Written Answers To Questions
Friday 20 October 1995
Local Government Finance
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into a comparison of amounts awarded to authorities in the south-east through the area cost adjustment with the actual additional costs for those authorities; and what that comparison showed. 
The group of officials and officers of the local authority associations who discuss possible changes in standard spending assessments reported in September on this subject. Their report showed that there remains a wide divergence of views as to both the nature and the scale of the additional costs faced by authorities in London and the south-east, if they were to provide similar standards of service to those in other parts of the country.My hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Urban Regeneration has therefore proposed to the local authority associations that an independent review of the area cost adjustment should be carried out. We anticipate that research will be commissioned to assist the review in its work. It will be for the review team to consider whether research of the kind to which my hon. Friend refers would be of assistance to it.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list to one decimal place the percentage of total standard spending assessment received by area cost adjustment for the financial years 1990–91 to 1995–96.
The information requested is set out in the table.
|Year||Contribution of area cost adjustment factor £ million||Total standard spending assessment £ million||Area cost adjustment as percentage of total Percentage|
|(1995–96 excluding Metropolitan police)||(1,556)||—||(4.0)|
1. The apparent increase in share in 1995–96 is because the SSA for the Receiver for the Metropolitan police was previously based on his budget, as approved by the Home Secretary. This included those extra costs which, from 1995–96, are reflected in the area cost adjustment. Excluding this effect, the share fell slightly in 1995–96 from 4.1 per cent. to 4.0 per cent.
2. The 1995–96 figures exclude a small element of area cost adjustment which is incorporated within the indicator "Pension Expenditure" in the police SSA.
London Docklands Development Corporation
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what contracts qualify for operations under the provisions of section 70 and schedule 13 of the Finance (No. 2) Act 1992 in respect of the enterprise zone operated by the London Docklands development corporation, stating the nature of each contract and the date of commencement of any building completed or planned. 
[holding answer 19 October 1995]: I am unable to supply the information requested because the types of contract referred to result from detailed discussions between the individual developers and the Inland Revenue. Neither the Department nor the London Docklands development corporation is privy to those discussions.
Investors Compensation Scheme
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current status of the Treasury's guarantee of the borrowings of the investors compensation scheme. 
The Treasury has today withdrawn the guarantee of borrowing by the investors compensation scheme of up to a maximum of £17 million. The purpose of the guarantee, which was granted on 5 July, was to enable the ICS to continue to operate normally, pending the outcome of a judicial review made by Sun Life. Because of the uncertainty created by the review, neither the personal investment authority nor the ICS considered it prudent to levy PIA's members to fund the ICS. The judicial review is now resolved, and the Personal Investment Authority has levied its members. The need for the guarantee has consequently ceased and has accordingly been withdrawn.
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what is the number of households and the percentage of the total number of households which is currently receiving (a) terrestrial television, (b) satellite television and (c) cable television. 
Of the 24 million households in the United Kingdom, from currently available data it is estimated that 23.47 million or 97.8 per cent. currently receive terrestrial television, 3.5 million or 14.6 per cent. receive satellite television and 1.05 million 4.4 per cent. receive broad band cable television.
Trade And Industry
Science, Engineering And Technology
To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he will respond to the final report of the ad hoc committee chaired by Sir Arnold Wolfendale set up to review the contribution of professional scientists, engineers and research students to improved public understanding of science, engineering and technology. 
The Government are grateful for the work of Sir Arnold and the committee, and welcome the final report, which I am publishing today.The report make a number of important recommendations aimed at improving the contribution made by professional scientists, engineers and research students to improving the public understanding of science, engineering and technology.Recommendations 7.12 and 7.14 are addressed to the Office of Science and Technology and will be implemented as soon as possible. Other recommendations are longer term. I have drawn to the attention of colleagues in the Department for Education and Employment, the Scottish Office, the Welsh Office and the Northern Ireland Office the recommendations addressed to the universities and funding councils which fall within their areas of responsibility.
Small Business (Ministers)
To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many additional Ministers will be necessitated by his recent proposals for small business Ministers. 
Existing Ministers in the Departments identified will take on the additional responsibility in ensuring that small firms are considered in the formulation of policy and the Department's activities.
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will provide an update on the progress of the establishment of business links. 
Progress with establishing business links is encouraging. There are now 142 business link outlets open, offering services to 70 per cent. of VAT registered businesses in England. By the end of the year, more than 200 outlets will be open.
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if the Government will undertake an assessment of matching funds available and forecasted to ensure the effective draw-down of European Union funds. 
The European structural funds make grants of only part of the cost of any project. It is the responsibility of the applicant for grant to find the remainder of the cost.I know of no evidence of a shortage of such "matching" money to ensure full take-up of the United Kingdom's allocations from the funds. These are being substantially over-subscribed.
