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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 4 December 1991

EMPLOYMENT

Labour Statistics

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate has been made of the effect upon the unemployment and employment figures of the 1988 change in the definition of full-time work from 30 hours to 24 hours for benefit purposes.

Mr. Forth : It was estimated at the time that the net effect on the monthly claimant unemployment statistics would have been small. The definition of full-time work used in the employment series remains at 30 hours per week, as it has for the last 45 years and, therefore, the employment figures were unaffected.

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate he has made of the change there will be to the unemployment figures as a result of the redefinition of full-time work for income support purposes from 24 hours to 16 hours ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Forth : The effect on the monthly claimant unemployment statistics is likely to be small, as those affected would have to be working for between 16 and 24 hours a week while signing on at an unemployment benefit office. Moreover, it does not necessarily follow that these people will cease to appear in the figures.

English Teaching

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what sums are available and projected for the current financial year, and the next two financial years, for the training, enterprise and education directorate ; when it is proposed to release finance to fund student course fees and expenses for the current term for English for speakers of other languages ; how many ESOL students there are in England and Wales for the current year ; what are his projections for the following two years ; what were the sums available and expended in each of the last two years ; and how many students were assisted.

Mr. Forth : Total planned expenditure in Great Britain on programmes administered by the Department's training, enterprise and education directorate is £2.9 billion in 1991-92, £2.8 billion in 1992-93 and £2.8 billion in 1993-94.

Support for English for speakers of other languages--ESOL--is provided as an integral part of the Department's training and enterprise programmes. The planning and delivery of these programmes is now the responsibility of training and enterprise councils and is determined by local needs and priorities. Information on expenditure and numbers trained is not separately identified.


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Self-employment

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people are self-employed in (a) Sheffield and (b) the United Kingdom, giving figures from 1987 to date.

Mr. Forth : Self-employed figures are not available below standard region for the dates specified. Self-employed figures for the United Kingdom are as follows :


Self-employed in the United     

Kingdom                         

            |Thousands          

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

1987                            

  March     |2,808              

  June      |2,869              

  September |2,900              

  December  |2,932              

1988                            

  March     |2,963              

  June      |2,998              

  September |3,062              

  December  |3,126              

1989                            

  March     |3,190              

  June      |3,253              

  September |3,264              

  December  |3,274              

1990                            

  March     |3,284              

  June      |<1>3,298           

<1>The figures for June 1990    

are carried forward for later   

dates pending the results of    

the 1991 Labour Force Survey.   

Enterprise Allowance

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what types of business have been created by the enterprise allowance, broken down by standard industrial classification, or by manufacturing, construction, transport and distribution, retail, private services, and other, giving details for (a) Sheffield and (b) the United Kingdom.

Mr. Forth : Information on the numbers of new businesses started through the enterprise allowance scheme, broken down by the slightly modified standard industrial classification used for this scheme, is given in the following table.

The figures are for the year ending 31 March 1991 and cover Great Britain only. A similar scheme operates in Northern Ireland, but the Employment Department does not collect information on this. Separate information for the Sheffield area is not available.


Industrial classification of EAS businesses-               

1 April 1990 to 31 March 1991-United Kingdom               

Category                  |Total     |Percentage           

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

Agriculture, forest, fish |2,266     |3.76                 

Manufacturing             |8,259     |13.69                

Construction              |7,608     |12.62                

Distribution and retail   |9,387     |15.57                

Hotel and catering        |1,592     |2.64                 

Repair of goods           |2,565     |4.25                 

Transport                 |2,435     |4.04                 

Business services         |7,717     |12.80                

Other services            |17,338    |28.75                

Not classified            |1,140     |1.88                 

                          |---       |---                  

Grand Totals              |60,307    |100.00               

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of business start-ups the


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enterprise allowance constitutes for each year from 1987 to date, giving figures for (a) Sheffield and (b) the United Kingdom.

Mr. Forth : The information requested is not available.

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have been on the enterprise allowance scheme each year from 1987 to date, giving figures for (a) Sheffield and (b) the United Kingdom.

Mr. Forth : The numbers of people joining the enterprise allowance scheme are recorded in financial years, as shown in the following table. The figures cover Great Britain only : a similar scheme operates in Northern Ireland, but the Employment Department does not collect information on this.


