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Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will publish a table showing (a) the universities which have mummified aboriginal or Maori relics in their collections and (b) the number of such relics in each collection.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of undergraduates following first degree courses in the arts and science faculties at Scottish universities take a four-year course ; and what is the comparable figure for England and Wales.
Mr. Jackson [holding answer 22 January 1990] : The Universities' Statistical Record shows that, for the academic year 1988-89, 77 per cent. of full-time and sandwich students pursuing first degrees in arts and science
Column 796subjects at Scottish universities were on four-year courses. The comparable figure for England and Wales was 22 per cent.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many times plastic bullets were used in the first six months of 1989 ; what were the circumstances of each incident ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : I am writing to the hon. and learned Member with the details for the first six months of 1989, in which 235 plastic baton rounds were fired. I shall place a copy of my letter in the Library.
Mr. Cope : In Northern Ireland, top risk (commonly known as "red book") prisoners are those who are considered to have the greatest escape potential and who, if at large, would pose the greatest threat to society and the security forces.
There is no system of parole in Northern Ireland but there is provision for compassionate home leave, pre-release home leave and Christmas and summer home leave. All prisoners, including those in the top risk category, are eligible to apply for compassionate home leave in the event of the death or critical illness of a member of the immediate family ; each case is considered on its merits. Applications from all fixed-term prisoners, including those in the top risk category, for pre-release home leave or Christmas home leave are also considered on their merits. Top risk prisoners were, however, excluded from the 1989 Christmas home leave scheme for indeterminate sentence prisoners who had served 13 years in custody because they had not made satisfactory progress towards release.
The cases of all indeterminate sentence prisoners are reviewed at regular stages throughout sentence. At each review all the relevant factors pertaining to the prisoner, including his security categorisation, are taken into account in deciding whether to recommend release or to set the date of the next review.
All top risk prisoners have their cases reviewed regularly to see if they can be downgraded to a lower security category.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what increases in staff are presently proposed by the Western education and library board for or during the present or next financial year ; what are the grades and salaries of such staff ; and whether they are to be funded by an increase in the sums allocated by his Department or from the presently existing level of funds.
Column 797matter for each education and library board to determine. Information about lower graded staff outside headquarters is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the Western education and library board has provided the following information about its additional headquarters staffing proposals :
Grade |1989-90 |1990-91 |Salary scale |£ ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Adviser |- |5 |25,389 Senior administration |16,743- officer |- |2 |18,225 |Teachers |salary plus |allowance of Seconded teacher |- |1 | £1,260 pa |14,658- Systems analyst |- |1 |15,810 Administrative |14,658- officer |1 |- |15,810 Senior executive |11,667- officer |- |1 |13,824 |8,967- Executive officer |1 |- |11,301 Senior clerical |8,181- officer |- |1 |8,787 Clerical officer |- |1 |8,007 |4,308- Clerk-typist |1 |- |8,007 |-- |-- |3 |12
The Department of Education has made additional funds available to education and library boards for a number of new initiatives. The above posts will be funded by the Western education and library board from these funds and from the board's enhanced block grant allocation. The Western board will also consider the appointment of further staff in 1990-91 but decisions have not yet been taken about the number of grades of such additional staff.
In addition, 10 field officers (teachers on short-term secondments) have been appointed to the Western board's advisory and support service in 1989- 90 ; their salaries will continue to be paid directly by the Department.
Mr. Baldry : The appointment of the chairman of the electricity consumers committee for the Southern region is a matter for the Director General of Electricity Supply in consultation with the Secretary of State and an announcement is expected shortly. The consumers committee members will be appointed by the director general in consultation with the chairman.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list by name and post all former or current Crown servants referred to in the material passed to her by Mr. Colin Wallace ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list by name and post all those former or current Crown servants who were in any way responsible for supervising the activities of Mr. Colin Wallace whilst he served with Army Intelligence in Northern Ireland or at any other time ; and if she will make a statement.
Sir Geoffrey Finsberg : To ask the Prime Minister if she has any proposals to improve inter-departmental co-operation in the field of drugs ; and if the Government will now ratify the 1988 United Nations convention against drugs.
The Prime Minister : Government policy for tackling drug misuse and trafficking is co-ordinated through the ministerial group on the misuse of drugs, chaired by the Minister of State, Home Office, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor).
Column 799Provisions have been introduced in the Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Bill to enable us to ratify the 1988 United Nations convention against the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 7 February 1990] : My Department has records of six mineshafts in England and Wales being used to accept controlled waste. These are listed in the table. None of these facilities accepts domestic wastes, and only some may accept special waste. The local waste disposal authority can advise as to the current status of each facility :
Holford Brine Cavities
Severn Trent Water
Effluent Disposal Ltd.
Empire Brickworks, Stubbers Green Road
Frost and Sons (Moxley) Ltd.
J. B. and S. Lees Ltd.
Sir Peter Hordern : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing the total cost of rent and rate rebate, and of housing benefit, in each of the last five years.
The information requested is shown in the table. The expenditure shown for rent and rebates is also included in the housing benefit total.
