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Interpretation Service

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are currently held in custody awaiting provision of an interpretation service.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : None. The criteria for detention under the Immigration Act do not include the availability of an interpreter.

Mental Health

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to apply the conclusions of the Office of Health Economics report, "Mental Health in the 1990s : From Custody to Care? to prisoners in custody ; and if he will make a statement".

Mr. Mellor : The report was published as recently as last month and is wholly concerned with arrangements for care of the mentally ill in the general community. We are always open to ideas which may, directly or indirectly, point to ways of improving the health care of prisoners. In that spirit we will study the conclusions of the report with some care.

Children in Prison

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for 1980, 1985 and for the latest date for which he has figures and by location (a) the number of children and babies who are in prison with their mother because of an offence she has committed and (b) the length of time the children are kept in prison.

Mr. Mellor : On 10 January 1990, there were 38 babies in the three prison mother and baby units ; 12 were at Her Majesty's prison, Holloway, 10 at Her Majesty's prison and young offender institution, Styal, and 16 at Her Majesty's prison, Askham Grange. Equivalent information for 1980 and 1985 is not available.

Rule 9(3) of the Prison Rules 1964 (SI 1964 No. 388) provides that the Secretary of State may, subject to any conditions he thinks fit, permit a woman to have her baby with her in prison. Only a mother can request the admission of her baby but approval depends on a place in the units being available and admission being considered as in the best interests of the child.

The length of time a baby remains in a prison mother and baby unit can reflect a number of factors, including the wishes of the mother and the length of her sentence. But babies are not normally permitted to remain with their mother in prison beyond the age of 18 months because research has shown that after that age there is likely to be an adverse effect on the development of the child.


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Prison Officers' Accommodation

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of prison officers' accommodation for which requests have been made by officers to purchase, for each establishment, at the latest date for which figures are available.

Mr. Mellor : The prison service scheme for the discount sale of quarters to staff was introduced in June 1987 and to 9 January 1990 we have received the following applications to purchase :


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

Acklington/Castington       |32         

Albany                      |95         

Aldington                   |14         

Ashford                     |96         

Ashwell                     |13         

Askham Grange               |3          

Aylesbury                   |51         

Bedford                     |54         

Birmingham                  |42         

Blantyre House              |15         

Blundeston                  |25         

Bristol                     |71         

Brixton                     |227        

Brockhill                   |23         

Buckley Hall                |24         

Bullwood Hall               |16         

Camp Hill                   |61         

Campsfield House            |29         

Canterbury                  |49         

Cardiff                     |40         

Channings Wood              |30         

Chelmsford                  |65         

Coldingley                  |103        

Cookham Wood                |24         

Deerbolt                    |58         

Dorchester                  |41         

Dover                       |47         

Drake Hall                  |2          

Durham                      |66         

Eastwood Park               |17         

Erlestoke House             |21         

Everthorpe                  |16         

Exeter                      |57         

Featherstone                |23         

Feltham                     |115        

Finnamore Wood              |16         

Ford                        |14         

Foston Hall                 |8          

Frankland                   |40         

Full Sutton                 |25         

Gartree                     |54         

Glen Parva                  |75         

Gloucester                  |39         

Grendon-Spring Hill         |62         

Guys Marsh                  |15         

Haslar                      |11         

Hatfield                    |6          

Haverigg                    |39         

Hewell Grange               |16         

Highpoint                   |36         

Hindley                     |17         

Hollesley Bay Colony        |54         

Holloway                    |78         

Hull                        |58         

Huntercombe                 |42         

Kingston                    |21         

Kirkham                     |15         

Kirklevington Grange        |11         

Lancaster                   |13         

Latchmere House             |49         

Leeds                       |37         

Leicester                   |45         

Lewes                       |70         

Leyhill                     |23         

Lincoln                     |36         

Lindholme                   |25         

Littlehey                   |21         

Liverpool                   |100        

Long Lartin                 |111        

Lowdham Grange              |23         

Low Newton                  |20         

Maidstone                   |80         

Manchester                  |82         

Medomsley                   |2          

Morton Hall                 |1          

The Mount                   |6          

New Hall                    |7          

Northallerton               |13         

Northeye                    |22         

North Sea Camp              |3          

Norwich                     |63         

Nottingham                  |19         

Onley                       |43         

Oxford                      |22         

Parkhurst                   |110        

Pentonville                 |117        

Portland                    |63         

Preston                     |23         

Pucklechurch                |32         

Ranby                       |21         

Reading                     |65         

Risley                      |123        

Rochester                   |40         

Rudgate/Thorp Arch/Wetherby |56         

Send                        |15         

Shepton Mallett             |19         

Shrewsbury                  |11         

Stafford                    |43         

Standford Hill              |31         

Stoke Heath                 |13         

Styal                       |1          

Sudbury                     |12         

Swansea                     |21         

Swinfen Hall                |20         

Thorn Cross                 |14         

Usk and Prescoed            |28         

The Verne                   |40         

Wakefield                   |70         

Wandsworth                  |157        

Wayland                     |37         

Wellingborough              |32         

Werrington                  |2          

Whatton                     |29         

Winchester                  |109        

Wormwood Scrubs             |255        

Wymott                      |39         

                            |-----      

  Total                     |5,001      

These applications include 385 applications that have subsequently been withdrawn and a further 50 that are the subject of applications to purchase at full market value. To date, 3,538 sales have been completed.

