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Mr. Gummer : I shall make a further announcement shortly.

Food Imports

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the countries from which the United Kingdom imports (a) coffee, (b) sugar, (c) bananas, (d) orange juice concentrate, and (e) African palm oil ; and if he will give the amounts of each product imported in each of the last five years.

Mr. Maclean : The quantities of each product imported are given in the following table :


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Tonnes (except where shown)                                                  

                 |1984     |1985     |1986     |1987     |<1>1988            

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Coffee           |117,239  |110,998  |108,475  |120,203  |121,303            

Sugar            |1,410,291|1,330,614|1,309,997|1,254,863|1,290,446          

Bananas          |309,445  |323,728  |343,107  |359,569  |388,154            

Orange juice concentrate<2> 102,342   125,095   139,487   137,007            

African palm oil |162,608  |217,823  |276,730  |288,935  |286,443            

Details from Overseas Trade Statistics.                                      

<1> Provisional.                                                             

<2> '000 litres.                                                             

Details of the countries from which the United Kingdom imports these commodities are in a table which I will be depositing in the Library of the House as soon as it is available.

Mr. Michael Morris : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if any meat for human consumption is currently being imported from the United States of America.

Mr. Curry : Imports of beef for human consumption from the United States of America since January 1989 have been as follows :




         |Tonnes       

-----------------------

January  |147          

February |46           

March    |59           

April    |0            

May      |12           

June     |6            

July     |6            

August   |13           

Pesticides

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to publish the report on the work in 1988 of his advisory committee on pesticides.


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Mr. Maclean : The 1988 report of the advisory committee on pesticides is expected to be published in the first quarter of 1990.

Potato Planting

Mr. Michael Morris : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what safeguards there are to ensure that targeted potato acreage is actually planted.

Mr. Curry : The Potato Marketing Board is required, under the terms of its financial agreement with Government, to ensure that plantings by registered producers are as close as possible to the target area. It set quota area as a percentage of producers' basic area accordingly, and producers who underplant are penalised in subsequent years because their basic area is reduced.

Levy Schemes

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the names of all the levy schemes which he operates and for each one the industry it is imposed upon, and the use to which the money levied is put and the amount collected for which most recent figures are available ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclean [holding answer 24 October 1989] : The list includes levy schemes for which I have statutory


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authority excluding marketing board levies. The organisation originating or operating these schemes is included in the list as I do not have responsibility for operating every scheme.


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Organisation                                        |Levy                                               |Industry                                           |Purpose                                            |Amount collected                                   |Period                                                                                                 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

European Community                                  |Milk Co-responsibility                             |Milk Producers                                     |80 per cent. likely to go to                       |£52.8 million                                      |1988-89                                                                                                

                                                    |Levy (EC)                                                                                              |market support measures,                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                            |rest on promotion of dairy                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                            |products and improvement                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                            |of milk hygiene                                                                                                                                                                                                

European Community                                  |Milk Supplementary Levy (EC)                       |Milk Producers                                     |Levied on over-quota milk                          |£15.6 million                                      |1988-89                                                                                                

                                                    |(EC)                                                                                                   |production proceeds used                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                            |to finance disposal of EC                                                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                            |dairy surplus                                                                                                                                                                                                  

European Community                                  |Cereals Co-responsibility Levy                     |Cereals Industry                                   |Contributes to the costs                           |£50.8 million                                      |1988                                                                                                   

                                                    |Levy                                                                                                   |involved in disposing of                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                            |surplus production                                                                                                                                                                                             

European Community                                  |Sugar Production Levies                            |Sugar Processors who pass                          |Used to offset cost of                             |£31.65 million                                     |1988-89                                                                                                

                                                                                                        | back 60 per cent. to beet                         |export refunds on quota                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                        |growers                                            |sugar                                                                                                                                                                                                          

