Home Page

Column 313

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 22 November 1991

TRANSPORT

Departmental Achievements

Mr. Prescott : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement of the achievements of his Department since October 1990.

Mr. Rifkind : My Department has continued to ensure that Britain's growing transport needs are met with regard to safety, efficiency and with proper respect for the environment.

Serious road casualties have continued to fall. In particular, road deaths in the year ending June 1991 were at their lowest level since 1948, despite a ninefold increase in the volume of traffic in the intervening period. We are continuing to promote greater transport safety through regulation, publicity and investment. The Road Traffic Act has reformed road traffic law in the light of the North report and will ensure that bad driving and drink driving are properly punished. The law on the wearing of seat belts has been extended to passengers travelling in the rear seats of cars. We have enhanced our road safety publicity campaigns under the "Safety on the Move" umbrella, notably on drinking and driving and child road safety. For the first time, expenditure of over £30 million was specifically earmarked in the 1991-92 transport supplementary grant settlement for low- cost safety schemes.

Increasing sums are also being spent on improving the safety of public transport. British Rail plans to spend over £200 million on specific safety measures during the current year and London Underground plans to spend over £80 million this year on further safety improvements. We have helped to secure international agreement at the International Maritime Organisation to improvements in standards for ro-ro ferries, oil tankers and bulk carriers. Under the powers in the Aviation and Maritime Security Act 1990, measures have been introduced for the first time for the security of passenger shipping. Existing aviation security measures have been strengthened and new ones are being developed. A new transport security division has been created within the Department, with enhanced resources. Significant progress has been made towards the reduction of pollution from motor vehicles. Agreement has been reached in Brussels on substantially tougher emission standards for both cars and lorries. Since 1 November, thme annual MOT test has included a test on vehicle emissions.

Investment in transport infrastructure by both the public and private sectors is at historically high levels. The electrification of British Rail's east coast main line, at a cost of some £450 million, was completed in June 1991. British Rail invested more than £800 million in total in 1990-91--the highest in real terms in a single year since the transition from steam to diesel in the 1960s--and is expected to invest over £1 billion in the current year.


Column 314

London Underground investment, currently running at about £450 million a year, is also at record levels. The increased EFLs for 1992-93 announced in the autumn statement--£2,040 million for BR and £1,210 million for LT--are further evidence of the Government's commitment to the railways.

Provision for national trunk roads and motorways is being maintained at over £2 billion a year and has been more than doubled since 1988-89. The opening of the M40 extension to Birmingham in January 1991, and of the M20 between Maidstone and Ashford in May 1991, closed important gaps in the English motorway network. Since October 1990, we have opened over 150 miles of new or improved trunk roads, including 15 new bypasses.

We have continued to take steps to encourage an enhanced role for the private sector in the provision of transport infrastructure. The new Queen Elizabeth II bridge between Dartford and Thurrock was financed and constructed entirely by the private sector. The New Roads and Street Works Act has introduced new procedures for the authorisation of privately financed roads. We have announced our choice of concessionaire for the Birmingham northern relief road. To encourage private sector participation in the railways, I have written to the chairman of British Rail asking BR to respond positively to reasonable proposals from the private sector to run new passenger and freight services, to charge fairly for the use of railway facilities and to allow private operators to use their own locomotives and train crew if they wish.

We have secured the passage of legislation to enable trust ports to move into the private sector and a number of them are now seeking to do so.

The Government have remained at the forefront of moves to liberalise the provision of air transport services, both within the European Community and through bilateral arrangements with other countries around the world. Since March 1991, airlines have been better able to match services at Heathrow to the needs of passengers, following our removal of most of the traffic distribution rules governing access to the airport.

A45

Sir Eldon Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 12 November, Official Report, column 426-27, if he will list the number of days on which portions of the carriageways of the A45 between Bury St. Edmunds and Newmarket and Bury St. Edmunds and Stowmarket have been closed for purposes of routine maintenance and work by public utilities.

Mr. Chope : The information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Road Accident Statistics

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what investigations he or the transport and road research laboratory, made of the cases where a blind spot in a rear view mirror has (a) caused or (b) was a potential factor in any road accident.

Mr. Chope : It is only possible to identify the rear-view mirror blind spot reliably as being a contributory factor to an accident when vehicles are reversing. A Transport and Road Research Laboratory study of such accidents


Column 315

involving fatalities and serious injuries shows that a majority are caused by error or negligence, but that rear view blind spots are also a factor in most cases.

