Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to the provisions of interim compensation payments to those service personnel who were held captive by the Iraqi Government after the invasion of Kuwait ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : It has been the policy of successive Governments that payments should not be made from public funds to claimants against a foreign Government in anticipation of the payment of compensation from that Government.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has about the provision of interim compensation payments to foreign service personnel who were held captive by the Iraqi Government after the invasion of Kuwait ; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : Over 1,600 names have been put forward to the honours nominations unit since I made my statement to the House on changes to the honours system. Based on a check of a sample of the nominations, it is likely that about a dozen are self-nominations.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 15 April 1993] : The honours section in 10 Downing street consisted of six staff in 1992. Numbers will be kept under review in the normal way to reflect changes in the work load.
Column 2the Department of Social Security's Maxwell pensions unit. Both appointments were made by the Secretary of State for Social Security. In addition, Sir John serves as a trustee of the Royal Air Force museum, an appointment made by the Secretary of State for Defence.
The Prime Minister : No central records are maintained showing which Departments use which banks. Government Departments may use the services of clearing banks without reference to the Treasury when the arrangements offer good value for money.
The Prime Minister : I expressed my personal sympathy to the Indian high commissioner as soon as I heard of the explosions and loss of life in Bombay, and also sent messages to the Indian Prime Minister and the Governor of Bombay conveying condolences and offering practical help.
Mr. Forth : Yes. The English tests for 14-year-olds to be conducted this summer are the product of three years of trials in schools, involving hundreds of teachers and thousands of pupils. It is the statutory duty of head teachers to implement them, and the professional and contractual duty of teachers to carry them out.
Mr. Forth : Successive educational reforms since 1986, including the Education Bill now before Parliament, have been designed to raise standards and improve opportunities for all pupils, whatever their ethnic or cultural background. As they take effect, Bangladeshi pupils are sharing in the benefit. Grants paid to local authorities under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 are supporting projects designed to meet the particular educational needs of Bangladeshi pupils, including English language support.
Bengali may now be studied in schools in fulfilment of the national curriculum requirement that all pupils aged 11 to 16 must study a modern foreign language. Funding has been provided through GEST--grants for education support and training--for three projects specifically for Bangladeshi pupils. Bangladeshi community groups are also benefiting from the ethnic minority grant introduced in April 1992 to give ethnic minorities equal access to training and enterprise opportunities.
Alyn and Deeside District Council
Carmarthen District Council
Ceredigion District Council
Glyndwr District Council
Montgomeryshire District Council
Neath Borough Council
Preseli Pembrokeshire District Council
Rhuddlan Borough Council
South Pembrokeshire District Council
Taff-Ely Borough Council
Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 19 March, Official Report, column 438, if he will give comparable figures for the cost of administering legal aid in Scotland through the local legal aid committees in each of the five years prior to the establishment of the Scottish Legal Aid Board in 1987 ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Unlike the Scottish Legal Aid Board, the former Law Society legal aid central committee and the local legal aid committees dealt only with the merits of civil legal applications. The committees did not undertake assessments of the means of applicants for civil legal aid, which were assessed by DHSS and latterly the Scottish Office. Nor did they have any responsibility for summary criminal legal aid applications, which were dealt with by the courts. Comparable administrative cost figures are therefore not available.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 15 April 1993] : Saztec Europe Ltd., formerly Saztec Scotland Ltd., received assistance in 1986 under the now terminated regional development grants scheme. This scheme offered automatic grants if the applicant met the appropriate criteria.
The conditions attaching to the grant were met.
(2) if she will list the drugs used by the NHS in post-marketing surveillance trials in the last 12 months ; and if she will make a statement.
Dr. Mawhinney : Post-marketing surveillance studies are the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies and not the NHS or the Department of Health. These studies are designed to gain information on the safety of medicines in everyday clinical practice and therefore could not be done without the involvement of the NHS. Voluntary guidelines on the conduct of company-sponsored PMS studies have been in force since 1988. Under these guidelines, companies are requested to provide information on these studies to the Medicines Control Agency.
Column 5The MCA has reviewed PMS studies conducted under the guidelines and their findings were published in the British Medical Journal in June 1992. In the light of these findings, the guidelines are now being reviewed.
Information supplied by companies to the MCA is considered confidential under section 118 of the Medicines Act 1968. A list of individual drugs on which PMS studies are being conducted cannot therefore be published by the Department of Health.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines have been issued in relation to the prescribing of Zoladex by (a) hospital consultants and (b) general practitioners ; and what proposals she has for further actions on this front.
Dr. Mawhinney : Prescribing information on Zoladex is available to all doctors in the British National Formulary, which the Department issues free of charge to all prescribers, and in the data sheet for this product, which is produced by the manufacturer and authorised by the licensing authority. This information is applicable to both hospital consultants and general practitioners. There are no plans at present to issue additional guidelines on Zoladex, but, as with all medicines, its safety is monitored by the Medicines Control Agency.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether he proposes to carry out further research on the toxicological data on comfrey, with a view to determining a level of safe use ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what pyrrolizidine alkaloids are found in comfrey ; and if he will indicate which of these is of proven toxicity.