European Community                                  |Storage Levy                                       |First marketing of sugar by                        |Used to offset costs of                            |£26.37 million                                     |1988-89                                                                                                

                                                                                                        |producers and merchants                            |storage refund scheme                                                                                                                                                                                          

MAFF                                                |Sugar Beet (Research and                           |Growers and Processors of                          |Research and Education in                          |£1.7 million                                       |1987-88                                                                                                

                                                    |Education)Fund                                     |Home Grown Sugar Beet                              |matters affecting the                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            |growing of home grown                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            |sugar beet                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Meat and Livestock                                  |Meat and Livestock                                 |Slaughters and exporters of                        |General activities on                              |£17.7 million                                      |1987-88                                                                                                

  Commission                                        |Commission Levy General                            |live animals. Slaughters                           |livestock, meat and meat                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                    |levy 3 species promotion                           |recover " general levy and                         |production                                                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                    |levies on beef, sheep and                          |all promotion levy from                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                    |pork                                               |seller                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Meat and Livestock                                  |Pig Industry Levy Scheme<1>                        |Pig Industry                                       |Eradication of Aujeszky's                          |£4.3 million                                       |1988-89                                                                                                

  Commission                                                                                                                                                |disease                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Home Grown Cereals                                  |Home Grown Cereals                                 |Cereals Industry                                   |Market information service,                        |£3.58 million                                      |1988-89                                                                                                

  Authority                                         |Authority Levy Scheme                                                                                  |R & D contribution to                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                    |1987                                                                                                   |Food From Britain and                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            |promotion of British cereal                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                            |exports                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Horticultural                                       |Horticultural R & D Levy                           |Horticulture Industry                              |To finance                                         |£1 million                                                                                                                                                 

  Development Council                                                                                                                                       |R & D levy is at the rate of  per cent. on                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                            |sales                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Apple and Pear                                      |This body is being wound up; a successor body which                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

  Development Council                               |will operate under new rules is planned                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Sea Fish Industry                                   |Sea Fish Industry                                  |Sea Fish Industry                                  |Promotion of the efficiency                        |£3.4 million                                       |1988-89                                                                                                

  Authority                                         |Authority (Levy)                                                                                       |of sea fish industry                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                    |Regulation 1988                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                                                    |Confirmatory Order 1989                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

MAFF                                                |Annual Fees for product                            |Animal Health Industry                             |Contributes to the cost of                         |£442,000                                           |1988-89                                                                                                

  Veterinary Medicines                              |licences for Animal                                |the licensing system for                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

  Directorate                                       |Medicines                                                                                              |animal medicines                                                                                                                                                                                               

MAFF                                                |Pesticides Levy Scheme                             |Pesticides Industry                                |Monitoring use and                                 |£2.45 million                                      |Beginning of                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                            |residues in foodstuffs,                                                                                |1989                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                            |human tissues and the                                                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                            |environment                                                                                                                                                                                                    

International Cocoa                                 |$30 per tonne                                      |Cocoa importers                                    |Finance price stabilising                          |$1.8 million                                       |1 October                                                                                              

  Agreement                                                                                                                                                 |measures                                                                                               |1988 to                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    |30 September                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    |1989                                                                                                   

<1> Levy suspended on 2 October 1989.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Salmon

Mr. Onslow : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the member states of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation which


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still allow monofilament drift net fishing in their waters, and those which do not, indicating in each of the latter cases, the date on which such nets were banned and the reasons given for the ban.


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Mr. Gummer [holding answer 27 October 1989] : We understand that of the nine contracting parties to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation, drift netting for salmon takes place in the USSR, Finland, the European Community and Greenland (which is represented in the organisation by Denmark as a separate contracting party for this purpose). The remaining contracting parties (Canada, USA, Iceland, Sweden and Norway) have either not used drift nets or have ceased to do so. Drift nets can be made of monofilament, multi-monofilament, or multi-filament material ; we do not have definite information as to which of these types of net are used in each of the contracting parties specified although I understand that monofilament netting is in use in Greenland as well as in parts of the European Community. NASCO has made no recommendations on drift netting for salmon. We have no comprehensive records of the dates when action was taken by some contracting parties or of the reasons advanced at the time. Both are clearly matters for the contracting parties themselves.

