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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 13 March 1989

HOME DEPARTMENT

Court Service (Clerks)

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the salary structure for justices' clerks, their deputies and court clerks.

Mr. John Patten : The salary structure and scales are as determined by the joint negotiating committees for justices' clerks and magistrates' courts staff, and are subject to review by those bodies.

D Notices

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to submit any new D notices to the defence, press and broadcasting committee.

Mr. Hurd : No.

Attitudes to Crime Survey

Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department consulted women's organisations and others with expertise in rape, sexual assault and domestic violence before deciding to include questions on rape, sexual assault and domestic violence in his Department's survey on attitudes to crime ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten : The questionnaire for the survey was devised by a team of international experts on victimisation surveys. The survey in England and Wales was supervised by the Home Office research and planning unit the members of which have had considerable experience of victimisation surveys and research.

Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the interviewers who conducted his Department's survey on attitudes to crime and who telephoned women at random to ask questions about rape, and other sexual and domestic violence, were women ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten : About half of the interviewers used by Burke Marketing Research Ltd, who conducted the telephone survey of experience of crime for the Home Office, were women.

Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether women's organisations, or others with expertise on rape, sexual assault and domestic violence, were consulted or asked to contribute to the training programme for interviewers who conducted his Department's survey on attitudes to crime ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten : Interviewers underwent a full training programme for telephone interviewing and operated under


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the Market Research Society's code of conduct. There was also a full briefing for inerviewers by a female Home Office survey expert.

Information (Unauthorised Access)

Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the potential deleterious effects of information obtained by unauthorised means about current Home Department casework on (a) police matters, (b)

passport/immigration, (c) deregulation and (d) criminal justice.

Mr. Hurd : The potential effects are indicated by the security classification or privacy marking given to the material.

Police (Leicestershire)

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will name the police officers interviewed by the inspectorate on their visit to Leicestershire in February.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : In the course of its inspections of police forces under the Police Act 1964 Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary may interview such police officers as it considers necessary in connection with its duties. It would not be right to disclose the names of those interviewed.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the duration and date of the visit from the inspectorate to Leicestershire in February.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary carried out the formal annual inspection of the Leicestershire constabulary under the Police Act 1964 from 27 February to 2 March 1989.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has received any representations concerning the investigations which are currently being conducted by the assistant chief constable of Derbyshire into the activities of the Leicestershire constabulary.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : No.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the longest waiting time for any applicant to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to have waited for their case to be resolved and for an appeal to be decided.

Mr. John Patten : The board does not keep information about waiting times in cases now disposed of. The oldest application still outstanding was received on 22 March 1974, and was the subject of a hearing in 1978. The case concerns injury to a young child who is still a minor. It is kept under review and a number of interim payments have been made.

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in the last five years were rejected because a battered wife did not inform the police of the assault ;


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(2) how many applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in each of the last five years relate to domestic violence ; and what proportion were successful.

Mr. John Patten : Collation by the board of information on applications arising from violence within the family was discontinued in 1985. The information given in the


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following table is taken from the board's annual reports for the years 1982-83, 1983-84 and 1984-85. In these years, 10, 32 and 22 cases were rejected on the basis that the circumstances of the injury had not been reported without delay. It is not known how many of these applications were from wives.


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                       Number of applications                                                                                                                                                         

                       determined                                                                                                                                                                     

Year                                                                                                          |Awards made          |Applications rejected|Withdrawn/abandoned                        

                      |Male                 |Female               |Children             |Total                                                                                                        

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

1984-85               |39                   |188                  |12                   |239                  |151                  |87                   |1                                          

1983-84               |50                   |161                  |15                   |226                  |104                  |120                  |2                                          

1982-83               |46                   |114                  |5                    |165                  |95                   |67                   |3                                          

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications have been made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in each of the last five years ; how many and what proportion of these were successful ; how many of the unsuccessful ones appealed ; and what proportion of appeals was successful.


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Mr. John Patten : The following tables give the information which is kept by the board and published in its annual reports. Decisions made within the year concerned relate in many cases to applications made in previous years.


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|c|Table 1|c|                                                                                                                             

                             1983-84             1984-85             1985-86             1986-87             1987-88                      

                            |Number   |Per cent.|Number   |Per cent.|Number   |Per cent.|Number   |Per cent.|Number   |Per cent.          