Water Board Merger
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will now refer the proposed merger between North West Water and Norweb to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission; and if he will make a statement. 
The Director General of Fair Trading is currently investigating the proposed merger and will advise my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade in due course. A decision on whether or not it should be referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission will be taken once that advice is received.
Lord Chancellor's Department
Preparation Of Probate Papers
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he plans to implement section 55 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990; and if he will make a statement. 
While I am not aware of any substantial public concern at the delay in implementation, it remains the Government's intention to bring the section into force when the appropriate resources are available.
Breast Cancer Campaign
To ask the Prime Minister how many postcards he has received from the National Postcard Campaign for Breast Cancer since 7 June. 
I refer the right hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Members for Falkirk, West (Mr. Canavan) and for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Dr. Jones) on 16 October 1995, Official Report, column 23.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what position Mr. Hart had in his Department; and if he will list the duties he undertakes, the hours and days in the weeks he is involved in such work and the salary paid to him. 
Mr. Hart continues to be my unpaid independent adviser.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the market testing feasibility study regarding RAF Stornoway to be completed. 
An announcement on the findings of the feasibility study on the care and maintenance task at RAF Stornoway is expected to be made by the end of the year.
Metric And Imperial Measures
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those areas of defence procurement in which specifications for manufacture are in (a) metric and (b) imperial measurements. 
Defence procurement covers a wide range of product areas from clothing to guns, ships and battle tanks. In each of those areas there is a mix of metric and imperial specifications. Generally it has been MOD practice to use metric measurements since the early 1970s for all procurement. However, spares procurement to maintain some older in-service equipment may still use imperial measurements.
Search And Rescue Helicopters
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list all incidents in the past five years in which vessels have declared emergencies in the vicinity of the United Kingdom to which British military search and rescue helicopters were unable to respond due to inadequate range; what was the date, location and vessel's name in each case; and if he will indicate those incidents in which United States air force H-53 helicopters came to the aid of the vessel. 
It is for the Coastguard Agency to decide which SAR assets to deploy to incidents in the UK SAR region, and where refuelling facilities are available the Coastguard may request military SAR helicopter assistance at an incident outside the helicopter's normal base operating range. My Department does not keep detailed records of search and rescue incidents to which military helicopters did not respond. Our records show that a United States air force CH-53 helicopter assisted at a maritime incident in the UK SAR region on 21 August 1991 involving the recovery of a crewman from the weather ship Cumulus at 57°00N 020°00W.
Hazardous Waste (Dumping At Sea)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the total quantities of (a) toxic chemical wastes, (b) surplus explosives, (c) redundant biological and chemical weapons stores and (d) radioactive wastes disposed of into the North Atlantic, Irish sea and English channel. 
Complete records of past sea dumping operations are not available. In particular, it is not possible to identify the total tonnages or precise natures of conventional munitions which were disposed of by this means. However, surviving records indicate that approximately 120,000 tonnes of UK-manufactured chemical warfare munitions and some 17,000 tonnes of captured German aerial bombs containing the nerve agent tabun were dumped in sealed hulks scuttled in deep water in the North Atlantic, and 14,000 tons of phosgene-charged munitions were disposed of in Beaufort dyke in the north channel. There are no records of biological agents having been disposed of at sea. Details of the UK's sea disposal programme for low and intermediate-level radioactive wastes, including wastes generated by MOD establishments, were contained in a report commissioned by the Department of the Environment titled "Report of the Independent Review of Disposal of Radioactive Waste in the Northeast Atlantic" published by HMSO in November 1984.
Foa And Jast Programmes
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of possible conflict between the FOA and JAST programmes. 
[holding answer 19 October 1995]: Work is in progress to define our requirement for a future offensive aircraft—FOA—for the Royal Air Force. JAST—joint advanced strike technology—is a US programme to develop a family of common-based aircraft for the US services. There is no conflict between the two programmes.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with United Kingdom defence industry representatives concerning the replacement of the Tornado GR1 aircraft. 
[holding answer 19 October 1995]: My officials have had a number of preliminary discussions with representatives of the UK defence industry about possible procurement options and relevant technologies.
House Of Commons
Upper Waiting Hall (Exhibitions)
To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee if he has considered an application for an exhibition relating to the work of the Loughborough college of art and design. 
I understand that, under procedures agreed by the Administration Committee, arrangements have been made for the exhibition to be held in the Upper Waiting Hall from Monday 11 December to Friday 15 December 1995.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people were (a) killed and (b) injured in Wales in road accidents in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Road casualty statistics are published annually by the Welsh Office. Casualties by severity can be found in table 9.1 of "Road Accidents: Wales No. 15 1994", a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Training And Enterprise Councils
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the chairmen of the North East Wales and TARGED training and enterprise councils concerning merger proposals; and if he will make a statement. 
