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Prisoners

Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has plans to improve the links between families in Northern Ireland and relatives who are held in prison in England ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs Rumbold : My noble Friend Lord Ferrers announced in another place on 4 June at columns 577-78 that the Government would carry out a comprehensive review of the arrangements governing the transfer of prisoners to Northern Ireland, either permanently or temporarily, to maintain family ties.

Iraqi Armed Forces

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions since 1979 members of the Iraqi armed forces have been granted entry into the United Kingdom under paragraph 1(1) of schedule 2 to the Immigration Act 1971.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The information requested is not available. Statistics collected on passenger admissions do not separately identify members of the armed forces who enter the United Kingdom.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Sir John Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the results of the management review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board will be available ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Baker : With the concurrence of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, who is responsible with me for the criminal injuries compensation scheme in Great Britain. I have today placed in the Library the report of the wide-ranging management review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board which we commissioned last year.

The review was carried out by a team of management services specialists from the Home Office and Treasury, co-ordinated by a private sector consultant. As well as examining in depth the board's operations, the team took account of practice elsewhere in the civil service, and outside.

In recent times the board has had difficulty in coping with rising business. But with the changes to the scheme and the 60 new staff we provided last year, it is now making great strides. It dealt with 53, 000 claims in 1990-91, against 39,000 in 1989-90, and it expects to clear


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around 60,000 in 1991-92. Last year, for the first time in 10 years, it dealt with more claims than it received, reducing its backlog, and it has been able to establish that the true level of backlog is much lower than it had reckoned.

Despite this encouraging picture the board needs to gear itself to do still better, cutting delays--which are often still unacceptably long--and further reducing its arrears, while coping with steadily increasing workload.

I therefore welcome the recommendations of the management review, which hold out the prospect of a faster service to applicants, and a much reduced backlog, with no increase in staff. This will be achieved by simplifying procedures, cutting out duplication, and better management. Board members will need to set better guidelines for decisions, improving consistency all round, and enabling staff to deal with the majority of cases, which do not require the special skills of a QC or similarly eminent lawyer. I look to the board and its senior managers to respond positively and quickly to all of these recommendations.

The report also makes some more radical suggestions.

Arrangements under the scheme have not changed much since the board was created in 1964, when it was far smaller and dealt with far fewer claims. The review team does not believe that a board of more than 40 members drawn from the single discipline of law, and most of whom have other claims upon their time--can reasonably be expected to carry responsibility for managing the organisation effectively on its present scale.

The review recommends that I and the Secretary of State for Scotland should establish a small executive board, which should include members with business experience, and perhaps representatives of victims' interests. We think that this is a useful suggestion, on which we should like to have views from the board itself and from others with an interest in its work.

The review also questions whether the scheme compensates the right people and in the right way. In particular, it discusses concentrating the scheme on injuries attracting higher or lower awards, by varying or imposing lower or upper limits on what awards are payable ; excluding more strictly those who by alcohol or drug misuse contribute to their own misfortunes ; transferring responsibility for criminal injuries at work to employers ; and simplifying the basis of assessment to allow decisions to be taken more consistently and quickly. Finally, it suggests that we should explore whether the insurance industry might administer the scheme on an agency basis, or whether criminal injuries compensation might be amalgamated with other private and public sector compensation schemes to work more effectively and economically. These issues go well beyond the scope of the management review but the Government recognise that there are serious questions which should be open to public discussion.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Small Businesses

Mr. Grylls : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many businesses currently register an annual taxable profit of £35,000 or less ; and how many of these businesses have been operating for (a) one year or less, (b) between one and two years, (c) between two and three years and (d) for three or more years.


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Mr. Maude : It is estimated that about 250,000 incorporated businesses had taxable profits of £35,000 or less in accounting periods ending in the year to 31 March 1989. This is the latest period for which reasonably complete information is available. The approximate lengths of time for which these businesses had been operating are shown in the table.


                            |Number         

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

One year or less            |20,000         

Between one and two years   |20,000         

Between two and three years |20,000         

Three or more years         |190,000        

Information on unincorporated businesses could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Building Societies

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, excluding corporation tax, how much in total will have been lawfully received in tax through and from building societies in each financial year from 1984-85 on the basis of clause 50 (a) being enacted and (b) not being enacted.

