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Written Answers

Volume 202: debated on Friday 24 January 1992

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 24 January 1992

Northern Ireland

Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will estimate how many Northern Ireland pensioners and others in receipt of benefits other than income support will pay more rates in 1991–92 as a percentage of disposable income than they paid in 1990–91.

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

Harbour Improvements

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on improvements to the harbours at Church Bay and at Ballycastle.

In the current financial year Moyle district council, with the aid of grant from the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, has undertaken improvements to the harbours at Church bay, Rathlin and Ballycastle. These works include dredging at Church bay and repairs to Boyd's wall, Ballycastle. In addition hydraulic model testing, which will assist the design work on proposed major improvements at Ballycastle, will shortly be completed.The Department had hoped to be able to provide substantial grant support to the council over the financial years 1992–93 and 1993–94 for major improvement works to both harbours. In the event it has not proved possible to allocate the necessary resources for this purpose. However the council and the Department are now considering, as an interim measure, the provision of slipways at both harbours which would enable a small roll-on/roll-off vessel to operate the ferry service between the two harbours.

Child Benefit

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the cost of the provision of child benefit in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years.

The total expenditure on child benefit was as follows:

£ million
1986–87177.3
1987–88182.8
1988–89178.2
1989–90180.2
1990–91182.4

Ecstasy

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what problems have been reported regarding use of ecstasy and similar drugs in the Province; and what action is being taken to meet those problems.

[holding answer 17 January 1992]: I am informed by the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary that misuse of ecstasy, LSD and amphetamine is increasing in Northern Ireland. These drugs continue to be associated with young people and places of entertainment, particularly "rave parties". The RUC is working closely with other police forces in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, and with Her Majesty's Customs, to counter this trend in drugs misuse.

Education And Science

Universities (Research Funding)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much money allocated by the Universities Funding Council in 1990–91 to each university and university college can be identified as being for research; and of this allocation how much was utilised for purposes other than research by each institution.

The Universities Funding Council allocated £680 million on research-based criteria to universities in academic year 1991–92. This sum was not hypothecated for research. The council has allowed each institution to determine its own spending on teaching and research within the aggregate funds available to it from all sources.

A-Levels

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many students were entered for advanced-level examinations in mathematics, physics and chemistry in England and Wales, for each year from 1979 to the present, giving the information (a) as the number of entrants and (b) as a percentage of the total number of entrants for all subjects in that year.

For the academic years 1978–79 to 1989–90—the latest year for which information is available—the numbers of school leavers attempting advanced level examinations in mathematics, physics and chemistry in English schools, were as are shown in the table. The table also shows these numbers as a percentage of all school leavers attempting any subject at the advanced level.The figures for Wales are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

School leavers—England Numbers of pupils attempting advanced level examinations

Mathematics

Physics

Chemistry

Pupils attempting (000's)

As percentage of all pupils attempting A levels

Pupils attempting (000's)

As percentage of all pupils attempting A levels

Pupils attempting (000's)

As percentage of all pupils attempting A levels

1978–7944.9935.135.2027.532.4625.3
1979–8048.0836.535.8427.231.7424.1
1980–8150.0636.938.1528.134.2225.2
1981–8254.8937.941.6228.736.7925.4
1982–8356.1237.840.7227.436.3024.4
1983–8456.6038.841.1228.236.4825.0
1984–8556.0639.938.9527.735.6025.3
1985–8654.6940.836.8127.435.0026.1
1986–8752.8139.234.1325.431.9523.7
1987–8853.8540.333.4425.032.1724.1
1988–8951.4837.132.9323.830.6522.1
1989–9050.6833.932.9622.133.2922.3

Primary Classes

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will estimate the current cost of reducing all primary class sizes to 30 or less; and if he will make a statement.

The average size of classes taught by one teacher in maintained primary schools in January 1991 was 26.3. If local education authorities and schools were to organise their provision differently, pupils in primary schools could be taught in class sizes of 30 or less with the existing number of teachers in primary schools.

Primary School Teachers

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will set out his estimates of the number of primary school teachers he expects to be employed in each school year until 1996–97.

A total of 176,300 full-time equivalent teachers were employed in primary schools in January 1991, the latest year for which we have information. The number of teachers which will be employed in each year up to 1996–97 will depend on the decisions taken by local education authorities and schools with delegated budgets on the deployment of the funds at their disposal.

Youth Service, Warwickshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what discussions he has had with Warwickshire county council about its decision to completely close its youth service from 1 April 1992; and if he will make a statement.

None. I understand that a proposal is to be considered by the education committee of Warwickshire county council on 28 January to end the directly provided youth and community service, and to make such provision in future through voluntary groups, schools and colleges.The youth service is statutorily part of further education. Section 41 of the 1944 Education Act, which is inserted under section 120 of the Education Reform Act, places a duty on loal education authorities to secure the provision of adequate facilities for further education. Section 53 of the 1944 Act places a duty on local education authorities to secure that the facilities for primary, secondary and further education provided for their area include adequate facilities for recreation and social and physical training. It is for each local education authority to discharge these statutory obligations in accordance with local needs, circumstances and priorities.

School Leavers

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will provide a table showing for Greater London the numbers of young people who left school at each of ages 16, 17, and 18 years in each year since 1988, the numbers expected to leave school in 1992, and the number of people at each of these ages in each of those years.

The following table gives the breakdown of the pupils leaving school in Greater London, analysed by age for the years 1987–88 to 1989–90—the latest year for which information is available. The table also shows the projected population figures for Greater London for the same years.

School examinations survey Greater London A. School leavers
Thousands
1987–881988–891989–90
School leavers
Aged 1643.8938.6736.42
Aged 1714.4412.1211.48
Aged 18 and over17.3517.4218.53
Total leavers75.6868.2166.43
B. Estimated population aged (at previous 31 August): January
Thousands
Aged at previous August1987–881988–891989–90
1580.8075.6071.10
1687.9082.1077.00
1799.2091.9086.00

Music

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received on the teaching of music in schools; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend issued last August proposals for music and art in the national curriculum, representations on which were sent to the National Curriculum Council.

In the light of the National Curriculum Council's advice, he intends on Monday to publish for consultation, draft orders with associated documents setting out attainment targets and programmes of study for art and music in the national curriculum for pupils aged five to 14, as he is required to do by section 20(5) of the Education Reform Act. Copies will he placed in the Library.

The period for consultation on the draft orders will end on 4 March 1992. My right hon. Friend intends to make the final orders in March 1992 in good time for schools to begin teaching national curriculum art and music to pupils aged five, seven and 11 from the following autumn. The draft orders apply to England. My right hon. Friend will be publishing for consultation draft orders for art and music for Wales.

Transport

British Rail Escalators

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to keep records on the number of escalators operated by British Rail; and how many of them are broken at any one time and for how long.

Channel Tunnel

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what procedure he has set up to consult the London borough of Newham over the route of the channel tunnel rail route and the new international station to be built at Stratford.

I intend very shortly to issue invitations to a consultative forum for local authorities affected by the proposed route corridor and stations for the channel tunnel rail link.

Railways (Research And Development)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how research and development for the railways will he funded after the privatisation of British Rail.

This will depend on the future structure of British Rail, on which the Government have not yet taken decisions.

Ss Richard Montgomery

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is now able to make a statement on the recent survey on the SS Richard Montgomery.

A very thorough survey of this dangerous wreck was completed in September. The Medway ports authority has since completed a fresh hydrographic survey of the surrounding area.There is no evidence of any recent major changes to the wreck itself, although it continues to deteriorate and may be expected to begin to break up within a few years. No dangerous material was identified during the latest survey, although a substantial quantity of explosives must be presumed to remain on board. The surveys have shown that the silt around the site is mobile and extensive scouring under the wreck itself was observed. This can only accelerate its breaking up and the disappearance of what is now still visible above the water surface.I have decided in the light of the survey findings that the site of the wreck should remain a prohibited area under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 and that no attempt be made to clear it or its cargo. The wreck will continue to be monitored and another survey will be undertaken in due course.I have placed in the Library a paper summarising the results of these and previous surveys, and the steps taken over the years to quantify and contain the danger from explosives on this wreck.I am sending a copy to my hon. Friend.

Environment

Genetic Engineering

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what research his Department is funding into whether genetically engineered micro-organisms decay in the environment or multiply in an uncontrollable fashion threatening ecological balance;(2) what research his Department is funding into the possible hazards to the health of man and of animal and plant life from the release of genetically engineered micro-organisms into the environment.

My Department spent over £1 million in 1990–91 on research into genetically modified organisms and expects to maintain future expenditure at a similar level. A substantial part of the research programme focuses on risks associated with the release of genetically modified micro-organisms, and more particularly on developing and assessing techniques for their isolation, identification and tracking in the environment. Results from this research are now being used to determine accurately whether populations of micro-organisms multiply or decay after release and to assess their subsequent impacts on other organisms in the environment.

Greenhouse Effect

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his Department's estimate of the contribution to the greenhouse effect from (a) the combustion of fossil fuels in Britain and (b) the escape of natural gas into the environment during the production and processing of North sea gas and its distribution to the consumer.

Revised figures for annual United Kingdom emissions of greenhouse gases up to 1990 will be published in late February or early March in the 14th edition of the "Digest of Environmental Protection and Water Statistics". The new estimates indicate that in 1990 United Kingdom emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion were about 2.6 per cent. of world emissions. Current estimates of world methane emissions from natural gas production are uncertain within a factor of at least two. United Kingdom emissions in 1990 can therefore be estimated only very approximately at between 1–7 per cent. and 3 per cent. of world emissions from this source.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what figures he has on the relative efficiency of absorption of infra-red radiation leading to the greenhouse effect for (a) carbon dioxide, (b) nitrogen dioxide, (c) methane and (d) chlorofluorocarbons.

