Written Answers To Questions
Friday 6 March 1992
Mrs K Aidid
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to reply to the letter of 24 October 1991 from the hon. Member for Woolwich about the case of Mrs. K. Aidid of Chatham house, Rideout street, SE18, reference number K. 427442.
A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 27 February 1992.
Prisoners (Ill Health)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what circumstances prisoners who have been prematurely released because of ill health are recalled to serve the remainder of their sentences; and if he will make a statement.
A prisoner's medical condition is only one of the factors taken into account when assessing his suitability for release on parole. If a prisoner is released on parole, he may be recalled to prison if he breaches any of the conditions attached to his release on licence: he would not be recalled simply because of an improvement in his medical condition.Where a prisoner is released on the ground of serious illness by the exercise of the royal prerogative of mercy, the sentence is remitted. There is therefore no possibility of being recalled to prison.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inquests were held into death in prisons, in police custody, psychiatric and special hospitals in the last five years.
Information on inquests on deaths in police custody is published annually. The most recent figures, for 1990, are contained in Home Office statistical bulletin 12/91 and in the annual report of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. Figures for earlier years are given in the annual report of Her Majesty's chief inspector of constabulary.The only other information available in my Department is the number of inquests on deaths which occurred in prison establishments, during the last five years. These were:
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimates have been made of the total volume of acquisitive crime committed to finance addiction for the last year for which such information is available; and what estimates have been made of the growth of this form of offending over the last 12 years.
Estimates for heroin misusers are published in paragraph 2·4 of the 1991 report "Drug Misusers and the Criminal Justice System Part 1: Community Resources and the Probation Service" by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, a copy of which is in the Library. Estimates for crimes by those addicted to other substances are not available.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 2 March, Official Report, column 42, whether he will place in the Library estimates of drug-related crimes involving people other than heroin misusers.
There are at present no reliable data on which such estimates might be based.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when, and by whom, the earliest warning of a bomb planted at London main line railway stations on 28 February was received; and if he will list the times at which the warning was received by (a) British Rail at London Bridge, (b) the Metropolitan police, (c) the British Transport police, (d) the London ambulance service, (e) the London fire and civil defence authority and (f) the press and broadcasting media.
At 08.20 hours on 28 February the Metropolitan police were notified by Ulster Television that it had received a telephone warning. The Metropolitan police then tasked the various agencies concerned. I understand that Ulster Television received the telephone warning at 08.15 hours.
Criminal Justice Liaison Committees
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what conclusions he has reached on the formation of the area criminal justice liaison committees recommended by Lord Justice Woolf in his report on the prison disturbances in 1990.
Following consultation with criminal justice services and discussion in the Criminal Justice Consultative Council, the Government have decided that 24 area committees should be set up in England and Wales. The purpose of these committees will be to promote better understanding, co-operation and co-ordination in the administration of the criminal justice system and early tasks are likely to include the overseeing of arrangements for the implementation of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 and monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the pre-trial issues working group.Members of the committee will include representatives from the probation, prison, police and Crown prosecution services, justices' clerks, magistrates, barristers, solicitors and directors of social services. The committee will be chaired by circuit administrators or, in some cases, court administrators of the Lord Chancellor's Department.Nominations for members of committees will be sought forthwith from representative criminal justice system organisations and invitations will be issued shortly thereafter. The Government hope that the committees will have their first meetings by about May.
Planning Applications (Publicity)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the minimum time he is to allow for local authorities to have the text of the new regulations advising of the arrangements for compulsory publicity for all planning applications before they come into force; and if he will make a statement.
We intend to issue the text of the amending order, and guidance on it, as soon as possible.
Housing (Redundant Service Men)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to ensure that local authorities accept responsibility for housing redundant service men without requiring evidence of eviction.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has announced a range of measures to help those who will be leaving the forces under "Options for Change". The homelessness code of guidance issued by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment gives specific guidance to local authorities on dealing with homelessness applications from ex-service personnel. It makes clear that authorities should not insist on a court order for possession before considering an application.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what timetable he intends for the divestment by the statutory joint waste disposal authorities of their waste disposal operations; whether he plans to abolish these authorities; and if he will make a statement.
The statutory joint waste disposal authorities will shortly be sent notices of our intention to direct them to establish separate waste disposal companies or, where they are intending to privatise their waste disposal operations, a proposed timetable for this. All waste disposal authorities will then actively be involved in separating their operations from regulation and contract management. The timetable for each statutory authority will depend on individual circumstances, on which authorities will have an opportunity to make representations, but I expect that divestment will essentially be complete by April 1993. This separation is a major advance, introduced in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, in support of higher waste disposal standards.The changes brought by the Environmental Protection Act and the proposed creation of an environment agency, will remove most of these authorities' current responsibilities. I have therefore decided that there is no role, in the medium and long term, for separate statutory joint waste disposal authorities.This decision has been reached after consulting each of the six authorities and carefully considering the cases which they have made for their retention.I have however been impressed by the concern expressed by each of the authorities that existing beneficial contracts should not be put at risk through abolition. Some authorities have also expressed doubts on whether our current powers for effecting changes to the authorities are satisfactory. Against this background, I shall be seeking an early opportunity for primary legislation to ensure that this reorganisation is achieved in a smooth and effective manner.The closer association of waste disposal decisions with those who must meet the costs will, I am sure, lead to more efficient and more responsive waste disposal services for the community.
Royal William Yard, Plymouth
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans there are for the future of the Royal William yard and other sites in Plymouth.
After detailed discussion with my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Defence, I am today offering the local authorities the possibility of a new urban development corporation (UDC) in Plymouth. The new UDC would be responsible for regenerating parts of the defence estate which are surplus to the Ministry of Defence's operational requirements, together with nearby vacant or run-down areas.Provided the local authorities respond positively to our proposals and accept the offer of partnership it involves, the UDC's task would be to promote development in its designated area and to help revitalise the local economy. The Secretary of State for Defence and I propose to make available from our budgets £45 million to the new UDC. In addition, the Ministry of Defence will be handing over to the UDC significant amounts of development land surplus to its requirements.The new UDC will take a strategic view of the redevelopment of the area. I will be looking to the UDC to prepare a vision for the future of the area which takes account of the potential for employment, infrastructure, environment and leisure opportunities. The new UDC would need to work closely with its partners in the local council and the private sector to ensure that its objective of regeneration can be met.One of the jewels in its crown will be the Royal William yard, which comprises one of the most important surviving groups of historic maritime buildings in the United Kingdom. With the rationalisation of the Ministry of Defence's operations in Plymouth dockyards, I am confident that the future of the Royal William yard and other sites would be best served by the comprehensive approach to regeneration which the UDC would be able to offer.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what inquiries his Department has made into the leakage of methane gas from abandoned coal mines; and if he will make a statement.
A review of the extent of natural contamination in Great Britain, including methane emissions from coal mines, is being undertaken for my Department by the British Geological Survey and this is due to be completed in the summer of 1993. Research on the planning response to methane emissions from disused coal mines is in preparation and a contract is due to be placed in the summer of 1992.
Empty Council Houses
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authority dwellings have been reported as vacant in the London borough of Tower Hamlets in each year since 1984; what percentage of the local authority housing stock these figures represent; and what is the comparable percentage in other London boroughs.
[holding answer 5 March 1992]: The available information on empty local authority dwellings is as follows:
|Tower Hamlets Borough Council|
|at 1 April||Number||Percentage of stock||Other London authorities Percentage of stock|
(a) Local authorities report the numbers of their own dwellings that are vacant in their annual housing investment programme returns (HIP1).
(b) In 1986, dwellings previously owned by the Greater London council were transferred to the boroughs. For 1984 and 1985, all GLC dwellings, including those which were subsequently transferred to Tower Hamlets borough council, are included in the dwelling stock of 'other London authorities'.
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what has been the number of industrial accidents in the Greater London area for each of the last five years.
The available information is provided in the following table:
|Occupational injuries1occurring in the Greater London area reported2to HSE's factory and agricultural inspectorates and local authorities.|
|Year3||Fatal||4Major||5Over 3 day||Total|
Over 3 day
1 Injuries at work to employees, self-employed people and members of the public injured as a result of someone else's work activity.
2 Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 1985 (RIDDOR).
