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Column 481

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 27 February 1991

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Gold and Silver

Sir John Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proposals have been received from the EC concerning the assay of gold and silver in the United Kingdom ; and what steps he is taking to preserve the standards and stamping system that prevails in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Leigh : The EC Commission has indicated that it does not intend to propose legislation to harmonise the various systems of testing and marking precious metals in the member states and to make assaying compulsory.

It will nonetheless be necessary at some stage to establish a common regime for precious metals in the European Community and I believe that it is essential for the effective functioning of the single market and for consumer protection purposes that some form of compulsory marking of precious metals is retained. It will be our objective to ensure this in any future consideration of this matter within the European Community.

Inward Investment

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish a list of the figures for inward investment projects involving (a) United Kingdom firms from outside the region and (b) international firms, for each region in each year from 1976 to 1990, inclusive.

Mr. Leigh : I regret that much of the information the hon. Gentleman has requested is only available at disproportionate cost. However, figures detailing the number of inward investment projects from overseas are available although only from 1979 to 1989. The table sets out the number of investment decisions known to the Invest in Britain Bureau for the calendar years 1979 to 1989 and the associated jobs for the United Kingdom by region.

The decisions recorded include the establishment of new business, expansion or acquisition of an existing business and involvement in joint venture. The figures are based on information provided by the companies themselves at the time of the investment and take no account of subsequent developments.



Number of inward investment decisions: regional breakdown         

           |P         |NJ        |SJ        |Total jobs           

                                            |(NJ+SJ)              

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

Scotland                                                          

1979       |28        |2,757     |NA        |2,757                

           |(15.3)    |(19.3)    |NA        |(19.3)               

1980       |31        |4,474     |NA        |4,474                

           |(20.0)    |(24.0)    |NA        |(24.0)               

1981       |28        |5,756     |NA        |5,756                

           |(21.0)    |(35.1)    |NA        |(35.1)               

1982       |28        |2,258     |NA        |2,258                

           |(21.0)    |(21.4)    |NA        |(21.4)               

1983       |49        |5,135     |3,432     |8,567                

           |(20.8)    |(33.0)    |(22.5)    |(27.8)               

1984       |74        |8,761     |1,463     |10,224               

           |(22.6)    |(32.3)    |(7.6)     |(22.0)               

1985       |57        |4,971     |2,922     |7,893                

           |(15.2)    |(19.4)    |(15.6)    |(17.8)               

1986       |36        |1,881     |607       |2,488                

           |(10.6)    |(11.6)    |(5.6)     |(9.2)                

1987       |31        |3,704     |2,061     |5,765                

           |(9.5)     |(17.1)    |(10.2)    |(13.7)               

1988       |58        |5,429     |1,978     |7,407                

           |(16.5)    |(19.6)    |(10.4)    |(15.3)               

1989       |34        |4,551     |645       |5,196                

           |(10.4)    |(14.8)    |(2.4)     |(9.0)                


           |P         |NJ        |SJ        |Total jobs           

                                            |(NJ+SJ)              

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

Wales                                                             

1979       |18        |854       |NA        |854                  

           |(9.8)     |(6.0)     |NA        |(6.0)                

1980       |16        |3,332     |NA        |3,332                

           |(10.3)    |(17.9)    |NA        |(47.9)               

1981       |20        |1,986     |NA        |1,986                

           |(15.0)    |(12.1)    |NA        |(12.1)               

1982       |17        |901       |NA        |901                  

           |(12.8)    |(8.6)     |NA        |(8.6)                

1983       |31        |2,116     |1,913     |4,029                

           |(13.1)    |(13.6)    |(12.5)    |(13.1)               

1984       |42        |3,958     |5,015     |8,973                

           |(12.8)    |(14.6)    |(26.0)    |(19.3)               

1985       |45        |2,416     |1,350     |3,766                

           |(12.0)    |(9.4)     |(7.2)     |(8.5)                

1986       |49        |2,364     |2,232     |4,596                

           |(14.5)    |(14.5)    |(20.7)    |(17.0)               

1987       |58        |4,054     |877       |4,931                

           |(17.8)    |(18.7)    |(4.3)     |(11.8)               

1988       |56        |6,006     |2,085     |8,091                

           |(15.9)    |(21.7)    |(11.0)    |(17.4)               

1989       |42        |3,564     |2,050     |5,614                

           |(12.7)    |(11.6)    |(7.2)     |(7.0)                