Beryl Kennedy

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are the rules governing the number of letters that may be written by any one person to a prisoner ; and how these have been applied in the case of Beryl Kennedy writing to an inmate in Winson Green prison.


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Mr. Mellor : Instructions to prison service staff about handling prisoners' correspondence have been published in Standing Order 5B, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Governors have discretion to limit the amount of mail received by a prisoner if the number of letters received causes delays in handling other prisoners' letters. Ms. Kennedy was writing on a daily basis and after being asked to reduce the volume of her correspondence it was judged necessary, so that other prisoners' mail would not be delayed, to return some letters to her.

Offensive Language

Mr. Hayward : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will have discussions with the broadcasting bodies about the use of language which might cause offence.

Mr. Mellor : Programme content is a matter for the broadcasting authorities, who are independent of the Government and are responsible for considering complaints on such matters. In addition the Government have established the Broadcasting Standards Council as a direct response to public concern about standards of taste and decency on television and radio. These include the use of offensive language. The Government's Broadcasting Bill proposes that the council should have statutory powers to consider and adjudicate on complaints.

Lost Property

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many complaints in 1989 were made by inmates to his Department over the loss of money or personal property that resulted from an inmate being moved from one prison to another.

Mr. Mellor : The precise information requested is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, the total number of complaints in 1989 relating to lost property and money, including those concerned with property lost on transfer, was about 2,250.

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the policies that are followed by the prison department to ensure that money and personal effects belonging to inmates go with them when they are moved from one prison to another prison.

Mr. Mellor : Instructions to prison service staff, requiring that a prisoner's property and cash should be moved with him or her on the day of transfer, are contained in prison Standing Order 1C, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. It has not always proved possible in practice to comply with this requirement in respect of the transfer of money and a number of steps are being taken to improve the present procedures.

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what complaints have been made to his Department by inmates who had been held in Canterbury prison and when moved to another prison did not have money belonging to them transferred ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : Figures for individual establishments are not available, and could only be produced at disproportionate cost. Because of delays in the transfer of money


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from prisons in the south-east region of the prison service, which includes Canterbury, the regional director issued instructions in November, so that all receiving establishments will be notified of private cash balances within 24 hours of transfer, by which time the prisoner should be able to spend this money. Loans are available to cover any delays in the transfer of a prisoner's earnings.

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of cases that inmates in prisons in England and Wales took to the small claims court against his Department in 1989 following the loss of personal property ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : Nineteen claims for lost property were commenced in the small claims court during 1989.

Prisoners Committees

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will encourage the involvement of inmates in prisons in England and Wales in the formation of prisoners committees ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : Governors of prison service establishments have discretion to use a variety of methods when seeking the views of inmates, including encouraging the establishment of inmate committees.

Grendon Prison

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the prisons that inmates from Grendon prison have been sent to ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : Serious defects in the electrical systems at HM prison Grendon meant that the establishment had to be evacuated in December. Inmates have been temporarily moved to the following prisons : Aylesbury (one inmate only).

Glen Parva

Oxford (one inmate only).

The Mount

Swinfen Hall (two inmates only).

Winchester

Wormwood Scrubs (currently holding inmates originally destined for Parkhurst.

In view of the unique nature of Grendon's therapeutic regime, every effort is being made to enable receiving establishments to maintain that regime, wherever possible.

Grendon inmates and staff will be returned to Grendon when the prison reopens. In the interim, urgent work is in hand to empty HMYOI Wellingborough of young offenders, and convert it for use as a temporary "new" Grendon. All young offenders should have been moved out by the end of this month. Grendon inmates will be individually assessed for their suitability for the levels of security at Wellingborough before they are transferred there.

The two wings at Wellingborough not required for Grendon inmates will be occupied by category C adult male prisoners.

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department why Grendon prison has been closed ; and how long this prison will remain closed.

Mr. Mellor : An electrical survey carried out at Her Majesty's prison Grendon revealed a number of serious


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faults which made it necessary to evacuate the establishment. The prison is likely to remain closed for between six and nine months while repair work is undertaken.

Prison Kitchens

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what complaints have been made to his Departmet by boards of visitors regarding the conditions existing in prison kitchens ; and if he will list the prisons, and the action that has been taken.

