some default text...
Previous Section Home Page

Relocation

Mr. Betts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will identify the number of civil servants by grade who will be moving from Marsham street to docklands.

Mr. Howard [holding answer 17 June 1992] : No decisions have yet been taken about the number of civil


Column 664

servants by grade which will be moved to Docklands. All London posts in my Department are currently being reviewed to assess their suitability for relocation.

Mr. Betts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many of the 2,000 civil servants due to move from Marsham street to Docklands have personal contact with Ministers on average once a month or more.

Mr. Howard [holding answer 17 June 1992] : Detailed records of contact are not kept. A review of suitability of posts for relocation to Docklands will take into account the need for personal contact with Ministers.

Biodiversity

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the steps being taken to follow up the decisions taken at Rio de Janeiro on biodiversity.

Mr. Maclean [holding answer 17 June 1992] : My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister informed the House on 15 June that he had announced at Rio a Darwin initiative for the survival of species. This will draw on the great strengths which we have in our many centres of excellence in biodiversity to provide practical help to enable countries to meet their commitments under the biodiversity convention.

My right hon. Friend has also written to EC and G7 colleagues proposing an eight point plan for follow up including the drawing up of plans for action on global diversity.

World Environment

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assistance was provided by Her Majesty's Government to the United Nations Environment Programme for the UNEP report on the state of the world environment, published on 7 May ; and what evaluation he has made of the report.

Mr. Maclean [holding answer 16 June 1992] : The United Kingdom contribution to UNEP for financial year 1992-93 is £4.5 million. This helps to fund all UNEP activities including the production of reports. The report on the state of the world environment is a sound and useful document.

Water Disconnections

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what plans he has to discuss with the chairman of the North West Water Authority the rise in disconnections of water services between 1990-91 and 1991-92 with a view to providing emergency services to these households ;

(2) when he intends to make a statement on his plans to discuss with the chairman of the North West Water authority the rise in disconnections of water services between 1990-1991 and 1991-1992, with a view to providing emergency services to those households.

Mr. Maclean : The Director General of Water Services has the specific function of protecting the interests of customers, including those who are having difficulty in meeting their bills, and is concerned at the sharp increase in disconnections nationally. I welcome the action he has


Column 665

taken in issuing revised guidelines to companies and his proposals for further research into the characteristics of those who have been disconnected. It is right that bills should be paid, but also that companies should provide every assistance to customers who are having difficulty in meeting their bills. The legislation now provides that, in virtually all instances, customers will not be disconnected unless they have failed to comply with the terms of a court order for repayment of outstanding arrears. Where a supply of water to a house is disconnected, and is not re-connected within 24 hours, the company must notify the local authority in whose area the house is situated. The terms of an appointee's licence provide that no customer should be disconnected if he or she is seeking assistance from DSS and has notified the company to that effect.

DEFENCE

Detention Sentences

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) men and (b) women are serving a detention sentence in military establishments in England and Wales as of 8 June.

Mr. Aitken : As at 8 June there were 232 males and seven females serving sentences at military detention centres in England. There are no detention centres in Wales. In the Army and RAF sentences of less than 28 days are served at local establishments. The numbers detained at local establishments are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Military Prisons

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the military prisons in England and Wales.

Mr. Aitken : The Armed Forces no longer have any military prisons. The last one, Shepton Mallet, closed in 1968. All service personnel sentenced to imprisonment by courts martial serve their sentence in civil prisons.

Markle and Forss Stations

Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has reached a decision on the future use of land at the Markle and Forss communications stations, Caithness ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aitken : No final decisions have yet been taken.

Civilian Establishment, Catterick

Mr. Clelland : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the current civilian establishment at Catterick garrison and RAF Catterick ; and what is the projected establishment for each successive year for which figures are available.

Mr. Aitken : The current civilian establishments at Catterick garrison and RAF Catterick are 1,221 and 85 respectively. In common with many other Defence establishments in the United Kingdom, those at Catterick are currently under review. Until this review is completed, it is not possible to give forecasts of likely future civilians numbers.


Column 666

Cambodia

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 22 May, Official Report, column 291, what means of self-protection will be available to Royal Navy and Royal Marine personnel operating on Cambodian vessels as part of the naval group within the UN transitional authority in Cambodia.

Mr. Aitken : The Royal Naval and Royal Marine personnel operating on Cambodian vessels as part of the United Kingdom's contribution to UNTAC are acting as United Nations military observers and, in accordance with the usual practice, will not be armed. The security of all United Kingdom participants in UNTAC is the responsibility of the United Nations and the Cambodian factions. We do however, keep the security position in Cambodia and the possible threat to the safety of United Kingdom personnel under continuous review.

