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Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : In Scotland, 19,047 holdings submitting agricultural census returns in 1989 contained land classified as less favoured, which confers eligibility for benefits such as hill livestock compensatory allowances and enhanced rates of capital grants.

Drinking Water

Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will introduce legislation to make mandatory the awarding of grant where the level of lead in drinking water of a privately owned house is above that set out in the European Community directive on the quality of water for human consumption.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : We have at present no plans to alter the grant arrangements for replacement of lead plumbing. I shall, however, give this matter further consideration when I have the findings of a survey which the Scottish Development Department is currently undertaking of local authorities, new towns and Scottish Homes to establish the incidence of domestic lead plumbing in Scotland.

Mental Welfare Commission

Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many members of the Mental Welfare Commission are members of health boards ; and if he will give their names.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : One, Mrs. J. I. D. Isbister.

Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many members of the Mental Welfare Commission since its inception have simultaneously held health board appointments ; and if he will give their names.

Mr. Michael Forsyth : The information requested is not readily available.


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Prisoners

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the average length of custodial sentence of female prisoners in Scotland in 1989.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Statistics on court disposals during 1989 are not yet available. Provisional estimates based on prison reception statistics indicate that in 1989 the average length of sentence of females received into the penal system on direct sentence was 118 days. Thee were no females received into penal establishments in 1989 sentenced to life imprisonment or indeterminate detention.

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prisoners were transferred from (a) Scotland to Northern Ireland and (b) Northern Ireland to Scotland in 1989 ; and under which section of the Criminal Justice Act 1961 such transfers were carried out.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : One from Scotland to Northern Ireland and one from Northern Ireland to Scotland, both under section (27)1.

Paramilitary Activity

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons have been (a) killed and (b) injured in Scotland in 1989 as a result of paramilitary activity ; and if he will break down the figures specifying whether the paramilitaries were (i) from western Europe, (ii) from Northern Ireland, (iii) from the Republic of Ireland, (iv) from other parts of the world and (v) of unknown origin.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : None.

A1 (Upgrading)

Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has any plans to upgrade the A1 to motorway standard.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Traffic levels on the A1 through Borders region are approximately 5,000 vehicles per day. Even on the highest predictions for traffic growth and making allowance for improvements to the route south of Newcastle we do not expect this figure to rise to a level which would justify dual carriageway or motorway provision. We are, however, providing dual carriageway on those sections of the route which justify it, and plan to spend £50 million on the A1 in due course.

Environmentally Sensitive Areas

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of agricultural land has been designated as

environmentally sensitive in Scotland ; what percentage of land in the environmentally sensitive areas is farmed under this scheme ; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Approximately 3 per cent. of agricultural land in Scotland is within environmentally sensitive areas. Some 46 per cent. of the eligible agricultural land within those areas is farmed under the scheme.


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School Class Sizes

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will provide a breakdown by subject of class sizes from years S1 to S6 categorised according to (a) normal classes, for class sizes (i) under 20, (ii) 20 to 24, (iii) 25 to 30 and (iv) over 30 and (b) practical classes, for class sizes (i) under 15, (ii) 16 to 20 and (iii) over 20.

Mr. Lang [holding answer 21 May 1990] : The information requested is shown in the form of a percentage distribution of subject groups by average teaching group in roll bands, using provisional figures for September 1989.


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Four key points arise from these figures of interest to those concerned about the issue of class sizes in our schools.

(i) in years S1 and S2 over 96 per cent. of teaching groups have no more than 30 pupils (the normal maximum in the teachers' scheme of conditions of service is 33 pupils per class) ;

(ii) in S3 and S4 almost two thirds of teaching groups have 20 pupils or fewer. In languages, mathematics and social subjects around 80 per cent. of teaching groups have 25 pupils or fewer (the S3-S6 maxima are 30 pupils per class) ;

(iii) in S5 almost 80 per cent. of teaching groups have up to 20 pupils and over 80 per cent. in many subjects have up to 15 pupils ; (

(iv) in S6 84 per cent. of teaching groups have up to 15 pupils.