Common comfrey (symphytum officinale) and Russian comfrey (symphytum X uplandicum) are believed to be the varieties commonly used in herbal food supplements. The following pirrolizidine alkaloids have been identified and reported in the scientific literature as being present in either common or Russian comfrey or in both.
in common comfrey but not in Russian comfrey.
in Russian comfrey.
in both common and Russian comfrey.
The majority of alkaloids found in comfrey have not been tested for toxicity. The results of studies on symphtine suggest that it may be genotoxic and carcinogenic. There is some evidence to suggest that
Column 6echimidine and echinatine may be genotoxic. Whilst the toxicity data on the individual alkaloids found in comfrey are limited, there is evidence from studies using laboratory animals that the dried leaves and roots of common comfrey are potentially carcinogenic. The Government's independent expert advisory committee, the Committee on Toxicity of Food, Consumer Products and the Environment, reviewed data including that on four cases of human liver damage associated with the consumption of comfrey preparations. It considered the data to be of sufficient concern to warrant action in the interests of public safety and recommended that action should be taken to reduce the intake of comfrey and its potentially toxic constituents.
It is for the manufacturers of preparations using comfrey to submit to the Government the results of research into the safety of other products if they so wish. The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment advised that further toxicological testing would provide results of limited use in toxicological evaluations.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what matters in regard to investment in environmental protection were discussed and decided at the G-7 meeting of Finance Ministers in Tokyo on 14-15 April.
Mr. Nelson : Nuclear safety in Russia and dumping of radioactive waste at sea were discussed at the meeting. The meeting reaffirmed the commitment of the G7 to the full and timely implementation of the multilateral programme of action to improve nuclear safety in Russia agreed at the Munich summit.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update, to take account of the 1993 Budget, the information on tax changes contained in his answer to the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) of 29 June 1992, Official Report, column 380.
Column 7allowances and thresholds announced in the 1993 Budget are in the table. The 1978-79 income tax regime has been indexed to 1993-94 levels by reference to the statutory formula, and allowing for independent taxation.
For the purposes of these calculations the indexed regime of 1978-79 is applied directly to the income base of 1993-94. In practice, retention of the regime indexed as appropriate, for the intervening years would have led to changes in the income base.
Average reduction in income tax per individual<1> in 1993-94 compared with the 1978-79 indexed regime Range of |Number of |Total reduction |Average reduction individual's income |individuals in 1993-94 |1993-94<1> (£) |(million) |(£ million) |(£ per annum) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Under 5,000 |3.20 |450 |140 5,000 to 10,000 |8.00 |3,000 |380 10,000 to 15,000 |6.10 |4,500 |740 15,000 to 20,000 |3.70 |4,000 |1,100 20,000 to 30,000 |3.30 |5,400 |1,620 30,000 to 50,000 |1.20 |3,000 |2,520 50,000 to 80,000 |0.28 |2,100 |7,730 Over 80,000 |0.14 |6,400 |45,500 |------- |------- |------- Total |26.00 |28,900 |1,100 <1> Individuals liable to income tax under the 1978-79 indexed regime.
Mr. McNamara : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what reports have been produced by the Northern Ireland court service with regard to the operation of the legal aid scheme in Northern Ireland ; and if he will place these reports in the Library.
Mr. John M. Taylor : No reports have been produced by the Northern Ireland court service with regard to the operation of the legal aid scheme in Northern Ireland. Such reports are produced annually by the Law Society of Northern Ireland and are referred to the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Legal Aid in Northern Ireland for consideration and advice pursuant to article 23(3) of the Legal Aid, Advice and Assistance (Northern Ireland) Order 1981. These reports and the Lord Chancellor's advisory committee reports are placed in the Library.
Mr. McNamara : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what progress has been made by the Northern Ireland court service in consolidating Northern Ireland's legal aid regulations ; and what has been the reason for the time taken in consolidating these regulations.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Considerable progress has been made by the Northern Ireland court service in preparation of the regulations which will revise the Legal Aid (General) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1965. This exercise, which is at an advanced stage, involves primarily a consolidation of existing provisions, but the opportunity is also being taken to improve and modernise the regulations in some respects. The exercise has been held in abeyance pending the resolution of a number of points of detail. It is expected
Column 8that these will be resolved within the next month, and that it will be possible to bring forward the new regulations later this year.
Mr. John M. Taylor : In the light of the establishment of independent legal aid boards for England and Wales and Scotland, the Lord Chancellor has been reviewing the arrangements for the administration of legal aid in Northern Ireland with the aim of effecting improvements to the present system. One of the options for consideration is the establishment of an independent legal aid board. There have already been preliminary discussions with the Law Society of Northern Ireland and it is expected that these will continue. Following the completion of the review, the Lord Chancellor will bring forward proposals.
Mr. McNamara : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what plans he has to extend to Northern Ireland the research he has commissioned into the operation of legal aid in respect of eligibility, the green form scheme and advice and assistance at police stations.