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Mr. Peter Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the policy of his Department about the proportion of the summer term which should be regarded as available for GCSE examinations and the relation of this to the spring bank holiday.
Mrs. Rumbold : The GCSE examining groups are independent bodies, wholly responsible for the administration of their own examinations. Ministers have no powers to intervene directly in their day-to-day affairs. Nevertheless, I am concerned that the examination season should not encroach unnecessarily on the summer term. I am assured that the groups are aware of the anxiety which has been expressed on this issue, and that although it is now too late to change the timetable for 1990, the groups are looking very carefully at the position for 1991 and beyond.
Mr. Rhodes James : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list for the years 1979-80 and 1989-90 (a) total applications, (b) alpha applications, (c) awards and (d) alpha applications unfunded in Medical Research Council grants to cell systems and neurosciences projects.
Project grants and year |Neurosciences |Systems |Cell |Total ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Total applications 1979-80 |272 |425 |280 |977 1988-89 |322 |380 |290 |992 Alpha applications 1979-80 |147 |225 |179 |551 1988-89 |231 |233 |207 |671 Awards made 1979-80 |142 |228 |166 |536 1988-89 |121 |130 |119 |370 Alpha applications not funded 1979-80 |6 |5 |4 |15 1988-89 |110 |103 |88 |301
The Medical Research Council has reduced in recent years the proportion of funds available for short-term awards to universities in order to concentrate on long-term programmes both in universities and Medical Research Council establishments and to meet new problems such as AIDS.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals he has for renovating secondary school buildings, in the light of Her Majesty's inspector's second annual report ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alan Howarth : Local education authorities are responsible for deciding which building projects to undertake at individual county and voluntary controlled secondary schools, in the light of local needs and circumstances. For 1990-91, £485 million is available in annual capital guidelines for capital expenditure on schools and colleges in England, compared with £352 million under the old system of allocations for 1989-90. Local authorities are free to spend above the level of their annual capital guideline, by using capital receipts as permitted within the flexibilities of the Local Government Acts. In addition, £118 million of grant is available for voluntary aided, special agreement and grant-maintained schools.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what estimate he makes of the number of computers per 100 pupils in (a) maintained secondary schools and (b) city technology colleges.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will obtain a copy of the year-round survey produced by the Railway Development Society's "Yorkshire Rail Review", which covers express and local trains and records their punctuality ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the docklands light railway to meet the requirements of the docklands after its extension in 1992 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : I have asked the docklands light railway to prepare for my consideration a strategic review of the options for future development following the completion of the City and Beckton extensions, having regard to forecasts of demand and the planned extension of the Jubilee line to docklands.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what considerations his Department has given to the impact on cyclists of the plans to dual trunk roads ; and what steps will be taken to minimise the effects.
Mr. Atkins : In planning new trunk roads and improving existing ones, close attention is paid to the suitability of the route for cyclists and to the design of junctions and other locations where cyclists are known to be at particular risk. Published material is available for the guidance of highway planners and engineers.
Research continues into innovatory traffic engineering techniques to help cyclists. Currently, the main projects are concerned with finding further methods of improving safety on roundabouts ; refining the use of advance stop lines for cyclists ; and identifying a more efficient form of shared use crossing for cyclists and pedestrians. Our aim in undertaking research and publishing technical guidance on cycling issues is to assist highway authorities and others in efforts to create safer conditions for cyclists.
So far, four local transport notes and 27 traffic advisory leaflets have been produced using the results from our cycling research. Further material on cycling will be published as the results of studies become available.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the maximum number of passengers permitted on the Woolwich ferry under existing safety regulations ; and what steps are currently taken to ensure that this figure is not exceeded.
Column 233Mr. McLoughlin : Each of the three Woolwich ferries is allowed to carry a maximum of 300 passengers. The owner and master have the responsibility for ensuring that this number is not exceeded. Random checks are carried out by the Department's marine surveyors.
