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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 13 April 1994

HOME DEPARTMENT

Ritchie Report

Mr. Clifton-Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 18 March, Official Report, column 888, if he will implement the recommendations of the Ritchie report to standardise the documentation covered by section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

Mr. Maclean : As stated in the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health on 18 March, this recommendation is under consideration.

Directorate of Telecommunications

Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 2 March, Official Report, column 737, if he will make a statement on the automatic redundancy entitlement of DTELS staff who do not consent to a variance in staff severance terms ; and how long is the period after the sale in which National Transcommunications has confirmed that it will not be seeking to discuss and agree changes to staff terms.

Mr. Charles Wardle : If National Transcommunications Ltd. varies or attempts to vary staff severance terms without the consent of DTELS staff, the normal legal remedies will be available to those staff. I have no further knowledge of National Transcommunication Ltd.'s intentions regarding conditions of service. This is a matter for the company and DTELS staff.

Local Government Legislation

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the Acts of Parliament and Consolidation Acts affecting local government that have been introduced by his Department since 1990.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The following Acts of Parliament that have an effect on local government have been introduced by the Department since 1990. The list also includes consolidation Acts in respect of which the Department has responsibility.

Criminal Justice Act 1991 (c.53)

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (c.65)

Charities Act 1992 (c.41)

Charities Act 1993 (c.10)

Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993 (c.23)

Probation Service Act 1993 (c.47)

Consolidation Acts

Criminal Justice Act 1991

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what structures have been put in place to ensure effective monitoring of the implementation of


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section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 ; and what information is available to show the outcome of its first year of operation.

Mr. Maclean : Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 came into effect in October 1991. The matters with which it is concerned are kept under regular review by officials in my Department, assisted and advised by officials from the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Crown Prosecution Service. Separate publications dealing with race and gender issues were widely distributed in September 1992 ; and a booklet about costs received a similar distribution in January 1993. Additional material on race, prepared specifically for the Judicial Studies Board, was also published in 1993. Further information about race will be published shortly.

Bail Hostels

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total number of places available in bail hostels ; and what will be the number in 12 months' time.

Mr. Maclean : On 1 April, there was a total of 2,597 available places in approved bail and probation-bail hostels in England and Wales. Included in this figure are a number of approved hostel places scheduled for closure. The currently projected total of available places on 1 April 1995 is 2,560.

Remand Prisoners

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the estimated number of remand prisoners who have been awaiting trial (a) for more than three months, (b) for more than six months, (c) for more than 12 months and (d) for more than 18 months.

Mr. Maclean : The latest available provisional data are for 31 December 1993 and are in the table.


Inmates recorded as being untried held in custody on 31st      

December                                                       

1993 by time on remand                                         

                                                 |Number       

---------------------------------------------------------------

For over 3 months up to and including 6 months   |1,960        

For over 6 months up to and including 12 months  |1,020        

For over 12 months up to and including 18 months |170          

For over 18 months                               |190          

Not all these defendants will have been in continuous prison custody since their first remand. This period excludes any time spent in non-Prison Service establishments--for example, police cells--before reception on remand into a Prison Service establishment ; it includes inmates who are awaiting trial and those being tried.

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many remand prisoners were being held in police cells on the most recent date for which figures are available.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from A. J. Butler to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 13 April 1994 :


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The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about the number of remand prisoners being held in police cells.

On 5 April 1994, the latest date for which complete information is available, 274 remand prisoners were held in police cells.

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the ethnic composition of the remand population in prison at the latest available date.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from A. J. Butler to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 13 April 1994 :

The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question asking what was the ethnic composition of the remand population in prison at the latest available date.

The latest available information is for 31 December 1993 and is given in the table. The ethnic breakdown of the remand population is based on the Census of Population ethnic coding classification which was introduced in prisons in October 1992.


Remand population in Prison Service establishments in England and                        

Wales on 31 December 1993 by sex and ethnic origin<1>                                    

Ethnic origin                    |Males        |Females      |Total                      

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

White                            |8,654        |293          |8,947                      

Black African, Caribbean, other  |1,245        |74           |1,319                      

South Asian Bangladeshi, Indian,                                                         

   Pakistani                     |275          |7            |282                        

Chinese and Other Other Asian,                                                           

 other Chinese, not recorded<2>  |201          |14           |215                        

All persons                      |10,375       |388          |10,763                     

<1> Provisional figures.                                                                 

<2> Including refusal.                                                                   

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the total number of people remanded in custody by magistrates courts in each of the last five years.

Mr. Maclean : The information requested is given in the table. It is also published annually in chapter 8 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales", a copy of which is in the Library.


Number of      

persons        

remanded in    

custody in     

England and    

Wales          

[TITRE}        

---------------

1988 |46.8     

1989 |49.6     

1990 |48.5     

1991 |50.8     

1992 |49.3     

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the proportion of persons in each police force area proceeded against at magistrates courts who are remanded on bail for (a) indictable offences and (b) summary offences.