None, although my officials are being kept informed by both of the prospective merger partners about the progress of their discussions. These discussions are still at an early stage and it would therefore be inappropriate for me to make any comment at this time.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement concerning the principles by which the present geographical areas of the training and enterprise councils may be varied by way of (a) merger, (b) break-up and (c) total redrawing of boundaries. 
Under the terms of the operating agreement between the Welsh Office and each of the TECs in Wales, I recognise the TEC as the body able to perform the functions of a training and enterprise council for the operational area set out in the TEC's corporate plan. Any changes to the operational area brought about by boundary adjustment or merger can be recognised on annual renewal of the agreement.Earlier this year, TECs were invited to review their operational areas, taking into account the boundaries of the new unitary authorities. As a consequence, it is expected that some adjustments to TEC operational areas will be proposed. I understand that discussions between the TECs—and with other local interests as appropriate—are proceeding.If these discussions give rise to proposals to the adjustment of TEC operational areas, the Department is able to give effect to such adjustments via the recognition provision in the operating agreement.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the European Commission concerning the derogation application to cover the period between the year 2000 and the completion of the secondary treatment facilities at the proposed new sewage treatment works serving the western valleys of Gwent, central and eastern Cardiff and the present Ystradyfedwg and Pontypridd trunk sewer catchment area; on what date the application was made for derogation; and on what date he estimates receiving a decision on approval. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my predecessor my right hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. Redwood) on 20 October 1994, Official Report, column 313.
Brecon Jazz Festival
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the chairman of the Wales tourist board concerning the withdrawal of the offer of grant to the Brecon jazz festival following receipt of an offer of assistance from the millennium fund; and if he will make a statement. 
None. However, my officials have discussed this matter with the Wales tourist board.
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was paid under the various schemes of the common agricultural policy to Toddington's Ltd. of Pembrokeshire, south Wales in the latest year for which information is available. 
I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Pembroke, (Mr. Ainger) on 19 July 1995.
Education And Employment
Nursery Education Vouchers
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many authorities have undertaken to pilot the nursery voucher scheme. 
I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Hazel Grove (Sir. T. Arnold) on 17 October 1995, Official Report, column 129.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many times during the academic year nursery vouchers will be issued to parents. 
Nursery vouchers will be issued termly to parents of eligible children.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is her policy in respect of whether all schools will have to ballot parents on opting out. 
My right hon. Friend has no present plans to require all schools to hold a ballot of parents on the question of grant-maintained status.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what target she has set for the number of schools opting out by the end of the present academic year. 
My right hon. Friend does not, and never has had, a target for the number of schools to be grant-maintained by the end of this academic year, or by any other date.
Assisted Places Scheme
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many extra assisted places she is planning to make available; what is the estimated cost of the extra places; and what will be the timetable for implementation. 
Over time, we plan to double—to some 70,000—the number of assisted places available, starting next year. The rate of expansion will depend on parental demand and the supply of high quality places. Financial provision and other detailed arrangements will be announced later, in the context of the Government's public expenditure plans for 1996–97 onwards.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what plans she has to change the income threshold for the eligibility for the assisted places scheme; (2) what plans she has to change the administrative arrangements for the assisted places scheme. 
The income threshold and administrative arrangements for the assisted places scheme are governed mainly by the Education (Assisted Places) Regulations 1995, made under the Education Act 1980. These are reviewed and revised annually.
Teachers' Pension Scheme
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if she will list, in respect of the teachers' superannuation scheme, for each of the four years 1 April 1991 to 31 March 1995 (a) the amount of net new money in the scheme, (b) the market value of the notional fund at 31 March in each year and (c) the book value of the notional fund on 31 March each year. 
The notional fund of the teachers' superannuation scheme is an accounting device which is used to determine the level of employers' contributions. There is no real fund, and in reality payments to and from the fund are payments to and from the Exchequer. It is not therefore meaningful to speak of there being new money in the scheme. However, the difference between the opening and closing balances on the notional teachers' superannuation account for each financial year is given in table 1. The value of the notional fund, as measured by the closing balance on the teachers' superannuation account at 31 March is given in table 2. This is the book value of the notional fund; there is no market value since the fund does not exist. The figures for 1993–94 have been produced only recently, and are subject to audit. Figures for 1994–95 are not yet available.
Departmental Stationery And Livery Costs
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what was the cost of changing (a) the stationery and (b) the livery of the former Departments of Education and of Employment when they were merged. 
In the initial period following the merger, the estimated cost of changing the stationery and livery of the two former Departments was approximately £32,000.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the total cost to date to consultants for advice relating to the provisions contained within the Jobseekers Act 1995; and what is the estimate of the final costs. 