Mr. Atkins : My right hon. Friend has today written to Councillor Ingham of Merseytravel to say that we have considered very carefully the case presented for Government financial assistance for the Mersey tunnels. In that letter, he explained that the merits of the case did not justify Government assistance. Indeed, our examination of the case suggests that the tunnels could become financially self-supporting in a few years' time.
The Attorney-General : The solicitors to the relators in the proceedings against Barratt Manchester Limited and Bolton metropolitan borough council have supplied me with a copy of the judgment of Mr. Justice Scott which is now being considered.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Attorney-General (1) what discussions he has had with the Law Society concerning the introduction of a fair disclosure pact with the Inland Revenue in tax avoidance cases ;
(2) what discussions he has had with representatives of the legal profession concerning the duties of solicitors and members of the Bar in cases of (a) tax avoidance, (b) tax evasion and (c) cases where the Inland Revenue seeks to discover documents to assess the difference between avoidance and evasion.
The Attorney-General : None. The Inland Revenue has statutory powers to require persons, including members of the legal profession to provide information in specified circumstances, where it is relevant to a taxpayer's affairs, except where the position is covered by privilege. In addition, the legal profession has codes of conduct which prevent members assisting clients in any unlawful activity, whether concerned with tax or otherwise.
Mr. Favell : To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his response to the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr Fraser), Official Report , 12 February, column 67, if he will make a further statement on the role of the Crown prosecution service in relation to the case of Coren and Greenwood.
The Attorney-General : Primary responsibility for the enforcement of insider dealing legislation rests with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. The case of Coren and Greenwood involved a civil servant within the Office of Fair Trading, and because of the relation between that office and the DTI, the Crown prosecution service undertook the conduct of the proceedings. My assertion that this case was brought by the DTI was therefore incorrect, and I regret the mistake.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many individuals currently resident (a) in South Africa and (b) in the rest of the world (i) hold a British passport and (ii) have the right to return to live in the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has no means of assessing accurately how many British nationals overseas hold British passports. British nationals resident in South Africa are estimated to number between 500,000 and 1 million. Most of them have the right to live in the United Kingdom. British nationals in the rest of the world, including dependent territories, are estimated to number 8 million to 8.5 million. Of these, it is estimated that 5 million have the right to live in the United Kingdom. However, many of these are likely to be dual nationals currently holding only the passport of their country of residence.
Mr. Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes there have been in Her Majesty's Government's policy towards Chile since the democratic elections in that country.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) men and (b) women are awaiting interview at the British embassy in Bangkok for consideration for entry into the United Kingdom either as husbands or wives of British citizens.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many suicide attempts have occurred in Hong Kong detention camps for Vietnamese boat people since the inception of the camps : and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : Eight people have inflicted injuries upon themselves in Hong Kong's detention centres since the closed camp policy started on 16 June 1988. One of those people was found to be suffering from a psychiatric illness and two gave their reasons for injuring themselves as family problems. Five people gave their reasons as a desire to protest against the policy of screening and repatriation. None sustained life-threatening injuries.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information is given generally to Vietnamese boat women in Hong Kong detention camps as to the health attributes of the contraceptive drug Depo Provera and its consequences ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : The Family Planning Association offers the usual range of contraceptive techniques to Vietnamese women. In offering Depo Provera it explains that it is a drug administered by injection and that it is effective for 12 weeks. It also explains all the possible side-effects. Depo Provera has been approved for use by the World Health Organisation. It is made available to Vietnamese women in detention centres on the same basis as it is offered to the general population in Hong Kong.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the staff in Hong Kong detention camps have administered the contraceptive drug Depo Provera to Vietnamese boat women held there ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : Various methods of contraception are offered to Vietnamese boat people on an entirely voluntary basis by staff of the Family Planning Association. Some Vietnamese women have chosen to use Depo Provera.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has concerning the reported poisoning of Kurdish refugees in Turkey ; and whether he intends to raise the matter with representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and of the Turkish Government.
Column 236Diyarbakir entered hospital on 1 February after eating contaminated bread. We understand that all have been discharged. Samples of the bread are being analysed by the Turkish authorities.
