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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 5 May 1989


Pollution (Irish Sea)

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received from local councils in Wales concerning the pollution levels in the Irish sea ; what is the general thrust of these representations ; what response he has given ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : The Department has received four such almost identical representations. These expressed general concern about the dumping of human and industrial waste and radioactive contamination. The replies explained the initiatives being taken to assess and determine means of reducing the pollution of the Irish sea, and reiterated the Government's decision to extend the North sea conference declaration to all United Kingdom coastal waters.


London Buses Ltd

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has any intention of privatising London Buses.

Mr. Portillo : I hope to see London Buses Ltd go into the private sector in due course.

London City Airport (Security)

Mr. McCrindle : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if, in the light of recent security breaches, he has any plans to improve security arrangements at London City airport ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The aircraft concerned were not in service when the incidents occurred. The aviation security programme requires aircraft to be checked before they are brought into service. These requirements are designed to protect passengers' safety and I believe that they were met.

London Transportation Studies

Mr. Janman : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements have been made for the continuation of London transportation studies services.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Department's contract with the MVA consultancy has been extended. It will now run until October 1991, with an option for a further year. The earlier plan to hold a competition for a new contract proved impracticable because of additional work required for the Department's London studies and the need to maintain continuity in the model's development programme. We are, however, taking steps to involve other consultants in our use of the model.

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Mr. Nellist : To ask the Attorney-General what assessment he has made of the annual cost to public funds of the time expended by court officials, the Crown Prosecution Service and police officers, in the metropolitan police area, in the arrest, detention and prosecution of young people under section 3 of the Vagrancy Act 1824.

The Attorney-General : None. This information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost to the taxpayer.

Hosni E. Forhat

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Attorney-General what representations he has received regarding the implications for administrative routines within the Law Officers' Department of the case of Hosni E. Forhat.

The Attorney-General : None.

Category A Prisoners

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Attorney-General what policy is adopted by his Department as to the location of trials of category A prisoners in relation to the original hearings and holding prison ; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General : Section 7 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980 requires the magistrates' court to have regard to the convenience of the defence, the prosecution and the witnesses, expediting of the trial and to any directions given by or on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice with the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor. The directions governing the committal of cases for trial to particular Crown court centres are made by the Lord Chief Justice and may, from time to time, be altered in detail on his behalf by presiding judges ; and each petty sessional division will normally commit to a particular Crown court centre in accordance with those directions.


Old Age Programmes

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish in the Official Report a list showing expenditure on programmes for old age as a proportion of gross domestic product at market prices, for European Community member states, for each year since 1983, excluding expenditure on support for people living in residential and nursing homes.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I refer my hon. Friend to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby and Kenilworth (Mr. Pawsey) on 14 April at columns 741-42. I regret that further information as requested by my hon. Friend is not available.


Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many women who were in receipt of widowed mothers allowance before September 1988 would have received a full widow's pension if the qualifying age had not been raised by five years ;

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(2) how many widows suffered a lowering of their income as a result of the qualifying age for the widow's pension being raised by five years in September 1988.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Entitlement to widowed mother's allowance and widow's pension changed on 11 April 1988. All women who were in receipt of widowed mother's allowance before then will be entitled to widow's pension on the age bands that existed before the reform changes were made. The increase, by five years, of the age bands will have no effect on these women. Women widowed after 11 April will be entitled to widow's pension based on the post reforms age bands ; the numbers affected between 11 April and September 1988 cannot be determined accurately. However it is estimated that some 15,000 newly widowed women will have no title or a reduced title to benefit in the first year.

Income Support

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many children were in families on income support broken down into England, Scotland and Wales in 1988-89.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The latest estimates are :



England   |1,830,000          

Scotland  |236,000            

Wales     |129,000            


Premium Bonds

Mr. David Steel : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the proposal to raise the lowest denomination of premium bond which can be purchased to £100.

Mr. Lawson : The increase is designed to secure administrative savings, following a regular review of the terms of all National Savings products. Sales of less than £100 represent only 12 per cent. of the total value of purchases but incur a disproportionate share of costs. The average purchase is now over £150. Parents, guardians or grandparents will still be able to make minimum purchases of £10 on behalf of children under 16.

Finance Bill (Notes on Clauses)

Sir John Stanley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place copies of notes on all clauses of the Finance Bill in the Library.

