Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what is the Government's policy towards the Lingua programme proposed by the European Commission ;
(2) what is the budget contribution from the United Kingdom for five years from 1994, as part of the Lingua programme ;
(3) what projects have been prepared for submission to the Lingua programme proposed by the European Community ;
(4) how much has been spent on preparatory work on the Lingua programme proposed by the European Commission.
Mr. Jackson : Modern languages are a key part of the national curriculum and the Government attach great importance to improving our performance in this field. Provided an appropriate legal base can be agreed, the Government are prepared to support those parts of the proposed Lingua programme which relate to student mobility, in-service training for teachers, programmes of co-operation in language teaching between higher education institutions and language training for firms. It is not prepared to support proposals for Community action in areas of school education, which are matters for individual member states. Until the size and shape of the Lingua programme have been agreed, it is not possible to forecast the United Kingdom's budgetary contribution to it, or to invite the submission of projects within it. Preparatory work in this country has to date been limited to that required for negotiating the text of the decision establishing the programme.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many doctoral research students at the Open university have been awarded doctorates in each year since 1979 ; and what has been the comparable average success in other United Kingdom universities.
Mr. Jackson : Numbers of training doctorates at the Open university are as follows :
|Number --------------------- 1979 |14 1980 |13 1981 |22 1982 |31 1983 |31 1984 |48 1985 |41 1986 |54 1987 |55 1988 |39 1989 |<1>5 <1> To date.
A large proportion of Open university students research for their doctorates on a part-time basis. Information on average completion rates at the OU and at other United Kingdom universities is not readily available.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish a table on student grants updating his answer of 12 December 1988, Official Report, column 389, for the latest year for which figures are available.
Mr. Jackson : The data requested are as follows :
Mandatory Awards (England and Wales) 1987-88 (Provisional) |Student Numbers |<1>Percentage of award |holders ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Full maintenance |<2>153,000 |37.7 Maintenance reduced by assessment: (i) Numbers of dependent students with parental contributions of: Under £200 |22,800 |5.6 £201 to £400 |21,900 |5.4 £401 to £600 |17,100 |4.2 £601 to £800 |15,800 |3.9 £801 to £1,000 |14,500 |3.6 £1,001 to £1,200 |13,600 |3.4 £1,201 to £1,400 |11,800 |2.9 £1,401 to £1,600 |10,000 |2.5 £1,601 to £1,800 |7,700 |1.9 £1,801 to £2,000 |5,800 |1.4 Over £2,001 |5,300 |1.3 (ii) Dependent students who contribute to grant from their own income |600 |0.1 (iii) Independent students |5,900 |1.4 Nil maintenance<3> |<2>100,000 |24.7 <1> Percentages calculated on unrounded figures. <2> Includes dependent and independent students. <3> For these students only the course fees are paid.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the scales of parental contribution to the student grant, specifying what contribution parents should be making according to their income in the current year.
Mr. Jackson : The scales for the current academic year are as follows :
Residual income<1> |<2>Scale 1 |<3>Scale 2 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 9,900 |50 |37 10,000 |64 |48 11,000 |207 |155 12,000 |350 |262 12,600 |435 |326 13,000 |515 |386 14,000 |715 |536 15,000 |915 |686 16,000 |1,115 |836 17,000 |1,315 |986 18,000 |1,515 |1,136 18,400 |1,595 |1,196 19,000 |1,745 |1,309 20,000 |1,995 |1,496 21,000 |2,245 |1,684 22,000 |2,495 |1,871 23,000 |2,745 |2,059 24,000 |2,995 |2,246 25,000 |3,245 |2,434 26,000 |3,495 |2,621 27,000 |3,745 |2,809 28,000 |3,995 |2,996 29,000 |4,245 |3,184 30,000 |4,495 |3,371 31,000 |4,745 |3,559 31,620 |max 4,900 |3,675 32,000 |3,746 33,000 |3,934 34,000 |4,121 35,000 |4,309 36,000 |4,496 37,000 |4,684 38,000 |4,871 38,153 |max 4,900 <1>The starting point in calculating the residual income is the gross income of the parents as computed for tax purposes in the financial year immediately preceding the academic year for which the grant is being assessed. From this gross figure some deductions are allowed-notably those made in parallel with the tax reliefs based on interest payments, including mortgage interest, life insurance premiums (on policies taken out before March 1984) and superannuation payments. <2>Scale 1 is applied to those students whose courses began before 1 April 1988 and who had attained the age of 18 by 16 March 1988, or to those who had within two years of starting their present course attended another designated course. Scale 2 is applied to all other dependent students. <3>The contribution payable may be less than the amounts shown on the scale, particularly at its top end and where the contribution is in respect of one award holder only. This will depend on the amount of grant against which the contribution has to be set and whether any of the assessed contribution is offest by allowances for other dependent children.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give the figures, for his best available estimate, for the numbers of parents paying the parental contribution towards the student grant, specifying how many parents and how much they are paying in respect of each different level of contribution ; and if he will also estimate what proportion of parents pay the full parental contribution at each different level.
