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Mr. Gerald Bowden : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make an announcement on the next composite rate investigation under section 483(5) of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988.
Mr. Norman Lamont : I have asked Inland Revenue to consult the savings institutions on arrangements for conducting a survey in respect of 1991-92.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to receive the report by Professor Sir Eric Stroud on the perinatal services in Wales.
Mr. Grist : I understand that the expert advisory group on perinatal intensive care services in Wales, under the chairmanship of Professor Sir Eric Stroud, is presently concluding its deliberations and expects to report shortly.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will make a special allocation of cash to local education authorities in Wales to enable them to meet their legal obligations consequent upon the enactment of the Education Reform Act ;
(2) if he will make a special allocation of cash to local education authorities in Wales to enable them to meet their obligations concerning the national curriculum ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) if he will make a special allocation of cash to local education authorities in Wales to enable them to meet their obligations concerning local management of schools ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : LEAs' expenditure requirements arising from the Education Reform Act are considered in the context of the revenue support grant negotiations. Specific additional support for aspects of ERA implementation is provided through education support grant and the LEA training grant scheme and through direct Welsh Office funding of the Curriculum Council for Wales.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will issue a direction to the Welsh Water Authority to prosecute all alleged industrial polluters of south Wales' rivers.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will make it his policy that when prescriptions are supplied in a combination pack of two or more items which cannot be taken in isolation and therefore are supplied only to be taken together as one course of treatment, only one prescription charge should be levied on the patient.
Mr. Grist : Unless the patient is entitled to exemption a prescription charge is payable in respect of each quantity of a drug prescribed and the fact that, for convenience, two or more individual preparations may be supplied in one pack does not affect the liability for payment. It would be wrong to allow manufacturers packaging arrangements to determine the amount a patient is liable to pay.
Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many registered blind persons there are in Wales.
Mr. Grist : There were, in Wales, 8,564 people registered as blind on 31 March 1988.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he will publish a report on environmentally sensitive areas in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Walker : I am very pleased to say that the first report on ESAs in Wales has been published today. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Similar
Column 142announcements are being made by my colleagues the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and by the Secretary of State for Scotland.
The report explains the reasons for designating the Cambrian mountains and Lleyn peninsula ESAs and describes the way the schemes are operating. It sets out progress on implementation and outlines our plans to monitor the effects of the schemes.
Progress with the scheme is very encouraging. Almost two-thirds of the holdings in the original Cambrian mountains ESA have applied to join the scheme. Fifty-four per cent. (13,931 ha) of the semi-natural rough grazing in that area is already subject to management agreements, and this proportion will increase when further applications are processed. I anticipate similar success in the Cambrian mountains extended area in due course. In little more than a year, 15,403 ha (38 per cent.) of the 39,700 ha of agricultural land in the Lleyn peninsula ESA has been the subject of applications to join the scheme. This progress is a sign of considerable interest in the scheme, and of the industry's commitment to farming in an environmentally conscious way.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when Mrs. Phyllis Bateson was appointed as a member of the Northern Ireland Police Authority ; whether her position as a member of the authority was a matter of consultation or discussion with the Government of the Republic of Ireland under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Agreement ; and what was the proposed period of her membership of the authority.
Mr. Ian Stewart [holding answer 19 June 1989] : For security reasons it is not our policy to disclose the names of members of the Northern Ireland Police Authority. Nor is it normal practice to disclose whether any views have been put forward on the composition of individual public bodies under article 6 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether his advice issued to local authority associations that access by community charge registration officers to the schools admissions register was not allowed because the register is under the control of school governors still applies ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Rumbold : Yes. The advice on this subject issued in a letter from the Department to the local authority associations dated 2 May, repeated in a letter dated 17 May from my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to the hon. Member, remains valid.
Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what consideration has been given to the needs of archaeology and the conservation and protection of the British heritage in the development of the national curriculum.
Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend announced on 13 January the establishment of a working group to make recommendations on attainment targets and programmes of study for history within the national curriculum in England and Wales. He asked the group to take into account, amongst other things, the cultural heritage of Britain ; it will also consider links between history and related fields such as archaeology. The group's interim report is to be submitted to him by 30 June, and its final report by Christmas.
Mr. Wall : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) how many people are on employment training schemes whilst studying at college ;
(2) if he will list all employment schemes, other than educational training, which are based in the further education sector ; how many students are on these schemes ; and how they are funded.
