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Column 603inconvenience caused to the travelling public by the rail strikes. Passengers and freight business will suffer unless the railways give a reliable service.
The Prime Minister : I regularly receive representations relating to the Commonwealth from hon. Members as well as from members of the public. I am greatly looking forward to attending this year's Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, an event which is always of great importance to this Government.
At the Royal Show earlier this month I was pleased to pay tribute to the enormous contribution the agriculture industry and the thousands of individual farmers make to our national life. Our policy is to provide a framework within which this industry can thrive. We shall continue to negotiate for a more market-orientated common agricultural policy, building on the major reforms agreed at the February 1988 European Council. Our agricultural industry is well placed to benefit from the opportunities for fair competition that the EC's single internal market will bring.
The Prime Minister : During the period since 1979 the Government promoted the Phoenix joint ventures involving private sector steel companies and the (then nationalised) British Steel Corporation and also a private sector steel scheme. These initiatives have now ceased but they reduced product overlap between the private and public sectors and contributed towards rationalisation within the industry as a whole. British Steel itself was then returned to the private sector in December 1988 and recently announced record profits of £593 million compared with substantial losses while nationalised. Productivity in the United Kingdom steel industry rose by 151 per cent. between 1979 and 1988.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her reply to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill, of 17 July, Official Report , column 22 , whether she will now take steps to set up an independent procedure to consider whether Mr. Graham Gaskin's files should be released to him ; and if she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : As my hon. and learned Friend the Minister for Health said in his written answer to the hon. Member on 18 July, a careful look is being taken in the light of the court's judgment in this case at the present general arrangements for social services clients to have access to their files to see whether any changes to those arrangements are needed.
The court awarded Mr. Gaskin £5,000 compensation and that sum, along with the court's award for legal fees and expenses, is being paid to him.
The Prime Minister : This morning I had a number of meetings including one with General Yazov, the Soviet Defence Minister, on his first visit to the United Kingdom. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today and will be attending a special garden party to celebrate 150 years of public education. This evening I hope to have an audience of Her Majesty the Queen.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, further to his answer of 27 June, Official Report, column 441, he will give the greenhouse gas equivalents for carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide ; and if he will make a statement.
Molecule for molecule, the greenhouse warming effect of methane is approximately 27 times that of carbon dioxide and 165 times that of nitrous oxide. Taking account of concentrations in the atmosphere, their current contribution to the greenhouse effect is estimated to be 55 per cent. (carbon dioxide), 14 per cent. (methane) and 8 per cent. (nitrous oxide). The remaining fraction is primarily due to chlorofluorocarbons.
Mr. Hume : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list those prisoners who were refused transfers to prisons in Northern Ireland in each of the past seven years indicating the grounds for the refusals.
1982--1 ; 1983--1 ; 1984--5 ; 1985--28 ; 1986--11 ; 1987--3 ; 1988--4. Information on the grounds for refusal in individual cases is not available, but all decisions were taken in accordance with the publicly stated policy on transfers which was in force at the relevant time. It would not be right to give the names of the inmates involved, many of whom will by now have been released.
Mr. Hume : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement indicating the various grounds on which prisoners were transferred to Northern Ireland in each of the past seven years.
Mr. Hurd : Prisoners may be transferred from England and Wales to Northern Ireland if they are required to face trial there, if their presence there is necessary in the interests of justice, or if they apply for temporary or permanent transfer. Applications for permanent transfer have been granted where the inmate meets the criteria for transfer, as agreed between the Home Office and the Northern Ireland Office, in force at the relevant time, or where there are exceptional compassionate circumstances. The criteria for transfer now in force were announced in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Bury, North (Mr. Burt) on 23 June at column 263 .
Mr. Hume : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will provide a list of the names of all prisoners transferred to prisons in Northern Ireland in each of the past seven years, indicating the offences for which they were convicted, the prisons from which they were transferred, their sentences and the time served prior to transfer.
