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Mr. Howard : The General Development Order 1988 allows a single satellite dish to be installed without planning permission on or within the curtilage of any house provided the dish neither exceeds 90 cm in diameter nor projects above the highest point of the roof. The order allows up to two dishes on blocks of flats and commercial buildings, subject to conditions on size and siting, but in conservation areas, national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty this permission applies only to licensed code operators and not to the general public. Full details are in planning policy guidance note 8, a copy of which is in the Library. We are reviewing permitted development rights for telecommunications in the light of technological advances.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has (a) met the Association of Councillors since August 1988, (b) any plans to meet the Association of Councillors to discuss the Widdicombe report and (c) what representations he has received from the Association of Councillors since the publication of the Widdicombe report.
Mr. Gummer [holding answer 28 February 1989] : Neither I, nor my right hon. Friend have met the Association of Councillors to discuss the Widdicombe report, and we have no plans to do so. We have received a number of representations from the association since publication of the Widdicombe report in June 1986, including comments on that report, and on the Government's White Paper on the conduct of local authority business (Cm 433). The association has recently written to Ministers seeking representation on the three working groups which have been established with the local authority associations on the code of conduct and register of members interests, standing orders, and councillors' remuneration.
(2) what is his estimate of the numbers of pensioners with savings of (a) less than £500, (b) less than £1,000, (c) less than £3, 000, (d) less than £6,000, (e) less than £10,000, (f) less than £20,000 and (g) £20,000 or over.
Mr. Grocott : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the percentage of pensioners having an income below 80 per cent. of average earnings ; and what was the corresponding figure in 1979.
I regret that information on levels of pensioner savings is not available in the form requested. In 1986 however approximately 70 per cent. of pensioner tax units had income from savings.
In 1986 approximately 85 per cent. of pensioner tax units had a total gross income below 80 per cent. of average male manual earnings. The corresponding figure in 1979 was 88 per cent.
Column 367A pensioner tax unit is a single person of pensionable age, or a married couple where the man is of pensionable age.
Source : Family Expenditure Survey 1986.
Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many investigators are employed by his Department in Scotland in the detection of fraud ; what was the sum recovered in the most recent year for which figures are available ; and what number of staff he expects to be employed on this work in each of the next three years.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : There are 344 such investigators. In 1987-88 benefit savings achieved on anti-fraud work amounted to £196 million in Great Britain, of which £18.16 million was in relation to Scotland. The levels of staff over the next three years will remain fairly constant subject to procedural changes and the actual levels of fraud activity found.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many persons are receiving disability benefit in the Doncaster and Mexborough areas of South Yorkshire during the present financial year ; and how many were receiving it in 1978-79 and 1983-84.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish figures in the same manner as the 1986 family expenditure survey, tables 27 and 31, for inner London showing (a) the proportion of households whose gross normal weekly income falls into various income bands and (b) the source of income.
Mr. Stern : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he plans to respond to the report of the Occupational Pensions Board on the subject of the protection of pensioners in mergers and takeovers.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : When he published the report by the Occupational Pensions Board called "Protecting Pensions" on 1 February, my right hon. Friend announced at columns 295-96 that we were launching a three-month consultation exercise on the basis of the report. Future decisions will be taken in the light of responses to the consultation exercise.
Column 368be received and to ensure the maximum take- up of these awards, we have decided to extend the closing date for receipt of applications by a full three months from 31 March 1989 to 30 June 1989. We have also decided to set the same date of 30 June 1989 as the cut-off date for receipt of applications for income support transitional payments which are being paid by the central unit in Glasgow to certain former supplementary benefit recipients who were disentitled to income support last April.
£ million |Cash |Real (1988-89 prices) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1974-75 |1,855 |7,246 1975-76 |2,169 |6,743 1976-77 |2,604 |7,155 1977-78 |2,426 |5,855 1978-79 |3,092 |6,741 1979-80 |3,640 |6,790 1980-81 |3,965 |6,245 1981-82 |4,675 |6,703 1982-83 |5,400 |7,226 1983-84 |6,140 |7,859 1984-85 |6,600 |8,114 1985-86 |7,210 |8,334 1986-87 |7,620 |8,523 1987-88 |8,206 |8,719 1988-89 |8,579 |8,579 Note Benefits include child benefit, one parent benefit, child tax allowances, additional personal tax allowance (lone parent) family income supplement, family credit, maternity grant, maternity allowance, statutory allowance, social fund and supplementary allowance, income support and housing benefit (including rate rebates) paid to one-parent families and to people looking after elderly persons.
Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in England and Wales have in the last five years suffered from food poisoning where the source of the illness has been attributed to the consumption of raw milk.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements are made through the National Health Service for the emergency and routine health care of visitors to the United Kingdom who stay (a) less than six months and (b) six months or more.
Column 369normally have to pay for hospital treatment. Some visitors and some services are exempted and no charge is made for treatment at a hospital accident and emergency department, casualty department, or dental and ophthalmic emergency department.
Visitors may use general medical services at any time but practitioners have discretion to accept them as private or as National Health Service patients.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received regarding health problems associated with goat's cheese, if they referred to British or imported varieties ; and if they were from pasteurised or unpasteurised milk.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : Confirmed reports to the public health laboratory service show that in England and Wales there have been two incidents of health problems associated with goat's cheese. In 1980, salmonella typhimurium was isolated from an imported soft goat's cheese. It is not known whether the milk used was pasteurised. In 1988 there was a case of listeriosis associated with the consumption of a United Kingdom- produced goat's milk cheese. In this case, the milk was heated beyond pasteurisation temperature during the manufacturing process.
Mr. Simon Coombs : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the response of the Swindon health authority to the possible threat to the public water supply in the Swindon area from the oganism cryptosporidia.
Mr. Freeman : Swindon health authority's examinations for cryptosporidia organisms of stool specimens submitted by hospitals or general practitioners, of children under 10 years of age, have identified about 10 positive cases per year. By the end of the second week of January 1989 it was apparent that an unusually high number of positive cases was being found, a common source was sought and screening was extended.
On 14 February the Thames water authority was contacted, and a distribution map of water sources was immediately supplied from which the health authority was able with additional information from the Oxford health authority, to correlate the cases with water supplies from the Farmoor treatment works. The evidence was passed to the water authority on 17 February. On 20 February the water authority, in conjunction with the Swindon and Oxford health authorities, advised the public to take precautionary measures including the boiling of water for one minute before use by young children under two and immuno-compromised people.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the district health authorities within the Trent regional health authority who employ full-time specialist sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia counsellors.
Column 370Elsewhere in the region counselling on both sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia is provided by the relevant clinician haematologist, geneticist, obstetrician or paediatrician, or the patient's practitioner.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the total Health Service expenditure per head of population in England and Wales for each of the last two years ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : The total health service expenditure per head of population in England in 1986-87 was £339 and in 1987-88 was £371. Information about health service expenditure in Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. Freeman : During the financial year 1987-88, there were on average 6.3 available National Health Service beds per thousand population in England. Figures for Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what advice his Department has given to the Wakefield family practitioners committee on the consultative procedure to consider the strategic statement prepared by that body ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what is the length of time allowed for individuals and organisations to consider the proposals in the strategic statement published by the Wakefield family practitioners committee.
Mr. Freeman : The Department issued guidance to family practitioners committees in April 1988 on the preparation of strategic statements. Family practitioners committees were not given detailed instructions on consultation procedures but were asked to arrange appropriate local consultations before submitting their statements to the Department by 30 September 1988.
Mr. Patchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will publish the report commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Security in 1981, and submitted in 1985, on serving ambulance staff ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he will introduce an extensive health strategy for ambulance staff.
Mr. Freeman : We intend giving the contents of the final report of the working party on the problems of long serving ambulance men and women careful consideration when it is submitted to Ministers. This will include a decision about publication, and any action to be taken upon any recommendations relating to the health of ambulance staff.
Mr. Hague : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has already been spent on the first phase of the development of the Friarage hospital, Northallerton ; and what is his latest estimate of the start date for the next phase and of the cost of phase II and phase III.
