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Mr. Peter Lloyd : I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my right hon. Friend to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Mr. Forman) on 5 December 1990 at columns 117- 18.

Wormhoudt Massacre

Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has received a report from the German prosecutor following the interviews with survivors of the Wormhoudt massacre on 5 October 1989 and other statements provided on 20 June.

Mr. John Patten : My right hon. Friend has not received a report from the German prosecutor, but the German Ministry of Justice has undertaken to keep the British Government informed of the prosecutor's eventual decision.


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Broadcasting

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions in the last year the broadcasting unit of his Department has made contact with (a) the BBC and (b) the IBA ; and what subjects were raised.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Officials from the broadcasting department of the Home Office have been in touch with the BBC and the IBA regularly throughout the year. A wide range of broadcasting subjects were discussed, including matters connected with the Broadcasting Act 1990.

Vietnamese Boat People

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will offer to allow the 111 Vietnamese boat people whose boat was destroyed by the Hong Kong authorities to enter the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The Government have agreed to resettle a further 2,000 Vietnamese refugees over the three years to June 1992. We will be happy to consider the cases of any of the 111 who meet the criteria for selection to come to the United Kingdom under this programme.

Mobility Allowance

Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to send to all recipients of mobility allowance over 18 years of age a reminder that they are eligible for a proxy or postal vote at elections without the need of supporting signatures of qualified persons.

Mrs. Rumbold : We are not aware that there is a general lack of knowledge among electors who receive a mobility allowance about their absent voting rights. However, we are considering ways in which the provisions allowing an absent vote both for an indefinite period and at a particular election might be made more widely known.

Racism

Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he proposes to strengthen the legislation against racist literature.

Mrs. Rumbold : The Public Order Act 1986 strength-ened the relevant legislation. We have no current plans for further amendment to it.

LSD and Strychnine

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action his Department and the police are taking to discover the source of self-adhesive stickers laced with LSD and strychnine which are being offered to children ; and whether anybody has yet been apprehended for offering these substances.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand from the national drugs intelligence unit and the police that they have not been able to find any evidence whatsoever to support claims that


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such stickers exist. In the absence of such evidence, the police here and in other countries believe that circular letters claiming that such stickers are being offered to children are a hoax, although they remain ready to examine any evidence which is put to them.

Channel 3

Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department intends to abandon the contiguity rule when implementing the ownership restrictions relating to Channel 3 franchises under schedule 2 of the Broadcasting Act.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : As I made clear in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Bennett) on 4 December at columns 85-87 , we intend, through the supplementary ownership rules, to allow one body to hold a controlling interest in two regional Channel 3 licences as long as they are not both large, and for this purpose nine of the 15 licence areas will be designated as large. When we originally announced our proposals on ownership of Channel 3 licences we envisaged designating only five or six licence areas as large, but providing in addition that co- ownership of contiguous areas would not be permitted. We believe on further consideration that a contiguity rule could give rise to unintended problems and that the need for such a rule can in large part be met by designating a higher number of "large" areas as we propose.

Asylum

Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will indicate the average length of time taken to determine applications for asylum made (a) in the United Kingdom and (b) at posts overseas.

Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 11 December 1990] : Information is given in the following table.


Estimated average length of time between                           

the receipt of an asylum application and the decision,             

for cases decided in the third quarter of 1990                     

                                                     |Months       

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

(a) Applications made in the United Kingdom<1>       |13.5         

(b) Applications made at British posts overseas, and               

      referred<2> to the Home Office for decision    |14           

<1>At ports or after entry.                                        

<2>Excludes certain applications by nationals of Afghanistan and   

Somalia to the British High Commission in, respectively, New Delhi 

and Dhaka, which are being processed locally. Information on the   

average decision time for these cases is not currently available   

centrally.                                                         

Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for each month since September 1989 to the nearest available date how many applications made within the United Kingdom for asylum were made (a) by applicants in the United Kingdom with leave, (b) by overstayers and (c) by alleged illegal entrants.

Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 12 December 1990] : Information is given in the table. Reliable estimates of the status of applicants after May 1990 are not yet available.


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Applications <1><2> for asylum in the United Kingdom made after entry, by status of principal applicant                       

September 1989 to May 1990                                                                                                    

                           1989                                    1990                                                       

                          |September|October  |November |December |January  |February |March    |April    |May                

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

Status of principal applicant at time of application                                                                          

Within existing leave     |535      |610      |420      |515      |600      |410      |440      |500      |475                

Overstayers<3>            |60       |70       |60       |40       |65       |75       |80       |80       |115                

Illegal entrant           |50       |30       |50       |45       |85       |30       |50       |95       |105                

Information not available |80       |90       |50       |75       |150      |170      |185      |65       |80                 

                          |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------            

Total                     |720      |800      |580      |670      |900      |685      |760      |735      |775                

<1> Provisonal figures: those for 1990 may understate because of delays in recording. Figures rounded to nearest 5.           

