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Mr. Mellor : I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Speller) on 20 Decembr 1988, at column 251.

Medical Defence Bodies

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what sum in the current wage settlement for junior doctors has been earmarked to cover their premiums to medical defence bodies.

Mr. Mellor : No specific sum was identified in respect of junior doctors as a group. In 1988-89, £31 million was made available to health authorities in the United Kingdom to meet the estimated full cost of reimbursement of two thirds of the cost of Medical Defence Society subscriptions payable by doctors employed by them.

Cancer (Children)

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many cases of cancer affecting children were

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reported in the most recent year for which figures are available ; and what was the comparable figure 30 years previously.

Mr. Freeman : National registrations of newly diagnosed cases of cancer are not available over a period of 30 years. However, the table shows the number of registrations, and the registration rate per 100,000 population for persons aged under 15 years of age for 1962, 1974 and 1984 (the latest year available) for England and Wales. The statistics should be interpreted with care as the ascertainment of cases has improved over the whole of this period.

Number of registrations of  

newly diagnosed cases of    


neoplasms, and rates per    

100,000 estimated           

population, persons aged    

0-14 years. 1962, 1974 and  

1984. England and Wales.    

Year   |Number|Rate         


1962   |966   |9.1          

1974   |1,164 |10.1         

1984   |1,085 |11.3         

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what factors have been responsible for the alterations in the incidence of cancer in children.

Mr. Freeman : Very little is known generally about the causes of childhood cancer. A great deal of research into this subject is continuing by various groups in this country, including the Childhood Cancer Research Group, which is supported by the Department.



Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security by how much expenditure on social security has increased since 1978-79 ; and what increase in spending is planned for 1989-90.

Mr. Scott : Total spending on the social security programme increased from £16.4 billion in 1978-79 to an estimated £47.6 billion in 1988-89. This represents a 33 per cent. real increase in spending of almost £12 billion over the period.

Social security spending is planned to rise to £51.1 billion in 1989- 90. This is £3.5 billion higher than in 1988-89.

Social Fund

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he will make it his policy to ensure that the social fund budgets allocated to social security offices in Scotland for 1989-90 are not less in total than for 1988-89.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : We are currently considering the allocation of the 1989-90 social fund budgets to local offices and will make an announcement as soon as possible.

Community Care Grants and Loans

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will launch a publicity campaign informing potential claimants of the availability of community care

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grants and loans, to ensure that the budgets are fully spent by the end of this financial year ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Take-up of community care grants has increased significantly over recent months and expenditure is currently running at 77 per cent. of monthly profiled expenditure. However, we are taking action further to improve awareness of the help that can be provided.

Local office managers have been asked to improve and maintain their liaison with local statutory and voluntary organisations since these are often best placed to identify people who may be eligible for help. We are also considering what additional measures might be taken to improve national information material on the scheme. In addition social fund officers have been reminded of the need to be flexible in applying guidance to individual cases and we are currently revising existing guidance in the social fund manual to make this clear. Expenditure on loans has now reached national monthly profiled levels and we do not consider that further action is required in this area.

Medical Appeals Tribunals (Deafness)

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he has plans to ensure that evoked response audiometry machines will automatically be available at medical appeals tribunals when cases of industrial deafness are under consideration.

Mr. Scott : This is a matter for the president of social security and medical appeal tribunals and the hon. Member may care to contact him direct.

Service Homes

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what discussions he has had with Servite Houses on the funding of its homes for the frail elderly ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : My hon. Friend the Minister for Social Security met representatives of Servite Houses Ltd. on 26 May 1988, and there was a useful discussion of issues of mutual concern. The information provided by Servite Houses Ltd. was taken into account along with evidence provided by other organisations, in the most recent review of the income support limits.

The Government's decisions were announced in October 1988 as part of the general uprating of benefits. From April 1989 additional help will be provided to nearly nine out of 10 income support claimants in homes.

Disablement Income Group

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has had from Mr. Peter Large of the Disablement Income Group in regard to the report entitled, "Being Disabled Costs More Than They Said", a copy of which was sent to him on 3 January ; what reply he is sending ; if there is any action he will be taking ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Scott : I have received a letter from Peter Large enclosing a copy of the Disablement Income Group's "Being Disabled Costs More Than They Said". Mr.

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Large's letter summarised the main points of the report and asked the Government to take note of them. In my reply I have made it clear that we will consider carefully the points raised in the report.

Mobility Allowance

Mr. Rowlands : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many mobility allowances were granted in 1988 ; how many were refused ; how many went to appeal ; and how many of those appeals were successful.

Mr. Scott : The available information is as follows. It relates to decisions given on claims (including renewal claims) during the year, not to claims made during the year.