Enterprise allowance scheme participants 1987 to 1991   

Year          |Sheffield    |Great Britain              

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

1987-88       |1,712        |106,305                    

1988-89       |1,686        |98,522                     

1989-90       |1,206        |77,886                     

1990-91       |770          |60,307                     

1991-92       |<1>438       |<2>27,195                  

<1> Up to 4 November 1991.                              

<2> Up to 30 September 1991, which is the latest date   

for which comprehensive Great Britain information is    

available.                                              

Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the success rates for businesses started on enterprise allowance for each year from 1987 to date, giving figures for (a) Sheffield and (b) the United Kingdom.

Mr. Forth : The table shows the proportion of enterprise allowance scheme businesses which completed a full year on the scheme. A 1988 survey of a sample of EAS businesses begun in March and April of 1987 showed that 76 per cent. of businesses in Great Britain were still trading six months after completing a full year on the scheme. Information specific to Sheffield is not available from this survey.


Enterprise allowance businesses completing a full year  

on the scheme                                           

Year          |<1>Great     |<2>Sheffield/              

              |Britain      |Rotherham                  

              |percentage   |percentage                 

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

1987-88       |83.44        |n/a                        

1988-89       |83.84        |83.06                      

1989-90       |82.63        |83.53                      

<1> The figures given are for Great Britain only: a     

similar scheme operates in Northern Ireland but the     

Employment Department does not collect information on   

this.                                                   

<2> Sheffield and Rotherham were covered by the same    

field office at this time and the figures cannot be     

separated out to give information on Sheffield only.    

Success rates for businesses started in 1990-91 will not be known until the end of the 1991-92 financial year.

Bank Holidays

Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to abolish the bank holiday at the beginning of May and replace it with a bank holiday on St. George's day ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Forth : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State has no such plans.


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Skills Training Agency

Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he intends to offer any financial assistance to former civil servants who were transferred to TICC Ltd. on the privatisation of the Skills Training Agency, and were unable to obtain redundancy payments due to them when the company went into liquidation.

Mr. Howard : When TICC purchased, in May 1990, the four skillcentres at St. Helens, Accrington, Cumbria and Ipswich, it undertook to ensure that the staff transferred to it from my Department maintained an entitlement, through their new contracts of employment, to redundancy payments at civil service rates. TICC is contractually bound to do this and I have no legal responsibility of any kind towards the company's staff. I recognise, however, that the collapse of the company without the financial resources to meet its contractual obligations has left its staff who transferred from the civil service with no more than statutory redundancy payments. Under these special circumstances I have decided to offer an ex-gratia payment to these former civil servants. The payments will be made as soon as possible. They will be the equivalent of the amount each member of staff would have received had they been made redundant at the time of the sale to TICC rather than transferred to that company, less what each person has already received by way of statutory payment from the national insurance fund.

WALES

Salmon (River Taff)

Mr. Gwilym Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what progress has been made in re-introducing salmon to the River Taff ; and if we will make a statement.

Mr. David Hunt : The National Rivers Authority has been carrying out a programme, started in 1985 by the Welsh water authority, to reinstate salmon to the River Taff. This work has included the control of pollution, the construction of fish passes on weirs, the transfer of adult salmon to suitable spawning grounds, controlling illegal fishing and improving fish habitat. In addition the river has been stocked with over 100,000 juvenile salmon. The success of the programme is demonstrated by the numbers of adult salmon returning to the Taff. In 1990, 195 salmon were reported caught from the Taff, whereas prior to 1983 very few salmon had been recorded in the river this century.

Cancer Treatment, North Wales

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what progress has been made on the implementation of the recommendations of the Deloitte, Haskins and Sells report on cancer treatment services in north Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : I am currently considering the far-reaching implications of the Deloitte, Haskins and Sells report in the light of the responses to consultation. We hope to announce our decision on the further development of the service before too long.


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Tranquillisers

Mr. Gwilym Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of drugs prescribed by the NHS in Wales were tranquillisers ; what was the cost ; and what proportion that was of the total cost of drugs in (a) 1974, (b) 1979 and (c) at the latest available date.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : Information on drugs which are solely tranquillisers could be obtained only at disproportionate cost for years succeeding 1974. The available information is given in the table.


