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99. Mr. Hind : To ask the Attorney-General how many representations he has received in the last year urging him to introduce legislation to try Nazi war criminals from eastern Europe in the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
The Attorney-General : Any representations addressed to me on this topic would have been transferred immediately to my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary, and I have no records of their number.
100. Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Attorney-General if he will arrange for statistics to be placed in the Library showing the number of convictions in England and Wales founded upon uncorroborated confessions obtained by the police for each of the years 1980 to date.
Column 53The Attorney-General : No. The information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Such evidence is considered by the Crown prosecution service in the course of its review of each such case in accordance with the code for Crown prosecutors.
The average waiting times for the group for the period April to October 1989 are 8.4 weeks for those defendants in custody and 9.7 weeks for those on bail.
The Attorney-General : Yes. A record of the substantial achievements and progress of the Crown prosecution service for the year ending in July, upon which the service deserves congratulations is contained in the Director of Public Prosecutions' annual report, a copy of which is in the Library. I commend it to hon. Members. I welcome this opportunity to record my full confidence in the Crown prosecution service and my support for its continuing progress.
representations he has received on the current litigation brought by haemophilia patients against health authorities and other Government agencies.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Attorney-General how many duty solicitors' schemes have been established in England and Wales for each year over the last 10 years ; how many have ceased to exist ; how many are still in operation ; and if he will list the areas concerned.
Legal aid legislation has provided for duty solicitors at magistrates' courts since 1983 and at police stations since 1986. Cover has been established at 488 magistrates' courts and 1,780 police stations. Where cover ceases the Legal Aid Board seeks to restore it as soon as possible. Duty solicitor cover has ceased, but has not yet been restored, at four police stations : Hatfield, St. Albans, Welwyn Garden City and Sevenoaks.
Mr. Heddle : To ask the Attorney-General whether he will give consideration to introducing a consolidation measure to incorporate the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, part 2, and the Law of Property Act 1969.
No, given that these Acts are generally working well as they stand.
Rev. William McCrea : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether students at Loughry college, who may be part-time members of the security forces, will be permitted to play Gaelic games under the auspices of the Gaelic Club at Loughry ; and whether the Irish Republic's tricolour will be permitted to be flown at Gaelic games being played at Loughry.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Loughry college strongly encourages all students to organise and participate in those sports or recreational activities in which they are interested. Gaelic football is a popular choice among students.
The college expects each club or society to be student-led and to manage its own affairs. This may include affiliation with the governing body for a particular sport such as the Gaelic Athletic Association or the Irish Rugby Football Association (Ulster Branch). I congratulate the college club on its success in the all-Ireland agricultural colleges competitions.
We are unaware of any student being refused permission to play Gaelic games because he or she is a part-time member of the security forces.
Column 55The flag which may be flown at Loughry college is the Union flag. It is flown from the official flag pole on appointed days.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the reasons for the delay in the hearing by the medical board of the claim by Mrs. D. Lowe ; and when he now expects the hearing to take place.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Housing benefit expenditure has not been reduced over the past year ; in fact, estimated spending in 1989-90 (including community charge rebates) is 17 per cent. higher than in 1988- 89.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the number and value of food vouchers issued by the Newcastle (Saxon house) and Newcastle (Bentinck road) offices of his Department during the period April to October.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The number of food vouchers issued by the Newcastle (Saxon house) office between 1 April and 31 October 1989 is four at a value of £100.30. The Newcastle (Bentinck road) office issued no vouchers in that period.
Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment his Department has made of the special needs of young offenders on probation and at risk of custody, particularly with reference to any delay in processing a claim.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The Government continue to monitor the effects of the recent changes in social security provision. As part of this monitoring the Department of Social Security maintains close liaison with the Home Office's probation services. We are also looking carefully at the findings of the recent research carried out for the Association of Chief Officers of Probation by the University of Lancaster, which indicates that offenders and their families have problems in getting the social security benefits to which they are entitled.
