Tuesday 1 May 1990
Mr. Maclean : On the advice of the Tyrrell committee, MAFF funds studies at the central veterinary laboratories, Weybridge, on the clinical features in cases of BSE with particular emphasis on methods of early diagnosis. Further studies at this laboratory and at the neuropathogenesis unit in Edinburgh on the genetics, molecular biology and chemical pathology of BSE are also funded by MAFF because of their potential for development of diagnostic tests.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will indicate by number the method of disposal of bovine spongiform encephalopathy-infected cattle slaughtered during the current year.
Method of disposal |Number ------------------------------------------------------------ Incineration |5,346 Burial |2,342 Retained for research |10
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the date of birth of the youngest confirmed cases of BSE to date.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will list the location of those abattoirs used for the slaughter of equines which are export-approved, and their owners or operators ; and when such export approval was given.
Column 466readily available. However, through the appropriate choice of mesh size and net placement our fishermen are known to ensure selective fishing achieving a relatively clean catch of the target species.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if there are any plans to establish an observer programme to investigate the incidental capture of non-target species, particularly birds and marine mammals in United Kingdom drift-nets.
Mr. Maclean : We have no plans for a scheme that would involve observers being placed on fishing boats. The drift-net fisheries around the UK are relatively small scale and in the main targeted on herring and salmon. The accidental catch of birds or marine mammals is not judged to be a frequent or significant occurrence. There is no evidence that these fisheries are threatening the survival of any species.
Mr. Gummer : Ministers have approved in principle the Intervention Board's proposal that a third of the agency's functions, consisting of its external trade work and administrative support, should be relocated in Newcastle, in order to relieve its staff shortages in Reading. About 350 posts will be transferred. In deciding upon Newcastle, where the agency already has facilities, Ministers and the agency were satisfied that there are good recruitment and career prospects, and that satisfactory office accommodation, housing, communications and other facilities are available. Subject to the necessary resources being available, the transfer of work will begin as soon as accommodation can be obtained and be made ready and essential data links installed. After a suitable period at this new site, the agency's experience there will be reviewed and a further report made to Ministers.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what percentage of the prison service remand sector he expects to be in the hands of the private sector by 1992 ; (2) how many remand prison establishments he anticipates being privatised by 1992.
Mr. Mellor : Of the 32 per cent. of prison officer grades who responded to the voluntary survey of ethnic origin, 0.43 per cent. identified themselves as black. A primary objective of the current recruitment campaign for prison officers is to increase the number of new entrants from the ethnic minorities : the initial results are encouraging.
Column 467Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was (a) the average number of prisoners held in United Kingdom prisons during the years (i) 1974, (i) 1979, (iii) 1984 and (iv) 1989 and (b) the average number of full-time prison staff employed during this period.
|c|Average population for prison service establishments in England and|c| |c|Wales and average number of staff<1> in prison service employment in|c| |c|selected years.|c| Number of persons |1974 |1979 |1984 |1989 --------------------------------------------------------------------- Average population |36,867 |42,220 |<2>43,349|<2>48,610 Average number of staff<3> |19,225 |22,414 |26,739 |31,863 <1> Comprising outstation and headquarters staff. <2> Including police cells. <3> Including part-time staff each of whom is counted as a half: disaggregation would involve disproportionate cost.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the number of prisoners (a) serving sentences in United Kingdom prisons during the last five years for which figures are available and (b) held on remand pending trial or pending sentence.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average number of monthly overtime hours worked by prison staff during the last five years for which figures are available.
Mr. Mellor : "Fresh start" ended overtime working for prison officers ; in 1986-87, the last full year they worked overtime, the average number of monthly overtime hours worked was 69. Figures are not held centrally for previous years. There are no central records of overtime for prison staff in other grades.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The provisional figure for the number of persons accepted for settlement in the United Kingdom in 1989 is 48,600. More details are published in table 3 of Home Office statistical bulletin issue 8/90 "Control of Immigration : Statistics--Fourth Quarter and Year 1989", a copy of which is in the Library.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received about the time taken to process renewal applications for television licences and to cash cheques ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Mellor : We do not maintain separate records of representations about the time taken to process renewal applications or to cash cheques, and the information requested could not be provided without disproportionate cost. We believe the number of any such representations to be small.