                                            |1974 |1979 |1989       

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

Proportion of Total Prescriptions                                   

Tranquillisers                              |7.3  |n/a  |n/a        

Sedatives and tranquillisers                |n/a  |6.9  |2.8        

Anti-depressants and sedative/tranquilliser                         

  combinations                              |n/a  |0.4  |0.1        

                                                                    

Cost (Net Ingredient-£ Thousands)                                   

Tranquillisers                              |630.3|n/a  |n/a        

Sedatives and tranquillisers                |n/a  |1,546|1,376      

Anti-depressants and sedative/tranquilliser                         

  combinations                              |n/a  |192.0|84.0       

                                                                    

Proportion of Total Net Ingredient Cost                             

Tranquillisers                              |4.7  |n/a  |n/a        

Sedatives and tranquillisers                |n/a  |3.9  |1.0        

Anti-depressants and sedative/tranquilliser                         

  combinations                              |n/a  |0.5  |0.1        

Cardiff Bay Barrage

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to respond to the request for the minutes to be made public of the meeting on 26 June 1991 at the Welsh Office, Cathyas Park building between his groundwater consultant and representatives of Cardiff Residents Against the Barrage.

Mr. David Hunt : I have already responded to the hon. Gentleman in my letter of 18 November indicating that no formal minutes of the meeting were kept for external circulation. That letter also offered a response on any specific query.

Mr. Gwylim Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what are his latest estimates of the investment by the Exchequer and by the free enterprise sector that has already been made and will be made in the future into the Cardiff bay barrage and the regeneration of south Cardiff ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Hunt : Government grant in aid to Cardiff Bay development corporation between April 1987 and March 1991 was £92.4 million, of which £43.8 million was for land acquisition. The subsequent sale of this land as fully serviced sites will realise far more than £43.8 million, thus reducing the total public sector input. A further £32.3 million is being made available this year. Total private sector investment under way or firmly committed between April 1987 and March 1991 was over £250 million.

The planning update and economic appraisal statement, prepared in January 1990, estimated that the total cost to the public sector of a development strategy including a barrage would be £335 million over a 15 or 20- year period. It also estimated that, over the same period, private sector investment would be nearly £1,600 million.


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Water Rights (River Taff)

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he anticipates concluding negotiations with the chairman of Cardiff Bay development corporation and Associated British Ports concerning a reassessment of Associated British Ports' abstraction rights to water from the River Taff at Blackweir ; if he will place a copy of his correspondence thereon with the Wales division of the National Rivers Authority in the Library ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Hunt : Any negotiations with Associated British Ports about its abstraction rights would be a commercial matter for Cardiff Bay development corporation. It would not be appropriate to publish any associated correspondence.

NHS Consultants

Mr. Gwylim Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the average income of consultants with the health service in Wales, at the latest available date and for each of the last five years.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : The average income of consultants with the health service in Wales, exclusive of any income which they may derive from private practice, was as follows :


           |£            

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

1986-87    |38,695       

1987-88    |41,729       

1988-89    |44,723       

1989-90    |46,962       

1990-91<1> |50,945       

<1> Provisional.         

Source: Health Authority 

Annual Accounts          

Annual Medical and       

Dental Census.           

Note: Includes           

Consultant Distinction   

Awards and Locums.       

Mr. Gwylim Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how merit awards for consultants with the health service in Wales are determined.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : In October 1990, the Department, together with the Department of Health, produced a leaflet explaining how the NHS distinction and meritorious service awards scheme works. The scheme was established in 1948 following a recommendation that specialists should be able to feel that more than ordinary ability would be rewarded giving them the opportunity to earn incomes comparable with the highest that could be earned in other professions.

Distinction awards are made on the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Distinction Awards. The committee approaches its regional network of committees, the royal college and faculties, the Public Health Laboratory Service, the Medical Research Council and regional specialist advisers for nominations. The chairman of the committee then visits each regional committee between May and September to discuss their recommendations and all the nominations received from other sources in order to draw up a provisional list for the consideration and final decision of the advisory committee. There are four levels of awards : C, B, A and A . There is a regional C awards committee in each region which is responsible for drawing up nominations for C awards and in Wales this is chaired by the director of NHS Wales.


