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Column 101offence to advertise on, or supply certain goods and services to, an unlicensed broadcasting station. We propose that these offences should be triable either way, and that on indictment the maximum penalties should be two years' imprisonment, or an unlimited fine, or both. We also intend to strengthen present search, seizure and forfeiture powers.
Mr. Gorst : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the proposal in the broadcasting White Paper that the night hours of one BBC channel should be assigned to the ITC.
Mr. Hurd : We have considered carefully the comments we have received on this proposal. We have decided on balance that it would be better to leave the BBC with both sets of night hours in order to enable a faster start to be made with the development of subscription services. The BBC will, therefore, be permitted to retain both sets, on condition that it makes the fullest possible use of them for raising subscription income, consistent with its public service obligations.
When we come to consider the level of the licence fee from April 1991 onwards we will review the use which the BBC is making of the night hours. The level at which the licence fee is set will take account of the BBC's capacity to generate subscription revenue from two sets of night hours.
Mr. Hurd : Following meetings between management and unions, a conditional offer has been made to the unions and has been accepted by them. As part of the settlement the unions have undertaken to co-operate over the transfer of work between offices and in special measures to clear the current backlog of passport applications. For its part, management has agreed to an increase of 45 posts on top of the increase of 158 already agreed in the number of permanent staff. This total of 203 on a complement of 1,000 compares with the 381 requested by the unions and will be found by converting an equivalent number of temporary posts. All the new posts are subject to further scrutiny and examination in a full staffing review to be undertaken later this year by the Home Office staff inspectors supported by work measurement and other experts from the Treasury.
Those members of the Liverpool passport office who were on strike have now returned to work. The main task now is to clear the very large backlog of unprocessed passport applications that were sent to the Liverpool passport office. Arrangements are being made for some of this work to be transferred to other passport offices, but it will be many weeks before all the applications that have been received are dealt with. In addition, arrangements are being made to provide free two-year extensions to expired passports submitted by post to other passport offices.
To assist travellers whose applications have been delayed, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has contacted other Governments to see whether, in the special
Column 102circumstances in which we find ourselves, they would accept expired British passports or (where they do not already do so) British visitor's passports (BVPs). The Bahamas, West Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Jamaica, Spain, the United States of America and Yugoslavia, have indicated that they will accept expired standard passports for a period up to 30 September 1989. The Bahamas, Barbados, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Jamaica and the Seychelles will accept BVPs for the same period. Travellers with an urgent need to travel in western Europe or one of the other countries for which a BVP is acceptable can obtain a BVP from any main post office in England, Scotland or Wales. BVPs are now available on Mondays to Fridays and on Saturday mornings. Where a standard passport has been applied for in good time and has not been processed, BVP fees will be refunded on application. For countries where a BVP is not acceptable, travellers who have an urgent requirement should call in person at the most convenient passport office, where every effort will be made to ensure that a suitable travel document is provided.
The settlement of this damaging dispute paves the way for the necessary long-term measures to improve this service to the public.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the privatisation of the terrestrial broadcasting transmission system in the light of the Price Waterhouse report.
Mr. Hurd : In the White Paper on broadcasting we stated that our objective was to move the terrestrial transmission system progressively into the private sector. The Price Waterhouse report analysed the various ways in which this could be achieved. In the light of that report, we confirm that our intention is to privatise the transmission networks owned and operated by the BBC and the IBA as soon as we are in a position to do so. We believe that a move into the private sector will reinforce the pressures for efficiency, and will enable more intensive use to be made of the valuable transmission infrastructure.
We have considered carefully the different possible options for the structure of a privatised transmission industry. On balance we have decided that the best approach would be to set up two national transmission networks, rather than to restructure the system in the way proposed in the Price Waterhouse report.
