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Mr. Grist : Representations have been received from hon. Members and from a number of organisations and individuals in connection with proposals for new waste disposal sites and the operations of an existing one in Clwyd.
Mr. Jones : I should not be surprised if the representations include some from residents of Pentre, which is near the Penybont works. Those works will be used for toxic waste. Also, 80 per cent. of the perimeter of the works is surrounded by the River Dee. Will the Secretary of State ask the Government whether an environmental protection agency should be established to protect the residents of Clwyd and of Britain from such a dangerous development?
Mr. Grist : The hon. Gentleman is going a little far. I know of the concern that is expressed by him and by many residents in the area about the various proposals. However, this matter is still in the hon. Gentleman's county council's hands. That is the right place for it to rest for the time being.
Mr. Peter Walker : In June this year 197,000 females were estimated to be employed in Wales on a part-time basis, an increase of 8,000 on the June 1988 figure. Comparable figures for male part-time employment are not available. Over the past 12 months, 24,894 males and 10,168 females have started employment training in Wales.
Mr. Powell : Is the Secretary of State aware that since the abolition of the community programme training schemes, the ET schemes have failed to keep pace with the number of people employed on the CP schemes? What can the Secretary of State offer the people of Wales in terms of real training and real jobs? He said that male part-time employment figures are not available, but will he tell me, the House and Wales where he stands on the issue of the part-time Sir Alan Walters who was sacked by the Prime Minister and on the question of the dispute between the Prime Minister and the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer because that is what--
Mr. Walker : As, I believe, the one Cabinet Minister who has no advisers, I have none of those problems. One of the most important aspects in developing training is the development of training and enterprise councils. I am pleased by the degree to which Glamorgan is giving the lead in that respect and I hope that the TECs will soon be in place doing important work.
Mr. Wigley : As one of the 38 full-time advisers to the Secretary of State in Wales, may I ask him whether he accepts that part-time and seasonal jobs often camouflage problems in areas that are heavily dependent on tourism? Will he therefore look sympathetically at grant applications for projects that are meant to extend part-time and seasonal jobs into full -time job opportunities?
Mrs. Fyfe : May I say first how pleased I am to join my sister and brother Celts this afternoon? Secondly, has the Minister any advice--part time or otherwise--on the appalling imbalance between the opportunities for men and women on employment training in Wales, and what is he doing about it?
Mr. Grist : The Department is conducting an internal review of the handling of the outbreak to establish any lessons that can be learned for the future. The review will be completed as quickly as possible.
Mr. Raffan : Will my hon. Friend ensure that the review is completed in time for the Government to write their recommendation into next Session's proposed food Bill? Does my hon. Friend agree that in the event of future outbreaks it will be essential that we ensure much more effective co-operation between the local health authorities and local district councils involved, which means putting somebody in charge, preferably the local health authority?
Mr. Grist : The findings of the review will be considered in connection with the Bill. My hon. Friend has put his finger on the very points that the review will consider--co-ordination and co-operation between various authorities during an outbreak.
Mr. Livsey : Is the Minister aware that there is a two-to-three-day delay in the notification of food poisoning incidents between the Welsh Office and the district councils, whereas in England the Department of the Environment gives district councils the information immediately? What is he going to do to put that matter right?
Mr. Walker : I am pleased to be able to tell my hon. Friend that a number of major industrial investments in Wales were announced during the recess, including projects by Newbridge Networks, Gooding-Sanken and Dow Corning-Cabot. During the same period, more than 40 companies accepted regional selective assistance offers involving total investment of £42 million and the creation of nearly 1,700 new jobs. Between July and September, seasonally adjusted unemployment in Wales fell by some 6,000-- from 96,200 to 90,200.
Sir Anthony Meyer : Is my right hon. Friend aware that these extremely satisfactory figures are a tribute to the manner in which he has combined the use of market forces, judicious intervention and some pretty ruthless arm-twisting?
