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Rail Safety

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the policy of his Department in seeking to ensure safety on British Rail.

Mr. Portillo : Responsibility for safety of operation lies with the British Railways board. The Department's railway inspectorate has certain statutory functions, principally the inspection and approval of new works on behalf of my right hon. Friend, and the monitoring of standards required by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Both contribute to the overall maintenance of high safety standards.

Bypasses

Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list (i) his Department's prediction at planning stage of the average daily traffic flow in the opening year for trunk road bypass schemes completed in 1986-87 and 1987-88 and (ii) the observed average daily traffic flow in the opening for those schemes in 1986-87 and 1987-88.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : Traffic is counted on all new trunk road schemes approximately one year after opening, to allow traffic patterns to settle down before the flow is measured. For bypass schemes opened in 1986- 87, predicted and actual traffic in 1987-88 are given in the table.


Annual average daily traffic flow                                                                                                   

                                             Forecast                                                                               

Scheme                                       Low growth            High growth           Traffic count                              

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A52                   |Bingham bypass       |9,400                |10,000               |10,500                                     

A43                   |Bulwick bypass       |5,000                |5,300                |5,700                                      

A11                   |Barton Mills bypass  |16,600               |17,800               |19,250                                     

A12                   |Chelmsford bypass    |-                    |<1>39,000            |45,400                                     

A31                   |Ferndown bypass      |14,700               |16,400               |18,000                                     

A54                   |Kelsall bypass       |8,400                |9,100                |10,600                                     

A57                   |Worksop bypass       |10,300               |12,800               |9,800                                      

A428                  |Bromham bypass       |15,100               |16,550               |13,350                                     

A10                   |Ely/Littleport bypass|5,000                |5,400                |6,800                                      

A49                   |Tarporley bypass     |6,700                |7,300                |9,800                                      

A47                   |Billesdon bypass     |5,850                |6,300                |9,200                                      

A56                   |Accrington bypass    |21,300               |25,900               |13,100                                     

<1> Central forecast.                                                                                                               

Those bypass schemes opened in 1987-88 for which data are available are listed below :


Column 363


Scheme                  Forecast                Traffic                

                       |Low Growth |High Growth|Count                  

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

A43 Towcester bypass   |12,650     |14,250     |14,150                 

A10 Buntingford bypass |8,900      |10,050     |10,150                 

A43 Brackley bypass    |8,450      |9,500      |11,400                 

The forecasts for the schemes listed above were done several years ago, mostly between 1980 and 1984. The forecast range reflects uncertainty about future income and fuel prices, which are the main factors influencing the national traffic growth forecasts. Other uncertainties arise from traffic modelling and other developments which occur between the time of the forecast and the traffic count. Traffic counts are also subject to a degree of uncertainty.

Channel Tunnel (Rail Link)

Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will put in the Library copies of any environmental impact, engineering, costing and any other reports on the proposed route for the Channel tunnel rail link.

Mr. Portillo : I have already arranged for copies of British Rail's published report and information pack on the rail link to be placed in the Library. BR will be carrying out an environmental assessment of the proposed route, in accordance with the requirements of the EC directive, and has undertaken to present an environmental statement to Parliament at the same time as it deposits a Private Bill. We will consider whether there are any further reports which it would be helpful to deposit in the Library in due course.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Research Institutes

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list by standard region the research institutes operated for or on behalf of his Department and the total employment thereat ; if he will give for each region the total number of such institutes and the employment therein ; and if he will express the regional totals as a percentage of the national totals.

Mr. Jackson : The details requested in respect of establishments of the research councils, as at 1 April 1989, are as follows :


                                                              |Numbers        

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

North                                                                         

MRC                                                                           

Neurochemical Pathology Unit: Newcastle                       |29             

External Scientific Staff                                     |4              

NERC                                                                          

British Geological Survey: Newcastle                          |12             

Institute of Freshwater Ecology: Windermere                   |65             

Institute of Terrestrial Ecology: Merlewood                   |48             

Terrestrial and Freshwater Sciences: Merlewood,                               

   Newcastle                                                  |2              

                                                              |---            

Total 6 Establishments (1.3 per cent.)                        |160            

                                                                              

North West                                                                    

MRC                                                                           

External Scientific Staff                                     |16             

NERC                                                                          

Proudman Laboratory: Bidston                                  |82             

Scientific Services: Bidston                                  |6              

SERC                                                                          

Daresbury Laboratory: Warrington                              |552            

                                                              |---            

Total 4 Establishments (5.4 per cent.)                        |656            

                                                                              