To date, the jobseeker's allowance implementation project has spent £979,000 on private sector consultancy support. It is anticipated that a further £1,168,000 will be spent on this item through existing contracts. The implementation project is currently considering tenders for management consultancy support after October 1995. At this state there is no firm figure for the costs of this additional support.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport to what extent the new car licence plates in the Federal Republic of Germany incorporating the Euro-emblem result from EU legislation; and under what legislation United Kingdom licence plates would incorporate this emblem. 
The new German number plate format does not result from EU legislation. The relevant UK legislation is the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 1971. We have no plans to make a similar change.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people were (a) killed and (b) injured in road accidents in England for each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. 
The information is as follows:
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the number of heavy goods vehicle drivers dying as a result of road traffic accidents in each of the last five years. 
The information requested is shown in the following table:
|Number of HGV drivers killed in road accidents in Great Britain|
Road Accidents Great Britain—The Casualty Report HMSO 1995.
King's Cross Underground Station (Escalators)
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the estimated cost of the escalator works at King's Cross underground station. 
This is an operational matter for London Underground.
Harbour Revision Orders
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who may promote a harbour revision order other than the harbour commissioners responsible for the particular port. 
Section 14 of the Harbours Act 1964 allows an application for a harbour revision order to be made to the Secretary of State by the harbour authority or
"by a person appearing to him to have a substantial interest or body representative of persons appearing to him to have such an interest".
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library at an appropriate time a copy of the Montague report on the route of the new crossrail project in London. 
My right hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Dr. Mawhinney) asked for a study on several aspects of the crossrail project, including its structure and ownership under the railway privatisation arrangements, the central London employment forecasts on which the case for it depends and the advantages and disadvantages of possible small-scale alternatives to it. I will consider how best to inform hon. Members of the results of the study when it has been completed and I have had an opportunity to consider it.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will provide in respect of his plan for pay delegation submitted to the Treasury (a) a description of the staff in each bargaining unit covered by the plan, distinguishing staff in headquarters functions, agencies and agency candidates, and in other identifiable business units and (b) proposals for trade union recognition in each bargaining unit and the negotiating machinery to be put in place in each bargaining unit. 
Three delegation plans were submitted to the Treasury: for the Central Transport Group—which included the Vehicle Certification Agency—for the Marine Safety Agency and for the Coastguard Agency. CTG and VCA will form a single bargaining unit; MSA and TCA will be separate bargaining units.
- CTG: 2,130 and VCA 76,
- MSA: 381,
- TCA: 563.
Lower Thames Crossing
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will make a statement on the lower Thames crossing study. 
The consultants completed the feasibility study for the lower Thames crossing late last year and its findings are being considered by Ministers. This was a wide-ranging study looking at the need for a crossing, possible locations east of the present Dartford crossing and the suitability of the project for attracting private sector finance. Also particular attention had to be given to the sensitive environmental features of the Thames estuary and the impact on it of such a project.Since the completion of the study, the former Secretary of State has initiated the transport debate following the publication of the royal commission report on environmental pollution and the Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment report on traffic generation. All of these issues need to be taken into account on a project such as this before any decisions can be taken on whether or not to take the project forward.An announcement on the study will be made when all of these issues have been considered.
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the cost of the twice yearly meetings between Members of the European Parliament and colleagues from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries during each of the past five years. 
According to European Commission development directorate figures, the total cost to the European development fund of EU-ACP joint assemblies and preparatory meetings under the fourth Lomé convention is around £1,400,000, converted at the current exchange rate £1:1.984 ecu.A more precise breakdown is as follows:
- 1991: 340,000 ecu
- 1992: 497,492 ecu
- 1993: 580,000 ecu
- 1994: 219,750 ecu
The European development fund covers the costs of the ACP participants only. Figures for other costs are not available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka on the present conflict in Sri Lanka. 
I discussed the conflict in Sri Lanka with the British High Commissioner during my visit to Sri Lanka from 8 to 10 October.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the British high commissioner to Sri Lanka last visited Jaffna; and if he will make a statement on the report he made following his visit. 
Since a trip which he made to the Government-held areas of Palaly and Karaitivu in 1992, the British high commissioner has been unable to visit Jaffna. But a member of the high commission visited from 6 to 8 March, with a group of diplomats from aid donor countries, to evaluate the requirements for relief and rehabilitation in the event of a peace settlement.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Her Majesty's Government received a copy of the United Nations special commission on Iraq report, made public on 11 October, on the scope of Iraq's biological and germ warfare programme and missile delivery system programme; and whether the report identified the involvement of any British companies in these programmes. 
The UNSCOM and IAEA reports were received on Wednesday, 11 October 1995. No British companies are identified in either of the reports.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the referendum held in Iraq. 