3 Years commencing 1 April.
4 As defined under RIDDOR.
5 An injury causing incapacity for work for more than three days and reportable for employed persons only.
6 Includes reports made to the HSE's quarries inspectorate.
A H Marks And Co Ltd
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will place in the Library a copy of the notes compiled by the Health and Safety Executive on the death of Louis Drake at A. H. Marks and Co. Ltd., Low Moor.
No. Notes made by inspectors are riot equivalent to police note books and are not kept with a view to subsequent disclosure or use in evidence.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish a table showing the number of (a) men and (b) women in his Department in each of grades (i) 1, (ii) 2, (iii) 3, (iv) 4, (v) 5, (vi) 6, (vii) 7, (viii) SEO, (ix) HEO, (x) administrative trainee, (xi) EO, (xii) CO and (xiii) CA.
The information requested is as follows:
|The Northern Ireland Civil Service1|
|The Northern Ireland Office (Home Civil Service)2|
1 All non-industrial staff as at 1 January 1991.
2 Non-industrial home civil servants in post as at 1 February 1992 (staff on loan/career breaks are not included).
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list those parts of his Department, including executive agencies, carrying out reviews over the last 12 months into the pay and grading of staff and the firm of consultants engaged, where appropriate.
No pay and grading reviews have been undertaken in the Northern Ireland Office, Northern Ireland Departments or executive agencies over the last 12 months. Reviews have been carried out in two non-departmental public bodies, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Staff Commission for Education and Library Boards, both by Hay Management Consultants.
Criminal Damage Compensation
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many claims have been made for compensation for criminal damage to agricultural property; and how much compensation has been paid in respect of such claims in each of the last five years.
The information requested is as follows:
|Financial Year||Number of claims received||Amount of compensation paid £|
|1 To 29 February 1992.|
Suckler Cow Premium
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps will be taken to ensure that Northern Ireland and objective 1 regions are allocated the full finance as stipulated by the European Commission in respect of the suckler cow premium.
The rate of suckler cow premium is being increased by £7·95 to £59·64 per cow in the less favoured areas and £55·38 elsewhere. This rate will apply throughout the United Kingdom. Funding was not available to meet the costs of paying the extra £2·40 to all United Kingdom producers.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many income support claimants there are at each social security office in Northern Ireland; and how many of these are in receipt of sickness benefit, invalidity benefit, unemployment benefit, or retirement pension.
Social security operational matters are the responsibility of Mr. Alec Wylie, chief executive of the Social Security Agency. He will write to the hon. Gentleman with such information as is available and copies of his reply will be placed in the Library and the Public Information Office.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people there are in receipt of each income support premium in each social security office in Northern Ireland.
I understand from Mr. Alec Wylie, chief executive of the Social Security Agency that the information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the number of dependants in respect of whom income support is paid to claimants by each social security office in Northern Ireland.
Social security operational matters are the responsibility of Mr. Alex Wylie, chief executive of the Social Security Agency. However, I understand that no record is held of the numbers of dependants in respect of whom income support is paid to claimants.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people are receiving unemployment benefit from each social security office in Northern Ireland showing how many are or are not in receipt of income support.
Social security operational matters are the responsibility of Mr. Alec Wylie, chief executive of the Social Security Agency who informs me that no record is held of the number of people receiving unemployment benefit who are also in receipt of income support.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what agreements have been reached about future representation of the respective political parties at talks on Northern Ireland's political future.
The understanding is that talks would proceed on the basis outlined in my statement to the House of 26 March 1991 at columns 765–66 and involve the four main constitutional political parties in Northern Ireland.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what measures or guidelines apply in respect of dyslexic children under school transfer procedures.
[holding answer 5 March 1992]: None. The arrangements are the same for all children except those for whom a statement of special educational needs is maintained. Such children may not take part in the transfer procedure. If any parents think that their child's grade in the tests does not reflect his or her academic ability they can make a case to the relevant grammar school together with any appropriate information and evidence.
Russia (Ec Beef)
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what administrative and other costs are deducted by the Russians for every kilogram of EC beef sold under the assistance programme at the price of 60 roubles per kilogram on the Russian market.
The local costs of distribution and administration are met by the Russians. In St. Petersburg—but not in Moscow—they are financed by allocating to them 20 per cent. of the roubles received from the sale of EC beef. The remainder is placed in a counterpart fund, set up by the European Community and the Russian authorities, which is used to help the needy.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what value of bilateral education aid is proposed for Vietnam; and how it will be spent.
We are discussing an economic reform orientated training project with the Vietnamese Government. The cost is not yet settled, but is likely to be of the order of £1 million over three to four years. We are also continuing our support for non-governmental organisation projects, for which we have committed £1·86 million since May 1990. Many of these NGO projects have a practical training component.
Women In Development
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on British aid policy in relation to women in development.
To mark International Womens Day on Sunday 8 March we have published a booklet, "Women in Development", copies of which are in the Library. This explains our "women in development" policy and progress in implementing it.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what funding he proposes to make available to United Kingdom non-governmental organisations in 1992–93 through the Overseas Development Administration's joint funding scheme.
I propose to increase the allocation to the joint funding scheme by £5 million to £28 million in 1992–93. This represents an increase of about 22 per cent. on the 1991–92 budget and demonstrates the Government's continuing commitment to, and confidence in, the contribution made by voluntary organisations to developing countries.
To ask the Minister for the Arts what is his response to the recommendation of the export reviewing committee about the introduction of a list of heritage objects for which export licences would not be granted.
The Committee's report makes a range of recommendations for improving the system of controlling the export of heritage objects. I have asked for comments on the report to reach me by 31 March. A list was recommended by the committee, but only on the assumption that new sources of funding would not be available. If the national lottery makes available, as I hope it will, new funds that will help keep in this country works of art that are important to our heritage, then a list should not be necessary for this purpose.
To ask the Attorney-General if he will list each private sector consultancy firm which has been retained by each agency within his Department, and for his Department as a whole, for the purposes of advising on the market testing programme; and whether the appointment in each case was the result of competitive tendering.
The legal secretariat to the Law Officers, the Treasury Solicitor's Department and the Serious Fraud Office have retained no private sector consultancy firms. The Crown Prosecution Service has retained P E International to advise on the service's market testing programme. This appointment was not the result of a competitive tender.
To ask the Attorney-General how many magistrates are (a) men and (b) women.
As at 1 January 1992 there were 16,105 men and 13,336 women sitting as lay magistrates in England and Wales.
To ask the Attorney-General if he will list those parts of his Department, including executive agencies, carrying out reviews over the last 12 months intro the pay and grading of staff; and the firm of consultants engaged, where appropriate.
My departments have not carried out any such reviews over the last 12 months.
Judiciary (Retirement Age)
To ask the Attorney-General whether he has any plans to bring forward proposals to reduce the retirement age for the judiciary.
The Lord Chancellor has today written to bodies representative of the judiciaries in England and Wales and Northern Ireland seeking their views on reducing the retirement age of the judiciary to 70. The text of his letter is as follows:
"I am writing to seek views on the appropriate maximum retirement age for the judiciary. I believe that the time has come to reduce the retirement age for the judiciary, and also to introduce a standard retirement age for all judges and judicial officers. What I would propose therefore is that all judges and judicial officers from the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary and Heads of Divisions downwards should, in future, be required to retire at the latest on their 70th birthdays.
I intend that the new retirement age of 70 for full-time service should apply to those who are appointed to full-time judicial office after it comes into force. Anyone in full-time judicial office on the relevant day, and who remains in the same office, will be able to retain his or her existing maximum retirement age.
I would welcome your views on the position of someone holding judicial office on the relevant day who is subsequently appointed to a different, usually more senior, judicial office. The two main possibilities here would seem to be to treat the change of office as a new appointment, with the consequence that the new retirement age of 70 will apply, or to allow the person concerned to retain the entitlement to retire at the present maximum retirement age of the junior office.
A change in the retirement age will require primary legislation. Subject to the results of this consultation, I would intend to make any changes at the same time as the new judicial pension scheme is introduced.
I propose that these changes should apply to Northern Ireland as well as to England and Wales. The Secretary of State for Scotland will be consulting on similar proposals for Scotland.
I would welcome your views on these proposals. It would be helpful if they could be sent to Mr. S. F. Smith, Lord Chancellor's Department, Room 204, Trevelyan House, 30 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2BY to arrive no later than 31 March 1992."
To ask the Attorney-General what consultation, and with whom, has to take place before a judge can decide to abandon a case; and whether members of the jury are included in such discussions.