Income support claims are dealt with on average within five days, with urgent claims being processed well within that period. Moreover, as a result of our monitoring I announced on 27 November a number of procedural improvements designed to ensure that claims from young people, including those from young offenders, are dealt with as effectively and sympathetically as possible. These changes demonstrate the Government's willingness to act when areas of genuine difficulty are identified.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has for consultation with disabled people and their families following the publication of the changes in social security benefits for disabled people.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The amount of money gained from the sale of surplus married quarters before 1 April 1987 is not identifiable without disproportionate effort. Receipts since then are as follows :
Financial |Receipts year |£ million ------------------------------- <1>1989-90 |15.721 1988-89 |55.627 1987-88 |27.010 <1> To 30 September 1989.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the maintenance backlog at 1 April for each year since 1979 for (a) unavoidable and essential repairs, and (b) urgent repairs for married quarters.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The backlog of unavoidable repairs at 1 April 1989 was estimated at £323 million, although it cannot be guaranteed that this is precisely accurate in every respect, given that assessments of this kind are a matter of professional judgment. Figures for previous years were either not collated at all or, where they were, not in such a way as to permit comparison between one year and another, as the definition and interpretation of what constitutes backlog has been progressively revised from year to year. At no time has the backlog of maintenance of married quarters been separately identified. Consequently the information requested could not be obtained at all or without incurring disproportionate cost.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Yes. There have been several occasions since 1981 when surplus married quarters have been sold to housing associations. However, records are not kept in a way which makes specific purchasers readily identifiable, and to give details of all such transactions would entail disproportionate effort. Properties which were temporarily surplus to MOD requirements have been leased to a housing association in recent years but there are no such leases at present.
Column 57Mr. Archie Hamilton : Yes. There have been several occasions since 1981 when surplus married quarters have been sold to local authorities. However, records are not kept in a way which makes specific purchasers readily identifiable and to give details of all such transactions would entail disproportionate effort. Properties which are temporarily surplus to MOD requirements may be offered for leasing to local authorities when circumstances permit. There are currently over 500 such properties leased to local authorities throughout the United Kingdom.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many hours' flight time was used by the Royal Air Force Harrier aircraft to travel between their base and the Harrier public house on 9 November.
(2) whether any of the costs to the Royal Air Force of the overflight of the Harrier public house by Royal Air Force Harrier aircraft on 9 November were reimbursed by the brewery or the licensee.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The overflight of the Harrier public house was undertaken as part of a routine training sortie. It is not our practice to give information on the costs of individual sorties. However, no additional costs were incurred as a result of the overflight, and there was therefore no requirement for reimbursement.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether those Royal Air Force personnel present at the Harrier public house, Bowerhill, Wiltshire on 9 November were on official duty ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who instigated the overflight of the Harrier public house by Royal Air Force Harrier aircraft on 9 November ; and whether ministerial approval was given before the flypast.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The overflight took place in response to a request from the publican of the Harrier public house at Bowerhill, Melksham. It was approved by a senior RAF commander as part of a routine training sortie, at no extra cost to public funds.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any of the costs to the Royal Navy of the overflight of the Thames by Sea Harrier aircraft on 11 November were reimbursed by the organisers of the Lord Mayor's show.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who instigated the overflight of the Thames by Royal Navy Sea Harrier aircraft on 11 November ; and whether ministerial approval was given before the flypast.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (i) Ministry of Defence sites not used by United States forces and (ii) Ministry of Defence sites used by United States forces are currently being guarded by private security firms.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many new posts will be required for the Ministry of Defence police under the proposed scheme to upgrade the perimeter fence at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston ; and what is the cost, as estimated by his Department, of the provision of these posts ;
Column 59(2) if he has recently reviewed security at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston ;
(3) if he will make a statement regarding the proposed upgrading of the perimeter fence at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston, including the expected total cost of the scheme ; (4) what is the cost, as estimated by his Department, of building a new 7.5 km weld mesh fence around the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston ;
(5) what is the cost, as estimated by his Department, of laying a patrol track between the present outer and proposed inner fences under the proposed scheme to upgrade the perimeter fence at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston ; and what is the proposed surface material for this track ;
(6) what is the cost, as estimated by his Department, of realigning the existing perimeter fence at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston to accommodate proposed improvements ; (7) what is the cost, as estimated by his Department, of the proposed new perimeter lighting system at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston ;
(8) what is the cost, as estimated by his Department, of the proposed remote controlled closed circuit television system and its associated control room to be installed at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston ;
(9) what is the cost, as estimated by his Department, of the proposed intruder detection system to be mounted on the inner fence at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston ;
Mr. Neubert : Security at AWE is subject to regular review and it is not our policy to give details of operational security measures. We have decided to upgrade the perimeter fence system at Aldermaston and are seeking proposals from industry for the following elements :
1. Realignment of the existing chain link fence where necessary. 2. A new inner fence around the 7.5km perimeter of weldmesh construction.
3. An intruder detection system mounted on the inner fence. 4. A new perimeter lighting system.
5. A CCTV surveillance system with remote control and monitoring room.
6. All associated services.
7. Steam main alterations and diversions.
8. Roadwork extensions and alterations.
9. A patrol track between the inner and outer fences.
10. Entrance gate modifications.
11. Modification of existing and provision of new MDP posts. 12. Undergrounding of SEB overhead 33KV line and diversion of 11KV underground cable.
It is not appropriate to disclose our cost estimates while tenders are being sought and any subsequently agreed price will, of course, be commercially confidential.