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Mr. John Patten : A number of private sector organisations are already involved in the provision of new bail hostels in co-operation with probation and voluntary sector managers. For example, Greater Manchester probation service contracted with a private sector developer to deliver the new bail hostel in Oldham and Cheshire probation service are working with a housing association in the development of hostels at Sandbach and Ellesmere Port. The extent to which other bail hostel functions may be contracted out to private and voluntary sector organisations in the future is being considered following responses to the consultation paper "Partnership in Dealing with Offenders in the Community" which was issued in 1990. We hope to make an announcement early in 1992.
Mr. John Patten : No specific guidelines have been issued centrally, but local managers liaise with station sergeants, community constables and other police officers on such matters as breach proceedings and security systems.
Mr. Gale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 28 November, Official Report, column 572-74, how many additional police posts were approved by the Kent police authority for funding for 1992-93 ; how many of those which he approved were for (a) channel tunnel duties and (b) motorway duties ; and how many of these posts will be re-imbursed by Eurotunnel from January 1993.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : My right hon. Friend has been asked to approve a total of 82 posts for Kent police for 1992-93. He has approved 42 posts to be funded in the normal way and 40 reimbursed posts. The 40 reimbursed posts are for the policing of the channel tunnel duties ; 11 of the remaining 42 will be devoted to motorway duties. The chief constable will be able to deploy the remainder to general policing duties in Kent.
Mr. Kenneth Baker : I received Sir Raymond Lygo's report on 12 December and am today placing copies of it, together with Sir Raymond's covering letter, in the Library. It provides a wide-ranging set of recommendations and I am extremely grateful to Sir Raymond for the speed and thoroughness with which he has completed his task. I am also grateful to Lord Rayner for the assistance which he has given. The report acknowledges the particularly intractable problems with which the prison service has to deal, many of which are outside its control. Sir Raymond concludes, however, that it would be too easy to attribute all the problems of the service to external factors and that there are a number of fundamental managerial issues which need to be tackled. The most important of these is the relationship between the prison service and Ministers. Sir Raymond advocates a greater independence for the prison service from day-to -day ministerial oversight. This would be achieved by turning the prison service into an agency, appointing a part-time non-executive chairman of the Prisons Board, giving the board formal collective responsibility for the management of the service and establishing a supervisory board to advise me on major policy and resource issues. The post of director general would be filled by open competition. Sir Raymond also makes a number of other important recommendations on management and personnel issues. He proposes that the prison service should recruit people from outside into some of its senior management posts ; that there should be more contracting out of support services such as catering, the provision of clothing, building maintenance and possibly workshop management ; that prison governors should wear uniforms ; that if industrial relations in the service do not improve legislation should be introduced to restrict industrial action ; and that far more work should be devolved from headquarters to local level.
A number of Sir Raymond's recommendations are in line with developments already taking place within the prison service, but, taken together, they amount to a radical programme of change both within the service and for its relationship to ministers. I am therefore inviting comments on Sir Raymond's report before reaching decisions in the spring. Copies of the report are being made available to interested organisations, including the trade unions, with an invitation to submit comments by Friday 28 February to Her Majesty's Prison Service, Room 601, Abell House, John Islip Street, London SW1P 4LH.
Sir John Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has now considered the report of the security audit of arrangements for holding and managing category A prisoners and the inquiry into the workings of DOC1 division in prison service headquarters, conducted by Mr. Ronald Hadfield and Mr. Gordon Lakes ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 14wide field, ranging from detailed matters of physical security to wide-ranging proposals for collecting and disseminating intelligence. I am most grateful for the thorough way in which they have completed their work.
The report is both helpful and reassuring. Mr. Hadfield and Mr. Lakes indicate that they have found no evidence of general complacency about security standards and that governors are alert to security needs. Where they identified improvements in procedural and physical security which needed to be made, they communicated these to individual governors in the course of their inquiry. Many of their broader recommendations have already been implemented. Some, with considerable resource implications, will need to be prioritised ; some involving building work will need to be phased into existing prison building and refurbishment programmes ; and others will need to be the subject of consultation with prison governors and others in the prison service and, in some cases, outside.