Mr. Jackson : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment is responsible for administering and funding most training programmes. The information available for the number of students training in public further education colleges in England on 1 November 1987 (the latest year for which information is available), excluding YTS and TVEI, is as follows :
|Thousands ------------------------------------------------------- Industrial Type Training Course<1> |7 Adult Training Scheme<2> |13 Other Courses<3> |12 <1> Industrial type training courses are courses at a college consisting entirely of training without a further education element, mounted at the behest of an industrial training board or employer, for which an economic charge is made. <2> Adult training scheme, includes students enrolled under the job training scheme, training for enterprise and wider opportunities training programmes. <3> Other courses include access to information technology and local grants to employers schemes.
Mr. Wall : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much each of the local authorities in England and Wales spend on discretionary awards as a total and as a percentage of their total budget ; and what is the maximum and minimum awards given by them.
Mr. Jackson : The table shows provisional outturn figures for the total amount spent on discretionary awards by each local education authority in England in 1987-88 ; and for the percentage this represents of their total net expenditure on education in each case where the latter figure is available. Policy for discretionary awards including the amount of support which should be given in each case is for each local authority to determine in the light of its own priorities and information about the value of individual awards is not collected centrally. Expenditure on education by local authorities in Wales is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Local education authority Total expenditure on discretionary awards |(i) |(ii) |(£000's) |As per cent. of total net |expenditure on education -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Barking |163 |0.26 Barnet |561 |n.a. Bexley |264 |0.44 Brent |3,342 |3.31 Bromley |613 |0.90 Croydon |355 |0.42 Ealing |805 |n.a. Enfield |110 |0.16 Haringey |385 |n.a. Harrow |237 |0.43 Havering |192 |0.30 Hillingdon |194 |0.33 Hounslow |200 |n.a. Kingston-upon-Thames |155 |0.28 Merton |179 |0.44 Newham |389 |n.a. Redbridge |297 |0.54 Richmond-upon-Thames |348 |1.06 Sutton |97 |0.25 Waltham Forest |591 |0.79 ILEA |20,156 |1.89 Birmingham |852 |0.28 Coventry |350 |0.31 Dudley |226 |0.28 Sandwell |399 |0.43 Solihull |212 |0.41 Walsall |276 |0.32 Wolverhampton |211 |n.a. Knowsley |19 |0.03 Liverpool |30 |0.02 St. Helens |128 |0.22 Sefton |357 |0.49 Wirral |1,051 |1.15 Bolton |325 |0.43 Bury |380 |0.77 Manchester |878 |0.45 Oldham |227 |0.37 Rochdale |222 |0.35 Salford |212 |n.a. Stockport |378 |0.51 Tameside |201 |0.33 Trafford |425 |0.80 Wigan |385 |0.40 Barnsley |578 |0.99 Doncaster |503 |0.58 Rotherham |193 |0.26 Sheffield |1,016 |n.a. Bradford |1,777 |1.15 Calderdale |394 |0.73 Kirklees |1,023 |0.77 Leeds |1,124 |0.52 Wakefield |720 |0.79 Gateshead |129 |0.24 Newcastle-upon-Tyne |352 |0.34 North Tyneside |235 |n.a. South Tyneside |5 |0.01 Sunderland |798 |0.83 Isles of Scilly |2 |0.29 Avon |1,905 |0.74 Bedfordshire |883 |0.57 Berkshire |1,164 |n.a. Buckinghamshire |776 |0.44 Cambridgeshire |1,159 |0.69 Cheshire |3,349 |1.26 Cleveland |1,216 |0.63 Cornwall |390 |0.35 Cumbria |1,558 |1.13 Derbyshire |538 |0.20 Devon |3,896 |1.58 Dorset |1,479 |1.04 Durham |381 |0.24 East Sussex |725 |0.46 Essex |2,251 |0.57 Gloucestershire |2,182 |1.64 Hampshire |4,586 |1.16 Hereford and Worcester |1,007 |0.62 Hertfordshire |1,442 |0.53 Humberside |2,500 |0.97 Isle of Wight |330 |1.08 Kent |3,702 |1.06 Lancashire |2,547 |0.65 Leicestershire |3,463 |1.32 Lincolnshire |1,388 |1.01 Norfolk |988 |0.58 North Yorkshire |3,341 |1.96 Northamptonshire |845 |0.53 Northumberland |400 |0.49 Nottinghamshire |1,305 |0.43 Oxfordshire |957 |0.65 Salop |1,202 |1.12 Somerset |546 |0.48 Staffordshire |1,232 |0.43 Suffolk |1,818 |1.20 Surrey |1,126 |0.51 Warwickshire |1,125 |0.90 West Sussex |364 |0.26 Wiltshire |1,094 |0.78
Mr. Wall : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much each of the local authorities in England and Wales spend on further education as a percentage of their total budget.
