Mr. Butcher : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is the accuracy of DNA tests ; and if he will now introduce legislation to make blood tests compulsory in cases of disputed paternity.
Mr. John M. Taylor : DNA profiling evidence may be conclusive in eliminating a putative father from being the natural father of a child. It is also a technique which can provide extremely strong evidence of positive association and in most instances of dispute is the most accurate way to determine paternity. Courts already have the power to order such tests in appropriate cases. I have no plans to amend the law to make blood tests compulsory in cases of disputed paternity.
Mr. Heppell : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will list the representation he has received regarding the changes to the legal aid eligibility levels since they came into force.
Mr. John M. Taylor : From 1 April 1993 to 31 March 1994 the Lord Chancellor and I received 368 representations from hon. Members about the financial conditions for legal aid. In the same period we received over 300 letter from members of the public. Those figures include representations about individual cases. We continue to have exchanges with the Law Society, the Bar Council and other bodies about matter relating to legal aid.
The Prime Minister : The principles underlying the citizens charter apply to everyone, including people with disabilities. Public services should consider the needs of all their customers, including those with special needs, when drawing up charters and planning service provision.
Column 578which the Irish Government handed over last week. This commentary, including the Sinn Fein questions, has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Bill Michie : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will amend as a matter of urgency the present Inland Revenue new rules issued in April 1988-89 which debar an unwed parent from maintenance tax relief though paying maintenance to a child or children in accordance with the Child Support Act 1991 and which also affects those ex-married payers who lose their maintenance relief if their ex-spouse remarries, in order to allow those taxpayers to receive tax relief in accordance with the old rules.
Mr. Dorrell : No. The new rules on tax relief for maintenance payments, which were introduced in the Finance Act 1988, ensure that married couples are not treated less generously than divorced, separated and unmarried people.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 6 May, Official Report, column 657, what was the cost of calls made on (a) car and (b) portable telephones in 1993-94 ; how much this equipment costs to buy or hire ; and what were the maintenance costs.
Sir John Cope : The cost to the Treasury in 1993-94 of calls made on car telephones and mobile telephones excluding VAT was £2,332 and £1,585 respectively. The telephones themselves cost between £140 and £500 depending on type. Total annual maintenance for this equipment in 1993-94 was about £250.
Ms Harman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 12 May, Official Report, columns 232-34, what were the principle causes of the difference between the figure for local authority self- financed expenditure of £9,700 million in 1993-94 and the equivalent figure of £10,400 million published in table 5B.3 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" 1994-95 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : The principal cause is revised estimates by local authorities of their capital receipts in 1993-94, as reported to the Department of the Environment in their capital payments returns for the third quarter of 1993-94, which became available in the spring of 1994.
Ms Harman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 12 May, Official Report, columns 232-34, what were the principal causes of the difference between the figure for expenditure on the European Communities of £1,620 million in 1993-94 and the equivalent figure of £2,450 million published in table 5B.3 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" 1994-95 ; and if he will make statement.
Column 579precise moment at which contributions are made to the Community and their quantum depend on many factors outside the Government's control, making this programme difficult to forecast with accuracy.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how much of North Yorkshire training and enterprise council's budget for 1993- 94 was devoted to the development of (a) self-employed businesses and (b) new businesses in the Harrogate/Knaresborough travel-to-work area.
Miss Widdecombe : North Yorkshire training and enterprise council's budget for 1993-94 was £21,193,516. Many elements of the budget include assistance for the development of self-employed and new businesses. In addition, £265,268 was devoted to services exclusively for existing businesses, many of them self-employed, and £1,710,800 exclusively for the development of new businesses.
It is not possible to give a complete indication of the proportion of spending on the development of businesses which was devoted to the Harrogate and Knaresborough area, as some of the services are demand led rather than allocated to areas. However, for two of the services for existing businesses, business skill seminars and the business development service, 433 out of a total of 2,191 people assisted during 1993-94 came from the Harrogate and Knaresborough area. For the development of new business, in 1993-94, North Yorkshire TEC allocated 20.1 per cent. of its business start-up budget to the Harrogate and Knaresborough area.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what advice was given on requests to the West Wales TEC, in response to inquiries about the legality, propriety and regularity of expenditure under the voluntary early retirement scheme for secondees from the department who were proposing to continue in full-time employment with that TEC.
Mr. Berry : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security at what times he or his office, and the Minister for Disabled People or his office, were informed of the text of the reply from the Lord President of the Council to the question tabled by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) for answer on 6 May in regard to the number of amendments to the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill drafted by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.
Mr. Berry : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what calculations Her Majesty's Government made of the expenditure implications of the Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill when the money resolution for the Bill was tabled ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Scott : The money resolution was not dependent upon quantification of the impact of the Bill. It was necessary to enable consideration in Committee of those provisions, identified in italics in the Bill as first printed, which give rise to public expenditure.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what costs have been incurred in splitting the previous DHSS uniform claimant system into the current separate agency system ; and if he will make a statement.