The BBC's transmission responsibilities are rooted in its royal charter which lasts until the end of 1996. It has indicated that it does not wish to have these responsibilities transferred to a private transmission operator. We have therefore decided that the BBC should retain its transmission responsibilities, including for the world service, until the expiry of the charter, unless it wishes to divest itself of those responsibilities earlier. The position will be reviewed at that point with a view to privatisation. In the meantime the BBC will be confined to transmitting its own services, and will not be permitted to compete for the transmission of new broadcasting or telecommunications services. We are concerned that the private transmission market should develop in a fair manner ; and, while the BBC's transmission operation remains in the public sector, there would be insuperable
Column 103difficulties in ensuring that the BBC entered this market in a way which would be perceived to be fair to its competitors.
The IBA has welcomed the proposal that its transmission operation should be privatised, and we will be including the necessary provisions in our legislative proposals on broadcasting. We shall be considering further the time scale for privatisation, bearing in mind the possible implications for the ITV contracts. We have taken note of the wide regional variations in the cost of transmission, and of the possible consequences of these variations for the smaller Channel 3 companies. We propose that there should be a uniform tariff for Channel 3 companies based on their share of the total Channel 3 income, taking account of any subscription and sponsorship revenue as well as net advertising revenue. This arrangement would be reviewed following decisions to be taken on the future of the BBC transmission system after 1996.
The private transmission company which takes over the IBA's transmission operation will have a powerful market position and the transmission market is likely to be dominated by a small number of major players for the foreseeable future. We therefore consider that economic as well as technical regulation will be necessary. We propose to amend the Telecommunications Act 1984 to enable this regulation to be carried out by the Director General of Telecommunications. This regulatory framework will be designed to ensure that the transmission market operates fairly, and also that the coverage, quality and reliability of transmission systems is maintained.
Mr. Neubert : Since 1980 the proportion of naval seagoing personnel in shore postings has reduced from about 60 per cent. to about 50 per cent. The planned proportion is expected to remain at approximately this level.
Mr. Neubert : I take it that my hon. Friend's question is in relation to the changes that have occurred as a result of the joint Ministry of Defence-Treasury review of armed forces allowances which was announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 9 May 1988, column 2 , and which took effect from 1 October 1988.
As a result of the review, the various allowances for which personnel can qualify have been related more closely to the accommodation policies of the services. Because service in a seagoing ship inevitably results in separation from family, the Royal Navy has traditionally operated a policy of flexibility with regard to accompanied service. Personnel could choose whether their families should follow them from place to place on each new appointment or draft, or whether the family should settle in one place while only the husband moved about.
Column 104As a result of the review, the Royal Navy's flexible approach has been formalised to the extent that an individual must explicitly declare his option of "family mobility" or "family stability" on the occasion of each new appointment or draft. This will determine eligibility for a range of appropriate allowances. The man who is separated or at sea will be eligible for the following : the longer service at sea bonus when serving in a seagoing ship ; separation allowance, if separated by more than 200 miles ashore ; and free travel warrants to return home from his place of duty (15 per year if serving in a seagoing ship, 12 if serving ashore plus any additional warrants earned during former sea service). He also receives the benefit of free accommodation on board ship and when living ashore in barracks or in mess.
Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what impact competitive tendering for repairs has had and is expected to have on sailors' access to their families during periods when ships are undergoing repairs.
Mr. Neubert : I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to repairs undertaken away from the port at which the ship is normally based. We have had only one major experience of this so far with HMS Penelope (base port Portsmouth) being repaired at Southampton. It is thus too early to be definitive. A variety of circumstances could exist, and separation from families could be increased, but the following measures are designed to minimise it :
(a) If naval married quarters are available in the area where the ship is being repaired families can, if the repairs are expected to take six months or more, take up residence with the husband at the repair location, thus maintaining family unity.
(b) If the repair is likely to last more than 12 months, personnel would be eligible for assistance to sell or let their existing private property and purchase or rent a new house at the repair location. This, again, would maintain family unity. (c) In cases where a family move would not be appropriate, personnel are entitled, subject to certain conditions, to 24 free travel warrants per year. In addition, personnel who serve at sea accrue warrant credits of one free travel warrant for every two months' sea service. These warrants could also be used, in addition to the 24 mentioned above, for journeys home during the repair period. In addition, separation allowance may become payable, dependent on the distance between the man's home and the location of the refit.
