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Written Answers

Volume 229: debated on Thursday 22 July 1993

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 22 July 1993

National Heritage

Sports Council (Restructuring)

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage, pursuant to his statement of 9 July, Official Report, column 599 (1) at what date and at what time he informed the chairmen-designate of the proposed United Kingdom Sports Commission and Sports Council for England of his decision to discontinue work to put these bodies in place of the current Sports Council for Great Britain from 1 October;(2) at what date he had consulted the chairmen-designate of the proposed United Kingdom Sports Commission and the Sports Council for England with regard to his decision to proceed no further with work to put those bodies in place of the current Sports Council of Great Britain from 1 October.

I received in November 1992 the Sports Council's proposals for the detailed split of functions and resources between the bodies which the Government had proposed, in their December 1991 sports policy statement "Sport and Active Recreation", should succeed the present Sports Council of Great Britain.My officials subsequently had extensive discussions with the Sports Council, including the chairmen-designate of the proposed successor bodies, on its proposals for the allocation of resources, notably to staffing. I also consulted my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the Sports Council's proposals.As a result of these discussions, I informed the chairmen-designate of the proposed successor bodies on 8 July that the Government no longer intended to proceed with their original plans.

Duchy Of Lancaster

Recruitment And Assessment Services Agency

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when the annual report of the Recruitment and Assessment Services Agency will be published.

The second annual report of the Recruitment and Assessment Servcies Agency was published yesterday and copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

Health

Medical Services, Inner London

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will give the general medical services budgets for each inner London family health services authority for each year since 1988–89 and the amount in real terms from each budget spent on fund-holding.

General medical services (GMS) expenditure for each year from 1988–89 to 1991–92 is shown in table A. Figures for 1992–93 will be available later this year. Expenditure on fund-holding within GMS expenditure is not separately identifiable. However, the total cost of general practitioner fund-holding expenditure for each inner London family health services authority (FHSA) is shown in table B.

Table A
Expenditure on General Medical Services
£000s
FHSA1988–891989–901990–911991–92
Brent and Harrow16,38218,43823,26028,990
Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster11,63913,49218,28119,291
Camden and Islington12,09913,67417,12419,226
City and East London18,14421,01930,17433,901
Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham22,48225,02431,90637,783
Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth17,42019,63922,70726,916

Source:

Annual accounts of FHSAs and the predecessor bodies.

Table B

GP Fund holders' expenditure for 1991–92

FHSA

Total expenditure £s

Brent and Harrownil
Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster789,923
Camden and Islington1,406,503
City and East London1,842,910
Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham4,094,110
Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth4,585,639

Source: Annual accounts of FHSAs.

Note:

1. The above totals include expenditure for practice staff, hospital purchases, drugs and appliances.

2. GP fund-holding expenditure is available only for 1991–92. Details for 1992–93 will be available later this year.

Gp Fund Holders

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the benefits to patients available from GP fund-holding practices relative to non-fund-holding practices.

Fund-holding is one of the major successes of the national health service reforms and the improvements secured by fund-holders are extending widely to benefit patients in non-fund-holding practices. We are delighted at how both general practitioner fund-holders and district health authorities are seizing the opportunities of the new NHS to secure more appropriate, high-quality care for patients.

Among the benefits are shorter waiting times, better liaison between hospitals and community services when patients are discharged and more services provided in GP surgeries.

Minimal Invasive Therapy

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to encourage the development of minimal invasive therapy.

We shall shortly be announcing decisions on expanded training facilities for minimally invasive therapy, jointly funded by the Government and the Wolfson Foundation.

British Orthopaedic Association

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when she next expects to meet the British Orthopaedic Association; and what subjects she intends to discuss.

There are currently no plans for Ministers to meet the British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) in the near future. However, the chief medical officer will be meeting the BOA's president on 17 August to discuss hip prostheses and the quality of care.

Clothier Inquiry

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, following the publication of the White Paper on open government, if she will consider making the Clothier inquiry an open inquiry under the Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1971.

The public interest will be better served by an investigative type of inquiry rather than an adversarial one, in other words, by the type of inquiry that Sir Cecil Clothier is now leading.

Nhs (Product Purchasing)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is her policy on the use of inducements offered by manufacturers of drugs and hip and knee prostheses to NHS personnel to persuade them to buy their products.

Unequivocal guidance issued to the health service in January—HSG(93)5—states that under

Year ending:
31 July 199131 July 199231 July 1993
Students obtaining their first registerable qualification from medical schools in the United Kingdom3,5733,644n/a
Year ending:
30 June 199130 June 199230 June 1993
Doctors joining general practice in the United Kingdom1,6091,510n/a
The doctors covered by the two tables will not be the same, as a period of training follows first registerable qualification before admission to general practice. The second table will include doctors who qualified outside the United Kingdom.

Fluoride Prescriptions

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the cost to the NHS of fluoride prescriptions for each quarter of 1992 and the first three months of 1993.

no circumstances must purchasing decisions be influenced by inducements from suppliers or potential contractors. National health service employers and employees have a responsibility to ensure that at all times the interest of patients is paramount and that public funds are disbursed impartially and honestly.

Gp Practices

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 14 July, Official Report, column 532, how many (a) non-fund-holding practices and (b) fund-holding practices she has visited in the last year.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave her on 14 July at column 532.

General Practitioners

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what were the average earnings of (a) all general practitioners and (b) fund-holding general practitioners by the smallest geographical base for the most recent available period.

Information about the geographical distribution of general practitioners' earnings or the earnings of general practitioner fund holders compared with non-fund holders is not available. The intended average net remuneration for an unrestricted principal providing general medical services in Great Britain in 1993–94 is £40,610. Payments for achieving higher levels of coverage for childhood immunisations and cervical screening and for administering the Hib meningitis vaccine are made in addition. The most recent information suggests these added an estimated £2,750 to the average general practitioner's remuneration in 1992–93.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many students gained their final qualifications to practise medicine in the United Kingdom in 1990–91, 1991–92 and 1992–93; and how many of them entered general practice in the United Kingdom from each of those years.

Period

Net ingredient cost (£'000s)

1st Quarter 199210·2
2nd Quarter 199210·3
3rd Quarter 19928·7
4th Quarter 19928·9
1st Quarter 199366·9

Note: The net ingredient cost is the basic cost of the drug before any discount and not including dispensing costs or fees. The data cover prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescriptions submitted by prescribing doctors and dentists. Dental practitioners providing general dental services in the national health service have, from 1 January 1993, been able to prescribe fluoride supplements under the national health service.

Needy Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to secure that the children of homeless families are classified as children in need and gain access to services provided under the Children Act.

We have no plans to do so. The definition of "in need" in the Children Act 1989 is in terms of a child's health and development, including disablement. It is for local authorities to seek out the extent of children in need in their areas and to publish services available to help them and their families.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what monitoring has been undertaken by her Department into the definition of in need according to part III of the Children Act 1989 used in practice by local authorities; and what plans she has to introduce new guidelines.

The first report to Parliament of the working of the Children Act 1989—Cm 2144—was published in January 1993. We are keeping the position under review, but have no reason to believe that the guidance on this subject in "The Children Act 1989: Guidance and Regulations Volume 2 Family Support, Day Care and Educational Provision for Young Children", a copy of which is available in the Library, is in need of amendment.

Children's Residential Care

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will announce the final terms of reference and the membership of the support force for children's residential care.

Further to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Taylor) on 24 June at columns 249–50, the terms of reference are as follows:

  • 1. (a) to offer advice to individual authorities on the interrelated issues of quality of care and management in children's residential care, with particular reference to the appointment and selection, personnel management, support, development and internal training of children's residential care staff.
  • (b) to offer advice to individual authorities and, where appropriate, groups of authorities on suitable mechanisms for snatching needs and supply in their localities or regions, taking account of the potential contributions of voluntary, private and public sectors; and on related commissioning and contractual issues. A particular focus of the work will be to assist authorities and the voluntary and private sectors to improve occupancy rates and hence reduce unit costs in children's residential homes where this is appropriate.
  • (c) to prepare material for a code of employment practice, for discussion with employer and other interests.
  • 2. The support force for children's residential care will work under Department of Health auspices, and from time to time as requested, report on its programme and progress. It will work with social services and, as appropriate, other agencies by invitation in a consulting and facilitating role; by implication it will draw attention to and disseminate examples of good practice. The social services inspectorate's advice will be available to it. It will work within the framework of the Children Act 1989 and regulations and guidance issued following that and other relevant legislation; the Warner report and Government decisions on it; and other material that may be relevant. Its remit is for a period of two years from the summer of 1993. Ministers will then review the progress made.
  • The members of the support force are:

    • Adrianne Jones CBE
      • Leader of the support force. Formerly director of social services for Birmingham and Hillingdon. Member of the Warner committee on the recruitment, selection and development of staff in children's homes.
    • Louise Bessant
      • Co-ordinator, Young People's Forum, Birmingham social services.
    • James King OBE
      • Former director of the Caldecott Community.
    • Brendah Malahleka
      • Service manager, children and families, London borough of Ealing.
    • Steven Moss
      • Assistant director, finance and administration, Manchester city council social services department.
    • Robert Sykes
      • Assistant director operations, Oxfordshire social services.
    • Susan Thomas
    • Chief personnel officer, London borough of Lewisham. Member of the Warner committee.
    • Mike Nichol
    • Formerly chief education officer for the Wirral, Cheshire. Now working as an educational consultant for Coopers and Lybrand.

    Sellafield

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if she will consult the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment in the event of any application being made to vary the discharge licence from British Nuclear Fuel's Sellafield installation;(2) what advice she has received from the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment concerning the health risk resulting from the proposed liquid and gaseous radioactive discharges from British Nuclear Fuel's Sellafield installation; and if she will publish the advice.

    Applications to dispose of radiactive waste from a licensed site are considered by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food—"the inspectorates". It is for them to decide who they should consult in any particular case, subject to any relevant statutory requirements.The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE) commented to the inspectorates on British Nuclear Fuel's application for revised discharge authorisations at the Sellafield site. We have arranged for copies of COMARE's response to be placed in the Library. The inspectorates carefully considered all the responses made in the consultation including that from COMARE, before coming to the conclusion announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment on 28 June at column

    392.

    Private Ambulances

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration she has given to the regulation of private ambulance operators.

    The code of practice recently agreed by the Department of Health's ambulance policy advisory group sets out minimum standards for non-national health service patient transport providers. It is for prospective purchasers of private ambulance services to satisfy themselves that operators are competent to provide the required service.

    Patients (Major Surgery)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to ensure that patients entering (a) NHS and (b) private hospitals have all necessary facilities to safeguard them following major surgical procedures; and if she will make a statement.

    A private hospital is required by law to register with the district health authority, which must satisfy itself that the statutory requirements, and any local conditions of registration, are being met at all times, including adequate medical, surgical and nursing equipment and adequate treatment facilties. It is for national health service providers to assess the level of service need to support surgical procedures, and to provide the staff and facilities to meet those needs. It is for NHS purchasers to satisfy themselves about the quality of the service provided to patients. We have no plans to alter the present arrangements.

    Nhs Dental Treatment

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the average cost of a course of NHS dental treatment per patient liable to full charge in each year since 1979.

    The information is shown in the table.