Mr. Jackson : Although the parents of two out of three mandatory award holders are assessed for a contribution towards the maintenance element of the award, they are under no legal obligation to pay it. Evidence of payment or non-payment is indirect, from surveys of students' income and expenditure, and needs to be treated with caution. Such evidence suggests that the average student receives financial help from parents in excess of their assessed contribution, but that one student in three of those whose parents are assessed for an award may receive less.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science which modern foreign languages will be specified for inclusion in 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 have today jointly published an order, which comes into effect on 1 August 1989, under section 3(2)(b) of the Education Reform Act 1988. This specifies two groups of modern foreign languages which
Column 312will qualify for the purposes of the national curriculum. The terms of the order reflect consultations on the draft order which we initiated on 3 March. We are grateful for all the comments received during the consultation period.
Initially this order will apply to the requirement that pupils in key stage 3--normally those aged 11 to 14--should study a modern foreign language for a reasonable time from autumn 1989 for pupils in England, and from autumn 1990 for those in Wales.
The first group of languages consists of the eight working languages of the European Community (Danish, Dutch, French, German, Modern Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish)--the schedule 1 languages. The second group contains 11 non-EC languages (Arabic, Bengali, Gujerati, Hindi, Japanese, Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, Modern Hebrew, Panjabi, Russian, Turkish, Urdu)--the schedule 2 languages. The order does not require all pupils to study a working language of the European Community. It requires schools to offer at least one such language as the first modern foreign language pupils study ; but allows schools also to offer any of the other languages listed in schedule 2 so that pupils can choose to study one of these languages rather than the EC language offered. But the order does not give pupils a right to demand teaching of a non-EC language or an EC language other than that offered.
Circulars of guidance for England and Wales are also being published today. Copies of the order and circulars will be sent to all LEAs and schools and have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Murphy : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will reconsider the exclusion of the Welsh Joint Education Committee from the recently reconstituted Wales advisory body for local authority higher education.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : The reconstituted Wales advisory body for local authority higher education consists of eight county councillors chaired by myself. The Welsh Joint Education committee nominates four of the eight councillors.
Mr. Murphy : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will consider appointing a representative of professional public sector higher education drawn from within the Principality to the newly constituted Wales advisory body for local authority higher education.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : The former board of the Wales advisory body for local authority higher education has been reconstituted as the standing working group for the new single-tier Wales advisory body. Members appointed to the standing working group by my right hon. Friend are drawn from a variety of institutions. The only representative members are those appointed by the Welsh Counties committee and the Welsh joint education committee.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information has been received to date from British Rail on the progress of consultation on private sector involvement in the Settle-Carlisle railway line.
Mr. Portillo : I understand that British Rail is considering, with the relevant local authorities, the precise scope of private sector involvement.
