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Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make available in the Library the post-mortem report and any specialised pathology reports relating to the case of the late Mr. Tony Bland ;
(2) whether it is his usual policy to publish post-mortem and pathology reports relating to inquests which are held ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the normal period which elapses between the death of a patient in accidental or unnatural circumstances and the holding of an inquest into that death.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how long elapsed between the death of Mr. Tony Bland and the completion of the inquest into his death ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Charles Wardle : I understand from the West Yorkshire (West) coroner that Mr. Bland died on 3 March 1993. The inquest into his death was opened the following day and adjourned to await the outcome of relevant legal proceedings. The inquest was resumed on 21 December 1993 and concluded on the same day. Coroners are independent judicial officers and Ministers have no authority to intervene in or comment on the way in which a coroner carries out his duties in any individual case.
Mr. Ingram : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the impact of the changes to statutory sick pay provision upon his Departmental budget for the financial year 1994-95.
Mr. Howard : The abolition of the 80 per cent. statutory sick pay reimbursement rate will be offset, at least in part, by a reduction in employers' national insurance contributions. Any additional costs will be absorbed within the Department's existing running costs baseline.
Sir Ivan Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how he intends to select the five members of each police authority whom he will be required to appoint under the provisions of the Police and Magistrates Court Bill ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 376members of a police authority. To assist people to decide whether they have the qualities to undertake the duties of a police authority member, I am publishing today a job description and personal profile against which candidates' suitability for appointment will be considered.
The main tasks of a police authority will be :
To establish the local priorities for policing in consultation with the Chief Constable.
To ensure that there are effective arrangements for consulting local communities about policing and for reflecting those views in local policing priorities.
To set the total budget for policing for the year.
To approve and publish a costed plan for policing. The police authority will need to ensure that the plan is designed to deliver both the Government's key objectives and those which are set locally.
To monitor the financial and other performance of the police force during the year in terms of key and local objectives and targets. To maintain a dialogue with the Home Office about the achievement of key and local objectives for policing.
To publish annual performance results in a standard form to allow comparison of performance against other forces.
To participate in the selection of senior police officers. To participate in the selection of senior civilian staff, both for the force and the authority itself.
Members of a police authority will be expected to :
Act on behalf of local people as the "customer" of the service which the police force provides.
Consult the public about the work of the police force.
Help to build a partnership between the police and the local community.
In achieving these aims, members of the authority will be expected to :
Attend all meetings of the police authority.
Attend meetings of any sub-committees of the authority as appropriate.
Prepare for these meetings by reading papers, reports and background information in advance and by keeping abreast of developments both locally and nationally in the policing sphere. Represent the policy authority in discussions with :
other police authorities
any other groups with an interest in policing matters.
Attend local police consultative groups as appropriate. Consult with representatives of the local community about issues relating to policing.
It is envisaged that the above duties will require a minimum commitment of 18 days a year. Most commitments will be on weekdays, on some occasions during the evenings.
There is a statutory obligation on police authority members to set a lawful budget each year. Failure to do so may lead to a member being surcharged if auditors consider that the authority suffered a financial loss as a consequence.
Appointments will be made for a period not exceeding four years. Police Authority Members are not paid but are entitled to receive an allowance and expenses relating to the work they undertake on the Authority's business.
Potential candidates should be at least 21 years old, be under 70 years of age at the expiration of their term of appointment and be of good character. They should also meet the following criteria : They should live or work in the area for which the authority is responsible.
They should possess good communication skills.
They should have good financial skills.
They should be able to demonstrate the ability to challenge accepted views in a constructive way.
They should have an understanding of the needs of the community with regard to policing and of the pressures and challenges which face the police themselves.
They should have the skills and experience which would broaden the expertise available to the authority.
Column 377Police Authorities should include members from a wide range of backgrounds and experience and should reflect the composition of the society they serve.
All applications received will be considered in the first instance by one of six regional short-listing panels. Each regional panel will consist of a professional recruitment consultant and two people independent of Government.
I shall select those I wish to appoint as members of police authorities from the short-list for each authority submitted by the regional panels.
The involvement of people independent of Government in the short-listing procedure, and the publication of the selection criteria for these appointments emphasise the Government's aim that the five independent members of each police authority should be truly independent, and bring to their authorities a broader range of skills and experience.
We are consulting the Association of Lord-Lieutenants about their possible involvement in the short-listing procedure.
Sir Ivan Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to extend the powers of the courts to direct that juveniles who are remanded to local authority accommodation should be held in secure conditions.
