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Column 314

Blasphemy

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many actions have been brought for the offence of blasphemy since 1964 ; and how many resulted in a conviction.

Mr. Maclean : Records held centrally show only one prosecution brought since 1964 for blasphemy offences. This prosecution resulted in a conviction.

Overstaying

Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 29 March, Official Report, column 612, if he will make it his policy to collect centrally statistics by country on the number of visitors to the United Kingdom who overstay.

Mr. Charles Wardle : Such statistics could be collected only if there were comprehensive records of all arrivals and departures of non- European Economic Area nationals, of whom about 6.5 million are visitors to the United Kingdom each year. Maintaining such a database would not be cost -effective.

Firearm Certificates

Sir Jerry Wiggin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total sum received in England and Wales for (a) firearm certificates and (b) shotgun certificates during 1993 or the most recent year for which figures are available.

Mr. Charles Wardle : In 1992, the most recent year for which figures are available, the total sum received in England and Wales was £2,258,600 for firearm certificates and £2,730,200 for shotgun certificates.

Racially Motivated Harassment

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what percentages of (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 in each year since 1987 were for racially motivated harassment ;

(2) how many prosecutions there have been under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 in each year since 1987 ; how many convictions there have been in each year since 1987 ; and what were the penalties for those convicted in each case.

Mr. Maclean : Information is not collected centrally as to whether an offence committed under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 was racially motivated.


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The table shows the number of prosecutions, convictions and type of disposal given for offences under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 from 1987 to 1992. 1993 data will not be available until the autumn.


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Number of defendants prosecuted, convicted and type of disposal given for offences   

under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 from 1987 to 1992                       

England and Wales                                                                    

                                    |1987  |1988  |1989  |1990  |1991  |1992         

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

Prosecutions                        |12,660|32,493|37,358|36,632|30,247|27,796       

Convictions                         |9,490 |24,079|26,828|25,193|19,478|16,541       

Total sentenced                     |9,475 |24,056|26,794|25,206|19,475|16,541       

Type of disposal                                                                     

  Absolute or conditional discharge |1,249 |3,054 |4,009 |4,046 |3,801 |4,052        

  Fine                              |7,673 |19,647|21,596|20,091|14,378|11,746       

  Community sentences<1>            |125   |283   |289   |251   |214   |148          

  Immediate custody                 |-     |-     |-     |16    |27    |6            

  Otherwise dealt with<2>           |428   |1,072 |900   |802   |1,055 |589          

<1> Includes probation orders, supervision orders, community service orders,         

attendance centre orders and from 1 October 1992 combination orders.                 

<2> Includes fully suspended sentences.                                              

Secure Training Centres

Mr. Ashton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if the sites for the new secure training centres will be well away from residential areas ;

(2) when he expects to announce the chosen sites for the five new secure training centres for persistent juvenile offenders subject to a secure training order.

Mr. Maclean : I hope to be able to announce a decision next week about the sites for the new centres.

Detention Centre, Gringley

Mr. Ashton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the empty detention centre at Gringley near Retford, Nottinghamshire is still available for sale ; and if he will consider selling the site to a consortium of local residents.

Mr. Maclean : No. The site was withdrawn from sale by the Prison Service pending an assessment of its potential use as a secure training centre.

Mr. Ashton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the reason for the closure of the former Gringley detention centre, near Retford ; how many inmates it held ; and how many people were employed there.

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 Mr. D. Lewis to Mr. Joe Ashton, dated 15 April 1994 :

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the closure of the former Gringley detention centre. Gringley detention centre was closed in March 1988, as, following the discontinuance of detention centres, the site was too small and uneconomical for any alternative use by the Prison Service. When it operated as a detention centre, it had a certified normal accommodation of 72.

It is not possible to provide precise details of staff numbers, as Gringley was operated as a satellite of Hatfield, then an open establishment for young prisoners. It is estimated that a total of about 35 staff were normally required to cover the shift system and support services which operated at Gringley.


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Prisoners, Northumbria

Mr. Beith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are currently held in police cells in the Northumbrian police force area ; and why they are not held in prisons.

