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Written Answers

Volume 264: debated on Monday 23 October 1995

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Written Answers To Questions

Monday 23 October 1995

Environment

New Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out the total number of new homes started by (a) local authorities and new towns and (b) housing associations in England in each year since 1974, and his estimate of the likely number of starts in 1995 and 1996. [37490]

The number of new-build homes started in England between 1974–75 and 1994–95 by housing associations, local authorities and new towns is shown in the following table.

Number of new build dwellings started, by tenure
YearHousing associationsLocal authorities and new townsTotal
1974–7512,300109,569121,869
1975–7622,020131,015153,035
1976–7725,481106,566132,047
1977–7826,07686,334112,410
1978–7916,71369,06885,781
1979–8014,27554,58868,863
1980–8111,05128,78139,832
1981–8213,00523,49936,504
1982–8314,19132,21046,401
1983–8412,25927,46939,728
1984–8510,75120,49631,247
1985–8610,46518,28428,749
1986–8710,61917,00127,620
1987–8810,07314,51724,590
1988–8911,97312,26324,236
1989–9011,51611,73123,247
1990–9114,1835,36219,545
1991–9220,0722,01822,090
1992–9330,3611,57131,932
1993–9433,10784133,948
1994–9530,94644131,387
This is, however, not the whole picture. In addition, new social lettings are provided through purchase and rehabilitation of existing properties, and released through home ownership grant schemes, which assist existing tenants to move on to their own properties.In 1995–96 we estimate that scheme starts will be made on over 50,000 new social lettings, to be provided by housing associations and local authorities through new build, purchase or rehabilitation, or released by home ownership grant schemes.We estimate that some 70,000 new social lettings, or completions, will be provided in 1995–96.Plans for 1996–97 and beyond are under consideration as part of the current public expenditure round.

Water Meters

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of domestic premises are fitted with water meters in each of the English regional water companies. [37995]

In 1995–96 the proportion of metered water customers of the 10 water and sewerage companies is as follows:

Households Percentage1
Anglian16.8
Dwr Cymru2.8
North West4.9
Northumbrian0.6
Severn Trent8.2
South West9.1
Southern11.8
Thames5.4
Wessex9.7
Yorkshire6.0
1 Company estimates.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the policy of each of the English regional water companies on the use of water meters for domestic premises. [37996]

Companies are developing their policies on the metering of domestic premises in the light of their particular circumstances. Most companies meter new and substantially converted properties. All companies operate voluntary schemes, which provide meters for those customers who are prepared to pay for their installation.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his Department's policy on using water meters as the basis for charging domestic customers for their water supply. [37994]

It is for water companies to decide the basis on which they charge customers. However, the Government believe that metering is, in the long term, the best basis for paying for water in many circumstances and it is consistent with the sustainable use of our water resources. It is also fair and equitable in that it relates charges directly to the amount of water used, and provides an incentive to customers to use water efficiently. For water companies, metering can form an important part of a cost-effective approach to reducing imbalances between supply and demand. The Government wish to encourage companies and customers to consider switching to meters, but we are not forcing them to do so.

Improvement Grants

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many people are waiting for (a) improvement grants and (b) disabled improvement grants as a percentage of the population for each county in England. [37905]

Sites Of Special Scientific Interest

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many sites of special scientific interest in England have been de-notified since 1981 on the grounds of a decline in their scientific interest. [38358]

The information is not available in the form requested. Between 1 April 1984 and 31 March 1991 statistical information on damage on SSSIs in Great Britain is set out in the annual reports of the former Nature Conservancy Council. Since 1 April 1991 similar detail for England is contained in English Nature's annual reports. Copies of annual reports are in the Library.

Energy Efficiency

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) on what basis the company Instafibre was chosen as the sole vehicle for dealing with the discount voucher scheme operated under the Energy Efficiency Office's energy efficiency scheme; [38151](2) what consideration and assessment was made of the impact of the discount voucher scheme operated under the energy efficiency campaign upon those companies who were not able to benefit from the discount vouchers; [38152](3) if the operation of the discount voucher scheme under the energy efficiency campaign was awarded on a lowest-tender basis; and if she will list

(a) the details of the dates of the tender documents, (b) the number of respondents and (c) the way in which such tenders were invited and through which publications. [38154]

The voucher book scheme being run as the current part of "Wasting Energy Costs the Earth" is a welcome contribution by business to encouraging action on energy efficiency among domestic householders. It involves the provision of discounts or special offers by manufactures, suppliers and trade associations at their own expense to complement the Government's own spending on the campaign.The discount relating to cavity wall insulation is no longer to be provided solely by one company. It covers the major designers of fibre-based systems and installers who are members of the industry guarantee scheme or the National Cavity Insulation Association.In supporting the voucher scheme the Government took full account of the long-term benefits to all sectors of the energy efficiency industry from a stimulation of the market, and decisions on individual contributors were taken on a value-for-money basis throughout.

Drilling Wastes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he will be putting forward in June at the North sea ministerial conference of the problems caused for wildlife by hydrocarbons in drilling wastes discharging from rigs. [37298]

The next North sea conference will not be until a date in the period 2000–2002. The fourth North sea conference on June 9 1995 asked the Oslo and Paris commissions to introduce by 1997 a ban on the discharge of oil-contaminated cuttings except in exceptional circumstances and to investigate the need for, the environmental impact from and possible means of cleaning up seabeds contaminated by oily cuttings.

Tenants

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the protection afforded to tenants who have signed what otherwise is a legally binding contract for a set period of tenure but who, in the event of a landlord defaulting on his mortgage payments, can be given two weeks' notice to quit by a mortgage company, following repossession of the property. [38096]

I sympathise with tenants whose landlords default on their mortgages and who face eviction at short notice through no fault of their own. However, I do not believe that legislation is the appropriate solution to this problem. Granting such tenants statutory rights to occupation would lead to lenders restricting mortgage loans. It would also reduce the supply of properties available in the private rented sector.Following our discussions with the Council of Mortgage Lenders, it is now a condition of granting a lender an order for possession that a letter has been sent to the occupier to forewarn tenants that they will have to leave.

Sea Birds

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what financial assistance has been offered to the RSPCA for decontamination of oiled sea birds following the dumping of oil off the Yorkshire coastline in September. [38494]

My Department's scientific advisers, English Nature, worked closely with the RSPCA in monitoring the effects of this off-shore oil slick. No financial assistance was provided to decontaminate oiled sea birds.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has of the (a) species and (b) numbers of each species involved as sea bird victims in the Yorkshire coastline oil slick of September. [38495]

My Department's scientific advisers, English Nature, advise that between 21 and 26 September the numbers of sea birds recovered were as follows.

1138 Guillemot, 98 Razorbill, 12 Puffin and 4 other birds were recovered alive; 201 Guillemot, 29 Razorbill and 2 other birds were recovered dead.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Departmental Work

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the work of his Department since 1990. [38078]

I refer my hon. Friend to the departmental reports produced by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office each year for the last five years, which are available in the Library of the House. Their reference numbers are as follows:

  • 1991: Cm 1502
  • 1992: Cm 1902
  • 1993: Cm 2202
  • 1994: Cm 2502
  • 1995: CM 2802

Sudan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the governing authorities in Sudan about progress towards peace and democracy; and if he will make a statement. [38144]

On 13 September the Secretary of State raised with the Sudanese ambassador our concerns about Sudan's alleged support for extremist groups, its human rights record and the continuing civil war.

Pay Bargaining

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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. [38288]

(a) The Foreign and Commonwealth Office envisages a single bargaining unit to cover all 5,440 headquarters staff and the 32 staff of the FCO's only agency, Wilton Park, at grades DS5S and below and their home civil service equivalents.

(b) The FCO proposes to recognise the Civil and Public Servants Association—CPSA—the National Union of Civil and Public Servants—NUCPS—the Institution of Professionals, Managers and Specialists—IPMS—and the Diplomatic Service Association—DSA—for pay bargaining purposes and to conduct negotiations with them through a single table structure.

Zimbabwe

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British citizens are currently resident in Zimbabwe. [38017]

The estimated size of the British community, which includes British nationals of all categories, is 20,000. Of these, about 6,000 are British citizens.