    General Dental Services (GDS)—England
    YearPatients liable to full chargePatients wholly exempt or remitted
    Average Cost (£)Average Cost (£)
    197913·3215·48
    198016·2619·20
    198118·1326·14
    198219·3827·71
    198320·1034·42
    198421·4937·07
    198521·7039·19
    1986–8723·4642·64
    1987–8825·8445·13
    1988–8928·4649·23
    1989–9030·2447·48
    1990–91n/an/a
    1991–9231·8351·69
    1992–93n/an/a

    Notes:

    1. Data from 1979 to 1985 are shown in calendar years. Thereafter they are shown in financial years.

    2. Data for 1990–91 are not available as the introduction of the new dental contract interrupted the data series.

    3. Data for 1992–93 are not yet available.

    4. The small number of courses of treatment where charges were partly remitted has not been included in the calculations.

    5. Before 1 January 1989 dental examinations did not attract a patient charge. Therefore, a course of dental treatment which included only a dental examination did not attact a patient charge. Such courses of dental treatment have been allocated in this table to the appropriate category whether the patient was liable to charges or not.

    Medical Care (Proposed Authority)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans she has to set up a medical/surgical equivalent to the Committee on Safety of Medicines;(2) what plans she has for the creation of an Office of Medicine as a statutory body to oversee standards of medical care;(3) what plans she has to introduce legislation to ensure that the NHS and the private medical sector are equally accountable and bound by the same regulations under one single regulatory authority.

    Surgeons

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to ensure that surgeons do not undertake procedures for which they have not received specific training or accreditation.

    The accreditation of training posts and systems of postgraduate education, examination and training are matters for the responsible professional bodies. A doctor has a professional responsibility not to undertake a procedure which he or she is not competent to perform.

    Employment

    Occupational Hazards

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the 10 most frequent occupational related causes of death for the latest available period.

    The most frequent causes of recorded occupationally related mortality in 1991 and/or 1992 were: mesothelioma; accidental trauma; pneumoconiosis; asbestosis; accidental poisoning and gassing; lung cancer due to asbestos; byssinosis; other cancers; and allergic alveolitis, including farmer's lung. There were only occasional deaths recorded from other causes.

    Social Charter

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment in what manner Her Majesty's Government have published or publicised the text of the social charter of the European Economic Community as agreed by 11 of its member states at Strasbourg on 9 December 1989.

    The Government have never published or publicised the text of the social charter agreed by the other 11 member states.

    Employment Rehabilitation Centre, Ingol

    To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the capital cost of the purpose-built employment rehabilitation centre at Ingol, Preston, at the time it was built, expressed in 1993 values; and what price has been agreed for its sale.

    [holding answer 20 July 1993]: Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service Agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

    Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Mrs. Audrey Wise, dated 22 July 1993:

    As the Employment Service is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State has asked me to write to you direct to respond to your Parliamentary Question to him about the capital cost of Preston (Ingol) Employment Rehabilitation Centre (ERC) when it was built and the price agreed for its sale. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency.

    The building of Preston ERC was completed in 1978 and the centre was opened in 1979. The work involved in retrieving the exact total capital costs of the ERC and converting these to 1993 prices would incur disproportionate costs. I am therefore unable to supply this information.

    The ERC was closed on 31 December 1992 and tenders were invited for its sale. A price has been agreed and the site has been sold subject to contract. You will appreciate that, until the sale is completed and contracts are exchanged, the price agreed is still classified as "Commercial in Confidence" and cannot be revealed.

    I am sorry to have to send you a disappointing reply. However, I am satisfied that all the correct tendering procedures have been followed to ensure we obtain the best possible price for the site.

    As decided by the Administration Committee of the House of Commons, Chief Executive replies to written Parliamentary Questions will now be published in the Official Report. I will also place a copy of this letter in the Library of the House.

    National Finance

    Insurance

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what conclusions he has reached on the report by the Director General of Fair Trading on the marketing and sale of investment-linked insurance products.

    The Director General of Fair Trading (DGFT) reported to my predecessor in March about the rules on marketing and sale of investment-linked life insurance products1, made last July by the Securities and Investments Board (SIB) and the Life Assurance and Unit Trust Regulatory Organisation (LAUTRO). These rules had been drawn up in response to the then Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in December 1990, who asked for changes in the rules to meet the concerns raised in the report of April 1990 by the previous DGFT.

    1 The marketing and sale of investment-linked insurance products. The rules of the Securities and Investments Board and the Life Assurance and Unit Trust Regulatory Organisation. A report by the Director General of Fair Trading to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, March 1993.

    In his report under the Financial Services Act 1986 (FSA), the DGFT was of the opinion that four aspects of the new rules were likely to have significantly anti-competitive effects. Under the FSA, the Treasury must consider whether the rules are likely to have significant anti-competitive effects and, if it considers that they do, whether those effects are greater than necessary for investor protection.

    In April, the Treasury invited comments on the DGFT's report as well as on his separate report under the Fair Trading Act 19732 . Many hon. Members have written to me about the reports, and a large number of written submissions have been received from interested parties, many of which have been discussed in detail with officials. I have taken account of the views and arguments put during this consultation process in reaching my conclusions.

    I endorse the director general's finding that four aspects of the rules have or are likely to have significantly anti-competitive effects. I do not find that these effects are necessary to protect investors. The Treasury is therefore directing SIB to develop a new approach to the regulation of the marketing of life insurance products through rules to rectify the deficiencies identified. My reasons, and the changes the Treasury now requires, are set out below.

    2 "Fair Trading and Life Insurance Savings Products: A Report by the Director General of Fair Trading", March 1993.

    There has been a good deal of justified criticism concerning the proportion of long-term policies surrendered early and the low surrender values of policies surrendered in the early years. The relevant SIB rules are designed to improve regulation and to help the investor by requiring life offices both to disclose surrender values for the first five years of life policies and to indicate the point at which the surrender value may equal or exceed the amount paid by the investor if the crossover point falls outside the first five years. The rules prevent life offices disclosing surrender values for a longer period.

    The DGFT has welcomed the rule changes in so far as they give the investor more information about the long-term and illiquid nature of these investments and about likely surrender values in the early years. However, the DGFT concludes that the absence of information about surrender values in the later years of the policy limits the ability of investors to make properly informed choices among the products of different life offices and between life products and other investments; and hence is likely to restrict and distort competition to a significant extent.

    SIB and LAUTRO have concentrated on better disclosure of surrender values in the early years where the major concerns have arisen. Surrender values, however, do vary considerably between life offices in the later years and I agree with the DGFT that lack of information is likely significantly to restrict and distort competition. I have also taken into account other factors relevant to investor protection; in particular, the risk that disclosure of likely cash surrender values for each year of a policy could appear to offer guaranteed returns and could be in serious danger of overloading the investor with a huge array of figures. Any profile of figures which appeared to offer guaranteed returns would have investor disadvantages in so far as it altered life offices' investment behaviour and thus ultimately reduced the returns delivered or raised the cost of a given return; equally, a detailed array of figures, added to all the other quantitative information, could overload investors with complex and confusing details and thereby defeat the object of disclosure. I have examined these arguments and options and concluded that, through fuller disclosure of the implications of early surrender on the value of policies, it should be possible to remove the anti-competitive effect of non-disclosure of surrender values in later years in a way which avoids the danger of appearing to give guarantees and which does not overload the investor.

    The Treasury is therefore directing SIB to develop a new approach and to bring forward rules which will provide a clear and quantified account of the effect of life offices' intended surrender value practices on the value of the policy if cashed in early beyond the initial five years, without implying guaranteed projections or overloading the investor with figures. The new requirements should provide, in plain terms, a clear description of the effect on surrender values throughout the duration of the policy.

    While own charges—the charges currently levied by the particular life office—are required to be used in the calculations of likely surrender values during the first five years of a policy, SIB's and LAUTRO's rules require that illustrations of projected future returns on policies use standard—approximately average—assumptions about the charges levied by life offices. Illustrations are not mandated by the regulators but are a strong marketing tool. Requiring the use of standard charges prevents life offices from producing illustrations which demonstrate the relative merits of their products, thus restricting their ability to compete with others in the market. Use of own charges should also bring downward pressure on costs. I therefore agree with the DGFT that the requirement to use standard charges in illustrations is likely significantly to restrict and distort competition among life offices. Investor protection considerations also argue in favour of use of own charges. Use of standard charges can be misleading to investors by implying that charges do not affect performance when, in reality, charges of life offices to not alter rapidly and do influence total returns. In their joint submission to the Treasury commenting on the DGFT's report SIB, LAUTRO and the Financial Intermediaries, Managers and Brokers Regulatory Organisation accept that own charges ought now to be used in illustrations.

    The Treasury is therefore directing SIB to bring forward rules which will require policy illustrations to use the life offices' own recent charges. This information should make clear to investors the full impact of product costs throughout the duration of the policy.

    Within the independent financial adviser sector, individual firms are allowed to and do rebate commission to investors. The final price to the investor can therefore take account of the costs of distribution, with the more efficient advisers being able to offer keener prices. Cost competitiveness is allowed to reign. In marked contrast, SIB/LAUTRO rules have the effect of preventing price competition for a life office's products between its tied channels and outlets. There is no direct rule preventing the rebating of commission by tied agents to their customers. But the best advice rule has been found in practice to prevent differential pricing because it would prevent a tied agent advising the purchase of a particular product if the product were available more cheaply through another tied outlet.

    The DGFT has concluded that rules which prevent some intermediaries from passing through to investors the benefits of cost differentials and efficiencies and which in practice require cross subsidisation between tied outlets are significantly anti-competitive. There has been no real attempt in the representations I have received to argue that the practice is anything other than anti-competitive and I agree with the DGFT's finding. The weight of the representations on this issue has been that the anti-competitive effects of the best advice rule are outweighed by investor protection benefits which also result from the best advice rule; in particular that an investor should be able to expect that if (s)he is buying a life office product through a tied channel, the same product could not be secured more cheaply through another tied outlet.

    I have considered all the countervailing investor protection arguments very carefully, but I do not find them sufficiently convincing to outweigh the competitive disadvantages or even in their own right. I can see no good reason why price competition between tied agents and outlets should not be compatible with the preservation of best advice as well as suitability, just as it is with IFAs. Introducing competition within the tied channels will, on the contrary, result in benefits to the investor.

    The Treasury is therefore directing SIB to adapt the best advice regime to allow differential pricing in the tied sector. As with IFAs, best advice would continue to pertain for the product and value for money/price within the range of products and prices offered by the particular tied outlet.

    SIB and LAUTRO rules require commission, in cash terms, to be disclosed by independent financial advisers if requested by the investor—so-called "soft" disclosure. No such requirement applies to other intermediaries such as tied agents and company representatives. Whether or not the amount of commission is requested by investors, it is disclosed automatically by the life office no later than the start of the cooling-off period, but is expressed as a percentage of premiums to be paid.

    The DGFT has concluded that these rules are likely to distort competition among IFAs and between them and other intermediaries to a significant extent. His reasoning rests mainly on the argument that the IFA sector is a market, separate from the tied agent and direct sales force sectors, in which commission is the price for the advice which the investor receives. He therefore calls for the early automatic disclosure of commission, in actual cash amounts, to the investor, only by IFAs.

