Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many motorised vehicles in his Department and in the armed forces run on lead-free petrol ; if he has any plans to increase the use of lead-free petrol by vehicles run by his Department and the armed forces ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Neubert : The majority of my Department's current vehicle fleet uses and will continue to use diesel fuel. We have already implemented, for petrol-engined staff cars, vans and minibuses, a policy of purchasing vehicles capable of running on unleaded petrol. The remainder of the current fleet of petrol-engined vehicles, which can be technically and cost -effectively adapted to run on unleaded petrol, is being converted during routine servicing.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list in the Official Report the names of the destroyers and frigates of the surface fleet, available for service at 24 hours' notice on 1 June 1988, 1 January 1989, and 1 June 1989.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Details of ships available for operations at precise periods of notice are classified. However, the names of the destroyers and frigates that were available for operational deployment immediately or within a short period for each of the dates requested are as follows :
1 June 1988 |1 January 1989 |1 June 1989 ---------------------------------------------------------------- HMS Achilles |HMS Achilles |HMS Achilles HMS Active |HMS Active |HMS Active HMS Alacrity |HMS Alacrity |HMS Alacrity HMS Amazon |HMS Amazon |HMS Amazon HMS Ambuscade |HMS Ambuscade |HMS Ambuscade HMS Andromeda |HMS Andromeda |HMS Andromeda HMS Apollo |HMS Arethusa |HMS Argonaut HMS Arethusa |HMS Avenger |HMS Ariadne HMS Avenger |HMS Beaver |HMS Arrow HMS Battleaxe |HMS Birmingham |HMS Avenger HMS Beaver |HMS Boxer |HMS Beaver HMS Birmingham |HMS Brave |HMS Birmingham HMS Boxer |HMS Brazen |HMS Boxer HMS Brave |HMS Brilliant |HMS Brave HMS Brazen |HMS Bristol |HMS Brilliant HMS Bristol |HMS Broadsword |HMS Bristol HMS Charybdis |HMS Cardiff |HMS Broadsword HMS Cleopatra |HMS Charybdis |HMS Campbeltown HMS Cornwall |HMS Cleopatra |HMS Cardiff HMS Danae |HMS Cornwall |HMS Charybdis HMS Edinburgh |HMS Coventry |HMS Cleopatra HMS Euryalus |HMS Cumberland |HMS Cornwall HMS Exeter |HMS Danae |HMS Coventry HMS Gloucester |HMS Edinburgh |HMS Cumberland HMS Hermione |HMS Euryalus |HMS Danae HMS Juno |HMS Gloucester |HMS Edinburgh HMS Jupiter |HMS Hermione |HMS Gloucester HMS Liverpool |HMS Juno |HMS Hermione HMS London |HMS Jupiter |HMS Jupiter HMS Manchester |HMS Liverpool |HMS Liverpool HMS Minerva |HMS London |HMS London HMS Newcastle |HMS Manchester |HMS Manchester HMS Nottingham |HMS Newcastle |HMS Newcastle HMS Penelope |HMS Nottingham |HMS Nottingham HMS Phoebe |HMS Penelope |HMS Penelope HMS Scylla |HMS Phoebe |HMS Phoebe HMS Sheffield |HMS Scylla |HMS Scylla HMS Sirius |HMS Sheffield |HMS Sheffield HMS Southampton |HMS Sirius |HMS Sirius HMS York |HMS York |HMS York
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure has been incurred by the British Government on research and development work on the electro-magnetic propulsion of projectiles.
Mr. Sainsbury : It is not our practice to give details of funding of particular projects. However, I can say that such funding represents only a very small proportion of the defence research programme.
Mr. Sainsbury : The royal armament research and development establishment has been undertaking research into electro-magnetic propulsion of projectiles since the early 1980s. It is not our practice to go into details of particular projects. However, it has a wide-ranging potential application for land, sea and air-based weapons.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Ministry of Defence has received any funding from the United States Department of Defence to carry out research or development work into the electro-magnetic propulsion of projectiles.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what work has been carried out at the royal armament research and development establishment on behalf of the United States Government strategic defence initiative programme.
