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Mr. Peter Bottomley : The construction of the new Dartford-Thurrock bridge and the widening of the south-western sector of the M25 will relieve those sections of the motorway where congestion regularly occurs. A study into ways of widening the length between junctions 15 and 16 is under way.

Consultants are due to report on their review of the whole motorway early next year. Improvements to other London orbital routes are included in the national road programme.


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A study is to begin shortly into orbital movements in the south-west quadrant of London.

Lancaster Canal

Mr. Jopling : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the current cost of restoring navigation to the northern stretch of the Lancaster canal between Tewitfield and Kendal by constructing the creeps in the M6 motorway bridges as referred to during the Second Reading debate of the British Waterways Bill on 22 February 1965, Official Report, volume 707, columns 106 to 134, together with any other necessary expenses.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Several million pounds in construction and traffic disruption costs.

Plutonium

Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what consultations he has had with British Nuclear Fuels Limited concerning the proposal to fly plutonium to and from Prestwick airport ; and what action he is taking ;

(2) what representations he has received from British Nuclear Fuels Limited concerning the proposal to fly plutonium fuel to and from Prestwick airport.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : No decision has yet been made on whether to return reprocessed plutonium to Japan by air.

BNFL is developing a suitable container. When it is satisfied that this will meet all the regulatory provisions, the design will be submitted to the Department for assessment and approval.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Ex-President Marcos (Assets)

Mr. Allen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will request the United Kingdom banks to open private safe deposit boxes in order to facilitate the identification of assets fraudulently obtained by ex-President Marcos and his family.

Mr. Lilley : Well-established procedures are available to the courts to enable United Kingdom banks to provide assistance in appropriate circumstances.

Indirect Taxes (Harmonisation)

Mr. Leighton : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what effect he estimates the harmonisation of indirect taxes, as proposed by the European Economic Community Commissioners, would have on (a) the poorest and (b) the richest 10 per cent. of households.

Mr. Lilley : Insufficient detailed information is available for assessing reliably the effect of these proposals on expenditure patterns across income groups.

The Government have made it clear that they do not consider tax approximation to be necessary for the completion of the single market.

Public Expenditure

Mr. Butterfill : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current ratio of public expenditure to gross domestic product : and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Major : The Autumn Statement gave a forecast of 39 per cent. for the ratio of general Government expenditure (excluding privatisation proceeds) to gross domestic product in 1988-89. This ratio has declined from a peak of nearly 47 per cent. in 1982-83 and is now at its lowest level since 1966-67. It is expected to decline further to just under 39 per cent. in 1991-92.

Cash Limits

Mr. Allen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the difference between his forecast for cash-limited vote expenditure for the first half of 1988-89 and the outturn ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Major : Table 1.8 of the Winter Supplementary Estimates (HC 690) shows Departments' estimates of outturn for cash-limited vote expenditure in the first six months of 1988-89. The table also shows Departments' forecasts of expenditure in the first six months, prepared earlier in the year.

Government Purchasing"

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress is being made in implementing the report, "Government Purchasing", of December 1984.

Mr. Brooke : A report by the central unit on purchasing on progress in 1987-88 is published today. It records that in 1987-88 central Government Departments (excluding the Ministry of Defence) reported value- for-money improvements in their purchasing totalling £252 million, equivalent to just under 4 per cent. of total purchasing expenditure and an increase of £84 million on the previous year. For 1988-89 Departments have set targets for value-for-money improvements totalling £337 million, equivalent to 5 per cent. of expenditure and an increase on 1987- 88 of £85 million. Taking into account that in 1985-86, the first full year after the purchasing initiative was launched, Departments reported value-for-money improvements of only £70 million, these successive increases in the savings reported by Departments are encouraging. Nevertheless, the report emphasises the need for continuing action by Departments to further improve their organisation, systems and staffing for purchasing and supply, so that efficient procurement becomes a standard part of good management practice. A copy of the report has been placed in the Library of the House.

Employee Share Ownership

Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to encourage wider share ownership through employee share ownership plans.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The Government remain firmly committed to supporting employee share ownership, as our record of legislation in nine out of the last 10 Budgets testifies. We shall continue to examine sympathetically the wide variety of proposals made for new initiatives or improvements in this area, to see how far they are capable of building on the impressive progress already achieved.

Income Tax

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what percentage from income tax will be


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paid by the top (a) 1 per cent. and (b) 5 per cent. of incomes in the current financial year compared to 1978-79 ; and what are the corresponding figures for income before tax ;

(2) what percentage of the revenue from income tax will be paid by the top (a) 1 per cent. and (b) 5 per cent. of incomes in the current financial year compared to 1978-79 ; and what are the corresponding figures for income before tax.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 28 November 1988] : I refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 28 July at columns 488-92 .

