Written Answers Toquestions
Friday 21 November 1997
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the document "Corpus Juris" produced by Directorate General XX at the European Commission seminar at San Sebastian; and if he will make a statement. 
I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) on 28 October 1997, Official Report, column 778.In this, I explained that the document in question is a discussion paper with no formal status. We disagree with many of its recommendations which are incompatible with the legal traditions of this country. For any of them to have effect, they would need to be proposed formally and agreed unanimously in the Council. An English translation of the document has been placed in the Library.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions and for what purpose the RUC hosted visits by German police officers in November and December 1996. 
[holding answer 6 November 1997]: The RUC hosted no visits by German police officers in November and December 1996.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions and for what purpose RUC officers travelled to Germany in November and December 1996. 
[holding answer 6 November 1997]: During November and December 1996 police officers visited Germany on a number of occasions for both training and operational reasons.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if she has received a report on the conduct of British soldiers (a) in Ardoyne on 2. September, (b) on 20 September at the Old Park barracks and (c) in North Belfast on 3 October; (2) if she has received a report of an incident in Belfast city centre on 10 October after which an individual was taken to Grosvenor Road barracks. 
[holding answer 18 November 1997]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not had a report of the incidents referred to by my hon. Friend. If he can furnish further details she will look into the matter.
Ian Magill Case
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the cost to public funds of salary payments made, since his suspension, to the employee of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum at Cultra recently convicted of paedophile offences. 
Mr. Magill has been paid £42,554.24 from September 1995 to October 1997.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate was made of the cost of an award by an industrial tribunal in the event of Ian Magill making a successful claim against the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum for unfair dismissal. 
No estimate was made of the cost of an award by an industrial tribunal.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what factors led Ulster Folk and Transport Museum to employ Ian Magill after his first conviction on paedophile charges. 
Following Mr. Magill's conviction in 1991, the Board of Trustees of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum obtained legal advice about whether or not Mr. Magill could be dismissed. Counsel's opinion and that of the Museum's solicitors was that the Museum would have difficulty in establishing a fair dismissal.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps her Department is taking to recover the salary paid to Ian Magill since his suspension; and if she will assess the advantages of restricting his pensionable service to the date of that suspension. 
This is entirely a matter for the Museum's senior management and Board of Trustees. They are seeking legal advice.
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment she has made of the legal advice obtained in the Ian Magill case. 
No assessment has been made as this is entirely a matter for the Museum's senior management and Board of Trustees.
Culture, Media And Sport
Museums And Galleries
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the level of grant-in-aid subsidy was per visitor for (a) national museums and galleries on Merseyside, (b) the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester and (c) Tyne and Wear museums, in each year since 1994. 
The details requested are listed in the table. The figures are not strictly comparable. For the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside (NMGM) and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester (MSIM) the grant figures shown represent grant in aid provided by the then Department of National Heritage. Neither the NMGM nor the MSIM receive core revenue funding from their respective local authorities. In the case of the Tyne and Wear Museums Service (TWMS) the
|Government grant £000||Visitors||Grant per visitor|
|These figures are not comparable, since the basis on which these museums/museums services are funded are different.|
Duchy Of Lancaster
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many Lords and Deputy Lords Lieutenant come from the ethnic minorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Although Lords Lieutenant are appointed by the Queen on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, Deputy Lieutenants are recommended for appointment by Lords Lieutenant. The information sought will take time to complete. I will write to my hon. Friend when it is available and place a copy in the Library.
Access Business Group
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on what dates the Access Business Group has met; and how often it plans to meet in future. 
The group met on 23 July and 6 October and will meet again on 25 November. It is expected to continue to meet at intervals of approximately two months as its programme of work requires.
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what are the aims and objectives of the Access Business Group. 
The objective of the Access Business Group is to help to make central and local government's regulatory advice and service more transparent, accessible and helpful. The Group aims to minimise bureaucracy and red tape by coordinating and modernising a wide range of regulatory advice, forms and guidance for business into a simpler, more unified service.
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who are the members of the Access Business Group; and how they were appointed. 
I announced its membership on 23 July 1997, Official Report 1997 column 583. Councillor John Ryan was nominated by the Local Government Association to assist the group's work on local government regulatory advice and service. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster invited Teresa Graham to join the group in her capacity as vice chair of the Better Regulation Task Force where she is responsible for advising the government on regulatory issues. The remaining members of the group are the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, my hon. Friend the Member for figures represent only the grant provided by the Museums and Galleries Commission. The figures exclude revenue support to the Service's museums provided by the five metropolitan district councils in the former Tyne and Wear Metropolitan County Council area which make up the bulk of the public funding to the TWMS.Wallasey (Angela Eagle), and the Minister for Small Firms, Trade and Industry in the Department of Trade and Industry.
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what remuneration is provided to which members of the Access Business Group. 
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in what circumstances the principle of subsidiarity as set out in the Amsterdam Treaty is subordinate to (a) the 'acquis communautaire' and (b) EU law; and in what circumstances it could be used to repeal existing directives. 
[holding answer 20 November 1997]:The protocol on subsidiarity in the Treaty of Amsterdam is not subordinate to the acquis communautaire or EU law. All protocols have Treaty force and are fully justiciable before the European Court of Justice. Paragraph 2 of the protocol says that:
As regards the repeal of existing European legislation, paragraph 3 of the subsidiarity protocol says that:"The application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality shall respect the general provisions and objectives of the Treaty, particularly as regards the maintaining in full of the acquis communautaire and the institutional balance."
"Subsidiarity is a dynamic concept and should be applied in the light of the objectives set out in the Treaty. It allows Community action within the limits of its powers to be expanded where circumstances so require, and conversely, to be restricted or discontinued where it is no longer justified".
Eu Social Chapter
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the Social Chapter will come into force in the United Kingdom. 
[holding answer of 20 November 1997]:The provisions of the Agreement on Social Policy will be incorporated into the EC Treaty by the Amsterdam Treaty. They will thus enter into force in the UK when the Amsterdam Treaty enters into force. This will happen once the Treaty is ratified by all Member States.
In the meantime, it was agreed at Amsterdam that the UK could take part in discussions under the Social Agreement and that our views would be taken into account. This is already happening.
Separately, legislation under the Social Chapter will be extended to the UK by new directives under Article 100. We have undertaken to implement the two existing directives within two years of their formal application to the UK.
Eu Works Council Directive
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy on the Commission's proposal to extend works councils to businesses employing 50 or more employees. 
[holding answer 20 November 1997]:There is no such proposal on the table, but the Commission is consulting the Social Partners about possible action in this area. We believe that it is good practice to inform and consult employees about matters which concern them. However, we are not convinced of the need for additional EU legislation on information and consultation arrangements for companies operating only in one Member State.
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he plans to publish the Bill to implement his devolution proposals. 
The Bill will be published as soon as it is ready.
