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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 2 March 1989

DEFENCE

National Curriculum

Mr. Thorne : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 9 February, how, following the introduction of the national curriculum in service children's schools, he will seek to minimise the disruption to children's education on military posting.

Mr. Neubert : The introduction of the national curriculum will in itself help reduce such disruption. In order to avoid possible difficulties associated with the syllabi of different examining groups, the joint council for GCSE has set up a working party to agree upon common procedural guidelines for the transfer of course work. My Department is represented on this working party.

Exercise Red Lanyard

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list how many aircraft and by type were employed during exercise Red Lanyard ; how many service personnel were engaged ; what types of other ancillary equipment were employed ; what were the locations of bases and the area covered ; what is the projected estimated cost to public funds ; and what were the aims and objectives of the exercise.

Mr. Neubert : Exercise Red Lanyard was designed to rehearse the procedures that the services would use should they be called upon to assist in the safe evacuation of British subjects from a trouble spot overseas. A maximum of 15 C130 Hercules aircraft were employed, with two Chinook and one Puma helicopters. Up to 750 Army and 180 RAF personnel were involved at any one time. Ancillary equipment employed included Landrovers, associated trailers, Fox and Scorpion armoured vehicles and guns. The exercise proper took place on the Standford training area in Norfolk ; the C130 Hercules aircraft used RAF airfields at Lyneham and Watton. This execise was not costed separately and it is not possible to derive the financial information requested except at disproportionate cost.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the implications for his policy on nuclear modernisation in the light of General John Galvin's announcement that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is prepared to scrap up to 1,000 artillery shells, provided member countries agree to modernise other nuclear armaments ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I am not aware of any such announcement by Saceur. However, the Government continue to believe that it is essential that we maintain an up-to-date stockpile. NATO's nuclear stockpile in Europe


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is today at its lowest level for 20 years, having reduced by some 35 per cent. since 1979. Any further reductions will be welcome provided we retain a fully effective, reliable and survivable deterrent.

Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is his policy, in the event of the breakdown of nuclear deterrence, towards North Atlantic Treaty Organisation initiating the use of tactical nuclear weapons ;

(2) if he will define the Government's understanding of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's doctrine of flexible response ; (3) whether, in the event of the breakdown of nuclear deterrence, the use of tactical nuclear weapons is an option which the Government might take ;

(4) whether, in the event of the breakdown of nuclear deterrence, limited nuclear war is a possibility under the strategy of flexible response.

Mr. Neubert : I refer the hon. Member to the annual statement on the Defence Estimates, in particular the essays on NATO strategy in 1985 and 1987, which contains the information he seeks.

West German Minister

Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he last met the West German Defence Minister ; and what subjects were discussed.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend last met Dr. Scholz at the Anglo-German summit in Frankfurt on 20-21 February. A range of subjects of mutual defence interest were discussed.

Aircraft (Missiles)

Mr. Shore : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many dual capable LRINF and SRINF aircraft were in service with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and the Warsaw pact in 1985 and at the latest available date ; and how many of these aircraft are equipped with air-to-surface missiles.

Mr. Neubert : The numbers of dual-capable LRINF and SRINF aircraft in service with NATO and the Warsaw pact are as follows :


            |1985       |End 1988               

------------------------------------------------

            |LRINF                              

NATO        |150        |140                    

Warsaw pact |350        |300                    

            |SRINF                              

NATO        |1,300 (600)|1,500 (650)            

Warsaw pact |3,800      |3,250                  

These figures cover land based aircraft deployed in Europe west of the Urals and exclude French aircraft and those with a primary maritime role. The figures in brackets show NATO aircraft certified for nuclear use. Comparable figures are not available for the Warsaw pact.

The majority of Warsaw pact dual-capable aircraft in these ranges are capable of carrying air-to-surface missiles armed with conventional or nuclear warheads. Some of these missiles have ranges of up to several hundred kilometres. None of the NATO aircraft is currently equipped with air-to-surface missiles armed with nuclear warheads.


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Backfire Bombers

Mr. Shore : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many dual capable Backfire bombers were available to the Warsaw pact in 1985 ; and how many were added in 1986, 1987 and 1988.

Mr. Neubert : In 1985 the Warsaw pact air order of battle included approximately 230 Backfire bombers. In each of the three years 1986, 1987 and 1988 around 30 additional Backfire were deployed.

Shots

Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when was the last time that service personnel fired shots on the British mainland in the course of their duty when they were not involved in training exercises, previous to the Tern hill incident.

Mr. Neubert : To the best of our knowledge the last time prior to the Tern hill incident that service personnel fired shots on the British mainland in the course of their duty and when they were not involved in training exercises was in support of the police in the Iranian embassy siege in May 1980.

Start II

Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the Government intend to participate in a Start II negotiation.

Mr. Neubert : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that my hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Mr. Hamilton) gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Summerson) on 10 January 1989 at columns 677-78.

