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Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to amend the law to enable one person to attest the proxy vote of more than one other person in elections.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Under section 28 of the Firearms Act 1968 it is open to a chief officer of police to refuse to grant a shotgun certificate if he has reason to believe that an applicant is prohibited by the Act from possessing a shotgun, or cannot be permitted to possess one without danger to the public safety or to the peace. In relation to shotguns there are no specified age restrictions, but age is one factor which the chief officer may take into account in reaching a decision.
New, stricter controls for the issue of shotgun certificates will come into force under the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 later this year. The Act changes the emphasis so that a chief officer has to be satisfied that the applicant can be permitted to possess a shotgun without danger to the public safety or to the peace. It also contains a new provision to the effect that a certificate shall not be issued if the chief officer is satisfied that the applicant does not have a good reason for possessing, purchasing or acquiring a shotgun.
Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many burglaries were committed in Derbyshire in 1983 ; and how many were committed in the last year for which figures are available.
Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many arrests took place at Luton police station of Luton Town supporters following the Ipswich Town v Luton Town Littlewoods cup tie on 17 November 1987 ; and under the name of which club these arrests appear in the 1987-88 season arrest totals.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Fifty-two Luton supporters were arrested in connection with damage to a coach on which they were returning to Luton from Ipswich after this match. All were subsequently released without charge. None of these arrests was included in the totals of arrests at football grounds compiled by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, pursuant to the answer of 19 December 1988 on football statistics, Official Report, columns 56-60, he will publish similar tables to the 1987-88 English Football League season showing the costs of policing matches and the costs per spectator at each ground, with clubs being listed in the order of those with the cheapest costs per spectator.
Column 277II there will clearly be a beneficial effect on employment opportunities generally, especially when the downstream effects on subcontractors are taken into consideration. It is, of course, for the companies concerned to decide precisely where this work will be carried out. However, traditionally Royal Ordnance, Nottingham has been involved in the manufacture of tank main armament.
Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Royal Marine service men are permanently assigned as stewards to Royal Marine messes ; and whether those service men who are not permanently assigned as mess stewards and occasionally act as waiters at officers' messes volunteer for these duties ;
(2) whether those service men who are not permanently assigned as mess stewards and occasionally act as waiters at officer' messes receive additional pay for fulfilling such duties ; and what are the general criteria concerning the use of servicemen who are not permanently assigned as mess stewards as waiters at mess nights.
Mr. Neubert : Royal Marine service men are not permanently assigned as stewards. Within the corps steward billets are filled by volunteers, who serve a normal draft, or by others for a period normally not exceeding six months. Acting as waiter at an officers' mess may form part of a steward's duties and this does not attract additional pay. As far as possible only volunteers perform waiters' duties at mess nights.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Chipmunk aircraft the RAF operates ; what is their average age ; how much per hour they cost to fly ; what is the availability of spares ; what plans the RAF has to replace the Chipmunks ; if he will list the aeroplanes that have been considered as suitable replacements ; and whether the RAF has flown the ARV Super Two manufactured at Sandown, Isle of Wight.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The Royal Air Force operates a total of 77 Chipmunk aircraft. Their average age is 35 years. Their basic operating cost (including spares and servicing to normal RAF standards) is about £120 per hour ; the availability of spares is satisfactory, and on current plans, the Chipmunk is expected to remain in RAF service until about the turn of the century. The RAF has not flown the ARV Super Two, though it has been used at the Empire test pilots school at the Aeroplane and Armament Establishment, Boscombe Down in the training of student test pilots.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure the continuation of the Royal Arsenal Sports and Recreational Association after the construction of the east London river crossing.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Ministry of Defence has no formal responsibility for the Royal Arsenal Sports and Recreational Association. Part of the Manor Way sports ground will be lost as a result of the construction of the east London river crossing, but sufficient land will remain to constitute a viable sports ground. We shall of course be
Column 278discussing with the association whether it wishes to retain most of the site on licence from MOD for recreational purposes.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated date when the Pindar project will be completed ; what requirements it is expected to fulfil when it is fully operational ; and what is its total estimated cost.
Mr. Sainsbury : Project Pindar is a facility to improve the effectiveness of higher levels of command and control. It is not the practice to disclose the planned completion dates or estimated costs of projects which are not yet in service.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated date on which the Boxer system is expected to be operational ; what requirements it is expected to fulfil ; and what is its total estimated cost.
Mr. Sainsbury : I refer the hon. Member to paragraph 317 and table 3 of volume 1 of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1988". The Boxer 2 communications bearer system will provide a nationwide secure and survivable communications system using new fibre-optic technology. It is not the practice to disclose the planned completion dates or estimated costs of projects which are not yet in service.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated date on which the Fastnet project is expected to be completed ; what requirements it is expected to fulfil when it is fully operational ; and what is its total estimated cost.
