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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 3 May 1989


Objects in Lieu

Mr. Faulds : To ask the Minister for the Arts which of the offers of objects in lieu of tax during the financial year 1988-89 listed in his answer on 24 April, Official Report , column 432 , carried a condition as to destination ; if he will give the relevant particulars ; whether he will give particulars of the 10 portraits satisfying tax of £260,717 ; and whether he will give the total sum of tax thus satisfied during the year in question, with a breakdown into (a) the total covered by the basic provision and (b) the total covered by recourse to the reserve.

Mr. Luce : Among the items accepted in lieu of tax in the financial year 1988-89 referred to in my answer of 24 April, Official Report , c. 432 , the following carried conditions :

Print by William Blake--conditional upon allocation to the Fitzwilliam Museum.

"The Artist's Studio" by Tillemans--conditional upon allocation to the Castle Museum, Norwich.

Roubiliac busts--conditional upon remaining in situ at Mellerstain House.

Kauffman portraits--conditional upon allocation to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

"Fabula" by El Greco--conditional upon allocation to the National Galleries of Scotland.

The £260,717 referred to in the answer of 24 April has been paid in respect of nine portraits accepted in lieu of tax (a tenth portrait was withdrawn at a late stage) ; further details of the acceptance of this conditional offer and allocation will be announced shortly by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Scotland.

The total tax satisfied during the 1988-89 financial year was £6, 719,816.88, of which £2 million was covered by the basic provision and £4,719,816.88 was spent from the Reserve. The total includes £30 additional tax on the Kauffman portraits, announced as £34,100 in the reply of 24 April.


Indecent and Obscene Items (Seizure)

Mr. Gerald Howarth : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many indecent or obscene items have been seized by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise under the Customs and Excise Act 1952 and the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 in each year since 1979.

Mr. Lilley : The number of indecent or obscene items seized by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, under these Acts, in each year since 1979 was as follows :



1979-80 |98,300         

1980-81 |66,600         

1981-82 |83,500         

1982-83 |172,000        

1983-84 |170,000        

1984-85 |43,400         

1985-86 |53,100         

1986-87 |33,000         

1987-88 |29,000         

1988-89 |24,000         

The European Court of Justice ruled in 1985 that the prohibition on the importation from the European Community of indecent or obscene articles imposed by section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act 1876 is not lawful under article 36 of the treaty of Rome, unless the domestic manufacture and sale of these articles was also prohibited by United Kingdom legislation.

The effect of the ruling was that :

(a) Customs could continue to seize obscene material but not, with the exception of material involving children, seize indecent material ; and

(b) Customs could no longer seize items such as sex aids which can be legally sold on the home market.

Although the decision of the European Court of Justice related solely to material imported from the Community, Customs and Excise consider that it would be inequitable and impracticable not to apply the same standards to all imports. The changes following from this ruling account for the decline in the number of items seized since 1985.

Fuel Duty

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the duty paid on (a) aviation kerosene and (b) fuels used by commercial vehicles.

Mr. Lilley : The effective rate of duty on aviation kerosene is nil.

Most commercial vehicles use diesel fuel (DERV), some use petrol and a few use liquified petroleum gas (LPG). The rates of duty are :

                   |£1 litre         


DERV               |0.1729           



  (unleaded)       |0.1772           

  (leaded, 4 star) |0.2044           


LPG                |0.1022           

Exchange Equalisation Account Act

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will introduce legislation to amend section 4 of the Exchange Equalisation Account Act 1979 so as to provide that the Comptroller and Auditor- General's certificate on the operations on and transactions in connection with the account is accompanied by information of the losses incurred each month.

Mr. Lilley : No. I see no reason to change the practice of successive Governments regarding the disclosure of details of the exchange equalisation account.

Personal Equity Plans

Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from investment trusts and unit trusts about personal equity plans ; and if he will make a statement.

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Mr. Norman Lamont : I have received representations from a number of investment trusts and unit trusts, and from the Association of Investment Trust Companies. The main concern is that investment trusts in particular will find it difficult to meet the requirement from 6 April 1990 that, to qualify for investment through a personal equity plan, 75 per cent. of their own investment must be in United Kingdom ordinary shares. The Government have therefore decided to introduce four relaxations :

(i) To help investment and unit trust PEP schemes in existence before the Budget, an investor will have the option of investing up to £750 a year in an investment or unit trust which does not satisfy the 75 per cent United Kingdom requirement. This will be an alternative to investing up to £2,400 in trusts which do satisfy the requirement.

