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                 |Year                       

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

Botswana         |1988 and 1989              

Chile            |1986                       

Grenada          |1989                       

Malaysia         |1988 and 1989              

Singapore        |1988                       

Turks and Caicos |1988 and 1989              

Uganda           |1986 and 1987              

There are currently 12 United Kingdom loan service personnel deployed in Belize, a reduction from the figure of 14 which was published in the Eighth Report of the House of Commons Defence Committee (HC 624, Session 1987-88).

There are no loan service personnel currently deployed in Thailand.


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Specific details about personnel serving on loan or secondment are generally in confidence between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the country concerned.

Cambodian Troops

Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British troops have provided military training to the Khmer People's National Liberation Armed Forces or the National Sihanoukist Army.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : It is not the practice to comment on allegations of this nature.

Frigates

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many frigates need to be ordered between now and 1994 in order to maintain an average annual ordering rate of 2.6 surface escorts per year.

Mr. Neubert [holding answer 2 November 1989] : Thirteen would be needed.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Ladies Toilets

Ms. Walley : To ask the Lord President of the Council what steps he intends to take to ensure an adequate supply of hand towels are available in all the ladies toilets in the House of Commons.

Sir Geoffrey Howe : The Authorities of the House make every effort to ensure that an adequate supply of hand towels is maintained in those lavatories set aside for the use


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of lady Members. Any difficulties over the adequacy of supplies should in the first instance be referred to the Serjeant at Arms.

Hon. Members (Medical Screening)

Mr. Corbyn : To ask the hon. Member for Berwick upon Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what is the annual payment to West Lambeth health authority by the House of Commons for medical screening for hon. Members ; how many have used this facility ; and what is the cost per patient.

Mr. Beith [holding answer 3 November 1989] : During the years 1986-88, 353 Members received medical screening at a total cost of £35,130.18 (an average of £99.52 per Member). In addition, a separate charge is levied for any set of X-rays provided as part of the screening process. During 1988, 17 such X-rays were suppled at a total cost of £510. The unit cost for this service has recently been increased to £40. Payment for the screening exercise is made direct to the united medical and dental school of Guy's and St. Thomas's hospitals and payment for X-rays to St. Thomas's hospital, which provides that service.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Poll Results

Mr. Paice : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has received the results of the Horticultural Development Council poll and the poll of mushroom growers.

Mr. Gummer : Yes. The results of the polls are as follows :


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HDC Poll                                                                                                                                                                                                

Response to question: are you in favour of retaining the HDC for a further five years?                                                                                                                  

                         |In favour               |Against                 |Spoiled forms           |Forms not returned      |Total registered October|Percentage of the voting                         

                                                                                                                             |1989                    |who were in favour                               

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

Number of growers        |1,103                   |994                     |158                     |1,157                   |3,412                   |52.6                                             

Percentage               |(32.3)                  |(29.1)                  |(4.6)                   |(33.9)                  |-                       |-                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                                        

                          £                        £                        £                                                                                                                           

In value of levy terms    459,578                  259,642                  299,154                                           -                        63.9                                             

Percentage                (45.2)                   (25.5)                   (29.4)                                            -                        -                                                

Note-Poll figures rounded to 1 decimal point                                                                                                                                                            


Sector                     In terms of growIn terms of levy value 

                           numbers                                

                           Per cent.       Per cent.              

                          |For    |Against|For    |Against        

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

Field Vegetables          |51.4   |48.6   |61.1   |38.9           

Protected Crops           |48.4   |51.6   |62.7   |37.4           

Hardy Nursery Stock       |52.6   |47.4   |71.8   |28.2           

Soft Fruit                |72.8   |27.2   |78.8   |21.2           

Bulbs and Outdoor Flowers |44.1   |55.9   |40.9   |59.1           

Note-Poll figures rounded to 1 decimal point                      




Poll of mushroom growers                                                                                                                                                                                      

Response to question: are you in favour of joining the HDC?                                                                                                                                                   

                               |In favour               |Against                 |Spoiled forms           |Forms not returned      |Total poll              |Percentage of the voting                         

                                                                                                                                                            |who were in favour                               

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

Number of growers              |88                      |22                      |-                       |253                     |363                     |80.0                                             

Percentage                     |(24.2)                  |(6.1)                   |-                       |(69.7)                  |-                       |-                                                

Litres of spawn purchased 1988 |2,437,214               |531,118                 |-                       |709,871                 |-                       |82.1                                             

Percentage                     |(66.3)                  |(14.4)                  |-                       |(19.3)                  |-                       |-                                                

Note-Poll figures rounded to 1 decimal point                                                                                                                                                                  

The result of the poll is in favour of continuing the HDC, and all organisations representing producers and workers employed in the industry are also in favour. The Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales and I have therefore decided to confirm the decision originally announced on 10 July 1989 in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Ludlow (Mr. Gill). Arrangements will also be made to bring mushrooms within the scope of the operations of the council. This decision is subject to the approval of Parliament.

