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Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will express the additional sum of £600 million for teachers' pay 1990-91, stated in his remit to the interim advisory committee, in terms of percentage increases in the inter-quartile range of private sector pay settlements for the latest available 12-month period ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Rumbold : The interim advisory committee's remit represents an increase of some 7.6 per cent. on the 1990-91 teachers' pay bill. the inter -quartile range of private sector non-manual basic pay movements for the 12 months ending in June 1989 was 6.3 per cent. to 8.5 per cent, with a median of 7.3 per cent.
Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will publish a table showing, for local education authorities in England in each of the last three years for which records exist (a) how many children and what proportion of children of school age have been statemented as having special educational needs and (b) what extra resources in terms of teacher-hours per statemented pupil per year have been made available by each local education authority in England, respectively.
Mr. John Patten : No. Custody time limits are now in force in England and Wales, except in London and the south-east, where we plan to introduce them in 1990. The limits in England and Wales are 56 days to summary trial or 70 days to committal in magistrates' courts ; and 112 days from committal to arraignment in the Crown court. In Scotland, the limits are 40 days to trial for summary offences and 110 days from commitment to trial for indictment cases. The different limits in England and Wales reflect the diferences in pre-trial procedures and the amount of business.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he intends to take to bring the United Kingdom in line with the prompt trial requirement of the European convention on human rights ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration he has given to setting up a national criminal intelligence unit along the lines of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States and as to what purposes it would have which are not adequately covered by existing policing ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The developing challenge of serious criminal activity across local, regional and national borders requires effective enforcement counter-measures, based on the best intelligence. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr. Hurd) said in his speech to the Police Superintendents Association annual conference on 26 September, we need to make sure that these new needs are met. We have therefore initiated consultations with the Association of Chief Police Officers who have accordingly set up a working party on our criminal intelligence arrangements to assess the case for a national criminal intelligence unit, as part of the strengthening of police co-operation at home and internationally to deal with serious cross-border crime.
Any such unit will be necessarily different from that of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States of America, and will need to take account both of existing national intelligence arrangements for specific kinds of crime, notably drugs, and our system of locally based police forces and regional crime squads.
Mr. Ward : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the scale of the abuse of immigration laws by people obtaining false birth certificates ; and what action he proposes to take.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Detailed information is not available, but there is some evidence of abuse in individual cases, which are under consideration. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health published a Green Paper entitled "Registration : a modern service" (Cm. 531) in December 1988. The Green Paper contained proposals to limit the issue of certificates from the more recent records of the registration of births, marriages and deaths to those who have a legitimate interest in them. My right hon. Friend is considering possible restrictions on the issue of certificates in the light of responses received.
Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will undertake a review of the law with a view to extending the criminal law to cover trespass on land in cases involving the activities of hunt saboteurs ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John Patten : We have no plans to undertake such a review. Trespass on land is in general a matter for the civil law. There are powers to deal with those who commit criminal acts such as criminal damage, assault or causing harassment, alarm or distress while trespassing.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to write to Patrick Armstrong, Gerard Conlon, Carole Richardson and Paul Hill expressing apologies on behalf of Her Majesty's Government for the injustice they suffered ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to analyse the arrests made at Football League matches in London (a) outside the ground, (b) inside the ground and (c) by the nature of the alleged offence in each case.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : During the 1988-89 season at Football League matches in London there were 649 arrests inside grounds and 724 outside directly related to the matches. Figures showing the nature of the alleged offences or the outcome of these arrests are not collated centrally by the Metropolitan police or the Association of Chief Police Officers, and we have no plans to ask that this work should be undertaken.
Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is yet able to announce the level of the television licence fees to take effect from 1 April 1990 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waddington : On 27 October 1987, at column 204, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr. Hurd) announced that the licence fees for the three years starting from 1 April 1988 would be calculated in accordance with changes in the retail prices index, which determines the rate of increase of pensions and other state benefits. The RPI figure for September published on 13 October showed a year-on-year increase of 7.6 per cent. I have accordingly decided that from 1 April 1990 the colour licence fee should be £71 and the monochrome fee £24. The necessary regulations will be laid before the House in due course.
As was made clear in last year's White Paper on "Broadcasting in the 90s" (Cm 517), fee increases from 1 April 1991 onwards may be set at less than RPI in a way which takes account of the BBC's capacity to generate income from subscription.