Mr. Maclean : The data available for each police force area are not reliable enough to be able to answer this question. Information on a national basis is given in the table. These figures are published in chapter 8 of "Criminal Statistics, England and Wales", a copy of which is in the Library of the House.


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Number of persons remanded on bail                                  

Thousands                                                           

                                |1988 |1989 |1990 |1991 |1992       

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Indictable offences             |277.2|271.0|304.6|314.7|321.8      

Summary (non motoring) offences |48.7 |69.9 |76.0 |72.8 |71.0       

Summary motoring offences       |38.2 |51.7 |61.3 |65.0 |65.9       

                                                                    

Total                           |364.0|392.6|441.9|452.5|458.7      


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Persons remanded on bail as percentage of total remanded      

                                |1988|1989|1990|1991|1992     

--------------------------------------------------------------

Indictable offences             |87  |87  |88  |88  |89       

Summary (non motoring) offences |95  |93  |94  |94  |94       

Summary motoring offences       |96  |95  |95  |95  |96       

                                                              

Total                           |89  |89  |90  |90  |90       

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Waiting Times

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the average waiting time for trial at (a) magistrates courts and (b) Crown courts for defendants granted bail and those remanded in custody.

Mr. John M. Taylor : The readily available information for magistrates courts relates to proceedings for indictable


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--including either-way--offences. Sample surveys during 1993 show that the average time interval from first listing to completion of such cases at magistrates courts was 7.3 weeks for defendants remanded in custody throughout proceedings and 10.1 weeks for those remanded on bail only. Provisional figures for the Crown court show that the average time interval from committal for trial to start of hearing for cases disposed of during 1993 was 12.6 weeks for those remanded in custody and 16.7 weeks for those remanded on bail.


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TREASURY

Taxpayers (Earnings)

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many taxpayers in (a) Lancashire and (b) the United Kingdom earn £64,000 or more a year.

Mr. Dorrell : There were estimated to be about 4,000 taxpayers resident in Lancashire and 260,000 taxpayers in the United Kingdom with income of £64,000 or more in 1991-92, the latest available year for which information can be provided below the United Kingdom level.

Pension Contributions (Tax Relief)

Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the yield from providing tax relief for pension contributions of higher-rate taxpayers at the basic rate only.

Mr. Dorrell : It is estimated that the full-year yield might be about £520 million at 1993-94 levels. This takes no account of possible behavioural effects following such a change.

Income Statistics

Ms Corston : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the equivalised disposable income, at 1992 prices, at the bottom, second and top decile groups, ranked by equivalised disposable income, in conformity with tables 3 and 7 of "Economic Trends" No. 483 for 1992 for (a) all households and (b) non-retired households with children for (i) 1979 and (ii) 1986.

Mr. Nelson : The figures are available only at current prices. Those given in the table, and those for later years, are not strictly comparable over time because of changes in classification of both income and taxation and because of changes in the family expenditure survey.


Average equivalised disposable income by decile groups of all       

households in the family expenditure survey, ranked by equivalised  

disposable income of all households using the McClements            

equivalence                                                         

scale with a household of a married couple = 1                      

                  Current prices                                    

Decile groups of |1979            |1986                             

equivalised                                                         

disposable                                                          

income           |£ per year      |£ per year                       

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Bottom           |1,689           |3,094                            

2nd              |2,179           |4,065                            

Top              |8,664           |20,229                           


 

Average equivalised disposable income by decile groups of non-retired                                                                                           

households with children ranked by equivalised disposable income of                                                                                             

non-retired households with children using the McClements equivalence                                                                                           

scale with a household of a married couple = 1                                                                                                                  

Decile groups of equivalised disposable |1979                                   |1986                                                                           

income                                  |£ per year                             |£ per year                                                                     

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bottom                                  |1,819                                  |2,991                                                                          

2nd                                     |2,474                                  |3,990                                                                          

Top                                     |7,706                                  |17,062                                                                         

Consultants

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the contracts currently being worked on for his Department by Coopers and Lybrand,


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Ernst and Young, Price Waterhouse, KPMG Peat Marwick, Grant Thornton, Robson Rhodes, Levy Gee, BDO Binder Hamlyn, Hacker Young, Pannell Kerr Forster and Stoy Hayward.

Mr. Nelson : The table lists relevant companies currently working on contracts for HM Treasury, together with the type of consulting work for each company.

Company and type of consultancy work--

Coopers and Lybrand --Market Testing

Ernst and Young --Privatisation

Price Waterhouse --Management Consultancy, Privatisation, Auditing KPMG Peat Marwick --Management Consultancy

BDO Binder Hamlyn --Auditing

Uganda

Mr. Wigley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total aggregate indebtedness of Uganda to the United Kingdom, by way of outstanding bilateral loans ; and what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards easing the burden of this debt.