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will give a breakdown by region of the monies received from the European Community for transport or infrastructure investment for each year since 1980 ;
(2) what monies have been or will be received from the European Community for infrastructure investment connected with the Channel tunnel ; and if he will give a breakdown by standard region ; (3) what information he has about what moneys are available from the European Community for infrastructure investment connected with the Channel tunnel for which Her Majesty's Government do not intend to apply ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : European Community transport infrastructure grant to the United Kingdom since 1985 by regions and year has been as follows :
|1985 |1986 |1987 |1988 |£ million|£ million|£ million|£ million ------------------------------------------------------------------- South East |11.2 |6.6 |2.1 |7.0 Eastern |1.5 |2.6 |- |- Wales |- |- |1.4 |- Northern Ireland |0.4 |- |- |-
EC transport infrastructure grant so far awarded for investment connected with the Channel tunnel amounts to £15.6 million and a further £3.25 million is expected this year. All the projects concerned are in the south-east.
The United Kingdom has also received support for transport infrastructure from the European regional development fund. Since 1980 this has been by region :
|£ million --------------------------------------------- Northern |142.6 East Midland |8.5 North-West |128.1 South-West |49.9 West Midland |78.3 Yorkshire and Humberside |94.9
Figures for transport infrastructure grant earlier than 1985 or for a separation into years of the European regional development figures could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
We are therefore receiving funds from both available sources. We have no information of any other monies available from the EC for infrastructure investments connected with the Channel tunnel.
Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, when he next meets the chairmen of electricity boards, he will urge them to abolish standing charges on electricity bills for pensioner customers.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Standing charges are a matter for the electricity industry. They cover the cost of providing a connection to the distribution network, as well as all aspects of customer services, including those of meter reading, accounting and billing. These costs arise no matter how much or how little electricity is used. They reflect the fixed costs which the electricity supply industry incurs in maintaining a constant and safe supply to each customer's home. Abolition of standing charges would increase the unit rate.
I do not, therefore, believe that the abolition of standing charges on electricity bills for pensioner customers would be in the interests of customers as a whole.
Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, when he next meets the Director-General of Gas Supply, he will seek the abolition of standing charges on gas bills for pensioner customers.
Mr. Peter Morrison : No. Standing charges for gas are subject to the conditions of British Gas's authorisation as a public gas supplier.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many tonnes of uranium have been imported into the United Kingdom annually since 1979 ; whether the safeguards designation for each consignment was N or P ; which authorities made the safeguards designation ; from which countries the uranium originated ; and was any subsequently re-exported.
Mr. Michael Spicer [holding answer 11 May 1989] : The Euratom authorities assign appropriate safeguards coding, according to the conditions imposed by the government of the supplying country, at the time contracts are signed. Since 1979 over 10,000 tonnes of uranium as ore concentrate has been imported for use in the United Kingdom civil programme ; all of it is subject to peaceful end-use restrictions imposed by the supplier country, with the exception of that from Namibia which was subject to obligation code "N". The ore concentrate was imported from Canada, United States of America and Namibia. No uranium ore concentrate has been imported from Namibia since 1984.
In addition to uranium imported for use in the United Kingdom, over 30,000 tonnes of uranium, as ore concentrate, has been processed by British Nuclear Fuels Limited since 1979, on behalf of overseas customers for subsequent re-export. The origin of such material is a matter for these customers to determine.
All uranium imported either for the United Kingdom civil programme or for re-export is subject to Euratom safeguards and the terms of the United Kingdom-Euratom-International Atomic Energy Authority safeguards agreement and to any end use obligations imposed by the supplier country.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list by year for the last 10 years the value in current prices of polyester silk plants imported into the United Kingdom ; and if he will show in his answer the country of origin.
Mr. Alan Clark : The information is not available.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list United Kingdom exports to Turkey of knitted goods in each of the last 10 years.
Mr. Alan Clark : The information is given in the table :
United Kingdom exports of knitted or crocheted goods to Turkey (£'000) |1979 |1980 |1981 |1982 |1983 |1984 |1985 |1986 |1987 |<1>1988 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Outerwear (group 845.0) |72.3 |93.9 |159.4 |150.4 |73.6 |500.8 |968.0 |1,088.1|435.4 |- Underwear (group 846.0) |9.6 |0.7 |42.3 |160.9 |68.0 |37.8 |72.9 |171.5 |126.6 |- Accessories (sub-group 847.2) |- |- |0.6 |1.3 |1.8 |44.0 |14.2 |22.4 |1.4 |- Headgear (item 848.43) |3.6 |- |1.3 |- |113.7 |1.5 |4.7 |- |3.4 |- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- Total |85.5 |94.6 |203.6 |312.6 |257.1 |583.5 |1,059.8|1,282.0|566.8 |417.4 <1> Provisional. Source: Overseas Trade Statistics. Notes 1. Descriptions and group, sub-group and item references based on Standard International Trade Classification Revision 2 (SITC R2). 2. Due to the changes in the classification with the introduction of the SITC Revision 3 (SITC R3) in 1988 direct comparisons with earlier years not available.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any plans to review the premium savings bond either by replacing it, or supplementing it with another scheme ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lilley The terms of premium bonds, like all National Savings products, are kept under constant review. There are no plans to replace or restructure the scheme.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the total amount of capital expenditure by construction, distribution and financial industries at constant factor prices in each of the standard regions, Scotland and Wales and for each of the years 1979 to 1988, inclusive.
Mr. Major : Capital expenditure by the construction, distribution and financial industries is not estimated for Scotland, Wales or the regions of England at either current or constant prices.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the total amount of capital expenditure by manufacturing industry at constant factor prices for each standard region, Scotland and Wales and for each of the years 1979 to 1988, inclusive.
Mr. Major : Capital expenditure is not estimated at constant prices in the regional accounts for Scotland, Wales or the regions of England, because there are no regional price indices. Current price estimates for 1983-86 were published in Economic Trends No. 421, November 1988, on page 97. Estimates for 1987 will be published in Economic Trends No. 433.
Mr. McLeish : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the gross domestic product at constant factor prices for each standard region, Scotland and Wales and for each of the years 1979 to 1988, inclusive.
Mr. Major : Gross domestic product (output-based) at constant prices for Scotland from 1963-1987 was published by the Scottish Office on 3 May ; comparable estimates are not made for Wales or the regions of England. Current price estimates (income based) for Scotland, Wales and the English regions for 1977-87 were published in Economic Trends No. 421, November 1988, on page 90. Provisional estimates for 1988 will be published in Economic Trends No. 433. Constant price income based estimates are not made because there are no regional price indices.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the managing director of London Underground Ltd. as to the proportion of its senior managers who are (a) black and (b) women ; and what action he proposes to take to promote equal opportunities.
Mr. Portillo : I have been asked to reply.
This is a matter for London Underground Ltd. as employers.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for asylum in the United Kingdom were made at ports of entry when the applicant did not have prior entrance clearance to the United Kingdom ; and how many such applicants were
Column 317granted (i) asylum and (ii) exceptional leave to remain in the United Kingdom, in each of the years 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988.
Mr. Renton : The information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were refused entry to the United Kingdom at ports of entry ; and how many of those refused entry subsequently applied for asylum in the United Kingdom, in the years 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988.
Mr. Renton : The total number of passengers refused leave to enter and removed from the United Kingdom in 1985, 1986 and 1987 is published in table 4.2 of the Home Office publication "Immigration Nationality and Passports, October 1988", a copy of which is in the Library. The total in 1988 was 20,871. Information on the numbers of these passengers who subsequently applied for refugee status in the United Kingdom is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the average Home Office decision time for asylum applications made at ports of entry in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988 and at the current time.
Mr. Renton : The available information is given in the table. Information for 1988 is not yet available.