A trial judge in criminal proceedings may in appropriate circumstances make any one of a range of orders the effect of which is that the whole or part of a prosecution cannot be proceeded with. The most frequently encountered of such orders is a directed acquittal following a submission of "no case to answer" or, under section 17 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967, where the prosecution has offered no evidence. Trial judges also have some inherent powers to stay proceedings and in certain circumstances may order that some or all of the counts in an indictment lie on the file.The relevant parties to the proceedings are entitled to be heard before any such order is made. The making of any such order is the responsibility of the trial judge alone.
Estates (Winding-Up Procedures)
To ask the Attorney-General if he will put forward proposals to impose time limits within which solicitors will be required to complete the procedures for the winding-up of estates, varying the time limits according to the values of the estates concerned.
The amount of work involved in the administration of estates varies too much from case to case to allow fixed time limits to be imposed for winding up: the degree of complexity of an estate is not necessarily related to its size. The quick and efficient administration of estates is best achieved by encouraging high standards on the part of solicitors. This is a matter for their professional body, the Law Society, as they are a self regulating profession. The Law Society offers guidance to practitioners on best practice; and has recommended ways in which practitioners might streamline the administration of estates, in their recently published "Probate Practitioners Handbook". Failure to act with due dispatch when dealing with a client's affairs is a ground on which a complaint can be made to the Solicitors Complaints Bureau.
Trade And Industry
Small Firms (Coalfield Areas)
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement about new business support measures to assist small firms in coalfield areas.
As foreseen in my statement on 17 February and following the European Commission's approval of the RECHAR programmes on 26 February, I am introducing in the English RECHAR areas a new £14 million scheme for business support measures, which will contribute to those programmes. This is subject to the Commission's approval under the state aids section of the EEC treaty.Department of Trade and Industry regional offices will respond flexibly to the needs of each coalfield area, selecting the most suitable assistance from a range of authorised measures.This scheme which will be additional to the Government's existing assistance for small firms, will help diversify the economy of ex-coalmining areas by providing assistance for business start-ups and for small to medium-sized companies seeking growth and innovation development.The authorised measures are:
Support for economic promotion agencies and local community initiatives, e.g. local task forces and business clubs and for specialist consultancy support not otherwise provided.
Support for the provision of common services and feasibility studies relating to the provision of managed workspace and move-on business accommodation.
Encouragement for innovation in industry and its commercial application in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Assistance for risk appraisal by non-profit making organisations.
Support for the provision of information to SMEs to improve their access to relevant markets.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will be inviting the local enterprise companies in Scottish RECHAR areas to promote business development schemes of their own tailored to local circumstances. Such schemes will be eligible for support from the European regional development fund and matching funding will be provided by the Government, under transitional arrangements for 1992–93.
In addition to the agreed new arrangements for regional innovation grants which will apply to all Great Britain, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales will be extending regional investment grants into the designated RECHAR areas in Wales.
Kimberly-Clark Factory, Humberside
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on progress on Kimberly-Clark's proposed project to build a factory at Barton-on-Humber.
On 20 February, Glanford borough council resolved to grant planning permission to Kimberly-Clark to build a factory at Barton-on-Humber unless the Secretary of State for the Environment decided to call it in for his own determination.I am very pleased to say my right hon. Friend has now written to say he will not be doing so. The way is now open for the council to proceed.Over 770 jobs will be created directly by this project, which was won for the United Kingdom amid fierce competition from other European countries. It is another example of the success of this Government's policies in attracting investment from abroad.
Regional Enterprise Grants
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement about the future of the regional enterprise grants scheme.
On 1 April 1992, subject to European Commission approval, the following changes will be made to regional enterprise grants. There are two types of assistance under this scheme—innovation and investment grants.Regional innovation grants (RIN):
will be extended to Intermediate and EC objective 2 areas not already covered;
firms will be able to apply for more than one innovation grant;
grants will now be available to firms employing under 50 people instead of below 25.
>additional advice will be provided to encourage business planning and the exploitation and marketing of successful projects.
Regional investment grants (RIG) will be subject to a simple additionality test which will require applicants to show that the grant is necessary if the project is to go ahead.
Additional signposting and advice will be provided for both grants to encourage business planning and exploitation and marketing of successful projects.
Regional innovation grants have proved to be cost-effective and an important trigger for new developments. These changes open the doors to many more firms to take up innovation opportunities.
Courts And Legal Services Act 1990
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to publish the Government's proposals for implementing the tying-in provisions of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.
I have today issued a consultative document setting out the Government's revised proposals for the subordinate legislation required to bring into force the provisions in the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 on the tying-in of services to residential property loans. Following suggestions made during the earlier consultation, we propose to supplement legislation under the Courts and Legal Services Act by also making regulations under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Our proposals have two parts. First, lenders and brokers will have to make clear to their customers if there is a link between a loan and the sale of some other service. This information would have to be provided to every customer inquiring about the availability of a loan secured on a home, regardless of the purpose of the loan.
Secondly, lenders will have to give borrowers a comprehensive statement of the impact of the terms and conditions of the loan of the decision whether or not to take any other service with it. This information would have to be provided with the lender's offer of a loan to buy a home.
I want to ensure that borrowers are not coerced or misled into buying services from mortgage lenders that they either do not want or would prefer to buy elsewhere.
Education And Science
National Music Curriculum
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will meet a delegation from the Incorporated Society of Musicians to discuss the national music curriculum; and if he will make a statement on his response to their representations.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how long after the close of the consultation period on his proposals for music in the national curriculum final orders will be laid before Parliament;(2) whether he intends to amend his proposals for music in the national curriculum to take account of the submission he has received from the Incorporated Society of Musicians;(3) how many submissions, and from which organisations, he has received on his proposals for music in the national curriculum.
My right hon. and learned Friend has received around 800 representation on his proposals for music in the national curriculum, as set out in the draft order published on 27 January. These have come from a wide range of organisations including local education authorities, educational, subject and professional associations.My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to meet a delegation from the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM). He will make the final order for music in the national curriculum after taking due account of the points made in the responses to the consultation exercise, including those from ISM.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many letters he has received criticising the proposed changes to GCSE; how many of these were from parents and governors; what response he has made to the criticisms expressed; and if he will make a statement.
As I said in my reply of 24 February to the hon. Member for Leeds, Central (Mr. Fatchett) at column 377, varying views have been expressed in the letters we have received from different interested groups and individuals on the subject. My right hon. and learned Friend and I have said that in order to maintain public confidence in GCSE, and given the difficulties of ensuring that course work is conducted under sufficiently uniform conditions and marked against nationwide standards, its course work element needs to be kept within agreed limits.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will place in the Library correspondence received from the former governors of Stratford school, prior to its change to grant-maintained status, and copies of the formal application for that status made by the persons responsible for the application, together with other official communications made to him, or from him to them, since their assumption of office.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the sums he calculates as being due to him from any London borough, or other education authority, in respect of registered pupils at Stratford school, the sums already paid, or due, from each authority, together with the basis of calculation for each and the method of verification of attendance that they may use.
The annual maintenance grant (AMG) of Stratford school has been calculated on the basis of regulation 8 of the Education (Grant-Maintained Schools) (Finance) Regulations 1991, (SI 1991 No. 353). The whole of the final AMG for the school of £1,533,311 is a charge on Newham local education authority. To the extent that any pupils at the school belong to the area of another LEA, it is for Newham to recover their costs directly from any such LEA.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what are the occasions since 1 January when any inspector visited Stratford school together with the purpose and the duration of each visit.
HMI makes regular termly visits to the school and keep in close contact with the progress being made. The last such visit was in December, the next will be later this month.
School Attendance Officers
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what person or body has the responsibility of school attendance officer for any grant-maintained school; and what reports they are required to make to him or to the local education authorities from which moneys or fees are due by virtue of a pupil's attendance at such schools.
Responsibility for enforcing the school attendance legislation rests with local education authorities to which all schools, other than independent schools for boarders only, have a duty to report regular absentees. It is for each grant-maintained school to keep its register and to decide what action it should take to encourage regular attendance by its pupils.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the legal provisions concerning the power of governors of grant-maintained schools to nominate a person to whom moneys may be paid by him or from other persons or bodies; and what obligation is placed on any body of governors for auditing of annual accounts; and for what period.
