Monday 8 July 1991
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to alter existing arrangements which provide that schools--nursery classes and schools excepted--must meet for 380 half-day sessions in each school year.
Mr. Eggar : The GCSE and GCE examination timetables are a matter for the examining bodies concerned. However, my right hon. and learned Friend has recently discussed the matter of the GCSE examination timetable with representatives of the joint council for the GCSE, and we understand that the timetable is likely to start a week later in 1992 than it did this year.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much of the school term remains unexpired after GCSE and A-level examinations have been completed : and what plans he has to ensure that the time is fully utilised.
Mr. Eggar : The dates of school terms are determined locally, while the dates of GCSE and GCE examinations vary according to both the examination boards' timetables and to the subjects taken by individual pupils.
If pupils attending school after taking external examinations are not involved in courses required under the national curriculum, this time could with advantage be used constructively, for instance to secure careeers guidance or to gain work experience.
As announced in the White Paper "Training and Education for the 21st Century"--Cmnd. 1536--the Government intend to legislate to abolish the present Easter and May school-leaving dates in favour of a single date at the end of the summer term.
Mr. Eggar : The School Examinations and Assessment Council is responsible for approving all GCSE and GCE syllabuses and examinations as suitable to be offered in schools. In addition to the examining bodies' own extensive scrutiny arrangements, both SEAC and Her Majesty's inspectorate scrutinise the conduct of these
Column 242examinations to ensure that standards remain appropriate and consistent between subjects and examining bodies and from year to year.
Ms. Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the provision of each London borough for nursery education for each year since 1979 giving (a) the number of nursery schools and (b) the number of nursery classes with pupil numbers and participation rates.
Mr. Eggar : Tables detailing nursery provision in the maintained sector in each London borough for the period 1980 to 1990, the latest date for which information is available, are being placed in the Library. Information for 1979 and separate participation rates for nursery schools and nursery classes are not readily available.
Mr. Eggar : The proportion of young people in Tower Hamlets aged 16 and 17 at the start of the academic year who were in full-time education-- excluding those attending independent and special schools--was 44 per cent. in 1989-90. Data are not available for earlier years, because Tower Hamlets is part of the Inner London education authority and data were collected only for ILEA in total.
Ms. Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the number and percentages of full-time students in Tower Hamlets by (a) primary school, (b) secondary school, (c) sixth-form centre, (d) sixth-form college, (e) colleges and polytechnics, (f) universities and (g) other educational establishments for each year since 1979.
Mr. Fallon : The numbers and percentages of pupils and students domiciled in Tower Hamlets who were in full-time education in the maintained sector in England in 1989-90 are given in the table. Information on people from Tower Hamlets attending independent schools and colleges or universities is not available. Figures for earlier years were collected from the Inner London education authority and cannot be disaggregated to borough level.
Establishment |Full-time |Percentage |pupils and |students ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (a) Primary schools |17,254 |57 (b) Secondary schools |10,486 |35 (c) Sixth-form centres |- |- (d) Sixth-form colleges |- |- (e) Colleges and polytechnics |1,752 |6 (g) Other educational establishments |895 |3 |------- |------- Total |30,387 |100
Ms. Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is his most recent assessment of teacher vacancies in London listed by education authorities for (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools.
Mr. Fallon : The most recent figures available relate to January 1990, details of which are being placed in the Library. Vacancy figures for individual authorities for January 1991 have not yet been finalised and will be placed in the Library when confirmed.
Mr. Eggar : The GCSE examining groups and GCE examining boards are independent bodies, but all courses of study leading to qualifications for pupils of compulsory school age are subject to the Secretary of State's approval, and their associated syllabuses are subject to the approval of his nominated body, the School Examinations and Assessment Council. As announced in the White Paper "Education and Training for the 21st Century" the Government intend to use their reserve powers to extend these controls on standards to courses for 16 to 18-year-olds.
Mr. Norris : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many applications for early retirement with enhancement have been approved and the costs met in part or in full by the teachers' superannuation fund in the last year for which figures are available.
Mr. Fallon : During the year ending 31 March 1991, a total of 781 teachers aged 50 to 64 were awarded benefits under the teachers' superannuation regulations following premature retirement from educational establishments in Wales.
Enhancement is a matter for employers, who are asked but not obliged to report details to the Department. Enhancement was reported in 560 cases, no enhancement was reported in 157 cases, and 64 cases were not reported.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether his Department has taken any action based on proposals made in the report of the business meeting on environmental education to which he referred in his answer to the hon. Member for Newport, West, Official Report, 27 June, column 533.
