Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the preparations he has taken to ensure full and effective co-ordination by police forces in the west of England to deal with possible breaches of the law, trespass and blocking of the highway by new age travellers in the summer months.
Mr. Charles Wardle : These are operational matters for the police. The Association of Chief Police Officers has set up a national intelligence -gathering network on the activities of travellers with co-ordinating centres in the Wiltshire constabulary and Cumbria constabulary. Forces have also reviewed their contingency plans for dealing with the problems caused by new age travellers. These have proved effective so far this year.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to ensure, in conjunction with the police, that convoys of new age travellers do not block the public highway.
Mr. Maclean : The only information currently available relates to the number of reported racial incidences and I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question from the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Gerrard) on 26 April, at column 266.
Dame Angela Rumbold : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent the resources of the Metropolitan police cab enforcement section have been increased ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) custody officers, (b) custody sergeants and (c) rota sergeants have taken five or more days off work through stress-related illnesses in each police force area in England and Wales in each year since 1990.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated June 1993 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of prisoners held in police cells in each Prison Service region for each month in 1993.
The following table shows the total number of prisoners held in police cells on each Friday this year up to 12 February, which is the last day prisoners were held in police cells. It is not possible to separate remand and convicted prisoners although most would have been on remand. All the prisoners concerned should have been in establishments in the Prison Service's Directorate of Inmate Programmes which covers establishments in the north of England.
Date |Number of prisoners |in police cells ------------------------------------------------------------ 8 January |279 15 January |252 22 January |236 29 January |166 5 February |119 12 February |20
Mr. Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what were the numbers of people at the last election who used (a) proxy, (b) absent and (c) postal votes in the parliamentary constituency of Christchurch.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : There were 1,356 electors on the postal voters list in the Christchurch constituency at the last general election, and 1,220 postal ballot paper covering envelopes were returned. Information about the number of electors voting by proxy is not collected centrally.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will agree to a pilot project on the use of the expandable side- handled baton taking place in specific areas within three police forces in England and Wales.
(2) what measures are being taken to improve the design of minibuses in the interest of greater passenger safety.
Mr. Key : We are making a continuing effort to improve the safety of all road vehicles including minibuses. Seat belts are already required to be fitted to the front seats of all new minibuses. We have sought agreement within the European Community for the mandatory extension of this requirement to all seats in minibuses.
Where seat belts are fitted, they must be worn by passengers travelling in the front seat of any minibus and by a passenger travelling in a rear seat of a smaller minibus with an unladen weight not exceeding 2,540 kg.
Mr. Duncan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has consulted the motor insurance industry on the feasibility of requiring evidence of insurance to be displayed on a vehicle's windscreen.
Mr. Key : Following wide-ranging discussions with representatives of the insurance industry, the police and the Home Office, we have decided not to require evidence of insurance to be displayed on a vehicle windscreen. Under our present driver-related insurance system, the enforcement benefit would be little more than is already provided by the check on insurance which is made when renewing vehicle excise duty. The display of an insurance disc would provide no assurance that the driver was covered by an insurance policy or complying with policy conditions, nor would it protect against the insurance being cancelled once the disc has been issued.
The enforcement potential of a windscreen display would be greater under a vehicle-related insurance regime, where cover is taken out for a particular vehicle regardless of who drives it. However, this would require all vehicles to be insured for any driver and so remove an insurer's ability to take account of the risks associated with different drivers. Because every insured vehicle could be driven by a high-risk driver, the contribution that the present insurance system makes to road safety would be undermined. It could lead to a substantial increase in motor premiums, especially for safer drivers who would, for example, find themselves contributing to the cost of insuring all cars to be driven by novice drivers or by drivers with a poor accident record. Premium increases could in turn encourage further evasion and render the measure self-defeating.
I deplore the irresponsible behaviour of the minority of drivers who fail to take out insurance. But I am sceptical
Column 172about imposing further regulations on all drivers, particularly when we cannot be confident that insurance evasion would be significantly reduced. The police already have wide powers to inspect insurance certificates, and there are over 200,000 convictions for uninsured driving every year. The maximum for this offence was increased to £5,000 in October 1992. We have decided as a result of our discusions that the format of insurance certificates should be reviewed and simplified where possible to assist the police in checking them. This will speed up this important aspect of enforcement. A further check on insurance certificates is made with applications for vehicle excise duty.
The decision not require the display of windscreen insurance discs has no effect on the compensation received by those involved in road accidents. Victims of uninsured drivers will continue to be compensated by the Motor Insurers Bureau under a long-standing agreement between the bureau and the Secretary of State for Transport.