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Distribution of average teaching group roll                                         

Percentages                                                                         

                             Pupil Roll Band (over and up to)                       

                            |0-15   |15-20  |20-25  |25-30  |30     |Total          

                                                            |any    |number         

                                                            |100 per                

                                                                    |cent.          

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

Stage 1                                                                             

                                                                                    

English                     |3.3    |5.9    |26.8   |56.4   |7.7    |2,306          

Modern Languages            |3.9    |6.8    |26.3   |53.9   |9.1    |2,252          

Classical subjects          |3.1    |11.7   |22.1   |53.5   |9.5    |452            

Mathematical subject        |4.7    |9.7    |26.5   |51.8   |7.3    |2,299          

Business subjects           |25.1   |59.4   |8.9    |4.8    |1.8    |271            

Computing subjects          |33.8   |49.3   |4.4    |10.6   |1.9    |1,167          

Science subjects            |8.8    |89.5   |1.3    |0.4    |0.0    |3,459          

Technical subjects          |15.4   |81.1   |2.3    |1.0    |0.1    |3,372          

Social subjects             |4.7    |7.3    |25.9   |54.6   |7.5    |4,615          

Religious education         |5.4    |13.8   |23.1   |49.9   |7.8    |1,932          

Home economics              |18.4   |78.9   |1.6    |0.8    |0.2    |3,224          

Creative-aesthetic subjects |14.3   |61.3   |10.6   |11.8   |2.0    |9,599          

Other subjects              |23.2   |29.1   |18.3   |26.5   |2.9    |2,035          

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

Total                       |11.7   |45.3   |14.1   |25.2   |3.7    |36,983         

                                                                                    

Stage 2                                                                             

                                                                                    

English                     |3.7    |6.4    |25.6   |57.3   |7.1    |2,328          

Modern Languages            |7.3    |8.1    |29.0   |47.6   |8.0    |2,601          

Classical subjects          |18,9   |14.3   |21.3   |37.6   |7.9    |455            

Mathematical subject        |5.5    |9.5    |28.3   |51.2   |5.6    |2,378          

Business subjects           |28.1   |47.3   |11.3   |11.5   |1.8    |391            

Computing subjects          |33.2   |52.7   |4.3    |7.4    |2.5    |1,414          

Science subjects            |7.4    |91.0   |0.9    |0.6    |0.2    |3,542          

Technical subjects          |14.3   |84.4   |0.8    |0.3    |0.2    |3,542          

Social subjects             |5.7    |5.9    |20.9   |59.4   |8.0    |5,292          

Religious education         |6.6    |12.8   |20.9   |51.4   |8.2    |1,946          

Home economics              |16.7   |81.2   |1.5    |0.4    |0.2    |3,132          

Creative-aesthetic subjects |14.5   |62.1   |11.1   |10.8   |1.5    |9,721          

Other subjects              |27.6   |31.7   |11.1   |24.4   |5.2    |2,135          

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

Total                       |12.3   |45.6   |13.2   |25.2   |3.7    |39,152         

                                                                                    

Stage 3                                                                             

                                                                                    

English                     |3.9    |9.2    |61.0   |25.7   |0.2    |2,711          

Modern Languages            |26.5   |29.3   |31.6   |12.5   |0.2    |1,686          

Classical subjects          |85.8   |5.7    |6.3    |1.7    |0.6    |176            

Mathematical subject        |4.1    |12.3   |60.6   |22.8   |0.2    |2,669          

Business subjects           |40.6   |51.5   |4.9    |2.7    |1.4    |1,652          

Computing subjects          |24.6   |71.4   |3.2    |0.5    |0.3    |1,096          

Science subjects            |34.1   |65.6   |0.3    |0.0    |0.0    |5,035          

Technical subjects          |53.7   |45.0   |0.8    |0.4    |0.0    |2,243          

Social subjects             |17.2   |26.5   |35.2   |20.2   |0.9    |3,050          

Religious education         |11.1   |21.2   |38.5   |28.4   |0.8    |1,889          

Home economics              |61.0   |38.0   |0.5    |0.3    |0.2    |1,169          

Creative-aesthetic subjects |30.0   |40.6   |19.3   |9.1    |1.0    |6,555          

Other subjects              |26.0   |39.6   |21.1   |12.2   |1.0    |2,786          

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

Total                       |26.9   |38.0   |23.3   |11.2   |0.5    |32,717         

                                                                                    

