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Human Rights

Mr. Hunter : To ask the Prime Minister to which Commonwealth countries the United Kingdom Government have made representations of concern about the abuse of human rights since 1979.

The Prime Minister : Where Commonwealth countries' practice on human rights has given cause for concern, we have made

representations as necessary. These representations are sometimes more productive if undertaken without publicity. It would not, therefore, be helpful to list the countries concerned.

Conveyancing

Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list the reforms which her Government have introduced in the conveyancing of homes since 1979 ; and which other areas are currently under consideration for such further reforms.

The Prime Minister : The following measures designed to improve the conveyancing process have been introduced by the Government since 1979 :

(1) the Administration of Justice Act 1985 which established licensed conveyancers ; (2) the Building Societies Act 1986 which provided for the conveyancing of property by financial institutions. The Courts and Legal Services Bill currently being considered in another place includes provision for authorised conveyancing practitioners. The conveyancing standing committee at the Law Commission has published guides as to improvements in conveyancing practice on the following matters :

(1) Pre-Contract Deposits ; (2) Preliminary Inquiries ; (3) House selling the Scottish way for England and Wales ; (4) Local Authority Enquiries ; (5) Conveyancing Claims ; (6) Avoiding Completion Delays ; (7) the operation of the Caveat Emptor rule.

The Government have asked the Director General of Fair Trading to review estate agency practices. They have also asked that draft legislation should be prepared at the Law Commission to give effect to a commonhold scheme.


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Downing Street

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Prime Minister how many injuries have occurred in Downing street due to (a) road traffic accidents, (b) pedestrians tripping over uneven paving slabs and (c) other causes for each of the past 10 years ; what compensation the victims received ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : As far as I am aware there have been no road traffic accidents in Downing street. The responsibility for compensating individuals in the event of tripping over uneven paving slabs rests with Westminster city council.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Prime Minister how often the front of 10 Downing street is (a) painted and (b) cleaned ; whether the work is contracted out ; what is the cost to public funds ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : There is no set frequency for the external painting of No. 10 Downing street. The windows were last painted in 1984 and the front door in 1988. The brickwork of the Downing street elevation is stained black and was last restained in 1962. External decorating work is undertaken by contractors. The cost of repainting the external woodwork of Nos. 10, 11, and 12 Downing street was £16,000 in 1984.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Prime Minister whether the postmen who deliver mail to 10 Downing street have to (a) hold a pass and (b) be accompanied by a police officer ; and how many postal deliveries 10 Downing street receives each day ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : No. 10 receives the normal number of postal deliveries. As regards the other parts of the hon. Member's question it is not the practice to comment on security matters of this kind.

Petitions

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Prime Minister what is her policy with regard to the disposal of items such as flowers, clothing and footwear handed in to her at 10 Downing street on the occasion of a right hon. or hon. Member presenting a petition on behalf of constituents.

The Prime Minister : Such goods are normally dealt with in accordance with the request, if any, which accompanies the petition.

Chancellor Kohl

Mr. Hunter : To ask the Prime Minister when she next expects to meet the Chancellor of West Germany ; and what matters she will discuss.

The Prime Minister : I expect to meet Chancellor Kohl before long. As is usual, there will be a wide range of issues to discuss including developments in eastern Europe, East-West relations, and European Community matters.

Engagements

Mr. Riddick : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 February.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 February.


Column 545

Mr. Rooker : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 February.

Mr. McAvoy : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 February.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 February.

Mr. Stern : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 6 February.

The Prime Minister : This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today. This evening I shall attend a reception to commemorate the 150th anniversary of New Zealand's founding treaty.

WALES

Rent Arrears

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish rent arrears for each of the district councils and boroughs of Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : Rent arrears information in respect of 1988-89 for each local authority district in Wales is given in the table. The figures indicate both current and former tenants' arrears and are taken from returns supplied by local authorities to the Department.


Local Authority                      |Rent Arrears                   

                                     |1988-89                        

                                     |(£)                            

