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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 10 January 1990


Local Management Schemes

Mr. Norris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list those authorities whose schemes as submitted for his approval for the local management of schools contained insufficient information for determination.

Mrs. Rumbold : All schemes for the local management of schools, as first submitted, contained insufficient information for the purposes of statutory approval. By the end of last year all but seven local education authorities, from whom this additional information had been sought, had provided it.


Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what initiatives his Department has promoted on the raising of environmental consciousness and environmental protection in schools, colleges and universities.

Mrs. Rumbold : In the course of the last 12 months, Her Majesty's inspectors of schools published "Environmental Education : 5-16", a booklet which offers advice to schools on the planning of environmental education, and the Department, in conjunction with the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Laura Ashley Foundation, launched the environmental enterprise award scheme for schools and colleges. The award scheme aims to encourage children and young people to bring their enterprise and practical ingenuity to bear in protecting or enhancing the environment.

Environmental education has also been indentified as an important theme which should run through the whole school curriculum, including the core and other foundation subjects of the national curriculum. The natural environment research council, which receives grant-in-aid from the science budget, also played its part in raising young people's consciousness of environmental processes, the role of international scientific research, and Britain's contribution to it by circulating to secondary schools the information booklet "Our Future World".

Nuclear Physics and Engineering

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many students of nuclear engineering and nuclear physics are currently registered at United Kingdom universities and polytechnics ; how many places in these disciplines are presently unfilled ; and if he has made any assessment as to whether the present number of students being trained in nuclear physics and engineering will be sufficient for future needs.

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Mr. Jackson : Courses in nuclear physics are not separately identified in centrally available statistics. There are two first degree courses in nuclear engineering : one is at Manchester university, on which a total of 28 students were enrolled in 1988-89, the most recent year for which such statistics are currently available ; the other, which had its first intake in autumn 1989, is at Queen Mary college, London university. Statistics on unfilled places on individual courses are not centrally available. I know of no evidence to suggest any current or future shortfall in the supply of highly qualified manpower to the nuclear power industry.

Human Frontier Science Programme

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on developments since the 1987 economic summit in Venice on the institution of the human frontier science programme ; where it will be administered ; what United Kingdom contribution will be made to the first phase of the project ; and how the programme will benefit United Kingdom research institutions.

Mr. Jackson : The human frontier science programme (HFSP) for research in molecular biology and neuroscience was inaugurated in November 1989, and is administered from Strasbourg. The secretary general of the new organisation is Sir James Gowans, former secretary of the Medical Research Council. The United Kingdom is represented on the HFSP council of scientists and board of trustees. The United Kingdom is contributing to the first phase through the linking of a number of fellowships and workshops to the programme. Given the quality of United Kingdom science, our research institutions will be hoping to benefit from the award of grants for research, fellowships and workshops. An announcement is expected in March of the first awards under the programme.

Sports (London)

Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science why his Department has refused an application for funding from the Inner London Federation of School Sports Associations on behalf of its member organisations ; and what other grants have been made under the 1990- 91 special scheme for the headquarters of Londonwide education voluntary organisations.

Mr. Alan Howarth : The purpose of the Department's special grant aid to Londonwide headquarters bodies is to offer, following the demise of ILEA, some temporary funding to help maintain their programmes of work until arrangements have been developed for funding from the new Inner London councils. While the Department recognises the value of the work undertaken by the individual school sports associations, the modest operating costs of these individual bodies renders them ineligible for consideration under these grant arrangements. Because of the high administrative costs involved in considering small grants, the Department is unable to provide grants of less than £5,000. The role of the Inner London Federation of School Sports Associations (ILFSSA), in co-ordinating the work of these bodies, was not considered to be sufficiently well developed within the programmes of work submitted, to be accepted for grant aid.

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The organisations that have received a provisional offer of grant are listed in the table :

Special grants to headquarters of Londonwide voluntary organisations Name of organisation :

Association of Combined Youth Clubs

Association of Jewish Youth

Boys Brigade

Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council

Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme

Diocese of London Lay Ministry

Friends for the Young Deaf

Girl Guides

Handicapped Adventure Playground Association

Inner London Pre-school Playgroup Association

Inner London Youth Matters


London Adventure Playground Association

London Federation of Boys Clubs

London Union of Youth Clubs

London Voluntary Services Council

Methodist Association of Youth Clubs

National Federation of Gateway Clubs

Parents in Partnership

Physically Handicapped and Able Bodied

Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster

Scout Association

SENSE-National Deaf/Blind and Rubella Association

Southwark Diocesan Board of Education

United Reformed Church

Volunteer Reading Help

Woodcraft Folk

Young Women's Christian Association

Science Budget

Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the distribution of the science budget for 1990-91.

