Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service when he last met or had correspondence with each of the Civil Service pension organisations that are awaiting the payable order awarded to them following an error in the calculation of the retail prices index about this matter ; and when he expects Parliament to approve payment of the supplementary estimate for funds for those three organisations.
Mr. Dunnachie : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received about the introduction of DNA testing for the purposes of the immigration rules ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Renton : We have received various representations from Members of Parliament and others concerning the possible introduction of DNA testing into the entry clearance process, and the operation of the immigration rules in relation to reapplicants previously refused entry clearance. We hope to make an announcement on both these matters in the relatively near future.
Mr. Hurd : I last met the chairman of the Press Council on 18 January. We discussed the chairman's recent appointment to the council, the forthcoming review of the council's role and procedures and the issues raised by the Right of Reply Bill and the Protection of Privacy Bill.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Only a few prison quarters which are structurally unsound or substandard are considered to be unusable. National figures are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost, but the number of such properties on the Isle of Wight is seven.
Mr. John Patten : In the last 12 months 26 letters have been received, including nine from Members of Parliament, together with a number of representations from interested individuals and organisations. One of the objectives of the forthcoming field trials involving the monitoring of defendants remanded on bail will be to enable decisions to be reached on the use of electronic monitoring in respect of convicted offenders.
Mr. Skinner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations he has had with interested parties regarding the introduction of electronic tagging ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John Patten : We have consulted the magistrates courts, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service in the three areas where we propose to conduct field trials of electronic monitoring. We shall shortly be arranging meetings at which the procedures envisaged can be explained to local legal practitioners and others with an interest. A meeting has also been arranged with representatives of the probation services in the areas concerned.
Mr. Bright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prosecutions have been brought and how many convictions obtained for hiring or selling video recordings to young people below the relevant minimim age classification in the last 12 months ; (2) how many prosecutions for hiring or selling unclassified video recordings have been brought (a) in the London borough of Newham (b) in the City of Westminster and (c) in England by trading standards officers in the last three months.
Mr. Renton : The latest information available centrally, which may be incomplete, relates to 1987. This indicates that in England and Wales there were six prosecutions under sections 9 and 10 of the Video Recordings Act 1984 for hiring or selling video recordings containing unclassified video works and two prosecutions under section 11 for hiring or selling video recordings to persons below the minimum age specified on the classification certificates issued in respect of works contained in the recordings. None of these prosecutions was in the City of Westminster ; one under section 10 was in the London borough of Newham. The extension of enforcement powers to trading standards officers from September 1988 will result in far more prosecutions. I understand in several hundred cases already the British Board of Film Classification has been asked to certify (as evidence for use in criminal proceedings) whether works have been classified and, if so, under what classification.
Mr. Bright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) whether he has received representations from the British Videogram Association about delays in classifying video titles by the British Board of Film Classification ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) when his officials last met representatives of the British Board of Film Classification to discuss delays on classifying video titles.
Mr. Renton : I am not aware of any recent representations from the British Videogram Association about delays at the British Board of Film Classification in classifying video works. Home Office officials are in regular contact with the board about the administration of
Column 324the Video Recordings Act 1984 and discussed with its officials on 22 March the length of time taken to issue classification certificates for video works.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has for each police force of the number of officers of chief superintendent level and above, and as to the number of black and Asian officers holding such posts.
