Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 19 November 1997

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Wednesday 19 November 1997

International Development

China

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will give details of the training and equipment assistance provided to the Chinese police; how much has been spent on it so far; and what future cost commitments there are. [16042]

DFID assistance is limited to a £1 million contribution, approved in September 1996, to a United Nations project (managed by the UN Drug Control Programme) in Yunnan Province. The purpose of the project is to strengthen the drugs law enforcement capability of customs and police officials. Activities include training, development of guidelines for prosecution of traffickers and provision of vehicles and communications equipment to assist drug control operations in the mountainous border region between Yunnan and Burma.

World Bank Group

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will set out the recent changes in ministerial responsibilities for the World Bank Group and indicate how these will impact on the role of officials.[17259]

I am pleased to inform the House that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for International Development have agreed that, following the creation of the Department for International Development, the Secretary of State for International Development should become the United Kingdom Governor of the World Bank Group. The Chancellor has taken over the role of United Kingdom Alternate Governor of the World Bank Group. He and the Secretary of State for International Development attended the meeting of the Development Committee in Hong Kong in September, followed by the Annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank.The division of responsibilities at official level in our Delegation to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington remains as before. The United Kingdom has one Executive Director for the World Bank and IMF who is a Treasury official appointed after consultation with the Department for International Development. On World Bank work, the Executive Director is assisted by an Alternate appointed by the Department for International Development.

Afghanistan

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she has taken to protect the human rights of women in Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement.[16039]

UK assistance in Afghanistan is guided by a common position agreed with other aid donors. This calls on all parties to recognise, protect and promote the equal rights and dignity of men and women, including access to education, employment outside the home, personal security and freedom from intimidation and harassment, and to support only aid programmes which actively attempt to promote the equitable participation of both men and women.In repeated representations to the Taliban and other factions, we have urged respect for women's human rights, for example in urging them to relax their restrictions on women's work and education. We are also supporting Oxfam to research gender issues and advocate for women's rights in Kabul.My Department has recently appointed a field manager for Afghanistan to monitor our programme and its relation to human rights more effectively. A team from my Department is currently in Afghanistan looking into these issues amongst others.We will continue to give a high priority to measures aimed at protecting human rights in Afghanistan in the UN, the Afghanistan Donor Support Group and other fora.

East Timor

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action she has taken to implement her undertaking not to support any new programmes by the Government of Indonesia covering East Timor. [16040]

We are not supporting any projects through the Government of Indonesia which cover East Timor.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the compliance of the European Union's three-year programme of aid to East Timor with the European Union's objectives in respect of strengthening respect for human rights.[16041]

The European Commission are still developing their proposals. My officials are maintaining contacts with their counterparts in the Commission.

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what human rights projects she intends to support in East Timor.[16044]

We are actively investigating the best means of addressing human rights issues in East Timor (including economic and social rights) in consultation with NGOs and other interested parties.

Somalia

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance she has offered in respect of the recent floods in Somalia; and if she will make a statement. [16129]

Clare Short The UN estimate about 200,000 people have been affected by recent flooding in the Shabelle and Juba river valleys

1,000 may have died. Access is difficult. My Department has provided £0.5 million bilaterally to help SCF and World Vision reach 50,000 people with supplies. The EU has earmarked about £1.6 million (UK contribution—£228,000) for logistics and supplies. We are in close touch with UN agencies and NGOs and will consider new needs as they emerge.

Vietnam

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance she has offered to Vietnam following the recent hurricane; and if she will make a statement.[16126]

We offered a grant of £50,000 on 8 November through the British Embassy, Hanoi for the provision of immediate relief items. Most of this is being distributed by Oxfam to beneficiaries in the severely affected provinces of Tra vinh and Ca Mau. We are continuing to review the relief effort.

Culture, Media And Sport

Millennium Dome

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will place the consultation documents obtained during the review of the Millennium Dome Exhibition in the Library. [12998]

I do not intend at this juncture to disclose the detailed review of the Exhibition which took place immediately after the General Election. As I explained in my letter to the hon. Gentleman of 9 September, my decision to invoke the exemption relating to internal discussion and advice under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information was taken so as not to prejudice sensitive discussions between the New Millennium Company and contractors and sponsors. With the hon. Gentleman's agreement, I have made available in the Library of the House a copy of my letter of 9 September and of my letter of 10 September to him in my capacity as Chairman of the Millennium Commission.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what was the date of the meeting of the Millennium Commission which approved funding for the Millennium Dome Exhibition of an additional £250 million.[12993]

At its meeting of 9 July 1997, the Millennium Commission, of which I am Chairman, approved an offer of grant to the New Millennium Experience Company of up to a maximum of £449 million (gross) by December 1999 and £399 (net), inclusive of grant already paid under the interim agreement signed on 27 March 1997.

Opera And Ballet (London)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if Sir Richard Eyre's appointment to chair the review group on the future of the London Coliseum and the Royal Opera House was conditional on his support for the basic principle of merger; and if he will make a statement. [15606]

The text of my letter to Sir Richard Eyre has already been placed in the Libraries of the House. It says:

"I shall be happy to receive the Working Group's recommendations, and I encourage you to think freely and creatively about the options".
I am not aware of any suggestion of a merger of any kind between the Royal Opera House companies and English National Opera.

Television Licences (Blind People)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what is the estimated number of blind people who receive a discount for their television licence; when the amount was last reviewed; and if he will make it his policy to increase the discount for blind people.[16123]

Approximately 34,400 registered blind people received a reduction in their television licence fee in the year to August 1997. The concessionary scheme, including this reduction, was reviewed within Government in 1985, but that review did not lead to the discount for the blind being increased.The Government have no plans at present to increase the level of the reduction for blind people. However, the current Agreement between the Secretary of State and the BBC provides for a review of the television licence fee as the mechanism for funding the BBC after 2002. We shall conduct such a review before that date, and it will include a detailed consideration of the concessionary arrangements, including those for blind people.

Radio Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what plans he has to prevent radio rights from being sold to non-radio broadcasters; and if he will make a statement;[16193](2) what measures he is taking to safeguard local radio live sports coverage; and if he will make a statement.[16194]

Radio coverage of major sports events is included in the voluntary code signed by sports rights holders under the umbrella of the Central Council for Physical Recreation. This code appears to be working well. The current review of listed sports events will, however, allow the question of live radio broadcast rights to be considered further.

Sports Coverage

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will introduce a statutory code on news access to sports coverage; and if he will make a statement.[16192]

News access to major sports events is protected under the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. A voluntary code of practice signed by a number of broadcasters also exists and this appears to be working well.

Pay Television

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when the ITC review into bundling and competition in the pay television market will be completed.[16693]

[holding answer 18 November 1997]: The closing date for responses to the Independent Television Commission's consultation document "Competition Investigation into Bundling in the Pay TV Market: Second Phase", was 30 September. I understand that the Commission are currently considering the responses and have not put any timescale on an announcement.

Scotland

Health Service (Consultant Posts)

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many consultant posts in the Scottish Health Service are unfilled at present; where the unfilled posts are located; and what was the equivalent position 12 months ago.[16169]

The information requested is shown in the table.

Hospital medical and dental consultant vacancies as at 30 September
19961997
Trust/Health BoardTotal vacanciesPosts vacant more than six monthsTotal vacanciesPosts vacant more than six months
Aberdeen Royal Hospitals NHS Trust10554
Angus NHS Trust3
Argyll and Bute NHS Trust1121
Ayrshire and Arran Community Health Care NHS Trust5555
Borders Community Health Services NHS Trust1
Borders General Hospital NHS Trust6122
Caithness and Sutherland NHS TrustI3
Central Scotland Healthcare NHS Trust5121
Dumfries and Galloway Acute and Maternity Hospitals NHS Trust5565
Dumfries and Galloway Community Health NHS Trust1111
Dundee Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust221
Dundee Healthcare NHS Trust
East and Midlothian NHS Trust

Hospital medical and dental consultant vacancies as at 30 September

1996

1997

Trust/Health Board

Total vacancies

Posts vacant more than six months

Total vacancies

Posts vacant more than six months

Edinburgh Healthcare NHS Trust112
Edinburgh Sick Children's NHS Trust22
Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary NHS Trust6211
Fife Healthcare NHS Trust2121
Glasgow Dental Hospital and School NHS Trust11
Glasgow Royal Infirmary University NHS Trust7
Grampian Healthcare NHS Trust12451
Greater Glasgow Community and Mental Health Services NHS Trust9342
Hairmyres and Stonehouse Hospitals NHS Trust2221
Highland Communities NHS Trust221
Inverclyde Royal NHS Trust8533
Kirkcaldy Acute Hospitals NHS Trust313
Lanarkshire Healthcare NHS Trust1212107
Law Hospital NHS Trust10997
Lomond Healthcare NHS Trust41
Monklands and Bellshill Hospitals NHS Trust124107
Moray Health Services NHS Trust36
North Ayrshire and Arran NHS Trust121
Orkney Health Board Unit
Perth and Kinross Healthcare NHS Trust2111
Queen Margaret Hospital NHS Trust3231
Raigmore Hospital NHS Trust5432
Renfrewshire Healthcare NHS Trust6463

Hospital medical and dental consultant vacancies as at 30 September

1996

1997

Trust/Health Board

Total vacancies

Posts vacant more than six months

Total vacancies

Posts vacant more than six months

Royal Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust4232
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh NHS Trust992
Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service21
Shetland Hospitals and Community Services Unit144
South Ayrshire Hospitals NHS Trust417
Southern General Hospital NHS Trust2121
State Hospital
Stirling Royal Infirmary NHS Trust222
Stobhill NHS Trust13
Victoria Infirmary NHS Trust2131
West Glasgow Hospitals University NHS Trust1
West Lothian NHS Trust3
Western General Hospitals NHS Trust6131
Western Isles Health Unit322
Yorkhill NHS Trust5211
Total18710114469

