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Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what type of building is currently being constructed at Slieve Croob, Dromara in South Down ; and what consideration is being given to the fact that it is being constructed in an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The buildings have been designed and located to take the maximum advantage of the local topography to lessen the effect which the buildings might have on the surrounding environment.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what type of business or work will be carried out at the building currently under construction at Slieve Croob, Dromara in South Down on completion.
Mr. Cope : The building work currently under way at Slieve Croob is concerned with the improvement and development of an existing communications relay station which provides a service to the community at large. It is used by a number of public bodies, including the ambulance and other emergency services, the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) roads and water services and the Department of Agriculture forestry division.
Mr John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what amendments he made to the proposed Strangford Lough ASSI part 3, following representations from Strangford Lough Nature Conservation Association and representations from the local community living near Strangford Lough.
Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 29 November 1989] : The Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland confirmed the ASSI declaration with six minor amendments to the boundary. These amendments, which recognise changes which took place since the original survey and the need to correct some mapping errors, reduce the area originally included in the ASSI by half a hectare.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has advised the Southern health and social services area boards of the appropriate dates to fly the Union flag on its buildings ; and if he will seek information from the board why the Union flag was not flown on its premises at The Mall, Armagh, on Remembrance Sunday.
Mr. Cope [holding answer 29 November 1989] : The requirement to fly the Union flag on those prescribed days relevant to Northern Ireland applies to central Government offices only. There is no requirement therefore for the Southern health and social services board to comply.
At the request of the Southern health and social services board, details of the prescribed days for flying the Union flag are issued to it each year.
The Attorney-General : The current number of staff employed by the Land Registry on site and boundary inspections is set out in the table by district registry. At any one time in each district registry a large number of staff is qualified to do this work.
|Number -------------------------------- Croydon |1 Harrow |2 Tunbridge Wells |3 Lytham |3 Nottingham |4 Gloucester |3 Stevenage |2 Durham |2 Plymouth |2 Swansea |2 Birkenhead |2 Weymouth |2 Peterborough |3 Telford |1 Coventry |1 Hull |1 |------- Total |34
In addition, the Ordnance Survey carries out surveys for the Land Registry on a repayment basis.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Attorney-General if he will refer to the Court of Appeal the sentence for the manslaughter of Emma Worthington which was imposed upon Stuart William Ross at Exeter Crown court on 14 November.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Attorney-General when the appeal of Mr. Khalil Ahmed, date of birth 1 October 1969, Ref. Imm/93246, who has been refused permission by the post in Islamabad to join his wife, will be heard by the appellate authorities.
The Attorney-General : The papers in this case (which has been allocated the reference number TH/6834/89) were copied by the appellate authorities to Mr. Ahmed's nominated representatives in the United Kingdom on 14 August 1989. They replied on 16 August that they were ready to proceed, but before the matter was listed for hearing they withdrew from the case, as did another firm of solicitors on 4 October. The appeallate authorities wrote to the appellant in Pakistan on 12 October 1989 stating that unless he nominated a further representative before 12 December the appeal would be determined by an adjudicator without a hearing on the papers before him. If no representative is nominated the appeal will be dealt with as soon after that date as possible.
Mr. Redwood : The interdepartmental working group of officials formed to advise Ministers on the Kemp review of status options for ECGD has now submitted its report, which is being considered by Ministers. A decision on the way forward will be taken as soon as possible.
Mr. Redwood : The interdepartmental working group of officials formed to advise Ministers on the Kemp review of status options for ECGD has submitted its report, which is now being considered by Ministers. An announcement will be made as soon as possible.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals exist for the development of a major programme for a national fibre optics communications network aimed at implementing optoelectronic research ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what support he has given for trial schemes to test optoelectronic systems and products in Britain ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Forth : I have recently licensed British Telecommunications plc to run, in collaboration with equipment manufacturers, a technical trial in Bishop's Stortford to test telecommunications delivery systems based on optical fibre.
