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Mr. Peter Lloyd : I assume that the right hon. Member is referring to the tribunal's award on police rent allowance, which provided the basis for a recent police negotiating board agreement. The decision of the PNB is a recommendation which my right hon. and learned Friend can accept or reject. In considering the agreement, we had to have regard not only to the interests of the police service but to the wider public interest. After careful consideration, my right hon. and learned Friend concluded that he should set aside certain aspects of the board's agreement. Draft regulations, giving effect to my right hon. and learned Friend's decisions, have been sent to the board for comment and we shall consider carefully any representations which the board may make.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any plans to review the definition of subversive following the political changes in eastern Europe ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Waddington : No : it remains necessary to protect national security from actions intended to overthrow or undermine parliamentary democracy by political, industrial or violent means. This does not prevent careful assessments and responses being made to any changes in the threat.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any plans to introduce regulations that allow voters to opt out of or opt into the sale of their name and address from electoral registers ; whether he has had discussions with the data protection registrar concerning the sale of the names and address from the electoral register ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : No. I refer the hon. Member to my reply to his question on 15 January at column 27. The data protection registrar was consulted before the introduction of provisions in the Representation of the People Regulations 1986, governing the sale of the electoral register in data form.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has any plans to take steps to inform voters of the fact that their name and address are routinely sold or disclosed from the electoral register for poll tax purposes ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : We have no such plan.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has plans to introduce regulations in order to protect the name and address of voters who may be vulnerable to attack if their name and address appeared on an electoral register that is available for sale or inspection by the public ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : We have no plans to do so at present, but we shall continue to keep the position under careful review.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has provided guidance to electoral registration officers concerning the inspection or sale of the names and address from the electoral register without the knowledge of consent or the voter ; whether his Department has studied the implications of linking copies of the electoral register information to that of the census or to other large databases ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : No, although the Home Office does issue guidance to electoral registration officers on all relevant aspects of the electoral registration process, including the provisions governing the inspection and sale of the register. We have not carried out any research concerning the combined use of information from the electoral register and the census or other databases.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list by location the UKWMO to wartime headquarters covering links to county standby emergency centres.
Mr. John Patten : Where no direct communications link is provided between a county standby emergency centre and the relevant UKWMO control, arrangements are being made for an indirect link via the regional government headquarters to which the standby centre is, or is planned to be, connected.
Sir Bernard Braine : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many claims for awards from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board made in 1988 and 1989 are still outstanding ; in how many cases such claimants have died of their injuries before their claims were settled ; what are the reasons for the delays in settling claims ; and what steps are now being taken to speed up settlement.
Mr. John Patten : On 31 March 1988 and 31 March 1989 respectively 77,965 and 82,520 applications were outstanding. The board does not keep records of outstanding claims by year of application ; nor of the number of applicants who die before their claims are settled. Greatly increased applications over recent years, expected to exceed 50,000 this year, have led to the build-up of a heavy backlog, which is causing delays to all claims.
We have taken concerted action to enable the board to reduce delays and meet the increased demand. The board's staff have been increased from 220 in 1987 to 330 now through local recruitment to a new office in Glasgow ; we have appointed more board members ; the board's internal procedures have been reviewed and improved ; a major computerisation programme is under way ; and we have amended the compensation scheme to allow the board among other things to speed up its operations by delegating decisions to staff and reviewing disputed cases on the papers. The terms of the revised scheme, which will take effect on 1 February 1990, were set out in full in the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Westminster, North (Sir J. Wheeler) on 8 December 1989 at columns 409-17.
Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his Department's responsibilities in respect of the administration of magistrates courts.
Mr. John Patten : The Home Secretary's statutory responsibilities are set out in appendix B1 to the report of the "Scrutiny of Magistrates' Courts 1989", a copy of which is in the Library. We are still considering the proposals in the report directed to the reconstitution of the administration of the magistrates courts service as an executive agency.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what criteria were applied in considering (a) the in-house bid and (b) external bids for the contract to maintain his Department's green goddess fleet of fire appliances ;
(2) what was the nature of the tendering process for the maintenance of the green goddess fire appliance fleet.
Mr. John Patten : Twenty-four contractors were invited to tender for the storage and maintenance of the emergency fire service stockpile against an operational requirement prepared by the Home Office. Following standard Government procedures, all compliant tenders were assessed on the basis of value for money, and a comparison was made with the cost and efficacy of the existing in-house undertaking.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of the green goddess fire appliance fleet housed at Bruntingthorpe aerodrome is presently capable of being brought into immediate service.
Mr. John Patten : A total of 218 green goddess fire appliances are housed at Bruntingthorpe, and of these 215 (over 98 per cent.) are capable of being brought into immediate service.
Mr. John Carlise : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many passports are currently issued to Mr. Peter Hain ; and if he will withdraw any issued under aliases ; (2) what measures are available to him to prevent British citizens from being issued with new passports under an assumed name without change of name by deed poll ;
(3) whether he will consider introducing checks at airports and other places of departure in the United Kingdom to ensure that British passport holders have not falsified information in their passport application ;
(4) whether the issue of an additional passport bearing a name differing from that on the original application and without change by marriage or deed poll is available to British citizens.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : It would not be appropriate to disclose details of individual cases, but the passport department does require documentary evidence, such as a marriage certificate or declaration by deed poll, to be submitted in support of passport applications involving a change of name. Although checks are made, it would be impractical to scrutinise in detail the passports of all United Kingdom citizens on embarkation.
Sir Donald Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Home Department, pursuant to his reply of 8 January, Official Report, column 467, in what respects the criteria under which political refugees are now admitted to the United Kingdom do not meet the potential problems faced by people in Hong Kong.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The United Kingdom has placed no geographical limits on its adherence to the 1951 UN convention.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the future of magistrates court service in Wales.
Mr. John Patten : We are still considering the proposals in the report of the "Scrutiny of Magistrates' Courts 1989" directed to the reconstitution of the administration of the magistrates courts service in both England and Wales as a single executive agency.