SS Richard Montgomery

Mr. Moate : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement indicating the frequency of surveys undertaken on the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery close to the Isle of Sheppey ; what are the current measures being taken to protect the wreck ; and if he has any plans to review the policy of maintaining these measures and otherwise leaving the wreck undisturbed.

Mr. McLoughlin : The site of this dangerous wreck is designated as a prohibited area under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. It has been clearly marked as such on charts, and by notices attached to the wreck. A notice to mariners has also been issued designating the site as a foul area where trespassers are liable to prosecution. A number of surveys have been carried out in the wreck. Following expert advice, the last two surveys have been at roughly five-year intervals. As my hon. Friend is aware, the most recent survey was completed by September this year and I hope to make a statement as soon as we have reached conclusions about the findings.

Road Flooding

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received regarding the placing of roadside advertisements with the slogan "road ahead flooded" ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : I have received a copy of a complaint made to the Advertising Standards Authority about this advertisement.

Air France

Mr. Roger King : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he is making to the European Commission's Transport Commissioner Karel van Miert to block a French Government subsidy of £200 million to Air France.

Mr. McLoughlin : No formal representations were invited on this particular issue and I made none ; but I continue to press the Commissioner for a report which he has promised on the whole issue of state aids in air transport.

WALES

Vale Royal Porcelain Ltd

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether any assistance was given to Vale Royal Porcelain Ltd., when the company moved from Stoke on Trent to Wrexham ; and whether the company is currently in receipt of grant aid or other assistance from his Department.

Mr. David Hunt : The company was entitled to and received regional development grant.

Relocation Assistance

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he carries out of the financial viability of companies before providing them with relocation assistance.


Column 316

Mr. David Hunt : I refer the hon. Lady to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 19 November 1991. Similar procedures operate in my Department.

Mathematics Teaching

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what measures he intends to take to improve the teaching of mathematics in primary schools.

Sir Wyn Roberts : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is in the process of implementing a national curriculum for mathematics in primary schools. The curriculum is aimed at improving standards, including basic mthematical skills. Pupils between the ages of five and nine are currently being taught the curriculum and from August 1993 it will apply to all primary school pupils. The results of the first national curriculum tests for mathematics of seven-year-olds show that 74 per cent. of pupils have reached the expected standard (level 2) or higher. These results are encouraging but there is scope for further improving basic mathematical skills. Advice has been sought from the School Examinations and Assessment Council on the detail of the results. Once this is available my right hon. Friend and I will decide what further guidance teachers might require.

Copies of the bulletin giving details of the test results have been sent to all primary school headteachers and directors of education so that they can make their own comparisons of performance and to ensure that standards in their schools are kept under regular review. Her Majesty's inspectorate (Wales), as part of its ongoing programme of inspection of individual schools, will look closely at the standards of teaching in mathematics. Where the inspectorate report unacceptably low standards the local education authority will be asked about the improvements it proposes to make.

Grant support will continue to be made available to assist local education authorities in 1992-93 to provide training and support to teachers implementing the national curriculum, including the mathematics curriculum.

Careers Teaching

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to ensure that each secondary school in Wales has a full-time careers teacher.

Sir Wyn Roberts : It is for local education authorities and schools to decide whether to appoint careers teachers to secondary schools.

Standard Assessment Tasks

Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many children sat the language assessment for key stage 1 in the standard assesment tasks (a) in English and (b) in Welsh in each of the local education authority areas in Wales.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The information requested is as follows :


Column 317


Local Education  Number of pupils assessed 

Authority        the subjects of:          

                |English |<1>Welsh         

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

Clwyd           |4,079   |514              

Dyfed           |2,441   |1,625            

Gwent           |5,375   |132              

Gwynedd         |400     |2,267            

Mid Glamorgan   |6,369   |813              

Powys           |1,211   |167              

South Glamorgan |4,804   |297              

West Glamorgan  |4,084   |403              

                |----    |----             

Wales           |28,763  |6,218            

<1> The assessment of Welsh in 1991 was    

not a statutory requirement and was tested 

on a pilot basis only.                     

Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many children sat the language standard assessment task at key stage 1 in the current year in (a) English and (b) Welsh at each individual primary school in Dyfed.

