Home Page

Column 701

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 27 January 1993



Mr. Harvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 15 January, Official Report, columns 853-54, what consultations he had with the United Nations prior to allowing the visas to be issued ; and what opinion they gave as to whether these discussions contravened agreed sanctions.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : As I said in my answer to the hon. Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Ainsworth) on 19 January, there is no reason why British firms should not hold such discussions with the Iraqis. But we made clear to GEC that, since Iraq is in breach of the terms of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 setting out the terms of the formal ceasefire at the end of the Gulf war, there is no immediate prospect of sanctions being lifted and therefore no prospect of GPT being in a position to fulfil any contract with the Iraqis. We also told them that we were not therefore ready to put an application to the United Nations Sanctions Committee. There was therefore no need for discussions with the United Nations prior to granting visas.

Mr. Harvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 15 January, Official Report, columns 853-54, what investigations he has made as to the military ranks or civil positions held by D. Jallo, M. Abdul Razak, B. Sabae, D. Yasin, A. Saad Gismail, M. Saddin, M. Abdul Sadar and C. Stefanou.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : Seven of the eight applicants sponsored by GPT were described as engineers. The eighth was a merchant. All applications were fully investigated by relevant FCO departments and inquiries made of other Government Departments which have an interest.

Biological Weapons

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the full text of his and his United States counterpart's letter to President Yeltsin on the Russian biological weapons research programme ; and what response he has received.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : There has been a series of exchanges over the last two years between the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia (formerly the Soviet Union) about the Russian biological weapons programme. These exchanges took place on a confidential basis. We have no plans to publish them.

Column 702


Legal Aid

Mr. Michael : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the sum paid out in legal aid in the six most expensive fraud cases in each of the last five years.

Mr. John M. Taylor : Currently, interim payments cannot all be linked on the computer to the individual cases in which they are made. However, the position with regard to the most prominent fraud cases in recent times is as follows :

Guinness trials

Total costs have yet to be determined. Around £1.7 million has been paid to date in respect of the first and second trials.

Barlow Clowes

Total costs were £5.3 million.

Blue Arrow

Not all claims have been determined. £9.7 million has been paid out to date.

Britannia Park

Total cost yet to be determined.

Marconi Defence

Total cost yet to be determined.

The above costs include payments made from central funds in addition to payments from the legal aid fund.

Housing Repossessions

Mr. Battle : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many actions for possession for 1992 were initiated by (a) building societies, (b) banks and (c) other lenders in each county court area.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The information is not available in this form. The only available breakdown of possession actions taken by county court is between those taken by local authorities and those initiated by private lenders. The latter includes banks, building societies and other private lenders.

Trial Delays

Mr. John Morris : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the current delay for trials in the commercial court, other courts of the High Court and the Court of Appeal, civil and criminal divisions, and as regards the latter, distinguishing between cases involving custody and non-custodial cases.

Mr. John M. Taylor : For longer cases the current waiting time in the commercial court is 10 to 11 months though urgent cases may be expedited. Shorter cases can be listed for hearing within three months. Cases are generally fixtures and a date for hearing is supplied to the parties, taking account of the time they need to prepare.

In the Queens Bench Division waiting times vary between one month for warned list cases and 13 months for fixtures likely to last over two months.

In the Family Division the average waiting time for cases likely to last between a half day and one day is six weeks in the High Court list. Cases of five days or more in duration can be heard within 20 weeks.

In the Chancery Division the waiting times vary between eight months for cases under three days in duration and 23 months for long cases in the part I list.

In the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) the average waiting time between set down and disposal is 7.7 months.

Column 703

At present there are no figures available to show the time between receipt of a case within the Criminal Appeal Office and final disposal in that court. However, from receipt in the list office to final disposal, the approximate waiting times for appellants in custody were, at the end of December 1992, 4.3 months for appeals against conviction and 2.3 months for appeals against sentence. For those not in custody, the waiting times were 6.6 months and 3.9 months respectively.

In the crown office the waiting times are available only from the date of entry into the warned list to the date of hearing. They are, for the divisional court list 8.3 months, for the single judge list 16.5 months and for the planning court list 9.3 months.


