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The Prime Minister : As far as I am aware I have not received any recent representations on increases in petrol prices. However, since the Budget the price difference between unleaded and leaded petrol has widened to reflect the enhanced tax advantage for unleaded introduced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what percentage of properties owned by his Department and suitable for residential accommodation have been empty for (i) up to a year and (ii) over a year ; and where these properties are located, by region of the United Kingdom or local authority area.
Mr. Forth : According to reports from hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales, 877 people required treatment for injuries caused by fireworks during the three weeks leading up to 5 November 1988 and the few days after. This is 83 fewer than in 1987.
I am encouraged by these figures, which show a fall on last year, particularly as they show a significant 18 per cent. reduction in the number of street injuries and to children under 16.
Our safety campaigns last year highlighted the penalties facing shopkeepers who sell fireworks to children under 16 and individuals who let off fireworks in the street. I am pleased to see that the greatest reductions in injuries have been in the prime target groups of our campaigns, but we shall continue to seek greater safety all round.
We shall discuss with trading standards officers and industry how we can further improve standards of fireworks, particularly imports, and ways of testing their safety. The table sets out the figures of firework injuries in Great Britain over a four-week period in October/November 1988.
|c|Firework injuries in Great Britain|c| |c|(Four-week period in October to November)|c| Year |1988|1987|1986|1985|1984 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total |877 |960 |846 |968 |778 Place of accident: 1. Family or private party |300 |260 |286 |255 |231 2. Semi-public display (eg scouts, cricket club) |69 |88 |72 |76 |65 3. Large public display |123 |155 |119 |117 |108 4. Casual incident in street etc. |298 |364 |299 |435 |298 5. Other place |65 |73 |52 |64 |59 6. Indoors |22 |20 |18 |21 |17 Type of firework 1. Banger |162 |163 |161 |241 |175 2. Rocket |164 |174 |159 |197 |115 3. Roman candle, coloured fire etc. |83 |96 |88 |90 |103 4. Home-made or extracted powder |17 |24 |14 |27 |21 5. Other proprietary fireworks |86 |109 |118 |73 |74 6. Sparklers |102 |95 |80 |67 |65 7. Unspecified type |263 |299 |226 |273 |225 Severity of injury 1. Fatal injury |- |- |- |- |1 2. Detained more than one night |69 |60 |48 |53 |55 3. Sufficient to cause absence from work or equivalent |167 |158 |160 |231 |161 4. Minor injury |587 |661 |582 |632 |506 5. Unspecified injury |54 |81 |56 |52 |55 Eye injuries (included in 2 to 5) |269 |312 |291 |341 |295 Age group of injured persons 1. Over 20 |280 |252 |235 |214 |180 2. 16 to 20 |151 |168 |145 |161 |109 3. 13 to 15 |166 |220 |207 |271 |208 4. Under 13 |280 |320 |259 |322 |281
Mr. Skinner : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he intends to appoint inspectors under section 432 of the Companies Act to investigate Blue Arrow and the Peter de Savary deal ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) by how much United Kingdom manufacturers' percentage share of the visual display unit market has fallen since 1986 ; what assessment he has made of the reasons for this fall ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what action he is taking to arrest the continuing decline of United Kingdom manufacturers' percentage share of the visual display unit market.
Mr. Forth : United Kingdom manufacturers' sales, as a percentage of the United Kingdom market for visual display units, fell from 64 per cent. in 1986 to 47 per cent. in the first nine months of 1988. The figures do not include VDUs that are manufactured and incorporated on site into complete systems, such as personal computers.
Since early 1987 IBM United Kingdom has manufactured a high proportion of its own VDUs at its British PC plant, and the fact that these are not included in the published VDU statistics is a significant factor in explaining the apparent decline.
Decisions about sourcing policy are a matter for the commercial judgment of individual busineses. The Government's responsibility is to create the right economic climate and to encourage enterprise. My Department has available a wide range of assistance to companies under the enterprise initiative.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when the report of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the supply of opium derivatives is to be published ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : The report is published today. The Monopolies and Mergers Commission found that a company with around 87 per cent. of the market in the supply of specified opium derivatives has exploited this monopoly situation by engaging in price discrimination and has been enabled to charge high prices in the domestic market, leading to very high levels of profit. The commission concluded that these practices were against the public interest.
The commission established that Macfarlan Smith Ltd, a subsidiary of Glaxo plc, had around 87 per cent. of the market in the supply of morphine, codeine, dihydrocodeine, diamorphine, ethylmorphine and pholcodine and was therefore a scale monopolist as defined in the Fair Trading Act 1973. The only other manufacturer is the Boots Company plc, which produced codeine and small amounts of morphine, principally for use in-house.
