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Murder Cases

Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many murder cases in the last two years there has been a delay of (a) more than 10 weeks, (b) less than 10 weeks, (c) less than eight weeks and (d) less than four weeks after death before defence solicitors agreed to the release of the victim's body to the family.


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Mr. Charles Wardle : I regret that this information is not available. Coroners, with the encouragment of the Home Office, do all they can to keep to the minimum the delay in releasing bodies. I deeply sympathise with the families of victims to whom distress is caused by any delays.

Asylum

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Immigration and Nationality Department received from the visa section of the British embassy in Zabred an application for asylum in the United Kingdom by Mrs. Sadeta Draganovic and her children ; when the Immigration and Nationality Department is going to take a decision on this application ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle : An application by Mrs. Draganovic and her three sons for visas to join members of their family admitted exceptionally under the special arrangements for ex-detainees was referred by the visa officer to the asylum division of the Immigration and Nationality Department on 28 April. A decision on the application will be made shortly.

EC Immigration Meeting

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the main decisions taken by EC Immigration Ministers meeting recently in Copenhagen.

Mr. Howard : I refer to the answer which I gave the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) on 9 June 1993 at column 246.

Mistreatment of Prisoners

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the progress of the inquiry into the allegation of mistreatment of prisoners in the United States in establishments controlled by the Corrections Corporation of America.

Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 17 May 1993] : Mr. Bentley has now completed his inquiries and has reported his findings to Derek Lewis, the director general of the prison service.

In addition to the original allegations made against CCA and some of its senior management, I understand that consideration has also been given to further allegations contained in The Observer newspaper.

From Mr. Bentley's findings it is clear that there is nothing to suggest that CCA or its senior managers are unfit to be shareholders in a company holding the contract to operate Blakenhurst or any other prision. In the circumstances, ommittee. A copy of my letter has been placed in the Library of the House.

Polytetrafluoroethylene

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when his Department and the Department of the Environment will produce a guidance


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document on the use of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) based and composite buildings products both under construction and in existence ; what representations on the potential dangers to the public and firefighters of this substance have been made by the joint fire prevention committee of the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council over the last three years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle [holding answer 9 June 1993] : The research to establish whether there are potential additional hazards to firefighters and the general public from fires involving structures roofed with PTFE-based materials concluded that in the event of a fire the probability of any additional threat would be minimal. Guidance for fire brigades on the use of such materials in buildings will be issued shortly by my Department and we understand that guidance for building control officers will be published in the autumn by the building research establishment.

Progress of the research project and on the preparation of guidance notes has been reported at meetings of the joint fire prevention committee on 2 October 1990, when the interim conclusions of the research were available, 15 October 1991, 7 April 1992 and 6 October 1992. The final results were made available to the committee on 23 March 1993.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Network Marketing

Mr. McMaster : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what studies he has undertaken into the concept of network marketing ; what evidence there is to link this concept with associated marketing techniques, such as pyramid selling ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin : A network marketing scheme is subject to the same legal requirements as pyramid selling if it includes the elements specified in section 118 of the Fair Trading Act. We are reviewing the legislation governing pyramid selling and similar trading schemes.

Transonic Wind Tunnel

Mr. Caborn : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) if he will list the countries that have contracted to use the European transonic wind tunnel cycle programme ; for what amount of time ; and at what charge ;

(2) when the European transonic wind tunnel cycle programme will be ready for use ; and what access countries outside the partnership have to the tunnel ;

(3) who are the European partners in the European transonic wind tunnel cycle programme ; and what is each country's contribution in cash terms.