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

Aberconwy Borough Council            |128,200                        

Alyn and Deeside District Council    |106,400                        

Arfon Borough Council                |130,000                        

Blaenau Gwent Borough Council        |154,820                        

Brecknock Borough Council            |69,767                         

Cardiff City Council                 |732,889                        

Carmarthen District Council          |107,929                        

Ceredigion District Council          |105,000                        

Colwyn Borough Council               |134,730                        

Cynon Valley Borough Council         |217,720                        

Delyn Borough Council                |130,284                        

Dinefwr Borough Council              |110,242                        

Dwyfor District Council              |14,120                         

Glyndwr District Council             |217,598                        

Islwyn Borough Council               |69,980                         

Llanelli Borough Council             |275,236                        

Lliw Valley Borough Council          |201,312                        

Meirionydd District Council          |45,966                         

Merthyr Tydfil Borough Council       |137,251                        

Monmouth Borough Council             |116,077                        

Montgomery District Council          |102,771                        

Neath Borough Council                |190,809                        

Newport Borough Council              |510,187                        

Ogwr Borough Council                 |1,158,015                      

Port Talbot Borough Council          |149,590                        

Preseli District Council             |232,600                        

Radnor District Council              |21,000                         

Rhondda Borough Council              |179,640                        

Rhuddlan Borough Council             |61,435                         

Rhymney Valley District Council      |226,367                        

South Pembrokeshire District Council |79,500                         

Swansea City Council                 |679,184                        

Taff-Ely Borough Council             |333,620                        

Torfaen Borough Council              |403,696                        

Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council    |131,200                        

Wrexham Maelor Borough Council       |485,049                        

Ynys Mon Borough Council             |144,170                        


Column 546

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assistance he plans for the housing authorities of Wales concerning rent arrears.

Mr. Grist : Rent arrears is a housing management issue and I look to councils to resolve it. I stand ready to consider any realistic proposals that the Council of Welsh Districts (CWD) cares to put to me to promulgate good practice.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Gwilym Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what are the spending levels for 1988-89, 1989-90 and 1990-91 for (a) the average of all Welsh county councils and (b) South Glamorgan council in cash and percentage terms.

Mr. Grist : Information for 1988-89 and 1989-90 is given in the table. Figures are not yet available for 1990-91.


                  |1988-89   |1989-90   |Percentage           

                  |revised   |budget    |increase             

                  |estimate                                   

                  |£000      |£000                            

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

Average of Welsh                                              

  County Councils |180,163   |193,506   |7.4                  

South Glamorgan                                               

  County Council  |191,174   |207,952   |8.8                  

Mr. Gwilym Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what are the spending levels for 1988-89, 1989-90 and 1990-91 for (a) the average of all Welsh district councils and (b) Cardiff council in cash and percentage levels.

Mr. Grist : Information for 1988-89 and 1989-90 is given in the table. Figures are not yet available for 1990-91.


                     |1988-89   |1989-90   |Percentage           

                     |revised   |budget    |increase             

                     |estimate                                   

                     |£000      |£000                            

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

Average of Welsh                                                 

  District Councils  |7,297     |8,147     |11.6                 

Cardiff City Council |25,473    |30,501    |19.7                 

Sheep

Mr. Geraint Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many sheep farmers in each of the Welsh counties have 1,000 ewes or over ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : I refer the hon. Gentleman to table 3.11 in "Welsh Agricultural Statistics No. 11, 1989", a copy of which is in the Library.

Rural Affairs Unit

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will set up a rural affairs unit in his Department ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : Effective arrangements already exist within the Department to ensure the co-ordination and implementation of the various policies which affect rural


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areas of Wales. A close relationship is also maintained with other agencies and organisations having responsibilities and an interest in rural affairs.

Mid-Wales

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what initiatives he proposes to enhance economic activity in mid-Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : The Development Board for Rural Wales has the principal responsibility for the economic regeneration of mid-Wales. Its recently announced "Strategy for the 1990s" sets out its future intentions for the area. Apart from the Development Board for Rural Wales, other sources of economic and industrial assistance are available to mid-Wales through the Wales tourist board, the Welsh Development Agency and central Government.

Upland Farmers

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what initiatives he proposes to take concerning the difficulties encountered by upland farmers in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : We have just announced an 11 per cent. increase in the hill livestock compensatory allowance for hardy breed sheep in the severely disadvantaged area, bringing the rate up to £7.50. For the future, we shall seek to ensure that upland farmers in Wales are able to compete effectively and on equal terms with the rest of Europe.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will meet the farmers' unions in Wales to discuss the needs of the upland farmers ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State regularly meets representatives from the Welsh farming unions to discuss a wide range of issues affecting agriculture in Wales.

Rented Property

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what initiatives he proposes concerning the need for homes to rent in rural Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : We are encouraging local authorities to make the best use of their housing stock through good housing management practice. Authorities are also encouraged to work together with housing associations to provide homes for rent in rural Wales. Furthermore the rural initiative launched by Housing for Wales last year has brought forward a number of pilot projects involving the provision of rented homes. Two research projects have been commissioned by Housing for Wales to establish the overall level of housing need in rural areas which will assist the accurate targeting of its resources. In addition, Housing for Wales has been asked to maintain significant investment in rural housing at around £25 million in the context of its overall programme.