Bermuda

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has to change Bermuda's constitutional status. [38012]

Belarus

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to visit Belarus; and if he will make a statement about relations with that country. [38013]

I last visited Belarus in July and have no further plans to do so at present. Regular contacts take place at official level and help to develop further our good bilateral relationship.

Ireland

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the annual cost in each of the last five years of maintaining the diplomatic mission to the Republic of Ireland. [38014]

Total operating costs of the British embassy in Dublin, including rented staff accommodation, for the last five financial years are as follows:

  • 1990–91: £2,117,098
  • 1991–92: £2,197,640
  • 1992–93: £2,284,956
  • 1993–94: £2,514,718
  • 1994–95: £2,702,525

Former Yugoslavia

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth. Affairs at what level the United Kingdom is represented in each of the states of the former Yugoslavia. [38015]

The United Kingdom is represented at ambassador level in Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia and by a charge d'affaires in Belgrade.

Flag States

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions, in each year since 1990, his Department has made representations to flag states in respect of vessels which have been detected making alleged illegal discharges of oil or other pollutants by MPCU surveillance. [37241]

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office made seven such representations to other flag states in each of the years 1990, 1991 and 1992, 14 representations in 1993 and five representations in 1994. It has so far made 14 representations in 1995.

Kenya

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received about human rights in Kenya. [37672]

We occasionally receive representations from a variety of sources about human rights in Kenya. We have drawn our own concerns about aspects of the situation to the attention of the Kenyan authorities.

Commonwealth Membership

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those countries currently applying for membership of the Commonwealth, indicating in each case the date when their application will be determined. [37917]

There are no outstanding applications for Commonwealth membership. Mozambique and Rwanda have expressed interest in membership, but have made no formal application.

National Heritage

Sports Fatalities

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many fatalities there have been in the United Kingdom over the last five years in (a) boxing, (b) mountaineering, (c) skiing, (d) motor racing and (e) horse-riding. [38047]

No figures are held for Scotland or Northern Ireland. The most recent figures available are for the years 1986 to 1991.

  • England and Wales
  • Fatalities in:
  • (a) boxing: 3
  • (b) mountaineering: 59
  • (c) skiing: 0
  • (d) motorsports: 72
  • (e) horseriding: 26

Historic Properties

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what support is given to help private owners of homes that have a historic and architectural interest to retain and maintain their homes. [38369]

The Government believe that so far as possible historic properties should remain in private hands and that their owners should be encouraged to retain and care for them. In addition to grants from English Heritage, and its sister organisations in the home countries, owners of outstanding historic buildings may take advantage of a range of tax measures, for example conditional exemption from inheritance tax and tax relief in relation to heritage maintenance funds.

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) if she will list those private historic houses which have received grants during the Past five years, giving the amount of grant paid to each house; [38368](2) how many historic houses have received repair and maintenance grants in each year since 1990. [38367]

Government funding for the repair and maintenance of historic buildings in England is channelled through English Heritage, which does not hold information in the form requested. However, all repair grants offered by English Heritage to buildings and monuments of outstanding national importance are listed in their publications "Grants 1984–92", "Grants 1992–93" and "Grants 1993–94", copies of which I have placed in the Library. Private owners of listed buildings will also benefit from a significant proportion of English Heritage's conservation area grants, but a precise figure cannot be given as the minority of these are offered through schemes administered by local authorities. In 1994–95, English Heritage offered a total of nearly £60 million in grants, approximately half of which was for secular buildings and monuments and conservation areas. Local authorities may also themselves offer grants to private owners of historic houses.

Gaelic Television

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what percentage of Gaelic television programmes transmitted by the BBC, are produced by independent television companies; what percentage of such Gaelic programmes produced by the independent sector are directly funded by the BBC; and if she will require the BBC, as part of the current charter review process, to ensure that a minimum of 25 per cent. of future BBC funding for Gaelic television will be allocated to commissions from the independent sector. [38308]

I understand from the BBC that over 45 per cent. of Gaelic programming broadcast by BBC Scotland in 1994–95 was produced by the independent sector. Of this, over 83 per cent. was funded by the BBC. Along with all other terrestrial broadcasters, the BBC is required to meet a statutory quota of 25 per cent. independent production. It is for the broadcasters to commission programming to meet the quota.

London Film Commission

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will make a statement about the funding of the London Film Commission. [38080]

On Thursday 19 October, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced the offer of a one-off grant of £100,000 to help the London Film Commission meet its set-up costs. The commission has already managed to secure commitments from both private and public sector sources to cover most of its running costs for the next four years, and prospects are good for any gaps in funding commitment to be made good. The commission should soon be ready to open its doors for business. A copy of the relevant DNH news release—No. DNH 188/95—has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Millenium Funding

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what estimates she has made of the future public revenue costs incurred if either the Welsh National stadium or the Cardiff Bay opera house receives millennium fund funding. [38049]

The former Secretary of State issued a direction to the Millennium Commission to take into account the viability of projects and, in particular, the need for resources to be available to meet any running and maintenance costs associated with each project for a reasonable period. The costs of any project under consideration are, therefore, a matter for the Millennium Commission which is an independent body.

Lord Chancellor's Department

Legal Aid

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what has been the estimated cost so far to the legal aid fund of the cases of Gaudenzio Castelli v Westminster council and Jose Tristan-Garcia v Westminster council; and what will be the estimated cost of the appeal. [37415]

The only payment to date is £380 paid on account in respect of a disbursement in the case of Jose Tristan-Garcia v Westminster council. As no claim for costs has yet been received it would not be appropriate for me to speculate on the eventual cost of these cases.

Prime Minister

Mr David Hart

To ask the Prime Minister if he was informed by the Secretary of State for Defence that he was appointing Mr. David Hart as his independent adviser. [38324]

To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received from the British defence industry concerning the advice of Mr. David Hart within the Ministry of Defence on procurement contracts. [38325]

Independent Advisers

To ask the Prime Minister if his agreement is required for the appointment of independent advisers to the Secretary of State for Defence. [38326]

My agreement is not required for the appointment of unpaid independent advisers to Ministers.

National Crime Squad

To ask the Prime Minister whether the national police squad announced in his speech in Blackpool on 13 October will operate in Scotland or Northern Ireland. [38586]

My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary is consulting the police and others on the establishment of a national crime squad. An announcement will be made in due course.

Seal Pup Slaughter

To ask the Prime Minister when Her Majesty's Government last authorised the British embassy in Moscow to raise the issue of seal pup slaughter. [38475]

The embassy in Moscow was instructed to raise the question of seal culling on receipt of the 1995 seal cull figures. These arrived on 3 October and the embassy is now seeking a meeting with the relevant authorities to reiterate the British public's opposition to seal culling and to ask the Russians to reconsider their position.

Intergovernmental Conference

To ask the Prime Minister what is his policy towards the IGC; and if he will make a statement. [38573]

I refer my hon. Friend to my speech on Europe on 1 March, Official Report, columns 1060–74. We will continue to seek a European Union that is open, flexible, free-trading, efficient and responsive to people's concerns.

Information Technology

To ask the Prime Minister how much was spent or allowed for the hire of consultants in each Government Department during the process of assessing bids for IT-related contracts; and if he will list the consultants used and the amounts spent in each case. [38086]

To ask the Prime Minister what safeguards exist to prevent individual firms from establishing monopoly positions during the award of contracts for services that are carried out in all or most Government Departments, with particular reference to those for information technology. [38084]

All contracts are awarded on the basis of best value for money after a fair and open competition unless there are convincing reasons to the contrary. Departments will have regard to market conditions when considering bids. The procedure is no different in the case of information technology contracts.

Market Testing

To ask the Prime Minister what steps have been put in place in each Government Department to avoid corruption or conflict of interest during the market testing process. [38087]

The principles to be followed are laid out clearly in "The Government's Guide to Market Testing" and the "Civil Service Management Code". The recent White Paper on procurement, "Setting New Standards", re-emphasised the Government's commitment to maintaining the highest ethical standards in procurement. All these documents are available in the Library of the House.

To ask the Prime Minister what mechanisms exist in each Government Department during the market testing process to test bids for risk assessment and value for money and, following the award of contracts, to monitor the performance of those contracts. [38085]

The principles to be followed are laid out clearly in "The Government's Guide to Market Testing", which is available in the Library of the House.