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The system has been modified over the years and while there are no formal criteria for awards the committee looks for certain qualities including clinical excellence, research, improvement to the service and teaching and training when drawing its conclusions.

I have placed a copy of the explanatory leaflet in the Library of the House for my hon. Friend's attention.

Employment Action

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people in Wales are engaged in employment action, given by each county.

Mr. David Hunt : Information on employment action participation is not yet available centrally.

Roadside Trees and Hedges

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will institute a survey by his highways and transportation department of the A5 trunk road with a view to ensuring the safety of roadside trees and hedges in relation to caravan transporters and other wide vehicles ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) if he will institute a survey by his highways and transportation department of the A483 road with a view to ensuring the safety of roadside trees and hedges in relation to caravan transporters and other wide vehicles ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) if he will institute a survey by his highways and transportation department of the A470 road with a view to ensuring the safety of roadside trees and hedges in relation to caravan transporters and other wide vehicles ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Wyn Roberts : A study on the general condition of planting on these and other trunk roads in the Principality was put in hand earlier this year. The fieldwork has largely been completed, but the data collected have still to be fully analysed. The finished study will allow measures to be taken to ensure the future safety of roadside trees and hedges in relation to such vehicles.

Secure Unit

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether the new secure unit in Wales will attract full Government grant in respect of both capital and revenue costs.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : The full capital cost of providing a new unit as recommended in the report on the review of secure care in Wales will be met by the Welsh Office.

The report recommends that costs should be met through charges incurred by placing agencies, including the Welsh Office, where young people given a custodial sentence are placed there.

Mental Handicap

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy that the all-Wales strategy for mental handicap shall be pursued through a 10-year strategy with annual targets for the provision of health, housing and the support services for each county in Wales.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : My right hon. Friend published, on 1 August 1991, for a period of public consultation, his


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proposals for the future of the all-Wales strategy. Copies are available in the Library of the House. These make it clear that the strategy will continue for as long as it is needed, with the Welsh Office continuing to agree annual targets for service development with each county joint planning team.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Shops (Thefts)

Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been arrested in each of the last four years for theft from shops which at the time were themselves trading illegally.

Mr. John Patten : Information on arrests and convictions is not held centrally for shoplifting offences in these circumstances.

Exotic Birds

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on thefts of exotic bird species in the United Kingdom over the last 10 years.

Mr. John Patten : There is no information available centrally.

Disabled Staff

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many disabled people are currently employed in his Department ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Baker : The Home Office currently employs 183 registered disabled persons, which represents some 0.4 per cent. of the total number of staff. No record is kept of staff with disabilities who have chosen not to register. Specific targets have been set in the last two years to increase the number of staff with disabilities employed in the Department.

Sunday Trading

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make it his policy to accept the REST proposals as the basis for achieving consensus on rationalising Sunday trading legislation.

Mrs. Rumbold : As I said in my statement on 27 November at columns 919-927, it would not be sensible to settle policy on the merits of proposals to restrict trading in types of classes of goods until the compatibility of such measures with Community law has been determined. The REST proposals are in this category.

Police Station (Oakham)

Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the progress of the building of the new police station at Oakham, Rutland.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Building work on the new police station at Oakham started in April this year at an approved cost of £1.125 million, and is scheduled to be completed and ready for occupation in November 1991.


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Committal Proceedings

Mr. Fraser : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the reasons committal proceedings involving alleged offences by police officers following miscarriages of justice are taken in Bow Street magistrates court when the alleged offences arise outside the Metropolitan area.

Mr. John Patten : Magistrates courts have jurisdiction to deal with committal proceedings for indictable offences wherever they are alleged to have occurred. In some instances, the case will be heard in London, for the convenience of all the parties. In those circumstances committal proceedings will usually take place at Bow Street magistrates court.

Brixton Prison

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether all postal packages for prisoners at Brixton prison are routinely checked by (a) X-ray detectors and (b) metal detectors.

Mrs. Rumbold : All postal packages are checked by X-ray and by metal detectors in appropriate cases. They are also opened and their contents are examined.

Domestic Rates

Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many summonses, at 31 March and 30 September, in each year from 1984 to 1989 had been issued nationally for non-payment of domestic rates.

Mr. John Patten : The Home Office does not collect such information.

