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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 23 June 1992

HOME DEPARTMENT

Mr. G. Burrows

Sir John Hunt : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied that the complaint of Mr. G. F. Burrows, details of which have been sent to him, made to the London fire and civil defence authority, was dealt with in accordance with regulation 5 of the Fire Services (Discipline) Regulations 1985 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand that the London fire and civil defence authority gave full consideration to the allegations which were made to it by Mr. G. F. Burrows that certain senior officers had committed breaches of the Fire Services (Discipline) Regulations 1985. I have no reason to believe that the authority failed to comply with the procedures set out in the regulations for the investigation of alleged disciplinary offences.

Police Manpower

Mr. Legg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers are currently employed per head of population (a) in England and Wales, (b) by the Thames Valley force and (c) in the Milton Keynes police area of the Thames Valley force.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The table shows the ratio of police officers to population. These ratios are calculated on the basis of population figures as at June 1990 and police strength as at 31 March 1992.


{TITRE]                                            

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

England and Wales (provisional forces) |1:450      

Thames Valley Police                   |1:526      

In addition to officers posted to the Milton Keynes division, other police units, such as child protection and traffic units, contribute in part to the policing of Milton Keynes. It is not therefore possible to provide a precise estimate of the police-population ratio for Milton Keynes.

Lee White

Dr. Spink : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement regarding the death of Lee White, aged 18, of Canvey island and the subsequent deaths at Feltham remand centre.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I share the widespread concern which has been expressed about the tragic deaths of four young prisoners at Feltham young offender institution and remand centre between August 1991 and March 1992, including the suicide of Lee White. That concern is also deeply felt by the management and staff of Feltham, and


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we are deeply conscious of the sadness caused to the families concerned. My reply to the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) on 17 June, at column 520, described a number of measures which are being taken at Feltham to control acts of bullying, improve the care of vulnerable prisoners and so reduce the risk of any further tragedy occurring.

Piara Lal

Mr. Turner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now answer as a matter of urgency the letter from the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-East dated 15 April regarding the case of Piara Lal.

Mr. Charles Wardle : I expect to reply to the hon. Member in the near future.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Yugoslavia

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he is considering to bring about a settlement in Yugoslavia.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : We fully support the efforts of the United Nations, of Lord Carrington's conference and of the EC monitoring mission to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Yugoslavia.

Foreign Affairs Council

Mr. Wells : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what issues he expects to discuss at the next meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.

Mr. Garel-Jones : The agenda for the 20 July Foreign Affairs Council is likely to include the following items :

follow up to the Lisbon European Council, including enlargement and future financing ;

Uruguay round ;

relations with former Soviet Union and central and eastern Europe ;

EC/Turkey ;

Yugoslavia

In the margins we intend to hold an EC/Egypt Co-operation Council.

Sri Lanka

Mr. Stevenson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We have long urged all sides to reach a negotiated settlement. We condemn the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for breaking off talks and resorting again to violence in June 1990. We support the Sri Lankan Government in their efforts to defeat terrorism, while pressing for its counter-insurgency campaign to be conducted responsibly and with full respect for human rights.

Research Projects

Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the policy with regard to, and extent of, the commissioning of research projects in universities and polytechnics by Government communications headquarters.


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Mr. Douglas Hogg : GCHQ, in common with other Government Departments and private industry, commissions research from universities or polytechnics when they are able to offer a particular area of expertise. Research is confined to unclassified subjects and the results may be published by the university or polytechnic if it wishes for the benefit of the academic community as a whole. Over the last four years, research projects totalling £506,953 have been placed by GCHQ with seven institutions.

China

Mr. David Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of the People's Republic of China on the recent deaths in police custody of Roman Catholic bishops Joseph Fan Xueyan, Paul Shi Chunje and Paul Li Zhenrong, and on the continued imprisonment of bishops Chen Jianzhang, Peter Liu Guandeng, Liu Shuke, Shi Enxiang, Julius Jia Zhigino, Liu Difen, Casimir Wang Milu, Yang Libo and Joseph Li Side ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : In our dealings with the Chinese authorities on human rights issues we have stressed that Chinese attitudes towards religious believers are of particular concern. Several of the individual cases raised by my hon. Friend were mentioned in the Prime Minister's revised list handed over during his meeting in January with Chinese Premier Li Peng in New York. Others were included in the list of 40 Roman Catholic cases of concern handed over by my right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer) during his own visit to China last year. NATIONAL FINANCE

EC Taxes

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consultations he has had with Mrs. Scrivener, member of the European Commission responsible for economic policy, concerning the decision of the Commission of 13 May to introduce a minimum rate of carbon/energy tax effective from 1 January 1993 on a tax-neutral basis ; and what provision he will make for compensatory alterations in (a) public expenditure and (b) other taxes to achieve tax neutrality.

Sir John Cope : None. Mrs. Scrivener is the Commissioner responsible for taxation policy. The Commission have recently prepared a draft directive on carbon/energy taxation for the Council's consideration. No new agreement on tax policy can be made without the unanimous agreement of all 12 member states.