Mr. Neubert : Because of its seagoing commitments, some separation is inevitable in the Royal Navy. However, personnel who opt for "family mobility" are provided with a range of measures to assist in keeping the family together. These include : (a) the provision of naval married quarters in all the main port areas ; (b) the introduction of a new home owners "mobility package" which provides for the reimbursement of certain expenses on sale and purchase of a private house, or alternatively for certain expenses incurred in letting or repossessing it ;
Column 105and (c) the payment of removal expenses and disturbance allowance ; and the payment of boarding school allowance to provide continuity of education for children in the face of frequent parental moves.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether consultations with the trade unions are now complete regarding the proposed move to Teesside of headquarters and laboratories of the Directorate General of Defence Quality Assurance now at Woolwich and Bromley.
Mr. Sainsbury : Consultations have taken place and I have carefully considered the points made by the trade unions. None of the points was new to me and I can confirm that planning will now proceed with the aim of transferring some 1,500 jobs to Teesside during 1993 to 1995. I am establishing a joint consultative committee which will be a forum for consultations with the trade unions as the work proceeds.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much expenditure has been incurred to date on design work at RAF Upper Heyford to assess the cost of deploying different types of F111 aircraft.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his reply of 13 June to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) Official Report, column 689, how much expenditure has been incurred to date on design work at RAF Upper Heyford to assess the cost of deploying additional F111 aircraft.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his reply of 29 June Official Report, column 531, to the hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Cartwright), whether any agreements have been concluded with (a) the United States Government, (b) Boeing Aerospace, (c) Martin Marietta, (d) British Aerospace and (e) Hunting Engineering regarding the study of procurement options for the possible replacement of the WE177 free -fall nuclear bomb.
Mr. John Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what meetings were held by his Department with subcontractors who worked for the former Royal Ordnance Factory at Enfield, in the 12 months prior to the announcement of its sale to British Aerospace ; and what matters were discussed.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the monthly statistics for the latest available four months for employment training for the Training Agency covering the Doncaster area, showing (a) entrants in each monthly period, and the number of cumulative entrants, broken down by sex, (b) the length of time they had been out of work, their ethnic backgrounds and whether or not they had any disabilities, (c) the total number of currently filled places and (d) the number of trainees in each monthly period on project and employer placements.
Mr. Nicholls : Information for entrants to Employment Training in the latest available four months is provided in Table 1. The other information requested on duration of unemployment prior to joining the programme and the ethnic background of entrants is provided in Table 2. There were 5,436 filled places in the Training Agency area including Doncaster at 23 June 1989, the latest date for which information is available. Information for trainees on project and employer placements on the last Friday of each month is provided in Table 3.
! Table 1 Employment Training Entrants Month |Men |Women|Total --------------------------------- February |1,088|317 |1,405 March |791 |282 |1,073 April |725 |230 |955 May |669 |267 |876 |--- |--- |--- Total |3,273|1,096|4,309
Table 2 Employment Training characteristics of Entrants (February to May)<1> Wakefield/Barnsley/Doncaster area office |Percentage ---------------------------------------------------------------- Unemployment duration (months) 3 to 6 |20 6 to 12 |34 13 to 23 |15 24+ |11 Ethnic origin 1.White |97 2.Black/African/Caribbean |<2>- 3.Indian/Pakistan/Bangladesh/Sri Lankan |1 4.None of these |1 5.I prefer not to say |1 PWD<3> Yes |8 No |92 <1>All figures are percentages, figures may not total 130 because of rounding. <2>Less than 0.5 per cent. <3>PWD-People with disabilities. Those trainees answering whether they had a long-term health problem or disability which affected the type of work they could do. This figure is calculated for December to March.
