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Written Answers

Volume 387: debated on Monday 14 November 1977

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Written Answers

Hong Kong: Policecorruption Offences

Asked Her Majesty's Government:How many members of the police force in Hong Kong have been charged with corruption or bribery since the establishment of the Independent Commission against Corruption; how many have been found guilty; how many cases are pending; and what sentences have been imposed.

Two hundred and sixty members of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force have been charged with corruption and related offences during this period. Of these, 127 have been found guilty, 79 acquitted and 54 cases are still pending. In July 1977 the total uniformed strength of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force was 16,746.

The sentences imposed were as follows:

6 years1
5–6 years10
4–5 years9
3–4 years10
2–3 years29
1–2 years30
Under 1 year20
Detention centre3

Chelmsford Hospital Service

asked Her Majesty's Government what is the future of the hospitals in the Chelmsford district, and in particular the short and long term prognosis for the Broomfield Hospital.

Provision of hospital services in the Chelmsford district is the responsibility of the Essex Area Health Authority and the North East Thames Regional Health Authority. The Regional Health Authority are planning to start Phase 1 of the redevelopment of Broomfield Hospital in 1980.

Animals And Inhalationexperiments

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the collapse of the Substitute Smoking Material campaign brings to an end the use of living animals in the "Smoking Beagles" type of experiment and, if not, how many animals and of what species are still undergoing this or similar experimental treatment.

Inhalation experiments have not been exclusively directed to the testing of tobacco substitutes, and are not dependent on the commercial success of such substitutes. They are continuing. My right honourable friend has given no fresh authority for the use of dogs in inhalation experiments since he accepted the recommendation of his advisory

For slaughter after further fatteningFor immediate slaughterGrand
Sea PortsCattleCalvesSheepTotalCattleSheepTotalTotal
GREAT YARMOUTH3,1073,1073943943,501
CASTLE DONINGTON6029,48510,08710,087
No pigs were exported either for further fattening or for immediate slaughter.No calves were exported for immediate slaughter.

Horses: Sale Andtransportation

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  • (i) whether they are aware of growing public concern at the conditions in which horses are exposed for sale in markets and transported to slaughter houses for export to EEC countries as carcasses;
  • (ii) what powers of supervision are open to any government department committee. The information asked for about other species involved in such experiments is not readily available.
  • Ports: Live Animal Exports

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Through which ports in England and Wales live animals are shipped to EEC countries for slaughter and what numbers have passed through each of the ports named in the latest year for which records are available.

    The following table shows the number of animals passed by veterinary inspectors of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food as fit to travel before being exported for immediate slaughter or for slaughter after further fattening.or to local authorities to inspect and control the conditions in which horses are transported long distances;

    • (iii) what steps are being taken to enforce the law regarding unnecessary cruelty;
    • (iv) what number of prosecutions have been made in the latest year for which records are available:
    • (v) where slaughterhouses licensed or appointed for this purpose are located;
    • (vi) what is the total of slaughterings carried out in these establishments for the latest year for which records are available.

    (i) The Government are not aware of any general problem concerning the treatment of horses at sales or markets or in transit. There is no evidence that horses bought for slaughter in this country and destined for export in the form of meat to EEC countries are particularly at risk.(ii) The Protection of Animals Act 1911 makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animal. In addition the Transit of Animal (Road and Rail) Order 1975 lays down detailed requirements with regard to the construction and maintenance of vehicles used for transporting animals and contains measures designed to safeguard the welfare of animals during loading, unloading and carriage.(iii) Officers of the local authorities, the police and the State Veterinary Service frequently attend sales and markets.(iv) In 1976, there were 917 prosecutions for various offences against the regulations which protect the welfare of animals. Information relating specifically to horses is not available.(v) Slaughterhouses licensed for the export of horsemeat to EEC countries are located at Bristol, Crawley, Huddersfield and Norwich.(vi) No central record is kept of the total number of horses slaughtered in these establishments.

    Mole Control

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will now complete the ban on the use of strychnine for the destruction of animals by prohibiting forthwith the use of this cruel poison for the destruction of moles.

    This would not be contemplated until the Government are satisfied that there is some alternative and viable method of mole control which would not put other species of wildlife at risk.

    Mink Farm Conditions

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are aware of the unsatisfactory conditions prevailing in many mink farms; and what powers are open to any Government department and to local authorities to enter, inspect, and control the conditions in which these animals are kept and slaughtered for their fur.

    The Government have no evidence to suggest widespread unsatisfactory conditions on mink farms.Professional staff of the State Veterinary Service are empowered under the livestock welfare provisions of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968 to enter and inspect premises to ensure that farm animals, including mink, are not being caused unnecessary pain or distress.

    The Social Scienceresearch Council

    asked Her Majesty's Government:In what year the Social Science Research Council was established.