Opium derivatives are subject to domestic and international controls under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the United Nations single convention on narcotic drugs 1961 and any person wishing to manufacture or process these products in the United Kingdom, or to import them, requires a Home Office licence. There are no imports of opium derivatives into the United Kingdom because it has been Home Office policy for many years not to issue import licences. The commission stated in its report that to increase competition in this market was of prime importance. It recommended that the Home Office, in conjunction with other Government Departments, should work towards the creation of a single EC market in the reference products through the reciprocal opening up of trade between EC member countries as soon as possible and not later than 1992. It also concluded that a measure of price protection for Macfarlan Smith's customers in the United Kingdom was necessary and recommended that the company should be required not to increase its maximum prices for reference products to these customers for a period of three years, except in the event of substantial and unavoidable increases in its costs.
We accept the commission's findings that the monopoly has effects adverse to the public interest and agree that it is most important to increase competition in this market. Therefore my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State will discuss with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, the best means to relieve Macfarlan Smith's customers from the company's abuse of its monopoly power while maintaining adequate safeguards against illicit trade. We hope to achieve this quickly so that a price freeze in the interim will not be necessary. Meanwhile my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State is inviting the Director General of Fair Trading to seek an undertaking from the monopolist that it will continue to make its list of maximum prices available to customers.
Mr. Newton : After detailed discussion with a number of interested parties, the Post Office board has decided to accept the conditional offer made by the Alliance and Leicester building society to purchase Girobank plc. I have endorsed this decision which I am satisfied takes full account of the factors for the sale set out by myself and my predecessor.
I understand that the Alliance and Leicester's conditional offer to the Post Office is to acquire the equity and subordinated debt of Girobank for £130 million subject to completion adjustments. The Post Office will now enter into detailed negotiations with the Alliance and Leicester with a view to completion as soon as practicable within the coming weeks. My consent will be required before the final sale can take place.
In addition, the requirements of the relevant competition legislation will need to be satisfied and the agreement of the Bank of England will be needed to the operation of the bank under a new owner. If the negotiations are successful the Alliance and Leicester will also need to satisfy the Building Societies Commission before the sale is completed.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if, in the light of the attendance of British arms companies at the forthcoming Baghdad international arms fair, he has any plans to change the current restrictions on the export of arms to Iraq.
Mr. Alan Clark [holding answer 19 April 1989] : There are no plans to change the current restrictions on the export of arms to Iraq which impose an embargo on the export of lethal equipment. A licence is required for the export to Iraq of goods which are subject to control under the Export of Goods (Control) Order, 1987, (SI 1987 No. 2070) as amended.
Applications for such licences are examined in particular against the guidelines on the export of defence equipment to Iran and Iraq announced to the House by my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary on 29 October 1985 at column 454. The guidelines are kept under review in the light of developments in the situation there.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will indicate the criteria relating to the gravity of human rights violations committed by countries in relation to which arms export licences are sought which he uses in deciding whether to grant such licences.
Mr. Alan Clark [holding answer 19 April 1989] : A licence is required for the export of arms which are subject to control under the Export of Goods (Control) Order, 1987 (SI 1987 No. 2070) as amended. Licence applications are considered on a case by case basis, in accordance with stringent export control procedures which include, in particular, an assessment of the human rights record of the country concerned.
It is not our practice to grant a licence for the export of equipment which is likely to be used for internal repression.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list all current publicity campaigns being conducted by or for the Department of Trade and Industry or ones planned for the first three months of 1989-90, indicating those which involve television advertising and the starting and finishing dates of each campaign.
Campaign |Start |Completion ---------------------------------------------------------------- Enterprise Initiative<1> |January 1988|continuing Single European Market |March 1988 |continuing Export Initiative |January 1989|continuing Bridge Programme<2> |March 1989 |May 1989 <1> Includes television advertising in the period April to June 1989. <2> On behalf of all Government Departments.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of district health authorities and family practitioner committee membership in England and Wales (a) in 1979 and (b) currently is made up of trade union nominees ; and if he will make a statement on the criteria he uses in appointing district health authority and family practitioner committee members.
Mr. Mellor : In England district health authorities have only existed in their present form since 1982. No information is available centrally about members of family practitioner committees in 1979, since at that time they were appointed by area health authorities. In England, currently 33 family practitioner committee members were nominated by trade unions. Information is not held centrally about district health authority members since they are appointed by the relevant regional health authority and local authorities. When appointing family practitioner committee members we endeavour to achieve a reasonable balance of age, sex, experience and geographical location. Regional health authorities are asked to do the same when appointing DHA members. However, all members are appointed on the basis of the individual contribution they can make and not to represent any personal or sectional interest.
Information relating to Wales is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. Freeman : The Government have today introduced the Human Organ Transplants Bill which seeks to ban the sale of human organs intended for transplant. The Bill would make it a criminal offence to : make or receive payment for supplying, or offering to supply, an organ from a dead or living person ;
act as a broker for such an arrangement ;
advertise organs or for organs to be provided for payment ; transplant an organ from a living donor who is not closely related (cousin or closer relative) to the recipient, unless certain conditions are satisfied. These conditions would be set out in the regulations.