Sir Wyn Roberts : My right hon. Friend has given an undertaking to headteachers, local education authorities and teachers' unions that no data collected on the national curriculum key stage 1 assessments for 1991 will be published by the Department at individual school level.

Poll Tax (Non-payment)

Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the cost involved in centrally collecting information of the numbers of people in arrears for the poll tax for 1990-91.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : We have not estimated the cost involved in centrally collecting information on the numbers of people in arrears for community charge. The department collects information from charging authorities on the amounts of community charge received and outstanding.

Cardiff Bay Barrage

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he considered that the proposed Cardiff bay barrage required an environment impact assessment to be carried out in accordance with articles 5 to 10 of European Council directive 85/337/EEC.

Mr. David Hunt : The directive indicates that it is not applied to "projects the details of which are adopted by specific acts of national legislation, since the objectives of this directive, including that of supplying information, are achieved through the legislative process". However, in accordance with Standing Orders, an environmental statement has been supplied and published, and while article 7 is not considered to be relevant in this case, it is clearly right that in its consideration of the Bill, Parliament should assess the environmental effects of the project in accordance with the provisions of the directive identified in the question.


Column 318

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Indonesia (Arms Embargo)

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to meet other EC partners to discuss an arms embargo on the sale of all arms and military equipment to Indonesia.

Mr. Garel-Jones : No.

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will now review his policy on the introduction of an embargo on the sales of arms and military equipment to Indonesia.

Mr. Garel-Jones : No. Our policy remains as stated by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his answer of 18 March.

EC Treaty Provisions

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has on how each EC Government and national assembly plan to implement and approve the legislation to enact treaty provisions on political, economic and monetary union.

Mr. Garel-Jones : Article 236 of the treaty of Rome requires that any amendments to the treaty be ratified by all member states in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements. These vary between member states and in many cases will depend on the content of the new treaties agreed at Maastricht.

Falkland Islands

Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken concerning the continental shelf around the Falkland Islands ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Garel-Jones : The question of oil in the south Atlantic, specifically in the continental shelf off Patagonia and around the Falkland Islands, has been receiving increasing attention in recent years. Her Majesty's Government have been in contact with the Falkland Islands Government on the matter.

Having considered proposals by the Falkland Islands Government, my right hon. Friend has instructed the Governor of the Falkland Islands to take the necessary legislative measures to provide for the exercise of the Crown's rights over the sea bed and the sub-soil of the continental shelf around the Falkland Island's.

In addition, an ordinance known as the Continental Shelf Bill 1991, will be laid before the Legislative Council of the Falkland Islands. Upon entry into force, this would allow seismic surveying to take place under licence in designated areas of the continental shelf. Officials from the British and Argentine Governments will meet shortly to explore the scope for co- operation.

Hong Kong

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those topics and areas for discussion concerning Hong Kong at meetings of the Joint Liaison Group upon which there will be prior consultation with LEGCO.


Column 319

Mr. Garel-Jones [holding answer 21 November 1991] : Under the terms of the joint declarations the proceedings of the joint liaison group (the main role of which is to conduct consultations on the implementation of the joint declaration and to discuss matters relating to the smooth transfer of government in 1997) are confidential unless the two sides agree otherwise. The joint declaration stipulates that the JLG shall play no part in the administration of Hong Kong before or after 1997. The implementation in Hong Kong of some agreements reached in the JLG requires new legislation or the provision of funds by the Legislative Council. The Hong Kong Government wish to build up a co-operative partnership with the council, and intend to provide members with all the information and explanations that they need to assess the Administration's policies.

Kenya

Mr. Fraser : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations were made to the Government of Kenya about the recent suppression of dissidents.

Mrs. Chalker : Her Majesty's Government have constantly stressed the need to respect freedom of expression and the importance of outlets for legitimate dissent in Kenya. Immediately news of the arrest of the dissidents was received in London on 15 November, the Kenyan deputy high commissioner was summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and told of our concern. Parallel action was taken by our high commission in Nairobi. We hope that those arrested will be released immediately so that progress can be made on President Moi's expressed willingness to move towards multi-party democracy.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Legal Aid

Mr. Fraser : To ask the Attorney-General what estimate of eligibility on income grounds, by reference to a percentage of households and population, is made in relation to green form legal advice for 1979, 1989 and 1990 using the same methodology as adopted to produce the estimates for civil legal aid set out in table 3 of annex A to the consultation paper on eligibility for legal aid published in June 1991 by the Lord Chancellor's Department.