Northern Ireland                                                  

           |P         |NJ        |SJ        |Total jobs           

                                            |(NJ+SJ)              

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

1979       |18        |2,794     |NA        |2,794                

           |(9.8)     |(19.5)    |NA        |(19.5)               

1980       |20        |2,760     |NA        |2,760                

           |(12.9)    |(14.8)    |NA        |(14.8)               

1981       |15        |2,429     |NA        |2,429                

           |(11.3)    |(14.8)    |NA        |(14.8)               

1982       |6         |1,893     |NA        |1,893                

           |(4.5)     |(18.0)    |NA        |(18.0)               

1983       |11        |548       |1,192     |1,740                

           |(4.7)     |(3.5)     |(7.8)     |(5.6)                

1984       |27        |2,256     |2,876     |5,132                

           |(8.2)     |(8.3)     |(14.9)    |(11.1)               

1985       |22        |771       |1,424     |2,195                

           |(5.9)     |(3.0)     |(7.6)     |(5.0)                

1986       |18        |693       |1,722     |2,415                

           |(5.3)     |(4.3)     |(16.0)    |(8.9)                

1987       |17        |1,135     |1,341     |2,486                

           |(5.2)     |(5.2)     |(6.6)     |(5.9)                

1988       |22        |2,610     |916       |3,526                

           |(6.3)     |(9.4)     |(5.0)     |(7.7)                

1989       |17        |1,187     |8,558     |9,745                

           |(5.2)     |(3.9)     |(32.0)    |(17.0)               



Column 483


           |P         |NJ        |SJ        |Total jobs           

                                            |(NJ+SJ)              

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

North East                                                        

1979       |21        |1,466     |NA        |1,466                

           |(11.5)    |(10.2)    |NA        |(10.2)               

1980       |19        |2,923     |NA        |2,923                

           |(12.3)    |(15.7)    |NA        |(15.7)               

1981       |14        |1,021     |NA        |1,021                

           |(10.5)    |(6.2)     |NA        |(6.2)                

1982       |15        |539       |NA        |539                  

           |(11.3)    |(5.1)     |NA        |(5.1)                

1983       |20        |1,066     |720       |1,786                

           |(8.5)     |(6.9)     |(4.7)     |(5.8)                

1984       |29        |4,589     |230       |4,819                

           |(8.8)     |(16.9)    |(1.2)     |(10.4)               

1985       |26        |1,987     |1,572     |3,559                

           |(6.9)     |(7.8)     |(8.4)     |(8.0)                

1986       |30        |1,581     |1,158     |2,739                

           |(8.8)     |(9.7)     |(10.8)    |(10.1)               

1987       |31        |3,491     |852       |4,343                

           |(9.5)     |(16.1)    |(4.2)     |(10.4)               

1988       |22        |2,041     |31        |2,072                

           |(6.3)     |(7.4)     |(0.2)     |(4.4)                

1989       |46        |4,495     |1,438     |5,933                

           |(14.1)    |(14.6)    |(5.4)     |(10.3)               


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

North West                                    

1979       |9     |379   |NA    |379          

           |(4.9) |(2.6) |NA    |(2.6)        

1980       |15    |913   |NA    |913          

           |(9.7) |(4.9) |NA    |(4.9)        

1981       |12    |1,177 |NA    |1,177        

           |(9.0) |(7.2) |NA    |(7.2)        

1982       |14    |1,291 |NA    |1,291        

           |(10.5)|(12.3)|NA    |(12.3)       

1983       |22    |709   |1,114 |1,823        

           |(9.3) |(4.6) |(7.3) |(5.9)        

1984       |40    |1,135 |1,911 |3,046        

           |(12.2)|(4.2) |(9.9) |(6.6)        

1985       |28    |2,271 |1,378 |3,649        

           |(7.5) |(8.9) |(7.4) |(8.2)        

1986       |34    |1,400 |1,389 |2,789        

           |(10.0)|(8.6) |(12.9)|(10.3)       

1987       |28    |1,323 |4,896 |6,219        

           |(8.6) |(6.1) |(24.1)|(14.1)       

1988       |30    |1,763 |3,844 |5,607        

           |(8.5) |(6.4) |(17.7)|(10.9)       

1989       |52    |2,646 |4,538 |7,184        

           |(15.9)|(8.6) |(17.0)|(12.5)       



           |P         |NJ        |SJ        |Total jobs           

                                            |(NJ+SJ)              

