Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on measures to improve the competitive position of the United Kingdom shipping fleet ; and what measures he plans to introduce.
Mr. Dorrell : I refer the hon. Member to the reply the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave to the hon. Members for Dover (Mr. Shaw) and for Stoke- on-Trent, North (Ms Walley) on 21 April at columns 597-98, and the hon. Member for Pudsey (Sir G. Shaw) on 22 April at columns 691-92.
Mr. Cann : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 19 April, Official Report, column 424, what is his estimate of the number of households potentially affected by the decision regarding retrospective revaluation of property.
Sir John Cope : Details of the number of dwellings which are likely to have their original bandings altered as a consequence of a sale in their locality have not been collected. However, I would expect the number of such alterations to represent only a very small fraction of the total number of alterations made to valuation lists.
Mr. Mandelson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give the average income, occupational pension and income tax liability of the top 1 per cent., top 5 per cent. and top 10 per cent. of people in receipt of occupational pensions.
Mr. Dorrell : Latest available estimates using the 1991-92 survey of personal incomes are given in the table.
People in receipt of |Average amount of |Average amount |Average income tax an occupational |income (£) |ofoccupational |liability<1> (£) pension ranged by |pension (£) amount of occupational pension --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Top 1 per cent. |54,400 |30,000 |9,100 Top 5 per cent. |30,100 |17,600 |4,600 Top 10 per cent. |23,300 |13,600 |3,300 <1> The figures are the tax liability on occupational pensions assuming that they represent the top slice of taxable income.
Mr. Temple-Morris : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many farming enterprises have been allowed by Her Majesty's inspectors of taxes an extension
Column 88of farm loss offset into the sixth and subsequent years in each of the last three tax years for which figures are available.
Mr. Dorrell : The information is not available.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the staff of each Newcastle tax office on (a) 1 April 1993 and (b) 1 April 1994 ; and if he will explain the cause of changes since April 1992.
Mr. Dorrell : The numbers of staff-in-post at the relevant dates are shown in the table.
|1 April 1993|1 April 1994 ---------------------------------------------------- Newcastle 1 |153 |135 Newcastle 2 |25 |22 Newcastle 3 |65 |57 Newcastle 4 |86 |79 |--- |--- Total |329 |293
The comparable total staff-in-post for the four offices at 1 April 1992 was 341. Between 1 April 1992 and 1 April 1994 there has been a reduction of 48 staff-in-post.
About half the reduction relates to typists and secretaries. The 1 April 1994 figures exclude almost all typing and secretarial staff included at 1 April 1993. Inland Revenue North has carried out an efficiency scrutiny of its typing and secretarial services. Of 24 typists and secretaries in post at 1 April 1993 in the four Newcastle tax offices, two remain, 13 have transferred to other
locations--including the Tyneside pool which handles Newcastle work--seven were offered, and accepted voluntary severance terms and two left the department for other reasons.
Reasons for the remaining staff reductions in Newcastle tax offices include a reduced workbase reflecting a decrease in the number of schedule E and schedule D taxpayers the offices deal with, the transfer of trust work to a new office in Nottingham which specialises in such work and other procedural changes including simplification of end of year work on PAYE.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the relationship between the figures for the French trade surplus for the United Kingdom in the first half of 1993 as published in revised Intrastat figures in the Eurostat news letter
"Edicom/Intrastat (1/94)" and the Central Statistical Office figures for the surplus and what assessment he has made of the effect of any discrepancy on the United Kingdom balance of payments deficit.
Sir John Cope : Figures in the Eurostat news letter are based on information supplied by member states, but they are, for many countries including the United Kingdom, incomplete. They include only data actually reported by traders without any estimates for the value of non-response or for traders operating below the Intrastat thresholds. As such, they are of limited usefulness. The Central Statistical Office publications include estimates for these amounts, and in its first release, the data are also shown on a consistent basis as used for the compilation of balance of payments estimates.
Column 89I have already announced that a full quality assurance programme on the United Kingdom's Intrastat figures is under way. One part of this involves detailed comparisons of the estimates from the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the Netherlands. However, results from this will not be available until later in the year.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the towns in which food prices are checked for information to compile the national price index.