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 Mr. D. Lewis to Mr. A. J. Beith, dated 15 April 1994 :

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of prisoners currently held in police cells in the Northumbria police area and why they are not held in prisons. On 12 April 1994, the latest date for which complete information is available, 23 prisoners were held in police cells in the Northumbria police area.

Since 1 January 1994, the prison population in England and Wales has risen by over 3,000. This has caused considerable pressure on local prison accommodation, particularly in the North of England. Since 14 February 1994, there have been insufficient places available at Durham prison for all those committed to prison custody from courts in its catchment area.

HEALTH

Health Care

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the financial savings of moving activity from secondary to primary health care.

Dr. Mawhinney : The balance between secondary and primary care is for local decision taking into account local needs and resources, existing provision, and the views of local people.

Ethnic Monitoring

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what ethnic monitoring is undertaken by her Department within the national health service and within training providers associated with the national health service.

Dr. Mawhinney : Information on the ethnic origin of nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff was first


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collected in September 1993. Results should be available in mid 1994. Ethnic origin information for the remainder of the national health service non-medical work force will be collected in September 1994.

Data on the ethnic background of doctors in the hospital and community health services is also collected by the Department. The NHS executive has just set up a central monitoring programme in England and Wales to examine the outcome of NHS consultant appointments in terms of gender and ethnic origin of applicants. From later this year, the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting will collect data from approved institutions offering nursing, midwifery and health visiting qualifications.

Campaigns

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to her answer of 14 February, Official Report, column 623, if she will list, for each campaign that does not include advertising, the objectives and mechanisms for assessing the effectiveness of the campaign and the results of such assessments.

Mr. Sackville : The additional information requested has been included in revised tables which have been placed in the Library. The results of assessments for 1993-94 are not yet available.

Bosnia

Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what medical facilities in Britain have recently been offered to victims of the war in Bosnia ; and what plans she has to increase these.

Dr. Mawhinney : Since the beginning of this year 17 casualties from Bosnia have been treated for a variety of medical and surgical conditions in appropriate national health service hospitals. To date, all placements have been arranged through regional health authorities in England but the Department has maintained liaison with the other territorial health departments.

It is generally accepted that the overriding need now is to build up the capacity to provide sustainable health care within the former Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, we are continuing to respond to requests for individual cases to be treated here when special need arises because of a lack of the necessary facilities locally.

Domiciliary Care Agencies

Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations she has received regarding the provision of legal powers for professionals to intervene where an abusive situation in a domiciliary care agency cannot be alleviated by other means.

Mr. Bowis : None.

Departmental Office Space, Ipswich

Mr. Cann : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many square feet of office space her Department leases, rents or owns inside the boundary of the borough of Ipswich ; and what was the equivalent area in June 1979.

Mr. Sackville : The Department of Health has no office accommodation in Ipswich which it rents or owns.


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Suffolk health authority and Suffolk family health services authority occupy office premises on the Saint Clements hospital site, leased from East Suffolk Local Health Services National Health Service Trust.

Junior Doctors

Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has for the recruitment to the national health service of more junior doctors.

Dr. Mawhinney : The new deal will further reduce hours worked by junior doctors. To help achieve these reductions, regional task forces have been given the freedom to increase senior house officer numbers where necessary, in consultation with postgraduate deans, to ensure that educational standards are maintained.

The number of junior doctors will change as a result of the Government's acceptance of the recommendations of "Hospital Doctors : Training for the Future". This will introduce planned and structured training and increase the ratio of senior medical staff to junior doctors. Over the next few years, this should reduce the numbers in higher specialist training but increase the number of consultants and the proportion of care delivered by them.

Copies of both documents are available in the Library.

Ambulances

Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to encourage the purchase and use of ambulances manufactured in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Sackville : The sourcing and purchase of ambulances by competitive tender is a matter for each individual ambulance service, having regard to operational requirements, availability in the marketplace, and best overall value for money.

Birth Defects

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will seek a report on the relationship between the incidence of birth defects and the transmission of viruses carried by sea water contaminated with sewage effluent ; and if she will make a statement.