Mr. Mellor : The information required is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

I place great value on the work undertaken by boards of visitors. Any matters of concern raised or recommendations made by them, whether in their valuable, detailed annual reports or by other means are afforded very careful consideration. I can assure the hon. Member that the same careful consideration is given to any matters raised on kitchens.

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training is given to inmates who work in kitchens in prisons in England and Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : All inmates who work in kitchens in prisons in England and Wales recieve instruction in personal hygiene and training in the safe operation and care of machinery and equipment. Establishments are also encouraged to provide formal craft training leading to recognised vocational qualifications. At the end of June 1989, a total of 45 establishments were offering 52 certified courses and a further 17 uncertificated courses. An additional 35 establishments plan to introduce formal training courses during 1990.

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of senior catering officers who are fully trained and in charge of kitchens in London prisons on 5 January ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Mellor : Ashford and Downview employ private catering contractors. In every other London establishment the

officer-in-charge of the kitchen is a fully trained caterer.

Alcohol-related Violence

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on Government measures to curb late- night alcohol-related violence against police officers.

Mr. John Patten [holding answer 15 January 1990] : We continue to be concerned at the level of alcohol-related violence. We therefore encourage the work of local inter-agency groups, such as Newport's, seeking to reduce such crime for the benefit of all members of the community, including police officers. Parliament has provided severe penalties for serious attacks against any person : a maximum of five years' imprisonment for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and up to life imprisonment for wounding with intent to do grevious bodily harm. The Public Order Act 1986 put in place revised and new offences to help deal with disorder whatever its cause.


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OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

Cameroon

Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to contribute funds for the building of a ring road in north-west Cameroon.

Mrs. Chalker : Funding of that part of the Bamenda ring road project proposed for UK finance would require an ECGD covered commercial loan in association with aid funds--the latter from the aid and trade provision. There is currently no medium or long-term ECGD cover to Cameroon following its 1987-1988 economic crisis and subsequent structural adjustment programme. In the event of export credit cover being restored, construction of part of the ring road would be considered, alongside any other eligible proposals for ATP funding, if it met the conditions pertaining to such cover.

Vietnam

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what representations he has received about Her Majesty's Government's policy on development aid for Vietnam, and from which organisation ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) whether he will now consider the joint funding of NGO projects in Vietnam on a case-by-case basis.

Mrs. Chalker : I have received representations from Save the Children Fund, Oxfam and Christian Aid about aid to Vietnam, and also from a number of private individuals. We welcome the withdrawal of Vietnamese combat units from Cambodia, but we also expect the Vietnamese Government to meet their obligations towards their own people, including the boat people in Hong Kong, as a pre-condition for the establishment of a Government-to- Government aid programme. Further progress is also needed in the reform of economic policies. Following the representations to which I have referred, I am considering whether the time has come to open Vietnam for participation in the joint funding scheme whereby the Government meet half the costs of agreed projects sponsored by voluntary agencies, and in particular how the agencies might be able to contribute to mitigating the economic and humanitarian problems in the areas from which the boat people predominantly come.

Pensions

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any plans to uprate the pensions paid to former local government officers overseas to bring them into line with pensions paid to former overseas civil servants.

Mrs. Chalker : The British Government are not responsible for the pensions of officers who served overseas in the local authorities of our former colonies, and have no plans to uprate them.

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the average pension of (a) retired local government officers in overseas service and (b) retired civil servants in overseas service.

Mrs. Chalker : We do not hold details of the pensions of officers who served overseas in the local authorities of our


Column 177

former colonies, nor generally about the pensions of colonial civil servants. The average pension in respect of overseas service paid to some 39,000 former colonial civil servants and their widows, for whom the British Government accept a responsibility, is about £3,800 a year.

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the average pension paid to local government officers retired from service with Nairobi city council ; and what are the highest and lowest pensions received by former officers with the council.

Mrs. Chalker : My Department has no responsibility for the pensions paid to retired Kenya local government officers. Information about Nairobi city council pensions is held by the Public Trust Office which is the trustee of the Kenya local authorities superannuation fund.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many pensions are in payment for the Palestine police force ; what is the average pension in payment ; when the pensions were last increased ; and by how much.

Mrs. Chalker : There are 557 expatriate officers and 613 local officers receiving a pension from HM Government for their Palestine public service. The number of these who served in the police force could be identified separately only at disproportionate cost. The average pension paid to local officers is at present £1,180 a year. Many expatriate officers have pensions for service in several territories, which are treated together for calculating increases. The present value of the pension deriving specifically from Palestine service in these cases can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The average pension paid to the 235 expatriates who served only in Palestine is £2,240 a year. The pensions attract increases under the United Kingdom pensions increase legislation, and are uprated annually in line with inflation. They were last increased with effect from 10 April 1989 by 5.9 per cent.