A90 Project

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has for changes in the management of the A90 project.

Mr. Sainsbury : The National Nuclear Corporation Ltd. was appointed in June 1988 to provide a comprehensive management and co-ordination service.

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what financial claims against his Department are outstanding or expected from Balfour Kilpatrick relative to the A90 project.

Mr. Chope : I have been asked to reply.

No claims are outstanding or expected from Balfour Kilpatrick. The PSA has no contract with this company. It is subcontractor to Haden Young, which is the main contractor for the mechanical and electrical engineering works services on the A90 project. The contract was substantially completed in March 1988. Negotiations on the final account for the contract are proceeding. Haden Young has submitted a claim which is under consideration in accordance with the conditions of contract. The amounts and grounds of the claim are a matter of commercial confidence.

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions have been held between his


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Department and Balfour Kilpatrick on the financial position of the company and its impact on its ability to fulfil the A90 contract.

Mr. Chope : I have been asked to reply.

The answer is none.

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any assessment has been made of the quality of materials supplied by Messrs Hargreaves of Bury for the A90 project as against the original specifications.

Mr. Chope : I have been asked to reply.

All materials supplied by Messrs Hargreaves of Bury have been inspected in accordance with the contract specification. Certain duct flange welds have failed to meet the specified requirements and options for overcoming this problem in the most economical way are under discussion with the Ministry of Defence.

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the cost of aborted mechanical and electrical work on the A90 project.

Mr. Chope : I have been asked to reply.

A broad estimate of the cost of mechanical and electrical work which has been rendered abortive by changes of requirement during the course of the contract is £1 million.

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether he has assessed the fitness of Balfour Kilpatrick to undertake further government contracts ;

(2) if he will make a statement on the management by Haden Young of the A90 project ;

(3) what assessment he has made of the achievements of Balfour Kilpatrick in ensuring the speediest possible achievement of targets in the A90 construction project ;

(4) if he will carry out an assessment of all contracts awarded by his Department to Balfour Kilpatrick in the past five years.

Mr. Chope : I have been asked to reply.

The financial position and performance of all companies working or likely to be engaged on work for PSA are kept regularly under review and appropriate action taken where necessary. Findings concerning specific firms are a matter of commercial confidence.

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will investigate disputes in the A90 construction project between the main contractors and Balfour Kilpatrick ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : I have been asked to reply.

Any disputes which may exist between Haden Young and Balfour Kilpatrick are a matter for them.

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

Pathway to International Security"

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has received any invitation to send delegates or observers to the conference "Pathways to International Security" at the Royal Society of Medicine, London, on 18 March, organised by Professions for World Disarmament and Development.


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Mr. Chris Patten : I received an invitation which I had to decline.

Falklands

Ms. Lestor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much has been set aside by the European development fund for each year since 1984, to be spent on the Falklands ; and how much has been spent.

Mr. Chris Patten : The Falkland Islands receive an allocation of aid under each five year European development fund (EDF). Under EDF V, this was 0.05 mecu for 1980-85. This has been fully committed but not yet spent. Under EDF VI, 1.1 mecu were allocated for 1985-90. Commitments have yet to be made. In addition the Falkland Islands were allotted 0.067 mecu in 1988 for a shortfall of export earnings from sheep's or lamb's wool.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Breach of Confidence

Mr. Cran : To ask the Attorney-General what plans he has to implement the recommendations of the 1981 Law Commission report on breach of confidence affecting the disclosure of information obtained by improper means.

The Attorney-General : The Law Commission's report No. 110, Cmnd. 8388, amounts for the most part to a recommendation for a restatement of the common law of breach of confidence and the Government do not propose, particularly in the light of recent judgments which restate that law, to give its implementation high priority at present.

Guardian Angels

Mr. Grocott : To ask the Attorney-General if he will make it his policy to give his consent under section 2(2) of the Public Order Act 1936 to any prosecution of members of the organisation known as the Guardian Angels under section 2(1)(a) of that Act, for usurping the functions of the police.

Mr. Attorney-General : No. It will remain my policy to give consent under section 2(2) of the Public Order Act 1936, and any policy as regards consents generally, only in cases where the evidence is sufficient to justify the conclusion that there is a reasonable prospect of a conviction and the public interest requires a prosecution.

Mr. Grocott : To ask the Attorney-General whether the Crown prosecution service is considering any prosecutions of members of the organisation known as the Guardian Angels under sections 4 or 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

Mr. Attorney-General : No.

Mr. Chander Singh

Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Attorney-General what progress has been made in proceedings with the prosecution of Mr. Chander Singh for offences of fraud in connection with the Marconi company.

The Attorney-General : Mr. Chander Singh has no connection with the Marconi Company Ltd.


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Planning (High Court Applications)

Mr. Conway : To ask the Attorney-General if he will state, for the past three years, the number of applicants to the High Court under section 245 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971, seeking review of the decisions of the Secretary of State for the Environment.