Mr. Streeter : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what further consideration he has given to the means of notifying to hon. Members his receipt of application for orders under part I of the Transport and Works Act 1992.
Mr. Freeman : Yes. My Department has arranged with the House of Commons Library that applicants will supply a full set of their application documents for the information of hon. Members. The House of Commons Public Information Office will note in the "Weekly Information Bulletin" the receipt of such documents, together with a contact point from which further information may be obtained.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the actual or estimated cost of the Ironbridge to Canning Town improvement schemes on or adjacent to the A13 trunk road in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham in respect of (a) East India Dock road, interim junction scheme as now completed, (b) the East India Dock tunnel link, (c) the completed Abbott road, Leamouth road and A13 Ironbridge widening scheme, (d) the widening of the Canning Town flyover from four to six lanes and associated road works and (e) works associated with the re-aligned east- bound slip road to the A13 ; and what plans he has for improvements for pedestrian crossing of the A13, Newham way, between these works and the proposed Freemasons road underpass.
U Schemes |£ million (including |VAT) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (a) and (c) East India Dock Road/Leamouth Road |2.60 (b) East India Dock Road Link |36.00 (d) and (e) A13 Ironbridge/A13 Canning Town Flyover (including NE Slip Road, Canning Town) |50.06
Schemes (a) and (c) relate to the completed works for improvement to the East India Dock road junction and widening of the A13 at Leamouth, including the Abbott road junction. The proposed widening of the Ironbridge is now an integral part of scheme (d), as is scheme (e).
Scheme (b) is the responsibility of the London Docklands development corporation.
Subways at Beckton road and Douglas road have been refurbished in recent years. The Department is discussing with LB Newham the possibility of improving the condition of the Rathbone subway.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the expected outturn cost, or estimated cost of (a) of the Lower Lea crossing, (b) repairs and renewal to the Silvertown flyover, (c) the north Woolwich road widening and improvements, (d) the new Connaught crossing, (e) the Albert Dock spine road and associated intersections and (f) the Eastern G gateway link road in the London borough of Newham at 1993 or other specified year prices ; and what is the estimated cost of the east London river crossing and its approaches on both sides of the Thames.
|£ million (including |VAT) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (a) Lower Lea Crossing |37.5 (b) Silvertown Flyover repairs |<1>0.5 (c) North Woolwich Road Improvements |<1>3.0 (d) Connaught Crossing |26.0 (e) Albert Dock Spine Road |38.5 (f) Eastern Gateway Access Road |10.8 (g) East London River Crossing |<2>300.0 <1>Estimates at current prices. <2>At 1989 prices; also includes land costs.
Only scheme (g) is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport. Schemes (a), (d), (e) and (f) are the responsibility of the London Docklands development corporation. Schemes (b) and (c) are the responsibility of the London borough of Newham.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all the occasions when his Department has sought orders for the seizure of property from those protesting against proposed new road schemes ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the cost per mile of maintaining mainline railway track and branch line railway track (a) throughout the British Rail network and (b) in the south Wales and western regions.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people are currently in receipt of home help service in the Down and Lisburn unit of management ; and what was the comparable figure for the same period last year.
Mr. Ancram : In May 1992, the latest date for which information is available, 2,436 people were in receipt of the home help service in the Down and Lisburn unit of management. In May 1991, the number of recipients was 2,444.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people who are currently in receipt of home help service in the Down and Lisburn unit of management have been subject to a reduction in hours.
Mr. Atkins : The Department of Economic Development intends to ask NIE plc to organise a competitive tender to secure generation capacity from plant using renewable sources of energy, with a view to making a non-fossil fuel order. The necessary arrangements for the tender competition are being finalised at present and I hope to make a further statement in the near future.
Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he intends to meet representatives of the Northern Ireland Federation of Clubs and the Club and Institute Union to discuss the registration of clubs under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act (Northern Ireland) 1969 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : Clubs may be registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act (Northern Ireland) 1969 if they satisfy certain conditions. These will be notified shortly to representatives of the Northern Ireland Federation of Clubs and the Club and Institute Union Ltd. Applications to register from clubs may then follow.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to his answer of 24 May, Official Report, columns 461-62, what estimate he has made of the overall administrative costs of the Ballyconnell canal project met in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) in the Republic of Ireland ; and how many persons in his Department have been engaged in such work.