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

Yorkshire/Humberside                                              

1979       |27        |1,176     |NA        |1,176                

           |(14.8)    |(8.2)     |NA        |(8.2)                

1980       |17        |890       |NA        |890                  

           |(11.0)    |(4.8)     |NA        |(4.8)                

1981       |6         |167       |NA        |167                  

           |(4.5)     |(1.0)     |NA        |(1.0)                

1982       |7         |104       |NA        |104                  

           |(5.3)     |(0.9)     |NA        |(1.0)                

1983       |10        |345       |502       |847                  

           |(4.2)     |(2.2)     |(3.3)     |(2.7)                

1984       |7         |119       |860       |979                  

           |(2.1)     |(0.4)     |(4.5)     |(2.1)                

1985       |16        |2,263     |2,969     |5,232                

           |(4.3)     |(8.8)     |(15.9)    |(11.8)               

1986       |11        |158       |57        |215                  

           |(3.2)     |(0.9)     |(0.5)     |(0.7)                

1987       |23        |1,147     |961       |2,108                

           |(7.1)     |(5.3)     |(4.7)     |(5.0)                

1988       |23        |1,790     |380       |2,170                

           |(5.7)     |(6.4)     |(2.1)     |(4.7)                

1989       |11        |600       |1,100     |1,700                

           |(3.4)     |(1.9)     |(4.1)     |(3.0)                


              |P         |NJ        |SJ        |Total jobs           

                                               |(NJ+SJ)              

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

West Midlands                                                        

1979          |11        |864       |NA        |864                  

              |(6.0)     |(6.0)     |NA        |(6.0)                

1980          |3         |1,040     |NA        |1,040                

              |(1.9)     |(5.6)     |NA        |(5.6)                

1981          |7         |425       |NA        |425                  

              |(5.3)     |(2.6)     |NA        |(2.6)                

1982          |1         |100       |NA        |100                  

              |(0.7)     |(0.9)     |NA        |(0.9)                

1983          |13        |1,201     |3,179     |4,380                

              |(5.5)     |(7.7)     |(20.8)    |(14.2)               

1984          |14        |1,531     |5,240     |6,771                

              |(4.3)     |(5.6)     |(27.2)    |(14.6)               

1985          |63        |5,197     |1,375     |6,572                

              |(16.8)    |(20.3)    |(7.4)     |(14.8)               

1986          |74        |4,393     |1,899     |6,292                

              |(21.8)    |(27.0)    |(17.7)    |(23.3)               

1987          |59        |3,079     |2,271     |5,350                

              |(18.2)    |(14.2)    |(11.2)    |(12.8)               

1988          |69        |3,671     |7,840     |11,511               

              |(19.6)    |(13.3)    |(42.8)    |(25.0)               

1989          |87        |5,629     |7,035     |12,664               

              |(26.6)    |(18.3)    |(26.2)    |(22.0)               


              |P         |NJ        |SJ        |Total jobs           

                                               |(NJ+SJ)              

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

East Midlands                                                        

1979          |15        |1,174     |NA        |1,174                

              |(8.2)     |(8.2)     |NA        |(8.2)                

1980          |5         |276       |NA        |276                  

              |(3.2)     |(1.5)     |NA        |(1.5)                

1981          |8         |290       |NA        |290                  

              |(6.0)     |(1.8)     |NA        |(1.8)                

1982          |13        |848       |NA        |848                  

              |(9.8)     |(8.1)     |NA        |(8.1)                

1983          |12        |939       |80        |1,019                

              |(5.1)     |(6.0)     |(0.5)     |(3.3)                

1984          |11        |658       |303       |961                  

              |(3.4)     |(2.4)     |(1.6)     |(2.1)                

1985          |19        |778       |0         |778                  

              |(5.1)     |(3.0)                |(1.8)                

1986          |15        |557       |20        |577                  

              |(4.4)     |(3.4)     |(0.1)     |(2.1)                

1987          |11        |456       |398       |854                  

              |(3.4)     |(2.1)     |(2.0)     |(2.0)                

1988          |18        |1,139     |880       |2,019                

              |(5.2)     |(4.1)     |(4.8)     |(4.4)                

1989          |11        |4,073     |2,420     |6,783                

              |(3.3)     |(13.2)    |(9.0)     |(11.6)               



           |P         |NJ        |SJ        |Total jobs           

                                            |(NJ+SJ)              