Money from the Department is paid direct to each grant-maintained school by placing it in its bank account, not by giving it to individuals. The schools are required to maintain rigorous controls over the drawing down of grant and other funds from their bank accounts. Schools are also required to appoint independent professional auditors and ensure their accounts are audited every year. Audit appointments are made for one year, renewable at the governing body's discretion.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what powers he has given to governors of grant-maintained schools to delegate their authority for appointment of any staff.
The governing body of a grant-maintained school has power to delegate its functions under the articles of Government with respect to the appointment of staff. Whether or not the governing body has delegated any of its responsibilities with regard to the appointment of staff, the body or person whose responsibility it is must consider any advice given by the head teacher before determining to appoint any member of staff, except the head teacher's successor. There are of course a large number of statutory requirements which apply generally to the appointment of staff.
Funding Applications, Bradford
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science, pursuant to his oral answer to the hon. Member for Bradford, South on 25 February, Official Report, column 803, if he will list the deficiencies in the applications from Bradford for central Government funding.
The deficiencies I had in mind included Bradford's initial failure to bid for a supplementary credit approval in 1991–92 to support additional capital expenditure on its schools; an initially unrealistic bid against the raising standards in inner city schools activity in the Department's 1992–93 grants for education support and training programme; and a bid for section 11 grant for 1992–93 which required a substantial amount of re-working to meet the new criteria for section 11. I have on a number of occasions made my concerns known to representatives of the authority. However, yesterday I announced that the submission by Greenhead school in Bradford under the technology schools initiative was one of the 21 best bids received by the Department.
Dental Health Research
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish in tabular form details of all dental health research projects receiving funding from his Department; and if he will specify the nature and duration of each project, the name of the principal researcher and the institution at which the work is being carried out.
[holding answer 2 March 1992]: The main agency through which the Government support medical research in this country is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC receives grant-in-aid from this Department, but is an independent body and decides how its money should be spent in the light of its judgment of
|Research institution||Principal researcher||Title of grant||Duration of grant|
|University of Bristol||Professor C. D. Stephens||Development of an expert system for the planning of simple orthodontic treatment||1 July 1988 to 30 June 1992|
|University of Leicester||Dr. I. S. Roberts||Molecular analysis of the effect of b. gingivalis secreted protease on pmnl. function and fibroblast proliferation||1 November 1988 to 31 January 1992|
|London Hospital Medical College||Dr. H. N. Shan||Nitrogen metabolism of oral spirochaetes involved in periodontal disease||1 May 1990 to 30 April 1992|
|University of Leicester||Dr. I. S. Roberts||Molecular approaches to the study of b. gingivalis capsule in attachment and resistance to host defence mechanisms||1 October 1989 to 30 September 1992.|
|University of Newcastle upon Tyne||Professor J. J. Murray||Clinical and laboratory durability studies of glass polyalkenoate cement and composite resin in paediatric dentistry||1 October 1990 to 30 September 1993|
|University of Bristol||Dr. D. F. G. Poole||Formation of carious lesions in dental tissues and caries prevention by fluoride||1 October 1990 to 30 September 1993|
|University of Bristol||Dr. R. P. Shellis||Saliva/plaque/tooth equilibria and the reduction of dental caries||26 November 1990 to 25 November 1993|
|Queen Mary and Westfield College, London||Professor K. Brocklehurst||Characterisation and physiological function of proteinases produced by the key periodontal pathogens||July 1991 to June 1993|
|University of Leeds||Dr. C. Robinson||Control of biological apatite crystal growth in a rodent incisor model, implications for enamel hypoplasia||1 February 1991 to 31 January 1994|
|University of Sheffield||Mr. I. M. Brook||Ultrastructural and xray microanalytic study of the interface between bone and ceramic or glass ionomer implants||February 1992 to January 1993|
|Utd. Medical/Dental School Guy's and St. Thomas's, London||Dr. A. M. Edwina Kidd||Assessment of caries activity related to microbiology at the enamel-dentine junction during cavity preparation||August 1991 to July 1992|
|Strangeways Research Laboratory, Cambridge||Dr. J. J. Reynolds||Cellular control mechanisms in the regulation of connective tissue degradation||1 April 1982 to 31 March 1993|
|University of Manchester||Dr. S. L. Schor||Fibroblast heterogeneity and the control of epithelial-mesenchymal interactions in the oral mucosa||1 February 1989 to 31 January 1992|
|University of Newcastle upon Tyne||Dr. R. B. Russell||Dextranases and dextranase inhibitors of mutans streptococci||26 November 1990 to 25 November 1993|
|University of Manchester||Dr. P. T. Sharpe||Hox 7.1 Gene expression and tooth development||August 1991 to July 1994|
|University of Dundee||Mr. G. R. Ogden||Identification of cytokeratin in oral disease, using exfoliative cytology||July 1991 to June 1992|
priorities, opportunities and quality of research applications. MRC is supporting the following dental research projects:
Title of grant
Duration of grant
|Institute of Dental Surgery, London||Dr. Patrizia Ferretti||A molecular approach to the study of jaw regeneration in urodeles||October 1991 to September 1993|
|Royal College of Surgeons of England, London||Dr. C. T. Teo||Epstein-barr virus genomic activity in the oral cavity of normal and HIV infected individuals||1 April 1991 to 31 March 1994|
|University of Liverpool||Professor O. H. Petersen||MRC secretory control group||1 October 1988 to 30 September 1993|
|University of Manchester||Professor R. M. Case||Bicarbonate transport and the anionic basis of salivary secretion||1 July 1989 to 8 November 1992|
The MRC also supports dental research on a longer term basis at its dental research unit directed by Professor N. W. Johnson at the London Hospital medical college, and through a group of dental researchers on its external scientific staff at the University of Bristol. Their research has been focused as follows:
MRC dental research unit
IGG antibodies to bacteroides gingivalis, b. intermedius, fusobacterium nucleatum and wolinella recta in patients with severe destructive periodontitis.
Detection of IGG antibodies in human sera to outer membrane components of bacteriodes species with reference to protease activity.
Perification and characterisation of bacteroides proteins identified as possible markers of periodontal disease susceptibility or activity.
Interaction of polymorphonuclear leucocytes and specific IGG opsonins to b. gingivalis in patients with severe destructive periodontitis.
Identification of markers of disease activity in gingival crevicular fluid.
Responsiveness of human gingival epithelial cells to inflammatory stimuli.
Statistical methods for data from periodontal research.
A longitudinal cohort study of the natural progression of periodontal breakdown in adults.
MRC dental group (Principal Researcher Dr. D. F. G. Poole)
Fluoride in the oral environment for controlling the initiation and progress of carious lesions.
Physiochemical and biochemical equilibria in the salivaplaque-tooth system.
Research, including dental health research, is also conducted in universities using grants from the Universities Funding Council which is funded by the DES.
Details of specific projects are not held centrally.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will update his answer of 27 March 1990, Official Report, columns 165–66, to the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field), concerning the numbers dependent on income support.
The information requested is in the table.
|Number of claimants in receipt of Income Support.|
Number of partners and dependent children of claimants in receipt of Income Support
All figures are rounded to the nearest thousand and may not therefore sum.
The figures for 1989 may differ from those previously given. The earlier figures were based upon provisional estimates from the quarterly statistical enquiry for May 1989.
Income Support Annual Statistical Enquiries, 1989 and 1990.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will update his answer of 16 March 1990, Official Report, columns 406–7, concerning the number of staff per 100,000 claimants.
The total number of staff administering the social security programme per 100,000 receiving benefits for the years 1979–80 to 1990–91 is in the table.
Seafarers (National Insurance)
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the estimated cost in a full tax year of restricting the employer's national insurance contribution to the level of the employee's contribution in the case of United Kingdom seafarers.
The information requested is not available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the cost of (a) doubling and (b) quadrupling the premium payable to pensioners over the age of 80 years.
The gross extra cost of doubling and quadrupling the retirement pension age addition would be £28 million and £84 million respectively. These costs do not take into account the savings in income-related benefits.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement regarding the further replacement of resettlement units.
The development of replacement provision for the resettlement units at Stormy Down in South Wales and Southampton are considerably advanced. During the next 12 months the proposals for each of these units are expected to be complete. I have therefore agreed that our direct operation of these units should cease by 31 March 1993. As with all replacement schemes we will need to be satisfied, at that date, that sufficient suitable alternative accommodation is being provided.Together the proposals for these two units will produce over 200 bed spaces which is far in excess of those in the respective units.This announcement together with my earlier one, on 5 February at column
210, on the transfer of the units at Camden and Newbury also by March 1993 will considerably advance our intention to withdraw from the direct operations of resettlement units.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how much would be raised by abolishing the ceiling on national insurance contributions.