Mr. Bowis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has yet received the report of the working group on the management of vulnerable prisoners ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 116Library. The study focused particularly on the arrangements concerning prisoners segregated for their own protection. The main improvements recommended, all of which I have accepted, with a procedural modification in respect of one, are :
(a) Rule 43 of the prison rules to be amended (i) to allow authoritative directions on its interpretation to be given by the Secretary of State ; (ii) to allow governors to authorise segregation for up to three days ; and (iii) to remove an anomaly affecting young persons under 21 held in prisons and remand centres Young offender institution rule 46 also to be amended as at (i) and (ii). The aim of (i) is to be achieved by administrative guidance rather than by amendment of the rules ;
(b) a board of visitors, on a proposal of the governor, to be able to decide, in the light of facilities available, to dispense with rule 43 controls for a particular group of vulnerable prisoners ; (c) present guidance on the personal legal liability of individual officers to be revised in supportive terms ;
(d) certain training prisons to be re-organised to take rule 43--own protection--prisoners, so that they can be allocated from local prisons in the normal way ;
(e) creation of a further vulnerable prisoner unit for about 100 category B prisoners ;
(f) improvements in regimes and implementation of proposed guidelines on best practice to be carried forward through governors' annual contracts for 1990-91 (earlier wherever possible), under the functional responsibility of a senior member of the management. While certain recommendations requiring resources may take some time to implement fully, most of the 35 recommendations are resource-neutral and work on bringing them into effect has been put in hand.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has regarding the number of occasions in the past 12 months when the Metropolitan police have invited representatives of the media to accompany police officers on major operations ; at what command level decisions are taken to invite a media presence ; and what criteria are used in such cases.
Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 18 October 1989] : I understand from the Commissioner that the position is as follows. Media representatives accompany police officers on a wide variety of operations about which it is not possible to generalise. Arrangements are made centrally or locally by invitation from the police or on request from the media. Figures are not collated centrally, but the number of such arrangements exceeds 750 a year.
Decisions to invite media representatives to witness raids are made by officers of chief superintendent rank or above, in consultation with the Metropolitan police directorate of public affairs. Invitations to the media are an important part of the Commissioner's policy of encouraging greater public understanding of police operations ; are part of his policy of openness ; and are an example of the accountability of the police to the public, on whose behalf they operate. The resulting news coverage may act as a deterrent to criminals, and provides independent reporting of events which might, otherwise, attract false and malicious allegations.
Mr. Fraser : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has made of the housing capital expenditure which Lambeth council is permitted to undertake from capital receipts in addition to the approved housing investment programme of £30.6 million.
Mr. Chope : No such estimate has been made. It would be possible to construct a theoretical estimate based on information reported by Lambeth council, but as authorities are free to vire receipts and borrowing between services in 1988-89, and to use receipts for non-prescribed capital expenditure, such a theoretical estimate would be of limited value.
Mr. Peter Robinson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if the Nature Conservancy Council takes non-scientific criteria into account when declaring, confirming or revoking sites of special scientific interest under the terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Nature Conservancy Council's "Guidelines for Selection of Biological SSSIs" gives details of the scientific guidelines currently in use. The NCC proposes also to publish guidelines in respect of geological and physiographical SSSIs in the context of its geological conservation review. In the exercise of its duty, under section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the council has a duty under section 37 of the Countryside Act 1968 to have regard to the needs of agriculture, forestry and the economic and social interests of rural areas.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will make a statement on initiatives he plans to promote in response to the conclusions of the Commonwealth expert group on climate change and sea level rise, in respect of Her Majesty's Government's policies on mitigation of the greenhouse effect ; (2) if he, or any other Minister or official of his Department, was present at, or presented a paper to, the seminar on the greenhouse effect at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on 29 September ; (3) what departmental representation there was, and what departmental papers were presented, at the global conference on the greenhouse effect, co-sponsored by the United Nations environment programme, held in Japan in September.
Column 118to the debate on climate change, and we recognise the particular concern of some Commonwealth countries about a potential rise in sea-levels. The Langkawi declaration on the environment which followed the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting supported the work of the intergovernmental panel on climate change and endorsed the United Kingdom's call for an international convention on climate change. We are fully committed to the work of the IPCC, in which the United Kingdom is playing a leading role, and we will continue to press the case for a framework convention on climate change.
There was no ministerial representation at the IME seminar on 29 September. An official from the Building Research Establishment presented a paper entitled "Energy Efficiency in Buildings and the Greenhouse Effect."