Housing Benefit Expenditure 1985-86 to 1989-90 £ million |1985-86|1986-87|1987-88|1988-89|1989-90 ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Rent rebate |2,292 |2,420 |2,528 |2,661 |2,855 Rate rebate |1,479 |1,635 |1,714 |1,373 |1,483 Total housing benefit expenditure |4,609 |5,009 |5,289 |5,074 |5,592 Notes: Rates rebates for 1989-90 include community charge rebates in Scotland. Source: Public Expenditure White Paper 1990.
Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the number of new claims for housing benefit received from young people in London for the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many mentally handicapped people he estimates will benefit from the proposals outlined in "The Way Ahead : Benefits for Disabled People".
Mr. Scott : Our data sources do not enable us to isolate the number of mentally handicapped people who will gain from the changes to existing social security benefits detailed in "The Way Ahead : Benefits for Disabled People". The number of mentally handicapped people who will benefit from the introduction of the two new benefits, a disability allowance and a disability employment credit, will depend on the precise details of these benefits on which further work has yet to be done.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the latest figures for the number of income support claimants with deductions for (a) electricity debts, (b) gas debts, (c) water debts and (d) social fund loan repayments.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : Figures for the number of income support claimants with deductions for electricity and gas debts are contained in table 10 of the "Department of Social Security Income Support Statistics Annual
Column 801Statistical Enquiry, May 1988", a copy of which has been placed in the Library. Figures are not collected for deductions for water debts. Deductions are not all for debt : some are for current consumption only.
In December 1989 there was a total of 391,000 people making social fund loan repayments for 344,000 budgeting loans and 47,000 crisis loans. These figures relate to applicants who were in receipt of income support when the loan was taken out. Some may since have ceased to be in receipt of income support.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the net cost or saving resulting from the introduction of a common waiting period of three months for attendance and mobility allowance in place of the present six months' waiting period for attendance allowance (a) for all claimants and (b) for those aged under 65 years.
Mr. Scott : It is estimated that, taking into account the full effect of the removal of the six-month waiting period for attendance allowance for people who are terminally ill, the net effect on expenditure would be (a) an increase of about £120 million a year and (b) an increase of about £10 million a year.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what funds he will commit to undertake research which would allow a reassessment of the decision of the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council not to distinguish between the development of chronic bronchitis or emphysema through smoking and that brought on by exposure to substances associated with the processing, smelting, working or production of steel.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will ask the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council to reassess its previous decisions relating to the acceptance of work-related causes for steel workers developing chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Mr. Scott : The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council's report of May 1988 on bronchitis and emphysema (Cm. 379) concluded that it was not possible on the available evidence to recommend prescription of these diseases in their own right. The council intends to review this subject again when further evidence is available.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : National insurance contributions are not payable on earnings that do not reach the lower earnings limit (£46 per week from April 1990). On the basis of assumptions contained in the report by the Government Actuary on the drafts of the Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 1990 and the Social Security
Column 802(Contributions) (Re-rating) Order 1990 (Cm 948), the cost of abolishing the 2 per cent. rate of national insurance contributions in 1990-91 would be £890 million. This figure relates to Great Britain.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of average male earnings the upper earnings limit represents ; and what percentage it represented in each year since 1978-79.
|Average |Upper |Percent- |male |earnings |age of |earnings<1>|limit for |average |class 1 |earnings |NICs |£ |£ |Per cent. ------------------------------------------------------------ April 1978 |89.10 |120.00 |134.7 April 1979 |101.40 |135.00 |133.1 April 1980 |124.50 |165.00 |132.5 April 1981 |140.50 |200.00 |142.3 April 1982 |154.50 |220.00 |142.4 April 1983 |167.50 |235.00 |140.3 April 1984 |178.80 |250.00 |139.8 April 1985 |192.40 |265.00 |137.7 April 1986 |207.50 |285.00 |137.3 April 1987 |224.00 |295.00 |131.7 April 1988 |245.80 |305.00 |124.1 April 1989 |269.50 |325.00 |120.6 <1> Average earnings of all adult male workers. Source: Social Security Statistics 1989.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : The reasonable cost of police and Army assistance in the current dispute will be met by those regions benefiting from the service, which will also of course have offsetting savings on salaries and fuel costs.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : As from 1 April 1989, free NHS sight tests ceased to be generally available except to young people, those in respect of certain social security benefits or assessed as being on low incomes, and people with certain medical needs. The savings, estimated at £70 million in a full year, which have been generated from the reduced number of NHS sight tests to be paid for have been used to fund other areas of primary health care.
Column 803Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I refer the right hon. Member to the reply that I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mrs. Gorman) on 18 January at column 403 .
The main agency through which the Government fund bio-medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC receives its grant in aid from the Department of Education and Science. The MRC has set up a sub-group of its physiological systems board to review the need for further research on osteoporosis. This group is examining the feasibility of mounting a multicentre prospective trial of screening methods to identify at risk women who are likely to benefit from hormone replacement therapy. The MRC is always willing to consider scientifically sound proposals for research which will be considered in competition with other applications.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what advice, and from whom, he has received about the side effects and long-term risks of hormone replacement therapy when the hormone is taken over a long period ;
(2) what advice he has received about the effectiveness of hormone replacement therapy in preventing osteoporosis in women ; and from whom ;
(3) what information he has on the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy.