1980211133570522318
    19851772317382241612
    1987117117150251013
    19889910814518125
    1989100910340161111

    Crown Court Indecent

    1980133642561110107

    Offence

    Year

    Total sent

    Imm. custody

    Fully Suspended sentence

    Community service order

    Probation order

    Fine

    Absent or conditional discharge

    Other

    assault on1985213133254248811
    an adult19873232084253118316
    198836823754429141218
    198945528967744161022
    Buggery and indecency between males198035114458223892015
    19853621903382768279
    198733322329525221910
    198842824835442542421
    198936520937231462515
    Rape198032630043316
    1985341319517
    198734733710
    198841839723115
    198947344521421
    Gross indecency with children1980542417922
    198592561513512
    19871329218117211
    19881478725124622
    19891195915430722

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offenders were (a) convicted of and (b) cautioned for indecent exposure in each of the past 10 years.

    Information for England and Wales from 1980 to 1989 on the number of offenders convicted and cautioned for the offence of indecent exposure is given in the table. This information is published annually in volumes 1, 2, and 4 of the "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, Supplementary Tables", copies of which are in the Library. Figures for 1990 are not yet available.

    >Number of offenders convicted and cautioned for indecent exposure 1980–1989 England and Wales
    YearConvictionsCautions
    19801,890225
    19811,613248
    19821,568193
    19831,433203
    19841,326231
    19851,229259
    19861,081253
    19871,030281
    19881,163295
    19891,054277

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to record locally and nationally the number of homosexual assaults on male prisoners in United Kingdom jails.

    The current prison service policy is that details of all assaults are recorded, including homosexual assaults. Investigations are made as appropriate, but the system at present does not allow for easy retrieval of information relating specifically to homosexual assaults.The reporting of incidents by prison establishments in England and Wales is currently under review, as is the system for the storage and retrieval of information about incidents. It is envisaged that, following the review of incident reporting procedures, information about the more serious homosexual assaults, that is those involving a police investigation, will be more readily identifiable in the future.

    Vehicle Security Devices

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will introduce regulations to require new cars to be equipped with effective alarms and deadlocking.

    No. It would be a breach of European Community law for the Government to introduce separate national legislation requiring new cars to be fitted with alarms and dead locks, since this would constitute a barrier to trade with other member states.The Department of Transport is therefore examining how far the British standard on vehicle security, which include dead locks, might form the basis of a revised EC directive on vehicle security. That Department, with the support of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, is currently negotiating in the motor vehicles working group of the European Commission for part one of the new British standard, on mechanical locking systems, to be incorporated in a new directive. It is hoped that agreement on this will be reached soon. These efforts have my full support and that of my right hon. Friend.In the meantime, my right hon. Friend is encouraging the motor manufacturers to adopt voluntarily the British standard for all new cars.The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders report that alarms are now available as standard, or at point of sale, on 95 per cent. of new vehicle models sold in the United Kingdom.

    Joy Riding