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Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the Palestine state declared by the Palestine National Council in November 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : We do not recognise the state of Palestine declared by the PNC in Algiers. Our contacts with Palestinians do not and cannot amount to Government-to-Government dealings. We regard the persons with whom such contacts take place not as governmental representatives but as Palestinian leaders. Accordingly, such contacts do not and cannot affect our position of not having recognised the state of Palestine.
Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nursng, midwifery and health visiting staff from each of the old grades have been assimilated to each of the new grades in the recent clinical grading structure in Barnsley district health authority.
Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many appeals by category are awaiting a hearing following the regrading of nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff in the Barnsley health authority area.
Column 437health authorities that have entered into contracts for the provision of hospital services with Bioplan Ltd., with the dates on which the contracts were signed and the length of the individual contracts in each case.
Mr. Mellor : I understand that Coventry, Crewe and Oxfordshire district health authorities have negotiated contracts with Bioplan Holdings Ltd., but we do not collect information about the details of the individual contracts.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the cost of treating a patient for renal dialysis in the Crewe district health authority ; how many such patients are at present registered ; and how many he estimates in future will be treated in the private hospital owned by Bioplan Ltd.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will institute an immediate study of the number of National Health Service patients treated in the private sector in 1987-88, who have been readmitted to National Health Service hospitals in the six months following their treatment in the private sector.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will institute an immediate system of medical audit for patients treated in private hospitals monitored by independent medical authorities outside the private sector.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the implications for the promotion of good health and for preventive medicine of the proposals in his White Paper "Working for Patients", Cm. 555.
Mr. Mellor : The White Paper concentrates on the organisation and management of services to patients. Health authorities and general practitioners will continue to have a central role in health promotion and the prevention of ill health, in particular encouraging people to help themselves by adopting a healthier lifestyle. The Government's recent circular announcing its acceptance of the chief medical officer's report "Public Health in England" makes clear its policy on public health.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many meetings between representatives of Bradford district health authority and Bradford council have taken place, from September 1988 to date, concerned with the joint funding arrangement ; who has attended meetings ; on what dates meetings have taken place ; what decisions have been reached ; and what expenditure has been approved for the year 1988-89.
Column 438Bradford health authority for full details. I understand that following a number of meetings between the bodies concerned joint funding expenditure of £1.109 million has now been agreed for the year 1989-90.
Mr. Robert B. Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set out a table showing for each month of 1988, what percentage of new car registrations were categorised under the following RULE ratings (a) R--refer to dealer, (b) U--unleaded only, (c) L--leaded only and (c) E-- either.
|Per cent. ---------------------------------------- R- refer to dealer |47 U- unleaded |0 L- leaded |16 E- either |33 Diesel accounted for 4 per cent. of new car registrations.
Figures are not readily available on a monthly basis for new car registrations categorised under the RULE ratings.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received about the need for new legislation to replace the Public Utilities Street Works Act 1950 ; what has been his response ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : In the last two months we have received over 50 representations from hon. Friends and hon. Members, local authorities and the utility companies. We have accepted the need for new legislation and will introduce a Bill as soon as a suitable opportunity can be found. There are major potential gains for road users on foot and wheel, to highway authorities and to statutory undertakers.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish the results of the feasibility study into extending light dues to yachts and pleasure craft ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Woodcock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give the present numbers and deadweight tonnages of the United Kingdom -owned trading fleet ; what were the figures one year ago ; and whether he has measures in mind to prevent any further decline.
Trading vessels directly owned in the United Kingdom 31 Decembe31 December 19 Number milNumber million ------------------------------------------ 100 grt and over |857 |17.6|857 |16.6 of which 500 grt and over |648 |17.5|621 |16.5
A number of measures were introduced last year, including assistance towards officer training and crew relief costs. The effect of these measures is being closely monitored.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will (a) place in the Library and (b) publish the report of the survey conducted by British transport police on violence at London Underground and British Rail stations ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : I understand that British Rail and the BTP consider that further research is needed and that it would be inappropriate to publish the survey conducted at Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street stations last autumn. These are matters for BR and the BTP.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on current staffing levels in British transport police and how this differs from what Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary has recommended in its most recent report on this matter.
