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Mr. Maude : Very considerable progress was made under the Spanish presidency. Over 60 individual single market agreements were reached, which is a record for any one presidency. These included common positions in the Council of Ministers on very important directives to liberalise banking services in the EC and to ensure more effective compliance with EC rules on procedures for the award of public contracts. The presidency also saw the final adoption of several key measures to break down technical barriers to trade, for example in the areas of food law and machine safety.
Mr. Hood : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will take steps to alert people in Scotland to unscrupulous practices used by some finance companies whereby they entrap people into debt and sell the debt off to debt-collecting agencies.
This is a matter for the Director General of Fair Trading. If the hon. Gentleman has any evidence of unfair business practices in the marketing of consumer credit, I hope that he will make it available to the director general.
The Government do not keep information on the ranges of interest rates available from licensed finance companies. Regulations ensure that a prospective borrower under a consumer credit agreement receives clear information on the interest rate being offered and that the information is on a basis which facilitates comparison with other sources of consumer credit.
Mr. Alan Clark : In the three months to May 1989, trade in manufactures, on a seasonally adjusted balance of payments basis, was in deficit by £3.8 billion compared with a deficit of £4.3 billion in the previous three months.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the total deficit in all trade with the rest of the European Economic Community over the past 12 months ; and what was the comparable deficit five and 10 years previously.
United Kingdom visible trade balance<1> with EC<2> 12 months ending |£ billion --------------------------------------------------- May 1989 |-16.1 May 1984 |-4.3 May 1979 |-3.1 <1> Imports cif (ie including insurance and freight costs). Exports fob (ie excluding insurance and freight costs). <2> Present membership throughout. Source: United Kingdom Overseas Trade Statistics.
Mr. Dykes : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the changes in recent months in United Kingdom statistics of overall trade with other European Community member states ; and when he next expects to discuss such matters with the Council of Trade Ministers.
Mr. Alan Clark : In the six months to May, compared with the same period last year, United Kingdom exports to the other EC countries increased by 12 per cent. while those to the rest of the world rose by 9 per cent. Imports from the EC countries increased by about the same amount as those from the rest of the world, 15 per cent. I have no plans to discuss these figures in the Council of Ministers.
Mr. Alan Clark : The report on the future status of ECGD was submitted to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in May 1989. Ministers asked that the report should be published immediately to facilitate consultation with interested parties. This has been done. An inter-departmental working party of officials has been
Column 515convened under the chairmanship of the ECGD's chief executive to examine the recommendations in the report and to give advice to Ministers. No decisions have yet been taken on any of the options identified in the report.
Mr. Atkins : We have been able to facilitate contacts with the relevant United States authorities. Contacts have also taken place with European industry. This is an industry-led project and it will be for the companies themselves to provide any further information.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in view of the deterioration in the quality of postal services recently documented by the Post Office Users National Council, if the Government will introduce more competition into the postal services.
Mr. Forth : Postal service quality is a matter for the Post Office board. However, I understand that, disregarding last September and Christmas, there has been no significant change in performance over the last year.
Mr. Forth : As I announced on 21 June, the code is to be drawn up by the Director General of Fair Trading and discussed with the industry. It will be for the director general in drawing up a draft code for discussion with the industry to decide whether it should cover commercial as well as residential estate agents. I will ask the director general to write to my hon. Friend on this matter.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if, in the light of the appointment of inspectors to investigate and report on the affairs of the Milford Haven Dock Company under section 432 of the Companies Act 1985, he will make a statement on the proposed acquisition of the company by the Milford Haven port authority.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Stockton, South of 3 July, whether he will give the total number of representations on the subject of family courts received in the last six months, what was the number in favour of the idea, and the number against ; and if he will summarise the arguments presented in representations against.
