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Mr. Favell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consultations Stockport metropolitan borough council has had with his Department about a questionnaire, a copy of which has been sent to him, being circulated by the council to the unemployed in Stockport ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar [holding answer 19 January 1990] : The Stockport metropolitan borough council discussed the questionnaire with the manager of Stockport "C" unemployment benefit office and the employment service area manager at Rochdale, who agreed to distribute the questionnaire.
This needs to be set in the wider context of the overall reduction in long- term unemployment which has been achieved by activities of the employment services in Stockport. In the past 12 months unemployment in the Stockport metropolitan borough council area has fallen by 23 per cent, with long-term unemployment falling by 28 per cent.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, further to his letter of 11 January to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby, replying further to his holding answer of 19 December to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby, Official Report, 20 December, column 235, whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the percentage median, quartile and decile increases in weekly earnings in each case between 1972- 79 and 1979-89.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the percentage increase since April 1979 to the latest available date in real hourly and weekly earnings of full-time manual male employees in manufacturing industry and of full-time non-manual male employees in the rest of the private sector together with the increase in output per hour and per head in manufacturing and in the rest of the private sector or, failing that, the rest of the economy.
Mr. Nicholls : The real increases in average gross hourly and weekly earnings of full-time adult manual male employees in manufacturing industry from April 1979 to April 1989 (the latest available date) were 15 per cent. and 14 per cent. respectively. Figures are not readily available for the private sector less manufacturing and would involve disproportionate cost to compile. The increases in manufacturing output per hour and output per head between April 1979 and November 1989 were 52 per cent. and 51 per cent. respectively. The increase in output per head in the whole economy less manufacturing between the second quarter of 1979 and the third quarter of 1989 was 12 per cent. Output per hour data are not available for sectors other than manufacturing.
Mr. Rowlands : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials in the Hong Kong administration as presently constituted would be excluded after 1997 from office under the provisions of article 74 of the joint declaration.
"except as heads of major Government departments (corresponding to branches or departments at Secretary level) including the Police Department, and as Deputy Heads of some of those departments". The Chinese Government have elaborated on this provision in the draft Basic Law. Based on the most recent reports of proposals by Basic Law drafters, we estimate that there are currently between 20 and 30 officials holding such posts.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by the British Government to seek an end to the killing of political opponents of the Somali Government ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has to send a diplomatic mission to visit Somalia to investigate claims that the Somali Government have murdered civilians ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have an embassy in Mogadishu which monitors the human rights situation closely. We also keep in touch with other Governments and with NGOs about the human rights situation in Somalia.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has received any representations from the Institute of Civil Engineers about infrastructure projects in Scotland ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The Institution of Civil Engineers has provided comments on the consultative paper issued by the Scottish Development Department on the routes south of Edinburgh study. These, and other comments which have been received, are currently being considered and a statement on the results of the consultation exercise will be made in due course.
Column 925Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : On 19 January, Scottish Homes, the body responsible for the administration of the rents to mortgages scheme, had received over 450 inquiries from tenants interested in purchasing their homes under the scheme. Twenty-eight firm applications have already resulted from these inquiries.
Since the launch of the scheme on 30 October last year there has been continued interest shown by tenants of both Scottish Homes and the new town development corporations. I am satisfied that good progress is being made towards encouraging owner-occupation among those eligible tenants who have hitherto been unable to consider purchase of their homes.
Mr. Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the current investment programme to upgrade the operating theatre at Roodlands hospital, Haddington and on the delay in recommissioning that theatre.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The Government issued a consultation paper in May 1988 setting out their proposals for the reform of the present improvement and repairs grants system in Scotland. The proposals included the introduction of a test of financial eligibility to determine grant entitlement, so that resources could be directed to those most in need of assistance.
The consultation paper was the subject of many detailed and constructive comments from a wide range of bodies. These are being fully considered as proposals for a new system are developed, but there are no plans to legislate on this subject in Scotland for the time being. A further consultation paper will be issued before any legislation is introduced for consideration by Parliament.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The cash limit for class XI, vote 14 will be reduced by £499,000 from £26,798,000 to £26,299,000. This is the net effect of a token Supplementary Estimate of £1,000 and a decrease of £500,000 to offset the increase sought on class XI, vote 13 for Crown Office, Scotland : Crown prosecutions and legal services. Within this total the running cost limit for the Crown Office will be increased by £850,000 from £19,786,000 to £20,636,000. This is to enable the Crown Office to meet the cost of hiring additional casual staff, greater than expected salary increases, additional costs relating to tape recording of interviews with suspects and
Column 926higher than expected costs of hiring temporary procurators fiscal. This increase is fully offset by saving on capital expenditure elsewhere on the vote.