Mr. Nelson : Uganda's outstanding debts to the United Kingdom total £25.5 million, all of which are in respect of business insured by the Export Credits Guarantee Department. All outstanding debts to the Overseas Development Administration were written off in 1981 under the provisions of retrospective terms agreement.

On 17 June 1992, Uganda rescheduled its official bilateral debts to Paris club creditors under a concessional, Trinidad terms agreement. This involved writing down by 50 per cent. the maturities falling due over the period of Uganda's International Monetary Fund programme. It also included a commitment by creditors to consider action on the whole of Uganda's official bilateral debt stock in three years' time, subject to Uganda maintaining a good debt servicing record and a satisfactory performance under an IMF programme.

The United Kingdom is pressing the other Paris club creditors to improve the existing Trinidad terms. In particular, we should like the Paris club to increase the rate of debt reduction above 50 per cent. and to offer immediate stock of debt reductions for countries with a good track record of debt servicing and economic reform.

Bank of England Governor

Mr. Watts : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish minutes of his monthly monetary meetings with the Governor of the Bank of England.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke : Yes. I agree with the recommendation by the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee that I should publish, with a lag, minutes of my monthly monetary meetings with the Governor. I believe that greater transparency has helped the operation of monetary policy and increased accountability. I am, therefore, publishing today the minutes of the meetings held in January, February and the beginning of March. Thereafter, the minutes of each meeting will be published around two weeks after the subsequent meeting has taken place. I have arranged for copies of the minutes to be placed in the Library of the House.

I am confident that the minutes of these and future meetings will confirm the Government's commitment to sustained low inflation and sound monetary policy.


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Manufacturing, Midlands

Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the latest figures for manufacturing output in (a) the west midlands and (b) Coventry.

Mr. Nelson : Estimates of gross value added in manufacturing for the west midlands and Coventry are set out in the table. The latest available figures are for 1991.


Gross value added in                  

manufacturing-1991                    

Area          |Gross value            

              |added                  

              |£ million              

--------------------------------------

West midlands |6,585.2                

Coventry      |1,311.4                

Source: Annual census of production.  

Information on published back data is available from table 15.3 of "Regional Trends", copies of which are available from the House of Commons Library. This information can also be obtained from the central shared data bank.

Fuel (VAT)

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the effect of pre-payment by large-scale gas and electricity users to avoid value added tax on domestic fuel from 1 April ; and what assessment he has made of the scale of pre-payment and its effect on (i) the revenue expected from the tax and (ii) the level of savings held in building societies.

Sir John Cope [holding answer 12 April 1994] : It is estimated that about 5 per cent. of domestic electricity consumers and about 4 per cent. of domestic gas consumers paid fuel bills in advance of the imposition of VAT on 1 April. No breakdown of the figures by size of user is possible. The effect of these prepayments on the revenue yield is estimated to be small in comparison with the yield from VAT on domestic fuel and power. It is not possible to quantify the effect of these prepayments on the level of savings in building societies.

ENVIRONMENT

European Funding

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment under which schemes local authorities have received European funding since 1979.

Mr. Baldry : The principal sources of EC funding that local authorities may receive are the European structural funds. Prior to 1989, applications for European regional development fund assistance for specific projects were submitted to the European Commission for approval. Since 1989, projects have been considered at regional level under Community support frameworks, agreed between the member state and the European Commission, for areas eligible under structural fund objectives 1, 2 and 5(b). Local authorities have also been able to apply for European social fund projects under objectives 3 and 4. Other funding from the structural funds has been available to local authorities through Community initiatives of which there have been a total of 14 in the period 1989-93.


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Examples of these initiatives are Rechar for coalfield areas and Interreg for cross-border areas. New Community support frameworks, and European Commission proposals for Community initiatives, for the period 1994-99 are in the process of being established.

Local authorities have also been able to obtain grants or loans or other awards from various other European sources. My Department does not have records of funding that may have been received in this way.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total staff complement of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution ; how many of these are inspectors with responsibility for integrated pollution control enforcement at site level ; how many site visits have been made to part A prescribed processes in 1991, 1992 and 1993 ; and what targets have been set for IPC inspection staff, enforcement activity and site visits for 1994 and 1995.

Mr. Atkins : As at 1 April 1994, the total staff complement of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution was 434.5. At that date, there were 122 complemented inspector posts with responsibility for integrated pollution control enforcement at site level. Data on site visits are kept by financial year. In 1991-92, there were 1,205 site visits to part A prescribed processes regulated under integrated pollution control--IPC ; in 1992-93, there were 3,364 visits and in 1993-94--in the period to end of December 1993--there were 3,495 visits.