The relative impact of greenhouse gases is only partly explained by their radiation absorption properties. Differences in concentration, atmospheric lifetime and secondary effects on the concentration of other gases are also important.To take account of all these factors, the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) developed the concept of the global warming potential (GWP).Initial tentative GWP values for a wide range of substances were published in the panel's first scientific assessment, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House.The IPCC, in a supplementary report which will be made public within a few months, will give revised GWPs for the main greenhouse gases. However the summary of the assessment, published recently, indicates that there is now greater uncertainty in the calculation of GWPs.

United Nations Conference

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the meeting between his Department and non-governmental organisations regarding progress towards the United Nations conference on environment and development, held on 15 January.

The meeting on 15 January enabled representatives of non-governmental organisations to give a verbal report on the international meeting they attended in Paris in December. They undertook to provide the Department of the Environment with the final report of the meeting as soon as it was available.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newport, West, Official Report, 15 January, column 574, on liaison with non-governmental organisations on the forthcoming United Nations conference on environment and development, he will set out (a) the dates of the meetings held to date, the issues discussed at each meeting and (b) the dates of the planned meetings and issues expected to be discussed.

Ministers and officials of the Department of the Environment and other Departments liaise regularly and often with a wide range of non-governmental organisations, individually and in groups, on UNCED issues and will continue to do so in the course of the government's preparations for the conference in June.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 15 January, Official Report, columns 574–75, how many copies of the booklet on the United Kingdom's overall approach to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development have been published; and where else the booklet has been made available for the wider public.

Six thousand copies of the booklet were originally printed and a further 6,000 have been ordered. It has been made available to posts overseas and is being widely used in replies to Ministerial and official enquiries about UNCED.

"Eco Decision"

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will arrange for his Department's library to subscribe to the new international journal, "Eco decision", published in Canada.

The library will obtain a specimen copy to see if it is likely to be of use to the Department.

Audit Commission

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list all the management and occasional papers published by the Audit Commission, showing the dates they were commissioned and completed, and the cost of producing each paper;(2) how many comparative and other studies were undertaken by the Audit Commission in each year since 1983, under section 26 of the Local Government Finance Act 1982; what the total cost of these studies was for each of the years, expressed in 1991 prices; and how long each study took to complete.

The Audit Commission is responsible for deciding what papers it will publish and what studies it will promote or undertake. Any available information will be obtainable from the Audit Commission.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of the Audit Commission's operating costs for each year since 1983 is attributable to activities not related to auditing the performance of local authorities.

This information is not available in the form requested. The Audit Commission's annual reports show that the percentage of the Audit Commission's total operating costs represented by central studies was as follows:

Percentage
1983–845.0
1984–854.7
1985–865.1
1986–874.3
1987–884.2
1988–894.3
1989–903.9
11990–913.6
1 Excludes operating costs and costs of central studies relating to the NHS, for which the Audit Commission assumed responsibility on 1 October 1990.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will show (a) the total salaries and (b) the total staff costs of the Audit Commission for each year since 1983, expressed in 1991 prices.

Total salaries and staff costs for field and support staff in the district audit service and the Audit Commission headquarters at 1991 prices1 are listed. Payments to audit firms and contract audit staff are excluded.

YearTotal salaries £000Total staff costs£000
1983–849,85913,279
1984–8511,95615,331
1985–8612,50016,341
YearTotal salaries£000Total staff costs£000
1986–8713,17217,735
1987–8813,92418,871
1988–8914,34119,172
1989–9016,08221,757
21990–9120,69727,945
1Calculated using GDP deflator index.
2Includes additional salaries and staff costs payable from 1 October 1990 in relation to NHS activities.

District Auditors

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, for each year since 1983, he will list all the public interest reports issued by district auditors, showing the names of the local authorities concerned, the dates they were issued and the political control of those authorities at the time the reports were issued.

Auditors are required to send copies of public interest reports concerning local authorities to the Audit Commission and do not send copies to the Secretary of State for the Environment. Any available information will be obtainable from the Audit Commission.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment by what percentage the fees payable by local authorities for the services of district auditors were increased each year since 1979; and what was the annual rate of inflation applying at the time of each increase.

Increases in audit fee rates charged to local authorities in England and Wales are not readily available for the years prior to 1984. In subsequent years provincial fee rates have increased as shown in the table. Provincial fee rates cover around 70 per cent. of authorities. Supplements are charged to authorities in London and the south-east to cover additional costs.

YearPer cent. rise compared to previous yearGDP deflator index (per. cent. inflation)
1984–850.05.0
1985–867.15.5
1986–875.83.3
1987–886.55.4
1988–895.87.2
1989–908.16.5
1990–9110.48.5
1991–926.57.0

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total amount paid by local authorities, in England and Wales, in fees to district auditors each year since 1979, expressed in (a) current prices and (b) 1991 prices.

The gross fee income obtained from local authorities in England and Wales before 1983–84 is not readily available. The amounts of gross fee income obtained from the annual reports and accounts of the Audit Commission for 1983–84 onwards are as listed.

Gross fee income (£000)

Year

Current prices

1991 prices

1

1983–8414,98722,391
1984–8520,00228,459
1985–8621,47728,960
1986–8723,66330,892
1987–8825,38831,434
1988–8927,93632,272
1989–9031,88134,586
1990–9137,95837,958

1 Calculated using GDP deflator index.

Hostels For The Homeless

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of occasions in the last year for which records are available when grants from his Department to hostels for the homeless run by charitable organisations have been paid late; and in how many cases over the same period interest and charges on bank overdrafts incurred by the charity as a result of late payment has been refunded.

Most revenue funding of hostels for the homeless is made by the Housing Corporation, using hostel deficit grant (HDG) or special needs management allowance (SNMA).Under the rough sleepers initiative, my Department is meeting some revenue costs of hostels and emergency shelters under section 73 of the Housing Act 1985: These payments are made as soon as my officials are satisfied with the financial and other information required from the voluntary organisation concerned. No payments of interest or charges on overdrafts have been made or requested.

Housing, Walsall

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when the hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive an answer to the letter written on 17 December to the Minister of State over housing in the borough of Walsall.

Local Authority Staff

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total number of staff employed directly by local authorities, in England and Wales, in each year since 1979.

The information for England is as listed. Staffing levels of local authorities in Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Staffing levels at June of each year
YearTotal staff (full-time plus part-time)Total (full-time equivalents)
19792,512,5931,975,170
19802,474,9001,951,070
19812,420,9561,914,368
19822,392,8511,887,175
19832,405,4481,892,603
19842,409,5611,891,823
19852,419,2931,892,117

Staffing levels at June of each year

Year

Total staff (full-time plus part-time)

Total (full-time equivalents)

19862,448,7091,902,192
19872,490,5181,922,430
19882,514,3301,929,719
19892,453,9221,886,548
19902,480,0591,900,965
19912,457,7511,885,941

Source: Joint Staffing Watch for England.

Note:—Three major events caused significant losses from the local authority sector during the period covered by this table. The numbers involved are:

  • 1. Approximately 6,300 ftes due to the abolition of the GLC and the metropolitan county councils in 1986.
  • 2. Around 14,500 ftes due to the change in status of the local authority bus and municipal airport staff in 1986 and 1987.
  • 3. Around 39,000 ftes when polytechnics and higher education institutions transferred from the public to the personal sector in 1989.
  • Compulsory Competitive Tendering

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what evidence his Department has that local authorities have abused the current rules with regard to compulsory competitive tendering; and if he will publish a list of those authorities involved.

    A full list of local authorities against whom statutory action has been taken under sections 13 and 14 of the Local Government Act 1988 and sections 19A and 19B of the Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980 follows. There are many other instances where there is evidence of a breach of the statutory provisions but the Secretary of State has concluded that the case for statutory action is not made.

    Notices issued under Section 13 of the Local Government Act 1988 Where (a) the Authority appeared to have acted in an anti-competitive manner
    AuthorityDate of notice
    Birmingham city council10 May 1990
    Braintree district council29 March 1990
    Bristol city council4 September 1989
    Bury metropolitan borough council1 June 1990
    Camden, London borough of3 July 1990
    Charnwood borough council21 December 1989
    Doncaster metropolitan borough council21 September 1990
    East Lindsey district council9 April 1990
    Eden district council29 March 1990
    Halton borough council9 October 1991
    Haringey, London borough of12 November 1991
    Hillingdon, London borough of4 September 1989
    Knowsley metropolitan borough council7 December 1989
    Leicester city council11 September 1990
    Liverpool city council31 May 1990
    Nottingham city council8 January 1992
    Redditch borough council18 January 1991
    Thurrock district council3 October 1990
    Wakefield metropolitan borough council6 March 1991
    Warrington district council2 August 1991
    Waveney district council24 July 1991
    Wolverhampton metropolitan borough council3 January 1990
    Woodspring district council6 September 1990
    York city council10 May 1990

    Notices issued under Section 13 of the Local Government Act 1988 Where (b) the Authority appeared to have failed to achieve the prescribed financial objective

    Authority

    Date of notice

    Breckland district council19 September 1991
    Camden, London borough of3 July 1990
    Crawley borough council29 July 1991
    Crawley borough council (2 notices)9 October 1991
    Eastleigh borough council18 December 1990
    Epsom and Ewell borough council1 July 1991
    Gloucester city council28 October 1991
    Gosport borough council29 July 1991
    Harrogate borough council1 July 1991
    Haringey, London borough of12 December 1990
    Humberside county council8 June 1990
    Lewes district council28 October 1991
    North Tyneside metropolitan borough council1 July 1991
    Preston borough council22 November 1991
    Redbridge, London borough of1 July 1991
    Shropshire county council28 October 1991
    Surrey county council28 October 1991
    Waverley district council28 October 1991
    West Devon district council1 July 1991

    Notices issued under Section 13 of the Local Government Act 1988 Where (c) the Authority appeared to have failed to comply with the detailed specification for the work

    AuthorityDate of notice
    Camden, London borough of3 July 1990

    Directions served under section 14 of the Local Government Act 1988 where

    (a) the authority appeared to have acted in an anticompetitive manner

    Doncaster MBC, 11 December 1990 (replacement direction issued 28 March 1991)

    Hillingdon LB, 13 March 1990 (replacement direction issued 1 August 1990)

    East Lindsey DC, 6 July 1990 (replacement direction issued 31 July 1990)

    Knowsley MBC, 6 July 1990 (replacement direction issued 3 August 1990)

    Leicester City C. 19 December 1990 (replacement direction issued 29 January 1991)

    Liverpool City C. 6 August 1990 (replacement direction issued 24 June 1991)

    Redditch BC. 5 March 1991

    Thurrock DC, 19 December 1990 (replacement direction issued 5 March 1991)

    Wakefield MBC, 15 August 1991

    Woodspring DC. 8 November 1990

    York City C. 9 August 1990 (replacement direction issued 13 September 1990).