Mr. Jackson : Information in the form requested is not available. According to returns made to the Department of the Environment by local education authorities in England the percentage of the total net expenditure on Education spent on maintained establishments of further education other than polytechnics in 1987-88, the latest year for which actual expenditure is available, was as given in the table. The figures include the expenditure incurred on higher education within the other maintained establishments. Nationally, this represented some 20 per cent. of the total.
Figures for Wales are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Net Expenditure on other Maintained Establishments of Further Education as a Percentage of Total Net Expenditure on Education Local Education Authority |Percentage ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Barking |7.9 Barnet |n/a Bexley |7.7 Brent |10.8 Bromley |10.7 Croydon |10.8 Ealing |n/a Enfield |9.4 Haringey |n/a Harrow |21.8 Havering |7.6 Hillingdon |4.4 Hounslow |n/a Kingston-upon-Thames |11.1 Merton |12.1 Newham |n/a Redbridge |4.1 Richmond-upon-Thames |21.4 Sutton |8.8 Waltham Forest |8.6 ILEA |12.1 Birmingham |8.0 Coventry |10.2 Dudley |14.6 Sandwell |13.8 Solihull |11.4 Walsall |7.8 Wolverhampton |n/a Knowsley |6.3 Liverpool |10.3 St. Helens |12.9 Sefton |9.0 Wirral |12.0 Bolton |16.2 Bury |10.2 Manchester |11.9 Oldham |9.2 Rochdale |6.0 Salford |n/a Stockport |10.9 Tameside |8.6 Trafford |12.2 Wigan |13.7 Barnsley |7.0 Doncaster |9.7 Rotherham |10.7 Sheffield |n/a Bradford |12.1 Calderdale |6.2 Kirklees |9.5 Leeds |7.8 Wakefield |13.2 Gateshead |7.8 Newcastle-upon-Tyne |8.9 North Tyneside |n/a South Tyneside |14.6 Sunderland |6.4 Avon |10.5 Bedfordshire |13.4 Berkshire |n/a Buckinghamshire |10.4 Cambridgeshire |13.2 Cheshire |11.5 Cleveland |9.5 Cornwall |11.2 Cumbria |9.9 Derbyshire |8.6 Devon |12.6 Dorset |16.0 Durham |9.6 East Sussex |9.3 Essex |10.3 Gloucestershire |14.1 Hampshire |13.5 Hereford and Worcester |14.4 Hertfordshire |12.1 Humberside |12.7 Isle of Wight |10.3 Kent |9.0 Lancashire |11.7 Leicestershire |9.0 Lincolnshire |9.2 Norfolk |10.4 North Yorkshire |8.7 Northamptonshire |11.5 Northumberland |5.5 Nottinghamshire |8.6 Oxfordshire |9.9 Salop |9.6 Somerset |14.6 Staffordshire |9.4 Suffolk |9.7 Surrey |11.1 Warwickshire |12.6 West Sussex |9.8 Wiltshire |14.3 |------- England Total |10.8
Mr. Wall : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much was spent in England and Wales on further education in each year from 1979 to 1989.
Mr. Jackson : The information requested in respect of spending on further education, formerly non-advanced further education, in England, is set out in the table. The corresponding figures for Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Financial year |Cash (net) |£ million --------------------------------------------- 1979-80 |546 1980-81 |688 1981-82 |790 1982-83 |878 1983-84 |931 1984-85 |998 1985-86 |979 1986-87 |1,054 1987-88 |1,148 <1>1988-89 |1,225 <1> Provisional outturn spending.
Mr. Wall : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has on how many further education colleges in total and as a percentage of all further education colleges have (a) subsidised creche facilities for students, (b) free creche facilities for students, (c) no creche facilities for students, (d) subsidised meals for students, (e) sabbatical officers of student unions and (f) a student union office.