Inflation and Exchange Rates

Mr. Wray : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is, for each year since 1978, the average (a) rate of inflation in Japan, West Germany, the United States of America and the United Kingdom and (b) the average rate of exchange in £ sterling of the yen, the mark and the dollar.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 5 December 1988] : "OECD Economic Outlook", June 1988, (table R11), gives the average annual inflation rates on a non-standardised basis for all the countries in question. Economic Trends, monthly, gives annual averages of the sterling exchange rate against the yen, mark, and the dollar.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Grant Maintained Schools

Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) whether grant maintained schools will be allocated the same amount of money per pupil as locally financially managed schools within the same authority ;

(2) whether a grant maintained school will have its annual year-on-year budget altered in line with other schools which have local financial management in the same local education authority.

Mr. Butcher : The Department's circular 10/88 made clear that the maintenance grant for a grant-maintained school would be based on the funding which my right hon. Friend is satisfied fairly represents what the LEA would have been likely to have provided for the school had it continued to maintain it, including expenditure on services provided centrally by the LEA. Once formula funding is in operation for the authority as part of an approved scheme of local management, the formula will be applied to grant- maintained schools in the area in the same way as to LEA-maintained schools. The amounts will reflect the authority's decisions on funding of its schools, but will also include an allowance for centrally provided services which in the case of LEA-maintained schools will be excluded from the delegated budget determined by the formula.

Capital Building Projects

Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what criteria will be used to assess applications for capital building projects in (a) grant


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maintained schools and (b) local education authority schools under local financial management within the same authority.

Mr. Butcher : Applications for capital building projects in grant- maintained schools will be judged in the light of the total resources available for capital building in all maintained schools ; my right hon. Friend has made clear his intention to treat grant-maintained schools no more favourably than LEA-maintained schools. Initially this will be done on a case by case basis, but once numbers are large enough a national bidding system is expected to be introduced similar to that which now operates for voluntary-aided schools. Local authorities' allocations for prescribed expenditure are unhypothecated--that is, authorities are free to spend them on whatever projects they wish. The size of an authority's allocation in respect of county and controlled schools depends on the extents to which its overall plans coincide with my right hon. Friend's priorities which are currently :

i. committed expenditure up to a level previously indicated to the authority.

ii. basic need for additional school places in areas of population growth ;

iii.the removal of surplus places as school rolls fall ; iv.the improvement or replacement of existing school buildings. Allocations for major projects at aided and special arrangement schools relate to specific schemes and are determined according to the same priorities.

Retraining

Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to encourage mid-career retraining for those who wish to become teachers ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Butcher : Courses of initial teacher training are available for all potential entrants to the profession--regardless of age and previous experience. We have encouraged the development of new courses to meet a range of needs, including those of people who want to switch to teaching in mid career. This year nearly 6,000 people aged 26 and over entered courses of initial teacher training--30 per cent. of the total. One of the main aims of our teacher recruitment activity through the teaching as a career unit (TASC) is to attract more older people from other careers into teaching.

Solvent Abuse

Mr. Trotter : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he is taking to promote the education of children, teachers and parents as to the dangers of solvent abuse.

Mr. Butcher : The Department currently funds annual expenditure by local education authorities of £4.1 million for the in-service training of teachers in drugs issues (including solvent misuse) and for the employment of drugs education co-ordinators in every local authority in England. The Department is also funding research at Newcastle university into the role of parents and families in the treatment and rehabilitation of young people with substance misuse problems.

Teachers

Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how many teachers have been


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recruited from the following countries, within the last year, to fill vacancies in schools in London ; (a) Ireland, (b) Australia, (c) Canada, (d) New Zealand and (e) South Africa ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) how many applications for qualified teacher status were considered under paragraph 2(b) of Schedule 5 to the Education (Teachers) Regulations 1982 (S.I., 1982 No. 106) between 1 October 1987 and 30 September 1988 in respect of teachers who had trained in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa ; and how many were accepted.