Mr. Walker : A range of factors are involved in that, but it is pleasing to know that, during the past year, unemployment in Wales has fallen faster than in any other region on the United Kingdom, and unemployment in the valleys has fallen faster than the rate for Wales as a whole.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : Does the Secretary of State agree with the right hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) who said in the House last Tuesday that we were once again in a downswing and that : "a dull 1989 is bound to be followed by a difficult 1990"?--[ Official Report, 31 October 1989 ; Vol. 159, c. 209.]
How long will it be before unemployment in Wales starts to rise again?
34. Mr. Morgan : To ask the Attorney-General what decision the Director of Public Prosecutions has come to in respect of the Jones report on the circumstances surrounding the death of Rudolf Hess in Spandau prison in 1987.
The Solicitor-General (Sir Nicholas Lyell) : The inquiries carried out by Detective Chief Superintendent Jones have produced no cogent evidence to suggest that Rudolf Hess was murdered ; nor, on the view of the Director of Public Prosecutions, is there any basis for further investigation.
Mr. Morgan : Does the Solicitor-General agree that that is a deeply disappointing answer, if it is the truth? While the Government and the Prime Minister may not have improved their batting average in the veracity stakes over the past weekend, does he agree that, as the Jones report recommended that there were grounds for a full criminal investigation, it is deeply disappointing to find the hon. and learned Gentlemen coming to the House to say that he has done a Stalker on the issue.
The Solicitor-General : The hon. Gentleman fails to realise that the prosecution process is wholly independent of the Government. It is assessed independently by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the results represent his independent conclusions.
representations he has received asking for a re-examination of the evidence relating to Kincora boys' home with a view to prosecuting some of those involved.
Mr. Dalyell : What event or series of events prompted or induced so careful a Permanent Secretary as Sir Michael Quinlan to write formally to Sir Robin Butler to ask for a public inquiry into Kincora?
The Solicitor-General : There have been two inquiries into Kincora. Neither has given rise to justification for any further criminal proceedings, over and above those that took place and led to the conviction of four people in 1981.
Mr. Winnick : Is the Director of Public Prosecutions considering the serious allegations about insider dealing by companies? Arising from that, is it part of the role of the Attorney-General to advise the Prime Minister on the need for rules to be tightened on shares held by Ministers?
The Attorney-General : The answer to the latter part of the hon. Gentleman's question is no. The policy of criminal law is the ministerial responsibility of the Home Secretary. I would gladly give the answer to the first part of the question, if I could remember it.
Mr. Fraser : I wonder whether the Director of Public Prosecutions, when he met the Attorney-General, discussed the Guildford Four bombing case. Does the Attorney-General agree that, without disrespect to the courts, the acquittal of the Guildford Four was a ritual by the Court of Appeal, in the sense that they were convicted by one police force and acquitted by another? Can the
Attorney-General confirm that the DPP, when giving evidence to Mr. Justice May's inquiry, will take a constructive view of his role, not just to secure good convictions but to avoid miscarriages of justice?
Outstanding cases of miscarriage of justice have often been righted not by the ultimate investigations of the courts but by outside investigations which might be put in hand by the DPP.
The Attorney-General : The hon. Gentleman asks whether the acquittal of the Guildford Four by the Court of Appeal was a ritual acquittal. No acquittal is a ritual acquittal and no conviction is a ritual conviction. The acquittal of the Guildford Four followed upon the Court of Appeal's attention being drawn to new information, which in the opinion of the Director of Public Prosecutions, with which I entirely agreed, rendered the original convictions unsafe. As to the attitude of the Director of Public Prosecutions to Sir John May's inquiry, I assure the House that the Director wishes to co-operate in the fullest possible way with Sir John May as he pursues the terms of reference that have been given for his inquiry, which could hardly be more widely drawn.
Mr. Gow : What further steps will be taken by my right hon. and learned Friend or by the Director of Public Prosecutions to bring Mr. Patrick Ryan to trial, either in the United Kingdom or in the Republic of Ireland?
