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Engagements

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 6 April.

Mr. Pike : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 6 April.

Mr. Martin : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 6 April.

Mr. Stern : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 6 April.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.


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This morning my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister presided at a meeting of the Cabinet. In the course of the day she will be having meetings with President Gorbachev. This evening she will give a dinner for him.

SCOTLAND

Beef Variable Premium

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many cattle herds in Scotland are defined as (a) specialist rearing herds and (b) finishing herds for the purposes of payment under the variable premium scheme.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Cattle herds were not distinguished for the purposes of payment under the beef variable premium scheme, which ended on 2 April 1989.

Set-aside Scheme

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report the total number of applications received for set-aside from farmers in each Scottish region to the latest available date, indicating the number of hectares involved in each region.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave the hon. Member for Angus, East (Mr. Welsh) on 19 December 1988. The closing date for applications to enter the set-aside scheme in 1988 was 21 October.

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report the total level of set-aside arrangements which have been reached to the latest available date, giving a break-down of hectares per Scottish region.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The information requested, in respect of applications accepted by 31 March 1989, is set out in the table.


Region                    |Number of applications|Total set-aside area                         

                          |accepted by 31 March  |(hectares)                                   

                          |1989                                                                

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

Borders                   |17                    |867                                          

Central                   |3                     |181                                          

Dumfries and Galloway     |3                     |42                                           

Fife                      |17                    |718                                          

Grampian                  |222                   |6,760                                        

Highland                  |25                    |1,143                                        

Lothian                   |7                     |351                                          

Orkney Islands Area       |-                     |-                                            

Shetland Islands Area     |-                     |-                                            

Strathclyde               |13                    |268                                          

Tayside                   |56                    |1,733                                        

Western Isles Island Area |-                     |-                                            

                          |---                   |---                                          

All Scotland              |363                   |12,063                                       

National Health Service Grading

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish in the Official Report the number of appeals currently lodged with each of the health boards concerning the clinical grading of National Health Service employees ; how many of these appeals have been dealt with ; and, of these, how many were upheld.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : This information is not held centrally.


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Community Charge

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his latest assessment of the number of losers and gainers under the poll tax in (a) Inverclyde, (b) Strathclyde and (c) Scotland as a whole.

Mr. Lang : Our calculations show that the number of households in Scotland gaining and losing as a result of the introduction of the community charge is roughly equal. There is no reason to suppose that the situation in Inverclyde or Strathclyde would be any different.

Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether British citizens married to United States service men stationed in Scotland are exempt from payment of the community charge as members of visiting forces and their families.

Mr. Lang : No. The exemption for members of visiting forces does not extend to dependants who are citizens of the United Kingdom or who are ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom.

Fish Farms

Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether owners of fish farms are eligible for compensation from the Government for recent storm damage.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : Government have no general financial liability for storm damage. Details of the damage sustained in mid-January and early February, however, have been obtained from local authorities and others affected, including fish farmers. These are now being analysed and my right hon. and learned Friend will be making a statement shortly.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Egypt

Mr. Neil Hamilton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Dr. Ashraf Marwan is an accredited diplomat representing the Arab republic of Egypt in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Eggar : According to our records, Doctor Ashraf Marwan is not, nor has ever been, an accredited diplomat representing the Arab republic of Egypt in the United Kingdom.

Soviet Jewry

The Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to those Soviet Jews who are still unable to leave the Soviet Union or who are unable to teach, learn or practise their religion ; and if he will list those individuals about whom his Department is aware.

Mr. Waldegrave : We are encouraged by the recent improvements in Soviet human rights, including the granting of exit visas to a number of refuseniks known to us. But while individual gestures are always welcome there are many other cases still to be resolved. We want to see, above all, the fundamental reforms needed to ensure that


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human rights abuses do not recur. The quantity of such visas should not be dependent on lobbying by Her Majesty's Government and non-governmental organisations nor on the intervention of Mr. Gorbachev or Mr. Shevardnadze, however welcome these interventions may be.

Poland (Talks)

Mr. Wilshire : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the conclusion of the round table talks in Poland.