Column 175Supply Board in the Republic of Ireland, which reports to a joint steering group comprising six representatives from Northern Ireland Government Departments and six representatives from Republic of Ireland Government Departments. The joint steering group oversees the project, deals with policy issues, approves expenditure and monitors progress. It meets two or three times a year. In addition to these formal meetings, there is also ad hoc liaison between the two Governments and with the project managers, including contacts at local level to facilitate works progress. It is not possible to estimate the overall administrative costs of the project.
Office of Electricity Regulation Northern Ireland (OFFER NI) Brookmount Buildings
42 Fountain Street
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many claims for compensation, arising from the IRA bomb at the forensic science laboratory at Newtownbreda in September 1992 are still to be concluded.
Mr. Mates : Responsibility for the subject in question has been delegated to the Compensation Agency under its chief executive, Mr. J. Robinson. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given. Letter from John Robinson to Mr. John D. Taylor, dated 22 June 1993 :
I refer to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning the number of compensation claims arising from the IRA bomb at Newtownbreda in September 1992 which have still to be concluded. The following is a summary of progress to date :
|Number ---------------------------------------------------------------- Number of applications received |902 Number disallowed |37 Number of cases in which final compensation has been paid |512 Number in which formal offers of settlement have been made |157 Number still to be resolved and which are at various stages of completion |196 Number of interim payments made in cases still to be resolved |173
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 21 June 1993] : The Bulrush Peat Company Ltd. has permission for the extraction of peat from part of Ballynahone bog. This followed a detailed public inquiry. While the Department of the Environment, Northern Ireland has no plans to revoke the permission, I shall shortly be announcing a policy statement on how the Government intend to address the issues of peat bogs in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Sackville : The information is not available in the form requested. Latest data on the number of beds on neo-natal wards and nursing staff employed in special care baby units are shown in the tables.
Table 1: Average number of daily available beds 1990-91 England, regional health authority (RHA) and special health authorities Neonates |Number --------------------------------------------- England |3,374 Northern RHA |260 Yorkshire RHA |282 Trent RHA |295 East Anglian RHA |121 North West Thames RHA |248 North East Thames RHA |275 South East Thames RHA |271 South West Thames RHA |189 Wessex RHA |182 Oxford RHA |180 South Western RHA |148 West Midlands RHA |371 Mersey RHA |172 North Western RHA |340 Special Health Authorities |41 Note: These beds are in wards for neonates in regional designated intensive centres or non-maternity wards. Regional figures do not add up to England total due to rounding. Source: KHO3 return, lines 10, 11.
Table 2 Number of nurses and midwives employed in special care baby units 1991 England, Regional Health Authority (RHA) and Special Health Authorities |Qualified Nurses |Unqualified Nurses|Midwives |Total -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- England |1,950 |290 |1,260 |3,500 Northern RHA |90 |20 |70 |180 Yorkshire RHA |150 |30 |80 |260 Trent RHA |260 |30 |80 |360 East Anglian RHA |90 |10 |30 |130 North West Thames RHA |90 |20 |90 |210 North East Thames RHA |130 |10 |80 |220 South East Thames RHA |160 |20 |50 |230 South West Thames RHA |40 |10 |70 |110 Wessex RHA |110 |0 |50 |170 Oxford RHA |130 |20 |50 |200 South Western RHA |150 |10 |100 |260 West Midlands RHA |240 |40 |130 |400 Mersey RHA |70 |30 |100 |190 North Western RHA |200 |30 |270 |510 Special Health Authorities |50 |10 |0 |60 Source: Non-medical Workforce Census September 1991. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 whole-time equivalent-regional figures may not therefore add up to England total.
Dr. Mawhinney : General practitioners already act as advocates of their patients in providing general medical services and referring patients to specialist services if required. GP fund holding builds on this principle by enabling volunteer practices to purchase directly a range of hospital and community services on behalf of their patients. This is proving a great success and our aim is to extend the benefits to as many patients as possible.
Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken by her Department to encourage the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work to change its equal opportunities policies ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Bowis : The Department shares the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work's--CCETSW--commitment to ensure that individuals are not unfairly disadvantaged on the grounds of age, gender, disability, language, including sign language, race or religion.
Various aspects of the implementation of CCETSW's equal opportunities policy were discussed at the last annual ministerial review in December 1992. It was emphasised that CCETSW should not give a misleading impression in its documentation about the emphasis it places on anti-racist and other anti-discriminatory issues in training, and this must not be at the expense of receiving a solid, practical grounding in other important professional and management skills.
Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been treated in the NHS for (a) myopia and (b) other eyesight disorders by laser photorefractive keratectomy ; and what information she has on the extent of the use of this treatment in the private sector.
Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on her assessment of laser photorefractive keratectomy as a treatment to correct myopia ; and what plans she has to make it available free of charge to patients at NHS hospitals.
Dr. Mawhinney : Different types of laser are now being used in the national health service for the treatment of various eye conditions, including glaucoma. The use of photorefractive keratectomy, or excimer, lasers for treating myopia--short-sightedness--is still subject to research. An evaluation study is currently under way and is not expected to report before 1994. The evaluation is important, particularly as most people who are short-sighted and seek laser treatment do not have an eye disease and wish only to avoid wearing spectacles or contact lenses.
The form of treatment of myopia is, therefore, currently only available to NHS patients as part of ongoing research.
(2) what was the total cost of the optical appliances voucher scheme in each year since 1986.
|Numbers of vouchers |paid for (millions) ------------------------------------------------------------ 1986-87<1> |1.46 2.52 |47.9 192.26 |52.1 192.27 |53.6 192.43 |63.9 192.84 |79.8 193.18 |<2>99.9 <1> Figures are for nine months only following introduction of the scheme on 1 July 1986. <2> Provisional figures.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will publish in tabula form details of all grants currently approved by her Department to support projects connected with diet health and cookery including the amount of the grant, the period for which it has been approved, the name and location of the person or organisation to which it is made and the name of the person responsible for accounting to her for the expenditure of public funds in each case.
Column 179Food Alliance which aims to improve the basic cooking skills of young people as a contribution to healthy eating. Funding amounts to £60,000 over two years--£31,000 in 1992-93 and £29,000 in 1993-94--and is subject to the normal vigorous financial management of all projects awarded fundin ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans she has to establish an official complaints body to cover all dispensing opticians ;
(2) what representations she has received concerning the need for an official complaints body for customers of dispensing opticians.
Dr. Mawhinney : We have no plans to set up a body to investigate complaints against dispensing opticians, who are independent practitioners, nor have we received any representations to do so. The bodies representing optometrists and dispensing opticians set up an independent consumer complaints' system--the optical consumer complaints service--in January this year, and all dispensing opticians' practices have been encouraged to become members.
Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the total NHS budget in each of the last 10 years was spent on drugs ; how many items were prescribed per head of population ; and what corresponding information she has from other EC countries.
Dr. Mawhinney : The available information is shown in the tables. The total national health service drugs bill comprises expenditure by family health services--FHS--and the hospital and community health services --HCHS. Items prescribed per head of population relate to prescriptions written by general practitioners and dispensed within the FHS. Comparable data for the other countries in the European Community are not available.
Year |Total NHS drugs bill |as a percentage of |total NHS |expenditure --------------------------------------------------------------- 1982-83 |10.2 1983-84 |10.7 1984-85 |10.4 1985-86 |10.5 1986-87 |10.6 1987-88 |10.7 1988-89 |10.8 1989-90 |11.2 1990-91 |10.7 1991-92 |10.9 Note: 1992-93 expenditure figures are not yet available.
Year |Items prescribed per |head of population --------------------------------------------------------------- 1983 |7.2 1984 |7.3 1985 |7.3 1986 |7.3 1987 |7.6 1988 |7.9 1989 |8.0 1990 |8.3 1991 |8.5 1992 |8.8 Note: Prior to 1991, prescription items were based on dispensing fees paid to contractors. From 1991, the actual numbers of items are shown.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in the Mid-Staffordshire health authority who have been referred by their general practitioner to a hospital consultant are currently not being put on an active waiting list and not being given any indication of when an appointment will be available.
Dr. Mawhinney : This information is not available centrally. Patients who are referred to a hospital consultant by a general medical practitioner should either be seen immediately or put on an out-patient waiting list depending on their clinical priority. No one should have to wait to be put on an out-patient waiting list after he or she has been referred by his or her GP.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 16 June, Official Report, column 619, whether she will now fund a study of the causes of lung cancer in Liverpool ; what is the future of the Sefton general hospital chest clinic in Liverpool ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Sackville : Research studies which are locally based are the responsibility of the regional health authority and would not normally be funded from the Department's central research budget. It would be for Mersey RHA to consider whether or not to mount a study of the causes of lung cancer in Liverpool in the light of its knowledge of local needs, resources and priorities.
The hon. Member may wish to contact Mr. D. H. Tod, the chairman of Liverpool health authority, concerning the future of the Sefton general hospital chest clinic.