There were some delays in processing new and renewal applications for the concessionary television licence by the National Television Licence Records Office following the change in the regulations in 1988. In some cases cheques became time expired before eligibility could be established and the licence issued. Now that the backlog has largely been cleared and new internal procedures introduced, it is far less likely that such problems will recur.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Attorney-General what performance indicators are used by the Crown prosecution service ; and if he will make a statement about the performance of the Crown prosecution service to date.
The Attorney-General : The 31 areas of the Crown prosecution service have compiled performance statistics on a monthly basis since October 1986. Separate records are maintained for magistrates court and Crown court cases. The records include the number of defendants in respect of whom cases have been :
(a) received by the CPS ;
(b) finalised ;
(c) dropped or rejected ;
(d) discharged at committal or sent to Crown Court ; and (e) dismissed or convicted.
In addition, information is produced on the number of cases in which defendants have been bound over without trial, the number of adjournments and the extent to which CPS resources have been committed.
From this information the following performance ratios, which enable CPS managers to monitor the quality of the service's performance both nationally and locally, are produced :
Magistrates' Court --
(a) Average processing delay --defendant cases on hand at the end of a period divided by defendant cases finalised in the period. (From this figure the time it would take to deal with the cases currently on hand can be calculated).
(b) Acceptance rate --the proportion of defendant cases received from the police for prosecution that are accepted at initial review. (
(c) Prosecution rate --the proportion of all cases finalised that have been prosecuted in the courts.
(d) Conviction rate --the proportion of all defendant cases proceeding to prosecution that result in a conviction. (A conviction is a guilty plea to one or more charges where no trial is held or a conviction after trial on one or more contested charges). (
(e) Dismissal rate --the proportion of all contested defendant cases that are dismissed.
(f) Judgment quality --the proportion of all contested defendant cases proceeding that are dismissed on an application that there is "no case to answer".
Column 469(g) Adverse cost rate --the proportion of cases prosecuted where costs are awarded against the CPS.
(h) Efficiency rates --
(i) acceptance review--the number of cases reviewed per half-day lawyer session ;
(ii) court and court-related work--the number of cases accepted at initial review finalised per half-day lawyer session.
(i) Unit costs --
(i) acceptance review--resource cost (staff and other costs) per case reviewed ;
(ii) court and court-related work--resource costs (staff and other costs) per defendant case finalised after acceptance at initial review.
Crown Court --
(a) Average processing delay --defendant cases on hand at the end of a period divided by defendant cases finalised during the period. (
(b) Conviction rate --the proportion of trials resulting in a conviction. (A conviction is a guilty plea to one or more counts where no contested trial is held or conviction after trial on one or more contested counts.).
(c) Acquittal rate --the proportion of contested trials resulting in an acquittal.
(d) Judgment quality --the proportion of contested trials resulting in a judge directed/ordered acquittal.
(e) Adverse cost rate --the proportion of defendant cases finalised (including cases committed by the Magistrates for sentence or appeal) that result in the award of costs against the CPS.
(f) Efficiency --the number of cases finalised per CPS staff half-day session.
(g) Unit costs --the resource cost (staff and other costs) per case finalised.
Note : The figures produced for the ratios at (f) and (g) above make some allowance for cases transferred between Areas.
The Crown prosecution service has been a success and has demonstrated that it has been a success. The creation of the service has brought the desired degree of independence of the prosecutor from the investigator, consistency of prosecution policy and decision-making and accountability.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Attorney-General if he will state (a) the proportion of alleged crimes referred to the Crown prosecution service involving racial harassment in each year since its creation, (b) how many were proceeded with and (c) how many resulted in convictions.
The Attorney-General : The Crown prosecution service does not maintain statistics regarding cases involving racial harassment and accordingly the information requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
The Attorney-General : Home Office circular 20/1988 stressed the importance of sympathetic treatment of victims and keeping them informed of the progress and outcome of investigations. This guidance is applicable to all categories of crime including those involving racial harassment. It has recently been reinforced by the promulgation of a victim's charter.
Under the working arrangements between the police service and the Crown prosecution service, it is the police who are the point of contact with the victims. The Crown prosecution service supports the principles of the victim's charter and recognises the importance to the victim of
Column 470understanding what reasons have operated where a case is discontinued or a plea of guilty to a lesser offence than that charged is accepted. It is the policy of the Crown prosecution service that its staff should, so far as practicable, consult the police on taking such decisions. This should ensure proper understanding themselves and that they are in a position to explain the outcome of proceedings to the victims.