Stage 4                                                                             

                                                                                    

English                     |3.1    |10.8   |66.6   |19.1   |0.3    |2,780          

Modern Languages            |34.1   |29.2   |26.0   |10.0   |0.7    |1,628          

Classical subjects          |84.0   |8.5    |5.2    |2.4    |0.0    |212            

Mathematical subject        |4.1    |13.2   |64.5   |17.9   |0.2    |2,894          

Business subjects           |44.2   |46.8   |5.7    |3.0    |0.3    |1,757          

Computing subjects          |29.3   |67.7   |1.9    |0.8    |0.2    |883            

Science subjects            |35.9   |63.5   |0.5    |0.1    |0.0    |5,108          

Technical subjects          |60.3   |39.2   |0.5    |0.0    |0.0    |2,161          

Social subjects             |20.0   |26.6   |35.5   |17.0   |1.0    |3,203          

Religious education         |10.0   |21.2   |41.8   |26.2   |0.9    |1,758          

Home economics              |63.6   |34.0   |1.3    |0.6    |0.4    |1,386          

Creative-aesthetic subjects |31.7   |37.1   |22.2   |8.0    |1.0    |6,578          

Other subjects              |25.6   |37.6   |25.4   |10.5   |0.9    |2,907          

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

Total                       |29.0   |35.8   |25.3   |9.4    |0.5    |33,255         

                                                                                    

Stage 5                                                                             

English                     |13.8   |25.1   |42.3   |17.4   |1.4    |2,370          

Modern Languages            |82.2   |11.0   |5.0    |1.2    |0.5    |1,142          

Classical subjects          |97.8   |1.1    |0.6    |0.6    |0.0    |179            

Mathematical subject        |26.5   |30.8   |30.5   |11.4   |0.8    |2,118          

Business subjects           |66.3   |23.4   |7.4    |2.5    |0.4    |2,470          

Computing subjects          |66.2   |26.8   |5.7    |0.8    |0.6    |848            

Science subjects            |60.2   |38.2   |1.5    |0.1    |0.0    |3,441          

Technical subjects          |89.0   |10.2   |0.8    |0.0    |0.0    |1,310          

Social subjects             |56.4   |25.0   |13.4   |4.3    |0.8    |2,296          

Religious education         |28.1   |20.5   |35.7   |12.9   |2.8    |677            

Home economics              |83.4   |15.3   |0.9    |0.2    |0.1    |1,372          

Creative-aesthetic subjects |56.9   |22.9   |11.8   |6.6    |1.7    |4,363          

Other subjects              |36.6   |31.7   |18.1   |10.4   |3.1    |1,893          

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

Total                       |54.1   |25.1   |14.0   |5.8    |1.0    |24,479         

                                                                                    

