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Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evidence is available to his Department about the amount of chemical warfare agents stockpiled by the Soviet Union ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Prior to the Soviet statement on their chemical warfare (CW) stockpile made in December 1987, the only information available to us on the size of their CW capability were estimates based upon sensitive information.
The Soviet Union claims to possess approximately 50,000 tonnes of CW weapons "in terms of toxic agent". The precise scope of its claims is unclear and the figure is substantially lower than our current classified estimates of the size of their stockpile. We have made it clear to the Soviet Union that it will have to give more information if we are to have any confidence in its claim.
Mr. Neubert : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Freeman) on 19 November 1987 at column 461 . The problems associated with the movement of tanks in the Detmold area have been considered in depth by the Detmold garrison Anglo-German co- ordinating committee. As a result it has proved possible to modify the route taken by armoured vehicles to avoid a local school and, where possible, temporary restrictions have been imposed on the movement of tanks at night. A total ban would be unrealistic given the lack of alternative routes and the shortage of daylight during winter months. Movements of armoured vehicles in the Detmold area are controlled by the Detmold garrison commander who notifies the stadt authorities of all such movements. These movements take account of all jointly agreed guidelines and are kept to the minimum level consistent with operational and training requirements.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) in which year plutonium from Calder Hall was first sent to the United States of America under the 1958-59 United States United Kingdom mutual defence agreement ;
(2) in what year plutonium from Chapel Cross was first sent to the United States under the 1958-59 United States United Kingdom mutual defence agreement ;
(3) in what year plutonium from the Central Electricity Generating Board Magnox reactor was first sent to the United States under the 1958-59 United States United Kingdom mutual defence agreement ; (4) in what year plutonium from the South of Scotland electricity board Magnox reactors was (a) first and (b) last sent to the United States of America under the 1958-59 United States United Kingdom mutual defence agreement.
Mr. Hoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his Department's policy in respect of defence procurement with regard to security of supply and the maintenance of technology and employment in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Sainsbury [holding answer 21 December 1988] : We seek to obtain value for money from our procurement expenditure. We therefore use, wherever practicable, competitive tendering. This policy continues to bring
Column 378significant benefit to the defence budget and to the taxpayer and has promoted the health and efficiency of the United Kingdom defence industry. Where appropriate we do take into account wider, relevant factors including security of supply and industrial implications.
Mr. Beith : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what studies he has made of the views of consumers on proposed further restrictions on the use of imperial weights and measures at the point of sale.
The Government are therefore considering United Kingdom policy on metrication. A consultation paper inviting comments on proposals to phase out by the end of 1994 the use of the remaining imperial units for most trade purposes was circulated in October to some 700 organisations representing trade, industry, local authorities and consumers.
The consultation period ended recently and the responses, including those from consumers, are now being studied.
Mr. Forth : A national programme of collaborative research in gallium arsenide advanced technology has been supported by the Department of Trade and Industry since early 1987. Research into gallium arsenide analogue integrated circuits (chips) is included in this programme, for which £13 million of support is available.
Mr. Franks : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many business people who attended the action for cities presentations have expressed interest in supporting the Government's inner city initiatives.
Mr. Atkins : In 1987, the net real rate of return at current replacement cost for manufacturing companies was 9 per cent. This exceeds substantially the peak reached in the last economic cycle in 1978 and is the highest since 1969. Information on rates of return on capital employed for manufacturing companies in 1987, derived from the national accounts statistics, was published in "British Business" on 30 September.
Mr. Forth : The Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 provides an adequate legal basis for combatting the problem of solvent abuse. It prohibits the sale of any sniffable product to anyone under the age of 18 who seems likely to want to inhale it for purposes of intoxication. The problem is to make retailers fully aware of the law and to ensure that they obey it. To this end, the Government are funding the distribution of guidance packs to all retailers. We have already helped to pay for a training video for retailers and their staff on how to recognise sniffers and refuse to sell to them. Warning notices for retailers on bulk packs of gas refills are also being introduced.
|m/tonnes --------------------------- 1983 |421 1984 |198 1985 |50 1986 |46 1987 |38 Source: Overseas Trade Statistics: SITC R2 Items 212.01-09, 613.0, 848.31. Notes: Figures exclude headgear and footwear which are not separately identified. 1987 figures provisional.
Mr. Newton : The Council considered three items concerning the Community steel industry. First it agreed to the extension for a further three-year period from 1 January 1989 of the present strict rules governing the payment of state aid to European Coal and Steel Community steel producers.
Secondly, the Council reached provisional agreement, subject to the lifting of reserves by two member states, on a compromise solution to the Italian Government's request for Council agreement to its restructuring plan for the Italian public sector steel industry. The compromise would enable the Italian Government to grant only two thirds of the aid for which they had requested authority, in exchange for carrying out all the capacity closures foreseen in the restructuring plan. Discussion of the need for the balance of the aid would be postponed until September 1990, unless there were a rapid downturn in the steel market before then. The Council would take a decision on further Italian capacity closures at the same time. It was agreed that this item should be considered further at the 21 December Internal Market Council.
