Mr. Morgan : To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his answer of 7 November to the hon. Member for Cardiff, West, if he will place in the Library a copy of the Jones report on the circumstances of the death of Rudolf Hess.
The Attorney-General : No. The document which the hon. Member refers to as the Jones report is a report submitted by the Metropolitan police to the Director of Public Prosecutions setting out the result of a police investigation into an alleged criminal offence. Such reports are confidential.
Mr. Ridley : The majority of letters from hon. Members should receive a substantive reply within three weeks. Exceptionally, replies to some letters about matters receiving considerable public attention at the time of writing may be delayed until a substantive reply can be sent.
Mr. Iain Mills : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on current negotiations on the establishment of a common European trade mark and the location of the proposed European trade mark office.
Mr. Forth : There has been no progress on either issue in recent months. Earlier this year the European Community devoted its efforts to negotiations with other countries on the international registration of marks. These were successfully concluded at a diplomatic conference in June. Indications are that negotiations on the European Community trade mark system will resume next year.
Mr. Roger King : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether, in the light of the death of Jennifer Ashton aged three on 6 November, he will consider the safety aspects of Kinder chocolate eggs and their contents ; and if he will urge their withdrawal from sale pending any recommendations for their improved safety.
Column 712include the findings of the coroner's inquest which is to be held on 10 November. When all the facts are available I will give the matter my urgent attention. I hope that the considerable media attention which this tragic accident has attracted will alert parents to the dangers which can be associated with small toys and their parts.
Mr. Forth : The common air interface has been issued by my Department as a standard, with the reference MPT 1375. It has been notified as a United Kingdom national standard to the European Commission under the procedure laid down in directive 83/189/EEC. My Department is currently preparing to issue an accompanying test specification schedule. A number of other European countries are considering adopting this standard.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has any proposals to specify technical standards for CT2 following the grant of licences to four consortia ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Forth : The technical standards for CT2 have for the most part already been specified. Equipment has to satisfy the requirements of the standards BS6833 and MPT 1334. It is intended that by the end of next year the Telepoint operators will be obliged by conditions of their licences to install the common air interface in their base stations. Equipment using this interface will have to satisfy the standard MPT1375. A test specification schedule to this standard is in preparation. At some future time, after consulting the industry and taking advice from the Director General of Telecommunications, consideration will be given to the general adoption of the common air interface for Telepoint equipment. It is not expected that the adoption of this interface will be mandatory for CT2 equipment which is not capable of being used for Telepoint.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make it his policy at the next European Council of Industry Ministers on 14 November in Brussels, to introduce initiatives on (a) recycling of materials, including paper, packaging, metals and chemicals, (b) environmental protection for industrial plants, in regard to potential trans-frontier pollution and (c) energy policies in industry to reduce carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbon release to help mitigate the greenhouse effect.
Mr. Forth : Environmental issues such as those cited by the hon. Gentleman have important implications for business and it may be expected that these will in due course be considered by the Council of Industry Ministers. However, there are no plans to raise them at the meeting on 14 November.
The agenda for Council of Ministers meetings is determined by the presidency which is currently held by France.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if his Department has been invited to participate in the seminar on waste incineration and the environment, to be held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London on 13 December.
Mr. Chope : The Disablement Services Authority which is a centrally funded special health authority provides wheelchairs free to all those with a clinical need, generally on the recommendation of a general practitioner, occupational therapist or physiotherapist. There is therefore no need for support to local authorities through rate support grant.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what protection there will be for private sector tenants who at the moment pay contractual rental inclusive of rates upon the introduction of the community charge ; and how tenants will be protected where landlords do not wish to settle on the basis of individual contracts.
Mr. Chope : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Bow and Poplar (Ms. Gordon) on 9 May at column 386. We are preparing an explanatory booklet for tenants about rent and rates, and reference to this will be included in the prescribed notes attached to community charge bills.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the reasons for his decision not to meet representatives from Greenpeace (United Kingdom) to discuss environmental policies and environmental protection.
Mr. Trippier : It is too early to consider whether an agency will be required to be responsible for the final disposal of heat generating or high level radioactive waste. This waste is being stored at British Nuclear Fuels' site at Sellafield for at least 50 years to enable a reduction in the heat and radioactivity to take place before disposal.
Mr. Clay : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimates he has as to the number of full-time equivalent jobs that will arise within (a) the Hylton colliery area and (b) the Southwick shipyard area of the Sunderland enterprise zone by the end of each year from 1990 to 1994, inclusive, listing the estimated numbers separately for each of the areas.