Estimated average length of time<1> taken to reach a decision on an application<2> made at a port, for refugee status in the United Kingdom, for cases decided during the year. |Average time in months --------------------------------------------------------------------- 1985 |<3>8 1986 |16 1987 |11 <1>Excluding the time accounted for by an appeal where practicable, although this cannot be done in all cases. <2>Excluding dependants. <3>The 1985 figure may be an underestimate.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with other EC Governments regarding harmonisation of asylum procedures in preparation for the implementation of the Single European Act in 1992 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Renton : Asylum procedures have been discussed in regular meetings of Ministers responsible for immigration, held on six occasions since December 1986. For details of the two most recent meetings, I refer the hon. Member to the replies my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. Friends the Members for Romsey and Waterside (Mr. Colvin) on 14 December 1988 at columns 576-7 and for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Martin) on 17 May 1989 at column 208.
My right hon. Friend and I have also discussed asylum matters in various bilaterial contacts with Ministers from other member states.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the proposals in the White Paper on broadcasting ownership.
Mr. Hurd : The White Paper made clear our determination that ownership in the independent broadcasting sector should remain widely spread, and that unhealthy concentrations of ownership and excessive cross- media ownership should be prevented. We are grateful to those who responded to the invitation to comment on the scope and formulation of the rules needed to achieve this objective. The White Paper envisaged (paragraph 6.51) that the same group would be permitted to hold two, but not more than two, regional Channel 3 licences. Many of those commenting thought it would be undesirable if the same group could control two large or contiguous Channel 3 regions. It has also been argued that some flexibility is needed to take account of the ways in which independent terrestrial television might develop.
In the light of these responses we propose to strengthen the rules envisaged in the White Paper in the following way. Power would be taken to prescribe in subordinate legislation limits on the number of Independent Television Commission or Radio Authority licences within each main licence category which any one body or group would be permitted to hold or control. In the case of regional Channel 3 licences the initial limit would be set at two, as envisaged in the White Paper. But these limits would be capable of further restriction by reference to audience share and contiguity of licence area. The Government do not envisage that the same group should be allowed to own two large franchises or two franchises for contiguous areas. Paragraph 6.53 of the White Paper proposed clear reciprocal limits on broadcasting and newspaper cross-holdings. Taking account of comments on the White Paper, we propose that no proprietor of a national newspaper should be allowed to have an interest exceeding 20 per cent. in any DBS, UHF TV (including regional Channel 3) or national radio franchise. We also see a strong case for debarring national newspaper proprietors from having a significant financial interest in more than one such franchise. These limits also apply reciprocally to the holders of such franchises investing in groups controlling national newspapers. No regional or local newspaper would be allowed to have more than a 20 per cent. interest in any regional or local Independent Television Commission or Radio Authority licensee with whose area it substantially overlapped, and vice versa.
Paragraph 6.53 of the White Paper proposed, folowing a recommendation by the Home Affairs Committee, that ownership of satellite channels not using United Kingdom broadcasting frequencies but receivable in the United Kingdom (whether based here or abroad) should be capable of being taken into account by the Independent Television Commission and the Radio Authority in operating their controls. We propose that no operator of such a service should be permitted to have more than a 20 per cent. interest in a DBS, UHF TV (including regional Channel 3) or national radio licensee, and that cross-interests exceeding 20 per cent. between DBS, UHF TV and national radio licensees should not be permitted. Similarly, cross- interests exceeding 20 per cent. would not be permitted between regional Channel 3, local delivery operator and local radio licensees whose areas substantially overlapped. These limits would be expressed in subordinate legislation and would be capable of variation. We envisage that legislation would also leave open the possibility of limiting other forms of cross- holding.
Column 319In line with paragraph 6.49 of the White Paper, local authorities and bodies whose objectives are wholly or mainly of a political or religious nature (and also bodies which are affiliated to or controlled by such bodies) would be disqualified from holding any ITC licence. Local authorities and political bodies would similarly be disqualified from holding any Radio Authority licence : as envisaged in paragraph 7.10 of the radio Green Paper, religious bodies would be allowed to have a financial interest in radio stations provided this did not lead to bias or editorialising on religious or controversial matters.