Water Quality

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on Scottish river and coastal water quality.[17260]

The report on the Water Quality Survey of Scotland 1995 is being published today, and a copy has been placed in the House Library. I am pleased that the results confirm that the majority of Scottish rivers, lochs, estuaries and coastal waters are of a high quality.However, I intend that progress will continue to improve further the Scottish water environment. For very large discharges (that is those serving more than 150,000 population equivalent), Article 8(5) of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive allows for primary treatment only to be provided, where it can be demonstrated that there would be no environmental benefit from secondary treatment. I have decided that only in very exceptional circumstances will we allow waste water discharges from major conurbations into coastal waters to be provided with anything less than secondary treatment. Following advice from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) it is clear that the discharge from the Aberdeen Waste Water Treatment Works, which discharges directly to the open North Sea via a 2.5km long outfall, is exceptional in that it far exceeds the criteria established to judge such cases. The North of Scotland Water Authority's plans to invest in primary treatment will significantly improve the discharge, but I have accepted SEPA's advice that providing secondary treatment would not lead to any additional environmental benefit. The Government therefore have proposed to the European Commission that Article 8(5) of the Directive should be applied to the Aberdeen case.Having also carefully considered SEPA's recommendations following comprehensive studies at Edinburgh and Levenmouth, I have decided that secondary treatment should be provided at those two sites. I do not envisage that the Government will wish to put forward to the Commission any further cases for relaxations under Article 8(5) for discharges from large sewage works into other Scottish waters.

Kent Report

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the report commissioned from Mr. Roger Kent on safeguards for children living away from home.[17261]

In July last year, Roger Kent was invited to look at the measures in place for the protection of children living away from home and to assess their effectiveness. I have now received Mr. Kent's report. It identifies the risks that exist for this group of vulnerable children, the safeguards which apply at present and makes a number of recommendations—61 in total—on how those safeguards could be improved. The recommendations are wide-ranging, addressing the needs of children living in residential and foster care, children in boarding schools and children otherwise living away from home.I welcome the report as a further step in ensuring that children living away from home can do so in safety and security. Because the report raises a number of important issues spanning a range of interests, I have asked for it to be published. A consultation exercise on the report's recommendations will be undertaken before final decisions are taken on the recommendations.

Health

Finished Consultant Episodes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many elective finished consultant episodes took place in the NHS in 1996–97;[15672](2) how many emergency patients the NHS received in 1996–97.[15670]

The number of general and acute elective finished consultant episodes commissioned by health authorities in England in 1996–97 was 5.0 million. The number of non-elective finished consultant episodes was 4.3 million. These data are drawn from the quarterly monitoring of health authorities.

Education And Employment

Rural Employment

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans the Government have to sustain rural employment and local communities which depend upon such employment; and if he will make a statement.[16496]

The proportion of people in employment in rural areas is generally much higher than in urban areas. However, the figures can mask pockets of deprivation in the most remote areas.The Government are taking forward a number of initiatives to sustain rural employment. The New Deal will help all young people, including those living in rural areas, to make the transition from welfare to work. In order to ensure diversity of opportunity in all parts of the country, we have invited local organisations and providers to participate in consortia to deliver the programme. I am delighted that Eastbourne has been selected as one of the New Deal "Pathfinder" areas in which the programme will start to operate from 5 January.The Government's Local Competitiveness Challenge Fund can be particularly helpful for rural firms. The hon. Member may be familiar with the "Wired County" project in Sussex, which is developing local multimedia and on-line service industries. In addition, Single Regeneration Budget money is being used by the Salsey Regeneration Group to develop integrated public access systems for local businesses and individuals seeking training and employment.

Higher Education (Student Complaints)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans he has to ensure that higher education establishments review their arrangements for handling complaints from students.[16554]

Universities and colleges of higher education are independent, autonomous bodies responsible for their own academic and administrative affairs, including arrangements for handling complaints from students. The Government have no powers to intervene directly. However, the Department is discussing with higher education representative bodies the recommendation from the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education (the Dearing Committee) that institutions should, over the next two years, review and, if necessary, amend their arrangements. I understand also that the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals have been reviewing appeal arrangements for students and they expect to publish their final report and recommendations shortly.

Higher Education (Staff Contracts)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what steps he intends to take to ensure that confidentiality clauses in the contracts of staff working in higher education institutions are restricted to cases of clear commercial confidentiality; and if he will make a statement.[16555]

Higher education institutions are autonomous, private corporations and as such are responsible for the terms and conditions of contracts of employment of their staff. Ministers have no powers to intervene.

Youth Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Youth Council on 28 October. [17246]

I attended a useful Council discussion about the prospects for Community action on youth beyond 1999. Debate focused on a Commission non-paper suggesting that there should be a single programme integrating the best elements of Youth for Europe III and the European Voluntary Service for Young People. The latter has yet to be adopted but is being "trialled" in what the Commission have described as a pilot programme in 1996 and 1997. Member States confirmed their attachment to an active youth policy at Community level.The Commission's proposal to establish a European Voluntary Service for Young People from 1998 was also discussed. The UK maintained a Parliamentary scrutiny reserve but there was broad concensus on the text of the proposal. The budget had been a particular area of difficulty for the UK. Although we firmly support the concept of a voluntary service for young people, we considered that expenditure at the level that had been proposed (60 million ecu over two years) would be excessive in the early stages of an activity that is relatively undeveloped in some Member States. After discussion agreement to a figure of 35 million ecu over two years was secured. Subject to the UK scrutiny reserve being lifted, the common position reached at Council will be formally adopted and conveyed to the European Parliament as part of the co-decision process.The Council also adopted a statement in the context of the European Year Against Racism, stressing the importance of informal education to promote the principles of tolerance and respect for other people; and welcoming initiatives by the member states and the Commission to enable young people and those working with them to counter racism.Finally, the Council adopted a statement expressing concern about the difficult situation of many young Europeans in the context of high unemployment; welcoming the emphasis on the fight against youth unemployment; and calling for the adoption of concrete and effective measures in favour of young Europeans at the European Council on 21 November.

Positive Discrimination

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what guidance he proposes to issue to the Civil Service relating to the European Court of Justice's ruling on positive discrimination in favour of women.[16419]

[holding answer 17 November 1997]: I have been asked to reply.The issues raised by the European Court of Justice's judgment in the case of Marschall

v Land NordRhein Westfalen are still being considered.

I have no current plans to issue guidance.

Wales

Welsh Assembly

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the policy areas which will be the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly; and if he will make a statement.[15746]

A list is in paragraph 1.7 of the White Paper 'A Voice for Wales' (Cm 3718). The details of the functions to be exercised by the Assembly will be set out in the Bill that establishes the Assembly and the transfer order which will be made under it in due course.

Welsh TEC reserve levels March 1997 to March 1998
£000s
TECReserve LevelFixed AssetsLong Terms LoansWorking Capital2Amount available for discretionary spend
1996–97 End of year position
CELTEC15,0324408242,7331,035
Gwent5,19335902,8361,998
Mid Glamorgan2,68222901,807646
Powys869470511311
South Glamorgan4,3261251751,6252,401
West Wales6,35242703,3682,557
All TECs24,4541,62799912,8808,948

Source:

TEC Statutory Accounts

Notes:1 CELTEC Came into being on 1 April 1997—the figures represent the combined reserve levels if its two predecessor TEC in North Wales.

2 N.B. estimated at six weeks turnover.

£000s

TEC

Reserve level

Foxed assets

Long term loans

Working capital1

Amount available for discretionary spend

1997–98 Projected end of year position

CELTEC4,0463168242,540366
Gwent3,91129302,5851,033
Mid Glamorgan1,6012490946406
Powys56750044275
South Glamorgan4,0401,0481001,4691,423
West Wales4,0525,59902,731762
All TECs18,2172,51592410,7134,065

Source:

TEC Statutory Accounts

Note:

1 Less than six weeks turnover.

Quarries (Planning Permission)

:to Ask the secretary of state for wales if he will take action to prevent the reactivation of a dormant quarry planning permission near the village of Llanfyaydd, Flintshire. [16107]

Training And Enterprise Councils

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much money each training and enterprise council in Wales has accumulated as reserves.[16138]

The information requested is contained in the following table. The figures show that the reserves consist of funds which have already been used to acquire assets, or funds required to meet day-to-day needs, or funds which were committed to be spent over a reasonable period. The balance available for discretionary spending at 31 March 1997 (£8.9 million) represents funds which have been earmarked by the TECs for planned expenditure during 1997–98 and for longer term projects.Reserve levels in Wales are projected to fall to £18.217 million by March 1998. Officials in the Welsh Office continue to monitor closely the level of TEC reserves in order to ensure that they are clearly related to demonstrable working capital needs or reinvestment plans. Further discussions are to be held with the TECs shortly to asses the extent to which TECs might be able to re-direct their reserves towards other objectives within the Government's strategic agenda and to provide an indication of when this could be done.

The Environment Act 1995 prevents the reactivation of a dormant site with an old planning permission for mineral working unless full modern planning conditions have been imposed. Advice on the procedures is provided in Mineral Planning Guidance note 14 "Environment Act 1995: Review of Mineral Planning Permissions". Cae Rheinallt Quarry near Llanfynydd has been duly registered with Flintshire County Council under the provisions of the Act as a dormant site, and the principle of the existence of permission to quarry is not in question. To date, no application to determine conditions to control any future working have been received by the local authority.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to legislate to prevent the reactivation of dormant quarry planning permissions; and if he will make a statement.[16108]

My right hon. Friend has no plans to legislate on this matter. The Planning and Compensation Act 1991 and the Environment Act 1995 introduced new requirements for initial and periodic reviews of old mineral permissions. The principle of their existence is not an issue, but provisions in the existing legislation will ensure that dormant quarry permissions cannot be reactivated without full modern planning conditions attached to protect the environment and amenity, and to ensure that suitable restoration and aftercare takes place.