Mr. Hurd : It would not be right to give the names of the inmates concerned, many of whom will now have been released. Information on the periods served by the inmates before transfer is not readily available. The remaining information, which relates only to inmates transferred from England and Wales to Northern Ireland to serve the remainder of their sentences, is as follows :
1. Robbery ; HMP Liverpool ; five years.
2. Robbery ; HMP Liverpool ; five years.
3. Robbery ; HMP Lancaster ; 14 years.
1. Theft, grievous bodily harm ; HMP Durham three years. 1985
1. Robbery ; HMP Hull ; six years.
2. Sending explosive substances, causing explosions ;
HMP Blunderston ; life.
3. Manslaughter ; HMP Wakefield ; life.
4. Importing controlled drugs ; HMP Wandsworth ;
1. Robbery ; HMP Wandsworth ; six years.
2. Theft, robbery ; HMP Long Lartin ; eight years.
1. Robbery ; HMP Long Lartin ; 10 years.
2. Importing controlled drugs ; HMP Albany ; 14 years.
3. Murder ; HMP Wormwood Scrubs ; life.
1. Assault with intent to rob, unlawful handling, possessing imitation firearm, deception ; HMP Frankland ; five years. 2. Wounding ; HMP Channings Wood ; four years.
3. Robbery ; HMP Haverigg ; seven years.
4. Attempted robbery ; HMP Frankland ; four and a half years. 5. Robbery ; HMP Durham ; three years.
Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many fire appliances were in operation (a) throughout the United Kingdom and (b) in Wales as at 1 January 1980 and for each succeeding year ;
(2) how many full-time firemen were employed (a) throughout the United Kingdom and (b) in Wales as at 1 January 1980 and for each succeeding year ;
(3) how many fully manned fire stations were in operation as at 1 January 1980 and for each succeeding year (a) throughout the United Kingdom and (b) in Wales.
Questions relating to the fire service in other parts of the United Kingdom are the responsibility of my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the question from the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East, 26 June, column 323, why he decided not to exercise his discretion in favour of the application for settlement of Mr. Abbas Karbassian.
Mr. Renton : As explained in the reply of 5 November 1987, at column 833, to the question from the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. Fraser), a case in which continuous residence exceeds 10 years will be considered on its merits for the grant of indefinite leave to remain. Mr. Karbassian came to the United Kingdom on 30 April 1979 and was subsequently granted permission to remain until August 1987--in the first instance as a student and later on the basis of his marriage to a British citizen. An application for settlement (on the grounds of marriage) was refused on 1 August 1988 because the couple had separated. Mr. Karbassian lodged an appeal against this decision on 10 August 1988.
Mr. Karbassian is permitted, under section 14(1) of the Immigration Act 1971, to remain here pending the outcome of his appeal against the decision of 1 August 1988. However, time spent in the United Kingdom while an appeal is outstanding is not considered acceptable residence for the purpose of the discretionary grant of indefinite leave to remain under the long residence concession unless that appeal is subsequently successful.
Mr. Hurd : The report of the working party on forensic pathology is published today ; a copy is in the Library. Copies have been sent to the Association of Chief Police Officers, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Pathologists, the local authority associations and others concerned with an invitation to let my Department have their views on it by the end of October. My intention is to consider the report and any representations received as soon as practicable thereafter.
Mr. Hoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received the report of the inquiry into the disturbance at Risley remand centre from 30 April to 3 May ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hurd : I have now received the report of the inquiry conducted by Mr. Dunbar, the director of the south west region of the prison department. A summary of the report, including the list of recommendations resulting from the inquiry, has been placed in the Library. I informed the House on 4 May at columns 374-5 of the nature and effects of the disturbances on male wings at Risley.
The disturbance was one of the most serious and complex suffered by the prison service in recent years. Throughout there were violent attacks by prisoners upon the fabric of the centre and on the staff endeavouring to contain them. I pay tribute to the Governor and staff for their bravery and determination in resisting the extreme violence they faced and for bringing the disturbance to a conclusion as quickly as they did without serious injury to staff or prisoners. In doing so they prevented the rioters from totally destroying the establishment, which was their clear intention.