Mr. MacGregor : I have considered the advice of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils and have decided that the £897 million science budget for 1990-91 should, subject to approval by Parliament of the Estimates in due course, be allocated as follows :

                                                  |£ million          


Agricultural and Food Research Council            |86.57              

Economic and Social Research Council              |36.17              

Medical Research Council                          |185.71             

Natural Environment Research Council              |136.05             

Science and Engineering Research Council          |437.12             

The Royal Society                                 |13.94              

The Fellowship of Engineering                     |1.19               

Science Policy Studies                            |0.23               

Centre for Exploitation of Science and Technology |0.08               

At £897 million, the science budget in 1990-91 is £189 million higher than expenditure in 1988-89--an increase of 27 per cent. over two years. Over the last two public expenditure exercises the Government have increased provision by £490 million ; and expenditure in real terms in 1990-91 will be more than 28 per cent. higher than in 1979-80. This is further evidence for the scientific community of the importance which the Government attach to civil science in the research councils and the universities.

The increased provision next year should enable the research councils to sustain the momentum created by the substantial increase in science funding in 1989-90. Over £17 million is available towards the construction costs of the royal research ship James Clark Ross, £2.8 million towards the cost of the remote sensing instruments associated with the earth remote sensing-2 satellite and the

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polar platforms, and £6 million towards the cost of the refitting of the royal research ship Discovery, all of which will make important contributions to the United Kingdom's programme of global environmental research. The natural environment research council is particularly prominent in this field, and the provision made will enable the council significantly to enhance its contribution to the world ocean circulation experiment.

I am also pleased that the settlement will mean that the research councils are able to sustain and strengthen their current initiatives to maintain an adequate supply of highly qualified manpower ; and that the AFRC will be able to press ahead with the restructuring of its institutes and to establish a programme on slow virus research with particular relevance to bovine spongiform encephalopathy. I am publishing the board's advice today. Copies are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Firearms Licence

Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of a new firearms licence for a shotgun in January 1986 and January 1990.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The fee for the grant of a shotgun certificate in England and Wales was £12 on both dates.


Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many representations he has received, and from whom, since 1987 concerning (a) advertisements on commercial television, (b) independent television news reports, (c) television censorship, (d) private television stations, (e) repeats on BBC television, (f) video nasties and (g) certificates awarded to cinema films ; and if he will make a statement on each of the above subjects ; (2) how many representations he has received, and from whom, since 1987 concerning (a) access to broadcasting for deaf people, (b) Ceefax, (c) Oracle, (d) Prestel, (e) the Peacock report and (f) the inclusion of broadcasting responsibilities in an Arts Ministry ; and if he will make a statement on each of the above subjects ;

(3) how many representations he has received, and from whom, since 1987 concerning (a) Channel 4 television, (b) a proposed fifth channel for television, (c) 24-hour television, (d) schools programmes on television, (e) schools programmes on radio, (f) funding for experimental television projects and (g) American television programmes shown in the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement on each of the above subjects ;

(4) how many representations he has received, and from whom, since 1987 concerning (a) cable television, (b) satellite television, (c) BBC television, (d) the IBA, (e) BBC radio, (f) independent radio and (g) pirate radio stations ; and if he will make a statement on each of the above subjects.

Mr. Mellor : Since 1987 many representations have been received on these and other broadcasting topics. Details could be given only at disproportionate cost. The broadcasting White Paper and more recently the Broadcasting Bill set out the Government's policies on broadcasting issues.

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Salisbury Guildhall (Coat of Arms)

Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Wiltshire about the disappearance of the royal coat of arms from the magistrates court in Salisbury Guildhall.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand from the chief constable of Wiltshire that the disappearance of the royal coat of arms has not been reported to police as a loss or theft. It is the property of Salisbury district council and was removed when the Crown court moved from Salisbury Guildhall. It will be replaced by a new royal coat of arms.


Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about his policy towards prisoners suffering from dementia.

Mr. Mellor : This is a medical matter. The director of prison medical services has not thought it appropriate to issue guidance on the subject to prison medical officers, all of whom are registered medical practitioners and are able to take specialist advice on the management of individual cases.