Mr. Maude : Net receipts of income tax from building societies, excluding those subsequently repaid as the result of decisions by the courts, are shown in the second column of the table. The third column shows the corresponding receipts after deducting the estimated amount of income tax due for repayment if clause 50 were not enacted. Such repayment would increase societies' liability to corporation tax.


Years    £ million        

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

1984-85 |1,844|1,844      

1985-86 |2,608|2,608      

1986-87 |2,481|2,277      

1987-88 |2,694|2,673      

1988-89 |2,678|2,677      

1989-90 |3,655|3,654      

Defence Companies (Surpluses)

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to introduce legislation to implement a recoverable levy on surpluses generated by defence-based and military production companies.

Mr. Maude : No. Increased use of competition, taut contracting and suitable contractual mechanisms are already designed to ensure maximum value for money in defence procurement.

EC Meetings

Mr. Day : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the outcome of the latest meeting of the European Community's Economic and Finance Council, the meeting of the intergovernmental conference on economic and monetary union and the inter-institutional meeting with the European Parliament.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The Economic and Finance Council of the European Community met in Luxembourg on 10 June. I represented the United Kingdom. I also attended a meeting of the intergovernmental conference


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on economic and monetary union. The Minister of State attended the inter-institutional meeting with the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 11 June.

Following the meeting on 3 June, the Council again discussed the presidency's proposals for the future of VAT and excise duties in the single market. No agreements were reached and discussions will continue. I reiterated that the United Kingdom remains unconvinced that there is a need for a centrally imposed minimum VAT rate in the single market. But I again made it clear that the United Kingdom has no intention of changing our VAT rate.

On excise duties, member states remain very wide apart. I argued that the minimum duty rates on alcohol and tobacco in the presidency proposals were too low. I reiterated that there would need to be much higher minimum rates or measures such as limits on the amounts of these goods that can be brought into any member state tax paid, if agreement were to be reached.

The Community's contribution towards loans by the G24 to Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania was also discussed. An informal agreement was reached that the first tranche of 100 mecu of an EC guaranteed loan to Hungary could now be released, since a matching sum had been committed by members of the G24 outside the EC, but it was agreed that the release of a first tranche of150 mecu to Bulgaria should await a similar matching contribution. Discussion of a loan to Romania was deferred until the meeting of ECOFIN in July. At the ministerial meeting of the intergovernmental conference on EMU, the presidency invited member states' views on key issues, which would inform preparations for the meeting of the European Council later in the month. I noted that a significant number of important issues required further debate in the IGC and suggested that the presidency might want to refer to these, while also registering the consensus achieved on issues such as the importance of convergence, in its report to the European Council.

Our negotiating position in the IGC remains unchanged. The United Kingdom cannot accept changes to the treaty of Rome that would bind us to move to a single currency or a single monetary policy without a separate decision by the United Kingdom Government and Parliament. The inter-institutional meeting with the European Parliament enabled Members of the European Parliament to put their views on the EMU IGC to Finance Ministers. The meeting was purely consultative in nature.

Bank of Credit and Commerce International

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has had from the United States federal criminal prosecution authorities for assistance with documentation on the Bank of Credit and Commerce International.

Mr. Maples : None.

TRANSPORT

Nuclear Waste

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list by year for the last 10 years, and for each port in the United Kingdom, the number of tonnes of nuclear waste that was imported.


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Mr. McLoughlin : Nuclear waste is not imported into this country.

Primary Aggregates

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the amount of primary aggregates used in (a) construction and (b) maintenance of the railway network over the past 10 years, in (i) tonnes and (ii) as a proportion of total national aggregates' consumption.

Mr. Freeman : The figures for purchases of ballast by British Rail are as follows :


                              

(millions)                    

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

1986-87   |2.9                

1987-88   |2.9                

1988-89   |2.7                

1989-90   |2.4                

1990-91   |2.2                

The other information is not available.

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the amount of primary aggregates used in (a) construction and (b) maintenance of motorways and trunk roads over the past 10 years, in (i) tonnes and (ii) as a proportion of total national aggregates consumption.

Mr. Chope : Detailed information across the whole range of road construction is not kept by the Department. Estimates are, of necessity, coarse. Industry estimates show some 32 per cent. of United Kingdom aggregates production is used in road construction and maintenance. This figure has remained stable over the past 10 years. The Department estimates that in 1980 around 10 per cent. of aggregates consumption--21 million tonnes--was used in the construction and maintenance of motorways and trunk roads. This compares with estimates of 12 per cent. of aggregates consumption--36 million tonnes--in 1989.