    (b) the authority appeared to have failed to achieve the prescribed financial objective

    Camden LB, 31 October 1990

    Eastleigh BC, 9 April 1991

    Haringey LB, 20 June 1991

    Harrogate BC, 15 November 1991

    Humberside CC, 30 July 1990

    and

    (c) the authority appeared to have failed to comply with the detailed specification for the work

    Camden LB, 31 October 1990.

    Notices issued under section 19A of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 where (a) the authority appeared to have acted in an anti-competitive manner

    Date

    Wirral MBC28 March 1989
    Liverpool City30 May 1991
    Salford City C1 July 1991

    and

    (b) where the authority appeared to have failed to achieve the prescribed financial objective

    Date

    Barrow in Furness DC1 July 1991
    Brent LB20 December 1989
    Bromley LB29 July 1991
    Camden LB1 July 1991
    Copeland BC9 July 1991
    Eastleigh BC (2 directions)18 December 1990
    Greenwich LB10 April 1991
    Harrogate BC (2 directions)1 July 1991
    Kingston Upon Thames LB29 July 1991
    Milton Keynes BC15 October 1991
    Portsmouth City C29 July 1991
    Rochdale MBC7 February 1991
    Salford MBC1 July 1991
    Shepway DC1 July 1991
    Stroud DC10 April 1991
    Tonbridge and Mailing BC10 October 1990
    Tower Hamlets LB1 July 1991
    Waltham Forest LB29 July 1991
    Warrington DC29 July 1991
    Worthing BC29 July 1991
    Wychavon DC29 July 1991
    Wycombe DC12 December 1990

    Directions served under section I 9B of the Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980 where

    (a) the authority appeared to have acted in an anti-competitive manner

    Wirral MBC—23 October 1989

    and

    (b) where the authority appeared to have failed to achieve the prescribed financial objective

    • Brent LB—24 July 1990
    • Barrow-in-Furness DC—15 November 1991
    • Copeland BC—20 December 1991
    • Greenwich LB—25 September 1991
    • Harrogate BC (two directions)—15 November 1991
    • Rochdale MBC—20 December 1991
    • Shepway DC—15 November 1991
    • Tonbridge and Mailing BC—28 February 1991
    • Tower Hamlets—15 November 1991

    Drinking Water

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are being taken to meet the requirements of the EC drinking water directive in the light of the Advocate General's opinion on the case before the European Court.

    The significance of this opinion has been widely misrepresented. First, it does not have to be followed by the court, which will give its judgment at a later date.Secondly, the standards in the EC drinking water directive are not necessarily those currently met in other member states, but those which all member states should meet. All member states are having difficulty in doing that, and the Commission has so far taken legal action for failing to meet the directive's requirements against 10 other member states besides the United Kingdom.There are two respects in which this country is unique. We alone have a detailed, firmly committed and fully funded programme, costing £2 billion, for remedying almost all breaches of the directive by 1995. And we are the only member state to have a comprehensive and completely open system for monitoring drinking water quality and publishing the results at national level, in England and Wales, through the drinking water inspectorate's annual report.The drinking water inspectorate has confirmed that the standard of our drinking water is in fact already very high. Of 3.3 million tests carried out in England and Wales during 1990, 99 per cent. showed compliance with the requirements of our national regulations, which are more stringent than those of the EC directive.In this court case, the Commission made five allegations. One was about compliance with the standard for lead in certain parts of Scotland. The Advocate-General concluded that the United Kingdom is not in breach of the directive in this respect. However we accept that some supplies do exceed our more stringent national standard, and action is therefore being taken by the water undertakers to reduce the risk of that standard being breached.Three of the five allegations had nothing to do with the quality of drinking water as such, but were solely concerned with whether United Kingdom legislation had been passed to enact all the provisions of the directive. The Advocate-General considers that the court must look at the position in 1989, when the preliminary procedures finished, rather than the actual position today. Legislation in Scotland came into effect in 1990, and legislation covering water used in food production in September 1991. The remaining point in dispute was legislation in Northern Ireland. This is at an advanced stage of preparation. The absence of legislation has not, however, delayed the action being taken by the Northern Ireland water service to achieve full compliance with the standards in the directive.The remaining allegation was about nitrate levels in some parts of England. Breaches of the standard for nitrate are being eliminated as quickly as is practicable. Of the 29 supply zones originally named by the Commission, seven now comply. But in some other cases compliance cannot be achieved until 1995. If there were any evidence of a health hazard in these zones meanwhile, immediate action would be taken to make an alternative supply of water available to vulnerable groups.The Commission's case did not contain any allegations about compliance with the directive's standards for substances other than lead and nitrate.This is the first case brought against the United Kingdom on an environmental issue in the 20 years that we have been a member of the European Community. Few member states can match this record.

    Birmingham (Heartlands)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for the future of the Heartlands area of Birmingham.

    Having considered the problems of the area carefully, and having received proposals from Birmingham Heartlands Limited and the Birmingham city council, I am pleased to announce that I propose to establish a Birmingham Heartlands urban development corporation. The necessary statutory order will be laid before the House as soon as possible. I am also pleased to announce that Sir Reginald Eyre has agreed to become the chairman of the development corporation.

    Local Government Finance

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list by local authority area the proportions of local authority finance derived from revenue support grant, specific grant, non-domestic rate income and poll tax for 1991–92.

    [holding answer 23 January 1992]: I am arranging for the available information to be placed in the Library of the House.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish his latest estimates for each local authority of (a) the percentage of total budgeted poll tax income collected so far in the current year, (b) the amounts outstanding in £ million and (c) the numbers of liability orders taken out for poll tax debt.

    [holding answer 23 January 1992]: I am arranging for the available information on community charge collection to be placed in the Library of the House. No information is available on the number of liability orders obtained by each local authority.

    Battersea Power Station

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when officials from the Department last inspected the fabric of Battersea power station; and what steps are currently being taken by the Department to safeguard the building.

    [holding answer 23 January 1992]: English Heritage, my right hon. Friend's statutory advisers on historic buildings matters, who have extensive listed building powers in London, visit Battersea power station regularly to monitor its physical condition. They last visited the building in November 1991 and will be visiting again within the next couple of weeks. They are also in regular contact with the owner. There is no evidence to suggest that the building has deteriorated over the last two years and the most important internal features are being kept weathertight and waterproof.

    Genetically Modified Organisms

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many genetically modified organisms were released into the environment in 1991; and if he will make a statement.

    I have been asked to reply.Under the Genetic Manipulation Regulations 1989, the Health and Safety Executive was notified of 12 proposals to release genetically modified organisms to the environment, in the year 1991.Public consultation has just been completed on proposed new regulations to be made under part VI of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Under the proposed regulations releases of genetically modified organisms would be subject to consents by the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Health and Safety Executive.

    Attorney-General

    Blasphemy

    To ask the Attorney-General if he will prosecute the authors and publishers of the free booklet, "Crucifixion or Cruci-Fiction", published by the Islamic Progagation Centre, Small Heath, Birmingham, for blasphemy.

    This booklet has not been referred by any complainant to the Crown Prosecution Service headquarters for consideration.

    Legal Aid

    To ask the Attorney-General how many investigations are currently being undertaken by the investigation branch of the Legal Aid Board; and what is the average length of time taken for those investigations to he completed.

    Sixty-three cases are currently being investigated by the Legal Aid Board. It took an average of some two years to conclude each of the seven cases prosecuted in the past three years.

    To ask the Attorney-General what consultations have been held with the Association of Chief Police Officers concerning the number of fraud squad investigations into fraudulent claims for legal aid which are awaiting data processing by the Legal Aid Board.

    There has been no direct consultation with the Association of Chief Police Officers. However, the investigation manager of the Legal Aid Board liaises regularly with various police fraud squads throughout England and Wales to discuss possible fraudulent legal aid claims.

    To ask the Attorney-General how many (a) successful and (b) total prosecutions there have been following evidence supplied to fraud squads by the investigations branch of the Legal Aid Board over the last three years; how much public money has been (a) lost and (b) subsequently recovered arising from such investigations; and if he will make a statement.

    In the past three years there have been seven Crown Court prosecutions, five of which have been successful. The Legal Aid Board has been awarded some £52,000 formal compensation by the court for three of these cases. The board pursues the recovery of any sums overclaimed from the legal aid fund, whether or not there is evidence of fraud and irrespective of the outcome of any criminal proceedings.

    To ask the Attorney-General what effect the introduction of central taxing teams has had on the time taken to deal with legal aid claims; and if he will take steps to reduce this time.