Rail Services

Rev. Ian Paisley : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made towards implementation of the recommendation contained in the Monopolies and Mergers Commission report of December 1990 on rail services in Northern Ireland provided by Northern Ireland Railways Limited ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins : The initial response, announced to the House on 3 July 1991, indicated that there had been a positive reaction to the Commission's recommendations and that none of them had been rejected. The follow-up response, which I have today placed in the Library of the House, confirms that 22 of the 34 recommendations have already been implemented and that the remaining 12 are in the process of implementation. The response was produced in consultation with the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company and Northern Ireland Railways.

There have been several important developments since the initial response. Northern Ireland Railways appointed a new managing director in August 1992. A total of 22 salaried posts have now been abolished. To fulfil the commitment in the Northern Ireland citizens charter, the Government have commissioned a study into the scope for introducing a private element into the management and operation of Northern Ireland Railways. Substantial progress has been made by management and the trade unions as regards industrial relations. Northern Ireland Railways published a more challenging passengers charter in November 1992. Together, these, and the other matters dealt with in the response, should result in a significant improvement of services to the public and the management of the company.

The Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland will continue in dialogue with the Transport Holding Company and Northern Ireland Railways about the implementation of the recommendations and I shall report on progress to the House in due course.

Column 704


Racial Attacks

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Attorney-General if he will establish a review of the procedures for ensuring that the Crown prosecution service handles race attack cases without racial prejudice.

The Solicitor-General : In all its actions the Crown prosecution service is committed to avoiding discrimination on the ground of race. A system is currently being established to monitor the implementation of its policy guidance on racial attack cases.

Crown Prosecution Service

Mr. Raynsford : To ask the Attorney-General how many cases involving allegations of criminal offences have been considered in each of the past three years by the Crown prosecution service ; and how many of these resulted in prosecutions being brought.

The Solicitor-General : Statistics at present available relate to cases handled in the 31 areas of the service but do not include the numbers of cases of specialist work undertaken at Crown prosecution service headquarters. The table sets out in respect of each of the past three years the number of cases received (column 1), the number of cases which were proceeded with (column 2), and the number of cases not proceeded with (column 3). The figures for 1992 are for the first nine months only.

                   |Column 1          |Column 2          |Column 3                             

                   |Case received     |Proceeded with    |Not proceeded with                   


1990               |1,638,751         |1,298,158         |301,048                              

1991               |1,575,021         |1,241,434         |351,090                              

1992               |1,193,294         |895,582           |285,181                              

The number of cases received in a particular period does not equal the number of cases finalised in that period (column 2 and 3) because incomplete cases are carried forward from period to period. The term "not proceeded with" includes cases discontinued, cases in which no evidence was offered, cases adjourned sine die and those not concluded because the defendant could not be traced. The figures also include cases submitted for advice only and some non-criminal proceedings (eg forfeiture under section 3 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959).

Mr. Bashir Uddin

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Attorney-General what examination he has made of the accuracy of the statements concerning witnesses in the case made by the Crown prosecution service to lawyers representing Mr. Bashir Uddin in connection with a case heard at Inner London crown court in mid-January.

The Attorney-General : The Director of Public Prosecutions has received a full report on the case concerning Mr. Bashir Uddin and a letter explaining statements made by the Crown prosecution service concerning witnesses has been sent to his solicitors. A copy of this letter has been placed in the Library.

Column 705

Miss Lindi St. Clair

Mr. Waterson : To ask the Attorney-General what consideration is being given to the prosecution of Miss Lindi St. Clair for wasting police time.

The Solicitor-General : I understand that the Sussex police are conducting an investigation into certain matters relating to Miss Lindi St. Clair. The question of prosecution will be considered at the conclusion of that investigation. At this stage I cannot predict whether any prosecution will be initiated.

UDR Four

Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Attorney-General what was the date of the Appeal Court hearing in Northern Ireland at which three of the UDR Four were released ; what were the recommendations of the court about prosecutions of persons involved in the case ; and what action is being taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.

The Attorney-General : The Court of Appeal for Northern Ireland delivered its judgment in the appeal of R v. Neil Fraser Latimer, James Irwin Hegan, Noel Richmond Bell and Alfred Winston Allen on 29 July 1992.

The court made no recommendations in respect of prosecutions. The court directed that its judgment be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland so that he may consider the bringing of prosecutions against officers who he considers committed criminal offences in connection with the trial of the appellants. The Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland issued an interim direction on 5 August 1992 to the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary requesting that certain reports and information be obtained. When these matters have been received and considered the director will take decisions as to whether or not to institute proceedings. I refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin) on 11 November 1992 at columns 835-36.


