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Column 232

Impact Foundation India

Leprosy Disability Prevention and Limitation

Leonard Cheshire Foundation Ethiopia

Medical Education and Rehabilitation Centre

Malaysia

Far East Region Training Programme

Video Training

Richmond Fellowship India

Bangalore Pilot Project, Mental Health Rehabilitation

Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind Bangladesh

Community Based Rehabilitation

Manpower Development Programme and Primary Eye Care

Malawi

Ophthalmic Assistants Training

Solomon Islands

Eye Care Services in the Pacific

Further assistance for the rehabilitation of people with disabilities is provided through the heads of mission gift scheme, the heads of mission small projects scheme and the British volunteer programme ; a list of these is not readily available.

The overseas aid programme will continue to respond positively to requests to provide assistance for the rehabilitation of people with disabilities. It will also continue to support programmes aimed at combating tropical diseases which result in disabling conditions.

Sri Lanka (Aid)

Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, further to his reply of 29 November to the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth, what is his forecast for aid for Sri Lanka for 1990-91 ; what type of projects in Sri Lanka are likely to attract British overseas aid ; and what additional aid will be made available to Sri Lanka following the damage and injury caused by civil disturbance.

Mr. Maude : Britain supports a wide range of projects in Sri Lanka in the education, power, roads and natural resources sectors. Last year a grant of £20 million was signed for reconstruction aid, including the provision of vehicles, railway track, hospital and educational equipment, and support for NGO programmes. The grant has not yet been fully allocated to specific uses, and projects under consideration with the Sri Lankan Government include road rehabilitation and forestry. Britain is also considering providing balance of payments support as part of an economic reform programme which the Sri Lankan authorities are discussing with the IMF and IBRD. Aid expenditure in 1990-91 is uncertain at this stage, and will depend upon a number of factors, including any delays caused by civil disturbances.

Market Research

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many market research and sample surveys were carried out by or for his Department in the last 12 months ; what was the cost of each ; what was the total cost ; how many were carried out


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in house ; how many were carried out for his Department by outside organisations ; and what percentage of the total expenditure was paid to outside organisations.

Mr. Sainsbury : No market research or sample surveys have been undertaken in house in the past 12 months. In this period, one sample survey was carried out by an outside organisation at a cost of £10, 470.75.

Public Appointments

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many persons above the age of (a) 60, (b) 65 and (c) 70 years he has appointed to public bodies in each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Sainsbury : The information is not immediately available, and I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Immigration Service Union

Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why his Department decided not to recognise the Immigration Service Union or to deduct membership contributions for its members seconded from the Home Office to his Department.

Mr. Sainsbury : Immigration service officers serving in Foreign and Commonwealth Office posts overseas remain members of the Home Civil Service. Any negotiations on pay and conditions of service of Immigration Service Union members overseas are conducted by the Immigration Service Union with the Home Office and/or Treasury as appropriate. The question of formal Foreign and Commonwealth Office recognition therefore does not arise.

South Africa

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of South Africa about the need to treat all British citizens equally with regard to visa requirements.

Mr. Maude : We would of course be concerned if evidence was presented of discrimination against a British citizen on grounds of colour by any country in the operation of their visa regime.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set up an inquiry into the working of the United Kingdom's visa treaty with South Africa.

Mr. Maude : The United Kingdom has no visa treaty with South Africa.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received regarding the South African Government's guidelines for British citizens who travel to that country of (a) European and (b) not pure European descent ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maude : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has received no such representations.


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Poland and Hungary

Mr. Steel : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the amount and types of economic assistance currently being given to Poland and Hungary ; and what is the planned future level and types of such assistance.

Mr. Maude : I refer the right hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, gave my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, North-East (Mr. Kirkhope) on 29 November, at column 318. With regard to future amounts and types of assistance, the know -how funds for Poland and Hungary are expected to continue for five years : it is not possible at this stage to say whether additional assistance will be made available in the future.

Hong Kong

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many orphans there are at present in the camps in Hong Kong ; how they are to be repatriated ; and what measures he will entake to ensure a satisfactory result.

Mr. Maude [pursuant to the reply, 4 December 1989, c. 26] : No figures are available for the number of orphans in the camps in Hong Kong, but there are estimated to be about 1,000 unaccompanied minors. The Hong Kong Government are discussing with the UNHCR the establishment of special procedures under the comprehensive plan of action for dealing with unaccompanied minors, with the aim of identifying the most humane and appropriate course in each individual case. This might mean repatriation where the child's parents or closest relatives are in Vietnam, or resettlement where the nearest family ties are overseas.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Personal Debt

115. Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the estimate of the current level of personal debt in the United Kingdom.

116. Mr. Cunliffe : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the estimate of the current level of personal debt in the United Kingdom.