Trade And Industry

Policyholders Protection Act 1975

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has completed his review of the Policyholders Protection Act 1975; and if he will make a statement. [39328]

Following publication of the consultative document "A Review of the Policyholders Protection Act 1975" in July 1994, there has been general support, both from insurers and policyholder interests, for changes in the scope and operations of the Policyholders Protection Act. I have therefore concluded that the Act requires amendment. The amendments will require primary legislation, which I will bring forward when parliamentary time permits.The principal change which I propose to make is to the Act's geographic coverage. I propose to restrict it to insurance policies covering European Economic Area risks and commitments underwritten by United Kingdom authorised companies and UK risks and commitments underwritten by UK-located branches of EEA companies. I also intend to extend the Act's scope, subject to de minimis provisions, to include insurance policies covering UK risks which have been underwritten on a services basis by companies based elsewhere in the EEA.I also propose to restrict the coverage of partnerships, which are currently treated more favourably under the Act than incorporated companies. I propose to put them on an equal footing by restricting compensation to partnerships and incorporated companies alike only to compulsory insurance classes.Neither of these proposals will be retrospective: they will apply to payments by the Policyholders Protection Board triggered by any insurance failure after enactment of the proposals.I also propose to make a number of minor changes to the Act which have been suggested during the review to improve the operation of the Act, to improve protection for insureds who are not policyholders and to reduce the Policyholders Protection Board's administrative costs.Full details of the proposed changes are contained in a document which I have placed in the Library of the House.

Iran

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what further exceptions there have been concerning the Government's export licensing policy towards Iran following his statements of 18 January 1994, Official Report, column 509, and 6 July 1994, Official Report, column 224. [39329]

As I said in my earlier statement, a number of representations have been received by my Department concerning export business entered into before the moratorium on export licences was imposed on 17 December 1992. We have identified a third case concerning the completion of a contract for repair and overhaul in the United Kingdom of non-lethal marine components.

In the circumstances, we have agreed to issue a licence which would allow these components to be returned to their owners in Iran unrepaired.

Research Establishments

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the expected cost of conducting a prior options review of the public sector research establishments—Cm 2991; and from which budget this will be found. [38408]

The cost of conducting individual reviews of public sector research establishments will vary, but it is not expected to be substantial. The reviews will be undertaken, and the costs borne, by the respective parent or sponsoring Government Department or research council in each case.All public sector research establishments are subject to periodic review. The Government's response to the Multi-departmental Scrutiny of Public Sector Research Establishments—Cm 2991—announced that we are bringing forward the existing programme of reviews and extending the prior options process to research council establishments to allow related establishments to be considered together.

Consultancy Brokerage Service

To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what fees were paid in total to the Consultancy Brokerage Service's contractor, Salford University Business Services; [37756](2) what has been government expenditure to date on the Consultancy Brokerage Service including its consultants and set up costs. [37773]

Some £2.94 million. This sum includes total payments of £650,000 to all contractors, including Salford University Business Services Ltd. The sums paid to individual contractors are commercially confidential. Some £1.37 million of the total expenditure was on information technology hardware, for which alternative uses are being found.My hon. Friend the Minister for Small Business, Industry and Energy announced on 14 September 1995 that the DTI would be working with business links to develop regional consultancy databases and that the Consultancy Brokerage Service would not now proceed. It is not expected that this alternative approach will entail any significant expenditure.

National Engineering Laboratory

To ask the President of the Board of Trade in what circumstances the Astra provisions applied to the privatisation of public bodies; and if they will apply to the takeover of the National Engineering Laboratory by ASL. [38186]

An "Astra" clause is not normally made a condition of sale when privatising a public body although shortlisted bidders can be invited to say whether they would be prepared voluntarily to undertake not to seek the renegotiation of redundancy terms. The purchaser of the National Engineering Laboratory had made its intentions known to the Department and the Department has passed on this information to staff and to the unions which represent staff at the laboratory.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if all contracts by Government Departments or agencies previously placed at the National Engineering Laboratory will now be subject to competitive tendering following the takeover by ASL of the laboratory. [38182]

Work outstanding under letters of agreement or contracts with the National Engineering Laboratory will be transferred to the purchaser.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will give details of the value of existing contracts, split between private and public sector, held by the National Engineering Laboratory and which will be transferred to ASL on takeover. [38185]

The value of the existing contracts of the National Engineering Laboratory is commercially sensitive information which must remain confidential.

Copyright

To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his letter of 21 August to the hon. Member for Linlithgow, when he hopes to complete his review of draft regulations to implement directive 93/98/EEC on the duration of copyright in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. [37297]

The review of the proposed legislation to implement directive 93/98/EEC has been completed, taking into consideration the comments received in response to the consultative draft which was circulated earlier in the year. Regulations to implement the directive are now in the course of preparation, and will be laid before both Libraries of the House as soon as possible.

Pay Bargaining

To ask the President of the Board of Trade 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, distinguish 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. [38285]

My Department will contain the following bargaining units for the 1996–97 pay round: for specialist insolvency grades (currently 625 posts); for specialist in the Radiocommunications Agency (326 posts); and for the rest of DTI (9103.5 posts) including any agencies which remain within DTI's remit on 1 April 1996, but excluding staff of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service which will be a separate bargaining unit.Proposals have been put to the trade unions—IPMS, NUCPS, CPSA and FDA—regarding the negotiating machinery.

Encryption

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make it his policy to resist changes to Government policy on encryption following consideration of encryption issues by the Council of Europe and the European Union. [38164]

Officials from various Government Departments have been giving consideration to Government policy on the provision of encrypted services on public networks. Such a policy needs to take into account the legitimate requirement of industry, commerce and individuals for a range of cryptographic services and national security needs, including fighting terrorism and serious crime. In addition, the European Union has put forward draft proposals on the provision of European-wide trust services, which the Government, with other member states, are considering. But no decisions have yet been taken.

Health

Nhs Trusts

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list, by NHS trust, the centrally returned figures for expenditure on management consultancy services in 1994–95. [38379]

Centrally returned figures do not separately identify this information.

Departmental Work

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the work of his Department since 1990. [38073]

The work of my Department is summarised for each year in the departmental report, alongside an explanation of the Department's expenditure plans for the following years. The first such report was produced in 1991, and contains an explanation of the major policy and service developments that occurred in 1990–91. Copies of the reports are available in the Library.

Population Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the latest estimates by the Registrar General of Populations of those aged 17 years and over, plus 63 per cent. of those aged 16 years, for each district council area and parliamentary constituency in England and Wales together, in each case with the equivalent electoral registration figures also expressed as a percentage of these population figures. [36779]

Nhs Low Income Scheme

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 19 July, Official Report, column 1284–85, (1) how many applicants to the NHS low income scheme are for help with prescription charges; how many were allowed; and what is the total value of the benefit consequently paid out; [37319]

(2) on the health benefits scheme, how much expenditure can be identified as resulting from applications for help through the AG1 scheme instead of total revenue forgone on health benefits. [37320]

AG1 claims to the national health service low income scheme are treated as claims for help in respect of all relevant NHS charges and travelling expenses. I refer the right hon. Member to the reply I gave her on 19 July, columns 1284–85, for the available information about prescription and dental charge revenue forgone and expenditure on sight tests and optical vouchers. Costs attributable to AG1 claims are not identified separately. Information about AG1 claims and their outcomes is shown in the table.

Number of AG1 claims received and numbers of charges certificates issued for Great Britain in 1994–95
Outcome
Number of AG1 claim forms received1,300,963
Number of NHS charges certificates issued for full help (AG2) which includes entitlement to free prescriptions1694,135
Number of NHS charges certificates issued for limited help (AG3)457,254
1 People receiving income support, family credit and disability working allowance (with capital of £8,000) or less are also entitled to free prescriptions under the NHS low income scheme.

Calculators (Purchases)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many calculators have been purchased by the NHS supplies authority in each of the last five years. [37410]

The information requested is not available centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Specialist Clinics

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the result of the National Centre for Primary Care Research study into the cost-effectiveness of specialist clinics in general practice. [37411]

The Centre for Primary Care Research undertook a study to establish the extent and nature of specialist outreach clinics and to describe specialists' and general practitioners' views on them. The results were published in the British Medical Journal, volume 38, on 23 April 1994, copies of which are available in the Library. The National Primary Care Research and Development Centre is currently conducting research in this area.