Radio Frequencies

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the progress being made by the Metropolitan police in transferring their radio frequencies from the VHF commercial broadcasting frequencies to new transmision frequencies ; and if he will list for each police force the date by which they propose to complete their transfer to non-commercial frequencies.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The Metropolitan police completed the transfer in December 1989. All other police forces in England and Wales completed their transfer by the end of July 1989, some five months before the deadline of 31 December 1989 agreed at the world administrative radio conference in 1979.

Single European Market

Sir David Price : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many non-British subjects will have the right to work and to set up business in the United Kingdom after 1992 as a result of the realisation of the single European market ; and how many of these will come from overseas territorities and associated territories of other member states.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : European Community law already confers upon nationals of most other member states the right to work or to set up in business in the United Kingdom. By virtue of the transitional provisions in the treaty of accession of Spain and Portugal to the European Communities, nationals of those countries will not enjoy the same rights in Community law to take employment in this country until 1 January 1993. Except for this incidental change the rights of nationals of European Community states to work or to establish themselves in business in another member state will not be affected when the internal market is completed after 1992. Nor will the

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establishment of the single European market itself affect controls on the entry to this country of non-EC nationals who wish to work or set up business here.

It is, of course, possible that improved opportunities for business between Community states after 1992 will increase the mobility of workers in the Community. Although the numbers involved cannot be estimated, in respect of movement either from the member states or from the few overseas and associated territories to which the free movement provisions of the EC treaty apply, increased migration from and to other member states is likely to occur primarily among skilled and professional workers.

May Inquiry (Assessors)

Sir John Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has appointed lay assessors to Sir John May's inquiry into the Guildford and Woolwich and Maguire cases ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waddington : My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney- General and I have, at the request of Sir John May, appointed three assessors to assist the work of his inquiry. They are Sir Richard Barratt, currently HM chief inspector of constabulary, Mr. Alastair Graham, the director of the Industrial Society and Professor J. C. Smith, professor in legal science at Cambridge university.

DNA Tests

Sir John Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the arrangements are for conducting DNA tests in criminal and civil cases which come before the courts ; and what progress is being made in DNA testing techniques.

Mr. John Patten : ICI holds the worldwide rights to the DNA profiling technique using "multi locus" probes developed by Professor Jeffreys at Leicester university.

So far as DNA testing in criminal cases is concerned, Cellmark Diagnostics (a subsidiary of ICI) is contracted by the Home Office to deal with criminal paternity cases and cases involving the mass screening of large numbers of individuals. The Home Office forensic science service and the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory deal with all other criminal cases in England and Wales. A contract for the provision of DNA profiling services on this basis, and for the purchase of materials from ICI for use by the forensic science service, was agreed with ICI in 1988 and has been renewed for a further year. DNA technology is continually developing and more sensitive techniques are now being implemented within the Home Office forensic science service and the Metropolitan police laboratory. Arrangements for carrying out civil paternity tests directed by a magistrates court are governed by regulations made under the Family Law Reform Act 1969. There is a panel of approved testers, which includes employees of Cellmark Diagnostics, any of whom can carry out tests.

Electronic Monitoring

Mr. Knowles : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the circumstances with regard to the ending of the trial of electronic monitoring in Nottingham ; and if there are plans for the introduction of monitoring on a trial basis in other areas.

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Mr. John Patten : The Nottingham electronic monitoring trial contract was let to run from 14 August 1989 to 29 January 1990. The trial will be ending, as originally planned, on that date. Existing participants will continue to be monitored after that date. The results of the trial will be carefully evaluated, but it is already clear that the technology can be put to practical use and that the procedures for fitting the equipment and monitoring defendants are practicable. It would now be desirable to test the use of electronic monitoring on a trial basis in a larger area in which substantial numbers are likely to be eligible for its application as a condition of bail. Meanwhile other trials which started on two different later dates in the north Tyneside and Tower Bridge areas are proceeding as planned.


Local Government Finance

Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the average rate support grant allocated to local authorities in (a) 1979 and (b) 1989.

Mr. Chope : In 1979-80 there were 405 local authorities in England eligible for rate support grant. The total amount of rate support grant paid was £4,624,902,834.

In 1988-89 there were 425 local authorities in England eligible for rate support grant. The total amount of rate support grant paid was £9,076,759,236.

Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he is giving to community chargepayers who receive communications from local authorities under the heading "Poll Tax" ; and what action he intends to take.

