Mr. Peter Bottomley : It is planned to invest some£109 million in developing, improving and maintaining the total road network of Northern Ireland in the 1990-91 financial year. An actual breakdown of this investment between urban and rural roads could be attained only at disproportionate cost to the Department.
Investment in the rural roads network will be made according to need, road safety considerations and the priorities established to make the best possible use of available resources.
Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will give details of the differences in the manner in which prisoners with different classifications are treated by the prison authorities.
Mr. Cope : The classification of prisoners by age, length of sentence, temperament and record is taken into account in deciding the allocation of prisoners to prisons in Northern Ireland, and determines the amount of pre-release home leave for which they will be eligible to apply in the final stages of their sentence. The security category allocated on committal reflects both a prisoner's escape potential and the risk he would pose to society and the security forces should he escape. Decisions on security categories are taken after a thorough examination of all the relevant information available. Reviews are conducted periodically during sentence and prisoners are often downgraded to a lower security category.
The security category is also taken into account in determining the prison to which a prisoner is allocated, and it determines the degree of supervision and control that is exercised. Those in the top risk category are held in single-cell accommodation which is searched at irregular intervals, and they are subject to a higher frequency of searching and cell transfer than other prisoners. They are also assigned individual prison officer escorts during movement within the prison, which is always on a one -to-one basis.
Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will give details of the systems used for classifying prisoners in Northern Ireland prisons ; and how many prisoners there are within each classification.
Column 424his age, temperament and record. On committal all prisoners are in addition allocated a security category. Both a prisoner's classification and security category can be changed during his term of imprisonment.
The tables provide a breakdown of the population in Northern Ireland prisons as at 15 January 1990 :
Firearms stolen in Northern Ireland 1984-89 Year |Stolen from |Bullet |Shotguns |<1>Air weapons/ |firing |miscellaneous ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1985 |Security forces|16 |- |- |Civilians |19 |79 |9 1986 |Security forces|14 |- |1 |Civilians |13 |96 |20 1987 |Security forces|189 |- |4 |Civilians |34 |91 |13 1988 |Security forces|14 |- |- |Civilians |16 |54 |13 1989 |Security forces|19 |- |- |Civilians |17 |42 |4 <1> Miscellaneous includes: Blank firing weapons, muzzle loading weapons, antique weapons, tranquilliser guns and starting pistols.
Security category Number
Low risk 144
Medium risk 1,259
High risk 302
Top risk 23
Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is (a) the total number of red-book prisoners in Northern Ireland, and (b) the number of red-book prisoners who have served over 13 years in prison, and who were denied Christmas parole in 1989 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : There are currently 23 top risk (commonly known as "Red Book") prisoners in Northern Ireland,only 10 of whom are sentenced prisoners. Two such prisoners, who are serving life sentences, had spent 13 years in custody at 21 December 1989 but were excluded from applying for Christmas home leave. Home leave schemes are designed to assist prisoners to prepare for their eventual return to the community. Prisoners who are in the top risk category after 13 years in custody are not, in my view, making satisfactory progress and I am not, therefore, prepared to grant them this privilege.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many firearms, listed by the category under which they are identified by the Royal Ulster Constabulary, have been stolen in each Royal Ulster Constabulary division in each of the last five years from (a) civilians and (b) the security forces, or as much of such information as is available to him.
Mr. Cope [holding answer 9 January 1990] : Information split into Royal Ulster Constabulary divisions is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Readily available information is as follows :
Table file CW900119.001 not available
Mr. Needham [holding answer 15 January 1990] : The manner in which claims for compensation are finally settled is entirely a matter for agreement between the parties. Out-of-court settlements are, however, quite usual in civil actions and are to the advantage of all parties.
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what compensation payments have been made to ex-residents of the Kincora boys' home ; on what dates they were made ; how many cases are still to be processed ; and on what dates he expects further cases to be settled.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 15 January 1990] : To date, compensation payments have been made to five ex-residents, as follows : £5,000 on 31/3/88 ; £10,000 on 26/5/89 ; £7,500 on 26/5/89 ; £2,500 on 19/7/89 ; £6,000 on 10/8/89. Eight further claims remain to be processed, but it is not possible to give any indication of when they will be settled.
In my reply of 23 June 1989, Official Report, column 265, I stated that one of the claims had been settled on 15 April 1988. This date was incorrect and should have been 23 March 1988. I regret this error. The claim settled on 23 March was paid on 31 March as indicated above.
Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether any evidence gathered by the Stevens inquiry into allegations of collusion between members of the security forces and paramilitary organisations in Northern Ireland was destroyed as a result of the fire in the office of the inquiry in the Royal Ulster Constabulary complex at Carrickfergus, County Antrim.
Mr. Cope [holding answer 15 January 1990] : I understand that it has not so far been possible to assess fully the damage and loss of documents following the fire at the Seapark complex on 10 January. However, as Mr. Stevens made clear in his press statement on 11 January, duplicate files of the investigation were kept at a separate location as a matter of routine and his investigation has not been disrupted.
Mr. Mallon : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the average number of claimants of (a) income support, (b) unemployment benefit and (c) family credit, at each box in each of the district offices of the Department of Health and Social Services, in each month during 1988 and 1989.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 16 January 1990] : Information in the form requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However the most recent figures for the average numbers of unemployed claimants by box in each social security office in Northern Ireland are as follows :
Numbers of unemployed at 14 December 1989 Social Security office |Average number of |claimants per box --------------------------------------------------------------------- Andersontown |169 Antrim |236 Armagh |216 Ballymena |125 Ballymoney |171 Ballynahinch |49 Banbridge |153 Bangor |247 Carrickfergus |115 Coleraine |367 Cookstown |229 Corporation Street |209 Downpatrick |189 Dungannon |229 Enniskillen |238 Falls |234 Holywood Road |237 Kilkeel |92 Knockbreda |213 Larne |207 Limavady |144 Lisburn<1> |168 Londonderry |202 Lurgan |189 Magherafelt |198 Newcastle |230 Newry |211 Newtownabbey |384 Newtownards |341 Omagh |345 Portadown |162 Shaftesbury Square |228 Shankill |250 Strabane |181 <1>Figures at 11 January 1990.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 16 January 1990] : The information following represents expenditure in cash terms on home help salaries and incidental expenses and does not include similar information on professional and clerical staff involved in the provision of the service :
----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979-80 |1,893,389 |2,187,959 |4,771,576 |1,686,338 |10,539,262 1980-81 |2,232,907 |2,586,826 |5,693,287 |1,874,056 |12,387,076 1981-82 |2,938,992 |3,003,696 |6,637,044 |2,337,646 |14,917,378 1982-83 |2,843,703 |3,390,568 |7,200,508 |2,554,349 |15,989,218 1983-84 |3,083,577 |3,689,195 |7,349,699 |2,584,367 |16,706,838 1984-85 |3,221,097 |3,757,331 |7,438,522 |2,683,434 |17,100,384 1985-86 |3,466,446 |4,194,696 |8,125,473 |3,038,568 |18,825,180 1986-87 |3,330,584 |4,231,471 |8,401,322 |2,881,754 |18,845,131 1987-88 |3,741,591 |4,921,126 |9,877,840 |3,387,835 |21,928,392 1988-89 |3,829,632 |5,186,892 |10,219,235|3,285,999 |22,521,758
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what sums are payable in compensation to farmers who lose livestock as a result of action by the armed forces ; and if he will give the average sum payable for the death of (i) a cow, (ii) a bull, (iii) a calf, (iv) a bullock, (v) a sheep, (vi) a ram, (vii) a lamb, (viii) a horse, (ix) a boar, (x) a sow and (xi) a piglet.
It is not possible to provide details of average sums payable in compensation for the loss of various types of livestock as the amount awarded will vary according to the age, pedigree etc. of the animal concerned. However, each claim is dealt with on its own merits, and compensation awards are assessed by reference to current market prices and professional veterinary advice. The Ministry of Defence paid during 1989 in the order of £400,000 by way of compensation to farmers in Northern Ireland in respect of the loss of livestock arising from activities by the armed forces.
Mrs. Chalker : Bangladesh is, and has long been, one of the largest recipients of British development assistance. The programme concentrates on the energy, natural resources, infrastructure and health-population sectors. Among planned activities for United Kingdom support are more help on the exploitation of gas reserves, further rural development work through local NGOs, and studies directed at mitigating the effects of the frequent and severe flooding to which the country is subject.
Column 428Overseas Development Administration personnel and (b) children of technical co-operation officers in receipt of education allowances for the latest available year.
