some default text...
  Home Page

Column 341

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 9 December 1988

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Physics and Chemistry

Dr. Moonie : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on rationalisation plans for physics and chemistry teaching and research in universities.

Mr. Jackson : Reports setting out the proposed principles for rationalisation of provision were issued by the University Grants Committee to the universities for consultation on 27 October. The committee and its successor, the Universities Funding Council, will consider future provision for physics and chemistry in the light of the reports and the comments received.

Female Teachers (Leaflet 873 PEN)

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received following the issue of leaflet 873 PEN to female teachers ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend has received 58 letters from hon. Members and about 500 from individual teachers. So far, there have been 400 elections to cover previous years which will count towards a widower's pension.

Cox Report

Mr. Haynes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what time was allowed for consultation on the Cox report on English ; from whom he is seeking comments ; and when he expects to announce decisions on the report.

Mrs. Rumbold : The National Curriculum Council (NCC) is conducting statutory consultations on my right hon. Friends' proposals for English in the national curriculum for pupils aged 5 to 11. Those proposals are based on the recommendations in the first report of the national curriculum English working group, chaired by Professor Brian Cox. Consultations began on 15 November and the NCC has asked for replies by 27 January 1989. It has consulted formally those bodies which it is obliged to consult under section 20 of the Education Reform Act 1988 and a number of others of its choosing.

Student Unions

Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he will make a statement on the progress of his Department's review of student unions ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) when he expects to announce the results of his Department's review of student unions ; and if he will make a statement.


Column 342

Mr. Jackson : My Department is now analysing the returns to its questionnaire on student unions. It will need a few weeks to tabulate and summarise the data. Thereafter, the Government will reach conclusions on the best action to take and will consult all those concerned about these conclusions. I cannot at present predict how long this will take.

Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of the returned questionnaires for his Department's review of student unions (a) supported and (b) opposed automatic membership of student unions.

Mr. Jackson : Respondents were not asked to comment on this issue and hardly any did so.

Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what (a) organisations, (b) individuals, (c) institutions of higher and further education and (d) student unions will receive the results of his Department's review of student unions ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jackson : I refer my hon. Friend to my reply on 31 October at column 471.

Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will place in the Library a copy of the results of his Department's review of student unions ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jackson : My right hon. Friend expects in due course to place in the Library a copy of the Government's conclusions in whatever form they are made available for consultation.

Research Centres

Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the number of university and

interdisciplinary research centres that have already been founded and those in the planning stages, together with the subjects investigated and the geographical locations and the funding for each.

Mr. Jackson : As regards the initiative by the advisory board for the research councils for the establishment of interdisciplinary research centres, commitments have already been made for the following centres :


C

                               |£ million                          

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

Superconductivity-Cambridge    |7.2 over 6 years                   

Molecular sciences-Oxford      |8.9 over 6 years                   

Engineering design-Glasgow     |6.3 over 6 years                   

Surface science-Liverpool      |10.4 over 6 years                  

Semiconductor materials-London |9.7 over 6 years                   

Toxicology-Under consideration |8.0 over 5 years                   

Molecular medicine-Oxford      |3.5 over 5 years                   

Human communication-Edinburgh  |2.5 over 5 years                   

A substantial number of proposals for the establishment of further IRCs are currently under consideration by the research councils. Additionally, there already exist a large number of research centres and units in universities, some of which pursue interdisciplinary research.

Enborne Lodge, Newbury

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science which authority will now


Column 343

be responsible for Enborne Lodge special school at Newbury ; and if he will make a statement about the school's future as a place of education for young people from London boroughs with special needs.

Mr. Butcher : My right hon. Friend will decide the allocation of responsibility for Enborne Lodge special school and other ILEA residential special schools in the light of discussions currently taking place with all the councils concerned. The school will continue to provide education for young people from inner London with special needs whichever authority takes responsibility for it.

PRIME MINISTER

Leader of the Opposition (Security)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Prime Minister what are the arrangements for briefing the Leader of the Opposition on security matters, including legislative proposals affecting security matters ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : As a matter of normal practice I do not propose to confirm or to deny whether briefings on security matters are envisaged or have taken place.