Stress

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 28 March, Official Report, column 569, what are the first results of the research by Dr. Toby Wall about the mental health of the NHS work force. [37412]

Children's Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on the main recommendations of the Warner report on the selection, development and management of staff in children's homes and on the main provisions of the code of practice issued by his Department following publication of the Warner report; [37700](2) what specific structures and systems have been established by his Department to monitor compliance on the part of local authorities with the provisions of the code of practice arising from the publication of the Warner report on the selection, development and management of staff in children's homes; and if he will make a statement on the extent to which each local authority is

(a) currently and (b) in the future planning to comply with the provisions of the code; [37701]

(3) what specific action (a) has been taken and (b) is planned in order to encourage greater compliance on the part of local authorities with the provisions of the code of practice arising from the publication of the Warner report on the selection, development and management of staff in children's homes; [37703]

(4) what assessment his Department has made of the costs to local authorities associated with compliance with the provisions of the code of practice arising from the publication of the Warner report on the selection, development and management of staff in children's homes; [37704]

(5) to what extent local authorities will be reimbursed in future for the increased costs associated with compliance with the provisions of the code of practice arising from the publication of the Warner report on the selection, development and management of staff in children's homes; [37705]

(6) if he will make a statement setting out the steps which he is taking to encourage compliance with the terms of the code of practice arising from the publication of the Warner report on the selection, development and management of staff in children's homes with particular reference to the advance vetting of those seeking access to children; and if he will indicate those agencies, charities or commercial organisations of which the Department holds details and which are able to provide advice to local authorities on such vetting procedures. [37699]

Progress on the implementation of recommendations in the Warner report by local authorities was reported in Children Act reports in 1992, 1993 and 1994, copies of which are available in the Library.The code of practice for the employment of residential child care workers, which I endorse, was produced by the independent support force for children's residential care. It is a reference document intended for the use of local authorities and other providers of child care services. It does not impose on local authorities any new burdens or costs. Local authorities are expected to continue to be particularly rigorous in their policies, procedures and practice for the recruitment, selection and retention of staff involved in child care services. This is routinely examined by inspectors of these services.

The code of practice and existing guidance from the Department of Health provide advice to local authorities on vetting procedures: how they implement the advice is their responsibility.

Osteoporosis

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what criteria are used to ascertain the suitability of an illness for inclusion in "The Health of the Nation" as a key area; and how many of these criteria are met by osteoporosis; [38426](2) what research has been conducted into the suitability of osteoporosis for inclusion in "The Health of the Nation" as a key area; and if he will make a statement. [38427]

The criteria used to determine the five key areas as set out in "The Health of the Nation" White Paper (Com 1986) were:

the area should be a major cause of death or avoidable ill-health;
effective interventions should be possible, offering significant scope for improvement in health; and
it should be possible to set objectives and targets, and monitor progress towards them.
The Department of Health published the report of its advisory group on osteoporosis in January 1995. Copies of the report were distributed to all national health service bodies in England and are also available in the Library. The Department is presently working to implement many of its recommendations, including that further work be done to measure osteoporosis against the criteria for inclusion as a "Health of the Nation" key area. This year, the Department has increased its support for the National Osteoporosis Society from £20,000 to £50,000.

Unlicensed Herbal Medicines

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he proposes to take to prevent unlicensed herbal medicines being sold to the public in breach of the criminal law. [38509]

The Medicines Control Agency investigates all reports of unlicensed herbal remedies being sold to the public in breach of United Kingdom medicines legislation, and takes the appropriate action.

Nhs Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the total costs of NHS drugs used in each of the past six years; and what is his latest calculation of the number killed by their use. [38642]

The cost of national health service drugs in England, in each of the past six years is shown in the table. The cost of drugs used by hospital and community services in 1994–95 is not yet available. In 1992, the latest year for which information is available, in England and Wales the number of deaths due to drugs, medicaments and biological substances causing adverse effects in therapeutic use was 141. It is not possible to identify the adverse effects of prescribed drugs only.

£ million

Total NHS spending on drugs (England)

Year

FHS drugs

HCHC drugs

Total

1989–901,9424142,356
1990–912,0804602,540
1991–922,3175912,908
1992–932,6416433,284
1993–942,9517103,661
1994–953,230

Notes:

FHC = Family Health Services.

HCHS = Hospital and Community Health Services.

Source:

1 International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision. Data for 1993 and 1994 are being checked and should be available in 1996.

Nhs Hysterectomy And Dilation And Curettage Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his estimate of the number of NHS hysterectomy and dilation and curettage operations carried out in each of the past three years that are now judged to be unnecessary. [38644]

Doctors are responsible for deciding whether an operation is needed in individual cases, in consultation with their patients. The relevant medical royal colleges are responsible for issuing guidelines on conditions and their treatments.

Boneloc Bone Cement

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many of the patients on whom Boneloc cement was used for their operation have now been contacted and informed of Scandinavian research of its failures. [38637]

This information is not available centrally. The Department issued hazard notice HN 9501 to orthopaedic departments in the health service in April 1995 providing advice on Boneloc bone cement. Action taken with regard to individual patients as a result of departmental advice is a matter for the clinical judgment of the health service professional concerned, in light of the patient's individual circumstances.

Variations In Health

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he intends to publish the report of the variations sub-group of the Chief Medical Officer's "The Health of the Nation" working group. [38913]

The sub-group's report on variations in health has been published today, and copies have been placed in the Library.

Northern Ireland

School Teacher Appointments

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations he has received on bringing school teaching appointments within the provisions of Northern Ireland fair employment legislation; and if he will list those Protestant churches which have indicated that they wish this teacher exemption to continue in the course of recent reviews. [37155]

As provided in section 38 of the Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Act 1976, the Fair Employment Agency reviewed the exception relating to the employment of teachers in schools in 1981 and 1987. No changes were recommended to the exception. During these reviews, the Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian authorities indicated that they wished to see the exception retained.

Fire Service

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the fire service in Keady was upgraded from being an auxiliary fire unit to become a retained unit; how many call-outs the fire service in Keady had in the last full year prior to it ceasing to be an auxiliary fire unit; how many call-outs the retained unit in Keady had in the calendar year of 1994; and if he will make a statement about the number of fires in the Keady area. [37551]

In 1952, the then Northern Ireland fire authority established a volunteer fire party in Keady which shortly afterwards was changed to an auxiliary fire service unit. The auxiliary fire service was disbanded nationally in 1967, but following a review of fire cover, a retained fire crew was established in Keady in November 1971.Due to the length of time involved it has not been possible to establish the number of call-outs attended by personnel in Keady prior to Keady being upgraded to retained status.In the calendar year 1994, Keady station dealt with 144 calls, made up as follows:

Call-outs
Major Fires (eg, property or car fires)19
Secondary Fires (eg rubbish or derelict property fires)60
Chimney fires23
False Alarm Calls36
Special Service Calls (eg, road traffic accidents or rescues)6

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many fire call-outs the fire service has had this year to the districts of Tandragee, Richhill, Markethill, Newtownhamilton, Middletown, Bessbrook, Hamiltonsbawn and Keady. [37550]

The number of turn-outs to 30 September are as follows:

Turn-outs
Tandragee28
Richhill14
Markethill14
Newtownhamilton182
Middletown9
Bessbrook110
Hamiltonsbawn2
Keady298
The figures for Newtownhamilton and Keady relate to calls attended within the station areas, as opposed to specifically within the town.

Population Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the latest estimates of those aged 17 years and over, plus 63 per cent. of those aged 16 years, for each parliamentary constituency in Northern Ireland together, in each case, with the equivalent electoral registration figures also expressed as a percentage of these population figures. [36778]

The 1991 electoral ward population figures taken from the Northern Ireland census, aggregated to parliamentary constituencies are as follows. Subsequent mid-year estimates are provided at district council level only and not broken down by age. Consequently the equivalent electoral registration figures relate to September 1991.

