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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 8 February 1989

HOME DEPARTMENT

Isle of Man

99. Mr. Holt : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last met representatives of the Manx Government ; and what matters relating to the representation abroad of the interests of the Manx Government were discussed.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : My right hon. Friend met members of the Executive Council of the Isle of Man in September1987. No matters relating to the representation abroad of the interests of the Manx Government were discussed on that occasion, but Home Office Ministers and officials are in regular contact with the Isle of Man Government on matters concerning the island.

Services for Deaf People

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many interpreters for the deaf are employed by police authorities ; if he is satisfied with the availability of interpreters for deaf people in contact with the police ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : It is an operational matter for the police to obtain the services of a suitably qualified interpreter for the deaf in appropriate cases. The Home Office has no record of the numbers of such interpreters whose services are used by the police. Such information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Guidance to the police on interviewing suspects who are deaf is contained in the codes of practice issued in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and in Home Office circular 88/85, copies of which are in the Library. Code C, for the detention, treatment and questioning of persons by police officers, advises the police that most local authority social services departments can supply a list of suitably qualified interpreters.

The Home Office is currently reviewing the first four codes of practice issued. The views of a wide range of organisations (including those representing the deaf) have been sought and will be taken fully into account.

Economic League

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Economic League is registered under the Data Protection Act 1984.

Mr. Renton : The Economic League has a single entry in the data protection register, a copy of which is in the Library, covering its processing of personal data for the administration of the organisation.

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to enact legislation to ensure


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that people blacklisted by the Economic League can obtain access to the files that have caused their blacklisting to check that information.

Mr. Renton : No.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight, 20 January, Official Report, column 350, what action is being taken to reduce the time taken to deal with claims for compensation by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten : We have provided extra resources which have enabled the board to open a new office in Glasgow, to increase its staff in post from 220 in 1987 to 320 now, and to finance the resulting increase in the number of awards made. We are also reviewing administrative procedures with the board with the aim of reducing the time taken to resolve claims.

Custody Time Limits

Mr. Andrew MacKay : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for the further extension of custody time limits.

Mr. Hurd : I intend to lay regulations which will, with effect from 1 June, extend custody time limits to Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Cleveland, Derbyshire, Durham, Hereford and Worcester, Humberside, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumbria, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Warwickshire, and West Yorkshire. In the west midlands, the time limit to committal will be reduced from 84 to 70 days in all petty sessions areas except Birmingham where it will remain 84 days. The regulations will also apply with custody limits to serious fraud cases transferred to the Crown court under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1987.

Probation Officers

Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will publish in the Official Report in tabular form the information he has, using age bands, for each five-year period from 1965 to the most recent year for which figures are available, on the ages of individuals appointed to be senior probation officers ; (2) if he will publish in the Official Report the information he has, in age bands and in tabular form, on the ages of individuals appointed to be probation officers since 1965 who were (i) under 28 years of age and (ii) between 28 years of age and 65 years of age.

Mr. John Patten : This information is not available centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost, if it is available at all.

Football Matches (Arrests)

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list Rugby League football clubs together with the following information for each of them during the 1987-88 season : (a) the number of


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matches played at their grounds, (b) the total season's attendance, (c) the total arrests in association with such matches, (d) the average attendance per match, (e) the average number of arrests per match and (f) the arrests as a proportion of the attendance.


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Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 26 January 1989] : I have been asked to reply.

No information is collected centrally about the numbers of arrests at Rugby League matches. Attendance figures and matches played at the grounds of Rugby League clubs in the 1987-88 season were :


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Division 1             |Number of matches at  |Total attendance      |Average attendance per                       

                       |ground                                       |match                                        

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bradford Northern      |14                    |68,674                |4,905                                        

Castleford             |13                    |58,770                |4,520                                        

Halifax                |15                    |96,440                |6,429                                        

Hull                   |17                    |84,073                |4,945                                        

Hull Kingston Rovers   |17                    |73,229                |4,308                                        

Hunslet                |14                    |36,704                |2,622                                        

Leeds                  |16                    |177,631               |11,102                                       

Leigh                  |15                    |69,606                |4,640                                        

St. Helens             |18                    |146,856               |8,159                                        

Salford                |18                    |72,573                |4,032                                        

Swinton                |14                    |42,292                |3,021                                        

Warrington             |18                    |93,544                |5,197                                        

Widnes                 |15                    |99,427                |6,628                                        

Wigan                  |21                    |278,917               |13,282                                       

                                                                                                                   

Division 2                                                                                                         

Barrow                 |14                    |22,740                |1,624                                        

Barley                 |16                    |15,956                |997                                          

Bramley                |15                    |13,061                |871                                          

Carlisle               |16                    |13,607                |850                                          

Dewsbury               |16                    |12,274                |767                                          

Doncaster              |16                    |23,658                |1,479                                        

Featherstone Rovers    |19                    |38,669                |2,035                                        

Fulham                 |15                    |9,322                 |621                                          

Huddersfield           |14                    |8,417                 |601                                          

Keighley               |16                    |17,988                |1,124                                        

Mansfield Marksman     |14                    |5,146                 |368                                          

Oldham                 |18                    |69,449                |3,858                                        

Rochdale Hornets       |15                    |16,444                |1,096                                        

Runcorn Highfield      |16                    |8,658                 |541                                          

Sheffield Eagles       |14                    |11,862                |847                                          

Springfield Borough    |18                    |19,231                |1,068                                        

Wakefield Trinity      |17                    |40,049                |2,356                                        

Whitehaven             |16                    |31,087                |1,943                                        

Workington Town        |14                    |10,322                |737                                          

York                   |16                    |22,324                |1,395                                        

Police Surgeons

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will review present arrangements for the work of general practitioners who act as part-time police surgeons.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker) on 27 January 1989 at column 769.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Borrowing

Mr. Warren : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide a breakdown from the latest available data of the major types of borrowers in the public and private sectors of the economy.