Press Releases

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his policy in respect of the faxing of press releases on the day of release to Opposition party spokesmen; what changes have been introduced since 1 May; and if he will make a statement.[16299]

There is no formal arrangement for faxing departmental press releases to Opposition party spokesmen on the day of release, but they are supplied on request. No changes have been made since 1 May.

Cycleways

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will collate the information on the planning and management of cycleways, currently held by the new unitary authorities in Wales.[16510]

I am keen to encourage the development of cycleways throughout Wales, but wish to await the outcome of the Government's consultation on integrated transport before re-assessing Welsh Office responsibilities in this area.

Trade And Industry

Monetary Union

To ask the President of the Board of Trade which Minister briefed the Financial Times in respect of its September story on British entry into monetary union.[140051

Gas Appliances

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he is taking to ensure that gas appliances are safe and regularly maintained.[15160]

A carbon monoxide safety awareness campaign is currently under way to warn as many households as possible in the country about the dangers of carbon monoxide, including the need to make sure that heating systems are serviced once a year by a qualified engineer.Gas appliances made or sold in the UK including imports must comply with the Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995, which implement into UK law the Gas Appliances Directive, and this Department is in the process of considering the results of a formal consultation on proposed regulations to control the safety of second-hand gas appliances.Gas safety legislation requires landlords to maintain in a safe condition, gas appliances that they own in let property. Failure to do so can result in unlimited fines and up to two years imprisonment.

Fireworks

To ask the President of the Board of Trade which Ministers responsible for firework safety have visited (a) Liverpool, (b) Manchester, (c) Newcastle, (d) Glasgow, (e) Birmingham and (f) Leeds since 1979 to promote firework safety.[15615]

I understand that since 1993 no Minister responsible for firework safety has visited these cities to promote firework safety. I undertook to visit all these cities prior to this bonfire night to promote safety awareness.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will make a statement on her policy on the length of the firework season (a) in terms of retail availability of fireworks and (b) in terms of a possible permissible period for letting them off.[16340]

The policy remains the same as that of my predecessor. However, a range of measures has been implemented to assist in tackling more dangerous fireworks and those used by hooligans. Details of these are in the House of Commons Library.

Action 2000

To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will publish the job specification for the Chairman of Action 2000.[16136]

The statement of his particular responsibilities is reproduced below:

"(a) To appoint the other members of the Advisory Board. The choice of members will be your decision, but you will consider including representatives of:
  • CBI
  • FEI
  • CSSA
  • BBA
  • NCC
  • IEE
  • and Business Links
and you will consult the organisations concerned. In addition you may appoint up to seven additional members, drawn mainly from the private sector. Before you make any appointments you should consult the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

(b). To advise the Secretary of State and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on the state of preparedness of the private sector—particularly in key sectors identified by them—and to make such contribution to their work on contingency planning as they may require.

(c). To advise the Secretary of State whether the DTI should offer funding to organisations other than the Company.

(d). To draw up, agree with the Secretary of State, and implement through the Company a costed programme of collective activities—Action 2000—to support businesses in the private sector in their efforts to tackle the century date problem.

(e). To appoint a Director, other board members and staff of the Company. The Director will be appointed after consulting the Secretary of State and after considering a number of candidates on a competitive basis.

(f). Expenditure on activities under the agreed costed programme will be disbursed by the CTI, on advice from you or the Director, acting on behalf of the Advisory Board."

Funeral Industry

To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many occasions mergers and acquisitions of (a) funeral directors, (b) crematoria and (c) funeral directors and crematoria have been referred to and investigated by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission; in how many cases the Monopolies and Mergers Commission has recommended divestment; and if she will list the firms concerned.[16703]

Two mergers involving funeral directors have been referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC).The acquisition by The Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd. (CWS) of the Scottish funerals business of House of Fraser PLC was referred to the MMC on 4 June 1987. The MMC recommended divestment of four funeral undertaking businesses (in Aberdeen, Falkirk, Crieff and Perth) or divestment of all the businesses acquired from House of Fraser.The acquisition by Service Corporation International (SCI) of Planstbrook Group plc. was referred to the MMC on 20 December 1994. The MMC's report was published on 25 May 1995. The MMC recommended divestment of individual funeral directors' businesses in ten specified areas.No acquisitions of crematoria, or of funeral directors and crematoria, have been referred to the MMC.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what contacts she has had with the Monopolies and Mergers Commission regarding the marketing and selling of pre-purchase funeral plans.[16706]

My right hon. Friend has had no contact with the Monopolies and Mergers Commission regarding pre-paid funeral plans, nor a request from the MMC to discuss this.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what consultations she has had with the Director General of Fair Trading regarding the marketing and selling of pre-purchase funeral plans.[16707]

I have had a number of meetings with the Director General of Fair Trading regarding pre-paid funerals and have sought his views on a number of possible options for consumer protection. I share the Director General's concern to protect consumers who purchase their funerals in advance. I am discussing with my colleagues in the Treasury what speedy action might be taken to further protect consumers.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations she has received regarding the maintenance of fair trade practices in the marketing and selling of pre-purchase funeral plans.[16708]

I have had a number of representations on fair trade practices in the marketing and selling of pre-paid funeral plans. I am considering these, and working on proposals with my Treasury colleagues to protect those consumers who purchase their funerals in advance.

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations she has received on the potential for trading links (a) between insurance companies and providers of funeral services and (b) between providers of funeral services and trading companies that are subsidiaries of registered charities to operate against the public interest and to the detriment of consumers.[16705]

A number of representations have been received about the links between providers of funeral services and trading companies that are subsidiaries of registered charities. These have been passed to the Charity Commission. No representations have been received on links between insurance companies and providers of funeral services.

Health Service (Bereavement And Mortuary Services)

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations she has received from NHS hospitals on the contracting cost of bereavement and mortuary services to the private sector.[16712]

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what guidance she has provided on fair trade practices to NHS hospitals which (a) have contracted out and (b) have expressed an interest in seeking to contract out bereavement and mortuary services.[16709]

This department has no responsibility for NHS hospitals, and no guidance has been sought.

Inward Investment

To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many jobs have been created via inward investment in each of the last five years; and if she will give a breakdown of the number of jobs created in each county or equivalent area.[16166]

This information is available only on a regional basis. According to figures notified to my Department's Invest in Britain Bureau, the number of new jobs associated with inward investment in each of the last five years by each region as follows:

Inward investment into the United Kingdom
Year/RegionTotal number of new jobs
1992–93
East363
East Midlands183
North-east2,312
Northern Ireland2,742
North-west1,012
Scotland4,497
South-east1,212
South-west285
Wales2,382
West Midlands1,568
Yorkshire and Humberside1,286
Total for the year17,842
1993–94
East482
East Midlands3,218
North-east2,256
Northern Ireland3,030
North-west2,427
Scotland7,635
South-east916
South-west1,065
Wales3,913
West Midlands3,370
Yorkshire and Humberside2,329
Total for the year30,641
1994–95
East842
East Midlands3,028
London27
North-east5,780
Northern Ireland3,251
North-west1,986
Scotland7,678
South-east3,273
South-west1,386
Wales3,151
West Midlands4,797
Yorkshire and Humberside3,152
Total for the year38,351
1995–96
Region not identified0
East372
East Midlands1,437
London12,588
North-East6,075
Northern Ireland3,741
North-West3,592
Scotland9,092
South-East5,385
South-West1,468
United Kingdom0
West of England2250
Wales4,429
West Midlands7,034
Yorkshire and Humberside2,004
Total for the year47,467

Inward investment into the United Kingdom

Year/Region

Total number of new jobs

1996–97

East925
East Midlands1,306
London12,631
North East3,089
Northern Ireland4,135
NorthWest1,402
Scotland9,928
South East3,905
South West682
West of England21,622
Wales10,397
West Midlands4,387
Yorkshire and Humberside1,830
Total for the year46,239
Total for the last 5 years180,540

1 Prior to 1994–95 the figures for London were included in those for the South-East.

2 Prior to 1995–96 the figures for the West of England were included in those for the South-West.

The IBB only records inward investment decisions by regions of the UK and these figures are based on information provided by the companies at the time of the announcement of the decision to invest in the UK. They are based on the companies best estimate of jobs created by the investment in its first three years. The figures take no account of subsequent developments.

There is no requirement to notify the Department and so the figures include only those projects where the Department's Invest In Britain Bureau and its regional partners were involved or which have come to their notice.

Trade Union Membership

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the policy of her Department in respect of the membership of trade unions for those in employment; and if he will make a statement.[14342]

[holding answer 13 November 1997]: The Government considers that employees should be free to belong, or not to belong, to trade unions and, where a majority of a relevant workforce vote for it in a ballot, unions should be recognised for collective bargaining purposes. My Department will be publishing a White Paper on fairness at work, and principally on union recognition, in the first part of next year.

Environment, Transport Andthe Regions

Weald And Downland Roads Project

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 27 October 1997, Official Report, columns 722–23, on the Weald and Downland DBFO, if the outcome of the roads review will provide clear guidance on the future of the individual schemes which make up the Weald and Downland DBFO.[14969]

We intend that the output of the Roads Review should include a forward programme of high priority projects and work to develop strategies for transport problems from which investment programmes will emerge. This applies equally to the schemes that were included in the Weald and Downland DBFO as to other schemes.

Climate Change

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has made to the Canadian Government concerning their policies towards global climate change. [15627]

We have discussed climate change with Canada in a number of fora, including most recently at the Ministerial meeting of key developed countries in Tokyo on 8 November, chaired by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, where Canada indicated that they would shortly be proposing a greenhouse gas emissions target.