Mr. Kilfedder : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the cost of the carpeting, furnishing and general refurbishment of the former Crawfordsburn hospital when it was being used as a temporary office for the North Down and Ards unit of management of the Eastern health and social services board.
Mr. Kilfedder : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what are the principal factors which account for the annual average cost per inmate in Northern Ireland prisons being the highest in the United Kingdom.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the revised annual reporting system for Department of Health and Social Services staff in Northern Ireland came into operation ; since when the system for such staff has been monitored ; and on what dates any changes were made in the monitoring system.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 27 April 1990] : The new staff reporting and appraisal system was introduced to the Northern Ireland civil service in stages from 1 April 1987, and for Department of Health and Social Services staff from June 1988. The system has been monitored from the outset.
The Department of Finance and Personnel is reviewing the system.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will raise at the next meeting of the Anglo-Irish Conference the decision of the Government of the Republic of Ireland to award Irish citizenship to Mr. Martin Galvin, fund raiser for Noraid, and the consequent raising of the ban on his admission under EEC rules.
Mr. Cope [holding answer 30 April 1990] : I understand that Mr. Galvin was registered as a citizen of the Republic of Ireland in 1986 in accordance with that country's law. This fact was one factor, among others, in the reconsideration of the previous (1984) decision to exclude him from the United Kingdom under the Immigration Act
Column 4711981. Should circumstances change, it remains open to my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary to reimpose a ban as necessary. We have no plans to raise the matter in the intergovernmental conference.
136. Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what research has been carried out to establish the incidence of health complaints among farm workers working with pesticides ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : The Health and Safety Executive publishes annual reports which detail incidents investigated by HSE inspectors which involve misuse of pesticides and allegations of ill-health arising from them. These reports are held in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Eggar : I have received the report of the efficiency scrutiny of take-up of Department of Employment group programmes, which addresses among other things the reasons for drop-out from employment training. I am currently considering my response to the report.
Mr. Nicholls : The Department of Employment Training Agency is currently funding a study to examine the labour market and skills implications of increased environmental awareness. The study will focus on air and water pollution and solid waste management. A report will be available in the summer.
Mr. Nicholls : The information is not available for Training Agency area offices. The percentage of staff in each of the 10 Training Agency regions who were registered disabled at 31 January 1990 is as follows :
|Percentage ------------------------------------------------ London |2.0 South East |3.2 South West |2.0 Wales |2.3 West Midlands |3.1 East Midlands and Eastern |2.6 Yorkshire and Humberside |2.2 North West |3.2 Northern |3.4 Scotland |2.5
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether, when an unemployed claimant who is a quarterly attender has his benefit suspended for not actively seeking work, he automatically loses his quarterly attender status.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend announced on 13 February 1990 at column 141 that terms of sale had been agreed with Astra Training Services Ltd. for the businesses at 46 skill centres, plus the skill centre training agency's head office, mobile training service, sales teams and colleges, and that the sale of these training businesses would involve a payment of some £11 million from the Government to Astra.
The 10 skill centre sites referred to in my earlier reply on 27 March 1990 at column 158 are sites where a training business purchaser is to be granted a lease. At seven of the 10 sites a lease is to be granted to Astra ; these sites are Cardiff, Deptford, Leeds, Leicester, Slough, Swindon and Wakefield. At the remaining three sites--East Lancashire, Ipswich and St. Helens--a lease is to be granted to the consortium headed by Mr. Christopher Lakin.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Bradford, South of 23 April, Official Report, column 99, at what stage of negotiations following the receipt of bids for skill centres it was decided that £11 million should be given to Astra Training Services ; and what steps were taken to ascertain whether other bidders would revise their positions in the light of the sum being offered.
Mr. Eggar : The payment of £11 million from the Government to Astra Training Services Ltd. represented Astra's assessment of the costs of turning around a business which is currently unprofitable and creating training businesses with good prospects of viability. Deloittes, in conjunction with my Department's other advisers, evaluated all the offers and made recommendations to my Department. The Government decided that the Astra offer, including the £11 million payment, met the Government's six objectives for the sale (a copy of which was placed in the Vote Office on 13 February 1990) more fully than competing offers.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether the three civil servants concerned have assumed full-time duties with Astra Training Services Ltd. ; and what are the redundancy terms which apply to them.
Column 473Mr. Eggar : The three civil servants concerned in the management buy-out of the skills training agency assume full-time duties with Astra Training Services Ltd. on 1 May 1990. Redundancy terms were not appropriate as they transferred their employment under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981.