Mr. Howard : I intend shortly to introduce an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill 1993, which would allow the courts to exercise such a power in relation to all juveniles who are at least 12 but not more than 16 years old, in accordance with the existing statutory criteria for its use in relation to 15 and 16-year-olds.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to meet the Association of County Councils to discuss its recent paper on a sustainable energy policy, a copy of which has been sent to him.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what discussions he had with the Secretary of State for Defence and the Lord Chancellor, or their deputies or officials of their Departments, in regard to the withholding of departmental records inherited from the former Ministry of Power and Ministry of Fuel and Power, on Anglo-American arrangements for the import and export of nuclear materials to and from the United States, under the provisions of section 3(4) of the Public Records Acts 1958 and 1967, in preparation for the most recent release of official papers from the Public Records Office.
Mr. Eggar : The decision to approve the retention of records or to prescribe a closure period of longer than 30 years, in accordance with the criteria established under the Public Records Acts, is made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor on the advice of the Advisory
Column 378Council on Public Records and of his officials in the Public Record Office. Applications are made by the relevant departmental officials in consultation with colleagues in other Departments as appropriate.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what discussions he has had with his counterparts on the EC Council of Ministers in regard to communicating to the American nuclear industrial trade organisations the European Community's policy on obtaining a one-time waiver comprising prior consent for a programme of approval for reprocessing US nuclear fuel in European reprocessing plants after 1995.
Mr. William Powell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how much has been paid by his Department under the Industry Act 1972 and subsequent related legislation in each year to companies in the Corby development area.
Mr. Sainsbury : Details of payments to companies in the Corby travel -to-work area under the original and revised regional development grants scheme ; regional selective assistance and regional enterprise grants, are as follows :
|£ million ------------------------------ 1980-81 |0.3 1981-82 |3.4 1982-83 |9.3 1983-84 |12.6 1984-85 |7.2 1985-86 |7.2 1986-87 |9.9 1987-88 |8.0 1988-89 |8.5 1989-90 |8.9 1990-91 |4.9 1991-92 |1.9 1992-93 |1.0 1993-94 |0.7
Aggregate information about payments to companies under other sections of the Industry Act 1972 and its successors is not available at a sub-regional level.
United Kingdom trade with Indonesia Year |United |United |Kingdom |Kingdom |imports |exports |£ millions|£ millions -------------------------------------------- 1983 |169.4 |193.6 1984 |181.5 |186.7 1985 |156.5 |175.3 1986 |141.2 |196.5 1987 |144.8 |236.0 1988 |233.7 |203.3 1989 |273.1 |183.9 1990 |327.9 |198.0 1991 |415.2 |198.0 1992 |536.0 |312.8 Source: Business Monitor MA20, Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what was the outcome of his meeting, and the meetings between officers of his Department, with the management of Jetstream ; what representations he is making to the European Commission as a result of these meetings ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sainsbury : The managing director of Jetstream has had meetings with myself and my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade. As a result, discussions are taking place on whether DTI can further help promote Jetstream's export campaigns, while the European Commission has been asked to look at possible examples of unfair competition.
Mr. Ingram : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the impact of the changes to statutory sick pay provision upon his departmental budget for the financial year 1994-95.
Mr. Eggar : The effect on my Department's budget of the abolition of the 80 per cent. statutory sick pay reimbursement rate is likely to be more than offset by the reduction in employers' national insurance contributions.
Mr. Heseltine : I have today announced further changes to consolidate the DTI's organisation along the lines initiated in July 1992, to take effect on 1 March 1994. The changes mark another step in restructuring the Department to ensure that it is best placed to fulfil my principal objective of helping United Kingdom business to win in world markets.
The principal changes are :
The main division sponsoring industrial sectors will be grouped under one Deputy Secretary.
In recognition of the vital importance of innovation and the policies in the recent White Paper on science, engineering and technology, DTI's work on technology development will be integrated more closely with its promotion of industrial competitiveness ; its work on technology transfer and the spreading of management best practice will be brought together with the work to assist small and medium-sized enterprises and develop the business link network. The divisions dealing with export promotion will be grouped under the director general, export promotion.
The Invest in Britain Bureau's successful efforts are to be reinforced by establishing it as a separate division of the DTI under a new chief executive.
Column 380The Offshore Supplies Office will become the new Oil and Gas Projects and Supplies Office. It will have a wider remit covering oil and gas market opportunities at home and abroad both upstream and downstream including petrochemicals. It will continue its existing work to ensure that United Kingdom suppliers take full advantage of North sea market opportunities, working closely with the DTI's energy divisions, under the Minister for Energy. It will, in addition, have a new task of exploiting opportunities for major overseas projects as well as other export opportunities working as part of the DTI's export promotion effort, under the Minister for Trade.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he intends to maintain a post of chief adviser on science and technology ; and to which official he intends the Innovation Unit to report.
