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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 22 March 1993

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Maastricht Treaty

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will tabulate in the Official Report, for titles I, V, VI and VII of the treaty on European union each article containing reference to (a) the Council, (b) the Commission, (c) the Court and (d) the Parliament of the European Economic Community ; and what are the additional powers, responsibilities, or functions provided for each institution in each relevant article.

Mr. Garel-Jones : The information the hon. Member requires may be found in Command Paper 1934 and in the memorandum to the Foreign Affairs Committee entitled "Europe after Maastricht".

Sellafield

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will respond to the submission sent to him by an all-party group from Dail Eireann on 4 March regarding Sellafield and the proposed commissioning of the thermal oxide reprocessing plant.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has not received the submission to which the hon. Member refers.

St. Helena

Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many vehicles have been imported free of tax into St. Helena for each of the last 10 years for which records are available ; and how many have since been exported.

Mr. Garel-Jones : Records are available from 1987 only. These show the following :


Year              |Vehicles imported|Vehicles exported                  

                  |free of tax                                          

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

1987              |64               |Nil                                

1988              |30               |Nil                                

1989              |9                |2                                  

1990              |24               |Nil                                

1991              |15               |3                                  

1992              |20               |4                                  

                  |---              |---                                

  Totals          |162              |9                                  

Embassies

Sir Peter Emery : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those British embassies abroad where there is a science and technology counsellor ; and what steps he is taking to increase the number of such posts.


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Mr. Goodlad : Five of our embassies--Bonn, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo and Washington--currently have science and technology counsellors. The level of staffing devoted to science and technology-related issues is frequently reviewed in the light of Whitehall reporting requirements and competing demands on FCO resources.

Russia

Dr. Goodson-Wickes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the treaty signed between President Yeltsin and the Prime Minister on 9 November 1992 will be laid before this House.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The treaty on the principles of relations between the United Kingdom and Russia is due to be laid before the House and published in the country series on 2 April 1993.

Kuwait

Lady Olga Maitland : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the United Nations regarding the 750 missing Kuwaiti prisoners of war taken by the Iraqis during the Gulf war.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We raise this question at each United Nations Security Council review of sanctions and will continue to do so until Iraq fulfils all its obligations under United Nations Security Council resolutions.

We fully support Kuwait's efforts through the International Committee of the Red Cross to establish the whereabouts of missing Kuwaiti and other citizens.

Government Communications Headquarters

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about recruitment policies at Government Communications Headquarters, and which groups are excluded on grounds of ethnic origin or parents' country of origin.

Mr. Hurd [pursuant to his reply, 3 February 1993, c. 209] : The second paragraph of my answer was inadvertently omitted. The full version is as follows.

No groups are excluded on grounds of ethnic origin. Members of staff at GCHQ must be British citizens, must never have held citizenship other than of the United Kingdom and colonies, and must not hold any nationality or citizenship in addition to British citizenship. As regards parents of applicants, the requirement is that each parent must always have been a Commonwealth citizen as defined by the British Nationality Act 1981.

If the applicant was not born--or did not take up residence in infancy--in the United Kingdom, each of the applicant's parents must be, or if deceased have been at the time of their death, a British citizen domiciled in the United Kingdom. These rules are at present under review, but I cannot say when this review will be completed or what its conclusions will be.


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LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Magistrates, Wales

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the total number of lay magistrates in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The latest figures available show that there are 2,129 lay magistrates in Wales--930 women and 1,199 men. There are also two stipendiary magistrates in post and another authorised post to be filled. The Lord Chancellor's advisory committees in Wales advise him on the need for new lay magistrates and recommend suitable candidates to him for appointment. The objective is that each bench should broadly reflect the community it serves.

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many of the magistrates in Wales have a declared affiliation with a political party ; if he will list the numbers who identify themselves with each party ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. When making recommendations for appointment the Lord Chancellor expects his advisory committees to put forward suitable candidates who broadly reflect the community which they will serve. In deciding which suitable candidates to recommend he expects them to take into account political affiliation, or the lack of it, as well as other factors such as gender, geography and occupation.

Legal Aid

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what action he intends to take to ensure that all outstanding legal fees owed to lawyers by the civil legal aid scheme are paid promptly ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : Costs in civil legal aid cases do not become due until after they have been taxed by the court or assessed by the Legal Aid Board. The Legal Aid Board is responsible for payment of such costs after taxation or assessment and it is already their aim to pay them as promptly as possible. For the year 1992-93 the board had a target of paying 65 per cent. of solicitors' civil legal aid bills within six weeks of receipt, including assessment when appropriate. In the financial year to date, that is 1 April 1992 to 28 February 1993, this target has been surpassed, with almost 73 per cent. of bills being paid within that time.