NATO Exercises

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the extent of involvement by his Department in NATO Exercise Wintex/Cimex 1987 and Exercise Wintex/Cimex 1989 ; what is the number of staff engaged in the exercise planning process and in the exercises themselves ; and what are the posts, ranks and responsibilities of the staff involved.

Mr. Maclean : My Department plays its part in testing those procedures in which we have an interest. Staff participate as required ; it would not be appropriate for me to supply the detail requested.

Mobile Bakeries

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) how his Department plans to make mobile bakeries available to local authorities after nuclear attack ;

(2) what is the current annual cost of storage and maintenance for the stock of mobile bakeries held by his Department ; and what are the expected changes to these costs following the current refurbishment programme ;

(3) what is the estimated cost of replacing the mobile bakery units held by his Department ;

(4) what the estimated total cost will be for refurbishing the mobile bakery units held by his Department for use in a time of crisis ;

(5) when the refurbishment of the stock of mobile bakeries held by his Department will be complete ;

(6) where the mobile bakeries held by his Department for use in time of crisis are stored.

Mr. Maclean : The refurbishment of mobile bakery units to ensure that they fully meet modern health and safety operational requirements is due to be completed early in 1990 at a total cost of £1,170,092. The current cost of replacing this equipment would be approximately £2.5 million.

The mobile bakeries are a part of the stockpile of food and emergency feeding equipment. Expenditure on these activities is set out in class IV vote 4 of the 1989-90 Supply Estimates. It is not possible to identify separately the costs specifically relating to the storage and maintenance in store of the bakery equipment but they are not expected to change significantly as a result of the refurbishment programme.


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Bakery equipment is held in each home defence region and would be deployed to augment local emergency baking facilities as instructed by the regional government food and agriculture officer.

Horses and Ponies (Exports)

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to maintain minimum values below which the export of horses and ponies is forbidden after 1992 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclean : The system of minimum values designed to prevent the export of horses for slaughter is a purely national arrangement. As part of the single market programme the Commission has made a proposal for a community regulation on the protection of animals during transport and as drafted this makes no provision for our controls on horse exports to continue. Whilst I can hold out no hope that other member states will be persuaded to apply the minimum value arrangements throughout the Community, our objective will be to ensure that there will be adequate welfare standards during all journeys and that these are implemented and enforced rigorously throughout the Community to protect horses and ponies.

Zoonoses Order 1989

Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will revoke the Zoonoses order 1989 as it applies to poultry.

Mr. Maclean : No.

Catering Industry

Mr. Speller : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which sections of the catering industry are within his ministerial resonsibility.

Mr. Maclean : My Department is concerned with all aspects of the food chain of which the catering industry is an integral part.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what his Department is doing to research the problem of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Mr. Maclean : The Department is currently funding an extensive programme of research into bovine spongiform encephalopathy, including studies into the epidemiology of the disease, transmission to offspring of affected animals and to other species, molecular biological and genetic aspects, clinico-pathology and embryo transfer. The cost of the programme this year is estimated to be over £2 million. There is also international collaboration and discussion with colleagues in the EC, the United States of America and with the Organisation Internationale des Epizooties.


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Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if all animal parts susceptible to bovine spongiform encephalopathy are being banned from use in food production ; (2) if animal foodstuffs are thoroughly checked for bovine spongiform encephalopathy ;

(3) what measures are being taken to diagnose bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle.

Mr. Maclean : All suspected cases of BSE are being slaughtered and destroyed so that they cannot enter the food chain. It is also the Government's intention, as an ultra-precautionary measure, to ban from human consumption certain bovine offals which might be capable of harbouring the BSE agent in case any animals with pre-clinical disease are still being slaughtered for human consumption. There is no test available for the presence of BSE in live animals or products derived from them.

Animal Foodstuffs

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if animal foodstuffs are imported from countries where there are no restrictions on the use of diseased carcases in animal feed.