Mr. Dunbar's inquiry led him to conclude that Risley should be closed at the earliest possible moment. I accept that recommendation so far as male remand prisoners are concerned. They amounted to 468 inmates out of a total of 541 males at the time of the disturbance, and the disturbance was confined to them. After careful thought, and despite the practical difficulties of making a change, I do not believe it would be sensible to hold male remand prisoners at Risley for longer than we must. I have accordingly decided to work towards the end of Risley's remand function for males by the summer of next year, when refurbished accommodation will be available. Risley will then take only sentenced prisoners on the male side. In addition, the women's wing, which has not been the subject of criticism- -indeed, it was commented upon favourably by Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons--and which has a valuable contribution to make in the female prison estate, will remain.
Work had already begun before the disturbance on the phased demolition and replacement of the prison. This will take some years and in the interim, B and C wings are being completely refurbished and strengthened to make them secure against this sort of attack. The male population of Risley will be limited to about 320 until new living blocks become available.
All the other recommendations have wider application in the prison service and I welcome them. Some--for example, the strengthening of cell doors--are statements of policy on which work is already in hand. Mr. Dunbar's recommendations on contingency planning will be taken fully into account in a major review which has been under way for some time and which is nearing completion. Other
Column 608recommendations on physical resources, on protective clothing and equipment and on intervention plans are also accepted and will be taken on board. I also accept in principle the recommendations that Mr. Dunbar makes on personnel and regime matters.
The findings of the report concerning medical matters are most disturbing. The director designate of prison medical services and her staff have been to Risley and immediate steps have been taken to clean thoroughly the areas concerned and to remove the health hazards to which Mr. Dunbar has drawn attention. I accept all the particular recommendations in his report and have asked the director of prison medical services to explore further how these serious shortcomings came about and to take steps to ensure that they do not happen again, either at Risley or elsewhere in the prison system.
Mr. Dunbar makes a number of recommendations concerning the treatment of, and facilities for, remand prisoners. I accept most of them as desirable but they will have to compete for resources with other equally desirable aims in the prison service. I am not convinced that it is necessary for separate rules to be drawn up for remand prisoners, since distinctions between the unconvicted and the convicted can be satisfactorily reflected within a unified set of rules but I am willing to look at this again. I do not rule out reduction of censorship and the provision of telephones for remand prisoners but the security implications in respect of certain prisoners require, and will receive, careful consideration. Research on categorising all remand prisoners is already under way. Of the remaining recommendations, those which are matters for the police will be drawn to their attention and I accept the others. I have indicated the action being taken on all the recommendations which are of more general application. In addition, an action plan has been drawn up specifically for the purpose of rectifying the failings at Risley identified in Mr. Dunbar's report and making the necessary preparations for Risley's change of function. This will be the direct responsibility of the deputy director general of the prison service, who will be assisted by a small working group and will report regularly to me on progress.
The disturbance at Risley arose out of a long history of difficulties caused principally by the inadequacy of the buildings and the nature of the prisoners housed in them. It interrupted the considerable progress towards improving the regime for prisoners which the governor and staff had made following the report of Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons. I am sure that with all the changes I have outlined and, in particular, with confidence established in the renovated buildings, the governor and his staff will be able to resume their positive work to remedy the grave deficiencies identified in the report.
Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many letters were received from, and sent to, hon. Members by his Department in (a) January and (b) the whole of this Session up to 1 July.
Mr. Hurd : The available figures relate to and from Ministers and to and from the secretary to the immigration and nationality board, the great majority of which represented correspondence with hon. Members, and are as follows :
|January 1989 |22 November 1988-1 July |1989 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Received from hon. Members |2,436 |17,690 Sent to hon. Members |2,295 |15,584
Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress is being made in his Department's review, in line with Treasury guidelines, of the potential for the further relocation of Civil Service posts outside London and the south-east ; and when he expects the review to be completed.
Mr. Hurd : A report by consultants on the feasibility of relocation of the immigration and nationality department has been received and is under consideration. A review of the organisation and location of the prison service above establishment level is nearing completion. The scope for relocation of parts of the police department science and technology group and of the Home Office accounts branch is also under review.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners were transferred to other prisons in the United Kingdom from Welford Road prison, Leicester, before 1 April, and the latest available date ; and if he will make a statement.