Food Irradiation

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, further to his answer to the hon. Member for South Shields of 27 June, Official Report, column 443, how he intends to consult the public on his proposals to lift the ban on food irradiation ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gummer : I intend that there will be ample opportunity for all those matters affected by proposed regulations on food. Under the proposals shoppers would of course be able to make up their minds on irradiation as it is intended that food which has been irradiated will be clearly labelled.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Personal Pensions

Mrs Beckett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people have taken out personal pension schemes ; what is the estimated cost to the national insurance fund for 1989-90 and 1990-91 ; and how much of this cost is accounted for by the 2 per cent. inducement under section 1 of the Social Security Act 1986.

Mrs Gillian Shephard : A total of 3.5 million people have so far applied for an appropriate personal pension. The most recent estimate of the revenue forgone by the national insurance fund in respect of minimum contribution to personal pension schemes is £2,580 million in 1989-90 and £2,020 million in 1990-91. Of these amounts £720 million and £520 million respectively relate to the cost of the incentive. Source : Government Actuary's Department.

Industrial Injury and Disease

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publicise fully in the media and by leaflets section 22 of the Social Security Act 1989 to avoid unnecessary hardship to claimants awaiting compensation for industrial injury or disease.

Mr. Scott : A fully comprehensive guide to recovery from compensation awards of amounts equivalent to


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benefit will be available early next year. It is intended for both those paying compensation and solicitors and others advising victims. Officials are in close touch with the insurance industry, The Law Society, The Law Society of Scotland and the TUC amongst others on both the content and distribution of the guide to ensure maximum coverage. A separate leaflet will be available in local offices to explain the scheme to claimants.

National Insurance

Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what information his Department has with regard to problems arising on benefit claims due to failure to pay or late payment of national insurance contributions by employers ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : No records are kept of the number of persons whose employers have either failed to pay contributions or have paid them late. However, we have an established procedure which is used where benefit is claimed and the non-payment or late payment of contributions is caused through no fault of an employee. In such cases the employee's correct contribution position is urgently established and his record is credited with the relevant contributions, which in turn allows benefit to be paid. These contributions are treated as paid on time, and this ensures that individual benefit rights are not affected.

Crisis Loans

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of crisis loans are estimated to be paid out by his Department's officials to bridge the periods when claimants are left without money after transferring from sickness benefit to unemployment benefit ; and if he will make a statement about the effect of benefits paid in arrears on crisis funds.

Mr. Scott : I regret that information relating to the situation described is not available. However £5 million, representing 3.5 per cent. of the loans budget was paid in 1988-89 in circumstances where payment of benefit in arrears was a factor.

Benefit Claimants

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he will review the arrangements which leave claimants transferring from unemployment benefit to sickness benefit without any money for two weeks.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Unemployment benefit is paid fortnightly in arrears, and sickness benefit is paid weekly in arrears. There should therefore be no gap in payment when transferring from unemployment to sickness benefit.

Travel Warrants

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he will review the regulations preventing his Department's officials from meeting the cost of travel warrants of claimants travelling for job interviews outside the area where they reside.

Mr. Scott : No. Where employers do not provide for such costs, the travel-to-interview scheme administered by the employment service is available. This is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment.


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War Widows

Mr. Viggers : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list for each of the years 1973, 1976, 1979, 1982, 1985 and 1988 the number of women designated as war widows.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The numbers are as follows :


       |Number       

---------------------

1976   |86,854       

1979   |78,621       

1982   |71,592       

1985   |64,859       

1988   |57,751       

Mr. Viggers : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the numbers by the last serving rank, for Army equivalent, of men who died or left the services before 31 March 1973 and whose widows are at present in receipt of the state war widow's pension.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Information in the form requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. There are, however, 56,176 widows currently receiving war widow's pension (at quarter ending 30 September 1989) of whom it is estimated about 1,200 are the widows of men who served in the Armed Forces on or after 31 March 1973.