    Since the establishment of the central taxing teams in March 1991. only cases under £4,000 are determined in the Crown Court. In the year until March 1991, the percentage of non-standard fee determinations paid within one month of the Crown Court was 62.5 per cent. for solicitors and 62.4 per cent. for counsel. In the eight months from March to November 1991, the percentage of non-standard fee determinations remaining in the Crown Court paid within one month had increased to 71 per cent. for solicitors and to 71–3 per cent. for counsel. The percentage of standard fee claims paid within 10 days had increased from 67.8 per cent. to 70.2 per cent. for solicitors and from 67.9 per cent. to 70.1 per cent. for counsel. The average time taken to deal with standard fee claims had been reduced from 12 days to 10.5 days for solicitors and from 11 days to 9.75 days for counsel. Equivalent figures are not available for claims amounting to more than £4,000 which are now handled by the central taxing teams, but the times taken by the teams to determine such claims in November 1991 were provided in a recent written answer to the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Carlisle) Official Report, 11 December 1991, column 421.The Lord Chancellor's Department has recently increased the number of determining officers available to the teams by nearly 40 per cent. In addition, where a number of claims for less than £4,000 are linked to claims for between £4,000 and £8,000, circuit taxing directors have been authorised to release these claims to the court for determination and this is done wherever appropriate. These initiatives have resulted in a significant increase in the disposal rate of the teams which will lead to a reduction in waiting times in the coming months. A number of initiatives to train additional determining officers are also being carried forward.

    Social Security Appeals

    To ask the Attorney-General what is his assessment of the delays experienced by applicants for benefit by the Office of the Social Security Commissioners in Edinburgh in dealing with appeals.

    In 1990–91 the average waiting time from the elate on which appeals became ready for determination by commissioners to the notification of the decisions to the claimants was 14 months. This was caused by a backlog of appeals in the office of the social security commissioners in Edinburgh. The situation has now improved considerably and the current average waiting time is seven months.

    Employment

    Training Schemes

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give for each region and for Great Britain as a whole how many people were participating in (a) employment training, (b) the enterprise allowance scheme, and (c) youth training in each month since September 1988; and if he will make a statement.

    As the information requested is contained in a number of tables I will write to the hon. Member.

    Disability

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) what arrangements he proposes to introduce after re-organisation of services for people with disabilities to enable members of placing, assessment and counselling teams or disablement resettlement officers to make home visits to those people who because of transport difficulties or the severity of their disability are unable to attend a local employment service office;(2) if disabled persons who are at an interview to establish whether they are eligible to register under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 can

    (a) be represented or escorted by a third person, (b) see what is being written about them on an employment registration document and (c) ask for the counsellor to be changed if they feel they are being treated unreasonably; and if he will make a statement;

    (3) what information he has on the number of people registered under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944 for each year since 1987; how many were registered under section 1 or section 2; how many were (a) male or (b) female; how many were aged under 25 or over 50 years of age; and if he will make a statement.

    Questions on operational matters in the Employment Service Executive Agency are the responsibility of Mike Fogden, the agency's chief executive, to whom I have referred this question for reply.

    Vocational Training

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will indicate the forecast amounts of European social fund money that will be received by British industry in respect of vocational training in 1992 and 1993; what is the forecast of United Kingdom public sector provision towards vocational training for each of these years supporting such European social fund funding; and what are the principal sources from which such public sector provision is forecast to be provided, together with the amounts of funds for each of these years.

    The main objective of the European social fund (ESF) is to assist the unemployed into permanent employment by means of vocational training and other employment measures. To the extent that ESF contributes to a better trained work force, the fund is of benefit to the whole of British industry.A wide variety of organisations secure direct ESF support, including training and enterprise councils, local enterprise companies in Scotland, and industry training organisations. The fund also provides major support in respect of such national programmes as employment training and youth training which are in turn delivered locally by TECs and LECs.Under the current European Community rules, money from the ESF is used to fund 45 per cent. of the eligible costs of a project, with the remaining 55 per cent. to come from matching by public funding. The principal sources of this public expenditure are central Government and individual local authorities. In 1991–92 we anticipate receiving £4995 million from the ESF for Great Britain, requiring public matching funding of at least £610.5 million. Details of anticipated receipts from the ESF for 1992–93 and 1994–95 will be published shortly in departmental expenditure plans.

    Privatisations

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list for the five years prior to privatisation the loss or profit of (a) the Skills Training Agency and (b) Professional and Executive Recruitment; and if he will list any grants or loans made over the same period.

    (a) The privatisation of the Skills Training Agency (STA) was completed in May 1990. From 1 April 1984 STA was required to operate trading accounts. These are contained and fully explained within the published MSC/TA White Paper accounts for the financial years 1984–5 to 1988–89 which have been laid before Parliament. For 1989–90 no separate trading accounts were produced for STA and its activity is covered in the Trading Agency White Paper accounts (1989–90) which were published in July 1991. The total surplus/deficit position for the five financial years 1984–85 to 1988–89 (after exceptional items and extraordinary costs) is as follows:

    Years£ million1
    1984–85(15.2)
    1985–86(17.5)
    1986–870.2
    1987–88(2.9)
    1988–89(27.3)
    1 Figures in brackets reflect deficit amounts.
    STA, as part of MSC and its successors was included in the Department's vote and was able to draw funds from that vote in meet its commitments. No loans were made to STA.

    (b) The privatisation of Professional and Executive Recruitment (PER) was completed in September 1988. From April 1983 PER was required to operate a trading account. Full details are contained in the MSC White Paper accounts for the years 1983–84 to 1986–87. Accounts for 1987–88 are contained in House of Commons Papers Nos. 582 and 603 of 1987–88. The net surplus/deficit position for the five financial years 1983–84 to 1987–88 is as follows:

    Years

    £ million

    1

    1983–840.1
    1984–850.2
    1985–860.1
    1986–87(0.2)
    1987–88(1.0)

    1 Figures in brackets reflect deficit amounts.

    PER as part of MSC and the employment service was included in the Department's vote and was able to draw funds from that vote to meet its commitments. No loans were made to PER.

    Radiological Emergency

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make it his policy to incorporate European Community directive 89/618 Euratom on informing the general public about health protection measures to be applied and steps to be taken in the event of a radiological emergency into the United Kingdom law at the earliest possible date.

    I can confirm that it is the Government's policy to incorporate the requirements of European Council Directive 89/6182 Euratom into Great Britain law; and I would refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer given in reply to the hon. Member for Knowsley, South (Mr. O'Hara) on 13 January 1992, Official Report, column 457, for the timetable for implementation.

    Tecs

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will provide figures of training and enterprise councils' budgets for each of the regions in Great Britain for the last two years.

    The following table shows the TEC operational budgets for 1990–91 and 1991–92. Information for Scottish local enterprise companies is for the Secretary of State for Scotland to provide. Budgets are for the period of TEC operation only and vary in the periods they cover because of the differing operational dates of TECs.

    Allocation
    £ million
    TEC1990–911991–92
    South East
    Essex (23 July 1990)14.68529.162
    Hampshire (17 September 1990)13.44731.963
    Heart of England (17 September 1990)4.35510.733
    Hertfordshire (30 April 1990)10.41319.527
    Isle of Wight (15 October 1990)1.5884.123
    Kent (12 November 1990)8.73832.172
    Milton Keynes and North Buckinghamshire (17 September 1990)3.1256.488
    Surrey (1 April 1991)Nil14.070
    Sussex (1 April 1991)Nil25.984
    Thames Valley Enterprise (30 April 1990)12.24119.784
    London
    AZTEC (12 November 1990)2.72010.742
    CENTEC (16 September 1991)Nil11.951
    CILNTEC (14 October 1991)Nil8.124
    LETEC (I April 1991)Nil27.618
    North London (16 September 1991)Nil9.690
    North West London (16 September 1991)Nil5.625
    SOLOTEC (1 April 1991)Nil18.555
    South Thames (27 May 1991)Nil20.510
    West London (16 September 1991)Nil8.945
    West Midlands
    Birmingham (12 November 1990)11.57846.456
    Central England (1 April 1991)Nil10.975
    Coventry (17 September 1990)13.62225.768
    Dudley (1 April 1991)Nil11.203
    Hereford and Worcester (1 April 1991)Nil10.141
    Sandwell (1 April 1991)Nil11.247
    Shropshire (1 April 1991)Nil13.460
    Staffordshire (15 October 1990)16.33534.627
    Walsall (15 October 1990)4.46323.544
    Wolverhampton (1 April 1991)Nil11.564
    East Midlands and Anglia
    Leicester (1 April 1991)Nil26.339
    Northants (1 April 1991)Nil12.852
    Lincolnshire (1 April 1991)Nil8.174
    Greater Nottingham (1 April 1991)Nil21.420
    North Nottingham (25 June 1960)11.32916.965
    South Derbyshire (7 January 1991)3.17017.607
    North Derbyshire (1 April 1991)Nil11.544
    Norfolk and Waveney (12 November 1990)8.46122.888
    Suffolk (12 November 1990)4.53414.243
    Bedfordshire (1 April 1991)Nil12.137
    Greater Peterborough (4 February 1991)0.9028.174

    TEC

    1990–91

    1991–92

    CAMBSTEC (4 February 1991)0.3736.362

    Yorkshire and Humberside

    Leeds (15 October 1990)10.03522.497
    North Yorkshire (25 June 1990)10.81917.006
    Bradford (7 January 1991)5.54318.696
    Calderdale/Kirklees (3 April 1990)18.13820.592
    Wakefield (7 January 1991)3.72012.231
    Barnsley and Doncaster (7 January 1991)6.63125.705
    Sheffield (1 October 1990)11.62524.206
    Rotherham (30 July 1990)7.15712.127
    Humberside (2 April 1991)Nil37.537

    North West

    Bolton and Bury (15 October 1990)6.40012.900
    CEWTEC (1 April 1991)Nil21.000
    Cumbria (30 April 1990)14.90017.300
    ELTEC (29 May 1990)13.50017.300
    LAWTEC (1 April 1991)Nil26.300
    Manchester (12 November 1990)12.60038.500
    METROTEC (23 July 1990)7.00010.500
    Oldham (30 April 1990)7.6008.600
    QUALITEC (1 April 1991)Nil9.300
    Rochdale (30 April 1990)5.5006.500
    South and East Cheshire (9 April 1990)8.30010.900
    Stockport and High Peak (20 August 1990)5.5009.700
    Merseyside (24 June 1991)Nil41.600
    NORMID (24 June 1991)Nil11.900

    Northern

    Teeside (30 April 1990)31.05734.565
    Tyneside (30 April 1990)33.11345.908
    Wearside (30 April 1990)18.49421.484
    Durham (1 October 1990)16.45434.380
    Northumberland (17 September 1990)6.21415.639

    Wales

    Gwent (4 February 1991)2.40018.400
    North East Wales (17 September 1990)6.20013.600
    North West Wales (4 February 1991)1.80013.600
    Mid Glamorgan (23 July 1990)14.90021.100
    Powys (2 April 1991)Nil4.800
    South Glamorgan (4 February 1991)3.40014.100
    West Wales (23 July 1990)20.40031.500

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what criteria he has set down for the circumstances in which training and enterprise councils may fund visits to overseas conferences; and if he will make a statement.