Pedestrian Fatalities

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the Government's attempts to reduce the incidence of (a) child and (b) total pedestrian fatalities.[15645]

Measures to reduce the incidence of pedestrian and child pedestrian accidents focus on both engineering and enforcement, supported by education (including publicity).Traffic calming and 20 mph zones have proved successful in slowing traffic, with a consequential reduction in the number and severity of accidents to all pedestrians. Effective enforcement is also necessary generally to reduce speed, and we are considering ways of making better use of speed cameras to help achieve this. These measures are reinforced by publicity campaigns, and my noble Friend the Minister for Roads launched the current "Kill Your Speed" campaign on 16 September.While seeking to reduce the risks to all pedestrians, we also educate children, in particular, to develop the skills they need to cope with the risks they face. We support road safety practitioners by providing resources such as `Kerbcrafe (launched in September), which promotes practical child pedestrian training. A new child safety campaign is planned for January.Measures further to improve safety for child and adult pedestrians will be a priority aim of the road safety strategy announced by my noble Friend the Minister for Roads on 15 October.

Telecommunications Developments

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what guidance his Department offers in respect of publicity for telecommunication developments with reference to (a) site notices, (b) notifications to town or parish councils and (c) notification to local residents; and if he will make a statement;[15664]

(2) what guidance his Department has issued in respect of publicity for telecommunication developments in respect of (i) site notices, (ii) notifications to town or parish councils and (iii) notification to local residents; and if he will make a statement.[16189]

Where telecommunications development is subject to a planning application, the local planning authority is required by law to publicise the application. This will be either by a site notice or by neighbour notification, and may also include a newspaper advertisement. Departmental guidance on this is given in Circular 15/92: "Publicity for Planning Applications". There is a statutory requirement for local planning authorities to consult the relevant parish council, at the council's request, of planning applications. Where development is subject to a prior approval determination under Part 24 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, Appendix E to Circular 9/95 encourages publicity so that people likely to be affected by the proposed development can make their views known to the local planning authority.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of the 28 day prior notification limit for telecommunications developments on (i) consultation with parish or town councils and councillors, (ii) opportunities for comment from local residents and (iii) the opportunities to negotiate and amend proposed schemes; and if he will make a statement.[16188]

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 17 November 1997, Official Report, column 3

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will enable local planning authorities to extend the 28 day limit in their determination of applications for telecommunications developments; and if he will make a statement.[16187]

This is an issue on which I expect the Working Group reviewing the Code of Best Practice on telecommunications prior approval procedures as applied to mast/tower development will make representations to me. I will reflect on their conclusion in due course.

Car Airbag Systems

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the safety of car airbag systems.[16132]

We continue to collect detailed information on a sample of road accident injuries as part of the Department's research programme, and this allows us to monitor effects such as airbags in cars. To date, we are not aware of any cases of airbags having caused serious injuries in the UK.In 1993 the Department commissioned TRL to investigate airbag effectiveness. This was largely a review of published research on both airbag testing and airbag performance in the field. By necessity, this review was mainly based on the experience in the USA where airbags, which are required by law, are far more prevalent than in Europe.

US airbags tend to be more aggressive than those in Europe, as the US seat belt wearing rate is low and airbags are designed to be the primary source of protection. TRL therefore also looked at the sample of accidents in the UK to establish the role which airbags had played. However, the number of accidents examined was small, and there was insufficient evidence to reach a conclusion on the efficacy of airbags in European cars. The results of this study were part of a wider European paper presented at the Enhanced Safety Vehicles conference in 1996. TRL also carried out some very limited laboratory testing to supplement the information already available for grossly out of position occupants where there is a considerable injury risk.

Overall, international research indicates that airbags reduce the risk of serious head and chest injuries for vehicle occupants and any adverse effects are minimised if the vehicle occupants use their seat belt correctly and sit as far from the airbag as is comfortably possible. In particular rear facing child restraints should never be used in a front facing passenger position where an airbag is fitted.

Severn Bridge Tolls

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the amounts raised from tolls, and the cost involved in collecting the tolls, for (a) the original Severn Bridge and (b) the second Severn Bridge in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.[15963]

The accounts for Severn River Crossing plc show that in the year ending 31 December 1996 they had a turnover from toll revenue of £47.2 million. Separate figures for the toll revenue from each crossing are not available but 75–80 per cent. of the traffic uses the new bridge. Toll operating costs and maintenance are not dis-aggregated but, with administrative expenses, total running costs amounted to £7.6 million.

Planning Applications

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how many planning applications he has called in since 1 May; [16465](2) how many planning applications he has determined since 1 May.[16466]

Since 1 May this year, 95 planning applications have been called in and 60 called-in applications have been determined.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list those London boroughs which have introduced ethnic monitoring of planning applications.[16482]

The Department does not collect information on local planning authorities' monitoring of the ethnic background of applicants for planning permission. The Local Government Association has commissioned research on "Race and the built environment". The resulting good practice guide will be published in the New Year and will contain information on the extent of ethnic monitoring of planning applications by local planning authorities.

Water

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to enhance the role of water companies in the water planning process.[16402]

Under section 37 of the Water Industry Act 1991, water companies already have the duty to develop and maintain an efficient and economical system of water supply in their areas. In revising current planning policy guidance for local authorities we will consider how increased emphasis may be given to the impact of proposed development on water supply provision.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will create forums to include water companies and all of the planning authorities in an area to discuss resource issues. [16403]

The Department's current policy guidance requires local authorities to consult with all infrastructure providers, including water supply companies, when preparing their development plans. The creation of discussion fora is a matter for local government.

Fly Tipping

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will increase the resources devoted to controlling fly tipping.[16394]

The responsibility for monitoring illegal fly tipping, clearance of the wastes involved and pursuing offenders lies with a number of organisations including local authorities, the Police and the Environment Agency. My Department has no conclusive evidence that fly tipping in England is increasing. However the Environment Agency is continuing to monitor the situation closely and is working with the other bodies to implement a three-part strategy: First, to enhance co-operation with local authorities to monitor and control fly tipping and prosecute offenders—an emergency hotline number has been established and widely published for information on vehicles and individuals involved on fly tipping to be given; secondly, to gather the more reliable information needed, the Agency is working with the Tidy Britain Group to produce a comprehensive study of the incidence of fly tipping before and after the introduction of the Landfill Tax. It is intended that this report will be published in Spring 1998. It should assist the Agency and others, particularly local authorities, to respond to fly tipping in a co-ordinated, proportionate and effective manner; thirdly, the Agency continues to work with a broad range of partners including trade associations, landowners and local government to encourage good waste management practice.

Eu Environment Council

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the conclusions of the Environment Council meeting of 16 October. [16322]

With Lord Sewel, I represented the United Kingdom at the Environment Council which took place in Luxembourg on 16 October.The Council reached political agreement on the proposal for a new Drinking Water Directive. This sets new standards in line with current scientific thinking for the quality of drinking water; these will provide additional protection for human health. The text also provides for much greater subsidiarity and flexibility for Member States. It will now go forward for the opinion of the European Parliament. The Council further developed the Community's negotiating position for the Third Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan, in December this year.In the debate on the landfill directive, I indicated our strong support for the tight regulation of all landfills but that greater flexibility was needed on the requirements for biodegradable waste going to landfill. In the discussion of the Strategy prepared by the Commission to reduce the problems of acid rain in the Community I made it clear that the UK strongly supported action on this, though more technical work was needed to clarify the benefits and costs—a view shared by the majority who spoke.The Council also noted the progress of discussions on the directive tightening emissions from light commercial vehicles and on the Water Framework Directive. The Commission made a presentation on its Communication on Environmental Taxes and Charges which was not discussed.

Energy Saving Trust

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list the resources made available to the Energy Saving Trust in each of the last five years; and what is next year's budget. [16173]

My Department has provided funding for the Energy Saving Trust since 1995–96 as follows:

1995–96: £500,000
1996–97: £25,000,000.
Funding of up to £19,000,000 has been made available for 1997–98. The budget for 1998–99 has not yet been finalised.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the work of the Energy saving Trust's energy efficiency programme. [16174]

The Energy Saving Trust's "Energy Efficiency" programme has our full support. It aims to promote energy efficiency to domestic consumers so that they can save money and help the environment. The Trust's October campaign of promotional activities under the programme has just been completed. culminating in "Energy Efficiency Week" between 20 and 27 October.

My Department has contributed funding of up to £2.5 million towards "Energy Efficiency" in 1997–98. I have recently approved a further£4 million in Government funding for the programme in 1998£99.

Household Growth Green Paper

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to make a statement on the outcome of the consultation on last year's Green Paper on Household Growth. [16400]

The Government are considering the question of household growth not just in isolation but within the wider context of policies to promote sustainable development, including integrated transport policy and regional planning. We will make a statement in due course.

Wheelchairs

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress has been made by his officials in relation to discussions with wheelchair manufacturers on establishing a marking protocol to indicate the suitability of manual and powered wheelchairs for use on public transport. [16443]

Officials from my Department have established a working group with representatives of the wheelchair manufacturing industry and the Medical Devices Agency. The purpose of the working group is twofold: to develop a testing protocol for new wheelchairs to assess their suitability for use in vehicles and secondly, to work towards a marking system that indicates the transport "compatibility" of manual and powered wheelchairs.The work is progressing well. As a first step towards the marking protocol, the Group is drawing up an information leaflet for wheelchair users and those advising on wheelchair choice, which will help them to choose an appropriate wheelchair for their lifestyle. We hope that the leaflet will be finalised by the beginning of next year.On the testing protocol, the Group has agreed to use as a base the proposed requirement in a draft International Standards Organisation standard for new products. The Group will be producing a leaflet to inform wheelchair users and transport operators about the testing protocol and the role of wheelchair tie downs and occupant restraints in vehicles. Again, we hope that that leaflet will be available early in the new year.

