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MoD Contracts

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

22 Jul 1996 : Column WA95

Earl Howe: Decisions on defence procurements are taken only after all relevant factors have been taken into account.

Child Employment Controls

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware that the law prohibiting the employment of children is widely unenforced; whether they have any plans to achieve more general observance; and whether the use of babies in television advertising is legal.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): The law permits children to work in suitable jobs, and for a limited number of hours, from the age of 13. Local authorities have responsibility for enforcing this law. The use of babies in television advertising is legal, subject to compliance with the Children (Performances) Regulations 1968.

Alzheimer's Disease

Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the average cost per patient (a) to the NHS and (b) to the social services to treat and care for patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Baroness Cumberlege: This information is not available centrally.

Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the care and treatment of patients with Alzheimer's Disease is the responsibility of the NHS or of the social services; and in what circumstances the social services are required to make essential provision for such patients.

Baroness Cumberlege: People with Alzheimer's disease need care and treatment from a variety of agencies, including the National Health Service and the social services.

Touring Caravan Exemption Certificate System Review

Viscount Addison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to announce the conclusion of the review of the touring caravan exemption certificate system which operates under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): We have today issued a statement announcing the conclusion of the review of the touring caravan exemption certificate system. Copies have been placed in the Library.

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Negative Equity: Policy of Mortgage Lenders and Insurers

Baroness Hamwee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the status of the recent note agreed by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Association of British Insurers on negative equity, whether it will be included in the future Code of Practice on Mortgage Lending, and what steps the Council of Mortgage Lenders will be taking to ensure that it is adhered to by lenders; and

    Whether they will monitor the refusal by mortgagees to permit borrowers in arrears and with negative equity to sell their homes on a voluntary basis, and whether they will introduce legislation, if necessary.

Earl Ferrers: The note, a copy of which has been placed in the Library, sets out current general practice adopted by mortgage lenders and insurers in relation to voluntary sales of property by home owners with negative equity and mortgage arrears. It is not a set of rules or procedures which lenders and insurers are obliged to follow. Cases are considered on their individual merits, and the note outlines the criteria which lenders and insurers commonly apply. It is for the Council of Mortgage Lenders to consider whether the contents of the note should be included in their proposed Code of Mortgage Lending Practice.

The contents of the note suggest that most lenders and their insurers already recognise that in some cases it is in the interests of all parties to limit the accumulation of debt by allowing borrowers to sell voluntarily. The Government have no plans for legislation in this area but we will continue to encourage lenders to act reasonably and flexibly in dealing with borrowers' problems.

British Ships: Statistics

Lord Selsdon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many British-registered commercial vessels, fishing vessels and yachts there are in each of the following groups: (a) over 100 feet length overall (b) 50 to 100 feet length overall (c) under 50 feet length overall; and

    How many British-flagged vessels are beneficially owned by non-British nationals or foreign institutions or corporations; and

    What rights, protection, privileges and benefits are available to British-flagged vessels and what obligations and duties may be imposed upon them.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): I have asked the Chief Executive of the Marine Safety Agency, Mr. Robin Bradley, to write to my noble friend.

22 Jul 1996 : Column WA97

Letter to Lord Selsdon from the Chief Executive of the Marine Safety Agency, Mr. Robin Bradley, dated 22nd July 1996.


    The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your Questions about the numbers of British-registered vessels of various categories and about the numbers of British-registered vessels owned by non-British nationals or foreign institutions or organisations. He has also asked me to reply to your Question about the rights, protection, privileges and benefits available to British registered vessels and the obligations and duties which may be imposed on them.


    The numbers of British registered commercial ships, fishing vessels and yachts within certain categories has been obtained from the Registry of Shipping and Seamen (RSS). The information you have requested is shown below in tabular form, for your ease of reference. Please note that the figures for merchant vessels and yachts are approximated numbers.

Overall lengthCommercial shipsFishing vesselsYachts
100 feet and over2,290230449
50 to 100 feet4401,2103,500
50 feet and under2,0807,00472,200

I am unable to inform you of the number of ships which are beneficially owned by non-British nationals or foreign institutions or corporations, as this information is not maintained by the RSS. The issue of eligibility for registration is complex, and I enclose the Marine Safety Agency booklet which refers to registration.

British registered ships are subject to the requirements of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. The Act and the associated regulations ensure that the ships comply with the various international maritime conventions on safety and prevention of pollution to which the UK is a signatory. The main benefits of British registration are the protection of the Royal Navy and the availability of advice and assistance from all UK diplomatic posts.

Scotland: Fires in Large Compartmental Single Storey Buildings

Lord Howie of Troon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many fires have occurred in large compartment single storey buildings in Scotland since 1991 as compared to England and Wales over the same period.

22 Jul 1996 : Column WA98

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): The information requested is not available centrally.


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