117. Mr. George Robertson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the estimate of the current level of personal debt in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Ryder : Figures for personal sector debt are given in "Financial Statistics" table 14.4. The amount outstanding at end June 1989, as shown in the November issue, was about £378 billion. An analysis of the greater part of this debt using an alternative instrument classification and showing the amount regarded as consumer credit is given in "Financial Statistics" table 9.3.

Exporters

118. Mr. Salmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the effect upon exporters of current Government policies on interest rates and the pound sterling exchange rate.


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119. Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if his Department has assessed the effect upon exporters of current Government policies on interest rates and the pound sterling exchange rate.

120. Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the effect upon exporters of current Government policies on interest rates and the pound sterling exchange rate.

Mr. Ryder : A forecast of exports for 1990 is given in the Autumn Statement.

Manufacturing Investment

121 Mr. Sumberg : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what amount investment by manufacturing industry in the north-west increased during 1988.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Regional information for 1988 is not yet available. Net capital expenditure by manufacturing industries in the north -west in 1987 was £1,204 million, compared with £1,000 million in 1986. The corresponding figures for the United Kingdom as a whole are £9,754 million and £8,705 million. These figures are expressed in current prices. Constant price estimates are not made, because regional price indices are not compiled.

House Purchase

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate at 1989-90 income levels the cost to the Exchequer of (a) raising the ceiling on mortgage interest relief from £30,000 to £50,000 and (b) raising the ceiling for exemption from stamp duty on land and buildings from £30,000 to £60,000.

Mr. Lilley : (a) The direct revenue cost at 1989-90 income levels of raising the ceiling on mortgage interest relief from £30,000 to £50,000 is estimated to be about £900 million. This estimate makes no allowance for any consequential change to the distribution of outstanding mortgages. It is based on a projection of the 1987-88 survey of personal incomes, and is therefore provisional.

(b) An increase in the stamp duty threshold for land and buildings from £30,000 to £60,000 is estimated to cost about £210 million at forecast 1989-90 levels.

Third World Debt

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will indicate what general guidance is given to banking institutions in the United Kingdom about the total proportion of Third world debt which would be appropriate for them to consider as irrecoverable for taxation purposes, as defined in his answer of 15 November, Official Report, column 330, when writing off amounts of such debt in any one year.

Mr. Lilley : The Inland Revenue issued a statement of practice on 25 January 1983, a copy of which is in the Library, setting out the general principles which it regarded as applying in law to the tax treatment of sovereign and commercial debt. As to the amount, the Bank of England has issued a matrix to the banks to assist them in the process of setting provisions for supervisory purposes ; the Inland Revenue has indicated that this should provide relevant material for considering the extent to which specific provisions are properly deductible for tax purposes.


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Market Research

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many market research and sample surveys were carried out by or for the Central Office of Information in the last 12 months ; what was the cost of each ; what was the total cost ; how many were carried out in-house ; how many were carried out for the Central Office of Information by outside organisations ; and what percentage of the total expenditure was paid to outside organisations.

Mr. Ryder : One hundred and forty-four separate research projects were undertaken by COI on behalf of various Government Departments in 1988- 89. The total cost of these, including VAT, was £2.3 million. Interviewing, data analysis and the majority of report preparation was undertaken for COI by specialist commercial organisations, usually appointed on tender : some 70 per cent. of the above cost was paid to those outside organisations. The details of each project is a matter for the Department which commissioned the research.

Income Tax

Mr. Allen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what research has been conducted into the effect of the ending of all personal income tax allowances and in particular the effects on the poverty trap ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : All options for reforming the tax system are kept under review.

VAT

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total repayment of value added tax to local authorities for the last complete period.

Mr. Ryder : Total value added tax repaid to local authorities in the last financial year, 1988-89, was £1,479 million and in the current financial year, up to the end of October, was £1,030 million.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to review the repayments of value added tax to local authorities.

Mr. Ryder : There are no plans at present for a review of the provisions of section 20 of the VAT Act 1983.

Relocation

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list all office relocations of his Department's staff since May 1979, stating in each case the location of origin and the location of transfer, together with the numbers of staff transferred.

Mr. Ryder : No relocations of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Department's staff have taken place since May 1979.

Married Couples (Taxation)

Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the married couple's allowance, which is to be introduced in April 1990, will be worth as a proportion of the current available personal allowances.


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Mr. Lilley [holding answer 4 December 1989] : The value of the married couple's allowance in 1989-90 terms is £1,590, equivalent to the different between the present single person's and married man's allowances. My right hon. Friend will announce the level of allowances for 1990-91 in the usual way, in next year's Budget.

