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Column 585Mrs. Gillian Shephard : On 30 September 1975, 91,000 war widows were receiving a war widow's pension from this Department. On 30 September this year, the number was 56,176.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he intends to bring forward proposals on benefits for people with disabilities, arising from the office of population censuses and surveys report, before the turn of the current year ; and if he will make a statement.
Q29. Dr. Godman : To ask the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government have any proposals to improve both the occupational safety of United Kingdom fishermen and the safety of their fishing vessels as they go about their business.
The Prime Minister : The Fishing Vessels (Safety Provisions) Rules 1975 are currently under review. The review will take into account the provisions of the Torremolinos International Convention for the Safety of Fishing Vessels 1977 and any subsequent variations thereto which may be necessitated by the protocol to that convention which is currently under consideration by the International Maritime Organisation. Regulations made under the Safety at Sea Act 1986 to introduce safety training for entrants into the industry came into force during March this year.
The Prime Minister : I regularly meet business people and other individuals concerned with private charitable activity. My attention has also been drawn to the 12th edition of "Charitable Trends" recently published by the Charities Aid Foundations who have suggested ways of increasing further charitable giving by both private individuals and companies. I know that my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary and my noble Friend the Paymaster General have had contact with the Council for Charitable Support and others on this subject.
The Prime Minister : This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, including one this morning at which I joined the task force of Westminster residents designed to improve and protect the environment in Westminster. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Prime Minister how many times she has raised the issue of human rights in Turkey in the meetings of the Council of Ministers over the past two years ; and whether she will raise this matter again following the Commission's report on Turkey and the European Economic Community.
The Prime Minister : I have not raised Turkey's human rights record at a European Council meeting in the last two years. The European Commission's report on Turkey's EC application has not yet been submitted to the Council. When it is, we and other member states will consider it carefully, taking into account all relevant factors, including human rights.
Column 587The Prime Minister : Yes.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Prime Minister whether payments made by the European Commission in respect of objective 2 and objective 5(b) of the European regional fund will be treated in accordance with the correct application of the additionality principle ; and if she will ensure that Community funds make a contribution over and above that of spending already planned within the United Kingdom.
The Prime Minister : I confirm that receipts from the European regional development fund will be treated in accordance with the correct application of the additionality principle (article 9 of regulation (EEC) No. 4253/88). The Government's public expenditure plans naturally take account of the expected level of receipts from the Community.
Mr. Boyes : To ask the Prime Minister (1) if she will list the names and locations of the official ministerial residences in her gift ; and the cost of (a) upkeep and (b) entertaining for each year from 1977 to the present year for each building ;
(2) to which Ministers the official residences in her gift were allocated in 1988 ; and to which Ministers they are allocated today.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 11 December 1989] : In addition to 10 Downing street, 11 Downing street and 1 Carlton gardens, the Government own a number of other properties in London, including Admiralty house, which are used by Ministers who require them for their official duties. Chevening and Dorneywood are also available as ministerial residences under the terms of their trust deeds. Chevening in Kent was occupied from June 1983 until August 1989 by my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord President ; from August 1989 to November 1989 it was occupied by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor ; and is now occupied by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Dorneywood in Buckinghamshire was occupied from May 1979 to January 1988 by Lord Whitelaw ; from February 1989 to August 1989 it was occupied by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, the right hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) ; and is now occupied by my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord President.
Information on the costs of upkeep and entertaining is not held centrally.
Column 588proliferation at the European Economic Community Council of Heads of Government in Strasbourg on 8 December.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will publish in the Official Report, comparable figures for journalists to those given in his answer of 15 November, Official Report, column 279 , together with a table showing (i) actual earnings in each case in April, (ii) comparable earnings figures for manuals and non-manuals, (iii) the percentage of journalists earning less than £200, £300, £400 and £500, (iv) the average earnings of those earning more than £500 and (v) the number represented by the sample.
Mr. Nicholls : The increases in real earnings for journalists are provided in the table. The remaining available information is published in tables 86 and 92 of the 1979 and 1989 new earnings survey reports, copies of which are available in the Library. Figures of the average earnings of those earning more than £500 are not available.
