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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 2 July 1993

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Mr. Asil Nadir

Mr. Cox : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what discussions he has had with the Government of Cyprus regarding the Asil Nadir case ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : None.

Legal Aid

Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what action his Department intends to take in the light of the judgment of Lord Justice Neill and Mr. Justice Mantell in relation to legal aid.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The judgment sustained, on all points at issue, the measures taken by the Lord Chancellor earlier this year to restrain the rate of growth in legal aid expenditure. No further action is therefore necessary in respect of the regulations which were the subject of the judgment.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Drugs (Use-by Dates)

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what guidance he has issued to hospitals as to the use of drugs after their use-by date.

Mr. Ancram : Extant guidance on the use and control of medicines issued by the Department of Health and Social Services requires hospital staff administering a drug or medicine to check that it is not out of date. Guidance has


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also been issued by the directors of pharmaceutical services of the health and social services boards requiring hospital pharmacists to operate stock control arrangements which ensure detection and recorded disposal of outdated medicinal products.

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what evidence he has of hospitals using drugs which are past their use-by date ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ancram : I have no such evidence.

EDUCATION

A-Levels

Dr. Hampson : To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of A-level candidates in 1970, 1980, 1990 and in the latest statistics passed in mathematics and physics.

Mr. Robin Squire : In England, the proportion of A-level candidates who achieved a pass in mathematics and physics in 1992 was 16 and 10.4 per cent. respectively. Information on a similar basis for earlier years is not available centrally.

Grant-maintained Status

Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many proposals from schools for grant-maintained status were published before 1 January 1993 but remain undetermined ; when he expects such proposals to be determined ; and if he will make a statement listing the schools concerned and the reasons for the delays.

Mr. Robin Squire : Three proposals for grant-maintained status published before 1 January 1993 remain undetermined. My right hon. Friend will decide each proposal as soon as possible, consistent with a full consideration of the issues involved and of any objections to the proposals. The schools concerned and the reasons the proposals have not yet been determined are given in the table.


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School                                             |Proposals published                               |Reason not yet                                                                                       

                                                                                                      |determined                                                                                           

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

Bilston High School, Wolverhampton                 |21 September 1992                                 |The proposal is being considered alongside a                                                         

                                                                                                      |  proposal from the LEA to close the school.                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                            

St. Thomas CE Primary School, Hackney              |11 December 1992                                  |The proposal is being considered alongside a                                                         

                                                                                                      |  proposal from the LEA to close the school.                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                            

The Leventhorpe School, Hertfordshire              |11 December 1992                                  |Elections have only recently been held to fill                                                       

                                                                                                      |  vacancies on the proposed initial Governing Body                                                   

                                                                                                      |  of the school.                                                                                     

HOME DEPARTMENT

Radio Scanners

Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proposals he intends to bring forward to amend section 5 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 to take account of changes in sale, supply, possession and use of radio scanners ;


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(2) what proposals he has to amend the Wireless Telegraphy Apparatus (Receivers) (Exemption) Regulations 1989 to regulate radio scanners by licence.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The Government are currently reviewing the relevant legislation covering the use of radio equipment which might be used to intercept telecommunications. There are, however, no plans to place further restrictions on the manufacture, sale or ownership of scanning receivers under section 5 of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949.


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Market Testing

Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much the market-testing programme has cost his Department since November 1992.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The direct costs of the Home Office market- testing programme, including consultancies, since November 1992 has been £1,361,885.

Channel Islands and Isle of Man

Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what contribution was received in the latest available year from the Governments of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man towards the cost of his Department, and British embassies and consular services.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of the United Kingdom but are internally self-governing dependencies of the Crown. The United Kingdom Government are responsible for the islands' defence and their international relations, and the Crown is ultimately responsible for the islands' good government. These responsibilities are constitutional, not a matter of financial contract. None the less, in recognition of the fact that expenditure on defence and international representation is incurred by the United Kingdom, Jersey maintains a local Territorial Army unit, at a cost in 1992 of £1.7 million, and Guernsey makes payments to, or in lieu of, the United Kingdom Exchequer, which in 1992 totalled £541,000. And, as a contribution to defence and other common services, the Isle of Man annually forgoes a proportion of the revenue due to it under Customs and Excise agreement ; the value of this contribution to the United Kingdom in 1991-92 was £1.9 million.