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

South East                                                        

1979       |23        |908       |NA        |908                  

           |(12.6)    |(6.3)     |NA        |(6.3)                

1980       |23        |1,046     |NA        |1,046                

           |(14.8)    |(5.6)     |NA        |(5.6)                

1981       |15        |967       |NA        |967                  

           |(11.3)    |(5.9)     |NA        |(5.9)                

1982       |25        |1,300     |NA        |1,300                

           |(18.8)    |(12.4)    |NA        |(12.4)               

1983       |59        |3,036     |2,667     |5,703                

           |(25.0)    |(19.5)    |(17.5)    |(18.5)               

1984       |70        |2,731     |810       |3,541                

           |(21.3)    |(10.1)    |(4.2)     |(7.6)                

1985       |84        |3,649     |5,712     |9,361                

           |(22.4)    |(14.3)    |(30.5)    |(21.1)               

1986       |60        |2,118     |1,148     |3,266                

           |(17.7)    |(13.0)    |(10.7)    |(12.1)               

1987       |55        |2,698     |599       |3,297                

           |(16.9)    |(12.5)    |(3.0)     |(7.9)                

1988       |46        |2,400     |983       |3,383                

           |(13.1)    |(8.7)     |(5.4)     |(7.1)                

1989       |21        |2,163     |610       |2,483                

           |(6.4)     |(7.0)     |(2.3)     |(4.3)                


           |P         |NJ        |SJ        |Total jobs           

                                            |(NJ+SJ)              

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

South West                                                        

1979       |13        |1,938     |NA        |1938                 

           |(7.1)     |(13.5)    |NA        |(13.5)               

1980       |6         |1,008     |NA        |1,008                

           |(3.9)     |(5.4)     |NA        |(5.4)                

1981       |8         |2,199     |NA        |2,199                

           |(6.0)     |(13.4)    |NA        |(13.4)               

1982       |7         |1,295     |NA        |1,295                

           |(5.3)     |(12.3)    |NA        |(12.3)               

1983       |9         |451       |458       |909                  

           |(3.8)     |(2.9)     |(3.0)     |(2.9)                

1984       |14        |1,364     |586       |1,950                

           |(4.3)     |(5.0)     |(3.0)     |(4.2)                

1985       |15        |1,281     |19        |1,300                

           |(4.0)     |(5.0)     |(0.1)     |(2.9)                

1986       |12        |1,129     |528       |1,657                

           |(3.5)     |(6.9)     |(4.9)     |(6.1)                

1987       |11        |564       |328       |892                  

           |(3.4)     |(2.6)     |(1.6)     |(2.1)                

1988       |5         |479       |0         |479                  

           |(1.4)     |(1.7)     |(0)       |(1.0)                

1989       |8         |1,848     |40        |1,888                

           |(2.4)     |(6.0)     |(0.15)    |(3.3)                


           |P         |NJ        |SJ        |Total jobs           

                                            |(NJ+SJ)              

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

United Kingdom not specified                                      

1979       |-         |-         |-         |183                  

1980       |-         |-         |-         |155                  

1981       |-         |-         |-         |133                  

1982       |-         |-         |-         |133                  

1983       |-         |-         |-         |-                    

1984       |-         |-         |-         |-                    

1985       |-         |-         |-         |-                    

1986       |-         |-         |-         |-                    

1987       |1         |-         |5,700     |5,700                

           |(0.3)     |-         |(28.1)    |(13.6)               

1988       |3         |325       |0         |325                  

           |(0.9)     |(1.2)     |(0)       |(0.7)                

1989       |1         |0         |0         |0                    

           |(0.3)     |(0)       |(0)       |(0)                  



Total United Kingdom  

                      

                      

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

1979                  

                      

1980                  

                      

1981                  

                      

1982                  

                      

1983                  

                      

1984                  

                      

1985                  

                      

1986                  

                      

1987                  

                      

1988                  

                      

1989                  

                      

P=Number of projects  

NJ=New jobs           

SJ=Safeguard jobs     

Figures in brackets   

apply to percentage   

of total for each     

region.               

These figures refer   

to decisions known to 

the IBB, and are      

provided by the       

companies themselves. 

The jobs are those    

associated with the   

projects over the     

long term.            

Fireworks

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the figures for injuries caused by fireworks for each year from 1986 to 1990 in the same form as the answer given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Consumer Affairs to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. Harris) on 21 March 1990, Official Report, columns 641-46 ; and if he will estimate the value of damage caused to domestic and commercial property by fireworks in each of those years.