Yorkshire and Humberside                                                      

MRC                                                                           

Social and Applied Psychology Unit: Sheffield                 |34             

External Scientific Staff                                     |1              

                                                              |---            

Total 2 Establishments (0.3 per cent.)                        |35             

                                                                              

West Midlands                                                                 

AFRC                                                                          

Institute of Horticultural Research: Wellesbourne             |183            

Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research:                         

   Cold Norton Farm                                           |10             

MRC                                                                           

External Scientific Staff                                     |8              

                                                              |---            

Total 3 Establishments (1.7 per cent.)                        |201            

                                                                              

East Midlands                                                                 

MRC.                                                                          

Institute of Hearing Research: Nottingham                     |37             

NERC.                                                                         

British Geological Survey: Nottingham                         |417            

Scientific Services: Nottingham                               |21             

                                                              |---            

Total-3 Establishments (3.9 per cent.)                        |475            

                                                                              

South West                                                                    

AFRC.                                                                         

Institute for Grassland and Animal Production:                                

   Okehampton                                                 |36             

Institute of Arable Crops Research: Long Ashton               |251            

Institute of Food Research: Bristol                           |214            

MRC.                                                                          

Common Cold Unit: Salisbury                                   |25             

External Scientific Staff                                     |10             

NERC.                                                                         

British Geological Survey: Exeter, Hartland                   |12             

Scientific Services: Swindon                                  |36             

Institute of Freshwater Ecology: Wareham                      |31             

Institute of Terrestrial Ecology: Wareham                     |24             

Plymouth Marine Laboratory                                    |157            

Scientific Services: Plymouth                                 |6              

                                                              |---            

Total-11 Establishments (6.6 per cent.)                       |802            

                                                                              

East Anglia                                                                   

AFRC.                                                                         

Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research:                         

   Cambridge                                                  |263            

Institute of Plant Science Research: Cambridge                |142            

Institute of Plant Science Research: Norwich                  |186            

Institute of Food Research: Norwich                           |300            

Institute of Arable Crops Research: Bury St. Edmunds          |46             

Institute of Arable Crops Research: Cambridge                 |15             

MRC.                                                                          

Development and Integration of Behaviour Unit:                                

   Cambridge                                                  |11             

Laboratory of Molecular Biology: Cambridge                    |224            

Molecular Genetics Unit: Cambridge                            |9              

Molecular Immunopathology Unit: Cambridge                     |20             

Molecular Neurobiology Unit: Cambridge                        |24             

Dunn Nutrition Unit: Cambridge                                |77             

Clinical Oncology and Radiotherapeutics Unit:                                 

   Cambridge                                                  |37             

Biostatistics Unit: Cambridge                                 |13             

Medical Cryobiology Group: Cambridge                          |10             

Crystallography Section: Cambridge                            |1              

External Scientific Staff                                     |19             

NERC.                                                                         

Institute of Terrestrial Ecology: Monkswood                   |67             

Scientific Services: Monkswood                                |8              

Sea Mammal Research Unit: Cambridge                           |14             

British Antarctic Survey: Cambridge                           |421            

                                                              |---            

Total-22 Establishments (16.6 per cent.)                      |2,028          

                                                                              

South East                                                                    

AFRC.                                                                         

Institute for Animal Health: Compton                          |201            

Institute for Animal Health: Pirbright                        |177            

Institute of Arable Crops Research: Harpenden                 |474            

Institute of Engineering Research: Bedford                    |217            

Institute of Food Research: Reading                           |186            

Institute of Grassland and Animal Production: Hurley/                         

   Shinfield                                                  |311            

Institute of Plant Science Research: Brighton                 |67             

Institute of Horticultural Research: East Malling             |253            

Institute of Horticultural Research: Littlehampton            |199            

MRC.                                                                          

National Institute of Medical Research: London                |528            

Collaborative Research Centre: London                         |528            

Clinical Research Centre: Harrow                              |424            

Blood Group Unit: London                                      |9              

Cognitive Development Unit: London                            |15             

Biochemical and Clinical Magnetic Resonance Unit:                             

   Oxford                                                     |9              

Environmental Epidemiology Unit: Southampton                  |23             

Child Psychiatry Unit: London                                 |15             

Cellular Immunology Unit: Oxford                              |16             

Cell Mutation Unit: Brighton                                  |16             

Cyclotron Unit: London                                        |124            

Dental Research Unit: London                                  |14             

Epidemiology and Medical Care Unit: London                    |42             

Human Biochemical Genetics Unit: London                       |24             

Neuro-Otology Unit: London                                    |12             

Human Movement and Balance Unit: London                       |23             

Leukemia Unit: London                                         |11             

Immunochemistry Unit: Oxford                                  |14             

Experimental Embryology and Teratology Unit:                                  