There was no departmental representation at the conference on the global environment and human response held in Tokyo on 11 to 13 September 1989.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how his Department differentiates between global warming caused by (a) natural and (b) man-made changes ; what information he has on the reasons for global temperature rises before chlorofluorocarbons ; and if his Department has made an appraisal of the thesis on global warming of Doctor Bruce Denness of the Bureau of Applied Sciences.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : There is a "natural" greenhouse effect caused by the earth's atmosphere without which the earth would not be habitable. Current concerns arise from the increase in the concentration of anthropogenic greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and the chlorofluorocarbons. The impact of those increases, and the effects which will flow from them, are the subject of intensive scientific review within the intergovernmental panel on climate change which is due to report next summer. I understand that report is unlikely to endorse the views of Dr. Denness.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent meetings he has had with representatives of the Trades Union Congress over its charter for the environment, adopted in September.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not met representatives of the Trades Union Congress to discuss its charter, but he has recently accepted an invitation from the general secretary to do so.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what response he has made to the report on pesticide use in the United Kingdom, sent to him on 7 August by the Green Alliance and the British Agrochemicals Association.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has replied to these organisations on behalf of all the Ministers responsible for the control of pesticides in a letter dated 26 September. A copy of the letter has been deposited today in the Library of the House.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the performance assessment of geological isolation systems for radioactive waste programmes sponsored by the Commission of the European Communities ; and what are the implications of the PAGIS programme for future nuclear waste disposal in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : PAGIS (Performance Assessment of Geological Isolation Systems), a six-year multinational research project on the safety assessment of high-level waste (HLW) disposal, was launched in 1982 as part of the Community plan of action in the field of radioactive waste management. Reports of the PAGIS project have been published by the European Commission. PAGIS reinforces the Government view that all categories of radioactive waste can in principle be safely disposed of in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he received a copy of the report from the European Commission on the evaluation of the third Community programme on radioactive waste management and storage, 1985-1989, published in July as document EUR 12264 EN ; and what are the implications for the United Kingdom of this programme for the United Kingdom's radioactive waste inventory.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what support he has given to the Milton Keynes Year of the Environment project launched on 19 September ; and when he plans to visit Milton Keynes to promote environmental initiatives in the city.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My hon. Friend the Member for Surrey, South- West (Mrs. Bottomley) sent a message of support to the organisers of the Milton Keynes Year of the Environment. I endorse that message, and will follow the year's progress with interest.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are to be taken to ensure that local authority environmental health departments have sufficient resources and information available to implement effectively the proposed changes to controls over air pollution from industrial sources.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : A joint committee to provide a forum for discussion between Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and local authority environmental health departments was set up at the end of 1988. The secretariat is provided by HMIP's local authority unit which has already begun to consider draft guidance notes on some 20 of the processes to be scheduled for local authority air pollution control. Information exchange on such matters as training is also being developed in the same forum.
Column 120As the new system represents a rationalisation and streamlining of local authorities' existing air pollution controls the Government estimated that it would add only £0.5 million to their current expenditure.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what agreements were made regarding the release of the ivory stockpile in Hong Kong with the European Environment Council during October ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentages of United Kingdom rivers are classed as being of good or fair quality by the European Community ; and what is the European Community average.
Mr. Howard : There is no river quality classification scheme laid down by the European Community. Each member state uses different systems, criteria and class boundaries for categorising rivers which makes assessments at Community level difficult. However, a review of classification schemes across member states published in 1988 by the Water Research Centre showed that on the basis of comparisons with the river classification scheme used in this country, an average of 83 per cent. of EC rivers were of good or fair quality compared with 95 per cent. in the United Kingdom. No other member state had a higher proportion of good or fair quality rivers than the United Kingdom, although our position was equalled by the Netherlands.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The salary level of £19,500 specified in the Bill is not a "ceiling on political activity". It is simply a dividing line in the machinery for determining which posts in local government service should be politically restricted. Above that level posts are restricted unless specifically exempted. Below that level they are free unless they are specifically restricted.
My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has indicated that the Government propose to use the regulation-making power in the Bill to replace the reference to £19,500 with a reference to point 44 on the
Column 121national joint council's recommended pay scale, as it is for the time being. The specified salary will thus change in accordance with national pay agreements.
Mrs. Peacock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to lay before Parliament the 1988-89 annual reports and accounts of the London and metropolitan residuary bodies ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The 1988-89 annual reports and statements of accounts of the London and metropolitan residuary bodies were laid before Parliament today. A copy of the Secretary of State's direction under section 78(2) of the Local Government Act 1985 as to the content and structure of the accounts has been placed in the Library of the House.