Mortgage Interest Relief

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate at 1989-90 income levels the level to which the ceiling on mortgage interest relief could be raised if the annual cost to the Exchequer were limited to (a) £0.25 billion, (b) £0.5 billion, (c) £1 billion and (d) £2 billion.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 4 December 1989] : Provisional estimates of the costs of increasing the ceiling for mortgage relief above £30,000 are given in the table. All estimates exclude behavioural effects which, for the higher ceilings quoted, would be substantial.


Direct revenue cost at 1989-90      

income levels                       

£ million   |Ceiling (£)            

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

250         |34,000                 

500         |38,000                 

1,000       |54,000                 

2,000       |no limit               

Retail Price Index

Mr. Wray : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what items are included in the calculations for the retail price index of (a) Japan, (b) West Germany, (c) France, (d) the Netherlands, (e) Denmark, (f) Sweden, (g) Canada, (h) the United States of America and (i) the United Kingdom.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 4 December 1989] : Each national survey office includes a great number of items in its retail price index, details of which are published in national statistical sources. Copies of the relevant material have been placed in the House of Commons Library. The information requested for the United Kingdom was published by the Department of Employment in the Employment Gazette for April 1989.

Manufacturing Industry

Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the change in manufacturing output in (a) 1964 to 1970, (b) 1970 to 1974, (c) 1974 to 1979 and (d) 1979 to the latest date available ; and what was the change in manufacturing output for (i) West Germany, (ii) Japan, (iii) USA, (iv) France, (v) Italy, (vi) Benelux countries and (vii) Spain during the same periods.

Mr. Ryder [holding answer 4 December 1989] : Following is the information requested.


(annual average percentage change)                     

               |1964-70|1970-74|1974-79|1979-88        

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

United Kingdom |2.8    |2.2    |-0.6   |0.8            

United States  |4.4    |4.7    |3.8    |3.9            

Japan          |13.7   |5.1    |3.3    |3.9            

Germany        |5.5    |2.0    |1.9    |1.1            

France         |5.1    |5.9    |1.4    |0.4            

Italy          |6.9    |4.5    |2.2    |1.5            

Spain          |12.1   |11.1   |0.3    |1.5            

Belgium        |5.0    |5.2    |0.9    |1.3            

Luxembourg     |2.9    |5.0    |-2.3   |2.9            

Netherlands    |6.9    |4.7    |1.6    |1.7            

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

Soft Loan Facility

Mr. Mans : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the future of the aid and trade provision soft loan facility.

Mrs. Chalker : In 1986, a soft loan facility within the aid and trade provision of the overseas aid programme was established for an initial period of five years, ending March 1991. It has enabled ATP grant funds to support long-term loans to developing countries, at concessional rates of interest, provided by private banks and guaranteed by ECGD, for agreed sound development projects. This complemented the existing mixed credit instrument by which ATP grants are provided normally in association with export credits to help finance the capital costs of sound development projects.

A review of the soft loan facility has now been completed. It has been agreed that the facility should be extended beyond March 1991. The method of ATP support will, however, be changed so that ATP funds used to reduce the rate of interest to the borrower, will be provided over the construction period of the project and during the drawdown period of the loan, rather than as at present over the full life of the loan.

The proposed new method of funding will enable us to dispense with the need for separate allocations of ATP funds for mixed credits and soft loans. This will enable us to respond more flexibly to individual circumstances using whichever financing mechanism is the more cost effective. The level of the overall ATP allocation within the aid programme is a matter for Ministers to review annually, but no significant future changes are seen at present from current levels of ATP project support.

WALES

Sheep

Mr. Geraint Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many lowland sheep farmers in each of the Welsh counties have 500 breeding ewes or over ; and what were the corresponding figures for each of the last five years.

Mr. Peter Walker : The number of holdings outside the less favourable areas with 500 breeding ewes or over is shown in the following table :


At June:                            

                |1986|1987|1988     

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

Powys           |<1>3|<1>3|4        

Gwynedd         |40  |40  |41       

Dyfed           |22  |27  |28       

Clwyd           |35  |34  |33       

South Glamorgan |7   |6   |9        

Mid Glamorgan   |3   |4   |5        

West Glamorgan  |3   |4   |3        

Gwent           |15  |17  |17       

<1> Where fewer than 3 holdings are 

involved the precise number has     

been withheld in order to protect   

individual farmers'                 

confidentiality.                    

Corresponding figures for earlier years are not available.

Mr. Geraint Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what information he has on (a) the average size of sheep flocks in Wales and (b) comparable sheep flocks in the rest of the European Economic Community ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Walker : (a) At June 1988 the average size of a sheep flock in Wales was 587 (head).