Column 380Thirdly, the Council also discuss social aid for steelworkers, but was unable to reach agreement with the European Commission on the means of funding such measures.
There was also discussion of a Commission proposal for expansion of the EuroInfoCentre network. The Greek presidency also suggested that the Council make a declaration on the Community's policy towards small and medium sized enterprises ; it was agreed that this matter should be deferred for discussion in the Council's working groups. There was also discussion of a Commission report on the Community's textile industry and a statement by the Greek presidency on the Community's mining industry.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) if he will arrange for standardisation of all procedures and paper work issued by the agencies administering enterprise initiatives ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he will list the various procedures and documentation required by agencies administering enterprise initiatives.
Initiative ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The marketing initiative |The Institute of Marketing |(through four sub-contractors) The manufacturing systems |Production Engineering initiative |Research Association (PERA) The quality initiative |PERA (except in the North |West which is covered by |Salford University Business |Services Ltd.) The design initiative |The Design Council The business planning initiative |3i Enterprise Support Ltd. |(3iES) The financial and information |3iES systems initiative
The functions of the contractors are carried out in a comparable way, subject to local operational flexibility. These functions are to maintain lists of suitable consultants in their respective areas of expertise, to match the needs of applicants (as identified by a DTI enterprise counsellor) with an appropriately qualified consultant, to assess consultants' reports, and to pay them the part of the fee due from DTI.
As regards the listing of consultants, the same approach is required of all scheme contractors. Each consultancy practice must either have had at least two years' experience as an independent consultancy practice, or one year's experience as an independent practice, plus five previous and consecutive years' relevant consultancy experience by the principals with another practice. In addition, a practice should be able to cite evidence of satisfaction by clients in respect of four assignments.
My Department monitors the performance of the scheme contractors closely and is concerned to ensure that
Column 381a standard, high-quality service is delivered. It stands ready to investigate evidence of difficulties experienced by applicant firms or consultancy practices.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to obtain from the Swedish Government the full text of the report handed to the Swedish ambassador by the USSR in 1957 of the alleged death of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have the full text of the report given to the Swedish Government by the Soviet Government in 1957 about the fate of Raoul Wallenberg. The report claims that Mr. Wallenberg died in prison in 1947 of natural causes. We have pressed the Soviet Government to give a more detailed account of Mr. Wallenberg's fate, but they have consistently declined to add to the substance of the 1957 report.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to obtain from the Swedish Government as much information as is in their possession about the case of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : We already have the limited information available to the Swedish Government on what befell Mr. Raoul Wallenberg. We have repeatedly pressed the Soviet authorities for a full account of Mr. Wallenberg's fate both bilaterally and in the CSCE.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the occasions when he discussed the case of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg with the Governments of (a) Sweden, (b) Israel and (c) the United States of America since 1983 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have discussed this case with Sweden regularly, most recently at the beginning of this year. We also keep in touch regularly with the United States Government, most recently when we both raised the issue in Vienna last month. We have not formally discussed the case with Israel in recent years as far as I can ascertain.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has requested the United States Government to raise the case of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg with the Soviet Government ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : Such a request would be primarily a matter for the Swedish Government. We do keep in regular touch with the United States authorities about this case and know that the United States Government have raised it with the Soviet Government.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has requested the Swedish Government to raise the case of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg with the Soviet Government ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Russell Johnston : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the possible convening of an international conference on the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees now in Hong Kong.
Mr. Eggar : The ASEAN countries have proposed the convening of an international conference in 1989 to address the general problem of boat people and Indo-Chinese refugees in south-east Asia. We support this idea and would attend any such conference.
Mr. Eggar : As at 20 December, 17,984 Vietnamese boat people had arrived in Hong Kong this year. Of these, 8,035 have so far been granted refugee status. A total of 2,745 refugees have been resettled elsewhere.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Colombia regarding political killings and disappearances in 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : The human rights situation in Colombia is disturbing, and reflects an appalling level of violence in the country. The Colombian Government are deeply concerned and acknowledge that the problem is very serious. Political violence emanates from a range of sources--Right-wing death squads and Left-wing guerrillas as well as drugs traffickers. But I am not aware of any evidence that the Colombian Government are involved. I raised our concerns about human rights with President Barco and with Ministers during my visit to Colombia in August ; and our embassy continues to do so.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any assessment has been made of the cost of verifying (a) a worldwide chemcial weapons ban and (b) a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation/Warsaw Pact chemical weapons ban.
Mr. Waldegrave : We remain committed to negotiating a global, effectively verifiable ban on CW, but until the verification regime has been further elaborated, it is not possible to make detailed estimates of the verification costs of any CW convention. A British Government paper presented to the conference on disarmament last year (Making the Chemical Weapons Ban Effective : CD 769) expressed the view that the costs of implementing a global CW convention were unlikely to be less than for the current IAEA budget.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to be able to reply to the points raised by Mr. C. J. M. McGovern and colleagues in their letter of 6 June concerning section 68 of the Education Act 1944.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will place in the Library copies of all reports on the Small School at Red House, Norwich under the 1944 and 1981 Education Acts.
