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Mr. Luce : I am pleased to announce that my Department is funding a research project to be undertaken to prepare guidelines for the constructive use and management of volunteers in museums and heritage organisations.
The project will be divided into four phases :
(i) Review of the literature, existing guidelines and directives ;
(ii) Current practice in the management of volunteers ; (iii) Practicalities : the practical issues in managing volunteer effort ;
(iv) The preparation, piloting and publication of guidelines for management.
When the guidelines are produced they should include practical advice on a number of aspects of the use of volunteers, such as recruitment, training, responsibilities, statutory obligations and rewards. The results of the study should encourage museums' and galleries' managements to consider employing volunteers or, where they already do, to make better use of these arrangements. The project which should be completed by March 1990, will be overseen by a steering committee which will include representatives from national, local authority and independent museums, the Ironbridge Institute, the Museums and Galleries Commission, the British Association of Friends of Museums, the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (voluntary conservation corporations), and the National Trust.
This project to examine the use and management of volunteers in museums and heritage organisations is timely in the context of my initiatives on museums training and on improving access to collections. I look forward to seeing its conclusions in due course.
Mr. Maude : The latest available figures for Merseyside provided by the Department of Employment are for 1986, when 2,918 new businesses registered for VAT compared with 2,905 in 1985 and 3,262 in 1984.
Mr. Atkins : It is because of the interference caused to authorised radio users by unlicensed broadcasters that last year my Department's radio investigation service (RIS) carried out a record number (444) of raids against them. The RIS will continue to pursue unlicensed radio stations with vigour and with a view to identifying and prosecuting those responsible for the running of such stations. Furthermore in the forthcoming Broadcasting Bill the Government will be seeking additional powers to make it an offence to supply goods and services for the operation of an unlicensed station, to advertise on an unlicensed station or to solicit others to do so and to be engaged in the operation of the unlicensed station.
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which European Economic Community countries are running a smaller trade deficit with the rest of the Community, expressed as a percentage of gross domestic product, than the United Kingdom.
Mr. Newton : My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales and I have decided that the current four-month moratorium on payments of grant under the original regional development grant scheme will
Column 755be lifted tomorrow. Payments which are at present held up by the moratorium will be made as soon as practicable. This will be of immediate benefit to those companies which remain eligible for grant under the scheme's transitional provisions.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he last met representatives of the British Footwear Manufacturers Association to discuss imports of footwear from south-east Asia.
Mr. Alan Clark : As I said in reply to the hon. Member's priority written question of 18 January ( Official Report, columns 237-38 ), I met the hon. Members for Sedgefield (Mr. Blair) and for Leicester, East (Mr. Vaz) and representatives of the footwear industry, including the British Footwear Manufacturers Federation, in February 1988 to discuss footwear imports from the far east. Imports from south-east Asia were also discussed.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
Mr. Winnick : To ask the Prime Minister what advice she has given to hon. Members who have served in the Government about giving evidence if requested to do so by a Select Committee regarding the activities or views expressed by them while a member of the Government.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will set out the impediments, in the order of importance, to the full-scale exploitation of wind energy in the United Kingdom ; and what measures he is taking to resolve these impediments.
Mr. Michael Spicer : I am not aware of any impediments to the full- scale exploitation of wind energy in the United Kingdom other than the need to obtain the necessary planning consents and its need to be commercially viable and environmentally acceptable. My Department's programme of research, development and demonstration in the field of wind energy is intended to provide information to the wind energy industry and other concerned bodies. The programme is examining such areas as wind turbine design and performance in the broadest sense, through the construction and monitoring of a range of experimental and prototype wind turbine generators ; this is supported by a generic programme covering, for example, materials of construction, aerodynamic behaviour, noise reduction and control methodology. It is hoped that the programme will provide a basis for the commercial exploitation of wind energy as well as giving an assessment of the acceptability of the technology to the general public.
The primary objective of the proposed experimental wind farms at Capel Cynon, Landon Common and Cold Northcott is to examine environmental impact and public acceptability.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make it his policy to assess the arguments advanced for energy conservation and energy efficiency by the chairman-designate of PowerGen on 26 January in a speech made in London.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, 26 January, Official Report, columns 994-5, when the separated plutonium store at Sellafied became party to full physical safeguards by Euratom inspectors.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, Official Report, 26 January, column 695, if he will make a statement on the period 4 June 1986 to 31 December 1986 to which his reply of 4 June 1986, Official Report, columns 594-5 does not refer.