Mr. Leigh : It is my intention to publish the figures for injuries caused by fireworks for each year from 1986 to 1990 in a similar form to that given last year. My Department does not keep statistics on the value of damage caused to property by fireworks.

Supergun

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will obtain for his departmental library a copy of the transcript and video of the Thames Television programme "This Week" broadcast on 1 February concerning the alleged evasion of customs and export controls by parts of a supergun built for Iraq.

Mr. Lilley : I do not propose to obtain a copy of the transcript and video of the Thames Television "This Week" programme for the departmental library.

Property Loans

Mr. Irvine : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what are the Government's proposals for subordinate legislation in connection with the provisions under the Courts and Legal Services Act on the tying-in of services to residential property loans.

Mr. Redwood : I am today issuing a consultative document setting out the Government's proposals for the subordinate legislation required to bring into force the provisions in the courts and Legal Services Act on the tying-in of services to residential property loans. However, as the document explains and as was made clear during the passage of the Act, if the industry had a simpler way of avoiding tying-in by lenders which it could police adequately and which would provide for at least as much disclosure as the Act's provisions, the Government could be open to persuasion that bringing the relevant provisions into force would not be necessary.


Column 487

Company Accounts

Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a statement on the division of responsibility between the financial reporting review panel and his Department with regard to applications to the court for the revision of defective company accounts following the authorisation of the review panel for the purposes of section 245B of the Companies Act 1985.

Mr. Redwood : It has been agreed with the financial reporting review panel that normally the panel will deal with the accounts of large public and private companies. The companies concerned are defined as public limited companies (PLCs) (except plcs which are subsidiaries in a small or medium-sized group), companies within a group headed by a PLC, and any company not qualifying as small or medium-sized as defined by section 247 of the Companies Act 1985 or of any company within a group which does not qualify as small or medium-sized as defined by section 249 of the Act. My Department will handle all other cases.

The review panel will examine departures from the accounting provisions of the Companies Act 1985 whether or not they involve departures from accounting standards. The Department will remain responsible for all complaints relating to the directors' report and summary financial statements.

Product Safety

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the latest position in the Council of Ministers with regard to the European Community's product safety directive.

Mr. Leigh [holding answer 25 February 1991] : The Council of Ministers considered the proposed EC directive on general product safety at its meeting on 22 October 1990. Progress was made on some key issues but it was also clear that a number of significant problems still remained. The directive was therefore referred back to the council working group for further discussion. The Luxembourg Presidency is now considering how best to handle the continuing negotiations.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list the other countries in the EC which are seeking to have food removed from the scope of the European Community's product safety directive.

Mr. Leigh [holding answer 25 February 1991] : A number of member states have difficulties in accepting that food should be included in the proposed general product safety directive, at least as it is currently drafted. These include the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands and Ireland. However, discussions are continuing to see if the safety of food can be adequately dealt with in a general safety directive.

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the Government's reasons for seeking to have food removed from the provisions of the European Community's product safety directive.

Mr. Leigh [holding answer 25 February 1991] : In the negotiations on the proposed EC general product safety


Column 488

directive, the United Kingdom has taken the view that, as drafted, there are particular features of food safety that are not adequately dealt with in a general duty affecting consumer products. There are already many directives which already apply to different aspects of food safety and more are under discussion. There is also concern that by applying a further layer of legislation to an already heavily regulated sector, there would be uncertainty and confusion without necessarily adding significantly to the protection afforded to consumers.

Consumer Protection

Mr. Dunn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what protection there is for consumers who receive defective products from manufacturers ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Leigh [holding answer 26 February 1991] : The law provides a range of measures to protect consumers from defective or unsafe products. In some cases the action will be directed towards the original manufacturer, in others towards the distributor or retailer.

Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 for traders who sell goods in the course of a business (usually the retailer) there is an implied condition that the goods must be of merchantable quality and fit for the purpose for which they are sold. Traders cannot avoid these obligations in their contracts with consumers. If goods are not of merchantable quality the buyer is entitled, if he acts in a reasonable time, to reject the goods and obtain a refund. Even if the buyer has accepted the goods, and no longer has a right to a refund, the buyer would still be entitled to claim damages for defects. The consumer may also be able to claim damages for any other loss resulting from the breach of contract, such as compensation for any injury caused by the defective product.