Mr. Major : Yes. Notes on clauses to be taken in Committee of the whole House have already been deposited in the House Library and those to be taken in Standing Committee will be deposited shortly.

Value Added Tax

Ms. Richardson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will zero rate for value added tax purposes taxi card journeys.

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Mr. Lilley [holding answer 2 May 1989] : No. Under article 28 of the sixth EC VAT directive, the United Kingdom is not permitted to enlarge the scope of the zero rates in force on 31 December 1975.


Teachers (Incentive Allowances)

Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he will publish the estimates for school years 1988-89 and 1989-90 mentioned in his answer to the hon. Member for Bridgend of 20 April, Official Report, columns 269-70 ; what evidence is available to his Department in relation to the accuracy of that estimate for school year 1988-89 ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what account he took of the evidence in appendix B of Cm. 625, concerning the numbers of allowances being paid in September 1988, in preparing the estimates for school years 1988-89 and 1989-90 mentioned in his answer to the hon. Member on 20 April, columns 269-70 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold : The estimated numbers of incentive allowances in ordinary schools in September 1988 and September 1989 were set out in circular 3/88. They formed the basis for the table submitted in evidence to the Interim Advisory Committee on School Teachers' Pay and Conditions in October 1988 and reproduced in my reply to the hon. Member on 20 April 1989, at columns 269-70. The figures are as follows :

               |September 1988|September 1989               


A              |43,000        |61,000                       

B              |59,600        |50,400                       

C              |9,300         |18,700                       

D              |27,000        |25,500                       

E              |8,000         |9,500                        

               |-------       |-------                      

Total          |146,900       |165,100                      

The evidence reproduced in appendix B of Cm. 625 was subsequently made available to the committee by the local authorities' conditions of service advisory board (LACSAB). The data suggest that the total number of incentive allowances awarded in the 1988-89 academic year broadly reflected the number assumed for that year in circular 3/88. No further information is at present available.


Mr. Franks : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he intends to set up a working group to recommend attainment targets and programmes of study for geography within the national curriculum ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Baker : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I are today establishing a working group for geography. The group will advise on attainment targets and programmes of study for geography within the national curriculum in England and Wales. I have sent supplementary guidance to the group's chairman, a copy of which I have placed in the Library. We are grateful to Sir Leslie Fielding, the vice- chancellor

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of Sussex university, for agreeing to take the chair of the group. The vice-chairman will be Professor David Thomas, pro-vice chancellor and professor of geography at the university of Birmingham. Other members of the group are :

Mrs. Kay Edwards--Head of Geography, Penglais Comprehensive School, Aberystwyth

Mr. Richard Lethbridge--Former chairman, Tower Steel (Holdings) plc, now a branch secretary of the Country Landowners' Association Mrs. Wendy Morgan-- Recently retired headmistress of Elmsett Primary School, Suffolk

Dr. Keith Paterson--Senior Lecturer in Geography, Liverpool Institute of Higher Education

Mrs. Eleanor Rawling--National Co-ordinator, Geography Schools and Industry Project

Mr. Michael Storm--Staff Inspector for Geography and Environmental Studies, Inner London Education Authority

Mrs. Rachel Thomas--Member of the Countryside Commission and Exmoor National Park Committee

Mr. Rex Walford--Lecturer in Geography and Education, University of Cambridge

Further appointments may be announced in due course.

The group will begin work at once. I have asked for interim advice by 31 October 1989 and final advice by 30 April 1990. This will enable attainment targets and programmes of study for geography to begin to be introduced in schools from the autumn of 1991. The terms of reference are as follows :

National Curriculum Geography working group terms of reference-- Background

1. The Education Reform Act 1988 provides for the establishment of a National Curriculum of core and other foundation subjects for pupils of compulsory school age in England and Wales. The Act empowers the Secretary of State to specify, as he considers appropriate for each foundation subject, including geography, that there should be clear objectives-- attainment targets--for the knowledge, skills and understanding which pupils of different abilities and maturities should be expected to have acquired by the end of the academic year in which they reach the ages of 7, 11, 14 and 16 ; and to promote them, programmes of study describing the content, skills and processes which need to be covered during each key stage of compulsory education. Taken together, the attainment targets and programmes of study will provide the basis for assessing a pupil's performance, in relation both to expected attainment and to the next steps needed for the pupil's development.