(ii) Third market and unquoted shares of United Kingdom companies in a unit or investment trusts' portfolio will count towards the 75 per cent. test.

(iii) Unit trust "funds of funds" will be qualifying investments, provided that the unit trusts in which the fund of funds invests are authorised securities schemes. From 6 April 1990, funds of funds must also comply with the requirement to invest at least 75 per cent. in United Kingdom equities.

(iv) Investment trusts' "capital" and "income" shares will also count towards the 75 per cent. test, as will other ordinary shares issued by them. This will enable investment trusts (and unit trusts) to invest in United Kingdom investment trusts which issue capital or income shares rather than ordinary shares. But, as with unit trust "funds of funds", the underlying investments must, overall, be 75 per cent. in United Kingdom companies.

The Personal Equity Plan Regulations 1989 will be amended in due course to reflect these changes.


Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information he has to the level of exports as a percentage of total production in the United Kingdom in 1974, 1979 and 1989 ; and what are the comparable figures in other Group of Seven countries.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 28 April 1989] : Figures for 1974, 1979 and 1987, the latest year for which comparable figures are available, are given in "OECD National Accounts" volume 1 1960-1987 for all the countries in question except the United Kingdom. Figures for the United Kingdom can be found in the CSO publication "Economic Trends Annual Supplement" and in the CSO press release of 17 March 1989.


Medical Schools

Mr. Michael Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what extra provision will be made in medical schools for students to receive course tuition in general practice business management ; and whether such provision will be made additional to, or within, the current curriculum.

Mr. Jackson : Medical education and training follows the recommendations of the education committee of the General Medical Council. These already provide for training in administrative and managerial skills to be given as part of the postgraduate, vocational phase of medical training.

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University Teachers (Early Retirement)

Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many university teachers have taken early retirement in each year since 1979 (a) in total, (b) in each university and (c) in each subject.

Mr. Jackson : The available information is as given in my reply of 10 February 1989 at columns 842-842. Details for individual institutions and subjects are not held centrally.

Teacher Training

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what arrangements will apply for the approval of courses of initial teacher training when the term of office of the members of the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education expires at the end of 1989.

Mr. Kenneth Baker : As I announced yesterday, I am today issuing a consultation document setting out my proposals in detail and asking for comments by 30 June. I have placed a copy in the Library. I propose that the council is reconstituted, that the criteria for the approval of courses are made tougher, and that the role of local committees in the accreditation process is strengthened.



Mr. Faulds : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking within the European Economic Community Council of Ministers to ensure that the aid provided through Lome conventions III and IV to the Ethiopian Government is administered in the interests of, and actually reaches, those for whom it is intended.

Mr. Chris Patten : We are actively involved in examining proposals prepared by the Commission for development assistance to Ethiopia under the Lome conventions through our participation in the European development fund committee, on which all member states are represented. We have consistently stressed to the Commission the importance of close monitoring of such assistance to ensure that the aid reaches the intended beneficiaries.

Overseas Aid

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will estimate the total British public and private overseas aid for 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chris Patten : This figure is not yet available.


Whooping Cough Vaccine Cases (Legal Aid)

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Attorney-General for what reason legal aid has been terminated for whooping cough vaccine cases ; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General : There is no policy to terminate legal aid in whooping cough vaccine cases. Each case is

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being re-examined individually following the judgment in Loveday v. Renton as, under the Civil Legal Aid (General) Regulations 1989, the Legal Aid Board is required to reassess legal aid certificates in the light of new information or knowledge. The Lord Chancellor may not intervene, or influence the decisions of the Legal Aid Board.


Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Prime Minister if, during her visit to the kingdom of Morocco on 28 March 1989, she raised the matter of the non- aligned states' policy towards the 1990 nuclear non-proliferation treaty review conference.

The Prime Minister : No.

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Prime Minister if, during her visit to Nigeria on 29 March, she raised the matter of the status of the nuclear non -proliferation treaty, and the prospects for the 1990 non-proliferation treaty review conference, with Ministers of the Nigerian Government.

The Prime Minister : No.


Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister when the Cabinet Office started and completed the review of the 1985 conventions governing Government advertising ; when the revised commentary was issued to Departments ; and whether she will place a copy of them in the Library.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 2 May 1989] : A review of the conventions on Government publicity and advertising took place in early 1988. Consolidated supplementary guidance was issued by the Cabinet Office to Departments in March 1989 and I am arranging for a copy to be placed in the Library of the House.