Plymouth Urban Development Corporation

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much development land at Plymouth his Department has handed over to the proposed urban development corporation ; what funds he has made available from the defence budget ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aitken : None. The amount of surplus MOD land in Plymouth to be handed over to the proposed urban development corporation and the mechanics of transfer of land and funds remain to be worked out in detail.

Maersk Ascension

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George) of 20 May, Official Report, column 185, if he will set out the total amount paid to date for charter of Maersk Ascension since inception of the charter arrangements ; what arrangements existed for bulk fuel storage prior to the charter for Maersk Ascension ; what assessment his Department has made of the costs of construction of appropriate onshore facilities and of subsequent running costs ; and for what purposes bulk fuel storage at Ascension island is required.

Mr. Aitken : Since inception of the charter arrangements for the Maersk Ascension in July 1983, the Department has paid just over £23.5 million in charter costs to date. Before the Falklands campaign there was no requirement for bulk fuel storage for the RAF at Ascension island. During and after the conflct temporary storage arrangements were made involving the use of pillow tanks. In 1988 a limited study showed the costs of construction of an appropriate on-shore facility to be around £11 million. No estimate for running costs was made. A detailed investment appraisal is currently being undertaken. The requirement for bulk fuel storage at Ascension island is to support routine flying activities and for refuelling of aircraft flying to the Falkland islands.

Royal Navy Helicopter Team

Mr. Home Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why he proposes to disband the Royal Navy helicopter display team.


Column 667

Mr. Aitken : My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces will write to the hon. Member.

Menwith Hill Station

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how long notices informing the public of their right to inspect plans of a proposed planning application for the extension of the sewage works at Menwith Hill station were displayed ; what was the period of display specified by the defence land agent ; and what complaints he has received about the period the notices were displayed.

Mr. Aitken : The notices concerning the proposed development of sewage works at Menwith Hill station were displayed on two separate occasions for a total of 14 days. The original period specified by the Defence land agent was seven days in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act Section 65(3). One complaint has been received regarding the period the notice was displayed.

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will withdraw a planning application for the extension of the sewage works at Menwith Hill station.

Mr. Aitken : No.

W. S. Atkins Ltd.

Mr. Rogers : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the nature and total value of contracts awarded to W. S. Atkins Ltd. and associated companies by (a) his Department and (b) or International Military Services Ltd. or its subsidiaries, for each year since 1980.

Mr. Aitken : My Department has placed contracts with W. S. Atkins Ltd. and associated companies as follows :


Financial |Value of           

year      |contracts          

          |£                  

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

1982-83   |80,730             

1983-84   |48,050             

1984-85   |45,950             

1985-86   |152,307            

1986-87   |155,265            

1987-88   |1,106,893          

1988-89   |850,961            

1989-90   |887,640            

1990-91   |422,233            

1991-92   |1,690,388          

The nature of work includes research, development, design, feasibility and project studies, new building, utilities agreements and production. Records for earlier years are not available.


Column 668

With regard to contracts placed by International Military Services Ltd., IMS ceased trading on 31 July 1991. Details of individual contracts concluded prior to this date are commercial in confidence.

Aircraft

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list each type of operational aircraft currently in service and the numbers of each.

Mr. Aitken : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Clackmannan (Mr. O'Neill) on 13 May, Official Report, column 152.

Iraq

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply of 5 June, to the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn), Official Report, column 672, if he will provide details of the type and nature of the evidence that Iraq had developed a crude nuclear warhead design ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aitken : Iraqi documentation seized by the International Atomic Energy Authority's sixth nuclear inspection team provided the incontrovertible evidence of Iraq's development of a crude nuclear device. A report on that inspection is available in the Library.

Brigadier Anthony Cowgill

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance has been provided by his Department to Brigadier Anthony Cowgill ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aitken : Brigadier Cowgill saw a number of open files from the Public Record Office in the Ministry of Defence. He also saw in the Ministry of Defence several open microfilms of allied documents from the national archives in Washington which that archive had sent to the Ministry of Defence for its permission for their release, as is the normal practice.

Public Records

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance in searching public records has been provided by his Department to researchers and authors in the last 10 years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Aitken : Whilst resources preclude us from undertaking detailed research for members of the public, we endeavour to be as helpful as possible with the many inquiries received in writing or orally, by directing enquirers to relevant material in the Public Record Office or elsewhere.


Column 669

DEFENCE

Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital

Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the discussions that his Department has had with the Greenwich health authority and the South East Thames regional health authority about the future of the Queen Elizabeth military hospital ; and if he will place copies of any relevant correspondence and other documentation in the Library.