The regulations would specify the way in which the relationship between voluntary donor and recipient would be established and the conditions which would have to be satisfied for those who are not closely related. Responsibility for ensuring that the regulations were being complied with would be given to such authority as would be set up under those regulations.
Mr. Mellor : We have already issued advice on the effects of a judgment by the High Court on applications for the minor relocation of a pharmacy. We have been discussing these effects and a number of other matters with interested parties and will issue draft guidance for comment shortly.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list for each district health authority (a) the establishment of medical physicists appropriately qualified to carry out the duties identified in circulars HC (89) 8 and HN (FP) (89) 8 and (b) the number of such appropriately qualified physicists in post at the latest available date.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the staffing levels recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection for radiotherapy physicists in terms of new courses on radiotherapy treatment.
Mr. Mellor : In 1985 the international commission on radiological protection published a document entitled "Protection of the Patient in Radiation Therapy". Page 39 of that document states that one of the goals for radiation oncology staffing is one medical physicist per 400 new patients treated per year.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list for each region (a) the number of radiotherapy physicists required to fulfil the staffing levels recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection in terms of new courses of radiotherapy treatment and (b) the number of such radiotherapy physicists currently in post.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many general practitioners there were in (a) 1979 and (b) in the latest year for which figures are available ; and what is his estimate of future trends.
|c|Unrestricted principals in England|c| As at 1 October |Number ------------------------------------------------ 1979 |21,357 1987 |24,922 1988 |<1>25,322 <1> Provisional.
The second advisory committee for medical manpower planning, which reported earlier this year assumed a growth of 1.5 per cent. per annum until the early 1990s followed by a decrease of 0.5 per cent. per annum up to 2005. Paragraph 7.22 of the White Paper "Working for Patients" sets out the Government's policy on GP numbers.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of properties owned by his Department and suitable for residential accommodation have been empty for (i) up to a year and (ii) over a year ; and where these properties are located, by region of the United Kingdom or local authority area.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the maximum amount of alcohol that is assessed as acceptable for babies to consume daily ; and if he will request the manufacturers of gripe water to label their products with the percentage of alcohol contained, to reconsider the amount of the recommended dose, and to display warnings of the dangers of exceeding it.
Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the cost of the family practitioner service in 1978-79 and in 1987 -88 ; and what was the total cost of drugs prescribed by general practitioners at those two dates.
Mr. Mellor : The gross costs of the family practitioner services in England, including capital expenditure but excluding administration and related costs, were £1,434 million in 1978-79, and £4,210 million in 1987-88. The gross cost of drugs prescribed by general practitioners in 1978-79 and 1987-88 were £558 million and £1,547 million respectively.
|Number --------------------- 1984 |952 1985 |1,286 1986 |1,138 1987 |1,027 1988 |1,162
In addition some complaints are resolved by family practitioner committees on an informal basis with the agreement of the parties concerned.
Effective from 1 April |Personal secretary |Higher clerical officer |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1974 |1,773 |1,995 1975 |2,274 |2,553 <1>1975 |2,388 |2,691 1976 |2,700 |3,003 1977 |2,843 |3,153 1978 |3,104 |3,452 1979 |3,787 |4,240 1980 |4,317 |4,834 1981 |4,571 |5,119 1982 |4,845 |5,426 1983 |5,063 |5,670 1984 |5,291 |5,925 1985 |5,529 |6,191 1986 |5,885 |6,556 1987 |6,148 |6,884 1988 |6,474 |7,228 <1> Effective from 1 July.
Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has about the practice of some health authorities of paying secretaries on the general adminstrative grade plus proficiency allowances ; and if he will give a statement.
Column 265with agreements reached in the administrative and clerical staffs Whitley council. Under existing agreements proficiency allowances are not payable to staff on the general adminstrative grade.
Mr. Freeman : Provision and planning of local health services is a matter for the district and regional health authorities. Since responsibility for South Yorkshire lies with four district health authorities--Barnsley, Doncaster,
Column 266Rotherham and Sheffield--the hon. Member may care to write to the chairman of the Trent regional health authority for the information he seeks.
Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what percentage of officers in grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, respectively, and overall in his Department are (a) women and (b) members of ethnic minorities.
Total Women <1>Recorded ethnic minorities |Number |Number |Percentage|Number |Percentage ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- All grades |14,880 |6,745 |45.0 |384 |2.6 Grade 1 |1 |0 |- |0 |- Grade 2 |3 |0 |- |0 |- Grade 3 |18 |1 |5.6 |0 |- Grade 4 |15 |0 |- |0 |- Grade 5 |92 |8 |8.7 |1 |1.0 Grade 6 |110 |0 |- |2 |1.8 Grade 7 |645 |42 |6.5 |14 |2.2 <1> Figures for numbers of ethnic minority staff are based on a voluntary confidential survey of staff; the response rate was 72 per cent. overall and 84 per cent. for grades 1 to 7.
Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department last conducted a survey of the ethnic origin of its employees ; when it next plans to do so ; and whether he will make a statement.