    I have considered carefully the enormous number of representations about the structure of the life insurance-linked investment market. Polarisation has introduced dichotomies into the marketplace and there are significant differences between the roles of IFAs on the one hand and the tied agents and company representatives on the other. But they are not two completely distinct and separate markets. Their roles and functions overlap and they are in competition with each other for much of the same business. Tied agents and life offices' direct sales forces are also in the business of giving advice, although their advice is restricted to the investment decision and to the choice of product within the range of a given life office. Similarly, commission cannot be regarded simply as the price of advice. I have concluded that to require early automatic disclosure of commission only by IFAs would distort the market further and would be likely to result in a significant reduction in competition by encouraging IFAs to become tied. IFAs offer a valuable range of choice and advice to investors as well as providing an essential element of competition within the industry: it is important that the IFA distribution channel is not disadvantaged in relation to the other distribution channels by the commission disclosure regime.

    The current rule on commission disclosure nevertheless remains a very serious concern in an industry where sales practices are often dominated and perceived to be dominated by the payment of commission. Up-front commissions are of significant size and vary substantially both for similar products between life offices and between different products supplied by the same life office. Especially where the investor is not fully aware of the level of commission received, there is a serious risk of advice being biased by the level of commission received. This risk of bias exists in both the tied and independent sectors. Where commission is not paid, the structure of remuneration and incentives can also create a risk of bias. The current rule discriminates unfairly between IFAs on the one hand and tied agents and company representatives on the other, to the former's disadvantage. By requiring "soft" disclosure only, the current rule also allows products to compete in practice other than on the basis of their price, quality and suitability. I have assessed the evidence and have concluded that the current rule is likely to have the effect of significantly distorting and restricting competition between life offices, distribution channels and products.

    In order not to distort the marketplace, it will be necessary to require automatic disclosure of commission in cash terms at an early stage by all distribution channels or broadly equivalent information in the cases of direct sales forces and bancassurance where commission is not paid. This, of course, should also enhance investor protection in that it will enable investors more easily to judge the extent to which the advice they receive could be biased. I have, however, had to consider carefully whether the likely quality and comparability of the information will be such as to be informative to the investor. I believe that it should be. But the construction of measures for all distribution channels which are meaningful, not open to manipulation and cost effective, requires detailed and expert consideration and a combination of definition and oversight by the regulatory bodies.

    Accordingly, the Treasury is directing SIB to develop proposals for fuller disclosure of commission, as specified above, and the nearest equivalent for distribution channels where commission is not paid or forms only a small element of remuneration. In developing these proposals, I know that SIB will wish to work closely with the industry and other regulatory bodies and I look particularly to the industry to respond constructively to this remit. I am also asking SIB to see that the new regime on disclosure of commission and equivalents is firmly enforced.

    The regulation of the sale and marketing of life insurance policies has been the subject of lengthy—too lengthy—debate. The arguments on each of the points raised by the DGFT are complex, but it is now time to draw the debate to a rapid close so that both firms and regulators can settle down in a stable regime to plan with confidence. This must be in the best long-term interest of investors and the industry alike. Disclosure of more information to their clients, with proper explanation, should hold no fears for advisers, be they IFAs, tied agents or direct sales forces. Indeed, greater transparency should help increase consumer confidence in the life insurance industry and promote healthy competition in the market for long-term savings products.

    The Treasury is therefore directing SIB to bring forward by the end of 1993 detailed new draft rules as described above, or in the case of commission disclosure detailed proposals for how commission and equivalents should be measured. To ensure that they are effective and durable, it is important that the new arrangements are consumer tested before they are introduced. I am also asking SIB to consider adjustments to supervision to secure compliance with the spirit as well as the letter of the new regime and to make an assessment of the potential cost of compliance to ensure that the burdens on business are no more than necessary to deliver fair competition and investor protection.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will publish his proposals to amend the tax system to allow for reserving in insurance business; and if he will make a statement.

    In his Budget speech my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Thames (Mr. Lamont) referred to representations made by the insurance industry and acknowledged that there may be a case for allowing tax relief on certain types of equalisation reserves covering occasional, exceptional losses. Such reserves would have to be within the regulatory framework for the industry. The Inland Revenue and the Department of Trade and Industry will next week be jointly issuing the consultation document which we promised. This looks at the issues in greater detail and invites comments on a number of matters by 29 October 1993.As my right hon. Friend said in his Budget speech, tax-deductible equalisation reserves would be a major departure for the British tax system. If there is a consensus that equalisation reserves for particular types of insurance business should become a regulatory requirement, and practical methods of isolating the business in question and of calculating the reserve can be found, we would need to consider carefully whether the introduction of a regulatory requirement, accompanied by tax relief, should be financed by compensating changes elsewhere. Given the overall fiscal position, I am clear that it would not be appropriate for the Exchequer to suffer a net cost from the introduction of such a scheme.

    Central Statistical Office

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the Central Statistical Office performed against its key targets for 1992–93; and what changes have been made for 1993–94.

    The Central Statistical Office's performance against its key targets for 1992–93 is described in the agency's annual report and accounts, which are being laid before the House and published today. The CSO met all 20 of its performance targets relating to the quality of economic statistics and overall met 30 out of 33 targets set for the year. There were significant reductions in the scale of revisions to key economic statistics and in balancing items in the sectoral accounts.These improvements continue the significant progress seen in the quality of economic statistics since the formation of the CSO as a separate department in 1989 and its establishment as an executive agency in 1991. The staff of the CSO are to be congratulated on seeing through these substantial developments.The CSO's key targets for 1993–94 are set out in the "CSO Programme Strategies 1993–96", a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. As before, these targets cover the timeliness of published statistics, the size of revisions, the coherence of key economic statistics, the response rates for statistical inquiries, action to minimise the load on respondents, reponse times to public requests for information and the CSO's running costs, efficiency improvements and receipts. A number of the targets have been tightened for 1993–94 in recognition of the improvement in CSO performance.

    Incomes

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the research projects and reviews, including regression analyses, undertaken by the Central Statistical Office and other Government bodies to show the factors related to the trends in disposable income in the 1980s and 1990s at the top and the bottom of the distribution of income among the population of the United Kingdom.

    The Central Statistical Office is currently reviewing all aspects of the annual article on "The effects of taxes and benefits on household income". The 1991 article, published in the May edition of "Economic Trends", announced the review and invited readers to comment on the current analysis.The Central Statistical Office is not sponsoring any research projects by outside bodies in this area at present.

    Relocation Costs

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the amount of (a) average, (b) lowest and (c) highest total costs of relocation incurred by an employee and reimbursed or paid directly by an employer in respect of civil servants in (i) Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, (ii) Her Majesty's Inland Revenue and (iii) Her Majesty's Treasury in the last two years.

    During the past two years, the total amounts of payments made to, or on behalf of, employees relocated by the departments specified—excluding additional housing cost allowances which are only paid to those employees moving to higher cost areas—are given in the table:

    Average £000Lowest £000Highest £000
    Customs and Excise3231245
    Inland Revenue2271198
    Treasury17926
    Notes:

    1 The highest total payments made are due to a combination of factors including the slump in the United Kingdom housing market, particularly in London and the south-east, and the fact that the employees concerned experienced long delay in disposing of their properties at their former locations. The bulk of the payments represent reimbursed bridging loan interest and special payments to relieve financial hardship of employees in respect of a fall in the value of their properties whilst they were on the market.

    2 This is the average figure of 1991–92, the latest year available.

    Occupational Pensions

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the proportion of (a) all pensioners, (b) single male pensioners, (c) single female pensioners, (d) pensioner couples, (e) single women aged 75 years or over and (f) single men aged 75 years or over, who are in receipt of an occupational pension on the basis of the most recent family expenditure survey data available; and for each group, what is the mean and median amount received.

    The figures in the table are from the 1991 family expenditure survey. Figures are subject to sampling variation. The amounts have been rounded to the nearest 10p.

    Proportion receiving an occupational pensionMean amount occupational pension per weekMedian amount occupational pension per week
    Per cent.££
    All pensioners43·146·9030·50
    Single male pensioners59·645·8028·20
    Single female pensioners43·135·5024·10
    Pensioner couples68·867·5040·10
    Single women aged 75 years and over36·335·8023·30
    Single men aged 75 years or over55·640·7026·00

    Government Debt

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the distribution of Government debt between the banking and non-banking sectors in each month since the Budget.

    [holding answer 21 July 1993]: Estimates of gilt sales by sector are published in the Bank of England's monthly monetary statistics press release—public sector funding table. Estimates of the sectoral distribution of the level of outstanding national debt are made quarterly and published in the November issue of the "Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin"—tables H and J in the 1992 edition.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the Government's policy on the proportion of Government debt to be sold to the banking sector.

    [holding answer 21 July 1993]: The Government's policy is to fully fund their borrowing needs. There is no policy as to the proportion of debt to be sold to any particular sector.

    Surplus Land Sales

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance he has issued on maximising the financial return from the sale of surplus land.

    Revised guidance on the disposal of land and buildings was issued to Government Departments and non-departmental public bodies on 23 July 1992. The guidance was circulated at the same time to members of the Public Accounts Committee, together with a note setting out the key points.

    Vat

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to change the liability of VAT of amateur sports and cultural activities in the public sector.

    I am discussing with my right lion. Friend the Secretary of State for National Heritage a VAT exemption for the supply of certain services by non-profit-making organisations and local authorities to persons who take part in sport or physical education. This would be a limited exemption to be introduced by Treasury order. The precise scope of the exemption would be determined after we have discussed with the representative sports bodies the services and sports to be included.We shall also be holding discussions with a view to examining the case for exempting certain cultural services and associated goods supplied by public authorities.

    Sterling Deposits

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the gross figures for sterling deposits held in Switzerland by institutions other than the central bank.

    [holding answer 15 July 1993]: Neither the Bank of England nor the Treasury collects this information.

    Barlow Clowes

    To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action he has taken to date against the third parties implicated in the Barlow Clowes collapse.

    I have been asked to reply.Responsibility for Barlow Clowes matters rests with the Treasury under the Transfer of Functions (Financial Services) Order 1992.

    The Government continue vigorously to pursue any claims capable of reducing the cost to the taxpayer of the ex gratia payments scheme. Because of a number of outstanding actions, I cannot give details of recoveries made, as doing so might influence their outcome. However, as I said on 16 June, Official Report, columns 613–14, the Government have secured an order for damages against Mr. and Mrs. Clowes in the sum of £31. million.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Abu Dhabi (British Detainees)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the British detainees in Abu Dhabi.

    On 13 July 1993 all the Bank of Credit and Commerce International detainees in Abu Dhabi were either charged or conditionally released. Five British nationals in detention were charged. One British national, who had been detained, has been released but cannot leave the United Arab Emirates until investigations are completed. A British national who was previously released but unable to leave the UAE has been charged. The trial date has been set for 9 October 1993.

    Yugoslavia

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimates he has of the size of (a) regular forces of the Yugoslav army and (b) regular forces of the Croatian army currently present and operating in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and if he will make a statement.