The Attorney-General : No estimates have been made of eligibility for green form legal advice and assistance. Eligibility for legal advice and assistance will be considered at a later stage of the Lord Chancellor's review of financial conditions for legal aid.

Mr. Fraser : To ask the Attorney-General what is the current timetable for the review of legal aid announced by the Lord Chancellor on 13 November 1989 ; by what date under this timetable the review team intends to respond to submissions to its consultation on civil legal aid eligibility released in November 1991 ; what further consultations on what subjects are planned by the review team ; and by what date the review team currently intends to complete its tasks.

The Attorney-General : Responses to the consultation paper on non- matrimonial civil legal aid are now being


Column 320

considered and proposals will be issued in the first half of 1992. It is expected that a consultation paper on the financial conditions for legal aid in criminal proceedings will be published in the summer of 1992 and that the review team will then begin work on legal aid for matrimonial and family matters and legal advice and assistance with the aim of completing its work in 1993.

Commercial Courts

Mr. Fraser : To ask the Attorney-General what plans the Government have to establish further commercial courts outside London.

The Attorney-General : The commercial court sits at the Royal Courts of Justice in London to hear disputes, mainly arising from the international commercial activities of the City of London. Commercial lists have been established at Manchester and Liverpool comprising general commercial business cases. Further such lists in other parts of the country will be considered should local business communities demonstrate a need.

County Courts

Mr. Fraser : To ask the Attorney-General what percentage of county courts and district registries now have user committees.

The Attorney-General : Of 288 county courts and combined court centres (including part-time caller offices), 112 (39 per cent.) are at present covered by court user committees. Plans are in hand to cover a further 23 courts, bringing the percentage to 47 per cent. Of 24 district registries, 13 (54 per cent.) are covered by court user committees. The percentage will increase to 75 per cent. when five further district registries are covered in the near future.

Bristol City Council (Judgment)

Mr. Nellist : To ask the Attorney-General if he will place in the Library a copy of the judgment R. v. Bristol City Council and Another, ex- parte Willsman and Another 17 October 1991.

The Attorney-General : I have, as requested, arranged for a copy of the judgment R v. Bristol City Council and Another, ex-parte Willsman and Another, 17 October 1991, to be placed in the House of Commons Library.

Civil Actions

Dr. Godman : To ask the Attorney-General if he will list the statutory provisions which set out the circumstances in which a person serving overseas with the United Kingdom armed forces or a member of the family of such an individual may raise a civil action in an English court concerning a criminal offence committed in a place outwith the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General : By virtue of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982, which gives effect to the Brussels convention on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, persons in another EC member state, including members of our armed forces, may sue in an English court in respect


Column 321

of any wrongful act done to them, whether or not it constituted a criminal offence, if the defendant is domiciled in England and Wales.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Benefits

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the current targets for his Department's offices in Wales for meeting (a) delivery and (b) accuracy of benefits administered.

Miss Widdecombe : The setting of targets for district offices is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member and copies will be placed in the Library and the Public Information Office.

Social Fund

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claimants applied for grants or loans under the social fund during the financial year 1990-91 in each of the benefit offices in Wales ; how many applications were turned down and for what reason ; what was the average size of the grant, crisis loan or budgetary loan in the year ; and if he will provide comparable figures for the first six months of 1991-92.

Mr. Scott : I understand from Mr. Michael Bichard, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, that the information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Benefits Office, Neath

Mr. Hain : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the proposal to close the Neath branch of the Benefits Agency.

Miss Widdecombe : The operation of the network of Benefits Agency district offices is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member and copies will be placed in the Library and the Public Information Office.


Column 322

Retirement Pensions

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will update his answer of 20 March 1990, Official Report, column 597, on the gross cost of uprating the retirement pension by average earnings in each year since 1980-81 at 1991 prices.

Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 5 November 1991] : The information is given in the table, based on 1991-92 prices. It is only possible to estimate the net cost for the current year, 1991-92, in which it would have been £4.43 billion allowing for a reduction of £0.28 billion of income support ; £0.26 billion of community charge benefit ; and £0.72 billion of housing benefit.