Mr. Sainsbury : The partners in the European transonic wind tunnel (ETW) are United Kingdom, France Germany and the Netherlands. They are providing funds in the following proportions :


                                       |Construction/Commissioning/Calibration|Initial Operation                                                            

                                       |Per cent.                             |Per cent.                                                                    

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

United Kingdom                         |28.0                                  |31.0                                                                         

France                                 |28.0                                  |31.0                                                                         

Germany                                |38.0                                  |31.0                                                                         

Netherlands                            |6.0                                   |7.0                                                                          

Forecast final costs of the projects are as follows :


                                            |DM million           

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

Construction, commissioning and calibration |665.1                

Initial operation                           |149.7                

The partners' contributions are therefore as follows :


                                       |Construction/Commissioning/Calibration|Initial Operation                                                            

                                       |DM million                            |DM million                                                                   

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

United Kingdom                         |186.23                                |46.41                                                                        

France                                 |186.23                                |46.41                                                                        

Germany                                |252.74                                |46.41                                                                        

Netherlands                            |39.90                                 |10.47                                                                        

ETW management has decided that the tunnel will be operated on a fully commercial basis, with charges set accordingly, and will be accessible to customers worldwide.

Initial operation is scheduled to commence on 1 July 1994, with full commercial operation planned from 1 July 1997.

The project has not yet reached the stage when contracts for use have been negotiated. Manufacturers in each partner country have, however, indicated their intention to use the tunnel in the early stages of initial operation.

Trademarks

Mr. Simon Coombs : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to amend the law on trademarks.

Mr. McLoughlin : A Bill to implement the proposals in the White Paper "Reform of Trade Marks Law" (Cm 1203) has been fully drafted, and will be introduced as soon as the parliamentary timetable permits.

Warren Spring Laboratory

Ms Walley : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the research contracts awarded to Warren Spring Laboratory in each of the last two years relating to all aspects of transport policy.

Mr. McLoughlin : The information requested is as follows :


Contracts Relating to Transport Policy                                                                                          

Customer Department                                                 |1991-92            |1992-93                                

and Contract Title                                                                                                              

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

Department of Transport                                                                                                         

(Marine Pollution Control Unit)                                                                                                 

  Soft Sediments                                                    |v/                 |v/                                     

  Expert Systems                                                    |v/                 |-                                      

  Cleaning of Rocky Shorelines                                      |v/                 |-                                      

  Demulsifiers                                                      |v/                 |v/                                     

  Sea Trials Model Validation                                       |v/                 |-                                      

  Underwater Releases Phase II                                      |v/                 |-                                      

  Persistent Chemicals                                              |v/                 |v/                                     

  Oil Thickness Determination                                       |v/                 |v/                                     

  Remote Sensing Validation                                         |v/                 |v/                                     

  Remote Sensing Contract Monitoring                                |v/                 |-                                      

  Review of Refined Products                                        |-                  |v/                                     

  Vapour Cloud Modelling                                            |-                  |v/                                     

  Springsweep Maintenance                                           |-                  |v/                                     

  Process of Dispersion                                             |-                  |v/                                     

  Fate of Chemicals Spilled at Sea                                  |-                  |v/                                     

  Extension to Eurospill Model                                      |-                  |v/                                     

  Oily Bilge Water Filter Performance                               |-                  |v/                                     

  In-situ Burning of Oil                                            |-                  |v/                                     

  Review of Sorbents                                                |-                  |v/                                     

  Modelling of Sinking Chemicals                                    |-                  |v/                                     

  Various Minor Issues                                              |v/                 |v/                                     

                                                                                                                                

Department of Transport                                                                                                         

(Marine Directorate)                                                                                                            

  IMO Consultancy                                                   |v/                 |-                                      

  Iron Ore Concentrate Cargoes                                      |v/                 |-                                      

  Study of Health Hazards from Residues                             |v/                 |-                                      

  Japanese Penetration Method Tests                                 |v/                 |-                                      

  Iron Ore Concentrates Phase III                                   |v/                 |v/                                     

                                                                                                                                

Department of Transport                                                                                                         

  Aircraft Air Pollution Advice                                     |v/                 |v/                                     

  Feasibility Study to Develop Computer Model on Fuel Consumption   |-                  |v/                                     

  Study on Runway Capacity in the South East                        |-                  |v/                                     

  Additional Runway Capacity in the South East                      |v/                 |-                                      

                                                                                                                                

Department of Transport                                                                                                         

(Transport Research Laboratory)                                                                                                 