Number of prisoners transferred from Her Majesty's prison requested of Leicester to other prisons: weekly 1 April-21 July 1989 Week beginning |Number of prisoners ------------------------------------------------------------ April 3 |27 10 |12 17 |4 21 |19 May 1 |25 8 |21 15 |20 22 |11 29 |11 June 5 |16 12 |22 19 |19 26 |23 July 3 |9 10 |22 17 |9 |------- Total |268
Population of Her Majesty's prison Leicester at unlocking April |Numbers ------------------------ 1 |412 2 |412 3 |412 4 |417 5 |384 6 |396 7 |407 8 |395 9 |395 10 |395 11 |401 12 |389 13 |388 14 |389 15 |389 16 |389 17 |389 18 |397 19 |400 20 |400 21 |405 22 |406 23 |406 24 |406 25 |411 26 |401 27 |407 28 |408 29 |413 30 |413
May |Numbers ------------------------ 1 |413 2 |413 3 |397 4 |397 5 |390 6 |394 7 |394 8 |394 9 |403 10 |377 11 |382 12 |379 13 |379 14 |379 15 |379 16 |372 17 |366 18 |382 19 |388 20 |391 21 |391 22 |391 23 |394 24 |378 25 |381 26 |381 27 |392 28 |392 29 |392 30 |392 31 |383
June |Numbers ------------------------ 1 |377 2 |374 3 |379 4 |379 5 |379 6 |386 7 |375 8 |386 9 |389 10 |393 11 |393 12 |393 13 |395 14 |368 15 |375 16 |369 17 |377 18 |377 19 |377 20 |372 21 |347 22 |357 23 |365 24 |362 25 |362 26 |362 27 |360 28 |350 29 |365 30 |358
July |Numbers ------------------------ 1 |358 2 |358 3 |358 4 |357 5 |343 6 |355 7 |356 8 |356 9 |356 10 |356 11 |362 12 |341 13 |343 14 |346 15 |346 16 |346 17 |346 18 |350 19 |340 20 |356 21 |338
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to the proportion of screened-out emergency calls when the caller is informed that no further action is to be taken immediately or at a future time ;
(2) if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis as to what proportion of emergency calls in the Leyton constituency are screened out.
Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is now able to report the Government's response to the Audit Commission's recommendations on value for money in the probation service.
Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Government are taking to promote co-operation between the probation service and other agencies in the criminal justice system, as recommended by the Audit Commission in its recent report on the probation service.
Mr. John Patten : We have taken and are taking a number of steps to promote co-operation between the probation service and other agencies in the criminal justice system. The paper "Tackling Offending : An Action Plan" was sent to chief probation officers, justices' clerks, circuit administrators, chief crown prosecutors, chief officers of police, the Association of Chief Police Officers and a variety of other agencies and organisations working in the criminal justice field. That paper emphasised that although the probation service has a key role in achieving the aims of part II of the Green Paper, "Punishment, Custody and the Community", it cannot work alone and that other agencies must be involved ; the Home Office has provided funds for a number of seminars on non-custodial penalties, organised by the NACRO, which have included amongst the participants magistrates, justices' clerks, members of probation services and members of police forces ; a number of Home Office circulars have encouraged co-operation between the criminal justice services including the probation service ; and Ministers and officials also take the opportunity in speeches and meetings to encourage such co-operation.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his proposals to change the top security status for certain gaols by 1992 and as the consultation processes which will be involved.
Mr. Hurd : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to a question by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Latham) on 12 April 1989 at columns 544-5. This draws attention to the statement issued by the deputy director general of the prison service (a copy of which is in the Library) which includes details of the plans for the future shape and size of the prison dispersal system. A copy of the statement has been sent for information to governors and to chairmen of boards of visitors of prisons normally holding inmates in the highest security category--category A--and copies have also been supplied to the trade unions.
Consultation with the staff interests concerned at national and local level will take place as appropriate as we work towards effecting the changes planned to take place in the 1990s at the establishments involved.