Mr. Fallon : The report in question makes no specific proposals for action by the Department. It will, however, be brought to the attention of the committee which is being established to advise on the future development of environmental education within further and higher education.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Regulatory issues are a matter for the Director General of Electricity Supply. I have however agreed to meet some members of the Combined Heat and Power Association to hear of their problems and ideas at first hand.
Mr. Eadie : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy,(1) what was the average wage from each area of the United Kingdom coal industry for (a) coalface-trained miners, (b) miners employed elsewhere underground and (c) surface workers in 1990-91 ;
(2) what was the average incentive and bonus pay in 1990-91 in each United Kingdom colliery ;
(3) what was the average earnings for the year 1990-91 in each area of the United Kingdom coalfield.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Detailed information on average earnings, incentives and bonus pay is not kept by my Department. However, the two- year pay and benefits agreement introduced by British Coal in January this year puts mineworkers near the top of the industrial earnings league.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, whether, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith), Official Report, 27 June, column 516, any nuclear material originally created in unsafeguarded reactors has been notified to the safeguards authorities as open to safeguards under INFCIRC-263.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : There have been occasions when material originating from non-safeguarded reactors have been brought into safeguards. Such material has been notified to the safeguards authorities under INFCIRC 263.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newport, West, Official Report, 27 June, column 517, there have been any exports of plutonium to the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic in quantities of less than a few grammes in the past two years.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I cannot for reasons of commercial confidentiality disclose the precise amounts of plutonium exported to individual countries. However, total exports of plutonium to the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and its predecessors over the last two years have not exceeded 1 gramme.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what assessment has been made of the increased demands on the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards budget of the decision by the Republic of South Africa to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Prime Minister why he decided to require local authorities when setting their poll tax levels to cover the cost of unpaid poll tax bills ; and if he has any plans to change this requirement.
The Prime Minister : As part of its budgetary process and in line with proper accounting practice, every local authority has to estimate the level of non-recoverable charges for the forthcoming year and then set a community charge which takes this into account. In this respect, the community charge is no different from the old domestic rating system.
The Prime Minister : Departments are advised in "Government Accounting", the Treasury's guide on accounting and financial procedures for Government Departments, that all reasonable action should be taken to effect recovery of losses.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Prime Minister what legal costs have been contributed by Her Majesty's Government either directly or indirectly towards the legal costs of either party in the case of Regina v. Elmridge Borough Council, ex parte Health Care Corporation Ltd. and another.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 17 June, Official Report, column 9, if he will make public those parts of the agreement between the United Kingdom and United States Governments to establish the United States Navy base at Holy Loch in 1960 which pertain to (a) civilian safety in the area ; (b) the local community and (c) the local economy ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) whether residents of formal local authority part III homes, which are transferred to the private or voluntary sector between 25 June and when amending regulations regarding entitlement to income support take effect, will be eligible for higher levels of income support ;
(2) whether residents of former local authority part III homes which were transferred to the private or voluntary sector before 25 June are eligible for higher levels of income support ;
(3) whether residents of former local authority part III homes which are closed down are eligible for higher levels of income support.
Miss Widdecombe : Eligibility for income support is defined by regulations. Decisions regarding claims to benefit are made at a local level by independent adjudication officers who are provided with guidance on the interpretation of the regulations by the chief adjudication officer in the published adjudication officers' guide, a copy of which is in the Library.
The chief adjudication officer has recently issued advice to adjudication officers to help them decide claims from residents of homes which are transferred from local authority ownership to the private or voluntary sector pending the amendment of the regulations.
Where a local authority has accommodated a person under part III of the National Assistance Act 1948, responsibility for that person continues unless he no longer requires that accommodation. If a local authority home is closed the local authority would be under an obligation to find and pay for alternative accommodation for the residents.
Mr. Jack : As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has confirmed on a number of occasions recently, child benefit is and will remain a strong element in the Government's policies for family support. Child benefit rose by £1 a week for the eldest eligible child in each family in April, and will rise by a further £1 a week for the eldest eligible child in each family in October, with an extra 25p a week for other children. As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in his Budget statement, the Government are committed to increasing the new rates of child benefit in line with the movement in the retail prices index each year, starting in April 1992. We will announce in the uprating statement the allocation of the individual amounts between the eldest eligible child and other children.
Ms. Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many certificates were valid in the Metropolitan police area for (a) firearms and (b) shotguns by division for each year since 1979.
