Previous Section Home Page

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The investigation into the work and practices of the serious crime squad concentrates on the period since the beginning of 1986. The conduct of the inquiry is the responsibility of the investigating officer, Mr. Shaw, subject to the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority. I understand that there is no intention at present to look at the material collected by the Devon and Cornwall police, which relates to earlier events.

Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent he will be co-operating with the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament in its inquiry into the convictions of those found guilty of the Birmingham pub bombings.

Mr. Waddington : As I said in my reply to a question from the hon. Member on 29 November 1989 at column 268, I understand that the Legal Affairs Committee has not yet decided whether to conduct such an inquiry and, if so, what its terms of reference should be. We believe that


Column 386

it would be inappropriate for the European Parliament to inquire into the convictions of the Birmingham Six, it being a matter wholly outside the Parliament's competence.

Drugs

Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he intends to co-operate with the Schengen information system to pool police data in anti-drug operations.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The Schengen information system does not yet exist. However, we are discussing with our European Community partners, which includes the Schengen countries, a wide range of measures for further strengthening co-operation between law enforcement agencies. The development of an information system serving all European Community countries is one option which is being studied.

Fires

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many outbreaks of fire were recorded in each of the last five years in (a) England and Wales and (b) the Bolton area ;

(2) what was the number of incidents of arson in each of the last five years in (a) England and Wales and (b) the Bolton area.

Mr. John Patten : The available figures for 1983 to 1987 are given in the following table. Separate information is not available centrally for the Bolton area as this is part of the area covered by the Greater Manchester fire and civil defence authority. The United Kingdom total for 1988 will be published shortly in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin "Summary Fire Statistics UK 1988" with separate figures for Greater Manchester being available from spring 1990.



Fires in occupied buildings reported by local authority fire brigades       

as deliberate or possibly deliberate                                        

Year               |United Kingdom    |Greater Manchester                   

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

1987               |18,774            |1,490                                

1986               |19,317            |1,683                                

1985               |18,414            |1,426                                

1984               |17,756            |1,467                                

1983               |15,486            |1,013                                

Source: Fire Statistics United Kingdom 1983-87                              


Fires in occupied buildings reported by local authority fire brigades       

as deliberate or possibly deliberate                                        

Year               |United Kingdom    |Greater Manchester                   

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

1987               |18,774            |1,490                                

1986               |19,317            |1,683                                

1985               |18,414            |1,426                                

1984               |17,756            |1,467                                

1983               |15,486            |1,013                                

Source: Fire Statistics United Kingdom 1983-87                              

Prisoners

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the number of (a) men and (b) women who have been sent to prison each month during 1987, 1988 and up till October 1989.


Column 387

Mr. Mellor : Quarterly information on receptions is published annually in a Home Office statistical bulletin (table 7 of the latest issue 12/89, "The Prison Population in 1988," a copy of which is in the Library). A person received as an untried prisoner will also be recorded as received after sentence if subsequently received to serve a sentence. Reliable monthly data on persons received as convicted unsentenced is not readily available ; in 1988, 7,000 persons were received as convicted unsentenced who had not been previously received as an untried prisoner. The readily available monthly information is given in the tables.


Persons received into Prison Service establishments in 

England and                                            

Wales as non-criminal prisoners, 1987-1989             

Number of prisoners<1>                                 

           Males             Females                   

          |Under 21|21 and  |Under 21|21 and           

                   |over             |over             

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

1987                                                   

January   |25      |290     |-       |5                

February  |25      |320     |-       |10               

March     |20      |260     |-       |5                

April     |10      |250     |-       |5                

May       |15      |220     |-       |10               

June      |10      |270     |-       |5                

July      |10      |240     |-       |5                

August    |15      |220     |-       |5                

September |10      |220     |-       |10               

October   |10      |230     |-       |5                

November  |20      |260     |-       |5                

December  |5       |210     |-       |5                

                                                       

1988                                                   

January   |10      |250     |-       |5                

February  |10      |220     |-       |5                

March     |15      |310     |-       |15               

April     |10      |220     |-       |5                

May       |10      |240     |-       |5                

June      |15      |230     |-       |5                

July      |15      |240     |-       |10               

August    |10      |180     |-       |5                

September |10      |230     |-       |5                

October   |15      |220     |-       |5                

November  |15      |230     |-       |5                

December  |15      |240     |-       |-                

                                                       