We estimate that if the upper earnings limit for employees' contributions was abolished, the revenue yield for 1992–93 would be about £2·7 billion. If the self-employed upper profits limit was also abolished the additional yield would be about £0·5 billion.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received regarding proposals for an Usk bypass; and if he will make a statement.
None. This is a county road matter and one for Gwent county council as the local highway authority.
Usk (Heavy Lorries)
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received regarding a ban on heavy lorries through Usk and over the River Usk in Usk.
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, has recently received a letter from Usk town council. This is a county road matter and one for Gwent county council as the responsible highway authority.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the current level of unemployment in the Clwyd South-West constituency among school leavers in the 16 to 19 years age range.
In January 1992 there were 314 unemployed claimants in the Clwyd, South-West constituency aged under 20 years. A separate count of school leavers is not available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much has been spent in Wales on pilot schemes to cater for the care of latchkey children in 1991–92; and how much is budgeted to be spent in 1992–93.
In April 1991, under the Department's scheme of support for child and family services, a grant was awarded to the Kids Clubs' Network for a new out of school care development project in Wales. The project development officer was appointed on 22 July 1991 and grant paid in 1991–92 amounts to £24,022. On 19 February 1992, I announced a grant award of £40,812 for this project in 1992–93.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the hospitals in Wales now considering applying for trust status; and if he will make a statement.
There is increasing recognition from within the national health service in Wales that NHS trust status is the natural organisational model for the delivery of patient services. The Pembrokeshire NHS trust will become operational on 1 April. The statement by the hon. Gentleman at the Welsh Labour conference that Pembroke NHS trust would be brought back within the NHS under a Labour Government betrays either extreme ignorance of the fact that such trusts are, as their name implies, part of the NHS or an attempt to mislead the people of Wales.In addition, 14 health units have been invited to prepare applications for NHS trust status from April 1993. The details were given by my right hon. Friend on 19 December 1991. The eventual decision whether to submit a formal application is a matter for the individual hospital or health unit in the light of local circumstances.
Special Protection Areas
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many proposals for special protection area designation have been formally submitted to his Department by the statutory conservation agencies or transferred from the Department of the Environment and not yet progressed to designation; and if he will list the dates on which those submissions were made.
The department has four proposals for special protection area designation which have not yet progressed to designation. They were all transferred from the Department of the Environment on 13 January 1992.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he had received by 2 March in favour of amalgamating the borough of Wrexham and the district of Alyn and Deeside, as a result of his recent consultation on the future of local government in Wales; how many of these representations were from individuals; and how many were from representative bodies.
Nine of which four were from local branches of the Conservative party, Plaid Cymru and the Green party and five from community or town councils. No representations were received in favour of this proposal from the Labour party.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he will respond to the first report of the Welsh Affairs Committee, Session 1991–92, "Roads in Wales", House of Commons paper 89.
I am pleased to announce that the response has been published today as Command Paper 1851.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list each private sector consultancy firm which hs been retained by each agency within his Department, and for his Department as a whole, for the purposes of advising on the market testing programme; and whether the appointment in each case was the result of competitive tendering.
Touche Ross has been appointed to provide the private sector input to the study being undertaken to determine the scope for further market testing in Treasury in accordance with the White Paper, "Competing for Quality", (Cm. 1730). The appointment was made following the evaluation of proposals from six firms.
Rural Post Offices
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has had proposing changes in the law to enable rural post offices to provide banking services; and if he will make a statement.
I have not received any representations along the lines described. Post offices already provide banking services on art agency basis for Girobank. There are no plans at present to further extend the Post Office's powers in this area and the Government are reluctant to see any extension of the public sector, not least because of concern for fair competition.
Investment And Research
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list in detail the action taken by Her Majesty's Government to encourage investment and research.
The key role played by the Government in encouraging investment and research is a commitment to a stable, low-inflation environment, to free and open markets and a lack of burdensome social and industrial regulation. There is, however, a role for Government support where there is evidence of market failure.Full details of the Government's schemes for encouraging investment and research can be found in the recently published departmental reports for 1992–93 and in the annual review of Government-funded research and development, copies of which are available in the House of Commons Library.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the public sector borrowing requirement each year since 1974 at 1992 values; and if he will make a statement.
The figures requested are set out in the table. Between 1974–75 and 1978–79, the PSBR averaged 6¾ per cent. of GDP. Since 1979–80, by contrast, it has averaged 1¾per cent. of GDP.
|Public sector borrowing requirement (£ million)|
|Cash||at 1991–92 prices1|
|1 Using the GDP deflator|
|2 Autumn Statement forecast|
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing the yield from income tax against the basic rate for each year from 1985–86 to 1990–91.
The information is in the table:
Total tax liability
At the basic rate
At the higher rate
Of which excess over the basic rate
1 Latest estimate based on a projection of the 1989–90 Survey of Personal Incomes.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what would be the reduction in disposable income in an average size constituency in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) the United Kingdom, assuming average levels of income from savings and employment as a result of (i) introducing a 9 per cent. surcharge tax on (ii) all savings and (iii) savings over £30,000 and (iv) increasing the top rate of income tax to 50 per cent;(2) what would be the increase in disposable income in an average size constituency in
(a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) the United Kingdom, assuming average levels of income from savings and employment as a result of (i) increasing all tax allowances by the rate of inflation and (ii) reducing the rate of income tax by 1p.
Available estimates at 1991–92 levels of income, which exclude any behavioural effects which might result, are given in the table. I regret that separate data for England, Scotland and Wales are not available.
|Total change in disposable income in United Kingdom (£ billion)||Average change per constituency1 (£ million)|
|9 per cent. surcharge on all investment income||-2·6||-3·9|
|9 per cent, surcharge on income from savings of over £30,000||-1·3||-2·0|
|Increase in higher rate of tax to 50 per cent.||-3·3||-5·0|
|Increase in all income tax allowances and thresholds by 4·5 per cent.||+ 1·5||+ 2·3|
|Reduction of lp in basic rate||+ 1·9||+ 3·0|
|1 Column 1 divided 650— the number of parliamentary constituencies.|
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the progress of "next steps" in the Inland Revenue.
On 1 April the Inland Revenue will be setting up within the Department 34 executive offices covering the whole of its operational work in assessing and collecting taxes, and also important internal support services. This follows the establishment of the Valuation Office as an agency last year. As a result, the Inland Revenue will then be operating on "next steps" lines, with 96 per cent. of its staff working either in the Valuation Office Agency or in the 34 executive offices. This will mean less direct involvement from the centre, and more responsibility and accountability for heads of executive offices and their local managers. The purpose of these changes is to give taxpayers a better service, and to organise work more efficiently.As a part of its major programme of change the Revenue set up two teams to review its organisation and structure and its management and grading. The principal aims were to achieve significant further improvements in service to the public, in operational effectiveness and in cost efficiency, and to ensure the fullest commitment of those who work in the Department. They have now completed their work. Copies of a summary of their reports will be placed in the Library.The review teams envisage a slimmer and rather differently organised Department. Their proposals are designed to carry forward the policy set out in my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's statement of 16 May 1991 on the Fraser report, in the Citizen's Charter and in the White Paper "Competing for Quality."A number of the changes, if implemented, would take several years to complete. As a result, in 10 years time the Department might be 10 to 15 per cent. smaller than it is now. Further detailed planning and consultation will, however, be required before the future shape of the Department, and the way it does its work, can finally be settled. In addition to consultation with staff, the Inland Revenue is undertaking a major survey of taxpayers' views to ensure that the new arrangements properly reflect their priorities.Meanwhile, however, there are a number of specific changes which we shall be carrying forward now.First, the Inland Revenue is already engaged in introducing or testing a number of changes which are designed to improve the service it provides. We shall want to expand on this by examining proposals for moving, over a period of years, towards a new office structure. Taxpayer assistance offices would provide better local facilities, where the public could get inquiries dealt with, and problems resolved, on the spot. Other offices would deal with specialist and compliance work. And service offices would bring together, in a more efficient way, the bulk of the day-to-day work. Our aim is to move towards a single point of contact for every taxpayer. These changes will build on the existing experiments designed to remove the need for separate tax and collection offices in the same area.Secondly, the Department will be taking forward for wider consultation—and, where appropriate, negotiation —proposals for a new performance and reporting system for staff of the Inland Revenue, and, linked to it, a new system for pay and grading, with a larger proportion of pay depending on an assessment of performance. These proposals would be consistent with moving to a single staff group, within the civil service, for most Revenue staff.Thirdly, there will be a number of important changes to the relationship between the Department's head office and the new executive offices, in accordance with "next steps" principles. These include enhancing further the delegated authority and responsibility of managers; identifying opportunities to improve efficiency through market testing and internal charging; shortening lines of accountability and management; and making changes in management and reporting arrangements, including bringing operational functions more closely together.Fourthly, to assist the Board of the Inland Revenue in managing the new departmental structure, a new management board will be formed, comprising the existing board members, other senior managers, and a number of members from the private sector in a part-time capacity. These last will impart valuable management expertise, experience and advice.These changes represent together an important new beginning for the Inland Revenue. It will become a slimmer and more effective organisation, more interesting and satisfying to work for, providing ever better service to the public.