Column 1Column 2Column 3
Parliamentary ConstituencyPopulation aged 17 and over plus 63 per cent. Of population aged 16 yearsRegistered ElectorsPercentage of Column 1
Belfast east54,65553,37597.7
Belfast north54,93155,587101.2
Belfast south55,36852,55694.9
Belfast west54,96055,280100.6
East Antrim64,62163,73998.6
East Londonderry78,93076,91297.4
Fermanagh and South Tyrone70,48971,472101.4
Foyle77,26475,97098.8
Lagan Valley76,05373,68896.9
Mid Ulster71,18670,41098.9
Newry and Armagh68,83768,71699.8
North Antrim71,09670,21798.8
North Down70,20169,60499.1
Strangford71,46869,85597.7
South Antrim71,33468,29295.7
South Down78,59277,37198.4
Upper Bann68,67568,42299.6
Total1,158,6601,141,46698.5

Irish Language

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what new proposals he has to improve the access to Irish medium education and teaching of Irish as a second language. [38638]

I am prepared to respond to proposals for grant-aiding Irish-medium schools where they are clearly viable in terms of parental support and where financial support would be compatible with the provision of effective education and the avoidance of unreasonable public expenditure. The teaching of Irish as a second language is a matter for individual schools within the common curriculum requirements. A wide range of support is available to schools to assist them in making such provision.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proposals he has to use expertise from Wales and Scotland on second language education in Celtic languages to improve the teaching of Irish. [38643]

None. In Northern Ireland, teachers of Irish, and other European languages, as a second language have a range of curriculum support material available to them, and the education and library boards' curriculum advisory and support services provides in-service training in the teaching of modern languages as for all other aspects of the curriculum. These local materials and services are designed to meet the needs of teachers in Northern Ireland, and the boards commission any external contribution to the services they provide as they consider necessary.

Ruc Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he hopes to publish the 1995 report on the Royal Ulster Constabulary by Her Majesty's inspector of constabulary. [39120]

Copies of the 1995 inspection report, which is the third RUC inspection report to be published, have today been placed in the Library. I welcome the report and will be considering its recommendations carefully.I am grateful to Her Majesty's inspector for the report and am pleased to note that overall he regards the force as efficient.Her Majesty's inspector of constabulary inspections offer the opportunity of professional examination of policing policies and priorities. This inspection forms part of an on-going programme intended to examine over succeeding years various aspects of police management. It is the third in the series to be published and has been a wide-ranging examination of the overall performance of the RUC.

Community Psychiatric Nurses

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what criteria is used by the Department of Health to fund the activities of community psychiatric nurses. [37566]

The Department of Health and Social Services does not provide funding for health and personal social services on the basis of specific service needs. It is a matter for the health and social services boards, as commissioners, to determine the specific service needs of their resident populations in the light of available resources.The Department allocates the resources available annually to boards by means of a capitation formula which is employed to facilitate equitable distribution of funds on the basis of the overall needs for health and social care of each board's resident population.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total number of people who have been referred to a community psychiatric nurse in the south and east Belfast area. [37557]

Information is not available in the format requested. However, during the period 1 April 1994 to 31 March 1995 there were 24,031 face-to-face contacts with community psychiatric nurses in the south and east Belfast HSS trust.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total number of people who have been referred to community psychiatric nurses throughout west and north Belfast in each of the last five years. [37553]

Information is not available in the format requested. However, the number of face-to-face contacts with community psychiatric nurses in the north and west Belfast HSS trust in each of the last three years is:

  • 1992–93: 20,908
  • 1993–94: 21,339
  • 1994–95: 20,400
Information is not available centrally prior to 1992–93.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what is the total number of people who have been referred to a community psychiatric nurse in the Eastern health board area; [37559](2) what is the total number of people who have been referred to a community psychiatric nurse in the Southern health board area; [37561](3) what is the total number of people who have been referred to a community psychiatric nurse in the Western health board area; [37560](4) what is the total number of people who have been referred to a community psychiatric nurse in the Northern health board area. [37562]

Information is not available in the format requested. However, the table shows the number of face-to-face contacts with community psychiatric nurses in each health and social services board area during the period 1 April 1994 to 31 March 1995.

Health and social services boardNumber of face to face contacts with community psychiatric nurses
Eastern79,418
Northern28,176
Southern26,436
Western60,427

Mental Illness

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total number of people with severe mental illness throughout north and west Belfast; [37563](2) what is the total number of people with severe mental illness throughout south and east Belfast. [37564]

The information is not available in the form requested. During 1994–95 the number of people suffering from mental illness who were in contact with north and west Belfast trust social services staff was 832 and with the south and east Belfast trust social services staff was 1,603—this includes estimated data for hospital contacts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total number of people with severe mental illness in each of the four health board areas in Northern Ireland. [37565]

The information is not available in the form requested. The table provides information on the number of people suffering from mental illness who were in contact with social services staff in trusts or units of management located in Northern Ireland health and social services board areas during 1994–95—this is provisional data.

Health and social services boardNumber
Eastern14,284
Southern2,282
Northern21,937
Western2,128
Total10,631
1 Includes estimated data for hospital contacts by South and East Belfast Trust.
2 Includes 1993–94 data for Homefirst unit of management.

Suicide

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what figures are available for the numbers of suicide attempts in each of the four health board areas for each of the last five years. [37567]

Information on the number of suicide attempts in Northern Ireland is not available.

Treasury

Vat

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average amount paid per head in value added tax (a) in 1979, (b) in 1985 and (c) in the latest year for which figures are available. [37911]

The average amounts paid per head in value-added tax for financial years 1979–80, 1985–86 and 1994–95 are as follows:

1979–801985–861994–95
Average amounts146341716

Taxation (Self-Certification)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the numbers of workers employed under SC60 arrangements—self-certification—in each of the most recent five years. [38323]

There are no current statistics on the numbers of individuals taxed under the SC60 deduction scheme.

Bargaining Pay

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide in respect of his plan for pay delegation submitted to the Treasury (a) description of the staff in each bargaining unit covered by the plan, distinguishing staff in H.Q. 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. [38287]

Under the Treasury's own pay delegation, all staff who will not be members of the new senior civil service will be dealt with as a single group. The Treasury's departmental industrial relations agreement provides for discussions between management and the departmental trade union side on matters including pay and conditions.

Kenya

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the next consultative group meeting and the next Paris Club meeting on Kenya. [38021]

No date has yet been set for the next meeting of the consultative group on Kenya.There is no Paris Club meeting currently planned on Kenya.

Tax Avoidance

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has of tax revenue lost to the Exchequer as a result of tax avoidance by residents of (a) the Channel Islands and (b) Brecqhou. [38371]

I regret that information on which to base such an estimate is not available.

European Investment Fund

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give details of the number of projects that have been financed through the European investment fund, the value of the loan facilities provided in each case and the date the loan was provided. [38717]

I refer the hon. Lady to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Newham South, (Mr. Spearing), on 16 October 1995, Official Report, column 10. The dates of the loans set out in the reply to the hon. Member are as follows:

NameDate signed
Panafon, SA123 September 1994 and 121 November 1994
Groupe Banque Populaire19 December 1994
Telecom Italia30 November 1994
SNAM Transmediterraneo14 December 1994
Aeroporto di Malpensa12 December 1994
Transgas9 December 1994

Note:

1 The Fund's guarantee in favour of Panafon covering an amount below ECU 30 million was signed in September 1994. In November 1994, the Fund's supervisory board approved a further intervention in favour of Panafon bringing the total for that project up to ECU 54.74 million.

Source:

European Investment Fund Annual Report 1994.

Investment Scheme

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the open-ended collective investment scheme, OCIS, will be available. [38492]

The Treasury is currently consulting on draft regulations, under the European Communities Act 1972, to allow the introduction of open-ended investment companies in the United Kingdom. The timetable depends on the outcome of consultations on these regulations, and on draft product regulations to be produced by the Securities and Investments Board. We hope, however, that the regulations will be made during the first half of 1996.