Mr. Butcher : The latest visit to the school was by Her Majesty's inspector of schools in November. His task was to consider the school's eligibility for final registration under the Education Act 1944 and advise on the timing of an application for approval under the Education Act 1981 as a school suitable for the admission of children with statements of special educational needs.
Copies of Her Majesty's inspector's full inspection reports are sent as a matter of course to the Library. No full inspection reports have been made on this school.
Mr. Butcher : Information is not available centrally in the form requested. The estimated figures contained in the table are based on the number of meals served to pupils on one day in each of the relevant years. More detailed statistics are included in the annual school meals census which is available in the Library of the House of Commons. Information for 1987-88 to 1990-91 is not yet available.
Estimated cost of providing free school meals to pupils (£ million) ----------------------- 1978-79 |118 |230 1979-80 |114 |190 1980-81 |125 |176 1981-82 |148 |190 1982-83 |175 |210 1983-84 |200 |229 1984-85 |215 |234 1985-86 |<1>-|<1>- 1986-87 |250 |250 <1> A breakdown of the 1985-86 figures is not available
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is spent on a per capita basis for each child in primary and secondary education in (a) the maintained sector and (b) the voluntary sector of schools administered by Liverpool education authority.
Mr. Butcher : The average net institutional expenditure in Liverpool education authority in 1986-87 was £980 per pupil in primary schools and £1,445 per pupil in secondary schools. No separate information is available for voluntary schools.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what will be the net cost of the top-up loan scheme to the Government in each of the first five years ; and what will be the gross cost to the loan provider in each of the first five years.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, where employees take off time for duties as school governors under the terms of the Employment Protection Consolidation Act 1978, he will require employers or local education authorities to remunerate governors in lieu of moneys deducted from their salary.
Mrs. Rumbold : School governors are entitled to reasonable time off from their employment to fulfil public duties. We welcome the fact that many employers arrange time off with pay for governors, but we believe that this is a matter best resolved between employer and employee.
Under section 58 of the Education (No. 2) Act 1986, a local education authority may, in accordance with the provision of a scheme made by it, pay travelling and subsistence allowances to governors.
Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many primary headteachers have taken early retirement for each year since 1985 in the following age ranges (a) under 50 years, (b) 50 to 54 years and (c) 55 to 59 years ; and how many of these have been as the result of ill health.
Early Retirements of Primary Headteachers (England and Wales) Early retirements Financial year |Age range |Total |On grounds of --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1985-86 |<1>Under 50 |29 |29 |50-54 |172 |48 |55-59 |513 |75 |All ages |714 |152 1986-87 |<1>Under 50 |30 |30 |50-54 |157 |53 |55-59 |446 |81 |All ages |633 |164 1987-88 |<1>Under 50 |28 |28 |50-54 |155 |44 |55-59 |386 |83 |All ages |569 |155 <1> Ill health is the only grounds for early retirement for teachers aged under 50.
Stockport petty sessional division |Male |Female ----------------------------------------- Bredbury |5 |3 Brinnington |2 |- Cale Green |2 |- Cheadle |3 |2 Cheadle Hulme North |2 |4 Cheadle Hulme South |4 |4 Davenport |5 |4 East Bramhall |11 |5 Edgeley |1 |2 Great Moor |3 |4 Hazel Grove |6 |1 Heald Green |1 |3 Heaton Mersey |4 |7 Heaton Moor |7 |7 Manor |6 |1 North Marple |5 |5 North Reddish |- |1 Romiley |5 |2 South Marple |10 |4 South Reddish |1 |2 West Bramhal |6 |2 Outside PSD Mossley |- |1 |-- |-- |89 |64
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will now reply to the urgent matter raised in a letter to him by the hon. Member for Gower, dated 16 December, regarding the public inquiry currently taking place at the Guildhall, Swansea.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether his Department has investigated, or is currently studying, the usefulness of a national identity card to his departmental responsibilities ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department gave to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) on 15 December at column 1080.
Mr. Scott : My right hon. Friend reviews annually the level of all benefits as required under the 1986 Act. We have recently announced that extra help will be directed towards less well-off pensioners at a cost of £200 million.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Pension age is one of the issues discussed in the European Community's equal treatment directive. The question of changing the age of retirement is being considered in the context of this directive.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) on what date he plans to implement (a) section 1, (b) section 2 and (c) section 3 of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) if his Department has undertaken any studies on the implementation of section 3 of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : Each section of the Act will be implemented as and when the necessary resources can be identified and made available. We are making good progress on implementation, with six key sections now in force. We have agreed with the local authority associations that section 7 is the next priority, and detailed work on sections 1, 2 and 3 will follow as soon as possible.