National Economic Development Council

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he consulted trade unions before deciding to eliminate NEDO and NEDC.

Mr. Portillo : No, but of course the normal courtesies were observed by informing the General Secretary of the TUC and the Director General of the CBI of my decision.

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when NEDO or NEDC were last involved in pay bargaining.


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Mr. Portillo : NEDC and NEDO have never been directly involved in pay bargaining. Pay issues have been discussed regularly in the NEDC throughout its history.

Trade Unions

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how often he meets trade union leaders.

Mr. Portillo : My right hon. Friend has not met trade union leaders recently other than at meetings of the NEDC. The existence of NEDC may have inhibited greater informal contact between Government and unions.

Diesel Cars

Mr. Bill Michie : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the changes in the car scale charge for diesel-run cars, as stated in the March 1992 Budget, will take effect.

Mr. Dorrell : The new income tax scale charges for the benefit of diesel fuel provided by employers for private use by employees in company cars are included in the current Finance Bill. On enactment the new scales will apply from the beginning of this tax year. Matching scales for VAT purposes were brought into force by Treasury order from 6 April 1992.

EC Trade Balance

Mr. Shore : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether, on the commencement of the European single market on 1 January 1993, he will continue regularly to publish statistics on the balance of trade with EC member states.

Mr. Lamont : Yes. But there will be some delay initially while the new collection system, Intrastat, becomes established. Further information about Intrastat has been deposited in the House of Commons Library.

Inheritance Tax

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what account is taken by his Department of payments received by landowners, including those for management agreements for sites of special scientific interest or set aside, in assessing the suitability of land for inheritance tax exemptions ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Dorrell : The heritage advisory agencies take all relevant factors into account when considering the eligibility of land for conditional exemption from inheritance tax.

Entitlement to payments under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1991 management agreements or for environmentally sensitive areas under the Agriculture Act 1986 may be affected if land is conditionally exempted.

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria his Department uses to assess the benefits of inheritance tax exemptions for the granting of public access to land ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Dorrell : In return for conditional exemption from inheritance tax, landowners are required to give undertakings to maintain the heritage property, preserve


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its character and give reasonable public access to it. The heritage advisory agencies advise the Inland Revenue as to what constitutes reasonable public access : each case is considered individually on the basis of its own facts.

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the procedure by which his Department informs local planning authorities of land where inheritance tax exemptions have been agreed for the granting of public access to land ; how planning authorities are expected to take this into account when dealing with planning applications ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Dorrell : Where inheritance tax exemption is being considered, a land management plan is prepared by the landowner. The appropriate heritage advisory agency consults the local authority or national park authority on the proposed plan. The planning authority is, therefore, aware of the exemption.

Planning applications are considered by the planning authority in the normal way, but the landowner is required to inform the heritage advisory agency of any proposed development of land which has received inheritance tax exemption. If the proposed development would lead to a breach of the undertakings given in return for the tax exemption, the agency discusses the position with the landowner and if a satisfactory outcome--for instance appropriate revised arrangements for public access--is not secured, a deferred inheritance tax charge will be triggered. To date, there has been no occasion on which such a tax charge has arisen.

Bishopsgate Investment Management

Mr. French : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consideration he has given to the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation report covering Bishopsgate Investment Management ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Nelson [holding answer 22 June 1992] : It is for the Securities and Investments Board to consider IMRO's review in the first instance.

Market Testing

Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer who has been appointed as a consultant to his Department for market testing.

Mr. Portillo [holding answer 22 June 1992] : In accordance with the policy set out in "Competing for Quality" a review of the scope for market testing services in the Treasury has been carried out. Touche Ross provided the private sector input to that review.

HOUSE OF COMMONS COMMISSION

Recycling

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the right hon. Member for

Berwick-upon-Tweed, as representing the House of Commons Commission, what steps he is taking to (a) maximise the recycling of envelopes received by hon. Members and (b) provide that hon. Members' parliamentary question forms are recycled after use.

Mr. Beith : It is understood that all non-confidential waste paper collected in the Palace of Westminster is sent


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for recycling ; and that the appropriate domestic Select Committees include among their responsibilities advice on measures to increase the use of stationery containing recycled paper and on its disposal. In addition, I am advised that the Serjeant at Arms' stores holds stocks of economy labels designed to facilitate the reuse of envelopes. These labels are listed on Members' stationery order forms.

It is also understood that investigations are being carried out into the feasibility of introducing reusable packets for the transmission of quantities of Members' mail. If these studies are successful, the Administration Committee will be invited to consider their introduction to the range of House of Commons stationery.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Solicitors (Rights of Audience)

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on his plans to allow solicitors rights of audience in the higher courts.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The Lord Chancellor's advisory committee on legal education and conduct has recently given the Law Society its initial advice on its application for extended rights of audience for solicitors. It is now for the Law Society to decide how to take the application forward in the light of that advice. When the application is sent formally to the Lord Chancellor, he will seek the advice of the advisory committee and of the Director General of Fair Trading. The decision whether to approve the application is taken in the light of that advice by the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls, the President of the Family Division and the Vice-Chancellor.