The Attorney-General : As I indicated in my answer to the hon. Member for Stockton, South (Mr. Devlin) of 3 July, precise information about representations to my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor 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. While it is true to say that correspondents generally favour a family court, there are none the less divergences of opinion on the many specific issues comprehended by the concept. Moreover, correspondents often fail to explain what they mean by the phrase in any meaningful detail so that it is not possible to identify what it is that they are in favour of and why.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Stockton, South on 3 July, Official Report, column 1, whether the Lord Chancellor's Department has accepted the costings and staffing levels proposed by the conciliation project unit based at the university of Newcastle upon Tyne ; what further consideration is being given to these matters and by whom ; to whom copies of the report had been passed for comment ; and what response has been made.
The Attorney-General : The Lord Chancellor has said that proposals relating to conciliation, including the report of the conciliation project unit at the university of Newcastle, will be considered as part of a rolling programme to review family law and procedures. That review will consider any costing and staffing levels estimated or proposed by the project unit. The Government are considering how that programme should be carried forward and hope to be in a position to make a statement later this year. Although formal comments on the report have not been sought ahead of the review the Lord Chancellor's Department has received comments from Relate, the Inner London probation service, the National Family Conciliation Council and from two individuals engaged in running conciliation schemes.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he proposes to reopen the public inquiry into the east London river crossing to enable it to consider the revised design of the bridge over the Thames.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to announce a decision about the re-design of the new bridge for the east London river crossing ; and why the review which he announced on 28 July 1988 has taken longer than the expected six months.
Mr. Channon : I expect to make an announcement very shortly about the design of the bridge and the next steps. Consultation with the relevant authorities indicated further possibilities which the consultants have been exploring. Their report has therefore taken longer than expected to complete.
Mr. Hurd : On Friday 30 June, 48,638 prisoners were held in prison service establishments in England and Wales. A further 230 prisoners were held in police cells. The total of 48,868 is 1,434 less than the total of 50,302 12 months ago. This is welcome news.
Mr. Hurd : The available information relates to detentions by Merseyside police and is published quarterly in Home Office statistical bulletins which are placed in the Library. The latest, issue 17/89, gives in table 3 information from 1979 up to the first quarter of 1989 ; it is planned to publish the bulletin for the second quarter at the end of this month. Corresponding information for individual years before 1979 is not available but the total detained between 1974 and 1978 is published in issue 11/87.
Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of West Yorkshire as to the estimated costs of the police operations during the recent disturbances in Bradford and Dewsbury ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hogg : I understand from the chief constable of West Yorkshire that the estimated additional costs of policing the disturbances are £194,250. This covers police officer and civilian overtime, subsistence for police officers, transport and aid from other forces provided under section 14 of the Police Act 1964.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state for each of the last five years (a) the number of people awarded ex gratia compensation for periods in custody and (b) the total amount paid in ex gratia compensation.
Year |Number awarded |Total amount paid |compensation |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1984 |12 |14,450 1985 |17 |216,163 1986 |13 |154,890 1987 |14 |153,806 1988 |8 |56,925
91. Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the proposal to establish an international fund to compensate developing countries for the cost of phasing out production of chlorofluorocarbons.
Mr. Chris Patten : We have already made it clear that we are willing to help developing countries to find ways of avoiding the use of CFCs. An international fund has been suggested as one means by which such help could be given. The various possible means are to be considered by a working group, established by the parties to the Montreal protocol at their meeting in May, which is to start work next month.
Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will state the grounds for rejection of Oxfam's application under the Overseas Development Administration joint funding scheme for aid with the following Nicaraguan projects : (a) the Atlantic coast livestock loan scheme, (b) the Fanor Urroz co-operative farm and (c) CISAS ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list for each of the years 1979 to 1987 (a) the total amount of expenditure under line 941 of the Community budget, (b) the amount granted to United Kingdom non-governmental organisations under line 941 of the Community budget, and (c) the percentage that (b) represents of (a) .
|Total commitments |To United Kingdom NGOs |Percentage share United |Kingdom NGOs |£ million |£ million |Per cent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1986 |31.418 |6.120 |19.5 1987 |43.906 |8.086 |18.4 1976-87 |205.805 |38.9 |18.9 Note: All calculations assume a rate of £1 = 1.42 ecu.
94. Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the international oil embargo of South Africa ; and if he proposes measures to improve its effectiveness.
Mr. Peter Morrison : I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 19 October 1988, at columns 859-60. The Government's export guidelines rule out the sales of crude oil from the United Kingdom continental shelf to South Africa ; I have no plans to make any changes to that policy.
Mr. Peter Morrison : My Department has today made available for comment a paper setting out proposals for strengthening the statutory requirements for permit procedures on off-shore installations. Copies of the document have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Beverley (Mr. Cran) of 4 May, Official Report, column 352, what further advice he has given or intends to give on the effects on industrial competitiveness of excessive pay rises for directors of large companies ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Meale : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the effect of a 1 per cent. change in United Kingdom interest rates and a 1 per cent. change in import prices, respectively, on the retail prices index.
Mr. Lilley [holding answer 6 July 1989] : The effect of an increase in interest rates is to encourage saving, reduce spending and thus, over time, to bear down on inflation. However, because of the inclusion of mortgage interest payments in the RPI, a one percentage point increase in all United Kingdom interest rates would initially increase the retail prices index by about 0.4 per cent. No disaggregation is available for the imported component of the goods and services in the retail prices index. Whether, and to what extent, an increase in import prices will affect the RPI depends on the stance of monetary policy. The present Government is not prepared to accommodate inflation.
Sir Anthony Meyer : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the hon. Member for Clwyd, North-West may expect a reply to the letter which he sent to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 3 April about the imposition of value added tax on caravan pitch rentals and services.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many purchases of premium bonds in each of the last three years for which figures are available were made in (a) amounts of over £100 and (b) amounts of £100 or less.
Financial year |£100 or more |Under £100 |Number |Value |Number |Value |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1986-87 |380,000 |182,621,000 |1,718,000 |331,821,000 1987-88 |443,000 |260,601,000 |1,730,000 |34,533,000 1988-89 |457,000 |273,171,000 |1,742,000 |36,122,000
Mr. Dykes : To ask the Prime Minister if she will give the list of conditions she has established for United Kingdom adherence to the European monetary system exchange rate mechanism of the European Community, in accordance with her reference to such conditions in the Official Report, 29 June, column 1109.
The Prime Minister [holding reply 11 July 1989] : The decision when to join the exchange rate mechanism will have to be judged against progress in a number of areas. In particular, when the level of United Kingdom inflation is significantly lower, there is capital liberalisation in the
Column 521Community and real progress has been made towards the completion of the single market, freedom of financial services and strengthened competition policy.
Sir Richard Body : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science why the Bristol research centre dealing with food safety will be closed ; and whether the Agriculture and Food Research Council took account of representations from the retail food trade in making its decision.
Mr. Jackson : The AFRC has decided to consolidate the work of the Institute of Food Research (IFR) on its two sites at Norwich and Reading to further enhance its science base. A consequence of this restructuring is that the laboratory at Langford, Bristol, will cease to be part of the IFR by the end of 1990 when AFRC institute funding will have been withdrawn. In planning the future scientific strategy of the Institute, advice was sought from a wide range of opinion including representatives from the food manufacturing industry, the retail food trade, academia and the Consumers Association.
Mr. Alfred Moris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in the light of the High Court ruling against Lancashire county council on 16 March, he has any plans to assist local education authorities in their duty to provide speech therapy for children with speech and language impairments.
Mr. Butcher : Responsibility for the provision of speech therapy services has rested with health authorities since the reorganisation of the National Health Service in 1974. The recent High Court case involving Lancashire county council, which ruled that speech therapy could be considered as either educational or non-educational provision, does not affect health authorities general
responsibilities in this area.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science in the light of the implementation of the Education Act 1988, what plans he has to ensure that the million children suffering from specific communication impairments have access to that curriculum by increasing the numbers of (a) trained teachers and (b) speech therapists.