    We have given training and enterprise councils a great deal of freedom of action to carry out the plans on which the Department contract with them. It is for them to decide on matters of this kind.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give details of the costs of the visit to the conference on partnership in education, in Washington DC which are being borne by the Teesside training and enterprise council.

    Training and enterprise councils have been given an important role in ensuring that education and training are relevant to the needs of local business. Through the contract the Department has with each TEC we agree the overall outputs they will achieve for the funding they receive. As such, detailed matters such as attendance at conferences are for the TEC itself to decide.

    Construction Statistics

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the numbers employed in the construction industry in each year since 1981.

    The information is shown in the table.

    Employees in construction in the United Kingdom
    SeptemberThousands (seasonally adjusted)
    19811,096
    19821,062
    19831,051
    19841,045
    19851,011
    1986987
    19871,023
    19881,044
    19891,091
    19901,077
    1991951

    Youth Training

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will provide for Greater London a table showing the number of YTS and YT places (a) available and (b) filled, for June of each year from 1988 to 1991, or the nearest available month.

    The information is not available in the form requested.All young people under 18 who are not in full time education or a job and are seeking youth training are entitled to the offer or re-offer of a suitable training place.Additionally, young people who are aged 18 or over who have not previously been available for YT because of disability, ill health, pregnancy, custodial sentence, remand, language difficulty or care order are entitled to the offer of a suitable training place.The Government remain committed to meeting their guarantee in London as elsewhere.

    Home Department

    Private Prisons

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if prison inmates in privately-run prisons will be able to petition against governor's adjudications in such prisons; to whom they will make their application; and if he will make a statement.

    Disciplinary proceedings at privately-run prisons will be the responsibility of the on-site controller, a crown servant. Inmates will be able to appeal to the head of the remands contracts unit, a division in prison service headquarters, against an adjudication.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will require privately run prisons to produce annual reports; to whom those reports will be sent; and who will be able to take action upon recommendations made in such a report.

    Private contractors who are responsible for managing prisons will not be required to produce an annual report. Instead they will have to provide regular management information to the on-site controller, a crown servant who will be monitoring their performance to ensure that they comply with the terms of the contract.

    Belmarsh Prison, London

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the present number of vacancies of prison officers and their grades at Belmarsh prison, London; and if he will make a statement.

    Staff have been provided to operate the four house blocks and three of the four spurs of the category A unit at Belmarsh. There are vacancies in the specialist prison officer grades for three senior hospital officers, one officer instructor, one principal officer works and two works officers.

    Visitor Visas

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many overseas domestic workers entering the United Kingdom have been issued with visitor visas prohibiting employment since 1980; and if he will make a statement.

    Bail And Probation Hostels

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the numbers of occasions in the last year for which records are available when grants from his Department to bail and probation hostels and institutions run by charitable organisations have been paid late; and in how many cases over the same period interest and charges on overdrafts incurred by the charity as a result of late payment have been refunded.

    The Home Office awards grants to a wide range of charitable organisations and the information requested could not be obtained without disproportionate costs.Grants to bail and probation hostels are paid quarterly in advance but during the latter part of the year actual expenditure may exceed planned expenditure for justifiable reasons. In these circumstances interest charges are reimbursed in the final grant claim but the amounts are not separately identified. In the case of grants awarded to charitable organisations who provide other supported accommodation for offenders there have been no claims for a refund of interest charges on overdrafts.

    Escaped Prisoners

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the escape of prisoners from police custody while being transported from Walton prison to the magistrates' court on 21 January.

    On the morning of 21 January, 15 prisoners were being escorted to Liverpool magistrates' court, under the supervision of eight staff from Her Majesty's prison, Liverpool. The coach had travelled only a short distance from the prison, when the majority of the prisoners moved en masse and attacked staff; it is believed that the prisoners were armed with knives. A fierce struggle ensued, during which three members of staff and two prisoners sustained injuries. Several windows of the coach were kicked out and a total of six prisoners succeeded in making good their escape, although still handcuffed. Initially eight prisoners succeeded in escaping through the coach windows but two were immediately restrained by prison staff.Four of the six escaped prisoners were arrested by police within 40 minutes of the escape and all are facing further criminal charges. These four prisoners will be located in a prison other than Her Majesty's prison, Liverpool. Two prisoners remain unlawfully at large.The injured staff and prisoners were taken to the accident and emergency department of Walton general hospital. Of the three staff, one sustained a deep wound to the forearm, another wounds to his arms and face and the third head and leg injuries. All three staff are now recovering from their injuries in their own homes. The two injured prisoners sustained, respectively, a cut to the neck; and a fractured jaw and a suspected fractured arm. One of the inmates remains in Walton general hospital while the other is recovering in Liverpool prison hospital.A full inquiry into the circumstances of this incident will commence on 23 January 1992 led by the governor of Her Majesty's prison Birmingham.

    Obscene Publications

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to reform the law of obscenity in order to prevent the publication of books openly advocating sadism, incest, bestiality, genocide, cannibalism and other such practices.

    [holding answer 21 January 1992]: The Government fully recognise the need for the law to deal effectively with those who would seek to profit from the trade in pornography. We have introduced or supported a range of measures strengthening the law in relation to child pornography, indecent displays, video recordings and broadcasting. Previous attempts to reform the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and 1964 did not command sufficient support in Parliament but we remain willing to support any apropriate proposals which would make the law more effective and which would appear to command public and parliamentary endorsement.

    Wales

    Electrical Goods Industry

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what household electrical goods are currently made in Wales; what steps he is taking to promote this industry; and if he will make a statement.

    The main household electrical goods currently made in Wales are as follows:

    • Colour televisions
    • Video cassette recorders
    • CD/Hi-Fi systems
    • Microwave ovens
    • Washing machines
    • Dishwashers
    • Tumble dryers
    In the case of colour televisions, video recorders, microwave ovens and washing machines production in Wales accounts for over 50 per cent. of the total United Kingdom output.I continually refer to the strengths of Welsh industry in my discussions with various industrialists and organisations both here and overseas.

    Cancer

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish for each of the last five years the number of new cases whose diagnosis was confirmed in that year for the following cancer types: (a) lung, (b) colorectal, (c) breast, (d) lymphoma, (e) pancreatic, (f) leukaemia, (g) ovarian, (h) melanoma and (1) cervical.

    The latest available published information for usual residents of Wales are given in the table:

    Registrations of newly diagnosed cancer cases
    19821983198419851986
    Trachea, bronchus and lung2,1532,2022,2372,3242,168
    Colorectal11,5621,7231,7591,8351,686
    Breast (female)1,5051,5411,5321,7111,532
    Breast (male)1214212715
    Lymphoma2284364319416355
    Pancreas349404438395381
    Leukaemia3274305298315309
    Ovary and other uterine adnexa303343346344318
    Malignant melanoma of skin125174148174197
    Cervix uteri242344353375351
    Source: Welsh Cancer Registry.
    1Includes colon and rectum.
    2Includes Hodgkin's disease.
    3Includes, lymphoid, myeloid, monocytic and other unspecified leukaemia.

    Water Pollution

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish on a county by county basis the number of abandoned coal mines in Wales which continue to discharge ferriginous material to surface waters.

    The information is as follows:

    Number
    Clwyd2
    Gwynedd
    Powys
    Dyfed1
    West Glamorgan9
    Mid Glamorgan7
    South Glamorgan
    Gwent2

    Source: National Rivers Authority

    Urban Environment

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment has been made by his Department of the effect of the European Community's Green Paper on the urban environment upon strategic planning processes in Welsh local authorities.

    The European Community Green Paper on the urban environment, published in 1990, was welcomed by the Government. The Community has subsequently set up an expert group to consider how the proposals in the Green Paper should be taken forward. The United Kingdom is represented on the group and we will, in due course, assess the effect of its findings on the strategic planning process in Welsh local authorities.

    "Free For All"

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will obtain for his departmental library a copy of the videocassette and transcript of the television programme, "Free For All," broadcast on Channel Four on 9 January.

    Neath And Port Talbot Hospital

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when invitations for tender were issued for the first contracts for the new Neath and Port Talbot hospital; and when they are expected to be returned.

    On current programming, I understand that West Glamorgan health authority anticipates being able to invite tenders for the first infrastructure contract in the second half of 1992.

    Neighbourhood Hospitals

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer on 20 January, Official Report, column 76, what guidance he has issued to Welsh health authorities contemplating the development of neighbourhood hospitals concerning the incorporation of national health service nursing homes; how residents and patients of such nursing homes are to be funded; and if he will make a statement.