Dounreay Nuclear Plant
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps will be taken to eradicate the new areas of contamination in sea discharge tanks at the Dounreay nuclear plant. 
[holding answer 3 November 1997]:I have been asked to reply.During routine monitoring of the Dounreay sea discharge tanks UKAEA discovered three small patches of low level radioactivity which they have now removed. I have been assured by the UKAEA that their monitoring arrangements will continue to ensure that there are no unauthorised discharges.
Lord Chancellor's Department
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many representatives he has received concerning his legal aid proposals. 
My officials and I have held a total of 22 meetings with individuals and organisations concerning the legal aid proposals announced by my noble and learned Friend, the Lord Chancellor.
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department 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. 
The Lord Chancellor's Department is required and committed to provide information in line with the principles laid down in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. A copy of our internal guidance, "Lord Chancellor's Department Guidelines on Code of Practice on Access to Government Information", which supplements Cabinet Office guidance, has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses today. Government Information Service members of the Department's Communications Branch use "A Working Guide for Government Information Officers" (produced by the Government Information Service in 1992 and currently being updated) as a handbook for working practices in disseminating information to the public.
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what assessment his Department has made of the rights of child litigants in personal injury cases where the parents or a potential next friend cannot afford to seek initial legal advice in order to prepare a claim in respect of the injury; and if he will make a statement. 
No such assessment has been made. Under the current legal aid scheme, a parent or guardian may apply on behalf of a person under the age of 16 for Legal Advice and Assistance (Green Form scheme) on any matter of English law. The Green Form scheme provides for up to two hours help from a solicitor covering advice, writing letters and, where appropriate, obtaining counsel's opinion. For eligibility purposes, a child's means are assessed separately from their parents where it appears just and equitable to do so.
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) public and (b) judicial appointments his Department has made since 1 May. 
The Lord Chancellor has made a total of (a) 135 appointments to non-departmental public bodies and (b) 927 judicial appointments (including 686 appointments to the lay magistracy), since 1 May.
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer 10 November 1997, Official Report, column 425, how many cases were awaiting hearing on (a)1 May and (b)1 October; and how many adjudicators have been appointed since 1 May. 
The number of adjudicator appeals awaiting hearing on 1 May was 34,048; this figure rose to 34,907 at the end of July and fell to 33,865 at the end of September. During October it fell further, to 32,692. Eight full-time and 35 part-time adjudicators have accepted appointment since 1 May 1997.
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's 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. 
My Department does not automatically fax press releases to Opposition party spokesmen on the day of release. Departmental press releases are transmitted electronically by the Central Office of Information to both Houses at the same time as they are issued to the media and can be accessed by all Peers and Members of Parliament, including Opposition party spokesmen, via the Parliamentary On Line Information System (POLIS). No changes have been introduced since 1 May.
House Of Commons
To ask the hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire representing the House of Commons Commission if he will make a statement on equal opportunity employment practices within the House. 
The Commission aims to provide equal opportunities for all its staff. We are currently reviewing our equal opportunities policy in order to ensure that it matches best practice elsewhere and that it meets the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee for what reasons it has been decided that mail should be delivered hourly to outbuildings; which committees and officials were consulted; if she will give the total added cost of such deliveries; and if she will make a statement. 
Two of the conclusions of the survey of Members, their staff and Departments of the House, which has been used to shape the mail services, were that there was a demand both for more frequent mail deliveries and for a faster internal mail service. These have been met by hourly deliveries and collections in the outbuildings. The findings of the survey were reported to the Administration Committee at the end of the last Parliament.Costs for delivery are included in the overall cost of the service provided by Royal Mail and it is not possible to disaggregate them. However, the total charge for the enhanced service is expected to be not more than that paid previously.
Civil Servants (Benefits)
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the administrative arrangements within the Benefits Agency for the payment of benefits to civil servants. 
The administration of Social Security benefits is a matter for Peter Mathison, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to my hon. Friend.
Letter from Peter Mathison to Mr. David Hinchliffe, dated 20 November 1997:
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what are the administrative arrangements within the Benefits Agency for the payment of benefits to civil servants.
No special arrangements are made for the payment of benefits to civil servants. However, individual benefit areas do try to ensure that claims from civil servants are treated sensitively. A member of staff may highlight that they are a civil servant when making a claim for benefit, particularly if they are employed locally. Claims which are identified in this way are dealt with by nominated officers within each particular benefit unit and can only be accessed by authorised members of staff.
Some benefits, for example Child Benefit, do not require details of a customer's employment. It is unlikely that claims to these benefits will be identified as being from a civil service employee, unless the member of staff actually works in the area responsible for their claim.
I hope you find this reply useful.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if she will publish the reports of inspections made by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate; and if she will make a statement. 
Our aim is to bring about a permanent reduction in the amount of benefit fraud. The Benefit Fraud Inspectorate (BFI) will play a vital role in driving up operational standards to maximise counter-fraud performance and minimise the risk of fraud throughout the Social Security system. A key role of the BFI is to identify and disseminate good practice to bring the performance of all up to the standards already achieved by the best.Over recent months, BFI's procedures have been developed and rigorously tested in a series of trial inspections. The BFI is now carrying out the first formal inspection of Blackpool Borough Council's administration of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, in particular their performance in the prevention and detection of benefit fraud.Starting with the Blackpool inspection, all BFI reports, including those on DSS Agencies, will be made publicly available. We will not include sensitive material of potential benefit to fraudsters in published reports.Copies of the reports will be placed in the Library. Further copies will be available from the Department on request.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people have made use of the 26-week linking period on income support for those whose mortgage protection insurance has fully paid out during the previous benefit claim. 
The information is not available.
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the jobseeker's allowance payment system; and if she will make a statement. 
Since the Jobseeker's Allowance Payment System (JSAPS) went live on 6 October 1996 the system has continued to meet the levels of service specified in the service level statement.There has been a number of system releases. Each of these has been subject to review and has been found fully to fully meet the requirements as specified.
Computers (Century Date Change)
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had or plans to have with his World Trade Organisation counterparts on the problems facing computer systems through the century date change; and if he will make a statement. 
I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Small Firms, Trade and Industry on 12 November 1997, Official Report, column 569.
Economic And Monetary Union
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the Government will measure the convergence between the United Kingdom economy and the economies of European states participating in the first stage of EMU; and at what measurable point it will be possible to establish that convergence has been achieved. 
The Chancellor's statement to the House on 27 October 1997, Official Report, columns 583–88, set out the five economic tests which define whether membership of the single currency would be in Britain's national economic interest.Applying the economic tests, the Government have concluded that there is no proper convergence between the British and the other European economies now. And there is no realistic prospect of our having demonstrated, before the end of this Parliament, that we have achieved convergence that is settled rather than transitory.What is needed is a period of stability and intensive preparations, so that Britain will be in a position to join a single currency, should we wish to, early in the next Parliament.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to ensure that exchange transfers between sterling and the euro before British membership of EMU are (a) free of exchange costs and (b) not affected by rate fluctuations. 