|c|Police forces in England and Wales|c| 31 December 1988 |Chief Constable<1> |Deputy Chief Constable<2>|Assistant Chief |Chief Superintendent |Constable<3> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Avon and Somerset |1 |1 |3 |14 Bedfordshire |1 |1 |1 |5 Cambridgeshire |1 |1 |1 |5 Cheshire |1 |1 |2 |8 City of London |1 |1 |1 |6 Cleveland |1 |1 |2 |7 Cumbria |1 |1 |1 |7 Derbyshire |1 |1 |2 |9 Devon and Cornwall |1 |1 |3 |13 Dorset |1 |1 |1 |6 Durham |1 |1 |2 |7 Dyfed-Powys |1 |1 |1 |7 Essex |1 |1 |3 |11 Gloucestershire |1 |1 |1 |6 Greater Manchester |1 |1 |6 |27 Gwent |1 |1 |1 |5 Hampshire |1 |1 |3 |10 Hertfordshire |1 |1 |2 |9 Humberside |1 |1 |2 |8 Kent |1 |1 |4 |10 Lancashire |1 |1 |3 |13 Leicestershire |1 |1 |2 |7 Lincolnshire |1 |1 |1 |5 Merseyside |1 |1 |4 |19 Metropolitan |6 |16 |38 |158 Norfolk |1 |1 |1 |7 Northamptonshire |1 |1 |1 |6 Northumbria |1 |1 |3 |13 North Wales |1 |1 |1 |7 North Yorkshire |1 |1 |1 |7 Nottinghamshire |1 |1 |2 |8 South Wales |1 |1 |3 |14 South Yorkshire |1 |1 |3 |11 Staffordshire |1 |1 |1 |11 Suffolk |1 |1 |1 |6 Surrey |1 |1 |2 |7 Sussex |1 |1 |3 |12 Thames Valley |1 |1 |3 |12 Warwickshire |1 |1 |1 |5 West Mercia |1 |1 |2 |10 West Midlands |1 |1 |5 |21 West Yorkshire |1 |1 |4 |20 Wiltshire |1 |1 |1 |6 |------- |------- |------- |------- Total |48 |58 |128 |565 <1> Includes ranks of assistant commissioner and above in the Metropolitan police and commissioner in the City of London police. <2> Includes deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan police and assistant commissioner in the City of London police. <3> Includes commanders in the Metropolitan police and the City of London police.
Mr. Stern : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to extend local authority access to police records to enable checks to be made on the background of all staff to be employed in areas where they have substantial access to children.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand that among the measures taken in 1988 by the chief constable and his police authority are the civilianisation of 52 posts previously occupied by police officers ; successful operations against crime, including one focusing on crimes committed mainly against the elderly by persons posing as officials ; a number of schemes to streamline administrative procedures ; the trial use of a computerised custody office system ; and a number of successful community and crime prevention initiatives.
The chief constable would be pleased to discuss with my hon. Friend these and other examples of effective and efficient policing in Lancashire.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will place in the Library a copy of the report of the deputy director-general of the prison service of his inquiry into suicide at Leeds prison.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The report was written as a guide for action within the Department rather than as a public document, but my right hon. Friend announced its main recommendations and his acceptance of them in reply to a question from the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) on 7 March at columns 455-6.
Mr. McCrindle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to include in legislation a timetable for achieving 25 per cent. independent television production ; if he will make it his policy that once this target is reached he will seek to increase it ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Renton : We have sought and received a commitment from the BBC and IBA that, subject to satisfaction in cost and quality, 25 per cent. of original television output will be commissioned from independent producers by the end of 1992. There are no plans to include that target in legislation, but we attach great importance to its achievement and are in close touch with broadcasters and independent producers to monitor progress.
Our White Paper on broadcasting proposes that from 1993 there should be a statutory requirement on all Channel 3 and 5 licensees for a minimum of 25 per cent. of original programming to come from independent producers. We will discuss with the BBC in due course the appropriate level of their commissioning from independent producers from 1993.
Mr. Gow : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the established staff for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board ; by how many the actual staff is below that figure ; and what steps he is taking to reduce the delays of the board in dealing with claims.
Mr. John Patten : On 3 April 1989, the board had 312.5 whole-time equivalent staff (7.5 whole-time equivalent staff below its complement of 320), including 31 casual staff engaged as part of the gradual relocation of about 100 posts from London to Glasgow. We have increased staff by about 100 since 1987 to meet the increase in workload, and with the board we are reviewing administrative procedures with the aim of reducing the time taken to resolve claims.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metroplis that the persons who died were Mr. Kandiahkanapathy Vinayagamoorthy, who was born on 2 June 1960 in Sri Lanka and Mr. Ambikaipahan Anapayan, born on 13 February 1968 in Sri Lanka. The injured persons were Miss Deborah Bernadine Alvares, born 20 August 1962 in east Africa, and Mr. Yurev Alejandro Gomez, born 25 November 1965 in Chile.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the new evidence on the harmful effects on children and young people of the addiction to fruit machines and similar gambling practices and on Her Majesty's Government support for local authorities which are trying to control these activities.