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

Applications received       |31,939   |-        |34,890   |-        |39,697   |-        |42,301   |-        |43,054   |-                  

Total decisions accepted    |25,963   |-        |23,636   |-        |26,299   |-        |25,236   |-        |24,175   |-                  

Breakdown of decisions accepted                                                                                                           

Full awards                 |18,618   |61       |17,089   |61       |19,906   |64       |19,147   |64       |18,186   |63                 

Reduced awards              |591      |2        |510      |2        |590      |2        |579      |2        |570      |2                  

Nil awards                  |6,754    |22       |6,037    |22       |5,803    |19       |5,510    |19       |5,419    |19                 

Requests for hearings       |4,339    |15       |4,244    |15       |4,677    |15       |4,510    |15       |4,583    |16                 

                            |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------  |-------            

Total of decisions accepted |30,302   |100      |27,880   |100      |30,976   |100      |29,746   |100      |28,758   |100                

 and requests for hearings                                                                                                                




|c|Table 2|c|                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                   1983-84                             1984-85                             1985-86                             1986-87                             1987-88                                              

Decisions made at |Number           |per cent.        |Number           |per cent.        |Number           |per cent.        |Number           |per cent.        |Number           |per cent.                          

hearings                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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

Full awards       |1,754            |63               |1,932            |63               |1,807            |61               |1,943            |61               |1,980            |60                                 

Reduced hearings  |170              |6                |240              |8                |231              |8                |256              |8                |255              |8                                  

Nil awards        |868              |31               |903              |29               |908              |31               |970              |31               |1,065            |32                                 

                  |-------                            |-------                            |-------                            |-------                            |-------                                              

Total             |2,792                              |3,075                              |2,946                              |3,169                              |3,300                                                

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the expenditure on the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for each of the last five years, giving figures for the actual expenditure and in real terms.


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Mr. John Patten : The following figures include Scotland.


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£ thousand                                                                                                                                            

Year                     |Compensation expenditure|Gross domestic product  |Administration          |Gross domestic product                           

                                                  |adjusted<1>             |expenditure             |adjusted<1>                                      

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

1987-88                  |52,000                  |52,000                  |6,760                   |6,760                                            

1986-87                  |47,500                  |50,006                  |5,400                   |5,685                                            

1985-86                  |41,497                  |45,144                  |4,340                   |4,721                                            

1984-85                  |35,600                  |40,819                  |4,200                   |4,816                                            

1983-84                  |33,000                  |39,752                  |3,835                   |4,620                                            

<1> Cash figures adjusted to 1987-88 price levels by excluding the effect of general inflation as measured by the gross domestic product deflator at  

market prices.                                                                                                                                        

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the waiting time for an appeal to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board ; and how many people are waiting.


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Mr. John Patten : At the end of February, 7,783 cases were awaiting a hearing, the applicant being dissatisfied with the decision made by a single member after consideration of the papers. The following indication of the time taken by the board to reach a final decision in 3,878 cases resolved in 1987-88 in which a hearing had been requested is taken from the board's latest annaul report (Cm 536). Intervals shown are from when a hearing was requested.


|c|1987-88|c|                      

               |Per cent.          

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

Up to 3 months |2                  

3 to 6 months  |5                  

6 to 9 months  |11                 

9 to 12 months |18                 

Over 12 months |64                 

Press and Public Relations

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the latest figures for the number of staff presently employed, and the full complement of staff, including vacant posts, in the press and public relations office of the Metropolitan police ; and what is the proposed complement for 1989-90.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that 84 staff of all grades are currently employed in the directorate of public affairs of the Metropolitan police office. Of these 45 are in information officer grades and 39 are support staff. The complement is 89 posts. No major change in complement is proposed for 1989- 90.

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the latest figures for the number of staff presently employed, and the full complement of staff, including vacant posts, in the press and public relations office of the Home Office ; and what is the proposed complement for 1989-90.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : There are at present 19 press officers and four support staff employed in the Home Office press office. There are no vacancies. During 1989-90 these numbers are expected to increase to 20 press officers and five support staff.

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for (a) the estimated expenditure by his Department on press and public relations during 1988-89 and (b) the budget for 1989-90.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The full cost of staff and other costs of the Home Office press office is estimated at £647,500 for 1988-89. The expected cost for 1989-90 is £731,000.

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for (a) the estimated expenditure by the Metropolitan police on press and public relations during 1988-89 and (b) the budget for 1989-90.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the latest estimate of staffing and accommodation cost and spending on press and public relations by the directorate of public affairs is £5,321,000 for 1988-89. Provision for 1989-90 is £5,470,000.

