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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 18 May 1992

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Stipendiary Magistrates

Mr. John Evans : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many provincial stipendiary magistrates were in office on 1 December 1970, 1980, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1992 respectively ; and if he will give the names of the courts outside London which now have full-time stipendiaries assigned to them.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The number of stipendiary magistrates in post on 1 December was :


       |Number       

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

1970   |11           

1980                 

                     

1985   |13           

                     

1986                 

1987   |14           

1988                 

                     

1991   |26           

The courts outside inner London which have full-time stipendiaries based at them are :

Birmingham ((3)

Bradford

Brent

Cardiff

Cheshire

Doncaster

Feltham

Hendon

Kingston upon Hull

Leeds (2)

Liverpool

Manchester (2)

Merthyr Tydfil and Aberdare

Nottingham (2)


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Pontypridd

Portsmouth

Rotherham

Salford

Sheffield

Stoke on Trent

Wolverhampton

Judges

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) how many full-time women judges there are currently on the Wales and Chester circuit ; how many there were at the end of each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) how many full-time women judges there are currently on (a) the northern circuit and (b) the north-eastern circuit ; how many there were at the end of each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) how many full-time women judges there are currently on (a) the south- eastern circuit and (b) the midland and Oxford circuit ; how many there were at the end of each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement ;

(4) how many full-time circuit judges there are currently on (a) the northern circuit and (b) the north-eastern circuit ; how many there were at the end of each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement ;

(5) how many full-time circuit judges there are currently on (a) the south- eastern circuit and (b) the midland and Oxford circuit ; how many there were at the end of each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement ;

(6) how many full-time circuit judges there are currently on (a) the western circuit and (b) the Wales and Chester circuit ; how many there were at the end of each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The total numbers of circuit judges, and the numbers of female circuit judges, on each circuit at the beginning of each of the last five calendar years and as at 1 May are set out in the table. The Lord Chancellor appoints to each judicial post the candidate who appears to him to be best qualified to fill it regardless of sex or other factors. He has repeatedly made clear his wish to appoint more women to judicial office. The composition of the bench at any one time is, however, dependent on the composition of the legal profession in the age groups from which appointments are made.


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                    Circuit/Date                                                                           

                              |1 January |1 January |1 January |1 January |1 January |1 May 1992           

                              |1988      |1989      |1990      |1991      |1992                            

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

Midland and Oxford |Female    |-         |-         |1         |1         |1         |1                    

                   |Total     |55        |59        |62        |63        |62        |65                   

Northern           |Female    |4         |4         |4         |4         |6         |5                    

                   |Total     |54        |55        |55        |56        |58        |57                   

North-Eastern      |Female    |3         |3         |2         |2         |2         |2                    

                   |Total     |41        |45        |45        |45        |45        |47                   

South-Eastern      |Female    |7         |7         |7         |10        |10        |10                   

                   |Total     |187       |188       |198       |200       |224       |232                  

Wales and Chester  |Female    |-         |-         |-         |-         |-         |-                    

                   |Total     |22        |22        |24        |25        |27        |27                   

Western            |Female    |2         |2         |2         |2         |2         |3                    

                   |Total     |34        |35        |37        |38        |41        |41                   


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Magistrates Courts

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans the Lord Chancellor has in relation to each magistrates court on the Wales and Chester circuit ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : My noble and learned Friend will continue to encourage each magistrates court in England and Wales to provide an efficient and high-quality system of local justice. Under the Justices of the Peace Act 1979, it is for magistrates courts committees, in consultation with the relevant local authorities, to identify the best use of courthouse accommodation in their areas. The proposals set out in the White Paper "A New Framework for Local Justice"--Cm 1829--will strengthen their ability to carry out this responsibility.

Crown Courts

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will give the location and tier of each Crown court on the Wales and Chester circuit, and when it started to try indictable criminal cases whether as Crown court or assizes/quarter sessions ; what plans the Lord Chancellor has in relation to each ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The location and tier of Crown court centres on the Wales and Chester circuit are as follows :

(a) First Tier Centres

Caernarfon, Cardiff, Chester, Mold, Swansea.

(b) Second Tier Centres

Carmarthen, Merthyr Tydfil, Newport (Gwent), Welshpool. (c) Third Tier Centres

Dolgellau, Haverfordwest, Knutsford, Warrington.

The jurisdiction to try indictable offences was transferred to the Crown court sitting at these locations following the implementation of the Courts Act 1971 on 1 January 1972, save for Warrington where jurisdiction was conferred in July 1977. To research the dates when jurisdiction to try indictable criminal cases was conferred at the above locations at assize or quarter sessions would involve disproportionate cost.

