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Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has established a unit within his Department to examine the possibility of Britain offering privatisation expertise to developing nations.
Mr. Chris Patten : I see no reason to establish such a unit. The Overseas Development Administration's arrangements for managing bilateral aid already enable it fully to consider proposals related to all aspects of private sector development including privatisation.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the cost to date of the exercise undertaken to identify opportunities for assisting developing countries with the promotion of private sector development, including privatisation.
Mr. Chris Patten : The exercise has not resulted in significant additional expense. Providing the information requested would involve disproportionate cost, far exceeding any costs which the exercise itself has incurred.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to conclude agreements with developing countries which would include Her Majesty's Government assisting with the privatisation of nationalised industries ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the dates and locations when his officials have met representatives of the organisation USAID over the past two years.
Mr. Needham : Applications for urban development grant funded by the Government are being accepted in Belfast and Londonderry. Under the second urban development programme funded by the international monetary fund for Ireland the advertised closing date for applications was 28 February 1989. Consequently, only in Belfast and Londonderry are applications now being accepted.
Mr. Goodlad : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent in Northern Ireland in the last year on the care and treatment of patients suffering from schizophrenia ; and what percentage that figure represented of total expenditure on (a) mental and (b) all health services.
Mr. Goodlad : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the current annual cost per patient to the National Health Service in Northern Ireland of the care and treatment of patients with a main diagnosis of schizophrenia psychoses.
Mr. Maginnis : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what study his Department has made of the Group Public Health Committee's report "The Unfit Meat Trade in Northern Ireland, Law and Enforcement Review" and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maginnis : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he intends to bring forward new measures for the control of licensed knackeries to prevent unfit meat entering the human food chain.
Mr. Needham : A draft order in Council is being prepared by the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland which will provide for prescription in regulations of the standards to be met by knackeries, before such premises are licensed by district councils.
Mr. Maginnis : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many prosecutions have been brought against those operating illegal knackeries or trading in unfit meat during the last five years ; what convictions have been obtained ; and what penalties have been imposed.
Offence |Prosecutions |Convictions |Total fines (plus costs) |£ ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (i) Operating illegal knackery |11 |10 |350 (ii) Trading in unfit meat |42 |42 |1,965
Mr. Maginnis : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what specific and formal advice and assistance is available for those wishing to set up properly licensed and supervised knackeries to deal with fallen and casualty animals.
Mr. Needham : Any person wishing to set up a knackery can obtain advice from the environmental health department of the district council in whose area the proposed knackery would be situated. The advice would include information on licensing arrangements, siting and standards of premises and conditions to be observed in handling, treatment and movement of any unfit meat and the keeping of records.
Mr. Needham : There are two licensed knackeries in Northern Ireland- -Lisburn By-Products Ltd., Moira road, Lisburn and Ulster Farm By-Products Ltd., Glenavy. Both knackeries provide farmers with an essential means of disposal of casualty and dead animals.
Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total amount spent by his Department in 1988 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases ; and if he will list each management or computer consultancy contract awarded by his Department in 1988, giving in each case the name of the consultancy firm and the subject of the assignment.