The so-called referendum which the Iraqi Government held on 15 October was a farcical attempt by Saddam Hussein to claim democratic legitimacy. The system of brutal oppression in Iraq makes it impossible to express opposition to Saddam. We hope Iraqis will one day be able freely to decide their own future, although it is hard to imagine how this could be possible while Saddam is in power. We support the efforts of the Iraqi National Congress to form a united, representative opposition to Saddam's regime.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken further to publicise the amount of oil that the Iraqi regime is allowed to sell abroad under United Nations sanctions policy; and what estimate he has made of the revenue accruing to the Iraqi Government from the sale of oil. 
We take every opportunity to urge Iraq to implement United Nations Security Council resolution 986, which would allow Iraq to export substantial amounts of oil in return for much-needed humanitarian supplies. Saddam Hussein must shoulder the responsibility for the suffering of the Iraqi people caused by his failure to do so. If the scheme were implemented, we estimate that Iraq could purchase approximately $2.5 billion of humanitarian supplies per annum. This compares with $5 billion spent on all civilian goods in 1989.
French Nuclear Tests
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consideration has been given by Her Majesty's Government to invoking articles 142 and 192 of the Euratom treaty in regard to French nuclear tests and France's compliance with the treaty. 
None. The Euratom treaty does not apply to military applications of nuclear energy, including nuclear weapons tests.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive a reply to his letter of 29 August to the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) concerning a constituent reference GV 100/28008/SB. 
The migration and visa correspondence unit replied to the hon. Member's letter of 29 August on 18 October. The delay in replying is regretted.
High Commission Building, Kenya
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who were the consultants for the new British high commission in Nairobi; what was the estimated cost of the new building; and what are the total costs to date. 
The following consultants were commissioned:
- Cullum and Nightingale—Design Architects
- Hughes and Polkinghorne—Executive Architects
- GTMS—Project Managers
- Howard Humphreys—Structural and Mechanical and Electrical Engineers
- D.G. Jones—Quantity Surveyors
- Carnell Green—Interior Designers
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many children have been born in Scotland with Down's syndrome in each of the past 15 years. 
The information requested is as follows:
|Year||Number of babies recorded with Down's syndrome1,2|
|Year||Number of babies recorded with Down's syndrome1,2|
|1 Live and still births.|
|2 Recorded on the Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR)11.|
Artificial Limbs And Appliances
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will specify his latest proposals for the supply and fitting of artificial limbs and appliances under the national health service; and if he will make a statement. 
Artificial limb and appliance centres are funded centrally by the national services division of the Common Services Agency. Proposals to devolve responsibility for purchasing this service to health boards are currently being considered and a decision will be announced shortly.
Child Care Costs
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many families have taken up the offer of up to £40 a week in child care costs since October 1994; and what is the average per family and the total cost of the scheme to date. 
At 30 June 1995, 23,000 families had received higher family credit awards as a result of the help with child care charges with an average gain of £14.63 family credit per week. The benefit cost of the provision to that date was £6.6 million. No information is yet available as to families receiving help through housing and council tax benefits.
One in 20 sample of family credit awards made between 1 October 1994 and 30 June 1995. Figures do not include families who had their child care charges allowed but receive no extra benefit because they are already in receipt of their maximum family credit.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many asylum seekers who have appealed against a refusal of asylum are in receipt of income support. 
The information requested is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the latest estimate of the annual cost of social security and housing benefits paid to asylum seekers; and how many have been in receipt of those benefits in each of the last three years. 
The latest estimate of the annual amount of income support and housing benefit paid to asylum seekers is £200 million. Numbers of asylum seekers receiving income support are shown in the table:
|Income support||Number of cases|
1 Includes an estimated 1–2 thousand cases of former asylum seekers who are now entitled to Income Support under the normal rules.
Income Support Statistics Annual Enquiries May 1993 and May 1994.
Claims from asylum seekers were not identified separately before May 1993.
Information about other benefits paid to asylum seekers and the numbers receiving them is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Habitual Residence Test
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the estimated public savings in income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit arising from the number of British citizens excluded from income-related benefits as a result of the habitual residence test during the first year of its operation. 
The public savings are broadly estimated to be £15 million in the first 12 months of operation, from August 1994 to July 1995.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claimants for income support have been subjected to the habitual residence test in each of the months since its inception; and how many failed it. 
The habitual residence test applies to all income support claimants. I refer the hon. Member to the replies that I gave to the hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Timms) on 18 April 1995, Official Report, column 43, and on 10 July 1995, Official Report, column 449, in respect of refusals and on 21 April 1995, Official Report, column 314, in relation to the availability of these figures.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people who failed the habitual residence test, and who are neither British citizens nor other European Economic Area nationals, were awarded income support under regulation 70(3) of the Income Support (General) Regulations (Urgent Cases). 
This information is not readily available and could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many decisions were made by adjudication officers in the year April 1993–94 within the Employment Service concerning the habitual residence of a person claiming unemployment benefit in the United Kingdom. 