Mr. Moynihan : It is estimated that, when fully developed, these and the other parts of the proposed Sunderland enterprise zone may together give rise to some 3,000 to 4,000 jobs. It is not practicable to break this down further, as the timing and location will depend inter alia on the progress of reclamation and development and the decisions of individual firms.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what information is available to the National Rivers Authority about (a) the specific extent of the toxicity of the blue-green algae at Rutland Water in early September ; and whether that toxic level was a normal seasonal phenomenon and (b) whether any animals died as a result of toxic blue-green algae poisoning at any other reservoirs under the scrutiny of the National Rivers Authority during the period in question ;
(2) whether he will place in the Library and make available to Rutland district council and Leicestershire country council (a) the scientific findings relating to the death of animals at Rutland Water carried out by the National Rivers Authority, (b) the similar investigations and reports by Dundee university on behalf of Anglian Water and (c) information made available to the National Rivers Authority as a result of post-mortems by veterinary surgeons following the death of dogs and sheep.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 6 November 1989] : I understand that the NRA has results of mammalian toxicity tests performed in September which showed the blue-green algae in Rutland Water to be highly toxic. It is not possible to determie whether or not the level of toxicity at Rutland Water was a normal seasonal phenomenon, although blooms of blue-green algae in later summer are a common occurrence in many waters of the United Kingdom. Apart from Rutland Water, the NRA has no knowledge of animal deaths elsewhere which can be attributed to toxic blue-green algae.
Column 715Data from monitoring the algae at Rutland Water have been made available to the appropriate local authority environmental health officers and this, together with the results of the toxicological work commissioned from Dundee university, is also included on the public register maintained by the NRA. Studies and post mortems on animal deaths at Rutland Water connected with the algae have been carried out by the veterinary service of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and I understand that final results are not yet available.
(2) what is the estimated completion date for the improvement of the M20 between junctions 5 and 8 ;
(3) when he expects to let the contracts for improvement of the M20 between junctions 5 and 8.
|Numbers ------------------------------------------ Between junctions 5 and 6 |61,000 Between junctions 6 and 7 |46,000 Between junctions 7 and 8 |24,000
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department had any representation at, or presented any papers to, the conference on intermodal transport and the single European market in Paris on 9 and 10 November.
Mr. Randall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate what would be the impact on local poll tax payers if the whole of the outstanding debt on the Humber bridge was carried by people (a) within the city of Hull boundary and (b) within the county of Humberside boundary.
Mr. Atkins : Current discussion with the Humber Bridge Board will lead to the production of estimates of the effect of the recent toll increase on their debts. Although the Humber bridge legislation provides that deficiencies in toll revenue should be met by local taxpayers none of the estimates to be made will assume that the whole debt is met by them. In agreeing to treat the
Column 716Humber bridge as a special case for assistance, the Government have accepted that they will have a part to play.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information his Department received about the closing of the north and southbound carriageways of the A1 near Welwyn Garden City on Friday 27 October, due to an accident ; when the BBC were informed ; and what information he has on the timing of broadcasts by the BBC to warn motorists of the traffic chaos.
The BBC learnt of the accident from Hertfordshire police at 14.35 and broadcast the first bulletin on Radios 1 and 2 during the next 10 to 15 minutes. This was updated regularly throughout the afternoon.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he received from London Regional Transport for proposed percentage fare increases in 1990 ; what increases he agreed to ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : My right hon. Friend has discussions with LRT covering the whole range of LRT finances, as part of the annual public expenditure survey. Final decisions on fares rest with the LRT board.
Mr. Atkins : The Road Traffic (Driver Licensing and Information Systems) Act 1989 gives the Secretary of State power, in licensing driver information systems, to impose conditions about the roads on which systems can direct traffic. The need for such conditions in relation to a commercial Autoguide scheme will be considered in the light of the results of the proposed London pilot scheme. The local authority associations and the police will be closely involved in monitoring such a scheme.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will seek the publication of the taped telephone and radio calls between callers to the Barnstaple 999 centre, Her Majesty's Coastguard and the emergency services relating to the accidental drowning of Mark Woodward on 16 August.
Mr. McLoughlin : Her Majesty's Coastguard tapes relating to this incident were kept and were available at the coroner's inquest. Following the inquest they were cleaned and put back into service. I understand that British Telecom plc has a similar arrangement for the recording of 999 calls. Any request for access to BT tapes should be made directly to BT.
Mrs. Chalker : We have not agreed to provide support to this project from the aid programme, but only to explore the possibility of doing so. I understand that the aim of the project is to promote sustainable forest management and to provide demonstration areas in which to develop such management practices ; these are relevant to the needs of Brazil and other countries.
Mr. Neubert : Halons are widely used in fire-fighting systems. Chlorofluorocarbons are used for air conditioning/refrigeration equipment, aerosol propellants, and cleaning purposes (solvents) and are present in manufactured items such as insulation material.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans exist for reducing the use of halons and chlorofluorocarbons for defence applications, as a contribution to protecting the ozone layer.