The Attorney-General : For the financial years 1985-86, 1986-87 and 1987-88 there were respectively 114, 137 and 154 applications to the High Court under section 245 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Sexual Offences

12. Mr. Patnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average clear-up rate recorded by the police for sexual offences in 1987 and 1988.

Mr. John Patten : In 1987 the average clear up rate for sexual offences was 75 per cent. compared with 71 per cent. in 1986. The figure for 1988 is not yet available. The police give a high priority to the detection and apprehension of sexual offenders.

Charities Commission

13. Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last met the chief commissioner of the Charities Commission ; and what subjects were discussed.

Mr. John Patten : My right hon. Friend last met the chief charity commissioner on Wednesday 22 February to discuss the proposals that the Government will be putting forward in the forthcoming White Paper on charities.

Crime (Derbyshire)

14. Mr. McLoughlin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the figures for reported crime in Derbyshire for 1988.

Mr. John Patten : We hope to publish the crime figures for 1988 shortly. The figures for Derbyshire are likely to show a drop of 7.5 per cent.

Sunday Trading

15. Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the number of local authorities who made no prosecutions for breaches of the Sunday trading law in 1988.

Mr. Renton : Information about the number of local authorities which made no prosecutions for breaches of the Sunday trading law is not held centrally. Decisions on whether or not to prosecute in any given case are a matter for the local authorities concerned.

33. Mr. Duffy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last circulated guidance to district councils on their duty to enforce the law on Sunday trading.


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Mr. Renton : I am sure that local authorities are well aware of their responsibilities under section 71 of the Shops Act 1950. We have not circulated guidance to councils on this matter.

70. Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received in response to his request for views on the reform of Sunday shopping.

Mr. Renton : Since I last answered a question on this subject, from the hon. Member for Normanton (Mr. O'Brien) on 2 February 1989 at column 415 , we have received 133 written representations broadly in favour of Sunday trading and 155 against.

Police Efficiency

16. Sir Anthony Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in securing greater efficiency and value for money from the police in East Anglia.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : It is primarily the responsibility of chief officers of police and local police authorities, to ensure that their resources are used to best effect. Value for money has been improved in the Cambridgeshire constabulary by streamlining administrative procedures, devolving operational management responsibility to sub-divisional level, and establishing civilian administrative units in the sub-divisions.

68. Mr. David Martin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to implement the

recommendations of the Audit Commission on police efficiency.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Waveney (Mr. Porter) on 2 February at column 387 .

Single European Act

17. Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he next expects to meet Ministers of the Trevi group to discuss the implications of the Single European Act.

47. Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he next expects to meet Ministers from other Governments in the European Economic Community to discuss the movement of persons within the European Economic Community after 1992.

59. Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he next expects to meet Ministers within the Trevi group ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hurd : I shall be meeting Trevi Ministers informally on 9 and 10 March in Seville. We shall discuss a range of matters of mutual interest including the implications of the Single European Act.

Prison Service

18. Mr. Stern : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to alter the negotiating structure for pay and conditions in the prison service.


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Mr. Douglas Hogg : There are no plans to alter the established negotiating structure for pay and conditions in the prison service.

Carole Richardson

19. Ms. Abbott : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what medical attention has been offered to Carole Richardson currently in Her Majesty's prison Styal.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Miss Richardson has received appropriate medical treatment under the care of the medical staff at Her Majesty's prison Styal. Specific clinical information pertaining to individual prisoners is confidential and is not normally disclosed.

Criminal Appeal Act 1968

20. Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases have been referred to the Court of Appeal in exercising of the power under section 17(1) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968, since 1968 ; and what was the outcome in each case.

Mr. John Patten : Between 1 September 1968, when the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 came into force, and 31 December 1988, 105 defendants had their convictions referred to the Court of Appeal under section 17(1)(a) of the Act. The appeals of 57 defendants were allowed, 40 were dismissed, four were abandoned and one retrial was ordered. The cases of three defendants have yet to be determined.

Drugs

21. Mr. Rathbone : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the last meeting of the ministerial group on the misuse of drugs took place, and what it discussed.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The last meeting of the ministerial group on the misuse of drugs, which I chair, took place on 9 February. Issues discussed included Customs' provisional drug seizure figures for 1988, plans for regionally-based anti-drug publicity campaigns, the development of drug misuse services in 1989-90 and evaluation of pilot syringe exchange schemes.

27. Mr. Paice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress he has made in securing greater international co- operation against the illegal drug trade.

Mr. Hurd : I refer my hon. Friend to the answer that I gave on 2 February to a similar question from my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) at column 419. Since then, I have taken part in useful discussions about co-operation against illicit drug trafficking, among other matters, with my counterparts in the Federal Republic of Germany and in France.

29. Mr. Knapman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken to curtail the illegal import of drugs.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Government have developed a comprehensive and balanced strategy aimed at tackling all aspects of the drugs problem ; it is overseen by the ministerial group on the misuse of drugs.


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