   Carshalton                                                 |11             

Molecular Haematology Unit: Oxford                            |15             

Institute of Molecular Medicine: London                       |4              

Mammalian Development Unit: London                            |15             

Anatomical Neurobiology Unit: Oxford                          |13             

Neurological Protheses Unit: London                           |7              

Cell Biophysics Unit: London                                  |25             

Social Psychiatry Unit: London                                |20             

Clinical Pharmacology Unit: Oxford                            |23             

Toxicology Unit: Carshalton                                   |142            

External Scientific Staff                                     |81             

                                                                              

NERC.                                                                         

Institute of Virology and Microbiology: Oxford                |64             

Institute of Oceanographic Sciences Deacon Laboratory: Surrey |153            

Scientific Services: Deacon Laboratory: Surrey                |4              

British Geological Survey: London                             |43             

British Geological Survey: Wallingford                        |38             

Institute of Hydrology: Wallingford                           |142            

Scientific Services:                                                          

    Wallingford                                               |15             

    Didcot                                                    |1              

    Reading                                                   |4              

    London                                                    |10             

British Antarctic Survey: London                              |2              

                                                                              

SERC.                                                                         

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory: Didcot                        |1,363          

Royal Greenwich Observatory: Herstmonceux                     |173            

                                                              |---            

Totals-51 Establishments (51.6 per cent.)                     |6,300          

                                                                              

Scotland                                                                      

AFRC.                                                                         

Institute for Animal Health: Edinburgh                        |49             

Institute for Grassland and Animal Production: Roslin         |65             

Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research:                         

   Roslin                                                     |213            

MRC.                                                                          

Blood Pressure Unit: Glasgow                                  |40             

Brain Metabolism Unit: Edinburgh                              |39             

Epidemiological Studies in Psychiatry Unit: Edinburgh         |14             

Human Genetics Unit: Edinburgh                                |154            

Medical Sociology Unit: Glasgow                               |26             

External Scientific Staff                                     |4              

NERC.                                                                         

British Geological Survey:                                                    

  Eskdalemuir                                                 |3              

  Edinburgh                                                   |246            

Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory: Oban                          |56             

Marine Sciences: Stirling                                     |4              

Scientific Services:                                                          

  Edinburgh                                                   |9              

  East Kilbride                                               |2              

Institute of Terrestrial Ecology:                                             

  Banchory                                                    |28             

  Edinburgh                                                   |55             

Institute of Hydrology: Balquhidder                           |1              

SERC.                                                                         

Royal Observatory: Edinburgh                                  |118            

                                                              |---            

Totals-19 Establishments (9.2 per cent.)                      |1,126          

                                                              |---            

Wales                                                                         

AFRC.                                                                         

Institute for Grassland and Animal Production:                                

   Aberystwyth                                                |204            

MRC.                                                                          

Epidemiology Unit: Cardiff                                    |24             

External Scientific Staff                                     |2              

NERC.                                                                         

British Geological Survey: Aberystwyth                        |13             

Institute of Hydrology: Plynlimon                             |6              

Institute of Terrestrial Ecology: Bangor                      |26             

Scientific Services:                                                          

  Barry                                                       |131            

  Bangor                                                                      

                                                              |---            

Totals-8 Establishments (3.4 per cent.)                       |409            

                                                              |---            

Northern Ireland                                                              

NERC.                                                                         

British Geological Survey                                     |7              

                                                              |---            

Totals-1 Establishment (0.0 per cent.)                        |7              

                                                              |---            

Totals-130 Establishments                                     |12,199         

EC Marine Science and Technology Programme

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the distribution across the EEC countries of the expressions of interest in the proposed EEC marine science and technology programme ; whether Her Majesty's Government have approved this programme ; and how the distribution of expressions of interest varies amongst EEC countries as between higher education institutes, research centres and industry.

Mr. Jackson : The Government agreed to a common position in March, as my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster reported to the House on 7 April, at columns 314-15. The Government expect to agree to the final adoption of this programme at the Community's Council of Ministers (Research) on 6 June. The approximate percentage distribution of expressions of


Column 367

interest among the member states was estimated by the Commission for internal purposes in June 1988, when just over 1,000 had been received, as follows :


                            |per cent.          

