Mr. Devlin : To ask the Attorney-General what consideration the Lord Chancellor's Department is giving to the establishment of a conciliation service to assist the courts in matrimonial and custody cases.
The Attorney-General : The Lord Chancellor received the report of the conciliation project unit based at the university of Newcastle upon Tyne in March of this year. The report, and comments upon it, will be carefully evaluated and the role of conciliation considered as part of the Lord Chancellor's announced rolling programme of reform of family law and procedure.
representations the Lord Chancellor has received on the subject of family courts.
The Attorney-General : My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor continues to receive correspondence regarding family courts both from hon. Members and from members of the public and interested organisations. Precise information on the number of representations is not readily available as much of the correspondence refers to family courts as one of a number of issues or as an ancillary matter to the main focus of the correspondence.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Attorney-General what is the longest and shortest time taken between the dispatch of an explanatory statement from the British embassy in Islamabad and arrival at the immigration appellate offices in London during the last year, to date ; what is the longest and shortest time taken by the explanatory statements being sent from London and arrival in Leeds ; and if he will make a statement.
The Attorney-General : Responsibility for dispatching explanatory statements from diplomatic posts overseas to the United Kingdom is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Explanatory statements from Islamabad are sent to the appellate authorities by diplomatic bag. During the last year to date the longest transit time for diplomatic mail between Islamabad and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was 11 days, the shortest two days. Mail received in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office addressed to the appellate authorities is forwarded by daily Government van service.
Once received at the appellate authorities' headquarters in London, explanatory statements and the accompanying notices of appeal are checked, processed and where appropriate, dispatched to regional hearing centres.
Column 2During the last year to date, it is estimated that explanatory statements have taken between three and 17 weeks to reach the hearing centre at Leeds.
The delay in dispatching case papers to Leeds reflects the pressure on the appellate authorities caused by the increasing volume of work. The number of cases received in 1988 was 60 per cent. higher than in 1987, and there has been a further increase in the first five months of 1989. The appellate authorities have employed additional staff and overtime in an endeavour to minimise delays and the Lord Chancellor's Department continues to monitor the position.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Attorney-General what representations he has received about delays in explanatory statements being dispatched from the post in Islamabad to the immigration appellate authorities in London and dispatch from London to Leeds ; and if he will make a statement.
The Attorney-General : Responsibility for the despatch of explanatory statements from Islamabad to London rests with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. The Lord Chancellor, who is responsible for the administration of the immigration appellate authorities, has received no specific representations about the length of time taken for explanatory statements to be processed in London and sent to Leeds, other than from the hon. Member himself.
Mr. Stanbrook : To ask the Attorney-General what action he proposes to take in the light of the expressed intention of the Storehouse Group to open its shops for trading on Sundays in defiance of the provisions of the Shops Act 1950.
65. Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he has taken to encourage environmentally friendly products as part of the Government's overseas development strategy.
Mr. Chris Patten : We support research into a number of environmentally friendly products. For example, we fund the development of appropriate, energy-efficient technologies and of more precise application systems for pesticides. All programme managers in my Department are required to ensure the environmental soundness of projects.
Column 3general principles for good practice in matters affecting the world's climate. The implications for our aid work would be to enhance the priority given in developing countries to programmes aimed at improving energy efficiency and at forestry. We are already using aid funds in these areas and are seeking to identify further projects which we might be able to support. It is too early to say how any specific protocol subsequently negotiated under the convention would affect aid policy.
67. Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the combined average gross national product given in overseas aid by all members of the European Community, except the United Kingdom, in the latest available year.
Mr. Chris Patten : Figures are available only for those member countries of the European Community which are also members of the development assistance committee of the OECD. In any case, such figures are open to varying interpretations. The overall percentage of gross national product given in overseas aid by these seven countries, excluding the United Kingdom, was 0.53 per cent. in 1987 and is provisionally estimated at the same figure in 1988.
68. Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many applications he has received for bursaries for students from the Republic of South Africa and Botswana to attend courses at British further education establishments for the academic year 1989-90 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chris Patten : The British Council, on our behalf, has received well over 2,200 applications for bursaries for the academic year 1989-90 for students from South Africa, and 100 applications for students from Botswana.
69. Miss Lestor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current level of expenditure on overseas students funded under the aid programme ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chris Patten : Provision for the financial year 1989-90 is £94 million in support of more than 15,000 overseas students. In addition, a contribution of £5.8 million is being made available to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office scholarships and awards scheme.
Mr. Chris Patten : Provided that the IMF programme remains viable, we shall be providing for the three years 1989 to 1991 (a) £13.7 million capital aid for the purchase of United Kingdom imports ; (b) a $US8 million bridging loan to help Guyana pay its debt service arrears to the international financial institutions when they fall due in November ; (c) a waiver of about £1 million a year of payments due on past United Kingdom aid loans ; and (d) a technical co-operation programme costing about £1.5 million a year, aimed primarily at strengthening public sector management.
