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Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the suitability of the present £6 limit for amusement-with-prizes machines in relation to the level of prize payments from society lottery scratch cards ; and what plans he has to increase the pay-out limit.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Amusement-with-prizes machines are intended to provide amusement as opposed to a form of gambling for significant amounts of money and are not analogous to society lottery scratch cards. The limits for machines are, however, kept under review.
Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Metropolitan police have taken to ensure that there will be a single telephone number for inquiries regarding clamped or towed-away cars after the contract for this service expires in September 1994 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Charles Wardle : I understand that the Metropolitan police and the Parking Committee for London, which acts as a co-ordinating body for the new parking enforcement work of the London boroughs, have discussed the unification of the boroughs' computerised public inquiry service, dealing with vehicle removals and clamping, and the similar inquiry service provided by the police.
It is expected that a single system, with one inquiry point for motorists whose vehicles have been clamped or removed in London, will be provided by October 1994. Meanwhile, from 4 July 1994, arrangements involving the exchange of computer terminals will make it possible for the inquiry centre which is telephoned first to provide a full service to all callers.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost to the Metropolitan police for the protection of General Pinochet during his recent visit ; and if he will call for reports from other police forces.
Mr. Clapham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Corby (Mr. Powell) of 21 January, Official Report, columns 909-18, if he will list the incidents of terrorist activity in Great Britain since 4 November attributable to groups (a) connected with Northern Ireland and (b) not connected with Northern Ireland.
Date |Location ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (a) Connected with the affairs of Northern Ireland 14 December 1993 |Railway line near Woking station |Small device exploded on railway line. Slight | damage to line. No injuries. 16 December 1993 |Railway line near Brookwood and |Two devices discovered. Disrupted by |Farnborough stations |controlled explosion. 20 December 1993 |King Edward Buildings,Sorting Office, |Postal device discovered. Made safe. No | London, EC1 | damage no injuries |Travellers Tavern, Elizabeth Street, |Six devices discovered in a holdall. No | Victoria, London, SW1 | injuries. At least one ignited. Minor | damage |Mount Pleasant Sorting Office, Rosebury |Package ignited. No injuries. Minor damage. | Avenue, London, EC1 |Northfields Tube Station, Ealing, London, |Small device ignited in a litter bin. No | W13 | significant damage. No injuries. 27 January 1994 |C&A, Oxford Street, London, W1 |Incendiary device ignited; little damage. |Mothercare, Oxford Street, London, W1 |Incendiary device ignited; little damage. |Silverdale Travel Goods, Oxford Street, |Incendiary device ignited; some damage. | London, W1 28 January 1994 |C&A, Oxford Street, London, W1 |Incendiary device ignited; little damage. |Mothercare, Oxford Street, London, W1 |Incendiary device made safe. 29 January 1994 |Nightingales, Oxford Street, London, W1 |One incendiary device ignited and another | made safe; little damage. 18 February 1994 |Record shop, 157 Charing Cross Road, |Incendiary device discovered and made safe. | London, WC2 19 February 1994 |Record Shop, 157 Charing Cross Road, |Very small high explosive device exploded; | London, WC2 | minor damage. Incendiary device made | safe on previous day. |Top Shop, Oxford Circus, London, W1 |Two incendiary devices ignited; little | damage. |Hennes, Oxford Circus, London, W1 |Incendiary device ignited; little damage. |Newsagents, Great Cumberland Place, |Incendiary device ignited destroying shop. | London, W1 |Burtons, New Oxford Street, London, WC1 |Incendiary device ignited; little damage. |Burtons, Regent Street, London, W1 |Incendiary device ignited and very small HE | device detonated; little damage. |Liberty's, Regent Street, London W1 |Incendiary device ignited; little damage. |Mister Byrite, Oxford Circus, London, W1 |Incendiary device made safe. 22 February 1994 |Mr. Handy, Edgware Road, London, W2 |Incendiary device made safe (left over | from above series). 9 March 1994 |Heathrow Airport, London |Four mortars launched from a car parked at | the Excelsior Hotel, landing on or near the | northern runway. None exploded and there | was no damage. 11 March 1994 |Heathrow Airport, London |Four mortars launched from waste ground, | landing on an aircraft parking area | near Terminal Four. None exploded and there | was no damage. 13 March 1994 |Heathrow Airport, London |Five mortars launched from waste ground, | landing in the vicinity of Terminal Four. | None exploded and there was no damage. 15 March 1994 |Railway line near Sevenoaks, Kent |Explosive device discovered. Believed to be | left over from the series of attacks in | December but had failed to detonate. 