Tribunals

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many members of social security appeal tribunals are from the visible minority communities.

Mr. John M. Taylor : Responsibility for the recruitment of people to serve as members of social security appeal tribunals lies with the president of the independent tribunal service, his honour Judge Holden and the hon. Member may wish to contact his office directly to obtain this information.

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to extend legal aid to industrial tribunals.

Mr. John M. Taylor : There are no plans to extend legal aid to industrial tribunals. Advice and assistance, but not representation, are already available under the legal aid "green form" scheme.

WALES

Nasal Polyps

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list those hospitals in Wales that carry out surgery for the removal of nasal polyps.


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Mr. Gwilym Jones : The following NHS hospitals have carried out surgery for the removal of nasal polyps during the last two years : Ysbyty Glan Clwyd

Ysbyty Maelor

Bronglais General

West Wales General

Royal Gwent, Newport

Ysbyty Gwynedd

Bridgend General

East Glamorgan

Porth and District

Prince Charles

University Hospital Wales

Children's ENT, Ely

Singleton

Toxic Waste

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list all the toxic waste disposal sites in Wales.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : This information is not held centrally. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the district councils, which are responsible for licensing such sites.

Residential Homes

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) children and young people, (b) adult and elderly volunteers and (c) residents are not precluded from participation in catering and cooking at residential homes and sheltered accommodation for the elderly in Wales when such participation is aimed at creating a homely or community atmosphere for the residents.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : Nobody in residential or sheltered accommodation is precluded by food hygiene legislation from taking part in the preparation of food. The extent to which they actually do so is a matter for them and for those directly responsible for their care.

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his best estimate of the number of elderly people currently living in non- registered residential homes (a) in Wales, (b) in each county in Wales and (c) in each district in Wales.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : Information on elderly people living in non- registered residential homes is not held centrally.

Cardiff Bay Barrage

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will provide a separate estimate for the appropriate allowance for price inflation in civil engineering for each year since November 1988 for the construction of each of (a) the Cardiff bay barrage, (b) the foreshore promenade beneath Penarth Head, (c) the outer harbour, (d) the breasting dolphins and (e) the alternative feeding grounds for wading birds specified as works 1-5 in the Cardiff Bay Barrage Bill.

Mr. David Hunt : The appropriate allowance for price inflation in civil engineering, according to the PSA civil engineering cost indices, for each year since November 1988 is :


                            |Per cent.          

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

November 1988-November 1989 |9.2                

November 1989-November 1990 |7.6                

November 1990-October 1991  |5.5                

These are applied to each of (a) the Cardiff bay barrage, (b) the foreshore promenade beneath Penarth Head, (c) the outer harbour, (d) the breasting dolphins and (e) the alternative feeding grounds.

PRIME MINISTER

Recycling

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the new plans for recycling at 10 Downing street he announced during his recent visit to Rio de Janeiro.

The Prime Minister : I gave a pledge, as part of the Tree of Life initiative that bottles at No. 10 would be recycled. A collection point for bottles has been established, from where they will be taken to a bottle bank as necessary.

Engagements

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 23 June.

Sir Peter Tapsell : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list his official engagements for Tuesday 23 June.

The Prime Minister : This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.

NATIONAL HERITAGE

Inheritance Tax

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what record is kept of paintings donated to the nation in lieu of capital transfer or inheritance tax but left in their previous location in the care of their previous owner ; what public access to the paintings is made available ; what sums of tax have been forgone as a result of such donations during each of the past 10 years ; and if he will list the paintings donated in this way during each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Mellor : The records of all acceptance in lieu cases, including those accepted "in situ" are kept centrally by my Department. One of the conditions of items accepted in lieu of tax in situ is that public access must be available for a minimum of 30 days a year. The total amount of tax forgone in the last 10 years on in-situ paintings are as follows :


        |£              

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

1981-82 |702,635        

1982-83                 

1983-84 |138,423        

1984-85                 

1985-86                 

1986-87                 

1987-88                 

1988-89 |260,717        

1989-90                 

1990-91 |20,000         

1991-92 |404,544        

The paintings accepted in this way are as follows :

Sir Anthony Van Dyck, The Betrayal of Christ'

Sir Joshua Reynolds, The Earl and Countess of


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Mexborough and their son Lord Pollington'

Sir William Beechey, Portrait of Admiral George Campbell' Francis Cotes, Portrait of Pryse Campbell'

Francis Cotes, Portrait of Sarah Campbell'

Francis Cotes, Portrait of Elizabeth Adams'

Francis Cotes, Portrait of John Campbell Hooke'

Francis Cotes, Portrait of Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Campbell'

Sir Thomas Lawrence, Portrait of John Frederick, 1st Earl of Cawdor'

Sir Thomas Lawrence, Portrait of Elizabeth Cawdor'

Sir Thomas Lawrence, Portrait of Laday Caroline Cawdor' Attributable to Sir Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Patrick Home' Sir Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset'

Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Portrait of Lady Frances Cranfield'.


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