Press Releases

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what is his policy in respect of the faxing of press releases on the day of release to Opposition party spokesmen; what changes have been introduced since 1 May; and if he will make a statement. [16311]

My Department will provide press releases to Opposition party spokesman by fax on the day of release if requested to do so. This standardises the policy of the former Departments of the Environment and of Transport, which operated different systems prior to the Election and before their subsequent merger. The Department also issues press releases on the day of release via the Internet at address http://www.detr./gov.uk/. and copies are placed in the Library of the House of Commons.

Air Quality

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the air quality in the United Kingdom's main urban centres on (a) 31 October and (b) 4 November; and what warnings were given to the public concerning air quality on those days. [16413]

On 31 October 1997 air quality in a number of UK urban centres was poor. High concentrations of nitrogen dioxide were measured in Birmingham, Bristol, London, Lincoln and Reading. Nitrogen dioxide levels were highest on 31 October, peaking at 257 parts per billion at Camden Roadside. A table summarising the highest hourly nitrogen dioxide concentrations that occurred on that day is shown below. On 4 November 1997 there were no occurrences of poor or very poor air quality at any national UK monitoring site.

Monitoring site locationMaximum hourly NO2 levels (parts per billion)
Bromley Roadside110
Camden Roadside257
Southwark Roadside185
Sutton Roadside172
Tower Hamlets Roadside110
West London213
London A3 Roadside117
London Bridge Place194
London Eltham124
London Hackney100
London Lewisham131
London Marylebone Road153
London North Kensington142
London Southwark237
London Teddington114
London Wandsworth216
Birmingham Centre151
Birmingham East115
Bristol Old Market102
Lincoln Roadside170
Reading105
On both 31 October and 4 November hourly air pollution information and air quality forecasts were available on CEEFAX (pages 410–417), TELETEXT (page 106), the Department's free phone information line (0800 556677) and through the Department's Internet site. In addition, air quality forecasts and information on pollutant levels were sent to national and regional newspapers, television, radio stations, Government agencies, local authorities and environmental groups.

Local Government Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions pursuant to his answer of 31 July 1997, Official Report, column 548, if he will list the percentages of management and maintenance allowances for council-owned homes for 1990–91 to 1997–98 inclusive. [16476]

I have placed in the House of Commons Library a list showing for each local authority the percentage increase in their HRS Subsidy Management and Maintenance Allowance year by year from 1990–91 to 1997–98.

Landfill Sites

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list those landfill sites which are unlined and permitted to receive low-level radioactive waste. [16453]

The Environment Agency advise that disposal of low-level radioactive waste is authorized under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 at the following sites in England and Wales:

Landfill siteOperator and locationEngineered containment status
Arpley Quarry3C Waste Ltd., Arpley, WarringtonEngineered containment
Lamby WayCardiff County CouncilClay based engineered containment
Milton LandfillMilton CambridgeshireClay based engineered containment
Cowpen BewleyICI Ltd., Billingham, ClevelandNo engineered containment
Clifton MarshLancashire Waste Services, Preston LancashireCurrent phase unlined, next phase will include an engineered containment
Stanford QuarryOxfordshire County Council, Stanford in the ValeNo engineered containment
Beighton TipSheffield Waste Disposal AuthorityNo engineered containment, closure early 1998
Asham QuarryEast Sussex County Council, Beddingham, East SussexOpened 1979, old phases unlined. From 1995, fully engineered lining for new phase
Hilts QuarryRolls Royce Ltd., Crich, DerbyshireNo engineered containment
Magnesium Elektron SwintonMagnesium Elektron, Swinton, Greater ManchesterNo engineered containment
Millennium Inorganic Chemicals Ltd.Millennium Inorganic Chemicals, Grimsby, HumbersideNo engineered containment
Cilgwyn QuarryCwmni Gwastraf Mon Arfon cyf, Caernorfon, GwyneddNo engineered containment
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency advise that disposal of low radioactive waste is authorized under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 at the following sites in Scotland:

Landfill SiteOperator and locationEngineered containment status
Black DevonOperated by local authority, ClackmannanshireUnlined
BalbartonOperated by local authority, FifeUnlined
Braehead QuarryOperated by local authority, EdinburghUnlined
RivesideOperated by local authority, DundeeUnlined

Landfill Site

Operator and location

Engineered containment status

KilgarthOperated by local authority, North LanarkshireUnlined
DalmacouterOperated by local authority, North LanarkshireUnlined
Ness FarmOperated by local authority, AberdeenUnlined
LongmanOperated by local authority, InvernessUnlined
Lower PolmaiseOperated by local authority, StirlingUnengineered natural clay lining
Lower PolmaiseOperated by local authority, StirlingUnengineered natural clay lining
Melville WoodOperated by local authority, FifeCurrent disposals to lined area—engineered natural clay lining with bentonite (cement slurry) wall. Historic disposals to unlined area
SummerstonOperated by local authority, GlasgowNatural clay and geotextile lining

The Environment and Heritage Service advise that disposal of low radioactive waste is authorized under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 at the following sites in Northern Ireland.

Landfill site

Operator and location

Engineered containment status

Dargan RoadBelfast City CouncilLined
Culmore PointDerry City CouncilUnlined
LetterloanColeraine Borough CouncilUnlined
Mayboy RoadColeraine Borough CouncilUnlined

The radiological impact of disposals to these landfill sites are assessed by the Environment Agencies and the Environment and Heritage Service when determining applications for authorisation.

Mesothelioma And Asbestosis

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people died as a result of (a) mesothelioma and (b) asbestos induced lung cancer in (i) 1995 and (ii) 1996 broken down by (1) parliamentary constituency and (2) local authority unit.[16479]

The numbers of mesothelioma deaths in 1995 by local authority are shown in Table 1. Information on mesothelioma deaths is not yet available for 1996. Information for parliamentary constituencies is not collected. The total number of lung cancers caused by asbestos is estimated to be at least equal to the number of mesothelioma cases, and may be greater, but it is not possible to give a more precise figure as they are not distinguishable from the much larger number due to other causes such as smoking.

Table 1: Mesothelloma deaths in Great Britain 1995 by local authority

County/Local authority

Mesothelloma deaths 1995

Greater London

138
City of London0
Barking and Dagenham12
Barnet2
Bexley7
Brent2
Bromley2
Camden2
Croydon3
Ealing7
Enfield1
Greenwich6
Hackney1
Hammersmith and Fulham2
Haringey3
Harrow2
Havering7
Hillingdon7
Hounslow2
Islington4
Kensington and Chelsea0
Kingston upon Thames3
Lambeth3
Lewisham5
Merton2
Newham8
Redbridge6
Richmond upon Thames6
Southwark2
Sutton3
Tower Hamlets9
Waltham Forest4
Wandsworth11
City of Westminster4

Greater Manchester

37
Bolton4
Bury2
Manchester3
Oldham4
Rochdale3
Salford1
Stockport3
Tameside8
Trafford2
Wigan7

Merseyside

35
Knowsley3
Liverpool9
St. Helens4
Sefton11
Wirral8

South Yorkshire

27
Barnsley3
Doncaster11
Rotherham3
Sheffield10

Tyne and Wear

64
Gateshead9
Newcastle-upon-Tyne10
North Tyneside13
South Tyneside13
Sunderland19

West Midlands

41
Birmingham26
Coventry2
Dudley2

Table 1: Mesothelloma deaths in Great Britain 1995 by local authority

County/Local authority

Mesothelloma deaths 1995

Sandwell1
Solihull4
Walsall4
Wolverhampton2

West Yorkshire

57
Bradford12
Calderdale6
Kirklees12
Leeds21
Wakefield6

Avon

17
Bath1
Bristol9
Northavon4
Kingswood0
Wansdyke0
Woodspring3

Bedfordshire

8
Bedford1
Luton2
Mid Bedfordshire2
South Bedfordshire3

Berkshire

21
Bracknell Forest2
Newbury4
Reading3
Slough7
Windsor and Maidenhead4
Wokingham1

Buckinghamshire

20
Aylesbury Vale2
South Bucks4
Chiltern3
Milton Keynes7
Wycombe4

Cambridgeshire

16
Cambridge2
East Cambridgeshire5
Fenland3
Huntingdonshire1
Peterborough5
South Cambridgeshire0

Cheshire

22
Chester2
Congleton0
Crewe and Nantwich2
Ellesmere Port and Neston2
Halton6
Macclesfield4
Vale Royal3
Warrington3

Cleveland

17
Hartlepool7
Langbaurgh-on-Tees4
Middlesborough2
Stockton-on-Tees4

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

8
Caradon0
Carrick2
Kerrier1
North Cornwall1
Penwith2

Table 1: Mesothelloma deaths in Great Britain 1995 by local authority

County/Local authority

Mesothelloma deaths 1995

Restormel1
Isles of Scilly1

Cumbria

16
Allerdale0
Barrow-in-Furness11
Carlisle2
Copeland1
Eden0
South Lakeland2

Derbyshire

15
Amber Valley2
Bolsover2
Chesterfield2
Derby6
Erewash0
High Peak2
North East Derbyshire0
South Derbyshire1
Derbyshire Dales0