Mr. Sainsbury : Such a programme of work has been in hand at the royal armament research and development establishment since December 1986 with the purpose of achieving a greater understanding of electro-magnetic launcher capabilities.
Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what action he proposes to take following the publication last month of a proposed order to prohibit UniChem Ltd. from continuing to operate its share scheme as recommended by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in its report published on 17 May.
Mr. Maude : I have today laid before the House the UniChem Limited (Allotment of Shares) Order 1989 which will come into force on 19 July. Except for a minor technical amendment, this will follow the draft order published in May.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in view of the libellous statements made about Mr. Louis Fitzgibbon of Portland place, Brighton by Mr. T. Gizaw, the Ethiopian press counsellor, he will take steps to expel Mr. Gizaw from the United Kingdom.
Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has made any representations to the Chinese embassy in Britain concerning the protection of the lives and interests of students from China who are studying in Britain ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will indicate, for each fiscal year since 1979, the total amount of taxation income forgone by Her Majesty's Treasury as a result of extra-statutory decisions on tax liability.
Mr. Norman Lamont : Extra-statutory concessions are operated locally and it would be disproportionately expensive, for the Departments and taxpayers, to collect the detailed information needed to determine precise annual costs. Most concessions are made to deal with what are, on the whole, minor or transitory anomalies under the legislation or to meet cases of hardship at the margins of the tax code. They generally apply to relatively few people and usually involve small amounts of tax in individual cases. There are, however, some exceptions--where the numbers of taxpayers benefiting from a concession and the amounts of tax involved in individual cases are larger.
The Inland Revenue has been able to estimate, in terms of broad orders of magnitude, the current annual revenue costs of most concessions appearing in its published booklet (IR1). The details are given in the table-- references are to the numbers that appear in the booklet. The five largest concessions are all practices of long standing--A1, A5 and A67 date from the 1940s, A63 from the 1960s and A65 from the start of North sea oil exploration.
Revenue Cost-£ million Inland Revenue (Booklet IR1) 250 : |A63 |External training course- | expenses borne by employer. 200 : |A5 |Expenses allowances and benefits | in kind (mainly removal expenses | and bridging loan costs borne by | employers). 50-100 : |A67 |Payments to employees moved to | higher cost housing areas. 10-50 : |A65 |Workers on offshore oil and gas | rigs or platforms-free transfers | from or to mainland. : |A1 |Flat rate allowances for cost of | tools and special clothing. 3-10 : |A2 |Meal vouchers. : |A6 |Miners: free coal and benefits in | kind. : |A19 |Arrears of tax arising through | official error. : |A22 |Long service awards. : |A27 |Mortgage interest relief: | temporary absences from mortgaged | property. : |D2 |Residence in the United Kingdom: | year of commencement or cessation | of residence. : |D22 |(CGT) Relief for the replacement | of business assets: expenditure on | improvements to existing assets. : |D24 |(CGT) Relief for the replacement | of business assets: assets not | brought immediately into trading | use. : |D26 |(CGT) Relief for exchange of joint | interests. : |I2 |Direct exports from tanker-loading | fields. : |I5 |Petroleum Revenue Tax instalments.
Column 461Of the remaining 181 Inland Revenue concessions currently in operation, which include about 40 that are obsolescent and a further eight that are being legislated this year and/or are likely to become obsolescent as a result of legislation this year, the relevant revenue costs are thought to be :
Revenue Cost-£ million |Number of Concessions --------------------------------------------------------------------- 0.5-3 |13 0.1-0.5 |30 below 0.1 |85
This leaves 53 for which the costs are not known, although the majority of these are thought unlikely to involve significant amounts of tax.