Mr. Jackson : No information is held centrally on the number of further education institutions providing creche facilities, subsidised meals or a student union office. Although we have no record of the total number of sabbatical officers, the DES survey of student unions suggested that it is unusual for mainstream further education colleges to have sabbatical officers.
Mr. Wall : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list in the Official Report the number of YTS trainees based in further education colleges (a) in total at any one time, (b) five days a week for the duration of the academic year, (c) five days a week for a limited period, for example, one term, (d) two to three days a week for the duration of the academic year, (e) two to three days a week for a limited period and (f) one day a week on day release.
Mr. Jackson : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment is responsible for administering and funding YTS programmes. The information available for the number of trainees in public further education colleges in England on 1 November 1987 (the latest year for which information is available) is as follows :
|Thousands ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total |141 Trainees attending full-time for the duration of the course |42 Other trainees |99
Mr. McLoughlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what arrangements have been made to wind up the University Grants Committee following the assumption from 1 April of full funding responsibilities by the Universities Funding Council.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : The terms of office of the last members of the University Grants Committee expired on 31 March. To allow for the orderly winding-up of the UGC's affairs, the secretariat will continue to have an existence until 14 July 1989, exactly 70 years after the committee's inception. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the way members and officers of the committee have, over that long period, discharged their responsibilities to help steer our universities steadily through periods of great change.
Mr. Lester : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are his latest estimates of the median weekly incomes, net and gross, of couples with (a) one child aged under five years, (b) single pensioners aged 75 years or over and (c) couples with one child under 16 years.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The information is set out as follows :
Median net and gross weekly incomes in 1986 |Net |Gross |£ |£ ---------------------------------------------------------------- Single pensioner aged 75 or over |59 |60 Couples with (just) one child aged under five |171 |209 Couples with (just) one child aged under 16 |186 |239 Notes: 1. Gross income is defined as income from all sources (earnings, benefits, investment and other income). 2. Net income is defined as gross income from all sources less income tax and national insurance. 3. The median is defined as the middle case in the distribution. Half the number of cases fall below the median and half above. 4. These figures are derived from the family expenditure survey. The figures may, therefore be subject to sampling errors. 5. Figures are given in cash terms rounded to the nearest £1.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what action is being taken to ensure that adjudication officers are aware of the relevant case law in relation to suspension of income support through claimant's misconduct or leaving without good cause ;
(2) what guidance he issues to his officials with regard to 26 weeks being the maximum figure for disqualification from income support on the grounds of misconduct or leaving without good cause, and not the standard figure.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Written guidance, which takes account of relevant case law, is given to adjudication
Column 149officers by the chief adjudication officer in paragraphs 28901-28966 of the adjudication officers' guide. The adjudication officers' guide is published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office. A copy is in the Library.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average length of disqualification from income support for claimants who have lost their job through their misconduct, or leaving without good cause.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : No one is disqualified from receiving income support because they have either lost a job through their misconduct or left it voluntarily without just cause. In such cases the claimant's personal level of income support is reduced--usually by 40 per cent. but by 20 per cent. if the claimant or a member of the family is seriously ill or pregnant and the family has less than £200 in savings. The average length of such reductions could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the rates bill estimates used to calculate the adjustments made in income support to cover claimants' 20 per cent. liability.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The calculations in April 1988 were based on details of rates paid by housing benefit recipients in 1986 uprated to estimated 1988-89 levels. Income support levels were further adjusted from April this year to include help towards the minimum 20 per cent. contribution to the community charge that recipients would be expected to pay. The amounts included continue to provide help towards the minimum contribution to domestic rates for people living in England and Wales.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average domestic rates bill in England and Wales for 1989-90 of people in receipt of income support.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I regret that this information is not available.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proportion of claims for family credit were approved and resulted in payment of this allowance since 1 March ; and what proportion of those claims resulted in payment of £2 per week or more.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : A total of 58.9 per cent. of claims decided from 1 March 1989 to 16 June 1989 have been successful.
Information about the proportion of these claims where the award was £2 a week or more is not available, but 97.6 per cent. of all families receiving family credit on 18 June were receiving £2 a week or more.
Ms. Richardson : To ask the Prime Minister (1) if she will publish in the Official Report a copy of the letter she sent to a Pro-Life group about the Government's intention to allow a clause on the upper time limit for abortion to be added when the Warnock Bill is introduced ;
Column 150(2) what response she has given to the letter she was sent by a local anti-abortion group claiming that 12,000 abortion notification forms are returned each year with no medical condition recorded.