Loans

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total level of loan facilities provided to the United Kingdom since 1993; and what are the corresponding figures for each of the other EU member states. [38718]

The information is as follows:

European Investment Bank financing within the European Union (mecu)
Member State19931994
United Kingdom1,929.12,454.7
Belgium371.6615.3
Denmark875.5849.7
Germany2,096.62,407.9
Greece511.1534.7
Spain4,005.13,011.5
France2,205.52,477.4
Ireland388.2291.1
Italy3,362.03,099.5
Luxembourg5.1
Netherlands379.7399.5
Portugal1,488.81,109.7
Austria89.5
Finland60.2
Sweden15.3

Source:

European Investment Bank annual reports, 1993 and 1994 (the latest year for which figures are available).

Cut Flowers (Vat)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 13 July, Official Report, columns 782–83, who has proposed a reduced rate of VAT on cut flowers; what are the arguments for this proposal; what is the proposed rate; what is the current rate; and how much revenue would be gained or lost by moving to a reduced rate. [38394]

[holding answer 20 October 1995]: The European Commission has proposed an Optional reduced rate for cut flowers in order to resolve a problem arising from cross-border trade.In 1992 those member states who applied a reduced rate to cut flowers were allowed to continue to do sc until the end of 1994. Because some of those member states were reluctant to move to their standard rate at the end of last year, the Commission suggested that an option to apply a reduced rate be made available to all member states.No specific rate has been proposed, although under existing rates provisions, it could not be less than 5 per cent. Currently most member states, including the United Kingdom, apply their standard rate. The rate applicable in the remaining member states is generally in the range of 5 to 8 per cent. If the rate of VAT in the UK were reduced to 5 per cent., the estimated revenue loss would be approximately £180 million in a full year. However, the Government have consistently made clear that they would not exercise the option to apply a reduced rate even it were made available.Adoption of the proposal requires the unanimous agreement of member states. Currently they remain divided, particularly because of concerns about cross-border distortions of competition and the revenue cost. The Government favour the application of the standard rate by all member states as the best way of addressing these concerns, and so do not support the proposal.

Vat (Collection)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much VAT has been collected by assessment and penalty for each of the last five years. [38395]

[holding answer 20 October 1995]: Separate figures are not available for VAT by assessment and penalty. Net additional VAT liability, including associated penalties and interest, was established by officers as follows:

  • 1990–91: £1,044 million;
  • 1991–92: £1,023 million;
  • 1992–93: £1,039 million;
  • 1993–94: £1,365 million;
  • 1994–95: £2,187 million.

Rebated Gas Oil

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what basis owners of pleasure craft are eligible for rebated gas oil; what is the cost of this rebate to the Exchequer, and what plans he has to remove this rebate. [38361]

[holding answer 20 October 1995]: A rebated rate of excise duty applies to gas oil used "off road". On this basis, rebated gas oil can be used in pleasure craft as well as in most agriculture vehicles and machinery, in vehicles employed in motorway construction, forestry, mining and quarrying, and in British Rail diesel locomotives.The estimated cost to the Exchequer of the application of the rebate to gas oil used by pleasure craft is between £5 million and £10 million.Decisions on changes in taxation are matters for the Budget statement on 28 November.

Overseas Development Administration

Aid Budget

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the United Kingdom's aid budget in respect of the various countries in sub-Saharan Africa in each of the last five years. [37627]

The total United Kingdom bilateral gross public expenditure on aid to countries in sub-Saharan Africa from 1990–91 to 1994–95 is set out in the table.

£ thousand
11990–9111991–9211992–931 21993–9411994–95
Angola1,5302,4331,82513,5508,845
Benin2601904,01609
Botswana7,44211,6087,4628,4125,235
Burkino Faso361969345248168
Burundi1991822053,2311,498
Cameroon3,4783,0613,3532,7692,271
Cape Verde Islands96113974811
Central African Republic807521513
Chad189227291424110
Congo277353281951
Comoros71421621
Djibouti961285511012
Equatorial Guinea520003
Eritrea1,9795,8242,624
Ethiopia23,79922,91217,50620,17723,694
Gabon4463940
Gambia6,0945,8144,9193,6852,403
Ghana29,21944,65941,73626,14523,347
Guinea499957504405279
Guinea-Bissau393295131
Ivory Coast10,5035,8137,2041,6462,065
Kenya49,95738,35137,51431,23130,533
Lesotho5,8546,45427,1946,0705,124
Liberia5717226912,252912
Madagascar715699940897813
Malawi43,52626,09327,37827,00941,243
Mali1,3461,3511,223811921
Mauritania81290154252307
Mauritius5,2963,0553,5531,7141,486
Mozambique26,59318,00134,17734,74325,014
Namibia1,7062,3664,4943,8933,572
Niger376392373468539
Nigeria35,23814,47215,7679,7517,671
Rwanda3892143121,66145,280
Sao Tome and Principe00053
Senegal1,1591,5611,0661,0101,014
Seychelles1,2221,5551,2262,349958
Sierra Leone2,9372,4866,4833,9898,262
Somalia1,9273,02515,8045,5102,083
South Africa8,0939,32511,55814,43215,604
St. Helena and Dependencies11,7599,1619,0659,0578,148
Sudan24,61321,8409,95615,51912,760
Swaziland5,2553,4994,1948,1962,574
Tanzania41,59632,32162,29931,18630,747
Togo469461311377555
Uga2nda32,21127,83634,70740,47046,534
Zaire2,3281,5031,3713,2851,244
Zambia49,86834,44447,97847,60355,934
Zimbabwe33,62747,69044,26841,23935,263
1 Figures include project aid; programme aid; emergency assistance; debt relief; and CDC investments.
2 1994–95 figures are provisional.
1. Prior to 1992–93, assistance to Eritrea formed part of programme to Ethiopia.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will undertake to make no reduction in United Kingdom bilateral aid in respect of poverty-relief programmes, including the provision of clean water, health care and education services. [38003]

The overriding goal of the British aid programme is poverty reduction through sustainable development. The Government will maintain an effective bilateral programme focused on the poorest countries, including help in the water, health and education sectors.

In addition, countries also receive assistance from multilateral aid organisations to which the UK contributes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the aid budget will be spent bilaterally in 1998–99 in the event of the aid budget being reduced by (a) 5 per cent., (b) 7.5 per cent., (c) 10 per cent., and (d) 12.5 per cent. between 1996–97 and 1998–99. [37997]

It is not possible to answer this question directly, since there is some scope to modify certain categories of multilateral spending—for example, contributions to new multilateral replenishments or voluntary contributions to UN or commonwealth bodies—particularly in the medium term.

The latest relevant published forecast, in the 1995 departmental report, indicates that bilateral aid in 1997–98 is expected to be 41 per cent. of the aid programme as set in last year's Budget.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for the effectiveness of British diplomacy in (a) the United Nations, (b) the European Union (c) the Commonwealth and (d) international organisations of other reductions in Britain's bilateral aid programme; and if he will make a statement. [38148]

Britain continues to maintain the world's fifth largest aid programme which befits her status as the fifth largest economy. We make a substantial and highly effective contribution to the multilateral institutions of which we are members.

Aids

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what projects are currently being supported by the ODA to combat the spread of HIV-AIDS in developing countries. [37751]

The United Kingdom currently supports bilaterally some 60 projects in 24 developing countries. Financial commitments amount to £67.4 million through the bilateral aid programme. A proportion of the United Kingdom's contributions to UN organisations, the World bank and the European Commission is also used for HIV-AIDS-related activities. In particular, the United Kingdom has provided £37.3 million to the World Health Organisation global programme on AIDS since its inception in 1987.

Sri Lanka

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what financial, food and medical aid has been given by Her Majesty's Government to Sri Lanka during the last 12 months. [37647]

The latest figures available show that in financial year 1994–95 total UK bilateral aid to Sri Lanka was £11.48 million. Of that, £1.16 million was financial—capital—aid, £0.52 million was emergency aid, and £0.75 million was provided for relief and rehabilitation programmes, including a small amount for food and medical supplies, which benefited families affected by conflict. The remainder was spent on technical co-operation, aid and trade provision and Commonwealth Development Corporation investments.