Sir John Cope : Prices for the retail prices index are collected from the areas around the local employment service offices given below :
Areas used for monthly collection of prices for the retail prices index: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Camden |Dagenham |Reading Hammersmith |East Ham |Southampton Westminster |Ilford |High Wycombe Chiswick |Woolwich |Milton Keynes Finchley |Watford |Brighton Hendon |Newport, Isle of Wight|Chichester Hounslow |Oxford |Crawley Wood Green |Portsmouth |Eastbourne Chelmsford |Winchester |Chatham Harlow |Croydon |Dover Basildon |Kingston |Harrow Southend |Wimbledon |Luton Bedford |Denton |Shrewsbury Bromley |Lancaster |Hanley Bexleyheath |Leigh |Leek Cromer |Aintree |Lichfield Spalding |Oldham |Stafford Derby |St. Helens |Birmingham Loughborough |Preston |Coventry Melton Mowbray |Stretford |Handsworth Leicester |Diss |Nuneaton Grimsby |Norwich |Rugby Hull |Thetford |Walsall Leeds |Cambridge |Hereford Sheffield |Wisbech |Dudley Barnsley |Peterborough |Halesowen Batley |Bungay |Kidderminster Bradford |Bury St. Edmunds |Worcester Goole |Ipswich |Daventry Halifax |Leiston |Northampton Huddersfield |Bodmin |Glossop Keighley |Redruth |Nottingham Selby |St. Austell |Worksop York |Exeter |Lincoln Northallerton |Honiton |Liverpool Scarborough |Plymouth |Carlisle Altrincham |Bournemouth |Maryport Birkenhead |Burnham |Penrith Ellesmere Port |Taunton |Darlington Northwick |Yeovil |Kendal Stockport |Cheltenham |Alnwick Buxton |Bristol |Berwick Manchester |Stroud |Blyth Blackburn |Weymouth |Barrow Blackpool |Sailsbury |Middlesborough Bolton |Trowbridge |Bishop Auckland Burnley |Swindon |Gateshead Chorley |Kings Heath |Sunderland Washington |Pembroke Dock |Glenrothes Newcastle |Ayr |Elgin Llanelli |Dumfries |Perth Portmadog |Parkhead |Galashiels Cardigan |Maryhill |Grangemouth Llangollen |Leith |Motherwell Wrexham |Musselburgh |Belfast Caerphilly |Rothesay |Omagh Cardiff |Aberdeen |Ballymena Maesteg |Arbroath |Bangor Merthyr Tydfil |Dundee |Portdown Swansea |Wick Newport
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to ensure that building societies routinely inform savers when their accounts become obsolete.
Sir John Cope : How building societies choose to communicate with their members is a matter for them. A number of societies routinely transfer customers from obsolete accounts to the nearest equivalent active one. Sections 6.1 to 6.3 of the revised voluntary code of banking practice, published in March, set out standard practice for informing customers of the rates of interest paid on accounts. A copy of the code is in the Library.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions in the past five years his Department has suspended employees from duty without pay when they have been charged with a criminal offence but are still awaiting trial.
Sir John Cope [holding answer 22 April 1994] : In the last five years there has been one case of an employee of the Treasury suspended without pay when charged with a criminal offence but still awaiting trial.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which grace-and-favour accommodation at the occupied and at the unoccupied royal palaces were liable to pay rates under the rates system of local government taxation ; and on what basis it was assessed.
Sir John Cope [holding answer 25 April 1994] : Under the rates system for domestic property in England and Wales which came to an end in March 1990 all grace and favour accommodation at the royal palaces which was occupied was liable to pay domestic rates. When accommodation, including grace and favour accommodation, was unoccupied no rates were payable. In Scotland the same position applied prior to the introduction of the community charge in April 1989. The basis of assessment was the same as for other domestic property, namely its annual rental value subject to deduction for assumed liability for repair.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans she has to make feline spongiform encephalopathy a notifiable disease ; and how many cases she is aware of in each of the last five years.