Mrs. Chalker : The latest year for which figures are available is 1988-89. In that year, the cost of holiday visit passages for children of staff of the Overseas Development Administration was £22, 900. For children of all personnel financed from technical co-operation funds, including technical co-operation officers and supplementees, the cost was £1,089,218.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will outline the initiatives that are being taken in relation to the management, utilisation and conservation of tropical rain forests, particularly in the field of species diversity, genetic diversity and ecosystem diversity ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Chalker : The Overseas Development Administration is currently implementing a forestry initiative with some 165 projects ongoing or in preparation, with a total value of £150 million. The aims include helping developing countries maximise the economic and social benefits they enjoy from their forests in a sustainable way, and conserving the planet's variety of plant and animal species, many of which are unique to tropical forests.
In the field of species diversity, genetic diversity and ecosystem diversity the ODA supports the research work of the Oxford Forestry Institute and other British institutes and universities. We are currently funding 23 projects worth some £4 million in these areas. We also finance such projects under our bilateral country programmes. Examples include the Limbe gardens conservation of genetic resources project in Cameroon ; assistance to forestry conservation research in Nepal ; assistance for the conservation of the forest genetic resources of Honduras ; help with a project in Ghana to bring tropical moist forest under sustained yield management ; assisting with forestry inventory and management work in the Oban hills of Nigeria. Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Brazilian Government last year we hope to assist with the establishment of a biological reserve in the Caxiuna national forest. Internationally we are collaborating with other donors in the tropical forestry action plan and we support the work of the International Tropical Timber Organisation.
The Attorney-General : Legal aid rates are reviewed each year in accordance with the Legal Aid Act 1988. The Lord Chancellor has not yet decided by how much any legal aid rates should be increased this year.
The Attorney-General : Between November 1988 and May 1989 the West Yorkshire police forwarded six reports to the Director of Public Prosecutions concerning their investigations into allegations by a number of persons, including Paul Malone and Thomas Ryder, of criminal misconduct by officers of the Merseyside police. The director has briefed counsel to advise and has so far received his advice upon five of the reports. The sixth advice from counsel is awaited. The evidence and advices received so far are being considered by the director's office and a decision on whether any criminal proceedings should be instituted as a result of the investigations will be taken in due course.
Mr. Redwood : Companies considering investment in eastern Europe are welcome to consult my Department. We point out that in all COMECON countries except Hungary the scope for investment is at present limited to participation in joint ventures with local enterprises and that the rules and regulations for these ventures vary from country to country. Direct investment is possible in Hungary and is made more attractive by the existence of an increasingly coherent legal framework and by the availability of British accountants and lawyers based in Budapest. Other countries in this area, such as Poland, offer some similar attractions and are working hard to offer more. Throughout eastern Europe prospects are, perhaps, particularly good in food (production, processing and packaging) and health care (pharmaceuticals and medical equipment), but the risks of investment and the provisions for repatriating profits are changing. We therefore encourage companies to consult the commercial sections of our embassies as well as local representatives of British banks and their usual advisers.
Column 430vehicle industry since 1972 and 1979 together with the number of employees, the number of cars produced, and the trading profit.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Productivity, production and trading profit statistics are matters for the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Employment statistics are a matter for the Secretary of State for Employment.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the Government's estimate of the proportion of the output of motor vehicles produced in the United Kingdom in terms of the shareholding by foreign vehicle producers together with (a) the percentage increase in real hourly earnings of adult male manual workers in the motor vehicle industry since (i) 1972 and (ii) 1979 and of all non-manual employees in the rest of the private sector and (b) the increase in output per head in the motor vehicle industry and the rest of the private sector.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : An estimate of the proportion of the output of motor vehicles produced in the United Kingdom in terms of the shareholding by foreign vehicle producers is not available. Earnings figures are a matter for the Secretary of State for Employment. Output per head figures are a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many representations he has received from hon. and right hon. Members, and members of the public concerning the need for legislation to protect the consumer when purchasing goods ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations he has had regarding inadequacies in consumer protection in the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will place in the Library copies of his Department's unpublished inspectors' reports which have been given to professional bodies.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he expects to announce whether he intends to refer the takeover bid by Kingfisher of Dixons plc to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood : On 16 January my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced that he had decided, in accordance with the recommendation of the Director General of Fair Trading, to refer the proposed acquisition by Kingfisher plc of Dixons Group plc to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.
Column 431It would not be appropriate to comment in detail on the proposed acquisition in advance of the commission's report. The commission has been asked to submit its report to the Secretary of State by 27 April 1990.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he proposes to take to enable the Patent Office to deal promptly with its duties and to minimise delay to investors and exporters.