1989                                                   

January   |10      |230     |-       |10               

February  |10      |240     |-       |15               

March     |20      |240     |-       |15               

April     |15      |230     |-       |20               

May       |15      |270     |-       |5                

June      |15      |260     |-       |5                

July<2>   |5       |190     |-       |10               

August<2> |15      |180     |-       |10               

<1> rounded estimates                                  

<2> provisional figures                                


Persons received into Prison Service establishments in 

England and                                            

Wales as non-criminal prisoners, 1987-1989             

Number of prisoners<1>                                 

           Males             Females                   

          |Under 21|21 and  |Under 21|21 and           

                   |over             |over             

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

1987                                                   

January   |25      |290     |-       |5                

February  |25      |320     |-       |10               

March     |20      |260     |-       |5                

April     |10      |250     |-       |5                

May       |15      |220     |-       |10               

June      |10      |270     |-       |5                

July      |10      |240     |-       |5                

August    |15      |220     |-       |5                

September |10      |220     |-       |10               

October   |10      |230     |-       |5                

November  |20      |260     |-       |5                

December  |5       |210     |-       |5                

                                                       

1988                                                   

January   |10      |250     |-       |5                

February  |10      |220     |-       |5                

March     |15      |310     |-       |15               

April     |10      |220     |-       |5                

May       |10      |240     |-       |5                

June      |15      |230     |-       |5                

July      |15      |240     |-       |10               

August    |10      |180     |-       |5                

September |10      |230     |-       |5                

October   |15      |220     |-       |5                

November  |15      |230     |-       |5                

December  |15      |240     |-       |-                

                                                       

1989                                                   

January   |10      |230     |-       |10               

February  |10      |240     |-       |15               

March     |20      |240     |-       |15               

April     |15      |230     |-       |20               

May       |15      |270     |-       |5                

June      |15      |260     |-       |5                

July<2>   |5       |190     |-       |10               

August<2> |15      |180     |-       |10               

<1> rounded estimates                                  

<2> provisional figures                                


Persons received into Prison Service establishments in 

England and                                            

Wales as non-criminal prisoners, 1987-1989             

Number of prisoners<1>                                 

           Males             Females                   

          |Under 21|21 and  |Under 21|21 and           

                   |over             |over             

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

1987                                                   

January   |25      |290     |-       |5                

February  |25      |320     |-       |10               

March     |20      |260     |-       |5                

April     |10      |250     |-       |5                

May       |15      |220     |-       |10               

June      |10      |270     |-       |5                

July      |10      |240     |-       |5                

August    |15      |220     |-       |5                

September |10      |220     |-       |10               

October   |10      |230     |-       |5                

November  |20      |260     |-       |5                

December  |5       |210     |-       |5                

                                                       

1988                                                   

January   |10      |250     |-       |5                

February  |10      |220     |-       |5                

March     |15      |310     |-       |15               

April     |10      |220     |-       |5                

May       |10      |240     |-       |5                

June      |15      |230     |-       |5                

July      |15      |240     |-       |10               

August    |10      |180     |-       |5                

September |10      |230     |-       |5                

October   |15      |220     |-       |5                

November  |15      |230     |-       |5                

December  |15      |240     |-       |-                

                                                       

1989                                                   

January   |10      |230     |-       |10               

February  |10      |240     |-       |15               

March     |20      |240     |-       |15               

April     |15      |230     |-       |20               

May       |15      |270     |-       |5                

June      |15      |260     |-       |5                

July<2>   |5       |190     |-       |10               

August<2> |15      |180     |-       |10               

<1> rounded estimates                                  

<2> provisional figures                                


Persons received into Prison Service establishments in 

England and                                            

Wales as non-criminal prisoners, 1987-1989             

Number of prisoners<1>                                 

           Males             Females                   

          |Under 21|21 and  |Under 21|21 and           

                   |over             |over             

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

1987                                                   

January   |25      |290     |-       |5                

February  |25      |320     |-       |10               

March     |20      |260     |-       |5                

April     |10      |250     |-       |5                

May       |15      |220     |-       |10               

June      |10      |270     |-       |5                

July      |10      |240     |-       |5                

August    |15      |220     |-       |5                

September |10      |220     |-       |10               

October   |10      |230     |-       |5                

November  |20      |260     |-       |5                

December  |5       |210     |-       |5                

                                                       