Devon

31
East Devon2
Exeter2
North Devon3
Plymouth19
South Hams1
Teignbridge1
Mid Devon1
Torbay1
Torridge0
West Devon1

Dorset

14
Bournemouth2
Christchurch2
North Dorset3
Poole4
Purbeck1
West Dorset1
Weymouth and Portland0
East Dorset1

Durham

15
Chester le Street1
Darlington5
Derwentside1
Durham0
Easington5
Sedgefield2
Teesdale0
Wear Valley1

East Sussex

12
Brighton2
Eastbourne1
Hastings2
Hove0
Lewes2
Rother3
Wealden2

Essex

39
Basildon9
Brain tree2
Brentwood4
Castle Point2
Chelmsford2
Colchester2
Epping Forest3

Table 1: Mesothelloma deaths in Great Britain 1995 by local authority

County/Local authority

Mesothelloma deaths 1995

Harlow1
Maldon3
Rochford1
Southend on Sea2
Tendering3
Thurrock5
Uttlesford0

Gloucestershire

11
Cheltenham1
Cotswold3
Forest of Dean1
Gloucester2
Stroud3
Tewkesbury1

Hampshire

70
Basingstoke and Deane4
East Hampshire2
Eastleigh6
Fareham2
Gosport1
Hart3
Havant8
New Forest5
Portsmouth13
Rushmoor3
Southampton16
Test Valley6
Winchester1

Hereford and Worcester

14
Bromsgrove3
Hereford1
Leonminster0
Malvern Hills0
Redditch2
South Herefordshire1
Worcester0
Wychavon4
Wyre Forest3

Hertfordshire

21
Broxbourne0
Dacorum4
East Hertfordshire0
Hertsmere4
North Hertfordshire3
St. Albans2
Stevenage1
Three Rivers2
Watford1
Welwyn Hatfield4

Humberside

22
Beverley7
Boothferry2
Cleethorpes3
Glanford3
Great Grimsby1
Holderness1
Kingston upon Hull4
East Yorkshire0
Scunthrope1

Isle of Wight

5
Medina4
South Wight1

Kent

54
Ashford5

Table 1: Mesothelloma deaths in Great Britain 1995 by local authority

County/Local authority

Mesothelloma deaths 1995

Canterbury5
Dartford5
Dover4
Gillingham2
Gravesham3
Maidstone4
Rochester upon Medway13
Sevenoaks2
Shepway1
Swale3
Thanet4
Tonbridge and Mailing3
Tunbridge Wells0

Lancashire

32
Blackburn7
Blackpool4
Burnley0
Chorley1
Fylde4
Hyndburn1
Lancaster1
Pendle0
Preston4
Ribble Valley1
Rossendale1
South Ribble3
West Lancashire3
Wyre2

Leicestershire

9
Blaby0
Charnwood0
Harborough1
Hinckley and Bosworth2
Leicester3
Melton1
North West Leicester0
Oadby and Wigston1
Rutland1

Lincolnshire

8
Boston1
East Lindsey0
Lincoln1
North Kesteven2
South Holland1
South Kesteven1
West Lindsey2

Norfolk

23
Breckland4
Broadland6
Great Yarmouth3
North Norfolk3
Norwich2
South Norfolk3
Kings Lynn and West Norfolk2

Northamptonshire

15
Corby3
Daventry0
East Northants2
Kettering0
Northampton4
South Northants2
Wellingborough4

Northumberland

7
Ainwick2
Berwick upon Tweed1

Table 1: Mesothelloma deaths in Great Britain 1995 by local authority

County/Local authority

Mesothelloma deaths 1995

Blyth Valley1
Castle Morpeth1
Tynedale1
Wansbeck1

North Yorkshire

14
Craven0
Hambleton0
Harrogate3
Richmond0
Ryedale3
Scarborough3
Selby0
York5

Nottinghamshire

31
Ashfield1
Bassetlaw2
Broxtowe2
Gedling5
Mansfield3
Newark and Sherwood6
Nottingham5
Rushcliffe7

Oxfordshire

12
Cherwell2
Oxford1
South Oxfordshire1
Vale of White Horses4
West Oxfordshire4

Shropshire

2
Bridgnorth0
North Shropshire1
Oswestry0
Shrewsbury and Atcham1
South Shropshire0
The Wrekin0

Somerset

5
Mendip0
Sedgemoor2
Taunton Deane0
West Somerset0
South Somerset3

Staffordshire

18
Cannock Chase4
East Staffordshire3
Lichfield2
Newcastle-Under-Lyme1
South Staffordshire0
Stafford3
Staffordshire Moorlands0
Stoke on Trent4
Tamworth1

Suffolk

11
Babergh5
Forest Heath0
Ipswich3
Mid Suffolk1
St. Edmundsbury2
Suffolk Coastal0
Waveney0

Surrey

18
Elmbridge1
Epsom and Ewell1
Guildford0

Table 1: Mesothelloma deaths in Great Britain 1995 by local authority

County/Local authority

Mesothelloma deaths 1995

Ipswich2
Mole Valley2
Reigate and Banstead3
Runnymeade2
Spelthorne3
Surrey Heath0
Tandridge3
Waverley1
Woking0

Warwickshire

8
North Warwickshire1
Nuneaton and Bedworth2
Rugby1
Stratford on Avon1
Warwick3

West Sussex

18
Adur1
Arun3
Chichester3
Crawley3
Horsham4
Mid Sussex2
Worthing2

Wiltshire

10
Kennet0
North Wiltshire1
Salisbury2
Thamesdown5
West Wiltshire2

Clwyd

7
Alyn and Deeside0
Colwyn0
Delyn2
Glyndwr2
Rhuddlan1
Wrexham Maelor2

Dyfed

9
Carmarthen1
Ceredigion1

Grampian

9

Northern Ireland

Strangford-Portaferry Ferry Service

:To Ask the secretary of state for northern Ireland what progress has been made on the replacement of the MV Portaferry vessel used on the Strangford-Portaferry service. [15667]

:responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Roads Service under its Chief Executive Mr.W. McCoubrey. I Have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from V. Crawford to Mr. Eddie McGrady dated 17 November 1997:

The Secretary of State has asked the chief Executive to respond to your recently tabled Parliamentary question about progress on the replacement of the MV Portaferry vessel used on the Strangford Lough ferry service. In Mr McCoubrey's absence, I am replying.

Invitation to Negotiate documents were issued on 4 July 1997 to 4 companies who prequalified under the Private Finance Initiative process. Three of the companies subsequently withdrew from the bidding process although we are confident the remaining company will submit its bid by the due return date in December 1997. Assuming this bid represents value for money against the public sector comparator, we expect that the contract for the operation of the ferry service will be awarded in the Spring of 1998 with the replacement ferry becoming available about a year later. The timing of the replacement vessel will depend on whether a refurbished or new ferry is to be provided.
I hope you find this information helpful.

Roads Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on changes in policy in relation to the funding of major road schemes in Northern Ireland since 1 May.[15676]

Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Roads Service under its chief executive, Mr. W. McCoubrey. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from V. Crawford to Mr. Eddie McGrady, dated 17 November 1997:

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has asked the Chief Executive to respond to your recently tabled Parliamentary Question about changes in policy in relation to the funding of major road schemes since I May. In Mr McCoubrey's absence I am replying.

Funding allocated to road maintenance in each Division of Road Service has, for the period in question been as follows:

Road maintenance

Expenditure in £000's

Financial Year

Ballymena

Belfast

Coleraine

Craigavon

Downpatrick

Omagh

1987–886,1959,2175,4047,8139,1668,605
1988–896,2759,5836,2618,4779,2989,541
1989–907,27211,0447,0199,01510,43810,739
1990–917,79211,1427,73410,25910,90312,101
1991–927,35011,1957,7279,84210,46511,398
1992–937,81510,9938,06510,16210,34512,513
1993–947,13410,7627,6999,89310,20212,640
1994–957,90312,6198,49511,23611,54014,484
1995–9610,52415,25510,99813,99013,35619,472
1996–9710,95714,79610,79214,66712,36819,335
All figures relate to maintenance of roads. Operation and maintenance costs of street lighting and car parks not included.
Figures from 1995–96 are inclusive of supervisory and other indirect administrative costs not previously apportioned on a Divisional basis.

Funding allocated to major road (i.e. Works costing over £200,000) in each Division of Roads Service, for the Period in question, has been as follows:

Major road works

Expenditure in £000s

Financial year

HQ1

Ballymena

Belfast

Coleraine

Craigavon

Downpatrick

Omagh

1987–886901,0713,1691,8211,784890793
1988–891,7553,0631,9999861,8441,827694
1989–901001,8956,5101,2981,2332,2173,144
1990–91351,5184,9911,0911,3132,7823,379
1991–922,3088,4301,8132,8072,9821,600

There have been no changes to the policy of funding major roads schemes in Northern Ireland since 1 May 1997. With the level of funding available for major road works being severely restricted, the policy remains that the only schemes being promoted are those which are being carried out under the Private Finance Initiative.
You will be aware that the Government is carrying out a fundamental review of transport policy and intends to issue a White Paper on an Integrated Transport Policy next year. This will be complemented by a policy statement on transport in Northern Ireland. The Government is also undertaking a Comprehensive Spending Review also to be completed next year. Both reviews have the potential to change the policy of funding major roads schemes.
I hope you find this information helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what has been the funding allocation to the maintenance programme in each roads division in each year from 1 April 1987 to 31 March 1997; [15668](2) what has been the funding allocation to major and minor roads schemes in each roads division in each year from 1 April 1987 to 31 March 1997.[15669]

Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Roads Service under its Chief Executive Mr. W. McCoubrey. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from V. Crawford to Mr. Eddie McGrady, dated 17 November 1997:

The Secretary of State has asked the Chief Executive to respond to your recently tabled Parliamentary Questions about the funding allocation to the major road works, minor road works and road maintenance programmes in each Roads Division in each of the last 10 years from 1 April 1987 to 31 March 1997. In Mr. McCoubrey's absence I am replying.
The information is set out in the attached tables. I hope you find this information helpful.