Ms Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to the answer of 12 May, Official Report, columns 232-34, what were the principal causes of the difference between the figure for expenditure by the Department of Social Security of £67,800 million in 1993-94 and the equivalent figure of £67,300 million published in table 5B.3 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" 1994-95 ; and if he will make a statement.
Ms Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to the answer of 12 May, Official Report, columns 232-34, if he will publish a table setting out the principal causes of the difference between the figure for cyclical social security expenditure of £14,400 million in 1993-94 compared with the equivalent figure of £14,000 million in table 5.2 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" 1994-95 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what social fund budget the (a) East Nottinghamshire, (b) North Nottinghamshire and (c) West Nottinghamshire district offices held in 1993-94 ; and what budget they hold for 1994-95 on a comparable cost basis.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Paddy Tipping, dated 20 May 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Social Fund budget in the Benefits Agency's East, North and West Nottinghamshire Districts.
Column 581You asked for details of these Districts' budget for 1993-94 and 1994-95 on a comparable cost basis. Those details are shown at Appendix A.
Column 582I hope you find this reply helpful.
Appendix A |1993-94 actual |1993-94 allocation |1994-95 actual |allocation (£) |expressed in terms |allocation (£) |(£) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Grants Nottinghamshire, East |497,433 |517,330 |507,531 Nottinghamshire, North |382,419 |397,716 |390,182 Nottinghamshire, West |563,412 |585,948 |574,849 Loans Nottinghamshire, East |1,484,763 |1,544,154 |1,514,904 Nottinghamshire, North |1,023,815 |1,064,768 |1,044,598 Nottinghamshire, West |1,545,010 |1,606,810 |1,576,374 <1> Real terms figures have been calculated using the current GDP deflator (4 per cent.) and may alter.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on the benefits to the United Kingdom in the past two years from the presence of a Science Minister in the Cabinet.
Mr. Waldegrave : Since the last election, the Government have published a White Paper on Science, Engineering and Technology (Cm 2250), the first major policy review for over 20 years ; restructured the research councils with mission statements focused on wealth creation, the quality of life and user needs ; launched a technology foresight programme to help industrialists and scientists identify market and technological opportunities over the next 10 to 20 years ; inaugurated a major campaign to promote the public understanding of science ; published a forward look representing a first step towards developing a process of annual critical review of the balance and direction of SET, across the whole of the public sector ; agreed with our European partners a fourth Community framework programme for science and technology, reflecting in many respects United Kingdom priorities and maintained the budget for the science base in real terms.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Lord President of the Council what instructions he proposes to issue to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in relation to the priority to be given to the drafting of amendments for Departments to (a) Government legislation in Standing Committee, pursuant to undertakings given by Ministers in Second Reading debates and (b) for use by Back Benchers in debate on Private Members' Bills ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Newton : It is a matter for the First Parliamentary Counsel to arrange the work load of his office to meet priorities set out by Ministers in their instructions. I therefore have no plans to issue instructions.
Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total spent on (a) clerical staff and (b) administrative staff by area health and social services boards in each year since 1989 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Rev. Martin Smyth) on 16 December 1993, Official Report, column 867-68. Figures are available only for the combined administrative and clerical group of staff.
Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the total spent on management salaries by each health and social services boards in each year since 1989 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much was spent in total on nursing and midwifery staff (a) including and (b) excluding agency staff, by area health and social services boards in each year since 1989 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Belfast, South (Rev.r j 1-10 Martin Smyth) on 16 December 1993, Official Report, column 867-68. There are no agency nurses employed in the health and personal social services in Northern Ireland.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what are their most recent figures for yield factor per hectare for (a) wheat production in Northern Ireland and (b) barley production in Northern Ireland ; how many hectares were used for the growing of (i) wheat and (ii) barley ; and when representations were last made to the European Commission to have Northern Ireland included with England and Wales as the yield region for cereal aid purposes.
Column 5835.85 tonnes per hectare and of barley was 3.75 tonnes per hectare. The June 1993 agricultural census in Northern Ireland recorded 6,701 hectares of wheat and 38,554 hectares of barley.
Representations have never been made to the European Commission to have Northern Ireland included with England and Wales as a yield region for cereal aid purposes--that is an internal matter for the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, all efforts have been made by Government to convince the European Commission of the needs of Northern Ireland's specialist growers.
Mr. Don Foster : To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether students who are being trained in school-centred consortia, in the absence of a direct involvement by an institute of higher education, came within the scope of the provisions of the charter for higher education.
Mr. Boswell : The charter for higher education explains the standards of service that higher education users can expect of publicly funded universities and colleges. It does not relate directly to the standards of service provided by other institutions involved in the delivery of education or training of a similar level or kind.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many surplus school places there are currently in the local education authority of (a) Doncaster, (b) Barnsley, (c) Rotherham and (d) Sheffield ; and what were the figures (i) five years and (ii) 10 years ago.
Mr. Forth : The latest figures available on a comprehensive basis were collected by the Department through a detailed survey of all local education authorities in 1991. For the figures derived from that survey, I refer the hon. Member to the reply to the hon. Member for Warwickshire, North (Mr. O'Brien) on 31 January 1994, Official Report, columns 517-21. Detailed information by local education authority is not available for earlier years since no common basis for assessing school capacity existed until the introduction of the more open enrolment provisions of the Education Reform Act 1988.
Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list the schools involved in his schools-based initial teacher training pilot programme indicating for each school the number of children receiving prescribed extra support to overcome learning difficulties which are not the subject of statements, the number of children who have been assessed for statements in the last year and the number of children who have statements of special educational need.
Mr. Robin Squire : I will write to the hon. Member, enclosing a list of those schools involved in the first round of the school-centred initial teacher training scheme and showing the number of pupils with a statement of special education needs as shown in the 1993 school performance tables. The other information requested is not collected centrally.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Attorney-General on what date the Wales area office of the Crown Prosecution Service received the papers from the South Wales police fraud squad and the district audit service in relation to the claiming of travel expenses by the previous chief executive of the Health Promotion Authority for Wales.
The Solicitor-General : On 10 May 1994, the Crown Prosecution Service Cardiff branch received the papers from the South Wales police following their investigation of the activities of the previous chief executive of the Health Promotion Authority for Wales. The police submitted the papers for advice as to whether criminal proceedings should be instituted.
There has been a meeting between the police and CPS lawyers and the CPS has asked for a number of additional inquiries to be made. Only when the results are available will it be possible for the CPS to advise.
Mr. Charles Wardle : Metropolitan Police headquarters functions and specialist units, including the deportation group, fall within the scope of the commissioner's current review. The object of the review is to make the best possible use of resources and to place functions where they are most appropriate.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what research his Department is currently engaged in concerning the use of public electronic bulletin board systems by criminals ;
(2) which police forces currently deploy and train officers specifically in monitoring the electronic communication of information through bulletin boards and equivalent technology ; (3) what assessment he has made of the use being made by criminals of (a) the international and (b) other electronic bulletin board systems ;
(4) how he proposes that the electronic telecommunication of illegal pornographic material through public electronic bulletin board systems will be monitored.
Mr. Maclean : The Home Office has not commissioned any research into the unlawful use of electronic bulletin boards, but the police have estimated that there are about 1,200 such boards in this country, the great majority of which are used entirely innocently. However, we are aware of certain cases where the police believe that bulletin boards are being used to disseminate obscene material or child pornography in breach of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and the Protection of Children Act 1978 respectively.
What action the police take to monitor such bulletin boards, and whether any forces train and deploy officers specifically for this task, is an operational matter for chief officer to determine. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill will make it clear that the electronic transmission of data constitutes publication for the purposes of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and will make obscenity and child pornography offences serious arrestable offences within the meaning of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, thereby giving the police a range of increased powers, including powers of search and seizure as well as powers of arrest. These will apply to those who disseminate obscene material via bulletin boards as they apply to pornographers in other media. We also propose to table an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill in another place to ensure that the police and other law enforcement officers cannot be excluded from publicly accessible bulletin board systems by notices purporting to bar their entry.
Computer transmissions to this country from abroad are not subject to our criminal law, but the Government will consider whether it is possible to make such transmissions subject to controls equivalent to those on the importation of obscene or indecent articles.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to the letters from Mr. Ian Mann of the Chiswick crime prevention panel, dated 18 October 1993 and 27 April 1994, concerning the Chiswick initiative for mobile phone security.
Mr. Charles Wardle : Following receipt of Mr. Mann's letter of 18 October, which asked for a response within 24 hours, officials telephoned him to discuss its content. Full consideration has now been given to this letter, and his further letter of 27 April, and I have written to Mr. Mann today. I am sending copies of the correspondence to the hon. Gentleman.
(2) for how long Darius Guppy was held in a closed prison establishment after he had been sentenced ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) what security is given to Darius Guppy when he is allowed out of prison ;
(4) what is the earliest date of release that Darius Guppy has been given following his sentence ; and if he will make a statement ; (5) on how many occasions Darius Guppy has been allowed out of prison, and for what reasons, since commencing his prison sentence.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Tom Cox, dated 20 May 1994 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Questions about Darius Guppy.
Since the beginning of his prison sentence Mr. Guppy has been held in three different open prisons ; Kirkham, Standford Hill, and Ford. He was initially held in closed conditions for just over four weeks whilst his security category was assessed and allocation decided. Mr. Guppy is classified as a category D prisoner. This means that he has been assessed as a person who can reasonably be trusted to serve his sentence in open conditions without absconding, and also that he is not considered to pose any threat to members of the public. Prisoners in category D who are granted temporary release are subject to licence conditions but are not generally subject to a physical escort. Failure to comply with the licence conditions is an offence under Prison Rules and may lead to a return to closed conditions as well as a delayed release date.
Since beginning his sentence on 25 March 1993 Mr. Guppy has been allowed out of prison on a total of 19 occasions, most of which have been for meetings with solicitors, counsel, insolvency consultants and appearances in court.
Unless he is granted parole on or after 12 August 1995, the earliest date for Mr. Guppy's release is 12 June 1996.