1988                                                   

January   |10      |250     |-       |5                

February  |10      |220     |-       |5                

March     |15      |310     |-       |15               

April     |10      |220     |-       |5                

May       |10      |240     |-       |5                

June      |15      |230     |-       |5                

July      |15      |240     |-       |10               

August    |10      |180     |-       |5                

September |10      |230     |-       |5                

October   |15      |220     |-       |5                

November  |15      |230     |-       |5                

December  |15      |240     |-       |-                

                                                       

1989                                                   

January   |10      |230     |-       |10               

February  |10      |240     |-       |15               

March     |20      |240     |-       |15               

April     |15      |230     |-       |20               

May       |15      |270     |-       |5                

June      |15      |260     |-       |5                

July<2>   |5       |190     |-       |10               

August<2> |15      |180     |-       |10               

<1> rounded estimates                                  

<2> provisional figures                                

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of (a) men and (b) women being held on remand in police stations cells in England and Wales on 20 November.

Mr. Mellor : Twenty-three men and no women were held in police cells on Monday 20 November 1989. It is likely that most were on remand, and were being held by the police for no more than one night.

Prescription Charges

Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the latest annual cost of reimbursement of National Health Service charges incurred by police officers for drugs, medicines, appliances and dental treatment ; and what was the figure 10 years ago.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The information is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Violence

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what percentage crimes of violence have increased over the past five years.


Column 390

Mr. John Patten : The information requested is set out in the table. Further information on crimes recorded by the police is pubished in table 2.1 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales 1988", Cm. 847.


Notifiable offences recorded by the police 1984-88               

England and Wales  Number                                        

Year                |Violence|Sexual  |Robbery |Total            

                    |against |offences         |violent          

                    |the                       |crime            

                    |person                                      

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

1984                |114,187 |20,222  |24,890  |159,299          

1985                |121,731 |21,456  |27,463  |170,650          

1986                |125,499 |22,684  |30,020  |178,203          

1987                |141,042 |25,154  |32,633  |198,829          

1988                |158,248 |26,529  |31,437  |216,214          

                                                                 

Percentage increase                                              

1984-88             |39      |31      |26      |36               

Pet Animals (Protection)

Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with regard to the consultations that he is conducting in respect of the European Convention for protecting pet animals, if he will set out in the Official Report a list of the interested organisations he is consulting, the date of writing to each and the date of each response so far received, together with an indication of when he expects those consultations to be completed or the date he has given for responses to be received.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : We have consulted more than 20 bodies about the convention and a related report by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Surgical operations is the main area in which the provisions of the convention conflict with current United Kingdom legislation and practice. That part of the consultation process has now been completed. This summer meetings were held with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the Kennel Club and the Council for Docked Breeds. We are now involved in interdepartmental consultation and my right hon. and learned Friend hopes to be in a position to reach a decision soon.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give, for each year since 1974 (a) the number of applications submitted under the criminal injuries compensation scheme, (b) the number where an award was made, (c) the number where the applicant died before determination of the application, (d) for rejected applications, the average duration of applications submitted, from date of application to the date of determination and (e) for successful applications, the average duration of applications submitted from date of application to date of receipt of the award.

Mr. John Patten : The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, which considers claims for victims of crimes of violence in Great Britain, does not record the number of applicants who die before their claims are decided nor the average time taken to reject or assess a claim. Details of the percentage of cases submitted to a member of the board for decision within certain periods of registration are given in the board's annual reports. This and the other information requested is given in the following tables :


Column 391


                     Applications Received                   Number of Final Awards Made                                

Year ended 31 March |England and        |Scotland           |England and        |Scotland                               

                    |Wales                                  |Wales                                                      

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

1974                |9,873              |2,343              |7,272              |1,752                                  

1975                |11,561             |2,666              |8,811              |1,897                                  

1976                |13,717             |2,973              |9,501              |1,999                                  

1977                |16,786             |3,614              |11,750             |2,201                                  

1978                |17,019             |3,807              |11,592             |2,460                                  

1979                |18,078             |3,882              |13,901             |2,456                                  

1980                |18,948             |3,853              |14,659             |2,801                                  

1981                |20,613             |4,066              |17,355             |2,783                                  

1982                |22,099             |4,416              |14,820             |2,530                                  

1983                |24,635             |4,805              |16,498             |3,235                                  

1984                |26,828             |5,111              |17,930             |3,203                                  

1985                |29,050             |5,840              |17,123             |2,648                                  

1986                |33,420             |6,277              |19,977             |2,557                                  