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the amount of primary aggregates used in (a) construction and (b) maintenance of local roads over the past 10 years, in (i) tonnes and (ii) as a proportion of total national aggregates' consumption.

Mr. Chope : Detailed information across the whole range of road construction is not kept by the Department. Estimates are, of necessity, coarse. Industry estimates show some 32 per cent. of United Kingdom aggregates production is used in road construction and maintenance. This figure has remained stable over the past 10 years. The Department estimates that in 1980, 22 per cent. of aggregates consumption--43 million tonnes-- was used in the construction and maintenance of local roads. This compares with estimates of 20 per cent.--60 million tonnes--in 1989.

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the estimated requirement for primary aggregates arising from the Government's road building programme, set out in the May 1988 White Paper "Roads to Prosperity."

Mr. Chope : The requirement for primary aggregates is estimated at 120,000 tonnes per kilometre. The


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Government's road building programme, set out in the White Paper "Roads for Prosperity" established a target of 4,247 kilometres--2,655 miles. The overall requirement is therefore in the region of 510 million tonnes.

Railway Crossings

Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will give urgent consideration to the installation of barriers at the open railway crossing in Tirydail, Ammanford and at other open crossings on the Heart of Wales railway line ; (2) if he will bring forward the proposed installation of barriers at the open crossing in Cilyrychen, Llandybie.

Mr. McLoughlin : The Stott criteria for the conversion of automatic open crossings to half-barriered crossings take into account the daily use by both road and rail traffic. In the case of Tirydail crossing, traffic is not sufficiently heavy to warrant upgrading. The only crossing on the central Wales line which met the upgrading criteria is at Cilyrychen. Conversion is scheduled for early next year. It is for British Rail to determine the conversion programme in the light of its resources available to carry out the work.

Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many open railway crossings there are, and how many have barriers, on the Heart of Wales line from Swansea to Shrewsbury ; and if he will identify their locations.

Mr. McLoughlin : The information requested is as follows :


Location                   |Type of barrier                                      

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

Pantyffynon                |Hand operated gates                                  

Tirydail                   |AOCL                                                 

Brynmarlais                |AOCL                                                 

Llandebie                  |AOCL                                                 

Cilyrychen                 |AOCL                                                 

Ffairfach                  |AOCL                                                 

Glanrhyd                   |Open                                                 

Llangadog                  |AOCL                                                 

Llanwrda                   |Open                                                 

Llandovery                 |Trainmen operated barriers                           

Berthddu                   |Open                                                 

Llandrindod Wells          |Trainmen operated barriers                           

Dolau                      |AOCL                                                 

Bucknell                   |AOCL                                                 

Craven Arms                |Manned barriers                                      

AOCL-Automatic open crossing locally monitored.                                  

Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list those open crossings in Wales that have already been fitted with half-barriers as recommended by the Stott report and those earmarked for conversion in 1991 and 1992.

Mr. McLoughlin : The following automatic open crossings in Wales have been converted to half-barrier crossings under the Stott programme :--

Harlech Morfa

Llanbadarn Fawr

Maes (Criccieth)

Ynyslas

Those at Tygwyn, Cil-y-rychen and Llanboidy are due for conversion in 1991, 1992 and 1992 respectively.

Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many open railway crossings in Britain are


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to be fitted with barriers in accordance with the Stott recommendation for each year from 1988 to 1992 and thereafter.

Mr. McLoughlin : Eighty-three automatic open crossings were identified for conversion to half-barrier crossings by the Stott criteria.

Forty-six have been converted so far ; the work was carried out as follows :


       |Number       

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

1988   |13           

1989   |21           

1990   |10           

1991   |2            

Sixteen of the remaining 37 conversions are scheduled for this year and 21 in 1992.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Textiles

Mr. Lee : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what reaction he has made to the proposals from the Greek, Spanish and Portuguese Governments for use of European Community funds to assist their textile and clothing industries ; and what assessment he has made of the likely impact on activity and employment in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Leigh : I have not been informed of any such proposals. I am having inquiries made and will write to my hon. Friend.

WALES

Trunk Roads

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what has been the total expenditure by his Department on major improvement schemes on (a) the A487 trunk road, (b) the A483 trunk road and (c) the A470 trunk road in each year since 1979.