Mr. Waldegrave : I think that we have all watched events in Poland with fascination in recent weeks.

The round table itself deserves a place in history. We, and others in the West, now hope to see its proposals on political reform put into practice, to the benefit of the Polish people and the whole of Europe. We trust this will be done in such a way that there can be no question of a reversal.

Forty-four years ago at Yalta, the three powers called for free and unfettered elections in Poland. Such elections were never held. Now, for the first time in post-war Poland, we have the prospect of elections in which an opposition has a real chance to participate. This is a remarkable step forward. There is still far to go before the hopes of Yalta can be realised. But let us hope that the forthcoming elections will prepare the way.

Poland still has many problems to confront. The round table produced mainly generalities on economic policy. The Polish authorities and opposition will need to continue to work together to translate these generalities into practical policies. They need to agree an economic adjustment programme which can in due course secure the approval of the international community and financial institutions.

There is a great will here for Poland to succeed. The Government are already spending considerably increased sums to help the Poles help themselves, for example, by providing more training and scholarships. We shall certainly be looking seriously and urgently at other practical, carefully targeted ways of helping the Poles fulfil the hopes for political and economic advance that the round table agreement has raised.

WALES

Gynaecologists

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many gynaecologists are employed in the National Health Service in Wales as a whole and by district ; and how many are (a) men and (b) women in each district.

Mr. Grist : The information, which relates to consultants with a main specialty of obstetrics and gynaecology, is given in the table.


|c|Numbers of consultants in post as at 30 September 1987<1>|c|                      

Health Authority |Male            |Female          |Total                            

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

Clwyd            |6               |-               |6                                

East Dyfed       |10              |-               |10                               

Gwent            |4               |1               |5                                

Gwynedd          |7               |-               |7                                

Mid Glamorgan    |6               |4               |10                               

Pembrokeshire    |2               |-               |2                                

Powys            |5               |-               |5                                

South Glamorgan  |6               |2               |8                                

West Glamorgan   |5               |1               |6                                

                                                                                     

Wales<2>         |39              |8               |47                               

<1> Provisional. Excludes locum staff.                                               

<2> Consultants working for more than one authority are shown against each and       

therefore the Wales total may not be the sum of numbers in individual authorities.   

ENERGY

Electricity Prices

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement about the expected price of electricity over the next five years.

Mr. Michael Spicer : The electricity industry is currently announcing its prices for 1989-90. After privatisation, the combination of competition in electricity generation and supply and the controls contained in the public electricity supply licences will put downward pressure on prices.

Combined Heat and Power

Mr. Rost : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will update the estimates provided in energy papers 20, 35 and 53, which calculated the reduction in fossil fuel burn that would result from the introduction of combined heat and power, assuming (a) the fuel for CHP plant will be coal, gas, or nuclear, and (b) a more competitive regime resulting from the privatisation of the electricity industry.

Mr. Peter Morrison : My Department has no plans to update the estimates made in energy papers 20, 35, 53.

While CHP would reduce the overall primary energy requirement compared to separate production of heat and power the extent of implementation of CHP and the resultant fuel savings will depend on investment decisions of developers. The inherent thermal efficiency of CHP means that it should be well placed to take advantage of the more competitive arrangements resulting from our privatisation proposals.

Reprocessing (Sellafield)

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, Official Report, 8 March, column 546 , if he will set out the policy reasons underlying his statement that it is not in the national interest to give timing and operational reasons of reprocessing campaigns at Sellafield.

Mr. Michael Spicer : I have nothing to add to my answer of 8 March 1989, at column 546.

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, in light of the statement to Standing Committee E on the Electricity Bill, 7 March, Official Report, column 1480, by the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Forth) that every contract signed to reprocess foreign matter includes a requirement that all the waste products should be sent back to the country of origin, he will state when contracts signed before 1976 for reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel at BNFL Sellafield, which did not originally include such a requirement, were renegotiated to include such a clause.


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Mr. Michael Spicer : The pre-1976 contracts to which the hon. Member refers have not been renegotiated to include return of wastes clauses.