Estimated extra cost of retirement pension   

with upratings in line                       

with average earnings<1>                     

Financial      |Gross cost                   

year           |(£ billion)<2>               

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

1980-81        |0.13                         

1981-82        |0.51                         

1982-83        |0.64                         

1983-84        |0.72                         

1984-85        |1.37                         

1985-86        |1.53                         

1986-87        |2.41                         

1987-88        |3.56                         

1988-89        |4.35                         

1989-90        |5.20                         

1990-91        |5.65                         

1991-92        |5.69                         

<1> Actual average earnings, whole economy.  

<2> 1991-92 prices.                          

HOME DEPARTMENT

Police Statistics

Mr. McWilliam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list by English police authority (a) the population covered by that authority, (b) the police force establishment of that authority, (c) the total arrests made in that authority, (d) the number of arrests per officer, (e) the total number of reported crimes, (f) the number of crimes per officer, (g) the total number of crimes per 1,000 population and (h) the total number of unsolved crimes per 1,000 population.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The information requested is provided for 1990 in the table.


Column 321



Crime, Population and Police Manpower, by English Police Authority                                                                                

1990 (except where stated)                                                                                                                        

Police force                 |Population  |Police      |Arrests (all|Arrests     |Recorded    |Crimes      |Crimes per  |Crimes not               

                             |mid-year    |manpower    |offences)   |per police  |crime <2>   |per police  |1,000       |cleared-up               

                             |1989                                  |officer                  |officer     |population  |1,000                    

                                                                                                                        |population               

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

Avon and Somerset            |1,413,700   |3,127       |42,421      |14          |127,052     |41          |90          |63                       

Bedfordshire                 |531,168     |1,092       |17,705      |16          |53,701      |49          |101         |77                       

Cambridgeshire               |655,047     |1,211       |18,389      |15          |44,565      |37          |68          |42                       

Cheshire                     |958,562     |1,937       |27,823      |14          |55,462      |29          |58          |27                       

Cleveland                    |552,836     |1,516       |26,584      |18          |73,878      |49          |134         |96                       

Cumbria                      |491,627     |1,217       |19,479      |16          |33,344      |27          |68          |37                       

Derbyshire                   |929,401     |1,786       |23,079      |13          |60,421      |34          |65          |41                       

Devon and Cornwall           |1,493,970   |2,914       |31,404      |11          |92,127      |32          |62          |41                       

Dorset                       |656,827     |1,308       |17,487      |13          |47,912      |37          |73          |47                       

Durham                       |596,928     |1,401       |25,965      |19          |54,406      |39          |91          |56                       

Essex                        |1,464,129   |2,940       |39,990      |14          |95,924      |33          |66          |46                       

Gloucestershire              |529,494     |1,179       |17,043      |14          |42,394      |36          |80          |53                       

Greater Manchester           |2,582,384   |7,134       |116,678     |16          |338,591     |47          |131         |82                       

Hampshire                    |1,676,412   |3,230       |63,171      |20          |120,329     |37          |72          |47                       

Hertfordshire                |840,560     |1,689       |22,648      |13          |46,339      |27          |55          |38                       

Humberside                   |856,250     |2,020       |36,066      |18          |104,467     |52          |122         |74                       

Kent                         |1,523,673   |3,056       |47,007      |15          |103,301     |34          |68          |49                       

Lancashire                   |1,390,794   |3,257       |57,235      |18          |108,273     |33          |78          |37                       

Leicestershire               |891,926     |1,817       |24,949      |14          |72,784      |40          |82          |52                       

Lincolnshire                 |586,855     |1,236       |21,474      |17          |39,187      |32          |67          |37                       

City of London               |4,267       |815         |4,809       |6           |7,100       |9           |<3>-        |<3>-                     

Merseyside                   |1,447,983   |4,771       |69,207      |14          |139,208     |29          |96          |50                       

Metropolitan Police District |7,223,077   |28,278      |<1>116,865  |<1>4        |834,324     |30          |116         |93                       

Norfolk                      |748,501     |1,416       |22,727      |16          |54,625      |39          |73          |45                       

Northamptonshire             |576,059     |1,168       |18,242      |16          |48,119      |41          |84          |53                       

Northumbria                  |1,431,721   |3,595       |65,694      |18          |203,825     |57          |142         |79                       