    There is continuing evidence that Serbian and Croatian Government forces are operating in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but due to constant troop movements and the difficulties faced by international monitors, it is not possible to provide reliable estimates of their numbers.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to President Izetbegovic about the maltreatment of mentally handicapped adults and children at Fojnica hospital in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    We share the United Nations High Commission for Refugees' concern about the desperate plight of the patients in the hospital in Fojnica. This is a further example of how innocent civilians have suffered as a result of the conflict in Bosnia. We have repeatedly urged all parties to respect the rights and interests of civilians.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress the United Nations Security Council has reported on investigations carried out by the United Nations Sanctions Committee into Croatian breaches of United Nations Security Council resolution 713 following investigations into this matter in September 1992; when Her Majesty's Government received a full report of the alleged violations contained in the case referred by the United Nations Sanctions Committee to the United Nations Security Council in September 1992; if he will publish this report; and if he will make a statement.

    Following the discovery of arms consignments in Croatia by United Nations forces in September 1992, the United Nations Sanctions Committee asked the Croatian and Iranian Governments for an explanation. The Croatians denied prior knowledge of the consignment. The Iranian authorities have not satisfactorily explained why the arms concerned were being transported in an Iranian aircraft.The equipment has since been destroyed by the United Nations Protection Force on the instructions of the United Nations.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on the issue of sanctions against Croatia; and if he will make a statement.

    Foreign Ministers of the European Community agreed in Brussels on 19 July to consider withdrawing Croatia's preferential trading benefits with the European Community, in view of Croatia's continued involvement in the conflict in Bosnia.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received from British forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina of atrocities having been carried out by Muslim forces within the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina; and what representations have been made to the Bosnian presidency.

    British forces deployed in Bosnia under the auspices of UNPROFOR provide us with regular reports about events on the ground there. It is clear that all parties have been responsible for committing atrocities, but the record of the Bosnia Serbs is worst. We have repeatedly urged all parties to respect the rights and interests of civilians.

    Entry Clearance Posts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what posts have been designated for the purpose of receiving applications for entry clearance in (a) the states comprising the Indian sub-continent, (b) the states comprising the territories of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and (c) Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya; and what are the categories of applications applicable in each location.

    I am arranging to send the hon. Member a full list showing which diplomatic and consular posts accept which kinds of application for entry clearance.

    Debt

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current total of outstanding official debt owed to the United Kingdom by countries in Sub-Saharan Africa; and how much of that debt is owned to (a) the Export Credits Guarantee Department, (b) the Overseas Development Administration and (c) the Commonwealth Development Corporation.

    I have been asked to reply.Total outstanding official debt owed to ECGD and ODA by countries in Sub-Saharan Africa is currently £3·6 billion and £98 million respectively. Debt owed to the Commonwealth Development Corporation is not treated as official debt.

    Lord Chancellor's Department

    Judges' Notes (Murder Trials)

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make it his policy to make available to an hon. Member the judge's notes for a murder trial in which one of his constituents wishes him to inquire into his conviction.

    Judge's notes are a closed record and not normally made available. The verbatim record of a murder trial is kept for five years, and I refer the hon. Member to my reply to his question which appeared in Hansard of 8 July 1993, column 205.

    "A New Framework For Local Justice"

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what representations he has received from magistrates courts committees and their clerks on the White Paper "A New Framework for Local Justice" would lead to a better administration of summary justice.

    A list of all those who responded to each consultative document is contained in the relevant decision paper. An analysis of the responses received was published with each decision paper. There has also been regular correspondence and meetings with magistrates courts committee staff, magistrates and their representative organisations.

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what account was taken in formulating the proposals in the White Paper, "A New Framework for Local Justice" of the policy of local management empowerment.

    The White Paper "A New Framework for Local Justice" took account of a 1989 scrutiny which recommended that the magistrates courts service should be organised as an executive agency, but concluded that the service should continue to be managed locally. The White Paper addresses weaknesses in the service identified by the scrutiny, while leaving the management of the service in the hands of local committee of magistrates and enhancing the ability of the committees to manage strategically and exercise proper scrutiny of the organisation for which they are responsible.

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what estimate he has made of the potential savings resulting from the implementation of the proposals contained in the White Paper "A New Framework for Local Justice".

    The White Paper announced wide-ranging changes to the organisational structure of the magistrates courts service. The purpose of these changes is to provide clearer lines of accountability, to secure maximum co-operation in the management of the service with other parts of the justice system, to guarantee the judicial independence of magistrates and their legal advisers and to yield improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of the service. Better value for money resulting from the new arrangements should when realised more than offset the transitional costs. The particular savings at local level will depend largely on the management decisions taken by magistrates' courts committees about the way they will implement the changes.

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made as to the extent to which the changes envisaged in the White Paper "A New Framework for Local Justice" will lead to the better administration of summary justice in outer London.

    The changes announced in the White Paper "A New Framework for Local Justice" will lead to a better administration of summary justice throughout England and Wales including outer London by providing clearer lines of accountability both locally and to the Lord Chancellor, by guaranteeing the judicial independence of magistrates and their legal advisers, by yielding improvements in efficiency and effectiveness and by securing maximum co-operation in the management of the service with other parts of the criminal justice system. The newly formed magistrates courts inspectorate will have a particular responsibility for helping to raise the performance standards of management and administration.

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made of the effects of the White Paper "A New Framework for Local Justice" on the independence of justices' clerks.

    I am entirely committed to the principle of judicial independence. This is why the legislation which, with Parliament's approval, will put the new statutory framework in place, will enshrine in statute a guarantee of judicial independence. Justices' clerks are not judicial officers, but their advice to magistrates in individual cases will not be subject to management direction. In respect of management responsibilities—a very substantial part of the justices' clerks' responsibility —it is important to have a proper framework of line management and accountability. The White Paper reforms will provide this.

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment he has made of the extent to which the proposed population criterion for magistrates courts committee areas contained in the White Paper "A New Framework for Local Justice".

    We have concluded that the number of magistrates courts committees should be reduced in order to yield improvement in efficiency and effectiveness and to secure maximum co-operation with other parts of the criminal justice system. Population is one of a number of criteria developed in consultation with the service against which we will decide how this reduction should be effected.

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department which magistrates courts committees have (a) a weighted case load of over 90,000, (b) an annual outturn, at 1991–92 prices of over £2·5 million and (c) a population of over 750,000; and if he will make a statement on the extent to which these reach performance targets.

    This information is set out in the Magistrates Courts Consultative Council document No. 2 "Magistrates' Courts Committee Areas (excluding Greater London)", a copy of which I have arranged to be placed in the Library of the House. The reorganisation proposals for courts committees are intended to lead to improvements in local performance and accountability and these will be measured by performance standards which we are now developing.

    Appeals

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the number of cases heard by appeal courts in England and Wales where the original sentence has either been reduced or quashed in the last three years.

    The table shows the total number of appellants dealt with during the last three years in the Court of Appeal, criminal division and the Crown court —on appeal from a magistrates' court—whose appeals against sentence have been allowed or allowed in part.

    Successful appeals against sentence to the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court during the years 1990 to 1992
    Court of AppealCrown Court
    19901,5263,157
    19911,2192,941
    19921,0492,883

    Judges (Dismissal)

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what has been the number of judges dismissed in each of the last three years for incapacity.

    No judges have been removed from office on the ground of incapacity in the last three years.

    Judges (Criticism)

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what has been the number of appeal court cases where the action of the trial judge has been criticised by the appeal court in each of the last three years.

    To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what procedures are followed when a judge is criticised by the appeal courts for the way in which he has handled cases appearing before them; and if he will make a statement.

    In all cases heard at the Court of Appeal criminal division, copies of judgments of the Court of Appeal are sent to the Crown court centre at which the trial took place. A separate copy is sent direct to the trial judge.

    House Of Commons

    Drinking Water

    To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee what programme is in hand to enable drinking water of potable quality to flow to all water taps in the Palace of Westminster.

    Drinking water supplied direct from the mains is already available from all taps in the parliamentary estate which are so marked. Water supplied to other cold taps—for example, to wash hand basins—may or may not be of potable quality, since some of this water comes from storage cisterns. There are no plans to supply mains water to every cold tap.

    Vote Office

    To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the House of Commons Commission, which of the domestic Select Committees will have responsibility for the services provided by the Vote Office following the transfer of that office from the Library Department to the Clerk's Department with effect from 1 November.

    The provision of documents and publications to Members by the Vote Office is a matter within the area of responsibility of the Administration Committee, but the Vote Office may need to be associated with the work of other committees as appropriate—for example with the Information Committee in respect of policy relating to information technology.

    Scotland

    Salmon

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what consideration he has given to the report of the Salmon Advisory Committee on factors affecting emigrating smolts and returning adult salmon, with particular reference to the provisions of the Salmon Act 1986 and other legislation relating to dams and weirs; and if he will make a statement.

    This report has been extremely helpful. As a result, I propose to consult further in the autumn on the provision of fish passes and fish screens, with a view to making regulations under the Salmon Act 1986.

    Scottish Agricultural Science Agency

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish the annual report and accounts of the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency for 1992–93.

    I have today published the report, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

    Courts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what targets have been set for completing office business in the sheriff courts and supreme courts; and what performance was secured in 1992–93.

    The targets set for completion of office business in the sheriff courts in 1992–93 are set out. These targets remain in force for 1993–94. The percentage figures following each target indicate the proportion of sheriff courts achieving the target figures or better in the course of the year. More detailed information on the performance of individual court offices will be made available to local court advisory committees. Similar targets are in force in the supreme courts and all of these were achieved in 1992–93.

    Targets for sheriff clerk offices and performance 1992–93
    Per cent.
    To issue the first deliverance in all ordinary writs, or return to sender, within two working days of receipt.95
    To issue the first deliverance in all summary cause actions—including small claims—or return to sender, within three working days of receipt.94
    To draft, in preparation for signature, all final ordinary decrees in absence—excluding divorce—within one working day of receipt of the minute craving decree.90
    To draft, within seven days of receipt of the affidavits, in preparation for signature, all final decrees in undefended ordinary actions of divorce or return the affidavits to the sender.87
    To draft, in preparation for signature, all decrees in actions of divorce under the simplified procedure within one working day of expiry of the period of notice.97
    To issue extract decrees in all ordinary actions— excluding divorce—within three working days of the date of ordering or the expiry of the days of appeal —whichever is the later.84
    To issue all summary cause/small claim extract decrees within one working day of the due date.95
    To issue extract decrees in all ordinary actions of divorce within one working day of the due date.84
    To issue extract decrees of divorce under the simplified procedure within one working day of the due date.89
    To issue the first deliverance in all petitions for sequestration/liquidation, or return to sender, within two working days of receipt.90
    To prepare for signature the first deliverance in all adoption petitions within one working day of a correct petition being received.90
    To scrutinise and accept or reject commissary petitions and inventories within two working days of receipt.93
    To issue confirmation within three working days of acceptance of inventory.90
    To conduct small estate interviews within seven days from the time an interview is requested.98
    To process juror claims for payment, or return to sender, within two working days of receipt.98
    To process postal fines—other than unidentified payments—on day of receipt.99
    To issue warning letters, means enquiry citations, warrants, extracts, etc., and transfer fines within seven days of the trawl.96
    Per cent.
    To remit all non-Exchequer receipts to entitled parties within 14 days from the end of the last accountancy period.96
    To effect a card reconciliation of all outstanding financial penalties on a monthly basis.96
    To reply to letter pleas within one working day of the court.99
    To order social enquiry and other reports within one working day of the court.99
    To complete probation, community service, compensation and fines supervision orders within two working days of the court.99
    To issue juror citations in the first instance at least 21 days prior to a jury sitting/trial.99
    To reply to all letter inquiries except those which require extensive investigation within two working days of receipt.93

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what objectives for reducing court waiting periods have been established; what targets have been set for 1993–94 in respect of court waiting periods for the supreme and sheriff courts; and if he will give details of the performance of the supreme courts and each of the sheriff courts in 1992–93.