Overnight Subsistence Allowances
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what basis standard overnight subsistence allowances are calculated for civil servants travelling abroad.
Overseas subsistence allowances reflect the costs of accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner (including service charges and taxes) plus a small element to cover extra incidental expenses. Rates are based on the cost of reasonable quality and acceptable hotels in the particular locality and reflect discounts which are negotiated for visiting officials.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the standard overnight subsistence allowance expressed in pounds sterling which is payable to a civil servant of (a) grade 5, (b) grade 3 and (c) grade 1 travelling on official business to (1) Berlin, (2) Bonn, (3) Brussels, (4) Lisbon, (5) Luxembourg, (6) Madrid, (7) Paris, (8) Rome and (9) Washington.
Overseas subsistence allowances are calculated in local currency and the sterling equivalent depends upon the exchange rate available at the time of an official's visit. The table gives the current rates for the grades in question, together with approximate sterling equivalents.
|1 Grade 5.|
|2 Grades 1 and 3.|
Child Care Tax Allowance
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated cost to the Exchequer in a full tax year of introducing a child care tax allowance on the first (a) £1,000, (b) £2,000 and (c) £5,000 of taxable income for (i) working single parents and (ii) couples where both spouses are working.
Estimates of the cost of introducing allowances against taxable incomes of (i) working single parents and (ii) the higher earner in a two earner family for 1992–93 are as follows:
Cost (£ million)
£1,000 per year
£2,000 per year
£5,000 per year
|Working single parents||60||120||220|
|Higher earner in a two earner family with children||900||1,800||4,300|
Cost Of Living (European Community)
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has about the comparative cost of living in the capital cities of the EC member states.
Following are the comparative costs of living in the capital cities of EC member states as of October 1991 (London = 100).
|Comparative cost of living|
Source: P-E International of Egham, Surrey.
Profit-Related Pay Schemes
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the average income and the distribution of income of those in profit-related pay schemes, in the United Kingdom, since the schemes began.
[holding answer 2 March 1992]: The estimated average annual earnings of participants, including those working part-time, in registered profit-related pay schemes, in each year since schemes began are as follows. Information on the distribution of earnings is not available.
|Live registered||Average annual earnings of participants (£)|
House Of Commons
Overnight Subsistence Allowance
To ask the Lord President of the Council what is the standard overnight subsistence allowance expressed in pounds sterling which is payable to an hon. Member travelling on official business to (1) Berlin, (2) Bonn, (3) Brussels, (4) Lisbon, (5) Luxembourg, (6) Madrid, (7) Paris, (8) Rome and (9) Washington.
The standard overnight subsistence allowance payable to an hon. Member travelling on official business is the class A rate payable to senior staff in the home civil service. The rates are fixed by Her Majesty's Treasury and are regularly reviewed; they are normally expressed in the currency of the country to which they refer. For the current rates, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given today by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to reduce waiting lists at hospitals in the East Anglia region; and if he will make a statement.
Provisional figures show for January 1992 that since last March, East Anglian health authority, backed by £1·36 million from the waiting list fund, has reduced the number of patients waiting over two years by 75 per cent. and the number waiting over one year by 43 per cent. in January alone the number of patients waiting over two years fell by 51 per cent. The authority expects to have no patient waiting over two years by 31 March.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what survey has been undertaken by his Department in the London borough of Wandsworth of dentists who practise in the borough but who no longer provide dental treatment under the national health service; and if he will make a statement.
Last September we asked family health services authorities to conduct on our behalf a sample survey of 20 per cent. of dentists on their dental lists. All the dentists on the Merton Sutton and Wandsworth dental list who took part in the survey indicated they would continue NHS treatment.
Vitamins And Minerals
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to limit the supply of any vitamins and minerals by making them available only on prescription.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food gave my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Mr. Hague) on 27 February at column 611.A number of vitamin and mineral preparations are currently licensed medicines, some of which are already available only on prescription. There are a small number of essential vitamins and minerals sold as food supplements, which may have adverse effects when consumed in excess. We believe that, for these substances, safety concerns may indicate a need for limitations on the maximum freely available dose.A United Kingdom outline proposal for a possible EC directive notes that the relationship between supplements sold as foods and those sold as medicines, including medicines on general sale, may need to be addressed. It is not yet clear whether this will form part of any EC measure.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the present number of registered drug addicts in the Greater London area.
The Home Office maintains an index of people notified by doctors as addicted to one or more of a range of drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The number of new and renotified drug addicts in the Greater London area notified to the addicts index was 5,500 in 1990, the latest year for which figures are available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will provide for the Huddersfield health authority for each year since 1979 (a) the numbers of in-patients trea ted and (c) the number of out-patients treated.
The information requested is given in the table. In addition, the number of day cases treated in Huddersfield district health authority over the period 1979 to 1991 increased by 26 per cent. from 1,951 to 2,459.
|NHS hospitals Huddersfield District Health Authority|
|Year||In-patient waiting list at 31 March||In-patient cases treated||New out-patients||Total out-patient attendances|
|1 Hospital discharges.|
|2 Finished consultant episodes.|
Crutches And Walking Frames
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the total cost of equipment such as crutches and walking frames which are not returned to hospitals by patients; and if he will make it a requirement for those using this equipment to pay a refundable deposit before being allowed to remove it from hospital grounds.
The cost to the NHS of unreturned equipment is not collected centrally. As with other services, it is the provider units themselves who are responsible for managing effectively the supply and control of such equipment.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the average general practitioner list size in South Derbyshire district and Trent region in 1982 and the latest year for which figures are available.
At 1 October 1982, the average general practitioner list size in Derbyshire family health services authority's area was 2,289 and the figure for Trent region was 2,251. At 1 April 1991, (the latest year for which figures are available) the average list size for Derbyshire family health services authority was 2,004 and the Trent region was 1,985. Figures are not available for the South Derbyshire district alone.
Hospital Statistics Bulletin
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) when he published last year's national health service hospital activity statistics bulletin;(2) when he received the draft of the new national health service hospital activity statistics bulletin; and when he intends to publish the bulletin.
The bulletin containing statistics of NHS hospitals activity and facilities in 1989–90 was published on 12 December 1990.I received the draft bulletin giving comparable figures for 1990–91 on 19 February, and intend to publish it shortly, as drafted.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients were removed from waiting lists (a) by admission for treatment and (b) for reasons other than treatment in each district in each of the four Thames regional health authorities in each six month period since September 1988;(2) when the honourable Member for Peckham may expect a substantive reply to her question on waiting lists of 10 February.