Sam Kulasingham and Prem Sivalingham

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to complete the review of the cases of Sam Kulasingham and Prem Sivalingham ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclean : The review of these cases is almost complete, and I expect to make a decision very soon.

Birmingham Pub Bombings

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will call for a report from the chief constable of the West Midlands police as to the cost, including salaries, of the inquiry into the Birmingham pub bombings since March 1990 ;

(2) if he will call for a report from the West Midlands chief constable as to whether the inquiry into the Birmingham pub bombings is continuing ; how many officers are involved ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle : All that I can add to the answer which was given to the hon. Member on 16 January 1992, at columns 634-35, is that an analysis of the cost of the inquiry, which started in April 1991, will be prepared at its conclusion.


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Animal Imports

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what has been the average fine per offence for those found guilty of illegal importation of animals into the United Kingdom in each year since 1978 ;

(2) how many convictions there have been for the illegal importation of animals into the United Kingdom in each year since 1978.

Mr. Soames : I have been asked to reply.

The information readily available for the United Kingdom, excluding Northern Ireland, is given in the table. The figures reflect all prosecutions taken under the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974, the Importation of Equine Animals Order 1979, and the Importation of Animals Order 1977 which have been notified to this Department.


Year             |Number of       |Maximum fine (£)                 

                 |prosecutions                                      

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

1978             |80              |1,000                            

1979             |74              |1,000                            

1980             |63              |1,000                            

1981             |74              |700                              

1982             |50              |1,000                            

1983             |71              |1,000                            

1984             |27              |1,000                            

1985             |77              |1,500                            

1986             |75              |1,200                            

1987             |43              |1,000                            

1988             |57              |1,500                            

1989             |31              |1,600                            

1990             |45              |1,000                            

1991             |66              |2,000                            

1992             |47              |1,250                            

More detailed information could only be provided at

disproportionate cost.

TRANSPORT

BR Privilege Ticket facilities

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people are currently in receipt of British Railways privilege ticket facilities.

Mr. Freeman : I refer the hon. Lady to the answer I gave her on 12 March 1993, Official Report, column 769.

BR Staff (Timetables)

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the number of British Railways Board and subsidiary personnel currently employed on timetabling duties and the publication of the Great Britain timetable.

Mr. Freeman : This is a matter for the BR board. From next year, responsibility for planning and producing the working timetable for the railway will pass to Railtrack. We expect that the private sector will see opportunities to publish a national passenger timetable commercially, but Railtrack will be placed under an obligation to secure its publication if others do not.


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BR Pensioners

Mr. Denham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what actuarial basis funds will be allocated to existing British Rail pensioners on the establishment of the proposed joint industry fund.

Mr. Freeman : The allocation of assets will take full account of the future liabilities to pensioners and will be subject to independent actuarial advice in the light of the results of the latest actuarial valuation of the schemes.

West Coast Main Line

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of passenger trains using the core west coast main line are arriving within five minutes of their scheduled times for the latest available period.

Mr. Freeman : British Rail measures the punctuality of InterCity services by the number of trains arriving at their destinations within 10 minutes of the advertised time. On this basis, 88 per cent. of trains on the west coast main line arrived punctually in the four-week period ending 19 June 1993.

Railways Directorate

Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff are currently employed in the railways directorate (railways 1 and railways 2), and in the offices of the shadow regulator and shadow franchising director including seconded and part-time staff ; and how many will be employed in these areas, including the offices of the regulator and the franchising director, in each of the next two years, identifying the number of staff in grades 1 to 7 as well as the total number of staff.