Mr. Freeman : Construction of phase I of the development of Friarage hospital was completed in September 1986 at a total cost, including fees and equipment, of £8.5 million. The latest estimate the Department has on phase II is a start date of May 1989 at a total cost of £4.3 million and for phases III and IV together a provisional start in 1992-93 at a total cost of £7.1 million.
My hon. Friend may, however, wish to contact the Northallerton health authority for the latest information available.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve (a) the response times to emergency calls and (b) the general punctiliousness of the London ambulance service ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : Detailed questions relating to the management of the London ambulance service should be addressed to the managing authority, the South West Thames regional health authority. My hon. Friend may therefore wish to contact the chairman of the authority, Mrs. Julia Cumberlege.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has as to the proportion of (a) private and (b) business electricity accounts received by consumers which will represent the cost of stopping emissions of acid rain from power stations ; and as to when this charge will commence.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The Central Electricity Generating Board's successor generating companies will endeavour to recover the costs of flue gas desulphurisation plant through their contracts, which are a matter for commercial negotiation between the generators and their customers.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what studies his Department has undertaken to determine the effects of electromagnetic radiation at extremely low frequencies on plant life.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what studies his Department has undertaken to determine the effects of electromagnetic radiation at extremely low frequencies on animal life.
representations that he has received on the future of the Potato Marketing Board.
Mr. Ryder : Representations received from interested organisations and individual producers on the proposals set out in the consultation paper on future potato market policy are being treated as confidential. However, the Potato Marketing Board, the National Farmers Union, the National Farmers Union of Scotland, the Potato Processors Association and the potato growers action group have made their views public, and copies of their representations have been placed in the Library.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimates or figures he has for additional funds from industry and non-governmental agencies being available for near market research for 1987-88 and 1988-89.
Mr. Ryder : My Department does not collect figures on total Research and Development expenditure by the agriculture and food industries. Private sector expenditure at public sector research and development agencies covering these sectors was £10.8 million in 1987-88 and £12.6 million in 1988-89.
Dr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) whether his Department has any information relating to human fatalities resulting from strychnine poisoning from agricultural and related uses ;
(2) what controls exist on the stockpiling, or sale of substances containing strychnine ;
(3) whether any restrictions or licensing arrangements are placed on individuals who use substances approved by his Department for agricultural use which contain strychnine ;
(4) what evidence his Department has of the incidence of fatal poisoning of wild animals or birds by substances containing strychnine ;
(5) whether his Department has institued any proceedings within the last three years in respect of the misuse of strychnine ;
Column 373(6) what information his Ministry has concerning the poisoning of animals either deliberately or accidentally by the misuse of substances containing strychnine ;
(7) what guidance his Ministry issues on the purposes for which strychnine is considered to be an appropriate substance ; (8) if he will list those substances approved for use by his Department which contain strychnine ;
(9) what information his Department has about the incidence of poisoning of domestic pets by substances containing strychnine ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : The sale of strychnine is controlled by the poisons rules, 1982. As a pesticide the substance also falls within the scope of part III of the Food and Environment Protection Act, 1985 and the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 (COPR) which allow its use. The Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act, 1927 allows the placing of poison against small ground vermin, where it is necessary in the interests of public health, agriculture, or the preservation of other animals, domestic or wild, or for the purpose of manuring the land. Its only permitted use in agriculture, under the Animals (Cruel Poisons) Act 1962 is to control moles.
MAFF guidance reflects the above and advises that strychnine hydrochloride and strychnine sulphate, but not strychnine alkaloid, are suitable for use in mole control.
In the last three years there have been no known cases of harm to people arising from agricultural and related uses of strychnine. The use of all pesticides is prohibited unless the conditions of a Ministers' consent are followed. The latest consent to use (C)(i)) was published in the gazettes on 20 January 1989. The conditions applicable to the use of strychnine require employers to provide instruction and guidance to employees ; forbid use unless the user has had adequate instructions and guidance in the safe, efficient and humane use of the pesticide and is competent for the duties to be performed ; and places on the user the obligation to the take all reasonable precautions to protect the health of people and creatures and to safeguard the environment. We expect all farmers to keep proper records of all the pesticide treatments they apply. Inexcusably, strychnine has been used illegally in attempts to kill birds of prey, foxes, badgers and victims have included pets and working dogs. In the last three calendar years the number of cases in England of abuse of pesticides involving strychnine identified by the Minister's wildlife incident investigation scheme were 10 in 1986, seven in 1987, and eight in 1988. Of these, the number of cases involving harm to wildlife were three in 1986, three in 1987 and two in 1988 and the numbers affecting dogs were seven in 1986, four in 1987 and six in 1988.
