Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on the achievements of his Department and his policies in helping small businesses over the last 12 months relative to the previous 12 months ; and if he will publish the performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring.
The Attorney-General : The Government continue to place a high priority on helping small businesses, through improvements to the business climate, through deregulation and through specific programmes of support and assistance. My Department, however, does not operate any speciffic programmes in this area.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Attorney-General if he will list any public appointments by his Department since 1987 which have involved people from organisations criticised in published reports by Department of Trade and Industry inspectors.
|Number |Cost |(£ million) ------------------------------------------------------------------- Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers |24.0 |0.90 Treasury Solicitors Department |464.5 |15.70 Crown Prosecution Service |5,978.0 |<1>122.59 Serious Fraud Office |<2>135.0 |4.10 <1> 1991-92. <2> In addition 59 temporary staff are currently employed. The number varies with operational requirements.
Details of staffing levels and personnel costs in 1970 cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate expense.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Attorney-General if he will list any advisers retained by his Department since 1987 who have been criticised in published reports by Department of Trade and Industry inspectors.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has for his Department to celebrate in 1993, the European Year of the Elderly ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The information in the form requested is not available. All Crown court centres have arrangements which enable court users to make inquiries when they attend court. This duty is undertaken by a particular official in some courts and in others, particularly the larger courts, by way of a separate reception desk at the entrance to the building. The design guide for courts includes specifications to ensure that counters at which enquiries can be made are easily visible and accessible to people when they enter a court building. In line with the citizens charter, we will continue to look for means of improving the ways in which necessary information can be supplied to all those who use the courts.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list any public appointments by his Department since 1987 which have involved people from organisations criticised in published reports by DTI inspectors.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Information on the background of individual public appointments is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. My right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor takes all relevant factors into account when considering appointments and he knows of no person appointed by him who has been criticised in published reports of DTI inspectors.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list any advisers retained by his Department since 1987 who have been criticised in published reports by DTI inspectors.
Mr. John M. Taylor : Information on the background of individual advisers retained by the LCD since 1987 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. My right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor knows of no person retained by his Department who has been criticised in published reports of DTI inspectors.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many staff his Department currently employs ; what are the total personnel costs ; and what were the staffing levels and personnel costs in 1970.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The number of staff employed in the Lord Chancellor's Department on the 1 July 1992 was 11,670 and the total personnel costs for the current financial year are £216 million. 1970 pre-dates the creation of the Department, but those areas for which the Lord Chancellor was then directly responsible employed 7,416 staff and the personnel costs were at that time£12.6 million.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in what circumstances physiotherapy is excluded from the scope of tax relief on premiums for health care insurance for the elderly ; and what other exclusions are made.
Mr. Dorrell : Premiums on private medical insurance contracts for the over-60s may qualify for tax relief provided they offer only some or all of the treatments and medical services specified in Treasury regulations. Physiotherapy is one of the services the cost of which can be indemnified. At present it must be associated either with hospital treatment or with surgical procedures performed by a general practitioner. Regulations laid before the House of Commons on 7 July will allow insurers to include physiotherapy in an eligible contract where it is associated with other forms of general practitioner treatment, including diagnosis.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the Inland Revenue's published standards for replying to taxpayers' letters in 1991-92 ; and to what extend these standards were met in practice.
Mr. Dorrell : 1991-92 was a transitional year. The previous system for targeting post for tax and collection offices was expressed in terms of post worked and based on post over 14 days old at the year end. This system was internally focused and provided little useful information on the service being provided to the public. A new system based on turnaround times for correspondence, which is also designed to provide customers with better quality replies to their letters, was trialled in 1991-92. It came fully into operation in 1992-93. The target for tax and collection offices is to respond to all letters within 28 days. In at least 90 per cent. of cases, the aim is to deal with the letter within that time scale. In the remaining cases, the response will tell the customer when the letter will be dealt with.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the average loss to the Exchequer in income tax, employee's national insurance contributions and reduced VAT payments and excise duties resulting from a redundant Ministry of Defence worker being unemployed for 12 months.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether it remains the Government's policy that Departments and non-departmental public bodies should not normally insure commercially ; and whether he will make a statement.