    The "Caring for People" White Paper (Cm. 849) makes it clear that health authorities will need to ensure that their plans allow for the provision of continuing residential health care for highly dependent people who need it. Whether this requires an increase or reduction in the level of continuous health care provided under the national health service will depend very much on local circumstances. Our subsequent guidance on the development of joint plans for social and community care by health and social services authorities and others confirms that they should agree the level and form of continuous care which will be secured for their local population. Any such care provided under the national health service, whether contracted by a health authority from an national health service facility or from a private or voluntary sector provider, will be free of charge to the patient.

    Scotland

    Toxoplasmosis

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will implement a campaign to educate pregnant women and their health carers about toxoplasmosis and its prevention in Scotland;(2) which health authorities in Scotland provide information on infectious disease during pregnancy to pregnant women; which health authorities provide specific information about the prevention of toxoplasmosis to pregnant women; which health authorities in Scotland routinely test pregnant women for toxoplasmosis; and which test pregnant women on demand for toxoplasmosis;(3) what representations he has received on toxoplasmosis.

    A new leaflet containing advice on toxoplasmosis and other infections has recently been issued to health boards by the Health Education Board for Scotland for the guidance of pregnant women. The leaflet, which is published by the Department of Health and entitled "While you are pregnant: safe eating and how to avoid infection from food and animals", encourages pregnant women to take precautions when handling and consuming food and in their contacts with animals.Health boards do not routinely test pregnant women for toxoplasmosis and no information is available centrally about the availability of such a test on demand.In the last 12 months, my right hon. Friend has received five inquiries about toxoplasmosis, all from hon. Members.

    Stobhill Maternity Unit

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give the number of times in the past year that Greater Glasgow health board has advertised for neo-natal nurses for the Stobhill maternity unit; and where the advertisements were placed.

    The board has not needed to advertise for neo-natal nurses at Stobhill over the past year.

    British Steel

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what public funds British Steel has received in grants for the development of its Scottish plants, including Ravenscraig, since privatisation; and if he will make a statement.

    British Steel has received no public funds for the development of its Scottish plants since privatisation. Any application for state aid for that purpose would have to be considered in the context of the relevant EC regulations.

    Lingerbay Quarry Development

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to publish the result of the aggregates in Scotland working party survey completed in 1989; and whether he intends to have the survey updated before he decides whether or not to call in the planning decision due to be given on the Lingerbay quarry development.

    My right hon. Friend is still considering the results of the aggregates in Scotland working party survey and is not yet in a position to predict a date for publication of the findings. He has no plans, for the present, to have the survey updated before he decides whether or not to call in the application for planning permission made by Redlands Aggregates Ltd. for development at Lingerbay near Rodel on the Isle of Harris.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his office will be commissioning their own independent assessment of the potential effects upon the local marine environment of ballast dumping in Lingerbay in connection with any quarry development.

    Scottish Office officials are already looking into the possible implications for the marine environment of any project that may go ahead, including any effects that might arise from discharges of ballast water and potential discharges into the sea from quarrying operations. Any marine construction works would need a licence under part II of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985. A detailed assessment of the impact of the project as a whole on the marine environment would be required before such a licence was issued.

    Social Security Commissioners

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what request he has had from the Social Security Commissioners in Edinburgh for additional qualified staff to process appeals.

    Social Security

    War Pensioners

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on extending the limit of war pension to be disregarded in calculating housing benefit and the community charge.

    The statutory disregard on war widows' and war disablement pensions was doubled to £10 in April 1990. In addition, local authorities have discretion to enhance this disregard at their own expense when assessing entitlement to housing benefit and community charge benefit. There is a full statutory disregard of the special payments for pre-1973 war widows—currently £44.36 a week. We have no plans to change these arrangements.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the councils which (a) operate and (b) do not operate a total disregard scheme for war pensioners for housing benefit and the community charge.

    The information requested, as reported by local authorities in the financial year 1990–91, as listed in the following table.

    Local authorities operating a total disregard scheme for both war disablement and war widows' pensions
    AberconwyAberdeen1
    AllerdaleAmber Valley3
    Angus1Annandale1
    ArfonArgyll-Bute1
    ArunAshfield
    AshfordBadenoch1
    Banff and Buchan1Basingstoke
    BassetlawBearsden and Milngavie1
    Berwickshire1Birmingham
    BlackpoolBlaenau Gwent
    Borders2Boston
    BracknellBradford
    BraintreeBrent
    BrentwoodBrighton
    BroxbourneBroxtowe
    BurnleyCaithness1
    CalderdaleCardiff
    CarlisleCarrick
    Castle PointCentral3
    CeredigionCharnwood
    ChelmsfordCheltenham
    CherwellChesterfield
    ChilternChristchurch
    Clackmannan1Clydebank1
    Clydesdale1Colwyn
    CongletonCopeland
    CotswoldCoventry
    CravenCrewe and Nantwich
    Cumbernauld(DC)1Cumbernauld (Kils.)1
    Cumnock and Doon1Cunninghame1
    DacorumDartford
    DaventryDelyn
    Dumbarton1Dumfries and Galloway2
    Dundee1Dunfermline1
    EalingEast Cambridgeshire
    East DevonEast Dorset (Wimb.)
    East HertfordshireEast Kilbride1
    East Kilbride (DC)1Eastleigh
    East Lothian1Eastwood1
    East YorkshireEden
    Edinburgh1Ellesmere Port
    ElmbridgeEpping Forest
    Epsom and EwellErewash
    Ettrick and Lauderdale1Falkirk1
    Fife2Forest Heath
    Forest of DeanGedling
    GillinghamGlanford
    Glasgow1Glenrothes1
    GloucesterGlyndwr
    Gordon1Gosport
    Grampian2Great Yarmouth
    GuildfordHackney
    HaltonHamilton1
    HammersmithHarborough
    HarlowHarrow3
    HartlepoolHereford
    HertsmereHighland2
    Hinckley and BosworthHorsham
    HounslowHove
    HuntingdonHyndburn
    Inverclyde1Inverness1
    IpswichIrving (DC)1
    Isles of ScillyIslington
    IslwynKennet
    Kensington and ChelseaKilmarnock1
    Kincardine and Deeside1Kingswood
    KirkleesKyle and Carrick1
    LambethLancaster
    LeicesterLewes
    Lewisham3Lichfield
    LiverpoolLivingston (DC)1
    LlanelliLochaber1
    Lothian2Luton
    MacclesfieldMaidstone
    MaldonMansfield
    MedinaMelton
    MendipMerton
    Mid BedfordshireMidlothian1
    Mid SuffolkMid Sussex
    Milton KeynesMole Valley
    Monklands1Mongomery
    MorayMotherwell1
    Nairn1Neath
    NewarkNewbury
    Newcastle-under-LymeNithsdale1
    NorthamptonNorthavon
    North BedfordshireNorth Cornwall
    North East DerbyNorth East Fife1
    North HertfordshireNorth Kesteven
    North Shropshire3North Tyneside
    North WarwickshireNorth West Leicester
    North WiltshireNottingham
    NuneatonOgwr
    OrkneyPerth and Kinross1
    PeterboroughPurbeck
    RadnorRedbridge
    RedditchReigate and Banstead
    Renfrew1Rhuddlan
    RichmondshireRichmond-upon-Thames
    Rochester on MedwayRochford
    Ross and Cromarty1Rossendale3
    RotherRoxburgh1
    RugbyRushcliffe
    RushmoorRutland
    SalfordSandwell
    Scottish Homes1Scunthorpe
    SedgefieldSefton
    SelbySevenoaks
    ShetlandSkye and Lochalsh1
    SloughSolihull
    South BedfordshireSouth Bucks
    South CambridgeshireSouth Derbyshire
    Southend on SeaSouth Holland
    South Kesteven4South Lakeland
    South NorthantsSouth Oxfordshire
    South RibbleSouth Shropshire
    South StaffordshireSouth Tyneside
    SouthwarkSouth Wight
    SpelthorneStaffs. Moorland
    St. AlbansSterwartry1
    St. HelensStirling1
    StockportStoke on Trent
    Stratford on AvonStrathkelvin1
    StroudSuffolk Coastal
    Sutherland1Sutton
    SwaleTameside
    TamworthTandridge
    Tayside2Tendring
    Test ValleyTewesbury
    ThanetThe Wrekin
    Three RiversTower Hamlets
    TraffordTweeddale1
    Vale of White HorseWakefield
    WalsallWaltham Forest
    WandsworthWansbeck
    WansdykeWatford
    WaverleyWellingborough4
    Western IslesWest Lothian1
    WestminsterWest Oxfordshire
    West WiltshireWigtown1
    WinchesterWindsor and Maidenhead
    WirralWokingham
    WolverhamptonWoodspring
    WorthingWycombe
    Local authorities operating a total disregard scheme for war disablement pensions only
    BathBlaby
    BlackburnBolton
    BromleyBury
    CambridgeCorby
    DoncasterDudley
    East StaffordshireExeter
    GrimsbyHambleton
    HaveringMiddlesbrough
    NewportOldham
    Ribble ValleySouthampton
    South SomersetStevenage
    Stockton on TeesTorbay
    TorfaenTunbridge Wells
    Vale RoyalYork
    Local authorities operating a total disregard scheme for war widows' pensions only
    Castle Morpeth
    Chester
    Kirkaldy1
    Monmouth
    Thurrock
    Local authorities not operating a total disregard scheme for war disablement and war widows' pensions
    AdurAlnwick
    Alyn and DeesideAylesbury Vale
    BaberghBarking
    BarnetBarnsley
    Barrow in FurnessBasildon
    Basildon (DC)1Berwick-upon-Tweed
    BeverleyBexley
    Blyth ValleyBolsover
    BoothferryBournemouth
    BrecklandBrecknock
    BridgnorthBristol
    BroadlandBromsgrove
    CamdenCannock Chase
    CanterburyCaradon
    CarmarthenChester le Street
    ChichesterChorley
    City of LondonCleethorpes
    ColchesterCorby New Town1
    CrawleyCroydon
    Cynon ValleyDarlington
    DerbyDerbyshire Dales
    DerwentsideDinefwr
    DoverDurham
    DwyforEasington
    EastbourneEast Hampshire
    East LindseyEast Northampton
    EnfleldFareham
    FenlandFylde
    GatesheadGravesham
    GreenwichHaringey
    HarrogateHart
    HastingsHavant
    High PeakHillingdon
    HoldernessKerrier
    KetteringKingston upon Hull
    Kingston upon ThamesKnowsley
    LangbaurghLeeds
    LeominsterLincoln
    Lliw ValleyMalvern Hills
    ManchesterMeirionnydd
    Merthyr TydfilMid Devon
    Newcastle upon TyneNew Forest
    NewhamNorth Devon
    North DorsetNorth Norfolk
    NorwichOadby and Wigston
    OswestryOxford
    PendlePenwith
    PlymouthPoole
    PortsmouthPort Talbot
    PreseliPreston
    ReadingRestormel
    RhonddaRhymney Valley
    RochdaleRotherham
    RunnymedeRural Wales1
    RyedaleSalisbury
    ScarboroughSedgemoor
    SheffieldShepway
    Shrewsbury and AtchamSouth Hams
    South HerefordshireSouth Norfolk
    South PembrokeshireStafford
    St. EdmundsburyStrathclyde2
    SunderlandSurrey Heath
    SwanseaTaff-Ely
    Taunton DeaneTeesdale
    TeignbridgeTelford1
    ThamesdownTonbridge and Mailing
    TorridgeTynedale
    UttlesfordVale of Glamorgan
    WarringtonWarrington (DC)1
    WarwickWaveney
    WealdenWear Valley
    Welwyn HatfieldWest Devon
    West DorsetWest Lancashire
    West LindseyWest Norfolk
    West SomersetWeymouth and Portland
    WiganWoking
    WorcesterWrexham Maelor
    WychavonWyre
    Wyre ForestYnys Mon
    1 Denotes those authorities responsible for housing benefit only.
    2 Denotes those authorities responsible for community charge benefit only.
    3 Denotes those authorities responsible for both benefits but who operate a scheme for housing benefit only.
    4 Denotes those authorities responsible for both benefits but who operate a scheme for community charge benefit only.