Mr. Sainsbury : Fastnet is a phased programme to replace and upgrade the Army's aging telephone exchange system with modern digital equipment. It is not the practice to disclose the planned completion dates or estimated costs of projects which are not yet in service.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated date on which the Opcon system is expected to be operational ; what requirements it is expected to fulfil ; and what is its total estimated cost.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Opcon system has been in successful operational use since 1986. It is an automated message handling system and database for use by Commander in Chief's maritime headquarters at Northwood. It is based on commercial ADP equipment, and the capital cost of the equipment was of the order of £40 million.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated date on which the Mapper system is expected to be operational ; what requirements it is expected to fulfil when it is fully operational ; and what is its total estimated cost.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Mapper system, also known as the United Kingdom land forces automated management information system (AMIS), provides information technology facilities to the HQ UKLF linking with nine District Headquarters and other key agencies, including the HQ BAOR and the MOD, to assist in the planning and execution of operations during the transition to war and on peacetime exercises. The system also provides an electronic mail, word processing and management information facility.
The system was first installed in mid-1985 and is continually being enhanced and expanded to meet the evolving HQ UKLF requirement for better command and control in the UKLF theatre, in support of home defence and NATO reinforcement.
Total procurement costs to date for the installation and subsequent enhancements and expansions of the system have been in the order of £9 million.
(2) when the report of the airmobility working group will be completed.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the £624 million variation between expenditure and grant of item J6 (Guided Weapons) noted on page 14, Appropriation Accounts 1987- 88, HC 17-1 was caused by (a) over-provision arising from the provisional allocation of carry forward from 1986-87 and (b) slower progress.
Mr. Sainsbury : Some 96 per cent. of the £624 million variation on Item J6 (Guided Weapons), noted on page 14 of the Appropriation Account 1987-88, related to the provisional allocation of the carry forward from 1986-87 and the remaining 4 per cent. was caused by slower progress.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy to facilitate the release of information on nuclear safety to the general public living in the Rosyth dockyard area.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The Rosyth public safety scheme is available in public libraries in the Rosyth area. All future revisions will also be made available to the public. In addition, the Rosyth local liaison committee provides a forum for exchanges of information between the Royal Navy and the community on nuclear safety matters.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has made to the United States Navy authorities following reported incidents involving the discharge of radioactive coolant from United States Navy submarines into Scottish waters.
Column 280United Kingdom waters, which has been governed by a written arrangement since 1958, has always remained within established national and international standards on release of radioactivity.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to avoid future accidental or deliberate discharges of radioactive coolant into Scottish waters from (a) Royal Navy and (b) United States Navy submarines.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Our operating, maintenance and safety standards for submarine nuclear reactors are exacting, and we are satisfied that the practice of the United States Navy is equally rigorous. Royal Navy submarines are never authorised to discharge significant levels of radioactivity into the sea. We are assured that the same is true of United States nuclear-powered warships in United Kingdom waters.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department's contingency plans for an accident involving a nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed submarine in the Clyde or Rosyth areas were last revised ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : All Ministry of Defence contingency plans for accidents involving nuclear reactors or nuclear weapons are kept constantly under review. Exercises are held regularly to test our plans.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take immediate action to withdraw the existing ROSPUBSAFE scheme and replace it with a safety scheme based on full consultation with local community representatives.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : A review of the Rosyth public safety scheme, in full consultation with local authorities and emergency services, has been in progress for some time. The existing scheme will not be withdrawn until the revision is issued.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are taken to enforce the ruling relating to the stabling in Army stables of privately-owned horses set out in his answer to the hon. Member for Northampton, North on 13 January, Official Report, column 783.
Mr. Neubert : The costs of stabling privately owned horses in Army stables are recovered from the owners each month on the presentation of a bill by the unit concerned. Failure to settle the bill promptly would result in appropriate action being taken against the individual concerned ; this could include the removal of the horse from official premises.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many of the individuals in Nottingham who were on community programme schemes when employment training was introduced are now (a) still on community programme schemes, (b) on an employment
Column 281training scheme, (c) in work, (d) unemployed and (e) in any other relevant category, both as a number and as a percentage.
Mr. Nicholls : At the end of August 1988, there were about 1,800 people on the community programme in Nottingham. On 12 January 1989, 800 people remained on the programme. Information on the destinations of the 1,000 people leaving the community programme is not available, although some of the participants would have transferred to employment training.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the lastest available figures of how many of the employment training programme's filled places are (a) extended placements from the community programme, (b) new public authority placements, (c) new placements in the voluntary sector and (d) new placements in the private sector : (i) nationally and (ii) in north Staffordshire.
Mr. Nicholls : At 6 January 1989 there were 111,000 trainees on employment training in Great Britain. Figures are not separately available for north Staffordshire, but there were approximately 2,100 filled places in Staffordshire as a whole on the same date.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many applications for the ET child care allowance have been received by his Department ; how many have been granted and refused ; how much has been paid out in child care allowances ; and how many ET trainees are currently receiving child care allowances.