Sellafield

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if Her Majesty's Government will give permission to the European Commission to give further details to Llwellyn Smith MEP, in reply to his question, number 881/88 of 2 August 1988, replied to on 21 February 1989 by Commissioner Cardoso E. Cunha on the specific issues of (a) the number of installations on the BNFL Sellafield site, (b) the number that handle only civil nuclear materials, (c) the number also contain simultaneously or sequentially military materials, and (d) the number of installations at BNFL Sellafield that have particular safeguard provisions under Commission regulation CR 3227/76 in force.

Mr. Michael Spicer : The particular safeguards provisions for facilities at BNFL Sellafield are currently under discussion and to date four have been brought into force. The additional information requested is confidential.

Hinkley Point C

Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what representations he has received about the future use of Combwich wharf resulting from the construction of the proposed Hinkley Point C power station ; and what response he has made ;

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that the natural environment near Combwich wharf, Combwich, Somerset and the living conditions of local residents are not adversely affected increased activity resulting from the construction of Hinkley Point C.

Mr. Michael Spicer : The CEGB submitted the Central Electricity Generating Board Compulsory Purchase (Combwich) Order 1988 to my right hon. Friend for confirmation on 2 February 1989.

Seventeen statutory objections to the order have been received from owners and occupiers affected by it, together with 68 other objections. A public local inquiry into the order has therefore been arranged.

Mr. Michael Barnes QC has been appointed to hold the public local inquiry which will commence at 9.30 am on Tuesday 13 June 1989 at Cannington court, Church street, Cannington, Bridgewater, Somerset.

Shell (Exploration Licence)

Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy where exploration licence EXL 083, granted by his Department to Shell in 1986, is available for public inspection ; and whether he will place a copy in the Library.

Mr. Peter Morrison : Landward exploration licences (EXLs) are not made available for public inspection because they contain commercially confidential information. EXL 083 was issued pursuant to the Petroleum (Production) (Landward Areas) Regulations 1984, S.I. 1984 No. 1832, which sets out the model clauses to be incorporated in such a licence. Copies of these regulations are available in the Library of the House.


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Quangos

Sir Neil Macfarlane : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations either (a) created or (b) closed, since 1979 for which he has departmental responsibility ; and how many people he appoints to these bodies.

Mr. Parkinson [holding answer 5 April 1989] : The following non-departmental public bodies were created :

Oil and Pipelines Agency

Offshore Safety and Technology Board

Renewable Energy Advisory Committee

Offshore Industry Advisory Board

and the following were abolished :

Advisory Committee on Fixed Offshore Installations

Energy Commission

Offshore Safety Committee

Advisory Council on Energy Conservation

In addition the Office of Gas Supply, a non-ministerial department, was established under the Gas Act 1986. The Director General of Gas Supply was appointed under the terms of the Act.

Information on appointments, excluding those relating to Ofgas, can be obtained from "Public Bodies 1988", a copy of which is in the Library of the House. Questions about the staffing of Ofgas are a matter for the Director General of Gas Supply.

The Oil and Pipelines Agency took over responsibility for the property, rights and liabilities of the British National Oil Corporation on 1 December 1985.

EMPLOYMENT

Claimant Advisers

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what advice his Department issues on the personal liability claimant advisers have if the advice they give to claimants about in-work benefits is incorrect and as a consequence the claimant loses money and is much worse off in work than was suggested to them ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lee : When giving advice on in-work benefits, claimant advisers are specifically instructed that any personal calculations provided should be clearly shown as estimates only and that entitlements can be assessed only when applications are properly made. The following disclaimer is included :

"Entitlements can only be assessed when applications are properly made and processed. The calculations below are therefore estimates only. The Department will not accept liability for loss occasioned if reliance is placed upon them".

Restart

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what happens to the newly, and any previously, completed RR6s that claimants have to fill in as part of their restart interview ; and whether they can be passed on to other restart counsellors or claimant advisers, or other members of the employment service, such as fraud investigators.

Mr. Lee : Restart clients complete a restart interview form (RR6) every six months. The most recent form is kept


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with the client's records at the local office. Previous forms are usually destroyed. The RR6 may be passed on to other members of the employment service who are involved in follow-up reviews or concerned with entitlement to benefit.