Mr. Soames : Bovine spongiform encephalopathy in bovines, and scrapie in sheep and goats, are already compulsorily notifiable. We have consulted interested organisations on proposals that would mean that when a naturally occurring spongiform encephalopathy is suspected in any animal following laboratory examination of material, that suspicion should be notified to the Ministry. Legislation is being prepared on this.
The number of cases of feline spongiform encephalopathy to date by year of onset of clinical signs is as follows :
Year of Onset |Number of cases ------------------------------------------------ 1989 |1 1990 |16 1991 |9 1992 |14 1993 |8
Column 92Cases were not necessarily confirmed in the same year that clinical signs were first observed. The first case of FSE was confirmed in May 1990.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many reports she has received about spongiform encephalopathy in canines and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Soames : The Ministry has received no reports of confirmed cases of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies in canines.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make a statement about bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Mr. Soames : A further report on BSE in Great Britain is available today. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House. The report details the continuing epidemiological evidence that the ruminant feed ban is effective in controlling the epidemic in the way which has been predicted. The number of reported cases up to 18 March 1994 is 19.9 per cent. below that of the same period in 1993--8,585 in 1994 compared with 10,718 in 1993--and 14.9 per cent. below 1992. The report also gives information about the wide-ranging research programme being undertaken by the Ministry, particularly relating to the transmission of the disease and tissue infectivity studies.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what tonnage of domestically reared lamb and sheep was produced in the United Kingdom for each year since 1979 ;
(2) what quantity of domestically reared lamb and sheep exports were transported abroad (a) live and (b) dead in each year since 1979.
Mr. Soames : Details of domestic lamb and sheep production, and exports, are shown in the table.
United Kingdom production and export of mutton and lamb Units: Thousand tonnes (meat equivalent) Domestically Exports<2> lamb and sheep production<1> |Carcase meat|Live ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |238.7 |40.9 |7.7 1980 |289.6 |36.9 |12.9 1981 |272.6 |37.5 |14.0 1982 |276.1 |37.0 |11.9 1983 |297.5 |43.3 |10.7 1984 |298.4 |47.4 |10.5 1985 |313.7 |48.8 |10.5 1986 |300.9 |60.1 |11.5 1987 |310.8 |71.2 |19.3 1988 |342.2 |76.0 |20.4 1989 |385.4 |89.4 |19.9 1990 |393.2 |79.6 |23.5 1991 |418.0 |79.9 |33.0 1992 |392.4 |106.0 |39.8 1993 |377.1 |129.1 |45.9 <1> Figures include an estimate for unrecorded exports from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic. <2> Boneless items adjusted to carcase weight equivalent from 1985 (inclusive) onwards.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what are the qualifications and work experience of Mr. Gummer, recently appointed to head the Arts Council lottery committee.
Mr. Brooke : Mr. Gummer was first appointed as a member of the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1991 and in March I appointed him as one of the first members of the Arts Council of England. Mr. Gummer's wide-ranging interest in the arts and his business and financial experience admirably qualify him to be chairman of the Arts Council's national lottery advisory panel.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many personnel from his Department were involved in Exercise Diver Mist ; in what capacities they served ; and what was the cost to his Department of this involvement.
Mr. Charles Wardle : Work was undertaken by four Home Office staff as part of their normal duties and is not therefore costed. Two of those staff were involved in the planning of the exercise and three observed different aspects of the exercise.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will bring forward plans to abolish or reform the House of Lords ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms are in place to prevent any influx of funds into the United Kingdom generated by criminal activities in the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Maclean : New legislation which came into force earlier this year requires banks and other financial institutions to report knowledge or suspicion of drug money laundering to the law enforcement agencies and ecourages them to report other suspicious transactions without fear of prosecution for breach of customer confidentiality. It also makes the laundering of the proceeds of any serious crime a criminal offence. The National Criminal Intelligence Service, which receives all reports of suspicious transactions, and HM Customs and Excise have established channels of communications which enable them to co-operate with their counterparts in Russia and other countries in the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Keith Hill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the extent to which mediation could be used as a more cost-effective means of resolving disputes than court proceedings ;
(2) what assessment he has made of the number of disputes which result in criminal cases where mediation would have resolved the dispute in a more cost-effective manner.