Customs and Excise concessions are published in notice 748. They have 39 concessions currently in operation, of which nine are being legislated this year. They estimate that at least 10 of these--and almost certainly more-- involve minimal negligible cost in terms of tax forgone.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received any representations about enabling EEC nationals, long resident in the United Kingdom to vote for United Kingdom Members of the European Parliament ; what is his policy on this ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We receive, from time to time, representations that citizens of other European Community states should be able to vote in European Parliament elections held here. It is for the European Parliament to make any recommendation for such a system to be adopted by the member states and none has as yet been forthcoming.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is seeking alternative accommodation to B wing of Hull prison for unconvicted juveniles ; and whether he is considering the former detention centre at Gringley-on-the-Hill as a possible alternative.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : There is at present no practicable alternative accommodation for the unconvicted juvenile prisoners who are held in B wing of Hull prison. The accommodation at the former detention centre at Gringley is unsuitable for those prisoners. However the Department of Health and the local authority have reviewed the need for secure accommodation for 15 and 16-year-old boys in the region and plans for a new unit for the Yorkshire and Humberside region are well advanced with a target date for opening in early 1991. A 300-place remand centre is also planned to open on Humberside in 1991. Meanwhile a programme of action has been put in hand to improve conditions in Hull B wing.
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Brent, East, 6 April, Official Report, column 239, if he will make a further statement as to the case of Mr. Albert Baker.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Mr. Baker was refused leave to move for judicial review of the Government's decision not to transfer him to Northern Ireland. His petitions remain under consideration and a reply will be sent to him as soon as possible.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the projected public expenditure savings arising from the introduction of a central DNA testing scheme for those seeking entry clearance to the United Kingdom ; and if he will identify the savings to his Department and also the appellate authorities.
Mr. Renton : We do not anticipate any reduction in Home Office expenditure from the introduction of a central DNA testing scheme into the entry clearance process overseas. The administration of the immigration appeals system is the responsibility of my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor.
Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is taking any special steps to protect the lives and interests of students from China who are studying in Britain ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will allow all students from China who are studying in Britain to extend their stay during the current crisis ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he will estimate the number of students from China studying in Britain.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Prime Minister if, during the visit of the Prime Minister of Spain on 19 June, she raised the nuclear non- proliferation treaty and prospects for new initiatives to be developed with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in the lead up to the fourth review conference on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 1990.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Prime Minister if, during her meeting with the President-Designate of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. de Klerk, on 23 June, she raised the prospects of South Africa joining the nuclear non- proliferation treaty.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what plans he has to increase his Department's budget for sponsoring research into environmental matters and ensuring that the findings of such research are readily available to inform policy making at a national and local level.
Mr. Jackson : The findings of research into environmental matters sponsored by this Department are published in national and international scientific journals. The Natural Environment Reseach Council publishes an annual report which is laid before the House ; copies of the latest report, for 1987-88, are available in the Library. The NERC also issues an annual corporate plan, annual reports of each of its institutes, and other publications detailing strategies in individual areas of science ; copies of these are available direct from the NERC. The other research councils have similar arrangements. The Government review their expenditure plans each year after they have received advice from the Advisory Board for the Research Councils.
Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend and I view the contribution of parents to the life and work of schools as having the utmost importance, and many of our policies are designed to extend parental choice and influence. The Department has funded a major research project to examine the involvement of parents in their children's schooling. The report on the project is due later this year.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals he has to ease the problems of teacher recruitment (a) in shortage subjects and (b) in regions of high living costs.
Mr. Butcher : Action to tackle teacher shortages has been aimed in particular at London and the south-east where recruitment is hindered by the cost of housing. We have in place a series of measures which have cost £50 million over the last three years. The education support grant programme for 1990-91 includes support for expenditure of £2 million on local recruitment activity.
Sir William Shelton : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the number of teachers in (a) higher education and (b) postgraduate studies in each year since 1979 ; and what has been their average real earnings in each such year.