Mr. Rifkind : Yes. I intend to make changes to six of the cash limits and to two running cost limits within my responsibility. As a result of expected savings on two services the cash limit for class XVI vote 2, agriculture services and fisheries, Scotland, will be reduced by £1,600,000 from £81,624,000 to £80,024,000. The cash limit for class XVI vote 10, privatisation of the electricity supply industry, Scotland, will be reduced by £1,050,000 from £6,000,000 to £4,950,000.
The cash limit for class XVI vote 11, administration of justice, Scotland, will be reduced by £2,000,000 from £35,474,000 to £33,474, 000.
Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the running costs limit for the Scottish Record Office vote, class XVI, vote 18 will be increased by £30,000 from £2,551,000 to £2,581,000 to cover increased accommodation charges. This increase will be offset by a corresponding reduction in the running costs limit of the General Register Office for Scotland, class XVI, vote 19 from £5,865,000 to £5,835,000. The cash limit for vote 19 will be reduced by £250,000 from £5,368,000 to £5,118,000.
The non-voted cash limit SO/LA2, which covers housing capital expenditure by local authorities and capital expenditure by new towns, will be reduced by £1,138,000 from £345,424,000 to £344,286,000. These reductions in cash limits will be used to offset increases in other votes.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many neighbourhood watch schemes have been set up in each of the past five years in (a) Greenock and Port Glasgow and (b) Strathclyde and Scotland as a whole ; and what was the financial support given to these schemes by the Scottish Office.
1987 |6 |127 |259 1988 |44 |475 |629 1989 |58 |674 |1,093
Figures are not available centrally for earlier years. However, I understand that the first Scottish schemes were set up in 1984, and the first schemes in Strathclyde were set up in 1987.
Neighbourhood watch schemes are set up by members of the public with the assistance of the police and are not funded directly by the Scottish Office.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the final cost of the damage and restoration work arising from the flooding and gales of 13 February 1989 ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 25 January 1990] : The costs of damage and restoration work fell on both the public and private sectors and no comprehensive record of them is held centrally. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland announced on 27 April 1989 that a scheme of special financial assistance to those local authorities which had suffered an undue financial burden would be made available on the same basis as had operated in England and Wales in 1987 ( Official Report Vol. 151, Cols. 609-12 ). On 9 November 1989 my right hon. and learned Friend announced ( Official Report Vol. 159, Col. 742 ) that a quarter of a million pounds would be made available to those authorities which had qualified for assistance under the scheme.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many waste disposal authorities in the United Kingdom have provision for recycling of car and motor vehicle oil ; and what percentage of such oil is now recycled.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : This information is not immediately available but the Department is about to conduct a survey of local authorities which will cover, among other things, what facilities exist for the collection and processing of waste oil.
Mr. Chope : Blind people on low incomes will be able to claim community charge benefit, which can provide rebates of up to 80 per cent. of the charge. Registered blind people can qualify for community charge benefit at higher levels of income than other claimants because their applicable amount contains a disability premium. Blind people in receipt of income support have had their benefit increased to reflect the fact that they have to pay at least 20 per cent. of the charge. The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) has produced information on the community charge in Braille, based on a leaflet published by the Department of the Environment ; and the Department is pursuing with the RNIB the possibility of help with the production of further material. Registered blind people may qualify for extra help under the
Column 928transitional relief scheme if they have to pay a community charge but did not formerly pay rates or rent (or were not the partner of anyone who did).
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to make provision for a waste disposal authority to refuse a site licence when a landfill is proposed on a site of special scientific interest.
Mr. Trippier : This is a matter for the planning authority to consider as part of the planning application process. The planning authority should have regard to circular 27/87 which contains guidance on the procedures to be followed in considering any development on land used for nature conservation.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to provide statutory powers for voluntary groupings of waste regulation authorities to pool their skills and powers.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to make it a condition for the issuing of a waste disposal site licence that the applicant has to demonstrate a certain defined minimum standard of waste management education, training and experience.