The exchange rate between sterling and the euro will continue to fluctuate unless the UK joins the single currency. The cost of, and exchange rates used for, exchanges between sterling and the euro will be principally a matter for financial institutions and their customers.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what requirements will apply to the United Kingdom in respect of the management of the exchange rate in circumstances where the United Kingdom is not a member of EMU in the first round and has signified an intention to join later. 
The fact of having signified an intention to join EMU would not result in any additional requirements applying to the UK in respect of the management of the exchange rate. In particular, membership of the new exchange rate mechanism will be voluntary.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the provisions of those treaties relating to European Economic and Monetary Union on which the influence of (a) Her Majesty's Government and (b) other bodies within the United Kingdom can be exercised (i) before the date of United Kingdom full entry to Monetary Union and (ii) after such entry in respect of the duties and operations of the proposed European Central Bank. 
Protocol 11 of the EC Treaty defines the terms of the UK's opt-out from the third stage of economic and monetary union. Paragraph 5 of that protocol lists the articles which shall not apply to the UK as a result of our exercising the opt-out.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the minimum period for which a country must belong to the ERM in order to participate in the single currency. 
[holding answer 20 November 1997]:The Maastricht Treaty states (article 109j) that the Commission and the European Monetary Institute shall report to the Council inter alia on
by Member States. On the basis of these reports the Council shall assess whether each Member State fulfils the necessary conditions for the adoption of a single currency. The UK Government have made clear their view that, given the changes in the operation of the ERM since the Treaty was signed, ERM membership is not necessarily a precondition for participating in EMU. It will be for the Council to decide whether each Member State fulfils the necessary conditions for the adoption of the single currency."the achievement of a high degree of sustainable convergence"
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his target for the United Kingdom fiscal deficit related to GNP for the next four years. 
The Government's fiscal policy will be guided by two strict rules:
the golden rule: over the economic cycle the Government will only borrow to invest and not to fund current expenditure; and
The July 1997 "Financial Statement and Budget Report" set out medium-term projections for the public finances that showed a continuous decline in the fiscal deficit as a proportion of GDP. A new forecast will be published as part of the Pre-Budget Report.public debt as a proportion of national income will be held over the economic cycle at a stable and prudent level.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the United Kingdom has a vote in the election of the President of the European Bank. 
The Maastricht treaty establishes that the UK shall have no vote in the election of the ECB president for as long as it continues to exercise its right to opt out of EMU.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer from the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, of 10 November 1997, Official Report, column 441, if he will list the e-mail addresses of (a)Ministers, (b) senior officials and (c) chief executives of agencies for which he is responsible. 
[holding answer 13 November 1997]: Ministers and all officials at the Treasury can be e-mailed by typing the first name and surname, separated by a full stop, and then adding "@hm-treasury.gov.uk". For example "firstname.lastname@example.org". The names and responsibilities of Ministers and officials can be found in the Treasury's office directory which is available in hard copy and also in electronic form on the Treasury's Internet site at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk. Arrangements for the receipt of e-mails for agencies are administered by the individual agencies and are not held centrally.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer 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. 
HM Treasury publications, including press releases, are deposited in the Library of the House. They can also be accessed via the Treasury's Internet site at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer 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. 
In line with long-established practice, HM Treasury's policy has been to mail releases to Opposition spokesmen on the day of issue. The Treasury has decided to fax all press releases to Opposition spokesmen on the day of issue with immediate effect. Copies of all press releases and other Treasury material can be found on the Treasury's Internet site at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the current interest rate differentials between the United Kingdom, France and Germany and likely movements in such differentials between the present and 1 January 1999. 
The UK official interest rate is currently 7¼ per cent. compared with the key official rate of 3.3 per cent. in France and Germany. This interest rate differential partly reflects differences in the countries' current cyclical positions. Financial market prices imply that the differentials are expected to narrow between now and 1 January 1999. Further information may be found in "UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests", HM Treasury, October 1997, (available in the House of Commons Library).
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to legislate to enable a person or company in the United Kingdom to require another person to accept payment of the settlement of a debt in euros. 
[holding answer 18 November 1997]: The Government has no plans to legislate to make the euro legal tender in the United Kingdom without participating in the single currency. Firms and individuals can agree contracts in foreign currencies, including the euro after its introduction in participating countries, if they choose to do so.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library a copy of the legal opinion of the European Commission lawyers on delaying the introduction of the euro beyond 1 January 1999. 
Any legal advice given by Commission legal service to the Commission, individual Commissioners or the staff of the Commission would be confidential to the Commission.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the numbers of (a) counterfeit notes and (b) counterfeit £1 coins in circulation (i) nationally and (ii) in the North West England. 
The Bank of England is not in a position to provide a reliable estimate of the number of counterfeit notes in circulation. A record is maintained of the number of counterfeit notes which are received from circulation, but the Bank of England, in common with most note-issuing authorities, does not publish details of the counterfeit notes it receives. However, despite an increase in counterfeiting between 1990 and 1995, counterfeit notes detected still represented only a small fraction of 1 per cent. of the total notes in circulation throughout that period. The number of counterfeit notes received during 1997 shows a reduction against earlier totals. Counterfeit notes are found throughout the United Kingdom and there is no particular bias towards the North West.The Royal Mint is not in a position to provide a reliable estimate of counterfeit £1 coins in circulation, either on a national or a regional basis. However, the number of counterfeit £1 coins is believed to be very small in relation to the total circulation.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to make it more difficult for the coinage to be forged. 
Special precautions are always taken to protect higher value coins. This is done by developing and using sophisticated alloys, edge lettering and, in the case of the new bi-coloured £2 coin, the introduction of a latent feature.
Financial Services Regulation
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the consultations with employees and their representatives on the proposed reforms of financial services regulations; and what estimate he has made of the impact on employment of the reforms. 
Employees of regulated firms and their representatives will have the opportunity to respond to a consultation exercise planned for summer 1998, when the draft bill will be published. Representations before then are very welcome. A modernised system of financial regulation will promote financial stability, a necessary condition for sustainable growth and rising employment.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the reform of financial services regulation will include all financial products and services, with particular reference to mortgages. 
The Financial Services Authority will acquire the regulatory responsibilities currently exercised by the Bank of England, the three Self-Regulating Organisations (the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation, the Personal Investment Authority and the Securities and Futures Authority), the Department of Trade and Industry Insurance Directorate, the Building Societies Commission, the Friendly Societies Commission and the Registry of Friendly Societies. The Financial Services Authority will also be given responsibility for the authorisation of firms currently authorised to do investment business by virtue of their membership of a Recognised Professional Body.These responsibilities do not currently include regulating the sale of mortgages. The Government will give the Council of Mortgage Lenders an opportunity to demonstrate that their code provides an appropriate level of consumer protection. If it does not, then the Government will act.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in respect of which sections of the Treaty of Amsterdam his Department contributed to the drafting. 
