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Mr. Dunn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes he is proposing to the present arrangements for disciplining drivers of large goods and passenger-carrying vehicles who commit offences.
It must remain the responsibility of the traffic commissioners to deal with each case which comes to their notice on its merits. I am, however, recommending to the traffic commissioners that, in cases where no aggravating circumstances apply, they should follow the guidelines set out :
(i) a first-time disqualification of 12 months or less should normally be dealt with by a warning letter, with no further disqualification of the driver's LGV or PCV entitlement ;
(ii) a disqualification of longer than 12 months should result in the driver appearing before a traffic commissioner and a period of one to three months' further suspension of the LGV/PCV entitlement should be considered to give the driver an opportunity to regain his or her driving skills and road sense in an ordinary car before starting to drive LGVs or PCVs again ;
(iii) where two or more disqualifications of more than eight weeks have been imposed within the last five years, and the combined total exceeds 12 months, the driver should normally be required to attend a hearing. A period of three to six months' further suspension of the LGV/PCV entitlement should normally be applied ;
(iv) Traffic commissioners should continue to deal on a case by case basis with drivers convicted of relevant non-endorsable offences--for example, drivers' hours--endorsable offences such as bad accidents and others which come to their notice and--in the case of PCV drivers--relevant criminal convictions ; and
(v) for new applicants for LGV/PCV entitlement, if the applicant has nine or more penalty points, traffic commissioners should consider either issuing a warning or asking the applicant to resubmit his/her application when the penalty points had been reduced.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what representation he has received about proposals for the construction of a rail tunnel from the existing electrified north London link line in the Silvertown-North Woolwich area to the London Bridge to Gravesend line south of the Thames at Woolwich ; what estimate he has made of the approximate cost of (i) single and (ii) double bore tunnels ; and what assessment he has made of the priority and value for money of (1) the proposed tunnel, (2) the projected east London river crossing and (3) the proposed Blackwall bridge ; (2) pursuant to his oral answer of 24 January, Official Report , column 9, concerning studies of cross-Thames rail links in east London, what is the estimated cost of constructing a tunnel of about one mile between North Woolwich and Woolwich Arsenal (a) of one bore and (b) of two bores ; and what is the approximate capacity of persons per hour in both directions that each would provide.
Column 424recently published a report of their joint study of the options for a rail tunnel between the royal docks and Woolwich. Provisional engineering feasibility work has established that the preferred option for the tunnel might be immersed tube, which could provide for a twin-track tunnel with a capacity of perhaps up to 24,000 passengers per hour in each direction. Depending upon the nature of the preferred scheme, capital costs, including rolling stock, are estimated at between £160 million and £250 million. A full study is to be undertaken during 1994.
This rail crossing, the east London river crossing, and Blackwall bridges are all at different stages of development and it is too soon to assess priorities ; but each appears to justify further study.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether operators of passenger and goods vehicles will still be required to advertise in the local press when they wish to renew their licences under the proposals in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures he intends to introduce to ensure that regular maintenance checks are carried out of goods and public service vehicle operating centres following his proposals in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether goods and public service operators will be able to increase their vehicle fleet size without the authority of the traffic commissioners under the proposals set out in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what measures he intends to introduce to ensure that the environmental safeguards currently provided under current goods vehicle operating licensing laws are protected following the introduction of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill ; (2) whether operators of passenger and goods vehicles will still be required to advertise in the local press when they wish to renew their licences under the proposals in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill.
Mr. Norris : Operators will no longer be required to renew their licences. Under the system of continuous licensing, an operator's licence would last for the lifetime of the holder, provided there was no breach of the conditions under which the licence was granted and payment of fees associated with the licence were paid. The system will allow for periodic checks to be made on operators, and an opportunity for goods vehicle operating centres to be reviewed at five-yearly intervals to ensure that they remain suitable.
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions his Department has purchased soft pornography magazines for distribution or sale to members of the armed forces in each year since 1980 ; how many magazines have been purchased ; and what has been the cost to his Department.