------------------------------------------------

Belgium                     |4                  

Federal Republic of Germany |11                 

Denmark                     |3                  

Spain                       |6                  

France                      |22                 

Greece                      |5                  

Italy                       |9                  

Ireland                     |5                  

Netherlands                 |4                  

Portugal                    |3                  

United Kingdom              |27                 

EFTA countries              |1                  

The distribution between higher education institutes, research centres and industry for the whole European Community was estimated at 41, 37 and 22 per cent. respectively. The United Kingdom distribution has been estimated at 59, 21 and 20 per cent. respectively. The distribution for other individual states is not readily available and cannot be obtained without disproportionate cost. However, I have arranged for a copy of the full list to be placed in the Library of the House.

General Practice

Mr. Litherland : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he intends to make any special provision to assist departments of general practice in universities.

Mr. Jackson : It is for each university to determine how the substantial public funds it receives, together with its other income, should be distributed between its faculties and departments. In the case of medical education, this normally follows discussion with the relevant health authorities.

Mr. Michael Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what courses are planned to be available in technical colleges or colleges of advanced education to train general practice managers ; and how many places are envisaged for these courses.

Mr. Jackson : This information is not available centrally. It is for the institutions themselves to plan such courses taking into account demand for places.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health gave on 8 May at column 320 about arrangements to enable general practitioners to acquire necessary management skills.

University Intakes

Sir Rhodes Boyson : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what figures are available to indicate the percentage of the intake to universities since 1959 who came from working-class homes.

Mr. Jackson : The percentage of home university students accepted through the Universities Central Council on Admissions, and who were from social groups IIIM, IV and V since 1977 are shown in the table. Comparable figures for earlier years are not available.


Column 368


Percentages of home           

acceptances through UCCA from 

social classes                

IIIM, IV, V                   

Year      |Per cent.          

------------------------------

1977      |23                 

1978      |23                 

1979      |22                 

1980      |19                 

1981      |18                 

1982      |18                 

1983      |20                 

1984      |20                 

1985      |21                 

1986      |21                 

1987      |21                 

1988      |20                 

British Independent Schools

Mr. Haselhurst : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has given further consideration to the proposals for a grant scheme put forward by the Council of British Independent Schools in the European Communities ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend met representatives of COBISEC on 6 December. At the meeting he undertook to consider the proposals further on the basis of certain additional evidence which COBISEC was to provide. I understand that some of this additional evidence is still in preparation and we must await this before any decision can be taken.

Publicity

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will place in the Library details of each major publicity campaign mounted by his Department in 1985-86 and each successive year, including in each case the objectives of the campaign, the intended audience and the outcome of the monitoring of the achievement of the intended objectives, and national research conducted for him by the Central Office of Information together with a note of the intended objectives in the campaigns for 1989-90.

Mrs. Rumbold [ pursuant to her reply, 2 May 1989, c. 79-80] : The requested information about publicity campaigns has today been placed in the Library.

WALES

Schools (Books and Equipment)

Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table showing the latest figure for expenditure per pupil on (a) books and (b) equipment and comparable figures for each year since 1978-79 in(i) primary schools, (ii) seconday schools and (iii) special schools in cash and real terms using an index of 100 for 1978-79.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : I shall reply to the hon. Lady as soon as possible.

Tourism

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many projects have been identified in Wales as


Column 369

suitable for European Community financing under the provisions of article 6 of the European Tourism Year 1990 decision document, adopted by the European Community Council on 21 December 1988.

Mr. Peter Walker : None so far. A project submitted by the Wales tourist board was considered by the national examining committee on 4 May. I understand that the committee sought further information on the project and that it is intended that an expanded submission will be considered at the committee's June meeting.

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether his Department is making available specific grants for tourism operators in Wales to achieve the objectives of the European Tourism Year 1990 in line with the European Community Council decision of 21 December 1988.

Mr. Peter Walker : No. However, the European Commission has decided to allocate approximately £3.3 million to the year. From this source, funds will be available for co-financing of projects by public and private bodies, for prizes and competitions and for information and publicity campaigns. Bids should be submitted to the United Kingdom's national examining committee via the British tourism authority.

Official Visits

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on how many occasions since he became Secretary of State for Wales he has made official visits to Wales.

Mr. Peter Walker : Since becoming Secretary of State for Wales I have fulfilled 301 official engagements in the Principality.

Dermatologists

Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many consultant dermatologists are attached to hospitals within the East Dyfed health authority and the West Glamorgan health authority.

Mr. Grist : As at 30 September 1988 it is provisionally estimated that there were 0.9 whole-time equivalent consultant dermatologists employed by the East Dyfed health authority and 1.8 by the West Glamorgan health authority.

Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the average length of waiting time before a patient can see a consultant dermatologist after referral by a general practitioner at (a) Llanelli general hospital, (b) West Wales hospital, Carmarthen, (c) Morriston hospital and (d) Singleton hospital.

