Mr. Neubert : At 31 December 1988 soldier strength in the Royal Armoured Corps was 63 men, or 0.8 per cent., below its establishment of 8,039. Because the rank ranging system of filling posts is employed in the Royal Armoured Corps, it is not possible to split the establishment down into ranks, but the shortfall is at the bottom of the structure.
At 31 December 1988 officer strength in the Royal Armoured Corps was 1,268, 103 officers (8 per cent.) below establishment. Almost all the shortfall is at the rank of captain.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Ministry of Defence has no plans at present to dispose of the north site at RSRE Malvern. The possibility of establishing a science park using part of the site is under consideration.
Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he has taken following receipt of the feasibility plan for use of the RSRE north site Malvern, sent by PA Consultants in December 1987.
Mr. Sainsbury : The consultants report examined the feasibility of establishing a science park using part of the north site at RSRE, Malvern. Consideration is being given to the way ahead, taking into account our recent announcement of intentions regarding the defence research agency, in which RSRE would be included.
|c|United Kingdom imports of paper and paperboard, waste paper|c| |c|and paperboard and pulp 1979-88|c| £ million |Paper and paperboard|Waste paper and |Pulp |paperboard --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |1,081.6 |4.5 |384.3 1980 |1,104.9 |2.8 |395.9 1981 |1,321.1 |1.8 |436.7 1982 |1,409.3 |3.6 |408.4 1983 |1,575.9 |2.2 |425.8 1984 |1,874.6 |8.2 |603.5 1985 |2,057.9 |9.0 |496.8 1986 |2,182.2 |3.7 |519.6 1987 |2,632.6 |6.7 |650.6 1988 |3,014.6 |8.9 |716.4 Source: Overseas Trade Statistics Note: 1988 figures provisional.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement setting out the manner in which the adoption of the machine safety directive will facilitate the flow of trade within the EEC.
Mr. Maude : The aim of the machinery safety directive, which covers a wide range of machines, is the removal of barriers to trade through the harmonisation of legislation in member states. It lays down the essential requirements and certification procedures that machines have to meet to ensure free circulation throughout the Community. Once the directive has been adopted and implemented, manufacturers or their agents resident in the Community will be required to ensure their machines meet the relevant essential safety requirements before they can market their products in the European Community. Manufacturers can choose the method of meeting the essential requirements from a number of options, including the use of harmonised European standards. The adoption of this directive will help remove the special requirements that exist in some member states, which have prevented free trade in the past. As a result, an open, single market will be created, which will enable the United Kingdom industry to compete on an equal footing in the European Community.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when the report of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on artificial lower limbs is to be published ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 537conduct of the largest supplier of artifical lower limbs in the United Kingdom, InterMed Ltd., a subsidiary of BTR plc with a market share of 70 per cent., operated against the public interest. Chas A. Blatchford and Sons Ltd., with a 26 per cent. market share, was also a monopolist, but the Commission did not find any conduct of this company that operated against the public interest.
The commission found that InterMed, through its three subsidiaries--J. E. Hanger & Co. Ltd., Vessa Ltd., and Robert Kellie and Son Ltd.--had obtained prices for, and profits from, its supply of artificial lower limbs which were higher that could be expected in circumstances of normal competition. In addition, it had used its monopoly position to place unreasonable pressure on public sector purchasers, having regard to the nature of the sector, and had been unco-operative with them. Because of this InterMed had not given sufficient regard to the interests of patients.
The commission recommended that, subject to a report from the disablement services authority to the Director General of Fair Trading on the impact of the impending round of tendering for prosthetic services at certain disablement services centres on InterMed's business, InterMed should divest itself (within six months of 30 April 1989) either of Hanger or Vessa, and that neither company should be sold to Blatchfords. They also recommend that, both before and after such divestment, InterMed be required to supply the products in question to any public sector purchaser or contractor on the same terms, conditions and prices as they were made available to its own prosthetists and technicians ; and the Director General of Fair Trading invite a further report from the DSA by 30 September 1990 on the progress made towards promoting a more competitive market.