Advertising

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for the estimated spending in 1988-89 by the Home Office on (a) television


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advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotional material ; and what is the 1989-90 budget for each of these categories of spending.

Mr. Hurd : The latest estimate of Home Office spending for 1988-89 is as follows :


                                                        |£ million          

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

(a) Television advertising                              |1.8                

(b) Radio advertising                                   |0.1                

(c) Press advertising                                   |3.2                

(d) Other promotional activity (including poster                            

    advertising; printing and distribution; film/video/                     

    TV filler production; displays/exhibitions and                          

    market research).                                   |3.3                

It is not yet possible to say how the publicity budget will be allocated in 1989-90, but total expenditure is likely to be about £9.7 million.

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest figure for the estimated spending in 1988-89 by the Metropolitan police on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising and (d) other promotional material ; and what is the 1989-90 budget for each of these categories of spending.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the latest figures for 1988-89 are as follows :


                           |£                  

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

Television advertising     |Nil                

Radio advertising          |6,000              

Newspaper advertising      |1,151,000          

Other promotional material |1,469,000          

Expenditure for 1989-90 has not yet been decided.

Statistical Staff

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the latest figures for the number of staff presently employed, and the full complement of staff including vacant posts by grade, in the statistical divisions in the Metropolitan police ; if he will differentiate between staff in statistical posts and staff in administrative posts ; and if he will give the staffing complements by grade, and differentiated between statistical and administrative posts, proposed for 1989-90.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : At the end of February 1989, the complement and strength figures by grade for the statistics branch of the Metropolitan police office were :


                     |Complement|Strength             

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

Grade 7              |1         |1                    

SEO                  |1         |1                    

HEO                  |3         |3                    

EO                   |8         |8                    

AO                   |60        |54                   

Support Grade Band 1 |1         |1                    

Support Grade Band 2 |6         |6                    

                     |-------   |-------              

                     |80        |74                   

Only the grade 7 post is filled by a statistician, the remaining posts being filled by executive, administrative


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and support grades staff, who undertake a mixture of statistical and administrative duties. An additional grade 7 post filled by a statistician is located in the management support department. No change to the complement is proposed for 1989-90.

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the latest figures for the number of staff presently employed, and the full complement of staff including vacant posts, by grade, in the statistical


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divisions in the Home Office ; if he will differentiate between staff in statistical posts and staff in administrative posts ; and if he will give the staffing complements by grade, and differentiated between statistical and administrative posts, proposed for 1989-90.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The information requested is given in the table. During the course of the forthcoming year the responsibilities of statistical department are to expand and the staff complement is to change in consequence.


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|c|Staff of Home Office Statistical Department|c|                                                        

                                         Complement                                                      

                                         In post                                                         

                                        |1 March 1989|1 March 1989|1 April 1989|1 April 1990             

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

Statistical posts                                                                                        

Grade 5                                 |3           |3           |3           |3                        

Grade 7                                 |18          |18.5        |19          |19.5                     

Assistant/Senior Assistant Statistician |6.5         |7           |7           |8.5                      

                                        |-------     |-------     |-------     |-------                  

                                        |27.5        |28.5        |29          |31                       

                                                                                                         

Other posts                                                                                              

Grade 7                                 |1           |1           |1           |1                        

Senior Executive Officer                |1           |1           |1           |1                        

Higher Executive Officer                |11          |11          |15          |15                       

Executive Officer                       |24          |26          |30          |30                       

Administrative Officer                  |59.5        |60.5        |59.5        |62.5                     

Administrative Assistant                |34.5        |40.5        |38          |37.5                     

Other Grades                            |9           |10.5        |10.5        |10.5                     

                                        |-------     |-------     |-------     |-------                  

                                        |-------     |-------     |-------     |-------                  

                                        |-------     |-------     |-------     |-------                  

Total                                   |167.5       |179         |184         |188.5                    

Blackwall Tunnel (Closure)

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to what notice was given to the Metropolitan police concerning the closure of the southbound bore of the Blackwall tunnel on Saturday and Sunday 4 and 5 March ; what steps the commissioner took to minimise congestion to traffic in east London and as to how many additional police officers, vehicles, or motor cyclists were deployed in order to ameliorate predictable traffic problems.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I am informed by the Commissioner that the two bores of the Blackwall tunnel are closed for essential maintenance, individually and on separate occasions, at certain times of the year agreed by the Department of Transport, the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Greenwich and tunnel management. The police are informed well in advance of the dates of closure, as are the local media and the motoring organisations, and the approach roads are signed in advance.