    The programming of court business is a matter for the judiciary. Acting in co-operation with the judiciary in the supreme and sheriff courts, the Government seek to provide the resources which will allow speedy access to justice. Having regard to the time required by parties to have their cases properly prepared, the following objectives have been adopted:

    the Lord President of the Court of Session has accepted the recommendations of a committee chaired by Lord Maxwell relating to the reduction of waiting periods in the supreme courts: the target is to reduce waiting periods to the recommended levels and, subject to any acceleration in the rate of increase in court work, maintain waiting periods at that level: for certain categories of hearing, additional targets involving much reduced waiting periods, have been set;
    sheriffs principal have agreed to overall targets of reducing waiting periods for summary criminal trials in the sheriff courts to 12 weeks or less by the end of 1993–94 and to hold them at that level thereafter; and to maintain waiting periods at 12 weeks or less for civil cases in the sheriff courts.
    The main targets for waiting periods for 1993–94 are set down—"waiting period" is the period between a trial or proof being requested or an appeal being received and the date assigned expressed in weeks. The same targets applied in 1992–93 and national performance for that year is noted in the second column.
    Target1992–93 performance
    Criminal Appeal Business
    Summary prosecutions:
    Notes of Appeal against Sentence and Stated cases (accused in custody)44
    Court of Session
    (a) Ordinary proofs2420
    (b) Defended Consistorial proofs1717
    Sheriff Courts (national average)
    Target1992–93 performance
    (a) Civil proofs/debates1211·6
    (b) Summary Criminal Trials1214·8
    In 1992–93, waiting periods of 12 weeks or less were achieved for civil debates/proofs in 84 per cent. of sheriff courts.Waiting periods of 12 weeks or less were achieved for summary criminal business in 72 per cent. of sheriff courts.Performance of individual sheriff courts at 31 March 1993 is set out in the table:

    CourtCivil proofsSummary criminal trials
    Falkirk1517
    Kirkcaldy1512
    Dingwall1414
    Hamilton1415
    Airdrie1417
    Stirling1411
    Glasgow1322
    Dumbarton1310
    Dumfries1212
    Fort William1214
    Arbroath1212
    Stonehaven1216
    Wick1212
    Dornoch1212
    Stornoway1212
    Cupar1112
    Kirkcudbright1110
    Stranraer1111
    Rothesay1110
    Aberdeen1112
    Peterhead1111
    Kilmarnock1110
    Linlithgow1115
    Peebles1011
    Dunoon1012
    Inverness1011
    Tain1010
    Lanark1012
    Oban109
    Campbeltown106
    Selkirk109
    Edinburgh98
    Alloa913
    Dunfermlin915
    Jedburgh99
    Banff910
    Perth912
    Duns99
    Portree88
    Lochmaddy812
    Greenock812
    Elgin88
    Dundee812
    Forfar86
    Haddington819
    Kirkwall88
    Ayr712
    Lerwick66
    Paisley614
    In addition, the sheriffs principal have agreed that sheriff court programmes should be designed to ensure that the number of trials adjourned due to lack of court time should not exceed 5 per cent of the total number set down, a target met in 87 per cent of sheriff courts.

    Council Tax

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the entitlement of a disabled person to reduction of council tax.

    [holding answer 14 July 1993]: There are several provisions designed to ensure that the council tax payable in respect of a disabled person's sole or main residence is not higher than it would be if the house was not that person's residence. These operate whether or not the disabled person is liable for payment of the council tax.Any fixtures designed to make a house suitable for a person who is physically disabled must be ignored in the valuation of a house if they would tend to add to its value.Many people with disabilities require extra space in the form of a second kitchen or bathroom, an extra room of another type or wheelchair circulation space. These features might tend to increase the valuation of a house and hence its council tax bill. To avoid this, a disabled person's home with any of these features is taxed as if it was in the valuation band below that shown in the valuation list. As houses in band A already carry the minimum bill, their occupants are not facing any increase due to someone's disability and no reduction falls to be made in their case.

    Islands Shipping Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Robertson) of 26 May, Official Report, column 589, if he will list the consultants which his Department has invited to tender for the studies into the financial assistance which he provides for lifeline shipping services and the organisation and structure of Caledonian MacBrayne; if he will require them to declare any actual or potential conflict of interest and to give a commitment not to use for any other purpose the information gleaned during the course of the study; if he will publish the terms of reference of the study; and if he will publish the report.

    [holding answer 19 July 1993]: The consultants who have been invited to tender for the review of shipping subsidies and study of options for the future organisation and structure of Caledonian MacBrayne are as follows:

    • Ash Consulting Group
    • Coopers and Lybrand
    • KPMG Management Consulting
    • Noble and Company Ltd.
    • PA Cambridge Economic Consultants Ltd.
    • Price Waterhouse
    • Quayle Munro Ltd.
    • Touche Ross and Co.
    The consultants will be required to declare any actual or potential conflict of interest and due consideration will be given to this issue in deciding which consultants should be appointed to undertake the studies. The consultants will be bound by standard Scottish Office conditions of contract for consultancy services which require that confidential and commercially sensitive information
    Expenditure on discretionary awards (£000) in 1991–92 constant prices
    1986–871987–881988–901990–91
    City of London219·6
    Camden (1)n/a
    Greenwich377·2
    Hackney1,244·0

    obtained by reason of the contract shall not be disclosed for any other purpose. When the contract for this assignment is awarded, I shall arrange to place in the Library a copy of the terms of reference for the studies. The studies will necessarily involve examination of confidential and commerially sensitive information which it would not be appropriate to publish. However, the Scottish Office will discuss with the consultants the extent to which it would be possible to publish the findings and conclusions of the studies without breaching commercial confidentiality.

    Education

    General Studies

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is his policy with respect to supporting general studies as a full A-level with equal status to other subjects as regards university requirements; and if he will make a statement.

    Admission requirements are a matter for individual higher education institutions.

    School Meals

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education what research has been undertaken by his Department into the reintroduction of required standards for school meals.

    Discretionary Student Grants

    To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Member for Batley and Spen (Mrs. Peacock), Official Report of 13 July, column 822, if he will publish the figures held by his Department regarding discretionary grants; and if he will list the spending at 1992 prices on discretionary grant awards by each local education authority in the last five years for which figures are available, indicating the political control of each authority.

    Details of the numbers of and spending on discretionary awards by local education authorities are published in the Department's regular statistical bulletins, copies of which are in the Library. Information on expenditure on discretionary awards by each local education authority in England and Wales, at 1991–92 prices, for years between 1986–87 and 1990–91—the latest year for which a breakdown is available—is included in the table. Information for the academic year 1988–89 is not readily available and cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate costs. Details of the political control of each authority during that period can be found in the relevant volumes of the "Municipal Year Book", copies of which are in the Library.

    1986–87

    1987–88

    1988–90

    1990–91

    Hammersmith and Fulham3,246·0
    Islington80·8
    Kensington and Chelsea483·1
    Lambeth1,050·3
    Lewisham862·0
    Southwark756·3
    Tower Hamlets918·3
    Wandsworth3,921·5
    City of Westminster280·2
    ILEA/LRB [2]27,192·828,991·620,129·38,871·6
    Barking672·9527·7835·7286·1
    Barnet1,017·4771·5522·7530·6
    Bexley563·3433·7352·1424·1
    Brent5,145·34,447·8919·8886·4
    Bromley814·1920·6983·8980·3
    Croydon719·0773·8732·8746·2
    Ealing1,284·51,451·71,876·41,331·8
    Enfield510·4588·8292·2566·8
    Haringey1,084·3937·6702·1112·9
    Harrow428·0340·2393·9398·5
    Havering438·7604·5494·1668·5
    Hillingdon780·9613·4671·4349·7
    Hounslow464·5467·6490·1373·1
    Kingston-upon-Thames332·1268·8276·4464·9
    Merton393·5308·5463·0519·7
    Newham887·7891·61·123·6845·4
    Redbridge469·0449·6486·7988·1
    Richmond-upon-Thames606·1515·7567·5658·6
    Sutton308·6341·7341·6371·6
    Waltham Forest875·31,128·21,205·2970·3
    Birmingham1,754·51,707·51,907·52·889·4
    Coventry799·7896·5794·0780·1
    Dudley473·3643·2744·1717·9
    Sandwell1,039·71,019·81,076·8957·8
    Solihull309·2283·9305·9379·8
    Walsall1,173·51,261·21,169·91,715·7
    Wolverhampton247·9277·5273·5297·8
    Knowsley1,657·51,729·71·103·61,257·8
    Liverpool2,999·23,261·16,787·06,427·4
    St Helens858·9795·7814·4757·5
    Sefton662·8599·8791·61,290·4
    Wirral1,644·91,682·41·908·11,823·0
    Bolton1,389·41,368·71,193·71,473·9
    Bury1,106·41,239·61,048·11,047·9
    Manchester2,941·42,991·82,233·62,156·1
    Oldham668·2688·51,329·5862·1
    Rochdale659·5566·6626·9876·2
    Salford895·2830·7793·6815·6
    Stockport977·4986·61,032·5813·8
    Tameside554·6511·6406·4496·0
    Trafford682·4779·4813·00·0
    Wigan1,519·11,281·9964·1725·8
    Barnsley882·21,100·81,343·41,479·5
    Doncaster781·2785·7766·0927·5
    Rotherham834·3974·2855·6816·6
    Sheffield3,170·73,041·82,880·32,563·4
    Bradford2,435·63,008·41,865·62,071·4
    Calderdale444·8612·8667·6584·2
    Kirklees2,408·92,592·12,920·53,149·8
    Leeds2,113·22,723·82,661·82668·1
    Wakefield1,136·71,348·01,305·01,318·8
    Gateshead391·3407·4607·9767·8
    Newcastle-upon-Tyne946·8848·8915·81,078·4
    North Tyneside1,178·81,320·11,241·0994·1
    South Tyneside362·1449·0540·8503·1
    Sunderland11,846·51,584·40·0n/a
    Isles of Scilly105·2112·491·30·0
    Avon·4,418·14,321·43,089·6n/a
    Bedfordshire1,787·42,525·81,525·01,295·5
    Berkshire11,474·71,752·41,441·2n/a
    Buckinghamshire1,198·11,290·21,288·91,340·7
    Cambridgeshire1,417·41,540·41,813·71,892·3
    Cheshire5,228·95,210·25,442·38,112·1
    Cleveland2,053·12,012·52,021·22,284·8
    Cornwall1,913·71,723·52,444·12,638·8
    Cumbria3,083·63,038·52,744·34,140·9
    Derbyshire3,796·43,407·13,888·75,109·2
    Devon5,378·45,640·15,463·25,481·5