    (Lord Donaldson of Kings-bridge)

    The Council was set up by Royal Charter in 1965 as the result of the acceptance by the Government of the main recommendation of the Committee of Social Studies under Lord Heyworth.

    Maternity Pay

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What extra manpower has had to be employed in the Department of Employment to administer maternity pay, and how many civil servants are involved in such administration.

    The Department of Employment employ 73 civil servants on the administration of the maternity pay provisions of the Employment Protection Act 1975.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Why maternity pay is administered by the Department of Employment when for all other maternity matters women deal with the DHSS.

    Maternity pay is paid by employers who are then eligible to claim refunds. It is not a national insurance benefit, but an employment right, based on qualifying conditions common to other such rights administered by the Department of Employment.

    European Convention Onthe Protection Of Thearchaeological Heritage

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage applies to wrecks, whether within inland waters, territorial waters on the continental shelf or in the contemplated Exclusive Economic Zone.

    The Convention would appear to apply to wrecks lying within the inland and territorial waters of a contracting party and which fall within the definition of archaeological objects in Article 1 of the Convention. It is doubtful whether the Convention would apply to such wrecks lying outside territorial waters.

    Nuclear Explosion Policy

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether it is the Government's view that peaceful nuclear explosions may be conducted except within the framework of the International Atomic Agency.

    In the Government's view, so-called peaceful nuclear explosions may be conducted only in accordance with international obligations, including those under the Partial Test Ban Treaty and the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Under the latter, nuclear weapon States are the only Parties which may conduct peaceful nuclear explosions: but potential benefits from such explosions may be made available to non-nuclear weapon States Parties to the Treaty by nuclear weapon States bilaterally or through the intermediary of the International Atomic Energy Agency.The above describes the Government's view of the position in international law. However, as the noble Lord is aware, the United Kingdom is engaged in negotiations with the United States and the Soviet Union with a view to the achievement of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Our objective in those negotiations is a multilateral Treaty which would ban all nuclear explosions.

    Public General Acts

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How many public General Acts of Parliament were on the Statute Book on or about 1st October 1964, 1st July 1970, 1st January 1974 and 1st January 1977.

    1st October 1964, 3680; 1st July 1970, 3644; 1st January 1974, 3480; 1st January 1977, 3480. The corresponding figure for 1st October 1977 was 3453.

    Renton Committeeon Legislation

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the Statute Law Committee have yet decided whether the report of their sub-committee on Recommendations 108 and 109 of the Renton Committee on Legislation will be published.

    Soviet Aircraft Carriers

    What information they have about further aircraft carriers being constructed by the Soviet Union in the Black Sea; whether they have any comment to make on the impropriety of such vessels moving through the Straits into the Mediterranean, in breach of the Treaty of Montreux, and whether the subject has been raised with the Soviet Government.

    My information is that there are two further ships of the same class as the "Kiev" under construction in the Black Sea. Her Majesty's Government continue to hold the view that the passage of the "Kiev" and of similar ships through the Straits is not compatible with the Montreux Convention. Some other friendly Governments party to the convention, and in particular the Turkish Government, hold a contrary view. The legal issues are complicated. Her Majesty's Government's view has been made known to friendly States and has been made public both here and in another place. I have no doubt therefore that the Soviet authorities are aware of our views. In common with other Governments, Her Majesty's Government have not, in these circumstances, considered it appropriate to raise the matter formally with the Soviet Government.

    Uk-Italy Air Services Agreement

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Why only Article 6 of the recent United Kingdom-Italy Air Services Agreement (Cmnd. 6873) is to apply to non-scheduled air services, having regard to the fact that Italy has not ratified the Multilateral Agreement on the Commercial Rights of Non-Scheduled Air Services in Europe.

    The application of Article 6 of the Agreement to nonscheduled air services was not designed to reflect Her Majesty's Government's policies regarding the operation of nonscheduled services within Europe, but was agreed as an exceptional and separate measure at the request of the Italian authorities to conform with their national procedures. Similar considerations do not apply in the case of the other articles of the Agreement.

    British Airways: Foreign Earnings Remittance

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will list the countries of the world from which British Airways is prevented from remitting its earnings to the United Kingdom; and what is the amount presently thus frozen in each case.

    British Airways have informed me that there are no countries where the remittance of their earnings falls within a blocked category. There are, of course, countries where such remittances are subject to considerable delay through exchange control formalities or shortage of foreign exchange.

    Gerald Road Policestation

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether it is their intention to close Gerald Road Police Station, London, S.W.1.

    The future of the station is being considered in the context of a review of the command structure of the Metropolitan Police. When the review is completed, it will be for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis to reach a decision on the matter.House adjourned at one minute past seven o'clock.