Cash Limits

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether there have been any changes to the cash limits or running costs limits of his Department for 1989-90.

Mr. Scott : Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimates, the cash limit for class XV vote 6 (housing benefit administration) will be increased by £3,000,000 from £128,904,000 to £131,904,000. The revision provides for payments to local authorities towards the costs incurred in preparing to implement changes to the housing benefit scheme and the community charge rebate scheme which provides for new premiums for poorer pensioners, more generous rules for certain 16 and 17-year-old claimants and the inclusion of hostel dwellers in the housing benefit scheme. The cash limit for class XV vote 7 (administration and miscellaneous services) will be increased by £13,770,000 from £1,581, 348,000 to £1,595,118,000. The revision takes account of the abolition of the earnings rule and national insurance contribution changes announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget statement, namely £16,787,000, the ministerial decision to provide extra help to poorer pensioners, £7,800,000, an increase in the grant to the independent living fund who make payments to very severely disabled persons, £6,000,000, and a reassessment of requirements resulting from the division of the Departments of Social Security and of Health, £59,000. These additional requirements are partially offset by an increase in receipts of £16,876,000 to the vote. The balance of the increase apart from the £59,000 transferred from class XIV vote 3, will be charged to the Reserve and will not, therefore, add to the planned total of public expenditure. As a result the running cost limit of the Department of Social Security is increased by £24,646,000 from £1,711,885,000 to £1,736,531,000.


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Child Benefit

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is (a) the number of eligible claimants for child benefit in Wales and (b) the total child benefit paid in Wales for each of the last five years in (i) cash prices and (ii) constant prices.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The latest available figure is for December 1988, when about 348,000 claimants in Wales were receiving child benefit in respect of some 623,000 children. The estimated proportion of child benefit expenditure for Wales in each year from 1984-85 was :


£ million                                                   

               |Cash prices   |1988-89 prices               

------------------------------------------------------------

1984-85        |220.5         |271.1                        

1985-86        |230.6         |268.8                        

1986-87        |234.3         |264.6                        

1987-88        |238.3         |255.7                        

1988-89        |234.0         |234.0                        

Computer Programme (Norcoss)

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security from how many companies his Department intends inviting bids for the running of its ACC programme at Norcoss, Blackpool.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The arrangements for the running of the Department's area computer centre at Norcross will be announced in due course.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Stillborn Children

Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will arrange for the regulations existing in England regarding the registration of stillborn children to be applied to Northern Ireland.

Mr. Needham : Since May last, the same arrangements as those existing in England in relation to still-birth registration have applied in Northern Ireland.

Hospital Cleaning

Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will call for a report from the chairman of each area health and social services board as to (a) the number of staff in each board area who will be redundant after competitive tendering for hospital cleaning services has been completed, (b) the estimated number of man hours required in each area board to ensure high standards of cleaning following competitive tendering contracts for hospital cleaning, and (c) the estimated percentage of hospital cleaning which will be carried out by the private sector following acceptance of current tenders by each board stating the figures for each board ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Needham : No. The health and social services board will not be in a position to provide information on the implications for staff or the mix of public and private sector contracts for hospital cleaning services until after the competitive tendering exercise has been completed. No prior estimate is made of man hours required.


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National Health Service (Competitive Tendering)

Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the progress of his plans to encourage competitive tendering in the National Health Service in Northern Ireland stating for each health and social services board in Northern Ireland the services which have been contracted out, together with the amounts of the tenders submitted and the savings to be achieved in each case ; and if he will list the services which were tendered for by in-house teams and the outcome of such bids, together with reasons given by boards for accepting or rejecting such bids.

