Home Page

Column 329

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 27 November 1990

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Anti-Jewish Literature

Mr. Janner : To ask the Attorney-General how many proceedings have been initiated by the Crown prosecution service in respect of the publishers and distributors of anti-Jewish literature from 1987 until the present ; and what was the outcome in each case.

The Attorney-General : I refer the hon. and learned Gentleman to the answer I gave on 13 November, at column 88.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Asylum

Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applicants for political asylum in the United Kingdom are currently awaiting a decision ; and how many of these have been waiting for over 12 months.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : It is provisionally estimated that about 27,800 asylum applications were awaiting a decision in the United Kingdom at 30 September 1990, of which about 8,400 had been outstanding for 12 months or more. However these figures are maxima which overstate the position, because of under-recording of decisions made earlier.


Column 330

Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Dublin convention determining the state responsibility for examining applications for asylum lodged in one of the member states of the European Community will be ratified in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The convention determining the state responsible for examining applications for asylum was signed in Dublin in June by 11 members of the European Community. The ratification process must await a decision by the 12th member, Denmark, on whether to sign the convention.

Postal Voting

Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to introduce the changes regarding postal voting controls in the Representation of the People Act 1990.

Mrs. Rumbold : We propose as soon as possible to make a commencement order to bring the Representation of the People Act 1990 into force. In order for the Act to take effect, it will also be necessary to make some minor amendments to the Representation of the People Regulations 1986 and the European Parliamentary Elections Regulations 1986 and to make an Order in Council in respect of local elections in Northern Ireland.

Child Abuse

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in the Official Report the number of successful prosecutions for child abuse in Wales for each of the last five years.

Mr. John Patten : The available information is given in the table. It is possible from the information held centrally to identify only offences where the victim is by definition aged under 16 : children may also have been the victims of other offences, such as murder, that are not defined by reference to the victim's age.


Column 329



Total number of defendants found guilty for specific offences involving children                                                   

Wales 1985 to 1989                                                                                                                 

                                                                                    Total found guilty                             

Offence                                                                            |1985   |1986   |1987   |1988   |1989           

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

Violence against the person                                                                                                        

Murder of infant under 1 year of age                                               |-      |1      |-      |-      |-              

Infanticide                                                                        |-      |-      |-      |1      |-              

Child destruction                                                                  |-      |-      |-      |-      |-              

Cruelty to, or neglect of, children                                                |12     |9      |24     |25     |17             

Abandoning child aged under 2 years                                                |-      |1      |-      |-      |-              

Child abduction                                                                    |1      |1      |2      |3      |2              

                                                                                                                                   

Sexual offences                                                                                                                    

Buggery with a boy under the age of 16 or with a woman or an animal                |3      |9      |11     |13     |6              

Attempt to commit buggery with a boy under the age of 16 or with a woman or                                                        

  an animal                                                                        |-      |2      |1      |2      |-              

Indecent assault on a male aged under 16 years                                     |25     |20     |19     |13     |22             

Indecent assault on a female aged under 16 years                                   |81     |69     |80     |87     |87             

Unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl aged under 13                              |9      |6      |7      |8      |4              

Unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl aged under 16                              |29     |19     |22     |21     |15             

Incest with girl under 13                                                          |5      |4      |4      |5      |7              

Inciting girl aged under 16 to have incestuous sexual intercourse                  |-      |-      |-      |1      |1              

Householder permitting unlawful sexual intercourse with girl aged under 16 years   |-      |-      |1      |-      |-              

Person responsible for girl aged under 16 causing or encouraging her prostitution,                                                 

  etc.                                                                             |-      |-      |-      |-      |-              

Abduction of unmarried girl aged under 16                                          |-      |-      |1      |-      |2              

Gross indecency with children                                                      |14     |9      |14     |14     |14             

                                                                                                                                   

Summary offences                                                                                                                   

Violence against the person                                                                                                        

Cruelty to, or neglect of, children                                                |-      |-      |-      |-      |-              

Animal Experiments

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now implement article 24 of European Community directive 86/609/EC to render illegal the use of former track greyhounds in laboratory experiments.

Mrs. Rumbold : At the moment, the only type of dog bred on any scale for scientific procedures is the beagle. In the absence of other types of purpose-bred dogs for use in research, it will remain necessary to grant some exemptions, all of which have to be fully justified scientifically, to the requirement in section 10(3) of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 that only those dogs specially bred at and obtained from designated sources may be used in scientific procedures.

Care is, however, taken to ensure that greyhounds obtained from non- designated sources are neither pets nor ex-racing greyhounds which have been supplied to charitable bodies for rehoming as pets.

Commonwealth Citizens (Voting Rights)

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those Commonwealth countries the citizens of which, resident in the United Kingdom, are eligible to vote in United Kingdom elections.