1987                |35,957             |6,344              |18,796             |3,129                                  

1988                |35,940             |7,114              |17,906             |3,085                                  

1989                |36,285             |7,100              |23,721             |4,031                                  


                     Applications Received                   Number of Final Awards Made                                

Year ended 31 March |England and        |Scotland           |England and        |Scotland                               

                    |Wales                                  |Wales                                                      

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

1974                |9,873              |2,343              |7,272              |1,752                                  

1975                |11,561             |2,666              |8,811              |1,897                                  

1976                |13,717             |2,973              |9,501              |1,999                                  

1977                |16,786             |3,614              |11,750             |2,201                                  

1978                |17,019             |3,807              |11,592             |2,460                                  

1979                |18,078             |3,882              |13,901             |2,456                                  

1980                |18,948             |3,853              |14,659             |2,801                                  

1981                |20,613             |4,066              |17,355             |2,783                                  

1982                |22,099             |4,416              |14,820             |2,530                                  

1983                |24,635             |4,805              |16,498             |3,235                                  

1984                |26,828             |5,111              |17,930             |3,203                                  

1985                |29,050             |5,840              |17,123             |2,648                                  

1986                |33,420             |6,277              |19,977             |2,557                                  

1987                |35,957             |6,344              |18,796             |3,129                                  

1988                |35,940             |7,114              |17,906             |3,085                                  

1989                |36,285             |7,100              |23,721             |4,031                                  

Police Manpower (Wales)

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will indicate, in the case of each police authority in Wales, the criteria that weighed with him in reaching his decision on (a) how many additional police posts and (b) how many additional civilian posts he would allow to each authority for 1990-91 ; (2) if he will list the figures of additional money he will make available for 1990-91 to each of the police authorities in Wales to pay for the additional establishment of police officers and indicate whether this will cover in full the cost of filling those posts ; (3) if he will list the number of additional police posts he plans to allow for 1990-91 for each police authority in Wales, together with the present police establishment for each authority and the number of additional police posts requested by each of those authorities ;

(4) if he will list the number of additional posts for civilians, full-time or full-time equivalent, he plans to allow


Column 392

for 1990-91 for each police authority in Wales, together with the present civilian establishment for each authority and the number of additional civilian posts requested by each of those authorities ; (5) what sum he intends to make available to each police authority in Wales in order to fill additional civilian posts ;

(6) whether he will make it his policy to ensure that the finances that he makes available to each police authority in Wales are fully adequate to cover the whole cost of filling the increased number of posts for civilian support staff employed by each authority and filling the increased police posts in the establishment for 1990-91 with the most suitable and experienced candidates available, as well as maintaining other support services as a safe level.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : A table showing for each police force in Wales the number of police posts applied for, numbers approved, existing force establishment and civilian establishment, is set out as follows.


Column 391


                                      |Dyfed Powys   |Gwent         |North Wales<1>|South Wales                  

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

Police posts applied for              |-             |11            |10                                          

                                                                                                                 

Police posts approved with effect     |-             |2             |21            |31                           

  from 1 April 1990                                                                                              

Police officer establishment as at 1  |935           |1,007         |1,330         |3,137                        

  April 1989                                                                                                     

Number of civilians<2> posts as at 30 |228           |245           |423           |1,072                        

  September 1989                                                                                                 

<1> Eleven extra posts offered subject to police authority's confirmation that it will meet its share of the     

cost. (12 of the 21 posts are already held supernumerary to establishment.)                                      

<2> Part-time staff counted on a 2:1 basis. Traffic wardens not included.                                        

My right hon. and learned Friend considers applications for increases in police establishments on the basis of the demonstrated needs of forces and in the light of advice from Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary. The general criteria which govern assessment of applications for increases are set out in Home Office circulars 114/1983 and 106/1988, copies of which are available in the Library. One of these criteria is that police authorities should have signified their intention to meet their share of the costs of the posts applied for.

Under the normal police funding arrangements, the Government meet, through police specific grant, 51 per cent. of all police authorities' expenditure for police purposes. An additional contribution is made from central funds through revenue support grant, in the case of Welsh forces from the Welsh Office. It is for police authorities in Wales, as in England, to determine the resources to be made available to their forces.

Police civilian staff attract police specific grant. My right hon. and learned Friend's approval however is not required for their appointment in provincial forces. This is a matter for the police authorities.