Mr. Sackville : There are no known links between viral infections of any type, including viruses transmitted through sea water, and limb reduction deformities at birth. There are therefore no plans to commission a study along the lines suggested.

With regard to investigations into reports of unusual occurrences of babies born with limb defects, I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson) on 1 March at column 678.

General Practitioners (Mobile Phones)

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans she has to subsidise calls made or received by general practitioners on mobile phones in the course of their duties when on call.

Dr. Mawhinney : Expenses incurred by general practitioners in the delivery of general medical services are reimbursed to the profession in full.


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Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidelines her Department has issued to general practitioners in relation to the use and charging of calls received on mobile phones from patients when on call.

Dr. Mawhinney : None.

NHS Leaflet

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many typical modern health centres, as described in her Department's leaflet, "NHS Changes in London--Answers to the Questions You've Been Asking" have been established in London.

Dr. Mawhinney : Health centres are managed by local health authorities and community trusts and detailed information is therefore not available centrally. Analysis of primary care development plans received from health authorities within the London implementation zone indicates that 24 capital projects involving health centres were established during 1993-94 and a further 33 building developments are planned for 1994-95. Seventy-four additional service improvement initiatives have been identified which will extend primary care provision by introducing dental, orthopaedic, occupational or psychiatric health care within a general practitioner setting. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave her on 18 January at column 525. This provided a list of all the LIZ-funded primary care projects established in 1993-94.

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many new minor injury units there will be in central London, as described in the leaflet, "NHS Changes in London--Answers to the Questions You've Been Asking".

Dr. Mawhinney : At present there are two minor injury units in central London, the south Westminster centre and walk-in facilities at St. Charles hospital, Kensington. Plans are being developed to establish further units at St. Bartholomew's Smithfield site and also for Lambeth, Greenwich, Bethnal Green and Hackney.

London Ambulance Service

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what are the latest figures for the London ambulance service's record in reaching patients charter targets for response times.

Mr. Sackville : The latest published figures are for January 1994 and are as follows :


                            |Per cent.          

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

14-minute response standard |65                 

 8-minute response time     |12                 

 3-minute activation time   |34                 

This performance falls short of the patients charter targets. That is why in this financial year the Government and the London regions will invest an extra £14.8 million in the London ambulance service, tied to specific improvements in performance.


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Health Workers

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many health service workers have been made redundant in London since the Tomlinson report was published.

Dr. Mawhinney : Separate figures for inner London have been held centrally only since April 1993. Between April and December 1993 around 750 redundancies were reported by inner London hospitals.

Health Information

Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have called (a) the health information service and (b) the health literature line.

Dr. Mawhinney : A special trawl of the national health service regions shows that the number of calls received by the health information service in the period between April 1992 and March 1994 was 234,656.

The number of calls received by the health literature line in the period between April 1993 to March 1994 was 223,346.

WALES

Consultants

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Smith) of 22 February, Official Report, column 144, if he will list the firms of consultants employed by his Department and the number of contracts they have undertaken.

Mr. Redwood : Since 1988-89, the Welsh Office has engaged the following firms of consultants :


Firms                                             |Number of          

                                                  |occasions          

                                                  |employed           

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

Aldbourne Associates                              |2                  

Ampersand Systems Ltd.                            |2                  

Apple Design                                      |1                  

Aspinwall & Co.                                   |2                  

Aston Business School                             |1                  

Axis Consultants Ltd.                             |1                  

                                                                      

Babti & Dobbi                                     |1                  

Bar Quas Ltd.                                     |2                  

BASE                                              |1                  

BIS Ltd.                                          |2                  

Briar Associates                                  |5                  

Bristol Business School                           |1                  

Butler & Young                                    |1                  

                                                                      

Cambridge Scientific Ltd.                         |1                  

Capita Group                                      |1                  

Cardiff Business School                           |1                  

Centre for Health Planning and Management         |1                  

Clifford Talbot Partnership                       |4                  

Computer and Management Consultants plc           |1                  

Coopers and Lybrand                               |20                 

Cousins Stephens Associates                       |1                  

CRG                                               |1                  

CSL Group                                         |1                  

                                                                      