Mr. Chris Patten : Information is not available in the precise form requested. In 1987, the latest year for which figures are available, 3 per cent. of the Overseas Development Administration's capital project aid to Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, taken together, was spent on the health sector. In the same year the proportion of British aid-financed personnel in those countries working in health was 14 per cent.
73. Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the total bilateral aid in real terms given by the United Kingdom to sub-Saharan Africa in 1979 and in the latest year for which figures are available.
Mr. Robert Banks To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) to which projects soft loans in the £50 million aid package to Indonesia announced on 14 June are to be applied ;
(2) what is the number of British companies and the types of products which will be supplied to Indonesia as part of the recently announced package of aid ;
(3) what is the number of British specialists who will be directly employed in Indonesia as part of the recently announced aid package ;
(4) whether the recently announced aid package to Indonesia will result in any greater preservation of the rain forest.
Mr. Chris Patten : The £50 million aid package to Indonesia announced on 14 June is the second tranche of a £100 million soft loan facility signed with the Government of Indonesia in December 1988, and means that £185 million worth of soft loans are now available to fund projects in Indonesia. These funds are not allocated at the outset to specific projects, but likely candidates are the subject of feasibility studies and appraisals and then, if both Governments agree, are allocated funds. It is not, therefore, possible at this stage to say which projects will be allocated funds, how many British companies or specialists will benefit or what types of products will be
Column 5supplied, but we will, of course, be seeking to maximise the benefits to British industry, as well as to Indonesia, of these funds. One of the leading candidates for funding is a forestry radio communications system project aimed at improving the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry's management and control of the rain forests.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the amount of soft loans currently provided by the United Kingdom in the form of aid to Commonwealth countries.
Mr. Chris Patten : In 1988 Commonwealth countries received £7,863, 050 in the form of concessional loans qualifying as official development assistance. So far no soft loan agreements under the aid and trade provision have been concluded with Commonwealth countries, though several offers of soft loan assistance have been made.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the amount of soft loans currently provided by the United Kingdom in the form of aid to non-Commonwealth developing countries.
Mr. Chris Patten : In 1988 non-Commonwealth developing countries received £4,833,155 from the United Kingdom in the form of concesional loans qualifying as official development assistance. In addition 12 soft loans worth in total £399 million have been concluded with six non- Commonwealth developing countries under the aid and trade provision.
Mr. Chris Patten : The recent forestry project identification mission made good progress in discussing with the Indonesian Government the provision of technical co-operation in the forestry sector. The mission recommends a four year co-ordinated programme of assistance with emphasis on improving the management (including natural regeneration) of the lowland rain forest of Indonesia. Senior Indonesian officials support the mission's findings in principle and when the latter have been formally approved, three project preparation missions will be mounted, probably in late 1989.
Mr. Chris Patten : During the financial year 1988-89, we provided nearly £7.5 million for vehicles from within the finance we made available to support the Tanzanian balance of payments. We also separately provided over £750,000 as emergency assistance for trucks for the cotton sector. In addition, we provided vehicles as part of our support to a number of development projects.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the procedures his Minister will go through up to the lifting of the ban on food irradiation and the timetable for these procedures ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : I have made clear that we need to obtain wider powers to enable us to provide for the control mechanism that we consider necessary for food irradiation. It will then be necessary to consult all the interested parties over the details of the control system and to introduce the necessary regulations to give effect to this. The timetable will depend on a number of factors, in particular the timing of the primary legislation.
Mr. MacGregor [pursuant to his reply, 13 June 1989, c. 352] : The detailed plans in relation to the next stage of this vital study have now been drawn up, and implementation will start shortly. This will involve the purchase of 660 cattle, 330 offspring of animals affected with BSE and 330 control animals. They will be transported to and housed at the Ministry's experimental husbandry farms at Boxworth, Drayton and Gleadthorpe. The study will last up to seven years and will cost an estimated £4.7 million.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food further to his reply to the hon. Member for South Shields of 22 June, Official Report, column 251, if he is able to list the reasons for rejecting applications for farm diversification grant schemes in 1988.
|Number ----------------------------------------------------------------- Able to carry out work without grant |45 Enterprises of works not eligible |44 Applicants not eligible |27 Receiving grant from other public funds |4 Planning consent refused |4 Not likely to be viable |3 Other miscellaneous reasons including work started before application |10
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, further to his reply to the hon. Member for South Shields of 27 June, if he will list all the schemes introduced by his Ministry which help reduce greenhouse gas emissions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : The measures include the designation of 19 environmentally sensitive areas since 1987 ; the introduction of the farm woodland scheme and the set-aside scheme in 1988 ; and the introduction, earlier this year, of a new farm and conservation grant scheme which offers grant inter alia for energy saving, effluent facilities and for the regeneration of native woodlands and heather moors. In addition, the policies adopted by the European Community in recent years to reduce surplus production of agricultural commodities will help to mitigate emissions.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of man hours in the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service devoted to environmental training for each year since 1980 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : Although records have not been kept in the precise form requested, it is estimated that from 1980 to the end of 1988 on average 4,780 man hours per year have been spent on ADAS environmental core training. In addition, a significant amount of environmental training is undertaken as an integral part of discipline training for new entrants and ADAS advisers.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the number of posts in the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service devoted to training for each year since 1980 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : Participation in training activities is an essential and integral feature of the professional development and responsibilities of all ADAS staff. No individual staff are allocated full-time to training duties but all officers responsible for managing other ADAS staff, or with appropriate professional skills, or experience have responsibility to monitor, arrange or provide training in appropriate subjects.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all the research projects directly aimed at (a) finding the causes of salmonella enteriditis, botulism and other similar infections such as salmonella typhimurium and (b) the treatment and or vaccination of poultry flocks.