Mr. Portillo : I understand from the British transport police that the force has 1,500 officers in post in respect of British Rail and 328 officers in its London Underground L division. The complement of L division was recently increased from 350 to 400 following a recommendation by Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary in a report on L division. Some 80 additional officers from the Metropolitan and the City of London police are now assisting the BTP while L division is brought up to strength. Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary has recently carried out an inspection of the rest of the BTP and a report is being prepared.
Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for each of the last five years the number of vehicle accidents reported within four miles of either side of the Severn bridge.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : In the past five years there have been 34 vehicular accidents involving personal injury on the M4 within four miles of the Severn bridge in England, excluding the bridge itself. These are :
|Fatal |Serious|Slight |Total ------------------------------------------------ 1984 |0 |2 |2 |4 1985 |0 |2 |7 |9 1986 |0 |3 |4 |7 1987 |0 |1 |5 |6 1988 |0 |2 |6 |8
Information in respect of accidents on the Welsh approach to the crossing may be obtained from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
These are :
|Fatal |Serious|Slight |total ------------------------------------------------ 1984 |0 |7 |12 |19 1985 |0 |5 |10 |15 1986 |1 |4 |19 |24 1987 |0 |0 |16 |16 1988 |0 |3 |10 |13
Mr. Dunn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish in the Official Report the criteria he will apply in deciding whether to approve or reject British Rail's application for a fixed high speed rail link between the Kent coast and London termini.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if, in view of incorrect information supplied to owners of fishing vessels on the application forms for transfer to the new registry of fishing vessels, he plans to adhere to the closing date for the transitional period of 31 March ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : Known ownership details have been sent to owners of all United Kingdom registered fishing vessels. They have been asked to verify or correct the information and return the form together with a signed declaration of British character to the registry of shipping and seamen. To date, only some 5,000 out of 13,000 sent out have been returned and it is to be hoped that owners will respond quickly. The transitional period ends on 31 March 1989, the date prescribed in regulations.
|Number of recipients |(thousands) ------------------------------------------------------------------- North |14 Yorkshire and Humberside |23 North West |38 East Midlands |16 West Midlands |22 South West |21 East Anglia |7 South East |37 Wales |14 Scotland |27 |--- Total |218
Information for 31 March 1988 is not available.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many representations for and against the proposals in "Help with Hostel Charges" he has received from voluntary organisations working with the homeless.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The majority of responses from voluntary organisations dealing primarily with homeless people favoured retaining the present arrangements for paying income support to people in hostels. An important factor in their reaction was concern about the financial implications of the proposals for reform. Because of that concern, we have deferred change until after April 1989 while we consider the matter further.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Expenditure on community care grants has risen steadily to 77 per cent. of anticipated monthly expenditure. Expenditure for the period from April to the end of December is provisionally calculated at £22.8 million. Outturn expenditure will depend upon the success of our efforts further to increase take-up, and we are confident that the rising trend will continue.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the total number of claims of unemployment-related benefits disallowed by adjudication officers in each standard region of the United Kingdom for each year since 1980, broken down by each category of disallowance in a manner consistent with the annual report of the chief adjudication officer.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The information requested for 1980 and 1981 is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Information for years 1982 to 1988 is available, but will take a little time to collate in the form requested. I shall place complete tables in the Library as quickly as possible.
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the steps taken by his Department to ensure that Mr. RFD, about whom the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Social Security wrote to the hon. Member for Stretford on 9 January (reference POS(4)2558/50), was not threatened with eviction whilst payment of his benefit was suspended.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what information he has concerning the number and ages of war widows from the second world war who are still alive ; (2) what information he has concerning the number of war widows from the first world war who are still alive.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Pensions are payable to the widows of service men who served in the armed forces between 1914 and 1921 and since 1939 whose death was due to service during those periods or subsequently ; and to the widows of merchant seamen whose death was due to war injury during the first world war and since 1939. At the end of last year 57,550 pensions were in payment, of which 53,100 were to the widows of those who served since 1939. Information about the ages of these widows is not readily available and could be obtained only at a cost considerably in excess of the normal cost of answering a parliamentary question.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give a breakdown by military campaign of the numbers and average age of war widows from campaigns since the end of the second world war.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : This information is not available. As war widows' pensions are not income related, no information is held about the recipients' total income. The standard war widow's pension is £53.50. In addition, age allowances of £5.75 at age 65, £11.50 at age 70 and £14.45 at age 80 are paid. About 75 per cent. of war widows over pension age receive a retirement pension, and some will be in receipt of occupational pensions or other income. Post-1973 war widows also receive a pension from the Ministry of Defence.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : We have not yet met representatives of British War Widows and Associates. My right hon. Friend and my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State hope to do so at a reception sponsored by my hon. Friend to be held in the House on 2 March.