[holding answer 20 November 1997]: The UK position on the Treaty of Amsterdam was reached after consultation with relevant Government departments.
Environment, Transport Andthe Regions
Environmental Rights Charter
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will introduce a charter of environmental rights; and if he will make a statement. 
We will be considering questions of environmental rights, including the role of citizens in environmental decision making and enforcement, in the context of our forthcoming review of the previous Government's Sustainable Development Strategy.
Regeneration Schemes (Greenwich)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what regeneration schemes are to be sited in Greenwich as part of the Millennium celebrations. 
The decision to site the Millennium Experience on the Greenwich Peninsula has brought forward the regeneration of the site. A masterplan for a new urban quarter in London has been prepared by English Partnerships, the Government's regeneration agency, which now owns the Peninsula. The Millennium Village scheme announced by the Deputy Prime Minister in July this year represents the first stage of development.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions 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. 
A revised version of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information was published in January 1997, and circulated to staff in the former Department of the Environment and the former Department of Transport. Copies are available in the Library.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of the Government's proposals on access to the countryside on levels of rural crime; and if he will make a statement. 
We have made no such assessment. We will take account of concerns about the impact of rural crime when we draw up our detailed proposals to give effect to our manifesto commitment to give people greater freedom to explore open countryside.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proposals the Government have to ensure that increased public access to the countryside will not provide increased opportunities for rural crime. 
People may make known any concerns in their responses to our consultation paper on how to implement our commitment to give greater freedom to explore open countryside. We intend to issue this consultation paper shortly. We will take account of the responses in drawing up our more detailed proposals.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will take steps to ensure that all sewers and drains serving residential developments are of an adoptable standard. 
Under section 102 of the Water Industry Act 1991, the owner of a sewer can apply to the sewerage undertaker to have the sewer adopted. The sewerage undertaker may require that certain conditions are met before it agrees. There are no plans at present to require all existing unadopted sewers to be brought up to an adoptable standard or to require new sewers to be built to that standard.
Planning Police Guidance
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent representations he has received regarding Planning Policy Guidance Note 6. 
We have received a number of representations. Our Response to the Fourth Report of the Environment Select Committee on Shopping Centres, published in July 1997 [Cmnd 3729], reaffirmed the policy set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note 6 (PPG6).
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to revise Planning Policy Guidance Note 6. 
We have no current plans to revise Planning Policy Guidance Note 6.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will provide a breakdown by type of all the employees, indicating separately auxiliaries and volunteers, working with the Coastguard over each of the past five years; and what changes will be made in these numbers consequential on the control centre closures and mergers announced on 17 November. 
The information is as follows:
|Year||Total number of permanent employees||Total number of auxiliary (voluntary) coastguards|
|1 Figures at November 1997.|
As a result of the closure of the stations at Pentland, Oban, Tyne Tees and Liverpool, the Coastguard officers complement will be reduced by around 78 staff over the next four to five years, although there will be some additional posts at flank stations. This will be set against the increase in staff of around 200 this year and the overall result after 5 years will be a net increase in staff over last year's levels. The number of coastal rescue teams will not be affected by these changes, but the number of sector managers will be increased through additional posts at the locations where centres are to be closed.
Water Supply (New Developments)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will review the requirement on water companies to supply water to all newly approved developments. 
Under section 37 of the Water Industry Act 1991, a water undertaker is required to supply water to all persons who request it. This duty is enforceable by the Secretary of State. There are no plans at present to review this requirement.
Carrington Moss (Planning Application)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what representations he has received regarding Manchester United's application for planning permission to build on green-belt land at Carrington Moss; (2) if he will list those organisations and individuals which have made representations to him
(a) in favour of and (b) against Manchester United's planning application to build on green-belt land at Carrington Moss; 
(3) what discussions he has had with directors of Manchester United regarding its application to build on green-belt land at Carrington Moss. 
Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council referred Manchester United's application for planning permission to build a training facility at Carrington Moss to the Secretary of State, under normal procedures. The Secretary of State decided on 7 November not to call in the application.Ministers received a number of representations on this matter. I will place a list of the names of the 51 individuals and organisations who provided written submissions opposing the proposal in the Library of the House.
Compulsory Competitive Tendering
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will announce the conclusion of the recent review of regulations and guidance on compulsory competitive tendering. 
I have today laid before Parliament new regulations which amend the existing framework for Compulsory Competitive Tendering in England and Wales to make it more flexible and encourage local authorities to move to a Best Value-based approach to service delivery. In due course we will be replacing CCT with a new legislative framework on Best Value. In the meantime, I want local authorities to develop Best Value ahead of primary legislation.These changes take account of the views of nearly 300 local authorities, professional bodies and relevant private sector interests who responded to the consultation paper I published on 25 July. Copies of these responses will shortly be placed in the House of Commons Library. The regulations themselves have also been the subject of consultation with local government and other organisations.The key changes brought about by the Regulations are:
(a.) a significantly enhanced credit for voluntary competition of 125 per cent. of its real value which offsets the amount of work which must be exposed to compulsory competition and is designed to encourage authorities to pursue this route ahead of Best Value;
(b.) Lowering of the competition percentage for finance to 40 per cent. and for construction and property to 55 per cent. A raising of the de minimis for construction and property to £450,000.
(c.) Moving the implementation date from a finance-based to a 4,000-properties de minimis level for housing management to 1 April 1999 and abandoning the previous Government's plans to move to a 2,500 property de minimis level;
(d.) a relaxation of the implementation timetable for reorganising authorities in England in respect of professional services, particularly for authorities reorganised in April 1996 and April 1997, and housing management. Also an alignment of implementation dates for professional services, where they have not yet been reached, to align with, or post date, the effective dates of the new Regulations;
(e.) exemption of all schools from CCT with a special credit within the Regulations to take account of the potential anomaly which might otherwise have increased the overall competition requirement within an individual local authority;
(f.) a significant reduction in the amount of detailed prescription in relation to tendering and evaluation of CCT contracts. The de minimis level for manual services is raised to £150,000;
(g.) removal of need for local authorities to prepare an annual statement of the costs of supporting their front line services (the 'SSSC').
I believe that we have made sensible adjustments to the regulations set in place by the previous Government. I believe that these will be broadly acceptable to all parties. The new Regulations will allow local authorities to develop Best Value alternatives which are consistent with the purpose of the primary legislation and allow them much greater flexibility. We have removed many of the prescriptive elements of CCT. Local authorities now have real incentives to seek partnerships with the voluntary and private sectors to deliver quality services.
The changes emphasise voluntary competition. Competition will remain a vital element of Best Value but we are keen to use it in a more flexible and constructive way. We are increasing the credit that local authorities will get for any professional services work that they put out to competition voluntarily during the remainder of the CCT regime.