The Attorney-General : If Mr. Patrick Ryan is located in any country outside this jurisdiction with which we have the means of securing his arrest so that he may be brought to face trial here those steps will be taken. I assure the House that the Director of Public Prosecutions and the prosecuting authorities of this country will take all steps open to them to secure that Mr. Ryan faces trial.
37. Mr. Baldry : To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on the number of appeals against conviction made to the Court of Appeal in the last five years, the number that have been allowed and the number that have been refused.
The Attorney-General : From 1 January 1985 to 30 September 1989 the total number of applications for leave to appeal against conviction received by the Court of Appeal was 7,964. A total of 2,179 appeals against conviction were considered by the court and of those 878--40.3 per cent.-- were allowed in full or in part and 1,301 were dismissed.
Mr. Baldry : Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the criminal courts and the Court of Appeal can act only on the basis of the admissible evidence before them? Over the centuries the courts have worked painstakingly on admissibility and on the law of evidence to ensure that the best interests of the defendant are served. In those circumstances does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that those who are urging some sort of new tier in addition to the Court of Appeal, whether it is a people's court or something similar, simply do not understand the nature of the criminal court system or the painstaking efforts that are now taken by trial judges and by the Court of Appeal to act in the best interests of fairness and justice?
The Attorney-General : I agree very much with my hon. Friend. I have greatly regretted some rather loose imputations that have been made against the courts in the light of recent events. I say that without commenting in one way or another upon the events with which the House has already been concerned this afternoon. The Court of Appeal deals with such matters in a most conscientious way and the work is extremely arduous. I can only suggest to those who are minded to make adverse imputations about the way in which the Court of Appeal does its work that they should go to watch that court at work.
Mr. Sedgemore : If it is true, as we have just heard, that, over the centuries, the judges have been arduous in the pursuit of justice, how does the Attorney-General explain the actions of Judge Jeffreys after the battle of Sedgemoor?
The Attorney-General : I do not know how many centuries we are going back, but I would be happy, with the hon. Gentleman, to compare the record of this country's judiciary, century for century and in the light of contemporary standards, with that of any judiciary of any other country in the world. One interesting thing that I find extremely reassuring is the way in which people who live in other civilised countries speak of our judiciary and police force and about how they feel very much safer in this country than anywhere else.
Mr. Lawrence : Further to my right hon. and learned Friend's reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry), is he aware that in only six cases in the past 20 years has the Court of Appeal quashed a conviction because it was not satisfied with the jury's verdict? Would it not be better for public confidence in the ability of the Court of Appeal to correct miscarriages of justice if the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 were amended so that the court had to satisfy itself on the evidence that the jury's verdict
Column 673was correct, as was recommended by a recent Justice committee report chaired by a former Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir George Waller?
The Minister for Overseas Development (Mrs. Lynda Chalker) : A grant of just over £31 million was approved in September for a primary education project in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It provides for the design and construction of some 1,100 teachers' centres and 4,000 classrooms mostly in remote rural areas throughout the state. It also covers teacher training, in child-centred learning techniques, teaching materials and research and evaluation.
Mr. Cran : Does my right hon. Friend agree that educational support is a particularly important form of aid, especially because of the long- term benefits that it confers? Therefore, will she tell the House whether, in India, the United Kingdom benefits other than primary education?
Mrs. Chalker : My hon. Friend is absolutely right. That is why we provide more than £3 million towards the development of the Indira Gandhi national open university and other distance learning projects. In addition, there are a large number of English language tuition programmes and numerous collaborative links between British and Indian academic institutions. There is also a United Kingdom training programme which costs about £11 million a year.
Mr. Vaz : The Minister is probably not aware that Leicestershire county council's director of education has recently returned from a three- week visit to India, where he established important links with Indian schools. Does she join me in supporting such ventures? If she does, what plans has she to enable more resources to be made available for local authorities to establish such important cultural links?
Mrs. Chalker : Of course I welcome cultural links between local authorities and other countries that can benefit from such links. I should like to learn more about the links between Leicestershire county council and the Indians. If they are worthwhile projects, which fall in with the Indian Government's overall considerations, there is no reason why, in due time, other projects should not follow.