Mr. Freeman : At present there are 124 staff in these areas, including special advisers on regulation and franchising and supporting staff. Of these, 45 staff are in grade 7 or above ; five are seconded ; and five are part time. Budgets and staff for the next two years have not been decided. Estimates of the running costs and manpower of the franchising director and the regulator, and their staff, were contained in the explanatory and financial memorandum to the Railways Bill.

Southend Transport Ltd.

Mr. Channon : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the ownership of Southend Transport Ltd.

Mr. Freeman : Approval under the Transport Act 1985 has been given to the sale of Southend Transport Ltd, the bus company owned by Southend-on -Sea borough council. The company has been sold by competitive tender to Branksome 169 Ltd. A company formed by the four main shareholders of British Bus plc.

Change of ownership takes place under the terms of the Transport Act 1985, which allows authorities to sell their public transport companies with the consent of the Secretary of State.

I believe that this sale will help continue the successful and efficient operation of bus services in Southend-on-Sea. I am also pleased that the sale was successfully conducted by competitive tender, thus ensuring a good price for the local taxpayers of Southend-on-Sea. I wish everyone in the company all success in the private sector.


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This sale also sets a good example for other local authorities which own their bus companies. Proceeds from sales of bus companies realized before the end of 1993 will all be usable for local capital projects. Thereafter, 50 per cent. will have to be set aside for debt reduction in the traditional way. Although time is now short, I hope that the remaining local authorities in this position will make the most of this opportunity and sell their bus companies.

EMPLOYMENT

Women (Full-time Employment)

Mr. Callaghan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to encourage the participation of women in full-time employment.

Miss Widdecombe : We are determined that women should be allowed every opportunity to participate as fully as possible in the labour market. The number of women working full-time has risen by 9 per cent. since 1983 and women are projected to account for just over 80 per cent. of labour force growth by 2006. The Government welcome this trend and will continue to encourage women to make the most of the opportunities available.

Our "New Horizons for Women" initiative promotes the whole range of opportunities open to women, including those in employment and training. The flexibility built in to many employment service and training and enterprise council programmes are ideally suited to the needs of many women and our out-of-school child care grant will benefit women who wish to return to work after their children start school.

The ministerial sub-committee on women's issues accords a high priority to action throughout government, which will extend choice and opportunity for women in general, including in employment.

DEFENCE

Flight Recorders

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration has been given to the fitting of flight recorders to aircraft operated by his Department.

Mr. Aitken : It is my Department's policy that all new aircraft shall be fitted with accident data recorders--ADRs. However, in most circumstances, the technical difficulties and costs involved in retro- fitting ADRs to older aircraft types would not be justified.

Nuclear Tests

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information his Department is required to give United States authorities, and on what timescale, to enable the United States to carry out its obligations to inform Russia under the threshold test ban verification protocol provisions for notification of forthcoming nuclear tests.

Mr. Aitken : All our nuclear tests at the Nevada test site are jointly planned with the United States authorities. Section IV of the protocol to the treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the limitation of underground weapon tests


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specifies the information which the United States must pass to the Russian Government 200 days prior to the planned date of any relevant test.

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of data sent in the last 12 months to United States authorities for transmission to Russian authorities under the threshold test ban treaty verification protocol provisions for notification of forthcoming nuclear tests.

Mr. Aitken : For security reasons, this information is confidential to the Governments concerned.

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 16 June, Official Report , column 650 , when the tests of depleted uranium armour-piercing shells at the White Sands and Aberdeen proving grounds in the United States and La Gramat in France were conducted ; and what post test-firing of depleted uranium shells health checks were conducted on (i) local populations and (ii) service men involved in the tests at the West Freugh, Eskmeals and Kirkcudbright ranges.

Mr. Aitken : Some early trials were carried out at White Sands missile range and Aberdeen proving ground in the laste 1970s. More recently trials have taken place at La Gramat in 1990 and at Aberdeen in 1990, 1991 and 1992. The health checks on those involved in the depleted uranium firing trials and the environmental monitoring carried out at or near the three United Kingdom ranges are set out in my hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces' replies to the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Ainger) on 14 June, Official Report , columns 473-74 . On the basis of these checks, we have concluded that there is no danger to the health of the local population and no requirement to monitor it.

