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Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the outcome of the report to the United Nations co-ordinator for Afghan aid by a team of British Army explosive experts on an international mine clearing operation in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Mr. Waldegrave : The team returned from their assessment visit to Pakistan on 17 October. Their report on the land mine problem in Afghanistan was forwarded to the United Nations co-ordinator who has indicated that he will make specific proposals for British help in training refugees in mine awareness and clearance.
Mrs. Chalker : No decision has been taken to alter the level of British military assistance to Mozambique. The United Kingdom currently trains Mozambican troops at Nyanga in Zimbabwe at the rate of three companies (some 360 men) per year ; these troops are then dedicated to the protection of the Limpopo railway line. We have also donated a quantity of non-lethal defence equipment (Land-Rovers, communications equipment, boots, and so on) to assist in this task. A small number of Mozambican officer cadets undergo training in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list those health authorities in Wales which anticipate a shortage of midwives over the next five years ; what is the estimated shortage ; and what are the measures he is proposing to overcome it.
Mr. Grist : Midwifery requirements were examined in the first round of the manpower resource planning exercise undertaken by the Health Service in Wales last year. The purpose of the exercise, initiated by the manpower steering group established by the Department in 1986, is to identify future manpower requirements and enable action to be taken to meet these requirements at the all-Wales level.
Aggregation of district health authorities' returns shows that, at the all- Wales level, shortfall in the number of qualified midwives over planned staffing levels varies from between five and 27 (whole-time equivalents) over the period to 1992. Compared to a planned staffing level in excess of 1,200, these projected shortfalls are not considered sizeable. It would not be appropriate to list individual district figures, given the tentative nature of some of the first round plans.
Based on the all-Wales figures, a report on the outcome of the first planning round has recommended that a direct entry midwifery training scheme should be considered which is currently being addressed by the Welsh National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, and that DHA cross-boundary training should be explored on an all-Wales basis. It is hoped that a diploma in midwifery based on Mid and South Glamorgan health authorities will start this year at the Welsh college of medicine, and that this will eventually lead to a degree in midwifery.
Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list all those beaches in Wales which failed to meet the European Community directive on bathing water quality standards in the last year for which data are available ; when it is planned for each of these beaches to meet these standards ; and what is the estimated cost in each case.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : The results of the 1987 bathing water survey, the latest for which data are presently available, are held in the Library of the House. The information in respect of 1988 is at present being collated and we expect it to be available shortly. Welsh Office officials are currently discussing with the Welsh water authority their plans for improving those waters which do not yet meet the required standards.
Mr. Grist : Central Government support towards bilingual education comes from two main sources. Specific grants support expenditure on certain local authority schemes approved by the Secretary of State. Our intention for the rate support grant settlement for 1989-90 is that
Column 250such grants should amount to £1.5 million. Further spending by local authorities on bilingual education is eligible for rate support grant, but information on expenditure supported in this way is not held centrally.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his policy towards ensuring that there is adequate provision within the Welsh and bilingual schools system in English-speaking parts of Wales to provide for the special educational needs of Welsh-speaking handicapped children.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many young people there were in Wales who had left school either at Easter 1988 or summer 1988 who had not obtained work, further education or a place on a YTS scheme by 31 December 1988 ; and if he will make a statement on the future of the Christmas guarantee.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : Information on the destination of all school leavers is not available. However, the Government guarantee the offer of a YTS place to all 16 and 17-year-olds not in full-time education or employment whenever they apply ; this replaces the "Christmas guarantee".
The new guarantee is effectively being met in Wales and at 12 December 1988 a total of 581 young people were on bridging allowance awaiting a suitable YTS place and 4,221 places remained available at 31 December.
Mr. Geraint Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the number of acres of land in Wales which are not in actual use for agriculture ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether any organisations have expressed any reluctance to co-operate with the Welsh Language Board because of the membership of the board of a former council member of the Economic League.
Mr. John Patten : No decision on the future of the Tote will be taken until Lloyds merchant bank has completed its current feasibility study on privatising it. We hope that the study will be concluded well before Easter, but the Government will then need to give full consideration to the outcome before any announcement could be made.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will instruct police forces not to co-operate in the passing of information to the Department of Social Security fraud investigators.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : No. The police may need to liaise with social security fraud investigators from time to time when, for instance, evidence of social security fraud comes to light in the course of police inquiries into other matters, or when the social security fraud investigators refer a case to the police because of its gravity.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the most recent civil emergency planning questionnaire was returned to NATO's senior civil emergency planning committee ; and if he will summarise the responses in the categories (a) governmental readiness, (b) food and agriculture, (c) industry, (d) manpower, (e) civil communications, (f) energy, (g) civil air transport, (h) inland surface transport, (i) ocean shipping and (j) civil defence.