Mr. Michael Spicer : During the period 4 June 1986 to 15 December 1986, co-processing of safeguarded and non-safeguarded Magnox fuel took place with safeguards inspectors having full access to the reprocessing plant. After 15 December 1986 the plant was washed out and since then safeguarded and non-safeguarded fuel has been reprocessed in separate campaigns.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many Euratom inspectors have had a permanent presence at Sellafield since March 1986 ; how often they have reported data to Euratom headquarters ; to what data they have had access ; and how physical checks and assays on civil spend magnox fuels were conducted between March 1986 and 1 January 1987, when co-processing of civil and non-civil unsafeguardable spent magnox fuel was being conducted.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how Euratom inspectors verified the flows and inventories of civil nuclear materials at the Magnox reprocessing plant at Sellafield in the transitional co- processing period to 31 December 1986, to which he referred in his answer of 4 June 1986, Official Report, columns 594-5.
Mr. Michael Spicer : I am advised that Hinkley Point A reactor I was shut down on 23 January following difficulties during routine refuelling. Investigations revealed that two pieces of a fuel element had fallen back into the reactor. They have been recovered and work to check for, and recover, any further debris is under way. There was no hazard to the public or staff. It is hoped to resume operation of the reactor in a few days subject to the agreement of the Health and Safety Executive.
Reactor II at Hinkley Point A was shut down on 20 January for its statutory biennial inspection, having completed 700 days' continuous operation.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what assessments he has made of the impact of privatisation of the national electricity grid with particular reference to the technical challenge posed by the concept of a unified electricity policy by 1992 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The Electricity Bill places a statutory duty on the National Grid Company to facilitate competition in the supply and generation of electricity. Under the draft licence to be issued to the National Grid Company, authorised generators wil be able to use the grid to convey their electricity. This is in line with the objectives underlying the completion of the internal energy market in 1992.
41. Mr. A. Cecil Walker : To ak the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of the Broadcasting Act 1981 as amended by the Broadcasting Act 1987 as it relates to Northern Ireland.
Mr. Renton : It is not part of the Government's role in relation to broadcasting to undertake such assessments. The Independent Broadcasting Authority has a responsibility under the Broadcasting Act 1981 to ensure that the commercial television companies meet the needs of the communities they serve.
Mr. George : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will institute an inquiry as to the lessons derived from the Knightsbridge safe deposit centre robbery, with its terms of reference to include pursuing the request of Mr. Justice Robert Lymbery that the authorities should consider licensing such premises and their owners.
Mr. John Patten : We have made it clear that we look to the private security industry itself to provide self-regulation. We propose to discuss with the private security industry ways in which safe deposit centres might be brought into the self-regulatory framework.
Mr. Renton : Information is not available on the total numbers of those who have been granted refugee status in the United Kingdom and are still living here. Available information on grant of refugee status, by nationality, is set out in an annual Home Office statistical bulletin (most recently "Refugeee Statistics, United Kingdom, 1987", issue 16/88) ; while information on acceptances for settlement as refugees is published in the annual Command paper (most recently "Control of Immigration : Statistics, United Kingdom, 1987" Cm 415, Table 18), and in a quarterly statistical bulletin (most recently "Control of Immigration : Statistics--Third Quarter 1988", issue 38/88, table 3).
Mr. John Patten : There is no existing legislation prohibiting the sale of key guns, but it is an offence to carry such an article for use in the course of or in connection with theft. There are legitimate uses of key guns, eg. by locksmiths, and any proposals for controls on sales would need to take this into account. We are consulting the Association of Chief Police Officers about the effectiveness and availability of key guns and other similar devices, and have asked what problems they have caused police forces.
Mr. Waller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to respond to the application by Bradford metropolitan council for new court accommodation for the Keighley petty sessional division.
Mr. John Patten : Before a final decision can be made, it will be necessary to assess the relative merits of all the 22 bids for approval of new accommodation which have been received in the Department. This assessment will be carried out as quickly as possible and authorities informed of the outcome before the end of March.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions permission for emigration to, or travel within, the Soviet Union or other COMECON eastern bloc countries has been denied to applicants formerly employed at MI5.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he intends to take about the letter dated 1 July 1988 sent by the kidney transplant centre to the immigration service to facilitate the entry to the United Kingdom of a Turkish man whose kidney was sold for a transplant at the Wellington Humana hospital.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are currently being held in police cells ; and which police stations are holding the prisoners outside the Metropolitan police area for the latest date available.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : At unlocking on Tuesday 7 February, 272 prisoners were held in police cells in England and Wales. Of these, 80 were held at the following police stations outside the Metropolitan police area :
Welwyn Garden City
Liverpool (Main Bridewell)
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison establishments have implemented the Home Office circular issued on the 25 September 1987 entitled "Through Care of Drug Misusers in the Prison System" ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : A police statement and guidelines prepared in discussion between the prison department and probation service for the introduction at all establishments of a more co-ordinated and positive response to drug misusers were issued on 25 September 1987. This policy, which also advocates increased involvement by prisons of counselling facilities in the community, was welcomed by the advisory council on the misuse of drugs.
Pressures on the prison system militate against immediate and wholesale implementation, but there is no lack of evidence that efforts are being made to secure improvement. I shall look for further signs of progress at the end of the year.