DBI Associates                                    |2                  

Drivers Jonas                                     |2                  

                                                                      

ECOTEC                                            |1                  

ERES                                              |1                  

Ernst & Whinney                                   |2                  

Ernst & Young                                     |1                  

                                                                      

Feedback Communications                           |1                  

Finesse Corporate Functions                       |1                  

Frank Griffiths Associates Ltd.                   |1                  

                                                                      

George Courderoy                                  |1                  

Gwent Management Consultancy Service              |1                  

                                                                      

Consultancy Firm                                  |Number of          

                                                  |Contracts          

HACAS                                             |2                  

Hay Management Consultants                        |2                  

Henley Management Consultants                     |1                  

Howard Humphries and Partners                     |4                  

Hunters                                           |1                  

                                                                      

IMC Management Consultants Ltd.                   |1                  

                                                                      

JAB Associates                                    |1                  

                                                                      

KOALA                                             |1                  

KPMG Peat Marwick                                 |13                 

                                                                      

Lesley Hoys & Associates                          |1                  

London Economics Ltd.                             |2                  

                                                                      

Matt McDonald                                     |1                  

MMM Consultancy Group                             |1                  

Mouncey and Partners                              |1                  

MVA Systematica                                   |1                  

                                                                      

North West Regional Research Laboratory           |1                  

                                                                      

Oscar Faber TPA                                   |1                  

Owen Thomas and Co.                               |3                  

                                                                      

PA Cambridge Economic Consultancies               |1                  

PA Consulting                                     |1                  

PA Hutchinson                                     |1                  

P-E Incubon                                       |2                  

PEP Ltd.                                          |1                  

Peter Stanley Associates                          |1                  

Phillip Sweet Associates                          |1                  

Pi Associates                                     |3                  

PIEDA                                             |4                  

Price Waterhouse                                  |7                  

Prieda Plc                                        |1                  

Prime Energy                                      |1                  

                                                                      

Quo-Tec Ltd.                                      |3                  

                                                                      

Rita Hale and Associates                          |1                  

                                                                      

SCA Ltd.                                          |1                  

Segal Quince and Wicksteed                        |1                  

Social Information Systems Ltd.                   |3                  

Social Services Strategic Planning                |2                  

Software Personnel                                |1                  

Soil Survey and Land Research                     |1                  

SRD Consultants                                   |1                  

Studio 35 Ltd.                                    |1                  

                                                                      

TACP Landscape Architects                         |1                  

Terry Darlington                                  |1                  

Tony Ball and Associates                          |1                  

Touche Ross                                       |22                 

                                                                      

University of Wales: Centre for Housing and                           

Development                                       |1                  

                                                                      

Victor Hausner                                    |1                  

                                                                      

Wales and South West Regional Research Laboratory |1                  

Wallace Evans Ltd.                                |3                  

Warwick Business School                           |2                  

Welsh Development Technology Marketing            |1                  

W. F. Atkins-Wales                                |2                  

William Battle Associates                         |4                  

Wilter Associates                                 |1                  

School Buildings

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representation he has received from teachers' and head teachers' organisations regarding the condition of school buildings ; and if he will meet the president of the National Association of Head Teachers in Wales to discuss linkage between social deprivation and low educational achievement.

Sir Wyn Roberts : My right hon. Friend and I have from time to time received representations on the condition of school buildings from teachers and head teachers organisations ; responsibility for the repair and maintenance of school buildings rests with the local education authority. Any request from the president of the National Association of Headteachers in Wales for a meeting to discuss linkage between social deprivation and educational achievement will be carefully considered.

Buckley, Local Facilities

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will visit Bistre community centre, Buckley, Clwyd ; and if he will meet the voluntary bodies who use the centre ;

(2) if he will convene a meeting with Clwyd county council and Buckley town council to review local facilities and voluntary groups in Buckley ; and if he will make a statement ;

(3) if he will meet Buckley town council.

Mr. Redwood : I have no immediate plans to visit Bistre community centre or to meet Clwyd county council and Buckley town council to review local facilities and voluntary groups in Buckley.