Full-time adult male journalists in Great Britain |Percentage |increase --------------------------------------- Lowest decile |28 Lower quartile |35 Median |47 Higher quartile |67 Highest decile |52 Average earnings |48 Note: The increases shown are for April 1979 to April 1989 and do not relate to the same individuals at the different dates. Source: New Earnings Survey data deflated by the RPI (all items).
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will publish in the Official Report a table providing similar information to that given in his written answer of 15 November, Official Report, column 279 , concerning the increase in real earnings of male manual and non-manual workers in the decade to April.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people were referred from restart interviews between July and September, inclusive, to (a) a job, (b) a job club, (c) EAS, (d) a restart course, (e) employment training and (f) to any other specific outcomes ; and how many were interviewed in the same period.
Restart Counselling: July-September 1989 |Number ---------------------------------------------- Interviews |505,626 Referred to: (a) a job |68,942 (b) jobclub |46,222 (c) EAS |18,176 (d) Restart course |15,775 (e) Employment Training |88,886 (f) Other specific outcomes |145,500
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment pursuant to his answer of 23 November, Official Report, column 19, what proportion of staff he estimates had the opportunity to read the Martin report.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what requirement training and enterprise councils have to monitor the number of disabled people participating in Government-funded training and enterprise schemes.
Mr. Eggar : It will be a contractual requirement for TECs to monitor the number of people with disabilities participating in the training and enterprise programmes which they run, and to provide regular information to the Department of Employment.
Mr. Nicholls : Information is not available for Blyth Valley constituency. The latest information available is that there are 5, 614 trainees on employment training in the area covered by North Tyne area office, which includes Blyth Valley.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment why the section on graduate supply in the Training Agency's labour market report for Oxfordshire omits reference to the degree-level students at Oxford polytechnic ; and what action he will take to remedy this omission.
Column 590concerned is writing urgently to all recipients of the report apologising for the omission and including details of the significant contribution which Oxford polytechnic makes to the supply of graduates.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the implications for members of the Licensed Slaughterers and Animal Salvage Association of new Common Market health regulations.
Mr. Maclean : The proposal, if implemented as drafted, would have severe implications for members of the Licensed Slaughterers and Animal Salvage Association. We are therefore liaising closely with them in seeking arrangements to secure their long-term future under any new Community rules.
Mr. Amos : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Agriculture Council meeting on 11 December in Brussels, with particular regard to hill livestock compensatory allowances.
Mr. Gummer : I recently made the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (No. 2) Order 1989 (S.I. 1989/2326) which will extend indefinitely the ban on the use of animal protein derived from ruminants in feed for cattle and other ruminants.
The current prohibition, which was due to expire on 31 December this year, was introduced to prevent this practice which is considered to be the probable cause of BSE. It was made clear when the original ban came into effect that it would be continued unless processing methods sufficient to destroy the causal agent were identified and were widely available. At present no such method of processing has been indentified and further research is needed on the time-temperature combinations necessary to destroy the BSE agent.
Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the figures for premature voluntary release from the Army for the second and third quarters of 1989 in the form of the reply on 18 May, Official Report , columns 275-76 .
Army premature voluntary release figures for second and third quarters of 1989 ------------------------------------------------ 1989 Second quarter |194 |11 |1,051|32 Third quarter |238 |11 |1,018|26
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Army exercises in West Germany have been (i) prohibited and (ii) limited by central or local government in 1987 and 1988 and what has been the effect on the training programme of the British Army of the Rhine and the Berlin Brigade.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : I am not aware of any Army exercise in West Germany that was prohibited by central or local government in 1987 or 1988. All Army exercises in the Federal Republic and Berlin are planned and developed in close consultation with the appropriate central and local government agencies. Wherever possible, and taking due account of the need to maintain operational readiness, the Army has been more than willing to take their views into account when planning exercises, so as to minimise the impact of Army training on local communities and the environment. This has resulted--both in the Federal Republic and elsewhere--in increasing constraints which affect the realism and hence training value of some exercises. However, with careful and sensible planning it has been possible to work within these limitations.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many SA80 rifles have been delivered for use by the Army ; how many have been subsequently found to be defective ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alan Clark : At the 8 December 1989, Royal Ordnance plc had delivered 91,640 SA80 individual weapons. Of those, 2,106--that is 2.3 per cent.--have been returned or are awaiting return to Royal Ordnance plc for rectification.