Police Conduct (Photographs)

Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Hampshire on the photographing on Saturday 18 November, between 10.30 am and 11 am, at Brockenhurst hall in the New Forest, of members of the League Against Cruel Sports by a police photographer and how many other occasions similar photographs have been taken.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand from the chief constable of Hampshire that he decided to authorise the photographing of both hunt protestors and huntsmen as one response to an increasing number of breaches of the peace occurring at meets in that county.

Photographs were taken on the last three weekends in November.

New Prisons

Mr. Jack : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Kirkham remains on his list of definite sites for a new category B prison.

Mr. Mellor : We are considering this matter and I hope to write to my hon. Friend shortly.

Parole

Mr. Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to eliminate parole delays ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waddington : We have been increasingly concerned with the administrative arrangements which have led to unacceptable parole delays. Earlier this year, action was taken on several fronts to reduce these delays. A significant increase in staffing for the parole unit was approved and regular overtime working authorised. The unit has also been completely reorganised and certain procedures streamlined to enhance productivity. Additional members


Column 394

were appointed to the Parole Board ; and it has made a significant contribution to the effort by increasing its sittings and the number of cases dealt with at each one. But the need to train new staff, coupled with the advent of the summer leave season and the impact of transport difficulties, meant that the reduction in delays took some time to come through. However, a marked improvement has now been achieved. Delays are confined to those 30 per cent. of cases which must go to the Parole Board for advice. Owing to the growing number of inmates serving longer sentences whose cases must be referred to the board, our forecasts suggest that on the present basis, parole delays on these cases would continue until mid-1990. This is clearly unacceptable and further action is thus clearly necessary. We considered assigning yet more staff to the unit, but concluded that with the inevitable training requirement, this would not lead to an early elimination of delays. I have therefore decided to change the administrative arrangements underlying the advice given to me on which I take parole decisions.

Section 35 of the Criminal Justices Act 1972 enables me, having consulted the Parole Board, to define classes of cases for which I may authorise parole on the basis of local review committee advice alone. At present, about two-thirds of all parole cases are decided on the basis of such advice. I have consulted the Parole Baord and decided with its agreement, to extend the section 35 arrangements to include all sentences under four years. Every parole case will, of course, continue to be considered very carefully on its merits in the Home Office ; and where I believe that a second opinion would be helpful, I shall still ask the Parole Board to advise on the case. This action is likely to reduce the board's caseload by about a quarter. It will reduce the workload of the parole unit, freeing staff to deal more rapidly with existing backlogs. As a result, I expect that the present parole delays should generally be eliminated within about three months.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many individuals sought asylum in the United Kingdom in each year from 1980 to the latest available date in 1989 ;

(2) if he will list the number of individuals who were (a) granted asylum, (b) granted exceptional leave to remain in the United Kingdom and (c) removed having applied for asylum in each year from 1980 to 1989 to the latest available date.

Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 28 November 1989] : Information on the numbers of applications for refugee status in the United Kingdom, and of grants of refugee status and of exceptional leave, in the years 1980 to 1988, is published in table 5 of Home Office Statistical Bulletin Issue 25/89 "Refugee Statistics United Kingdom 1988". Provisional information for the first three quarters of 1989 has been provided to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Copies of both documents are in the Library.

Comprehensive information on asylum seekers who were removed in these years is not available.


Column 395

Sentencing

Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of alleged over-lenient sentencing have been referred to the Attorney-General under the provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 ; and how many sentences have been revised upwards in consequence.

The Attorney-General : I have been asked to reply.

Sixty-one cases of alleged unduly lenient sentencing have been referred to me. I have applied for leave to refer the sentencing in nine cases to the Court of Appeal. Leave has been granted in five such cases and sentences have been increased in four of the cases. I have withdrawn two cases in the light of later information and the remaining two cases await consideration by the court.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Satellite Dishes

Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council whether Members will be permitted to install television satellite dishes at the House (a) for non-parliamentary programming and (b) to receive live pictures of the Chamber.

Sir Geoffrey Howe : The reception of satellite television programmes in the House and its precincts is being considered by the Services Committee. Pending any final decision, the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee has resolved that no Member be allowed to make individual arrangements for reception of this service. I have no doubt that the Select Committee on Televising of Proceedings of the House will want to consider carefully the implications of any proposal to allow Members to receive in their rooms any satellite channel dedicated to continuous coverage of the House's proceedings, especially in the light of the Committee's decision not to accede to requests from Members to receive the clean feed direct from the Chamber.