Mr. Dorrell : The Government have reviewed the question whether Departments and non-departmental public bodies should insure commercially. They have decided to retain the existing general rule that decisions whether to insure with commercial insurance companies should normally be decided on value-for-money grounds. Across the Government as a whole, the cost of paying premiums could be expected to exceed the value of claims met by insurance companies. Use of commercial insurance companies is, therefore, likely to be confined to cases where there are special reasons ; for example where insurance in respect of equipment such as boilers is part of an inspection/maintenance services agreement, where large volumes of claims handling work are involved, where evidence of insurance may be needed to obtain prompt medical treatment for employees abroad and, in the case of NDPBs, where there is a legal requirement to insure.
Mr. Martlew : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the procedure by which his Department informs the public of works of art where inheritance tax exemptions have been agreed for granting of public access ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Dorrell [holding answer 3 July 1992] : Public access to works of art granted exemption from inheritance tax may be provided in a number of ways. The publicity arrangements will differ depending on the way chosen.
The owner may arrange to exhibit the object in a house or room which is open to the public for an agreed number of days each year ; appropriate publicity for the opening of the house would be required. The owner may lend the object to a public collection for display on a long-term basis : publicity would then be the responsibility of the curator of this collection.
Alternatively, the owner may arrange viewing by appointment provided he is also willing to lend the object on request to a public collection. All objects which can be viewed by appointment are publicised by means of an entry in the register of conditionally exempt property held by the National Art Library in the Victoria and Albert museum in London. Copies of this register are also available for consultation in the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, the National museum of Wales in
Column 525Cardiff and the Ulster museum in Belfast. The Inland Revenue is currently carrying out a review, with the Department of National Heritage, of ways in which improvements can be made to the publicity given to this register as well as improvements to the quality of the entries and accessibility to the register. The conclusions of this review will be announced before the end of this year.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what statistics are kept on the (a) numbers, (b) sex and (c) racial origin of persons stripped by customs officers at Heathrow airport ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir John Cope [holding answer 9 July 1992] : Statistics on personal searches carried out each year by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise are published in the annual report of the commissioners. Information is collated on the type of search--rub-down, strip or intimate--goods found at the time, appeals against search, and complaints but not on the sex or racial origin of persons searched.
Mr. Nelson : I have looked into the recent allegations that the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation warned the Government that it could not do its job properly because of problems over the relationship between the Financial Services Act regime and trust law. Neither the Securities and Investments Board nor I have found any evidence to substantiate these allegations. IMRO and the SIB made representations to the DTI over a number of years about the legal uncertainty they believed was created by the interaction of the Financial Services Act and trust law. However, there was no suggestion that this uncertainty posed a threat to investor protection. The SIB's conclusion is that neither legal uncertainties created by the relationship between the Financial Services Act and trust law nor the existence of IMRO's special occupational pensions scheme regime made any material difference to IMRO's regulation of the Maxwell pension fund companies.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff his Department currently employs ; what are the total personnel costs ; and what were the staffing levels and personnel costs in 1970.
Mr. Nelson : The average staff in post in 1991-92, the latest full year for which figures are available, was 3,192. Total pay cost were £63.1 million. In 1970 HM Treasury employed 720 full-time staff. The figure for pay costs are not available as they were not recorded separately at that time. The staff figures for 1970 and 1991-92 are not comparable due to machinery of government and other changes.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will list any public appointments by his Department since 1987 which have involved people from organisations criticised in published reports by DTI inspectors ;
(2) if he will list any advisers retained by his Department since 1987 who have been criticised in published reports by DTI inspectors.
Mr. Nelson : It is for the review committee that was established under the independent chairmanship of Sir George Blunden to monitor the implementation of the banks and building societies code of banking practice. The committee reported to the BBA in May that all major retail United Kingdom banks had agreed to adhere to the code but it was concerned that a number of smaller, mainly overseas, banks which may be conducting retail business had not adopted the code. My officials are kept informed on these and other matters through regular informal contacts with the British Bankers Association.
Mr. Nelson : I understand that up to close of business on 10 July 1992 payments have been made by the Deposit Protection Board to some 4,000 depositors of BCCI, involving total protection payments of some £22 million.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will outline the priorities for future action of the green Minister in his Department (a) over the next year and (b) over this Parliament ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Robert Jackson : Over the next and subsequent years as green Minister for the Office of Public Service and Science, OPSS, I will have responsibility for seeing that environmental concerns are taken into account where appropriate in the policies and work of the Department. I will also be responsible for publicising environmental initiatives. The OPSS is committed to reducing its direct and indirect consumption of non- renewable resources by, for example, improving energy efficiency wherever practicable ; considering the purchase of environmentally friendly products where available ; minimising pollution ; and adopting environmental performance as an integral part of internal audits.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the achievements of his Department and his policies in helping small businesses over the last 12 months relative to the previous 12 months ; and if he will publish the performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring.