DEFENCE

Aircraft, Upper Heyford

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why aircraft operating from RAF Upper Heyford are heavier than they were previously, resulting in lower flight paths ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman : I refer the hon. Member to the Adjournment debate which took place on 30 November, Official Report columns 849 to 856. The weight increase to which I referred at column 853 is due partly to the changeover to a safer but heavier fuel and partly to the effect on the typical payload carried by the aircraft of changing operational requirements.

Nuclear Submarines (Cooling Systems)

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what incidents have been reported involving pressurised water reactors in nuclear submarines releasing gas from their cooling systems into the atmosphere ;

(2) what information he has on what radionuclides would be produced if air contaminated the cooling system of a pressurised water reactor in a nuclear submarine.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The primary coolant water in submarine pressurised water reactors inevitably contains a very small amount of air. The dominant nuclides which form in the dissolved air are nitrogen-16, nitrogen-17 and argon-41, with half-lives of 7.1 seconds, 14.4 seconds and 1.8 hours respectively. Argon, which accumulates over time, is routinely released when necessary, with appropriate safety precautions. No Royal Navy submarine has ever been involved in an incident causing any radiological hazard to service men, base personnel or members of the public.


Column 344

Schools' Liaison Teams

Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those local education authorities which do not allow his Department's schools liaison teams access to schools under their control.

Mr. Freeman : Though, for a variety of reasons, there are problems over access to some schools, I am not aware of any local education authority areas from which service schools liaison teams are excluded.

Research

Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many and which university research departments are, at present, involved in projects about biological and chemical weapons for his Department in (a) England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales.

Mr. Sainsbury [holding answer 5 December 1988] : None.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

British Overseas Trade Board

Sir Dudley Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what further consideration has been given to the future of the British Overseas Trade Board ; and what plans he has to support United Kingdom exports.

Mr. Alan Clark : I refer the hon. Member to the replies given by my right hon. and noble Friend on 7 November, and by myself on 7 December to my hon. Friend the Member for Beverley (Mr. Cran) at columns 304-5. We will continue to draw on the British Overseas Trade Board's advice and guidance in directing DTI's export services and on issues affecting international trade in general.

Defence Exports

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage of total visible exports were accounted for by defence exports in (a) 1986 and (b) 1987.

Mr. Alan Clark : Defence equipment accounted for 0.9 per cent. in 1986 and 1.1 per cent. in 1987 of total United Kingdom visible exports.

Exports

Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage of the United Kingdom's total exports of goods and services to the rest of the EEC in the financial years 1981-82 to 1987-88, respectively, was represented by the products of (a) the manufacturing industries, (b) the food, drink and tobacco industries, (c) the textile, clothing and footwear industries and (d) oil and oil-related products.

Mr. Alan Clark : Information on a financial year basis is not available. Figures by calendar year are in the following table :


Column 345


United Kingdom exports of goods and services to the European       

Community                                                          

Balance of Payments basis                                          

                           |1981|1982|1983|1984|1985|1986|1987     

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

                            Proportion accounted for by: (percentag

Manufactures<1>            |50  |51  |48  |49  |50  |58  |60       

Food, drink and tobacco<2> |7   |7   |6   |6   |6   |8   |7        

Textiles, clothing and                                             

   footwear<3>             |4   |4   |3   |3   |3   |4   |4        

Oil and related products4  |20  |21  |24  |25  |26  |13  |12       

<1>Standard International Trade Classification Sections 5 to 8     

<2>Standard International Trade Classification Sections 0 and 1    

<3>Standard International Trade Classification Divisions 65, 84    

and 85                                                             

<4>Standard International Trade Classification Division 33         

Note:                                                              

Textiles, clothing and footwear, and oil are available only on the 

overseas trade statistics basis. Thus the shares of total exports  

are very slightly overstated.                                      

Sources:                                                           

CSO United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1988.                       

United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics.                          

Department of Trade and Industry.                                  

Garment Labelling

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what measures the Government intend to take to ensure that the European Commission enforces working EEC rules on accurate labelling in garments.