Table file CW890704.007 not available
Table 3 Employment Training Estimated numbers of trainees on project and employer placements on the last Friday of each month |On projects |With employers ------------------------------------------------------------ February |3,000 |1,500 March |3,000 |1,500 April |3,100 |1,500 May |3,200 |1,600
I refer the hon. Member to the reply from my right hon. Friend the Minister for Social Security to my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mr. Dunn) on 16 December 1988 at columns 752-53 . We intend to introduce these measures in the autumn.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the top 20 tourist attractions in the north-west in numbers visiting or attending ; and if he will indicate the attendances in each instance for the last year which they are available.
|Number of Visits ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Blackpool Pleasure Beach |6,500,000 Albert Dock, Liverpool |3,500,000 Pleasureland, Southport |1,500,000 Blackpool Tower |1,477,500 Frontierland, Morecambe |1,000,000 Stapeley Water Gardens |1,000,000 Chester Zoo |896,822 Croxteth Country Park |750,000 Louis Tussaud's Waxworks, Blackpool |750,000 Sandcastle World of Water, Blackpool |695,000 Etherow Country Park |600,000 Liverpool Museum |585,222 Knowsley Safari Park |509,577 Tate of the North, Liverpool |500,000 Heaton Park, Manchester |500,000 Camelot Theme Park |450,000 Merseyside Maritime Museum |409,012 Blackpool Zoo |360,480 Chester Visitor Centre |346,000 Lyme Park |300,000
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many (a) training managers and (b) training agents have been refused approved status for employment training since its inception in September 1988.
Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people (a) have refused to participate in employment training and (b) have left employment training before completing the training (i) nationally and (ii) by training agency area.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he will notify the (a) House, (b) British Tourist Authority and (c) national boards of his conclusions after studying the report of the review of tourism he initiated in July 1988.
Mr. Fowler : I expect soon to be able to let the House know the outcome of my review of Government support for the tourism industry. I will write to the chairman of the English Tourist Board and the British Tourist Authority as soon as the House has been informed.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why his Department's publications office at Alnwick, Northumberland was out of stock of the leaflet entitled "Nuclear Accidents and the Farmer" at the beginning of June ; and what is the present position.
Mr. Ryder : A heavy initial demand meant that the Department's publications store was temporarily out of stock of the leaflet at the beginning of June. Following a further reprint, supplies have now been replenished.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food why his Department's area offices in Yorkshire and Humberside have not yet received any supplies of his Department's leaflet entitled "Nuclear Accidents and the Farmer" ; if he will list by region and location what area offices (a) have this leaflet and (b) do not have this leaflet ; and when he expects all his offices will have this in stock.
Mr. Ryder : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave him on 10 April, column 365. Stocks were originally held by the Ministry's publications unit at Alnwick and at regional and divisional offices. Following a recent reprint, supplies are being distributed to all area offices.
Column 109growing season ; what were the comparable figures last year ; and what assessment he has made as to whether this year's stock will meet demand ;
(2) if he will make a statement as to what reviews and discussions he is having in respect of this year's potato crop in England and Wales due to the lack of rain and a possible consequent potato shortage.
Mr. Ryder : My Department is not conducting research into lead levels in food produced adjacent to motorways or other main roads. My Department did fund research on this between 1980 and 1983 at the university of Nottingham. This showed that only a small proportion of vegetables grown next to the M1 exceeded statutory lead levels before washing. Washing and removal of outer leaves halves deposited lead levels which means that the vegetables in this study have been below the statutory level once treated for human consumption. My officials will be studying the results of the recent research carried out by Dr. Ward at the university of Surrey.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all the projects at the Torry research station in Aberdeen which will be discontinued as a result of the Barnes review ; and if he will make a statement.