Passenger Rolling Stock

Mr. Dickens : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has for the provision of passenger rolling stock after the privatisation of British Rail.

Mr. Freeman : The private sector must ultimately take the lead in providing rolling stock. Using its financing and management skills is the best way to ensure the right rolling stock is available at the right time for the best possible price.

The Government recognise that there may be some uncertainty in the market until the railway is established in the private sector. In a consultation document "Railway Privatisation : Passenger Rolling Stock" published today, we indicate that we are considering a number of measures which will help to get a rolling stock market up and running. There must be no hiatus in railway investment during the transition to a franchised railway.

Column 706

M1-M62 Link

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to decide a timetable for proposals for an M1-M62 link road ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : The results of the public consultation for this complex scheme are being assessed. An announcement about the scheme will be made after the completion of the assessment.

Community Transport

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what budgets were available, for each passenger transport authority, for community transport provision in the last year for which figures are available.

Mr. Freeman : This is a matter for the Passenger Transport Executives. The PTE's three-year plans indicate that 1991-92 expenditure was :

                   |£ million          


Greater Manchester |2.900              

Merseyside         |0.676              

South Yorkshire    |1.300              

Tyne and Wear      |1.460              

West Midlands      |1.782              

West Yorkshire     |0.764              

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what level of direct grant funding for community transport is provided, by region, in England.

Mr. Freeman : This is a matter for local authorities. Separated details are not available.

Roads, Manchester

Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if it remains his policy that public consultation on the three separate stages of the Greater Manchester western and northern relief road will be undertaken together.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : No. Public consultation on stage 2 of the relief road (M56-M62) is underway. It is hoped to follow with consultation on route options for stage 3 (M62 Eccles to Whitefield) in late spring.

Consultation on stage 1 (M6-M56) took place during 1989. Statutory orders for this section have now been published.

Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will extend the period of public consultation on the proposed Greater Manchester western and northern relief road (M56-M62 link) so as to allow consultation with residents of Irlam and Cadishead.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport will consider all comments made--including those received after the close of consultation--before deciding whether to proceed with a scheme.

M3 Extension

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate at current prices the total amount of separately identifiable expenditure by Her

Column 707

Majesty's Government over the last 25 years relating to all aspects of the proposed M3 extension ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : The information requested is not readily available for the period prior to the financial year 1981-82. The total amount of expenditure since that date to end December 1992 on all aspects of the proposed M3 extension between Bar End and Compton at current prices is as follows :

                       |£ million          


Design and supervision |10.6               

Works                  |6.2                

Land                   |0.3                


Total                  |17.1               

Oil Spills

225. Mr. Wallace : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has regarding the status and use in other European Community and European Economic Area nations of the oil dispersants (a) Dispolene 34S, (b) Dasic Slickgone LTSW and (c) BP Enersperse 1037 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Norris : The Department does not hold information on the status of particular dispersants in other countries. During the Braer incident it was established that Dispolene 34S was approved for use in Norway but, as in the United Kingdom, this dispersant expired from the list of approved products in September 1990 when it was re-submitted for testing by the manufacturer who had changed the proportions of the constituents and designated its dispersant Dispolene 36S--which is currently approved. It has not been necessary to withdraw previously approved stocks, which still meet current standards. The contracting parties to the Bonn agreement-- United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Belgium,

Column 708

Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Norway, and the EEC--share a common approach for the selection and approval of the particular dispersants which may be used. They have also agreed in principle on a mutual acceptance of individually approved dispersants in the case of an emergency.

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the amount of oil spilled off the Kent coast in the last six months ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Norris : There were no major oil pollution incidents off the Kent coast during the last six months. Motor tanker Perfecto spilled some 200 gallons of gasoil during an incident at Shellhaven on 20 July 1992, and the fishing vessel Our Sarah Jane spilled 600 gallons of diesel at Whitstable on 18 July 1992. Both these incidents were dealt with by the appropriate port authorities who also investigated them with a view to prosecution. The marine pollution control unit monitored these and 21 reports of possible minor pollution by ships in the United Kingdom waters off the Kent coast. The majority concerned the sighting of oil-like sheens in the wakes of suspect ships and almost all were reported by other vessels or aircraft. It is impossible to quantify reliably the small amounts of oil discharged in the wakes of ships. As a result of MPCU action, four vessels were given port state control inspections at their next ports of call and two, bound for remote parts of the world, were put on the European register for inspection should they return to north European waters.