Stage 6                                                                             

English                     |80.7   |9.6    |5.2    |4.2    |0.3    |384            

Modern Languages            |98.1   |0.8    |0.8    |0.3    |0.0    |371            

Classical Subjects          |100.0  |0.0    |0.0    |0.0    |0.0    |73             

Mathematical Subject        |88.5   |6.2    |4.1    |0.9    |0.3    |581            

Business Subjects           |84.3   |9.6    |5.4    |0.8    |0.0    |261            

Computing Subjects          |83.9   |16.1   |0.0    |0.0    |0.0    |62             

Science Subjects            |96.3   |3.6    |0.1    |0.0    |0.0    |807            

Technical Subjects          |98.2   |1.8    |0.0    |0.0    |0.0    |55             

Social Subjects             |92.7   |4.5    |1.8    |1.0    |0.0    |494            

Religious Education         |29.8   |19.6   |30.4   |19.0   |1.2    |168            

Home Economics              |78.9   |20.0   |1.1    |0.0    |0.0    |95             

Creative/Aesthetic Subjects |84.2   |6.6    |4.9    |2.3    |2.1    |576            

Other Subjects              |45.6   |21.3   |24.3   |6.0    |2.7    |333            

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

  Total                     |84.1   |7.6    |5.4    |2.2    |0.6    |4,260          

Information on which classes are practical is not collected centrally.

Seals

Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a table in the Official Report to show the species of seals and the number of each species found and/or resident in Scottish coastal waters, and indicate how many (a) juveniles, (b) adult males and (c) adult females there are of each species ; what the numbers were five, 10 and 20 years ago ; and if he will indicate his estimate of the amount of fish consumed by each seal species every year and the breakdown of fish species consumed by weight and/or number or as much of such information as is available to him.

Mr. Lang [holding answer 10 July 1990] : There are no complete counts of either grey or common seals in Scottish waters, and no separate figures for the numbers of juveniles, adult males, or adult females of either species.


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Estimates of total population of seals, resident in Scottish waters, made by the sea mammal research unit (SMRU) of the Natural Environment Research Council are as follows :

GREY SEALS

1989--between 76,500 and 97,500

1984--between 58,500 and 74,500

1979--between 41,000 and 53,500

1969--between 27,000 and 34,000

COMMON SEALS

1989--19,900

The figures for grey seals are based on counts of pups, and the ranges given reflect the confidence limits of indirect calculation in this way. The estimate for common seals in 1989 is the only such estimate available at present.

The diet of seals varies with locality and season and it is difficult to analyse or estimate accurately prey taken by seals at sea.

Estimates of total diet of grey seals in the North sea in 1985 have been made by SMRU for a report, "Impact of Grey and Common Seals on North Sea Resources", under


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a research contract for the Commission of the European Communities (Contract Number ENV 665 UK(H) ). The estimates, based on faecal analysis, were as follows :


Estimated consumption by grey seals in 1985                                         

Tonnes                                                                              

                     |Northern            |Central                                  

                     |North sea ICES      |and Southern                             

                     |division IVa        |North sea ICES                           

                                          |division IVb and IVc                     

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

Cod                  |1,250               |9,575                                    

Whiting              |146                 |1,245                                    

Haddock              |690                 |788                                      

Saithe               |2,278               |933                                      

Norway Pout          |-                   |31                                       

Ling                 |-                   |374                                      

Plaice               |-                   |127                                      

Lemon Sole           |-                   |407                                      

Mackerel             |-                   |21                                       

Sandeels             |29,803              |5,180                                    

Dover Sole           |-                   |304                                      

Flounder             |535                 |481                                      

Dab                  |196                 |95                                       

There are no reliable estimates of consumption by either species of seal in waters to the west of Scotland (ICES division VIa). Methods of estimation of consumption by seals are known to have limitations. Further research is being undertaken to improve identification of the species and estimation of the quantities of fish in seal diets. The findings of these studies will be published in due course.

Warrant Sales

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what research has been carried out into warrant sales since the research report from the Scottish Law Commission published in October 1980 ;

(2) whether he has instructed any research to be undertaken as to the impact of (a) the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 and (b) the Debtors Scotland Act 1987 upon the use of warrant sales ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) if he will commission further research into the characteristics of warrant sales, with particular reference to the number of warrant sales per annum, the total principal sums, expenses and sums realised, pursuer groups, amounts of principal sums, and the proportions of expenses and principal sums covered by sale proceeds distinguishing between personal warrant sales and commercial warrant sales.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 10 July 1990] : My right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Advocate keeps under review the need for and the optimum timing of the commissioning of research into the law of diligence. To this end, the operation of the new diligence legislation is being monitored, including the collection of statistical information on the number of poindings and warrant sales. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has policy responsibility for the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985.