Firm |Subject of assignment ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Aims Systems |Structured Systems Analysis Design Methodology (SSADM) | Consultancy Aims Training |SSADM Anderson and Co. |IT resourcing Apricot Ltd. |Microcomputer Skills Associated Marketing (NI) Ltd. |Marketing Appraisals W. S. Atkins Management Consultants |Market Research Atkins Planning |Marketing Appraisals D. E. Barnard Systems Ltd. |Historic Monuments/Building Branch Strategy Study Country/Wild- | life Branch Strategy Study Training Division Project Basil Singleton |Assessing potential of Health Service sites for advertising hoardings BDO Binder Hamlyn |Financial Appraisals and Marketing Appraisals Belmin Systems Ltd. |Development of NI Parliamentary index BIC Systems Ltd. |Microcomputer Skills Binder Hamlyn |Industrial Science Division project BIS Beecom |Management Information System | Marketing Appraisals BIS Beecom (International) Ltd. |Incentive Bonus schemes in DOE (NI) Works Service | Specialised communication aspects of Integrated Computer System | in DOE (NI) roads Service. Integrated Computer System in DOE | Water Service. Monitoring Equal Opportunities in Public Bodies, | Roads and Water Services integrated systems. User awareness- | consultancy skills BIS Mackintosh | Information on EEC anti-dumping tariffs as applicable to electronics | companies BPA (Tech Mangt) Ltd. |Annual subscription to BPA Compass Scheme Brennan and Simmons |Leadership Training |Training for Trainers British Telecom |Government Network Capita |DENI IT Strategy | Social Security Fraud Scrutiny | Human Resource Management System | Advanced Office Management Information System CARA Data |Project Management CCTA |Project Support | IT Development Study | Strategy enabling study | Review of Bureau Services Centrehouse Management |Financial appraisals J. T. Chambers |Analysis of transportation costs for an inward investment company CIPFA |Training for NICS Internal Auditors CIPFA Services Ltd. |Integrated Computer System in DOE (NI) Water Service CI Training |Microcomputer Skills Collingwood Harris |Business Co-operation: | Feasibility study | Company Matchmaking in Maryland, USA Common Service Agency Scotland |Community Health Index Project John Compton Associates |Marketing Appraisals Computer Science Co. Ltd. |Departmental Information Technology Construction Industry Computer |Procurement of computer aided design system Association Consulting Partners International |Marketing Appraisals Coopers & Lybrand |NI Emigration Package | Development and implementation of information technology | strategy for social security benefit payments |Review of the Training Levy |"Total Quality Centre" feasibility study |Joint study with NM Rothchild & Sons Ltd-preliminary study on |Application of Clerical Work Measurement |Project Sponsors |Financial & Marketing Appraisals |Company Appraisals |To review the present arrangements for testing motor vehicles in | Northern Ireland and advise on the feasibility of the privatisation The supervision and monitoring the affairs of the NI Transport | Holding Company and the three subsiduary transport operating | companies Cork Gully |Study into the Procedures for Investigating Personal Bankruptcy C S College |PROMPT Deloitte Haskins & Sells |Integrated Computer System in DOE (NI) Roads Service Company | Appraisals |Financial & marketing Appraisals Department of the Environment |Building project advice Department of Finance & Personnel |Survey of the disabled (PPRU) Department of Information Services, |Consultancy Services for Road Survey Vehicle project University of Ulster |Support for software/electronics presentations in US |Support for presentation to company in Switzerland D J S Consultants |Marketing Appraisals Denham Nash |Consultancy Skills Training |User Awareness Diane Bailey Associates |Staff Training Digital Equipment Co |Office automation Elite Consultancy Services |Project cost monitoring EOSYS |Data Communication Ernst and Whinney |Financial Appraisals ESCO Management Consultants |European salary survey for software industry |Analysis of large computer sites in Northern Ireland Pauline Farrell |Leadership Training |Training for Trainers FIRA |Marketing Appraisals Flynn Moore |Financial Appraisals Focon International |Marketing Appraisals Furniture Industry Research Association |Kitchen furniture-GB Market Survey Gilpin Black Associates |Financial Appraisals |Management Training for Professional Staff Gloria Henderson Management Consultancy |Social Security Fraud Scrutiny Gryphon Group |Provision Business Pack Stage 1, distance learning video/audio pack | aimed at business management W. Halcrow |Efficiency study in the DOE (NI) Environmental Protection Division Hanna Thompson and Co. |Financial Appraisals Stephen Hughes Associates |Marketing Appraisals Victor Hausner and Associates |Belfast Special Action Group/Belfast