Mrs. Rumbold : Citizens of all Commonwealth countries, who are resident in the United Kingdom and who are not otherwise disqualified, are eligible to register as electors and vote at elections here.

Anti-Jewish Literature

Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police investigations in respect of anti-Jewish literature are currently under way ; and in what month and year each publication was referred to the police.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information about current investigations is not kept centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Firearms Certificates

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list, for the current year, the number of (a) applications for the renewal of and (b) applications for a new shotgun certificate made to the North Wales police, and indicate in each case the number of applications which were not dealt with and certificates issued after (i) 28 days and (ii) three months.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : In the North Wales police force area in 1989 there were 6,697 applications for the renewal of shotgun certificates and 1,068 applications for the granting of new shotgun certificates. Figures for 1990 are not yet available. No information is available centrally on the time taken to deal with these applications.


Column 332

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable for north Wales, as to the reasons for the delay in processing the application for the renewal of a shotgun certificate made by Bryn Havord in April ; and when the certificate will be issued.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : No. The administration of the licensing system under the Firearms Acts 1968 to 1988 is entirely a matter for local chief officers of police.

Magistrates Courts

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance he issues to magistrates court clerks on the regard they should have to the consequences on employers and the public when arranging the hearing of cases relating to non-payment of the community charge by a large number of persons employed in the same undertaking ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten : We have had no evidence so far that any such guidance is required. There would in any case be practical difficulties. Courts issue summonses on the basis of applications from the local authority : information about employment is not included in such applications.

Animal Procedures Committee

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will indicate, without identification of individuals, how many of the 21 members of the Animal Procedures Committee (a) currently hold licences to conduct animal experiments, (b) have previously held such licences, (c) are currently employed by organisations which conduct such experiments and (d) have previously been so employed.

Mrs. Rumbold : For the reasons set out in my reply to a question from the hon. Member on 12 November at columns 37-38, I am not prepared to add to the very full information given in my answer on 19 November at columns 11-12.

TRANSPORT

Carbon Monoxide

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those individuals and organisations which his Department has consulted in respect of the proposed introduction of an emission standard for carbon monoxide ; and if he will indicate which (a) supported the proposed standard, (b) regarded it as too strict, (c) regarded it as too lax, (d) have yet to reply and (e) requested that their comments be treated as confidential.

Mr. Chope : We have consulted 120 individuals and organisations on our proposals to introduce a check of exhaust emissions into the MOT test. Twenty-nine submitted a response. There appears to be strong support for the principle of such a check. I shall make a further announcement on our proposals in the near future.


Column 333

Hazardous Substances

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he remains satisfied with the safety arrangements in place for the road transport of hydrobromic acid.

Mr. Chope : I am satisfied that the regulations for the road transport of dangerous substances, including hydrobromic acid, are adequate.

Northern Line

Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the current status of the project to upgrade the Northern line on London underground ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : I understand that London Underground is working up a scheme for the modernisation of the Northern line. I await its proposals.

A30 (Launceston)

Mr. Neale : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in his review to improve motorists' safety at the Kennards House junction on the A30 trunk road at Launceston.

Mr. Chope : I have agreed that lighting should be installed at this junction. Some changes to road markings are also to be made to help drivers negotiate the junction.

ENVIRONMENT

Planning Procedures

Sir Gerard Vaughan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the dates and circumstances of each occasion when he or a predecessor has exercised his powers in part XV, section 276, of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 ; and in each case how much compensation was paid.

Mr. Michael Spicer : In the period 1955 to 1973 there were 18 cases in which my right hon. Friend's predecessors used their default powers to revoke local authority planning permissions. There have been no cases subsequently. The available details are as follows : Year and details

1955

Orpington Urban District Council : residential development at Lynwood Estate, Orpington.

Chislehurst and Sidcup Urban District Council : residential development between Chislehurst and Sidcup.

1956

Elstree Rural District Council : residential development at Furse Hill Estate, Barnet Lane.

1958

Bletchley Urban District Council : residential development at Watling Street, Bletchley.

Bradford Councty Borough : residential development at Carr Boltom Road, Bradford.

1960

Bullingdon Rural District Council : residential development at Oxford Road, Preston Crownmarsh.

Kerrier Rural District Council : commercial development at Porth Nowas Quay.

North Kesteven Rural District Council : light industrial development at Ripley Drive, North Hykeham.


Column 334

1961

One case--details not known.

1965

One case--details not known.

1966

Two cases--details not known.

1969

Two cases--details not known.

1970

Two cases--details not known.

1972

Bristol City Council--hotel near Avon Gorge.

1973

London Borough of Richmond--residential development at Rutland Lodge, Petersham. Further information is not available in the form requested.