Mr. Moss : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the estimated number of take-ups of legal aid offers in each of the next three years.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The estimated number of civil legal aid certificates and criminal legal aid orders for each of the next three years is as follows :


Thousands                                              

                       |1993-94|1994-95|1995-96        

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

Legal aid certificates |302    |329    |357            

Legal aid orders       |614    |622    |630            


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Mr. Moss : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the number of legal aid orders issued in criminal cases in each of the last three years.

Mr. John Taylor : I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) on 11 March at column 644. Complete figures for 1992 are not yet available.

Mr. Moss : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what percentage of offers of legal aid with payment of a contribution fell into arrears of contributions in each of the last three years.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The total number of civil cases where contributions were in arrears in each of the last three years was as follows :


        |Number       

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

1989-90 |36,438       

1990-91 |43,243       

1991-92 |38,672       

Mr. Moss : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what percentage of offers of legal aid with payment of a contribution failed to be rectified by reassessment of payment or arrears, leading to a discharge of the certificate, in each of the last three years.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The information sought is not available in the form requested.

Mr. Moss : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to extend the consultation period for his proposals for changes to the legal aid procedure.

Mr. John M. Taylor : I have laid statutory instruments before this House to implement the changes to legal aid eligibility and will shortly be laying instruments to make other changes in relation to fees and payments made to lawyers in criminal legal aid cases.

Mr. Moss : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what estimate he has made of the effect of his new proposals for legal aid eligibility on the level of income to the compensation recovery unit in each of the next three years.

Mr. John M. Taylor : No precise estimate has been made. Details held by the compensation recovery unit do not distinguish between those cases which have the benefit of legal aid and others. It is however likely that the practical effects of the legal aid proposals will be small. A large majority of the amounts recovered so far by the compensation recovery unit relate to employer liability and motor liability cases, and a great many of those will have been supported by trade unions or insurers respectively.

Mr. Moss : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what percentage of offers of legal aid with payment of a contribution were not accepted under the current legal aid arrangements, in each of the last three years.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The number of contributory civil legal aid certificates issued and the number of offers of contributory civil legal aid made but not accepted in the last three years are as follows :


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Year                |Contributory legal |Contributory legal |Offers not taken up                    

                    |aid certificates   |aid offered but not|as percentage of                       

                    |issued             |taken up           |offers made                            

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

1989-90             |53,725             |16,813             |23.8                                   

1990-91             |55,339             |16,164             |22.6                                   

1991-92             |56,830             |19,179             |25.2                                   

Mr. Moss : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the estimated saving, after allowing for the statutory charge, which will result from the scrapping of the contribution taper for green form advice.

Mr. John M. Taylor : It is difficult to identify separately the effects of each element in the package of changes which has been announced. However, it is likely that the changes to eligibility for green form will save about £11 million by 1995-96.

Contact Centres

Mr. Olner : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement about the provision of more contact centres where children can be visited with facilities for supervision.

Mr. John M. Taylor : Contact centres are funded by the voluntary and private sectors with assistance in some cases from local authorities and local area probation services. The Government have no plans to intervene.

Child Abduction

Mr. Olner : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement about the extension of the application of the Hague convention to access rights.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The Hague convention on civil aspects of child abduction makes provision for access rights. There are no immediate plans to seek to extend such provision.

Mr. Olner : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what steps he is considering to make United Kingdom legal aid available to parents seeking to recover children abducted to countries where such assistance is not available.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The principle behind the legal aid schemes in England and Wales and Northern Ireland is that they assist individuals, regardless of their nationality, to undertake proceedings in the English, Welsh and Northern Irish courts. It would not be appropriate to extend the schemes to cover proceedings in other jurisdictions, many of which will have their own legal aid schemes which provide assistance to United Kingdom citizens on the same basis as for their own citizens. The legal aid scheme in Scotland is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Mr. Olner : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what proposals he has to improve the training of lawyers, magistrates and judges in the areas of child abduction.

Mr. John M. Taylor : Specific responsibility for the training of lawyers lies with the Law Society and the


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Council for Legal Education. The Judicial Studies Board is responsible for the provision of training for the professional judiciary and advises on the training of lay magistrates. Magistrates have limited powers, in cases of abduction but would be advised by their justices' clerks. The subject is included as part of the general training for those members of the circuit judiciary dealing with family matters. Proceedings to which the Hague convention applies come before experienced family division judges. The board will carefully consider the recommendations made in the report, "Home and Away".