Claims decided                                                   

  Awards                                         |127,560        

  Disallowances                                  |77,305         


Appeals and references decided by medical boards                 

  Number decided                                 |20,980         

  Decisions in favour of claimant                |6,122          


Appeals decided by medical appeal tribunals                      

  Number decided                                 |6,547          

  Decisions in favour of claimant                |1,846          

Departmental Offices

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give details of proposed changes in staff levels at social security offices in the north-west region ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The staffing reductions from the implementation of operational strategy in local offices in the north-west region are currently expected to be 1,575 posts between 1 April 1989 and 31 March 1993. Changes in staffing levels may also be required from time to time to reflect changes in local office workloads.

Heating Costs

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if, pursuant to the statement of 10 January, Official Report, column 814, he will identify the sums incorporated in income support to cover the cost of heating.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The income support rates are intended to provide for all normal day-to-day living expenses, including heating costs. There is no separately identifiable sum included for heating costs. It is for individuals to decide how best to spend their benefit in the light of their own needs and preferences.


Public Service Obligation

42. Mr. Prescott : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what amounts of financial resources have been paid to British Rail under public service obligation grants for each year since 1983 ; and what proportion is given to the south-eastern region of British Rail.

Mr. Channon : The figures for Government support for the British Railways Board taken from the final claims for

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grant in compensation for the public service obligation under EEC regulation 1191/69 and section 3 of the Railways Act 1974 are given below. 1984-85 is a 15-month period reflecting a change in the board's financial year. The figures for 1986-87, 1987-88 and 1988-89 remain provisional ; final claims have not yet been agreed. All figures are cash.

          |£ million          


1983      |853.6              

1984-85   |1,065.9            

1985-86   |820.0              

1986-87   |713.9              

1987-88   |800.6              

1988-89   |572.5              

Grant is paid to the board in respect of subsidised passenger services as a whole ; it is not hypothecated to business sectors. From 1983 to 1987-88 approximately 30 per cent. of the grant was allocated to Network SouthEast (and its predecessor London and South East). It is not yet possible to provide a figure for 1988-89.

Motorways (Private Vehicular Access)

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a list of all sites of private vehicular access to each motorway not being motorway junctions ; and if he will provide a map to make such sites easily identifiable.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Yes. It will take a little time to prepare the material.

M1-A1 Network

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he intends to take to ensure that motorists using the M1/A1 networks can travel reasonably quickly and freely ; if he envisages increasing the number of carriageways ; if he will be implementing charged tolls on sections of these roads ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : There are a number of schemes in the programme to reduce congestion on both the M1 and the A1. The extension of the M40 to Birmingham will provide relief to the M1. We are currently reviewing the road programme. We expect to make an announcement in the spring.

There are no plans to charge tolls on the M1 or A1.

Irish Sea Ferries

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the maximum loadings allowed on each ferry between Ireland and Great Britain ; and what action is taken to ensure that these figures are not exceeded.

Mr. Portillo : The maximum loading allowed on ferries corresponds to immersion of the hull up to the clearly visible load-line mark. The maximum number of passengers allowed is stipulated on the passenger ship safety certificate which every passenger ship including ferries must carry. It is the statutory duty of the master to ensure before his ship proceeds on any voyage that the load-line mark is not submerged and that the maximum number of passengers permitted is not exceeded.

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Road Transport Cabotage

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures will be taken in the context of the single European market to ensure that road transport cabotage will not infringe the European Community's treaty on the environment.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : All vehicles, whether undertaking cabotage or international journeys, will have to comply with both Community law and the national laws of the countries they are visiting.


Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what were the posts, ranks and responsibilities of those attending the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ACTICE study held at the civil defence college in April 1988.

Mr. Portillo : The Department hosted a training session for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation agency for the co-ordination of inland surface transport in central Europe (ACTICE) at the civil defence college between 25 and 29 April 1988. The proceedings and details of attendees are classified.

NATO (Transport Planning Conference)

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which organisations, departments or individuals have been invited to attend the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation transport planning conference, to be held at the civil defence college in spring 1989.

Mr. Portillo : The department will host a routine meeting of the northern Europe sub-committee of the planning board for European inland surface transport (PBEIST) at the civil defence college in spring 1989. The meeting will be attended by representatives from Norway, Denmark, Germany, Canada, United States of America and the United Kingdom.

Chiltern Line

Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he is yet in a position to announce his response to British Rail's request for additional signalling equipment and rolling stock on the Chiltern line services.

Mr. Portillo : British Rail have only just submitted their proposals to me for renewing the Chiltern line rolling stock. I hope to be able to announce a decision very shortly. Work on modernising the signalling is already making good progress and is expected to be completed in 1990.

West London Line

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will request the chairman of British Rail to publish figures of how many passenger and freight trains, respectively, cross the Thames on the west London line each day ; how many passengers are carried ; and how many trains use this route between 11 pm and 7 am.