  Catalyst Testing of Cars                                          |-                  |v/                                     

  Emission Abatement Measures in a Car Driven under Cold Conditions |-                  |v/                                     

  Exhaust Emission Tests on Fifty Light Duty Vehicles               |v/                 |-                                      

                                                                                                                                

Department of Trade and Industry                                                                                                

  Aircraft Emission Studies                                         |v/                 |-                                      

                                                                                                                                

Department of the Environment                                                                                                   

  Emissions from Vehicles and Fuels                                 |-                  |v/                                     

  Vehicle Emissions                                                 |v/                 |v/                                     

Polly Peck

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he has required the administrator of Polly Peck to furnish him with a report under section 6 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.

Mr. Heseltine : The joint administrator reported to the Secretary of State on 16 June 1992.

Mr. Asil Nadir

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will now make a direction to proceed under section 6 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 against Mr. Asil Nadir.

Mr. Heseltine : On 25 November 1991 a bankruptcy order was made against Mr. Asil Nadir and he is disqualified from acting as a company director until discharged--normally three years. The Official Receiver is considering applying to the court to suspend the discharge period until Mr. Nadir has fully co-operated.

If the suspension is granted then an application under section 6 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 will not be necessary.


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British Standards Institution

Mr. Nicholls : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what level of grant-in-aid the Government will pay to the British Standards Institution this year ; and if he will make a statement about BSI's role in relation to industrial competitiveness.

Mr. Heseltine : The British Standards Institution (BSI) is an independent body incorporated under royal charter. BSI has made an important contribution towards industrial competitiveness over the past 90 years in providing a framework for the setting of standards for industry. I am pleased to announce that the Government will make a grant-in-aid of £4.5 million for 1993-94 and that my Department will contribute a further £2.7 million in support to industry for standards making purposes.

In view of the changing nature of BSI standards, as a result of the increasing emphasis over recent years on the writing of standards at European and international level, and of the growth in BSI's quality assurance and testing activities, I have decided to review the need for Government financial assistance and the appropriate mechanisms for any future financial assistance, bearing in mind the need to ensure best value for money from public expenditure. This review is due to be completed by the end of September.

My officials are consulting all interested parties about future funding arrangements and about ways in which BSI and standards can contribute further to improving the competitiveness of British industry. They are seeking views on such questions as the value of national and international standards in support of competitiveness ; the effectiveness of BSI as a standards-making organisation in a world market ; the need for new types of product standard, or for new product testing, certification and marking schemes in the United Kingdom ; and possible alternative approaches to standards writing at national level and to United Kingdom representation at international level. I have placed in the Library of the House a copy of the consultation note which has been issued.

Offshore Licensing

Mr. Ainger : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was his Department's expenditure in 1992-93 on monitoring compliance with offshore licensing conditions ; what is its projected expenditure in 1993-94 ; and what other bodies have a role in monitoring compliance with conditions.

Mr. Eggar : The monitoring of compliance with the conditions contained in offshore oil and gas licences is an integral part of the licence administration and technical support activities carried out by my Department, and monitoring is not separately costed. Other governmental bodies involved in monitoring particular aspects of the licence conditions include the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the Scottish Office, the Health and Safety Executive, the Ministry of Defence, and the Department of Transport.


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Warren Spring Laboratory

Mr. Robathan : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps he has taken to maintain the knowledge and expertise in wastes management and recycling developed by Warren Spring Laboratory after the sale of its site in Stevenage.

Mr. Heseltine [pursuant to his reply, 27 May 1993, c. 692] : I am announcing today the formation of a new national environmental technology centre (NETC). This is to be created by bringing together at Culham and Harwell the country's two main centres of environmental research, those of my Department's Warren Spring Laboratory (WSL) and AEA Technology. Together they will form a single centre of excellence in environmental technology.