The Lord Chancellor, through his senior management, constantly reviews the operational needs of the circuits in relation to both criminal and civil business. There are no changes planned in relation to utilisation of the court centres listed above save for the major refurbishment work currently under way at the Crown court centre at Chester, and similar work planned for the Cardiff and Caernarfon court centres.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Customs and Excise

Mr. Ainger : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to compensate Customs and Excise staff who will lose their jobs as a direct result of the ending of customs controls between members of the European Community on 1 January 1993.

Sir John Cope : The implementation of the single market in January 1993 means that routine physical controls on intra-EC freight traffic at the frontier will cease, and be replaced by audit-based checks at importers'


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offices inland. Customs and Excise hopes to find other jobs within the Department for the great majority of staff affected by the changes. If some redundancies are necessary for non-mobile staff, they will be entitled to compensation payments under section 10 of the principal civil service pension scheme.

Civil Service

Mr. Denham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many persons over the age of 60 years have been newly employed by the civil service since August 1990.

Mr. Dorrell : About 330 people aged 60 and over were recruited to the non-industrial home civil service between 1990 and December 1991, inclusive.

Rent-a-Room Scheme

Mr. Raynsford : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the cost to the Exchequer in terms of revenue forgone in a full year of the rent-a-room scheme outlined in the Conservative party manifesto under which home owners will be able to let rooms to lodgers without liability to tax on the rent they receive.

Mr. Dorrell : The Exchequer cost of any rent-a-room scheme would depend on the scope and details of the particular scheme.

Civil Service Relocation

Mr. Matthew Banks : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many civil service posts have been relocated from the south-east of England to elsewhere in the United Kingdom since 1979.

Mr. Dorrell : Around 29,000. Of these nearly 6,000 were moved between 1979 and 1987 as part of the centrally directed programme and a similar number are estimated to have been moved at Departments' own initiative. Under the delegated approach which has operated since March 1988 a further 17,000 civil service posts have been located or relocated outside the south-east.

Tax Repayments

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will call for a report on the availability of forms for claiming repayment of tax on bank or building society interest.

Mr. Dorrell : The Inland Revenue tells me that repayment claim forms are available from the 24 new offices set up to handle repayment claims work. Requests for claim forms can also be made to local tax offices which will forward these to the new offices. Claim forms are issued by post, normally within a few days of the request.

Civil List

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a breakdown of the amounts paid to Her Majesty's civil list for 1990-91 and 1991-92.

Mr. Portillo [holding answer 15 May 1992] : In accordance with the Civil List (Increase of Financial Provision) Order 1990--SI 1990/2018--Her Majesty the Queen receives £7.9 million each calendar year for her civil list.


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NATIONAL HERITAGE

Museums and Galleries

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what discussions he has held with civil service unions about museum and gallery opening hours.

Mr. Key : None.

Monuments

Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will list the monuments which have been raised at public expense in (a) London and (b) elsewhere in the United Kingdom to General de Gaulle or the Free French Forces.

Mr. Mellor : There are no such monuments whose cost has been met by central Government.

Export Reviewing Committee

Mr. Channon : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will make a statement on his conclusions regarding the recent report by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 14 May 1992] : I am considering the report and hope to make a statement shortly.

Bohemian Wood Carvings

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what was the result of his predecessor's meeting with the consultative group on the export of works of art after 1992 in relation to the problems of Bohemian wood carvings stolen from ecclesiastical buildings in Czechoslovakia ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor [holding answer 11 May 1992] : Following the then Minister for the Arts' meeting with the consultative group, a letter was sent to the art trade organisations and to the auction houses requesting their co-operation should any items be offered for sale which would appear to have come from a church in Czechoslovakia. In response to a request from a member of the art trade, my office has since asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to obtain details from the Government of Czechoslovakia of any particular items which might have been stolen in order to assist in identification. A response is awaited.

PRIME MINISTER

Roman Catholic Church

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Prime Minister if he will now make it the policy of Her Majesty's Government to accord the same degree of official recognition to the territorial sees and titles of the Roman Catholic Church in England and in Wales as is accorded to the unestablished Anglican churches outside England ; and if he will make a statement on the situation in Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister : Official recognition for Roman Catholic territorial titles was precluded under Acts of 1829


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and 1851, the penal provisions of which were repealed in 1871 and 1978. Since it was raised with me by Sir Hugh Rossi in the last Parliament I have been looking sympathetically at the matter and my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary will now be consulting the relevant Church authorities about the practices to be adopted in future.