Mr. Waldegrave : The Government continue to place a high priority on helping small businesses, through improvements to the business climate, through deregulation and through specific programmes of support and assistance. My Department is responsible for ensuring that the principles of the citizens charter and other public service reform initiatives are implemented. These are designed to improve the standards of service that Government Departments and other public sector organisations provide to their customers, including the owners of small businesses.
Mr. Steen : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many staff his Department currently employs ; what are the total personnel costs ; and what were the staffing levels and personnel costs in 1970.
Mr. Jackson : The number of staff currently in my Department, excluding the agencies, is 542. The annual estimated total staff costs are £14.5 million. As my Department did not exist in its present form in 1970, it is not possible to provide any comparative staffing levels and staff costs.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list any advisers retained by his Department or its predecessor offices since 1987 who have been criticised in published reports by Department of Trade and Industry inspectors.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list any public appointments by his Department or its predecessor offices since 1987 which have involved people from organisations criticised in published reports by Department of Trade and Industry inspectors.
The aim of the survey, which is being carried out at the Anglo-Australian observatory at Siding Spring, Australia,
Column 528is to identify any asteroids which could possibly strike the Earth. The survey is supported by Australian Research Council funds and uses photographs from the United Kingdom Schmidt telescope there. In the two years that the project has been under way, no asteroids posing any significant threat have been discovered.
Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he intends to pursue regarding the completed Merseyside police report into the Carl Bridgewater murder convictions.
Mr. Jack : The report from the Merseyside police is still awaited. Once it has been received my right hon. and learned Friend will decide as soon as possible whether any action on his part is appropriate in this case.
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the extent and nature of proposed openness in relation to contracting-out procedures in his Department.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : It has been and will continue to be the Home Office's practice to ensure fair and open competition in public procurement. My Department follows the advice given in administrative circulars issued by the central unit on purchasing in Her Majesty's Treasury. These incorporate best practice drawn from existing EC directives which in turn replicate United Kingdom best practice. Procurement practice is however necessarily constrained by issues of commercial and contractual confidentiality.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what statutory or other definitions of blank ammunition are used by him in discharging his responsibilities for the regulation of firearms.
Mr. Charles Wardle : Blank cartridges of more than one inch in diameter are subject to certificate control under section 1 of the Firearms Act 1968. Blank ammunition is not defined in the Firearms Acts 1968 to 1992, but is generally understood to be ammunition which contains no projectile.
Column 529Mr. Charles Wardle : A recent survey by the Association of Chief Police Officers' traffic committee indicated that 18 forces in England and Wales were actively considering acquiring speed cameras or traffic light cameras or both and that in addition three police forces expected to be equipped with speed cameras from 1 July.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The costs vary with the type of equipment chosen. The cost for a radar speed camera is about £24,600. The related computing equipment for processing the information from the cameras costs about £5,000 to £7,000.
Mr. Sproat : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list all the prisons in England, giving the number of prisoners they were designed to hold and how many prisoners they currently hold.