Initiative HAY-MSL |Review of salaries of senior NI Housing Executive Staff IBI Corporate Services |Financial Appraisals |Study re sale of shares in textile company ICL |Systems Performance and Data |Communications |Training Division Project |VME Industrial Training Services |Community Projects Branch-Staff Training |Review of health service personnel function |Community Workshops Evaluation |Monitoring of Recognised Training Organisations Investment Bank of Ireland |Study re sale of shares in textile company Jackson Andrews |Financial Appraisals Mark Jampolc |Business Co-operation: Feasibility report; then Company match |making; in North West Pennsylvania Kleinwort Benson |Privatisation of Short Bros PLC Knight Wendling |Technical Appraisals Knowledge Tech Ltd |Training Division Project KPMG Peat Marwick |Report on the UK market for sheep's milk and sheep's milk products |Update of study into the commercial viability of an irradiation | facility in Northern Ireland. The original study was carried out in | 1986 Kurt Salmon Associates |Study of the NI Clothing Industry Lazard Bros |Privatisation of Harland and Wolff Learmont and Burchett |Implementation of PROMPT Department of Agriculture Fatstock | project-SSADM Project Control Lindsay Marketing |Marketing Appraisal Gordon Lyell Associates |The presentation and marketing of Historic Monuments in Northern | Ireland, and in particular Carrickfergus Castle C. and K. MacFarlane |Marketing Appraisals Stuart McKechanie |Assignment Skills J. Leslie McKeown |Financial Appraisals R. A. McLaughlin |Assisting with the management of the EC Star (advanced | telecommunications) Programme D. J. MacRitchie |Financial Appraisals Mrs. D. Phillips |To review the functions of the DOE (NI): Historic Monuments and | Buildings Branch and the legislation under which it operates Practical Management Consultants |Marketing Appraisals Price Waterhouse |Evaluation of Training Programme for people in employment |Study into the Comparative Corporate and Regional Tax Systems of |Statutory audit of Northern Health Board Company Appraisals |Financial and Marketing Appraisals John McVeigh and Co. |Financial appraisals Mandelo Development Consultants |Study of contracting-out of economic development activities A. Manning Associates |Team development Marceton Ltd. |Marketing appraisals Market Research Scotland |Marketing appraisals Market Research UK |Marketing appraisals Marketing and Management Information Services |Marketing appraisals Meconsult Ltd. |Evaluation of Information Technology Centre Mindworks Partnership |Business analysis training Muir and Addy Management Services |Financial appraisals E. F. Munrose and Associates |Marketing appraisals Netherlands Economic Institute |Prospects of economic development in NI Northern Bank |Pre-retirement NI Council on Alcohol |Alcohol awareness North West Design Engineers |Company appraisals Oracle |Obstetrics project Oracle UK |Oracle implementation |4 G. L. training PA Consulting Services |Introduction of a total quality management programme |Preparation of guideline standards for work study PA Management Consultants |Marketing appraisals Peat Marwick |Company appraisals |Financial-marketing appraisals |Marketing appraisals P. E. Consulting Group |Marketing appraisals Peterborough Software |UNIPAY system Michael Peters Group plc |Provision of design clinics for NI business community "Profit | by Design" PRI Consultants |Evaluation of Voluntary Organisations with regard to Grant Aid Queen's University, Belfast |Administrative Law, Basic Book-keeping, Investment Appraisal, | Management Accounting, Policy Management, Tuition for | Institute of Internal Auditors Examinations, Understanding | Company Accountants Quinn and Co. |Financial Appraisals David Rigby Associates |Company Appraisals Roffey Park |Training for Trainers RMA Management Consultants |Company Appraisals N. M. Rothchild and Sons Ltd. |Joint study with Coopers and Lybrand-Preliminary study on the | privatisation of NIE Saville/Holdsworth |Block funding assessment project Sherwood Systems Ltd. |Dataflex Shirley M. Holt Associates |Marketing Appraisals Alan Smyth Associates |Retention of services as IDB Quality Co-ordinator Software Ireland |Management Information System, Valuation/Land office Stamen |Horticultural activities for the mentally handicapped Strategic Training Ltd. |Marketing training courses for NI business management Syntek Ltd. |To review Transit computer procedures |Training Division project Telebriton Ltd. |Pilot Study-Defence Sector Market Strategy for NI |Identification of possible inward investment projects |Identification of possible inward investment projects |Software Fair in NIBC, London Time Consulting Group |Software Strategy for NI-Investigation of the role of a Resource | Centre Hans Tolin |Business Co-operation: |Feasibility report |Company matchmaking with Swedish companies