There is only one recommendation which I have not accepted in its present form. With the aim of ensuring that attention is focused on prisoners posing the highest risk, Mr. Hadfield and Mr. Lakes proposed that standard risk category A prisoners in dispersal prisons should be re-categorised "category B (dispersal)". While I fully support this aim, I am concerned that re-categorisation in the form recommended could give rise to operational uncertainty or confusion whenever these prisoners need to be transferred or detained outside these very secure establishments. I therefore intend to consult the governors of dispersal prisons and others to see whether the underlying aims of the recommendation can be met in another way. As far as DOC1 division is concerned, Mr. Hadfield and Mr. Lakes found staff there to be hard working and well motivated. They have, however, made recommendations relating to the strategic management of the division and proposals for a more systematic approach to the collation and dissemination of information and intelligence. A feasibility study into this latter proposal is already under way. All other recommendations have been accepted.
Mr. Hadfield and Mr. Lakes have prepared a version of their report which they have advised need not be withheld on grounds of security. I have accepted that view, and have arranged for a copy to be placed in the Library.
Mrs. Rumbold : Work is progressing on the commitment given in the white paper "Custody Care and Justice", to the wearing of name badges by all staff on duty in prisons. Necessary consultation with the trade unions on the detailed arrangements, and the procurement mechanisms necessary for the quantities that will be required, result in the need for a slower introduction than originally targeted.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures are being taken to end slopping out in Chelmsford prison ; when the practice is expected to end ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 15Mrs. Rumbold : Preparatory work on providing in-cell sanitation at HM prison, Chelmsford, is now in progress. The first cells with in-cell sanitation will be available early in 1992 and the programme will be completed by 1994.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners there were in Chelmsford prison on 1 December 1990 and 1 December 1991 ; what is the maximum number of prisoners meant to be in Chelmsford prison ; and if he will make a statement on what actions are being taken to reduce overcrowding in Chelmsford prison ;
(2) if he will make a statement on the number of prisoners being held in police cells at Chelmsford police station ; and what actions are being taken to alleviate the situation.
|Number ------------------------------------- Monday 3 December 1990 |376 Monday 2 December 1991 |389
The certified normal accommodation--that is the uncrowded capacity of the establishment--is 232 and its operational capacity is 392. The prison service has now arranged for young men awaiting trial to be moved from Chelmsford prison and held in Rochester prison. This had removed the need for Chelmsford prisoners to be held in police cells. On 11 December, the latest date for which figures are available, there were five prisoners in Chelmsford police station who should have been held in Bedford prison.
My right hon. Friend and I regard reducing the number of prisoners in police cells as a high priority for the prison service. Every effort is being made to make the most efficient possible use of existing prison accommodation. New prison accommodation which will be provided in eight prisons which are due to open in 1992 should make a significant impact on this problem.
Mr. Bellotti : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure those television companies which have lost their franchises continue to broadcast a full range of locally orientated programmes for the duration of their licence ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The ITV companies operate under contract to the Independent Television Commission until the end of 1992. It is for the ITC to consider whether the amount of local interest programming in each area is adequate.
Ms. Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the hon. Member for Bow and Poplar can expect answers to immigration case letters to his Department of (a) 11 March 1990, relating to Musse Kinsi Abdi (Ref. : 095413) ; (b) 20 November 1990 and reminders relating to Yussuf Amina Hussein (Ref. : A 444158) ; (c) 12 December 1990 and reminders relating to Ahmed Hassan Jama (Ref. : H 353673) ; (d) 21 January
Column 161991 and reminders relating to Arraleh Abdillarhi Dualeh (Ref. : A 132858) ; (e) 20 December 1990 and reminders relating to Mohamoud Mohamed Adan (Ref. : M 495545) ; (f) 23 January 1991 and reminders, relating to Mohamoud Saleh Mohamed (No reference number) ; (g) 21 February 1991 and reminders, relating to Farah Kin Abdi (Ref. : 095413) ; (h) 20 May 1991, relating to Mohamed Ilhan Farah (Ref. : N3/I581/261/11 :/89) ; (i) 11 September 1991, relating to Mattan Ahmed Jama (Ref. : A 419816/A 437821) ; and (j) 3 October 1991, relating to Arrale Abdool (Ref. : A 132858/7).