2. Both the objectives (attainment targets divided into up to 10 levels of attainment) and the means of achieving them (programmes of study) should leave scope for teachers to use their professional talents and skills to develop their own schemes of work, within a statutory framework which is known to all. It is the task of the Geography Working Group to advise on that framework for geography. The Task

3. The Working Group is asked to submit an interim report to the Secretaries of State by 31 October 1989 outlining and, as far as possible, exemplifying :

(i) the contribution which geography should make to the overall school curriculum and how that will inform the Group's thinking about attainment targets and programmes of study ;

(ii) its provisional thinking about the knowledge, skills and understanding which pupils of different abilities and maturities should be expected to have attained and be able to demonstrate by reference to defined levels of attainment, at key ages ; and the profile components into which attainment targets should be grouped ; and

(iii) its thinking about the programmes of study which would be consistent with the attainment targets provisionally identified.

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4. By 30 April 1990 the Working Group is to submit a final report to the Secretaries of State setting out and justifying its final recommendations on attainment targets and the programmes of study for geography.


5. In carrying out its task the Group should consult informally and selectively with relevant interests and have regard to the statutory Orders on mathematics, science and English and to the work of the other subject groups--design and technology and history. Additionally, the Group should take account of :

(i) the broad framework for assessment and testing announced by the Government on 7 June 1988 and subsequent development of it in the light of advice from the School Examinations and Assessment Council ;

(ii) the contributions which geography can make to learning about other subjects and cross-curricular themes including, in particular, environmental education, and which they in turn can make to learning in geography ;

(iii) best practice and the results of any relevant research and development ; and

(iv) the issues covered in the supplementary guidance to the Group's Chairman.


Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received advice from the School Examinations and Assessment Council about assessing and reporting achievement in the light of national curriculum requirements.

Mr. Kenneth Baker : I received a letter from the chairman of SEAC, Mr. Philip Halsey, on 28 April conveying the council's interim views on the future evolution of assessment and reporting at age 16 to which I replied on 4 May. Copies of the exchange of correspondence have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Education Support Grant

Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish his proposals for the 1990-91 ESG programme.

Mr. Kenneth Baker : I have today written to the local authority associations proposing a programme to support expenditure of £140 million in 1990-91. A total of £50 million of this will be expenditure on new activities or extensions, and the remainder will represent continuing support for activities begun in 1989-90 or earlier years.

My proposals are set out in full in the following table. My priority in drawing up the programme has again been to continue support for the implementation of the Education Reform Act. The programme that I am proposing expands the valuable work begun in 1989-90 to help LEA with the introduction of local management of schools and of the national curriculum. It also offers LEAs valuable support in other areas such as health education and provision for difficult pupils.

I am proposing to increase the resources available for local management of schools, in particular for the purchase of management and curriculum information systems. Additional money will also be made available for the training of school and college governors, and I am proposing extra support for the core and other foundation subjects of the national curriculum.

Following the report by the committee of inquiry into discipline in schools, my proposals also include £2.5

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million expenditure to help LEAs with the development of support services for the most difficult pupils, and a similar sum for work to improve school attendance. £2 million will be available for measures to help combat vandalism and arson.

The ESG to help combat the misuse of drugs has produced some very valuable work, and I now propose to

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extend its scope to take in other aspects of preventive health education, including alcohol abuse. I am proposing £2 million expenditure on projects to improve teacher recruitment.

I am also proposing to provide further funding for IT in schools and computerised management information systems for FE colleges.

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Education Support Grants 1990-91-Proposed Programme                                                                                           