Mr. Portillo : On weekdays there are 12 passenger trains in each direction, on Saturdays 3 in each direction and on

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Sundays one in each direction. Up to 25 freight trains use the line daily, but separate figures for the 11 pm to 7 am period are not kept. Approximately 1,100 passengers use the line on weekdays, and considerably fewer at weekends.

River Thames (River Buses)

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give the number of public river buses operating on the Thames and the number of passengers carried, for each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Portillo : Thamesline plc began a regular public service in June last year which at the end of the year was using seven vessels and carried about 5,000 passengers a week. Statistics of riverbus services are not available on an annual basis for the last 10 years.

River Thames (Tunnels)

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the tunnels under the Thames, between Kingston and the estuary, giving in each case the present and past use and the width of each.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The information requested is as follows :

Thames tunnels between Kingston and the estuary                  

                                 |width in metres                


(i) Road tunnels                                                 

Rotherhithe                      |4.9                            

Blackwall, Old                   |6.1                            

Blackwall, New                   |6.1                            

Dartford, West                   |6.4                            

Dartford, East                   |7.3                            


(ii) Railway tunnels                                             

Victoria Line at Vauxhall        |3.8                            

Northern Line at Charing Cross   |3.6                            

Bakerloo Line at Charing Cross   |3.7                            

Waterloo and City at Blackfriars |3.7                            

Northern Line at London Bridge   |3.6                            

East London Line at Wapping      |3.4                            


(iii) Pedestrian tunnels                                         

Greenwich                        |1.6-2.8                        

The use of these tunnels has remained unchanged since they were built.

In addition there are various service tunnels used for purposes other than transport.

EC (Railways)

Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for each European Economic Community country the mileage of newly constructed railway opened for public service in each of the last five years.

Mr. Michael Portillo : I regret that my Department does not have this information.

Rail Services

Mr. Adley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for each year since the passing of the Transport Act 1968 the number of rail services which have been withdrawn and for which a substitute bus service has been provided ; whether the bus service is still in existence in each case ; and, if not, why it was terminated.

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Mr. Portillo : I regret that this information is not available. Unlike substitute bus services provided under the Transport Act 1985, earlier replacement bus services did not require ministerial consent before they were withdrawn. No substitute bus services have yet been provided under the new provisions of the 1985 Act.

Fishing Vessel New Dawn

Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has about the collision between the fishing vessel New Dawn and the USS Will Rogers on Tuesday 3 January ; what investigation or inquiry he proposes into the incident ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Portillo : The collision took place at about 0730 on 3 January, some 5 miles south of the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde. Neither vessel was seriously damaged and there were no injuries. An investigation was ordered on 3 January and is being carried out by one of the Department's marine surveyors.

Motor Vehicles (Clocking)

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has considered the proposals of the motor trade working group, chaired by the Director General of Fair Trading, to introduce mileage recordings at the driver and vehicle licensing centre, in order to combat the practice of clocking of motor vehicles.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The implications of the proposal, which involves a DVLC-based mileage recording scheme, are still being considered. An announcement will be made shortly.

Horne Report

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the joint working party established to consider the Horne report's recommendations on diversionary works has completed its deliberations ; and when he intends to introduce legislation putting into effect the Horne report's conclusions.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The diversionary works working party, which includes representatives of the utilities, local authority associations and British Railways Board, has recently completed a draft code of practice dealing with the procedures to be followed when highway or bridge works affect utility apparatus, including cost sharing. The code will shortly be referred to the relevant organisations for endorsement. Legislation to implement the recommendations of the Horne Committee will be introduced when a suitable opportunity can be found.

Burley-on-Wharfedale (Relief Road)

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on his plans to allow the building of a relief road around Burley-on-Wharfedale.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Good progress is being made on this scheme which appears in the last roads White Paper for a start of construction in the period April 1989 to March 1991. The decision was announced in December last to proceed with the making of the line and side roads orders. The draft compulsory purchase order is due to be published this spring.

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British Airways/British Caledonian Airways (Merger)

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the merger between British Airways and British Caledonian Airways has been implemented consistently with the revised proposals put to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission by British Airways.

Mr. Channon : On 5 January 1988 my noble Friend the Minister for Aviation and Shipping wrote to the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority asking him to establish monitoring arrangements to ensure that the BA/B-Cal merger proceeded on the basis proposed by British Airways to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

The chairman of the CAA has now submitted a full report to me and from the information contained in this report I am satisfied that British Airways has fulfilled its commitments to the MMC during the year under review. I have placed a copy of the CAA's report to me in the Library of the House together with a copy of my reply. The CAA will also be publishing its report in its weekly proceedings.

East Midlands Air Crash (Fund)

Mr. Ashby : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give further details of the Government's contribution to the disaster fund set up by the North West Leicestershire district council for the victims of the east midlands air crash and their families.