Mr. Trippier : The Environmental Protection Bill contains provisions for the waste regulation authority to refuse a licence to an applicant who is not a fit and proper person. Part of the test of being a fit and proper person is that the applicant would provide technically competent management for the proposed facility. The Secretary of State may prescribe, through regulations, the qualifications and experience required of a person for this purpose.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to make it a legal requirement for waste regulation authorities to conform to the frequency of site visits laid down in the waste management papers issued by his Department.
Mr. Trippier : The Environmental Protection Bill contains provisions for the waste regulation authorities to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State with respect to the discharge of their functions in relation to licences. Such guidance would include advice on the frequency of site visits. The authorities will also be required to publish annual reports on their performance in relation to this guidance.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many executive, administrative and support staff are currently employed by the Property Services Agency ; and how many of these staff the Property Services Agency anticipate will be required over each of the next four years ;
(2) if he will list the Property Services Agency requirements for executive, administrative and support
Column 929staff over the next four years as projected in the business plans currently being considered by the Property Services Agency chief executive.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 22 January 1990] : At 1 January 1990 there were 5,912 administrative, executive and support staff employed in the Property Services Agency, excluding the Crown Suppliers. Future staff requirements will depend on the future workload.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what guidance his Department intends to give fishermen as to how they will reduce effort on haddock ; and whether fishermen's organisations will receive a consultation document on any such proposals.
Mr. Curry : The fisheries Departments have issued a consultation paper to the industry about possible measures to bring about a 30 per cent. reduction in fishing for North sea haddock in 1990. The proposals will be discussed at a meeting with the industry on 29 January.
Mr. Curry : Individual transferable quotas have been operated successfully in a number of countries and I am investigating whether they would have a useful role to play here. If I believe that they could be adapted to our conditions, the industry will be fully consulted about possible schemes. No definitive plan exists at present.
Mr. Curry : Scallops are principally caught off the western coast of Great Britain. The research undertaken by my Department has largely been confined to studying the behaviour of this fishery and the biological factors determining abundance of stocks.
Mr. Curry : As the hon. Member knows, we are considering with the industry the measures necessary to reduce fishing for North sea haddock in 1990. Our proposals do not envisage financial assistance for laying up. A laying-up scheme does nothing to reduce capacity on a permanent basis and would serve to encourage marginal fishermen, who might otherwise have left the industry, to remain in it.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on how many occasions during each of the last five years the Forestry Commission has (a) applied for and (b) been granted licences to trap glis glis ; and what were the numbers taken in respect of each licence.
applied for granted |Numbers taken 1985 |- |- |- 1986 |1 |1 |4 1987 |1 |1 |43 1988 |1 |1 |6 1989 |1 |1 |None
Mr. Maclean : Goats slaughtered for sale for human consumption must be slaughtered in accordance with the provisions of the Slaughterhouses Act 1974 and the Slaughter of Animals (Prevention of Cruelty) Regulations 1958. Enforcement of the legislation is the responsibility of the local authorities. I am not aware of any goats being slaughtered in contravention of this legislation.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the number of (a) laying hens and (b) other hens killed by the Gumboro virus in the current outbreak of the disease ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean : Gumboro disease does not normally cause death in laying hens. Estimated losses to the broiler sector from the disease since May last year are in excess of 5 million birds. It is believed that more than 500,000 replacement pullets have also been lost. Since 30 October last year, a less attenuated live vaccine has been available, for use under state veterinary service supervision. It is hoped that this may have a beneficial effect on the situation.
Mr. Beith : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many visits have been made by the north regional marketing inspector to retail premises since 1 January in connection with the marketing of eggs which have not been through a packing station ; and in which local authority areas the visits took place.
Column 931Mr. Curry : No enforcement visits have been made for this purpose by the regional egg marketing inspector for the northern region since 1 January.
As previously explained to the hon. Member (Hansard 6 November, columns 468 -69 ), enforcement of the EC regulations on egg marketing standards at the retail level is a matter for local authorities. The Ministry's egg marketing inspectors will provide assistance to local authorities on request.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether the studies available to him on the effects of irradiation of food include long-term populational surveys for potential carcinogenic effects.
Mr. Maclean : The studies examined by the independent expert scientific committee that confirmed the safety and wholesomeness of irradiated food included a number of animal studies extending over several generations. The extensive data reviewed produced no evidence of potential carcinogenic effects.