The congestion arising from the closure of the southbound bore on 4-5 March was exacerbated by a number of other incidents in the area which could not have been foreseen. The situation was handled by local officers and no additional manpower was deployed.

English Wine

Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give consideration to granting a


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special licence for the English Vineyards Association to charge for samples of English wine at the Festival of Food and Farming to be held in Hyde park on 4 to 7 May.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : There is no provision in law under which the Home Secretary may grant a licence for the sale of intoxicating liquor.

Senior Police Officers (Press)

Mr. Vaz To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library details of any guidelines which he has issued concerning contact between senior police officers and the press.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Apart from guidance in December 1982 on the implications of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 my right hon. Friend has issued no guidelines on this subject to the police. It is an offence under the police discipline code for any police officer, without proper authority, to communicate to any person any information which he has in his possession as a member of a police force.

Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the immigration service at Hull received a request for information about Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed from an entry clearance officer at the British Embassy at Islamabad ; whether the request was acknowledged ; whether acknowledgement of such requests for information is standard immigration service procedure ; when a reminder from Islamabad was received ; and when the information is to be sent to Islamabad.


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Mr. Renton : The immigration service at Leeds/Bradford Airport received the request for information about Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed on 23 December 1987. The request was not acknowledged. No reminder was received from Islamabad. Regrettably, after an initial inquiry on 2 January 1988 the matter was overlooked in the Leeds/Bradford immigration office. I understand that the entry clearance officer in Islamabad has now taken a decision in Mushtaq Ahmed's case which will be conveyed to him shortly. Steps will be taken to improve the monitoring of outstanding action in the Leeds/Bradford immigration office.

Latchmere House

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what consultation he has had with the legal, welfare and other organisations who are required to visit Latchmere house about the relocation of Latchmere house ; what representations he has received about the relocation of Latchmere house ; what facilities will be provided at the remand centre near Portsmouth for legal, welfare and other representatives ; and whether staff from Latchmere house will be required to transfer to the relocated remand centre ;

(2) to what purpose Latchmere house in London will be put when it is closed as an immigration remand centre ; what consultation he has had with appropriate trade unions about the relocation of Latchmere house ; what arrangements he is making for those held on remand near Portsmouth to be visited by relatives and friends ; and by whom staff employed at the relocated Latchmere house will be employed ; (3) when Latchmere house, the London immigration remand centre is going to be closed and relocated near Portsmouth ; how many people are currently held at Latchmere house ; what is its capacity ; what is the remand centre near Portsmouth to be called ; what facilities will be provided ; how many people it will hold on remand ; and what is the total cost of relocating Latchmere house to Portsmouth and of any alterations or other necessary works.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Home Office is planning changes at two prison service establishments, Her Majesty's remand centre Latchmere house at Richmond, Surrey, and Her Majesty's young offenders institution Haslar at Gosport, Hampshire. The certified normal accommodation of Latchmere house is 127. Its total population on 10 March was 157, including 94 persons detained under the Immigration Act 1971. Her Majesty's young offenders institution Haslar provides accommodation for 100 sentenced young offenders.

The aim, for which detailed plans are being prepared, is that the young offenders should be removed from Her Majesty's young offenders institution Haslar so that the Immigration Act detainees may be transferred there from Latchmere house. This, in turn, would allow the prison service to use the accommodation at Latchmere house to hold remand prisoners from the London area, many of whom are now held in police cells owing to overcrowding in the London prisons. The establishment at Haslar would remain under the control of the prison service and would be manned by prison service staff.

We informed many interested parties of this plan, including the relevant trades unions and the local authorities. Representations in response have been


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received from my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) and from Richmond borough council. Officials are to meet representatives of advisory agencies which specialise in immigration matters later this week.

It is not possible at this stage to answer all of the hon. Member's detailed questions, but I shall write to him when the answers are available.

Animal Experiments

Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to collect statistical data on the severity of various forms of animal experimentation along the lines of the scheme of monitoring under the Dutch Animal Experimentation Act 1977 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The "Statistics on Scientific Procedures on Living Animals", which are published annually (1987 ; Cm. 515) are the most factually detailed of those produced by any nation. There are currently no plans to incorporate in these annual statistics assessments of the severity of procedures which have been carried out, because of the inevitably subjective nature of such assessments.