Mr. Maclean : Whether or not exporting countries place restrictions on the use of diseased carcases in animal feeding stuffs, our import conditions require, among other things, that animal-based proteins intended for use as animal feeding stuffs undergo pre-export heat treatment. This has to be confirmed by their veterinary authorities and provides the necessary safeguards against the introduction of animal diseases.

Plant Health Inspectors

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many plant health inspectors he has employed in each of the last 10 years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gummer : The number of plant health inspectors employed by my Department in each of the last 10 years was as follows :


       |Number       

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

1979   |69           

1980   |70           

1981   |76           

1982   |85           

1983   |79           

1984   |85           

1985   |83           

1986   |83           

1987   |77           

Water Authority Sewage

Dr. Michael Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received regarding the practice of farmers spreading sewage supplied by water authorities on their land ; what regulating controls there are ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclean : The use of sewage sludge in agriculture is controlled by the Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations 1989 which were made, as respects England, by my right


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hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and which are complemented by a code of practice. The regulations, which implement EC directive 86/278/EEC, specify the requirements to be observed before and after use including analysis of the sludge and soil. So far this year my Department has received six letters on this question, mostly concerning the need to minimise any public health risk.

Animal Products

Mr. John Evans : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his policy on the introduction of a fourth criterion in addition to those of quality, safety and efficacy with regard to animal products tested under the Medicines Act 1968.

Mr. Maclean : The purpose of the licensing under the Medicines Act is to protect public and animal health and I do not believe that socio- economic or other additional criteria contribute to this purpose.

PRIME MINISTER

South Africa

Q27. Mr. Hunter : To ask the Prime Minister what recent representations she has made to the state President of South Africa.

The Prime Minister : The Government have made representations to President de Klerk on a number of issues and is encouraged by President de Klerk's recent moves : the release of Mr. Sisulu and others is a major step in the right direction and we urge President de Klerk to continue on the path towards negotiations.

Unemployment

Q84. Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on progress in reducing unemployment.

The Prime Minister : In September 1989 the number of unemployed claimants, seasonally adjusted, in the United Kingdom was 1,695,000. Unemployment has been falling for 38 consecutive months. It is now at its lowest level for nearly nine years, and well below the European Community average.

Magistrates

Q90. Mr. Devlin : To ask the Prime Minister whether she will transfer responsibility for the magistracy from the Home Office to the Lord Chancellor's Department ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : The allocation of functions between Ministers and Departments is kept under regular review. There are currently no plans to transfer the Home Office's responsibilities for the magistrates courts to the Lord Chancellor's Department.

European Currency Exchanges

Q105. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if she will raise at the next meeting of the European Council the degree of progress made by member states in achieving freedom of currency exchanges ; and if she will make a statement.


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The Prime Minister : The timetable for the removal of restrictions on movements of capital by member states is set down in a Council directive of 24 June 1988 and was endorsed by the European Council in Hanover in June 1988. Removal of these restrictions is essential to the completion of the single market and it is in the interests of all member states that the timetable is met.

Homelessness

Q111. Miss Hoey : To ask the Prime Minister if she will visit the Bondway emergency night shelter in Vauxhall and participate in the nightly soup run for the homeless on the South Bank.

The Prime Minister : I have at present no plans to do so.

Mr. Charles Powell

Q20. Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister for how long she now expects Mr. Charles Powell to remain as principal private secretary in her office.

The Prime Minister : Mr. Powell serves as my private secretary for foreign affairs and will serve in my office until it is time for him to leave.

Visits

Q22. Mr. Wigley : To ask the Prime Minister when she next plans to visit Wales.

Q31. Mr. Cryer : To ask the Prime Minister when she next expects to pay an official visit by train.

Q119. Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman : To ask the Prime Minister if she will visit Lancaster.

Q122. Mr. Boswell : To ask the Prime Minister if she will pay an official visit to Towcester.

Q176. Mr. Hind : To ask the Prime Minister if she will visit Lancashire.

The Prime Minister : I have at present no plans to do so.

Civil Service (Scotland)

Q121. Mr. Harry Ewing : To ask the Prime Minister what steps she has taken to ensure adherence by Scottish Office civil servants to the rules covering their communicating with political parties ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : All staff in the Scottish Office are aware that civil servants must be impartial as between political parties. Very recently, as part of a routine updating of standing instructions, staff in the Scottish Office have been reminded of the importance of maintaining the principle of impartiality.

