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Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if, pursuant to his answer of 11 April, Official Report, column 480, he will give details of what records are kept relating to inquiries of WINvest ; and what indicators he considers useful in assessing the level of interest in Wales as a location for investment.
A more useful indicator of the levels of interest being shown in Wales as a location for investment is the number of companies actually visiting Wales for the first time. There were 246 such visits in 1987, 241 in 1988 and 76 in the first quarter of 1989.
Mr. John Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will now, in view of the worsening of congestion along Baglan road, Port Talbot, accelerate the start of the work on the Baglan-Lonlas part of the M4.
Column 18of other schemes, including those on the A55. The Baglan-Lonlas scheme is expected to be completed by mid 1994.
Work will start shortly on a scheme to relieve delays at the M4 Baglan junction. This will give greater priority to M4 westbound traffic.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : Work on the Bridgend northern by-pass started in 1978. Given that the A48 already provides Baglan-Lonlas with a dual carriageway link to the M4 the decision was taken to give priority to the A55. Baglan-Lonlas will have higher priority as expenditure on the A55 starts to fall.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list those occasions on which his Department has made direct contributions to voluntary appeals for financial assistance towards expenditure on items for use in the National Health Service in Wales since 1979 ; and what sums were involved in each case.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the Deeside waterfront scheme ; if he will visit and meet Alyn and Deeside district council to discuss the waterfront project ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Walker [holding answer 13 April 1989] : Alyn and Deeside district council have referred the planning applications for this scheme to me. I have decided that the practical implications of this scheme, which is clearly of major significance to north-east Wales, should be thoroughly assessed at a public local inquiry and I have today called-in the applications for determination. In these circumstances a meeting with the council would be inappropriate.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the regional distribution of the final destination of coal imports from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the type of Government subsidy and the approximate subsidy per tonne of the coals imported into Britain from (a) Australia, (b) Poland, (c) the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, (d) South Africa and (e) Latin American countries ; if he will list comparable information on subsidies to British coal exports ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the present position in regard to the staffing of the offices of the proposed Director General of Electricity Supply ; and by what date he anticipates that provisional appointments will be made.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Planning for the establishment of the Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER) is under way. It is hoped that a suitable candidate for the post of Director General of Electricity Supply (DGES) will be identified in time for him or her to participate in the process of setting up OFFER. To this end, a firm of selection consultants has been appointed to assist my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland in finding a suitable candidate. Formal appointments to OFFER will take place after enactment of the Electricity Bill currently before Parliament.
Mr. Henderson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many vehicles and at what value were purchased by (a) his Department, (b) British Coal, (c) the electricity industry and (d) other public sector agencies for which he is responsible, in 1988 ; and how many of these vehicles were British-made within the definition of British as set out by the Department of Trade and Industry in its arrangement on content with the European Community.
(b) and (c) Purchases by British Coal, the electricity industry and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority are matters for the industries themselves. I have asked the respective chairmen to write to the hon. Member.
(d) The Oil and Pipelines Agency, for which I was then responsible, bought one vehicle ; it was non-British and cost £13, 277.
Mr. Bevan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what type of oil spill containment and treatment equipment is available, and within what time span, for any spills or seepages that may occur near the North Sea oil platforms and depots.
Mr. Parkinson : Stocks of oil spill containment and treatment equipment are held by the oil industry, in accordance with their contingency plans, and Government. All standby vessels around offshore oil installations carry spraying equipment and dispersants. These vessels are required to be within five nautical miles of the installation. Dispersants and spraying equipment, for use in aircraft and larger vessels, are based at strategic locations around the coast. Inflatable booms and skimmer systems for containment and recovery of oil from the sea surface are also available.
The response strategy employed largely depends on the size and nature of the spill and its location, but it is expected that, where necessary, oil companies will respond
Column 20quickly enough to prevent damage to the environment. Specifically, for spills of oil from platforms in near shore areas, operators are required to be able to mount an initial response within 30 minutes using treatment equipment held on the standby vessel. Back-up resources must then be made available within half the minimum time predicted for oil to reach the beach.
Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Vietnamese boat people have been permitted to become residents in the United Kingdom during the last 12 months for which figures are available ; and how many of these came via refugee camps in Hong Kong.
Mr. Renton : The total number of south-east Asian refugees accepted for settlement in the United Kingdom in 1988 is published in table 3 of the Home Office statistical bulletin 10/89 "Control of Immigration Statistics-- Fourth Quarter and Year 1988", a copy of which is in the Library. Of these, 205 came from Hong Kong. No further breakdown by nationality is available.
Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many citizens of Hong Kong were permitted to become resident in the United Kingdom during the last 12 months for which figures are available ; and what were the categories of reasons for these permissions.
|c|Acceptances for settlement in 1988 of British Dependent Territory|c| |c|Citizens from Hong Kong by category of acceptance|c| Acceptances |Number ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Completed four years in approved employment |160 Completed four years in permit-free employment |20 Husbands |160 Wives |320 Children |170 Other |320 |--- Total acceptances |1,150
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons convicted of attempted murder left prison in each of the last five years ; and what was the average length of detention in each year.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The information requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost because of the large number of cases that would require checking. The readily available information relates to the length of sentence imposed and is published annually in "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales", supplementary tables vol. 2 (tables S2.3 and S2.4 of the issue for 1987, Cm. 498). Copies are held in the Library.
Column 21currently serving sentences for attempted murder in United Kingdom prisons ; and what is their average length of sentence.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : It is estimated that on 31 December 1988 about 13 non-British citizens were serving sentences in prison service establishments in England and Wales for attempted murder. About half of them were serving life sentences. The lengths of sentence of those serving determinate sentences varied from under one year up to 30 years ; their average sentence was about 14 years.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there is any facility on the police national computer to distinguish between spent and unspent convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : There is at present no facility available on the police national computer to distinguish between convictions which are spent or unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. This is, however, one of the facilities being considered for implementation on the police national computer in due course.
Mr. Goodlad : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to consult the Firearms Consultative Committee before publishing security arrangements under the firearms legislation.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Advice on safe-keeping arrangements for firearms and shot guns will be contained in new guidance to the police on the administration of the firearms legislation. This will be issued, and made publicly available, at the end of May, in readiness for the introduction of the remaining provisions of the Act, and new rules, in the summer. There has been extensive consultation on the guidance with shooting and other interests. I regard it as important to have the Firearms Consultative Committee in place as soon as possible but the implementation of the new provisions cannot await consultation with the committee. It will, however, be open to the committee to keep under review and make recommendations on the administration and enforcement of the safe-keeping requirements.
Mr. Hunter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the availability of compensation for the families of pedestrians killed by police cars pursuing other vehicles.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The position in respect of compensation for injury, loss of life or damage to property following a road accident involving a police vehicle is in general the same as following any other road accident. Any compensation or other payments would normally be dealt with under insurance cover arrangements.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The nationality of remand prisoners is not recorded centrally. On 31 December 1988 the latest date for which information is readily available, central records show seven Libyan citizens serving sentences in prison service establishments in England and Wales.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many letters he has received to date about the Firearms Act 1988 (a) from when his proposals were first published until First Reading, (b) between First Reading and Royal Assent and (c) since Royal Assent until the latest available date.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The information is not kept in the precise form requested but figures compiled on a monthly basis from September 1987, when I announced our proposals, to March 1989 are as follows :
|Number ------------------------ 1987 September |819 October |904 November |962 December |407 1988 January |907 February |653 March |373 April |173 May |131 June |113 July |54 August |77 September |50 October |105 November |55 December |36 1989 January |89 February |120 March |78
Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make it his policy to comply with the recommendation of the Association of Chief Police Officers to create a national register for missing persons ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : My right hon. Friend has now received the association's report. They have requested that he consult the Central Conference of Chief Constables on its recommendations. This he is now doing.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when papers were referred to him concerning an entry clearance application made by Mrs. Robina Kausar at the post in Islamabad ; when it was discovered these papers had been lost and a duplicate referral requested from the post ; when Mrs. Kausar's husband in the United Kingdom was interviewed ; when a decision is to be taken on this application made at Islamabad on 24 August 1987 ; when he received the copy of a letter from the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) to the hon. Member for Bradford, West, dated 5 December 1988 concerning the case, stating it was to be treated with priority.
Mr. Renton : Mrs. Kausar's entry clearance application to join her husband, Mr. Muhammed Nazir, for settlement was referred to the immigration and nationality department on 12 January 1988 because documents submitted by the sponsor appeared to have been altered. At no time were any of the papers connected with this case mislaid, and I am sorry that the hon. Member was misinformed on this point. Owing to the large backlog of work in the Department, the application was not however considered until 21 November. I received a copy of the letter dated 5 December 1988 sent by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the hon. Member for Bradford, West on 12 December, by which time we had begun our inquiries into the employment aspects of the application. These were necessary after it was confirmed that Mr. Nazir had furnished forged documents in support of the maintenance requirements of the immigration rules.
It was not felt necessary to interview Mr. Nazir as our outstanding inquiries could more easily be answered by correspondence with the employer and solicitor. A decision to authorise settlement entry clearance was taken on 10 April immediately following receipt of a satisfactory reply on the employment aspect. Notification has been sent accordingly to the entry clearance officer in Islamabad who will contact Mrs. Kausar once it has been received.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he intends to take any further steps to enforce section 1 of the Protection of Children (Tobacco) Act 1986 in relation to the sale of individual cigarettes to young people under the age of 16 years.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Enforcement of the law on the sale of cigarettes to persons under the age of 16 is an operational matter for the chief officer of the police force concerned. If the hon. Member is aware of any general problem in the enforcement of the legislation, perhaps he would let us have the details.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what financial provision is made by the prison department for persons released from custody following their imprisonment for fine default.