Mr. Forth : An increase of 50 staff has been approved for the trade marks registry to deal with a backlog of cases which has built up since service marks were introduced in 1986. These staff are currently being recruited and trained.
The Patent Office, which is in the course of relocating to Newport (Gwent), is due to become an executive agency of the Department of Trade and Industry in the course of this year. This is expected to result in substantial improvements in efficiency and quality of service, in particular when the relocation is complete in the autumn of 1991.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Government in assisting the knitwear and textile industries will offer special financing arrangements for these industries to re-equip with British-made machinery.
Mr. Douglas Hogg [holding answer 15 January] : No. Such arrangements would conflict with the European Commission ban on sectoral aid schemes for the textile and clothing industry. The provision of finance to domestic producers on condition that they buy British goods would in addition be in breach of our GATT and Community obligations. The greatest encouragement to buy British is the availability of competitive British goods and services. My Department's policies are geared to helping business to achieve this.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the Government's policy on increases in productivity in manufacturing industry, and what advice is given to employers seeking to achieve such increases.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The most important spur to the significant productivity growth by British manufacturing since 1980 has come from the competitive pressures of more open markets. Government policies to promote this objective have included privatisation, deregulation, elimination of restrictive practices and international negotiations to reduce trade barriers through the GATT and in the European Community. In addition, the
Column 432Department of Trade and Industry's enterprise initiative enables businesses to receive various forms of help which develop management skills and promote best practice and so further improve productivity.
Mr. David Martin : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he will respond to the advice he has received from the Advisory Board for the Research Councils on the future structure of the research council system ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. MacGregor : I have today written to Sir David Phillips, chairman of the Advisory Board for the Research Councils, accepting the recommendation made to me by the board that it should be reconstituted this spring.
The text of my letter is as follows :
"Dear Sir David
Future structure of the research council system
Thank you for your letter of 15 November conveying the Board's advice about the future structure of the Research Council system. The case which you put forward for reconstitution of the ABRC--as a smaller body with a more explicit remit to improve co-ordination and joint working among the Research Councils--is strong and convincing. The Government therefore intends to implement this recommendation with effect from 1 April. The terms of reference for the new ABRC will be those proposed in the annex to your advice. I am very pleased that you have accepted my invitation to become the first chairman of the new Board, and I hope to be able to announce its full membership within a few weeks.
I and my colleagues are considering the Board's subsequent advice about improving co-ordination between the Agricultural and Food Research Council and the Natural Environment Research Council. I shall let you know our conclusions as soon as possible.
I shall, naturally, be informing Parliament about the Government's decision on the reconstitution of the ABRC and, given the wide interest in the scientific community, I am arranging for this letter and the Board's advice to be published."
I am arranging for copies of this letter and of the board's advice to be placed in the Library.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he will list the membership of the ABRC working group investigating reforms of the peer review system under the chairmanship of Margaret Boden ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) if he will outline the scope and remit of the ABRC working group investigating reforms of the peer review system ; and if he will make a statement.
Professor Margaret Boden, FBA (Chairman)--Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Sussex ; and ABRC Member. Professor Sir Eric Ash, FRS FEng.--Rector, Imperial College of Science and Technology, and ABRC Member.
Sir Charles Reece--former Research and Technology Director, ICI ; and ABRC Member.
Column 433Dr. David Edge--Science Studies Unit, Edinburgh University. Dr. John Skehel, FRS--Director, National Institute for Medical Research.
Dr. Peter Williams--Chief Executive, Oxford Instruments plc. Terms of Reference
1. To describe the present practices of the Research Councils in using peer review for the appraisal of proposals for research projects, programmes, centres and facilities ; and for the monitoring and evaluation of output and performance.
2. To estimate the costs of peer review in terms of the resources and time committed by the Councils, their staff and committee members, and by applicants and referees.
3. To evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the peer review systems operated by Councils ; and to assess their efficiency and effectiveness for the appraisal of different types of research support, including for expenditure on and access to large facilities.
4. To review studies of peer review undertaken in the United States and elsewhere, and to draw appropriate lessons for the United Kingdom.
5. To make recommendations concerning :
the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the Council's arrangements for peer review ;
peer review mechanisms as regards support for young researchers and new research fields ;
the use of peer review, and any alternatives, in relation to investment and time allocation decisions for large experimental facilities.
6. Throughout, to construe "peer review" broadly--encompassing also, for instance, "merit review".
My right hon. Friend and I will be interested to hear in due course of the ABRC's conclusions arising from this work.