Mr. Bellotti : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether owners of a monochrome television receiver and a video recorder are required to pay the licence fee applicable for a colour receiver ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : While the Home Secretary still has responsibility for broadcasting policy matters, it now falls to the BBC to interpret the regulations and to determine the licensing requirements in individual cases.
However, I can confirm that a colour television licence is required for the installation or use of a video cassette recorder in conjunction with a monochrome television set.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if proposals for local authorities to carry out the duties of the Royal Observer Corps outlined in his answer to the hon. Member for Westminster, North (Sir J. Wheeler) on 10 July 1991, Official Report, columns 393-96, will include extending the VHF radio network to local authorities ; and if he will make a statement.
The Home Office is considering the re-allocation to local authorities of the radio equipment previously used by the United Kingdom Warning and Monitoring Organisation and the Royal Observer Corps in order to improve the facilities already provided by the emergency communications network.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans exist at present for the monitoring of nuclear burst information and radiation levels ; what provisions govern the issue of dose rate meters ; how these functions will continue after the abolition of the Royal Observer Corps ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John Patten : My right hon. Friend announced on 10 July that the arrangements for monitoring nuclear bursts and radioactive fallout in wartime must be restructured. The Royal Observer Corps has therefore stood down from its operational monitoring role at the end of September 1991.
A radiation monitoring capacity has been planned and developed by local authorities since 1983. A total of 57,000
Column 17portable dose rate meters were issued to local authorities and the police and fire service in the mid-1980s and 22,000 meters have also been issued to other Government Departments. A further 9,000 are held in store to supplement existing issues stocks as necessary. We intend to issue further guidance, in the new year, to local authorities on the new monitoring arrangements which were outlined in my right hon. Friend's July statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what steps the Government are taking to ensure that the British Coal Mineworkers Pension Fund is fully protected both now and in the future, following the proposed privatisation of the industry ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Government have confirmed that the pension interests of both current and past employees of British Coal will be properly safeguarded, as has been the case with previous privatisations.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement on the present status of nuclear materials control and accountability at the Atomic Energy Authority's nuclear power development establishment at Dounreay.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Nuclear material control and accountability at Dounreay, as at other United Kingdom nuclear establishments, are carried out in accordance with carefully specified procedures and are subject to Euratom inspection. Those procedures identified a discrepancy and an investigation of the circumstances is now under way. It would be premature to anticipate the results of that investigation, which will be reported to my Department.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what proposals he has to encourage the generation and recovery of methane from waste not destined for combustion for electricity generation by means comparable to present regime for the encouragement of electricity generation by waste- based methane combustion provided under the renewables subsection of the non-fossil fuel levy.
Mr. Moynihan : My Department's R and D programme on landfill gas provides information for both electricity generation and heat producing applications and projects of the latter kind have been supported under the programme. Future policy on renewable energy is being considered by the renewable energy advisory group under my chairmanship.
Mr. Moynihan : My Department's renewable energy research, development and demonstration programme will continue to follow the progressive development strategy published in Energy Paper 55, copies of which were placed in the Library of the House. The programme budget has risen from £20.8 million in 1990-91 to £24 million for the current year.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what proposals he has for the encouragement of DEFBOT--design, finance, build, operate and transfer--financing for those constructors interested in developing renewable sources of energy under the non-fossil fuel order, but not interested in long-term commitments to management of non-fossil fuel plant.
Mr. Moynihan : Developers are proposing a variety of mechanisms for the construction, financing and operation of renewable energy projects which are included in orders under the non-fossil fuel obligation. Comprehensive packages including design, construction and financing may well be the best arrangements in many circumstances and are therefore welcome. We will be monitoring arrangements developers make for projects and will be able to see to what extent this route is followed.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he expects to announce the completion of his negotiations with the European Commission regarding the extension beyond 1998 of the Renewable Subsection of the Electricity (Non-Fossil Fuel Sources) England and Wales Order 1991 and levy procedure ; what consultations he has held on this with the Director-General of OFFER and the chairmen of the 12 regional electricity companies ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moynihan : Discussions with the Commission of the European Community about the extension beyond 1998 of the non-fossil fuel obligation for renewable sources of energy have begun. The results of those discussions will be announced in due course.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The United Kingdom's contribution to the International Atomic Energy Agency for 1992 has already been fixed and will be paid in due course. Contributions in 1993 and 1994 will be determined by discussion with other member states and in the agency's board of governors in which the United Kingdom will play an active part.