Erythropoietin

Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps are being taken to ensure that abuse of the hormone erythropoietin, does not become widespread in England and Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : If there were evidence that this substance was being misused in the United Kingdom in such a way as to have harmful effects sufficient to amount to a social problem, it would be possible to consider bringing it under the control of the Misuse of Drugs Act, but we have so far received no such evidence.

Broadcasting

Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure that the widening of the Broadcasting Standards Council remit to cover a code on anti-social behaviour does not result in overlap with that of other regulatory bodies ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Renton : When the Broadcasting Standards Council was set up, part of its remit was to draw up, in consultation with the broadcasting authorities and the other responsible bodies in broadcasting, cable and video, a code on the portrayal of sex and violence and standards on taste and decency. We see such a code as contributing to the work of the broadcasting authorities in this area, not overlapping or undermining their responsibilities for programme standards.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Murders

Mr. Kilfedder : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many murders, classed as sectarian


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and non-sectarian have (a) been committed and (b) resulted in prosecution and conviction between October 1969 and October 1988.

Mr. Ian Stewart : Information in the form requested is not readily available from existing records and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs. The relevant data which are available are given in the following table :--


Year                 |Number of murders<1>|Murders cleared     |Persons proceeded   |Found guilty<3>                          

                                                               |against<2>                                                    

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

1969                 |5                   |4                   |4                   |-                                        

1970                 |14                  |5                   |1                   |-                                        

1971                 |123                 |11                  |10                  |-                                        

1972                 |376                 |32                  |5                   |-                                        

1973                 |200                 |46                  |39                  |-                                        

1974                 |205                 |49                  |42                  |-                                        

1975                 |238                 |55                  |79                  |68                                       

1976                 |280                 |87                  |71                  |58                                       

1977                 |116                 |104                 |82                  |74                                       

1978                 |82                  |67                  |48                  |46                                       

1979                 |128                 |58                  |68                  |60                                       

1980                 |85                  |59                  |24                  |23                                       

1981                 |95                  |42                  |35                  |34                                       

1982                 |99                  |45                  |23                  |21                                       

1983                 |86                  |61                  |20                  |15                                       

1984                 |63                  |50                  |18                  |10                                       

1985                 |59                  |47                  |44                  |39                                       

1986                 |85                  |39                  |31                  |25                                       

1987                 |100                 |51                  |23                  |19                                       

1988                 |111                 |79                  |24                  |17                                       

<1> Number of murders'-includes all murders in Northern Ireland; it does not include cases classed as manslaughter nor        

infanticides.                                                                                                                 

<2> Only shows the number of people who were proceeded against for murder. Some cases initially dealt with as murder were     

dealt with in the High Court as manslaughter.                                                                                 

<3> Information for persons found guilty during the period 1969-1974 is not readily available. Conviction figures do not      

necessarily relate to incidents occurring that year.                                                                          

Less Favoured Areas

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Northern Ireland farms have been classified as less favoured areas since the extension of the boundaries was agreed in 1983.

Mr. Viggers : The less favoured areas were last extended in Northern Ireland in 1984. Just over 13,000 farms in whole or in part were included in the area designated.

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the tribunal established to consider appeals from farmers who felt that their land ought to have been included within the revised boundary after the extension of the Northern Ireland less favoured areas in 1983 completed its task ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Viggers : The independent panel completed its work in August 1987. Since then, it has been necessary to extract and analyse detailed statistical data in order to apply the exacting economic and demographic tests, specified in EC legislation, before land may be designated less favoured.

Veterinary Students

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action is being taken to ensure the future availability of places for Northern Ireland students in veterinary schools in the United Kingdom generally and in Scotland in particular ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Viggers : The University Grants Committee set up a working group under Sir Ralph Riley in 1987

"to consider the provision of veterinary education in the six veterinary schools in Great Britain and the scope for its rationalisation and to make recommendations".

It reported in January 1989. Officials of the Department of Agriculture are considering the implications of the report for Northern Ireland's future needs on veterinary manpower and training.

Electoral Registers

Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what provision he has made to make available the annual electoral registers to (a) Members of Parliament and (b) Members of the European Assembly.

Mr. Ian Stewart : Under regulation 53(1) of the Representation of the People (Northern Ireland) Regulations 1986, a Member of Parliament for a constituency in Northern Ireland is entitled, on request, to one copy of the register for that constituency free of charge from the Chief Electoral Officer. Similar provision exists in respect of Members of the European Parliament under the European Parliamentary Elections (Northern Ireland) Regulations 1986. In the latter case, the constituency is, of course, the whole of Northern Ireland.


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