WALES

Welsh Language

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the additional cost faced by local education authorities in Wales arising from the movement of each non-Welsh speaking child into schools where Welsh is the normal language of education (a) at primary level and (b) at secondary level ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : We have made no such estimates. The costs of Welsh medium education are, however, taken into account in the annual local government financial settlement.

Forestry

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people are employed by the Forestry Commission in Wales, giving a sub- regional breakdown indicating labouring and white collar jobs.

Mr. Peter Walker : The information is shown in the table :


Column 178


Forestry Commission direct employees at 30 November 1989    

County         |Non-industrial|Industrial                   

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

Clwyd          |15            |46                           

Gwynedd        |43            |139                          

Dyfed          |<1>115        |79                           

Powys          |29            |96                           

Glamorgan      |41            |87                           

Gwent          |19            |37                           

               |----          |----                         

               |262           |484                          

<1> includes 78 staff employed in the Conservancy office at 

Aberystwyth.                                                

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much forest land has been sold so far in Wales since 1981 ; for what sums of money ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Walker : The Forestry Commission sold some 8,600 hectares of forest land in Wales between July 1981 and 31 March 1989. Total receipts from these sales were in the region of £11 million.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement concerning the continued supply of forest products to the paper industry consequent upon the sale of woodlands.

Mr. Peter Walker : The guidelines on the selection of Forestry Commission properties for sale which Forestry Ministers issued in 1981 require the Forestry Commissioners to take account among other things, of the maintenance and development of the wood processing industry. The commissioners are continuing to follow these guidelines and are fully meeting their wood supply commitments. The guidelines are to be found at appendix V to the commission's 1981-82 annual report.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will set up a study group to assess the social and economic impact of forest sales upon rural areas.

Mr. Peter Walker : No. I do not believe that there is any need to set up such a study group.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the likely number of Forestry Commission staff to be made redundant consequent upon the sale in Wales of forests and woods ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Walker : It seems unlikely that any Forestry Commission staff will have to be made redundant as a consequence of the sale of forests and woods in Wales.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the percentage of forests to be sold in Wales giving a sub-regional breakdown.

Mr. Peter Walker : It is expected that about 10 per cent. of the Forestry Commission's forest land in Wales will be sold over the next 10 years. It is not possible to give any sub-regional breakdown.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he will make to protect the public's right of access to woodland sold by the Forestry Commission.

Mr. Peter Walker : In answer to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) on


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16 June 1989, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland indicated that the Government were concerned that the general public should continue to enjoy access to those forests to be disposed of by the Forestry Commission in a way which was compatible with management for forestry and other purposes. Ways of achieving this objective are being investigated.

Plastic Waste

Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what guidelines were issued by his Department to health authorities in Wales regarding the safe burning of plastic waste without such burning forming dangerous compounds such as polychlorinated biphenyls, chlorines and flurans.

Mr. Ian Grist : Guidance on the safe disposal of clinical waste including plastics was issued by the Department to district health authorities in June 1982. The code of guidance was prepared by the Health and Safety Commission and offered advice on the handling, transport and disposal of all kinds of clinical waste.

Teachers

Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Woolwich of 20 December, Official Report, columns 319-20, in March 1989 ; how many teachers were employed by each local authority in Wales ; how many teachers were in receipt of an incentive allowance for each local authority in Wales ; what percentage this was of the total employed by each local authority ; and how many teachers in receipt of an incentive allowance in each local authority in Wales held allowances that were (a) incentive A, (b) incentive B, (c) incentive C, (d) incentive D and (e) incentive E.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : Information relating to March 1989 is not yet available.

Sport in the Countryside

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales to what body he will give responsibility for policies and developmental work with organised and active sport in the countryside in Wales in the future.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will continue to expect all the relevant agencies to work together in this field.

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what arrangements he intends to bring in to ensure that adequate consideration is given in future to the interests of informal users of the countryside, including horse riders and cyclists ; and that these interests are reconciled with environmental conservation requirements.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : None.

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he intends to take to achieve or maintain a separation of regulatory and promotional functions in relation to the countryside in Wales, particularly in respect to access and recreation.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : None.


Column 180

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he intends to take to ensure full consideration of the views of organised sports and recreational interests in Wales by the proposed Countryside Council for Wales.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : This will be a matter for the proposed Countryside Council for Wales when it takes over its full functions.

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he intends to take to ensure that recreation in the countryside in Wales is controlled by agreement and conciliation between conflicting interests wherever possible, and that control by regulation is only undertaken following adequate consultation and attempted conciliation ; and what machinery he will establish to this end.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : The Government have no specific proposals to introduce any controls of this nature.

Countryside Commission

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he intends to take to ensure that promotional and development work currently undertaken by the Countryside Commission in Wales is continued and developed following the changes proposed in the Environmental Protection Bill.


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