In recognition of the concerns expressed in the responses to our consultation paper, we have also decided to extend our original proposal to exempt work done on behalf of LMS schools from CCT, to cover all local authority maintained schools. This will reduce the administrative burden on school heads and allow local authorities to consider Best Value alternatives for schools.
I hope local authorities will respond to the opportunities these changes now provide. Best Value is about providing quality services at a price that local people are willing to pay. There is no reason for any local authority to put off considering how they are going to approach this. The new Regulations will provide the extra flexibility and resources they need to consider the new agenda.
I also intend to publish a new Departmental Circular to replace Circular 5/96 (Welsh Office Circular 11/96), which provides guidance on the conduct of CCT, shortly.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the review of the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 will be completed. 
The group which we set up to review how the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 might be strengthened is making good progress but does not now expect to be able to complete its deliberations by the end of December 1997. Its consideration of the issues involved has taken longer than anticipated. I expect it to complete its work in early 1998.
Education And Employment
New Deal (Young People)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what consultation he has carried out with young people on the New Deal. 
Nationally, the Employment Service commissioned a consultation exercise to discover young people's expectations of the New Deal. A detailed report will be published before the end of the year but results have already been used in the design of the New Deal provision. In addition, individual Regions and Districts will have carried out widespread consultation including obtaining the views of young people.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the amount of state financial support per student in (a) Oxford, (b) Cambridge and (c) all universities. 
In the current academic year, public funding for teaching per student is some £5,800 at Oxford and Cambridge and an average of £4,000 per student at other universities.In addition, students are entitled to apply for maintenance support in the form of grants and loans. In 1995–96 (the latest figures available) the average maintenance grant per student was £1,390 and the average loan was £1,250.
Road Transport Industry Training Board
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the assets transferred to the Road Transport Industry Training Board on its privatisation. 
It was the Road Transport Industry Training Board which was wound up and its assets were transferred to RTITB Services Limited in September 1992. The assets listed in the transfer agreement, with values where shown, were:
|The Book Debts (estimated)||1,390,000|
|The Capital Fund||8,976,727|
|The Fixed Assets||1,094,772|
|The Intellectual Property||—|
|The Premises (book value as at transfer date)||6,747,788|
Teaching Positions (Greater London)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what are the total number of (a) teaching, (b) head teacher and (c) deputy head teacher posts in the Greater London area in maintained (i) primary, (ii) secondary and (iii) special schools; and how many and what percentage of these are currently (1) vacant and (2) covered by (A) supply teachers and (b) those with short-term contracts. 
The numbers of full-time teachers employed, vacancies and vacancy rates, in the Greater London area, as at 16 January 1997, in the maintained nursery, primary, secondary and special schools sector are shown in the table.
|Number of teachers2||2,200||460||160|
|Number of vacancies3||22||4||9|
|Vacancy rates (per cent.)||1.0||0.9||5.6|
|Deputy head teachers1|
|Number of teachers2||2,170||930||180|
|Number of vacancies3||59||9||7|
|Vacancy rates (per cent.)||2.7||1.0||4.0|
|Number of teachers2||21,500||21,310||1,640|
|Number of vacancies3||366||221||54|
|Vacancy rates (per cent.)||1.7||1.0||3.3|
|1 The breakdown by grade has been estimated, based on the scale of which a teacher is paid.|
|2 Full-time teachers plus full-time secondments in maintained schools sector at 16 January 1997. Figures rounded to the nearest 10.|
|3Only those posts which were advertised at 16 January 1997 as full-time permanent posts or posts of at least one term's duration are counted as vacancies. Posts covered by temporary appointments on a contract of at least a term are not counted as vacant.|
|4 Excludes unqualified teachers.|
New Deal (West Lancashire)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if the work already done on the new deal by (a) the West Lancashire Forum, (b) the CVS and (c) other bodies will be copyright. 
It is recognised that many organisations and individuals have invested significant time and commitment in order to bring the New Deal Partnership in West Lancashire to its current position.It will be important that the good work already undertaken in West Lancashire is built upon in order to ensure we provide the best possible help to unemployed young people. I would expect the private sector organisation selected to manage New Deal in West Lancashire to work closely with existing partnerships and the Employment Service. The issue of copyright is currently under consideration within the Department.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what initiatives he (a) is taking and (b) proposes to take, to attract back to general practice general practitioners who are not currently practising as full-time partners. 
The Government are very aware of the problem of recruitment and retention of general practitioners in some parts of the country. We are committed to tackling these problems, which is why we are delighted to introduce a salaried option for GPs who cannot, or do not wish to, become a GP principal. This can happen within general medical services this year, and under the National Health Service (Primary Care) Act 1997 pilots from 1 April next year. Under arrangements beginning this year, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has just announced, together with a kick start of an extra £4 million, it will be possible for a GP to be salaried by a practice and for the health authority to reimburse some or all of the expenses to the practice.We also propose to strengthen the retainer scheme by allowing GPs who wish to take a career break to keep in touch by undertaking up to four sessions per week with appropriate educational input and supervision. Finally, through local development schemes under section 36 of the National Health Service (Primary Care) Act, it will be possible for HAs to devise returner schemes from 1 April 1998. These schemes will be aimed at meeting the needs of individuals who wish to return to general practice after a career break.Taken together, these schemes provide a package which will help to retain GPs and attract them back to the work force.
Nhs Trusts (Chairpersons)
To ask the secretary of State for Health if he will list the criteria by which he will appoint the chairpersons of National Health Service trusts; and if he will ensure that those chosen will live in the area served by the trust. 
To be considered for a trust chairmanship, candidates are normally expected to:
- live in the area served by the trust;
- have a strong personal commitment to the National Health Service;
- be able to demonstrate a commitment to the needs of the local community;
- be a good communicator with plenty of common sense;
- be committed to the public service values of accountability, probity, openness and equality of opportunity;
- be available for about 3 days a week;
- be able to demonstrate leadership and motivation skills and the ability to think strategically;
- have the ability to understand complex issues; and
- be able to demonstrate an interest in healthcare issues
- experience as a carer or user of the NHS;
- experience serving in the voluntary sector, particularly in an organisation working in health issues;
- served the local community in local government or some other capacity;
- relevant specialist skills or knowledge relevant to the trust; and
- management experience at a senior level in the public, private or voluntary sectors.
Candidates are expected to have all the essential qualities and preferably some of the desirable ones. Only in exceptional circumstances would we be prepared to depart from the requirement that a trust chairman should live in the community served by the trust, for example, where there are severe recruitment problems, or when a particularly strong candidate has demonstrated in some other way their commitment to the local community.
Counselling (Consultation Rooms)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's policy towards the provision of counselling in the consultation rooms of general practitioners. 