[holding answer 10 February 1992]: We do not routinely collate information on all district health authorities centrally. For the relevant information at regional level, I refer the hon. Member to
|NHS directly employed staff in post by specific staff groups as at 30 September 1986 England by regional health authorities Whole-time equivalent1|
|Region||Nursing and midwifery2||Medical and dental3||General managers||Admin and clerical staff||Ancillary staff||Ambulance staff|
|East Anglia RHA||15,590||1,590||30||4,000||4,490||770|
|North West Thames RHA||28,670||3,310||30||7,710||7,790||490|
|North East Thames RHA||34,340||4,170||30||9,760||11,060||590|
|South East Thames RHA||30,370||3,510||50||8,900||10,110||960|
|South West Thames RHA||24,350||2,540||20||5,890||6,410||670|
|South Western RHA||26,980||2,630||30||6,710||8,060||1,470|
|West Midlands RHA||42,520||4,400||60||11,220||13,190||1,940|
|North Western RHA||37,860||4,040||60||9,510||11,640||1,670|
|London post graduate special Health Authorities||4,880||1,160||10||1,670||1,490||—|
|1 All figures are rounded to the nearest ten (10) whole-time equivalent.|
|2 Includes agency staff.|
|3 Includes permanent paid, honorary and locum staff. Differences in the sum of numbers of staff for all regions are due to duplication of staff holding appointments in more than one region. Such staff are included separately in each region.|
|4 Includes staff at the Dental Estimates Board, Prescription Pricing Authority, London Ambulance Service, and Family Practitioner Committees.|
Source: Department of Health (SMI3) annual census of NHS medical and non-medical manpower.
the reply I gave the hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) on 29 January at columns 599–602. In the three years to March 1991, nearly 2·1 million patients were admitted from waiting lists in the Thames regions. In the same period the names of a further 290,122 were removed for other reasons, for example, because they had already been treated, had moved, or no longer needed treatment. This is good practice in line with the Royal College of Surgeons guidelines.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list for (a) each regional health authority and (b) each district health authority the number of (i) nurses and midwives, (ii) medical staff, (iii) general and senior managers, (iv) administrative and clerical staff, (v) ancillary staff and (vi) ambulance staff for 1986 and for 1990.
[holding answer 13 February 1992]: Regional health authority data are shown in the table. District data could not be produced without incurring disproportionate cost.The new grades of general and senior manager were introduced following the recommendations of the 1983 Griffiths report to strengthen accountability for the delivery of health authority objectives. An expansion in numbers occurred from 1989 following the extension of senior manager arrangements beyond the most senior posts in regions and districts and their introduction to units and family practitioner committees. Staff employed in these grades generally hold posts which were previously occupied by staff in other groups such as administrative and clerical or senior nursing grades.
National Health Service directly employed staff in post by specific staff groups as at 30 September 1990 England by Regional Health Authorities
Nursing and midwifery
Medical and dental
General and senior managers
Administration and clerical staff
|Northern Regional Health Authority||27,310||2,990||550||6,940||7,330||1,320|
|Yorkshire Regional Health Authority||30,140||3,120||930||7,870||7,000||1,560|
|Trent Regional Health Authority||38,220||4,170||600||10,120||10,760||1,890|
|East Anglia Regional Health Authority||16,420||1,810||480||4,070||3,920||790|
|North West Thames Regional Health Authority||27,560||3,480||80||8,160||5,460||540|
|North East Thames Regional Health Authority||34,170||4,250||1,030||10,450||8,290||550|
|South East Thames Regional Health Authority||30,110||3,800||780||10,030||8,020||860|
|South West Thames Regional Health Authority||23,070||2,650||520||6,340||4,390||660|
|Wessex Regional Health Authority||23,690||2,540||610||5,840||5,360||940|
|Oxford Regional Health Authority||17,310||2,180||420||5,150||3,470||800|
|South Western Regional Health Authority||27,490||2,780||610||6,980||6,370||1,460|
|West Midlands Regional Health Authority||43,220||4,800||1,060||11,950||11,100||1,850|
|Mersey Regional Health Authority||21,180||2,440||500||5,810||4,690||880|
|North Western Regional Health Authority||37,120||4,450||690||10,070||8,020||1,580|
|London Post-graduate Special Health Authorities||4,970||1,380||130||1,840||1,080||—|
Source: Department of Health (SM13) Annual Census of National Health Service medical and non-medical manpower.
1 All figures are independently rounded to the nearest ten (10) whole-time equivalent.
2 Includes agency staff.
3 Includes permanent paid, honorary and locum staff. Differences in the sum of numbers of staff for all regions are due to duplication of staff holding appointments in more than one region. Such staff are included separately in each region.
4 Senior managers were progressively introduced from 1987.
5 Includes staff at the Dental Estimates Board, Prescription Pricing Authority, London Ambulance Service, Family Practitioner Committees and other Statutory Authorities (eg. public Health Laboratory service and the Health Education Authority).
To ask the Secretary of Slate for Health in the last year for which figures are available, what was the number of patients awaiting cataract operations in England and Wales; and what percentage of them had been on the list for (a) six months, (b) a year, (c) two years and (d) more than two years.
[holding answer 24 February 1992]: Waiting time information for specific conditions is not collected centrally. The latest information available centrally for the ophthalmology specialty as a whole in England is given in the table. This shows that fewer than 2 per cent. of patients had been waiting more than two years for ophthalmology treatment and 87 per cent. waited less than one year. Information relating to Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
|Ophthalmology waiting list at March 1991|
|England—All cases March 1991|
|Over 24 months||1,537||1·6|
Hospital Beds, York
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) acute and (b) long-stay hospital beds York health authority had open in each year since 1979.
[holding answer 27 February 1992]: Figures relating to acute beds are given in the table. Information relating to long-stay beds is not collected centrally. The hon. Member may wish to contact Mr. Pratt, the chairman of York district health authority, for details.
|National health service hospitals, York health authority|
|Total number of|
|Year||Average daily number of acute available beds||In-patients||Day cases|
|1 Discharges and deaths.|
|2 Finished consultant episodes.|
In-patients 1979 to 1988–89 discharges and deaths.
In-patients 1988–89 to 1990–91 finished consultant episodes. 1990–91 figures provisional.
Between 1979 and 1990–91 in York health authority the numbers of in-patient cases treated in the acute sector increased from 19,460 hospital discharges to 26,726 finished consultant episodes, an increase of 31 per cent. on a comparable basis, and for all sectors increased by 30 per cent. from 27,296 hospital discharges to 39,530 finished consultant episodes.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many new houses were completed in Scotland in each year since 1978.
Information on the number of new houses completed in Scotland for each year since 1978 is set out in the following table.
|New dwellings completed in Scotland|
|1 Figures include estimates.|
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list by district council the number of council houses sold since October 1980; if he will also show this as a percentage of total stock at the start of that period; and if he will show the number of new build houses in that period.
Information by district council on the number of council houses sold since October 1980, expressed as a percentage of the total local authority stock, is set out in the following table.Information on new building within each district is regularly published in the statistical bulletin—"Housing Trends in Scotland", available in the Library. The latest information is in table 5 of the bulletin HSG/1991/7.
|Number of dwellings sold' by local authorities October 1980 to 30 June 1991|
|Local Authority District||Total sales||Percentage of stock2|
|Total, all local Authorities||171,858||19·2|
|Ettrick and Lauderdale||1,290||25·9|
|Dumfries and Galloway|
|Annandale and Eskdale||1,429||27·9|
Local Authority District
Percentage of stock
|North East Fife||2,844||35·2|
|Bun IT and Buchan||3,053||23·9|
|Kincardine and Deeside||83·1||22·7|
|Badenoch and Strathspey||400||36·7|
|Ross and Cromarty||997||15·8|
|Skye and Lochalsh||200||27·4|
|Argyll and Bute||1,516||18·0|
|Bearsden and Milngavie||532||29·2|
|Cumbernauld and Kilsyth||884||20·1|
|Cumnock and Doon Valley||1,471||14·2|
|Kilmarnock and Loudoun||2,948||16·1|
|Kyle and Carrick||4,662||25·5|
|Perth and Kinross||4,395||26·8|
1 All sales of dwellings by local authorities.
2 Stock of local authority dwellings as at 30 September 1980.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 25 February, Official Report, column 478, on the treatment of candidiasis and myalgic encephalomyelitis, what is the annual cost of treatment by each health board after such patients are referred by general practitioners.
As stated in my previous answer of 25 February, at column 487, costs for the treatment of these conditions cannot be identified separately.
Scottish Office Superannuation Division
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will announce his decisions on the recent report by management consultants on the Scottish Office superannuation division.
The consultants made a number of recommendations about the future status, organisation and management of the Scottish Office superannuation division. One of these was that the division should be designated as an executive agency within the Scottish Office under the Government's "next steps" programme. I have now decided that that recommendation should be accepted, with a view to launching the new agency by the autumn of this year. I shall announce a firm date in due course. Other recommendations from the review are at various stages of consideration and implementation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of Scottish gross domestic product was spent on the national health service in each of the last 25 years.