The residuary bodies' reports provide continuing evidence of the considerable progress which they have made in discharging the responsibilities they inherited from the Greater London council and the metropolitan county councils. Among other achievements in 1988-89, over £314 million in capital receipts were realised from sales of surplus property, the benefits of which are being distributed to the local authorities.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Greater Manchester residuary body was formally dissolved today. During the three and a half years since abolition the record of the residuary body has been impressive. It has sold or transferred to the successor dstrict authorities 10,650 former county council property interests and distributed £12.25 million of capital receipts to the local authorities.
There will be further amounts to come from sales which have not yet reached completion. This is in addition to the distribution of some £55 million in revenue balances.
The Greater Manchester residuary body is the third of the seven residuary bodies to wind up. The RB inherited a very considerable number of property interests, rights and liabilities from the former Greater Manchester county council, not least those in respect of the Greater Manchester exhibition centre (GMEX). That these have been disposed of with the full co-operation of all the successor authorities is a credit to all concerned.
The order under section 67 of the Local Government Act 1985 transferred the remainder of the residuary body's property functions, rights and liabilities to the city of Manchester and the metropolitan boroughs and districts of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan on 31 August 1989. The Greater Manchester residuary body inherited a particularly wide and complex range of tasks. I am grateful to the chairman, board and staff for discharging this task of winding up the affairs of the former Greater Manchester metropolitan county council with such efficiency and dispatch. Their final report is being laid before Parliament today.
Mr. Chope : Yes. There will be transitional protection for businesses facing large increases as a result of the combined effects of the 1990 revaluation and the introduction on 1 April 1990 of a uniform national business rate. There will be a ceiling of 20 per cent. on the amount by which any rate bill can rise in any one year in real terms for properties with a rateable value of £10,000 in the new rating list (£15,000 in London) or more. But for properties with a rateable value between £500 and £10,000 (£15,000 in London)--which will include 75 per cent. of all business premises--the annual ceiling will be 15 per cent. in real. terms.
Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each year since 1981 (a) the applications received by his Department from the Nature Conservancy Council for orders under section 29 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and (b) those applications which resulted in such an order being made.
|Made |Rejected ------------------------------------ 1981 |- |- 1982 |2 |- 1983 |3 |1 1984 |4 |1 1985 |5 |2 1986 |1 |- 1987 |2 |- 1988 |- |- 1989 |5 |-
In addition it has been unnecessary for the Secretary of State to make an order on around six occasions because agreement was reached with the owner/occupier of the land concerned or the threat to the land did not materialise.
The responsibility for making orders in Wales and Scotland rests with the respective Secretaries of State.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the total number of photochemical smog events which have occurred during the last year in England and Wales ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 30 October 1989] : Photochemical smog, consisting of ozone and other ingredients, is a result of the reaction between oxides of nitrogen and gaseous hydrocarbons in the presence of sunlight. In the United Kingdom a network of 17 sites monitors ozone levels. There is always some ozone in the lower atmosphere, and the definition of an "event" is inevitably arbitary. However, in August my Department announced that it would issue daily summaries of ozone
Column 123concentrations for periods when several network sites recorded an hourly average of 60 parts per billion or more. Since then there have been three such periods. The record for the period before August shows a further five periods during the last year.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if any comprehensive studies have been made to ensure the effectiveness of treatment methods for removing radionuclides typically released from accidents involving nuclear reactors into the water supply ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory [holding answer 30 October 1989] : A report that the Department commissioned last year concluded that most forms of water treatment would remove the major part of radioactivity from water supplies in the event of an accidental release of radioactivity. However, it is most unlikely that emergency reference levels would be reached in such circumstances even before water supplies are treated, except possibly in the immediate locality of a catastrophic release of radioactivity.
Mr. David Hunt : People with no fixed abode are exempt from the community charge, and the question of collection does not, therefore, arise. Travellers who are solely resident in caravans or boats will be liable to pay a personal charge in the area where they last become subject to a community charge on a particular day. It is for registration officers and charging authorities to make suitable arrangements for registration for, and collection of, the community charge in the light of local circumstances.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to prevent community charge registration officers disclosing anonymous personal information to credit companies, mail order companies or police forces.
Mr. Chope : No such legislation is necessary. Community charges registration oficers have no power to provide personal information to any of the bodies referred to by the hon. Gentleman. Recent changes to the Local Government Finance Act specifically preclude the provision of any information from which any individual can be identified.