Major road works

Expenditure in £000s

Financial year

HQ1

Ballymena

Belfast

Coleraine

Craigavon

Downpatrick

Omagh

1992–937067,7591,6343771,7441,646
1993–941,84612,6791,5861,368888300
1994–951,52611,2311,2914,571521814
1995–9626057,4217487,3858802,724
1996–971262,6317,4552882,6281,7441,882

1 Relates to schemes handled centrally.

2 Figures from 1995–96 are inclusive of supervisory and other indirect administrative costs not previously apportioned on a Divisional basis.

Funding allocated to minor road works(ie works costing less than £200,000) in each Division of Roads Service has, for the period in question, been as follows:

Minor Road Works

Expenditure in £000s

Financial year

Ballymena

Belfast

Coleraine

Craigavon

Downpatrick

Omagh

1987–881,3411,4801,2711,1741,4011,382
1988–891,0781,3991,1471,0571,3071,306
1989–901,3721,6561,4501,4221,3381,555
1990–911,4411,8781,4491,7911,5521,653
1991–921,2921,5101,2851,4301,2821,284
1992–931,2732,0221,6291,6361,6301,638
1993–942,2722,5682,6122,6292,3982,471
1994–952,3832,8212,4772,6862,3152,448
1995–9612,7652,7372,7082,7952,9193,301
1996–972,2482,7162,2453,2752,2742,346

1 Figures from 1995–96 are inclusive of supervisory and other indirect administrative costs not previously apportioned on a Divisional basis.

Gas Market

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what preparations have been made to expand the gas market throughout Northern Ireland. [15666]

Further extension of the gas market depends on private sector investment. To assist possible future development Government are facilitating a feasibility study into extension of the gas industry to the North West of Northern Ireland and have participated in a feasibility study into Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland gas interconnection.

Driving Disqualifications

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will make a statement on the application of driving disqualifications imposed in Great Britain on Northern Ireland driving licence holders. [13018]

Separate legislation governs the issue of driving licences in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland. There is mutual recognition throughout the United Kingdom of driving licences issued under both jurisdictions, however, there is no provision in the legislation for a driving disqualification incurred in one jurisdiction to be recognised in the other. Accordingly, a Northern Ireland driving licence holder disqualified in Great Britain cannot drive there, but can continue to drive in Northern Ireland. The reverse is also the case. This situation has obvious road safety implications for Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its resolution will require primary legislation to apply to both jurisdictions. It is intended to take this forward at the earliest opportunity.

Home Department

Deportations

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many non-United Kingdom citizen parents of United Kingdom citizens were deported from the United Kingdom in each of the last five years.[15819]

Reliable information about the citizenship of the children of persons subject to deportation action can be obtained only through examination of individual case records. I regret that the information requested is, therefore, available only at disproportionate cost.

Animal Boarding Establishments

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which local authorities have implemented the model licensing conditions for animal boarding establishments, issued in October 1995. [15822]

Information on which of the 414 local and unitary authorities in England and Wales have adopted the voluntary model licence conditions is not available.

Attacks At Work

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his estimate for the last three years of the number of employees who have been subject to attacks at work; and if he will make a statement.[16104]

The 1996 British Crime Survey (BCS) estimates that there were 770,000 incidents of violence against people who were at work in 1995. The BCS is conducted on a biennial basis, so there are no figures available for 1994 or 1996.The Health and Safety Executive commissioned a series of questions in the Office for National Statistics August and October 1995 Omnibus surveys. This included questions on violence at work. Six per cent. of male workers and eight per cent. of female workers reported that they had been attacked by a member of the public in their current job. Half of these respondents had been attacked between one and four times in the last 12 months, a further 10 per cent. had been attacked at least five times in the same period. Just over a third of nurses and a quarter of security and protective services staff reported being attacked by a member of the public while in their job. Care workers and "other educational and welfare workers" (not teachers) also reported significantly higher rates than average. The full results of this survey were published on 13 November 1997 in "Self-reported working conditions in 1995".

Laser Pens

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) cases and (b) arrests his Department has recorded in respect of police officers being assaulted with laser pens.[15922]

It is not possible to ascertain from the information collected centrally how many recorded offences or arrests involved the use of laser pens. Any injury or attempted injury to a police officer, irrespective of how it is inflicted, is a very serious matter and the police have my full support in acting against the perpetrator. I have invited the Superintendents' Association, which has expressed particular concerns, to provide information about the experience of their members and will keep the problem under review in the light of any evidence from police sources and elsewhere.

Police Complaints

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the cost of the Metropolitan Police Complaints and Discipline department in the current year.[16128]

The Commissioner tells me that the Metropolitan Police's Complaints Investigation Bureau's (CIB) budget for the year 1997–98 is £6,040,000. However, during the year CIB has taken on additional police officers as part of its move to a more proactive role and it is now forecast to cost £7,128,000.The Commissioner tells me that the provisional budgetary estimates of the five Area Complaints Units are:

  • 1 Area: £996,000
  • 2 Area: £1,622,000
  • 3 Area: £1,280,000
  • 4 Area: £1,459,000
  • 5 Area: £1,413,000
  • Total: £6,770,000.
  • These figures are in addition to the figure for the CIB.

    Police Investigations (Perjury)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average cost of a police investigation into an alleged perjury.[15974]

    The cost of any police investigation, including perjury, varies according to the nature of the investigation and the details involved, for example the length of the investigation, the number and rank of officers involved, how many defendants there are and whether they plead guilty.Information on the average cost of perjury investigations is not collected centrally.

    Press Releases

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy in respect of the faxing of press releases on the day of release to Opposition party spokesmen; what changes have been introduced since 1 May; and if he will make a statement.[16289]

    My Department faxes all press releases to main Opposition spokesmen as a matter of course. The only changes introduced since 1 May relate to the names of the Opposition spokesmen designated to receive press releases.

    Young Offenders' Institutions

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to review the young offenders' institutions.[16183]

    We are currently reviewing the juvenile secure estate, including Young Offender Institutions (YOIs), as part of the Government's comprehensive spending review. The Prison Service is also reviewing regime provision for juveniles held in its care.

    Young Offenders

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offenders between the ages of 16 and 21 years are currently in prison.[16180]

    On 30 September 1997, there were 10,487 offenders aged from 16 and under 21 years of age, held in custody in Prison Service establishments.

    Hmyoi Castington

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to address (i) the lack of female officers, (ii) the delays in the Lifer Management Unit at Prison Service Headquarters, (iii) the lack of a staff mess and (iv) the inadequacy of health care provision identified by the Chief Inspector of Prisons at HMYOI Castington.[16500]

    The Governor of Castington has submitted a draft action plan addressing all the recommendations made by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons. This is being considered by the Prison Service Operational Director responsible for Castington and must be finalised within 30 working days after publication of the report.

    One female officer has already transferred to Castington and postings for two more female staff have been arranged to take place shortly.

    A reorganisation of the Lifer Management Unit is taking place and they are working with the Crown Prosecution Service to reduce delays.

    Staff at Castington can use the officers' mess facility at Acklington which is on the opposite side of the road.

    The area healthcare advisor responsible for Castington has reviewed the healthcare service and his report will be completed by the end of November.

    Prisons (Drug Workers)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many full-time mandatory drug testing officers are operating in prisons; and if he will make a statement. [16536]

    Mandatory drug testing (MDT) of prisoners takes place in all prisons. However, it is not possible to identify the exact number of officers involved because, although in some larger establishments full-time MDT teams exist, in small establishments MDT work is often combined with other duties.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many drug workers operate in prisons; and if he will make a statement. [16542]

    There are 110 community drug workers operating within 63 centrally funded drug treatment projects. These are in addition to a variety of Prison Service staff who are engaged in drug treatment work.The Prison Service is currently reviewing its strategy to tackle drug misuse in prison. In part, the review will be examining how best drug treatment programmes can be made available in the future, including the development of a national directory of drug treatment services that establishments can utilise.

    Animal Experiments

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to outlaw the testing on animals of ingredients intended for inclusion in cosmetic products. [16452]

    We announced on 6 November that the Government wish to see an end to the testing of ingredients used in the types of cosmetics which could be classified as "vanity" products.The definition of "cosmetics" in the European Directive goes beyond such "vanity" products and includes, for example, sun creams, anti-caries toothpaste and wart remover. Indeed, some products classed as cosmetics in Europe would be considered to be pharmaceuticals in other parts of the world. We do not intend to compromise consumer safety by banning the testing of such products until suitable alternative tests have been validated.We are consulting with the Animal Procedures Committee, industry and other interest groups about the definition of "vanity" products and how to differentiate their ingredients from others used more widely. A decision on whether a ban on ingredient testing can be introduced and, if so, in what form, will then be taken.

    Telephone Tapping

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if British Telecom is required to be shown a valid warrant by MI5 before a telephone tap is introduced at their request. [15719]

    [holding answer 17 November 1997]: Warrants are delivered directly to Public Telecommunications Operators by the Home Office, following signature by the Secretary of State. No interception may be commenced until the warrant has been signed.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ensure information gained by means of telephone tapping which is not connected with the specific matter under investigation is immediately destroyed. [15712]

    [holding answer 17 November 1997]: Section 6(3) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985 requires that each copy made of intercepted material obtained under a warrant for one of the reasons set out under section 2(2) of the Act should be destroyed as soon as its retention is no longer necessary for the purpose for which the warrant was issued. One of the tasks of the Interception Commissioner, currently Lord Nolan, is to review the adequacy of arrangements made to give effect to the obligations imposed by section 6.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many positively vetted telephone engineers are currently in the employ of British Telecom; and how many of these are under the direction of the Government and paid for by British Telecom. [15725]

    [holding answer 17 November 1997]: The vetting of British Telecom staff is a matter for British Telecom. All British Telecom engineers work under the direction of British Telecom.