The Prime Minister : On the basis of the information in the questions I regret that I am not able to identify the correspondence mentioned.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if she will outline the arrangements made for the Cabinet Office to co-ordinate the consideration of European Economic Community directives ; when the arrangement was established ; what existing procedures within Government have been replaced ; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : The Cabinet Office provides support to the Cabinet and its committees on European Community issues as it does in all other key areas of Government business. A European secretariat was established in 1973 within the Cabinet Office specifically to handle Community issues and under the direction of Ministers to co-ordinate the United Kingdom's approach to the Community. Its work includes ensuring that all Community developments of importance are examined in good time ; that policy is co-ordinated between the relevant Departments ; and that the processes required to facilitate parliamentary scrutiny of Community legislation are properly observed by Departments.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to her reply of 8 June, Official Report, column 368, if she will give details of the beneficial measures that Her Majesty's Government are taking in relation to the rain forests.
The Prime Minister : Details of the Overseas Development Administration's activities to protect rain forests are given in a supplement to the December 1988 issue of "British Overseas Development", copies of which are in the Library. More recent activities were described by my hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development on 23 May, at columns 932-936. Following a visit by a team of British experts my hon. Friend hopes to reach outline agreement on a package of environmental and forestry assistance when he visits Brazil in July. We are discussing the provision of technical co-operation in the forestry sector with the Indonesian Government and sent a mission on a successful visit last month.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if she will raise at the next meeting of the European Council the issue of the size of the net contributions made to the European Economic Community by the various member states ; and if she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : No. The review of the Community's finances concluded at the European Council in Brussels on 11-13 February 1988 confirmed the arrangements for abating the United Kingdom's contributions. The Fontainebleau mechanism remains totally intact ; and it will last as long as the new own resources arrangements, reducing the United Kingdom's payments to the Community by over £1.3 billion in 1989-90.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if, pursuant to his answer of 2 March, Official Report, column 314, to the hon. Member for Don Valley, he can now make an announcement as to which other hospitals in the Trent regional health authority are to be involved in the resource management initiative.
Mr. Freeman : I announced on 20 March the names of 50 hospitals which have been chosen to prepare for resource management in the coming months.
Those hospitals in the Trent regional health authority are listed as follows :
Hospital |District -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Royal Hospital |North Derbyshire Glenfield Hospital |Leicester City Hospital |Nottingham Royal Infirmary |Doncaster Northern General Hospital |Sheffield Children's Hospital |Sheffield
Mr. Hind : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether there will be any implications for the doctor-patient relationship arising from the increased capitation element in the general practitioners' contract.
Mr. Mellor : By increasing the proportion of GPs' income which comes from capitation payments, we will be encouraging greater competition in the family doctor service. This will ensure a better service for patients by giving GPs a greater incentive to provide the best possible range and quality of services geared to patients' needs. As a result, the relationship between doctor and patient will be improved.
Mr. Jack : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he last met the Chairman of the North Western regional health authority ; and what matters were discussed.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : I last met the chairmen of regional health authorities, including the chairman of the North Western regional health authority on 17 May 1989. Topics discussed included management of the service and implementation of the White Paper "Working for Patients". I have had no recent separate discussions with the chairman of the North Western regional health authority. My hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Health and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State both met the chairman of the North Western regional health authority on 19 June, and discussed health authority appointments and a capital project issue.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health why applications for exemption from prescription charges are now centralised through Newcastle ; when this
Column 152new system was introduced ; what representations he has received about its functioning ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Mellor : In line with a recommendation of an efficiency scrutiny, all claims for exemption from prescription and other NHS charges on low income grounds have, since 11 April 1988, been dealt with centrally by the agency benefits unit of the Department of Social Security which administers the scheme on our behalf. Operational matters are the responsibility of that Department. On other matters the Secretary of State has received one parliamentary question, 17 letters from Members of Parliament and two letters from members of the public referring specifically to exemption from prescription charges.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking, what research he is supporting, and what sums from the estimates approved by Parliament for the current year are being expended in respect of the extension of the usable life of stored blood.