The target is to maintain the complement for IPC inspection staff in 1994- 95 at 122 posts. Enforcement activity is reactive, but resources will be made available for it as necessary. The target for site visits to part A prescribed processes in 1994-95 is 3,030. The actual number of visits is expected to be greater than this number because of additional reactive visits which will be made in response to complaints and incidents as they arise.

London Docklands

Ms Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list, by local authority area, each London Docklands development corporation-owned site in the Docklands urban development area which is currently undeveloped.

Sir George Young : I have asked my Department to produce this information. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as it is available.

Ms Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total spending that the London Docklands development corporation is committing to social projects in 1994-95 ; and if he will break this figure down into amounts to be spent on (a) training, (b) social housing, (c) Tower Hamlets accord, (d) Newham memorandum of agreement, (e) community grants and (f) health projects ; and if he will make a statement on the future of the social programme.

Sir George Young : The London Docklands development corporation is proposing to spend £14,518,000 in 1994-95 on social projects. This allocation is due to be discussed formally with the Department in the corporate plan round currently under way.


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The breakdown is :


Category                  |£ thousand           

------------------------------------------------

(a) Training              |1,024                

(b) Social housing        |2,062                

(c) Tower Hamlets accord  |5,063                

(d) Newham memorandum     |2,979                

(e) Community grants      |2,542                

(f) Health projects       |303                  

(g) Schools and education |545                  

The social programme continues to be a key area of the corporation's activities in its remit to assist regeneration in the docklands.

Consultants

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information technology consultants his Department has employed, for what purpose and at what total cost for each of the last five years.

Mr. Gummer : The information technology consultants have been used for a wide variety of purposes including facilities management, research, training, risk assessment, and data administration. The total cost for each of the last four years is as follows :


Year      |£                  

------------------------------

1990-91   |1,427,230          

1991-92   |4,029,342          

1992-93   |2,742,459          

1993-94   |1,794,048          

Assistance for Local Authority Leaseholders Bill

Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with the Council of Mortgage Lenders in relation to the Assistance for Local Authority Leaseholders Bill.

Sir George Young : Ministers and officials have had a number of discussions with the Council of Mortgage Lenders about the difficulties faced by some leaseholders of local authority dwellings. We are currently consulting them and other relevant organisations about the possible revision of the standard mortgage indemnity agreement used by local authorities.

Zoos

Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which EC member states have no specific legislation on zoos ; and what steps he takes to ensure the welfare of animals exported from the United Kingdom to zoos in such countries.

Mr. Atkins : According to our latest information, I understand that Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain do not have specific zoo legislation.

Live animals must be transported in accordance with the International Air Transport Association's live animals regulations. The welfare of animals in zoos is a matter for individual member states.


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Single Regeneration Budget

Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when draft guidelines were issued by his Department in connection with possible applications for assistance under the single regeneration budget ; what response he received to those draft guidelines ; on what date he expects to be able to publish final guidelines ; by what date initial approval for applications under the scheme must be made ; and what is the final deadline for approved applications.

Mr. Baldry : Draft guidance to those with an interest in bidding for funding from the single regeneration budget for 1995-96 was issued for consultation on 14 January, with responses requested by 25 February. Ten thousand copies of the draft guidance were circulated, 11 seminars held throughout England, and several hundred written responses received. Those responding to the consultation were broadly in favour of the budget, but made a wide range of detailed points. The final guidance, taking account of the responses to consultation, will be issued on 14 April, and copies will be placed in the Library of the House. The guidance will require applications for funding to be made to Government offices for the regions by 7 September 1994. Bidders will be encouraged to discuss their potential bids in outline with regional offices by the end of May 1994. It is intended that final decisions on the bid applications will be made known in early January 1995.

New Forest

Mr. Denham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations he has received opposing the granting of national park status to the New Forest.

Mr. Atkins : Between 24 September 1992, when we published our consultation paper on our proposals for the future of the New Forest, and 8 April 1994 we have received 223 letters and a petition with three signatures opposing national park status for the New Forest.

Mr. Denham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations opposing the granting of national park status to the New Forest were initially mislaid by his Department ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins : My Department did not mislay any representations opposing the granting of national park status to the New Forest.

Mr. Denham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations opposing the granting of national park status to the New Forest he has received since January ; and how many of these were printed pro-forma letters recommending an enhanced role for the verderers in the management of the New Forest.

Mr. Atkins : Between 1 January 1994 and 8 April, we have received 198 letters opposing the granting of national park status to the New Forest. Of these, 181 were printed pro-forma letters recommending an enhanced role for the verderers in the management of the New Forest.


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Retail Sites

Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what action he is taking to ensure that the recent policy guidance in respect of out-of-town retail sites is not being avoided by planning application for such developments which are proposed under misleading descriptions ; and if he will call in all such applications ; (2) what action he will take to prevent the further expansion of retail sites in South Yorkshire.


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