The agricultural departments investigate such cases thoroughly. With the advent of the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986, in the last three calendar years my Department initiated one successful prosecution. This was taken under the Protection of Animals Act 1911. We urge the public to provide evidence, and at the earliest opportunity, as without it prosecutions cannot be undertaken. Strychnine has been tightly controlled since before the Control of Pesticides Regulations came into effect and is subject to the general statutory requirement that it should be used safely. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food issues sales authorities for England. Farmers are
Column 374allowed to buy only enough for one treatment at a time. Contractors and certain organisations are allowed to buy enough for foreseeable needs. Stockpiling of strychnine by users should not occur. Storage for immediate use by users is controlled under the Control of Pesticides Regulations and only skilled users of the substance are authorised.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what EEC assistance, in the form of cheap intervention sugar for feeding bees in winter, the bee industry has received for each of the last 10 years.
Mr. Donald Thompson : There has been no EC assistance in the United Kingdom in the form of cheap intervention sugar for feeding bees in winter, but over the last 10 years the amounts shown have been paid as a denaturing premium for white sugar for feeding to bees, and as an aid to beekeepers associations for the purchase of feeding sugar or for improvement programmes.
Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement of progress on the introduction of information technologies to facilitate internal communications in his Department and the provision of information to the public concerning those areas for which he is responsible ; and if he has any further plans to apply the newest technologies in these fields.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My Ministry has an IT strategy comprising a wide range of projects and investments over the next five years. Some aspects of the strategy, particularly those related to the introduction of integrated office support systems, will make positive contributions to the improvement of internal communications. The strategy is reviewed annually primarily to ensure that it continues to represent good value for money and remains consistent with business objectives and priorities. However, that review process also examines current technical strategies and policies in light of amongst other things, the opportunities offered by new proven technology.
Mr. Hague : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the present level of the suckler cow premium ; what is the maximum level permitted under current European Community rules ; and when he expects to make an announcement of its future level.
Column 375scheme year was £33.40 per head. The maximum rate of paremium payable in 1989 under revised Community rules is £46.18 per head. The Government are currently considering what rate of premium should apply in the United Kingdom and will make an announcement in good time before the start of the 1989 scheme year on 15 June.
Very small holdings, which make only occasional returns, are excluded from these figures.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many (a) breeding flocks and (b) laying flocks of hens he intends to monitor for salmonella in the next (i) three months and (ii) year ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : I shall shortly be introducing secondary legislation under the Animal Health Act 1981 requiring owners or persons in charge of breeding, rearing or laying flocks and hatcheries to monitor their flocks for salmonella and to make records of the results of monitoring available on request to my officials. Positive identifications of salmonella are compulsorily reportable under the Zoonoses Order 1989. This obligation will extend to any positive test results in the course of monitoring.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list each of the 17 measures he has taken to control salmonella in poultry since December 1988 ; which powers he has used to take these measures ; and whether he has created new regulations, in each case.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The measures, many of which are already in operation, which have been taken to achieve our objective of reducing to an absolute minimum the problem of salmonella are as follows : (
(1) Powers have already been taken by means of an order under the Animal Health Act 1981 to stop the supply of products from protein processing plants where salmonella is found
(2) The rate of inspections of protein processing plants by MAFF officials was doubled in December 1988 from 10 days to 20 days in every year.
(3) An amendment to the Diseases of Animals Protein Processing Order 1981 is to be introduced requiring protein processors to take samples from each day's production and notify MAFF of the results. (
(4) New more rigorous licensing controls are being introduced under the Importation of Processed Animal Protein Order 1981 for animal protein imported from those countries with a poor record of salmonella-contaminated exports.