Section 276 of the 1971 Act has now been consolidated in sections 100 and 104 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Catalytic Converters

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if the Government have any plans to provide fiscal incentives to car owners to fit catalytic converters.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Taxation is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Toxic Chemicals (Dumping)

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the progress of the investigations into the illegal dumping of 40 barrels of toxic chemicals in Dunday ; and what measures are being taken to prevent such occurrences in the future.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The investigation of this incident is a matter for Avon county council as waste disposal authority for the area in which it occurred. HM inspectorate of pollution is continuing to monitor developments and is prepared to offer advice on arrangements for analysis or safe disposal should such advice be required.

The Environmental Protection Act 1990, which received Royal Assent on 1 November, includes a duty of care to be imposed on all holders of waste to ensure that it is not disposed of or managed illegally. The Act also extends the penalties for the illegal disposal of waste. The maximum fine on summary conviction will be £20,000, and prison terms will be introduced for all offences. On conviction on indictment fines are unlimited and, where special waste is involved, a maximum prison sentence of five years is possible.

River Pollution

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider introducing measures to give the National Rivers Authority power to prevent pollution from abandoned mineworkings ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The National Rivers Authority has powers under section 115 of the Water Act 1989 to


Column 335

carry out works and operations for the purpose of preventing pollution of controlled waters, to take remedial action where pollution has already occurred and to recover the costs of taking such action. These general powers are applicable to abandoned mineworkings. In such cases, the authority may seek to recover costs from any person who caused pollution.

Homelessness

Mr. George Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the number of homeless people who will be sleeping rough this Christmas.

Mr. Michael Spicer [holding answer 26 November 1990] : We do not make forecasts of the number of people who may be sleeping rough at any point in the future. We have recently announced an increase of £80 million in our package of measures to help such people.

Housing Corporation

Mr. George Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the Housing Corporation's approved development programme allocation on current projections by regions in terms of (a) original projected expenditure per region, (b) current projected expenditure per region, (c) original planned number of units for rent and (d) current projected number of units for rent.

Mr. Key [holding answer 26 November 1990] : This is a matter for the Housing Corporation. I have therefore asked the corporation to respond to the hon. Member direct.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Higher Education

Mr. Knapman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration is being given by his Department to making donations to higher education from industry tax deductible.

Mr. Maude : The tax system already provides incentives to encourage business donations to higher education. Corporation tax relief is available for trade-related company donations for technical education and for cash payments by way of covenants and the gift aid scheme to educational establishments that are charities.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Hong Kong

Mr. Warren : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the reasons for the delay in the development of the new airport at Hong Kong, and when it is now expected to be completed.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : There has been no delay. The Hong Kong Government plan to have the first runway in operation by early 1997.

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the number of


Column 336

Vietnamese children under the age of 14 years who were being held in detention centres in Hong Kong on 20 November.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : On 20 November there were 13,468 children under the age of 14 being held in detention centres in Hong Kong.

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the number of Vietnamese (a) men and (b) women who were being held in detention centres in Hong Kong on 20 November.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : On 20 November there were 16,991 men and 13,976 women being held in detention centres in Hong Kong.

Non-proliferation Treaty

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the implications for the 1995 extension conference of the non-proliferation treaty of the lack of a final document from the fourth review conference.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The lack of a final document did not prevent the review conference from endorsing the continuing importance of the non- proliferation treaty for world security. We hope that the conference in 1995 will take a similarly positive line.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the fourth review conference of the non-proliferation treaty.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The NPT review conference was conducted in a positive atmosphere ; there was wide support for the treaty's objectives and agreement was reached on most issues. It is to be regretted that consensus on a final document was blocked by one delegation, but the conference nevertheless achieved a full review of the operation of the treaty and demonstrated its continuing importance as a cornerstone of world security.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will indicate if any commitments were made to any of the 37 non-governmental organisations invited to the off-the-record briefing referred to in his answer of 31 October 1990, Official Report, column 564, to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) to clarify in writing matters not resolved during the meeting of 23 October.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : As the hon. Gentleman has recognised, the meeting was off the record.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set out the reasons why the United Kingdom Government considered it inappropriate for preparatory meetings for the 1995 nuclear non-proliferation treaty to begin in 1991 and the alternative proposals tabled by the three nuclear non-proliferation depository powers including the United Kingdom.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The preparatory committee deals with administrative arrangements for the review conference, and we see no need for it to meet as early as 1991. For


Column 337

the alternative proposal by the depository powers, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the then Minister of State to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Dr. Thomas) on 18 October, at column 901.

Ukraine

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been received from the Government of the Soviet Republic of the Ukraine concerning the return of a barrel of gold deposited with the Bank of England in the early 18th century ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : None.

Test Ban Treaty

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy in respect of participation in negotiations leading to a comprehensive test ban treaty.


Next Section

  Home Page