HOME DEPARTMENT

Women Prisoners

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women were on remand in prison at (a) 30 June 1991 and (b) 30 June 1992 ; and what proportion were subsequently not sentenced.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : A total of 387 women were held on remand in prison or in police cells on 30 June 1991 ; 378 women were held on 30 June 1992. Information on the proportions subsequently not sentenced is not available. Estimates from the courts remand data for females remanded in custody during magistrates courts proceedings or on committal to the Crown court are as follows :


/

Final court outcome for females remanded in    

custody                                        

                        Year                   

Outcome                |1990   |1991           

                                               

                        Percentages            

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

Acquittal              |18     |22             

Non-custodial sentence |57     |52             

Custody                |25     |26             

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women were in prison on remand in (a) 1991 and (b) 1992 ; and of that total how many were (i) juveniles, (ii) young adults and (iii) adults.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The average number of women held on remand, subdivided into adults and young persons, including juveniles, is as follows :


Female remand<1> prisoners:      

annual averages                  

England and Wales                

                  |1991|1992     

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

Adults            |310 |318      

Young persons     |79  |65       

                  |--  |--       

All female remand |389 |383      

<1> Includes those held in       

police cells.                    

There was one female juvenile, aged 15 or 16, held on remand on 30 June 1991 and none held on 30 June 1992.

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sentenced women were in prison in (a) 1991 and (b) 1992 ; and of that total, how many were (i) juveniles, (ii) young adults and (iii) adults.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The average number of women prisoners held under sentence, subdivided into adult and young offender, including juveniles, prisoners, is as follows :


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Female sentenced<1> prisoners: annual   

averages<2>                             

England and Wales                       

                      |1991 |1992       

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

Adults                |1,030|1,057      

Young offenders       |136  |133        

                      |---  |---        

All sentenced females |1,166|1,189      

<1> Including persons committed in      

default of payment of a fine;           

compensation order or costs.            

<2> Components may not add to totals    

because of rounding.                    

There were five female juveniles, aged 15 or 16, on 30 June 1991 and eight female juveniles on 30 June 1992.

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sentenced women were in prison in (i) 1991 and (ii) 1992, respectively ; and of that total, how many were convicted of (a) violence against the person, (b) sexual offences, (c) burglary, (d) robbery, (e) theft, handling, fraud and forgery, (f) drugs offences and (g) other.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The number of women held under sentence on 30 June 1991 and 30 June 1992 by offence group is as follows :


Females under sentence on 30 June by offence group,                                            

England and Wales                                                                              

Offences with                      |1991               |<1>1992                                

immediate custodial                                                                            

sentence                                                                                       

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

Violence against the person        |189                |190                                    

Sexual offences                    |16                 |10                                     

Burglary                           |39                 |50                                     

Robbery                            |46                 |50                                     

Theft, handling, fraud and forgery |217                |240                                    

Drugs offences                     |272                |260                                    

Other offences                     |176                |160                                    

Offence not recorded               |181                |190                                    

                                   |---                |---                                    

  Totals                           |1,136              |1,150                                  

                                   |---                |---                                    

In default of payment of fine      |12                 |20                                     

                                   |---                |--                                     

Totals all females all offences    |1,148              |1,170                                  

<1> Provisional rounded estimates. Components may not add to totals because they have been     

rounded independently.                                                                         

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sentenced women were in prison at (a) 30 June 1991 and (b) 30 June 1992 ; and what proportion of these women were serving (i) sentences up to 18 months, (ii) sentences between 18 months and three years, (iii) sentences between three years and less than life and (iv) life sentences.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The number of women under sentence in prison was 1,148 on 30 June 1991 and 1,170 on 30 June 1992. The percentage breakdowns by sentence length are as follows :


U

Sentenced women in prison on 30 June                                                 

England and Wales                                                                    

Percentage                                                                           

Sentence length                      |1991           |1992                           

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

Up to 18 months                      |35             |37                             

Over 18 months and up to three years |19             |20                             

Over three years less than life      |38             |35                             

Life<1>                              |8              |8                              

<1> Includes HMP, detention for life and custody for life.                           


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Wolds Remand Centre (Assaults)

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many assaults, major and minor, on prison staff have taken place at the Wolds remand centre between April and December 1992.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : There was a total of 16 assaults by prisoners on staff between 5 April and 31 December 1992.