The Department's policy is to support general practitioners in rendering to their patients all necessary and appropriate personal medical services including giving advice, where appropriate, to a patient in connection with the patient's general health, and in particular about the significance of diet, exercise, the use of tobacco, the consumption of alcohol and the misuse of drugs or solvents; and arranging for the referral of patients, as appropriate, for the provision of any other services under the National Health Service Act 1977. Such services can be delivered at the doctor's practice premises, or elsewhere within the doctor's practice area, according to the condition of the patient.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimates he has made of the number of young people under 18 years who have (a) a partial and (b) a full set of dentures. 
We do not have this information for children under 16, although some of it may be inferred. Figures for 1988 show that, in the United Kingdom, 100 per cent. of 16 to 19-year-olds had some natural teeth, in England and Wales 20 per cent. of 16 to 24-year-olds had a combination of natural teeth and dentures.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to increase the effectiveness of medical auditing. 
Clinical audit is central to the framework for promoting clinical effectiveness. It offers a practical way for all local clinicians to review their own practice and thereby improve the quality of care given to patients. In order to promote clinical effectiveness, health authorities are responsible for ensuring that sufficient resources are made available for clinical audit and that they are used in the most effective way.The quality and effectiveness of National Health Service services will be a paramount objective of our plans to replace the competitive, contract driven and bureaucratic internal market, which we will set out in a White Paper later this year.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in promoting (a) energy efficiency and (b) recycling and waste minimisation within the National Health Service; and what plans he has for further measures. 
The Department of Health is committed to encouraging hospitals to be more energy efficient. National Health Service trusts are required to provide data on energy consumption. This is analysed by the Department's NHS Estates agency so as to give NHS trusts detailed information on energy usage against which to compare their performance. NHS trusts are expected to contribute to the target of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions of improving energy efficiency by 15 per cent. between 1990 and 1995–96, revised to 20 per cent. from 1990–2000. The NHS achieved an energy saving of some 11.4 per cent. from 1990 to 1995–96. Information for 1996–97 is not yet available but initial indications suggest continuing reductions.The NHS Estates agency has set up a working group with the aim of identifying existing good waste management practice to encourage the reduction of waste arisings.To promote recycling and waste minimisation, the NHS Estates agency has issued 'A strategic guide to clinical waste management—for General Managers and Chief Executives' advising Trusts to develop environmental protection and waste minimisation policies, with the emphasis on waste management rather than disposal. The preferred options, in order of priority, are: prevention; reuse; recycling; combustion with energy recovery; incineration; and landfill. To continue to promote the importance of waste management and segregation, the NHS Estates agency recently published Health Technical Memorandum 2065 'Healthcare waste management— segregation of waste streams in clinical areas'(1997).
The agency is working on further guidance relating to the minimisation and disposal of clinical waste in the community.
Social Services Funding
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if the extra funding for social services for the current financial year under the recently announced extra funding proposal to avoid a winter crisis will be available only if it is authorised by individual health authorities. 
Yes. Those additional resources for the National Health Service made available to improve services this winter have been allocated to health authorities. It has been the responsibility of individual health authorities, liaising with interested parties in their area, including local authority social services departments, to draw up plans for the use of the resources and agree them with regional offices of the National Health Service Executive. Guidance to health authorities given in Executive Letter EL(97)64, copies of which are available in the Library, indicated that where the identified service need was for social care, funds should be transferred to local authorities using powers under Section 28A of the National Health Service Act 1977.
Health Authority Contracts
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list by health authority the number of contracts in each of the last three financial years that have been referred for arbitration within the NHS region. 
The information requested has not been collected and validated on a consistent basis at a regional level.
Health Service (London)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the report of the Independent Advisory Panel into London's health service; and if he will make a statement. 
We will be publishing the Independent Advisory Panel's advice and the Government's response in due course.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (i) women and (ii) men and (a) are and (b) are not currently entitled to an exemption from prescription charges in the United Kingdom. 
The information requested is not available. It is estimated that about 50 per cent. of the population are entitled to free prescriptions in England.
Additional Resources 1997–98
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if health authorities will be able to use the recently announced extra funds to avoid winter pressures for health and social care, to reduce their budget deficits. 
Details of the priorities for the extra funds for the National Health Service announced in October 1997 are contained in Executive Letter EL(97)64, copies of which are available in the Library. This made clear that priority would be given to plans which:
help hospitals cope with medical emergencies which are already known or likely to occur during the winter months, for example by improving staffing levels at times of peak pressure and through services being open for extra hours;
reduce delays in discharging patients, for example by improving rehabilitation and recuperation services, funding increased care at home, extra nursing and residential home places and more social services support;
reduce the need for people to be admitted to hospital in the first place by strengthening primary, community and social services, providing more specialist nursing and therapy for people—particularly older people—in their own homes, nursing and residential homes, and through improved community and out-of-hours services;
restrain the growth in waiting times and waiting lists. As resources allow, a further aim should be to keep any increase in lists and waiting times to an absolute minimum and where possible improve on performance.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the oral answer of 12 November 1997, Official Report, columns 898–99 when (a) he and (b) his Ministers were informed of the £1 million donation from Mr. Ecclestone. 
Friday 7 November 1997.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health when Sir William Utting's report on children in care will be published; and if he will make a statement. 
Sir William Utting's report "People Like Us" was published on 19 November and a statement of the Government's response was made in the House on that date, Official Report, columns 327–38.
Bereavement And Mortuary Services
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many, and which NHS hospitals contracted out bereavement and mortuary services to the private sector in the years (a) 1994, (b) 1995, (c) 1996 and (d) 1997; (2) how many and which, NHS hospitals plan or have announced plans to contract out bereavement and mortuary services. 
[holding answer 19 November 1997]: The National Health Service Executive market testing database has no record of any NHS trust contracting out its bereavement and mortuary services in 1994, 1995 and 1996. In 1997, one NHS trust, the Central Middlesex Hospital, contracted out its bereavement and mortuary services (but not its bereavement counselling).The database has no record of any other NHS trust planning to contract out bereavement and mortuary services.
Metored Dose Inhalers (Cfcs Exemption)
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to phase out the chlorofluorocarbons exemption on metored dose inhalers. 
I have been asked to reply.The Montreal Protocol allows chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to continue to be produced for use in the manufacture of metered dose inhalers. This essential use exemption will only continue to be provided until an adequate range of non CFC based alternatives is on the market, which in the European Union is likely to occur within the next two to five years.The European Commission expects to finalise in January a transition strategy which will provide for the orderly phase out of CFCs in metered dose inhalers as suitable non-CFC based treatments become available. The government has also begun to prepare a UK phase out strategy to complement the European Union strategy. We will be consulting on the UK strategy shortly.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the current annual volume of chlorofluorocarbons released into the atmosphere through the use of metered dose inhalers in the United Kingdom. 