    Mi5

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what instructions he has issued to MI5 in respect of the retention or otherwise of files originally collated in pursuit of counter-subversion activities; [15723](2) if he will undertake a review to establish what further information concerning, or held by, MI5 could be released for public scrutiny without damaging national security or prejudicing current criminal investigations. [15688]

    [holding answer 17 November 1997]: The Security Service keeps under review the records which it holds with a view to identifying information which might be released for public scrutiny, and destroying records which it no longer needs to retain in order to fulfil its statutory responsibilities. For some time, the Service has been taking steps to place more information in the public domain and to select for destruction records which are no longer required. I have emphasised to the Director General the importance I place on both aspects.On 17 November, records relating to the activities of the Service up to 1918 were released to the Public Records Office, and there are plans for further releases to follow. The Service has also released current information about itself in the form of two editions of a booklet published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

    Intelligence Services Act (Warrants)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his answer of 3 November 1997, Official Report, column 25, on how many occasions in 1996 a civil servant issued a warrant under section 4(1)(b) and section 6(1)(b) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985 and section 6(1)(b) of the Security Service Act 1989. [15722]

    [holding answer 17 November 1997]: In 1996, 74 warrants were issued under section 4(1)(b) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985 by senior officials of my Department acting upon the express authority of the Secretary of State because of the urgency of the application. It would not be in the public interest to provide figures in relation to warrants issued under the Intelligence Services Act 1994.

    Prison Staff (Pensions)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of terms and conditions of the pensions of (a) the privatised staff at workshops at HMP Coldingly and (b) those remaining within the Prison Service. [16550]

    [holding answer 18 November 1997]: The Government Actuary has examined the pension terms offered by Wackenhut United Kingdom Limited to the staff now employed by the company in the workshops at Coldingley prison. He has issued a statement to the effect that the Wackenhut pension scheme offered to these staff is broadly comparable with the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme in respect of service after the date of transfer.The trade unions have made representations about that decision and these representations are currently being considered by the Government Actuary.

    Prison Service Advisory Board

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the employment of non-executive members of the Prison Service Enterprise Board as consultants for Wakenhut UK. [16551]

    [holding answer 18 November 1997]: There is no Prison Service Enterprise Board. Regime Services, the section of the Prison Service's Central Services concerned with work, education and offending behaviour programmes in prisons, has an advisory board with two non-executive members. Neither of them has any connection with, or has had any dealings with, Wackenhut United Kingdom.

    Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

    Iraq

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he had made of the arguments advanced in respect of the treatment of Iraqis on the "Call Robin Lustig" radio programme on 11 November, a copy of which has been sent to him; and if he will make a statement. [16028]

    We have seen a transcript of the radio programme and noted with interest the wide variety of opinions that were expressed about Iraq.We continue to pursue a diplomatic solution to the stand-off with Iraq but Saddam Hussein must back down from his attempt to undermine Security Council resolutions. He must unconditionally resume co-operation with Unscom and comply with all relevant SCRs.

    Departmental Information

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a copy of the internal departmental guidance on the dissemination of information; and if he will make a statement. [16316]

    There is no written departmental guidance on the dissemination of information. As much public information as possible is made available via this Department's website (http://www.fco.gov.uk/), which is updated several times daily with the latest news and information material.

    Press Releases

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy in respect of the faxing of press releases on the day of release to Opposition party spokesmen; what changes have been introduced since 1 May; and if he will make a statement. [16315]

    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Bulletin is faxed daily to Opposition party spokesmen if they request it. There has been no change in policy since 1 May. The text is also available on this Department's website and the Parliamentary On-Line Information Service (POLIS).

    Structural And Cohesion Funds

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy in future discussions with the Commission and other member states to press for the continuation of structural and cohesion funds for all present eligible United Kingdom areas after 1999. [16538]

    We believe that reform of the Structural and Cohesion Funds is necessary to make them more effective, provide better value for money and meet the challenge of enlargement. All existing member states will eventually have to expect reductions in receipts if costs are to be contained. We are working hard to ensure that UK regions do not suffer disproportionate cuts. Any regions which no longer meet the existing criteria should benefit from transitional support for a limited period to help them adapt to their new situation.

    Amsterdam Treaty (Non-Discrimination Legislation)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy on the introduction of European Union non-discrimination legislation under Article 6(a) of the Treaty of Amsterdam covering areas not currently covered by United Kingdom legislation. [16492]

    We will consider each proposal for legislation under Article 6a of the Treaty of Amsterdam on its merits when it is brought forward.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will make it his policy to refuse to agree to any European Union non-discrimination legislation under Article 6(a) of the Treaty of Amsterdam which provides a lower standard of protection against discrimination than is already provided by United Kingdom legislation; [16497](2) if Her Majesty's Government will, during its European Union Presidency, ask the Commission to commence drafting European Union non-discrimination legislation under Article 6(a) of the Treaty of Amsterdam. [16498]

    The Commission will not be able to bring forward any proposals for legislation under Article 6a of the Treaty of Amsterdam until ratification is complete. The UK will consider each measure on its individual merit. All proposals must be agreed by unanimity.

    Algeria

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received about the situation in Algeria; and if he will make a statement. [16559]

    We have received numerous representations from NGOs and from members of the public in the United Kingdom expressing concern about the situation in Algeria.We share the widespread revulsion at events in Algeria and continue to be seriously concerned about the security situation there. We condemn the violence unreservedly and call on those responsible to end the appalling atrocities. The scope for international action is limited; we believe that more will be achieved through quiet diplomacy. We urge the Algerian Government and all interested parties to find an early solution to this major internal problem and encourage the government to continue along the democratic path.

    Gibraltar

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it a condition of Spain's entry into full membership of NATO that both civil and military aircraft using Gibraltar airport are allowed to overfly Spanish airspace. [16666]

    Civilian aircraft using Gibraltar airport routinely overfly Spanish airspace in accordance with the Chicago Convention. Military overflights are one element in our discussions with Spain in the NATO context.

    Turkey (Eu Membership)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to oppose the application by Turkey to join the European Union and if he will make a statement. [16677]

    No. We believe that Turkey's application to join the European Union should be judged by the same criteria as other applicants' applications.

    Prime Minister

    Public Transport

    15.

    To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to improve public transport in rural areas. [15135]

    The need to enhance rural public transport services is being addressed in the fundamental review of transport policy. Our proposals for enhancing public transport services, including those in rural areas, will be set out in the forthcoming White Paper on transport policy.

    Engagements

    To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 19 November. [15133]

    To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 19 November. [15137]

    This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. I shall have further meetings later today.

    Social Security

    Housing Benefit

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many households have had housing benefit restrictions imposed on them in each of the last three years (a) in total and (b) in each London borough. [14815]

    The information is in the tables.

    Number of households with housing benefit restrictions
    Financial yearNumber of households (GB)
    1994–95269,000
    1995–96321,000
    1996–97439,000
    Number of households with housing benefit restrictions in each London borough
    Local authority1994–951995–961996–97
    Barking and Dagenham1,0001,0002,000
    Barnet1,0002,0003,000
    Bexley11,0001,000
    Brent5,0005,0005,000
    Bromley1,0001,0001,000
    City011
    Camden2,0002,0002,000
    Croydon2,0002,0003,000
    Ealing3,0004,0004,000
    Enfield2,0002,0003,000
    Greenwich1,0001,0001,000

    Number of households with housing benefit restrictions in each London borough

    Local authority

    1994–95

    1995–96

    1996–97

    Hackney4,0004,0004,000
    Hammersmith and Fulham1,0002,0001,000
    Haringey6,0007,0008,000
    Harrow1,0001,0002,000
    Havering1,0001,0001,000
    Hillingdon

    1

    1,0001,000
    Hounslow1,0002,0003,000
    Islington2,0002,0002,000
    Kensington and Chelsea1,0001,0002,000
    Kingston upon Thames

    1

    1

    1

    Lambeth3,0003,000

    2

    Lewisham3,0004,0004,000
    Merton1,0002,0002,000
    Newham6,0007,0009,000
    Redbridge3,0003,0005,000
    Richmond on Thames

    1

    1

    1

    Southwark

    1

    1,0002,000
    Sutton

    1

    1

    1,000
    Tower Hamlets1,0001,0002,000
    Waltham Forest3,0003,0005,000
    Wandsworth2,0003,0003,000
    Westminster5,0005,0004,000
    Great Britain269,000321,000439,000

    1 There were less than 500 restrictions in the borough during the given year.

    2 Figures for Lambeth are not yet available for 1996–97.

    1. Figures have been estimated using Rent Officer Statistics, the Housing Benefit Management Information System quarterly 100 per cent. caseload enquiry and Rent Allowance expenditure information, collected on annual subsidy claim forms from Local Authorities.

    2. Caseloads have been rounded to the nearest 1,000 households.

    3. Housing benefit restrictions are taken to mean rent restrictions. Single room rent restrictions have not been included due to insufficient reliable data.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the total estimated saving arising from restrictions on housing benefit (a) in total and (b) for each London borough in each of the last three financial years. [14814]

    The information is in the tables.

    Total estimated savings arising from housing benefit restrictions
    Financial yearTotal estimated saving (GB) (£ million per annum)
    1994–95245
    1995–96275
    1996–97360
    Total estimated savings from housing benefit restrictions by London borough
    £ million
    Local authority1994–951995–961996–97
    Barking and Dagenham1.51.51.5
    Barnet2.01.03.0
    Bexley0.50.51.0
    Brent6.05.05.0
    Bromley0.51.01.0
    City011
    Camden2.02.03.0
    Croydon2.52.03.5
    Ealing3.54.04.5
    Enfield2.53.04.0
    Greenwich0.51.01.5

    Total estimated savings from housing benefit restrictions by London borough

    £ million

    Local authority

    1994–95

    1995–96

    1996–97

    Hackney7.07.56.5
    Hammersmith and Fulham2.02.51.5
    Haringey9.09.511.5
    Harrow