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Mr. Peter Bottomley : I suggest that the hon. Gentleman puts his question to the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority which, together with the Ministry of Defence, is responsible for the national air traffic services.

Single Line Junctions

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the number of junctions between double track railway routes where the former double junction has been replaced by a single track line switch and associated crossover, together with the number of such layouts where the short single line section is protected by a safety neck ; and whether he has asked the railways inspectorate to carry out an assessment of the safety implications of such junctions.


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Mr. Portillo : Information regarding the precise number of single line junctions, and those protected by a safety neck, is not readily available. These junctions have been used extensively throughout the British Rail network for many years. Whether or not this type of layout was in any way a contributory factor to the recent accident in Glasgow is a matter for the public inquiry, a starting date for which will be announced shortly.

Vehicle Mileages

Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he intends to respond to the proposals put to him by the Director General of Fair Trading to combat the practice of clocking vehicle mileages.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : I have today written to Sir Gordon Borrie. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library.

While deploring this criminal practice the Government do not believe that the expensive system proposed for collecting and storing data in order to deter clocking would be sufficiently reliable to warrant the cost and bureaucracy involved. The mileage information would not carry conviction with the public. We believe it may be possible to devise a voluntary alternative scheme that is more accurately targeted against vehicles more susceptible to clocking, for instance relatively new, high-mileage vehicles. It has been suggested to the Office of Fair Trading's used car working group that further work should be done on the circumstances and vehicles most likely to lead to clocking, and the true scale of the problem. Services are already provided by private sector companies to investigate mileages where prudent purchasers wish to double-check on condition and value before buying. These could meet the public's needs better than the blanket system proposed by the group. We believe that the industry can do more to develop an odometer which cannot be covertly tampered with or replaced.

It would be better to make clocking much more difficult at the outset than create a burdensome system that still cannot guarantee to detect the offence. There is much that the industry can so more cost-effectively do than Government to combat clocking.

Computer Safety

Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures have been undertaken to ensure protection from unauthorised penetration into any parts of the rail network that are currently computerised.

Mr. Portillo [holding answer 15 March 1989] : I understand that British Rail's physical and electronic protection of its computerised systems is such that any unauthorised penetration would be extremely unlikely to have any effect on safety. It would not be appropriate to give details. Protection of information held on computers is wholly a matter for British Rail. If my hon. Friend has any particular problems in mind perhaps she would approach British Rail.

MARPOL Convention

Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the numbers of personnel and vessels that will be made available by his Department for enforcement of annex V of the marine pollution convention within British territorial waters.


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Mr. Portillo [holding reply 13 March 1989] : Department of Transport marine surveyors who already visit ships to carry out surveys for the issue of safety and pollution certificates and who inspect ships for port state control will ascertain that arrangements for complying with Annex V of MARPOL 73/78 have been made. Additionally, surveyors will verify that port reception facilities for garbage are adequate.

The use of vessels to ensure compliance is not envisaged.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Agriculture and Food Research Council

71. Mr. Ernie Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement about the future of financial resources for the Agriculture and Food Research Council.

Mr. Jackson : My right hon. Friend recently announced an allocation from the science budget of £74.57 million to the Agricultural and Food Research Council for 1989-90. The planning figures for the years 1990-91 and 1991-92 are £78.25 million and £81.74 million respectively. The allocation for 1989-90 is 22 per cent. higher than provision in the current financial year.

Consumers (Consultation)

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what arrangements there are for consulting consumers on the work and decisions of his Department.

Mrs. Rumbold : The Education Reform Act has created new opportunities for parents, employers and others in the community to be directly involved in education. In schools and colleges of further education governing bodies, which include employers and elected parents, will have responsibility for directing the policies of the institutions and managing the budgets delegated by local education authorities. We have also given parents the opportunity to seek grant-maintained status for the schools attended by their children. Over 3 million copies of a booklet designed for parents "Our Changing Schools" have been distributed : this booklet encourages parents to take a practical interest in their children's education.