The Attorney-General : On 1 December 1991, in addition to the Lord Chancellor and the four heads of divisions, there were 27 Lords Justices, 84 High Court judges, 457 circuit judges and 231 district judges. Those aged 69 or over represented about 19 per cent. of Lords Justices, 10 per cent. of High Court judges, 9 per cent. of circuit judges and 3 per cent. of district judges.
The names of those judges, with their ages, at1 December 1991, is as follows :
|Age ---------------------------------------- Heads of Division Lord Lane |73 Lord Donaldson of Lymington |71 Lords Justices Lord Justice Watkins |73 Lord Justice Fox |70 Lord Justice Purchas |72 Lord Justice Gibson |69 Lord Justice Stocker |73 High Court Judges Mr. Justice Hollings |73 Mr. Justice Boreham |73 Mr. Justice Tudor Evans |73 Mr. Justice Hodgson |74 Mr. Justice Wood |69 Mr. Justice Eastham |71 Mr. Justice Sheen |73 Mr. Justice Mervyn Davies |73 Circuit Judges Judge Paterson |73 Judge David QC |69 Judge Francis |70 Judge da Cunha |69 Judge Barr |71 Judge Figgis |73 Judge Lovegrove QC |71 Judge Macnair |72 Judge Powell |71 Judge Monier-Williams |71 Judge Rutter |72 Judge Rubin |71 Judge Lymbery QC |71 Judge Willcock QC |70 Judge Wakley |74 Judge Hickman |69 Judge Starforth Hill QC |70 Judge Bolland |71 Judge Martin QC |72 Judge Booth QC |69 Judge Beezley |70 Judge Hayman |73 Judge Woolley |69 Judge Leo Clark QC |70 Judge Morris-Jones QC |69 Judge Garfitt |70 Judge Sir Sanderson Temple QC |70 Judge Galpin |70 Judge Band QC |72 Judge Blythe |74 Judge Cosgrave |71 Judge Dobry QC |73 Judge Shindler QC |69 Judge Cooke |74 Judge Aron Owen |72 Judge Hunter |70 Judge Clark |69 Judge Medd QC |72 Judge Roberts |70 Judge Birks |71 Judge McCarraher |69 Judge John Davies QC |70 Judge Fox-Andrews QC |69 District Judges District Judge Hibbert |69 District Judge Freeman |71 District Judge Park |69 District Judge Barker |71 District Judge Vaughan |69 District Judge Radford |69 District Judge Bilmes |71
Mr. William Powell : To ask the Attorney-General if he will list the names, with dates of appointment, together with last possible date of retirement, of all unretired judges of the Supreme Court and crown/county courts who have already acquired sufficient years of service on the bench to qualify for the maximum appropriate judicial pension.
The Attorney-General : Judges of the Supreme Court must retire on their 75th birthday. Normally, circuit judges and district judges must retire at the end of the completed year of service in which they attain the age of 72, but may be extended in office by the Lord Chancellor, where he considers it desirable in the public interest, up to the age of 75. The last possible date of retirement for each judge is therefore 75.