Touche Ross |Privatisation and monitoring of Harland & Wolff |Privatisation and monitoring of Short Bros PLC |Financial/Marketing Appraisals |Internal Audit Development |Mental Health Service Audit |Provision of NI Trade Director 1989 and Local Sourcing Database |Analysis of transportation costs to and from various locations |Market Research |Company Appraisals |Comparison of tax (personal and corporate) regimes in various |European countries Training and Development Associates |Young People's Programme University of Ulster |Export Research Project |Personal Computers Appreciation |Policy Analysis |Policy Management |Report on research activities in informatics at NI universities United Medical Enterprises |Studies in connection with the export of NI |Health Care Expertise Ritchie Ward Associates |Project Management |Project Sponsors Warne Franklin |RAPRA Project-Technological Consultancy Wilt Thornton |Financial Appraisals Xentec |To review Transit computer procedures
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish in the Official Report the text of the letter from the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, North (Mr. Stewart) to the hon. Member for Brent, East on 4 September 1988 about Mr. William Strathearn.
Mr. Ian Stewart [holding answer 10 April 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the explanation of the regional rate methodology given in the information note "Northern Ireland Regional Rate 1989-90" which is available in the House of Commons Library in support of the Rates (Regional Rate) Order (Northern Ireland) 1989 which was laid before Parliament on 7 March 1989.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what consideration he is giving to the number of overseas patients that can be treated in the self-managing hospitals proposed in the White Paper "Working for Patients".
Mr. Michael Forsyth : We are considering how treatment of overseas patients in National Health Service hospitals, including self-governing hospitals, might best be administered in the context of the White Paper and the associated working papers.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects a new private secretary for the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Education, the hon. Member for Stirling, (Mr. Forsyth) to be in post.
Mr. Steel : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will seek to alter the different tree-planting grants to eliminate the 300 per cent. differential between farm schemes and commercial schemes in the planting of conifers.
Mr. Rifkind : The major A7 schemes in the trunk road programme are the north Middleton diversion, the Dalkeith bypass and the Langholm bypass. Works started on the north Middleton bypass in March. Advance works on the Dalkeith bypass are expected to start in May or June and the main works in October. The contract period for both schemes is 24 months and they should therefore be completed during 1991. The Langholm bypass will not complete its statutory and design stages before the mid-1990s.
Mr. Goodlad : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authority residential places are currently available for those discharged from mental illness hospitals in Scotland ; what is the current rate of occupancy ; and what are the projected figures for the next two years.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Information about the provision of residential places is given in annual statistical returns from local authorities. At 31 March 1988 the provisional number of residential places in local authority establishments was 167 ; the occupancy rate was 61 per cent. The local authorities' returns do not extend to planned provision.
Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to review the Scottish Education Department grant regulations which prohibit individuals who hold a higher national diploma qualification from receiving a full grant for a university course.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Under present rules, eligible students who complete a course leading to a higher national diploma may qualify for a student's allowance for the third and any subsequent year of a full-time degree or comparable course.
With effect from session 1989-90, my right hon. and learned Friend has decided that those higher national diplomates who wish to proceed to undertake full-time studies at degree level in the sciences, technology, or certain teacher shortage subjects will, exceptionally, be entitled to grant assistance for the second and any subsequent year of a degree or comparable course.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Although a number of returns have yet to be received, we estimate that almost 2,000 dwellings were completed by local authorities in Scotland in 1988. Returns submitted by new town development corporations indicate that 257 dwellings were completed during the year.
