Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what dates, and for what reasons, Mr. Albert Baker, Her Majesty's prison Full Sutton, No. 241254, was held in a punishment unit.
Mr. Mellor : Mr. Baker was removed from normal association under the terms of prison rule 43 when, on reception at Full Sutton prison on 23 November 1989, he refused to wear prison clothing. When he agreed to do so on 2 December, he was placed on ordinary location.
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date he intends to reply to the correspondence sent to him by the hon. Member for Brent, East and from Mr. Colin Wallace in August 1989 concerning the case of Mr. Colin Wallace ; and if he will make a statement as to the reason for the delay in replying.
Mr. John Patten : I hope to be able to reply shortly to the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone) and to Mr. Colin Wallace. It has not been possible to send earlier substantive replies pending completion of our consideration of relevant material contained in Mr. Paul Foot's book, "Who Framed Colin Wallace".
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has concluded his consideration of the conviction of Mr. Colin Wallace for manslaughter in the light of evidence of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice set out in the book entitled, "Who Framed Colin Wallace", by Paul Foot, referred to in his written reply of 15 May 1989, Official Report, column 96 ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 30into the conduct of the Sussex police force when investigating the murder charge against Mr. Colin Wallace in the light of allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice made in the book, "Who Framed Colin Wallace", by Mr. Paul Foot and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waddington : The average time taken in my Department during the fourth quarter of 1989 to reply to letters to Ministers and to the Secretary to the Immigration and Nationality Board, the great majority of which were from hon. Members, was 37 days. Information is not held centrally on the time taken to reply to letters from members of the public.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many of Her Majesty's prisons in the United Kingdom supply diets in accordance with religious belief on a regular basis ; and what preparations are being made by prisons to supply such diets, on request, on a regular basis ;
(2) if he will issue instructions to the governors of Her Majesty's prisons to make necessary arrangements to enable prisoners who wish on religious grounds to eat particular diets, to be able to receive such diets on a regular basis ; and if he will make a statement ; (3) what representations he has received over the past year, including from those detained in prison, about difficulties in obtaining halal and kosher food on a regular basis.
Mr. Mellor : Other than the annual census of religious registration in prisons each February, details are not recorded centrally of inmates who belong to religious faiths or of their location. In total about 144,000 meals are served daily to inmates in prison service establishments in England and Wales, of which about 6,500 (5 per cent.) are estimated to be variations from the normal dietary on account of religious belief.
All meals are prepared according to centrally determined dietary scales designed to meet published nutritional standards. Each establishment prepared special meals and also varies its standard menus to take into account recognised food preferences.
The number of meals served each day to certain minority faiths is estimated as follows :
4,700 for Muslims
1,000 for Jews
400 for Sikhs
300 for Hindus
160 for Buddhists
Halal meat may be purchased locally on an occasional basis in recognition of those Muslims who do not wish to eat non-halal meat. Substitutes for bacon and pork are provided and vegetarian margarine is issued. Alternatively, Muslims may apply either for a vegetarian diet or a vegan diet which excludes all animal and dairy products.
Column 31A kosher diet is not provided in prison service establishments in England and Wales. The arrangements are that substitutes for bacon and pork are issued in their place and kosher margarine is issued in lieu of the ordinary margarine. Orthodox Jews may apply for a vegan diet if this is considered preferable.
The Home Office is engaged in ongoing discussions with the Muslim and Jewish authorities as part of the continuous review of the facilities which are offered to prisoners belonging to these faiths.
Sir David Steel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis on the disciplinary proceedings taken against the Metropolitan police constable, found by a High Court jury on 5 December 1989, to have planted cannabis on Mr. Rupert Taylor.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : No. I understand that following the award to Mr. Taylor an investigation into the circumstances of his case is being carried out by an officer from the Thames Valley police under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority. No decision has yet been taken as to whether any officer connected with the case will face disciplinary proceedings.