Mr. Ryder : Research on the causes of human infections is a matter for the Department of Health. My Department however funds the following work aimed at minimising the risk of infection through the food chain :
Predictive Modelling of the Growth of Pathogenic Microorganisms in Food Systems.
A co-ordinated programme of research into the growth and survival of microorganisms in real food systems. The development of a modelling database and expert system for
Column 8eventual use by the food industry. The programme will initially concentrate on those food-related microorganisms that are of major public health significance : Salmonella typhimurium, Salmonella enteritidis, Clostridium botulinum, Listeria monocytogenes and other Salmonella and Clostridium species.
Other Research involving Salmonella enteriditis, Salmonella typhimurium, Clostridium botulinum.
Risk and Hazard Analysis in egg infections.
Thermal destruction of Salmonella enteriditis phase type 4 in the domestic cooking of food containing eggs.
Use of Non-radioctive DNA probes for the detection of pathogenic Bacteria in food.
Enzyme-linked immunological Biosensors for detection and identification of Pathogenic Bacteria in food.
Determination of Food Constituents and contaminants by ELISA. Heat induced thermotolerance in food Poisoning organisms. Survey of Bacteriological Quality of goats milk.
Lysozyme destruction of Gram negative organisms in Chicken and Red meat.
Bacteriological Hazards of large meat roasts in catering and long storage of chilled foods in catering.
Detection and quantification of microorganisms in foods by novel lectin- based assays.
An investigation into the use of biosorbants for the concentration, separation and detection of low levels of food contaminants with special reference to pathogenic microorganisms such as Salmonella. Guidelines for Pasteurisation.
Develop and investigate novel methods to separate and concentrate microorganisms from food to enhance rapid microbiological methods. Development of design nucleic acid probes for the rapid detection of food microorganisms.
Serological diagnosis of Salmonella enteritidis infection. Plasmid profile analysis of S. enteriditis.
Development of a Salmonella enteritidis infection Vaccine to prevent Salmonella infections in chickens.
Salmonella Service : Bacteria typing, Surveillance and work under the Protein Processing Order.
Work being carried out under the Zoonosis Order and in collaboration with the Public Health Laboratory Service.
Factors Determining Intestinal colonisation by Salmonella. Investigating the basis of Virulence of the Salmonella genus. Variation in virulence of Salmonellas, Host Responses to infection, Novel Vaccines and Strategies for Use.
Salmonellosis in Cattle--to determine the epidemiology in order that methods to minimize the spread of and effects of infection can be formulated and applied.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the specific arrangements for the monitoring of possible salmonella enteriditis or typhimurium, botulism and other infections in (a) animal feedingstuffs, (b) eggs and (c) poultry.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Monitoring for the presence of salmonella eneteriditis and typhimurium in animal feedingstuffs is already carried out on a voluntary basis by many manufacturers. The Government are shortly to introduce voluntary codes of practice which require the monitoring of animal feedingstuffs and raw materials used in their manufacture. Poultry laying flocks are subject to compulsory monitoring with similar provisions to be introduced shortly for breeding flocks and hatcheries. There is no requirement to monitor for botulism toxin because botulism toxin occurs in isolated pockets and would not readily be detected.
As regards other infections, investigations are carried out by the state veterinary service at veterinary investigation centres on material submitted from private veterinary practices and other sources.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what regulatory provision exists concerning the minimum meat content of pies and other meat products ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) whether he will take steps to require food manufacturers to label meat pies and other meat products so that the percentage meat content is clear.
Mr. Ryder : The Meat Products and Spreadable Fish Products Regulations 1984 already require most meat products to bear a clear declaration of their minimum meat content on the label. In addition, they contain minimum meat content requirements for a number of products including meat pies.
Mr. Walden : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what were the average class sizes in primary and secondary education in state and private schools, respectively, in the years 1979, 1984 and 1988.
|1979|1984|1988 ------------------------------ Primary |25.9|24.7|25.4 Secondary |21.0|20.4|19.9
Classes relate to those taught by one teacher at a selected time on the day of the census count in January and do not necessarily represent the pattern of classes over the academic year as a whole.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what information the Government have on whether (a) the University Funding Council intends to continue its initiative to provide specific funds for the purchase of books for university libraries after 1989-90 and (b) it intends to extend the initiative to libraries at polytechnics and institutes of higher education ; (2) whether the Government have monitored the effect on library acquisitions of the additional funding provided in 1987-88 for university library acquisitions.
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