Mr. Forth [holding answer 8 December 1988] : Fibre content labelling rules in the European Community are based on Directive 71/307/EEC, as amended by Directive 83/623/EEC. The relevant authorities in each member state are responsible for enforcing the national leglislation which implements these directives, although the Commission has indicated that it is willing to consider any evidence put to it suggesting that there is widespread misdescription of fibre content.

After an investigation into garments made from Italian fabrics in 1987 the Commission concluded that the evidence available did not show that such garments were often significantly mislabelled. Further information has recently been brought to the attention of my officials who are considering the position.

ENVIRONMENT

House of Commons (Lighting)

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to his answer of 28 November, if he will take steps to install chandeliers of a similar style to those which lit the House before being destroyed in the bombing of 1941.

Mr. Chope : No. It would be for the House to resolve to make any changes to the present lights in the Chamber.

Sports Clubs

Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what provision he will make, under the Local Government Finance Act, for mandatory relief for non-profit making sports clubs.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Under the Local Government Finance Act 1988 non-profit making sports clubs are eligible for up to 100 per cent. rate relief at the discretion of the charging authority. We have no plans to amend this provision.


Column 346

Augustine Road Hostel

Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether, when giving approval for the costs involved in building the proposed hostel in Augustine road, in the London borough of Harrow, investigations were made into the allegations by the hon. Member for Harrow, West that the figures provided by the borough were inadequate ; and if he will publish the details of the responses made by his officials to the appraisal of the scheme by Kenchington, Little and Partners ;

(2) what weight he gave in giving approval for the total indicative costs involved in building the proposed hostel in Augustine road, Harrow (a) to the susceptibility of a brickwork construction on the proposed site to movement and cracking, (b) to the requirement for piled foundations using a bored pile system designed for negative skin friction and (c) to the suspension of the ground floor slab or similar allowances against upward pressure ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Trippier : It was primarily the responsibility of the London borough of Harrow to satisfy itself that the cost estimates provided by Network Housing Association were adequate for the works proposed, taking into account ground conditions and all other relevant factors. Payments of Housing Association grant will normally relate to the cost estimates approved by the Department. The report by Kenchington Little and Partners was received by the Department after the project was approved ; the council's observations on it have been requested.

Chlorofluorocarbons

Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the effect of a reduction of 85 per cent. of chlorofluorocarbons by the year 2000 on the time needed for the ozone layer shield to recover completely.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The second report of the Department's stratospheric ozone review group, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House, calculated the reductions of

chlorofluorocarbon emissions required to stabilize concentrations of chlorine in the atmosphere. In the case of CFCs 11 and 12, these reductions are 77 per cent. and 85 per cent. respectively. After such reductions, further depletion of the ozone layer would not occur. A complete phase out of CFCs would


Column 347

lead to a slow decrease in atmospheric chlorine concentrations and recovery of the ozone layer. Because of the long atmospheric lifetime of chlorofluorocarbons, however, chlorine concentrations would not return to their 1975 levels until the second half of the next century.

The Government have called for a reduction in luchlorofluorocarbon emissions of at least 85 per cent. as soon as possible, in response to the review group's report. At the Environment Council held on 24 November the United Kingdom proposed that the Community should call for the Montreal protocol to be strengthened by requiring an 85 per cent. reduction of world -wide emissions of chlorofluorocarbons by the turn of the century.

Fauna and Flora

Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the member states which supported the draft European Community directive on the protection of natural and semi natural habitats and their wild fauna and flora at the European Community Environment Council on 24 and 25 November ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) on 8 December.

Nature Conservancy Council

Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will outline the scope and terms of reference of the review he has asked the Nature Conservancy Council to undertake with regard to its landholdings and other functions ; and if he will make a statement.


Column 348

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what actions he has taken to encourage the transfer of ownership of national nature reserves to voluntary conservation bodies ; (2) what plans he has for the selling of national nature reserves ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Nature Conservancy Council is conducting a comprehensive review of policy towards national nature reserves (NNRs). As part of that review they are considering the size and management of the NNR network and the scope for reserves owned by the NCC to be sold to the private sector (including voluntary bodies) under appropriate conservation safeguards. We expect to receive a report from the council by the end of the year.