Mr. John Patten : The civil emergency planning questionnaire is completed by NATO members every four years with an interim review two years afterwards. The United Kingdom returned its most recent questionnaire on 1 June 1988. The document is principally concerned with civil support for the armed forces and is classified.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to how many complaints from prisoners were (a) received and (b) investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration in each year from 1980 to 1987, inclusive.
|Numbers ------------------------ 1980 |10 1981 |10 1982 |7 1983 |3 1984 |9 1985 |9 1986 |3 1987 |4
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will establish an inquiry into the extent of sex discrimination in employment in police forces, and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : No. Chief officers of police are aware that the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 applies to the police and that, subject to the specific exceptions provided by section 17(2), any sex discrimination in the treatment of police officers is unlawful.
Mr. Hurd : The current powers to stop vehicles and to require roadside breath tests are contained in the Road Traffic Act 1972. Under section 159 a police officer may stop any vehicle at any time ; and under section 7 a breath test may be required :
(a) where there is reasonable cause to suspect that the driver has alcohol in his body ; or
(b) where there is reasonable cause to suspect that the driver has committed a moving traffic offence ; or
(c) where there is reasonable cause to believe that the driver has been involved in an accident.
These powers rely on the use in combination of two widely separated sections of the 1972 Act. The courts have held that it is lawful for these powers to be used together. However, there may be benefit in clarifying the position by bringing together the two powers in one section. This would secure express endorsement by Parliament of the use of the powers and would make them more readily understandable to the motoring public.
The police service had, until recently, maintained that current powers were sufficient for the effective enforcement of drinking and driving legislation. This view was accepted by successive Governments. However, the associations of chief police officers of England and Wales and of Scotland reviewed their policy during 1988 and have proposed that the legislation should be changed to allow police officers to require a breath test at any time without requiring any grounds for suspicion.
The associations argue that current powers place unnecessary constraints on breath testing ; and that there
Column 253should be no necessity for a police officer to establish grounds for suspicion before requiring a breath test. They suggest that an unrestricted power would allow chief constables to deploy their resources more effectively in deterring and detecting offenders by targeting their enforcement effort on particular places, at times of day or on groups of drivers. It is implicit in this argument that the powers to test would be exercised in a targeted way, and that the use of any wider discretion than at present would not involve random testing.
The associations also argue that extended breath testing powers would be an appropriate response to changes in public opinion towards drinking and driving. They suggest that the public would now consider extended powers acceptable and desirable in the interests of deterring and detecting offenders and protecting themselves as potential victims of drunken drivers.
The Government consider that a decision on possible changes to police powers should not be taken without an opportunity for full public consultation. The three options under consideration, and the main relevant arguments can be summarised as follows :
(i) To make no change to existing police powers
Existing powers provide the restriction that although the police can stop the motorist without cause they cannot test unless there is reasonable cause to suspect that the person has consumed alcohol or has been involved in an accident or committed a moving traffic offence. This is consistent with the principle in other areas of police intervention, such as the powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to stop and search or arrest, that the powers rest on reasonable suspicion that an offence may have been committed. (ii) To consolidate existing powers
This would be achieved by bringing together in one section the two separate powers contained in section 7 and 159 of the 1972 Act to clarify current powers and to seek express parliamentary endorsement of their use in combination. It would allow better public understanding of the powers which enable the police to stop and test on the basis of clearly stated legislative provisions, while preserving the current safeguards. It would not, however, make any substantive change to current powers.
(iii) To introduce unrestricted powers to require a breath test This would allow chief constables the complete discretion which they seek and would allow a police officer to stop and to require a breath test from any motorist at any time. This would in theory permit random testing, although it is likely that the powers would be exercised in a targeted way. It would provide an enhanced deterrent in the knowledge that any driver could be stopped and tested at any time. Much would depend on the sensible exercise of discretion by individual officers.
I welcome views on these three options. Anyone who wishes to comment may do so in writing to F5 division in my Department at 50 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AT, by 30 April 1989.
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider seeking to amend the terms of the Data Protection Act 1987 to (i) set guidelines as to the transfer of information by registered data users to unregistered users and (ii) to enable the Data Protection Registrar to prosecute Government Departments.
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements are being made for resettlement plans for Mr. Albert Baker, Her Majesty's prison, Long Lartin, 241254 on his release.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The terms on which a life sentence prisoner is to be released can only be settled close to the time of release. The first formal review by the local review committee and the parole board to consider whether to make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for release is normally three years in advance of the expiry of the period which the prisoner can expect to serve to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence. In Mr. Baker's case this is still some time ahead and it would therefore be premature to consider the suitability of any release plan.
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement on the use of vetting of potential employees of the British Broadcasting Corporation in (i) non- sensitive posts and (ii) sensitive posts ;
(2) if he will make a statement on the use of vetting of current employees of the British Broadcasting Corporation in (i) non-sensitive posts and (ii) sensitive posts.
Mr. Renton : The Government believe (as have successive Governments over a long period) that it is in the national interest for the BBC to apply certain necessary security procedures. A review of these procedures was undertaken by the director-general of the BBC in 1985. This led to a clarification of the criteria for their application and ensured that the number of posts affected by them is kept to the necessary minimum. The BBC alone decides whom to appoint to any post within the corporation, and no external agency has a right of veto on the appointment or promotion of any member of staff.