Mr. Needham : To date 12 per cent., by value, of domestic, catering and laundry services have been market tested and 10 contracts have been awarded (three contracted out and seven retained in-house). A further 22 per cent., by value, of these services are out to tender. The services contracted out are as follows :


Board and service                |Amount of tender     |Net estimated savings                      

contracted out                                                                                     

                                 |£                    |£                                          

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eastern Board                                                                                      

  Domestic services-Lisburn unit                                                                   

    of management                                                                                  

      Lagan Valley hospital      |343,000                                                          

                                                       |140,000                                    

      Community facilities       |41,000                                                           

                                                                                                   

Western Board                                                                                      

  Catering services-Londonderry,                                                                   

    Limavady and Strabane unit                                                                     

    of management                |1,881,000            |1,160,000                                  

In-house teams have tendered for 11 contracts and have been successful in seven as follows :

Catering

Omagh and Fermanagh units of management

Domestic services

Antrim hospitals

Antrim--other facilities

Ballymena hospitals

Ballymena--other facilities

Magherafelt and Cookstown hospitals

Magherafelt and Cookstown--other facilities

The identity of tenderers for particular elements of their services is essentially a matter for the boards themselves. The reasons given by boards for accepting or rejecting such bids reflect the criteria set out by the Department, which emphasised the importance of maintaining a high-quality service.

Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what information he has about penalty point systems for private contractors undertaking work in the National Health Service ; and if he will call for a report from the area boards as to their policies in this respect.

Mr. Needham : No penalty point systems are in operation in any of the contracts awarded by the health and social services boards in Northern Ireland. However, contracts do contain default clauses that enable boards to take preventive measures if the contractor fails to meet the contracted standard. Boards will be establishing formal systems to monitor contract compliance and ensure a high-quality service is provided.

Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will call for a report from the


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chairman of the Eastern health and social services board as to his board's policies for consultation with the work force about competitive tendering issues.

Mr. Needham : No. We are confident that the board has consulted with representatives of the work force, in keeping with normal practice.

Contraception

Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will give the breakdown of the number of individuals receiving contraceptive advice and treatment (a) by contraceptive method and (b) through health and social services boards or general practitioners in Northern Ireland in 1987 and 1988.

Mr. Needham [holding answer 23 October 1989] : The information cannot be provided in precisely the form requested. The figures available are given in the table :


                                     |1987   |1988           

-------------------------------------------------------------

Health and social services boards<1> |73,378 |74,093         

General practitioners<2>                                     

  Oral contraceptives                |47,820 |51,673         

  Intrauterine devices               |1,919  |1,928          

                                     |-------|-------        

Total                                |49,739 |53,601         

                                     |-------|-------        

Total                                |123,117|127,694        

<1>Numbers of individuals attending for advice and           

treatment.                                                   

<2>Numbers of individuals for whom contraceptives            

prescribed.                                                  

Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the total cost of (a) general practitioner provision for family planning services and (b) family planning clinic services through health and social service boards in Northern Ireland for (i) 1985, (ii) 1986, (iii) 1987 and (iv) 1988, respectively.

Mr. Needham (holding reply 23 October 1989) : The information requested is : a. The total cost of general practitioner provision for family planning services is as follows :


              |Year ended           

------------------------------------

31 March 1985 |398,190              

31 March 1986 |454,674              

31 March 1987 |511,238              

31 March 1988 |587,189              

31 March 1989 |680,216              


              |Year ended           

------------------------------------

31 March 1985 |480,720              

31 March 1986 |566,102              

31 March 1987 |603,078              

31 March 1988 |721,664              

31 March 1989 |770,843              


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Secular Education

Mr. Graham Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made since July on the development of secular education in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Needham : None. The law requires that religious instruction is given in all grant-aided schools other than nursery schools.