Mr. Chope : The Department continues to explain that "poll tax" is a misleading and erroneous term for the community charge and is encouraged by research which suggests that very few people are deceived. Whenever necessary, local authorities are reminded of the need for communications to be accurate and that certain formal notices to community chargepayers could be invalid if they do not conform to the requirements of regulations made under the 1988 and 1989 Acts.

Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the per capita levels of expenditure that he assesses for (a) Northampton district and (b) Northamptonshire county council for 1990-91 ; and what is the impact on the community chargepayer for each £1 per capita that either authority spends in excess of this level.

Mr. Chope : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment proposed on 6 November 1989 standard spending assessments of £103 per adult and £688 per adult for Northampton district and Northamptonshire county council respectively. Each £1 per adult spent by either authority in excess of these figures would result in a £1 increase in the community charge.

Palace of Westminster

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy in the absence of Crown liability to ensure immediate replacement of faulty light bulbs in the Palace of Westminster.

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Mr. Chope : As I advised the hon. Member on 7 December, column 323, the established practice is to ensure that light bulbs are in working order.

Disabled People (Housing)

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what amount of money has been spent for each of the past five years for adaptations to council houses for disabled people.

Mr. Chope : The cost of work to make local authority dwellings suitable for disabled persons which was completed in 1986, 1987, 1988 and the first half of 1989 appears in table 2.20(a) of "Housing and Construction Statistics Part 2" No. 38. Figures for earlier years appear in table 7.5(a) of "Housing and Construction Statistics 1978-1988". Copies of these publications are available in the Library.

Housing Development

Mr. Steen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will ensure that the description set out in new release 515 and his accompanying statement will be included in the final planning policy guidance note on housing development and the special presumption when it is released to the planning inspectorate and local authorities.

Mr. Moynihan : As my hon. Friend will know, the consultation period on the draft planning policy guidance note on housing has just concluded. We shall bear his comments in mind as we consider the precise wording of the final version of the guidance note.

EC Grants

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a list of the organisations within his area of responsibility which receive grants from the EEC.

Mr. Moynihan : Within the Department of the Environment's area of responsibility, EEC grants are made in the form of assistance from the European regional development fund for certain infrastructure schemes. In accordance with criteria laid down or established by the European Commission, assistance is available for schemes wholly or substantially financed by public authorities, or by other organisations responsible in a similar way, for the carrying out of infrastructure works. A list of such organisations is not available, but they include local authorities, transport undertakings and certain charitable organisations.

Property Services Agency

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many official properties are currently the responsibility of the Property Services Agency ; and how many are vacant.

Mr. Chope [holding answer 8 January 1990] : The Property Services Agency currently has responsibility for 8,653 official properties, of which 161 are vacant.

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Microwave Ovens (Palace of Westminster)

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he has taken to ensure that each of the microwave ovens in the Palace of Westminster is suitable for any uses to which it may be put.

Mr. Chope [holding answer 18 December 1989] : The microwave ovens are purchased after discussions with the users about their needs. Copies of the manufacturers' instructions are supplied, but the onus for ensuring that ovens are used correctly must rest with the local management. The Parliamentary Works Office does however arrange for the ovens to be tested regularly by a specialist contractor.

Community Charge Booklet

Sir Geoffrey Finsberg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment on what date the decision was taken to reprint in a new edition the community charge booklet on second homes ; when stocks are now expected ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Hunt [holding answer 21 December 1989] : All our community charge leaflets are revised as necessary to take account of policy developments. In the case of the leaflet dealing with the community charge and second homes, there were a number of such developments during the last Session which had to be reflected in the leaflet in order to keep it up to date. The revised leaflet will be available later this month.


M1/A1 Link Road

Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what are the reasons for the current delay in the construction of the western section of the M1/A1 link road ;

(2) what is the daily traffic flow on the A427 between Market Harborough and Lutterworth at the latest available date ; and what is the projected flow (a) in five years' time, and (b) in 10 years' time, in the absence of an M1/A1 link ;

(3) when he now expects to commence construction of the M1/A1 link road between Kettering and Lutterworth.

Mr. Atkins : The western section of the link road from Catthorpe to Kettering is divided into four contracts. Those for the Catthorpe interchange and the Rothwell-Kettering section are to be let shortly. Further progress on the two intermediate contracts is subject to the outcome of a public inquiry in February into objections to draft supplementary orders.

Approximate traffic flows on the A427 without the M1-A1 link road would be as follows :

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