Plant design--the development of monitoring and control systems The design and development of a multipass freezer
Energy utilisation in fish processing
A study of fundamental principles in the design and development of new smoking processes
Development of a machine to produce uncoated formed fillets Processing machinery--separation of meat from shell fish to improve yield
Microbial spoilage of packaged fish and shell fish with a view to devising and applying methods of extending shelflife
Innovation of fish and shell fish products and relevant process technology
Shell fish processing with a view to more efficient utilisation Textural modification of recovered flesh
Improved chilling and handling of sea fish and farmed fish to improve yield and quality
Innovation and characterisation of added value products from industrial and waste fish resources and develop- ment of relevant new pilot plant processes or existing processes
Improvements in the efficiency of processing fish and smoking Investigation of chemical/physical methods of reducing the rate of deterioration of bulk- stored fish at sea
Assessment of the requirements for the introduction of freezing-at-sea on small fishing vessels
Study of cultured fish in relation to general quality aspects
Column 110and to their suitability for processing
The efficient use of recovered fish flesh for human consumption Applications of electronics and physical sensors in fish processing
Detailed information on these was placed in the Library on 20 February 1989 and steps are now being taken to implement the decisions announced in the reply given on 28 June 1989 to my right hon. Friend the Member for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr.
Buchanan-Smith), c. 466.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has made regarding EC document 8062/88 ; and whether he has urged the EC to recognise the role of United Kingdom district councils in the inspection of slaughterhouses and food hygiene duties.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My officials have made it clear in discussion on this proposal that it is premature to consider arrangements for veterinary checks in advance of agreement on more fundamental aspects of the animal health arrangements to apply within the single market. I am not aware of any proposals which would seek to change the existing role of district councils in slaughterhouse inspections or food law enforcement.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on the findings of the Association of District Councils that there is no evidence to suggest that the veterinary presence in export slaughterhouses has contributed to any significant improvement in the protection of public health.
Mr. Donald Thompson : We have always maintained that the presence of veterinary surgeons is not essential to guarantee satisfactory standards of hygiene in abattoirs. Veterinary supervision is required if plants are to be approved to export. This is not an additional requirement but a different one. Domestic slaughterhouses rely largely on environmental health officers whose professional status is of the highest order.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what is his policy towards placing total reliance on the inspection and certification of meat by veterinarians in other European Community countries as against the practice of inspection of incoming meat consignments by environmental health officers in the United Kingdom ;
(2) what assessment he has made of the health implications of placing total reliance on the inspection and certification of meat by veterinarians in other EC countries and of the current practice of inspection of incoming meat consignments by environmental health officers in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Donald Thompson : In accordance with Community rules, enforcement authorities physically inspect only a sample of consignments of meat from other member states. Meat traded between member states must be covered by a certificate signed by an authorised veterinary officer confirming that the Community's strict hygiene rules have been observed. These arrangements work well and in negotiations on the single market I shall seek to ensure that adequate provision for such sample checks is retained.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of European Community directives and regulations on the inspection of meat and meat products in the run-up to the single European market and on the likely changes in terms of staffing and finance that will be required to meet these requirements ;
(2) What assessment he has had made of the impact of European Community directives and regulations on monitoring for health purposes of meat and meat products in the run-up to the single European market and on the likely changes in terms of staffing and finance that will be required to meet these requirements.
Mr. Donald Thompson : The arrangements for meat inspection in the single market will depend upon decisions still to be taken by the Council of Ministers and it is not yet possible therefore to estimate the effects on staffing and costs. It is clear, however, that we shall need to move towards a well-understood supervision system in all meat plants and we shall be discussing how this should be achieved with the interests concerned.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of the veterinary presence in export slaughterhouses on the protection of public health ;
(2) what assessment he has made of the health implications of the veterinary presence in export slaughterhouses.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Veterinary supervision is required if slaughterhouses are to engage in intra-Community trade or export to third countries. If this requirement was not met our industry would not be able to export meat and meat products. Last year this trade was worth £590 million. I have never accepted, however, that veterinary supervision is essential to guarantee satisfactory standards of hygiene.