Column 24default of payment of a fine receive a subsistence allowance to cover the period until they can reach an office of the Department of Social Security and a travel warrant or payment in cash for fares to their home address or destination.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what were the findings of the Audit Commission inquiry into the workings of the probation service ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what action his Department will be taking following receipt of the Audit Commission report entitled "The Probation Service, Promoting Value for Money".
Mr. John Patten [holding answer 14 April 1989] : The Audit Commission found that well planned and targeted probation work can be effective, and that there is an important role for the probation service to play in providing the courts with more commuity-based services. But the Audit Commission calls for several improvements, which have to be made before the probation service can do this : supervising offenders more effectively ; focusing activities more sharply on serious offenders ; better research and evaluation of effectiveness ; closer collaboration with the courts and other agencies ; and improving management systems.
I welcome the report. Further action on its important recommendations will be closely linked to action on the proposals set out in the Green Paper "Punishment, Custody and the Community", and the programme of work set out in part 2 of the Green Paper (and in "Tackling Offending : an Action Plan") is already in hand. Her Majesty's inspectorate of probation will be collaborating with the Audit Commission in a series of "value for money" audits in probation areas throughout England and Wales, starting in 1990.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners in England and Wales received notification of their actual parole date after the passing of their parole eligibility date.
Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 14 April 1989] : Accurate statistics of the number of cases where inmates have been notified of the outcome of their parole review after their parole eligibility date will not be available until a new computer system is operational. In 1988, about 6,100 parole dossiers were delayed beyond this target.
Mr. Winnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to what urgent action is being taken in the light of the recent arson attacks on bookshops ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 14 April 1989] : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that two attacks on London bookshops are at present being investigated. No conclusions can be drawn until the inquiries are complete.
Dr. Moonie : 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 [holding answer 13 April 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave to the hon. Member for Bradford, West (Mr. Madden) on 13 April 1989 at column 1046 and to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollock (Mr. Dunnachie) on 10 April 1989 at column 321.
Mr. Bidwell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give figures of numbers of cases requiring new consideration in the light of DNA blood tests ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Renton [holding answer 14 April 1989] : As DNA evidence can be produced at any stage of the entry clearance process, it is not readily possible to quantify the number of cases involved. A substantial number of applications and appeals have been resolved on the basis of DNA evidence which established the relevant relationships. A number of cases involving reapplicants who no longer qualify for admission have been deferred pending my right hon. Friend's decision on whether and in what circumstances to exercise his discretion outside the rules.
Mr. Renton [holding answer 14 April 1989] : Statistics are not kept on the number of refugees who belong to specific ethnic groups. The numbers of Sri Lankans granted asylum in the last three years are as follows :
|Number --------------------- 1986 |4 1987 |6 1988 |<1>9 <1> provisional.
Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 14 April 1989] : The hardware for the replacement police national computer was the subject of an open competition which was won by Siemens plc because its proposal offered best value for money.
Column 26occupations of special constables appointed by chief constables under section 16 of the Police Act 1964. Special constables appointed under other legislation are not a matter for my right hon. Friend, although we are aware of one case where employees of a security firm were provided under contract to the owners of a port and sworn in as special constables by the local justices.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Attorney-General what information he has on contacts between prosecution witnesses in the case of Hosni E. Farhat and Ahmed Gaddafi Aidain of Libya ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Stanbrook : To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on his policy towards the enforcement of the Shops Act 1950 in the light of the decision of Mr. Justice Warner to adjourn applications for injunctions brought on behalf of local authorities to restrain various do- it-yourself stores from Sunday trading.
The Attorney-General : Enforcement of the Shops Act 1950 is, by virtue of section 71 of that Act, the duty of the local authorities, which have the necessary powers. In my view, the possibility that provisions of any part of any Act may at a future date be held by the European Court of Justice to be incompatible with the United Kingdom's obligations under the treaty of Rome is irrelevant to the question of statutory responsibility for enforcement of such an Act. I accordingly consider that such responsibility in respect of the Shops Act is unaffected by article 177 references that have been made in certain cases, and that accordingly local authorities remain subject to their duty to enforce the Act.
The decision of Mr. Justice Warner was given in January in a case brought by the King's Lynn, Chester and Worcester local authorities. I understand they were seeking summary judgment on their applications for final injunctions against certain DIY stores. Mr. Justice Warner adjourned the applications on the ground, I understand, that the outcome of the references to the European Court of Justice in other cases would establish whether the defendants had an arguable case or not.
The learned judge's decision in my view does not conflict with the opinion I have here expressed as to responsibility for enforcement of the Shops Act.