People who are injured or have their personal property damaged by defective products may also be able to claim damages under the product liability provisions of part I of the Consumer Protection Act 1987. In addition, as this Act did not replace the rights of individuals to use the tort of negligence to obtain damages from manufacturer, this option remains available to the consumer. Consumers are also protected from defective products that are unsafe by the consumer safety legislation in part II of the Consumer Protection Act 1987. This establishes a strong legal framework to deal with unsafe consumer products and is enforced primarily by the trading standards department of local authorities. Anyone with a complaint about an unsafe product should contact their local office.

WALES

Patients (Cross-infection)

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will estimate for each health authority in Wales the percentage of patients currently being treated in national health service hospitals for conditions that they contracted when they were previously in-patients at those hospitals through cross-infection.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : The information requested is not available centrally.


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Continuing Care Beds

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many continuing care beds have been available in Wales in each year from 1976.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : The information given in the following table relates to hospital beds in Wales designated for continuing care. However, some beds may have been used for continuing care but not designated as such.

From 1 April 1989 continuing care beds cannot be identified separately centrally.


Average daily available continuing care   

beds                                      

              |Daily average              

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

1976          |0.47                       

1977          |4.67                       

1978          |9.50                       

1979          |8.33                       

1980          |8.93                       

1981          |16.50                      

1982          |35.00                      

1983          |34.46                      

1984          |34.25                      

1985          |33.67                      

1986          |34.29                      

1987          |36.57                      

1988          |36.68                      

Sea Trout

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total catch for sea trout in Wales in each year between 1985 and 1990 ; and how many were caught by (a) nets and (b) rod.


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Mr. David Hunt : Reported catches of sea trout in the Welsh Region of the National Rivers Authority since 1985 are as follows :


Year   |Rods  |Nets  |Total        

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

1985   |20,868|5,097 |25,965       

1986   |21,308|5,098 |26,406       

1987   |35,727|4,878 |40,605       

1988   |30,685|6,799 |37,484       

1989   |13,154|6,468 |19,622       

1990   |<1>-  |3,795 |-            

<1> Not yet available.             

National Parks

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many members there are on the management boards of each national park in Wales ; and of these members how many are (a) local farmers, (b) members or representatives of public or state bodies who are contributing to the upkeep of the parks, (c) from the commercial or service industry sector in the immediate area and (d) residents from the immediate area.

Sir Wyn Roberts : There are 27 members each on the national park committees (NPC) of Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia national parks and 18 members on the NPC of Pembrokeshire Coast national park. A third of the members are appointed by the Secretary of State and the other two thirds are elected members mainly of the relevant county councils with some district council representation. The information sought is held centrally only in relation to members nominated by the Secretary of State and is as follows :


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National park committee |Local farmers          |Nominated by           |Commercial or          |Residents from                                 

                                                |Secretary of           |service industry       |the immediate                                  

                                                |State                  |sector in the          |area                                           

                                                                        |immediate area                                                         

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

Brecon Beacons<1>       |3                      |8                      |3                      |6                                              

Pembrokeshire Coast     |3                      |6                      |2                      |4                                              

Snowdonia<1>            |2                      |8                      |5                      |7                                              

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

Total                   |8                      |22                     |10                     |17                                             

<1> There is one vacancy for Secretary of State's nominated members on each of these NPCs.                                                      

Housing

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from local authorities concerning housing provision in rural Wales ; and how many meetings he has had with representatives of elected councils to discuss this situation.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : Every local authority has opportunities throughout each year to inform me about housing provision in their area. Furthermore I hope soon to chair a meeting of the Welsh Housing Consultative Committee soon at which further representations about rural housing matters could be tabled.

Ministerial Visits

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the dates of official visits that the Secretary of State, the Minister of State and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State made to constituencies in Wales during the past 12 months ; and for


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each visit those instances in which hon. and right hon. Members were not informed in writing, in advance, of such visits.

Mr. David Hunt : It is standard practice for my Private Office to notify hon. and right hon. Members, in writing and in advance, of official visits to their constituencies by me or my ministerial colleagues.

Welsh Office Ministers have made a very large number of visits to all constituencies in Wales over the past 12 months and the detailed information requested by the hon. Gentleman could only be provided at disproportionate use of my Private Office's time.

If however, the hon. Gentleman wishes to pursue the circumstances of any particular instance, perhaps he would write to me.


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Farming

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to send out the basic hill livestock compensatory allowance claim forms so that herd and flock details can be completed and submitted at the earliest possible date.