Sir Wyn Roberts : Total costs including design and land acquisition for major improvement schemes costing over £3 million completed, in progress and in preparation, for each year since 1979 are given in the table.


£ million                                  

           |A487   |A483   |A470           

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

1979-80    |2.2    |0.4    |6.0            

1980-81    |2.6    |0.2    |9.2            

1981-82    |0.9    |0.2    |3.0            

1982-83    |1.8    |0.1    |5.9            

1983-84    |0.3    |0.5    |21.4           

1984-85    |-      |0.7    |18.2           

1985-86    |0.6    |3.9    |10.0           

1986-87    |0.4    |10.6   |4.4            

1987-88    |0.6    |8.6    |3.5            

1988-89    |0.6    |9.9    |2.6            

1989-90    |2.2    |11.9   |3.4            

<1>1990-91 |5.8    |8.8    |5.7            

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

Total      |18.0   |55.8   |93.3           

<1> Provisional.                           



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Treatment of Pain

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what financial resources have been allocated to the Welsh Office budget this year for the relief and treatment of pain.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : It is for individual health authorities to determine from within their annual overall resource allocations, and in the light of local circumstances and priorities, the level of funding which is available for the relief and treatment of pain.

Community Charge

Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish a table showing the amount of community charge payable by each eligible adult in a household of one, two, three, four or five adults where one, two or no adults have been exempted due to severe mental handicap in 1991-92 after the community charge reduction scheme has been applied, for each level of assumed rates bill in £50 bands from £150 to £500, in £100 bands from £500 to £1,500, £1,750 and £2,000, where in each case the community charge is set at each £10 increment between £140 and £600.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : The community charge payable, on average, within each Welsh charging authority, net of £140 reduction and the community charge reduction scheme, by each eligible adult for 1991-92 is given in the table. The charge shown is the same irrespective of the number of adults in a household. Severely mentally impaired adults do not pay the community charge.

The Welsh community charge reduction scheme is based on the difference between the notional average domestic rates per adult in 1989-90 and the average community charge paid in 1990-91 for each area. The reduction is this difference less £37 and is payable to every eligible adult in each qualifying community.



                      |Average community                          

                      |charge payable (£)<1>                      

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

Alyn and Deeside      |118                                        

Colwyn                |127                                        

Delyn                 |125                                        

Glyndwr               |96                                         

Rhuddlan              |139                                        

Wrexham Maelor        |101                                        

Carmarthen            |61                                         

Ceredigion            |68                                         

Dinefwr               |63                                         

Llanelli              |81                                         

Preseli Pembrokeshire |67                                         

South Pembrokeshire   |73                                         

Blaenau Gwent         |67                                         

Islwyn                |80                                         

Monmouth              |108                                        

Newport               |125                                        

Torfaen               |105                                        

Aberconwy             |110                                        

Arfon                 |79                                         

Dwyfor                |91                                         

Meirionnydd           |98                                         

Ynys Mon              |103                                        

Cynon Valley          |50                                         

Merthyr Tydfil        |68                                         

Ogwr                  |67                                         

Rhondda               |26                                         

Rhymney Valley        |94                                         

Taff Ely              |96                                         

Brecknock             |87                                         

Montgomeryshire       |77                                         

Radnorshire           |86                                         

Cardiff               |112                                        

Vale of Glamorgan                                                 

Port Talbot           |75                                         

Lliw Valley           |64                                         

Neath                 |76                                         

Swansea               |113                                        

                                                                  

Total Wales           |92                                         

<1> Net of Budget Reduction and CCRS. Average for district.       

Further Education

Mr. Livsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (i) what was the total cost of training further education governors in Wales ; (2) if he will indicate the total cost of implementing the Government's reforms to the structure of governing bodies of further education colleges in Wales as a result of the Education Reform Act 1988.

Sir Wyn Roberts : The information requested is not available.

Drinking Water

Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects all water supplies in Wales to meet the drinking water standards set by the EC drinking water quality directive ; and what is the number of people currently supplied from non-complying sources.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : Public water supplies already comply with the great majority of the standards in the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 1989 (SI 1989 No. 1147) which implement EC standards or set more stringent standards. Where relaxations from the standards have been authorised under regulation 4 or undertakings accepted under section 20(5)(b) of the Water Act 1989, most should comply with the standards by 1995. Undertakings have been accepted which relate to all the zones supplied by the companies my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has appointed. The existence of a relaxation or undertaking does not mean, necessarily, that the water supplied does not meet the standards set in the water quality regulations. Copies of all the relaxations and undertakings have been placed in the Library of the House.