21 March 1994 |Railway line, Orpington, Kent |Timer of explosive device discovered. | Believed to be left over from series of | attacks in December but had failed to | detonate. 12 May 1994 |MGM cinema, Oxford Street, London, W1 |Incendiary device found. Device had mal- | functioned and is believed to have been | one of a series of devices planted in West | End cinemas in 1991. 6 June 1994 |Sevenoaks railway station, Kent |Device made safe in controlled explosion. 10 June 1994 |Liberty's, Oxford Street, London, W1 |Two incendiary devices discovered and made | safe. 11 June 1994 |Mr. Byrite's, Oxford Street, London, W1 |Incendiary device ignited causing little | damage. A further device had failed to | detonate. 13 June 1994 |Railway line, one mile from Stevenage |Device exploded on embankment by railway | station | line. Little damage. (b) Other acts of terrorism 4 November 1993 |Turkish Embassy, Belgrave Square, |Petrol bombs thrown. Minor damage. No | London |Turkish Airlines Office, London |Petrol bombs thrown. No injuries. |London Islamic Turkish Association |Petrol bombs thrown. Extensive fire damage. | Centre, London, N16 | No injuries. |British Telecom Office (wrongly identified |Bricks and petrol bombs thrown. Minor as T C Zjraat Bank), London, EC2 | injuries to five BT employees. |Sabanci Turkish Bank, London, EC2 |Petrol bomb thrown. Minor damage. Member | of public injured.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations his Department has received on the number of volunteer foot patrols, backed by local police forces, which are operating in response to the increase in rural crime ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Charles Wardle : Following my announcement at the national neighbourhood watch conference in December, there has been considerable interest in the idea of volunteer foot patrols. Helpful discussions have been taking place with the police on this matter. It is essential that any patrolling should be supported by the local police and carefully monitored. Some examples of good practice already exist for voluntary patrolling. In respect of rural crime prevention, I have been delighted with the enthusiasm with which both police and public have greeted the parish constables initiative. There are now more than 60 schemes in operation around the country.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Elliot Morley, dated 21 June 1994 :
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the guidelines or instructions which currently exist for the treatment and medical care of prisoners with epilepsy.
At reception every prisoner is asked if they suffer from fits or epilepsy. If they do, enquiries are made about the nature of the treatment they are receiving. Further investigation may be required to see whether there is supportive evidence, as found in an electroencephalogram, or whether other conditions which can mimic epilepsy can be excluded from the diagnosis.
The prison doctor would then decide whether working conditions which could prove dangerous to a epilepsy sufferer,
Column 79such as working with machinery at heights or driving, should preclude a sufferer from working in these conditions. Medical instructions are issued accordingly.
The training of all doctors and nurses includes the treatment and management of epilepsy. The induction training of all prison officers, includes training specifically aimed at the recognition of the symptoms of an epileptic episode, together with training in the appropriate first aid response.
In our plans for continuing medical education of prison health care staff, the management of epilepsy is to be given high priority.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Elliot Morley, dated 21 June 1994 :
The Home Secretary had asked me to reply to your recent Question about the numbers of prisoners who have died as a result of epilepsy in each Prison Service establishment in each year since 1984. The attached table gives details of the number of those prisoners whose death has been medically attributed to epilepsy or effects related to that medical condition. The most recent death in custody which was certified to be epilepsy-related occurred in 1992.
Establishment |1984 |1985 |1986 |1987 |1988 |1989 |1990 |1991 |1992 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Birmingham |- |- |- |- |1 |- |- |- |- Brixton |1 |1 |- |- |- |- |- |- |- Coldingley |- |- |- |- |1 |- |- |- |- Kingston |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |1 Leeds |- |- |- |1 |- |- |- |- |- Maidstone |- |- |- |- |1 |- |- |- |- Parkhurst |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |1 Stafford |- |- |- |- |1 |- |- |- |- Wandsworth |- |1 |- |- |- |- |- |- |-
Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of prisoners were held in establishments where prisoners were unlocked for a total of at least 12 hours on weekdays, on the last day of each month since April 1992.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 21 June 1994 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent question about what percentage of prisoners are held in establishments where prisoners were unlocked for a total of at least 12 hours on weekdays on the last day of each month since April 1992.