Mr. Nicholls : The information requested is not available. Information on the number of employment trainees for whom child care payments are made will be regularly collected from March, with the first results available at the end of April 1989.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what new arrangements he has made for claiming back the 100 per cent. advance funding given to ET training managers ; how many training managers have applied for deferment because paying back the advances would cause them severe financial hardship ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : Repayments of advances for the first three months of ET operations commenced from 1 January 1989. However, where a training manager can demonstrate that this would cause substantial cash flow difficulties, they may now defer the start of the repayments for two months, although the advances still have to be repaid over the period of their contract. Information on the number of training managers taking up this option is not collected separately and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many applications for the jobstart allowance have been received ; how many have been granted and refused ; how many are currently receiving the allowance ; and if he will give a breakdown of the wages of the jobs covered by successful applications.
Mr. Lee : In the period from July 1986 to November 1988, 36,791 people applied for jobstart allowance, 27,844 were accepted and 8,947 were rejected because they were not eligible. There are currently 3, 966 people receiving the allowance.
The information requested about the wages of the jobs covered by successful applications is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Nicholls : No training agents in employment training are under investigation by Training Agency officials. All training agents and training managers are subject to financial and operational monitoring.
Mr. Nicholls : Section 24 of the Mines and Quarries Act 1954 prohibits the employment of more than nine persons in a place from which there are not two separate means of egress unless a notice of exemption has been given by the inspector for the district.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will give, based on the preliminary findings of the 1988 labour force survey (a) the total number of people of working age and (b) the percentage with (i) A level or equivalent or higher, (ii) O level or equivalent, (iii) below O level and (iv) no vocational or educational qualification for each standard English region, Wales and Scotland ;
(2) if he will give, based on the preliminary findings of the 1988 labour force survey, the total number of graduates in employment as a percentage of all in employment in each of the standard English regions, Wales and Scotland ;
(3) if he will give based on the preliminary findings of the 1988 labour force survey, the total numbers of graduates in employment in each of the standard English regions, Wales and Scotland.
Mr. Nicholls : The widely reported operation involved overcoming the hazard presented by a fall of roof extending over a length of approximately 30 metres, resulting in the need to mount the recovery in potentially hazardous conditions.
The rescue operation at High Moor, which led to the freeing of the 10 trapped men, demonstrated the traditional expertise and bravery of miners in dealing with such a hazardous situation. The co-operative efforts of all concerned, led by the colliery manager and colliery TU officials, to save life even at great personal risk, was the main factor in the success of the operation.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement of the medical and other types of assistance which were given to the 10 miners who were rescued following an accident at High Moor colliery on 13 January.
Mr. Nicholls : During the operation the full range of medical services provided by the south Yorkshire area of British Coal were readily available at the mine, and a mine nursing sister was present underground to give any necessary assistance.
After the trapped men were freed and brought to the surface, they were examined at the colliery medical centre before being allowed home. No major injuries were suffered by any of the men.
Mine rescue teams with specialised rescue equipment made a rapid response to the emergency. A district inspector from the Health and Safety Executive's mine and quarries inspectorate was underground during the rescue. A principal district inspector was also at the mine to assist in the organisation of the rescue, together with senior officials of both British Coal and the trade unions.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give details of the action he has taken to ensure the safety of operations at High Moor colliery following the accident on 13 January in which 10 miners were trapped following a collapse of 30 m of the roof in its main gate heading.
Mr. Nicholls : The Health and Safety Executive's mines and quarries inspectorate began its investigation on 16 January 1989. Due to the need to ensure safe conditions for this investigation it will be some time before the cause of the roof collapse can be established. Any action necessary as a result of the investigation will be taken by the Health and Safety Executive.
Fatal |Major injuries |Dangerous occurrences|+3-day accidents ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1985 |- |2 |1 |- <1>1986 |- |5 |- |<1>85 1987 |- |8 |2 |53 1988 |1 |4 |- |29 <1> The introduction of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations on 1 April 1986 required the recording of "plus three-day" accidents. The 1986 figure for these accidents represents a nine-month period only.
Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what period will be allowed for consultation by interested bodies following publication of the report on the review of tourism before any Government action is taken.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what calculation he has made of the impact on tourism of the possible withdrawal of university halls of residence from commercial letting as a result of any reduction in University Grants Committee funding of the commercial rates paid by halls to local authorities.
Rates paid in respect of university halls of residence are not currently reimbursed by the University Grants Committee. A decision by the Universities Funding Council not to reimburse the cost of business rates payable, after the introduction of the community charge, in respect of halls of residence used for commercial letting would effectively maintain the present position and therefore should not affect the commercial letting of university halls of residence or have an adverse impact on tourism or revenue received by local authorities.