Set out in the table, with their date of appointment and 75th birthday, are the judges of the Supreme Court who on 1 December 1991 had served for at least 15 years in that capacity, the condition necessary to qualify for an immediate pension on retirement of half annual salary :
|Date of |Date of |75th Birthday |appointment to |appointment to |Supreme Court |current post ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Heads of Divisions Lord Lane |30 September 1966|15 April 1980 |17 July 1993 Lord Donaldson of Lymington |30 September 1966|30 September 1982|6 October 1995 Sir Stephen Brown |30 September 1975|11 January 1988 |3 October 1999 Lords Justices Lord Justice Watkins |19 April 1971 |15 April 1980 |11 November 1993 Lord Justice Fox |30 September 1975|9 February 1981 |8 October 1996 Lord Justice Purchas |22 April 1974 |30 September 1982|19 June 1994 Lord Justice Stocker |4 June 1973 |3 February 1986 |7 October 1993 High Court Judges Mr. Justice Hollings |19 April 1971 |- |12 June 1993 Mr. Justic Boreham |10 January 1972 |- |19 October 1993 Mr. Justice Tudor Evans |21 June 1974 |- |20 June 1995
Set out in the table, with their date of appointment and 75th birthday, are the circuit judges who on 1 December 1991 had served at least 15 years in that capacity and had attained the age of 65, the conditions necessary to qualify for an immediate pension on retirement of half annual salary :
|Appointment |75th Birthday ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Judge Paterson |30 September 1968|10 July 1993 Judge Robert David, QC |1 May 1969 |30 April 1997 Judge Francis |7 July 1969 |19 March 1996 Judge Heald |6 February 1970 |19 August 1998 Judge da Cunha |1 June 1970 |6 September 1997 Judge Barr |20 October 1970 |20 November 1995 Judge Figgis |19 March 1971 |12 September 1993 Judge Lovegrove, QC |23 April 1971 |22 December 1994 Judge Verney |2 June 1971 |19 July 1999 Judge Gower, QC |1 October 1971 |6 November 2000 Judge Head |8 November 1971 |4 December 1998 Judge Anwyl-Davies, QC |1 January 1972 |11 July 1998 Judge Irvine |1 January 1972 |10 July 2000 Judge Macnair |1 January 1972 |27 February 1994 Judge Powell |1 January 1972 |29 July 1995 Judge Monier-Williams |1 January 1972 |29 April 1995 Judge Lloyd |1 January 1972 |3 January 1999 Judge Rutter |1 January 1972 |18 September 1994 Judge Allarice |1 January 1972 |18 December 1999 Judge Hammerton |15 May 1972 |18 June 2001 Judge Rubin |11 September 1972|8 March 1995 Judge Lymbery, QC |29 September 1972|14 November 1995 Judge Willcock, QC |29 September 1972|22 February 1996 Judge Harrison-Hall |29 September 1972|20 December 2000 Judge Morgan Hughes |10 November 1972 |20 January 2001 Judge Norwood |12 January 1973 |24 March 2001 Judge Cotton |12 January 1973 |6 March 2001 Judge Wakley |2 March 1973 |7 July 1992 Judge Baker |30 March 1973 |5 November 2000 Judge Phelan |1 July 1974 |25 July 1998 Judge Hickman |1 July 1974 |2 October 1997 Judge Starforth Hill, QC |5 July 1974 |30 September 1996 Judge Bolland |2 September 1974 |30 March 1995 Judge Wickham |3 September 1975 |22 September 2001 Judge Arthur |17 October 1975 |29 April 1998 Judge Martin, QC |12 December 1975 |26 November 1994 Judge Robert |12 December 1975 |19 November 1998 Judge Stroyan, QC |12 December 1975 |27 November 1999 Judge Booth, QC |13 January 1976 |20 August 1997 Judge Beezley |30 April 1976 |30 January 1996 Judge Wooley |30 April 1976 |28 November 1997 Judge Hayman |30 April 1976 |24 August 1993 Judge Lea Clark, QC |1 July 1976 |15 December 1995 Judge Nina Lowry |2 July 1976 |6 September 2000 Judge Anthony Cox |2 July 1976 |21 April 1999
Set out in the table, with their date of appointment and 75th birthday, are the district judges who on 1 December 1991 had served in that capacity for at least 20 years and had attained the age of 65, the conditions necessary to qualify for an immediate pension on retirement of half annual salary :
|Date of |75th Birthday |Appointment ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ District Judge Hibbert |19 November 1962 |24 March 1997 District Judge Dunford | 3 December 1962 |22 September 2001 District Judge Elliott | 2 December 1963 | 8 February 1999 District Judge Lam | 2 December 1963 | 3 March 2000 District Judge Parmiter |15 June 1970 |21 November 2001 District Judge Horsey | 1 January 1971 |20 July 2001 District Judge Jeffreys | 1 January 1971 |19 September 2001 District Judge Freeman | 1 September 1971| 3 September 1995
Separate arrangements may apply in certain circumstances to judges who have served previously in other judicial capacities.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Attorney-General if he will request the Health and Safety Executive to provide him with information about the activities of the executive in connection with the accident to Holger Subir Majhi at Ambrosia creamery, Lifton, Devon, on 28 November 1990 with a view to requesting the Director of Public Prosecutions to initiate a prosecution under his powers under section 38 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974.