Water Authorities

Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all (a) sites of special scientific interest and (b) national nature reserves owned by water authorities ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I regret the information is not readily available and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Mr. Livsey : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much, in cash terms, each of the water authorities in England and Wales borrowed, per year, from 1983 to the latest year available, broken down by year and authority.

Mr. Moynihan [holding answer 5 December 1988] : The external finance requirements of each of the English water authorities for the years from 1983-84 are set out in the table. External finances comprised borrowing and a small element of specific grant. The Welsh water authority is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.


Column 347


             |1983-84|1984-85|1985-86|1986-87|1987-88        

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

Anglian      |88.4   |63.4   |47.10  |47.10  |35.90          

Northumbrian |12.8   |9.9    |13.80  |10.20  |-4.20          

North-West   |78.9   |91.5   |0.88   |67.30  |60.70          

Severn Trent |66.3   |43.1   |54.60  |10.50  |2.20           

Southern     |30.5   |22.9   |10.70  |-2.90  |-9.30          

South West   |6.5    |8.1    |4.30   |-1.50  |4.80           

Thames       |-0.9   |-29.7  |-76.10 |-0.91  |-0.98          

Wessex       |27.3   |16.5   |21.80  |26.80  |15.70          

Yorkshire    |29.7   |36.3   |30.30  |22.10  |0.23           

Westminster City Council

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received on the level of rate support grant paid to Westminster city council over the last 12 months.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 7 December 1988] : The Westminster city council is not at present in receipt of block grant under the rate support grant system. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, has however received several representations about Westminster's contributions to the London rate equalisation scheme.


Column 348

Office Space (London)

Mr. Speed : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the total area of London office space occupied by Government Departments on 25 March for each of the last five years.

Mr. Christopher Chope [holding answer, 7 December 1988] : The available figures relate to Government accommodation in Greater London as a whole and do not take account of marginal changes in the Property Services Agency's regional boundaries which affect only a small proportion of the total area. They are :


at 25 March   |Square metres              

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

1984          |2,074,490                  

1985          |2,001,116                  

1986          |2,016,123                  

1987          |2,025,612                  

1988          |1,971,093                  

Air Pollution

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what are his projections of likely carbon dioxide emissions from the United Kingdom in 1990, 1995 and 2000 ;

(2) what have been the carbon dioxide emissions produced in the United Kingdom for 1987 from coal, oil, natural gas and non-fossil fuel sources, respectively, in million metric tonnes ;

(3) what have been the 1987 carbon dioxide emissions from the industrial, domestic, commercial, public and transport sectors, respectively, in million metric tonnes ;

(4) what have been the 1987 carbon dioxide emissions from coal used in power stations and other uses, respectively, in million metric tonnes, respectively ;

(5) what have been the carbon dioxide emissions in 1987 produced from power stations operated by the Central Electricity Generating Board, South of Scotland Electricity Board, North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board and independent companies, respectively, in million metric tonnes ;

(6) what have been the 1987 carbon dioxide emissions from coal, oil and gas -fired power stations, respectively, in million metric tonnes.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 5 December 1988] : Estimates of United Kingdom CO emissions from fuel combustion will be published for the first time in the "Digest of Environmental Protection and Water Statistics" early next year. Preliminary estimates covering the hon. Member's specific questions are given in the table. The Department has no plans to publish projections of CO emissions given that these are subject to a wide range of uncertainty in estimates of economic growth and its relationship to energy use, fuel pricing and fuel availability.