<2>Including dependants applying at the same time, or subsequently to date.                                                   

<3> Including those who were subject to deportation action as an overstayer or on other grounds.                              

Police Officers (Homicides)

Sir John Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many homicides of police officers have been reported in England and Wales since the passage of the Homicide Act 1957 ; and how many cases have resulted in conviction for murder.

Mr. John Patten [holding answer 12 December 1990] : Information on the number of homicides of police officers is published annually in "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales"--table 4.4 (a) and 4.4 (b) in the latest issue for 1989, Cm. 1322--copies of which are available in the Library.

During the period 1958-1989, there were 51 homicides of police officers reported in England and Wales. Of these, 27 resulted in conviction for murder.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Exports (Iraq)

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what communications his Department has had with the firms, Walter Somers Ltd. and Sheffield Forgemasters Ltd., regarding the export of goods to Iraq.

Mr. Lilley : My Department has had three approaches from Walter Somers Ltd. and two letters from Forgemasters Engineering about equipment now known to be for the Iraqi long-range gun project.

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has as to which overall contracts the gun components for Iraq were part of ; and whether any such contracts were promoted by his Department through the British Overseas Trade Board export intelligence service.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 11 December 1990] : Orders for components of the Iraqi long-range gun used the number of a genuine petrochemical project known as PC2. Genuine orders for project PC2 were promoted through the BOTB's export intelligence service, but none of the information passed related to the Iraqi gun project.

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what action was taken after the report of Walter Somers that it had been approached about aiming equipment in the Iraqi supergun order.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 11 December 1990] : Walter Somers was advised that an export licence would not be granted for such equipment. No further action was taken in the absence of a connection between this and any other orders.


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Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the day on which it was made known to his Department that Dr. Gerald Bull had conceived plans involving piping for a gun or launcher.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 11 December 1990] : Evidence began to accumulate on this in late 1989.

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what specifications of the Iraqi supergun export order were given to his Department.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 11 December 1990] : Certain descriptions and drawings of materials now known to relate to the Iraqi long-range gun were passed to the Department by Walter Somers and Sheffield Forgemasters in 1988.

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether any inquiries were made to the Export Credits Guarantee Department in respect of the Iraqi gun export order.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 11 December 1990] : For reasons of commercial confidentiality, it has been the policy of successive Governments not to disclose details of commercial relations between ECGD and its customers.

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the specifications of the Iraqi export order supergun were first available to his Department.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 11 December 1990] : No full specification of the supergun as a whole has ever been passed to this Department.

Export Controls

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps are taken by his Department to ascertain the accuracy of the information that is supplied by those firms seeking licences to export goods under the Exports of Goods (Control) Order 1987.

Mr. Lilley : I have nothing to add to the statement made by my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade on 29 November, column 1060.

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the proper functioning of his Department's procedures for scrutinising licence applications under the Exports of Goods (Control) Order 1987.

Mr. Lilley : The administration of export licensing by my Department was throroughly reviewed in 1988 and the controls are kept under continuous review to ensure that they remain effective and are efficiently administered.


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Technology (Imports and Exports)

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will set out the occasions since 1979 when he has used the provisions of the Import, Export and Customs Powers (Defence) Act 1939 to prohibit the export of sensitive technologies or materials relating to United Kingdom commitments to (a) the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, (b) COCOM controls and (c) the missile technology control regime ; and what goods have been subject to forfeit under these provisions over the same time period.

Mr. Lilley : This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Pakistan (Nuclear Weapons)

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he possesses in regard to attempts by Pakistan between February and April 1990 to purchase advanced high-temperature furnaces capable of assisting in the production of nuclear weapons from the Consarc Company and Torval Ltd., based in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Lilley : It is not the practice to discuss individual export control matters.

Defence Equipment Licensing

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what category of licences are included in the figures for export licences granted for the sale of defence equipment in 1988 and 1989 as listed in his answer of 15 October, Official Report, column 685, which are not included in his answer of 21 February, Official Report, column 792, to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks).

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 12 December 1990] : Licences for personal firearms and shotguns are included in the figures supplied in the answer of 15 October. These licences were not included in the answer of 21 February which dealt specifically with military equipment.