WSL and AEA Technology has each established national and international reputations in environmental science and consultancy, serving customers in Government, in the private sector, and overseas. They are already working together in certain environmental areas. The NETC will provide a more comprehensive service for all these customers, and better value for the taxpayer's money. It will combine the complementary strengths of WSL and AEA Technology in the environmental field. It will aim to provide the full range of services provided in the past, and will develop and extend them. The Government will remain an important customer, and will deal with the NETC on a fee-paying basis.

This decision follows advice from PA consulting group on options for the future of WSL. The proposed relocation of WSL from its existing site at Stevenage to a greenfield site at Welwyn Garden City will not now proceed.

WSL has now been an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry for four years. I have been impressed by its progress within this framework towards becoming a more customer-oriented and cost conscious body, and I am confident that this progress will continue following the merger with AEA Technology.

The NETC will negotiate with all WSL's customers with the aim of taking on to the fullest extent possible the whole of WSL's business. WSL staff required to work on the business to be transferred will be expected to transfer to the AEA with their work. I am eager to see the greatest possible number of such staff transfer. The Department will seek to redeploy other staff, though some redundancies are likely.

My hon. Friend the Minister for Energy announced on 1 April that consultants were being appointed to advise on the practicability of privatising the AEA. I will want to consider the prospects of privatising the NETC activities in the light of that study.

Data Protection

Mr. Cohen : To ask the President of the Board of Trade to what investigations his Department has been subject by the Data Protection Registrar in relation to a suspected breach of a data protection principle ; if he will summarise the nature of each complaint and state when the complaint was made ; and what remedial action was taken by his Department to ensure future compliance with the principle subject to the investigation.

Mr. Eggar [pursuant to his reply, 20 May 1993, c. 288-89] : My further inquiries have revealed that the complaint concerned a subject access request which was


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not promptly responded to. By the time the Data Protection Registrar brought this to the attention of the office which received the subject access request a response had already been provided. No further action was necessary.

EC Grants

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what proportion of EC grants available for 1992 remain unclaimed by the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I have been asked to reply.

As EC grants made under the structural funds are allocated on a multiannual basis, no annual figures for grants actually claimed are available. However, of the structural funds allocated to the United Kingdom for the period 1989-93, approximately 80 per cent. have been committed to projects. The remaining 20 per cent. is expected to be committed before the end of the year. Since there is no allocation specific to the United Kingdom in respect of other EC expenditure it is not possible to say what percentage of grants intended for the United Kingdom has been claimed.

NATIONAL HERITAGE

Ballet Companies

Mr. Anthony Coombs : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what is the current level of support from Arts Council funds to (a) the London City Ballet and (b) the National Ballet.

Mr. Brooke : This year's Arts Council grant to London City Ballet is £250,000. The grant to English National Ballet is £3,603,000.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Set-aside

12. Mr. Hardy : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the total acreage of arable land put into set-aside during the last three years.

Mrs. Shephard : A total of 54,317 hectares (134,000 acres) of land have been entered into the five-year scheme and 14,118 hectares (35, 000 acres) into the one year scheme in the United Kingdom during the years 1990 -92.

I will publish details of the amount of land set-aside under the arable area payments scheme as soon as possible.

Wildlife Habitats

13. Ms Quin : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what new measures her Department is considering to encourage or require farmers to promote wildlife habitats.

Mr. Jack : We are considering the results of consultations which we have just held on a range of new measures to benefit wildlife habitats, including new environmentally sensitive areas, a scheme to improve the condition of moorland and a habitat improvement scheme.


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Mr. Milligan : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make provision under the new set-aside scheme for the preservation of good wildlife habitats created under the existing scheme.

Mr. Jack : We expect that farmers with land in the five-year set- aside scheme or in rotational set-aside will be able to enter land directly into non-rotational set-aside under the new arable area payments scheme. In addition, as part of our agri-environment programme, we are proposing a new scheme for the withdrawal of land from production for 20 years. Habitats of particular value created under the five-year scheme would be eligible for this new long-term scheme.

Potato Marketing Board

14. Mr. Brandreth : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations she has received from farmers in Cheshire on the future of the Potato Marketing Board ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jack : We have received 19 representations by or on behalf of farmers in Cheshire, all expressing support for the continuation of the Potato Marketing Board.