Welsh Question Time

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will review the time available for oral questions to the Secretary of State for Wales to restore the total available time for these purposes to that prevailing before the establishment of the Department of Social Security.

Sir Geoffrey Howe : As the hon. Member will be aware, the questions roster is a matter for discussion and agreement through the usual channels. I have looked at the matter raised by the hon. Member but I do not believe that it would be appropriate to alter the existing arrangements at the present time. I will, however, keep the matter under review.

SCOTLAND

Community Charge

Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to give councils in Scotland discretion about levying the poll tax on dead people if the person has died within a very short time after the start of a new financial year such as the end of April.


Column 396

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : I have no plans to change the present arrangements under which regional and islands councils collect community charge arrears from the estates of people who have died. I believe that local authorities will want to use their powers sensitively, taking advice as necessary in relation to the circumstances of particular cases.

Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will take steps to ensure that notices of death are automatically passed from CCRO offices to poll tax administrators in Scotland with an instruction that the final notice of poll tax payment be made no later than one month from the date of notification by the registrar's office or by the family, whichever comes first.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Community charge billing and collection arrangements are a matter for individual levying authorities. I have no plans to change the statutory provisions under which they operate. I believe that authorities will want to use their powers sensitively, especially in relation to people who have recently died.

School Boards

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many schools are involved in by-elections for school boards for (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools.

Mr. Lang : The figures are 934 primary schools and 83 secondary schools.

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what has been the cost to date of school board elections ; (2) what is the projected cost of by-elections to be held for school boards ;

(3) what steps his Department is taking to offset the extra costs of by- elections to school boards.

Mr. Lang : Information on authorities' spending on school board elections and by-elections is not yet available. It is for individual authorities themselves to decide how much they spend on each element of their programmes within the overall resources available to them. Specific account was taken of authorities' estimates of the administrative costs of setting up and running school boards in the revenue support grant settlement for 1989-90.

Teachers

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has received the report on teacher shortage completed by the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lang : The report was requested by the Scottish Education Department as a contribution to the work of the planning group on teacher supply set up by my right hon. and learned Friend earlier this year. The report confirms that at present in Scotland there are no general difficulties in recruiting teaching staff for primary or secondary schools. It indicates, however, that some authorities, notably Strathclyde, expect difficulties in obtaining sufficient absence cover over the winter months. The information in the paper was taken into account in my recent proposals for target intakes to courses of teacher training in colleges of education for session 1990-91.


Column 397

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what guidance the Department has given to education authorities in respect of a pay increase for teachers for 1990.

Mr. Lang : It is the responsibility of the Scottish joint negotiating committee for teaching staff in school education (SJNC) to determine the level of pay increases for teachers in Scotland. In their negotiations on the 1990 settlement, employer representatives will require to take account of the overall level of financial resources available to authorities including central Government grants.

School Staffing Circular

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when the new school staffing circular is to be issued.

Mr. Lang : I have nothing at present to add to my reply to the hon. Member on 20 July 1989 at column 306.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give for each year since 1974 (a) the number of applications submited under the criminal injuries compensation scheme, (b) the number where an award was made, (c) the number where the applicant died before determination of the application, (d) for rejected applications, the average duration of applications submitted, from date of application to the date of determination and (e) for successful applications the average duration of applications submitted from date of application to date of receipt of the award.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Since the criminal injuries compensation scheme operates on a Great Britain basis, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to her today by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Training Schemes

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list in the Official Report the number of YTS and employment training trainees that there have been in Grampian region since these schemes were established, in total and broken down by district ; and how many trainees were in each instance offered full-time employment on the completion of their course.

Mr. Lang : The numbers of YTS and employment training entrants in Grampian region and in each district of the region since these training schemes were established are set out in the table :


Local Authority District  |Employment              |YTS                                              

                          |Training                                                                  

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

Gordon                    |128                     |1,027                                            

Banff/Buchan              |194                     |2,565                                            

Moray                     |318                     |2,398                                            

Aberdeen                  |2,111                   |10,346                                           

Total for Grampian Region |2,751                   |16,336                                           

Follow-up information on YTS completers in the Grampian region is available from year ended April 1987 onwards, and is set out in the table below :


Column 398


Percentage of YTS completers in  

full-time employment             

Year ended |per cent.            