Security Contracts

Mr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his policy in respect of the Department of the Registers of Scotland putting security contracts out for private tender.


Column 240

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 10 July 1990] : Consistent with Government policy, and with a view to achieving value for money, the Department of the Registers of Scotland has been testing the market for the provision of security guarding at its premises.

EMPLOYMENT

Advisers

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what plans he has to second a public relations adviser from the firm WPP to his Department.

Mr. Howard : I have no such plans.

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to appoint further advisers to his Department.

Mr. Howard : My Department employs advisers in a range of specialist areas, including further education, TVEI and health and safety. Such appointments are made as circumstances require.

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list the external advisers currently assisting his Department.

Mr. Eggar : My Department seeks advice from those in a position to help with the development of its policies and its programmes. Details could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment which firm has been appointed to advise on the work of his Department in the autumn campaign on training.

Mr. Eggar : Saatchi and Saatchi was appointed in May to advise on the Department's paid publicity. No decisions have been taken on an autumn training campaign.

Mr. McLeish : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) when he last met representatives of the firm WPP to discuss services to his Department ;

(2) if he will make a statement on his meeting with Mr. Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP Group plc.

Mr. Howard [holding answer 9 July 1990] : I last met the chief executive of WPP plc on 21 March 1990. We discussed a wide range of issues.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Pensions

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what has been the total cost of paying retirement pensions in each year since 1980 ;

(2) what would have been the total cost of paying retirement pensions in each year since 1980, had pensions been uprated in line with the higher of earnings or movements in the retail prices index in each year concerned.

Mr. Scott : The information requested is set out in the table.


Column 241


Year                    |Cash expenditure       |Estimated cash                                 

                                                |expenditure if pensions                        

                                                |increased by higher of                         

                                                |prices or earnings                             

                        |£ million              |£ million                                      

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

1980-81                 |10,526                 |10,532                                         

1981-82                 |12,126                 |12,326                                         

1982-83                 |13,549                 |13,859                                         

1983-84                 |14,613                 |14,963                                         

1984-85                 |15,268                 |16,138                                         

1985-86                 |16,584                 |17,604                                         

1986-87                 |17,779                 |18,719                                         

1987-88                 |18,648                 |21,398                                         

1988-89                 |19,237                 |22,817                                         

1989-90                 |20,802                 |24,972                                         

Community Charge

Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security at what level of net income full community charge becomes payable at (a) £310, (b) £320, (c) £325, (d) £345, (e) £355, (f) £360, (g) £385, (h) £390, (i) £415, (j) £420, (k) £430, (l) £435 and (m) £440 for a (i) single person aged under 25 years, (ii) single person aged over 25 years, (iii) single person aged 60 to 75 years, (iv) single person 75 to 80 years, (v) single person over 80 years, (vi) married couple with no children, (vii) married couple with two children under 11 years, (viii) married couple with one child under 11 years and one 11 to 15 years, (ix) pensioner couple aged under 75 years, (x) lone parent with one child under 11 years and (xi) lone parent with two children under 11 years.

Mr. Scott : The information requested is shown in the tables.


Column 241


(vii)       |(viii)     |(ix)       |(x)        |(zi)                   

Couple,     |Couple, one|Couple     |Lone       |Lone                   

two         |one child  |under 75   |parent,one |parent,two             

children    |11 and one             |child under|children               

under 11,   |aged 11-15,            |11, working|under 11,              

working     |working                            |working                

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

159.77      |165.67     |135.67     |109.51     |121.86                 

161.82      |167.72     |137.72     |110.54     |122.89                 

162.84      |168.74     |138.74     |111.05     |123.40                 

166.93      |172.83     |142.83     |113.09     |125.44                 

168.98      |174.88     |144.88     |114.12     |126.47                 

170.00      |175.90     |145.90     |114.63     |126.98                 

175.11      |181.01     |151.01     |117.19     |129.54                 

176.14      |182.04     |152.04     |117.70     |130.05                 

181.25      |187.15     |157.15     |120.25     |132.60                 

182.27      |188.17     |158.17     |120.77     |133.12                 

184.32      |190.22     |160.22     |121.79     |134.14                 

185.34      |191.24     |161.24     |122.30     |134.65                 

186.37      |192.27     |162.27     |122.81     |135.16                 


(vii)       |(viii)     |(ix)       |(x)        |(zi)                   