I have been asked to reply.In 1996 the European Commission approved the production of 2,171 tonnes of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) for use by the manufacturers of metered dose inhalers in the United Kingdom under the essential use exemption allowed by the Montreal Protocol. About 40 per cent. of these metered dose inhalers will be used in the United Kingdom, the remainder being exported to other European Union countries and elsewhere. It is assumed that all the CFC used in the manufacture of metered dose inhalers will eventually be emitted to the atmosphere.
Trade And Industry
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the Government's forecast for the percentage of electricity produced from coal in the United Kingdom for (i) 1997, (ii) 2000, (iii) 2010, (iv) 2020 and (v) 2030. 
Coal's share of fuel used in UK electricity generation was 43 per cent. in 1996. Energy projections for the UK were published by the previous administration as Energy Paper 65 in March 1995 which is available in the Library of the House.The department is working on a new set of projections which will be published next year.
To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Don Valley of 30 October 1997, Official Report, column 870, to what extent she attributes the errors in export licensing data to (a) computer and (b) human error. 
A number of factors contributed to the situation:
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will make a statement concerning applications for grant aid for the A340–600 aircraft project by British Aerospace. 
No final decision has yet been taken on the application from British Aerospace for launch aid in respect of the A340–500/600 project. Discussions with the company are continuing.
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment her Department has made of the potential impact on the United Kingdom aerospace industry of not providing Launch Aid in connection with British Aerospace's involvement in the Airbus A340–500 and 600 projects. 
I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Alyn and Deeside (Mr. Jones) today.My Department has been considering the impact on the UK aerospace industry of its decision on launch aid, as part of its detailed appraisal of British Aerospace's application.
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what discussions the Minister had with the chairman of Taskforce 2000 prior to establishing Action 2000. 
My hon. Friend the Minister for Science, Energy and Industry met the Chairman of Taskforce 2000 on 14 July. I had further discussions with him about the century date change and related matters on 16 July and 25 September and on 22 July we co-chaired the Millennium IT Skills Summit.
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans she has to reclaim from the Government of Iraq the unrecovered money paid in claims for arms-related equipment. 
[holding answer 14 November 1997]: Iraq has large outstanding debts with official creditors (such as ECGD) and private creditors around the world. It is our objective to recover debt from the Government of Iraq, although this is not easy at present, while Iraqi assets remain frozen under UN Sanctions.
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will set out in (a) domestic currency and (b) pounds sterling at purchasing power parity exchange rates, the statutory national minimum wage, on the minimum wage established through bargaining in key industries, in (i) each EU state, (ii) the USA and (iii) Japan. 
[holding answer 18 November 1997]: My department does not systematically collect information on all countries. What information is available is set out in the table.
|National minimum wages in selected countries for 1997|
|Local currency||Local currency rate||period||PPP£ equivalent|
To ask the President of the Board of Trade which powers are exercisable (a) by the Energy Council of Ministers and (b) the European Parliament in respect of Community legislation whose basis is the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community as subsequently amended. 
(a) Legislative acts of the Council under the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community (or the Euratom Treaty) are handled not by the Energy Council but by the General Affairs Council, except for research items, which are referred to the Research Council.
(b) There is no provision for co-decision under the Euratom Treaty, but the European Parliament has been consulted on legislation based on the Treaty. In addition, the Parliament may request the Commission to submit any appropriate proposal on matters on which it considers that a Community act is required for the purpose of implementing the Euratom treaty.
Scientific Research Associations (Taxation)
To ask the President of the Board of Trade if her Department's proposals to change the definition affecting the tax treatment of scientific research associations will have retrospective effect in relation to accounting periods ending in March 1996. 
The position of approvals and the treatment of outstanding applications relating to earlier accounting periods are key issues being addressed by my Department's review of its administration of section 508 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 initiated in December 1996.
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what factors led her Department to conduct its exercise to redefine scientific research associations; which current bodies or organisations are under scrutiny; and what are the implications for their tax status. 
The Department initiated the review of its administration of section 508 in December 1996 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 because in autumn 1996 it became concerned that over the years its procedures had become flawed and that consequently many previous approvals might be unsound. At present, the Department is looking at the approvals system and, once the review is complete, will consider the position of any bodies seeking approval.
Agriculture, Fisheries And Food
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 17 November 1997, Official Report, column 22, concerning fish stocks, what information was given by his Department's scientists to the representatives of the fishing industry who met them on Thursday 13 November. 
The scientists concerned were staff of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science and I have asked the Agency's Chief Executive to reply to the right hon. Member direct.
Letter from P. W. Greig-Smith to Mr. Michael Jack, dated 21 November 1997:
Dr. Cunningham has asked me to respond your Parliamentary Question concerning information given by this Department's Scientists to the representatives of the Fishing Industry on 13 November.
I would advise that the International Council for Exploration of the Sea's Advisory Committee on Fishery Management (ACFM) met from 22–31 October. At this meeting, ACFM prepared advice for the management of many of the commercial fish stocks important to the UK. Dr. J. Horwood (CEFAS) was the UK representative and Dr. R. Cook (FRS, Aberdeen) also attended.
On 13 November CEFAS scientists gave representatives of the fishing industry their summary of the expected ACFM advice. The attached table was handed to the industry. The final column is CEFAS' interpretation of the ACFM advice for catch limits in 1998. As was explained to the industry, these figures should be used with some caution. They are based upon the latest draft of the ACFM advice, and the figures are subject to change.
The final ACFM report is expected very soon.
Summary of ICES ACFM advice, agreed TACs and actual landings (k tonnes) 1985–91
|North Sea||Cod||ICES rec||<259||<130||<125||<148||<124||113||92|
|English Channel (VIId, e)||Plaice||ICES rec||5.4||6.2|
|English Channel (East VIId)||Sole||ICES rec||2.3|
|English Channel (West VIIe)||Sole||ICES rec||1.3||1.3||1.3||1.3||1.0||0.9||0.54|
|English Channel and Celtic Sea||Cod||ICES rec VIId||—||—||—||—|
|ICES rec VIIf, g||—||—||—||7.0||8.6||9.2||4.5|
|Whiting||ICES rec VIId||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|ICES rec VIIf, g||—||—||—||7.0||7.9||8.4||8.0|
|Bristol Channel/Celtic Sea (VIIf, g)||Sole||ICES rec||1.2||1.2||1.6||0.9||1.0||1.2||1.1|
|Irish Sea||Cod||ICES rec||8.8||10.7||10.3||10.1||<13.4||15.3||6.0|
|NE Arctic||Cod||ICES rec||170||<446||<645|
|Herring||North Sea (north)||ICES rec(g)||166||235||600||500||484||373||363|
|ICES IVa, b||Agreed TAC||—||500||560||500||484||385||370|
|North Sea (south) and||ICES rec(g)||62||42|
|English Channel||Agreed TAC||90||70||40||30||30||30||30|
|(IVc, VIId)||Actual landings||70||51||45||52||79||61||61|
|Irish Sea||ICES rec||5||6.3||4.3|
|Mackerel||North Sea||ICES rec||0||0|
|Sprat||North Sea||ICES rec|
Summary of ICES ACFM advice, agreed TACs and actual landings (k tonnes) 1985–91
|Nephrops||North Sea||ICES rec||—||—||—||—||—||—||10.0|
|Area VII||ICES rec||—|
|Anglerfish||Area VIIb-k(j)and VIIIa, b||ICES rec||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Megrim Area||VIIb-k(j) and VIIIa, b||ICES rec||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
1 Expected landings.
2 Human consumption + industrial.
3 Status quo as no specific recommendation.
4 Precautionary TAC.
5 STCF recommendation.
6 Revised May 1988.
7 Subsequently revised to 5.6.
8 Lowest possible level.
|n/a: not available.|
(a) Includes IIa + IV.