Mr. David Hunt : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply that I gave him on 25 February 1991.

Accommodation for Young People

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much accommodation has been specifically provided by each district council in Wales for (a) young single people under the age of 25 years and (b) young couples under the age of 25 years, in each year from 1977 onwards.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : The information is not held centrally.

Tourism

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has any plans to amend the policy planning guidelines on the countryside and the rural economy to allow for limited and tasteful tourist developments on farms in Wales.

Mr. David Hunt : I am reviewing planning policy guidance note No. 7 which describes the contribution that the planning system can make to the rural environment by balancing the requirements of

development--including fostering the diversification of the rural economy-- and the continuing need to protect the countryside.

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations he has received requesting the Wales Tourist Board to be allowed to market itself directly overseas ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. David Hunt : Thirteen since taking office on 4 May 1990. The Wales Tourist Board has commissioned a study intended to identify ways and means of improving the effectiveness of the overseas marketing of Wales, within the existing legal framework. Ministers will consider its findings very carefully.

Planning Appeals

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he last met representatives of the Wales Association of Community and Town Councils to discuss the planning applications appeal structure.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : My right hon. Friend has not met representatives of the Wales Association of Community and Town Councils to discuss this matter.


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Planning Decisions

Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has any plans to introduce a further right of appeal for town and community councils against Welsh Office decisions on planning applications when it is clear that the majority of citizens in a given town or community council area are opposed to the original planning applications ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : No.

Empty Properties

Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the estimate of the number of properties which are empty in (a) local authority housing, (b) housing association housing and (c) Government Department housing ; and what is the estimate of the percentage this represents of the total number of properties in each such group.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : The information requested is given in the table :


Vacant Dwellings by Tenure, 1 April 1990                   

                          |Number    |Percentage           

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

Local Authority<1>        |3,023     |1.3                  

Housing Association<2>    |251       |1.1                  

Government Departments<3> |99        |1.6                  

<1>Source: Welsh Office local authority returns.           

<2>Source: Housing for Wales. These figures are given in   

terms of units rather than dwellings.                      

<3>Source: Local authority housing investment programme    

returns.                                                   

Foreign Languages

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what is the total number of state secondary schools in Wales ; how many of them provide GCSE and A-level course, respectively, in (a) German, (b) Latin or (c) Spanish ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) if it is possible to study (a) Italian or (b) Japanese to GCSE or A-level standard at any state school in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Wyn Roberts : There are 232 maintained secondary schools in Wales. Subject to the requirements of the Education Reform Act responsibility for the provision of subjects of study leading to GCSE or GCE advanced certification rests with individual secondary schools.

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people in Wales (a) sat and (b) passed GSCE and A-level (i) German, (ii) Italian, (iii) Japanese, (iv) Latin or (v) Spanish, respectively, in each year since 1987 ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The numbers of candidates in Wales who sat and passed GCSE and A-level examinations conducted by the Welsh Joint Education Committee in German, Italian, Japanese, Latin and Spanish in each year since 1987, are given in the following tables :


Column 491


GCSE<1>                                                                           

                            |German  |Italian |Japanese|Latin   |Spanish          

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

1987<2>                                                                           

Candidates entered          |1,960   |108     |-       |399     |347              

O level grades A-E, CSE 1-5 |1,783   |101     |-       |360     |306              

                                                                                  

1988                                                                              

Candidates entered          |1,956   |57      |-       |246     |361              

Grades A-G                  |1,948   |57      |-       |236     |360              

                                                                                  

1989                                                                              

Candidates entered          |2,202   |49      |6       |141     |389              

Grades A-G                  |2,198   |49      |6       |139     |388              

                                                                                  

1990                                                                              

Candidates entered          |2,361   |90      |-       |122     |489              

Grades A-G                  |2,359   |90      |-       |116     |489              

                                                                                  

<1> Some candidates were examined through the common syllabus, and hence counted  

twice.                                                                            

<2> GCSE was not introduced until 1988, for 1987 "O" level grades A-E and CSE     

grades 1-5 were added together to give a comparison with GCSE grades A-G in       

subsequent years.                                                                 

A Level                                                                           

                            |German  |Italian |Japanese|Latin   |Spanish          

1987                                                                              

Candidates entered          |205     |9       |-       |45      |69               

Grades A-E                  |195     |9       |-       |40      |63               

                                                                                  