Driving Test Costs

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the cost of a driving test in each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Kenneth Carlisle : The cost for each type of driving test over the last ten years is given in the following table :

Column 707

From              L' test      Motorcycle test           Vocational tests                      

                              |Accompanied |Part I      |Lorry       |Bus                      

                 |(£)         |(£)         |(£)         |(£)         |(£)                      


1 March 1982     |13.00       |-           |12.60       |<1>59.50    |<2>36.00                 

12 December 1983 |14.40       |-           | 15.60 + VAT|<3>65.00    |36.00                    

1 July 1986       14.40        -             15.60 + VAT 40.00                                 

27 April 1987     15.00        -             15.60 + VAT 40.00                                 

27 June 1988      16.50        -             15.60 + VAT 42.00                                 

5 June 1989       18.00        <4>24.00      15.60 + VAT 42.00                                 

18 June 1990      19.50        26.00         15.60 + VAT 45.00                                 

3 June 1991       21.50        28.50         15.60 + VAT 48.00                                 

14 August 1992    23.50        34.00        <5>-         55.50                                 

<1> This fee came into effect on 27 September 1982.                                            

<2> This fee came into effect on 1 September 1982.                                             

<3> This fee came into effect on 12 March 1984.                                                

<4> The accompanied motorcycle test was introduced on 2 October 1989. Prior to that the fee    

for the part II motorcycle test was the same as for the L' test.                               

<5> The part I motorcycle test was phased out after the introduction of compulsory basic       

training in December 1990 with a six month overlap period ending on 31 May 1991.               


Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he makes of the risk to the shore and to marine life in the North sea of cargoes carried

Column 708

by ships lost by accident ; what steps he is taking to implement regulations to reduce the risks ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Norris [holding answer 25 January 1993] : The risk to the shore and marine life resulting from the loss of ships' cargoes is taken into account when developing international regulations for the design of ships and their

Column 709

equipment and national procedures for dealing with pollution incidents. International convention requirements are implemented in the United Kingdom through merchant shipping legislation.


Offences Against Business

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total value of (a) business frauds, (b) cheque, credit and cash card frauds, (c) thefts from companies, (d) thefts from employees, (e) offences of shoplifting and (f) offences of vandalism against business in the most recent year for which information is available and for each of the previous 10 years.

Mr. Jack : The only available Home Office statistics on value are for certain types of theft offences, as recorded by the police. Figures for 1981-1990 have been published annually in chapter 2 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales"--copies of which are available in the Library. For 1991, the total value of property stolen in offences of theft by an employee was £29,848,000. The corresponding figure for offences of theft from shops was £20,902, 000.

The Association for Payment Clearing Services (APACS) estimates credit card, cheque and cash card fraud losses by major retail banks at over £165 million in 1991. Corresponding figures for 1988-90 were published in crime prevention unit paper 26 entitled "The Prevention of Cheque and Credit Card Fraud" (also available in the Library). In addition, we have not received detailed accounts of losses to building societies, to finance houses who manage storecards, from fraudulent purchase of goods by phone, and from unguaranteed cheques in excess of the guarantee limit.

However, the British Retail Consortium has estimated that internal and external crime costs the retail industry in the region of £2.5 billion each year.

Safer Cities Projects

Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will set out the budget of the safer cities programme at a constant price basis for each year since its inception, together with a forecast for 1993-94.

Mr. Jack : The expenditure on the safer cities programme for each year since it began in 1988 is as follows :

               |Cash          |1993-94 prices               

               |£             |£                            


1988-89        |211,000       |278,000                      

1989-90        |3,295,000     |4,074,000                    

1990-91        |6,349,000     |7,270,000                    

1991-92        |7,217,000     |7,730,000                    

1992-93        |<1>7,358,000  |7,560,000                    

1993-94        |<2>5,785,000  |5,785,000                    

<1> estimated.                                              

<2> planned.                                                

In 1993-94 expenditure is reduced while existing projects are winding down. It is expected to rise in later years as new projects come on stream.

