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Written Answers

Volume 569: debated on Thursday 8 February 1996

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Written Answers

Thursday, 8th February 1996.

World Conference On Women, Beijing: Countries Entering Reservations

asked Her Majesty's Government:Which countries entered reservations to the final report of the International Conference on Women in Beijing; and whether they will list the subject of each reservation.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(Baroness Chalker of Wallasey)

The following countries made general and interpretative statements or expressed reservations on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action:Peru, Kuwait, Egypt, Philippines, Holy See, Malaysia, Iran, Libya, Ecuador, Indonesia, Mauritania, Oman, Malta, Argentina, Brunei, Darussalam, France, Yemen, Sudan, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Bahrain, Lebanon, Tunisia, Mali, Benin, Guatemala, India, Algeria, Iraq, Vanuatu, Ethiopia, Morocco, Djibouti, Qatar, Nicaragua, Togo, Liberia, Syrian Arab Republic, Pakistan, Nigeria, Comoros. Bolivia, Colombia, Bangladesh, Honduras, Jordan, Ghana, Central African Republic, Cambodia, Maldives, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Brazil, Panama, El Salvador, Madagascar, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Gabon, United States of America and Canada. The observer for Palestine also made a statement.Details of the statements and reservations appear in Chapter V (pages 157–176) of the UN Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women (A/CONF.177/20 dated 17 October 1995), copies of which have been deposited in the Library of the House.

Cyprus

asked Her Majesty's Government:What progress is being made towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

The prospect of EU accession negotiations provides both Cypriot communities with new opportunities to make progress. We will continue to exploit these opportunities in 1996 to press for an early resumption of direct talks to pursue a settlement based on a hi-zonal, hi-communal federation.

Med-Tv: Alleged Jamming Of Broadcasts

asked Her Majesty's Government:What information they have about the alleged jamming of licensed broadcasts by MED-TV from London on 14 December 1995, I0 days before polling day in the recent Turkish general election; and whether they have made representations about this apparent interference with legitimate international communications.

We understand that reception for MED-TV programmes was unusually poor on the day in question. We are aware of reports that this was due to interference. We have no plans to make representations.

Med-Tv: British Satellite News

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why the Foreign and Commonwealth Office gave instructions in October 1995 for ending the supply of British Satellite News (produced by World-wide Television News) to MED-TV; and why the weekly compilation cassette is still being withheld.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office see no reason to make the British Satellite News facility available to MED-TV at public expense.

Landmines

asked Her Majesty's Government:What progress has been made in the international technical-level negotiations on the control of the deployment of landmines.

Technical experts met in Geneva from 15–19 January in order to re-examine the questions on which agreement was not possible at the UN Weaponry Convention Review Conference in September/October 1995. Good progress was made on the core technical issues of specifications for self-destruction/self-deactivation mechanisms and detectability.The third session of the Review Conference will take place in Geneva from 22 April-3 May. We shall work to conclude an agreement there which should deliver a real reduction in the dangers to civilians from the indiscriminate use of landmines.

Emtryl

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Answer given by the Baroness Chalker of Wallasey on 25 January (H.L. Deb., cols. 1124–6), what sort of European legislative instrument is responsible for the current ban in the United Kingdom on the use of Emtryl; whether this was considered by the Council of Ministers; and, if so, what was the result of the Council's deliberations.

Council Regulation (EEC) 2377/90 requires the setting of maximum residue limits (MRLs) for the active ingredients of all veterinary medicinal products used in food producing species. Following a review of dimetridazole, the active ingredient of Emtryl, the European Commission proposed that it be included in Annex IV of the Regulation (in effect, banned). Following consideration by the appropriate Regulatory Committee, in accordance with Article 8 of Regulation 2377/90, the proposal was put to the Council of Agriculture Ministers. In the absence of a simple majority against the proposal within three months of its submission, the Commission was able to proceed. Commission Regulation 1798/95, placing dimetridazole in Annex IV of the Council Regulation, was therefore published on 25 July 1995 and came into effect 60 days later.