Mr. Norman Hogg : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many households were accepted as homeless in Scotland in the calendar years 1987 and 1988 ; and how many applications by households there were in those years.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Returns submitted by local authorities indicate that during 1987, 23,882 households applied to be considered under the homelessness legislation. Of these, authorities assessed 9,317 as being homeless. A comparable figure for 1988 cannot be provided at present as most local authorities still have returns outstanding.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the number of unemployed people in (a) Greenock and Port Glasgow, (b) Strathclyde and (c) Scotland who have been helped to start a business through the enterprise allowance scheme in each year since its inception ; and how many of these schemes have failed in each year.
Mr. Lang : The number of unemployed people who started their own business with the help of the enterprise allowance scheme in each year since its inception in August 1983 in the areas requested is set out in the table.
‚ |c|Enterprise allowance scheme|c| Entrants Year |Greenock and Port Glasgow|Strathclyde |Scotland ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1983-84 (August to March) |26 |585 |2,249 1984-85 |48 |1,352 |3,794 1985-86 |79 |1,601 |5,311 1986-87 |105 |2,386 |8,260 1987-88 |122 |2,779 |9,894 1988-89 |101 |2,558 |8,494
Information on the number of these businesses which have subsequently failed is not available. However, the latest national survey shows that of those businesses completing 12 months on the scheme 74 per cent. were still trading 18 months after start-up with 65 per cent. still trading three years after start-up.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the annual number of (a) full-time and (b) part-time working women for each year since 1979 in (i) Greenock and Port Glasgow, (ii) Strathclyde and (iii) Scotland as a whole.
Mr. Lang : The table gives the number of (a) full-time and (b) part -time women employees in employment in Scotland for September each year since 1979, and the available information on women employees in employment for Strathclyde region and Greenock and Port Glasgow parliamentary constituency.
Information for Strathclyde and Greenock and Port Glasgow is available only from the 1981 and 1984 census of employment. For 1981 analyses for parliamentary constituencies do not distinguish full-time from part-time employees.
The figures for Scotland for 1984 onwards may be revised when the results of the 1987 census of employment available later this year.
|c|Employees in employment full and part-time women workers at|c| |c|September|c| Thousands |Full-time|Part-time ------------------------------------------ Scotland 1979 |571.6 |330.8 1980 |558.9 |331.5 1982 |508.0 |340.4 1983 |503.6 |336.8 1984 |505.1 |346.0 1985 |504.9 |363.2 1986 |499.7 |366.6 1987 |503.3 |380.7 1988 |528.7 |381.9 Strathclyde 1981 |252.3 |146.9 1984 |233.4 |144.4 Greenock and Port Glasgow 1981 |13.7 1984 |8.3 |4.6
Mr. Allan Stewart : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from general practitioners in the Eastwood constituency about a new contract for general practice in the National Health Service in Scotland.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : In addition to the discussions with my hon. Friend and the representations he has received on behalf of general practitioners in his constituency my right hon. and learned Friend and I have received representations from general practitioners throughout Scotland many of which have been helpful to us in drawing up a new contract for general practice in the National Health Service in Scotland. That new contract has been sent to the General Medical Services Committee and I am sending a personal copy to every general practitioner in Scotland. The document is being published in Scotland today and copies have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy with regard to the supply and consumption of alcohol on board Royal Navy vessels as it applies to (a) officers and (b) ratings.