Mr. Hanley : A total of 2,327 Cypriots are employed in the sovereign bases in Cyprus. In the western sovereign base area, SBA, the MOD employs 1,414 Greek Cypriots. In the eastern sovereign base area there are 596 Greek Cypriot employees and 307 from the Turkish Cypriot community. In addition to those in the SBAs, we employ 93 Greek Cypriots and one Turkish Cypriot at other sites in the Republic of Cyprus.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answers of 14 January, Official Report, columns 347-48, and 20 January, Official Report, column 826, what payments he has received from non-MOD sources for the use by non-MOD personnel of the weekly scheduled defence-specific flights to Washington, Belize and Decimomannu ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley : Further to my answer of 20 January, Official Report, column 826, the payments received from the use of scheduled flights to Washington, Belize and Decimomannu by non-MOD staff over the last 12 months amounts to £232,000.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the dangers to civilians created by the placement of anti-personnel mines that have (i) self-destructing mechanisms, and (ii) self-neutralising mechanisms and (iii) that do not have self-destructing or self-neutralising mechanisms ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley : Anti-personnel mines are inherently dangerous to civilians. However, they are legitimate defensive military weapons if used properly and in accordance with the laws of war, as our armed forces are trained to do. The extra controls provided by self-destructing or self- neutralising mechanisms help to ensure that mines with such capabilities are likely to be less dangerous to civilians than those without them.
Column 426moratorium on the export of anti-personnel land mines has had on the policies of his Department ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley : The resolution has had no direct effect, since the United Kingdom has not produced or exported conventional anti-personnel land mines in the category covered by the resolution for over a decade.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of the recent UN resolution calling for a moratorium on the export of anti-personnel land mines on the need for de-mining operations ; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect on service morale of his policy on the provision of telephone services for personnel deployed in Bosnia ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley : We are fully conscious of the importance to service morale of regular telephone contacts with relatives and friends. For this reason, we have set up arrangements in Bosnia whereby service personnel at all major locations can make personal calls using commercial networks or, where these are not available, the military operational network. All British troops serving in the forner Yugoslavia receive a telephone allowance of £13.50 per month.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements (a) existed prior to 11 January and (b) currently exist to enable British service personnel in Bosnia to make use of London-based operator services to place reverse charge calls ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley : Where commercial telephone lines are not available, service personnel in Bosnia are permitted to make personal calls using the military network. Calls to the United Kingdom on the military network are routed via an operator in London and the costs within the United Kingdom are billed by means of reverse charges. Since this is an operational network, its use is however limited to times at the local commander's discretion depending upon the operational circumstances. Since 11 January, following the installation of six British Telecom cardphones at Vitez, access to the military network there for personal calls has been withdrawn. These BT telephones take United Kingdom phonecards which can be purchased at reduced rates in the local NAAFI or can be sent by relatives in the post. The call charge rate is cheaper than the normal BT rate for calls from the United Kingdom to Yugoslavia.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has as to the policy of other Governments contributing troops to UNPROFOR in Bosnia concerning the retention or passing on of United Nations payments to their personnel ; and if he will make a statement.
(2) what payments the British Government receive from the United Nations to cover salary costs of British service personnel in Bosnia ;
(3) what payments the British Government receive from the United Nations for stationing their troops in Bosnia ; and if he will give a detailed breakdown of those payments.
Mr. Hanley : The United Nations pays a standard troop cost of $988 per person per month irrespective of rank, plus a supplementary amount of $291 for a limited number of specialists as a contribution towards salary and allowances. The United Nations also pays $65 per person per month to cover personal clothing, and equipment and $5 per person per month for personal weapons and ammunition. Other claims for reimbursable items of expenditure--for example, vehicles, equipment--depend on the United Nations' ability to pay.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British service personnel are currently stationed in Bosnia ; what is the total pay bill for those personnel ; and what supplementary payments or allowances they receive, on top of normal salary (a) from the British Government and (b) from the United Nations.
Mr. Hanley : There are currently some 2,300 British service personnel stationed in Bosnia. The total pay bill varies with the rotation of personnel in theatre who are paid according to their rank, their personal circumstances and the location from which they were posted. In addition to their normal salary, and subject to eligibility, they receive from the British Government a separation allowance of £3.50 per day after 30 days and a proportion of local overseas allowance--70 per cent. for married personnel, 40 per cent. for single personnel. They also receive a telephone allowance of £13.50 per month. All service personnel serving under United Nations auspices in Bosnia receive a United Nations set allowance of $1.28 per day for incidental expenses an a lump sum of $73.50 to cover the first seven days of rest and recreation leave.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether payments received by the British Government from the United Nations for stationing service personnel in Bosnia are (a) retained entirely by the Ministry of Defence or (b) passed on in whole, or in part to United Kingdom soldiers.