Couple,     |Couple, one|Couple     |Lone       |Lone                   

two         |one child  |under 75   |parent,one |parent,two             

children    |11 and one             |child under|children               

under 11,   |aged 11-15,            |11, working|under 11,              

working     |working                            |working                

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

159.77      |165.67     |135.67     |109.51     |121.86                 

161.82      |167.72     |137.72     |110.54     |122.89                 

162.84      |168.74     |138.74     |111.05     |123.40                 

166.93      |172.83     |142.83     |113.09     |125.44                 

168.98      |174.88     |144.88     |114.12     |126.47                 

170.00      |175.90     |145.90     |114.63     |126.98                 

175.11      |181.01     |151.01     |117.19     |129.54                 

176.14      |182.04     |152.04     |117.70     |130.05                 

181.25      |187.15     |157.15     |120.25     |132.60                 

182.27      |188.17     |158.17     |120.77     |133.12                 

184.32      |190.22     |160.22     |121.79     |134.14                 

185.34      |191.24     |161.24     |122.30     |134.65                 

186.37      |192.27     |162.27     |122.81     |135.16                 

Residential Homes

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how much was spent on supplementary benefit or income support to people in independent residential care homes and nursing homes in Wales for each year since 1979 in Wales ; and for each year what was the average payment made ;

(2) how many claims there were for supplementary benefit or income support by people in independent residential care homes and nursing homes for each year


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since 1979 in Wales ; and what proportion of residents received supplementary benefit for each year since 1979 in Wales.

Mr. Scott : Information in the form requested is not available.

Rochdale Offices

Sir Cyril Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to close offices in Rochdale metropolitan district council area, including Middleton ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Scott : We have no such plans. We have been carrying out a comprehensive review of the Department's existing network of local offices, arising from our plans to convert social security benefit operations into a "next steps" agency from April 1991. We intend to devolve authority for the day-to-day running of operations, to the greatest extent possible, from headquarters and the present regional tiers of management to local level. In practice, these units of administration, to be known as local management units, will be made up of two or more existing local offices controlled by a single management team. It is no part of our plans to reduce the number of local offices.

Local managers will have much more responsibility for planning their service to fit local needs, depending on factors such as the population to be served, predicted


Column 243

economic activity and local transport facilities. The emphasis will be on making the local service more responsive to the needs of local customers, not less.

Attendance Allowance

Mr. Livsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what measures he proposes to implement to increase the take-up of attendance allowance among members of the social security disabled persons register.

Mr. Scott : We have no plans to mount such a campaign. The number of people receiving attendance allowance has more than doubled from 306,000 in 1979 to 763,000 in 1989.

Mr. Livsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the percentage of people on the social security disabled persons register currently not receiving the attendance allowances entitled to them ; and how much money the unclaimed benefit amounts to.

Mr. Scott : Information is not kept in a form which would enable such a comparison to be made.

Pensioners

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioners have ceased to be eligible for exemption from community charge benefit as a result of SI 1990 No. 462.

Mr. Scott : The statutory instrument quoted by the hon. Member amended the rules governing the exemption of severely mentally impaired people from any liability to pay the personal community charge. It did not alter the rules governing entitlement to community charge benefit : any person liable to pay the personal community charge, except for registered students who pay only 20 per cent. of that charge, is eligible to receive community charge benefit if his net income is low enough.