Metropolitan Police

Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what have been the overtime budgets available to the Metropolitan police in the four quarters of 1990 and the first three quarters of 1991.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand from the Commissioner that the information is not available in the form requested, because overtime budgets are fixed on a financial year rather than a quarterly basis. However, the actual amounts of overtime incurred by the Metropolitan police for the periods in question are as follows :


                  |Police     |Civil staff|Traffic                

                                          |wardens                

                  |£          |£          |£                      

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

1990                                                              

January-March     |19,775,000 |3,608,000  |275,000                

April-June        |15,646,000 |3,701,000  |308,000                

July-September    |14,835,000 |3,333,000  |242,000                

October-December  |16,144,000 |4,138,000  |447,000                

                                                                  

1991                                                              

January-March     |18,262,000 |4,129,000  |358,000                

April-June<1>     |17,241,000 |4,077,000  |393,000                

July-September<1> |16,813,000 |4,339,000  |460,000                

<1>Provisional out-turn.                                          

Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the numbers of persons (a) arrested and (b) charged by the Metropolitan police in 1989, 1990 and the first three quarters of 1991.


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Mr. John Patten : The information available is for notifiable offences and is normally provided for 12-month periods only. It has been supplied by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and is contained in the following table :


Number of persons arrested and charged in 

the Metropolitan Police                   

District for notifiable offences          

Period         |Arrested|Charged          

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

1989           |111,420 |85,323           

1990           |116,865 |86,107           

12 months to                              

September 1991 |115,788 |84,974           

Crown Prosecution Service

Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases in each police authority area were recharged by police following discharge by magistrates where the Crown prosecution service has been unable to provide sets of papers at the appropriate time.

Mr. John Patten : This information is not available.

Police Vehicle Accidents

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the number of fatal accidents involving motor vehicles driven by police in the course of their duties which have occurred since 1 January 1991.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Information for 1991 is not yet available centrally.

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on disciplinary action taken against police officers involved in accidents caused by police vehicles in each of the last three years.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : This information is not available and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Kevin Bardsley

Mr. Mills : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will refer the case involving the constituent of the hon. Member for Meriden, Mr. Kevin Bardsley, Home Office reference PDP B19156/8/1, previously of Frankland prison, to judicial review in view of concern about the accuracy of evidence and testimony.

Mr. John Patten [holding answer 2 December 1991] : My right hon. Friend has the power, under section 17 of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968, to refer a conviction to the Court of Appeal, but he would normally do so only if presented with new evidence or a consideration of substance which had not been before the courts and which appeared to cast doubt on the safety of the conviction. Representations about Mr. Bardsley's case have been considered on a number of occasions, but in the absence of anything new that appears to touch the safety of the conviction, so far we have not found any grounds to justify intervention.


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ENERGY

Disabled Staff

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many disabled people are currently employed in his Department ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wakeham : At 1 June 1991, a total of 13 members of my Department's staff--1.36 per cent. were registered disabled persons. My Department's staff also included at this date other people with disabilities who had chosen not to register. No separate records are kept of unregistered disabled people.

IAEA Safeguards

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when Her Majesty's Government received a copy of the latest annual safeguards implementation report prepared by the International Atomic Energy Agency ; and whether the full report is available for public scrutiny in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My officials received a copy of the IAEA's safeguards implementation report in June. The IAEA concluded that the nuclear material under their safeguards in 1990 remained in peaceful nuclear activities. The detailed report is confidential ; however, a summary of it is contained in the IAEA's 1990 annual report. A copy of the annual report has been placed in the Library of the House.

United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority

Mr. Michael Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what external financing limit has been set for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority for 1992-93.

Mr. Wakeham : The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's external financing limit for 1992-93 will be £17.9 million.

Research Expenditure

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give for each year from 1979-80 to 1992-93 inclusive the spending or proposed spending on research funded by his Department into (a) coal technology, (b) nuclear power, (c) energy efficiency and (d) renewables expressing these figures in (i) money terms, (ii) 1991-92 real terms and (iii) as a percentage of his Department's total research expenditure.

Mr. Wakeham [holding answer 21 November 1991] : Figures for the years up to and including 1991-92 are as follows. Figures for 1992-93 are not yet available but will be published in the Department of Energy's departmental report in February 1992.


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