|Previous Section||Home Page|
Column 260carriage of dangerous goods by sea either in bulk or package form require a proper segregation to be maintained between the stowage of toxic substances and foodstuff. This safeguard should be sufficient but if upon investigation it is found that there is a need to strengthen it this will be pursued.
This report focuses on a part of the potential market for public transport which has all too often been neglected in the past. Recent Government surveys indicate that there are over 6 million adults in this country who have a disability of some kind. That in itself is potentially an enormous additional market if our vehicles and systems are designed or adapted to their needs. Added to that, there is a large number of people who are not "disabled" in a medical sense but who have a "mobility handicap" which makes it difficult or impossible for them to use traditional forms of transport. People with heavy luggage, with shopping, with prams and with pushchairs, as well as those who are frail and elderly come into this category.
The report highlights this hitherto neglected market section and makes a number of direct practical recommendations to ensure that in future our transport systems are better attuned to the needs of people who have mobility handicaps. Those recommendations which involve action by my Department will be looked at immediately. I warmly endorse the Committee's work and its findings and I urge local authorities, transport operators, and professional transport institutions, to whom many of the other recommendations in the report are addressed, to note it and act upon it speedily.
Mr. Atkins : The vehicle inspectorate's annual report and accounts, published today, provide a valuable overall picture of the general condition of Britain's road vehicles. Copies have been placed in the House Libraries.
The condition of the heavy goods vehicle fleet appears to have improved during the past year. The annual test failure rate for motor vehicles has decreased from 33 per cent. to 31.5 per cent. and there was also a marginal decrease in the failure rate for trailers, from 26.8 per cent. to 26.5 per cent. However, there was an increase in the frequency of some brake-related faults on trailers which is probably due to the changes to the braking requirements and tighter test brake performance standard introduced in the early 1980s. On environmental standards, there is encouraging news. Surveys carried out during the year show that the number of vehicles with diesel engines seen emitting excessive smoke continues to decline. The failure rate at annual test for excessive smoke remains unchanged at just over 1 per cent.
The trends in the condition of the PSV fleet are also encouraging. Special roadside surveys and the PSV testing scheme indicate that PSVs are being operated and presented for test with fewer faults and that the improvement in annual test pass rates seen last year has been maintained. However it is less encouraging that the
Column 262number of immediate prohibitions issued at spot checks has shown a slow but steady rise over the last few years. The trend will be carefully monitored and the inspectorate will continue to work closely with the Bus and Coach Council which has been very supportive during the year, particularly with regard to a variety of road safety based training courses which have been held.
Although the overall condition of cars and light goods vehicles has marginally improved, the annual test fail rate is still 41 per cent. It is encouraging that there has been a reduction in the number of failures due to poor brakes and tyres, both safety critical areas, but this contrasts with a rise in the number of vehicles with lighting defects.
The condition of the motorcycle fleet appears to be deteriorating. The overall fail rate is the same as the last two years (30 per cent.) but there has been a continuous rise over the past four years in the total number of defects. The largest increases in 1988 were in the two critical areas of brakes and steering.
Annual and spot checks of vehicle roadworthiness are important ways in which risk on the roads is contained. Whilst the results in the report show some improvements and encouraging trends, the failure rates continue to be too high and serve to remind owners and operators of the need to ensure that their vehicles are properly and regularly maintained.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he intends to make any provision to ensure that the Sunday Observance Act 1780 is enforced on 31 December 1989 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will issue guidelines to local authorities on the enforcement of the Sunday Observance Act 1780 in time for consideration of the issue of relevant licences for Sunday 31 December 1989 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidelines he has given magistrates' clerks about supplying lists giving details of defendants and charges to the media ; what he has suggested the list should contain ; what steps he is taking to ensure that it is not prejudicial to defendants for charges to be publicised prior to any trial and that such publicity does not stigmatise an innocent person ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Winnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he intends to take action regarding the open sale of shotguns disguised as walking sticks and umbrellas ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : No. The purchase of all kinds of shotguns is controlled under the provisions of the Firearms Acts 1968 and 1988. Such guns may be purchased only by persons who have been granted a shot-gun certificate by a chief officer of police, and all applications for such certificates are carefully scrutinised. A chief officer of police can refuse to grant or renew a shotgun certificate if he is satisfied that an applicant does not have a good reason for possessing, purchasing or acquiring a shotgun. The carrying of a loaded shotgun in a public place without reasonable excuse is a criminal offence.
Under section 18 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 a visitor to Great Britain may purchase a shotgun for export only, but is not permitted to take possession of it in this country.
Mr. Ron Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has received recent representations from Tarek A. Shirief's lawyers about the return of his passport ; and if he will make a statement about the inquiry into alleged misconduct by West Sussex police regarding this case.
Mr. Waddington : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 20 July at column 303. We have no record of having received any further representations from Mr. Shirief's solicitors since then. Mr. Shirief's complaint against the West Sussex police is being dealt with under the terms of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. The investigation of such complaints is the responsibility of the chief officer of the force concerned and Ministers have no authority to intervene. I understand that the investigation cannot proceed at present because Mr. Shirief's whereabouts are unknown.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answers to the hon. Member for Linlithgow of 2 November, Official Report , column 265, and the hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Sheerman) of 27 October, Official Report, column 637, if he has assessed the costs and benefits of the use of public funds to establish independent forensic units in universities, along the lines of Professor Brian Caddy's unit in Strathclyde.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what are the reasons why the whereabouts of the Sri Lankans who stripped at Heathrow, and whether any of them have left the United Kingdom, are not known.
(2) when he anticipates that the remaining cases of the Sri Lankans who stripped at Heathrow will be resolved.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The cases will be resolved as soon as pressure of work in the refugee unit allows. We cannot guarantee that changes of address will have been notified to us promptly, but, unless there was some deception, embarkation from the United Kingdom would routinely be recorded.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what record is kept of the departure of visitors from the Indian sub- continent ; how this is used to establish who is overstaying ; and if he can quantify the level of overstaying in the clearest and most expressive way.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been paid to victims of crime by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in (a) 1989 to date, (b) 1988, (c) 1987, (d) 1986, (e) 1985 and (f) 1984.
Year |Compensation |£ million --------------------------------------- 1984-85 |35.3 1985-86 |41.6 1986-87 |48.2 1987-88 |52.0 1988-89 |69.4
Sir George Young : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give details of the information which is supplied to employers on the terms and provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
Mr. Waddington : The main source of information produced by my Department is the leaflet "Wiping the Slate Clean". Although the leaflet is intended primarily for people who have been convicted, it sets out the effects of the Act and indicates that an employer cannot dismiss or refuse to employ a person because he or she has a spent conviction.
Copies of the leaflet have been made available for example through all citizens' advice bureaux and are available free of charge from Room 339, Home Office, 50 Queen Anne's gate, London, SW1H 9AT.
Miss Widdecombe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many burglaries involving private dwellings took place in (a) Great Britain, (b) inner cities and (c) inner London in the last three years for which statistics are available.
Mr. John Patten : The readily available information relates to police force areas in England and Wales and is published annually in table S3.1, "Criminal Statistics Supplementary Tables 1988, Volume 3", quarterly in table 4 of Home Office statistical bulletins (the latest issue is 29/89) and separate tables for each police force area and quarterly in separate tables for London boroughs (showing total burglary) ; copies of all these are in the Library.
Miss Widdecombe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women were attacked by intruders in their homes, not including incidents of domestic violence, in each of the last three years for which figures are available in (a) Great Britain, (b) inner cities and (c) inner London.
Mr. Hunter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Holmes system, as operated by police forces in England ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Holmes system as operated by Hampshire constabulary.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The effectiveness of the Holmes system in meeting the requirements set out by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) for computer assistance in the investigation of major crime is kept under review by the Home Office in collaboration with ACPO. The present system appears to be meeting these needs satisfactorily, although work is in hand to make improvements to the system in due course.
The effectiveness of the Holmes system in use in individual police forces is a matter for chief officers.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Our aim is to implement a national information network for the police as soon as practicable. A study has already been undertaken to determine the potential traffic between forces and between forces and other parts of the criminal justice system. The next stage is to undertake a number of pilot projects to ascertain the technical requirements for the interchange of electronic data and to establish standards.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will mount a publicity campaign aimed specifically at children which instructs them how to keep themselves safe from child abuse.
Mr. John Patten : We believe that advice on this subject is best communicated to children through their parents or other responsible adults. It is for this reason that the Home Office crime prevention handbook reproduces advice for parents to give to their children prepared by the Kidscape organisation.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will indicate, for each of the past three years, and for the current year to date, how many people have been given indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom on compassionate grounds.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The cases referred to cannot be identified separately in the figures for acceptances for settlement. As analysis of acceptances in the years 1986-88 and the first two quarters of 1989, by category, is published in table 3 of Home Office statistical bulletin issue 31/ 89 "Control of Immigration : Statistics--Second Quarter 1989", a copy of which is in the Library. Corresponding information for the third quarter of 1989 will be published next month.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inmates in gaols in England and Wales were offered prescribed methadone maintenance or withdrawal programmes for drug addiction in (a) 1986, (b) 1987, (c) 1988 and (d) so far in 1989.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which community-based drug agencies have access to prison establishments in England and Wales ; and whether the prison department meets their expenses.
Mr. Mellor : In developing throughcare arrangements, prison establishments increasingly take account of the potential contribution available from suitable community-based drug agencies. Details of those used are not collected centrally. Governors may meet reasonable expenses incurred by participating members of voluntary organisations.
Population in custody in England and Wales on 30 June, 1980-89 30 June Prison Service Police ceAll persons in cu establishments Year |England |Wales<1> ------------------------------------------------------ 1980 |42,908 |1,028 |- |43,936 1981 |43,398 |1,063 |- |44,461 1982 |42,915 |1,085 |54 |44,054 1983 |42,339 |987 |300 |43,626 1984 |43,537 |896 |22 |44,455 1985 |46,518 |985 |96 |47,599 1986 |45,716 |919 |181 |46,816 1987 |49,202 |1,063 |581 |50,846 1988 |48,568 |1,010 |724 |50,302 1989 |47,652 |880 |226 |48,758 <1> Cardiff, Swansea and Usk (Prescoed)
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many of the total number of persons sentenced to a period of imprisonment in England and Wales during 1988 were put into custody by the Crown court ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) how many of the total number of persons sentenced to a period of imprisonment in England and Wales during 1988 were put into custody by the magistrates court ; and if he will make a statement ; (3) how many persons were committed for sentencing to the Crown court by a magistrates court in England and Wales during 1988 ; how many of those persons received a custodial sentence ; and if he will make a statement ;
(4) if he will list the number of persons given a custodial sentence in England and Wales during 1988 following convictions for theft, burglary, dishonestly handling, deception and fraud when the value of the goods stolen or damaged was (a) less than £2,000, (b) less than £1,000, (c) less than £500, (d) less than £200, and (e) less than £100 ; and if he will make a statement ;
(5) what proportion of all persons sentenced to a period of custody in England and Wales during 1988 received a sentence of (a) 12 months or less, and (b) six months or less ; and if he will make a statement ;
(6) what was the total number of persons sentenced to a period of imprisonment in England and Wales during 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John Patten [holding answer 3 November 1989] : Information held centrally for 1988 is given in the tables which relate to the principal offence for which the offender was sentenced. Court proceedings data does not distinguish the value of goods stolen or damaged for offences committed.
Table A Persons sentenced to immediate custody<1> by court England and Wales 1988 Immediate custody Court |Total sentenced|Number |per cent. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Magistrates' |1,456,925 |23,729 |2 Crown |98,435 |48,336 |49 All courts |1,555,360 |72,065 |5 <1> Includes both summary and indictable offences.
Table B Persons committed for sentencing to the Crown Court 1988 and defendants sentenced to immediate custody at the Crown Court after summary conviction 1988 England and Wales Court Committed Crown Courte to Crown Court Total for Immediate custody |Number |per cent. --------------------------------------------------------------- Magistrates' |7,362 |<1> |<1> |<1> Crown |<1> |7,382 |4,113 |56 <1> Not applicable.
Table C Persons sentenced to immediate custody for specific offences England and Wales 1988 Offence Total sentImmediate custody |Number |per cent. ----------------------------------------------------------- Burglary |48,491 |16,738 |35 Theft |140,112 |14,774 |11 Dishonest handling |23,508 |3,078 |13 Fraud<1> |20,041 |2,920 |15 <1> Including by deception.
Table D Persons sentenced to immediate custody by sentence length and by court England and Wales Court Total sentLength of sentence immediate custody 6 months and under Over 6 months and upOver 1 year to 1 year |Number |per cent.|Number |per cent.|Number |per cent. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Magistrates' |23,729 |23,729 |100 |<1> |<1> |<1> |<1> Crown |48,336 |15,451 |32 |13,913 |29 |18,971 |39 All courts |72,065 |39,180 |54 |13,913 |19 |18,971 |26 <1> Not applicable.
Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 26 October 1989] : Not before the next financial year when the opening of the proposed Birmingham public inquiry office will have to be considered with other demands on the available financial resources.
The Prime Minister : The Soviet Union, together with the other members of the Warsaw pact currently possesses a large superiority in conventional ground and air forces in Europe, as well as very powerful naval and nuclear forces, and will continue to do so even after the recently promised unilateral cuts have been implemented. As long as the Warsaw pact retains military forces on this scale, the capability that they provide for aggression, if intentions should change, cannot be ignored. NATO's aim is to remove the imbalance of forces in Europe by negotiated reductions, to create a lasting, stable peace, in which all states can enjoy security with freedom with the minimum necessary forces.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards reunification of Germany in the event of all foreign troop withdrawals from German soil ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister whether she will introduce legislation to prevent Ministers and officials, including officials of the Bank of England, from taking up employment with any firm or organisation working in a sector with which they have been directly or indirectly associated in the previous five years.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Prime Minister (1) if she will publish or authorise the publication of all papers presented to, and the transcript of all evidence presented by, scientists and other experts at the meeting on the environment held at 10 Downing street on 26 April ;
(2) if she will list all the scientists and other experts who took part in the meeting on the environment at 10 Downing street on 26 April.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Prime Minister whether she will consider waiving legal aid requirements to enable all HIV-positive haemophiliacs to instigate immediately court cases against regional health authorities ; and whether she will consider granting a further ex-gratia payment prior to the courts receiving a settlement in these cases.
Column 271No. The Lord Chancellor's Department has responsibility for such matters. It advises that legal aid will continue to be available subject to the usual criteria.
In respect of a further ex-gratia payment, I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, South West (Mr. Butcher) on 6 November at columns 450-51.
Mr. Jackson : The disabled student allowance maximum within the mandatory award--which is not confined to equipment--has been substantially increased in recent years, and stands at £765 for 1989-90. My right hon. Friend will consider its level when he comes to review mandatory award rates for 1990-91 in the light of student needs and available resources.