DEFENCE

Ulster Defence Regiment

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give such details as he is prepared to make public of the military equipment of the Ulster Defence Regiment and its reserve, listing separately firearms and the type of firearms, motor vehicles, armoured vehicles and the number of radio, radar and electronics surveillance equipment with which the regiment was equipped at the end of 1989.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The current deployment of weapons and vehicles for the Ulster Defence Regiment is as follows ; the equivalent data for the end of 1989 have not been kept. The UDR has no reserve.


Weapons and vehicles              |Number                                   

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

5.56mm Rifle SA 80                |5,843                                    

5.56mm Rifle Light Support Weapon |912                                      

7.62mm Machine Gun                |6                                        

9mm Pistol (Browning)             |<1>865                                   

9mm Pistol (Walther)              |<2>1,985                                 

Shotgun                           |3                                        

L67 Riot Gun                      |167                                      

Landrovers                        |447                                      

4 Ton Trucks                      |16                                       

Trailers                          |61                                       

Recruiting Trailer                |1                                        

Other Vehicles                    |340                                      

<1>265 of which are issued as personal protection weapons-PPWs.             

<2>1,846 of which are issued as PPWs.                                       

The Walther 9mm pistol has replaced the .38in revolver, the .22in pistol, and 7.65mm pistol as the standard UDR PPW. However, some Browning 9mm pistols are still issued as PPWs. The L67 riot gun was issued for use by the UDR in 1989. Other equipment can be issued when commitments or circumstances dictate. The radio allocation varies from week to week, depending upon the tasks and commitments of each battalion.

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning current policy and practice of deployment of the Ulster Defence Regiment, with particular reference to the areas and circumstances in which it is deemed opportune and inopportune to deploy the regiment.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The role of the Ulster Defence Regiment, as of any other regiment deployed in Northern Ireland, is to support the Royal Ulster Constabulary in the fight against terrorism. To fulfil this role the Ulster Defence Regiment may be deployed how and where military support to the police is required, except that for policy reasons the Ulster Defence Regiment is not deployed in west Belfast or the city of Londonderry ; nor is it used for crowd control or riot duties.

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the Ulster Defence Regiment are currently estimated to be Catholics ; what was the total recruitment in 1989 ; and what proportion of those recruited in 1989 are thought to be Catholic.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : At the end of April 1990, a total of 184 soldiers, or 3 per cent. of the UDR were Roman Catholics. During the period 1 January to 31 December 1989, a total of 898 were enlisted, 34 of whom were Catholics.

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of the number of operatives, by rank, of those who have joined the Ulster Defence Regiment and its reserve, and of those who have resigned from the Ulster Defence Regiment, and its reserve, in the calendar year 1989.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces will write to the hon. Member.

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of the costs of the Ulster Defence Regiment and its reserve, divided between wages and salaries, other personnel costs, costs of construction and buildings, investment in military equipment and other costs for the fiscal years 1988-89 and 1989-90.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : Estimated costs of the Ulster Defence Regiment for the financial years 1988-89 and 1989-90 are as follows :


Column 245


£ million, current prices                                                                 

Financial year |Wages and     |Support       |Capital       |Total                        

               |salaries      |costs         |expenditure                                 

                                             |on equipment                                

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

1988-89        |54.1          |5.0           |0.6           |59.7                         

1989-90        |54.7          |5.0           |0.6           |60.3                         

The figures for works costs are not readily available.

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the average time served by (i) full-time and (ii) part-time (a) officers and (b) other ranks of the Ulster Defence Regiment as at 31 December 1989.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : The most recent information available is for 1988 when the average length of service in the UDR was :


[TITRE}                                                             

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Officers                                                            

   Male          |4 years 6 months|9 years 4 months                 

   Female        |4 years 5 months|4 years 1 month                  

                                                                    

Soldiers                                                            

   Male          |7 years 6 months|6 years 9 months                 

   Female        |6 years 9 months|4 years 6 months                 

Radiation

Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to the implications for other ex-service personnel who were exposed to radiation, of the Lancashire coroner's findings in the case of Mr. Walter Fazackerley ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces will write to the right hon. Member.


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