Mr. Aitken : Officials of my Department have had exploratory talks with members of the Greenwich health authority and, more recently, with members of the South East Thames regional health authority about a number of proposals concerning the future of the Queen Elizabeth military hospital. These talks have been conducted in confidence.

El Alamein

Mr. Wolfson : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what representations he has received from British veterans of El Alamein about a memorial service to mark the 50th anniversary of the victory ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) if he will make it his policy that the allied victory at El Alamein in 1942 should be commemorated by a memorial service in London to mark the 50th Anniversary in October.

Mr. Aitken : The Ministry of Defence has received a small number of representations from veterans of the battle and a number of questions have been asked in the House of Lords.

The 50th anniversary of the battle will be commemorated in Egypt at a Commonwealth ceremony and at an international ceremony held jointly with Germany and Italy. I understand that 400 to 500 veterans will be present, in parties arranged by the Royal British Legion and the Eighth Army Association.

The Government do not arrange memorial services in London to commemorate particular battles of this kind. However, the Royal British Legion's annual festival at the Royal Albert hall will this year mark the 50th anniversary of the battle and I understand the Eighth Army Association is expecting 2,000 of its 3,000 members to be at its annual reunion in Blackpool on 31 October. In addition I understand that the Royal British Legion will invite the Eighth Army Association to lead the Remembrance Day parade.

Director of Public Prosecutions

Mr. McNamara : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on how many occasions his Department has written to the Director of Public Prosecutions drawing the attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions to the value of work done for his Department by individuals against whom the Director of Public Prosecutions is evaluating evidence with the intention of deciding to prosecute ; (2) whether he will publish the letter sent by his Department to the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland before the final decision to prosecute Mr. Nelson outlining Mr. Nelson's services for the security forces in Northern Ireland.


Column 670

Mr. Rifkind : It is not the practice to disclose the substance of consultations as to the public interest.

Housing Stock

Mr. Tyler : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many dwellings owned by his Department remained vacant on 31 March this year, and on the same date in each of the previous two years, in each of the six district council areas in Cornwall ; what arrangements have been agreed to make them available on a fixed-term basis for renting by the local authorities or housing associations ; and if he will make a statement on his policy to enable the best possible use of housing stock in rural areas with major homelessness problems.

Mr. Aitken : The number of vacant dwellings owned by my Department in Cornwall over the last three years as at 31 March was as follows :


       |Number       

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

1990   |118          

1991   |80           

1992   |98           

Figures for individual district council areas are not available. The figure for 31 March 1992 represents just over 9 per cent. of our total stock and is in line with advice from outside consultants on the appropriate management margin needed to meet Defence requirements. Many of the vacant properties were either undergoing or awaiting major maintenance work or modernisation, while others were already allotted to service families who were due to move in shortly. Wherever possible we do arrange leases of temporarily surplus houses to local authorities and housing associations. We currently have some 950 properties on lease throughout the United Kingdom, including 17 on lease in Cornwall to Kerrier district council.

The Department's policy is to dispose of all property which is surplus to its long term requirements. Of the 2 MOD dwellings currently being sold in Cornwall, 19 at Padstow were offered to the Council and to a local housing association but the offer was declined. They are now to be sold on the open market.

Supply Management Unit

Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will transfer back to RAF Carlisle the deputy director of supply management 15 unit which is at present situated at RAF Harrogate.

Mr. Aitken : No. As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces announced to the House on 4 June, it is proposed that the RAF's support management organisation at Harrogate will relocate to Wyton as part of the RAF's new Logistics Command.

Defence Export Services Organisation

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of staff of the Defence Export Services Organisation are seconded from industry ; and what functions they perform.

Mr. Aitken : The Head of the Defence Export Services Organisation (HDES) and the international finance adviser (IFA) are both seconded from industry. The IFA


Column 671

advises HDES and United Kingdom companies on the financing and credit insurance facilities available to support overseas defence sales.

Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff are employed in each of the overseas offices of the Defence Export Services Organisation and, in each case, what is the estimated annual cost of the office ; and how many are employed in the London office.

Mr. Aitken : The following is a breakdown of the Defence Export Services Organisation overseas offices, the numbers of staff employed in each office and the estimated annual cost of each office :


1992-93                              

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

New Delhi    |3      |91,200         

Riyadh       |2      |86,900         

Kuala Lumpur |7      |128,500        

Seoul        |3      |109,600        

Ankara       |1      |47,100         

Kuwait       |1      |65,400         

Canberra     |2      |70,700         

Jakarta      |3      |75,800         

Bangkok      |2      |68,800         

The Defence staff in Washington (1992-93 cost estimate £600,000) are no longer included in the Defence Export Services Organisation budget.