£ million                                                                                                                                     

                                          |New Expenditure and     |Committed and Continuing|Total                                            

                                          |Extensions              |Expenditure                                                               


ERA Related                                                                                                                                   

 1. Local Management of Schools           |11.5                    |25.0                    |36.5                                             

 2. Management Information Systems for FE |4.0                     |7.1                     |11.1                                             

 3. Training for School Governors         |1.0                     |4.1                     |5.1                                              

 4. Training for FE College Governors     |2.0                     |-                       |2.0                                              

 5. Planning and Delegation to Colleges   |(ILBs only) 0.1         |1.2                     |1.3                                              

 6. Basic Curriculum and Assessment       |9.5                     |10.0                    |19.5                                             

 7. LEA Inspection<1>                     |-                       |3.0                     |3.0                                              

 8. IT in Schools                         |9.0                     |4.8                     |13.8                                             

 9. English Language in the Curriculum    |-                       |8.2                     |8.2                                              

10. Primary Science and Technology        |-                       |7.3                     |7.3                                              

11. Maths in Schools                      |-                       |3.2                     |3.2                                              


Other Priorities                                                                                                                              

12. Difficult Pupils                      |2.5                     |-                       |2.5                                              

13. Improving School Attendance           |2.5                     |-                       |2.5                                              

14. Combating Vandalism and Arson         |2.0                     |-                       |2.0                                              

15. Health Education                      |4.0                     |-                       |4.0                                              

16. Teacher Recruitment                   |2.0                     |-                       |2.0                                              

17. Youth Leaders in Inner Cities         |-                       |3.9                     |3.9                                              

18. Learning by Achievement               |-                       |2.3                     |2.3                                              

19. Adult Literacy                        |-                       |1.7                     |1.7                                              

20. Open Learning                         |-                       |1.3                     |1.3                                              

21. Educational Guidance                  |-                       |1.2                     |1.2                                              

22. Education for a Multi-Ethnic Society  |-                       |2.3                     |2.3                                              

23. PORTAGE                               |-                       |1.4                     |1.4                                              

24. Social Responsibility                 |-                       |1.3                     |1.3                                              

25. Rural Primary Schools                 |-                       |0.6                     |0.6                                              


Total                                     |50.1                    |89.9                    |140.0                                            


Grant<2>                                  |-                       |-                       |83.0                                             

<1> Second tranche of support for LEA Inspection is included in the basic curriculum and assessment activity.                                 

<2> Grant will be paid at 60 per cent. on all activities except science and technology in primary schools and maths in schools, where         

committed expenditure will continue to be paid at the 1989-90 rate of 50 per cent.                                                            


Risley Remand Centre

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his estimate of the cost of damage at Risley remand centre following the disturbances over the bank holiday weekend ; how the remedial work will be financed ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We are now establishing the extent of the damage caused by disturbances at HM remand centre, Risley and will then assess what repairs are justified in view of the imminent redevelopment of this establishment, what they will cost and how they should be paid for.

Prison Quarters, Wayland

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why a four-bedroomed prison quarter at Wayland prison with a historic cost of £55,942 in 1984 was given a valuation of £40,500 in 1987 ; and if he will urgently review his Department's procedures for making such evaluations.

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Mr. Douglas Hogg : Prison quarters at Wayland were built at the same time as the prison. Building was completed by the Property Services Agency in 1984. The valuation in 1987 was made by the district valuer of the Department of Inland Revenue to enable the Home Office to calculate a sale price, after allowing for any discount under the department's discount sale scheme. The rules of that scheme stipulate that sales should not take place at less than the cost of providing the quarter, including the cost of the land, site development works and any administration costs (the historic cost). The Property Services Agency provides details of the historic cost and this has to be ascertained from the total contract price for building the prison establishment and any ancillary items such as quarters for staff. We have already agreed that where a current valuation is less than the historic cost, an offer of sale at the valuation price can be made. Further urgent consideration is being given to whether there is scope to make any further concession in offering properties for sale where the historic cost is an impediment to granting the normal discount.

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Mr. Osborne Rutherford

Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why Mr. Osborne Rutherford, prisoner No. C42357, Her Majesty's prison Wandsworth was kept without clothes in a strong box from 9 February to 23 February ; and which doctor sanctioned his detention.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : On 9 February, whilst Mr. Rutherford was at Parkhurst prison, he was placed in a special cell on the authority of the governor in charge under prison rule 45 which empowers the temporary confinement in a special cell of a refractory or violent prisoner. The decision was taken because of Mr. Rutherford's threatening behaviour towards staff.

In accordance with standard procedures, the medical officer was advised of the decision and indicated that there were no medical grounds why Mr. Rutherford should not be so confined. Subsequently, Mr. Rutherford engaged in a dirty protest and it was considered necessary to continue to hold him in the special cell until 23 February. The requirements in respect of the use of a special cell were followed during this period. After the initial 24 hours, the need for continued confinement was authorised period-ically by members of the board of visitors who visited Mr. Rutherford. Mr. Rutherford was also visited regularly by a governor and by a medical officer.

Although Mr. Rutherford's normal prison clothing was removed, he was provided with a suit of protective clothing to wear whilst in the special cell.