Mr. Butcher [holding answer 25 November 1988] : The information is not available in the form requested. Between 1 October 1987 and 30 September 1988 applications for qualified teacher status from teachers with qualifications gained in the countries referred to by the hon. Member were received as follows :


                    |Accidents (Staff,  |Suicides           |Trespassers                            

                    |included in total                                                              

                    |shown, in brackets)                                                            

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

Republic of Ireland |327                |13                 |314                                    

Australia           |585                |155                |430                                    

Canada              |52                 |4                  |48                                     

New Zealand         |359                |230                |129                                    

South Africa        |120                |33                 |87                                     

Violence in Schools

Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether his Department is currently conducting any studies on violence in schools ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Butcher : An independent committee of inquiry into discipline in schools, under the chairmanship of Lord Elton, is currently considering what action might be taken to secure an orderly atmosphere in schools. Problems of violence form a part of the committee's remit. It aims to report around the end of this year.

ENERGY

Nuclear Material Exports

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what quantities of nuclear material produced from uranium have been exported to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the last five years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Spicer : In the five-year period ending 31 March 1988 some 3,000 tonnes of uranium in the form of natural uranium hexafluoride has been sent to the USSR for enrichment. The material exported was the property of the United Kingdom generating boards and various overseas utilities. It is all returned as product (enriched uranium) or tails (depleted uranium) to either the United Kingdom, or, in the case of overseas customers, a destination of their choice. All the material is subject to international safeguards.

Berkeley Power Station

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what was the tonnage of fuel (a) loaded into and (b) withdrawn from, reactor 1 at Berkeley power station between 4 April and 17 July ; and what was the average burn-up per tonne of irradiated fuel withdrawn at this time.


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Mr. Michael Spicer : I have asked the chairman of the CEGB to write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Coal and Electricity Industries (Privatisation)

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will shelve plans to proceed with the privatisation of the coal and electricity industries until the environmental problems of sulphur and carbon dioxide emissions have been satisfactorily dealt with and legislation is in place which will avoid further environmental consequences such as the greenhouse effect.

Mr. Michael Spicer : No. Privatisation will make no difference to the Government's commitment to improving the environment. Environmental controls apply to private sector companies as they do to those in the public sector and will be strongly enforced when the electricity industry is privatised.

Nuclear Materials (Transport)

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what international safeguard arrangements exist to cover the shipping of spent nuclear fuel and other material from (a) Torness, (b) Hunterston, (c) Dounreay and (d) Chapelcross, to reprocessing plants.

Mr. Michael Spicer : All nuclear material from Torness, Hunterston and Dounreay is subject to Euratom safeguards and the terms of the United Kingdom--Euratom--IAEA safeguards agreement. Nuclear fuel irradiated in Chapelcross is not subject to safeguards.

Nuclear Reactor Safety

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what international safeguard arrangements exist to cover the nuclear reactors at Torness and spent nuclear fuel from the Torness reactors ; and what facility attachments and particular safeguard provisions exist for Torness.

Mr. Michael Spicer : Nuclear material in the reactors at Torness, and spent nuclear fuel from the reactors, is subject to Euratom safeguards and the terms of the United Kingdom--Euratom--IAEA safeguards agreement. The particular safeguard provisions for Torness are not yet in force with Euratom. There is no facility attachment in place for Torness since the IAEA has not designated the facility for routine inspection.

Mining Industry (Statistics)

Mr. Illsley : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many men are employed in the mining industry, categorised in terms of (a) British Coal employees and (b) other contract companies.

Mr. Michael Spicer : I understand that British Coal employed 86,760 men on colliery books on 12 November 1988. The other information requested is not available.

Heysham II

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list, on a year-by-year basis, the construction costs of Heysham II nuclear power station.


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Mr. Michael Spicer : This is an operational matter for the CEGB and I have asked the chairman to write to the hon. Member.

Power Stations (Costs)

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give the operating costs for nuclear and fossil fuelled power stations in England and Wales for 1983 to 1987 on a year-by-year basis and in the same form as set out in the Central Electricity Generating Board's statistical year book for 1982-83.

Mr. Michael Spicer : This is an operational matter for the CEGB and I have asked the chairman to write to the hon. Member.

DEFENCE

Procurement

Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the expenditure incurred by the procurement division of his Department is split (a) within the United Kingdom and (b) abroad.

Mr. Sainsbury : I refer the hon. Member to the statement on the Defence Estimates 1988, Cmnd. 344-1, volume 1, page 37 paragraph 402, and page 49 figure 11.

Army Scholarship Scheme

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what has been the total cost in grants and tuition paid in respect of (a) boys and (b) girls receiving both grants and tuition in each year from 1979 to the present in respect of the Army scholarship scheme for children aged 15 and 16 years ;

(2) if he will list the schools in respect of which tuition fees were paid and from whose headteachers, endorsements of candidatures were received and the numbers of (a) boys and (b) girls from each school who have received awards under the Army scholarship scheme for pupils aged 15 and 16 years in each of the years from 1979 to the present.