Namibia (Uranium)

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Prime Minister if, during her recent visit to Namibia, she raised with the authorities there the future of Namibian uranium procurement for United Kingdom nuclear weapons and nuclear power programmes.

The Prime Minister : No.

Sir Alan Walters

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Prime Minister (1) if she will publish in the Official Report a list of Sir Alan Walters' outside interests ;

(2) what are Sir Alan Walters' connections with the Centre for Policy Studies.

The Prime Minister : Sir Alan Walters is a private individual who has a consulting contract with the Government. It would not be appropriate to publish or require him to publish his interests in or connections with private sector bodies.

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Prime Minister if she will publish in the Official Report the salary of Sir Alan Walters on his appointment.

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The Prime Minister : Sir Alan Walters' remuneration is linked to that of a second permanent secretary.


Special Constables

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current number of special constables in England and Wales.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : There were 15,788 special constables in England and Wales on 31 December 1988, the latest date for which figures are available.

Prisons (Child Care Provision)

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the prisons in Yorkshire which have child care provision for inmates ; how often these are inspected by outside agencies ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Her Majesty's prison Askham Grange, near York, has a mother and baby unit which provides accommodation for up to 15 mothers with their babies.

A health visitor from the local area health authority regularly visits the unit and provides child care advice to inmate mothers. Arrangements for a Department of Health team to inspect mother and baby units and report periodically on matters such as child care practice are being considered.

South Yorkshire Police

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many special constables in the South Yorkshire police force are (a) from ethnic minorities and (b) women ; and if he will show these figures also as a percentage.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : On 31 December 1988, the South Yorkshire police special constabulary had a total of 309 members. Of this number, 11--3.6 per cent.--were from the ethnic minorities and 103--33.3 per cent.--were women.

Rugby League Clubs (Police Costs)

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the hourly charges made to rugby league clubs for police officers on duty at professional rugby league matches held within areas covered by the North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Cumbria police authorities.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand that the present charges per hour, exclusive of VAT, for the services of each police constable provided for duty inside the grounds of rugby league clubs in the area mentioned are as follows :

Police force           |Cost £ (excluding VAT)                       


North Yorkshire        |18.30                                        

South Yorkshire        |16.20                                        

West Yorkshire         |18.30                                        

Greater Manchester     |17.43                                        

Cheshire               |18.97                                        

Cumbria                |15.00                                        

Women Prisoners

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women gave birth while detained in prison in the United Kingdom according to the latest available figures.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Between 1 April 1987 and 31 March 1988, 75 women in custody gave birth at outside hospitals.

Drug Offences

Mr. Rathbone : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last discussed with the Crown prosecution service the operation of the Drug Trafficking Offences Act.

Mr. John Patten : Home Office officials have frequent discussions with the Crown prosecution service about the operation of the Act. The most recent took place on 25 April.

Passport Controls (EC)

Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the legal basis of the powers under which European Community member states require nationals from other European Community states to produce a valid passport before permitting entry ; and how this practice will be affected by the Single European Act.

Mr. Renton : Council directive 68/360/EEC requires member states to allow EC nationals who are exercising freedom of movement rights under the treaty of Rome to enter their territory simply on production of a valid identity card or passport. Other EC nationals entering the United Kingdom are required to produce on request a valid national passport or identity document by virtue of the Immigration Act 1971. Discussions within the Community on how effect should be given to the Single European Act in this area are still in progress, but it is the Government's present view that it will remain necessary to require EC nationals to produce on request a valid passport or identity document when entering the United Kingdom.


Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the prison service will make available the supplies recommended to prisoners in his new video on AIDS.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The videofilm "AIDS Inside and Out"' is part of a new educational resource package which aims to give prisoners essential information about AIDS and the human immunodeficiency virus. It advises how they can avoid risk to themselves and others not only while they are in custody but after their release. In the latter context the contribution which condoms can make to safer sexual practice is explained ; and drug misusers are advised

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that if they cannot avoid injecting when they leave prison they should use only clean needles and never share injecting equipment. Because of the special circumstances in prisons it would not be right to make drug injecting equipment available to prisoners for unsupervised use. Nor are we persuaded that it would be right to change the policy of not including condoms among the items which prisoners may have in their possession.

Police (Ethnic Minorities)

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the extent to which the current police initial recruitment test is culturally biased to the detriment of applicants from an ethnic minority background.

Mr. Hurd : There is no evidence that the police initial recruitment test works to the detriment of applicants from the ethnic minorities. But the test may not be directed sufficiently closely to the abilities which police officers need to do the job. The case for replacing it is under consideration by the Police Advisory Board.