Mrs. Chalker : Britain has long been helping African Governments with their wildlife conservation efforts, and we are always ready to consider new requests for help. I have placed a list of recent and continuing activities in the Library of the House.
Mrs. Chalker : We have been providing help to the Kenya wildlife department for many years, and expect to continue to do so. Following a request from the Tanzanian Government, we are about to appoint consultants to look at possible ways of helping that country with its conservation efforts. We shall look at all the ways in which we can reasonably help with conservation.
Mr. Tony Banks : The Government are not doing enough. Will the Minister commend President Arap Moi for destroying millions of dollars worth of ivory which was confiscated from poachers? Will she give an undertaking that Governments such as the Kenyan Government and others that wish, and are willing, to destroy poached ivory stocks will be fully compensated by the British Government? That is what the people of this country want.
Mrs. Chalker : The hon. Gentleman takes the issue further than many in the House and country would do. Of course, President Moi gave the world an important signal about poached ivory stocks. It is also important that we should help African countries to conserve and preserve their elephant stocks. However, we must eliminate ivory poaching. That is why we have long been engaged in helping countries that have an active programme against poaching, and we shall continue to do so.
Mrs. Chalker : According to World Food Programme statistics, total food aid from all sources to Ethiopia since 1985 is some 4 million tonnes of cereals and more than 300,000 tonnes of other foods, including dairy products. Figures for the total cost of this aid are not available to us.
Mr. Baldry : Can my right hon. Friend tell the House the value of United Kingdom food aid during that time? Is she aware that all the reports from Ethiopia from such organisations as the Disasters Emergency Committee suggest that the drought in Ethiopia this year is as bad as, if not worse than, it was in 1985? Is not that position made worse because the areas being hit hardest are those where civil war is raging? Is it not true that there will be no solution to the problems of Ethiopia until the civil war comes to an end? Should not the international community, including Britain, make every effort to bring together the parties in Ethiopia in an attempt to end a terrible civil war which is costing many hundreds of thousands of lives year on year?
Column 675have been doing our best to help, and since 1985--the period under consideration--not only have we directly given more than 150,000 tonnes of food, valued at almost £23 million, but we have helped to the tune of £9 million through European Community help. In the past year alone, and additional to those figures, we have given a total of £3.3 million in bilateral aid to Ethiopia, and an additional £2 million of food aid through the non-governmental organisations of the European Community.
My hon. Friend is right to say that unless the civil war is brought to an end it will be difficult to get food to those who need it most--the people living in the rebel-held areas. We are very conscious of that and are discussing with our European partners ways in which we can get the food to those most in need.
Mrs. Clwyd : Does the Minister agree that, apart from wars and politics, the underlying problem of the famine in Ethiopia is environmental deterioration? In those circumstances, does she not think that there is some inconsistency in the Government's policy, especially as at the Hague today the Government intend to block an international fund to help Third world countries improve their environment? It is not even more glaring hypocrisy that the Prime Minister, later this week, will strut the world stage at the United Nations as the champion of the environment?
The hon. Lady is misreading what is happening at the Hague today. Wherever there is environmental degradation, this country will never take a position that will make
Column 676it worse. However, we will carefully consider the means by which we can stop that environmental degradation. If we believe that the means that are about to be deployed are unneccessarily bureaucratic and really do not do the job that we intend them to do, we will argue for a far better way of doing it.
48. Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government give aid to help the housing of the black population in South Africa ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Chalker : Yes. We intend to contribute up to £500,000 towards the Urban Foundation of South Africa's loan guarantee fund. The fund will trigger the release of about £230 million in loans from South African building societies for low-cost housing. Over the next five years that will result in the construction of 40,000 homes for a quarter of a million black South Africans.
Mrs. Chalker : I welcome my hon. Friend's comments. We must make a start with the Urban Foundation programme, to provide families having household incomes of between £200 and £400 a month with housing that is not currently available to them. If that programme is successful, as we trust that it will be, it is to be hoped that the foundation will undertake a further programme for families having household incomes of below £200 a month.
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