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

March 1987 |50.0                 

March 1988 |75.1                 

March 1989 |87.1                 

At present, information of the number of employment training trainees who find full-time employment is not available. A 100 per cent. follow-up survey which will provide information on this is now under way.

Legal Aid

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will take steps to ensure that the next annual increases in legal aid remuneration will be effective from 1 April and that thereafter increases will be awarded on an annual basis.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : While it is our objective to avoid protracted negotiations on legal aid fee levels, no specific date can be set for their completion.

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consider extending the period within which criminal legal aid accounts must be submitted to the Scottish Legal Aid Board for payment following conclusion of the case.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : This matter will be considered in forthcoming discussions between the Scottish Home and Health Department, the Scottish Legal Aid Board and the Law Society of Scotland.

Birds

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will state the aims and objectives of the Nature Conservancy Council's overview of special protection areas to be designated under the European Council directive on the conservation of wild birds ; and when he expects the review to be completed.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The NCC was asked by environment departments to produce an overview setting out the requirements for the British series of special protection areas to ensure the conservation, survival and reproduction of species listed in annex 1 of the EC birds directive throughout their natural range in Great Britain ; the safeguard of important breeding, moulting, wintering and nesting sites of migratory birds not listed on annex 1 ; particular attention being paid to wetlands and especially those of international importance.

The draft overview was received at the beginning of November 1989.

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the sites where consultation with interested parties has been completed and which are awaiting designation under European Council directive 79/409 on the conservation of wild birds.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : None. The Scottish Development Department has consultations in hand on 12 possible sites for which the Nature Conservancy Council has submitted a detailed case.


Column 399

Fisheries

Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what figures were given in the supporting documents of the Hague Preference (Council Resolutions) 1976 for the United Kingdom quota for North sea haddock and cod species.

Mr. Lang : The documents associated with the Council Resolution of 3 November 1976 did not identify the appropriate levels of threshold for the Hague preference arrangements. However, subsequent working documents proposed thresholds for the United Kingdom of 60,000 tonnes for haddock, and 43,179 tonnes for cod, both for the North sea.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Sheepmeat Regime

Mr. Geraint Howells : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the definition of a partnership in relation to the application of the headage limits imposed under the reform of the sheepmeat regime.

Mr. Curry : Under the terms of EC Council regulation 3013/89, the headage limits applying to sheep annual premium will be applied individually to each member farmer of a group, association or other form of co-operation between producers. In the case of partnerships, the headage limits will be applied to each member farmer provided that the partnership involves reciprocal rights and obligations in relation to the keeping of sheep.

Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances

Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the current cash value of hill livestock compensatory allowances, the impact of the proposed new European regime and whether he has any plans to introduce a British top-up scheme to protect the cash value to British farmers.

Mr. Curry : Total payments of hill livestock compensatory allowances in the United Kingdom in 1989 are expected to be some £115 to £120 million. The decisions on HLCAs taken by the EC Council of Agriculture Ministers at its meeting on 20 and 21 November 1989 will not affect the 1990 HLCA scheme. The Government have not yet taken decisions on arrangements for subsequent years.

Milk Quotas

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the consequences for dairy farmers in England of the agreement on 21 November of European Community Agriculture Ministers (a) to increase European Community milk quotas by 1 per cent. and (b) to reduce guaranteed prices of butter and skimmed milk.

Mr. Curry : I am currently considering, with the Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland, for Scotland and for Wales, how best to distribute the additional 1 per cent. of quota now available for allocation to producers. The reductions in intervention prices may in the long run lead


Column 400

to lower market prices than would otherwise have been the case but much depends on the market management strategy followed by the EC Commission. At present market prices for butter and skimmed milk powder are well above the level of the intervention price.

Environmental Groups

Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he considers the political stance of the environmental groups with whom he has discussions before meeting them ; (2) if he will list all the environmental groups with whom he has had discussions since taking office ;

(3) what is the normal practice on meeting environmental groups whose philosophy is against the free market ;

(4) when he last received representations advocating a free market solution to environmental problems.

Mr. Maclean : I have met representatives from the Nature Conservancy Council, the Green Alliance, Friends of the Earth, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Council for the Protection of Rural England.

I have received a wide range of representations on environmental issues. None has specifically advocated a free market solution, although I am ready to listen to opinions from all quarters. I have the same approach in considering whether to meet environmental groups as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. In any meeting with environmental groups I look for a constructive exchange of views which can contribute to our understanding of the environmental issues that we face.


Next Section

  Home Page