Mr. Butcher : Children with special educational needs, including those with specific communication impairments, should benefit from the substantial resources that the Government are making available generally to local education authorities to support the introduction of the national curriculum. Within the £100 million available this year to LEAs through specific grants, it will be for authorities to decide how much to spend within this total to ensure maximum access to the national curriculum for children with special educational needs, where appropriate, including those with specific communication impairments.
The training and supply of speech therapists is the responsibility of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when the findings of the working party examining the funding of communication aids for those with communication handicaps will be available.
Mr. Butcher : I understand that the working party on the assessment of children with communication handicap will report to my right hon. Friend and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health within the next few months.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to have the results of the special monitoring exercise on universities' library spending for 1987-88, and 1988-89 ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what is the position of four-year high schools with a transfer age of 10 years in relation to the certain categories of schools qualifying for particular weightings under section 107 of DES circular 7/88 published on 6 September 1988 under section 34(2) of the Education Reform Act ;
(2) if he will define the phrase "certain categories of schools" in relation to section 107 DES circular 7/88 published on 6 September 1988 under section 34(2) of the Education Reform Act ;
(3) in what circumstances local education authorities have discretion over allocation of the aggregated school budget, with reference to section 107 of DES circular 7/88 published on 6 September 1988 under section 34(2) of the Education Reform Act.
Mr. Butcher : Under schemes of local management, at least 75 per cent. of the aggregated schools budget must be allocated with reference to the numbers and ages of pupils in schools. All pupils of the same age will carry with them the same resources, irrespective of which type of school they attend. However, LEAs will have the discretion to allocate up to 25 per cent. of the aggregated schools budget by means of others factors which take account of objective need and are applied by means of a consistent set of rules. Paragraphs 107 to 128 of DES circular 7/88 give some examples of such additional factors, such as a small school curriculum protection factor. Where such factors are used it may be appropriate within them to use different weightings for categories of schools serving different age ranges. For example, a lump sum in a small school curriculum protection factor might take a different value for primary schools than for secondary schools, and different value for primary schools than for secondary schools, and different again in middle schools. Four-year high schools with a transfer age of 10 could form such a category.
Column 523(b) polytechnic and other higher education first degree full-time students, (c) part-time university students, (d) part-time polytechnic and other higher education students, and (e) full- time post graduate students since May 1986, with (c) and (d) expressed in actual numbers and full-time equivalents.
Students in higher education in Great Britain Academic year 1985 to 1987 beginning in |1985 |1987 |Actual increase |Per cent. increase -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Full-time Postgraduate |65,859 |69,869 |4,010 |6 University First Degree |238,329 |245,577 |7,248 |3 Polys and Colleges First Degree |181,026 |195,348 |14,322 |8 Part-time Open University |78,723 |85,828 |7,105 |9 Other Universities |37,097 |40,706 |3,609 |10 Polys and Colleges |209,956 |232,744 |22,788 |11 Full-time Equivalent of Part-time (FTE) Open University |27,553 |30,040 |2,487 |9 Other Universities |12,984 |14,247 |1,263 |10 Polys and Colleges |73,485 |81,460 |7,976 |11 Note: Part-time students have been counted as 0.35 FTE.
Mr. Butcher : This Department is contacting certain independent schools in four regions of the country with a view to widening the geographical availability of assisted places. The regions concerned are the North-East, the east midlands, South Yorkshire and the black country. We are approaching certain existing APS member schools in these regions to ascertain whether they would like more assisted places. We are also inviting certain schools which are not at present in the scheme, to apply to join. The target of 35,000 assisted places by the mid-1990s remains.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the number of headteachers in primary schools who resigned in each of the last five years ; and what information he has on the reasons for resignation.
Mr. Butcher [holding answer 6 July 1989] : The numbers of headteachers leaving full-time service in maintained nursery and primary schools in England in the last five years for which figures are available were as follows :