Column 710

Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evaluation has been made of the current safer cities projects ; what external consultants are involved in this process ; and if he will place a copy in the Library.

Mr. Jack : Evaluation is being carried out at three levels : of individual crime prevention schemes, of each project and of the programme as a whole. Project co-ordinators monitor the individual schemes promoted by their projects and assess effectiveness as work progresses. Thematic reviews drawing on this information are planned, the first of which, on the use of closed circuit television in car parks, is to be published shortly and will be placed in the Library. At project level, a study of the progress of projects in promoting local community safety strategies was published in December 1992 ("Safer Cities and Community Safety Strategies", crime prevention unit paper No. 38), a copy of which is in the Library. For the programme as a whole, an evaluation by the Home Office research and statistics department is in progress, focusing primarily on the impact of safer cities on crime rates and the fear of crime. The report "Safer Cities and Community Safety Strategies" was written by Mr. Nicholas Tilley of Nottingham Polytechnic. Professor K. Pease (Manchester university), Professor Murray Stewart (Bristol university) act as external academic consultants to the programme level evaluation. Dr. R. Wiggins (City university) provides advice on data analysis.

Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the current safer cities projects, indicating when they commenced and their planned completion dates.

Mr. Jack : The information requested is as follows :

Safer Cities Programme                                              

Project          |Date established|Date of planned                  

                                  |completion of HO                 



Birmingham       |August 1989     |March 1994                       

Bradford         |November 1988   |March 1994                       

Bristol          |January 1990    |March 1994                       

Coventry         |October 1989    |March 1994                       

Derby            |October 1991    |September 1995                   

Hammersmith and                                                     

  Fulham         |December 1991   |September 1995                   

Hartlepool       |September 1989  |March 1994                       

Hull             |October 1989    |March 1994                       

Islington        |January 1990    |March 1994                       

Leicester        |October 1991    |September 1995                   

Lewisham         |July 1989       |March 1994                       

Middlesbrough    |October 1991    |September 1995                   

Nottingham       |April 1989      |March 1994                       

Rochdale         |August 1989     |March 1994                       

Salford          |February 1990   |March 1994                       

Sunderland       |August 1989     |March 1994                       

Tower Hamlets    |December 1989   |March 1994                       

Wandsworth       |January 1990    |March 1994                       

Wirral           |September 1989  |March 1994                       

Wolverhampton    |February 1989   |March 1994                       

<1> This is the date by which, on present planning, Home Office     

funding is due to cease. Projects may continue beyond this date if  

other resources can be secured locally to support them.             

Column 711

Metropolitan Police Overtime

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated expenditure on overtime for the Metropolitan police for 1992-93.

Mr. Charles Wardle : A total of £71.2 million.

Prison Education

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what have been the costs incurred by prison establishments and prison headquarters in mounting the exercise "competing for quality" in connection with competitive tendering in prison education.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The need for competitive tendering for the future provision of education services in prison establishments is consequent upon the changes in the responsibilities of local education authorities under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The exercise is also wholly consistent with the Government's policy on competition.

Information on the staffing and other costs that have been incurred in establishments is not held centrally. In establishments and at prison service headquarters for the most part existing resources have been re- deployed to undertake the exercise. The current estimate of those additional costs which can be identified is £96,000. This comprises consultancy costs, legal costs, staff and travel and subsistence costs, the hire of accommodation, photocopying and postage.

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision was made for prison education in 1992-93 ; what are the forecast costs for 1993-94 ; which vote will bear the costs of the 1993-94 provision ; and what forecast he has made of the change in the number of hours of education provided in 1993-94 over 1992-93.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Provision for prison education in England and Wales is as shown :

Budget             |Provisional budget                   

1992-93            |1993-94                              

£ million          |£ million                            


33.3               |35.5                                 

The 1993-94 costs will be borne on the prisons, England and Wales vote, class VIII, vote 2. The provisional budget for 1993-94 is based on maintaining the existing volume of education provision.

Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which organisations will be contracted to provide education in prisons between 1 April and 30 September ;

(2) which organisations will be contracted to provide education in Her Majesty's prison Maidstone between 1 April and 30 September ; for how many prisoners classes will be provided ; and what will be the average number of hours education per prisoner per week.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The information is not yet available. Existing providers of education in prison establishments

Next Section

  Home Page