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy towards information held by special branch being passed on to (i) commercial firms and (ii) employers' organisations.
Mr. Hurd : The published guidelines on the work of a special branch which were issued on 19 December 1984 make it clear that information held by a special branch should not be passed to commercial firms or to employers' organisations.
Column 255state that all members of a special branch are responsible, as is any other member of the force, to the chief officer of the force through the head of the branch and any intervening supervisory ranks in the force structure. Like other aspects of the management of police forces, these arrangements are subject to inspection under the inspection arrangements appropriate to the force in question. Any deficiencies are drawn to the attention of the chief officer of the force.
(2) what is his policy towards links between special branch and (i) private security firms and (ii) private investigating firms.
Ms. Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the following information on the financial affairs of immigrant residents in the United Kingdom is kept on the Home Office computers (a) income, (b) social security payments and welfare benefits and (c) mortgage commitments ; whether such information is currently being collected ; if any such information is available to immigration officials at ports of entry to the United Kingdom ; whether any such information will be made available in the future via the Government data network ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Renton : No such information is held or is planned to be held on Home Office computers. The use of all personal information held on computers in the Home Office is controlled in accordance with the provision of the Data Protection Act 1984. Within the immigration and nationality department there are some 30 registrations of computer systems under the Act. It is open to an individual to make an application for disclosure of information held under section 21 of the Act. Details of these registrations are held by the office of the Data Protection Registrar.
Mrs. Maureen Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the fees paid to advisers appointed under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1984.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is (a) the number of association football matches played at Wembley stadium during the 1987-88 season, (b) the total attendance during the season, (c) the total arrests in association with these matches, (d) the average attendance per match, (e) the average number of arrests per match and (f) the arrests as a proportion of the attendance.
|Wembley stadium 1987-88 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Number of association matches played |14 Total attendance |859,935 Total arrests |551 Average attendance per match |61,424 Average number of arrests per match |39 Arrests as a proportion of attendance |1:1,561 Arrests as a percentage of attendance |0.06
Mr. Nicholls : By the end of November 1988, the latest date for which information is available, 23,100 people had left the programme earlier than planned. Many of these people were transferees from previous programmes and so had received the benefit of a longer period of training and practical experience.
Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when Mr. Robert Pearce, employed at Canvey Island unemployment benefit office, whose appeal for reinstatement was successfully heard on 6 September 1988, will be reinstated.
Mr. Lee : The Department has decided not to accept the recommendation of the Civil Service appeal board to reinstate Mr. Pearce and has asked the board, in accordance with the provisions of the pay and conditions of service code for civil servants, to determine an appropriate compensation payment.
Mr. Nicholls : No training managers in employment training are under investigation by the Training Agency. All training managers are subject to financial and operational monitoring by Training Agency officials.
Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when the National Council for Vocational Qualifications will define the levels of competence and training above level 4 ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : The National Council for Vocational Qualifications has reported good progress on involving the professions in the development of levels I to IV of the national vocational qualification framework. The Government and the council therefore agree that the time
Column 258is now right for the council's remit to be extended to include standards and qualifications above level IV. We have therefore asked the council to proceed with work above level IV in those sectors where all the significant professional bodies are willing to be involved on a voluntary basis. However, whilst the council will therefore now take this work forward with the relevant organisations, we have made clear that the council's first priority must continue to be the establishment of the framework up to level IV.
Mr. Gregory : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how much funding under the Development of Tourism Act 1969, section 4, has been approved for each regional tourist board for each year since 1983 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lee : The total assistance offered by the English tourist board under section 4 of the Development of Tourism Act 1969, for each year since 1983 in the area covered by each regional tourist board is as follows :
Section 4 Approvals Financial Year (£000s) RTB |1982-83 |1983-84 |1984-85 |1985-86 |1986-87 |1987-88 |1988 to January 1989 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cumbria |692 |617 |304 |699 |507 |469 |939 East Anglia |141 |551 |790 |815 |785 |502 |796 East Midlands |458 |898 |432 |2,241 |784 |759 |982 Heart of England |268 |609 |648 |457 |1,224 |1,049 |1,138 London |- |841 |466 |148 |166 |1,030 |120 Northumbria |615 |252 |445 |621 |644 |1,480 |642 North West |642 |1,542 |936 |780 |1,409 |2,062 |675 South East |79 |680 |1,309 |1,169 |1,227 |1,221 |659 Southern |231 |2,248 |756 |781 |1,515 |922 |933 Thames and Chilterns |30 |290 |455 |509 |430 |880 |262 West Country |951 |2,760 |1,934 |2,464 |3,519 |3,125 |2,217 Yorkshire & Humberside |1,501 |1,045 |1,569 |865 |1,744 |1,346 |1,740 Totals |5,608 |12,333 |10,044 |11,549 |13,954 |14,845 |11,103
Mrs. Wise : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in the Official Report any general instructions issued by the Health and Safety Commission relating to improved conditions of health and safety, applying to both sexes, since the coming into force of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.