Hillsborough Disaster

Mr. George : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has had discussions with the West Midlands police authority about the percentage of the costs of the inquiry being undertaken by its officers into the Hillsborough disaster to be borne by central funding.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Mr. Beaumont-Dark) on 28 April 1989, at column 702.

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his reply of 24 April, Official Report, column 406, if any information about assaults on police officers on duty at Hillsborough has been collated.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Information about assaults on police officers at Hillsborough on 15 April is being collated for the South Yorkshire police as part of the inquiry being carried out by the chief constable of the West Midlands police.

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, pursuant to his reply of 21 April, Official Report, column 342, in which he stated 19 police officers had so far been recorded as having received medical treatment for physical injuries sustained on duty at Hillsborough, he will state in each case how the physical injury was caused.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : It is not yet possible to state how these injuries were caused. The inquiry by the chief constable of West Midlands police may cast further light on these matters.

Public Order

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been arrested and charged, during the last 12 months, under section 5 of the Public Order Act, for displaying a symbol representing a dove within the sight of person liable to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby ; and what sentences were given in each case where a conviction was obtained.

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Mr. Douglas Hogg : If the hon. Member has any incident in mind, I should be happy to investigate. It is not possible to identify from the available criminal statistics relating to prosecutions under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 the circumstances in which arrests were made.

Fire Service

Mr. Cash : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the pay and conditions of service of the fire service.

Mr. Hurd : The Government are fully committed to an effective fire service and to the nationally recommended standards of fire cover and in this context have been pursuing a policy of better value for money in the fire service for a number of years. The Audit Commission examined this in 1986 and made a number of suggestions for consideration. Some of these are being examined by a Home Office chaired working party under the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council machinery. Others relate to pay and conditions of service. On these, officials wrote on my behalf in May last year to the National Joint Council for Local Authorities' Fire Brigades asking what steps it had taken with regard to the Audit Commission's findings and asking that the council should set up a working party with participation by officials from the Home Departments. This was not accepted. My right hon. and noble Friend the Minister of State then met each of the member bodies of the council individually and discussed with them how matters should be taken forward. When he had completed this round of consultation, my right hon. and noble Friend wrote to the various organisations summarising the Government's position and asking that the council as a body should reconsider its view on my proposal that a working party should be set up. We await a reply.

Among the issues which I wish to see examined by the proposed working party are : the ban on whole-time firefighters serving in a retained capacity in their spare time ; manning practices on public holidays ; the Fire Brigades Union's ban on rostered overtime ; and whether the present pay formula remains the best way of determining fire service pay for the future.

The Government are resolved to have these issues properly considered and our hope is that we can carry out this important exercise with all the member bodies of the national joint council who I hope will participate fully with a positive attitude and an open mind. I would like the proposed working party to make recommendations for the national joint council to address. If such co-operation were not forthcoming, the Government would have to come to their own view on the merits of the issues and, whilst I cannot speculate on what steps we would feel compelled to take, I cannot exclude the possibility of legislation if this appears necessary and justified.


Mental Handicap

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what funds were allocated from his Department for directly commissioned research elevant to mental

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handicap for each of the past five years ; and whether he intends those funds to be increased over the next five to 10 years.

Mr. Grist : The principal research element of the all-Wales mental handicap strategy is the work of the mental handicap applied research unit, based at the university of Wales college of medicine, Cardiff and of the centre for social policy research and developmemt, based at the university college of north Wales, Bangor. These bodies have been supported over the period in question from the funds available to Wales from the Department of Health and Social Security's research and development budget, which has provided approximately £1,008,900 for their work over the last five years. Additional funding provided for research work directly by the Welsh Office over this period has been as follows : 1986-87--£10,600 ; 1987- 88--£20,084 ; 1988-89--£1,815.

It is intended that provision for the two mental handicap research teams should continue so as to enable them to continue to assist in the development of the strategy. Allocation of specific funding for individual projects would be considered if it could be shown that research proposals of sufficient quality and relevance to the development of the strategy were required outside the work of the research teams.

Health Promotion Authority for Wales

Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the budget of the Health Promotion Authority for Wales for each year from 1978- 79 to 1987-88, expressed as actual expenditures and as a percentage of National Health Service expenditure in Wales.

Mr. Grist : The Health Promotion Authority for Wales was not established until 1 April 1987. Its expenditure in 1987-88 was £1,295,000, which represents just over 0.1 per cent. of net National Health Service expenditure in Wales for that year.

Small Schools

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the definition of a small school for the purposes of Welsh Office circular 36/88.

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