This information has only been collected since June 1993. The available information is as follows :
Month |Percentage of |prisoners held in |establishments where |prisoners were |unlocked for 12 |hours |or more on weekdays |Per cent. --------------------------------------------------------------- 1993 June |22 July |22 August |23 September |23 October |23 November |24 December |24 1994 January |26 February |27 March |29 April |31 May |32
Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 21 June 1994 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the average number of hours per week which prisoners spend in purposeful activity, at the latest available date.
In May 1994, prisoners spent an average of 26.06 hours per week in purposeful activity.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the cost of the facility provided by ARA caterers in each of the prisons where they are operating ; and what are the comparable costs of catering provided by public employees compared with contractors.
Column 81Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Alun Michael, dated 21 June 1994 :
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the cost of the facility provided by ARA caterers in each of the prisons where they are operating and about the comparable costs of catering provided by public employees compared with contractors. ARA provide a contracted catering service at Woodhill and Bullingdon. The costs of these contracts are not disclosed for reasons of commercial confidentiality. Group 4, who subcontract to ARA, provide a service at Wolds Remand Prison, the cost of which is included in the operating fee payable to the contractor.
The average costs of contractors to provide catering in the eight establishments (apart from Wolds) where catering is contracted out is £552 per inmate place per year. Costs are not available on a comparable basis for establishments where the service is provided by public employees, that is, prison officers and/or civilians, but the average staff cost in such establishments is £369 per inmate place per year. This excludes all overhead costs, at establishment and national level, including administration, supply and training. These costs do not include food, for which both contractors and public sector caterers are given the same minimum allowance.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what restrictions on the use and unfurling of banners in Hyde park have been imposed in respect of the March for Jesus on 25 June ; and for what reasons.
Mr. Sproat : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its chief executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from David Welch to Mr. Jack Straw, dated 15 June 1994 : The Secretary of State for National Heritage has asked me to reply to your question about what restrictions have been imposed on the use and unfurling of banners at the March for Jesus in Hyde Park on 25 June.
We have asked the organisers that the majority of banners are furled on entering the Park and placards are deposited at convenient points, to be collected by their owners at the end of the event. The organisers have agreed, as they did on each of the previous occasions they have used the Park.
This is a standard condition that applies to all rallies and other assemblies in the Royal Parks including, for instance, the miners' rally in Hyde Park in October 1992. It is intended to reduce the risk to those taking part from large numbers of often quite excited people waving wooden poles around. It also prevents a lot of litter, as most placards are rather flimsy and are abandoned in the park at the end of the rally.
We have agreed that that they may display a selection of international flags at the entrance to the Park. We have allowed them to bring the main banner with the title of the rally into the Park, and also individual church or geographical banners to help people identify the location of their group.
Mr. Jamieson : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage whether his Department has been consulted by the Ministry of Defence over the possible siting of a naval firing range off Dodman point in Cornwall ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 82however, that, in making his decision, my hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces will take into account the possible implications for the local tourism and leisure sectors upon which the Cornwall economy so much depends.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the fees charged to short-wave radio users for detection of sources of interference from illegal radio operators, total revenue from such fees in the most recent convenient year, and the extent to which such fees cover the cost of such detection.
Mr. Heseltine : No separate fee is charged for the detection of illegal radio operation. The cost of this work is covered in the licence fees charged to licensed users. Details of current licence fees for all categories of licensed users are in the Wireless Telegraphy (Licence Charges) (Amendment) Regulations 1994, No. 659, copies of which are in the Library of the House.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Council confirmed in principle the common position on the draft open network provision--ONP--voice telephony directive that it had adopted on 30 June 1993, following the failure of the conciliation procedure with the European Parliament, adopting none of the amendments to the common position proposed by the European Parliament. There was no general agreement on the two proposed decisions on trans- European networks for integrated services digital networks--TEN-ISDN--which will be considered further by the Committee of Permanent Representatives-- COREPER. The Council adopted conclusions on the Commission's fourth annual report on the implementation of Euro-ISDN and a resolution on the co- ordination of activity on interchange of data between Administrations--IDA. A number of problems remained unresolved on the proposed decision on IDA, particularly on costs, finance, the list of projects and the committee structure. The decision was referred back to COREPER for further discussion.