Mr. Paul Channon : I have announced that the Government will be making a contribution of £250,000 to the east midlands air crash disaster fund. I very much hope that the Government's example will encourage others to join in helping the bereaved and those who suffered as a result of the accident. Neither the fund nor the Government's donation to it will affect claims for compensation. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will donate £100,000 from resources available to him, and £150,000 will be contributed by my Department. Parliamentary approval for these payments will be sought in Supplementary Supply Estimates. Pending that approval, both donations will be met by repayable advances from the respective contingencies funds. As savings are sufficient to meet these sums, there will be no increase in the public expenditure planning total.

United Kingdom-Singapore (Air Services)

Mr. Snape : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the progress of talks between Her Majesty's Government and the Republic of Singapore on increasing air services between the two countries.

Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 12 January 1989] : Discussions were held in London this week between United Kingdom and Singapore civil aviation officials on arrangements for the provision of air services between the United Kingdom and Singapore. The discussions made useful progress and they are expected to continue in Singapore within the next two months.

Airport Security

Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what research his Department has

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commissioned into the use of neutron beam detector systems in relation to airport security ; what level of funding is being allocated to this work ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) how many companies have been invited to tender for the supply of neutron beam detectors for airport security use ; when such tenders were invited ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer, 13 January 1989] : Development work on using the thermal neutron activation analysis technique for detecting explosives is taking place both in the United States of America and this country (at Harwell). The technique employs large neutron sources, and this raises considerable radiation protection problems. In both countries the results of tests carried out under laboratory conditions were encouraging, and prototypes are now being tested to establish reliablility and suitability for searching baggage under operational conditions. The United States prototypes have been more extensively tested. They have been on trial at San Francisco airport and the FAA has recently ordered five production models. We and the United States authorities maintain close liaison on such matters.

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Child Starvation

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much overseas aid this year is being specifically directed towards ending child starvation and hunger in the Third world ; what were the corresponding figures for each of the past three years ; and if he will increase this figure for the next financial year.

Mr. Chris Patten : It is not practicable to separate expenditure directed towards ending child starvation and hunger from that designed to benefit the poor of the Third world generally. The object of the British aid programe is to promote sustainable economic development and to alleviate poverty. In 1987 over 80 per cent. of the bilateral aid programme went to the poorer countries--those with annual incomes per head of less than $800--where the incidence of hunger and malnutrition is greatest.

Her Majesty's Government's contributions to key organisations with a specific remit for children and with programmes concerned with child nutrition include the following :

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£ million                                                                                 

                              |1985-86  |1986-87  |1987-88  |1988-89  |1989-90            

                                                            |(to date)|(planned)          


UNICEF, General Resources     |6.3      |6.5      |7.0      |7.5      |8.0                

UNICEF, Supplementary funded                                                              

   projects                   |1.338    |6.570    |8.223    |1.880    |<1>-               

Save the Children Fund, Joint                                                             

   Funding Scheme             |0.675    |0.905    |1.045    |1.925    |<1>-               

Save the Children Fund,                                                                   

   Supplementary grants       |7.958    |1.718    |4.787    |n/a      |<1>-               

<1> To be decided.                                                                        



Q27. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if the European Council will be considering its policy on the future subsidising of agriculture before the next meeting of the general agreement on tariffs and trade.

The Prime Minister : The European Council will next meet on 26-27 June 1989. Negotiations on agriculture in the current GATT round are continuing and the Community will participate in them on the basis of positions agreed in the Agriculture and Foreign Affairs Councils.

European Commissioners

Q96. Mr. Tam Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if she will meet Sen or Felipe Gonzales, chairman of the Council of Ministers, to discuss the criteria for the appointment of European Commissioners.

The Prime Minister : No.

Technology Assessment Unit

Sir Ian Lloyd : To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether she will publish a list of the technology assessments which have been carried out by the technology assessment unit established in the Cabinet Office in 1988 ;

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(2) whether it is her intention to publish any of the technology assessment reports carried out by the technology assessment unit of the Cabinet Office ;

(3) whether the technology assessment unit of the Cabinet Office has been asked to undertake an assessment of the scientific validity of the Commission of the European Community's decision to ban the import of beef produced from cattle which have been fed with hormones.

The Prime Minister : The Cabinet Office's science and technology assessment office does not itself undertake assessments of this kind. As explained in the Government response to the first report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, 1986-87 Session (Cm. 185), its role is to encourage the adoption of sound assessment systems by Government Departments and other bodies concerned with publicly funded research and development.

Department of Food and Health

Sir Richard Body : To ask the Prime Minister whether she will now reconsider the proposal to establish a single Department of Food and Health, thereby closing down the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food ; and whether she will publish an estimate of the effect on public funds of such a proposal.

The Prime Minister : I have no plans to establish a single Department of Food and Health.

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