Mr. Neubert : The testing and demonstration of fire-fighting systems based on the use of halons has already been curtailed. Plans exist to replace chlorofluorocarbons unfriendly to the ozone layer by alternative, ozone-friendly, substances as they become available. Steps have already been taken to reduce the emissions of CFC's in certain areas.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the latest precautions his Department is taking to reduce the potential hazard arising from electromagnetic interference to (a) ground based, (b) airborne and (c) seaborne nuclear weapon systems.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : All nuclear weapon systems are designed to minimise their vulnerability to hazards such as electromagnetic interference. Standard safety procedures ensure that nuclear weapons are only handled, maintained or transported under conditions where the possibility of hazards is extremely remote. These procedures are kept constantly under review.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there has been any change in the past five years in the microwave transmission intensity radiated to the United Kingdom from the Soviet Union and known as the woodpecker signal.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : I have no information on microwave transmissions radiated to the United Kingdom from the Soviet Union. "Woodpecker" is a high frequency over-the-horizon radar transmission to which there has been no change over the last five years.
Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans are in train to mark the 50th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation ; and what facilities are to be provided to enable members of the Dunkirk Veterans Association (a) from the United Kingdom and (b) from Commonwealth countries to participate in any planned commemorations.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : We are considering requests for meservice participation in events in France to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation. We have no plans to provide official facilities to enable members of the Dunkirk Veterans Association from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth to participate in any of the planned commemorations.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : As a general rule, it is our intention that all new fast jet aircraft should be fitted with video cameras. Cine cameras on older aircraft are being replaced by video cameras where this is deemed cost effective.
Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made towards equipping all crews of Royal Air Force fast jets and jet-trainer aircraft with self-inflating life jackets and dinghies.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : We intended to equip all fast jet and jet trainer aircrew with automatically inflating life-saving jackets. These have already been issued to Phantom aircrew, though the automatic inflation capability is not yet operational. The contract to equip the rest of the fast jet force has recently been awarded and it hoped that all the RAF's needs will be met by the end of 1991. All appropriate aircrew are already equipped with dinghies ; these are easily inflatable manually and studies do not suggest that provision of a self-inflating variety would improve aircrew survival.
(2) what plans he has to counteract the effects of electronic warfare signals beamed at the United Kingdom.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what would be the cost of applying the Ministry of Defence occupational pension to all war widows widowed prior to 1973 ; how many extra widows would then become entitled ; and what would be the estimated average increase in pension per widow that they would then receive.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Separate figures relating to those war widows whose husbands died before 31 March 1973 are not available. The attributable forces family pension introduced into the armed forces occupational scheme in 1973 is payable only to those war widows whose husbands gave service on or after 31 March 1973. The cost of paying such a pension to all war widows whose husbands' service ended before that date, at current rates, is estimated to be around £200 million a year. About 52,000 war widows would benefit and the average increase in pension received per widow, on that basis, would be approximately £74 per week.
Mr. Buchan : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he is yet in a position to respond to the request from the hon. Member for Paisley, South that the proposed European literary prize should be launched in 1990 in Glasgow as the European City of Culture.
Mr. Luce : I am grateful to the hon. Member for having made the suggestion that the new European literary prize should be launched in Glasgow in 1990. I am pleased to say that at their informal meeting on 2 November 1989, EC Ministers responsible for cultural affairs welcomed this proposal on my recommendation.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service under what circumstances, and on whose authority, civil servants are permitted to participate in the deliberations of the Centre for Policy Studies ; whether they are allowed to advise that body ; and whether that body makes any payment for the professional expertise provided by such civil servants.
Mr. Luce : Guidance on the circumstances in which civil servants may attend or participate in activities organised by outside bodies such as the Centre for Policy Studies is set out in chapter 6 of the personnel management handbook, which also covers the question of payment. Copies of the handbook are available in the House Libraries.
Mr. Butterfill : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what percentage of current personal sector debt is accounted for by consumer credit ; what percentage of the consumer debt is in the form of credit card borrowing ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : At the end of 1988 consumer credit formed 14 per cent. of personal sector borrowing. At that time bank credit card lending formed 16 per cent. of consumer credit. More recent but less complete figures indicate that there has been no change since then in the proportion of consumer credit represented by credit card borrowing.
Mr. Evennett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has regarding the interpretation placed upon section 100 of the Building Societies Act 1986 by the Building Societies Commission ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : I have nothing to add to the guidance issued by the Building Societies Commission on 20 October, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament. This sets out the Building Societies Commission's interpretation of section 100. Nothing in the guidance calls into question the validity of schemes along the lines of that adopted by Abbey National.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many credit unions have been established in each of the past 20 years ; what is the approximate size of membership of each of these credit unions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : The number of credit unions registered since the coming into operation of the Credit Unions Act 1979, which provided the first statutory framework for credit unions in Great Britain, has been :
|Number ---------------------- 1979 |2 1980 |55 1981 |16 1982 |8 1983 |2 1984 |3 1985 |2 1986 |13 1987 |16 1988 |45 <1>1989 |44 <1>To 7 November.
According to the most recent annual returns received by the registrar of friendly societies from each credit union registered in Great Britain, the average membership of all
Column 721credit unions is 141. However, there is considerable variation in membership levels, as the following table shows :