In order for an officer to be found guilty at a disciplinary hearing the offence must be proved beyond reasonable doubt and not, as in civil proceedings, on the balance of probabilities.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of the West Midlands as to when Detective Superintendent John Moore retired ; and what his age and length of service were at the time of retirement.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of the West Midlands as to where and in what capacity (a) Detective Superintendent Alan Watson, (b) Detective Sergeant Michael French, (c) Detective Constable John Brand, (d) Detective Constable Thomas Sutcliffe, (e) Police Constable George Cole, (f) Detective Sergeant David Millichamp, (g) Detective Constable Terence Woodwiss, (h) Detective Constable Douglas Bell, (i) Detective Sergeant Richard Bryant, (j) Detective Constable Colin Morris, (k) Detective Constable Frederick Jennings, and (l) Police Constable William Coltey are still serving.
Mr. Galloway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if during his service with the Metropolitan police, Detective Superintendent David Palmer-Hall was seconded for work with the Jordanian Government.
Mr. Galloway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of the Metropolitan police as to how long and in what capacities Mr. David Palmer-Hall was employed by the Metropolitan police.
Mr. Galloway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for reports from the chief constables of Surrey and Hampshire on the progress of their investigations into the disappearance over 24 hours of former Detective Superintendent David Palmer-Hall.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand from the chief constable of Surrey, whose force was in charge of the inquiry into the disappearance, that the police have completed their investigation and it has not revealed any criminal activity relating to former Detective Superintendent Palmer-Hall's brief absence from home.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement setting out his policy in respect of priests of the Sikh religion applying to enter the United Kingdom for the purposes of carrying out religious duties for a specific period ; and whether the policy has been discussed with the Government of India.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what account he has taken of developments in East-West relations in reviewing his policy on the building of civil emergency centres by county and district councils.
Mr. John Patten [holding answer 12 January 1990] : The Government keep under review their civil defence planning assumptions in the light of the possible threat of hostilities. Such assumptions must take into account military capabilities as well as likely intentions and the climate of relations between East and West. In the present rapidly changing situation it would be premature and irresponsible to reduce our basic preparedness for ensuring the protection of the population and the continuity of government in war.
Column 33licences are currently being considered by the National Television Licensing Records Office in Bristol and how many of these were submitted (a) six months ago and over, and (b) three months ago and over ;
(2) what is the average time the National Television Licensing Records Office in Bristol aims to deal with applications from local authorities for concessionary television licences on behalf of their residents.
Mr. Mellor [holding answer 12 January 1990] : Of the 33,000 schemes submitted since the regulations were changed in 1988 25,000 have been dealt with, a further 4,000 will shortly receive their licences and 4,000 remain unresolved pending further information which has been requested from the local authorities concerned. Statistics of waiting times are not readily available, but many original applications took a long time because of their number and the need for further detailed inquiries. NTVLRO now aims to resolve new applications within three weeks of receiving all the necessary information from the local authority concerned.
Mr. Winnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many representations have been received from local authorities in the past 18 months regarding difficulties over concessionary television licences being granted to those living in old-age pension accommodation ;
(2) if he, or any Minister in his Department, will receive a deputation from the Walsall metropolitan borough council over the difficulties it is having in obtaining television concessionary licences for residents living in old-age pension designated accommodation.
Mr. Mellor [holding answer 12 January 1990] : Between the change in the regulations in May 1988 and the end of December 1989 we received 83 letters from local authorities, 68 forwarded by hon. Members, about the concessionary television licence scheme. Ministers also received two delegations from local authorities.
I would be happy to consider any letter from, or on behalf of Walsall metropolitan borough council, setting out why a meeting would be useful.
Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his estimate of the annual cost of granting the concessionary television licence available to sheltered housing residents to every pensioner in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Mellor [holding answer 12 January 1990] : Reduction of the annual licence fee for all pensioner households to the £5 concessionary rate would cause a revenue loss estimated at £365 million a year. To make up the shortfall the fee for all other colour licence payers would have to increase from £66 to £98.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police prosecutions, under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, of vehicles producing excessive smoke, have taken place in each of the last five years.
Mr. John Patten [holding answer 12 January 1990] : The available information is given in the table for 1985 and 1986. The emission of smoke proceedings were brought under the Motor Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations 1978.
Proceedings at Magistrates courts in England and Wales. |1985|1986 ----------------------------------------------------- Emission of smoke etc. causing danger |286 |338 Other emission of smoke offences |389 |309 Sources: Offences relating to motor vehicles England and Wales 1985, 1986 Supplementary tables. Published by the Home Office.