I welcome this report and accept the MMC's findings and conclusions. However, in view of current changes in the state of competition in this market, I am asking the Director General of Fair Trading to advise me as soon as possible whether in order to remedy the adverse effects the MMC identified it is still necessary to require InterMed to divest part of its artificial lower limbs activities. Also I am inviting the Director General to seek undertakings from BTR, or its subsidiary InterMed, not to discriminate between, on the one hand, public sector purchasers and contractors and, on the other, its own prosthetists and technicians in the supply of artificial lower limbs.
Mr. Maude : The Council, at which I represented the United Kingdom, adopted directives on secondary fertilisers and on the design and construction of side guards to be fitted to heavy goods vehicles. It also reached common positions on three proposals, as follows. The draft 11th company law directive requires companies from outside a member state that establish a place of business (or branch) in that member state to deliver certain documents, including accounting documents, to the relevant companies registry. The broadcasting directive will break down existing barriers to the free flow of television programmes across frontiers in
Column 538the Community ; and a directive on dangerous substances will harmonise restrictions on the marketing and use of seven dangerous substances and preparations.
The Council also discussed the proposal for an EC merger control regulation, and the draft directive on right of residence thoughout the Community for EC nationals not already deemed to have such a right under the free movement provisions of the Treaty of Rome.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what arrangements exist to control the import of urea from non-European Community countries ; and if he will list the tariffs imposed on each supplier nation.
Mr. Alan Clark : There are no quota restrictions on imports of urea into the United Kingdom, although certain overseas countries gave volume undertakings on their exports to the Community as a result of two anti- dumping investigations completed in 1987 and 1989. There are two EC import duty rates ; 11 per cent. for urea which contains 45 per cent. or more by weight of nitrogen on the dry anhydrous product and 8 per cent. for all other types. However, imports of urea from most developing countries are allowed into the EC duty free under GSP arrangements and under various EC trade agreements. The only exceptions are Venezuela and Mexico, whose imports under the 11 per cent. duty rate are subject to the full rate of duty, and Romania, for which all types of urea are subject to the full duty rate. Definitive anti-dumping duties are applicable to imports of urea from Libya, Saudi Arabia, the United States of America (with the exception of one company) and Venezuela.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on any proposal to renegotiate the counters contract and the Department of Social Security contract to the advantage of Girobank in the light of Alliance and Leicester's conditional offer of purchase.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he will place in the Library the information on publicity campaigns referred to in the answer to the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras on 10 April, Official Report, column 399.
Mr. George : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if British Aerospace sought authorisation from his Department for the flight to, and exhibition at, Baghdad, of an advanced Hawk trainer ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 539comment on individual licensing matters. Licences are required for the export to Iraq of military equipment which is subject to control under the Export of Goods (Control) Order (S.I. 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 of 29 October 1985, at column 454.
Mr. Alan Clark [holding answer 25 April 1989] : Licences are required for the export to all destinations of military aeroplanes which are subject to control under the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1987 (S.I. 1987 No. 2070) as amended.
Applications for such licences are considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with stringent export control procedures.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people are entitled to (a) the single retirement pension, and (b) the married couples' retirement pension ; and of these how many are currently affected, in each category, by the pensioners' earnings limit.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Statistics relating to entitlement to retirement pension cannot be broken down according to marital status. Approximately 2,500 individuals currently have their basic pension reduced on account of earnings over £75 a week. In addition, approximately 200,000 individuals deferring receipt of their state pension because of earnings over £75 a week may now choose to draw their pension.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he intends to implement the recommendations in the Oglesby report that mobility allowance tribunals and social security appeal tribunals should be amalgamated.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Under the present system, non-medical questions arising on mobility allowance claims are decided, on appeal, by social security appeal tribunals ; medical questions are decided by medical boards and thereafter, if necessary, by medical appeal tribunals. We have no plans at present to revise this aspect of medical adjudication.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make available any instructions issued since 1965 to staff in his Department whose duties involve either visiting or assessing claims from people who are mentally handicapped concerning the manner in which such claims are to be assessed.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : There have been no instructions on assessment of claims from mentally handicapped people, and their appointees, beyond those which apply to all claimants. A copy of the S' manual containing current assessment instructions is in the Library.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what special training is given to staff in his Department to make sure that they deal effectively and sympathetically with claims from people who are mentally handicapped and their families.