Universities and Colleges Funding Council

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to announce details of the funding and staffing arrangements for the Universities and Colleges Funding Council for Wales.

Mr. David Hunt : I will announce detailed proposals for the new higher education funding council at the time legislation is introduced in Parliament.

Casualty Units, Gower

Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many new attendances there were in 1990-91 between 10 pm and 8 am at Singleton, Morriston and Neath casualty units ; and how many of these at each were residents of West Swansea and Gower.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : The information is not centrally available in the form requested. However, data collected to


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inform the Welsh Office review of Singleton minor casualty unit (MCU) indicated that during the period 1 June 1988 to 31 May 1989, new minor casualty attendances at Singleton totalled 1,318 between 10 pm and 8 am, an average of four per night.

Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what has been each year's funding by his Department to enable a night service to be offered at Singleton casualty unit.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : Funding in respect of the minor casualty unit at Singleton hospital was agreed as part of the cost of reorganisation of services in West Glamorgan consequent upon the opening of Morriston hospital. However, the distribution of funding within its overall allocation is a matter for West Glamorgan health authority.

Prince of Wales Hospital, Rhydlafar

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list his allocation separately to each health authority in Wales of (a) knee and (b) hip replacement operations to be carried out from Welsh Office central funds at the treatment centre at the Prince of Wales orthopaedic hospital, Rhydlafar, near Cardiff.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : Allocations are based on established referral patterns and currently these are :


                |Hips  |Knees |Others       

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

West Glamorgan  |37    |5     |3            

Gwent           |25    |16    |7            

Mid Glamorgan   |19    |6     |21           

Powys           |14    |1     |1            

East Dyfed      |5     |1     |0            

South Glamorgan |32    |10    |8            

Clwyd           |2     |0     |0            

Pembrokeshire   |26    |11    |0            

Gwynedd         |0     |0     |0            

                |--    |--    |--           

Total           |160   |50    |40           

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from patients, members of the public, Clwyd health authority or the relevant community health councils concerning the recent return of a patient requiring an artificial knee joint operation to Clwyd without treatment from the treatment centre at the Prince of Wales orthopaedic hospital, Rhydlafar.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : We have not received any representations.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has had from Clwyd health authority, community health councils in Clwyd, or otherwise, concerning the allocation of knee replacement operations to be carried out with Welsh Office central funds at the treatment centre at the Prince of Wales orthopaedic hospital, Rhydlafar, near Cardiff.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : We have not received any representations on this matter.


Column 634

Opted-out Schools

Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether opting-out schools in Wales will be allowed to apply for a change of the nature of the school in less than five years.

Sir Wyn Roberts : My right hon. Friend is still considering whether it will be in the best interests of grant-maintained schools in Wales to alter his policy that they should not normally be able to change their character within five years of incorporation. That policy gives him the option of approving proposals for change when there are sufficiently strong reasons.

Cardiff Bay Development Corporation

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his most up-to-date estimate of the number of jobs created by the activities of the Cardiff Bay development corporation.

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

Departmental Publications

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of Friday 7 June, what was the reason for the delay in placing copies of the Welsh Office report in the Vote Office and the Library until the day after publication and two days after they had been made available to the media ; and if he will make it his policy in future to make copies of publications available to the media, the House and to the individual hon. and right hon. Members at the same time.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : Our normal practice is to place copies of inspectorate reports in the Library of the House, further copies being available on demand from the Welsh Office. The delay in placing copies of the recent three reports in the Library of the House was due to administrative oversight for which I apologise on behalf of the Department.

Community Homes

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what factors determined the publication date for reports on three community homes in Wales following investigations undertaken in 1989.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett [holding answer 7 June 1991] : The reports of inspections of secure units at Ty Mawr, Silverbrook and Llwyncelyn community homes were published as soon as possible following the completion of consultation on the drafts with the relevant local authorities.

Future reports will be issued within four months of the inspection. Any actions requiring urgent attention by the relevant authority will as now be brought to their notice immediately.


Column 635

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

World Poverty

Mr. Dunnachie : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received from the Presbytery of Glasgow since 14 May in respect of world poverty ; and if he will make a statement.


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