Pupil-Teacher Ratios

Ms. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list (a) those local education authorities which include and (b) those which do not include head teachers in their calculation of pupil to teacher ratios in primary schools.

Mr. Butcher : The pupil/teacher ratios published by the Department for each local education authority in England include all qualified teachers including head teachers. The number of pupils and teachers is derived from returns made to the Department by schools in January of each year. A statistical bulletin giving the pupil/teacher ratio for each local education authority in England in January 1988 will be published shortly.


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City Technology Colleges

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in paying grant monies under the city technology college programme for improving facilities at a school whose governors have given notice under section 14 of the Education Act 1944 to discontinue voluntary status, he will make it his policy to ensure that the governors retain the discretion to withdraw that notice.

Mr. Butcher : My right hon. Friend has made clear the factors on which he will need to satisfy himself before reaching a decision on any proposals from the governors of a voluntary school to discontinue that school in order to make the premises available for the establishment of a CTC. These include agreement in principle on a funding agreement, including grant towards capital costs, which would be recoverable in the event of the CTC failing to open for any reason.

Advisory Board for the Research Councils

Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the membership of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jackson : The present members of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils are :

Professor Sir David Phillips KBE FRS (Chairman)--Professor of Molecular Biophysics, University of Oxford.

Professor E. Ash CBE FRS FEng--Rector, Imperial College, University of London.

Professor R. L. Bell CB--Director-General of ADAS, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Professor Margaret Boden FBA--Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, University of Sussex.

Dr. R. F. Coleman--Chief Engineer and Scientist, Department of Trade and Industry.

Sir Roger Elliott FRS--Secretary to the Delegates and Chief Executive, Oxford University Press.

Mr. J. Fairclough FEng--Chief Scientific Adviser, Cabinet Office. Dr. D. J. Fisk--Chief Scientist, Department of the Environment. Mr. J. S. Flemming-- Executive Director, Bank of England. Professor J. L. Knill--Chairman, Natural Environment Research Council.

Professor June Lloyd FRCP--Professor, Institute of Child Health, University of London.

Professor E. W. J. Mitchell CBE FRS--Chairman, Science and Engineering Research Council.

Mr. J. R. S. Morris CBE FEng (Deputy Chairman)--Chairman, Brown and Root (UK) Ltd.

Professor H. Newby--Chairman, Economic and Social Research Council. Professor Sir Richard Norman FRS--Scientific Adviser, Department of Energy.

Professor E. R. Oxburgh, FRS--Chief Scientific Adviser, Ministry of Defence.

Profesor R. W. O'Grady, CBE--Chief Scientist, Department of Health. Sir Charles Reece--formerly Research and Technology Director, ICI. Dr. D. A. Rees, FRS--Secretary, Medical Research Council. Dr. N. J. Shackleton, FRS-- Director of Quaternary Research, University of Cambridge.

Sir David Smith, FRS--Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Edinburgh.

Professor W. D. P. Stewart, DSc, FRSE, FRS--Secretary, Agricultural and Food Research Council.

Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, KBE, FRS--Chairman, University Grants Committee.

Sir Francis Tombs, FEng--Chairman, Rolls-Royce Ltd. ; Chairman, ACOST.


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Mr. J. M. M. Vereker--Department of Education and Science (Assessor).

Mr. D. A. Wilkinson--Department of Education and Science (Assessor).

The advisory board was established by the Secretary of State for Education and Science in 1972. It has the following terms of reference :--

(a) To advise the Secretary of State on his responsibilities for civil science with particular reference to the research council system, its articulation with the universities and departments, the support of postgraduate students and the proper balance between international and national scientific activity ;

(b) To advise the Secretary of State on the allocation of the Science Budget among the research councils and other bodies, taking into account funds paid to them by customer departments and the purposes to which such funds are devoted ;

(c) To promote close liaison between councils and the users of their research.

Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether the remit of the committee of the advisory board for the research councils investigating the funding of the biological sciences in Britain has been extended to include a review of the research councils themselves ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jackson : The Advisory Board for the Research Councils announced the following terms of reference for its review of research councils' responsibilities for biological sciences, on 22 June 1988 :

1. To review the disposition between Research Councils of responsibilities for research and training in the biological sciences and present arrangements for co-ordination.

2. To recommend any changes, in the present disposition of responsibilities and co-ordinating arrangements, that are needed to improve efficiency and effectiveness--taking account of national needs, trends in the biological sciences, and implications for Councils' responsibilities in related fields.

I understand that these have not been changed.

HOME DEPARTMENT

National Stud

70. Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to seek powers to privatise the national stud ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten : No.

Prisoners (Her Majesty's Pleasure)

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have been sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure in each year since 1959 ; and if he will state in each case (i) whether they are still detained and (ii) how many years of imprisonment they served before they were released.

Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 9 March 1989] : The information requested on those sentenced to be detained during Her Majesty's pleasure is published annually in "Criminal statistics England and Wales", (table S2.1 (A) of the latest issue, for 1987 Cm. 498) copies of which are in the Library. Information about the length of time detained in institutions other than prison service establishments is


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not readily available. The average time spent under sentence in prison service establishments by persons detained during Her Majesty's pleasure was between six and a half and seven years for those first released on licence in the years 1978 to 1987. Including those recalled following an earlier release on licence, the population of such detainees held in prison service establishments in England and Wales on 31 December 1988 was about 200. Provision of further information would incur disproportionate cost.

Firearms Safety (Thames Valley)

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of the Thames Valley police as to what were the security arrangements in operation prior to the granting and variations of the firearms certificate issued to the late Michael Ryan for the safekeeping of the rubber stamp of the signature of the appropriate chief officer of police of the Thames Valley police and as to what additional security precautions have been taken concerning such rubber stamps since the Hungerford tragedy.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : No. Arrangements for the safekeeping of office equipment are a matter entirely for individual chief officers of police.

Television and Radio Programmes (Disabled People)

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the number of hours of broadcast programmes which (a) are subtitled and (b) have a sign language interpreter on (i) BBC1,(ii) BBC2, (iii) ITV and (iv) Channel 4 in the last year.

Mr. Renton : I understand that the BBC and IBA broadcast respectively approximately 1,650 and 1,560 hours of subtitled programmes last year for reception on teletext sets. No precise information is available on open-caption sub-titling or on signing.

Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the number of hours of broadcast programmes on (a) BBC1, (b) BBC2, (c) ITV, (d) Channel 4, (e) BBC Radio and (f) independent local radio, which are specifically directed at people with disabilities, during the last year.

Mr. Renton : I understand that the number of hours of such programmes broadcast last year on BBC television, ITV and Channel 4, and on BBC radio were approximately 40, 35 and 53 respectively. In addition, many other programmes featured items directed both at people with disabilities and at the general audience. No precise information is available for independent local radio.

Police (Leicestershire)

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the names of the chief constables of Leicestershire since 1959 and the years they served in that capacity.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The information requested by the hon. Member is as follows :


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                              |Date               

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

Mr. J. A. Taylor CBE, QPM, DL |1950-1972          

Mr. A. Goodson OBE, QPM       |1972-1986          

Mr. M. J. Hirst QPM           |1986-              

Taxi Driving Licences

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has as to the frequency of subject access requests to police forces from drivers in connection with applications for taxi driving licences.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : None. Applicants for subject access under the Data Protection Act are not required to state the reasons for their application.

Data Protection

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to release data subjects from the obligation to apply to police forces for subject access under the terms of the Data Protection Act to procure information for transmission to a third party ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Renton : No. There is no such obligation under the Data Protection Act.

Concessionary Television Licences

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his most recent estimate of the number of people benefiting from £5 concessionary television licences.