More detailed and specific training is given to social fund officers, and covers the need to recognise and appreciate the significance of disability, including mental handicap, and the problems and circumstances arising. This training is now available to all local office staff.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what evidence he has of the past underpayment of substantial amounts of supplementary benefit to mentally handicapped people because of inadequate assessment of their cases by staff in his Department ; and what steps he is taking to remedy this situation.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : There are no statistics available on the accuracy of the assessment in respect of claims for supplementary benefit from the mentally handicapped. The award of supplementary benefit, which was replaced in April 1988 by income support, is a matter for the independent statutory authorities.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish the names of the chairman and wing members of the Hartlepool social security appeal tribunal and give information of their backgrounds and the reasons they were considered suitable to serve on the tribunal.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The appointment of members and the nomination of the chairman to the Hartlepool social security appeal tribunal is the responsibility of the president, His Honour Judge Byrt, QC, and the hon. Member may care to contact him direct.
Mr. Scott : I am pleased to announce that all people, including asylum seekers, who are entitled to urgent case payments will in future receive the appropriate income support premiums, to which they are not entitled at present.
This follows a commitment I gave during the Committee stage of the Social Security Bill to consider the position of asylum seekers who claim income support.
Families, in particular, who are eligible for the payments will find themselves significantly better off as a result of these changes. All such families will gain £6.50 a week ; lone parents will gain £10.40 a week, and families
Column 541with a disabled child £13.00 a week. The representations in Committee referred to the level of benefit paid under the old rules to a lone parent with a disabled child. These changes will provide an extra £16.90 a week in those circumstances.
I intend to lay before the House regulations to bring these beneficial changes into effect from July.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will give for 1978, 1979 and 1988 for each social security office and each social security region, the number of (a) claimants and (b) dependants on (i) supplementary benefit or income support and (ii) family income support or family credit.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list for the Doncaster and Mexborough areas of South Yorkshire to date what statistical information he has as to the different reasons given by social fund officers (a) for negative decisions to claimants on (i) budgeting loans and (ii) partial awards and (b) to claimants for nil award decisions for (i) community care grants and (ii) partial awards.
The table gives the number of times that a reason for decision is used by social fund officers for determining a nil award for community care grants and budgeting loans.
No information is collected on reasons for decision for partial awards.
An application can be refused for more than one reason. The total number of reasons for decision used will be equal to or greater than the number of applications refused. Information on the numbers of applications processed and awards is available in the Library.
|Number -------------------------------------------------------------- Doncaster East Budgeting Loans-Reasons for Decision Savings over £500 meet the full cost: |2 Not in receipt of IS: |79 Not in receipt of IS for 26 weeks: |429 Item(s) excluded by direction: |71 Applicant excluded: |4 Applied for less than £30: |38 Adjusted amount less than £30: |12 Total debt exceeds £1,000: |0 Previous application and decision for the item: |51 Inability to repay: |16 Help available from other source. |7 Priority too low to meet from the budget. |492 Alternative available to whole application. |4 Loan refused because CCG awarded. |33 Others not covered above. |74 Community Care Grants-Reasons for Decision Savings over £500 meet the full cost: |0 Not in receipt of IS and unlikely to qualify: |29 Item(s) excluded by Direction: |19 Applicant excluded by Direction: |0 Applied for less than £30: |7 Adjusted amount less than £30: |2 Previous application and decision for the item: |15 Help available from another source. |3 Priority too low to meet from the budget. |3 Alternative available to the whole application |1 Others not covered above. |271