    1986–87

    1987–88

    1988–90

    1990–91

    Dorset2,408·42,500·82,847·13,666·0
    Durham1,224·81,038·61,492·62,006·0
    East Sussex1,811·61,783·31,027·61,387·7
    Essex7,106·18,467·76,692·76,789·0
    Gloucestershire3,385·52,985·83,058·53,017·1
    Hampshire11,848·111,201·16,428·96,899·6
    Hereford and Worchester1,475·51,326·41,447·01,553·6
    Hertfordshire2,486·92,780·64,508·63,639·8
    Humberside4,494·74,585·65,212·05,691·6
    Isle of Wight551·1541·6562·5391·5
    Kent7,217·36,877·85,743·46,185·6
    Lancashire7,343·67,012·09,899·810,415·7
    Leicestershire4,976·25,382·25,484·36,177·1
    Lincolnshire2,178·41,971·31,600·71894·8
    Norfolk2,426·62,443·22,612·13,073·6
    North Yorkshire6,182·06,466·45,826·19,248·6
    Northamptonshire1,710·71,264·91,133·91,712·0
    Northumberland1,851·01,804·92,233·02,407·3
    Nottinghamshire4,016·34,023·24,509·43,213·4
    Oxfordshire1,519·51,260·11,241·51,339·1
    Shropshire1,751·81,795·21,689·01,835·8
    Somerset1,328·31,555·51,907·31,819·5
    Staffordshire2,220·02,758·41,856·41,870·9
    Suffolk2,673·12,527·52,588·83,263·7
    Surrey2,254·42,220·12,076·32,094·4
    Warwickshire1,192·01,858·31,049·61,212·7
    West Sussex1,161·81,055·81,256·61,514·2
    Wiltshire2,129·11,947·21,898·11,882·5
    Clywd1,693·21,671·42,041·12,078·6
    Dyfed1,928·31,744·52,206·62,608·0
    Gwent2,780·02,975·0982·9882·2
    Gwynedd1,266·91,127·1919·71,130·4
    Mid-Glamorgan584·9479·31,833·41,578·7
    Powys786·6757·8904·41,010·5
    South Glamorgan1,540·61,502·01,399·01,608·5
    West Glamorgan1,058·41010·3978·91,108·4

    1LEAs unable to provide appropriate information·

    2ILBs took over responsibility from ILEA for most awards in 1990–91; some awards were made by the London residuary body·

    Prime Minister

    Bermuda

    To ask the Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Bermuda Government about bringing the law on consensual sexual relations between adult men in private into line with the legislative position in Britain.

    This is primarily a matter for the Government of Bermuda. Nevertheless, I expressed my concerns about this issue to the Premier of Bermuda when we met on 14 July. The Premier indicated that the Bermuda Government may look further at this issue after their general election to be held before May 1994.

    NameMinister(s) servedDate of appointmentPrevious employer
    K. AdamsSecretary of State for the Environment28 May 1993Rt. Hon. John Gummer
    P. BarnesSecretary of State for Social Security3 May 1993Boston Consulting Group
    C. BluntSecretary of State for Defence15 February 1993PI Political Consultants
    Sir R. Braithwaite*Prime Minister1 June 1992Foreign and Commonwealth Office
    T. Burke*Secretary of State for the Environment10 April 1992Green Alliance
    J. CaineSecretary of State for Northern Ireland17 June 1992Conservative Central Office
    D. CameronJointly to the three Ministers of State and the Under Secretary of State in the Home Office21 June 1993Conservative Central Office
    Dr. E. CottrellMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food27 May 1993Conservative Central Office

    Ministerial Advisers

    To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 18 November, Official Report, column 216, if he will publish the current list of special advisers attached to Ministers stating the Minister they work for, the date of their appointment and the name of their previous employer before their initial appointment as a special adviser attached to a Minister.

    [holding answer 20 July 1993]: There are currently 41 special advisers attached to Ministers. The names of the advisers, the Ministers they work for, the date of the appointment and the name of their previous employer before their initial appointment as a special adviser is as follows:

    Name

    Minister(s) served

    Date of appointment

    Previous employer

    Dr. W. Eltis*President of the Board of Trade1 January 1993National Economic Development Office
    Sir C. Foster*Secretary of State for Transport1 June 1992Coopers and Lybrand Deloitte
    M. FraserMinister of State for Overseas Development10 April 1992Conservative Central Office
    C. GranthamSecretary of State for Education11 April 1992Westminster Briefing
    J. GrayJointly to the Ministers for Local Government and Inner Cities; Environment and Countryside; and Housing and Planning27 May 1993GNI Ltd.
    D. GreenPrime Minister1 June 1992Business Television
    Professor P. Hall*Secretary of State for Environment27 May 1993University of California
    Mrs. S. HoggPrime Minister10 April 1992Daily and Sunday Telegraph
    Ms S. HoleChief Whip13 April 1992Lord Rothschild
    A. Kemp*President of the Board of Trade28 May 1992CDP Nexus Ltd.
    Mrs. T. KeswickChancellor of the Exchequer28 May 1993Cluff Investments and Trading
    Mrs. E. LaingSecretary of State for Transport13 April 1992Shopping Hours Reform Council
    K. Leggett*Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food21 June 1993National Farmers Union
    D. LoehnisSecretary of State for National Heritage7 November 1992Sunday Telegraph
    G. MackaySecretary of State for Scotland8 May 1992Pieda plc
    M. MacLaySecretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs19 July 1993The European
    R. MarshSecretary of State for Health21 April 1992Conservative Central Office
    Ms S. McEwenChief Whip (House of Lords)29 June 1992Namara Cowan Ltd.
    M. McManusSecretary of State for Employment28 May 1993Conservative Central Office
    Dr. J. Nicholson*Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster1 September 1992John Nicholson Associates Ltd.
    Sir I. Pearce*Secretary of State for Transport16 June 1992Richard Ellis and English Estates
    Lord PoolePrime Minister13 May 1992James Capel
    Mrs. K. RamsayPrime Minister2 June 1992Conservative Central Office
    P. RockHome Secretary28 May 1993Conservative Central Office
    A. RoslingPrime Minister10 April 1992Hanson plc
    D. RuffleyFinancial Secretary28 May 1993Clifford Chance
    R. Salmon*Secretary of State for Transport18 January 1993Cuff & Co. Ltd. and Fund Holdings Ltd.
    I. StewartLord President27 April 1992Conservative Central Office
    Lady StrathnaverPresident of the Board of Trade21 April 1992Haymarket Publishing Services Ltd.
    J. Swift*Secretary of State for Transport18 January 1993Barrister
    N. TruePrime Minister10 April 1992Public Policy Unit
    I. WiltonChancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster27 April 1992Conservative Central Office
    A. YoungSecretary of State for Scotland8 May 1992

    * Special advisers fall into two categories, political and those with specialised expertise relevant to their appropriate Secretary of State. The latter are indicated by an asterisk.

    Engagements

    To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 22 July.

    To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Thursday 22 July.

    This morning, I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in this House, I shall be having further meetings later today.

    Olympic Bid

    To ask the Prime Minister how many times (1) he has met the leaders of Manchester city council to discuss the bid to stage the Olympic games;

    (2) how much financial support the Government have committed to the Manchester bid to stage the Olympics; and how much money has so far been paid over.

    I have met the leader of Manchester city council with other members of the bid committee three times to discuss the British Olympic bid; I launched the formal bid document with the committee at Downing street on 17 February; and I have met them informally on a number of other occasions.Up to £75 million has been made available by the Government for the bid itself and for the construction of key facilities. Of that, some £22 million has been spent to date. If the bid is successful, the Government will ensure that all the necessary facilities are built by a mixture of private and public finances and that the funding necessary to stage and organise the games is provided.

    Meetings

    To ask the Prime Minister when he last met (a) Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi and (b) the Pakistan high commissioner to the Court of St James.

    I last met Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi on 25 July 1989 when I was Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. I last met the Pakistan high commissioner on 29 March this year.

    Yugoslavia

    To ask the Prime Minister what pressures Her Majesty's Government are putting on the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina to attend and fully co-operate with the peace talks in Geneva; and if he will make a statement.

    We are encouraging the Bosnian presidency to engage in direct negotiations with the other parties under the auspices of Lord Owen and Mr. Stoltenberg. We have repeatedly made clear that a lasting and equitable peace can be achieved only by a negotiated settlement freely agreed by all three parties. We will not accept a territorial solution for Bosnia dictated by the Serbs and Croats at the expense of the Bosnian Muslims.

    Wild Birds

    To ask the Prime Minister (1) what plans he has to discuss the EC directive on the conservation of wild birds at the forthcoming United Kingdom/French summit; and if he will make representations to the French Government over the fulfilment of the directive's protection for migratory birds from netting, shooting and trapping;(2) what discussions he has had with the Prime Minister of France concerning the requirements under the EC directive on the conservation of wild birds to control the hunting and shooting of wild birds.

    I am not aware of any proposals by the French Government for the admendment to the birds directive. Nor do I expect the matter to be raised at the meeting between Heads of State currently planned. There have been discussions by EC Environment Ministers on proposals by the Commission to amend annex III of the directive, but no agreement has yet been reached.

    Security Service

    To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the directive circulated to former members of the security service regarding the biographer of the late Sir Dick White.

    There is no authorised biographer of Sir Dick White. Although the Government have recently taken a number of significant steps towards greater openness for the security and intelligence services, they continue to attach the highest importance to maintaining the principle that members and former members of those services are under a lifelong duty of confidence to the Crown in relation to information deriving from their employment.

    Northern Ireland

    Tourism

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the developments that have so far been completed under the terms of the EC tourism operational programme; what proportion of those projects were funded by (a) Her Majesty's Government and (b) from EC sources; how many developments are yet to be completed; and if he will make a statement.

    Those projects assisted under the tourism operational programme for Northern Ireland 1990–93 which have been completed by 30 June 1993 are listed. Her Majesty's Government did not fund the projects which were assisted by the European regional development fund.

    • Capital Development
    • Dunluce centre, Portrush
    • The Navan centre, County Armagh
    • The Tower museum, Londonderry
    • 18th century gaol block, Downpatrick
    • Ballance house phase II, Glenavy
    • Lough Neagh discovery centre
    • Palace stables, Armagh
    • Sinton's mill, Blackwater town
    • Ulster and American streets, Ulster American folk park, Omagh
    • Ulster history park visitor centre, Omagh
    • Ballycastle seafront development
    • Benone tourism complex phase III
    • Banbridge gateway tourist information centre
    • Lislap cottage restoration, Gortin
    • Round lake, Fivemiletown
    • Sixmilewater caravan park, Antrim
    • Corn mill, Castleward
    • Warrenpoint promenade, stage I, phase II
    • International youth hostel, Londonderry
    • Queen Mary's hostel, Belfast
    • Glenada house, Newcastle
    • Benone III, environmental improvements
    • Margy bridge, Ballycastle
    • Ardclennis activity centre, Co Fermanagh
    • Bannview squash club, Craigavon
    • Belleek and district development trust cruising project
    • Belleekci pottery enhancement of visitor centre
    • Portrush parascending project
    • Lockside cruises, Co Fermanagh
    • Lusty Beg island cruiser, Co Fermanagh
    • Raspberry Hill health farm
    • Rosskit slipway facilities, Co Fermanagh
    • Down Royal racecourse visitor facilities
    • Bushtown House hotel, leisure/conference facilities
    • Glenavon House hotel, leisure/conference facilities
    • Lough Erne yacht club
    • Lough Beg leisure facilities, Co Londonderry
    • Non Capital Developments: Studies
    • Ballycastle marina
    • Ballyleidy golf project
    • Ballyronan tourism project development
    • Belfast City centre hotel, Laganside
    • Belfast science centre
    • Bessbrook tramway
    • Coalisland canal
    • Coalisland heritage development
    • Colebrook development
    • Disabled access to tourist accommodation
    • Down Royal racecourse
    • Equestrian development
    • Glens of Antrim
    • Sustainable tourism
    • Lecale/Down area
    • Lough Neagh
    • Newry/Portadown canal
    • Roe Valley development
    • South Armagh tourism development
    • South Down tourism development
    • St Patrick's country heritage centre
    • Strabane canal

    A further 55 capital and 35 non-capital projects were under way at 30 June.