Decisions on contribution conditions, including the habitual residence of a person claiming unemployment benefit in the United Kingdom, are made by the Secretary of State. In the period January to April 1994 there were 201 decisions. Figures for the period April to December 1993 are no longer available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many appeals against the disallowance of income support under the habitual residence test were decided at the Benefits Agency district offices in Euston, Ealing, Kensington, Tottenham, Westminster, Wandsworth, Neasden, Hounslow and Slough in each of the latest four quarters; and those decided, how many were successful. 
The information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the relationship between the figures for estimated public expenditure savings arising from the habitual residence test given in the answers of 2 March 1995, Official Report, column 706, and 12 July 1995, Official Report, column 621. 
The public expenditure savings arising from the habitual residence test given in the answer of 2 March, Official Report, column 706, were based on an initial estimate that 5,000 EEA work-seekers would be adversely affected by the test. This estimate was based on the best information available prior to the actual implementation of the test. The public expenditure savings arising from the habitual residence test given in the answer of 12 July 1995, Official Report, column 621, were based on revised estimates of the actual impact of the test after it had been in operation for eight months.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what extra resources have been given to the independent tribunal service to fund appeals against the habitual residence test. 
The independent tribunal service is funded according to the projected work load for all types of appeal. Resources for hearing appeals against the habitual residence test are included in the current year's allocation, but are not identified separately from other types of social security appeals.
Income Support (Appeals)
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the latest estimated cost of processing an income support appeal to (a) the Benefits Agency and (b) the independent tribunal service. 
The separate information is not available in the precise format requested. The latest estimated costs of processing an appeal to a social security appeal tribunal to (a) the Benefits Agency and (b) the independent tribunal service are £79 and £236 respectively.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will amend regulation 35 of schedule 9 to the Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1987 to include widow's benefit as a specified benefit; and if he make a statement. 
No. We have no plans to extend the scope of this regulation, which allows for direct payment of income support to third parties, to other benefits.Direct payments take away people's responsibility to manage their own affairs and are expensive to administer. For both reasons, they ought to be kept to a minimum. There is, however, a provision which allows a person's benefit, or part of it, to be paid to another person—but not to a local authority or corporate body—in cases of budgeting difficulty.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what criteria have been employed by family health services authorities in determining reductions in deprivation payments to general practitioners; how often such payments are reviewed; and what transitional arrangements have been put in place to prevent hardship. 
Family health services authorities do not have discretion in determining deprivation payments for general practitioners. Payments are made on the basis of the Jarman index and are reviewed annually in the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body round. We estimate that the use of the 1991 census data this year will deliver some £5 million extra to the profession as a whole. In addition some £3.7 million will be paid out in England to protect the income of individual GPs losing from the change.
Children In Care
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will undertake a study into the number of children taken into care as a direct result of their mothers receiving custodial sentences for fine defaulting. 
I have no plans to do so.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what moneys have been spent on the services of outside consultancy firms by each regional health authority in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
This information is not available centrally.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure the continuity of paediatric services at Buckland hospital, Dover. 
East Kent health authority is currently working on proposals to strengthen and improve paediatric services across the whole of the district, including the Buckland hospital. The aim is to provide excellent clinical services for patients while meeting the requirements for junior doctor training.
Drug Side Effects
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to include drug side effect and interaction information with all drugs dispensed by a pharmacist. 
There is a statutory requirement for manufacturers of medicines to fulfil United Kingdom regulations for labelling medicines and providing patient information leaflets. A leaflet provides information on all aspects of a medicine including side effects and interactions. All newly authorised medicines require leaflets; for those medicines already on the market, leaflets are being phased in over the next three years through the introduction of patient packs for medicines containing a quantity of medicine appropriate for a course of treatment.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure that all general practitioners and hospitals have access to computer systems which give warnings of drug side effects and interactions. 
Requirements for accreditation of general practitioner computer systems have been developed and publicised to general practitioner computer suppliers. These set out standards for a drug database listing side effects and interactions.Computerised prescribing systems are at an early stage of development within hospitals. However, information on drug side effects and interactions is widely available through free issue of the British national formulary, product data sheets, and other local prescribing publications to all hospital doctors and pharmacists. Hospital pharmacists provide a further check by reviewing prescriptions prior to dispensing medicines.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he has for the issuing of a steroid warning card to patients on steroid treatment. 
Department of health guidance that steroid warning cards should be issued to patients on steroid treatments has been in issue for many years. In addition, the British National Formulary, published every six months jointly by the British Medical Association and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, contains advice on the need for and use of the card. Copies of the British National Formulary are issued free of charge to all national health service doctors and community pharmacists.
Mental Health Act
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will consider the need for district health authorities to ensure adequate cover in their areas of medical practices approved for the purposes of section 12 of the Mental Health Act 1983 in provision of timely attendance to patients requiring examination consequent to sections 2 and 3 of the Act. 