(b) the latest comparable information available is in respect of 1985 and is shown in the following table :


Average size of sheep flock                 

Country                     |Number         

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

Wales                       |540            

United Kingdom              |404            

Belgium                     |18             

Denmark                     |16             

Federal Republic of Germany |27             

Greece                      |38             

France                      |69             

Ireland                     |91             

Italy                       |46             

Luxembourg                  |18             

Netherlands                 |41             

Europe (10)                 |94             

Nursery Factories (Ceredigion)

Mr. Geraint Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action has been taken in the current year to build nursery factories in Ceredigion ; and what further action is proposed.

Mr. Peter Walker : The Development Board for Rural Wales's factory construction programme for 1989-90 does not contain any proposals to build nursery factories in Ceredigion. I am currently considering the board's proposed factory construction programme for 1990-91 and expect to make an announcement in the new year.

Food Poisoning

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what actions were taken by his Department to establish the causes of food poisoning in Wales between the publication of the annual notification rate for 1985 and April 1989 ;

(2) what steps were taken by his Department between the publication of the 1985 returns for notification of reported cases of food poisoning in Wales and April 1989 to establish whether rises in the number of cases were linked to changes in food handling in the home ;

(3) what steps were taken by his Department between the publication of the 1985 returns for notification of reported cases of food poisoning in Wales and April 1989 to establish whether rises in the number of cases were linked to changes in food production ; (4) what steps were taken by his Department between the publication of the 1985 returns for notification of reported cases of food poisoning in Wales and April 1989 to establish whether rises in the number of cases were linked to changes in agriculture ;

(5) what steps were taken by his Department between the publication of the 1985 returns for notification of


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reported cases of food poisoning in Wales and April 1989 to establish whether rises in the number of cases were linked to changes in food technology ;

(6) what steps were taken by his Department between the publication of the 1985 returns for notification of reported cases of food poisoning in Wales and April 1989 to establish whether rises in the number of cases were linked to changes in food distribution ; (7) what steps were taken by his Department between the publication of the 1985 returns for notification of reported cases of food poisoning in Wales and April 1989 to establish whether rises in the number of cases were linked to changes in retailing practices ; (8) what steps were taken by his Department between the publication of the 1985 returns for notification of reported cases of food poisoning in Wales and April 1989 to establish whether rises in the number of cases were linked to changes in catering.

Mr. Grist : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply I gave on 30 November at column 342. The notifications to the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys and the analyses by the communicable disease surveillance centre will not necessarily indicate the point in the food chain where contamination might have occurred. The purpose of the Food Safety Bill is to strengthen food law and improve controls across the whole of the food chain in order to minimise the incidence of food poisoning.

Area Health Authorities

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many (a) chairpersons and (b) members of area health authorities in Wales he has appointed since June 1987, by reference to each authority area.

Mr. Grist : The information is shown in the following table :


Authority        Chairmen<1>     Members                                        

                |All re-        |New            |Re-                            

                |appointments   |appointments<2>|appointments<2>                

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

Clwyd           |2              |4              |2                              

Dyfed           |1              |2              |4                              

Gwent           |-              |4              |-                              

Gwynedd         |-              |6              |-                              

Mid Glamorgan   |1              |4              |4                              

Pembrokeshire   |-              |1              |4                              

Powys           |-              |1              |4                              

South Glamorgan |1              |5              |3                              

West Glamorgan  |-              |6              |1                              

                |------         |------         |------                         

                |5              |33             |22                             

<1> The Chairman in Clwyd has been reappointed twice during the period in       

question.                                                                       

<2> Three people were appointed and later reappointed during the period in      

question and appear in both columns.                                            

Community Psychiatric Nurses

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many community psychiatric nurses are employed in each area health authority in Wales ; and how many vacancies currently exist for such nurses.

Mr. Grist : Information on community psychiatric nurses in post is shown in the following table. Information on vacancies is not available centrally :


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Community psychiatric nurses in post as at 30 September 1989    

(whole-time equivalents)                                        

                |Mental illness |Mental handicap                

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

Clwyd           |49.1           |13.0                           

East Dyfed      |21.1           |4.4                            

Gwent           |31.5           |16.2                           

Gwynedd         |27.0           |23.0                           

Mid Glamorgan   |31.9           |13.9                           

Pembrokeshire   |5.0            |-                              

Powys           |19.0           |6.5                            

South Glamorgan |43.7           |12.0                           

West Glamorgan  |25.0           |11.4                           

Working For Patients"

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received on the White Paper, "Working for Patients" ; how many were in favour of the proposals ; and how many were against.

Mr. Grist : The Department has received several hundred representations on this White Paper from MPs, MEPs, professionals and other representative bodies, trade unions, health authorities and the general public. A detailed analysis could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.

Therapists

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many students are attending colleges and universities in Wales which will lead to qualifications entitling them to practise as (a) speech therapists, (b) occupational therapists, (c)

physiotherapists and (d) sign language interpreters.


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