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16 Feb 1995 : Column WA47

Written Answers

Thursday 16th February 1995

Mr. Kevin Taylor: Legal Aid

Lord Dean of Beswick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Kevin Taylor has received legal aid in his case against the Greater Manchester Police Force; and, if so, how much, and whether this sum will be reclaimed if Mr. Taylor wins the case or settles out of court.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): Mr. Kevin Taylor has been granted legal aid in respect of his civil action against the Manchester Police Authority. To date £369,000 has been paid on account. The Legal Aid Board will be entitled to recover its costs should Mr. Taylor win his case or reach a settlement with the defendants out of court.

NHS Trusts: Public Accountability

Lord Molloy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have plans to make NHS trusts more open in accounting for the public money they spend.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Each National Health Service trust is required to publish annual accounts which have been audited by independent auditors appointed by the Audit Commission and to hold an annual general meeting at which those audited accounts are presented. We have no plans to change these arrangements.

Structural Funds: Disbursement Monitoring Committee Membership

Lord Gladwin of Clee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish, in respect of Regional Community Support Framework Programme Monitoring Committees, (a) the number of local authority elected members on each committee, and (b) a breakdown of that number by the local authorities of which they are members.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Earl Ferrers): In the UK the Structural Funds are now disbursed under the terms of Single Programming Documents (SPDs), rather than Community Support Frameworks as was previously the case. Local authority elected members sit on four SPD Monitoring Committees. The breakdown is as follows: Merseyside (Objective 1) Two members from Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council Two members from Liverpool City Council Two members from Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council

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Two members from St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council Two members from Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire (Objective 2) One member from Blackburn Borough Council One member from Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council One member from Cheshire County Council One member from Holton Borough Council One member form Lancashire County Council One member from Manchester City Council One member from Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council One member from Trafford Borough Council One member from Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council North East (Objective 2) One member from Northumberland County Council One member from Stockton Borough Council One member from Sunderland City Council East Anglia (Objective 5(b)) One member from Suffolk County Council.

Fishing Vessels: Decommissioning

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How it is in British interests to pay £28 million to British fishermen to decommission vessels to allow additional fishing by Spanish fishing vessels in British waters; and whether they agree that the effects of such payment are a subsidy from public funds for the creation of jobs for Spanish fishermen and a consequent loss of British jobs.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Howe): All member states have accepted an obligation to reduce the capacity of their fishing fleets because we are faced with a situation where fishing capacity outstrips available fish stocks. The targets set are tailored to the particular circumstances of each member state's fleet. Decommissioning is a cost effective measure that we have used to contribute towards meeting those targets which is at the same time popular with the fishing industry. I expect the addition of £28 million to the £25 million already allocated for decommissioning to do much for the longer term prosperity of the fishing industry in the UK.

Under the access arrangements for Spanish vessels to apply in western waters from 1 January 1996, the principle of relative stability remains untouched. This means that our own quota entitlements remain unchanged, and our fishermen's ability to take those quotas is explicitly protected under the agreement reached in the Fisheries Council last December.

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Fishing Vessel and Crew Numbers

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total number of vessels and the total number of people employed in the United Kingdom's fishing fleet in (a) 1972 and (b) 1994.

Earl Howe: In 1972 there were 6,328 active fishing vessels and an estimated 22,703 fishermen in the UK.

The latest available information on the number of vessels and people employed in the UK fleet is published in Table 2.1 and Table 2.6 respectively in UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 1993, a copy of which is in the Library. Comparable information for 1994 is not yet available.

City of London: Police Checkpoints

The Marquess of Ailesbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the decision-making process leading to the removal from the City of London of the protection given by permanently manned checkpoints.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The deployment of police officers in the City of London is an operational matter for the Commissioner of Police. The changes which he has introduced are designed to enhance the effectiveness of counter terrorism measures by increasing flexibility and unpredictability in the deployment of police officers. The police will continue to maintain a highly visible presence on the streets of the City of London and a full range of counter terrorism measures will remain in place for as long as they are needed.

Secure Training Centres

Baroness Faithfull asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In view of the lapse of time since the notice relating to Secure Training Centres was placed in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 5th January 1994, when a further notice will be placed in the Journal.

Baroness Blatch: Invitations to Tender will be issued shortly for the design, construction/refurbishment, management and finance of Secure Training Centres in respect of the sites at Cookham Wood and Gringley on which initial planning consents have been obtained. A decision on whether, and if so when, to reissue a notice in respect of the other three sites will be taken in due course.

Prison Population

Baroness Faithfull asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On what date was the prison population of England and Wales at its highest recorded level and what was the number of (a) male and (b) female prisoners on that date.

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Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Baroness Faithfull from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Derek Lewis, dated 16 February 1995:

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking on what date was the prison population of England and Wales at its highest recorded level and what was the number of (a) male and (b) female prisoners on that date.

The prison population in England and Wales was at its highest on 17 July 1987, when it reached 51,239. Of these, 49,350 were male and 1,889 were female.

Crown Dependencies: Human Rights Protection

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which of the United Kingdom's Crown dependencies have, and which do not have, constitutional protection for the fundamental rights and freedoms recognised by the European Convention on Human Rights, and/or by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Baroness Blatch: The Crown dependencies are the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The protection in the dependencies of the rights and freedoms recognised both in the European Convention on Human Rights and in the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is assured by the United Kingdom being party to the convention and to the covenant on behalf of all the Islands.

EU/Israel Draft Association Agreement

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they support the draft European Union/Israel Association Agreement, and whether they see continuing Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank territories as compatible with references in the Preamble and Article 2 of the Agreement to respect for human rights and for the principles of the United Nations Charter.

Lord Inglewood: We fully support the Agreement as a welcome development in relations between the EU and Israel and as a positive signal of EU support for the Middle East Peace Process. We and our EU partners regularly reaffirm our view that Israeli settlement building in the Occupied Territories is illegal and should be stopped.

Turkey: Prison Conditions

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether following the reply of Lord Inglewood (HL Deb., 6 February, col. WA1), they will join with the Government of Denmark in improving prison

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    conditions in Turkey through the mechanisms of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture.

Lord Inglewood: The Independent Committee, set up under the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, to address prison conditions in those states which are signatory to the Convention, visited Turkey (which is a signatory) from 16–28 October, and is in dialogue with the Turkish Government about its findings. We continue to take every opportunity to express our concerns to the Turkish Government at their overall human rights record.


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