Tactical Air-to-Surface Missile

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the current status of the future theatre nuclear weapon project ;

(2) what is his latest estimate of the cost of TASM.

Mr. Aitken : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms Walley) on 20 May 1993, Official Report , column 263 .

Royal Navy (Nuclear Weapons)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration his Department has given to equipping Royal Navy vessels with a conventional stand-off weapon system.

Mr. Aitken : Many Royal Navy ships are already equipped with anti- ship stand off missiles systems such as Harpoon and Exocet. We are currently studying the United Kingdom requirement for land attack cruise missiles. Studies are at a very early stage and a decision is not expected for some time.

NATO (Peacekeeping)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many allied tactical papers and standard NATO agreements on peacekeeping have been adopted by NATO.


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Mr. Hanley : The development of NATO support to United Nations and CSCE peacekeeping has been fully documented in :

NATO Defence Planning Committee and Nuclear Planning Group Final Communique (27 May 1992)

Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council Final Communique (4 June 1992)

NATO Nuclear Planning Group Final Communique (21 October 1992) NATO Defence Planning Committee Final Communique (11 December 1992)

Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council Press Communique (17 December 1992)

NATO Defence Planning Committee and Nuclear Planning Group Final Communique (26 May 1993)

Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council Final Communique (10 June 1993)

In addition, the North Atlantic Co-operation Council adopted a report by its ad hoc group on co-operation in peacekeeping at its meeting in Athens on 11 June. All of these are available in the Library of the House.

Rapid Reaction Corps

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the training in the military requirements of peacekeeping undertaken by the allied Rapid Reaction Corps.

Mr. Hanley : I have nothing to add to the answer I gave the hon. Member on 10 June, Official Report column 369.

Aldermaston

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) of 18 June, Official Report, column 763, what factors led him to believe that the Panorama programme on Aldermaston to which he refers would not be even-handed or objective.

Mr. Aitken : The judgment was largely based on experience of co- operation with Panorama and some other investigative programmes. It was fully justified.

Indonesia

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he last visited Indonesia ; what matters were discussed and with whom ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aitken : My right hon. and learned Friend visited on 18 May 1993. He met the Indonesian Defence Minister and other Ministers and officials. A range of security and defence matters of mutual interest were discussed in what was a short but very valuable visit.

Goose Bay

Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many low- level sorties were flown by each type of aircraft at Canadian forces base Goose Bay (a) in 1992 and (b) up to the latest available date in 1993.

Mr. Hanley : During their period of deployment to Goose Bay in 1992, Royal Air Force Tornado GR1 and F3 aircraft flew 936 and 92 low-level sorties respectively. No sorties have yet been flown this year, although Tornado GR1s are expected to fly approximately 700 sorties at low level during the period of their deployment in 1993.

Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list the accomplished and scheduled Royal Air


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Force training deployments to Canadian forces base Goose Bay during 1993 ; and if he will specify the number and type of aircraft involved in each deployment ;

(2) if he will list the dates of deployment for each type of aircraft undertaking training at Canadian forces base Goose Bay in (a) 1992 and (b) 1993 ; and how many aircraft were involved in each such deployment.

Mr. Hanley : Nine Tornado GR1 aircraft were based at Goose Bay between 29 May and 25 September 1992, during which time there were seven deployments of crews to conduct low flying training. The precise dates of each such deployment were :

29 May--12 June

12 June--3 July

3 July--24 July

24 July--7 August

7 August--21 August

21 August--4 September

4 September--25 September

Eight Tornado F3 aircraft were also deployed between 26 May and 1 July 1992, during which time there were three deployments of crews : 26 May--9 June

9 June--23 June

25 June--1 July

For 1993, nine Tornado GR1s will be based at Goose Bay between 1 July and 23 September, during which time there are planned to be five separate crew deployments, each for a period of two to three weeks.


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