Regional directors of public health are currently responsible for ensuring that there are sufficient suitably trained and experienced doctors approved under the Act. We are satisfied that these requirements are being properly met. From April 1996 the responsibility will pass to health authorities. We will be issuing guidance on the new arrangements shortly.
Employment Of Children
To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to publish his Department's consultation document on the employment of children. 
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines are issued to NHS consultants in respect of voicing matters of public concern to the media; and in what circumstances trusts are authorised to take disciplinary action. 
The national health service executive's "Guidance for staff on relations with the public and the media EL(93)51" clearly indicates the manner by which staff concerns about health care issues should be raised.Decisions about disciplinary matters are entirely for NHS employers. Copies of EL(93)51 are available in the Library.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many days were lost in sickness in the last 12 months by employees in his Department (a) in total and (b) as a proportion of the number of days worked; and what was the cost of this absence. 
[pursuant to the reply, 14 July 1995, column 825]: I regret that the previous reply contained an error. The figure for estimated days lost through sickness was given as 69,363, representing 6.23 per cent. of working days. The original figures were incorrect because they included all absences, for example staff on maternity leave. New figures from the Occupational Health and Safety Agency show that 48,031 days were lost due to sickness in 1994, some 4 per cent. of working days. This is below the average for the civil service.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners in each of the last three years were remanded in custody for more than 52 weeks before sentencing. 
Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. John Whittingdale, dated 20 October 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking how many prisoners in each of the last three years were remanded in custody for more than 52 weeks before sentencing.
The available information relates to the length of time since first reception into a Prison Service establishment in England and Wales and is given in the attached table. Information for 1993 and earlier years is published in "Prison statistics, England and Wales" (tables 2.3 and 2.4 of the 1993 edition, Cm 2893), a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Remand prisoners held in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales on remand for over 12 months on 30 June: 1993–1995(1)
On 30 June
(2)Numbers held for over 12 months
1 Awaiting trial or sentence. Time since first reception on remand into a Prison Service establishment. This includes any intervening time spent on bail, but excludes time spent in police cells beforehand.
2 Rounded estimates.
3 Provisional figures.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list by category all reported acts of concerted indiscipline, fires, escapes and attempted escapes from prison, escapes and attempted escapes from escort, deaths, hostage situations, wrongful releases, miscellaneous or any other incidents at Doncaster prison from 1 September 1994 to 30 June 1995. 
Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. Doug Hoyle, dated 20 October 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking for a list by category of all reported acts of concerted indiscipline, fires, escapes and attempted escapes from prison, escapes and attempted escapes from escort, deaths, hostage situations, wrongful releases, miscellaneous or any other incidents at Doncaster Prison from 1st September to 30th June 1995.
The information is given in the attached table.
|Failure to return||1|
|Release in error||3|
Crime Prevention (Advice To Women)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those crime prevention initiatives and publicity campaigns which have been directly targeted at women in the last five years. 
The Home Office runs an on-going campaign providing people with advice on crime prevention. Almost 20 million copies of the original crime prevention handbook were distributed between 1988 and 1994, and 1.75 million copies of the revised edition "Your Practical Guide to Crime Prevention" have been distributed to date. The guide provides detailed advice on how everyone can reduce the risk of assault and make themselves feel safer in their everyday lives, as well as advice on what men can do to help women feel more secure.In addition, more than 300 crime prevention schemes targeting women's safety have been supported by Government grants totalling £1.3 million under phase 1 of the safer cities programme.The Government also launched a domestic violence awareness campaign on 24 October 1994 called "Domestic Violence—Don't Stand For It". The campaign emphasised that domestic violence is a crime and that everyone had the right to live their life free of fear and abuse. It also encouraged victims to seek the help and assistance that is available.The Home Office continually evaluates its crime prevention strategy and recently commissioned an independent survey of women's attitudes to personal safety. The results showed that women did not support a personal safety campaign directed specifically at them. It was considered unnecessary and deemed likely to increase the fear of crime.
Police Deaths And Injuries
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have been killed or injured on duty between 1 January 1992 and 1 January 1995. 
The following is the readily available information for England and Wales:
|Number of assaults on police officers involving death or injury|
|Fatal assault||Serious assault||Other/minor assault|
|1994 (1st quarter)||1||229||3,779|
|Police officers killed or seriously injured in the course of either police pursuits or responses to emergency calls|
|Fatal injury||Serious injury|
|1Not yet available|
Fear Of Crime
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give details of police forces which have conducted a fear of crime survey in accordance with the Home Office guidelines, together with the results of such surveys. 
I regret that this information is not held centrally and is available only at disproportionate cost. However, the Home Office monitors fear of crime in England and Wales through its biennial British crime survey. The results are published regularly and provide a national benchmark against which the findings of local surveys can be compared.