Mr. John Patten : The results of the Home Office research study "Amusement Machines : Dependency and Delinquency" published last year showed that very few young people are at risk of becoming dependent on amusement machines and there is no clear evidence of any association between the playing of machines and delinquency. We have received no reliable new evidence to contradict these results or to throw doubt on the conclusion we reached that further legislative controls are therefore not justified.
The Government fully support local authorities in their efforts to ensure the proper control of amusement-with-prizes machines. We issued a circular to all local authorities on 18 November to remind them of the considerable powers already available to them under the Gaming Act 1968 to regulate such machines in their areas. We have also consulted the local authority and trade associations on draft model byelaws controlling, among other things, the opening hours of amusement arcades and it is expected that model byelaws will be available for adoption in the summer.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Mrs. Nighat Nisar, Ref A 412514 and IMM/90791, applied to the British post in Islamabad for permission to join her husband in the United Kingdom ; on what date her application was referred to him ; and when he expects to take a decision on this application.
Mr. Renton : Mrs. Nisar applied for entry clearance on 20 July 1987. She and the sponsor, Mr. Ahmed, were interviewed in Islamabad on 28 October 1987 and the application was referred to the Home Office on 16 December 1987. It was found necessary to interview Mr. Ahmed further in order to establish where he was domiciled at the time the marriage was celebrated ; this was undertaken by the entry clearance officer in Islamabad on 2 June 1988. Mrs. Nisar's application was refused on 14 March 1989 because her husband did not meet the domicile requirements for the marriage to be valid under English law. Mrs. Nisar has been informed of this decision and her right of appeal to the independent appellate authorities. This was not a straightforward case, but I regret the considerable delay in deciding it.
Mr. John Patten : Under section 4 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1976, as amended by section 158 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988, it is an offence to publish or broadcast the name or address or a still or moving picture of a woman after an allegation has been made that she has been the victim of a rape offence, if that is likely to lead members of the public to identify her as an alleged victim of such an offence. The prohibition applies during the whole of the woman's lifetime, unless the courts make a specific direction to the contrary, and it applies whether proceedings follow or not ; if they do, it applies in relation to civil as well as criminal proceedings. It is, however, a defence that the woman has given written consent for the matter to appear, provided that no person has unreasonably interfered with her peace or comfort with intent to obtain the consent. Prosecutions require the consent of my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General. The maximum penalty is a £2,000 fine.
13. Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the amount of energy that would be saved by the implementation across the United Kingdom housing stock of the recommendation of the Building Research Establishment on the thickness of roof insulation.
Mr. Peter Morris : Where loft insulation is one inch or less, installation of an extra four inches could lead to an annual energy saving of some 0.73 million tonnes oil equivalent. However, householders are likely to want to opt at least in part for greater warmth rather than simply saving energy.
45. Mr. Ray Powell : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the tonnes of oil or coal equivalent that would be saved if 10 inches thickness of roof insulation were installed in every domestic property in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Peter Morrison : It is estimated that installation of 10 inches of insulation in all domestic buildings with accessible lofts would lead to a potential annual saving of 2.6 million tonnes of coal equivalent (1.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent). However, insulation to that thickness would not be cost effective.
18. Mr. Norris : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will invite the right hon. Member who was the Secretary of State for Energy when the Government gave planning permission for the thermal oxide reprocessing plant to open on its completion in 1992.
20. Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the dates of full commissioning to their design capacity of the advanced gas-cooled reactor stations at Dungeness B, Hartlepool and Heysham I and II.
Mr. Michael Spicer : This is an operational matter for the CEGB. The board informs me that both reactor units at Heysham II have operated at their design capacity and the station is expected to be commissioned in 1989. The reactor units at Hartlepool, Heysham I and Dungeness B have operated at substantial load but have not reached their design rating. The CEGB intends to declare interim capacities for these units during 1989.
Column 329Central Electricity Generating Board, or either of its successor generating companies, will submit a planning application for the proposed West Burton 1800 MW coal-fired power station.