We propose that no ITC or Radio Authority licence may be held or controlled by a non-EC company or individual not ordinarily resident in the EC, with the exception of local delivery licences and any operators licensed under the Cable and Broadcasting Act 1984. In the case of these exceptions, concerns about editorial and cultural influence, which are less applicable to local service delivery, are outweighed by the advantages for investment which the possibility of non-EC control would bring about.
While the Government do not envisage that the ITC or Radio Authority would have a wide discretion in dealing with ownership questions, they do propose that they should be given the enforcement powers needed to police the rules effectively. These would include the ability to include licence conditions requiring licensees to give advance notice of, and seek prior consent for, changes in shareholdings. The ITC and Radio Authority would also be able, for the purposes of enforcing the ownership rules, to require changes in a company or group as a condition of its being awarded, or retaining, a licence, and to withdraw licences if declarations to them proved false.
Transitional account will be taken, in framing the rules, of the position of shareholders in franchises awarded under existing legislation.
Mr. John Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many magistrates courts' days have been lost or shortened because of the inadequacy in numbers of available clerks.
Mr. John Patten : This information, not available at present, is now being obtained from magistrates courts committees on a quarterly basis. I shall write to the right hon. Member as soon as the first set of returns has been collated.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total value of goods seized under the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986.
Mr. John Patten : The best available information relates to confiscation orders. For the value of such orders to date, I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend gave to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone) on 11 May at column 986 .
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information his Department has with regard to the proportion of burglaries committed by drug addicts (a) in the Wirral, (b) in Merseyside and (c) nationally.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The information requested is not available nationally. However, a Home Office research study "opioid use and burglary", published in 1986 estimated that in 1983, 1 per cent. of adult males convicted of burglary in a dwelling at Liverpool magistrates court, and 15 per cent. convicted at Wirral magistrates court were drug addicts notified to the Home Office. Other research has suggested that in 1985 at least half of the adult males convicted of burglary in the Wirral may have been drug misusers.
Mr. Nicholas Baker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to limit publication of names and addresses of lone occupants of houses.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We have no plans to do so. The only published official source in England and Wales from which such information might be inferred, so far as I am aware, is the electoral register. It is not, however, a comprehensive guide as to who lives at a particular address or whether a person on it is a lone occupant. We have no evidence of widespread misuse of the register for criminal or other illegitimate purposes. If my hon. Friend is aware of a particular problem, perhaps he would write to me about it.
Mr. Irving : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) male and (b) female prisoners on the most recent convenient date were segregated under rule 43 of the prison rules (i) for their own protection and (ii) for reasons of good order and discipline.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The numbers of prisoners (sentenced and unsentenced) so segregated on 31 March 1989 was as follows :
|Own protection |Good order or discipline ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Male |2,193 |227 Female |21 |8
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 20 December 1988, Official Report, column 178, what representation he has received about the legal validity of the powers used by immigration officers to sign notices of intention to deport under the Immigration Act 1971 ; what response he has made ; if he will review these powers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Renton [holding answer 17 May 1989] : This issue has been raised in a number of appeals before the independent appellate authorities. The immigration appeal tribunal has now endorsed the view that the service of notices of intention to deport authorised by members of the immigration service not below the rank of inspector is valid.
We have also received two other letters about the delegation of the powers of the Secretary of State. A reply was sent to the first letter in November 1988 in similar
Column 321terms to the answer given to the hon. Member on 20 December 1988 at column 178. The second letter was received recently and a reply will be sent shortly.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek power to prohibit the sale to the public by open mail order of skeleton key sets suitable to open the locked doors of motor vehicles without the knowledge or permission of the owners ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John Patten [holding answer 17 May 1989] : There is no existing legislation prohibiting the sale of skeleton key sets, but it is an offence to carry such an article for use in the course of or in connection with theft. There are legitimate uses of skeleton key sets--eg by locksmiths--and any proposals for controls on sales would need to take this into account. Inquiries made of the police by the Home Office crime prevention centre at Stafford have not revealed evidence of significant use of skeleton key sets in criminal offences.