    The European social fund is also supporting an on going programme of training for the tourism and hospitality industry. To date, a total of 1,162 people have benifited from this training.

    Select Committees

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the views given by the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to the Procedure Committee in its review of the working of Select Committees in Session 1989–90 on a Select Committee for Northern Ireland remain the Government's position.

    As the Government have repeatedly made clear, a Select Committee may, in principle, be desirable. But a number of issues, including the extent of support from elected representatives from both sides of the community in Northern Ireland, need to be considered. The Government keep the matter under review.

    Sight Tests

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what are the estimated savings made in 1992–93 as a result of the introduction of a charge for sight tests.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many national health service eye examinations have been undertaken since 1985 in each health and social services board and in Northern Ireland.

    [holding answer 21 July 1993]: The number of health service sight tests undertaken in each year is shown in the table.

    Thousands
    Health and Social Services Board
    Calendar yearEasternNorthernSouthernWesternNorthern Ireland Total
    1985100·855·031·731·8219·3
    1986105·357·232·933·2228·6
    1987113·561·334·935·2244·9
    1988130·667·241·440·4279·6
    1198986·048·428·329·2191·9
    199045·130·020·019·8114·9
    199152·335·023·924·7135·9
    199262·039·227·428·6157·2
    1 From 1 April 1989 health service sight tests were restricted to certain groups in the population. The 1989 figures therefore include sight tests carried out under both the old and the new schemes. Consequently the 1989 figures are not directly comparable with those in 1990.

    Eye Disease

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the incidence of eye disease leading to blindness or hospital treatment in Northern Ireland giving the numbers of people involved.

    [holding reply 21 July 1993]: Information on the incidence of all eye disease is not available centrally.Activity in the speciality of ophthalmology in Northern Ireland hospitals for the year from 1 April 1992 to 31 March 1993 is as set out below:

    Number
    Admissions5,992
    Day cases2,750
    Outpatient referrals21,832
    Cases operated on6,095

    To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people were registered blind and partially sighted in each year since 1985; and what figures are projected for registrations in (a) five and (b) 10 years time.

    [holding reply 21 July 1993]: The information is not available in the form requested. The numbers of blind and partially sighted people in contact with, or known to, health and social services boards are presented in the tables below. This includes some people who are not registered. Information on projected figures in five and 10 years' time is not available centrally.

    YearNumber of blind peopleNumber of partially sighted people
    198513,4371,285
    198613,5341,304
    19871 33,8331,383
    1988–8923,5681,167
    1989–902 42,497869
    1990–9122,9741,087
    1991–922 53,1161,254
    1Blind and partially sighted people known to health boards.
    2Blind and partially sighted people in contact with health boards.
    3Includes estimated data.
    4Boards were in contact with a further 579 visually impaired people who were not categorised.
    5Provisional data.

    Lord President Of The Council

    Small Businesses

    To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will make a statement on the achievements of (a) his policies and (b) his Department in helping small businesses over the last 12 months as against the previous 12 months; and if he will publish the performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring.

    The functions of the Privy Council Office do not include the provision of assistance to small businesses.

    Agriculture, Fisheries And Food

    Salmon

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment she has made of the degree to which the provisions of section 14 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975, concerning the duties of proprietors of undertakings that take water to instal gratings of an approved type to prevent the passage of migratory fish, are being enforced; what consideration she has given in this context to the report of the Salmon Advisory Committee on factors affecting emigrating smolts and returning adults; and if she will make a statement.

    Responsibility for ensuring compliance with the requirements of section 14 of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975 rests largely with the National Rivers Authority. We will be discussing with it the question of enforcement of that provision in the light of the comments made by the Salmon Advisory Committee in its report.

    Melatonin

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make a statement on the commercial use of melatonin in lamb production.

    Melatonin is a naturally occurring substance which controls the ovulation cycle in ewes. Products containing melatonin can be administered to ewes to enable them to be mated earlier in the season before the usual peak of reproductive activity. Melatonin is classified as a veterinary medicine and all products containing it must be licensed under the Medicines Act 1968 before they can be made commercially available. One such product has been licensed, following a rigorous scrutiny of its efficacy, quality and safety, including safety to the animal. Melatonin is available on prescription only and must be used under the direction of a veterinary surgeon.The Farm Animal Wefare Council is currently undertaking a study of the sheep industry. It will offer advice to the Government on the welfare of sheep and is expected to consider the use of substances such as melatonin. The results of the study are due by the end of the year.

    Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many new cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy have been reported in (a) England and (b) Lancashire since the end of April.

    From 1 May to 16 July 1993, 6,748 suspected cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy have been reported in England to the Ministry. Of these, 327 have been reported in Lancashire.

    Nuclear Waste

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list the current and planned programmes undertaken by her Department to monitor the effect of the thermal oxide reprocessing plant's aerial and marine discharges on (a) seals and other marine mammals and (b) sea birds; and if she will make it her policy to publish the results of the monitoring undertaken at regular intervals.

    A decision on whether THORP should be allowed to operate will not be made until after the further consultation announced on 28 June by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has been completed. In the light of that decision, I will review the need, if any, for changes to my Department's already extensive environmental monitoring programmes. The results of these programmes are reported annually and copies are placed in the Library of the House.

    Pesticides

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met representatives from the Pesticide Exposure Group of Sufferers; and if he will make a statement.

    I met representatives of the Pesticide Exposure Group of Sufferers on 3 September 1992. A number of incidents relating to the safety of pesticides and sheep dips were discussed. I emphasised that it was important that those who discussed. I emphasised that it was important that those who believed themselves to have been adversely affected by exposure to pesticides should report the incident immediately to their local Health and Safety Executive office or, in the case of sheep dips, to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate—telephone No. 0932 336911 Ext 3040—and provide as much evidence as possible. It was only in this way that an incident could be properly investigated.

    Sheep Dips

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many incidents arising from exposure to organophosphate sheep dips have been reported in (a) 1991 and (b) 1992; and what were the occupations of the people involved.

    The following numbers of suspected adverse reaction reports to organophosphorus sheep dips involving humans have been received by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate:

    Number
    1991132
    1992133

    • The occupations of the people involved were:
    • Farmer
    • Farm worker
    • Contract dipper
    • Lorry driver
    • Housewife
    • Animal health inspector
    • Builder
    • Police constable
    • Trading standards officer

    A number of reports also involved children, while others did not include information on the occupation of the person involved.

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will list the sheep dips currently granted approval by her Department, indicating which ones contain organophosphates.

    The information requested is as follows:

    Product nameProduct licence holder
    ORGANOPHOSPHORUS SHEEP DIPS
    1. Paracide PlusBattle Hayward and Bower Ltd.
    Also known as Paracide Plus when sold by:
    Downland Marketing Ltd.
    Chapman and Frearson Ltd.
    Messrs J. Todd and Son
    The Vale of Tivy Agriculture Society Ltd.
    Messrs J. S. Hubbuck and Son
    H&G Farm Feeds
    Ray Green Animal Health
    Colin Henderson
    Metcalf Feed Formulations
    Agripharm Animal Health
    Yorkshire Animal Health
    Also known as Summer Fly Dip when sold by:
    Battle Hayward and Bower Ltd.
    2. Diazadip All Seasons Scab Approved DipBayer UK Ltd.
    3. Topclip Gold Shield Scab Approved Sheep DipCiba-Geigy Agriculture
    Also known as Paracide Fly and Scab Dip when sold by:
    Battle, Hayward and Bower Ltd.
    Also known as Diazadip Scab Approved All-purpose Sheep Dip when sold by:
    Bayer UK Ltd.
    4. Coopers Powerpack Winter DipCoopers Animal Health Ltd.
    5. Coopers Powerpack Summer Dip Scab ApprovedCoopers Animal Health Ltd.
    6. Osmonds Gold Fleece Sheep DipOsmond and Son (Dublin) Ltd.
    Also known as Golden Fleece Sheep Dip when sold by:
    Bimeda UK Ltd.
    Also known as Deosan Diazinon Sheep Dip when sold by:
    Suicides among farmers and farm workers by month of occurrence, sex and age, 1989
    MalesFemales
    16+16–6465+16+16–5960+
    January77
    February4411
    March22
    April22
    May33
    June633
    July52311
    August532
    September752
    October77
    November651
    December43111
    Total58461233
    Suicides among farmers and farm workers by month of occurrence, sex and age, 1990
    MalesFemales
    16+16–6465+16+16–5960+
    January743
    February321
    March55

    Product name

    Product licence holder

    Deosan Ltd.
    Also known as Downland Scab Approved Fly Dip when sold by: Osmond and Son (Dublin) Ltd.
    7. Young's Scab Approved Summer DipRobert Young and Co. Ltd.
    8. Young's Scab Approved Flyte 1250 Sheep DipRobert Young and Co. Ltd.
    Also known as Seraphos Scab Approved Sheep Dip when sold by:
    Crown Vet Pharmaceuticals
    Also known as Downland Seraphos when sold by:
    Downland Marketing Ltd.
    9. Rycovet Sheep Dip (Scab) ApprovedRobert Young and Co. Ltd.
    NON-ORGANOPHOSPHORUS SHEEP DIPS
    1. Bayticol Scab and Tick Dip (Scab Approved)Bayer UK Ltd.
    2. Coopers Green Label Scab and Tick DipCoopers Animal Health Ltd.
    3. TakticHoechst UK Ltd.

    Farmers (Suicides)

    To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is she will publish figures showing the number of suicides occurring monthly within the farming population in the United Kingdom within each of the last four years.

    I have been asked to reply.The information shown in the tables is for England and Wales. Information relating to Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. and Learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

    Males

    Females

    16+

    16–64

    65+

    16+

    16–59

    60+

    April761
    May21122
    June523
    July431
    August55
    September862
    October33
    November211
    December
    Total51381322

    Suicides among farmers and farm workers by month of occurrence, sex and age, 1991

    Males

    Females

    16+

    16–64

    65+

    16+

    16–59

    60+

    January312
    February53211
    March106411
    April1192
    May22
    June33
    July431
    August532
    September761
    October642
    November422
    December1111
    Total614318321

    Suicides among farmers and farm workers by month of occurrence1, sex and age, 1992

    Males

    Females

    16+

    16–64

    65+

    16+

    16–59

    60+

    January44
    February862
    March4411
    April33
    May22
    June431
    July523
    August624
    September22
    October33
    November33
    December22
    Total46361011

    1 This table does not include those deaths that occurred in 1992 but not registered until 1993.

    Transport

    Motorways

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects (a) the M65 to M6/M61 link, (b) the widening of the M6 between junctions with the M61 and M55 and (c) the widening of the M6 between the junctions with the M56 and M62 to be completed.