Information on a consistent basis is readily available only for the financial years 1974–75 to 1989–90 and is set out in the following table:
|NHS expenditure as percentage of GDP|
Royal Fleet Reserve
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements he has made for replacement of missing or inadequate items of home retention scale of kit, as presented by Royal Fleet reservists, consequent on the abolition of the annual reporting bounty.
When the annual reporting grant was withdrawn with effect from 1 November 1991, kit replacement was suspended. In the event of call up any replacement kit will be issued to reservists at their mobilisation centres.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he introduced the system of annual reporting for (a) Royal Fleet reservists and (b) army reservists; what bounty has been payable in each case, and for how long; and what is the purpose of (i) annual reporting and (ii) the bounty payable.
Annual reporting was introduced for Royal Fleet reservists in 1986 and for Army reservists in 1981. Since 1986, those reservists serving in their first year of the Royal Fleet Reserve (Special Category) received a payment of £100 before tax for attending the Reservist reporting unit. Those serving in the second and third year of the Royal Fleet Reserve (Ordinary Category) received a payment of £80 before tax. Since 1981 all Army reservists who took part in the annual reporting exercise (ARCEX) received a payment of £100 before tax although ARCEX is currently suspended. The purpose of annual reporting is to ensure that health, kit and personal details of each reservist could be properly checked and updated so that reservists can be mobilised quickly and effectively when required. The purpose of the payment of the annual reporting grant was to (i) compensate those reservists who (a) had to take time off work without pay to report and (b) needed to purchase replacement kit; and (ii) provide an incentive for reservists to report to ensure that the purpose of annual reporting described above was achieved.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of Royal Fleet reservists attended their annual reporting centre in each of the last five years for which figures are available; what proportion of annual reporting bounties payable have been withheld to cover the cost of replacement kit; and if he will make a statement.
The proportion of Royal Fleet reservists who reported to the reservist reporting unit in each of the last five years was as follows:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when and for what reason he decided to cease payment of the annual reporting credit to Royal Fleet reservists; what was the total of Royal Fleet reserve annual reporting grant in the last year for which figures are available; and what effect he expects it to have on attendance of Royal Fleet reservists at annual reporting centres.
The annual reporting grant was withdrawn with effect from 1 November 1991. The total of the annual reporting grant paid out to the Royal Fleet Reserve in financial year 1990–91 was £474,804·58 after tax and after abatements for replacement items of kit. Since the annual reporting grant was withdrawn attendance of Royal Fleet reservists reporting to the reservist reporting unit has fallen.
Defence Establishments, Germany
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list all United Kingdom-owned defence establishments in Germany.
Generally, facilities for visiting forces in Germany have been provided by the host nation. Exceptionally, buildings were purchased by the Ministry of Defence from the private sector to meet the accommodation requirements at the following establishments:
- Vehicle Workshops, Redcar Barracks Bielefeld.
- Material and Medical Depot, Bielefeld.
United Nations Peace-Keeping Operations
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British service personnel have been killed or wounded in action while participating in United Nations peace-keeping operations in each year since 1961; what memorials exist to commemorate those British service personnel who have served with the United Nations; and if he will make a statement.
I will write to the hon. Member.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 28 February, Official Report, column 675, if he will list the public announcements of redundancies referred to in the answer, giving the date, the name of the company involved and the number of redundancies announced.
The announcements referred to are those made by the companies concerned.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will hold talks with the high commissioner for Kenya on the detention of Dr. Josephat Karanja and others.
Dr. Josephat Karanja is one of a number of Kenyan citizens arrested for alleged participation in a press conference held on 10 January at which President Moi was accused of planning an imminent military coup.Dr. Karanja has been charged with publishing false rumours under section 66 of the Kenyan penal code and has been released on bail. There are no grounds for raising the case with the Kenyan authorities.
Council Of Ministers
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many meetings of the Council of Ministers there have been since the beginning of 1990; and if he will list the Ministers who attended each of these meetings.
There have been 177 meetings of the Council of Ministers since 1 January 1990. The United Kingdom is represented in the Council by the Secretary or Minister of State responsible for the subject matter under discussion.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people were seconded to the United Kingdom's permanent representation to the European Community in Brussels in 1990 and 1991; and if he will break these figures down by Department of origin.
In 1990 and 1991 there were 22 seconded staff in addition to the 18 diplomatic service staff at the office of the United Kingdom permanent representative to the European Community, as follows:
|Customs and Excise||2||2|
|Agriculture (Northern Ireland)||0||1|
|Bank of England||1||1|
Foreign Affairs Council
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Foreign Affairs Council held on 2 March.
My right hon. Friends the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Minister for Trade and the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I represented the United Kingdom at the Foreign Affairs Council on 2 March.The Commission Vice-President, Mr. Andriessen, reported to the Council on his recent visit to several states of the former Soviet Union. The Council agreed that the Commission should continue its exploratory talks on enhanced trade and co-operation agreements with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It also agreed that the role of the EC task force monitoring the distribution of EC food aid should be expanded and the the EC should participate in the proposed international science and technology centre for retraining and redeploying nuclear scientists from the former Soviet Union.Ministers agreed on the need for an early conclusion to the GATT Uruguay round and invited all participants to speed up negotiations.President Delors presented the Commission's future financing proposals for 1993 to 1997. Member states gave their initial reactions. I questioned the Commission's proposals to increase the ceiling on our own resources and on agricultural spending, drawing attention to the extra funds that would in any case be available between now and 1997 within the existing limits on the Community's own resources.The Council reviewed the negotiations on a European economic area in the light of the Commission's request to the European Court of Justice for a second opinion on the revised draft agreement. The Council expressed the hope that the court's opinion would be made available as soon as possible.Ministers discussed EC relations with Morocco and invited the Commission to make proposals on economic and technical co-operation and the Political Committee to examine ways of strengthening political dialogue.Ministers issued a statement condemning the recent violence in Sarajevo following the referendum on the future status of Bosnia-Herzegovina. They agreed that the Commission should begin exploratory talks with Slovenia on a trade and co-operation agreement.The fifth meeting of the EC/Tunisia Co-operation Council was held in the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list the High Court challenges to road schemes that have been heard in each of the past five years, with the date when the motion was served in each case, and the date on which the action lapsed or was determined;(2) what is the average, greatest and lowest number of sitting days in the High Court taken by challenges to the Secretary of State for Transport on road schemes in the past five years.
We do not hold such information. I will write to my hon. Friend.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance he gives to local authorities about the maintenance of retaining walls of roads under their control.
Retaining walls are included within the scope of the Department's procedures for the inspection and maintenance of structures on motorways and other trunk roads. Local authorities are encouraged to adopt these procedures in maintaining retaining walls on their own roads.
Health And Safety
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the proposals for United Kingdom legislation: relevant to EC directive 89/684 EEC and the content of the necessary training courses needed to meet the requirements of the directive to be finalised by the Health and Safety Executive; and if he will make a statement.
I expect to receive recommendations for regulations from the Health and Safety Commission shortly. Requirements for course content were notified to interested parties on 20 February. Further copies are available from the Health and Safety Executive.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what British Rail investment plans for new trains and rolling stock Her Majesty's Government (a) have authorised and which are awaiting completion and (b) are currently considering; and if he will make statement.
British Rail projects for new train and rolling stock builds, authorised by the Government and yet to be fully completed, are as follows:
|Diesel multiple unit vehicles:|
|158 (tranches 2 and 3)||200|
|Electric multiple unit vehicles:|
|High speed train sets:|
|Channel Tunnel Services||21|
|Mark IV for ECML||31|
|CT Night Services2||139|
|1 188 have not yet been ordered by British Rail.|
|2 This is total order—BR's share is likely to be some 85 coaches.|
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much state aid there will be on track and train modernisation on the west coast main line to Glasgow.
We would expect British Rail's proposals for the moderation of the west coast main line to Glasgow to earn an 8 per cent. return. They should not. therefore, require subsidy.
Car Engine Capacity
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the average cubic capacity of engines of cars registered in the last year for which figures are available, for (a) United Kingdom-produced cars and (b) imported cars.
The information, as requested, is not available.However, the distribution of cars first registered in Great Britain in 1991 by engine size is as follows:
|Cars first registered in 1991|
|Cubic capacity||Great Britain produced thousands||Imported thousands|
|up to 1000||32||71|
|1001 – 1200||106||61|
|1201 – 1300||65||74|
|1301 – 1400||153||94|
|1401 – 1500||1||21|
|1501 – 1600||191||106|
|1601 – 1800||53|