Mr. Livsey : To ask the Lord President of the Council whether he will arrange for the Refreshment Department to offer a special menu to commemorate the centenary of the election of David Lloyd George, MP, ex- Prime Minister, to Parliament on 10 April 1890.
Mr. George : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the names of all the private security firms currently employed by his Department, the number of employees for each firm on the contract, the total value of each contract and the total value of all contracts for each financial year since 1984-85.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on how many Metropolitan police officers and how many person hours were spent on observation duties of public lavatories in the N division between 1 September 1989 and 31 December 1989 ;
(2) if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on how many men were arrested by Metropolitan police officers engaged on observation duties of public lavatories in the N division between 1 September 1989 and 31 December 1989 ;
(3) if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on how many men were arrested by Metropolitan police officers engaged on observation duties of the public lavatories located at Highbury crescent, London N5, between 1 September 1989 and 31 December 1989.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the only police observation duties of public lavatories in the N division area during the period were at Highbury crescent, London N5. The operation involved the deployment of four officers over a total period of 239 hours, and 35 arrests were made.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many members of staff in his Department have been disciplined for breaching internal regulations on the disclosure of personal data held by his Department within the last five years.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) on what statutory basis transfers of personal data take place from his Department to the police ; and how many such transfers take place each year ;
(2) what kinds of personal data held by his Department are transferred to the police ; and whether records are kept of such transfers.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : There are frequent transfers of personal data between the Home Office and the police as part of the day-to-day business of the Department. I regret that more detailed information about the basis and frequency of such transfers could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list (a) Government Departments and (b) private or public bodies in the United Kingdom which send participants to the bi-annual courses on civil-military co-operation held by NATO at Oberammergau.
Mr. John Patten : Such courses cover civil emergency planning as well as civil-military co-operation, and are attended by civil and military personnel who are directly involved in NATO planning. Members of staff from a number of Government Departments and the armed services have participated in the courses. We are not aware that any representatives from private or other public bodies in the United Kingdom have so far attended.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the attendance record at meetings (a) since their appointment and (b) during 1989 of the current members of the parliamentary boundary commission for Wales appointed solely or jointly by him or his predecessors.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The parliamentary boundary commission for Wales is an entirely independent body and the disclosure of internal management information of this kind is more appropriate for the commission itself.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the nominees for the current appointments made solely or jointly by the parliamentary boundary commission for Wales declared a political affiliation in their curricula vitae ; and of those declaring a political affiliation, how many showed allegiance to (a) Conservatives, (b) Labour, (c) the Liberal Democrats, (d) the Social Democratic party, (e) the Green party and (f) Plaid Cymru.
Column 238to time my right hon. and learned Friend appoints assistant commissioners to conduct local inquiries for the commission. Before their appointment, candidates are asked for an assurance that they have not been involved in political activity. There are no such assistant commissioners at present.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many dart gun firearms certificates have been granted ; how many persons now have such weapons in England and Wales, broken down by police force areas ; and how many are held by (a) deer farmers and (b) others.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will reassess the answer of the Minister of State to the Adjournment debate on Colin Wallace's manslaughter conviction, Official Report, col 948 -52, 27 June 1989, in the light of the most recent ministerial replies in relation to Colin Wallace.
Mr. Lester : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he is going to publish guidance on the operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Guidance on the operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 has today been laid before Parliament, in accordance with section 21(1) of the Act. The Animal Procedures Committee has been fully consulted about this guidance, in accordance with section 21(3) of the Act. The guidance will be published tomorrow as HC182 and a copy will be sent to every holder of a certificate of designation issued under sections 6 and 7 of the Act.
The publication of this guidance is the last major step in the bringing into force of the 1986 Act. The changeover to the new legislation has been carried out swiftly and according to the timetable that we set ourselves. This is a major achievement, reflecting the positive response which the scientific community is giving to the 1986 Act. This guidance sets out fully how the strict controls of the Act are now operating.