Mr. Grist : Information is not available centrally in the form requested. The number of people waiting, as at 31 March 1988, for a first consultation with a dermatologist is shown in the table :--


Number who have been waiting for more than three months                

                          |Total number  |Number waiting               

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Llanelli General Hospital |154           |74                           

West Wales Hospital       |637           |480                          

Morriston Hospital        |73            |60                           

Singleton Hospital        |1,060         |583                          

Development Board for Rural Wales

Sir Anthony Meyer : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he has any plans to review the new town responsibilities of the Development Board for Rural Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Walker : The Mid Wales Development Council and its successor body, the Development Board for Rural Wales, were charged with developing Newtown in Powys using new town powers. Population has risen consistently and is now close to the target level of 11, 000. With the task of developing Newtown almost complete, I am reviewing the appropriate timetable for winding up the board's new town responsibilities consulting with the board and with the relevant local authorities as necessary. I expect to make a further announcement later this year.

Agriculture Development and Advisory Service

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether his Agriculture Development and Advisory Service in Wales has succeeded during the past two years in achieving its revenue target ; and whether the Transgoed laboratories reached their target contribution towards this revenue in the same period.

Mr. Ryder : I have been asked to reply.

The Agriculture Development and Advisory Service has achieved the overall revenue target set in appropriations in aid for its advisory services in 1987-88 and, on the basis of provisional results, in 1988-89. All constituent units of the Agriculture Development and Advisory Service have contributed to this performance. It is not our policy to disclose details of individual Agriculture Development and Advisory Service units targets.

Pensioners

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many women over the age of 59 years and how many men over the age of 64 years are registered as resident within Wales, by county.

Mr. Grist [holding answer 8 May 1989] : The latest estimates of population in the age groups requested are given in the table :


Population mid-1987                                                                         

County                 |Women aged 60 and over|Men aged 65 and over                         

                       |(thousands)           |(thousands)                                  

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clwyd                  |53.6                  |27.0                                         

Dyfed                  |47.4                  |24.3                                         

Gwent                  |53.3                  |27.4                                         

Gwynedd                |34.7                  |16.9                                         

Mid Glamorgan          |63.9                  |31.6                                         

Powys                  |15.2                  |8.7                                          

South Glamorgan        |48.4                  |23.7                                         

West Glamorgan         |48.7                  |24.2                                         

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

Total for Wales        |365.2                 |183.8                                        

Source: Office of Population Censuses and Surveys.                                          

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Research Institutes

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many research institutes are


Column 371

supported by his Department ; how many people they employ ; how many of these are located in Wales ; and how many are employed in those institutes.

Mr. Donald Thompson : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central (Mr. Cousins) on 4 May, at columns 193-95.

Rabbit Meat

Mr. David Evans : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many tons of rabbit meat were imported in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) other members of the European Community from the People's Republic of China in 1988, 1987 and 1986.

Mr. Donald Thompson : Imports in 1988 of meat and edible meat offal of rabbits and hares from the People's Republic of China are shown in the table. Corresponding data are not available for 1986 and 1987, when a different trade classification system applied.


                       |Tonnes       

-------------------------------------

United Kingdom         |2,125        

France                 |6,595        

Belgium and Luxembourg |657          

Germany                |724          

Italy                  |640          

Portugal               |207          

Spain                  |760          

Greece                 |n/a          

Source: Eurostat.                    

Pesticides

Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many employees in his Department are engaged in testing vegetables for pesticide residue.

Mr. Ryder : At any one time, some 60 to 100 analysts in MAFF and other Government Departments are involved in analysing pesticide residues in the whole range of foods monitored by the working party on pesticide residues. The number engaged on testing vegetables within these figures will vary according to the nature of samples being analysed at any one time.

Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many pesticide ingredients are licensed to be used on food.

Mr. Ryder : I regret that the information requested is not readily available. Approvals issued under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986 relate to individual pesticide products, rather than active ingredients. These are listed in "Pesticides 1989" a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Salmonella in Eggs"

Sir Hal Miller : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the Government will respond to the first report of the Agriculture Committee, "Salmonella in Eggs" ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. MacGregor : The Government welcome the Committee's lucid analysis of the extent and implications of the problem of salmonella in eggs. In particular the


Column 372

Government consider that the Committee's very thorough report has put the problem into the correct perspective by refuting the more extreme and alarmist impressions.

The Government also welcome the Committee's endorsement of our comprehensive campaign to control the disease and achieve the best possible standards in our egg industry. The response gives further details of measures, which we are taking to ensure the maximum possible degree of safety at every point in the chain from the poultry breeder to the kitchen table. Salmonella is a worldwide problem and no other country, to the best of our knowledge, has pursued such a vigorous campaign to combat it.

The Government are grateful to the Agriculture Committee for the valuable contribution its report has made towards this campaign.

Suckler Cow Premium

Mr. Curry : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will pay the maximum rate of suckler cow premium following European Community decisions to increase the contribution from Community funds.

Mr. MacGregor : The beef reform package agreed by the Council of Agriculture Ministers in January included both an increase in the Community -funded element of the suckler cow premium from 25 ecus to 40 ecus and the continued option of paying a top-up of 25 ecus from national funds. In Northern Ireland the first 20 ecus of this top-up are also met from Community funds. More recently, as part of last month's price fixing, I negotiated a substantial devaluation of the green pound for beef which eliminated the monetary gap.

I am pleased to announce that the Government have decided to pay the maximum rate of national supplement to the suckler cow subsidy, taking full account of the recent devaluation and the scope provided by the scheme rules. As a result the rate of the suckler cow premium for the 1989-90 scheme year will be increased from £33.40 per cow to £47.43.

More beef producers than ever will benefit from the increased rate of premium because of a further change in the rules which in future will allow premium to be paid to farmers earning less than half their income from their holdings, provided they meet the other scheme rules. In particular, I would expect some crofters, farmers seeking to diversify, and those on low incomes to be able to benefit. These changes to the suckler cow premium, which means a 42 per cent. increase in the rate, demonstrate the Government's commitment to the beef sector, especially the more extensive production of quality beef from specialist suckler herds. For several years now the specialist beef sector has shown good signs of recovery. Producers now have an added incentive to build on this recovery and take advantage of the more open competitive climate which results from the reformed beef regime.

EC Meetings

Mr. Wray : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all the European Community meetings on matters concerning his Department held in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988.


Column 373

Mr. Ryder [holding answer 8 May 1989] : The Agriculture Council met on 14 occasions in 1985, 11 in 1986, 13 in 1987 (including one held jointly with Economic and Finance Ministers) and 13 in 1988. There were also occasional informal meetings of Agriculture Ministers. The Fisheries Council met on four occasions in 1985, five in 1986, two in 1987 and five in 1988. Also, at certain meetings of the Internal Market Council in 1988, a number of food items relevant to the single market were discussed. In addition there were numerous meetings of officials. Information on the number of such meetings could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Nitrate Leaching

Mr. Gill : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress he has made on the preparation of proposals for the designation of areas sensitive to nitrate leaching.

Mr. MacGregor : The Government yesterday tabled amendments to the Water Bill to provide for the designation of nitrate-sensitive areas. Following my written reply to the House on 22 March I am pleased to announce that my Department and the Welsh Office Agricultural Department have today issued a joint consultation document entitled "Nitrate-Sensitive Areas Scheme". This has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and is available in the Vote Office. It is also being circulated widely to some 170 farming, water, environmental and other interested parties. The document takes account of Government statements on the principles underlying a scheme and sets out the detailed ideas as a basis for discussion. We look forward to receiving comments on the issues covered in the document from a wide range of organisations.

Undersea Rescue Services (Chemicals)

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the dangers posed to undersea rescue services in attempts to recover the container of Lindane chemicals lost off the sunken Perintis freighter in March by the surplus conventional explosives and radioactive waste packages disposed of in the third deep trench at 49 degrees 50 minutes north, two degrees 18 minutes west in the 1950's.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I have been asked to reply.


Column 374

The area in question was used by the United Kingdom for the disposal of surplus conventional munitions from 1946 until about 1971, and for the disposal of low grade radioactive waste from 1950 to 1963. The disposal site is publicised in Admiralty charts and in OECD Nuclear Energy Agency publications, both of which are readily available. The recovery of the container of Lindane, lost from the MV Perintis, is the responsibility of the French Government, who are aware of the presence of the disposal site and have made contact with my Department. The danger to any recovery operation posed by the radioactive waste is considered negligible. The presence of conventional explosives in the area should not prevent such an operation, provided that standard procedures for dealing with explosives are followed.

EMPLOYMENT

Industrial Injuries

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, further to his answer of Friday 21 April, Official Report, column 347, if he will consider extending the 1985 regulations to workers at the House of Commons.

Mr. Nicholls : The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1985 were made under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. As I explained to the hon. Member on Monday 17 April at column 44, the Act does not apply to the House of Commons and I do not intend to seek its extension to the House.

Under the arrangements for inspection of the Palace of Westminster and the parliamentary estate, the palace authorities would inform the Health and Safety Executive of major accidents, dangerous occurrences or diseases that occur at the palace. No such reports have been received by HSE since the arrangements were formalised.

Area Manpower Boards

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the possible and actual attendance, separately, for both private sector and trade union representatives on area manpower boards, for each area manpower board in Great Britain for the last full year that these boards were in operation.

Mr. Cope : The information requested is set out in the table.


Column 373


                                                            Attendance of trade                     Attendance of private                                      

                                                            union representatives                   sector representatives                                     

Area Manpower Board                    |Number of meetings |Possible           |Actual             |Possible           |Actual                                 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 1.  Berkshire and Oxfordshire         |6                  |25                 |15                 |32                 |16                                     

 2.  Hampshire and Isle of Wight       |9                  |33                 |23                 |42                 |25                                     

 3.  Kent                              |12                 |60                 |31                 |60                 |26                                     

 4.  Surrey                            |11                 |55                 |44                 |55                 |34                                     

 5.  East And West Sussex              |13                 |65                 |54                 |52                 |37                                     

 6.  Buckinghamshire                   |8                  |24                 |19                 |32                 |13                                     

 7.  Essex                             |7                  |33                 |16                 |42                 |31                                     

 8.  Hertfordshire                     |6                  |18                 |16                 |30                 |12                                     

 9.  London North                      |12                 |48                 |42                 |60                 |35                                     

10.  London South East                 |13                 |39                 |22                 |78                 |45                                     

11.  London South and West             |11                 |55                 |37                 |55                 |32                                     

12.  London North East                 |11                 |56                 |24                 |48                 |27                                     

13.  Dorset and Somerset               |12                 |60                 |36                 |60                 |32                                     

14.  Avon                              |12                 |60                 |28                 |60                 |24                                     

15.  Devon and Cornwall                |11                 |44                 |26                 |44                 |25                                     

16.  Gloucestershire and Wiltshire     |9                  |43                 |34                 |27                 |13                                     

17.  Birmingham and Solihull           |11                 |49                 |31                 |52                 |32                                     

18.  Coventry and Warwickshire         |7                  |35                 |23                 |42                 |33                                     

19.  Dudley and Sandwell               |11                 |53                 |39                 |50                 |28                                     

20.  Hereford and Worcestershire       |9                  |45                 |26                 |36                 |27                                     

21.  Shropshire                        |7                  |35                 |18                 |28                 |9                                      

22.  Staffordshire                     |4                  |20                 |19                 |20                 |14                                     

23.  Wolverhampton and Walsall         |12                 |60                 |25                 |48                 |29                                     

24.  Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire   |-                  |-                  |-                  |-                  |-                                      

25.  Norfolk and Suffolk               |8                  |40                 |22                 |40                 |19                                     

26.  Derbyshire                        |8                  |40                 |30                 |32                 |16                                     

27.  Leicestershire                    |10                 |50                 |29                 |60                 |24                                     

28.  Lincolnshire                      |9                  |45                 |24                 |45                 |19                                     

29.  Northamptonshire                  |11                 |55                 |30                 |55                 |34                                     

30.  South Yorkshire                   |11                 |55                 |41                 |55                 |36                                     

31.  Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees |14                 |84                 |62                 |56                 |36                                     

32.  Leeds and Wakefield               |13                 |65                 |34                 |65                 |32                                     

33.  North Yorkshire                   |12                 |60                 |34                 |60                 |23                                     

34.  Humberside                        |11                 |55                 |34                 |55                 |28                                     

35.  Merseyside                        |12                 |60                 |31                 |60                 |23                                     

36.  Manchester                        |12                 |84                 |54                 |60                 |31                                     

37.  Cheshire                          |10                 |50                 |14                 |52                 |25                                     

38.  Lancashire                        |12                 |52                 |16                 |52                 |29                                     

39.  Cumbria                           |8                  |32                 |23                 |32                 |15                                     

40.  North Tyne                        |6                  |34                 |14                 |36                 |25                                     

41.  Cleveland                         |12                 |60                 |35                 |60                 |43                                     

42.  Durham                            |12                 |60                 |41                 |72                 |42                                     

43.  South Tyne                        |12                 |60                 |53                 |96                 |55                                     

44.  Mid and South Glamorgan           |9                  |45                 |29                 |36                 |15                                     

45.  Gwynedd                           |8                  |32                 |20                 |40                 |19                                     

46.  Dyfed and West Glamorgan          |6                  |30                 |20                 |30                 |24                                     

47.  Clwyd and Powys                   |10                 |50                 |31                 |50                 |33                                     

48.  Gwent                             |9                  |45                 |27                 |45                 |21                                     