Mr. Freeman : The information is not available in the form requested. While references are obtained from headteachers, eligibility for the award of any Army scholarship does not rest on the headteacher's endorsement alone. Applicants are required to pass a test set by the Army, an interview and obtain good grades in seven GCSEs (or equivalents) including mathematics, English language and either a science or modern language. Girls have been eligible to apply for an award only since 1986.

Currently there are 91 scholars, including 10 girls. Since September 1983 a flat rate grant of £750 a year has been made to parents of scholars, irrespective of the school which the scholar attends.

Educational Allowances

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the total sum paid to (a) officers and (b) other ranks in education allowances in the year 1986-87 ; what were the numbers of individuals receiving allowances in categories (a) and (b) above ; and what is the average grossed up value of an allowance in each category.


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Mr. Freeman : The information requested is as follows :


                  |Total Sum Paid In|Numbers of       |Average Allowance                  

                  |Educational      |Individuals In   |Per Child                          

                  |Allowances       |Receipt of                                           

                                    |Allowances                                           

                  |£ million                          |£<1> per annum                     

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

(a) Officers      |58.840           |8,071            |4,701                              

(b) Other Ranks   |34.761           |6,357            |3,964                              

Note <1>: This is the average allowance paid per child and takes into account the higher  

allowance paid for third and subsequent children and is inclusive of grossing up for      

income tax.                                                                               

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the approximate cost of a holiday visit passages paid in respect of children of defence service personnel in receipt of education allowances, for the latest year available.

Mr. Freeman : The information available does not allow the costs of school children's visits to be identified separately from the costs of other types of travel.

Burghfield Arms Factory

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the explosion on 2 December at Burghfield arms factory ; and if he will state its proximity to the materials held for the polaris warheads.

Mr. Sainsbury : A minor explosion occurred at AWE Burghfield in the early hours of 2 December during routine burning of surplus conventional explosive. There was no personal injury and no danger to the work force or public at any time and, to the best of our knowledge, no damage was caused outside the establishment. It is not our policy to disclose the nature or location of nuclear weapons ; however no radioactive material was involved in this incident.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Social Fund

Mr. Chapman : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will announce the total sum available for payments from the discretionary part of the social fund in 1989-90.

Mr. Needham : The total sum available for payments in Northern Ireland for 1989-90 will be the same as for 1988-89. The budget for community care grants will be £7.2 million and the gross budget for loans will be £13.9 million.

Emission Controls (Crown Immunity)

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will be seeking Crown immunity from prosecution for the institutions which are the responsibility of his Department when the anticipated new controls on emissions come into operation.

Mr. Needham [holding answer 30 November 1988] : I refer the right hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 29 November 1988 at column 178.


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Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how he proposes to finance the additional funds required for those nurses who will be regraded after appeal.

Mr. Needham : The funds allocated to boards which include £32 million as the assessed cost of the clinical grading review, are intended to cover all pay costs arising in the current financial year, including any costs arising from successful appeals about pay or grading.

Housing Associations

Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much new capital expenditure has been authorised to be undertaken by housing associations in Northern Ireland in each of August, September and October ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Needham : The information is as follows :


          |£              

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

August    |456,325        

September |894,224        

October   |660,222        

The total of approximately £2.01 million compares with £2.34 million in the same period last year.

Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what sums remained unspent in the budgeted expenditure for housing associations in Northern Ireland at 31 October.

Mr. Needham : Of the £31.47 million available for capital expenditure by housing associations in Northern Ireland in 1988-89, £12.7 million was unspent at 31 October.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Women's Issues

Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish the minutes of the meetings of the ministerial group on women's issues, from May 1986 to date ; and whether he will place a copy of the equal opportunities proofing system and proofing checklist in the library.

Mr. John Patten : It is not the practice to publish the internal record of meetings of Ministers. A press release was made following the last meeting of the group. On the second part of her question, I refer the hon. Member to the reply to her question on 7 November at columns 10-11.

Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last met the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis ; and what was discussed.

Mr. Hurd : I last met the Commissioner on 20 October at a lunch at New Scotland yard organised by the community involvement branch. It was an informal occasion, during which we discussed the work of the branch, and a number of other policing issues.


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Prisoners (Condoms)

Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received from medical organisations on prisoners' access to condoms.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We have received one letter from the British Medical Association on this subject.

Homosexuality and Drugs (Prisons)

Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why he refused an application for a research project, proposed by the prison department's AIDS advisory committee, into homosexuality and drug use in prison.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Because we considered that the methodology proposed was unlikely to lead to reliable results.


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