Mr. Hanley : In accordance with an inter-departmental arrangement, the MOD recovers the cost of United Kingdom participation in peacekeeping operations from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. United Nations receipts to Her Majesty's Government are used by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to offest the overall cost of United Nations peacekeeping. All United Nations troops in Bosnia, irrespective of nationality, are entitled to receive the same United Nations allowances, which currently stand at $1.28 a day each and a lump sum of $73.50 per person to cover rest and recreation ; all United Kingdom service personnel serving in the former Yugoslavia receive these United Nations allowances in full.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 20 January, Official Report, column 824, if he will provide details of the special United Nations training programme for personnel in Bosnia, including what personnel provide this training, where the training is carried out, what is the source of funding for it, how long is the training and any other relevant information.
Mr. Hanley : The training package for personnel warned off for deployment to the former Yugoslavia consists of a 12-day special-to-mission package. The training is carried out by specialist training advisory teams at the Army's combined arms training centre at Warminster and, for Germany- based units, at Sennelager. Overall training costs are borne mainly by the Defence budget apart from some minor incidental costs which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office cover.
Mr. Churchill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the cost of HMS Valiant's most recent refit ; when she was recommissioned ; whether she remains operational ; and when she is due to pay off.
Mr. Aitken : HMS Valiant's most recent refit was carried out in Rosyth and was completed in July 1989. The refit straddled the introduction of commercial management into the dockyards in April 1987 and that part of the refit which took place under commercial management cost around £77 million. There has also been a routine docking and essential defect period in 1992-93 at a cost of around £13 million although the final cost certificates have not yet been submitted. Refitting expenditure prior to the introduction of commercial management could only be identified at disproportionate cost. The vessel re-entered service on completion of the refit and currently remains in full time service with the Royal Navy ; it is not our practice to discuss pay-off dates for individual vessels.
Dr. Berry : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many vacant dwellings are owned by his Department in each parliamentary constituency in Avon, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ; and what the figures were for January 1992.
Column 429Prison Service to sentence young offenders from three days to seven days' cellular confinement ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The maximum periods for the punishment of cellular confinement were increased for both adult prisoners and young offenders on 1 January this year. My right hon. and learned Friend has previously discussed the proposal with ministerial colleagues and with the Director General of the Prison Service and informed the House of his intention to make the change on 10 December last year in replying to a question from my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Burton (Sir I. Lawrence), Official Report, column 419.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons he agreed to increase from three days to seven days the punishment of cellular confinement that can be given by prison governors to young offenders and juveniles ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Maximum periods for the punishment of cellular confinement were increased for both adult prisoners and young offenders on 1 January this year. The purpose was to strengthen the disciplinary powers of governors, which was particularly desirable in the light of increased offending in prison establishments.
Chairman (appointed by Secretary of State)
Mr. B. T. A. Collins, OBE QFSM
(HM Chief Inspector of Fire Services for
England and Wales)
(appointed by Secretary of State)
Mr. G. P. Walker (Scottish Office)
Mr. B. L. Fuller, CBE QFSM
(Commandant, Chief Executive, Fire Service College)
Mr. D. Dick, OBE
Mr. M. J. Addison (Home Office)
The Association of County Councils
Mr. A. Till
Mr. T. Gorman
Mr. T. L. Glossop
The Association of Metropolitan Authorities
Mr. W. Dunlop
Mr. S. G. Bennett
Mr. G. Brewer
The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
Mr. W. E. Axon
Mr. G. Bird
Mr. P. Donnolly
The Chief and Assistant Chief Fire Officers Association Mr. J. H. Windsor
Mr. J. G. Russel
Column 430The National Association of Fire Officers
Mr. G. Williams
Mr. R. Anderson
The Fire Brigades Union
Mr. K. Cameron
Mr. R. Scott
Mr. I. Brandling
The Institution of Fire Engineers
Dr. R. W. Docherty