    Old Age Pensions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to increase pensions to the level of those received by old age pensioners in Germany.

    The provision of incomes in retirement, including pensions, is structured on a different basis in the two countries and consequently it is not possible to make meaningful comparisons.

    Benefit Deductions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish a table showing the total number of people who are having poll tax deducted from their benefits at the latest available date and at three monthly intervals prior to that date.

    I understand from the chief executive of the Benefits Agency that the information requested is available in the Library and the Public Information Office.

    Budgets

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was spending on the total social security budget in 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1990–91.

    Total social security spending was as follows.

    £ million
    1978–7916,602
    1982–8333,000
    1986–8746,851
    1990–9159,001
    1 Estimated outturn.

    National Insurance

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the effect in 1991–92 and 1992–93, on both a first year and a full year basis, on the national insurance contributions of (a) employees, (b) employees and the self-employed, if (i) national insurance contributions were chargeable at the current rates on fringe benefits, (ii) national insurance contributions were chargeable at the current rates on unearned income of those under retirement age in excess of £60 per week, (iii) the ceilings on contributions were abolishied, (iv) a combination of (i), (ii) and (iii) and (v) as (iv), but if the contracting-out rebates were abolished and the current 9 per cent. contribution rate was cut to 8 per cent.

    The information requested is as follows: (i) The yield in a full year for 1991–92 for employees in the United Kingdom is estimated to be £230 million.

    The estimates are based on an employee contribution rate of 9 per cent.

    Figures are not available for self-employed people.

    The yield in the first year would depend on the administrative arrangements made for collecting such a charge.

    The yield for 1992–93 would depend on the level of employer-provided benefits in that year.

    It is not possible to provide separate estimates for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    (ii) The yield in a full year for 1991–92 for individuals in the United Kingdom is estimated at:

    £ million

    (a) Employees640
    (b) Employees and self-employed810

    The estimates are based on an employee contribution rate of 9 per cent.

    The amount of revenue collected in the first year would depend on the administrative arrangements for collecting such a charge.

    The yield for 1992–93 would depend on the levels of investment income for that year. These estimates take no account of any behavioural changes following the introduction of such a charge.

    The figures do not include people who are neither employees nor self-employed, but who nevertheless receive investment income.

    It is not possible to provide separate information for Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    (iii) Revenue yield

    First year £ billion

    Full year £ billion

    1991–92 (employees only)2.22.5
    1991–92 (employees plus self-employed)2.42.9
    1992–93 (employees only)2.42.7
    1992–93 (employees plus self-employed)2.63.2

    (iv) Revenue yield

    Full year £ billion

    1991–92 (employees only)3.8
    1991–92 (employees plus self-employed)4.3

    All notes to parts (i) and (ii) apply here.

    (v) Revenue yield

    Full year £ billion

    1991–92 (employees only)7.6
    1991–92 (employees plus self-employed)

    18.2

    All notes to parts (i) and (ii) apply here.

    1 Assumes that the Class 4 contribution rate remains at 6.3 per cent.

    If the contracted-out rebates and 2 per cent. incentives in respect of personal pensions and 2 per cent. incentives for contracted-out schemes were also abolished, there would be additional yield of £2.9 billion in a full year in 1991–92.

    Social Fund

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security on what date he expects to receive the report of the Social Security Advisory Committee on the social fund.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give most recent figures for reasons for refusals from the social fund for (a) budgeting loans, (b) crisis loans and (c) community care grants.

    The figures for December 1991 are shown in the tables.

    Budgeting loan
    Reason for refusalNumber
    Loan refused as Community Care Grant awarded4,401
    Not receiving Income Support4,565
    Not receiving Income Support for 26 weeks12,750
    Excluding Item(s)1,325
    Previous application and SFO decision for the item2,272
    Inability to repay2,209
    Insufficient priority12,267
    Other reasons2,750
    Crisis loans
    Reason for refusalNumber
    Excluded item(s)101
    Previous application and SFO decision for the item171
    No serious damage or risk to health or safety3,202
    Suitable alternative available133
    Help available from another source305
    Enough money for a crisis114
    Inability to repay433
    Insufficient priority194
    Other reasons732
    Community care grants
    Reason for refusalNumber
    Savings over £500 sufficient to meet cost113
    Not in receipt of income support and unlikely to become entitled4,282
    Excluded item(s)1,414
    Excluded applicant384
    Amount less than £30, not travelling expenses245
    Previous application and SFO decision for the item2,164
    Insufficient priority5,279
    Direction 4 not satisfied39,253
    Other reasons1,483

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much was left in each of the local office social fund budgets on Merseyside in November and December; and whether any offices received or applied for additional resources.

    The administration of the social fund is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member and copies will be placed in the Library and the Public Information Office.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people who seek a review of a social fund decision received a favourable decision at (a) social fund officer level and (b) social fund inspector level.

    Information on the number of decisions revised in the applicant's favour for the period 1 April to 31 December 1991 is shown in the table.

    Numbers
    Number of decisions by Social Fund officer44,487
    Number of decisions substituted by Social Fund inspector2,981

    Notes:

    1. Figures refer to numbers of cases not numbers of people.

    2. Decisions revised at social fund officer level include cases referred back by social fund inspectors for re-determination by higher executive officer (social fund).

    Disability Allowances

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claimants will be worse off if they claim disability working allowance instead of invalidity benefit including housing costs.

    The great majority of potential disability working allowance recipients will be better off than they would be on invalidity benefit. It is not possible to estimate with confidence the small number of invalidity benefit recipients who would be worse off taking into account help with housing costs from income support or housing benefit.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many women over the age of 60 years have been awarded (a) invalid care allowance and (b) severe disablement allowance as a result of recent case law.

    Following decisions of the social security commissioners in 1988, there have been some 1,600 awards of invalid care allowance to women over age 60. Figures for severe disablement allowance are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Cold Weather Payments

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received about cold weather payments made in Bradford.

    Bradford and District Age Concern wrote to me on several occasions between July 1991 and November 1991.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many times, in the last three months, to date the weather stations in Leeds and Wilsden have triggered cold weather payments to people living in Bradford; which Bradford postcode areas were not covered by the payments triggered by Leeds between 6 and 13 December; when the local office in Bradford was notified of the payments; when recipients were informed; and if he will make a statement;(2) what action he is taking to ensure cold weather payments are made to the maximum number of eligible people living in Bradford on a predicted temperature basis; and what arrangements are being made to ensure that local offices and the public are given prior notice of when payments are to be made.

    The administration of the social fund is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member and copies will be placed in the Library and the Public Information Office.

    Take-Up Campaign

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many claimants on Merseyside have requested a review of their supplementary benefit entitlement under the recent regulation 72 take-up campaign; how many have had their requests for review refused; how many have received payments; and how many are pending;(2) how many cases have been identified by his Department's offices on Merseyside for eligibility for an ex gratia compensation payment due to delays in paying benefit.(3) how many additional staff and how much additional resources have been allocated to each office on Merseyside to cope with work arising from the regulation 72 take-up campaign for arrears of benefit.

    The administration of income support is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available and copies will be placed in the Library and the Public Information Office.

    Press And Publicity

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list (a) the number of staff and (b) the total cost, of the press and publicity section of his Department for each year since July 1988.

    For the numbers of staff, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) on 9 May 1991 at col. 579;For the available information on total costs up to 1989–90, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras on 17 June 1991 at cols.