49.  Highlands and Islands             |11                 |55                 |36                 |55                 |35                                     

50.  Grampian and Tayside              |12                 |60                 |50                 |60                 |36                                     

51.  Central and Fife                  |10                 |50                 |17                 |50                 |26                                     

52.  Lothian and Borders               |11                 |66                 |40                 |55                 |26                                     

53.  Glasgow                           |13                 |65                 |16                 |65                 |40                                     

54.  Lanarkshire                       |13                 |65                 |43                 |65                 |36                                     

55.  Renfrew, Dumbarton and Argyll     |12                 |60                 |31                 |60                 |30                                     

56.  Ayrshire                          |11                 |49                 |30                 |45                 |21                                     

57.  Dumfries and Galloway             |12                 |57                 |38                 |60                 |24                                     

ACAS

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what proposals the Government have for reforming the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

Mr. Nicholls : The Government have no such proposals.

Employment Training

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have so far been accepted for training under the ET programme ; at what cost ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholls : By 28 April, 275,000 people had started on employment training. The cost for each trainee will be about £2,300. It is a remarkable achievement that so many people have been helped by the most successful training programme for adults ever run by the Government.

Vauxhall Motors (Luton)

Mr. Bright : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has on the effect of the expansion of Vauxhall Motors Ltd. Luton plant on the local unemployment register.


Column 376

Mr. Lee : It is not possible to forecast what effect this investment will have on the rate of unemployment in the Watford and Luton travel-to- work area, but I am sure it will be welcomed locally and will help maintain jobs and prosperity in the area.

Industrial Action

Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to seek to repeal the current legislation on picketing and secondary action and to replace it with a voluntary code ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholls : The Green Paper "Removing Barriers to Employment", published on 20 March, contains the Government's current proposals for the further reform of industrial relations and trade union law. The Green Paper proposes no change to the law on picketing. It does however propose the removal of immunity for organising secondary action among workers of an employer not party to the trade dispute and the extension of the definition of secondary action so that it includes action by those who work under contracts "for services".


Column 377

Labour Shortages

Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what measures his Department proposes in order to deal with anticipated shortages of skilled labour in future years.

Mr. Cope : Training and enterprise councils will offer employers major opportunities to meet their future skill needs, improve the supply of skills and promote enterprise. The whole range of my Department's Training Agency programmes already have these among their aims and will continue to pursue them vigorously.

Workfare Scheme

Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans for setting up a pilot workfare scheme to study workfare systems in the United States of America and Sweden ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Cope [holding answer 24 April 1989] : We have no such plans. Our priority is to encourage unemployed people to take up the 600,000 to 700,000 existing vacancies.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Community Charge

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what the community charge liability will be for a person who is having a reduction made in social security benefit in order to repay an overpayment of benefit received under section 53 of the Social Security Act 1986 ;

(2) what the community charge liability will be for a person disqualified from receiving unemployment benefit under sections 20(1)(a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) and sections 20(2)(a) and (b) of the Social Security Act 1975, and ineligible to receive income support under section 22(4)(c)(i) of the Income Support (General) Regulations 1987 ;

(3) what the community charge liability will be for a person disqualified from receiving unemployment benefit under sections 20(1)(a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) and sections 20(2)(a) and (b) of the Social Security Act 1975.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : None of these reductions or disqualifications will affect the amount of community charge rebate a person receives, and so will not alter the amount of community charge he has to pay. When a person's net income is assessed for the purposes of determining a claim for community charge rebate, his gross income from prescribed benefits will be included, irrespective of any sums that may have been deducted from these benefits. A person who has been awarded income support will be entitled to the maximum community charge rebate of 80 per cent. irrespective of whether he may have been disqualified from unemployment, sickness or invalidity benefit, or may be having a reduction made from any benefit to which he is entitled.


Column 378

HOME DEPARTMENT

Crime (Humberside)

Mr. David Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department is taking against crime in Humberside ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten : Our strategy for crime reduction applies to all parts of England and Wales. Police manpower and resources have been substantially increased, Crime Concern was launched with Government support in May 1988 to stimulate, support and develop local crime prevention activity and the largest ever national crime prevention publicity campaign was launched last year.

Total crime in Humberside fell by 4 per cent. in 1988. My right hon. Friend approved a further 20 police posts for the force from 1 April bringing the authorised establishment up to 1992. The Government encourage the growth and development of neighbourhood watch schemes and crime prevention panels. There are now 1,331 watch schemes covering approximately 29,500 households throughout Humberside, with 15 panels and two junior panels. Hull is one of the areas in our Safer Cities programme.


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