Establishment |CNA |Population ----------------------------------------------------------- Acklington |676 |600 Albany |309 |291 Aldington |127 |123 Ashwell |404 |394 Askham Grange |129 |107 Aylesbury |241 |236 Bedford |170 |249 Belmarsh |841 |782 Birmingham |567 |963 Blantyre House |95 |94 Blundeston |410 |338 Brinsford |336 |346 Bristol |374 |395 Brixton |621 |779 Brockhill |160 |155 Bullingdon |635 |456 Bullwood Hall |126 |102 Camp Hill |481 |429 Canterbury |207 |161 Castington |300 |273 Channings Wood |594 |589 Chelmsford |244 |365 Coldingley |222 |215 Cookham Wood |120 |118 Dartmoor |599 |527 Deerbolt |422 |406 Dorchester |139 |218 Dover |312 |232 Downview |286 |280 Drake Hall |261 |174 Durham |542 |662 East Sutton Park |90 |79 Eastwood Park |134 |101 Elmley |635 |388 Erlestoke |218 |212 Everthorpe |228 |219 Exeter |317 |452 Featherstone |599 |547 Feltham |874 |719 Finnamore Wood |112 |94 Ford |536 |510 Frankland |332 |316 Full Sutton |624 |437 Garth |512 |459 Gartree |245 |237 Glen Parva |854 |711 Gloucester |107 |195 Grendon |226 |194 Guys Marsh |240 |160 Haslar |110 |110 Hatfield |180 |168 Haverigg |315 |313 Hewell Grange |136 |137 Highpoint |747 |719 Hindley |323 |400 Hollesley Bay |569 |304 Holloway |517 |450 Holme House |649 |331 Hull |269 |372 Huntercombe |225 |220 Kingston |96 |94 Kirkham |632 |505 Lancaster |186 |258 Latchmere House |131 |78 Leeds |591 |890 Leicester |200 |345 Lewes |301 |403 Leyhill |410 |404 Lincoln |392 |636 Lindholme |800 |744 Littlehey |543 |536 Liverpool |931 |1,210 Long Lartin |362 |353 Low Newton |199 |312 Maidstone |517 |512 Manchester |350 |346 Moorland |620 |631 Morton Hall |168 |162 The Mount |484 |391 New Hall |122 |135 North Sea Camp |204 |194 Northallerton |148 |195 Northeye |160 |161 Norwich |421 |369 Nottingham |218 |211 Onley |460 |425 Oxford |121 |160 Parkhurst |286 |194 Pentonville |756 |774 Portland |439 |430 Preston |331 |422 Pucklechurch |56 |56 Ranby |347 |340 Reading |184 |91 Risley |417 |400 Rochester |306 |246 Rudgate |300 |292 Send |113 |108 Shepton Mallet |158 |201 Shrewsbury |168 |265 Spring Hill |210 |215 Stafford |657 |718 Standford Hill |384 |367 Stocken |396 |392 Stoke Heath |300 |270 Styal |189 |196 Sudbury |506 |461 Swaleside |504 |487 Swinfen Hall |172 |169 Thorn Cross |300 |192 Thorp Arch |163 |139 The Verne |580 |589 Wakefield |638 |620 Wandsworth |965 |1,200 Wayland |580 |566 Wellingborough |314 |265 Werrington House |110 |102 Wetherby |196 |170 Whatton |204 |206 Whitemoor |518 |231 Winchester |458 |454 The Wolds |320 |117 Wormwood Scrubs |472 |714 Wymott |768 |760
Mr. Sproat : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what latest estimate he has made of the average cost of building a new prison ; and if he will give the approximate number of prisoners a prison costing this amount is designed to hold.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The cost of building a new prison varies depending on the type of prisoners it is to hold, its location, the ground conditions, the level of security required and other factors. The current estimated average cost of a new local prison for 600 prisoners is about £75 million, but in any particular case the actual cost will depend on the outcome of a competitive tendering exercise.
Mr. Gerrard : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the contract struck between Group 4 and the French-owned private medical firm AMI for the provision of health care at Wolds prison.
Mr. Gerrard : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the prison service charges Group 4 to keep inmates from Wolds prison in custody and to provide them with food when they are delivered to Crown court.
Mr. Gerrard : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to hold an inquiry into the most recent disturbance at Wolds prison ; and when he expects the results to be published.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Only one prisoner from Wolds was taken ill at Doncaster Crown court on 29 June. He had been seen by medical staff at the prison for treatment to a cut arm before leaving for court. He was prescribed antibiotic tablets and pronounced fit to travel. His illness at court was diagnosed as a reaction to the antibiotic tablets, which he was advised to stop taking.
Column 532used to deal with the disturbance which took place at the Wolds prison between Saturday 27 June and Sunday 28 June ; and how many of these employees were certified prisoner custody officers.
Mr. Jack : Information is not yet available for 1991, and was not published in 1971. The readily available information relates to England and Wales in 1990 and 1981 and is published in table 8.5 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales, 1990".
Mr. Sproat : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will set out the current advice given to magistrates about releasing on bail someone who has been arrested for a further offence while out on bail on a previous offence ;
(2) if he will set out the current advice given to magistrates on releasing persons on bail ;
(3) what advice is given to magistrates as to the number of times persons should be released on bail when they have already been arrested for previous offences and been released on bail for all of those offences.