Since 1987, the statistics collected no longer separately identify offences of emission of smoke. Since October 1986, vehicles defect offences can also be dealt with by the use of fixed penalties, but emission of smoke offences are not shown separately in these statistics.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : A significant reduction in the average size of the daily Vote bundle has already been achieved as a result of the new arrangements introduced last April for printing early-day motions. That is expected to result in at least 4,000 fewer pages being printed each year, and in savings in production costs of at least £300,000 a year. I have now also initiated a general examination of the form of the Vote bundle, including the Order Paper, and if my hon. Friend has any specific suggestions for reducing further the amount of material printed, I hope that he will not hesitate to put them to the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee.
Column 35Sir Geoffrey Howe : I am aware of the great interest that both the press and the public have shown in sittings of the Public Accounts Committee. I have asked the authorities of the House to ensure that those waiting for admittance to the Committee do not impede access along the Committee Corridor.
61. Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Lord President of the Council what were the takings at the House of Commons kiosk in (a) the four weeks to Christmas 1989 and (b) the year to 31 December ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will make more car parking facilities available in the precincts of the House for those who are disabled including staff employed by right hon. and hon. Members.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : As I advised the hon. Member on 26 October, column 524 , the parking arrangements for disabled drivers were confirmed by the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee in January 1988. At that time it was found that the spaces available were sufficient to meet the requirement, but if the hon. Member will let me have details of any specific difficulties being experienced, I shall invite the Sub-Committee to consider them.
Mr. Portillo : The Government show their firm commitment to maintaining essential local services by paying substantial subsidies to British Rail, amounting to some £500 million in the current financial year. By 1993 Network SouthEast should no longer require revenue subsidy, but we shall still be paying well over £300 million per year in today's prices to subsidise provincial rail services.
Column 36Anthony Hidden's recommendations following the Clapham junction accident. My right hon. Friend hopes to discuss this report with the chairman soon afterwards.
Mr. Parkinson : British Rail is now negotiating a detailed agreement with its joint venture partners and developing its plans for the Channel tunnel rail link. It aims to introduce a Bill for the new line later this year.
Mr. Portillo : Improvements to the M1, A1(M) and A1 will upgrade links to the Channel tunnel from Yorkshire and the north-east via the M25 and M20. British Rail published its proposals on 14 December, and a copy has been sent to all hon. Members.
Mr. Portillo : My right hon. Friend has discussed a wide range of issues at his meetings with the chairman of British Rail. These have included the board's plans for international rail services through the Channel tunnel.
Mr. Portillo : British Rail is now negotiating a detailed agreement with its joint venture partners and developing its plans for the Channel tunnel rail link. It aims to introduce a Bill for the new line later this year.
Mr. Portillo : I have received very few recent representations about rural transport services. Bus mileage in country areas has increased since bus deregulation. The investment in British Rail's provincial sector is such that we shall shortly be in the position where four fifths of the rolling stock has been renewed.
Mr. Portillo : Bus mileage outside London and the metropolitan areas has increased by some 21 per cent. since bus deregulation, with some 83 per cent. run commercially. The investment in British Rail's provincial sector is such that we shall shortly be in the position where four fifths of the rolling stock has been renewed.
Column 37Mr. Parkinson : Our measures to assist inner urban areas include financing local road schemes through transport supplementary grant ; constructing trunk roads where appropriate ; providing grant under section 56 of the Transport Act 1968 for public transport ; and consolidating the regeneration of London's docklands with the approval of the Jubilee line extension.
Mr. Atkins : I receive regular representations on the problem of congestion in urban areas, particularly in London where it is most acute. I have recently published a discussion document "Traffic in London" inviting comments on my proposed initiatives for tackling congestion in London. The proposals aim to improve the quality and capacity of the capital's transport network to benefit public and private transport users, residents and businesses.
18. Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies have been undertaken by his Department as to the feasibility of introducing electronic road pricing in the United Kingdom's major cities.
Mr. Parkinson : My Department monitors a wide range of measures for dealing with traffic congestion, including road pricing, and has undertaken some preliminary background work into the possible implications of introducing electronic road pricing in London.