The proceedings were unusual in that the local authority was seeking to show that the shops had no arguable case and that the authority should therefore have a final injunction immediately. The learned judge, in his discretion, thought this was premature. But, as I understand he was at pains to point out, it remains open to local authorities in England and Wales to seek interlocutory injunctions to restrain Sunday trading : nor does the decision have any bearing on discretionary considerations in the conduct of prosecutions.
Column 27the number of Queen's counsel excluding Treasury counsel, (b) the amount of total public money received by Queen's counsel, (c) the number of cases dealt with by Queen's counsel, (e) the number of cases prosecuted by Queen's counsel, (f) the average fee, brief and refreshers, in prosecution cases, (g) the number of criminal cases defended by Queen's counsel where payment was made from public funds, (h) the average fee for defence counsel, brief and refreshers, in criminal cases where payment was made from public funds, (i) the duration of average criminal case in which Queen's counsel appeared and (j) the average income of Queen's counsel from public funds ; and if he will make a statement.
The Attorney-General (holding answer 23 March 1989) : There are currently 673 Queen's counsel. In 1987-88, the average brief fee for a trial in the Crown court payable to Queen's counsel representing legally aided defendants was £3,273.20 and the average full day refresher was £271.30. The number of criminal cases defended by Queen's counsel where payment was made from public funds was around 1,440. The other information requested by the hon. Member is not readily available and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Attorney General if he will provide for the latest available 12 month period in respect of the Crown court (a) the total amount of public money received by junior counsel, (b) the number of cases dealt with by junior counsel, (c) the number of cases prosecuted by junior counsel, (d) the average fee, brief and refreshers, in prosecution cases prosecuted by junior counsel, (e) the number of criminal cases defended by junior counsel where payment was made from public funds and (f) the average fee for defence counsel, brief and refreshers, in criminal cases where payment was made from public funds ; and if he will make a statement.
The Attorney-General (holding answer 23 March 1989) : On 1987-88, the average brief fee for a trial in the Crown court payable to junior counsel representing legally aided defendants was £557.90, and the average full day refresher was £136. The number of cases defended by junior counsel where payment was made from public funds was around 94,030. The other information requested by the hon. Member is not readily available and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Attorney-General if he will provide for the latest available 12-month period, the duration of average criminal case in which junior counsel appeared, in days, the average income of junior counsel from public funds in respect of the magistrates' courts (a) the amount of total public money received by junior counsel, (b) the number of cases dealt with by junior counsel, (c) the number of cases prosecuted by junior counsel, (d) the average fee, brief and refreshers, in prosecution cases prosecuted by junior counsel, (e) the number of criminal cases defended by junior counsel where payment was made from public funds, (f) the average fee for defence counsel, brief and refreshers, in criminal cases where payment was made from public funds, (g) the duration of average criminal case in which junior counsel appeared, in hours, and (h) the average income of junior counsel from public funds ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Attorney-General if he will provide for the latest available 12-month period (a) the number of solicitors regularly practising in firms offering legal services to the public, (b) the number of solicitors regularly practising in the criminal courts, (c) the number of solicitors' firms on the criminal legal aid panel and (d) the number of solicitors firms on a duty solicitor scheme for police stations ; in respect of the Crown courts, what is (i) the amount of total public money received by solicitors retained to defend and (ii) the number of cases in which publicly funded solicitors instructed counsel to defend ; in respect of criminal cases in the magistrates' courts, what is (1) the amount of total public money received by solicitors, (2) the number of cases dealt with by solicitors, including those where junior counsel was instructed, (3) the average cost of publicly funded defence cases, and (4) the duration of average criminal cases in hours, in respect of 24 hour duty solicitor schemes, what is (A) the number of visits made to police stations, (B) the duration of the average visit, (C) the total cost and (D) the average cost ; and in respect of court based duty solicitor schemes, what is (a1) the number of defendants represented, (a2) the total cost and (a3) the average cost per defendant ; and if he will make a statement.
The Attorney-General [holding answer 23 March 1989] : There are currently 50,494 solicitors in England and Wales with practising certificates. In 1987-88, 405,000 payments were made out of the legal aid fund in respect of criminal cases in the magistrates' courts at an average cost of £281.21 per case. In 1987-88, 170,655 visits were made to police stations under the 24-hour duty solicitor scheme and the total cost of the scheme was £23.2 million, at an average cost per suspect of £85.38. In 1987-88, 99,864 defendants were represented under the magistrates courts duty solicitor scheme and the total cost of the scheme was £4.8 million, at an average cost per defendant of £28.88. The other information requested by the hon. Member is not readily available and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The details of what is discussed at meetings of NATO's Defence Ministers are confidential but NATO's Defence Ministers are briefed regularly on nuclear arms control matters, including nuclear testing.