The Attorney-General : I have received information from the Health and Safety Executive concerning the accident to Mr. Majhi on 28 November 1990 from which I have concluded that there is no basis for referring the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mr. Nellist : To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his answer of 10 December, Official Report, column 361, what was the date of the Coventry justices' seminar ; how many magistrates attended ; how many magistrates who did not attend have subsequently sat on poll tax cases ; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the note referred to.
The Attorney-General : The Coventry justices' seminar was held on 19 June 1991 ; 123 magistrates attended. The number of magistrates who did not attend but subsequently sat on community charge cases could not be obtained without disproportionate expense. Notes passed between a justices' clerk and his justices are confidential and I do not have a copy.
Column 23people of this country, to lay a sound basis for future prosperity, to play a full part in Europe and to contribute to international peace and stability.
Our firm financial policies, reaffirmed by our commitment to the exchange rate mechanism, have reduced inflation sharply and permitted interest rates to be substantially reduced. The conditions necessary for resumed growth have now been established.
We have brought forward a Bill to provide for a new council tax, to replace the community charge in financing local government spending. The Budget helped businesses, large and small. We have taken initiatives to encourage innovation in industry and improve export performance. We have initiated joint action with industry to help identify and pursue export opportunities. Its first use in Kuwait in March 1991 has already led to orders worth £480 million for the United Kingdom. We have opened up telephone services to allow consumers to benefit from more competition.
We have continued to promote wider share ownership. National Power, PowerGen and the non-nuclear electricity companies in England, Wales and Scotland, have been privatised, and a second tranche of shares in British Telecom sold to the public. One in four members of the adult population now owns shares.
We have provided more effective training opportunities and are now offering a wider range of help than ever before to assist unemployed people in obtaining new jobs.
We attach the highest priority to ensuring that everyone, whoever and wherever they are, will have access to high quality public services. The citizens charter White Paper announced a progamme of radical initiatives to improve efficiency and standards in the public services and the privatised utilities. Measures to implement the charter feature strongly in our legislative programme for 1991-92, and we have published a number of charters relating to individual public services.
In education we have taken action to raise standards and improve parental choice. The new School Teachers' Review Body for England and Wales provides the means of improving teachers' status. The development of the national curriculum will encourage concentration on basic skills. Our legislation to provide parents with more information about the performance of schools and to improve school inspection will give parents the basis on which to exercise the choices they are now able to make.
We have also introduced legislation to widen access to an expanded higher education system, to abolish the distinction between universities and other higher education institutions, and to raise the status of vocational education and of further education colleges. Spending on science by the Department of Education and Science will top £1 billion for the first time next year and will rise in real terms for the remainder of the planning period.
The Government's health policies have led to an increase in the number of patients treated, a reduction in waiting times and lists, better quality of care and greater awareness of health promotion. The consultative document "The Health of the Nation", setting out a comprehensive strategy for better health, has been warmly welcomed. Record levels of resources have been made available : spending on the NHS in 1992-93 will be nearly £36 billion, a 55 per cent. increase in real terms since 1978-79.
The NHS reforms are already yielding tangible benefits for patients. Fifty seven NHS trusts have already been
Column 24established and 99 more approved for start-up in 1992. The growing enthusiasm for trust status within the NHS means that many more will follow. GP fundholding is also proving a success. The patients charter has set out patients' rights for the first time and the standards which will be set nationally and locally by the health service, including the first waiting time guarantees.
We have maintained our determined efforts in the fight against crime. We have established a royal commission on criminal justice to examine the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in securing the convictions of those guilty of criminal offences and the acquittal of the innocent.
In September we published "This Common Inheritance--The First Year Report" reporting progress on the whole range of environmental policies and concerns, and listing 400 separate measures taken during the year.