Column 592stationed in the British Army of the Rhine at 1 April in each of the past 10 years (i) private, (ii) staff sergeant,(iii) 2nd lieutenant, (iv) captain, (v) major and(vi) lieutenant- colonel.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The purchasing power in Germany of the salaries of service personnel, when taken together with their local overseas allowance, is broadly comparable with the purchasing power of their salaries alone when in the United Kingdom. Local overseas allowance is reviewed regularly to take account of changes in prices, both in the United Kingdom and in Germany, and of changes in the exchange rate.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the basic rates of pay for (i) corporal 1st class band 6 on technicians rate of pay, and (ii) sergeant 1st class vehicle mechanic on trade pay.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Corporal technicians are paid in either band 2 or 3 depending on trade. Their pay also varies with their length of engagement. Sergeants are no longer classified as 1st or 2nd class for pay purposes and their pay rates vary only with pay band and length of engagement. Vehicle mechanics are in pay band 5 or 6 depending on the types of vehicles on which they are trained. Daily rates of pay introduced with effect from 1 April 1989 for corporal 1st class technicians are as follows :
|Band 2|Band 3 |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------- Scale A (less than 6 years) |32.55 |35.78 Scale B (6 to 9 years) |32.85 |36.08 Scale C (9 years or more) |33.30 |36.53
Current daily rates of pay for sergeant vehicle mechanics are as follows :
|Band 5|Band 6 |£ |£ ----------------------------- Scale A |35.54 |39.07 Scale B |35.84 |39.37 Scale C |36.29 |39.82
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in view of the current shortage of personnel, he will give approval for non-commissioned officers with 22 years or more to be appointed second-in-command at company level in the Army.
Column 593Mr. Archie Hamilton : The Army does not post even its most senior non-commissioned officers as second-in-commands at company level because to do so would mean that in many cases they would be filling posts ranking above junior officers. Opportunities do, however, exist for suitable warrant officers and senior non-commissioned officers to be commissioned.
Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Challenger tanks are at the moment out of commission in the British Army of the Rhine because of lack of spares ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The level of operational availability of the Challenger main battle tank is classified information. Problems have been encountered in relation to the supply of certain spares, but appropriate measures are in hand to restore the situation.
Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the precise causes of delays experienced because of the unreliability of the new AS1 rifle in bringing it into general use ; when it will be reliable enough to be issued ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alan Clark : The designation "AS1 rifle" is not one which we use : the individual weapon now being issued is the SA80 of which nearly 90,000 are currently in service. Of these, 2.3 per cent. will be returned to the manufacturer for rectification following mechanical defects which have become apparent during extreme service use.
Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he estimates that the steering and braking difficulties with Warrior armoured personnel carriers will be remedied ; what effect these have had on their in-service use ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The difficulties have now been remedied, although some further work will be carried out on the cooling oil circuit over the coming year. The effect on service use has been minor.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the basis for awarding ex-gratia payments to the widows of service men killed in Northern Ireland prior to 1973 ; on what grounds it was decided that those payments did not set a precedent for other groups of pensioners ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The extra payments were designed mainly to help the widows and families of those younger men who had no entitlement under the occupational pension scheme, which was at the time under review. Where entitlement did exist under the occupational scheme, this was taken fully into account in determining the size of ex-gratia payment to be made. Some account was also taken of any lump sums awarded as compensation by the Northern Ireland Courts. These arrangements applied to those regular service men or members of the Ulster Defence Regiment killed or injured
Column 594as a result of terrorist activity in Northern Ireland, and were designed to recognise the exceptional circumstances at that time. They did not represent retrospection of the revised provisions which were introduced within the armed forces pension scheme for those who gave service on or after 31 March 1973.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what would have been the cost since October 1975 of paying pensions to those war widows widowed before 1973 at the same rate as post-1973 widows, for each year for which figures are available.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The figures requested are not available on a year-by-year basis. Broad estimates of the cost of paying attributable forces family pensions to the widows of service men whose last day of service was before 31 March 1973, at the level of awards current at the time of estimation, have been made on a limited number of occasions. The most recent such estimate is that the cost would now be in the region of £200 million a year.
Mr. Freeman : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health expects to announce regional health authority cash allocations for 1990-91 very shortly. Regions can then decide on allocations to districts. There will be no reduction in resources for Mersey region despite a falling population.