Claimants

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether, after a claimant has filled in an availability questionnaire, either a UB671 or an RR6, they can (a) subsequently obtain a copy of their answers on request ; and (b) change their answers to the questions before or when they are passed on to an adjudication officer.

Mr. Lee : Yes.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Child Benefit

181. Ms. Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would have been the cost of increasing child benefit in line with earnings in each of the last two years.

182. Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would have been the cost of increasing child benefit in line with earnings in each of the last two years.

183. Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would have been the cost of increasing child benefit in line with earnings in each of the last two years.

184. Mr. Murphy : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would have been the cost of increasing child benefit in line with earnings in each of the last two years.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : After taking account of the uprating in April 1987, the additional cost (net of savings on other benefits) would have been about £70 million in 1987-88 and a further £260 million in 1988-89.

Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will place in the Library the papers relevant to his Department's re- estimation of the numbers eligible to receive family credit.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : We will do so shortly.

ENVIRONMENT

Rents

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the average level of registered rents being set for (a) a one-bedroom flat, (b) a two-bedroom flat, and (c) a three- bedroom flat or house, in (i) inner London and (ii) the borough of Islington, in December 1986, December 1987, and now.

Mr. Trippier : The available estimates for each of the last three years are given in the table. Monthly estimates are based on samples too small to give reliable figures.


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|c|Annual average registered rents in regulated properties £ per annum<1><2>|c|                                                               

                                                    1986                      1987                      1988                                  

                                                   |Islington   |Inner London|Islington   |Inner London|Islington   |Inner London             

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

Flats with one habitable<3> room                   |897         |1,161       |1,420       |1,357       |845         |1,394                    

Flats with two habitable rooms                     |979         |1,174       |1,077       |1,283       |1,199       |1,444                    

Houses or flats with three or more habitable rooms |1,229       |1,360       |1,282       |1,454       |1,366       |1,612                    

<1> Rents for rooms let as part of a house or flat are not included.                                                                          

<2> Under pre-1988 legislation rents were registered for two years at a time so 1987 figures are not strictly comparable with 1986.           

<3> Excluding bathrooms, kitchens, WCs, hallways, attics used for storage and cellars.                                                        

Rating Reform

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the guidance to be sent to general practitioners on community charge exemption processing for those who are severely mentally impaired.

Mr. Gummer : When the guidance to general practitioners has been finalised, a copy will be placed in the Library.

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what arrangements are being made to financially support local authorities for revenue forgone on individuals exempt from the community charge.

Mr. Gummer : The distribution of the needs grant will take into account the fact that authorities will raise no community charge income from exempt persons.

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the rights of appeal available to residents of premises where a collective community charge is payable on the level of their contribution to the community charge.

Mr. Gummer : The level of the daily contribution is fixed by statute as the daily rate of the charging authority's personal community charge. There is no appeal against the level of the personal community charge and, therefore, similarly there is no appeal against the level of the statutory contribution. Information on the correct level of contributions will be available from the charging authority.

Council House Sales

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many houses purchased by council tenants under the right-to-buy scheme have since been resold to the local authority ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Trippier : Information on the repurchase of ex-council houses sold under the right-to-buy scheme is not available.

Dog Registration Scheme

Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make an estimate of the annual cost of implementing a dog registration scheme on the basis proposed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals on the assumption that such costs are borne (a) by dog owners and (b) by the Exchequer.


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Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : No. The setting up of a national dog registration scheme would require elaborate bureaucratic machinery. The Government do not intend to introduce such a scheme and therefore no estimate has been made of the costs involved.

Parish Councils

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish his best estimates of the total amount of business rate income lost to parish councils with (a) a population of more than 10,000 and (b) a population of less than 10,000 due to the introduction of the community charge in April 1990.

Mr. Gummer [holding answer 23 March 1989] : I have made no such estimates of the effects of the national non-domestic rate on individual parish councils.

House of Commons Cleaners

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if the cleaners in the House of Commons use biodegradable cleaning products.


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