1988                                                                              

Candidates entered          |251     |12      |-       |30      |72               

Grades A-E                  |224     |12      |-       |27      |61               

                                                                                  

1989                                                                              

Candidates entered          |193     |7       |7       |27      |73               

Grades A-E                  |175     |7       |5       |23      |68               

                                                                                  

1990                                                                              

Candidates entered          |323     |9       |3       |25      |95               

Grades A-E                  |303     |8       |3       |20      |90               

Table file CW910227.022 not available

A Level

German Italian Japanese Latin Spanish

1987

Candidates entered 205 9 -- 45 69

Grades A-E 195 9 -- 40 63

1988

Candidates entered 251 12 -- 30 72

Grades A-E 224 12 -- 27 61

1989

Candidates entered 193 7 7 27 73

Grades A-E 175 7 5 23 68

1990

Candidates entered 323 9 3 25 95

Grades A-E 303 8 3 20 90

Local Government Finance

Mr. Gwilym Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what conclusions he has reached on the rating of property located in areas which cease to have enterprise zone status.

Mr. David Hunt : Regulations have been laid today under the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to provide that, as rateable values are assessed when zones cease and property becomes rateable, the rents of non- domestic property in enterprise zones should be discounted. This will ensure that any effect on rents at 1 April 1988 brought about by the existence of a zone will not affect rateable values of property in its former area.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

UN Security Council

Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the reasons for convening the most recent meeting of the United Nations Security Council in camera ; and what was the United Kingdom's position on this matter ;

(2) on how many occasions in the last 30 years the Security Council of the United Nations has met in secret ; when it last met in secret prior to February 1991 ; and what was the reason.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Security Council meets in private whenever discussing or deciding upon any recommendation to the General Assembly regarding the appointment of the Secretary-General. It also meets in private to discuss drafts of its annual report. Apart from


Column 494

these meetings, another five Security Council meetings have been held in private in the 30 years up to 23 February 1991. Prior to 14 February 1991, the last private meeting of the Security Council was on 6 November 1975, to discuss western Sahara. The United Kingdom proposed the procedural motion in the Security Council on 13 February which called for the following day's meeting on the situation between Iraq and Kuwait to be held in private, in view of the need for sober consideration of the matter away from the glare of publicity. The Council agree that the United Nations delegations of all member states were free to attend the meeting, but the press and public were excluded.

Nabil Shaath

Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what subjects were discussed at the meeting between Nabil Shaath, senior political adviser to Yasser Arafat, and his officials on 19 February.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Mr. Nabil Shaath had two meetings with FCO officials on 18 and 19 February. They discussed a variety of Middle East issues including the situation in the Occupied Territories and prospects for the peace process in the wake of the Gulf conflict.

East Timor

Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when the United Kingdom delegates last sought to raise at the United Nations Security Council the Indonesian occupation of East Timor.


Column 495

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The United Kingdom has not sought to raise the East Timor issue since voting in favour of United Nations Security Council resolution No. 389 in 1976.

The Gulf

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which Governments were consulted before Her Majesty's Government rejected the Iraqi proposals to withdraw from Kuwait ; and what criteria were adopted for choosing the Governments contacted and the order in which they were contacted.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We remain in constant touch with our coalition partners on a wide range of matters relating to the Gulf crisis.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his Department's latest assessment of Pakistani nuclear weapon design and development capability.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We are concerned about the unsafeguarded nuclear programme in Pakistan. We have always encouraged all non-parties to accede to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty ; this would engage them in an undertaking not to manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons.

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps were taken to inform (a) hon. Members and (b) non-governmental organisations of the outcome of (i) the fourth quinquennial review conference of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in Geneva in 1990 and (ii) the first amendment conference of the partial nuclear test ban treaty in New York in 1991.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : On the outcome of the non-proliferation treaty review conference, my right hon. Friend the then Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs wrote to all hon. Members on 18 October 1990. I am arranging for a copy of this letter to be placed in the Library of the House. In addition, the Arms Control and Disarmament Quarterly Review No. 19 of October 1990, carried a report of the Conference. This review is distributed to many

non-governmental organisations.

On the partial test ban treaty amendment conference the outcome was that a decision was adopted by the majority of participants acknowledging the complexity of the issues surrounding a comprehensive test ban and mandating the conference president to conduct consultations with a view to resuming the work of the conference at an appropriate time. A copy of the decision of the Conference, taken by majority vote, is being placed in the Library of the House.


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