Mr. Hoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are in place to protect with-profit policy holders against a foreign predator acquiring and asset stripping a United Kingdom life insurance company.
Mr. Redwood : The Insurance Companies Act 1982 (section 61) provides that no person may become the controller of an insurance company without first notifying the Secretary of State, who may object if he considers that the proposed controller is not a fit and proper person to be a controller of that company. "Fit and proper" is not defined in the Act, but in considering whether to exercise his power to prevent a change of control the Secretary of State has regard to any issue which may affect the interests of the company's policyholders.
Further provisions in the Act require that the long-term business fund must be kept separate from the company's other funds and place restrictions on the purposes for which these funds may be applied. The Act also gives the Secretary of State wide-ranging powers to intervene where this is necessary to protect policyholders' interests. Where appropriate the Secretary of State may require assets of the company to be maintained in the United Kingdom or to be held in trust.
Column 349The new regulations are designed to ensure that no one will be able to participate in a pyramid selling, or multi- level marketing scheme, without having first signed a contract which sets out their rights and includes a statutory warning about such schemes. The promoters of the scheme will be required to set out in the contract details of when the scheme started in the United Kingdom and where it is operated from as well as descriptions of the goods or services on offer. They will also have to specify in the contract that the participant may withdraw from the scheme without penalty within 14 days of first signing and set out the participant's rights should he subsequently wish to withdraw.
The regulations also prohibit promoters from accepting more than £75 from participants within the first seven days. They set an upper limit of £30 as payment for participants recruiting others. There are also provisions relating to payments for training facilities and deposits.
In making these regulations I have focused on enabling a prospective participant to make an informed choice when considering whether to join the scheme.
These regulations do not cover the content of advertisements, notices, prospectuses and circulars which do not state the financial benefits of joining a scheme, or which may appear in the press or as handouts. These remain, quite properly, subject to the Advertising Standards Authority's code of practice.
Copies of the regulations have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will list the ministerial visits which have taken place in the last two years involving United Kingdom ministers visiting Israel and Israeli ministers visiting the United Kingdom ; what further visits are planned over the next 12 months ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 29 November 1989] : I can only answer for visits to or by Ministers of my Department. In the last two years the following Israeli Ministers have visited the Department of Trade and Industry : Mr. Moshe Shahal, Minister for Energy ; Mr. Ariel Sharon, Minister of Industry and Trade ; Mr. Gad Ya'acobi, Minister of Communications.
No DTI Ministers visited Israel in that period, and no inward or outward ministerial visits are currently planned. DTI officials are expected to go to Israel in 1990 for the United Kingdom-Israel joint committee on bilateral trade.
Mr. Canavan : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many companies failed to lodge annual accounts for the financial year 1986-87 ; and how many prosecutions took place as a result.
Mr. Redwood [holding answer 29 November 1989] : The chief executive of Companies House tells me that information is not available in the form requested. However, 130,000 companies in England and Wales had not filed their latest accounts at 30 June 1988. These accounts related mostly to financial years ending between September 1986 and August 1987.
Companies House seeks to achieve compliance primarily by means of reminders to companies before they
Column 350are due to file and warning letters after companies have gone into default. These measures are supplemented by publicity aimed at directors and professional advisers.
Companies House's present policy is to prosecute only when other methods of obtaining statutory documents have failed. In the year ending 31 March 1989, there were 4,543 prosecutions for failure to deliver accounts. Some, but by no means all, of these prosecutions would relate to accounts for 1986-87.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement regarding the recent Government report on recommendations for the teaching of history in the national curriculum, and its relevance to a multi-cultural society.
Mrs. Rumbold : In its interim report published in August the national curriculum history working group gave its provisional views on the teaching of history. The group is expected to make its final report to my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Education and Science and for Wales by the end of the year. My right hon. Friends will publish their proposals when they have considered that report.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many primary school head teachers have written to him in the month of November, either directly or through hon. Members forwarding their letters to him, expressing concern about teacher morale, pressure of work and administrative or resource difficulties in implementing the national curriculum ; and what has been the general nature of his reply to such letters.