Mr. Neubert : Ratings on board Royal Navy vessels are limited in their daily onboard alcohol consumption. No specific limits are placed on officers but it is the responsibility of commanding officers to ensure that alcohol consumption of all personnel is not excessive. Drunkenness, even off duty and ashore, is an offence under the Naval Discipline Act, which can attract a punishment of up to two years imprisonment.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the navies which contribute to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ; and if he will indicate which do and do not permit alcohol consumption on board vessels.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate, by type, of the alcohol consumed on board Royal Navy vessels in the latest available year ; and if he will indicate consumption differences between the wardroom and lower deck.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, in view of the recent court martial of the commanding officer of a submarine, who because of alcohol consumption was unable to be on board at the time of sailing and whose intake of alcohol started on board, he will review the policy of allowing alcohol consumption on board Royal Navy vessels.
Mr. Neubert : No. The policy on alcohol consumption aboard Royal Navy vessels takes full account of operational safety and efficiency while allowing those who so desire a moderate level of alcohol consumption during off-duty hours. By virtue of being at sea, frequently for long periods, Royal Navy personnel are already severely restricted in their freedom of choice of off-duty activity without considering further curtailment.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evidence he has to suggest that it will be easier to recruit specialist staff for the directorate general of defence quality assurance in Teesside than in south east England.
Mr. Sainsbury : The directorate general of defence quality assurance is currently experiencing difficulty in recruiting specialist staff to work in south-east England, despite the higher pay allowances offered.
The level of unemployment in the likely travel-to-work area for the proposed site is considerably higher than in the south-east. We would expect to be able to recruit or train people with the technical skills and expertise we require from Teesside which has a strong heavy engineering, process and chemical engineering tradition.
Mr. Trotter : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many units of battalion or equivalent size, are currently serving in an infantry role in Northern Ireland, and as part of the permanent garrison are on short-term detachment ; and what have been the figures in each year since 1969.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The estimated annual cost at 1987-88 prices of a regular soldier is £14,100, and of a Territorial Army soldier £2,500. These figures cover pay and allowances, personal equipment and other support costs and in the case of the Regular Army soldier, elements for training and non-effective benefits. Training cost figures for Territorial Army soldiers are not separately identifiable without disproportionate cost and effort.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what prior warning was given to local authorities, both district and region, in the Clydeside area of the passage of nuclear convoys during the three weeks beginning Monday 20 March.
(2) what is his policy for alerting local authorities to the imminent passage of nuclear naval convoys through their area.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : It has been the long-standing practice of successive Governments neither to confirm nor to deny the presence of nuclear weapons at any particular location, and it is not our policy to inform local authorities of nuclear weapon movements. We do, however, inform local police forces, who are responsible for road traffic control.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether light anti-tank weapons en route by rail and road from Royal Ordnance, Chorley to Ministry of Defence establishments are guarded by an armed escort.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the danger of theft of light anti-tank weapons in transit from Royal Ordnance, Chorley, to Ministry of Defence establishments ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The danger of theft of these stores is constantly reviewed in the light of the security threat assessment. It would not be in the interests of security to divulge the current assessment.
Column 608contracts awarded to Rolls-Royce Ltd. and Rolls-Royce plc by his Department for goods and services destined for the British armed services in each of the five years to 31 March 1988.
Mr. Sainsbury [holding answer 4 April 1989] : The value of headquarters contracts awarded to Rolls-Royce Ltd. and Rolls-Royce plc. for goods and services destined for the British armed forces in each of the five years to 31 March 1988 were as follows :
|£ million ------------------------------ 1983-84 |370.00 1984-85 |390.00 1985-86 |445.00 1986-87 |300.00 1987-88 |220.00
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding has been made available by his Department for research into the causes of clusters of meningitis ; and if he will make a statement on what results have so far been obtained.
The Medical Research Council, which receives its grant-in-aid from this Department, is the main agency through which the Government support medical research. The council is funding a range of research into meningitis, and details are available in the reply that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Shersby) on 21 December 1988 at column 291-92. The Council is not, however, funding research into the causes of clusters of meningitis. The council is always ready to consider soundly based scientific proposals for funding of new research, in competition with other applications.