Mr. Heseltine [pursuant to the reply, 14 December, c. 612] : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given today to my hon. Friend the Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Burns). Following the reorganisation of the work of the Department on innovation, I shall not be appointing a successor to Dr. Robinson when he returns to the private sector in March. Within the new structure, the innovation unit will report direct to the head of the industry command.
Mr. Heseltine : In response to concerns of business, and following the announcement after the Prime Minister's last progress meeting on deregulation, that ways of eliminating duplication between enforcement agencies should be reviewed, the Government have decided that there should be a review of the enforcement functions of local authorities. This review has started today with the following terms of reference :
To investigate the organisational arrangements for the enforcement functions of local authorities, except insofar as they relate to fire safety, and to report on the scope for minimising business compliance costs and enforcement costs, as well as reducing inconsistencies in enforcement by removing any duplication and improving co-ordination within and between enforcement functions. The study should : (
(a) review experience of co-ordination of enforcement, particularly within existing unitary authorities and also within and between other authorities ;
(b) assess the scope for wider-coordination of regulatory functions by all authorities ; and
(c) make recommendations on the means available to central and local government to promote good practice.
The scrutiny will report to Ministers within the 90 working days which are allowed under efficiency scrutiny guidelines.
The Secretary of State for the Environment and I will be the supervising Ministers for the scrutiny. The scrutiny team will be advised by a steering group which will include officials from interested Government Departments together with representatives of the local authority associations.
Mr. Heseltine : Following the announcement after the Prime Minister's last progress meeting on deregulation, that ways of eliminating duplication between enforcement agencies should be reviewed, and in response to concerns of business such as those of the deregulation task force for the construction industry, the Government have decided that there should be a review of those enforcement agencies responsible for fire safety. This review has started today with the following terms of reference :
Taking account of the review of the operation and effectiveness of the Fire Precautions Act 1971 recently undertaken by the Home Office, to review the operation and effectiveness of all legislation for which Home Office, DOE and HSE have policy responsibility in relation to fire safety ; to review the organisation arrangements of all relevant bodies and agencies, including local authorities, responsible for enforcing this legislation ; and to make recommendations.
The study should identify any areas of overlap, duplication or lack of clarity between the responsibilities of enforcement bodies, and should recommend ways of dealing with them. It should also address the practicability of bringing all policy responsibility for fire safety together in a single Department.
The scrutiny will report to Ministers within the 90 working days which are allowed under efficiency scrutiny guidelines.
The Home Secretary, Secretary of State for the Environment, Secretary of State for Employment and I will be the supervising Ministers for the scrutiny. The scrutiny team will be advised by a steering group which will include officials from interested Government Departments. The steering group which will be assisted by a contact group representing the interests of business users, constructors, the insurance industry and the various enforcement interests.
Mr. Aspinwall : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what conclusions he has reached about arrangements for the future of concessionary fuel entitlements after the privatisation of British Coal.
Mr. Eggar : In October, the Government published a consultation paper on proposals for future concessionary fuel arrangements after privatisation of British Coal. Comments were received from coal industry unions, other organisations and a number of individuals. Careful consideration has been given to all responses to the consultation paper. In the light of these responses, the Government have decided to pursue the proposals which were set out in the consultation paper.
Responsibility for meeting the entitlements of former British Coal employees and their dependants would be transferred at privatisation to the Secretary of State. The Coal Industry Bill which was introduced into the House on 2 December would provide powers for the Secretary of State to make payments necessary for securing these entitlements. The total liability to be assumed by the tax-payer would be in the region of £1,500 million.
Responsibility for supplying concessionary fuel to employees transferred to successor companies would pass to those companies. The Coal Industry Bill would provide the powers for these transfers by means of restructuring
Column 382schemes. The schemes would place a contractual obligation on successor companies to honour the concessionary fuel entitlements of persons transferred to their employment.
In order to achieve continuity in the administration of concessionary fuel entitlements, the Government have decided that the National Concessionary Fuel Office--NCFO--part of British Coal's pensions and insurance centre in Sheffield--PIC--should continue to administer such entitlements for at least four years after the main privatisation of British Coal. The PIC would be privatised within a year or so of the main privatisation.
As far as continuing employees are concerned, it would be for successor companies to ensure satisfactory administrative arrangements in respect of concessionary fuel entitlements of British Coal employees who transfer to their employment. If required, the NCFO would be able to provide a concessionary fuel administration service to successor companies.
The Government believe that these proposals meet in full their commitment to safeguard the entitlements of past and present employees of British Coal, and their dependants, to concessionary fuel or cash in lieu after privatisation.