North Yorkshire              |722,305     |1,406       |20,221      |14          |46,252      |33          |64          |37                       

Nottinghamshire              |1,014,822   |2,377       |45,468      |19          |133,166     |56          |131         |83                       

South Yorkshire              |1,295,191   |3,031       |43,979      |15          |107,314     |35          |83          |44                       

Staffordshire                |1,038,990   |2,229       |36,861      |17          |72,513      |33          |70          |41                       

Suffolk                      |641,029     |1,221       |13,905      |11          |37,743      |31          |59          |34                       

Surrey                       |743,803     |1,690       |20,920      |12          |42,579      |25          |57          |41                       

Sussex                       |1,416,690   |3,048       |37,358      |12          |94,914      |31          |67          |49                       

Thames Valley                |1,960,401   |3,765       |59,098      |16          |148,025     |39          |76          |55                       

Warwickshire                 |483,060     |1,039       |13,161      |13          |32,903      |32          |68          |47                       

West Mercia                  |1,078,501   |2,063       |32,285      |16          |62,937      |30          |58          |30                       

West Midlands                |2,615,409   |7,030       |123,868     |18          |264,769     |38          |101         |63                       

West Yorkshire               |2,066,609   |5,371       |84,172      |16          |236,012     |44          |114         |73                       

Wiltshire                    |558,395     |1,193       |14,507      |12          |33,578      |28          |60          |33                       

<1> Arrests figures on notifiable offences only.                                                                                                  

<2> Crime figures relate to notifiable offences recorded by the police.                                                                           

<3> Not applicable.                                                                                                                               

Prisons

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inmates would be accommodated by the cells which are not in use at London prisons due to work taking place on the installation of an internal sanitation system within those prisons.

Mrs. Rumbold : On Tuesday 19 November there were 351 cells out of use in London local prisons and remand centres because of work to install integral sanitation. The certified normal accommodation for these cells is 351, but if they were to be used at previous levels of overcrowding some 412 prisoners would be accommodated.

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures will be taken to ensure that private prison staff will be checked for suitability and be trained to the same standard as Her Majesty's prison service standards.

Mrs. Rumbold : The Criminal Justice Act 1991 requires the director and other custodial staff of any contracted out prison to be certified by the Secretary of State as prisoner custody officers. The Act further provides that the Secretary of State may issue a certificate only if he is satisfied that they are fit and proper persons and have received training from the contractor to the approved standard.

Animal Experiments

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review the regulations in the code of practice for the housing and care of animals used in scientific procedures relating to the temperatures at


Column 324

which old and new world primates should be kept, to reflect the fact that these groups of primates include species which come from widely different climates.

Mrs. Rumbold : The code of practice, which was based closely on guidelines produced by the Royal Society and the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, sets out optimal room temperature ranges for new world primates and old world primates used in scientific procedures. These temperature ranges are considered to meet the welfare needs of the animals and we have no plans to review them.

Special Branch

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to whom prison-based special branch operations are accountable.

Mr. Kenneth Baker : The direction and control of all police operations is a matter for the chief officer of the police force concerned.

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he plans to review the nature of special branch operations in England and Wales, and in particular the accountability of such operations ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Baker : I have no plans to do so. The conduct of police operations is a matter for the chief constable of the police force concerned.

Overseas Voters

Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his Department's advertising campaign to encourage the


Column 325

registration of overseas voters, including the total amount spent so far and the number of overseas voters who have registered as a result.

Mrs. Rumbold : No advertising or publicity to inform British citizens abroad of their voting rights was undertaken by the Home Office this year, apart from the updating of posters used in British diplomatic posts abroad at a cost of £1,400. We shall make known to the House in due course the number of overseas electors included on the draft electoral register for 1992-93.

Brixton Prison (Escapes)

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what parts of Judge Tumim's report to him regarding the recent gaol escape from Brixton were not published ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Baker : Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons advised me that for reasons of security he believed that much of his report could not be published, and that to publish it as it stood would endanger the remaining security at Brixton and the safety of individuals. I concurred with that view and published those parts which Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons considered could be published.

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether the July 1991 Brixton escapees had or were made aware of any drawings or plans of the prison by any member of the prison staff ;

(2) who authorised the activities organised by Staffordshire police in Brixton gaol in late 1990 and early 1991.


Next Section

  Home Page