    For (a) construction is planned to start early next year and is expected to take three years to complete; for (b) work is in progress and is expected to be completed by December 1994; and for (c) work is again in progress with completion expected in spring 1996.

    Continental Freight Depots

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which sites have been designated as continental freight depots; and when construction will commence.

    British Rail has selected nine sites, at Glasgow (Mossend), Teesside (Wilton), Wakefield, Manchester (Trafford Park), Liverpool, Birmingham (Landor Street), Cardiff, London (Stratford) and London (Willesden).Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool and Teesside are existing terminals. Trafford Park and Willesden are all but completed. Work at Glasgow is expected to start within the next two months. Construction of the terminal at Wakefield will commence once agreement is reached between BR and its development partners. Stratford will come on stream once demand warrants a second terminal to serve London and the south-east.

    Disabled Passenger Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of Stale for Transport, what are the expected savings to be made from the repeal of the disabled passenger scheme.

    I understand the saving will be in the region of £500,000 in the first year, based on the approximate annual number of new applications.Current beneficiaries under this scheme will not lose their entitlement to exemption from vehicle excise duty as a result of the repeal.

    Severn Bridge

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to the changes in transport movements across the Severn bridge in each of the last three years; and what assessment he has made on the effects of price increases.

    The following figures are for traffic crossing the bridge westbound from England to Wales:

    PeriodNumber of vehicles (millions)
    May 1990 to April 19919·3
    May 1991 to April 19929·5
    May 1992 to April 19938·8
    It is not at present possible to isolate the effects of toll increases. The increases in April 1992 coincided with the introduction of one-way tolling. It is likely that this will have reduced westbound traffic and increased eastbound traffic.Arrangments are in hand to monitor traffic from Wales to England.

    World Heritage Sites

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many new roads have been built across world heritage sites in Britain in the past five years.

    None in England. Roads in Scotland and Wales are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Secretary of State for Wales respectively.

    Driver And Vehicle Licensing Agency

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 15 July, Official Report column 587, what is the average cost to the DVLA of supplying a printout to a magistrates court of a driver's licence history needed to assist in sentencing; what is the average delay between receipt of a requests from a magistrate's court and the printout being supplied; and what would be the capital and running costs of supplying magistrates courts with live terminals to enable them to obtain the information themselves.

    The current average cost to DVLA for a driver licence printout is £1. Most printouts are despatched from DVLA within five working days of receipt of the request. The cost of supplying magistrates courts with terminals to enable them to obtain the information direct is a matter for My right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor. Such a system would add approximately £0·5 million to DVLA's annual running costs.

    Airports

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he received the report of the RUCATSE working group into south-east runway capacity; and if he will make a statement.

    I have now received the report. It is a thorough and useful piece of work which will help set the framework for an informed debate on this important subject. The report deals with the issue of the possible need for more runway capacity in the south-east; the timing of that need; and sets out the advantages and disadvantages of development at a number of sites. It makes no recommendations about which site should be developed.A feature of the working group was its particularly wide-ranging membership. Local area representatives, environmental groups and the air transport industry have all been associated with the analysis set out in the report. I am sure that this diversity will make the report all the more useful. I therefore want to thank all those involved for the time and energy they have devoted to the work.I am today putting a copy of the report in the Library of the house and will send copies to members with constituencies near those sites subject to detailed assessment.Given the importance of this subject, I will attach particular weight to the consultation process which begins today. I invite all those with an interest in the subject to let my Department know their views on the issues raised in this report by the end of May 1994.

    Motorway Charging

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress is being made by his Department in technological methods of charging cars for the use of motorways, with particular reference to electronic charging on motorways funded by the private sector; and if he will make a statement.

    The Green Paper, "Paying for Better Motorways" (Cm 2200), which was published on 26 May, describes a number of possible systems of electronic charging for motorways. We keep in close contact with technological developments in this country and abroad. In particular Department of Transport representatives participate in the relevant European bodies undertaking research and development standards for possible future applications.

    M25

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has anything to add to his answer of 19 July concerning the additional flows of vehicles on the M25 motorway expected from the construction of a single additional lane; and what approximate increase he expects in vehicle flows in vehicles per hour and in overall percentage terms.

    I have nothing to add to my answer of 19 July, Official Report, columns 75–76.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies he has made of delays on motorways occasioned by various factors, other than traffic demand; and if he will now make a comprehensive study of all causes of delay on the M25 before authorising public expenditure on additional lanes or new parallel roads.

    Studies have been made of roadworks sites from which estimates of delays can be made. We also currently have a research contract running to study the effects of incidents, for example, accidents and breakdowns, on the operation of motorways generally which will enable delays due to such incidents to be estimated.I have no plans for a study of delays for the M25.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measurements have been made of delays to vehicles wishing to join the M25 motorway between its intersections with the M3 and M40, other than those occasioned by accidents, shed loads, roadworks or other non-demand factors.

    No measurements have been made of delays to traffic wishing to join the M25 between its junctions with the M3 and M40 from any causes.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about his plans for improving the M25.

    The M25 is the hub of the national motorway network. Many other motorways—M1, M40, M4, M3, M23, M20, M11 and Al(M) lead off it. It is, therefore, a key component in the movement of long-distance national and international traffic, in particular by enabling traffic from the midlands and the north of England to reach the south-east and the channel without going through London. It is essential for our industry and commerce, upon which we depend for our further economic prosperity, that it should work effectively. Besides its national importance, it is also very important at the regional level, playing a major part in the economic development of the south-east.This importance is reflected in its very heavy use. The White Paper "Roads for Prosperity", published in May 1989, announced plans to widen the whole of the motorway to dual four-lane standard as part of the motorway widening programme. Work on this is proceeding. Widening between junctions 15 and 16 is currently in progress and earlier this year we consulted local interests on our proposals for widening within existing highway boundaries between junctions 7 and 8 and 10 and 11.However, it has become clear that on certain sections in particular traffic volumes have been rising and will continue to rise to the point where dual four lanes will not be enough to prevent chronic congestion. This problem is particularly acute on the section between junctions 12 and 15—between the M3 and the M4. That is why, as a first phase, we published in June 1992 proposals for dual three-lane link roads to augment the existing dual four-lane road. Although these proposals were welcomed in some quarters, they attracted understandable concern in others, particularly from those living near the motorway. I have, therefore, considered very carefully all the issues raised by those who question the justification for these proposals. My conclusion is that the balance of public interest lies in taking these proposals forward and that the link roads should proceed to the next stage in the statutory process.In reaching my conclusion, I have looked particularly carefully at alternatives to the link road proposals. I do not believe that any of these would be an adequate response to the magnitude of the problem. Even with improved traffic management, such as the pilot scheme I have recently announced for controlled motorway operation, additional capacity will be needed. Without it, heavy lorries and other long-distance traffic will increasingly divert to the local road network to the point where conditions become intolerable for local people. Nor is increased use of rail transport a feasible option; there are no existing lines able to cope with the variety of journeys of those using the motorway and it is unrealistic to consider building new lines, nor would they match up to requirements. The link roads, moreover, are designed for purposes other than commuting and other journeys into London.Junctions 12 to 15 present the most pressing problem, which we have addressed first. But junctions 15 to 16 between the M4 and the M40 will also present a serious congestion problem in future, even after current widening to four lanes is completed. I am therefore today launching a public consultation on link roads on this stretch as well.However, in deciding to proceed to public inquiry for junctions 12 to 15 and to launch a public consultation for junctions 15 to 16, I can give a number of assurances.First, I have no plans for similiar link roads around the whole of the motorway. I forsee no need at all for widening beyond D4 between junctions 3 to 10 and junctions 21 to 30. I cannot rule out the need for widening beyond D4 on the remaining stretches—junctions 10 to 12, junctions 16 to 21 and junctions 30 to 3. The need for this will not become clear until future work has been carried out by consultants and any proposals would not necessarily be in the form of dual three-lane link roads. A solution involving fewer additional lanes might be acceptable.Secondly, I am determined that the greatest attention should be given to the environmental aspects of the proposals. The fact that we are intending to devote some two thirds of the land taken on junctions 12 to 15 to mitigation measures, including extensive landscaping and planting, not only shows my enthusiam for this but means that there will be considerable landscaping and noise barrier improvements over the existing section. And the proposals will naturally be subject to a very full environmental impact assessment in conformity with EC directives and the Department's new manual of environmental assessment, which can be considered at the inquiry.Thirdly, my intention to proceed with the link roads does not imply any diminution in the Government's committment in the regional strategy for the south-east to encourage investment to the east of London. We have a very substantial programme of investment in road improvements to the east to which we shall continue to give high priority within the public spending constraints we face. For example, work is starting this year on the £200 million Hackney-M11 link.Fourthly, the Government continue to be strongly committed to improving conditions for rail users on Network SouthEast and users of other public transport. Last year, investment in London Transport and Network SouthEast was running at three times that in roads in London. The citizens charter commits us to improving conditions for both road and rail users and I intend to honour this commitment.The Government are currently consulting on the introduction of charges or tolls for the motorway network — "Paying for Better Motorways", Cm. 2200. No decisions have yet been taken, but if the Government decide to pursue a policy of charging or tolling and the necessary legislation is passed by Parliament, the M25, including the link roads, could be part of the charged network. I do not expect any motorway charging system that might be introduced in the future to remove the urgent need to increase the capacity of these already over-used sections of the M25. Depending on the results of the consultation exercise and subsequent decisions and legislation, these and other motorways widening schemes could also be candidates for private financing.A copy of the detailed departmental response to the proposals for junctions 12 to 15 has been placed in the Library. Copies have already been circulated to those who commented and other interested parties. Copies of the public consultation document on junctions 15 to 16 are also available.

    Crossrail

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to the reactivation, or construction of additional stations on the proposed alignment of the Crossrail link between Westbourne Park and Wembley Park, with particular reference to those providing interchange with main bus routes.

    It is for the promoters of the CrossRail Bill to consider whether such stations would be justified in operational and financial terms. I understand that several possible station sites are being considered.

    Land Compensation Act 1973

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much compensation has been paid by his Department under part I of the Land Compensation Act 1973 for each of the past five years.

    The amounts paid in recent years are £9·6 million in 1989–90, £36·1 million in 1990–91, £31·1 million in 1991–92 and £36·5 million in 1992–93. I regret that information for 1988–89 and earlier years is not readily available.

    Rail Tracks

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what safety training is given to contractors' staff working on British Rail tracks; and what assessment he has made as to the adequacy of these arrangements.

    Contractors' staff working on British Rail tracks receive the same thorough safety training as British Rail employees exposed to the same risks. Improving the safety of all personnel working on tracks is a strategic objective in British Rail's safety plan. The Health and Safety Executive's railway inspectorate monitors the safety arrangements for railway employees and contractors.

    Alcohol-Related Offences