Mr. Maclean : I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question from the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill (Mr. Alton) on 8 March, Official Report, column 174. No comprehensive assessment has been made of the number of cases where mediation might have proved more cost effective than criminal proceedings.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 8 March, Official Report, column 174, to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Mossley Hill, if he will publish the report of the inter-departmental working group on mediation in the criminal justice system.
Mr. Maclean : No. The report of the interdepartmental working group, to which I referred in my answer to the hon. Member's question on 8 March, Official Report, column 174, examined a wide range of criminal justice issues in addition to its consideration of the possible value of mediation. It is an internal document prepared as advice for Ministers.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis on the circumstances in which a dumper truck was driven on to the railway line at West Drayton on Sunday 10 April and the action which the police are taking to trace and arrest those responsible ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Charles Wardle : I understand from the Commissioner that his officers made the initial response to this incident, but that the matter is now being investigated by the British Transport police. It appears that at about 8 pm on Sunday, 10 April 1994, some youths entered a plant-hire site next to West Drayton railway station. A number of vehicles were driven around the site, causing damage ; one was driven through the perimeter fence onto the adjacent railway line. It was driven off the line by one of the youths before the next train passed. The British Transport police have identified a number of witnesses and have interviewed two youths. No charges have yet been brought.
Mr. Mike O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give an ethnic breakdown of police officers in each force in England and Wales in (a) 1980, (b) 1985, (c) 1990 and (d) 1993.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The information in the table is derived from the monthly strength returns provided to the Home Office by all police forces.
White and Ethnic minority officer strength in England and Wales for 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1993 As at 31 December Police Force 1980 1985 1990 1993 |White |Ethnic |White |Ethnic |White |Ethnic |White |Ethnic ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Avon and Somerset |2,958 |4 |2,956 |9 |3,037 |22 |3,010 |24 Bedordshire |953 |10 |963 |19 |1,028 |36 |1,135 |33 Cambridgeshire |1,086 |0 |1,130 |11 |1,163 |23 |1,238 |28 Cheshire |1,832 |1 |1,803 |0 |1,894 |4 |1,871 |2 Cleveland |1,453 |1 |1,457 |4 |1,476 |9 |1,400 |14 Cumbria |1,103 |1 |1,118 |2 |1,187 |2 |1,182 |3 Derbyshire |1,827 |5 |1,751 |14 |1,728 |23 |1,759 |31 Devon and Cornwall |2,721 |0 |2,745 |2 |2,865 |2 |2,904 |4 Dorset |1,167 |0 |1,201 |1 |1,269 |3 |1,289 |3 Durham |1,345 |0 |1,293 |0 |1,361 |3 |1,382 |7 Dyfed Powys |929 |0 |924 |0 |936 |0 |966 |0 Essex |2,600 |9 |2,670 |8 |2,866 |18 |2,920 |27 Gloucestershire |1,116 |3 |1,146 |5 |1,146 |12 |1,126 |14 Greater Manchester |6,906 |17 |6,729 |50 |6,893 |117 |6,916 |131 Gwent |971 |2 |970 |1 |996 |5 |981 |8 Hampshire |3,055 |3 |3,059 |9 |3,161 |9 |3,245 |25 Hertfordshire |1,512 |6 |1,571 |13 |1,642 |17 |1,659 |20 Humberside |1,950 |1 |1,933 |3 |1,986 |3 |2,019 |9 Kent |2,866 |5 |2,849 |10 |2,979 |9 |3,170 |12 Lancashire |3,120 |0 |2,999 |5 |3,177 |22 |3,108 |32 Leicestershire |1,706 |14 |1,723 |27 |1,738 |46 |1,772 |66 Lincolnshire |1,183 |0 |1,141 |0 |1,205 |0 |1,197 |6 Merseyside |4,585 |6 |4,533 |21 |4,633 |46 |4,592 |71 Norfolk |1,249 |0 |1,263 |0 |1,394 |0 |1,434 |0 Northamptonshire |967 |4 |1,036 |11 |1,127 |17 |1,159 |22 Northumbria |3,335 |5 |3,361 |7 |3,516 |12 |3,570 |19 North Wales |1,290 |0 |1,250 |1 |1,338 |1 |1,340 |1 North Yorkshire |1,352 |0 |1,352 |1 |1,377 |2 |1,327 |6 Nottinghamshire |2,201 |8 |2,188 |26 |2,291 |51 |2,282 |55 South Wales |3,067 |1 |3,055 |9 |3,108 |15 |3,117 |25 South Yorkshire |2,842 |0 |2,837 |13 |2,963 |21 |2,977 |38 Staffordshire |2,067 |4 |2,093 |9 |2,175 |18 |2,174 |28 Suffolk |1,121 |1 |1,130 |1 |1,189 |6 |1,207 |9 Surrey |1,589 |0 |1,624 |3 |1,646 |8 |1,648 |19 Sussex |2,822 |1 |2,790 |0 |2,975 |9 |2,959 |18 Thames Valley |3,037 |6 |3,251 |32 |3,657 |49 |3,832 |62 Warwickshire |913 |3 |934 |5 |1,005 |9 |1,009 |16 West Mercia |1,933 |6 |1,915 |9 |2,005 |17 |2,033 |23 West Midlands |6,497 |42 |6,462 |93 |6,716 |165 |6,740 |228 West Yorkshire |5,030 |10 |5,015 |34 |5,188 |88 |4,892 |96 Wiltshire |1,030 |2 |1,023 |5 |1,148 |9 |1,261 |12 City of London |841 |2 |781 |1 |789 |7 |873 |11 Metropolitan |23,501 |107 |26,418 |287 |27,669 |483 |26,955 |650 |---- |-- |---- |-- |---- |--- |---- |--- Total |115,628|290 |118,412|761 |123,642|1,418 |124,630|1,908
Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to relieve the pressure on capacity at Winson Green prison ; and if he will make a statement.
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 Derek Lewis to Mr. Robert Ainsworth, dated 26 April 1994 :
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about capacity at Winson Green prison.
The certified normal accommodation for Birmingham prison is 562. On 20 April 1994, 733 prisoners were held at Birmingham, which was 64 less than the operational capacity of 797. Operational capacity is the total number of prisoners which an establishment can hold while sustaining good order, security and the proper running of the planned regime.
Column 96Some 150 additional places will be available at Birmingham later this year when current refurbishment work in G Wing is completed.
Sir Michael Grylls : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many extra police will be deployed in residential roads in London to enforce the lorry ban following the end of the exemption permit system for lorries operated by the London borough transport scheme.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The deployment of police officers for the enforcement of the London lorry ban is an operational matter for the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.
Mr. Keith Hill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are his plans to safeguard victims and offenders in caution -plus schemes by maintaining practice standards such as those developed by Mediation UK.
Mr. Maclean : We have at present no plans to issue or comment particular practice standards. The relatively few caution-plus schemes now operating are diverse in character and their value is still being assessed.
Mr. Keith Hill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number and proportion of criminal cases in which the victim and the defendant are known to each other.
Mr. Maclean : This information is not generally available centrally, except for the small number of offences such as incest where such a relationship can be assumed. In the case of offences of homicide, however, more extensive statistics are kept including details of known suspects and their relationship to victims.
Mr. Keith Hill : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which voluntary organisations are currently funded by the voluntary services unit.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The voluntary services unit currently funds the following voluntary organisations :
Action--Employees in the Community.
Association for Research in the Voluntary and Community Sector. Association of Chief Executives of National Voluntary Organisations.
Association of Community Trusts and Foundations.
British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centres. Bromley by Bow Centre.
Charities Evaluation Services.
Community Development Foundation.
Community Radio Association.
Community Service Volunteers.
Federation of Community Work Training Groups.
Festival Welfare Services.
Institute of Charity Fundraising Managers.
Kent Committee for the Welfare of Migrants.
Midland Refugee Council.
National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service. National Association of Volunteer Bureaux.
National Council for Voluntary Organisations.
National Federation of City Farms.
National Playbus Association.
National Youth Agency.
North East Refugee Service.
Northern Refugee Centre.
Refugee Arrivals Project.
Resource Unit to promote Black Volunteering.
Retired Executives Action Clearing House.
Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Scottish Refugee Council.