Cardiff-Wales Airport

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what policy initiative he proposes to enhance the status of Cardiff-Wales airport.


Column 548

Mr. Wyn Roberts : Wherever possible, the Government encourage growth at regional airports, and they are already leading the way in liberalising European air fares and services. However, future development of Cardiff- Wales Airport Ltd. will depend on the expansion of services which is primarily a matter for the commercial judgment of the airlines.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will meet local government leaders and management of Cardiff-Wales airport to discuss future development ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has already arranged to meet the airport director in early March for discussions on the prospects for new services at Cardiff-Wales airport.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will visit Cardiff-Wales airport.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : My right hon. Friend has no current plans to do so.

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many official visits he has made to Cardiff-Wales airport.

Mr. Wyn Roberts : None. However my right hon. Friend is a frequent user.

Welsh Water plc

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he is taking to ensure that Welsh Water plc meets its obligations to improve the quality and dependability of supply of water.

Mr. Grist : My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Wales have recently established a drinking water inspectorate, details of which were given by the Minister for Housing and Planning in answer to a question from the hon. Member for Berkshire, East (Mr. MacKay) on 21 December 1989. The Director General of Water Services also has duties under the Water Act 1989 to ensure that the functions of a water undertaker are properly carried out.

Patients (Referrals)

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) how the cost of treatment for a patient referred to a treatment centre by a general practitioner will be met ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) whether he will make a statement as to why general practitioners will not be allowed to refer patients directly to treatment centres of the practitioner's choice.

Mr. Grist : Treatment centres are intended to help directly people who have been waiting too long for treatment for key disabling conditions. They will therefore offer those patients who have already been waiting over four months for the relevant operations the choice of earlier treatment at the centres. Treatment for all patients at the centres will be funded centrally. GPs will continue to be able to refer new patients direct to hospitals of their choice, which will continue to treat the majority of patients.

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement as to which authority is to be responsible for the after care of a patient following treatment at a centre outside the patient's health authority.


Column 549

Mr. Grist : The consultant team at the centre will be responsible for post-operative care and follow-up, including any complications arising from the surgical procedure. However, with the agreement of the referring consultant, consideration may be given to conducting follow-up nearer the patient's home. The place of treatment for late surgical complications after completion of in-patient treatment should be decided by the patient and GP after consultation with the operating surgeon.

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to set up a special fund to help meet the travel expenses of patients referred to treatment centres outside their own health authorities ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : The cost of travel where medically indicated to and from the orthopaedic treatment centre at the Prince of Wales hospital, Rhydlafar, will be shared between the referring authorities and the centre itself ; £20,000 a year of central funds are being set aside for this purpose. The arrangements for the other centres are currently under discussion. Patients on low incomes can obtain help with their travelling expenses to and from the centres from the Department of Social Security as with any other hospital service.

Health Care

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he intends to ensure a comprehensive range of health care services within each health authority in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Grist : The provisions of the National Health Service and Community Care Bill place a clear duty on district health authorities to secure an adequate range, quality and depth of services for their local populations. As now, some services will need to be provided to patients outside their district health authority of residence. In determining arrangements for the treatment of their residents, health authorities will wish to reconcile the need for service, quality of access to service, and value for money in the mode of provision.

Polluted Beaches

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will provide a list of the 10 most polluted beaches in Wales and give details of the most recent measurements of pollution on each of them.

Mr. Grist : This information is not available. However, the results of the 1989 survey of bathing water quality in England and Wales announced by my hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment and Countryside on 25 January showed that 83 per cent. of the 48 Welsh waters listed under the terms of the EC bathing water directive complied with its bacteriological standards. Details have been placed in the Library of the House.

Polluted Rivers

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will provide a list of the 20 most polluted rivers in Wales and give details of the most recent measurements of pollution in each of them.


Column 550

Mr. Grist : This information is not available. However, the 1985 river water quality survey showed that 93 per cent. of all river lengths surveyed in Wales were in either class 1 or 2.

Firearms Range, Cardiff

Mr William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will indicate the date on which the safety certificate for the indoor firearms range at the national sports centre, Cardiff was first granted ; and for which classes and calibres of firearms and muzzle energies it presently holds such a safety certificate.