Column 443widowed before April 1973 ; how many of those receive income support ; what would be the net cost of giving them similar pension treatment to those widowed after April 1973 ; and how many current war widows were widowed during the 1939-45 war.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I regret that precise information about the numbers and circumstances of current war widows who were widowed before April 1973 or during the second world war could be obtained only at a cost considerably in excess of the normal cost of answering a parliamentary question. At the end of last year, there were 57,550 war widows, of whom it is estimated between 1 and 2 per cent. were in receipt of income support. It is also estimated that if the 1973 improvements to the armed forces pension scheme were to be extended to pay pensions to pre-1973 war widows on the same basis and rates as for current awards, the gross additional cost would be in the region of £200 million a year.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : A specific efficiency programme was introduced on 1 April 1988, to last for three years. The target is to enhance efficiency, either by producing the same output from reduced input or by increasing output from the same input, by 2 per cent. per annum. This target encompasses the whole of the defence budget except for service pensions and capital equipment procurement, the latter being the subject of separate value for money initiatives. This is an important initiative aimed to ensure that we make the most cost-effective use of the resources available to us. It has the full and enthusiastic support of the top management of the department, including the service chiefs of staff.
Mr. Neubert : In 1994 the number of young men in the United Kingdom aged between 16 and 19 will have fallen by around 23 per cent. compared with current levels and by 30 per cent. compared with the peak in 1983. The armed forces are tackling this problem in a variety of ways and
Column 444are carrying out a number of studies. For example, expenditure on recruitment advertising is being increased and measures aimed at improving the retention of trained personnel are being taken. We are also increasing the career opportunities for women and examining how to attract more recruits from the ethnic minorities. We will ensure that pay, allowances and conditions of service are such that a career in the armed services remains attractive to young people. With regard to civilian staff, we are continuing to identify ways of making the most efficient use of manpower, while at the same time making considerable efforts to attract and retain the staff we need to fill those posts which it is essential should remain within the Civil Service. I am hopeful that new flexible pay agreements, improved recruitment publicity and, for example, the greater scope for encouraging people from older age groups and part-time staff will enable us to achieve this.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The United Kingdom and its NATO allies are currently finalising the proposals for tabling at the negotiation on conventional armed forces in Europe, previously known as the conventional stability talks, which is due to begin in Vienna in March. The objective will be to eliminate capabilities for surprise attack and large-scale offensive action by measures which include the elimination, by reductions, of the current imbalances in key equipments such as tanks and artillery. A total ceiling on tanks of about 40,000, shared equally between the countries of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, is envisaged. Such measures will require heavily asymmetrical reductions by the Warsaw Pact to reflect its higher force levels, which will remain even if the reductions in its forces announced recently are implemented.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : No firm decisions have yet been taken on the future use of RAF Molesworth, but it is envisaged that it will continue to be made available to the United States authorities for military use. There is no prospect of converting the base to an operational flying role ; although RAF Molesworth was a wartime bomber base, no runways now remain there. The site remains open to Soviet inspection under the terms of the INF treaty until June 2001.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Secretary of State's last meeting with Sir John Cuckney at the Ministry of Defence was on 19 May 1988. Their discussions at this meeting are treated as confidential, as are all private discussions between the Secretary of State for Defence and senior representatives of our contractors.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The United Kingdom contrib-utes to all three legs of NATO's triad of forces (strategic nuclear, theatre nuclear, and conventional) and commits forces to all three major NATO commanders. The nature of this contribution is described in more detail in the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1988".
Mr. Younger : I refer the hon. Member to the answer which my hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces gave to the hon. Member for Dumbarton (Mr. McFall) on 24 January 1989 at column 555.
Mr. Neubert : Central records of the number of sorties flown during specific exercises are not held. However, according to available records, 89 low-level sorties were flown during Exercise Salty Hammer on 10 May 1988.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many aircraft participated in exercise Salty Hammer on 10 May 1988 ; and how many of these were from United States Air Force units based in the Federal Republic of Germany.