Mr. Jackson : Data are not readily available in the form requested. However, the following may be helpful. The number of teachers in (a) universities and (b) polytechnics, and average salaries for each group are shown in the following tables.
Table A Universities Year |Number of Lecturers|Average Salary £ |Real Terms ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |18,585 |8,458 |100.0 1980 |18,757 |9,979 |96.9 1981 |18,409 |11,187 |97.0 1982 |17,406 |11,936 |94.6 1983 |17,200 |12,543 |95.5 1984 |16,504 |13,342 |96.6 1985 |16,970 |13,964 |94.6 1986 |16,959 |14,242 |93.6 1987 |16,479 |16,592 |104.6 Note 1. These figures relate to lecturers' salaries and exclude other staff including professors, readers and senior lecturers for whom data are not readily available. Information on total earnings is not collected. 2. The figures relate to full-time, non-clinical academic staff at universities in Great Britain. 3. The Real Terms column is indexed using the Retail Prices Index as at April, with 1979 taken as 100.
Table B Polytechnics |Number of Staff|Average Salary |Real Terms -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |16,854 |7,462 |100.0 1980 |17,042 |9,016 |92.2 1981 |16,824 |11,399 |112.0 1982 |16,250 |12,359 |111.0 1983 |15,883 |13,152 |113.5 1984 |15,642 |13,842 |113.6 1985 |15,490 |14,481 |111.2 1986 |15,548 |15,453 |115.1 1987 |15,299 |16,291 |116.4 Note 1. The figures for polytechnics relate to all grades up to and including Principals and to England and Wales only. 2. The Real Terms column is indexed as for universities.
Participation in full-time education: England. Percentage of age group Age at prev August |16|17|18 ----------------- 1984 |45|31|17 1985 |45|31|17 1986 |45|32|17 1987 |45|32|17 1988 |47|33|18
Mr. Fry : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what discussions he has had with education authorities and examination bodies over the possibility of moving the main dates for the General Certificate of Secondary Education and A-levels from the summer.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he proposes to answer the letter of 17 March concerning teacher morale, sent to him by the hon. Member for Alyn and Deeside, acknowledged 20 March, Ref. 55 JB/0525/0076 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Grist : The hon. Lady will know from discussions and correspondence with my right hon. Friend that he is fully aware of local feelings about pollution from the Phurnacite plant. Coal Products Ltd's applications for planning permission for proposed developments at the plant to replace the outdated disticoke batteries with a mild heat treatment process are being considered by the local planning authority, Cynon Valley borough council. If planning permissions are given, Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution will need to be satisfied that the process is designed to meet current emission control standards before it is allowed to operate.
Year |Deaths ---------------------- 1975 |139 1976 |123 1977 |121 1978 |111 <1>1979 |147 1980 |130 1981 |165 1982 |128 1983 |149 1984 |138 1985 |177 1986 |151 1987 |165 1988 |164 <1> Prior to 1979: Cirrhosis of Liver ICD 571 8th revision; from 1979 onwards: Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis ICD 571 9th revision. Source: Office of Population Censuses and Surveys.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will place in the Library copies of any reports on the health effects of food irradiation which indicate that irradiated food might be unsafe.
Mr. MacGregor : A full review of the health effects of irradiation was carried out in the United Kingdom by the independent scientific Advisory Committee on Irradiated and Novel Foods, whose report contains an extensive bibliography. Copies of this report are in the Library. Similar reviews have also been carried out by the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and scientists of the EC Scientific Committee for Food. All have concluded that irradiated food is both safe and wholesome.
Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the Government's policy for the labelling of irradiated food, in the wholesale, retail and catering sectors, respectively.