Population Control

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) of 20 June, Official Report, column 164–65 (a) if he will set out the reasons why the Overseas Development Administration considered it appropriate for its recent case studies in certain countries on the work of the United Nations population fund and the International Planned Parenthood Federation to be carried out using material and documents provided on the basis that information and findings would be treated in confidence and (b) if the information and findings will remain confidential on an indefinite basis. [37613]

These studies are commissioned to help ODA assess how effective these organisations are relative to the aims of the United Kingdom's aid programme. ODA believes that the studies will produce more useful evidence and findings if they are undertaken on the understanding with all those concerned that the reports are not to be made public. ODA does not intend to publish these reports.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the United Nations Family Planning Association and the United Nations population fund have helped the Chinese Government understand how their population policies are viewed by other countries and how approaches based on voluntary choice should be introduced. [37586]

The United Nations population fund has done this through its international advocacy of non-coercive policies and other standard-setting work in relation to population policy and family planning, as well as through training of Chinese population specialists and its direct exchanges with the Chinese Government.

Least Developed Countries

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who represented Britain at the intergovernmental meeting in September to review progress on the United Nations programme of action on least developed countries; and what pledges of financial support Her Majesty's Government made. [38149]

Our delegation was headed by the United Kingdom's permanent representative to the United Nations and included officials from the diplomatic and aid wings of the FCO. The meeting reported progress in many international fora in tackling the problems of the least developed countries, for example through debt relief initiatives. No new pledges of financial support were made by any donor.

Scotland

Student Loans

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many graduates in Scotland are now paying back student loans; how many graduates in Scotland have had student loan repayments deferred under the earnings rule for each year since the introduction of student loans; and how many students in Scotland have applied for student loans in each year. [36404]

These are operational matters for the Student Loans Company Ltd.I have asked the acting chief executive to write to the hon. Member.

Wild Cat

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to conduct a similar investigation into the possibility of the existence of a large wild cat in Banffshire, similar to that carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in Bodmin; and if he will make a statement. [36972]

My Department maintains contact with Grampian police who, with the advice of veterinary and zoology experts, have examined reported incidents. The evidence found so far involves dogs and foxes only.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what resources he is prepared to allocate to determine whether there is a threat to livestock in Banffshire and Buchan from a big cat; and if he will make a statement. [36943]

Any incidents reported to my Department will be investigated appropriately.

Trade Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total value, at current prices of (a) exports out of Scotland and (b) imports into Scotland in each year since 1992–93; and if he will give a breakdown of these imports and exports in their respective industrial sectors. [37006]

[holding answer 16 October 1995]: The information is not available in the form requested.

Vandalism (Schools)

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cases of vandalism in schools in (a) Grampian and (b) Gordon district have been reported to the procurator fiscal. [37936]

[holding answer 20 October 1995]: Information is not available in the form requested.

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the cost of vandalism to schools in (a) Scotland, (b) Grampian and (c) Gordon district. [37939]

[holding answer 20 October 1995]: Comprehensive information on the cost to education authorities of vandalism in schools is not collected centrally.

Film Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to receive the report of the inquiry; conducted by officials of his Department into Government support of the film industry in Scotland; if he will place a copy in the Library, and if he will make a statement. [38424]

My right hon. Friend has asked Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to consider how Scotland can be best promoted as a film location and to establish what infrastructure is needed for the production of commercial films in Scotland. He expects to receive their report early in the new year and will arrange to make copies available in the Library in due course.

Child Witnesses

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to receive the report of the working group set up in January to investigate the development of an integrated support scheme for child witnesses; and if he will make a statement. [38423]

The child witness support project working group is not expected to produce a final report until the latter part of 1997. The nature of the aim and objectives of the project is such as to demand a lengthy time scale.

Home Department

Prisons (Drugs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what initiatives have been taken at (a) Everthorpe, (b) Parkhurst and (c) other prisons to reduce illegal drug use in the past five years; and what initiatives are planned in the next two years. [38641]

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. Paul Flynn, dated 23 October 1995:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question on the initiatives taken (a) Everthorpe, (b) Parkhurst and (c) other prisons to reduce illegal drug use in the past five years; and what initiatives are planned in the next two years.
Everthorpe, Parkhurst and all Prison Service establishments are required to develop a local drug strategy and an action plan for its implementation by the end of 1995.
A number of initiatives have been implemented at Everthorpe to reduce illegal drug use. The prison has developed and continues to receive community linked counselling services from the Substance Abuse Referral Unit (SARU) at York and the Drug Action Response Team (DART) in Hull. The prison has also developed a voluntary drug testing unit which provides support for prisoners who agree to stay off drugs during their sentence.
Mandatory Drug Testing was introduced at Everthorpe earlier this year. Further security and control measures planned for the future include the introduction of a drug detection dog and the implementation of new searching strategies in line with the Woodcock report. Everthorpe will continue their involvement with SARU and DART and will continue to work with community drug agencies to tackle drug misuse.
Parkhurst has made significant progress in improving the security and control measures designed to reduce the level of drug misuse. Drug sniffer dogs have been trained and employed for use in searching all parts of the prison used by prisoners as well as visitors. Two visitors this year have been charged by police following drug finds on their person.
Similar progress has been achieved in implementing measures to reduce the demand for drugs in Parkhurst. The health care team offers a range of services to prisoners with drug problems. A detoxification programme has been set up for identified prisoners. Recently between twelve and twenty prisoners have been receiving medical treatment for drug addiction. A contract with the community drug agency provides for a drug counsellor to come to Parkhurst on a weekly basis.
A rehabilitation orientated regime is planned for the near future and a dedicated drug unit is also planned for chaotic drug users which will act as a day centre and community clinic for prisoners with drug misuse problems.
On 8 April 1991 all Prison Service establishments were issued with a guidance manual on the management of drug users. The manual focused on helping staff who were involved in responding to the needs of drug misusers. It included guidance on detoxification, the use of methadone, multi-disciplinary team working, counselling and HIV.
From 1994 reducing the level of drug misuse became one of the Prison Service's strategic priorities. A new strategy was developed with the main aim of reducing the supply of drugs, reducing the demand for drugs and rehabilitating drug misusers and reducing the potential for the damage to health arising from the misuse of drugs. This strategy was issued to all establishments on 26 April 1995.
All prison establishments are reviewing their immediate operational requirements for dealing with drugs in prison. They have begun to set up the multi-disciplinary drugs teams which have to produce a local drugs strategy agreed between the governor and the area manager by the end of the year. In the meantime headquarters support is being given to a number of pilot treatment projects and to the introduction of mandatory drug testing (MDT) throughout the prison system, which is scheduled to be implemented across all establishments by the end of March 1996.
Other measures to reduce and control the supply of drugs include use of CCTV, drug sniffer dogs and enhanced search procedures.
This year the Prison Service is substantially expanding the number and type of drug treatment programmes and services available to prisoners. The schemes include therapeutic communities, dedicated treatment units, detoxification, education, counselling and thoughcare.
In the wider context, officials from the relevant departments have started to tackle the practical implications of securing a smooth transition for those who need it between treatment in prison and treatment in the community. Training is being provided for drugs strategy teams and, at a more specialist level, for health care staff and medical officers. An information package for prisoners and prison staff is being devised.
From 1996 local prison establishment drug strategies will be examined to ensure that they are consistent with the national strategy and will be subject to audit by area managers. The Prison Service will include the reduction of drug misuse as one of its Key Performance Indicators in the 1996–99 Corporate Plan, and will specify a relevant key target in its 1996–97 Business Plan together with an action plan to meet the new target.

Omasese Lumumba

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to establish an independent inquiry into the death in Pentonville prison of Omasese Lumumba. [38175]

[holding answer 20 October 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. Stephen Byers, dated 23 October 1995:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent question about the death of Mr. Omasese Lumumba in Pentonville prison.
There are no plans to establish an independent inquiry into Mr Lumumba's death. an internal Prison Service investigation was conducted immediately. Its conclusion was that procedures had been correctly observed. The available evidence did not support the bringing of disciplinary charges against individual members of staff.
The circumstances of Mr Lumumba's death were separately and independently investigated by the Metropolitan Police on behalf of the Coroner in accordance with normal practice. The police report was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service which concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support criminal charges against any officers. The Crown Prosecution Service reached its decision with the benefit of the transcript of the inquest and all the original case papers. The circumstances of Mr Lumumba's death have already been the subject of thorough, independent and impartial scrutiny and there are no grounds to justify the initiation of a further public inquiry.