    49–50.

    The total staff and running costs in 1990–91 were £1,218,560. This includes staff and resource costs for activities undertaken by the information division as a whole. Separate figures for staff and running costs for the press and publicity sections are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Benefits (Teenagers)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will provide a table for Greater London showing the number of people aged 16, 17, and 18 years who were in receipt of each of housing benefit, unemployment benefit, and income supplement and the numbers of each age in receipt of any one of these benefits for October of each year since 1988.

    I understand from Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency, that the information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Benefits (Patients)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much revenue is raised by reducing benefits for those in hospital for more than six weeks; how much this scheme costs to administer; and if he will make a statement.

    The reduction of benefits paid to people in hospital is not a revenue raising measure. The reductions are based on the view that public funds should not make double provision for the same needs. As the national health service provides free maintenance as well as free treatment, it has always been the policy that maintenance benefits, also paid out of public funds, should not continue to be paid in full indefinitely. Information on the total value of the reductions for all benefits and the administrative costs involved is not available.

    Asthma

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what action his Department has taken to publicise the changes in the occupational asthma scheme introduced in September.

    The proposed changes were covered in a press release on 4 July announcing the introduction of our new disability benefits. A revised leaflet, NI 237, "Occupational Asthma" was issued this week to local offices.

    Defence

    Coopers And Lybrand

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

    Since 1 January 1989 the Department has placed 26 contracts with the Coopers and Lybrand group to a total value of £7.8 million. These contracts cover a wide variety of consultancy activities such as management information systems, the procurement executive information technology strategy, Royal Navy logistics and studies following on from the "Options for Change" studies.

    Ssn Warspite

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on where the SSN Warspite will be berthed on being de-commissioned.

    HMS Warspite is expected to be berthed for afloat storage by the end of March 1992.

    Royal Navy (Support Infrastructure)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if final decisions have yet been made on the proposals announced in July for rationalising the Royal Navy's support infrastructure.

    Following extensive consultation, the proposals announced by my right hon. Friend on 16 July 1991 will now proceed. I can say, however, that the number of posts affected at Rosyth and Copenacre are respectively some 100 and 220 fewer than previously anticipated.

    Royal Air Force (Organisation)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what further changes are planned in the organisation of the Royal Air Force.

    Work has continued on the structure of the Royal Air Force required for Britain's Defence for the 1990s. The following decisions have been taken:It was announced in the statement on the Defence estimates that RAF Abingdon would close by May 1993. We now plan closure on 31 July 1992. The flying units from Abingdon, which comprise the Oxford and London university air squadrons and No. 6 Air Experience Flight will move to RAF Benson in July.Following the announced withdrawal of the USAF from RAF Kemble it will no longer be economic to maintain the RAF maintenance tasks at the base. It is proposed that airfield operations should end on 31 March 1992 when US flying will also cease—and that the RAF will withdraw by 31 July 1992. In the meantime the Army will use RAF Kemble for vehicle storage on a temporary basis, while reviewing its longer term requirement for such a facility.All flying training at RAF Brawdy will cease on 31 August 1992 as part of the general reorganisation of advanced flying and tactical weapons training which will be concentrated at RAF Valley and RAF Chivenor. RAF Brawdy will remain open and possible alternative uses will be explored.

    Nuclear Weapons (Cis)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States have ben offered assistance to safeguard and destroy nuclear weapons;(2) pursuant to his reply of 19 December,

    Official Report, column 285, what was the date on which he first made clear to the authorities in the republics his willingness to provide assistance and advice on safeguarding and destroying nuclear weapons;

    (3) what numbers and types of his Department's personnel and equipment he is prepared to make available to republics in the Commonwealth of Independent States to assist in safeguarding and destroying nuclear weapons.

    We and our allies have made clear on several occasions, to the authorities first in the former Soviet Union and more recently in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine, our concern that existing arms control agreements, including the nonproliferation treaty, be honoured. We have also made clear our willingness to provide assistance and advice on safeguarding and destroying nuclear weapons where necessary and practicable. The form any such assistance might take will be established in consultation with allies and the countries concerned.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his assessment of the ability of the facilities in the Russian Federation to destroy the strategic and tactical nuclear warheads that were due to be disposed of by the former Soviet Government.

    The Russian Federation has specialist facilities capable of carrying out nuclear warhead dismantlement. Together with our allies we are considering with the Russians the best way of providing appropriate assistance to help with this task.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, pursuant to his statement in the debate on nuclear weapons, Official Report, 14 January, column 822, he will set out the source of his information that tactical nuclear weapons, including torpedoes, air-launched missiles or nuclear artillery shells, are located at 100 sites in 13 different republics of the former Soviet Union.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what calculation he has made of the length of time the nuclear warheads presently deployed in the individual republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States can remain operational without refurbishment in the central nuclear facility of Nizhnyaya Tura in Russia.

    Routine servicing would probably maintain the majority of warheads in their normal condition for several years. No nuclear warheads in the republics of the CIS can become operational or useable, however, without the implementation of appropriate command and control procedures.

    Potton Island

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newport, West, Official Report, 16 December, columns 57–58, any dispersal experiments with nuclear materials not involving firings took place at Potton island.

    Uranium Dust, Kuwait

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any health tests were conducted on members of 21 EOD Squadron on their return from clean-up operations in Kuwait in 1991 to assess whether any depleted uranium dust was inhaled or ingested during their period of assistance to Royal Ordnance.

    We have no reason to suppose that 21 EOD Squadron handled or otherwise came into contact with depleted uranium while in Kuwait. With this in mind, no additional health checks were instituted over and above the regular/routine health checks carried out on all service personnel.

    "Toward Minimum Deterrence"

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will obtain for his departmental library a copy of Aurora paper number 11, "Toward Minimum Deterrence: How Low Can We Go", edited by Peter Gizewski.

    The MOD library does receive the publications of the Canadian Centre for Arms Control and Disarmament, but Aurora Paper Number 11 has not yet arrived.

    Nuclear Weapons

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, pursuant to his statement in the debate on nuclear defence, Official Report, 14 January, column 824, he will list the professional advisers, who are not civil servants, he has consulted on the level of minimal nuclear weapons needed.

    The professional advice referred to by my right hon. Friend is provided both by serving members of the armed forces and by civil servants, including scientific and technical staffs.

    Uranium Use

    To ask the Secretary of State for Defence further to his answer of 20 January, Official Report, column 19, on uranium use, what was the nature of the operational reasons; and what were the dates of occurence and amounts of uranium involved in each case.

    It would not be in the national interest to provide the details requested.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Illegal Fishing

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has recently taken, or is planning to take, on fisheries enforcement to counter illegal landings of fish.

    A total of 277 offences were identified in 1991 relating to illegal landings of fish. Of these, 81 resulted in prosecutions and 92 in warnings; 104 are still outstanding. (All figures are provisional.) Enforcement procedures, both ashore and at sea, are kept under regular review to maximise their effectiveness in controlling illegal landings of fish and other breaches of EC or national legislation.

    Foodstuffs (Health Claims)

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from which organisations or individuals he has received representations on the health claims made by the Food Advisory Committee in its report on its review of food labelling and advertising 1990.

    Representations were received from:

    • Advertising Authority
    • Advertising Standards Authority
    • ASDA
    • Association of Metropolitan Authorities
    • Association of Public Analysts
    • Mr. R. Banks
    • Biscuit, Cake and Confectionery Alliance
    • Boots
    • British Meat Manufacturers Association
    • British Nutrition Foundation
    • British Retailers Association
    • British Soft Drinks Association
    • Consumers Association
    • Consumers in the European Community Group (UK)
    • Co-operative Union Ltd
    • Coronary Prevention Group
    • East Lothian District Council
    • Federation of Bakers
    • Food and Drink Federation
    • Food Law Group
    • Mr. L. G. Hanson
    • Health Education Authority
    • Incorporated Society of British Advertisers
    • Institute of Food Science and Technology
    • Kelloggs
    • Leatherhead Food R. A.
    • Local Authority Co-ordinating Body on Trading Standards
    • MAFF Consumer Panel
    • Meat and Livestock Commission
    • Milk Marketing Board
    • National Consumer Council
    • National Farmers Union
    • National Housewives Association Ltd
    • Nestlé
    • Procter and Gamble
    • Proprietory Association of Great Britain
    • Quaker Oats
    • Retail Consortium
    • Robert Gordon Institute of Technology
    • Roche
    • Sainsburys
    • Royal College of Physicians
    • Scottish Association of Master Bakers
    • United Kingdom Association of Frozen Food Manufacturers
    • United Kingdom Federation of Business and Professional Women
    • United Kingdom Home Economics Federation
    A full list of respondents to the consultation exercise has been placed in the Library of the House; copies of responses can be inspected, by appointment, at the Ministry's library at 3 Whitehall place.

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects the EC directive on health claims for foodstuffs to be published.

    I understand that the European Commission's intended proposals on health and other food claims are unlikely to be issued until later this year.

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he will announce his conclusions on the Food Advisory Committee's report on its review of food labelling and advertising 1990.

    The Food Advisory Committee has recently considered the response to the public consultation on the recommendations made in its report. I expect to receive shortly any further advice from the committee and shall consider this, together with the comments made by those responding to the committee's original recommendations, before making any final decisions and taking any further action. I shall make my announcement as soon as possible thereafter.

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his policy regarding health claims and food labelling prior to the EC's amendment of 79/112/EC (Food Labelling).

    The Government's policy on food labelling, including health claims, is that food labels should enable consumers to make fully informed choices and should not mislead or confuse. I intend to announce the Government's response to the Food Advisory Committee's recommendations for further controls in this area as soon as I have received and considered the committee's final advice on its review of food labelling. I expect this to be in time to influence the European Commission's intended proposals on claims.