Lockerbie Bombing

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the outcome of initiatives taken by the Security Council of the United Nations in relation to Lockerbie and Libya.

The Prime Minister : The United Nations Secretary-General has tried to persuade Libya to comply with United Nations Security Council resolutions 731 and 748, including sending emissaries several times to Libya. Libya has rebutted these efforts and has not complied with the resolutions.

Maastricht Treaty

Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister why the new article 123 inserted by the Maastricht treaty which provides for the salaries of the President and members of the EC Commission to be determined by majority vote, was inserted under title IV, which relates to amendments to the treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Authority ; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : Article I(7) of the treaty on European union reproduces the provisions of article 6 of the treaty establishing a single Council and single Commission of the European Commission of the European Communities--the "merger treaty"--signed on 8 April 1965--see schedule 1.I(5) to the European Communities Act 1972--and incorporates them into the text of the European Atomic Energy Committee treaty. Identical provisions are to be found in articles G(47), amending the European Coal and Steel Community treaty. This is a matter of textual consolidation only ; the legal position will remain as it has been since the entry into force of the merger treaty.

Subsidiarity

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Prime Minister whether he regards the principle of subsidiarity as applicable in any way to the relationship between London and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The Government are fully committed to the Union between England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, while recognising the need for arrangements which reflect the distinctive interests of its component parts.

UNCED

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he intends to be present at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development for its final two days in June.

The Prime Minister : I propose to attend the latter part of the Rio conference. I am currently finalising the details of my programme which will be announced shortly.


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G7 Summit

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister what proposals on environment protection Her Majesty's Government plan to put forward at the G7 summit of leading industrialised nations in Munich in July.

The Prime Minister : We will propose that the G7 should take effective follow-up action to the Earth summit, including in the area of environmental protection.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Wolds Private Prison

Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoner custody officers have either resigned or been sacked, since the opening of the Wolds private prison on 6 April.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : None.

Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) cell fires, (b) attempted suicides and (c) assaults on staff have taken place at the Wolds private prison since it opened in April.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : None.

Parliamentary Constituencies

Mr. Channon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the Parliamentary Boundary Commission's initial proposals for Essex to be published.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand that the Boundary Commission for England has not yet decided when it will publish its provisional recommendations for the county of Essex, although it is likely that this will be towards the end of the review.

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many constituencies would be created by the Boundary Commission if the present average number of electors in Scottish constituencies was applied to the whole of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : This would depend on decisions taken by the boundary commissions when reviewing individual constituency boundaries. However, the approximate numbers, based on figures derived from the 1992 register of electors, are given in the table.


Country          |Electorate|Quota     |Number of            

                                       |seats                

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

England          |36,435,874|54,571    |668                  

Wales            |2,218,551 |54,571    |41                   

Scotland         |3,929,112 |54,571    |72                   

Northern Ireland |1,141,466 |54,571    |21                   

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Members there would be representing each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on the basis of an average constituency throughout the United Kingdom of (a) 65,000 voters, (b) 70,000 voters and (c) 75,000 voters.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : This would depend on decisions taken by the boundary commissions when reviewing individual


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constituency boundaries. However, the approximate numbers, based on figures derived from the 1992 register of electors, are given in the table.


Country          |Electorate|Quota     |Number of            

                                       |seats                

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

(a)                                                          

England          |36,435,874|65,000    |561                  

Wales            |2,218,551 |65,000    |34                   

Scotland         |3,929,112 |65,000    |60                   

Northern Ireland |1,141,466 |65,000    |18                   

                                                             

(b)                                                          

England          |36,435,874|70,000    |521                  

Wales            |2,218,551 |70,000    |32                   

Scotland         |3,929,112 |70,000    |56                   

Northern Ireland |1,141,466 |70,000    |16                   

                                                             

(c)                                                          

England          |36,435,874|75,000    |486                  

Wales            |2,218,551 |75,000    |30                   

Scotland         |3,929,112 |75,000    |52                   

Northern Ireland |1,141,466 |75,000    |15                   

Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the Boundary Commission to report its recommendations on parliamentary representation in Suffolk ; and what account he expects to be taken of the possible ending of county boundaries.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand that the Boundary Commission for England has not yet decided when it will publish its provisional recommendations for Suffolk, although it is likely to be towards the middle part of the review. The commission will continue to take account of alterations to county boundaries.

Police Officers (Ethnic Minorities)

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of (a) men and (b) women from ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom who resigned from the Metropolitan police in each of the last five years ; and what had been the average length of service.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The information is shown in the table :