Education

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the current pupil to teacher ratio in Northern Ireland ; what it was five, 10 and 15 years ago ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Needham : The 1988 pupil-teacher ratio is 18.4 : 1 which is the lowest on record. The comparable figures for five, 10 and 15 years ago are 18.7, 19.5 and 22.4 respectively.

Correspondence

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of letters from hon. Members to his Department received a reply (a) in under four weeks, (b) within four to six weeks, (c) within six to eight weeks and (d) over eight weeks, in each of the last three years.

Mr. Cope : The information requested is not held in this form and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, every effort is made to reply to letters from hon. Members as soon as possible.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Mr. Lorrain Osman

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he has received any representations from the Government of Malaysia since May concerning the case of Mr. Lorrain Osman ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) what communications he has had with bodies and individuals in Hong Kong in relation to the case of Lorrain Osman, in the past 12 months ; what was the substance of those communications ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) what communications he has received from the Governor of Hong Kong in relation to representations on behalf of the Malaysian Government concerning the case of Lorrain Osman ; and if he will make a statement ;

(4) what communications his Department has had with the Government of Malaysia concerning Mr. Lorrain Osman, a remand prisoner in Pentonville prison ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maude : Since this matter is currently sub judice, it would not be appropriate for us to comment.

Death Sentence (Hong Kong)

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will ensure that prisoners in Hong Kong gaols in 1997 will not be made subject to the death sentence for offences committed before the transfer ; and if he will make a statement.


Column 58

Mr. Maude : Persons imprisoned in Hong Kong will, in accordance with the provisions of the joint declaration relating to the continuity of laws, remain subject to Hong Kong law. The joint declaration also provides that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as applied to Hong Kong shall remain in force after 1997. In this connection it is noteworthy that article 15 of the covenant prohibits the imposition of a heavier penalty than that applicable when the offence was committed.

Hong Kong

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements he now proposes to enter into with the People's Republic of China in relation to his legal and treaty obligations to prisoners extradited to Hong Kong and in prison there in June 1997 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maude : The joint declaration makes provision for us and the Government of the People's Republic of China to ensure the continued application of international rights and obligations affecting Hong Kong. The Chinese authorities have agreed that before 1997 we should authorise Hong Kong to conclude its own extradition agreements, designed to continue in force after 30 June 1997. These agreements will contain traditional safeguards for fugitive criminals. In addition, Hong Kong's domestic law will continue to provide traditional safeguards for fugitive criminals.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what specific arrangements and safeguards have been agreed with the Peole's Republic of China in relation to prisoners in Hong Kong gaols at the time of the transfer of sovereignty in 1997 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maude : Persons in prisons will be the responsibility of the Hong Kong authorities then as they are now. The prisoners will continue to be treated in accordance with Hong Kong's own criminal laws and legal system. No specific arrangements have been agreed.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, in the light of the provision in the law of the People's Republic of China that allows any person to call for the retrial of convicted persons, he has taken or proposes to take steps to protect prisoners in Hong Kong in 1997 from the use of this law against them ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maude : Under the provisions of the joint declaration and the draft Basic Law, Hong Kong will retain its own separate criminal laws and legal system after 1997. Annex III of the Basic Law specifies six Chinese national laws which will be extended to Hong Kong after 1997. The law mentioned in the question is not one of them.

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to ensure that prisoners extradited from the United Kingdom to Hong Kong and in gaol at the time of the transfer to sovereignty, will be able to leave the colony at the end of their sentence ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maude : The freedom of all persons to leave the future special administrative region, if they have valid


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travel documents, is established by the joint declaration. The draft basic law reflects the joint declaration in this respect.

Hong Kong (Juries)

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has taken any steps to examine the possible dangers of prejudice by juries in Hong Kong against non-local nationals facing trial in the Crown colony ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maude : We are not aware of any complaints of this nature. In practice a considerable number of jurors are themselves non-local nationals.


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