Mrs. Rumbold : The information is not available in the form requested. My right hon. Friend frequently receives correspondence from primary school head teachers about various aspects of education provision. They receive appropriate replies, which I hope they find helpful.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science on how many occasions in the last three months he and his Departmental Ministers have visited maintained schools in their official capacities ; and what are the equivalent figures for grades 1, 2 and 3 officials in his Department.
Mr. Alan Howarth : In the three months to 30 November my ministerial colleagues and I have visited 30 maintained schools. The equivalent figures for grades 1, 2 and 3 are zero, 13 and three respectively.
Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he intends to take to reduce the flow of Departmental circulars, letters or guidance notes to head teachers ; and whether he will make a statement.
Column 351and guidance about their new responsibilities under the Education Reform Act. My right hon. Friend recognises the pressure which the volume of material has placed on schools and is taking a close interest in the flow of new material to ensure that it is kept within reasonable bounds and within the capacity of the system to absorb it.
Mr. Alan Howarth : The report by Her Majesty's inspectorate, "The Implementation of the National Curriculum in Primary Schools", found that primary schools have made a satisfactory start in preparing for the introduction of the national curriculum. Expenditure on training related to the national curriculum (including that for supply teachers) is supported through the local education authority training grants scheme. It is for LEAs to make decisions about training priorities in the light of identified local needs.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the report by Her Majesty's inspectorate on primary schools on resources to implement the Government's plans for the core subjects of the national curriculum.
Mrs. Rumbold : The report by Her Majesty's inspectorate, "The Implementation of the National Curriculum in Primary Schools", found that levels of resourcing for the core subjects in key stage 1 were generally adequate. The report also comments on the good use being made of the specific grants which the Government have provided to support the introduction of the national curriculum.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he expects the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council to close courses which cannot meet the minimum resource requirements.
Mr. Jackson : The Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council has no power to close courses. It is for the institutions to determine their own academic provision in the light of the funds available to them.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish the student-to-staff ratio in engineering courses at polytechnics for each of the last 10 years to the current year.
Laboratory and workshop based higher education SSRs at polytechnics: 1978-79 to 1987-88 (England) ------------------ 1978-79 |7.8 1979-80 |8.0 1980-81 |8.5 1981-82 |9.1 1982-83 |9.5 1983-84 |10.1 1984-85 |10.6 1985-86 |11.0 1986-87 |11.1 1987-88 |11.5 These SSRs are calculated from data collected in the Department's Annual Monitoring Survey and are on a different basis from those calculated using student data from the Departments Further Education Statistical Record and lecturer data from Form 618G.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if his Department will make available resources to the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council sufficient to meet the funding requirements indicated by the Engineering Council.
Mr. Jackson : My right hon. Friend announced the resources available to the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council (PCFC) in his statement on 15 November ( Official Report, written answers, columns 272-76 ). I understand that the Engineering Council has written to the PCFC about the question of resources for engineering education. It is for the PCFC to consider what its response should be.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when Her Majesty's inspectors received a copy of the Engineering Council's recommendations on the minimum resources required for engineering education in the polytechnic sector ; and what response they propose to make.
Mr. Jackson : Her Majesty's inspectorate is aware of the statement published in 1984 entitled "Resources for Engineering Education" at degree and HND level. A review of engineering in the polytechnics and colleges, based on HMI inspections over the last five years, is about to be published. The review will include comment on a wide range of aspects of engineering education, including resources and their management.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what consideration the Advisory Board for the Research Councils has given to the proposed merger of the five research councils ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Jackson : My right hon. Friend recently received advice from the ABRC on the future structure of the research council system. This arose from consideration of a report to the board by a review group under the chairmanship of Mr. J. R. S. Morris CBE which recommended a merger of the present five research councils.