Mr. Major : Information on borrowing is given in the CSO's monthly publication "Financial Statistics", which is available in the Library of the House. Section 1 provides a unified set of financial data for all the main sectors of the economy. Subsequent sections give various breakdowns


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by financial instrument and source appropriate to individual sectors. Also given is an industry analysis of borrowing from the monetary sector.

EC (Indirect Taxation)

Mr. Gardiner : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will report on his discussions with the European Commissioner for taxation and customs union on 19 January ; and how far these discussions advanced the planned approximation of indirect taxes within the Community.

Mr. Lilley : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer had a useful discussion with Madame Scrivener which I hope will pave the way for further constructive exchanges in the future. The Government remain of the view that indirect tax approximation is unnecessary for the completion of the single market.

Mr. Gardiner : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals he intends to put to the Council of Ministers on 13 February to advance the planned approximation of indirect taxes within the European Community.


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Mr. Lilley : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already suggested an alternative, market-based approach to indirect taxation in the single market, which remains on the table for future discussions.

VAT

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on proposed changes to value added tax zero rating of supplies to non-domestic consumers ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : I assume that the hon. Gentleman has in mind the changes in VAT zero rating resulting from last June's judgment of the European Court of Justice which were announced in my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, South (Mr. Yeo) on 6 February. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has received, and taken fully into account, a large number of representations about the implementation of this judgment.

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate what additional revenue would accrue from proposed changes to implement value added tax standard rating of supplies to university halls of residence ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : None. No changes are proposed to the VAT zero rating of supplies of new construction services and fuel and power to university halls of residence.

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

Public Appeals

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will specify each donation which the Overseas Development Administration has made in response to public appeals for financial aid during each financial year since 1979-80.

Mr. Chris Patten : The ODA has made three responses to public appeals since 1979, in each case to appeals launched by the disasters emergency committee of major voluntary agencies following disasters overseas. These are :


                                              |£                  

------------------------------------------------------------------

December 1987, for famine victims in Ethiopia |2,000,000          

August 1988, for flood victims in Sudan       |1,000,000          

August 1988, for flood victims in Bangladesh  |1,000,000          

These figures exclude the ODA's responses to the many appeals to donor Governments from the United Nations and other international agencies.

Amazonia

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the value of Her Majesty's Government's contribution to development projects in the Amazonian area of Brazil ; and what measures are taken to ensure that these projects do not result in the destruction of tropical rain forests.

Mr. Chris Patten : We have jointly funded with non-governmental agencies nine projects assisting the


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people of the Amazonian region at a cost of about £77,000 and we are providing £80,000 to the Maraca rain forest project which conducts research into forest regeneration. International organisations of which the United Kingdom is a member have supported projects in the region, but we do not have information detailing disbursements under individual loans provided through these channels. Environmental conditions have normally been attached to such loans.

Afghanistan

Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to provide aid to meet current humanitarian needs in Kabul.

Mr. Chris Patten : We have provided £60 million of aid for the victims of war in Afghanistan since 1980, including £10 million in the current financial year. In addition, I have just agreed a further contribution of £500,000, particularly to meet current mother and child relief needs ; £250,000 of this is being channelled through UNICEF and £250,000 is for the International Committee of the Red Cross relief programmes.

SCOTLAND

Lennox Castle Hospital

Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on what dates in the period 1979 to 1988 the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland has visited Lennox Castle hospital ; and when the commission first indicated to Greater Glasgow health board its anxieties about conditions there.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : In the discharge of its functions under the Mental Health (Scotland) Act 1984, the Mental Welfare Commission has visited Lennox Castle hospital on the following occasions : Programmed visits

28 November 1984

23 October 1985

26 November 1986

13 April 1988

Special visits

2 August 1985

7 January 1988

9 December 1988

Prior to 1984, visits were confined to those by individual medical commissioners for the purposes of interviewing patients and such visits continue on an annual basis.

The commission first commented adversely about some aspects of the facilities at Lennox Castle following the visit on 28 November 1984. The Greater Glasgow health board has embarked on a major rebuilding and upgrading programme ; two new, purpose-designed intensive care units have been built, and four wards substantially upgraded at a cost of £3.8 million. A recurring increase of £2 million, or 18 per cent. of the mental handicap budget, has been approved by the board in the current year for the recruitment of additional staff and support in the community.

The board has committed itself to making Lennox Castle a centre of excellence and is making the necessary provision to achieve that objective.


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Training Schemes

Mr. Dewar : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many workers in Scotland are presently employed in Government-sponsored training schemes ; what this represents as a proportion of the work force ; and what are the figures for each o the last 10 years.

Mr. Rifkind : Information on numbers participating in Government training programmes is available only for YTS and the community programme and from 1984 onwards. Participants in these programmes as a proportion of the civilian work force since 1984 are set out in the table :