Inner Cities

Q169. Mr. Kirkhope : To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on progress with the Government's inner cities strategy.

The Prime Minister : Excellent progress continues to be made in the regeneration of our inner cities under the Government's action for cities programme, spending on


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which is planned to increase from £3 billion in 1988-89 to about £3.5 billion this year. Unemployment in the 57 inner-city target areas has fallen by 23 per cent. over the past year.

Insider Trading

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what was the content of recent statements made by her press office in relation to Ministers and insider trading.

The Prime Minister : My press office made it clear that they had no knowledge of the story put out by The Scotsman and were therefore not in a position to comment.

Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 November.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 November.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 November.

Mr. Stern : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 November.

Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 7 November.

The Prime Minister : This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today ; then I shall depart for the United States of America to address the United Nations General Assembly.

Cambodia (SAS)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Prime Minister whether she has given her authority for the deployment of members of the Special Air Services to train troops in Cambodia.

The Prime Minister [holding answer 3 November 1989] : It has been the practice of successive Governments never to discuss the activities of the special forces.

HEALTH

North-Western Regional Health Authority

7. Mr. Hind : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the level of funding to the North Western regional health authority.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : Funding for the North Western regional health authority for 1989-90 is £1,238,710,000. This is an all-time record, representing a real terms increase of 33 per cent. over 1978-79, compared with 30 per cent. for England as a whole. Revenue and capital allocations for 1990-91 will be notified to all regional health authorities after the Autumn Statement.

NHS Reorganisation (Liverpool)

15. Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the proposed re-organisation of the National Health Service in Liverpool.


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Mr. Freeman : If the hon. Member is referring to the review of how to improve the pattern of acute services in Liverpool, this was commissioned by the Mersey regional health authority. The region has asked districts to take the suggestions of the review into account in its own long term planning. Any major service change is, of course, subject to the normal consultative process.

NHS Reform

16. Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many other groups of doctors, in addition to Sarum '89 he has met to discuss his proposals for reform of the National Health Service.

Mr. Freeman : My colleagues and I have had very many meetings with representative bodies of the medical profession, with other groups and with individual doctors.

35. Dr. Michael Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received in association with the proposed Health Service reforms with regard to general practitioners' prescribing budgets.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : We have received 706 representations specifically referring to the proposals on prescribing budgets. In addition to this we have received 12,213 representations about the White Paper proposals in general, many of which have raised questions about, among other things, indicative prescribing budgets. Many of the letters expressed concern about the continued availability of medicines under the new system. We have been able to reassure correspondents that, as the representatives of the profession have now accepted, general practitioners will be able to continue to prescribe all those medicines which individual patients might need.

58. Ms. Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he next plans to meet representatives of the British Medical Association to discuss changes in the National Health Service.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : The BMA and my Department have not yet fixed a date for my next meeting with representatives of the BMA. I have no doubt that we will continue to have constructive discussions on how best to implement the proposals in the White Paper "Working For Patients".

59. Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to restate the overriding duty of a general practitioner to consider only the best interests of his or her patient when considering what drugs or medication to prescribe in forthcoming legislation affecting the National Health Service Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Government have always made it clear that their proposals for reforming the NHS would not in any way prevent people getting the medicines that they need. The representatives of the medical profession accepted on 28 September that the management arrangements proposed by the Government for indicative prescribing budgets would not infringe in any way the right of a general practitioner to prescribe all those medicines which individual patients might need.

63. Mr. Marland : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the proposals to allow district health authorities to purchase health care from hospitals will affect patient care.


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Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : These proposals will result in better standards of health care and more choice for patients. They will enable district health authorities to use their resources to obtain the best value for money in terms of high quality consumer-responsive services for their population. Districts will have a clear responsibility to ensure that a full range of health care services is available. They will specify the services required from each hospital or unit, whether or not it is under their direct managerial control. They will also specify the quality standards expected and ensure that these are met. Districts will be able to improve services as they will be financed on a basis which enables them to use any units which meets their requirements. They will use this freedom, in close consultation with local GPs, to obtain the most appropriate pattern of services for their population and to offer the maximum possible choice to patients.

27. Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether general practitioners' ability to refer patients for treatment will be affected by the proposed reform of the National Health Service.

79. Mr. Hague : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the implications of the proposals in the White Paper "Working for Patients" for general practitioners' freedom to refer patients for treatment.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I refer my hon. Friends to the answer given to the hon. Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) on 23 October at column 318.


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