United Kingdom CO2 Emissions from fuel use (1987)                              

                             |Emission (million tonnes                         

                             |CO2)                                             

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

(a) By fuel type                                                               

Fuel                                                                           

Coal:                                                                          

  Power stations             |218.9                                            

  Other use                  |44.4                                             

                             |------                                           

  Sub total                  |263.3                                            

                                                                               

Coal                         |263.3                                            

Oil                          |172.0                                            

Natural gas                  |109.6                                            

Non-fossil fuels             |n.a.                                             

Other fuels                  |56.5                                             

                             |------                                           

  United Kingdom grand total |601.3                                            

                                                                               

(b) By Sector                                                                  

Power stations                                                                 

By Fuel                                                                        

  Coal                       |218.9                                            

  Oil                        |13.2                                             

  Natural gas                |0.4                                              

                             |------                                           

  Sub total                  |232.5                                            

                                                                               

By generator:                                                                  

  CEGB                       |210.1                                            

  SSEB                       |17.2                                             

  NSHEB                      |1.1                                              

  Others                     |4.0                                              

                             |------                                           

  Sub total                  |232.5                                            

                                                                               

Power stations               |232.5                                            

Industry                     |146.2                                            

Domestic                     |87.5                                             

Commercial and Public        |32.5                                             

Transport                    |99.8                                             

Others                       |2.9                                              

                             |------                                           

  United Kingdom grand total |601.3                                            

Table file CW881209.007 not available

Hardwood

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government in respect of the use of tropical rain forest-produced hardwood in its buildings and furniture.

Mr. Chope [holding answer 30 November 1988] : PSA and the Crown suppliers use mainly private sector contractors for the provision respectively of Government buildings and furniture. These firms will seek to use materials which best meet the users' requirements, bearing in mind the need for economy and design. The Government take account of advice issued publicly from specialised organisations such as the Princes Risborough laboratory, the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) and the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) about the suitability and availability of alternative materials to tropical rain- forest produced hardwood, and about the availability of this product from countries that have a policy of replacing rain-forest as it is used.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Vishnu Statues

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken in response to the telegram from Mr. Son Sann, President of Khmer People's National Liberation Front, on 3 November asking him to intervene in the sale of two statues of Vishnu which are alleged property of the Khmer people.

Mr. Waldegrave : We have received no telegram from Mr. Son Sann. We have no locus for intervention in a commercial matter of this kind.

Soviet Jews

Mr. David Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a list of those Soviet Jews known by his Department who were refused permission to emigrate from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, together with the date they first applied, since 1970.

Mr. Waldegrave : I am writing to the hon. Member.


Column 351

Raoul Wallenberg

Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Governments of (a) Sweden, (b) the United States of America and (c) Israel concerning the case of Raoul Wallenberg ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave : We regularly raise the case of Raoul Wallenberg with the Soviet Union both bilaterally and in multilateral fora such as the conference on security and co-operation in Europe. We also keep in touch with other Governments concerned.

United Nations Convention (Ratification)

Miss Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when Her Majesty's Government will be in a position to ratify the United Nations convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Mr. Waldegrave : The instrument of ratification was yesterday--8 December--lodged with the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York. The convention will come into effect for the United Kingdom 30 days from that date.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Lotteries Regulations

Mr. Hanley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to lay before the House any amendments to the lotteries regulations.

Mr. John Patten : We expect to lay regulations to prohibit "multiple" lotteries, by insertion in the Lotteries Regulations 1977, before Christmas.

Pet Animals (Convention)

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has now completed his consultations regarding the European convention for the protection of pet animals ; and if the United Kingdom will sign the convention without any reservation on article 10 on surgical operations.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question from the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) on 1 December at column 401.

Fire Cover (West Yorkshire)

Mr. Lofthouse : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when inspectors last inspected standards of fire cover provided by the west Yorkshire fire and civil defence authority.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The west Yorkshire fire service was last inspected in June. As is usual, Her Majesty's inspector of fire services paid attention to the level of fire cover provided by the brigade.

Children (Attacks)

Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking to prevent and reduce the number of violent and sexual attacks upon young children.


Column 352

Mr. John Patten : Attacks on young children are particularly abhorrent. It is important that parents and others know how best to advise them on reducing the risks of being attacked or molested. Such advice is contained in the crime prevention handbook "Practical Ways to Crack Crime". It deals with the threat from people known to the potential victim as well as from strangers. Since its launch in March this year more than 1.5 million copies of the handboook have been distributed, and a revised edition is now available.


Next Section

  Home Page