Criminal Cases Review Authority

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the newspapers in which the advertisement for the chairman of the Criminal Cases Review Authority was advertised; and if he will make a statement. [38374]

Advertisements for the post of chairman of the Criminal Cases Review Authority were placed in The Sunday Times, The Times and The Belfast Telegraph.

Prison Boards Of Visitors

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the boards of visitors' annual reports for 1994–95 that have been received by his Department, the replies which have to date been sent to these reports and the prisons in England and Wales to which these were sent. [38392]

Boards of visitors are required to submit an annual report to the Home Secretary

"concerning the state of the prison and its administration, including in it any suggestions and advice they consider appropriate".
Boards were asked to submit their reports for 1994 by 31 March 1995.As on 20 October 1995, annual reports had been received from boards of visitors for Her Majesty's prison establishments as listed:

  • Acklington
  • Albany
  • Aldington
  • Ashwell
  • Askham Grange
  • Aylesbury
  • Bedford
  • Belmarsh
  • Birmingham
  • Blakenhurst
  • Blundeston
  • Brinsford
  • Bristol
  • Brixton
  • Brockhill
  • Bulingdon
  • Bulwood Hall
  • Camp Hill
  • Canterbury
  • Cardiff
  • Castington
  • Channings Wood
  • Chelmsford
  • Coldingley
  • Cookham Wood
  • Dartmoor
  • Deerbolt
  • Doncaster
  • Dorchester
  • Dover
  • Downview
  • Drake Hall
  • Durham
  • East Sutton Park
  • Eastwood Park
  • Elmley
  • Erlestoke
  • Everthorpe
  • Exeter
  • Featherstone
  • Feltham
  • Ford
  • Frankland
  • Full Sutton
  • Garth
  • Gartree
  • Glen Parva
  • Gloucester
  • Grendon/Spring Hill
  • Guys Marsh
  • Haslar
  • Hatfield
  • Hindley
  • Hewell Grange
  • Highdown
  • Highpoint
  • Hollesley Bay
  • Holloway
  • Holme House
  • Hull
  • Huntercombe
  • Kingston
  • Kirkham
  • Kirklevington
  • Lancaster Castle
  • Lancaster Farms
  • Latchmere House
  • Leeds
  • Leciester
  • Lewes
  • Leyhill
  • Lincoln
  • Lindholme
  • Littlehey
  • Long Lartin
  • Low Newton
  • Maidstone
  • Manchester
  • Moorland
  • Morton Hall
  • Mount
  • New Hall
  • Northallerton
  • North Sea Camp
  • Norwich
  • Nottingham
  • Onley
  • Oxford
  • Parkhurst
  • Pentonville
  • Portland
  • Preston
  • Pucklechurch
  • Ranby
  • Reading
  • Risley
  • Rochester
  • Rudgate
  • Send
  • Shepton Mallet
  • Shrewsbury
  • Stafford
  • Standford Hill
  • Stocken
  • Stoke Heath
  • Styal
  • Sudbury
  • Swaleside
  • Swansea
  • Swinfen Hall
  • Thorn Cross
  • Thorp Arch
  • Usk
  • The Verne
  • Wakefield
  • Wandsworth
  • Wayland
  • Wellingborough
  • Wetherby
  • Whatton
  • Whitemoor
  • Winchester
  • Wolds
  • Woodhill
  • Wormwood Scrubs
  • Wymott

Replies to annual reports have been sent to the chairman of all the above boards—to their establishments—except for the following: Frankland, Portland, Pucklechurch and Parkhurst. In the case of the first two, the reply was delayed because Ministers were not satisfied with the information provided and asked for further investigation. Replies are currently being checked and will be sent shortly. In the case of Pucklechurch and Parkhurst, these reports were only received on 6 September and 15 September respectively. Their replies will follow shortly.

Market Testing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when he expects to commence a second phase of market testing of existing prison establishments; and how many establishments are to be market tested; [36194](2) how many existing prison establishments will be market tested within the year ending 31 March 1996. [36193]

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 23 October 1995:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about market testing within the Prison Service.
Information has already been given in the reply to the Question from Mr Gary Streeter on 24 May (No. 232). Final decisions on timing and the number of establishments to be market tested have not been taken.

Prison Incidents

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list by category all reported acts of (a) concerted indiscipline, (b) fires, (c) escapes and attempted escapes from prison, (d) escapes and attempted escapes from escort, (e) deaths, (f) hostage situations, (g) wrongful releases and (h) miscellaneous or any other incidents at (i) Wolds, (ii) Blakenhurst and (iii) Buckley Hall prisons from 1 September 1994 to 30 June 1995. [36196]

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 23 October 1995:

The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question asking for a list by category of all reported acts of (a) concerted indiscipline, (b) fires, (c) escapes and attempted escapes from prison, (d) escapes and attempted escapes from escort, (e) deaths, (f) hostage situations, (g) wrongful releases and (h) miscellaneous or any other incidents at (i) Wolds, (ii) Blakenhurst and (iii) Buckley Hall prisons from 1st September 1994 to 30th June 1995. Both the Wolds and Blakenhurst prisons were operational on 1 September 1994. Buckley Hall prison did not receive its first prisoner until 14 December 1994.

The information is listed in the attached table:

Incident Type

Wolds

Blakenhurst

Buckley Hall

Concerted indiscipline222
Fires251
Prison escapes000
Prison attempted escapes000
Escort escapes000
Escort attempted escapes001
Deaths110
Hostage situations000
Wrongful release010
Miscellaneous5150
Assaults on staff12190
Assaults on inmates16652
Assaults on others100
Key lock compromise011
Food refusals1000
Temporary release failures017
Self harm39291
Tool implement loss find031
Drug finds771227
Absconds010
Recaptures/surrenders025
Total16526728

Remand Prisoners

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of (a) 16-year-olds, (b) 15-year-olds and (c) 14-year-olds held in adult prisons on remand for any period of time during each of the last five years. [36257]

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. Alun Michael, dated 23 October 1995:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking, how many 14, 15, and 16 year olds were held in adult prisons on remand during 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 14, 15 and 16-year-old untried prisoners into adult Prison Service establishments in England and Wales 1990 to 1994.

Age

Year

14

15

16

1990052135
199124391

Age

Year

14

15

16

19921716
19930216
1994103961

1 Provisional figures.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average remand population in England and Wales for each of the last five years; and how many of them were (a) aged under 17, (b) aged between 17 and under 21 and (c) aged over 21 years. [37173]

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. Alun Michael, dated 23 October 1995:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking what was the average remand population in England and Wales for each of the last five years; and how many of them were (a) aged under 17, (b) aged between 17 and under 21 and (c) aged over 21 years.
The information is not available in the form requested. However, information on the average population of untried and convicted unsentenced prisoners is published in successive volumes of "Prison statistics, England and Wales" (table 1.4 of the 1993 edition, Cm 2581), a copy of which is available from the Library of the House. The population of young remand prisoners by age on 30 June each year is also given in table 3.2. Information for 1994 is given in the attached tables.

Average population of remand prisoners in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales in 1994

1 2

Males

Females

Total

Untried

Aged 15–202,021482,069
Aged 21 and over6,6753036,978

Convicted unsentenced

Aged 15–2089826924
Aged 21 and over2,1441132,257

1 Excludes 122 untried and 7 convicted unsentenced male prisoners held in police cells.

2 Provisional figures.

Population of young remand prisoners in Prison Service establishments on 30 June 1994

1

Age

Untried

Convicted unsentenced

15–1614481
17–201,974864
Aged 21 and over7,0982,332

1 Provisional figures.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons were remanded in custody in England and Wales; and how many of those were (a) aged under 17, (b) aged between 17 and under 21 and (c) aged over 21 years at the latest date available. [37172]

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. Alun Michael, dated 23 October 1995:

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking how many persons were remanded in custody in England and Wales; and how many of those were (a) aged under 17, (b) aged between 17 and under 21 and (c) aged over 21 years at the latest date available.
The latest available information is for 31 August 1995. On that date, there were 11,308 people on remand in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales. Of these, 221 were aged under 17 years; 2,606 were aged between 17 and 20 years; and 8,481 were aged over 21 years.