Mentally Ill and Mentally Handicapped Prisoners

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the extent to which mentally ill and mentally handicapped people are in prison as a result of under-provision of community care facilities.

Mr. Hogg : I refer the hon. Member to earlier replies given to questions from the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) on 20 March at columns 405-7. These gave details of studies at present taking place on the profile of mentally disordered offenders in the prison system and on the use made by the courts of hospital and restriction orders when sentencing mentally disordered offenders. When a court considers that an offender needs psychiatric treatment but not to be detained in a hospital, it may make a probation order with a requirement that the probationer undergoes psychiatric treatment, or it may make a guardianship order, which places the offender under the authority of a local authority social services department or approved person. The guardian may then require the patient to live at a specified place and attend a place for treatment. The availability of care facilities in the local community is only one of a range of factors which courts have to consider when deciding on the most suitable sentence for such an offender.

Prisoners (Police Cells)

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of prisoners held in police cells at the most recent available date.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Sixty six, on 28 April.

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Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what treatment is available within prison for mentally disordered inmates serving sentences for rape ; and what steps are taken to seek to prevent such men reoffending when they leave prison.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Sex offenders would normally be identified early in the prison reception process as requiring psychiatric assessment. Such assessment may be carried out by a suitably qualified prison medical officer or by a visiting specialist. Not all sex offenders are found to be grossly disturbed or in need of treatment whether from doctors, psychiatrists or psychologists. Where the diagnosis does suggest that the inmate's behaviour was the result of an underlying mental illness, specific treatment would be provided for that illness. If the behaviour was secondary to an aspect of personality disorder, the inmate might be offered psychotherapy, group therapy, behaviour therapy or a combination of these. Some prisoners are transferred to Grendon prison where the entire regime is that of a therapeutic community for such help.

The prison medical and probation services would be concerned in making arrangements for the continuing care, medical or other, of such inmates on release. The appropriate police force would be notified.

Prison Medical Officers

Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the working group, chaired by the president of the Royal College of Physicians, set up to advise the director of prison medical services on qualifications and training for prison medical officers, to complete its work ; and if he will place a copy of its report in the Library.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : The report was completed recently and submitted by the president of the Royal College of Physicians to the chief medical officer. At this early stage there are no plans for its release.

Crowd Pressure (Deaths)

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list in the Official Report the total deaths reported in the decades 1959 to 1968, 1969 to 1978 and 1979 to 1988, inclusive, resulting from crowd pressures or public disorder in the following circumstances (a) political demonstrations, (b) queueing for places of entertainment, other than sports meetings, (c) queueing for or occurring at sports meetings, other than football matches and (d) queueing for public transport.

Mr. Freeman : I have been asked to reply.

The exact information requested is not available.

Prior to 1979, the international classification of diseases (ICD) did not allow for sufficiently detailed information of this nature ; the current (ninth) revision includes the code E917.1 :

"Striking against or struck accidentally by objects or persons, caused by a crowd, by collective fear or panic."

In the period 1979-87 inclusive there were three deaths where this code was assigned as the underlying cause of death, but there is insufficient information on the death certificate to allocate them to any of the categories requested.

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Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will give the number of ambulances for each regional health authority.

Mr. Freeman : The available information is given in the table.

Ambulance Services                                                            

Total number of ambulance service vehicles used to transport                  


Regional Health Authority |1987-88                                            


England                   |6,482                                              

Northern                  |479                                                

Yorkshire                 |680                                                

Trent                     |698                                                

East Anglia               |235                                                

North West Thames         |200                                                

North East Thames         |150                                                

South East Thames         |300                                                

South West Thames         |<1>1,121                                           

Wessex                    |247                                                

Oxford                    |283                                                

South Western             |438                                                

West Midlands             |702                                                

Mersey                    |393                                                

North Western             |556                                                

Source: York Health Authority-National Ambulance Service Survey 1987-88.      

The following types of vehicles have been included in the above figures:      

2-trolley emergency.                                                          

2-trolley dual purpose.                                                       

Sitting case seats only (under 14).                                           

Sitting case seats stretcher capacity.                                        

Sitting case seats + lift mechanism.                                          

Car (with or without stretcher capacity).                                     

Bus-14 or more seats with or without stretcher or wheelchair capacity.        

<1> Includes London ambulance service.                                        

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