Mr. Grist : The information provided by the Sports Council for Wales is as follows :

Original certificate issued 18 July 1972 for the following : .22 calibre rifle

210 feet per pound muzzle energy

.22 calibre pistol

100 feet per pound muzzle energy

On 14 May 1984 upgraded to :

.380 calibre pistol

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

Bangladesh

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list, by cost and project, the aid which is currently given to Bangladesh in the form of (a) grant aid and (b) repayable loans.

Mrs. Chalker : Under British bilateral aid to Bangladesh all assistance is provided in grant form.

Capital aid projects funded under the programme at present are :


Allocation (rounded)                                       

                                       |£ million          

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

Dhaka Power Phase II A                 |11.5               

Dhaka Power Phase III                  |58.9               

Second Gas Development Project         |22.9               

Bridging and Institutional Development |11.8               

Tea Rehabilitation                     |20.0               

Second Deep Tubewells Project          |17.9               

Second Rural Development Project       |6.6                

Third Health and Population Project    |8.0                

Technical Education Project            |1.4                

We also support a large number of technical co-operation activities, including training in Bangladesh and in the United Kingdom, consultants, advisers, aid personnel and equipment. In 1988-89 some £14 million was spent on these activities.

In addition, Britain provides commodity aid for goods, equipment and spare parts to maintain and improve existing production capacity in Bangladesh. A grant for £15 million was signed in February 1989.

Aid (Disabled People)

Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure that an appropriate part of the financial aid given to countries is allocated to the needs of disabled people to ensure that they have equal opportunity in the development of their countries.


Column 551

Mrs. Chalker : In many developing countries the needs of disabled people are handled by the non-governmental sector. The ODA provides grants to United Kingdom non-governmental organisations operating in developing countries for the partial funding of their projects, which are usually carried out by local organisations. Within our Government-to-Government country aid programmes we are ready to respond positively to requests from recipient Governments to provide assistance to help them meet the needs of disabled people. Details of projects funded by the ODA, both directly and through non-governmental organisations, which focus on the needs of disabled people, were contained in the answer the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam) on 6 December at columns 231-32.

EMPLOYMENT

Tourism

Mr. Lee : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the latest available figures of the balance of payments deficit on the travel and tourism account ; and what is his projection for the year.

Mr. Nicholls : During the first 10 months of the year, overseas residents spent an estimated £5,820 million in the United Kingdom while United Kingdom residents spent £8,370 million abroad. Estimates for the whole of 1989 will be published on 7 March.


Column 552

Youth Training

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the number of YTS trainees in training broken down by ethnic background and the number of contracted places in (a) London and (b) Birmingham/Solihull for February 1989.

Mr. Nicholls : The number of YTS trainees in training by ethnic background for the two areas requested on 28 February 1989 is as follows :


Ethnic group                    |London      |Birmingham/              

                                             |Solihull                 

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

White                           |16,630      |9,972                    

Black/African Caribbean descent |2,501       |573                      

Indian sub-continent descent    |1,229       |830                      

Chinese Vietnamese/mixed race   |579         |119                      

Prefers not to say              |578         |63                       

The number of contracted places for February 1989 are :


           |Number       

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

London     |31,311       

Birmingham |18,041       

Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what information he has on the construction ITB YTS scheme showing the ethnic background and number of trainees in each of the occupational categories concerned ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholls : The table shows the number in training in YTS CITB schemes as at 31 December 1989 and gives the ethnic breakdown within each occupational area :


Column 551


In-Training on YTS CITB schemes, as at 31 December 1989                                                                                                                                                                 

Occupational Group (TOC)                 |White                   |Black/Afro/             |Indian sub-             |None of these           |Prefer not to           |Total                                            

                                                                  |Caribbean               |continent                                        |say                                                                       

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

A. Administration and Clerical           |159                     |-                       |3                       |1                       |-                       |163                                              

D. Selling and Storage                   |9                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |9                                                

K. Construction and Civil Engineering    |27,960                  |92                      |68                      |55                      |164                     |28,339                                           

M. Electronic and Electrical Engineering |7,732                   |51                      |28                      |16                      |17                      |7,844                                            

N. Mechanical Engineering                |4                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |4                                                

P. Motor Vehicle Repair and Maintenance  |1                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |1                                                

Q. Non-Metal Processing                  |2                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |2                                                

R. Printing                              |1                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |1                                                

S. Clothing and Textiles                 |1                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |-                       |1                                                

                                         |-------                 |-------                 |-------                 |-------                 |-------                 |-------                                          

Total                                    |35,869                  |143                     |99                      |72                      |181                     |36,364                                           

Training

Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to relaunch Employment training.

Mr. Nicholls : My Department has no such plans.

Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list all training enterprises and schemes which have been introduced since 1979.


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