Mr. Gummer : Yes. Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the cash limit for class IV vote 2 (Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce : administration) will be increased by a token £1,000 from £38,225,000 to £38,226,000. The running costs limit for the board will be increased by £540,000 from £19,881,000 to £20,421,000 which includes £89,000 in respect of take-up of the full end-year flexibility entitlement as announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 20 July 1989 ( Official Report, columns 258-62 ). Provision for payments for agency services will be decreased by £523,000 and recovery of value-added tax in respect of capital items will be increased by £16,000. These changes reflect an increase in running costs to remove the backlog of external trade claims and a reduction in appropriations-in-aid, offset by reduced expenditure by the board's agents, principally as a result of the changes to the Community support arrangements for beef.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food cash limit for class IV, vote 4 (other agricultural and food services and support for the fishing industry) will be reduced by £2,500,000 from £148,931,000 to £146,431,000 and that for class IV, vote 5 (departmental research, advisory services and administration) will be reduced by £2,000,000 from £256,942,000 to £254,942,000, with a consequential reduction in the running cost limit for MAFF of £2,000,000 from £262, 386,000 to £260,386,000. These reductions mainly reflect the tightening of the eligibility criteria for grant on fishing vessels and difficulties in the recruitment and retention of staff.
Column 932in the North sea ; what countries bordering the North sea permit the discharge of industrial waste into it ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Curry : It is established Government policy to terminate the dumping at sea of liquid industrial waste. The search for environmentally acceptable means for disposal of the wastes on land has been pressed forward urgently since the second North sea conference. The number of licences has already been reduced since 1987 by more than half ; and the remaining licences will be terminated as soon as alternative means of disposal can be put in place. Important processes including the production of medicines are involved, and the necessary investment will often be high. Nevertheless I anticipate that most sea disposal licences should be ended this year or next.
All countries which border the North sea, or which border rivers entering it, permit the discharge of waste into the North sea. The main sources of pollutants entering the North sea are rivers. Eighty per cent. of the riverborne pollution is from the continental rivers. Fifty per cent. of total riverborne pollution originates in the Rhine and the Meuse. For comparison the United Kingdom's dumping of liquid industrial waste adds no significant levels of pollutants to the sea.
Mr. Waddington : Yes. The cash limit on the prisons vote (class XI, vote 2) has been reduced by £2,506,000 from £1,140,131,000 to £1,137, 625,000 to reflect the reduced prison population and adjustments to the building programme.
Sir John Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether there have been any changes in the panel of three advisors appointed to consider representations from persons required to leave the country on security or political grounds, who have no right of appeal under the Immigration Act 1971.
Mr. Waddington : I have re-appointed the right hon. Lord Justice Lloyd as chairman of the panel and Mr. David Neve as a member. Sir Robert Andrew KCB has been appointed as the third member and Sir Mark Russell KCMG and Mr. Gerry Gillman as reserve members. I should like to record my thanks to the retiring members, the hon. Sir Patrick Nairne GCB MC, Sir John Garlick KCB and Mr. Edward Hewlett for their services to the panel.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times since 1 January 1989 scientists at the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory have been unable to visit scenes of crimes due to understaffing ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 933Mr. Waddington : I understand that since 1 January 1989 it has not been possible for scientists at the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory to visit scenes of crimes on an estimated 16 occasions. The provision of specialist assistance at major crime scenes remains a high priority for the laboratory.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases since 1 January 1989 has the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory had to decline to provide the police with forensic science reports, on the grounds of understaffing or overwork ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proposals he has to attract more trained forensic scientists to the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory ; and if he will make a statement ;
(d) what assessment he has made of the effect of restrictions in staffing levels in the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory on the quality and number of investigations carried out there ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waddington : Forensic scientists are not trained at first degree level. The Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory therefore concentrates on recruiting and training its own scientists and a graduate recruitment exercise is currently under way. The staffing level for the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory is set by the Commissioner within the total of civil staff whom he is authorised to employ. The ceiling is currently 216, which I understand the Commissioner considers to be appropriate to the amount of work undertaken ; on 1 January there were 203taff in post. The impact of this shortfall of staff on the work of the laboratory, and the need for pay flexibility and other relevant management issues, are under consideration.
Sir David Steel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what grounds he refused to implement in full the recent decisions of the police arbitration tribunal regarding the pay structure for police officers in England and Wales ; and if he will reconsider his decision.