Mr. Freeman : The use of improved anti-coagulants since 1981 has extended the usable life of whole blood to 35 days under standard conditions. Experience has shown that this is adequate to ensure that most blood can be used before it reaches its expiry date. In the case of rare blood groups it is possible and worthwhile to extend the usable life further by freezing, and facilities to freeze and store red blood cells have been set up at some regional transfusion centres. The Department is not currently supporting any research on further developments to extend the usable life of stored blood.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if his Department will undertake a study into the waiting time to see a consultant following referral by a general practitioner.
Mr. Mellor : We have no plans to mount a special study, although we do intend to begin to collect, for the first time, information about out- patient waiting lists and times. In and out-patient waiting times in the 22 districts with serious waiting problems are already being investigated by a team of management consultants. Under the waiting list initiative regional health authorities have been asked to agree with their district targets for reducing waiting times for out-patient treatment.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list by name and nominating organisation, the current serving members of the Doncaster community health council.
Mr. Mellor : We do not hold this information centrally. It is contained in Doncaster community health council's register of members which the hon. Member can inspect at all reasonable hours at thier offices.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the cost to the Trent regional health authority during the current financial year of supplying (a) plastic flowers and (b) natural cut flowers, to hospital wards and other establishments.
Mr. Freeman : This information is not collected centrally. I suggest that the hon. Member contacts the chairman of Trent regional health authority for the information he seeks.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information he has as to which health authorities currently experience difficulties in the maintenance of services involving adequate staffing of graduate physicists.
Mr. Mellor : We do not hold this information centrally.
Sir Charles Morrison : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he is now in a position to make a statement about the future funding of the Margaret Pyke centre.
Mr. Freeman : In recognition of its role as a national centre of training family planning doctors and nurses and its work in preventing the spread of AIDS I am discussing with North East Thames regional health authority ways of making up the shortfall of £100,000 which would otherwise have arisen in its funding this financial year. These steps are being taken as an interim arrangement before the new funding arrangements proposed in "Working for Patients" comes into operation in 1991-92. There will be further discussions with the region about funding arrangements for 1990-91.
Sir Michael McNair-Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the report by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment on the incidence of childhood cancer in the West Berkshire and North Hampshire area will be published.
Mr. Freeman : The report has been published today and copies placed in the Library. The committee concludes that there is a small but statistically significant increase in the incidence of childhood leukaemias and other childhood cancers in the vicinity of the atomic weapons establishments at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire. In the committee's judgment, the authorised and accidental radioactive discharges from these two sites, and from the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority's establishment at Harwell, Oxfordshire, are far too low to account for the observed increase in childhood cancer incidence in the area. COMARE has considered a number of possible explanations for its findings, including other mechanisms by which radiation may be involved, but the committee's view is that there is insufficient evidence to point to any one particular explanation and it is possible that a combination of factors may be involved. More generally, the committee states that
"the findings set out in this report, taken with those in previous reports, indicate that there is a statistically significant increase in the incidence of childhood leukaemia in the vicinities of Sellafield, Dounreay and Aldermaston and Burghfield".
Column 154Although the committee cannot exclude completely the possibility that these observations are due to chance, or due to the selection of sites referred to them for consideration, it concludes that these findings warrant further investigation.
COMARE has recommended that studies of the geographical distribution of childhood cancer incidence on a nationwide basis be carried out (recommendation 4). In relation to sites not so far examined by COMARE, the committee has stated that
"We consider it unlikely that useful information will emerge from further detailed investigations of alleged childhood cancer incidence around individual nuclear installations".
COMARE has pointed out that such investigations would be difficult to interpret until the results of national studies of childhood cancer incidence, referred to in recommendation 4 of the report, are available. Once the results of these national studies are available, COMARE has recommended that it be asked to participate in a review of the evidence relating to the incidence of childhood cancer and nuclear installations (recommendation 5).
COMARE's other recommendations relate to :
The case-control study in West Berkshire and North Hampshire, which is already underway (recommendation 1) ;
Studies of any possible effects on the health of children of employees at the nuclear installations studied by COMARE (recommendation 2) ;
Improvements to the national cancer registration scheme (recommendation 3).
The Government are grateful to the committee for its comprehensive report and accepts all the recommendations made for further work. The case-control study of childhood cancer in west Berkshire and north Hampshire, is already underway and is being funded by the Department. This study will aim to identify possible factors which may have contributed to the excess incidence of childhood cancer in the area.