Yugoslavia

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many nationals of the former Yugoslavia who entered the United Kingdom during 1992 as visitors have, to date, applied for their visit to be extended ; and how many such applications have (a) been granted, (b) been refused and (c) are pending.

Mr. Charles Wardle : Available information is given in the table. Full information on the number of applications for extension of stay in this period is not yet available.


Variation of leave decisions<1> on nationals of    

the former Yugoslavia                              

1992                                               

                                     |Number       

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

Extensions of stay as visitor                      

Granted                              |113          

Refused                              |36           

                                                   

Extensions of stay on other basis<2>               

Granted<3>                           |1,940        

Refused                              |134          

<1> Excluding dependants.                          

<2> Mainly as students, au pairs or on the basis   

of marriage.                                       

<3> Excluding grants of settlement.                

Karamjit Singh Chahal

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will release Karamjit Singh Chahal from Bedford prison ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 20 January, at column 255.

Sunday Trading

Sir John Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will introduce legislation to reform Sunday trading law in England and Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : We are continuing to prepare the various models for reform, in close consultation with the pressure groups, for inclusion in a Government Bill. We shall bring that Bill to the House when the parliamentary timetable allows. I will make available to hon. Members well before the summer recess a fully developed draft Bill together with a text explaining the detailed effect of its provisions.

Police Resources, Staffordshire

Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will meet the chairperson of the Stoke-on-Trent police consultative committee to discuss police resources in Staffordshire.


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Mr. Charles Wardle : My right hon. and learned Friend has not been asked for such a meeting. If a request were made, it would receive sympathetic consideration.

Uniformed Policemen

Mr. Gill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many uniformed policemen are employed in England and Wales.

Mr. Charles Wardle : There were 128,045 male and female police officers employed by the police service at the end of December 1992.

Common European Time

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 15 March, on central European time, what power he has to adopt common European time on an experimental basis only.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The adoption of central European time on an experimental basis would require fresh primary legislation similar to that enacted in 1968 for the purposes of the British standard time experiment.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate has been made of the effect in terms of numbers of (a) lives saved and (b) serious injuries avoided between now and 1995, on present trends, of introducing common European time.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The only such estimates available are those relating to road traffic casualties. Estimates for 1991 are that some 140 deaths and 520 serious injuries could be saved by adopting central European time. Savings in subsequent years are likely to be of the same order.

Sex Offenders

Mr. Richards : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of sex offenders who have re-offended while on bail in each police authority since 1987.

Mr. Jack : This information is not available.

Euthanasia

Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what studies he has commissioned into the question of euthanasia.

Mr. Jack : My right hon. and learned Friend has commissioned no studies into euthanasia and has no plans to do so.

General Elections

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has for greater transparency in financial contributions and contributions made in kind to political parties for general election expenses.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : We have no such proposals.

Animal Experiments

Mr. Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he is taking to ensure that all animals reused in laboratories have been examined by


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a qualified veterinary surgeon and deemed fit and well for use in further experimental procedures under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The licence holder may call upon the advice of the named veterinary surgeon as appropriate. Although there is no general requirement that animals to be reused in scientific procedures must first be examined by a veterinary surgeon, such a requirement may be added as a condition to project licences when this is considered appropriate. There are no present plans to vary these arrangements.

Fines (Non-payment)

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many warrants for non-payment of fines etc. were executed by police forces in each calendar year from 1988 to 1992 ; how many warrants for non- payment relating to television licences were executed by police forces in each calendar year from 1988 to 1992 ; and what is the estimated cost of the execution of warrants.

Mr. Charles Wardle : This information is not collected centrally.

Weapons Advertising

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to restricting the advertisements and availability of firearms, knives, archery equipment, ammunition, replica weapons and associated services in magazines.

Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) pursuant to the oral answer of 11 March Official Report, column 1120, by the Leader of the House, if he will receive a deputation led by the hon. Member for Dumbarton on the publication and distribution of the magazine referred to in relation to public safety ; (2) if he will introduce legislation to make it illegal to distribute magazines depicting illegal and offensive weapons.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The Home Office has studied the magazine which was drawn to the Government's attention by the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall). It has been mailed direct from the USA to a number of people in this country and it appears to include several items, the importation or sale of which is prohibited.

The publisher's attention is being drawn to the provisions of our law. It is for the police or HM Customs and Excise to consider whether to initiate prosecutions for any apparent infringements. We have no plans to introduce additional legislation of the sort suggested.

No Smoking Day

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps were taken to promote No Smoking Day in his Department ; and if he will make a statement.


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