Supermarket Car Parks (Security)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he is giving to crime prevention advice to shoppers using supermarket car parks and to the proprietors of supermarkets about improved security. 
The Home Department takes the lead in the provision of crime prevention advice. To date, 1,750,000 copies of the revised handbook "Your Practical Guide to Crime Prevention", have been distributed. Although the guide does not contain advice aimed specifically at users of supermarket car parks, much of the advice is relevant.Advice for motorists using car parks is included in a new Home Office car crime prevention leaflet which I shall be launching at the Earls Court motor show next week.We are also encouraging all owners and operators of car parks to improve security on site. To this end, we have endorsed the Association of Chief Police Officers' secured car parks scheme under which awards are made to car parks meeting strict design criteria. These criteria are currently being re-examined with a view to achieving greater take-up of the scheme.Advice for proprietors of supermarkets is available in the form of a series of crime prevention booklets produced by the retail action group, a sub-group which was set up in 1993 by the original National Board for Crime Prevention. In January 1994, advice on the prevention of robbery and of burglary was published; advice on the prevention of violence to staff, customer theft and external fraud will be published shortly.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the topics which have been discussed at the last two meetings of the working group on obscenity. 
The group has met three times so far. The main topics discussed have been the use of computer networks for the importation and dissemination of obscene material; the enforcement of laws against child pornography; the display of indecent material in newsagents; and research to compare what is considered indecent and obscene in other countries.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions and convictions there were under section 2 and section 3 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 in (a) 1970, (b) 1975, (c) 1980, (d) 1985, (e) 1990 and (f) 1994; and how many of these did not involve pornography. 
The available information is given in the table. Data before 1979 are not available and the statistics cannot separately identify cases which involve pornography. The 1994 data are provisional.
|The number of offenders prosecuted and the number found guilty at all courts for offences of possessing obscene material for gain1|
|England and Wales||Number of offenders|
|Number of prosecutions||183||275||174||309|
|Total number found guilty||118||226||116||266|
|1 An offence under section 2 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 as amended by the Obscene Publications Act, 1964 section 1.|
|2 1994 data is provisional.|
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when it is now estimated the practice of slopping out will be eliminated in Her Majesty's prison Armley, Leeds. 
Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. John Battle, dated 20 October 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the elimination of slopping out at Leeds prison.
It is planned that C and D wings will be closed for refurbishment (including installation of in-cell sanitation) in February 1996. Prisoners will be moved to accommodation on A wing, which is being refurbished at present. Once this is completed there will be no prisoners at Leeds without 24 hour access to sanitation.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many 15 and 16-year-olds were held in adult prisons (a) in London and (b) nationally awaiting trial in each of the last five years. 
[holding answer 12 July 1995]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Richard Tilt to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 20 October 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question on how many 15 and 16 year olds were held in adult prisons (a) in London and (b) nationally awaiting trial in each of the last five years.
The available information is for the establishments receiving untried prisoners and is given in the attached table.
Receptions of 15 and 16 year old untried prisoners into adult Prison Service establishments in England and Wales 1990–94
Number received into an adult establishment
|England and Wales||187|
|England and Wales||134|
|England and Wales||23|
|England and Wales||18|
|England and Wales||100|
1 Provisional figures.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions have taken place between the Home Office and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and the British Retail Consortium on the positioning of the Daily Sport; and if he will place a copy of advice to newsagents in the Library. 
Officials have corresponded with the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and the British Retail Consortium about the display of The Sport newspapers. Following that correspondence, both organisations decided to recommend to their members that copies of The Sport newspapers should be displayed only on the "top shelf'. We understand that the NFRN has, however, delayed the issue of its recommendation pending further discussions with the publishers of The Sport newspapers.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if paragraph 1 of schedule 5 to the Criminal Justice Act 1993 has been implemented. 
This technical provision should have been included in commencement order No. 8. It was brought into force on 14 August by means of commencement order No. 9.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
Common Agricultural Policy
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the draft CAP budget expenditure published by the EU for 1996; what is the legal limit of such expenditure; and what was the actual expenditure in each of the past 10 years. 
[holding answer 19 July 1995]: The 1996 draft budget for common agricultural policy expenditure has been set at the level of the guideline—the legally binding ceiling on CAP expenditure—of 40,828 million ecu or £34,069 million. Initial indicators are that 1995 expenditure will be about 35,000 mecu or about £28,000 million, some 3,000 mecu or £2,418 million below the guideline. This is 1,047 mecu or £838 million within the EU guideline of 37,944 mecu or £30,375 million. Expenditure in 1994 was 32,970 mecu or £25,264 million, some 3,495 mecu or £2,678 million below the guideline. Details of expenditure on the common agricultural policy in previous years are contained in the annual financial reports on the European Agricultural guidance and guarantee fund, guarantee section, copies of which have been deposited in the Library of the House. The latest available report relates to 1993.