SCOTLAND

Occupational Health Services

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what arrangements exist for the provision of an occupational health service for employees within his Department ; and (a) how many staff are employed to provide occupational health services, (b) how many of those staff are qualified nurses and (c) how many employees work in his Department in total.

Mr. Lang : All civil service departments and agencies have access to the services of the civil service occupational health service which employs some 100 fully qualified occupational health professionals--doctors, nurses and hygiene and safety advisers. It operates via a network of regional offices throughout the United Kingdom.

At 1 December 1990 13,268 staff were employed in the Scottish Office, Scottish prison service, the Registers of Scotland executive agency and the three minor departments (Scottish Record Office, General Register Office for Scotland, and the Scottish Courts Administration) for which I am responsible.


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Firearms (Visitors' Permits)

Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many applications have been dealt with for British visitors' permits under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 in respect of each police authority in Scotland for the most recent period of 12 months in respect of which figures are available.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : For the 12-month period from 1 October 1989, when the permit scheme was introduced, the information is as follows :


Police Force          |Firearm     |Shotgun                  

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

Central               |19          |56                       

Dumfries and Galloway |401         |161                      

Fife                  |27          |73                       

Grampian              |397         |806                      

Lothian and Borders   |174         |566                      

Northern              |1,379       |1,117                    

Strathclyde           |823         |387                      

Tayside               |457         |2,374                    

                      |-------     |-------                  

Total for Scotland    |3,677       |5,540                    

Non-pasteurised Milk

Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment his Department has made of the health implications of the consumption of non-pasteurised milk ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Retail sales of unpasteurised milk have been banned in Scotland since the introduction in 1983 of compulsory pasteurisation. This was in response to widespread public concern about the risks associated with untreated milk following a number of serious outbreaks of milk-borne disease in Scotland. There are no proposals to change the Government's compulsory pasteurisation policy, which has led to the virtual eradication of milk-borne disease in Scotland.

Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has regarding incidents of illness or disease in Scotland in the last 10 years which can be attributed to the consumption of non- pasteurised milk.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The numbers of reported cases of food poisoning associated with the consumption of untreated cows' milk for each year since 1980 are as follows :


           |Number of |Number of            

           |outbreaks |individual           

                      |cases                

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

1980       |5         |103                  

1981       |8         |782                  

1982       |14        |539                  

1983       |7         |29                   

1984       |5         |27                   

1985       |8         |74                   

1986       |2         |10                   

1987       |5         |30                   

1988       |2         |5                    

1989       |-         |-                    

Alcohol Abuse

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the projects and centres to which to the Scottish Office has contributed financially in respect of


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research into alcohol abuse and or misuse, with the figure for each such project or centre for projects to tackle alcohol abuse and misuse.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) on 11 December 1990, column 373 .

Antares

Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what reports the Lord Advocate has sought or received on the sinking of the Antares ; what action he is considering ; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The procurator fiscal at Kilmarnock is investigating the circumstances of the loss of this vessel and the deaths of the crew and will report to Crown counsel.

Designated Places

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the designated places set up in each of the past 10 years and those planned for the next two years ; and what financial assistance was given and is to be provided for the setting up and running of these places.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Albyn house in Aberdeen is at present the only location designated by the Secretary of State in terms of section 5 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1980. It opened in 1983 and received £150,000 capital and £408,000 revenue funding, over four years, from the Scottish Office. A designated place is under construction in Inverness and is planned to open next April. It will receive up to £150,000 capital grant this financial year and tapering revenue grant towards its running costs over the next three years. The amount of revenue grant for 1991-92 is under consideration. Requests for grant under section 10 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 have been submitted to the Scottish Office for designated places in Port Glasgow and in the city of Glasgow, both with the aim of opening in 1992-93. These are being considered and decisions will be announced early next year. Scottish Office financial assistance depends on the nature of the applications received and on competing demands on available resources.

Nature Conservancy Council

Mr. Bill Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will now announce the budget and members of the Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lang : In view of the importance which I attach to nature conservation in Scotland, I have decided that the Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland should be launched next year with a budget of £19 million. This is over 40 per cent. of the NCC budget of £45 million for the whole of Great Britain this year. This will not only allow the existing work to continue, but will provide scope for new initiatives such as a scientific programme relevant to conservation management, delegation of decision-making to the local level, practical conservation projects and more user-friendly procedures. The Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland represents a major Government initiative for nature


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conservation in Scotland. Building on the work of the existing council, we now have all the right ingredients to bring our initiative to fruition. The combination of Magnus Magnusson's dedicated and positive leadership, an experienced and expert council and a budget allowing it to embark on new tasks will give the body the best possible start.