Mr. MacGregor : The Council of the European Communities agreed on 14 June to amend the food labelling directive to provide for specific indication on the label of foodstuffs that have been irradiated. This requirement will be implemented into United Kingdom food labelling legislation in due course. Wholesale and retail sales are covered by the directive, as are sales to caterers, but not sales by caterers. The question of such labelling in the catering sector will therefore need to be given detailed consideration, bearing in mind my clear commitment to informed consumer choice in this matter.
Mr. MacGregor : A full list could not be collated without undue expenditure of time and effort since research has been undertaken in a number of countries over a period of more than 40 years. References to the main studies will be found in appendix G to the report on the safety and wholesomeness of irradiated foods by the Advisory Committee on Irradiated and Novel Foods. A copy of this report is in the Library.
Mr. MacGregor : Most of the known radiolytic products in irradiated food are found either naturally in some foods or are formed as a result of cooking or other methods of preservation. The lack of unique radiolytic products is also reflected in the absence of a detection test for irradiated food. Extensive research has so far failed to find a radiolytic product which could be used as the basis of such a test.
Mr. MacGregor : Some destruction of nutrients, including vitamins, occurs with cooking, storage and processing of all foods. In the case of proteins, carbohydrates and minerals, studies in general reveal no detectable effect through irradiation at the low levels of dose contemplated. The small reduction in some vitamins noticed in some studies would not produce any adverse dietary effects, and nutritional losses through irradiation are not considered to be significant in the diet as a whole. Nevertheless the nutrient content of irradiated food will be monitored under the existing arrangements for monitoring the nutrient content of all foods.
Mr. MacGregor : No commercial organisation has lobbied me on the irradiation of food. Support has, however, been publicly expressed by the Food and Drink Federation, the Spice Trade Association and the Institute of Cereals Manufacturers.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Part I of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968 already makes it an offence to cause unnecessary pain or distress to farm livestock. In addition, regulations on farm animal welfare and welfare codes have been made under the Act. I hope soon to lay before the House draft regulations that will make some of the welfare code provisions mandatory.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he has taken following recent reports that local authorities are failing to enforce regulations for abattoirs relating to hygiene, safety and humane killing.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Recent reports in the media have criticised conditions in some slaughterhouses without identifying the establishments concerned. It is the responsibility of all, including those who produce such reports, to draw to the attention of the appropriate local authority any breaches in the law which they may have witnessed.
Column 468Local authorities take their enforcement responsibilities very seriously and I am confident that none would hesitate to take appropriate action if abuses were reported.
Officers of the state veterinary service visit all slaughterhouses to monitor hygiene and welfare standards and give advice to enforcement authorities.
Mr. Donald Thompson : We have made clear our intention to ensure that the national fruit collection and its associated records are preserved, and we are considering what arrangements should be made in the event that Brogdale experimental horticulture station is closed.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Torry research station is one of the world's leading research institutes in the area of fish safety, hygiene and quality. It carries out a programme costing over £2 million per annum in support of Government policies for food safety and quality. In accordance with the high priority which the Government attach to these policies, this work, which includes important underpinning research, is to continue.
In addition, there is work at Torry research station which is mainly concerned with product and process development. We have consulted the fishing and related industries about their readiness to fund near-market work in these areas. However, the industries have shown very little readiness to fund such work. Accordingly we are now setting in train the necessary steps to concentrate the research at Torry on those areas of work which are required in support of our policies for food safety and quality. This will mean stopping about one third of Torry's current programme. About 30 posts at the laboratory will be lost, although we will endeavour to keep the number of compulsory redundancies to a minimum. Naturally, if between now and the completion of this exercise, any new industry funding is forthcoming we will be ready to try to retain the necessary expertise and facilities to meet the proposed research contracts. In any event, I expect Torry research station to continue to attract significant outside funding for analytical services and consultancies as it has done in recent years.
Mr. MacGregor : During the last six months I have received nine representations about the possible effects on planting levels of the forestry taxation changes introduced in the 1988 Budget. Some of these were general comments, while others referred to the problems of woodland