Milk Surpluses

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make it his policy to allow dairy farmers in Wales who have exceeded their production quota to donate their surplus milk to third-world aid agencies ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : The European Commission has confirmed that, under the present EC regulations, using surplus milk for food aid purposes would count against producers' quota allocation. I have asked officials to review this matter in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Commission.

Water Drainage, Llandudno

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if the customer services committee for Wales investigation into foul and surface water drainage systems in Llandudno has been completed ; and if he will put a copy in the Library.


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Mr. Redwood : The investigation by the Customer Service Committee for Wales of the flooding incident at Llandudno in June 1993 was primarily directed at the response of Dwr Cymru Cyf--Welsh Water--to the incident, in the light of a number of customer complaints received regarding possible compensation. Following investigation it was considered that none of the complaints could be upheld by the committee because the flooding resulted from very exceptional weather conditions. If the hon. Member requires a copy of Dwr Cymru's report on the incident as provided to the customer service committee, he should contact the company directly.

Bovine Tuberculosis, Gwent

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will seek a report into the relationship between the outbreak of tuberculosis on a Gwent dairy farm last summer and the presence of infected badgers ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood : An investigation into the possible causes of an outbreak of bovine tuberculosis on a Gwent dairy farm last year continues to be carried out by the state veterinary service. No definitive conclusions have been reached.

Dental Services

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what account he has taken of the figures for children's dental decay in the 1992 annual report of the chief medical officer at the Welsh Office in considering revisions to Welsh health circular (89)28 on requirements for the community dental service ; and if the circular is still in force.

Mr. Gwilym Jones : Welsh health circular (89)28 remains in force. It remains relevant to present needs and requirements and there are no plans to revise it.


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TREASURY

Value Added Tax

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 17 March, Official Report, column 819, if he will list the amount of value added tax outstanding for each year since 1988, including 1993, as a percentage of total value added tax collected.

Sir John Cope : Information for the years 1988 to 1993 is shown in the table.

The amounts outstanding shown in the table are the absolute gross cumulative amounts of value added tax arrears at 31 March each year.


Year                |VAT arrears at 31  |Cumulative VAT                         

                    |March              |arrears at 31 March                    

                                        |as a percentage of                     

                                        |net                                    

                                        |receipts for the                       

                                        |year                                   

                                        |ended 31 March                         

                    |£ billion                                                  

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

1988                |0.8                |3.5                                    

1989                |0.9                |3.2                                    

1990                |1.2                |4.0                                    

1991                |1.5                |4.7                                    

1992                |1.6                |4.6                                    

1993                |1.6                |4.2                                    

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 17 March, Official Report, column 819, if he will list the average daily arrears of value added tax for each year since 1986, including 1993, as a percentage of average daily collections of value added tax.

Sir John Cope : Information for the years 1986 to 1993 is shown in the table.


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

1986  |1.4  |19.3 |53.0 |7.0        

1987  |1.2  |21.4 |58.5 |5.7        

1988  |1.0  |24.1 |65.9 |4.4        

1989  |1.1  |27.3 |74.9 |4.0        

1990  |1.2  |29.5 |80.8 |4.0        

1991  |1.6  |31.0 |84.9 |5.2        

1992  |1.9  |35.6 |97.6 |5.4        

1993  |2.0  |37.2 |102.0|5.4        

The average daily arrears figure represents the average gross amount of value added tax outstanding on any one day during the year. It cannot be directly related to an average daily collections figure, as the first is a measure of average total cumulative arrears outstanding on any day. The latter relates to average receipts on a single day, and is not a cumulative figure.

The percentages shown relate to the average daily arrears figure at the year end, expressed as a percentage of net VAT collected in the year.


Column 324

Inland Revenue

Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many counter callers and telephone queries the Inland Revenue had in the period February to March in 1992, 1993 and 1994.

Mr. Dorrell : The numbers of counter callers and telephone queries dealt with by tax offices in the periods concerned are set out in the table. Data are not available for the smaller number of specialist and collection offices.


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