|Number ------------------------------------------------------------- Doncaster West Budgeting Loans-Reasons for Decision Savings over £500 meet the full cost |1 Not in receipt of IS |126 Not in receipt of IS for 26 weeks |315 Item(s) excluded by direction |70 Applicant excluded |1 Applied for less than £30 |34 Adjusted amount less than £30 |18 Total debt exceeds £1,000 |0 Previous application and decision for the item |48 Inability to repay |70 Help available from another source |22 Priority too low to meet from the budget |328 Alternative available to whole application |24 Loan refused because CCG awarded |35 Others not covered above |121 Community Care Grants-Reasons for decision Savings over £500 meet the full cost |3 Not in receipt of IS and unlikely to qualify |38 Item(s) excluded by direction |18 Applicant excluded by direction |1 Applied for less than £30 |11 Adjusted amount less than £30 |2 Previous application and decision for the item |14 Help available from another source |6 Priority too low to meet from the budget |4 Alternative available to whole application |3 Others not covered above |345
|Number -------------------------------------------------------------- Wath on Dearne Budgeting loans-reasons for decision Savings over £500 meet the full cost: |0 Not in receipt of IS: |73 Not in receipt of IS for 26 weeks: |227 Item(s) excluded by direction: |42 Applicant excluded: |1 Applied for less than £30: |13 Adjusted amount less than £30: |2 Total debt exceeds £1,000: |0 Previous application and decision for the item: |14 Inability to repay: |15 Help available from another source. |0 Priority too low to meet from the budget. |182 Alternative available to whole application. |0 Loan refused because CCG awarded. |18 Others not covered above. |80 Community care grants-reasons for decision Savings over £500 meet the full cost: |0 Not in receipt of IS and unlikely to qualify: |26 Item(s) excluded by direction: |13 Applicant excluded by direction: |2 Applied for less than £30: |3 Adjusted amount less than £30: |0 Previous application and decision for the item: |0 Help available from another source. |2 Priority too low to meet from the budget. |1 Alternative available to the whole application. |0 Others not covered above. |15
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria were used in choosing the members of the British delegation to the CSCE information forum starting in London on 18 April ; what consideration was given to consulting trade union representatives from unions whose members are involved in the collection and dissemination of news, current affairs and cultural matters, in the process of selection and nomination for selection ; and what consideration was given to consulting other representative bodies in the media and cultural field.
Mrs. Chalker : Invitations to join the British delegation to the London information forum were issued to a large number of people, with a view to constituting a balanced and representative team able to bring appropriate expertise to a wide agenda. The formation of the delegation was preceded by consultations attended by numerous organisations. The TUC did not respond to our invitation to participate or supply comments.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what criteria were used in deciding the appointment of the leader of the British delegation to the CSCE information forum, starting in London on 18 April.
Mrs. Chalker : Having decided that the British delegation should if possible be led by a personality from outside Government, Ministers sought an eminent and independent individual with a sound knowledge of public affairs and wide experience of the written and broadcast media. Britain is in fact the only country whose delegation is led by a person from outside Government.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what account he took of Lord Rees-Mogg's record of service at The Times, the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Broadcasting Standards Council in deciding to make the appointment of the leader of the British delegation to the CSCE information forum.
Mrs. Chalker : Lord Rees-Mogg was invited to lead the United Kingdom delegation to the London information forum because of his wide experience of public affairs and of the written and broadcast media.
Mrs. Chalker : The governor is the personal representative of the Queen in Hong Kong. He is responsible to the Secretary of State. He directs the administration of Hong Kong and is the commander-in-chief of the British forces stationed in Hong Kong. As head of the Hong Kong Government he presides at meetings of the Executive Council. He is also president of the Legislative Council.
Mrs. Chalker : Our interests will be principally met by the effective implementation of the Joint Declaration and the maintenance of Hong Kong as an international financial and commercial centre. Against this background we are encouraging the private sector to build on our existing commercial successes in Hong Kong both as an important market in its own right and as an export centre for the Asia Pacific region. We will continue to foster our cultural links with the territory. We are actively preparing to establish a British consulate-general for the promotion of our interests in Hong Kong after 1997.
Mrs. Chalker : Our prime objective is the continued stability and prosperity of Hong Kong and its people. To this end we are committed to fulfil our responsibility for the administration of Hong Kong until 30 June 1997 and to ensure the full and faithful implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong. We also aim to foster and strengthen Britain's commercial and other links with Hong Kong up to and beyond 1997.
91. Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what level of financial assistance he is giving or planning to give to other nations to ensure that no extra financial burden is placed upon them in moving away from chlorofluorocarbon-based technology.
Mr. Chris Patten : Within our overseas aid programme we are ready to respond positively to requests for assistance from development countries. For example, the Government are willing to help countries find ways of avioding the use of CFCs and to examine the implications of CFC-free strategies. We have just offered India £40 million of new local costs aid for environmental projects. Most of this is expected to be spent on forestry, but it is also available to help that country adopt alternative practices to the use of CFCs.
Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy with respect to the support grades in his Department (a) what is the number of staff employed, (b) how many vacancies there are and how many of these have existed for over one month and over three months, (c) how many temporary and casual appointments there are and (d) how much overtime was worked by them in London and elsewhere.
Mr. Parkinson : As at 1 April 1989 numbers in the support grades were 51, of whom one was a casual. There was one vacancy of more than one month's standing. Overtime averages 290 hours per month in London for 47 staff and 60 hours per month elsewhere for four staff.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will list the areas of British Coal in order of production levels and the number of major injuries sustained in each area as a proportion of the work force.
|c|Rate of Major Injuries per 100,000 manshifts|c| Area-Group<1> |Number -------------------------------------------- Notts |2.70 North Yorkshire |2.93 South Yorkshire |2.75 Central |2.33 North East |2.88 North West |2.36 South Wales |3.78 Scottish |3.70 Kent |3.90 <1>Listed in order of revenue output during 1988-89
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is the number of licensed mines currently in operation ; how many people are employed therein ; and what proportion of these workers have suffered significant industrial injury in each of the past 10 years.
Mr. Michael Spicer : As at December 1988 there were 166 licensed mines operating in Britain, employing just over 2,000 men. Information which shows whether these particular men have suffered significant injuries is not available. However, the major accident rates for licensed mines for the years for which information is available are as follows :
|c|Accident rates in licensed mines (for 1, 000 men)|c| |Number ---------------------- 1986-87 |21.90 1987-88 |21.60 1988-89 |13.3
Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy which non- fossil fuel technologies the Government regard as sufficiently established to provide substantial generation in the United Kingdom on a time scale of 15 years.
In addition, tidal and wind energy, landfill gas and the combustion of solid wastes have the potential to make a substantial contribution within 15 years.
Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) what is his policy on the role to be played by nuclear power in this country and abroad in helping to reduce and control the greenhouse effect ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he is able to estimate the probable reduction per year in the level of carbon dioxide emissions, expressed in million tonnes, by substituting one pressurised water reactor for an equivalent capacity coal-fired station ;
Column 546(3) whether a United Kingdom pro-rata contribution to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent. of their 1988 levels, as called for in the Toronto conference statement to combat the greenhouse effect, could be met solely through Government-led energy conservation, the increased use of renewable energy sources and the novel coal burning technologies currently under development ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Nuclear power is already making a significant contribution to curbing emissions of carbon dioxide both here and abroad and I believe that it has an important contribution to make as part of any future international response to the threat of manmade climate change. I estimate that in broad terms substitution of a large PWR for equivalent coal-fired generation might reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 6 million tonnes a year.
The inter-governmental panel on climate change, to which the United Kingdom has given its full support, is currently conducting a wide-ranging review of the climate change issue ; it is therefore inappropriate to consider specific emission reduction targets at this time. It is likely, however, that any response would vary according to the economic and technical circumstances of individual countries and involve a wide range of measures including improved efficiency in both the supply and use of energy as well as moves toward less carbon-intensive fuels. My Department's policies for encouraging economic energy efficiency, the development of renewable energy sources, and diversity in supply are a firm basis for any future action.
Mr. Peter Morrison : An Order in Council has today been laid before Parliament, the main effect of which is to bring gas storage and accommodation installations, and mobile installations in transit, within the scope of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The general provisions of the 1974 Act were applied offshore in 1977. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (Application outside Great Britain) (Variation) Order 1989 brings the definitions of offshore installation and pipeline into line with those currently in force in other offshore safety legislation.