In addition to Magnus Magnusson as chairman I have appointed the following :

Mr. Bruce Cowe

The Earl of Dalkeith

Professor George M. Dunnet

Mr. David Laird

Sir John Lister-Kaye

Councillor Duncan McPherson

Professor Alasdair McIntyre

Dr. Patricia Monaghan

Dr. William Mutch

Professor Christopher Smout

Professor David Sugden

My appointments to the council represent a wide variety of interests. There are scientists of international repute engaged in research on conservation issues, those with land management experience who have a vital practical role to play, and others involved with the voluntary conservation movement. I am sure that this strong team under the leadership of Magnus Magnusson will improve understanding and foster a creative relationship with those involved in the management of Scotland's natural resources. The new agency and the Countryside Commission for Scotland, to which I have also given additional funding, will provide a sound foundation for the creation of Scottish Natural Heritage. I am particularly keen to promote the integration of the two bodies and I know that Magnus Magnusson as its chairman-designate, as well as Bruce Cowe and Bill Mutch who are members of both boards, and the other members and staff of both bodies will carry forward the merger with enthusiasm.

RENAVAL Programme

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress of the European Community's RENAVAL programme in Inverclyde and Glasgow.

Mr. Allan Stewart [holding answer 12 December 1990] : On 31 July the Commission announced that the travel-to-work areas of Greenock and Glasgow had been declared eligible under the RENAVAL Community programme. A programme of measures is being prepared at present and will be submitted shortly to the Commission for approval.

Disabled People

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate the number of disabled people in (a) Strathclyde and (b) Scotland as a whole who could benefit from the sheltered placement scheme ; and how many such persons are now so placed in (i) Strathclyde and (ii) Scotland as a whole.

Mr. Allan Stewart [holding answer 12 December 1990] : I estimate the number of disabled people who could benefit from the sheltered placement scheme to be around 10 per cent. of those registered as disabled. At April 1990 there were around 34,000 registered disabled people in Scotland as a whole, of which about 15,700 were resident in


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Strathclyde. At October 1990 there were 218 such persons employed under the sheltered placement scheme in Strathclyde and 683 people employed through the scheme in Scotland as a whole.

EMPLOYMENT

Disabled People (Anti-discrimination Legislation)

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what discussions his Department has had with disability organisations regarding the introduction of anti-discrimination legislation.

Mr. Jackson : Ministers and officials from this Department have regular discussions with disability organisations during which the subject of anti-discrimination legislation is sometimes raised.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Medical Research Council

Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many administrative staff are employed by the Medical Research Council at its London headquarters ; and what is the cost in absolute terms and as a percentage of its total budget.

Mr. Alan Howarth : I understand that as of 10 December 1990 the MRC is employing 343 administrative staff at its London headquarters office. In the 1989-90 financial year its full running costs were £8.7 million-- 4.7 per cent. of the council's overall budget.

Special Educational Needs

Mr. Gill : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to finalise the draft circular on staffing for pupils with special educational needs which was issued for consultation in January.

Mr. Alan Howarth : The Department has today published circular 11/90 on staffing for pupils with special educational needs and I have arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library of the House.

Primary Schools

Mr. Gill : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received the Audit Commission's report on rationalising primary school provision ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend and I welcome the publication of the Audit Commission's report on rationalising primary school provision. The Government will continue to urge LEAs to remove surplus school places. Despite significant progress in some areas, there are still too many, as this study shows.

The Audit Commission's report indicates that about 900,000, or roughly one fifth, of all primary school places in England and Wales are surplus to requirements. The commission points out that surplus capacity involves expenditure which could be more productively used to improve the quality of education. Its report calls on LEAs to tackle this issue by reviewing their position and by initiating local discussion of proposals for change. The


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commission notes that education in small primary schools is significantly more expensive per pupil ; and its report indicates that unit costs tend to rise steeply when numbers fall below 80 or 90 pupils. It recommends that these costs are taken into account alongside other factors when LEAs review the pattern of provision. It is not possible to eliminate all surplus places and the Government recognise that there are circumstances in which it is neither practical nor desirable to close small schools. But the Audit Commission clearly demonstrates the benefits which can accrue from a more efficient pattern of primary education and the Government share its view that parents and others should be given more opportunity to assess the case for change. We look to LEAs to make the necessary statutory proposals.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Young People (Benefits)

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the cost, in 1991-92, of raising income support, community charge benefit and housing benefit personal allowances for people under 25 years to the level for those aged 25 years and over.

Miss Widdecombe : This information is not available, but I shall write to the hon. Member when it is.


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