Sheep Scab Control: Research

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the latest development of the research programme on the control of sheep scab and the use of organophosphorus dips.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has just approved two research projects to investigate alternatives to chemicals such as organophosphorus (OP) dips for the control of sheep scab. These will run for three years and cost about £1.2 million. They will form a significant addition to the existing research programme and will be directed to developing and testing new approaches to the identification of possible sheep scab vaccines and identifying the most effective methods of application. Additionally the research will develop models to maximise the impact of future control strategies.

Statutory Redundancy Payments From Insurance Fund

asked Her Majesty's Government:For each year from 1975 to 1995, what was the cost to the national insurance fund of the failure of companies to meet their obligations to their employees in respect of statutory redundancy payments; how many companies were involved; and how many employees were affected.

The total cost to the national insurance fund of statutory redundancy payments made to employees under section 106 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 is set out in the following table. The figures include payments to former employees of insolvent businesses. Information on the number of companies and employees involved is not available.

Year£ million
1975–7611.2
1976–7714.5
1977–7814.6
1978–7912.4

Year

£ million

1979–8019.3
1980–8142.0
1981–8253.0
1982–8372.2
1983–8469.0
1984–8557.1
1985–8654.6
1986–8750.2
1987–8834.9
1988–8932.4
1989–9025.7
1990–9167.6
1991–92131.8
1992–93161.9
1993–94130.6
1994–9589.5

Mother And Baby Units In Prisons

asked Her Majesty's Government:Which prisons have mother and baby units; how many places are available in each unit; up to what age babies are allowed to stay with their mothers in these units; and how many women are currently in mother and baby units and for what offences they were sentenced.

Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Baroness Mallalieu from the Director of Security and Programmes, the Prison Service, Mr. A. J. Pearson, dated 8 February 1996.

Lady Blatch has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question asking which prisons have mother and baby units; how many places are available in each unit; up to what age babies arc allowed to stay with their mothers in these units; and how many women are currently in mother and baby units and for what offences they were sentenced.

There are now four mother and baby units in the female prison estate: Holloway, New Hall, Askham Grange and Styal. Holloway has places far 17 mothers with their babies, Styal has places for 22, Askham Grange can take a maximum of 20 mothers with their babies and New Hall has places for 9. In New Hall and Holloway, babies may remain with their mothers up until the age of 9 months. In the other two female establishments, young children may be allowed to stay with their mother up to the age of 18 months. The differing periods have been set in the light of advice from the Department of Health, which monitors regularly the treatment of children within these units.

On 31 January 1996, 58 women had their babies with them in the four mother and baby units. The offences for which the mothers were sentenced are shown in the attached table.

Offence type

Number of mothers

Violence against the person6
Theft and handling6
Arson2
Burglary1
Robbery7
Fraud and forgery1
Drug offences25
Other offences19
Offences not recorded1

1Include blackmail, death by dangerous driving, interfering with witnesses, illegal immigrant, handling stolen goods and deception.

Drug Testing In Prisons

asked Her Majesty's Government:Since the introduction of mandatory drug testing in prisons, how many tests have been conducted in each prison and how many were positive; and how many were random tests, tests on suspicion and voluntary tests, respectively; andHow many prisoners have refused to be tested for drugs since mandatory drug tests were introduced; what types of substance have been detected in positive tests; what trend there has been in types of drug detected (for example, any shift from Class B to Class A); andHow many adjudications have resulted from positive drug tests since mandatory tests in prisons were introduced; how many of these resulted in awards of additional days; how many requests for home leave have been refused as a result of positive tests; and how these figures break down according to gender and ethnic group.

Responsibility for these matters has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Hylton front the Director of Operations—South, the Prison Service, Mr. Alan Walker, dated 8 February 1996:

Lady Blatch has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Questions about the mandatory drug testing of prisoners.