Certificates on issue at 31 December each year |Firearms |Shotguns ---------------------------------------- 1979 |9,504 |<1>- 1980 |9,374 |28,990 1981 |8,981 |29,528 1982 |8,856 |28,504 1983 |8,741 |29,747 1984 |8,878 |30,293 1985 |8,957 |<2>37,147 1986 |9,084 |41,814 1987 |9,036 |44,299 1988 |8,877 |45,835 1989 |8,615 |43,436 1990 |<2>9,929 |42,362 Notes <1> Figures for shotgun certificates on issue on 31 December 1979 are not available. <2> Computerisation of records of shotgun certificates in 1985 and firearm certificates in 1990 brought to light previous under-recording. Source: Annual Reports for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, 1979 to 1990.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, further to his answer of 22 January, Official Report, column 168, if he will make a statement on the progress of the review of guidance to local authorities on emergency planning procedures.
Mr. John Patten : Mr. David Brook, the civil emergencies adviser, is preparing guidance on preparing for and responding to peacetime disasters. This guidance will be based on the lessons learnt from recent disasters and the experiences of those involved. It will complement the emergency procedures manuals prepared by the emergency services. The guidance will not be issued until all those agencies upon whose responsibilities it touches, including local authorities, have been consulted about its contents. This process is currently under way.
Home Office guidance aimed solely at local authorities, currently contained in the "Emergency Planning Guide to Local Authorities", will be revised in the light of the outcome of the review of emergency planning announced on 16 October at column 769.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : All office telephones in the headquarters buildings of the Department have a bar to restrict access to premium rate services. The same bar is being progressively introduced to the provincial offices and into prison establishments.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his replies to the hon. Member for Bow and Poplar (Ms. Gordon), Official Report, 24 June, column 355, on terrorism in Northern Ireland, if he will set out the reasons why the information requested is not available ; and if he will make it his policy to ensure such information is made available in future.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : The information is not available because police forces do not in general make information from custody records available to anyone but the suspect or his or her legal representative. However, a forthcoming study by the Home Office research and planning unit is likely to show that out of the 214 suspects who were detained in England and Wales between 22 March 1989 and 11 November 1990 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in connection with Northern Ireland terrorism, 95--45 per cent.--requested notification under section 56 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, and notification was delayed for over 36 hours in six cases ; and that 103--48 per cent.--requested access to legal advice under section 58 of the Act, which advice was delayed for over 36 hours in eight cases. Legal advice was delayed for the full 48 hours permitted by the Act in only one case. There were no cases in which notification under section 56 was delayed for 48 hours.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to be able to answer the letters of 23 February, 28 April and 17 May from the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley, regarding Mr. King Obe Quoi and his family ; what are the reasons for the delay in providing a reply ; what is the usual time taken by his Department to reply to a Member about an urgent constituency case ; what action he is taking to deal with such cases with greater expedition ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 4 July. The delay in replying is a direct result of the tenfold increase in the number of applications for asylum being received by the asylum division since 1988 and the heavy workload of subsequent inquiries from applicants and hon. Members which has been generated. The Home Office would normally expect to provide hon. Members with a reply within 16 days. However, exceptional difficulties prevail in the asylum division. On 26 April my right hon. Friend announced our intention to increase the number of staff in the asylum division from about 120 to more than 500. This process has begun and should in due course improve the division's ability to respond more quickly to hon. Members' inquiries.
Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in each of the last 25 years, or for as many years as he has information, (a) emigrated from Britain and (b) immigrated to Britain ; and for each year what was the net position.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The available data on migration to and from the United Kingdom are the estimates produced by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys from the international passenger survey. This defines a migrant as a person leaving one country where he/she has been resident for more than a year with the intention of residing in a new country for a year or more. These data include British citizens and are on a different basis from the figures of people subject to immigration control accepted for settlement in the United Kingdom. Data for 1964-89 are given in table 2.1 of the 1974, 1979 and 1989 issues of the OPCS publication "International Migration", copies of which are in the Library. Corresponding data for the 12 months ending 30 September 1990 are given in the table.
Migration to and from the United Kingdom in the 12 months ending 30 September 1990 Number of persons, in thousands<1> |Inflow |Outflow|Net |inflow ----------------------------------------------------- All citizenships |257 |219 |37 British citizens |107 |132 |-25 Non-British citizens |150 |88 |62 <1> Figures are provisional estimates, and have been rounded to the nearest thousand.
Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans his Department has for the use of the underground facility at Drakelow in Wyre Forest ; and what is the annual cost of maintaining this facility.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to have completed the process of the computerisation of the national collection of criminal records ; and whether from that time it will be possible centrally to vet applications from individuals seeking to become licensed taxi drivers.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The police national computer holds information on the convictions of those whose first reportable offence occurred after 31 December 1980. This information is available on-line to police forces. Plans to computerise earlier records which are held on microfiche at the national identification bureau, New Scotland Yard, have not yet been finalised. Records of convictions for other offences are held by police forces.
Criminal records have recently been the subject of a scrutiny which examined arrangements for, and the scope of, a fully computerised national criminal records system and the use of such a system for the purposes of vetting. The scrutiny recommendations are currently being
Column 250considered and no decisions have been made on a national criminal record system or the purposes for which it may be used.
Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 21 February, Official Report, column 215, to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan), if he will make a further statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the Schengen agreement.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will obtain for his departmental library a copy of the "Inventory of radioactive material entering the marine environment : Sea disposal of radioactive waste", document IAEA-TECDOC-588, published by the International Atomic Energy Agency in March.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the total number of confirmed cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy by county or region, in England, Scotland and Wales for the period 1 January to 30 June.
Country, region and county |Confirmed |number of |cases --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- England Cleveland |9 Cumbria |212 Durham |29 Humberside |37 Northumberland |40 Tyne and Wear |2 Yorkshire North |358 Yorkshire South |28 Yorkshire West |40 |--- Total: Northern region |755 Cheshire |318 Derbyshire |156 Hereford and Worcester |155 Lancashire |242 Leicestershire |205 Manchester |17 Merseyside |3 Nottinghamshire |51 Salop |200 Staffordshire |147 West Midlands |4 Warwickshire |87 |--- Total: Midlands and Western region 1,585 Bedfordshire |29 Cambridge |26 Essex |40 Hertfordshire |34 Lincolnshire |67 Norfolk |176 Northants |84 Suffolk |108 |--- Total: Eastern region |564 Berkshire |45 Buckinghamshire |84 Hampshire |297 Isle of Wight |72 Kent |150 London |8 Oxon |111 Surrey |63 Sussex East |116 Sussex West |219 |--- Total: South East region |1,165 Avon |201 Cornwall |683 Devon |1,061 Dorset |762 Gloustershire |219 Somerset |989 Wiltshire |568 |--- Total: South West region |4,483 |--- England total |8,552 Wales Clwyd |155 Dyfed |457 Glamorgan Mid |20 Glamorgan South |16 Glamorgan West |4 Gwent |59 Gwynedd |24 Powys |86 |--- Total: Wales |821 Scotland Borders |26 Central |6 Dumfries |73 Fife |15 Grampian |53 Highland |16 Lothian |6 Orkney |2 Shetland |1 Strathclyde |75 Tayside |20 |--- Total: Scotland |293
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the total numbers of confirmed cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (a) in England, (b) Scotland and (c) Wales up to 30 June.
|Number ----------------------- England |28,024 Scotland |976 Wales |2,401
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the pesticide active ingredients for which the agro- chemical companies are not submitting data for review, giving the year of their initial approval ; and if he will make a statement.
Active ingredient |Date |of first |approval ---------------------------------------------------------- Aluminium Silicate |1969 Anthraquinone |1962 Barban |1980 Benzethonium Chloride |Pre 1986 Carbophenothion |1966 Chlorthiamid |1962 2, 4-DES |1968 Di-allate |1978 Ditalimfos |1974 Fenchlorphos |1975 Fenoprop |1965 Flamprop-methyl |1980 Fluoroacetamide |1980 Mevinphos |1980 Oxine Copper |1961 Quinonamid |Pre 1979 2, 4, 5-T |1962 Tar acids |1970 Thionazin |1981 Thiourea |1983
Approval for the advertisement, sale, supply, storage and use by the approval holders--and their agents--of pesticides based on these active ingredients was revoked on 1 March 1991. Since no safety concerns relating to approved uses of these pesticides have been identified, approval for up to two years has been given to allow stocks already on the market to be used or disposed of safely. Where necessary, action will be taken to revoke approvals for any products where reasonable steps are not taken to support continuing use.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : It is clear that, prior to the Gulf conflict, Iraq was trying to develop a nuclear weapons programme. United Nations Security Council resolution 687 required Iraq to submit to the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency details of its nuclear weapons usable material.
Iraq made two initial declarations, which gave some of the information required, but were deficient in some
Column 253respects. The IAEA, with the special commission set up in accordance with resolution 687, is working to verify these statements and to remove nuclear weapons usable material from Iraq.