There are 246 staff employed in the London office.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Public Petitions

Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council when he expects to respond to the fourth report from the Select Committee on Procedure of Session 1991-92, on public petitions ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton : The report was published on 21 May and I am still considering it.

HEALTH

Nurses

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to decrease the work load of national health service nurses.

Mr. Sackville : It is for NHS employers to ensure that units are adequately staffed to meet the workload requirements and agreed standards and to ensure that there is no excessive work burden on individual nurses.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to increase the training and support for community nurses when the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 comes into effect.

Mr. Sackville : It is for regional health authorities to calculate the overall demand for training non-medical staff, including community nurses and to top-slice sufficient funds for appropriate training places. The


Column 672

Department will be monitoring the way in which regions discharge this responsibility. We shall expect regions to co- ordinate their training plans with requirements identified in locally agreed community care plans.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will consider establishing confidential counselling for nurses at the unit level at all national health service hospitals.

Dr. Mawhinney : The provision of counselling services for NHS staff is a matter for local management. Where appropriate, they may form part of the local occupational health service.

Census Information

Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when small area statistics of the 1991 census will be available to the public ; when they were originally intended for publication ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville : In my reply to the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Gerrard) on 2 June, Official Report, column 454, I stated that every effort will be made to publish 1991 census county monitors by the end of September 1992. Eight were published by 16 June. These monitors contain summary statistics for all local authority districts on all the census topics for which answers were fully processed. The corresponding small area statistics for enumeration districts and wards in England and Wales and for output areas and postcode sectors in Scotland follow the publication of the monitors, and will be released county by county between June and October 1992. The original timetable for the release of these statistics was October 1991 to August 1992. For the reason for the processing problem which caused the delay I refer the hon. Member to the reply my hon. Friend the then Under-Secretary of State gave the then Member for Nottingham, South, Mr. Brandon-Bravo, on 5 March at columns 272-73.

Further details of the census output timetable will be published in "Census Newsletters", copies of which are placed in the Library. The next issue, No. 22, will contain a revised timetable for the publication of individual county monitors.

Residential Care

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she plans to encourage dual registration of nursing and residential homes.

Mr. Yeo : It is for homes to decide what type of care they wish to offer. We have provided for dual registration so that a single home can provide both residential and nursing care.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to ensure that clients of nursing and residential homes are fully informed of the service available in their community when the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 comes into effect.

Mr. Yeo : The National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 requires local authorities to prepare community care plans in consultation with local health authorities, housing authorities, voluntary organisations and representatives of service users and their carers. These plans should be published and made widely available to the public.


Column 673

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she plans to monitor the placement of patients in residential and nursing homes when the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 comes into effect.

Mr. Yeo : We shall be monitoring the implementation of all the major provisions of the community care reforms.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the numbers of elderly people in Crewe and Nantwich living in (a) local authority nursing homes, (b) local authority residential homes and (c) private nursing homes for the years (i) 1985-86, (ii) 1990-91 and (iii) 1991-92.

Mr. Yeo : Nursing homes are not provided by local authorities. At 31 March 1991 there were 1,747 people in local authority homes for elderly people in Cheshire including 240 in the Crewe and Nantwich area. This compared with 1,799 at 31 March 1986. The March 1986 comparative figure for the Crewe and Nantwich area is not known. The number includes some younger physically handicapped people, who are not separately identified.

Information is not collected centrally on the numbers of residents in private nursing homes. The number of beds designated for elderly people in private nursing homes in the Crewe health authority area at 31 March 1991 was 276 compared with 136 at 31 December 1986. Information for 1991-92 is not yet available.

Hospital Managers

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will establish a code of conduct for managers in national health service hospitals.

Dr. Mawhinney : There are no plans to establish a general code of conduct for NHS hospital managers. Guidance will continue to be issued on specific management matters as the need arises.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will create a training programme for managers of national health service hospitals in staff and personnel relations.

Dr. Mawhinney : The importance of good staff and personnel relations is being increasingly recognised by those involved in training managers of national health service hospitals. The general but strong view in the Department and NHS is that staff and personnel relations training should continue to be integrated into general management training rather than be compartmentalised, thus creating the danger of it being seen as an "optional extra".

NHS Contracts

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to preclude clauses in national health service contracts of employment which restrict freedom of speech, other than in respect of medical confidence.

Dr. Mawhinney : We shall shortly be consulting with professional interests, managers, and those representing patients, on proposed new guidance to clarify the basis on which NHS staff may express views about the provision of


Column 674

services. A balance must be struck between the duty of staff to raise matters of professional concern and the need to safeguard confidentiality.


Next Section

  Home Page