Mr. Jessel : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will make a statement on the latest position concerning the work of the Royal Shakespeare Company and its funding, taking into account the recent announcement of an increase in funding.
Column 239Mr. Luce : It is for the Arts Council to determine the level of its grant to individual companies in the light of their artistic importance and a range of other factors.
In the case of the Royal Shakespeare Company, its national and international importance is not in doubt. The Arts Council has awarded the RSC an 11 per cent. increase in its grant for next year, taking it to over £6 million. This is a very substantial increase, well above the rate of inflation, and should help the company balance its books.
In 1984, the Government wrote off the RSC's deficit and increased its baseline grant in order to put the company on a firm footing from which to plan its future programmes. This was in response to two of the three recommendations of the Priestley report. The recommendation to index-link the RSC's grant was not accepted.
I understand that the company is to cancel the winter season planned at the Barbican for 1991. This is a management decision by the RSC, and it is entirely for it to make. It will continue production as normal in its other venues, and will reopen at the Barbican in spring 1991. It will continue to tour widely. I am sure that it will maintain its excellent attendance levels.
The company has generated substantial income from the box office and the private sector, including generous sponsorship from Royal Insurance of £1.1 million over three years. I have every hope and confidence that the RSC will continue to build on its success.
Mr. Luce : Since my announcement on 22 January at column 536 , I am pleased to announce that four offers of items have been accepted in lieu of tax ; a collection of 20 modern paintings, a collection of Anglo-Saxon and medieval coins, a painting by Constable and an 18th century harpsichord. In accordance with the condition on which it was offered the coin collection will be allocated to the Fitzwilliam museum, Cambridge. It satisfied £418,429.20 tax and followed the precedent set by the acceptance of Picasso's "Weeping Woman" in that the Fitzwilliam agreed to pay the owner the difference (£108,128.80) between that tax liability to be satisfied and the special price of £526,558. The collection of modern paintings satisfied £82,742 tax and will be allocated to the Abbot Hall art gallery, Cumbria. No decision on allocation has yet been taken regarding Constable's "Farm Cart with Horse in Harness" or the harpsichord which satisfied £50, 025 and £25,432.79 tax respectively. These items will be advertised to institutions in the usual way.
Finally, I have decided that Cezanne's "Alle e a Chantilly", accepted in lieu of tax in 1988-89, should be allocated to the National gallery.
Column 240employees for each firm on the contract, the total value of each contract and the total value of all contracts for each financial year since 1984-85.
Mr. Luce : My Department currently has two contracts with Securiguard Services Limited, to the annual value of £85,420 and £14, 175. The contracts provide for five employees, four of them operating in shifts. The total value of all contracts with private security firms in each financial year since 1984-85 is :
Year |£ ---------------------- 1984-85 |45,000 1985-86 |48,000 1986-87 |70,600 1987-88 |77,200 1988-89 |69,700 1989-90 |84,600
Mr. Luce [holding answer 8 February 1990] : There are no plans to computerise the information held by the Civil Service occupational health service at Murray house. During 1990-91 a study is to be undertaken into the computerising of various financial and operational procedures, leading to the introduction of a new computer system serving the headquarters and all regional offices in 1991-92.
Mr. Forth : A very strong incentive--that of market economics-- aleady exists, and I am pleased that many United Kingdom companies are saving money by recycling a very high proportion of their recyclable process scrap. I congratulate those companies but more could be done, and my Department is actively encouraging others to recognise the economic and environmental benefits of waste minimisation and recycling.
53. Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to encourage investment in capital equipment for the purpose of recycling of waste materials in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Forth : Investment in capital equipment for this purpose will flow naturally when effective waste separation and processing systems are in place, when consumer demand for products manufactured from recycled materials is secure, and when commercial operations are in prospect. My Department is working closely with the Department of the Environment, industry, consumer groups and the voluntary sector to develop a coherent national approach to recycling, and this is also expected to lead to an increase in investment in capital equipment.