My right hon. Friend is considering the board's advice and will make a statement in due course.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the total Government spending on civil science in Britain (a) in real terms and (b) as a percentage of gross domestic product for each of the last five years for which figures are available ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 353Mr. Jackson : The figures of total Government spend on civil research and development are as follows :
|1985-86|1986-87|1987-88|1988-89|1989-90 Estimate Provision --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Real terms (£M) (1989-90 prices) |2,792 |2,805 |2,729 |2,674 |2,706 Proportion of GDP |0.62 |0.60 |0.55 |0.52 |0.52 Sources: Annual Review of Government Funded Research and Development 1988 and 1989.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps are being taken to attract more well-qualified young people into the teaching profession ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alan Howarth : Since 1986 the Department has taken a number of measures to improve teacher supply, at a cost so far of £50 million. These include bursaries for trainee teachers in maths, physics, design and technology, and chemistry ; new forms of initial teacher training courses ; and greater publicity and advertising of teaching opportunities through the teaching as a career unit, TASC.
Mr. Grocott : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will indicate for the city technology colleges at (a) Solihull, (b) Nottingham and (c) Teesside the number of pupils from outside the agreed catchment area that he has authorised to be accepted.
Mrs. Rumbold : All pupils under the age of 15 attending the Teesside and Nottingham CTCs are admitted from within the college's catchment areas. There is no defined catchment area for 16-plus admission to the Nottingham CTC, but priority is given to pupils living within a two-mile radius of the college. My right hon. Friend has given permission for nine of the 360 pupils attending the Kinghurst CTC to be admitted from outside its catchment area. I understand that all pupils attending CTCs live within reasonable travelling distance of the colleges.
Column 354We believe that total tank production will be lower than in previous years but are unable to quantify the actual figures.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has made any assessment of the future of United States air bases in East Anglia, following comments by the United States Secretary for Defence on possible troop reductions in Europe.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The United States Government has made it clear that the Allies will be consulted on any force level reductions made in Europe. Any decisions affecting United States air bases in the United Kingdom will be the subject of full consultations with the United Kingdom Government.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any agreements have been concluded with (a) the United States Government or (b) the French Government regarding the study of procurement options for the possible replacement of the WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb.
Mr. Alan Clark : Arrangements enabling an exchange of information have been concluded with the United States Government. Negotiations are in hand with the French Government about similar arrangements.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether any money has been paid to (a) British Aerospace or (b) Hunting Engineering in connection with the study of possible procurement options for the replacement of the WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb ; (2) whether any plans exist to pay money to (a) British Aerospace or (b) Hunting Engineering in connection with the study of possible procurement options for the replacement of the WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb.
Column 355Mr. Alan Clark : Yes.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether any of his officials has visited French Government facilities in connection with the study of possible procurement options for the replacement of the WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb ;
(2) whether any of his officials has visited United States Government facilities in connection with the study of possible procurement options for the replacement of the WE177 free-fall nuclear bomb.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : As I have said on several occasions, discussions are taking place with both the United States and French Governments on procurement options for the possible replacement of the WE177 free-fall bomb, which include visits to the appropriate establishments. No decisions have yet been taken.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are taken to ensure that the benefits and lessons gained from military training by British service personnel are not transferred from those who receive the training to those who are authorised to receive it.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The control of information released to members of foreign armed forces during training by British service personnel is a matter for the civil and military authorities of the country concerned. The extent and type of any classified information to which foreign nationals are granted access will reflect their need to know and will also be commensurate with Her Majesty's Government's assessment of the recipient country's ability to control the information in an appropriate manner.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provision is made for the study of the legal aspect of warfare in the military training provided for foreign nationals by British service personnel.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any British service personnel have been involved in the provision of military training in (a) Zimbabwe and (b) Thailand at any time in the last four years.