(b) Includes IIa + IV + IIIa-d.
(c) Includes VIIe.
(d) Includes VIId-h.
(e) Includes VIII, IX, X and CECAF 34.1.1.
(f) Includes VIId-k.
(g) Includes IV + IIIa + VIId.
(h) Includes IV + VIId.
(i) Includes IIa (except EC zone), Vb + VII + VIIIa, b, d, e + XII + XIV.
(j) Includes VII + VIIIa, b, d, e.
ICES recommended figures are preferred or maximum levels.
Summary of ICES ACFM advice, agreed TACs and actual landings (k tonnes) 1992–98
|North Sea||Cod||ICES rec||98||95||-102||132||141||115||153|
|English Channel (VIId, e)||Plaice||ICES rec||<9.6||6.1–7.7|
|English Channel (East VIId)||Sole||ICES rec||<2.7||2.8||<3.8||3.8||4.7||5.2||<4.5|
|English Channel (West VIIe)||Sole||ICES rec||0.77||0.7||1.0|
|English Channel and Celtic Sea||Cod||ICES rec VIId||—||—||—||2.9||5.5||—||—|
|ICES rec VIIf, g||<9.8||6.5||5.6||4.7||4.7|
|Whiting||ICES rec VIId||—||—||6.7||5.7||6.9||—||—|
|ICES ref VIIf, g|
Summary of ICES ACFM advice, agreed TACs and actual landings (k tonnes) 1992–98
|Bristol Channel/Celtic Sea (VIIf, g)||Sole||ICES rec|
|Irish Sea||Cod||ICES rec||10.0||10.2||3.7||3.9||5.4||5.9||6.2|
|NE Arctic||Cod||ICES rec||250||385||649||681||746||993||514|
|Herring||North Sea (north) ICES||ICES rec(g)|
|IVa, b||Agreed TAC||380||380||390||390||156||134||—|
|North Sea (south) and||ICES rec|
|English Channel (IVc,||Agreed TAC||50||50||50||50||—||25||—|
|Irish Sea||ICES rec||6.6||4.9–7.4|
|Mackerel||North Sea||ICES rec|
|Sprat||North Sea||ICES rec||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||none||none||none|
|Nephrops||North Sea||ICES rec||10.6||10.2|
|Area VII||ICES rec||16.5||17.2|
|Anglerfish||Area VIIb-k(j) and VIIIa, b||ICES rec||—||—||—||—||30.3||34.3||33.0|
|Megrim||Area VHb-k(j) and VIIIa, b||ICES rec||—||—||—||—||16.6||19.1||14.5|
1 Expected landings.
2 Human consumption + industrial.
3 Status quo as no specific recommendation.
4 Precautionary TAC.
5 STCF recommendation.
6 Revised May 1988.
7 Subsequently revised to 5.6.
8 Lowest possible level.
|n/a: not available.|
(a)Includes IIa + IV.
(b)Includes IIa + IV + IIIa-d.
(c) Includes VIIe.
(e)Includes VIII, IX, X and CECAF 34.1.1.
(f) Includes VIId-k.
(g) Includes IV + IIIa + VIId.
(h) Includes IV + VIId.
(i)Includes IIa (except EC zone), Vb + VII + VIIIa, b, d, e + XII + XIV.
(j) Includes VII + VIIIa, b, d, e.
ICES recommended figures are preferred or maximum levels.
In many cases 1998 figures are estimates of possible Commission proposals.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many people were medically affected as the result of drinking unpasteurised milk in each of the last five years. 
Information is not routinely collected on individual cases of illness.Raw cows' drinking milk has been shown by surveillance studies to contain pathogens, and some data are available on illnesses associated with particular foods following outbreaks of food poisoning.The Public Health Laboratory Service has published data in 'General outbreaks of infectious intestinal disease associated with milk and dairy products in England and Wales between 1992 and 1996'. This can be found in the 'Communicable Disease Report', Volume 7, Review number 3 dated 7 March 1997.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the powers available to him to ban the use of unpasteurised milk in England and Wales. 
Section 16 (1) (f) of the Food Safety Act 1990 empowers Ministers to make regulations prohibiting the sale of food where it appears necessary or expedient to them in the interests of the public health or to protect or promote the interests of consumers.In accordance with established procedure, any proposal to proceed with a ban, e.g. on the sale in England and Wales of raw cows' milk for drinking, would need to be notified under the Technical Standards Directive (83/189/EEC), to give the European Commission and the other member states the opportunity to express a view.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish the concerns expressed to him by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food about the microbiological quality of unpasteurised cows' milk for drinking. 
The Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food has considered reports of two surveys on the microbiological status of raw cows' milk for drinking. The Committee was very concerned to note that these surveys showed that raw cows' drinking milk contained significant amounts of faecal contamination indicator micro-organisms as well as, in some cases, food poisoning pathogens. These concerns were publicised in the press release of the Committee's 18 September meeting, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House.
Sheep Annual Premium
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if an underspend on sheep annual premium in the financial year 1997–98 could result in an increase in the level of Britain's Fontainebleau rebate during 1998–99. 
An underspend on sheep annual premium in the 1997 EU Budget could theoretically increase the UK's Fontainebleau abatement during 1998. However, it is not possible to be sure of the effect for the UK's abatement, for the reasons given in the reply to the right hon. Member by my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury on 18 November 1997, Official Report, column 115.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 17 November 1997, Official Report, column 21, when he estimates it will be appropriate for him to publish the details of the United Kingdom, agriculture, fisheries and food priorities for the period of the United Kingdom's presidency of the European Union. 
I will announce my presidency priorities after the Luxembourg presidency has substantially completed its business.
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which Community-funded agricultural schemes affecting the United Kingdom he estimates will be underspent in relation to their expected levels of expenditure at the end of the current financial year; and if he will make a statement giving details of projected underspends for each affected scheme. 
Lower than expected levels of expenditure on EU-funded agricultural schemes do not automatically lead to an underspend since reduced expenditure is mirrored in a corresponding reduction in EU receipts.