We have continued to raise standards of food safety, ensure consumers are better informed, make environmental considerations central to agricultural policy, with significant extension of environmentally sensitive areas, as well as raising standards of animal welfare in Britain and taking the lead in setting higher standards throughout Europe.
We have continued to invest record sums in the improvement of the United Kingdom's transport infrastructure, and to encourage greater private sector involvement in the provision of transport facilities. We have introduced legislation to enable the structure of English local government to be reviewed so as better to reflect the identities and interests of local communities.
We have continued to work for the regeneration of our cities. The city challenge initiative encourages local authorities to work with their private, voluntary sector and local community partners, to regenerate key areas of their cities.
In the housing field, the new emphasis on quality of performance will further improve the renovation and management of council housing in England and Wales. We have introduced pilot rent-to-mortgage schemes, to extend tenants' opportunities to buy their homes, and brought in new arrangements to ensure that tenants are actively consulted in local authorities housing plans. A special programme of hostels and permanent housing is reducing the numbers of people sleeping rough in central London.
We have improved the position of children. We have increased child benefit, and pledged to increase it in line with inflation in the future. The Children Act, which came into effect this year, is a far reaching reform of children's rights. The new Child Support Agency, for which legislation was passed earlier this year, will improve the assessment, collection and enforcement of child main-tenance. We are continuing to enhance the opportunities for disabled people to play an independent part in society. In 1991 we enacted legislation providing for two new social security benefits for disabled people. Nineteen-ninety-one has seen momentous events internationally. The United Kingdom's contribution to the liberation of Kuwait enhanced our standing in the world, strengthened the power of the United Nations and proved again the outstanding abilities of our armed forces. We responded rapidly to the Iraqi Government's persecution of their own people, proposing the safe-haven initiative to provide an effective response to the plight of ordinary Iraqis. Building on the experience of this we
Column 25launched the United Kingdom's disaster relief initiative in August to provide the capacity for an immediate informed response to disasters round the world.
The United Kingdom contributed significantly to the successful outcome of the Maastricht European Council. We have fully protected the United Kingdom's right to take its own decision at the appropriate time on a move to the final stage of economic and monetary union. On political union, we have agreed a series of pragmatic reforms, many as a result of our proposals, which will make the Community more efficient, accountable and effective internationally. The new treaty on European union will also strengthen inter-governmental co-operation outside the framework of the Community in important areas like the fight against crime. We have continued to make steady progress towards completing the single market by the end of 1992 and to the conclusion of the GATT Uruguay round. The Government welcomed the determination confirmed at the Maastricht European Council to keep the Community open to our European neighbours who are eager for closer links and eventual membership. It was agreed that in 1992 negotiations would take place on applications from countries of the European Free Trade Area to join the Community, and, in due course, consideration would be given to the further possibility of expansion towards eastern Europe. I chaired the successful G7 economic summit in July and the historic meeting between summit leaders and President Gorbachev of the Soviet Union. The Government vigorously denounced the attempted coup in the Soviet Union and supported President Yeltsin's courageous stand against it. I have co-ordinated the G7 programme of aid for the republics of the Soviet Union.
The Government played an important part in concluding the treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe. We have continued to make a substantial contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, participating fully in adapting the alliance, and developing a stronger European defence identity in the Western European Union. We have taken steps to restructure the armed forces to reflect the changed international situation.
We have made a determined effort to promote democracy and good government in the developing countries, as a means to improving the prospects for development and the reduction of poverty. My announcement at the Commonwealth conference in Harare in October that the United Kingdom would implement the Trinidad terms debt reduction initiative for the poorest and most indebted countries was widely and warmly welcomed. If all official creditors followed this lead, the total debt of the countries concerned would be reduced by some $17 billion. At our instigation, the European Community and the Commonwealth have taken a more positive attitude to the welcome developments in South Africa, and sporting links have now been re- established with that country.
These policies will ensure that the United Kingdom is well placed and fully prepared to meet the challenges of the 1990s.
The Prime Minister : The Government note the inauguration of World Memorial Day on 1 January 1992 by the Memorial Fund for Disaster Relief. Her Majesty's Government will continue to do all they can to promote a safer and better world which is the stated object of the fund.