Poultry Industry

15. Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when she next expects to meet representatives of the poultry industry to discuss the state of the sector.

Mr. Jack : I hope to be in regular contact with representatives of the industry. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary recently addressed the annual conference of the British Poultry Meat Federation.

Agricultural Trade 16. Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the balance of trade in agricultural produce between the United Kingdom and France and the United Kingdom and Germany ; and what are the main British products involved.

Mrs. Shephard : In 1992 we had a trade deficit of £624 million with France and £403 million with Germany.

Wine was the largest single import in each case.

The largest British exports to both countries were meat and whisky.

Agricultural Tenancy Law

17. Mr. Jonathan Evans : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals she intends to bring forward for the reform of agricultural tenancy law.

Mrs. Shephard : The objective of agricultural tenancy reform would be to encourage more letting of land by giving landlords and tenants greater freedom to negotiate the terms of their own agreements. The industry has been consulted on proposals and its views are now being considered. The introduction of the necessary legislation will depend on parliamentary time becoming available.


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Farm Incomes

18. Lady Olga Maitland : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the average level of farm income in 1992 ; and what is the projected figure for 1993.

Mr. Jack : Aggregate farm income for the industry as a whole rose by just over 10 per cent. in 1992. It is too early to forecast figures for 1993.

Bananas

19. Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how she is monitoring the price of bananas.

Mrs. Shephard : Data on the price of bananas at all stages in the marketing chain from the point of import into the United Kingdom to final retail sale are collected on a regular basis and allow comparison with prices in other countries.

Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations she has received about the proposed EC banana regime.

Mrs. Shephard : We have received a wide range of representations from interested parties at all stages in the marketing of bananas. These have included representatives of producer interests and companies involved at all stages in the marketing of bananas in the United Kingdom.

24. Sir Donald Thompson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions are taking place on the criteria to be used for measuring quality within the new EC banana regime ; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Shephard : Council regulation 404/93 on the common organisation of the European banana market provides for the development of quality and marketing standards for bananas marketed in the Community.

Details of these standards and how they will be applied will be decided by the Commission in consultation with member states. No discussion of quality standards has yet taken place.

Deregulation

20. Mr. Clappison : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make a statement on progress on deregulation.

Mrs. Shephard : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier to my hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Mr. Sykes).

Scotch Whisky

21. Mr. Canavan : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will arrange to meet representatives of the Scotch whisky industry to discuss the prospects for the industry and the workers employed in it.

Mr. Jack : My right hon. Friend hopes to have frequent contacts with representatives of the Scotch whisky industry.


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Environmentally Sensitive Areas

22. Mr. Spring : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proportion of the United Kingdom is now designated as environmentally sensitive areas.

Mrs. Shephard : Just over 9 per cent. of agricultural land in the United Kingdom is now designated under the environmentally sensitive areas scheme.

The Government have announced proposals for further designations which together are expected to bring the total area covered to approximately 15 per cent. by the end of the year.

Food Labelling

23. Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps she will take to improve the accuracy of food labelling.

Mr. Soames : It is already an offence under the Food Safety Act 1990 falsely to describe a food or to give information which is likely to mislead as to its nature, substance or quality.

Food Advisory Committee

25. Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when she next intends to meet the chairman of the Food Advisory Committee to discuss the committee's membership.

Mr. Soames : I have no plans at present for such a discussion. The views of the chairman of the Food Advisory Committee are always taken into account when appointments to the committee are being considered.

Less Favoured Areas

26. Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when she will next visit Dartmoor hill farmers to discuss the less favoured areas.

Mr. Jack : My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary (Lords), Earl Howe, chaired a meeting of the Hill Farming Advisory Committee on 2 June. Two of the members of the committee farm on Dartmoor and a range of issues related to farming in the less favoured areas was discussed.

Equine Viral Arteritis

Mr. Spring : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make a statement on the outbreak of equine viral arteritis.


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