Mandatory drug testing (MDT) began in eight pilot establishments in February 1995. A phased programme to introduce it in all remaining establishments began in September last year. Between February and November, some 4,961 screening tests were carried out under the MDT programme. The attached table shows the number of tests performed by each establishment. Five hundred and thirty-one of the screening tests were non-random (on suspicion; at reception; for risk assessment; or part of a frequent testing programme). Some laboratory returns have not discriminated between types of testing so it is not possible to provide a figure for on suspicion testing alone. Voluntary testing both pre-dates and is separate from the MDT programme, with several prisons opting to perform their own screening tests. Figures for the number of voluntary tests are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Although figures for the number of positive tests by establishment are not yet available, results from the eight pilot prisons showed that of those prisoners tested at random, 36 per cent. tested positive for illicit drugs. The vast majority of positive tests were for cannabis (31 per cent.) with heroin (3 per cent.) and benzodiazepines (tranquillisers) (2 per cent.) being the next most frequently misused drugs. Other drug types such as cocaine, amphetamines, LSD and barbiturates are detected, but only in a very small number of prisoners. It is too early in the programme to identify any clear trends in prisoners' drug misuse or the type of drug detected.

Between February and December 1995 there were 1,972 proven adjudications for unauthorised use of a drug, 171 for refusal to provide a sample, and 16 for adulteration of a sample. The attached tables show the number of adjudications for drug offences, and how many adjudications resulted in awards of additional days, broken down both by sex and by ethnic group. Information on the number of applications for temporary release refused because of a positive drug test is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mandatory drug testing samples submitted for screening by establishment February 1995—November 1995

Establishment

Start date

Samples screened

Belmarsh06.11.9539
Bristol01.02.95443
Canterbury30.10.9534
Cookham Wood01.11.9514
Dover01.11.9526
Drake Hall21.11.954
Elmley01.09.9595
Everthorpe15.09.9570
Feltham08.02.95459
Haslar02.11.9510
Haverigg11.10.9588
Hindley07.11.9531
Holloway18.04.95314
Huntercombe27.11.9511
Kingston01.11.959
Lancaster Farms06.11.9546
Lincoln09.11.9529
Lindholme08.02.95238
Littlehey11.09.95148
New Hall07.11.9510
Northallerton02.09.9536
North Sea Camp21.11.9515
Nottingham16.11.954
Pentonville20.02.95780
Preston03.10.9565
Ranby06.11.9526
Reading03.11.9519
Risley11.09.95169
Rochester01.10.9569
Stafford06.11.9549
Stoke Heath06.02.95252
Styal05.09.9564
Sudbury01.11.9557
Swaleside01.09.95108
Thorn Cross25 .10.9531
Wakefield01.03.95498
Wayland24.01.95540
Whatton21.11.9526
Wymott01.10.9535
Grand Total4,961

Punishments of unsuspended additional days1 2 for drug offences3 made in Prison Service establishments, by gender and ethnicity, February-December 1995

White

Asian

Black

Chinese and other4

Number

Average(days)

Number

Aver-age(days)

Number

Average(days)

Number

Average (days)

Males and Females

2,47011.5748454108012
Possession1,38513.551820773915
Selling13110034110
Unauthorised use9899.522822093813
Refusal to provide a sample76151422924
Adulterate a sample78002506

Males

2,407127415450127713
Possession1,362135115207143815
Selling13110038010
Unauthorised use95111221521693717
Refusal to provide a sample741617221827
Adulterate a sample7800211011

Females

63110049311
Possession23140000114
Selling0000110
Unauthorised use3880049110
Refusal to provide a sample214000000
Adulterate a sample000000

1 Excludes suspended and prospective punishments. Punishments other than additional days may also have been given concurrently for the offences shown.

2 The maximum number of additional days that a Governor could award was increased to 42 days on 25 April 1995.

3 Includes attempting. inciting and assisting.

4 Includes Asian other.

Total

White

Asian

Black

Chinese and other2

Males and Females

5.5594,349139912159
Possession3,3642,65110551791
Selling3629061
Unauthorised use1,9721,5363234460
Refusal to provide a sample1711212417
Adulterate a sample1612040

Males

5,4454,249139904153
Possession3,3152,60510551590
Selling3428060
Unauthorised use1,9111,4853233856
Refusal to provide a sample1691192417
Adulterate a sample1612040

Females.

114100086
Possession4946021
Selling21001
Unauthorised use6151064
Refusal to provide a sample22000
Adulterate a sample00000

1 Includes attempting, inciting and assisting.

2 Includes Asian other.