Mr. Renton : The concessionary licence fee is now payable per household, rather than per individual. It is estimated that on 31 January 1989 about 808,500 people in 634,110 households were covered by the concessionary licence.

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the change in the number of people who would qualify for a concessionary television licence as a result of changes in the qualifying regulations effective from May 1988.

Mr. Renton : It is not possible to estimate the change in the number of people who may be able to qualify for the concessionary licence. No one who had the concession before May 1988 lost it as a result of the change in the regulations. Since May 1988 the number of people covered by the licence has increased by about 44,000.

Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how local authority sheltered housing provided from conversion of tower blocks into vertical warden schemes with a flat dedicated for communal use will be treated in respect of the concessionary television licence scheme.

Mr. Renton : Tower blocks are treated in the same way as any other sheltered housing schemes, and can qualify for the concessionary licence provided they satisfy the conditions set out in the regulations.

Electoral Register

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, pursuant to his answer of 23 February,


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Official Report, column 765, he will update the 1985-86 review of the arrangements to sell the electoral register to include consideration of (a) the ability of the electoral registrar being able to access copies of the information held by the community charge officer and (b) the restriction placed on the sale of the extract of the community charge register ; if he will publish the 1985-86 review ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : To the first part of the question the answer is no, for the reasons given in my previous answer. Copies of the consultation paper which instituted the 1985-86 review were deposited in the Library in December 1984 ; subsequently, regulations authorising the supply of the register in computer-compatible form were debated in the Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments on 21 January 1986.

Police (Sex Discrimination)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions have been brought against police forces for non- compliance with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten : Complaints alleging non-compliance with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 are dealt with under the civil law by applications to industrial tribunals. I understand from the Equal Opportunities Commission that it is not possible to identify applications made against police forces.

Broadcasting

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding the implications for community programming of proposals outlined in the White Paper, "Broadcasting in the '90s : Competition, Choice and Quality".

Mr. Renton : We have now had over 2,700 responses to the broadcasting White Paper, including a number from charities, voluntary organisations and other organisations with a particular interest in community programming. We are considering very carefully all the responses we have received.

Police (Disciplinary Offences)

Mr. Neil Hamilton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average length of time police officers are suspended from duty awaiting the results of investigations into alleged disciplinary offences in (a) Cheshire police, (b) Greater Manchester police and (c) Merseyside police ; how many police officers are currently suspended from duty for this reason in each of the three forces ; and, over the past five years, how many of those suspended have subsequently had no charges or disciplinary action taken against them.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The information is as follows :

Average length of time of suspension (calculated over the most recent convenient 12-month period) :

(a) 11 months, (b) 7.4 months, (c) 9.6 months

Number of officers currently suspended

(a) 1, (b) 9, (c) 7.

Over the last five years, number of suspended oficers who subsequently had no charges or disciplinary proceedings brought against them


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(a) 0, out of a total of 10 officers.

(b) 2, out of a total of 57 officers, including 9 whose cases are still under consideration. (Information relates to period from 1 January 1985 only--previous year's figures not readily available). (c) 3, out of a total of 41 officers, including 6 whose cases are still under consideration.

Prisoners (AIDS)

Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has authorised the setting up of an isolation area in the hospital wing at Her Majesty's prison, Winson Green, for prisoners known to be HIV positive.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Birmingham is one of a number of prison service establishments with medical facilities which the director of prison medical services considers to be suitable for the care, support and (when necessary for their own protection) isolation of prisoners with AIDS-related illness or other infectious conditions.

Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prison officers at Her Majesty's prison, Winson Green (a) requested and (b) received HIV tests in 1987 and 1988 ; and with what results.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Department does not disclose information of this nature.

Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what guidelines he has issued to prison governors about the association of prisoners known to be HIV positive with other prisoners ;

(2) what guidelines he has issued to prison governors on the confinement of prisoners found to be HIV positive ; and whether he will make a statement ;

(3) what is his policy on the segregation of prisoners known to be HIV positive.


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