My right hon. Friend is awaiting confirmation from the Nottinghamshire county council, the Bassetlaw district council and the CEGB that agreement has been reached between them on certain outstanding matters before proceeding with his consideration of the application. These matters relate to access to the proposed site during construction of the station.
Mr. Peter Morrison : I have received a number of representations, amounting to 38 cases raised by hon. Members during the last three years and in the same period an average of one letter a week from the general public. However, over the past five years the fuel bills of pensioners and the low paid have fallen in real terms by 15 per cent., while pensions have risen in line with the retail price index.
Mr. Michael Spicer : In evidence to the Hinkley Point C public inquiry the Central Electricity Generating Board estimated that an additional 15.5 GW of generating capacity would be required by the year 2000.
25. Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement concerning the possible effects of the European Commission initiative announced on 9 March demanding greater competition in Europe's electricity and coal markets.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The European Commission has publicised an intention to make proposals on these matters. However, none has yet been received by Her Majesty's Government. We would welcome effective moves towards greater competition in the Community's coal and electricity markets.
26. Mr. Buckley : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the revenue total in 1989-90 according to British Gas and to the 12 area boards and two Scottish boards in the electricity supply industry from domestic standing charges.
28. Mr. Anthony Coombs : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what proposals are being considered for an employee share ownership scheme following privatisation of the electricity industry ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Spicer : We shall make sure that special terms are available to enable employees to purchase shares in their companies. However, no decision on the type of offers that will be made to employees has yet been taken.
39. Mr. Robert Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the direct cost of privatisation to the two Scottish boards and the 12 area boards in the electricity supply industry in 1989-90 when compiled on the same basis as the £76 million proposed to be shown in the accounts of the Central Electricity Generating Board and its successor companies.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My right hon. and learned Friend, the Secretary of State for Scotland is responsible for the two Scottish boards. The costs of preparing for the forthcoming privatisation, incurred by any of the 12 area boards or the two Scottish boards, are the responsibility of the boards themselves.
44. Mr. David Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what proposals are being considered for customer rights following privatisation of the electricity industry ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The Electricity Bill currently before Parliament provides customers with a whole range of new rights which they have never had before, including a new system of guaranteed standards of performance with automatic compensation for failures to meet these standards, special consideration for the elderly and disabled and help for those who have difficulty in paying bills. The Director General of Electricity Supply will have the key role of protecting the consumers' interests, and he will be advised on all issues affecting the consumer by the new regional consumer committees.
48. Mr. Turner : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the impact of privatisation on the number of employees employed by the electricity supply industry for 1988, 1990 and 1992.
29. Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has about how much an average householder's fuel bills could be reduced if tried and tested measures of energy conservation were adopted.
Mr. Peter Morrison : The scope for improvements in energy efficiency in individual dwellings varies considerably, depending on such factors as existing installations and the lifestyle of the occupants. However, over the country as a whole the scope for cost-effective energy efficiency improvements in the domestic sector estimated to allow savings of at least 20 per cent.
30. Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he next proposes to meet the electricity supply industry trade unions ; and whether he will discuss the future of Marchwood Engineering Laboratories and the other research and development activities of the boards.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My right hon. Friend and I meet the electricity supply industry trade unions from time to time. The future of Marchwood Engineering Laboratories is a matter for the CEGB and its successor companies, which have said that the decision to vacate this site would have been the same, whichever successor company Marchwood had been allocated to. I have been assured that this will in no way prejudice essential research into nuclear safety matters, which will either be completed or transferred elsewhere before the site is closed.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Between 1983 and 1988 the fuel bills both of pensioners and of the low paid are estimated to have fallen by 15 per cent. in real terms. Over the same period, the state pension has risen in line with the retail price index.
32. Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he last met the 12 area board chairmen and the chairman of the Electricity Council ; and whether the future of the research work at the Capenhurst laboratory into low energy domestic appliances was discussed.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My right hon. Friend and I meet the chairman of the area boards and the chairman of the Electricity Council regularly to discuss a range of issues of mutual interest. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy, Baroness Hooper, has recently visited the Capenhurst laboratory and we appreciate the value of the work carried out there.
33. Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is his latest estimate of the cost of decommissioning the Magnox nuclear power stations (a) in the shortest technologically feasible time and (b) by the lowest book-keeping cost technique.