Commissioner Bangemann reported orally on the work of his group of "prominent persons" on information infrastructure. The report of the group will be published shortly and will emphasise the importance of increased competition in telecommunications as well as the need for market-led investment from private sources, rather than new Community funding. The report will be presented to the European Council in Corfu on 24-26 June, possibly with specific recommendations from the Commission.
The Council agreed conclusions setting out the next steps on standards for advanced television and invited the Commission to draft an article on conditional access for pay television to be included in a draft directive on standards. The text of a draft Council resolution on development of digital broadcasting was agreed. The Commission made brief presentations on the Green Paper on mobile and personal communications and the draft
Column 83directives on mutual recognition of telecommunications and satellite licences. There was a short debate on postal services ; the Commission noted that further work was needed on the development of a European terminal dues system which should ideally be completed in advance of the forthcoming Universal Postal Union conference in Seoul in the autumn. The Commission undertook to use its good offices to assist in this process and also reaffirmed its commitment to produce proposals on universal service, reserved services and technical standards in line with the February 1994 Council resolution. No formal votes were taken at the Council.
Mr. Eggar : I intend to appoint Sir David White as chairman of the Coal Authority, subject to Parliament's enacting the Coal Industry Bill. In the meantime, Sir David will advise my Department on the establishment of the authority and its policy. Sir David will give up his current appointment as a part-time member of British Coal. The Government gave a commitment in their coal review White Paper that the headquarters of the Coal Authority would be located in Nottinghamshire. I am now able to announce the initial accommodation arrangements being made for the authority pending its own consideration of longer-term arrangements. The authority's headquarters will be located at 200 Lichfield lane, Berry Hill, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, which British Coal Opencast will also continue to use for the time being. The Authority will additionally take over British Coal's abandoned mine plans facility at Bretby in Staffordshire, and co-locate certain associated functions.
British Coal announced on 15 June that a new company, CRE Group Ltd., comprising CRE's technical and consultancy services together with CRE's laboratory-scale research and development activities, will be offered for sale later in the year. CRE's large-scale R and D activities will be retained within British Coal.
Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what consultations he has had with (a) his colleagues in other Government Departments, (b) the fire service and (c) the Fire Brigades Union on the scrutiny report on the fire service ; and when he intends to make an announcement regarding the report ;
Column 84(2) what decisions he has made regarding the scrutiny report on the deregulation of the fire service.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The fire safety review team has completed its work and its report has been submitted to the Government. Ministers are now considering the report and the question of its publication. No decisions have been taken on it, nor have any consultations begun with interested parties outside Government. But the Government have made it consistently clear that they are committed to full consultation with interested parties before any changes in the existing arrangements are made.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the commitments to restrict trade in toxic wastes made under the Basle convention will be allowable under the Uruguay round world trade accords.
Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what timetable exists for the completion of metric conversion ; (2) when the exercise on (a) metric conversion and (b) metric conversion with regard to distance measurement is expected to be completed.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Government intend to bring forward legislation to implement the units of measurement directive before the summer recess. This legislation will include dates for converting to metric where conversion is required. However, it will allow the continued use of the mile, yard, foot and inch for road traffic signs, distance and speed measurement as permitted by the directive.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Government are well aware of the importance of the free postage facility currently offered by the Royal Mail for articles for the blind. The Green Paper on the Post Office, which is due to be published shortly, will, therefore, make it clear that, under any option, the Royal Mail will be required to continue to offer this valued service.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to increase the regulations of tour operator companies in order to protect the finances and holidays of their customers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 20 June 1994] : I have no such plans. Customer pre-payments for package holidays are already protected by the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people in the London area are currently considered by the Government to be voluntarily unemployed ; and by how much this figure has increased over the last 15 years.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what instructions are given to security staff in his departmental offices in London for dealing with (a) those sleeping rough in departmental doorways and (b) beggars in the vicinity ; and how many problems have been experienced with each category in the last three months.
Mr. Caborn : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on his Department's policy regarding the eligibility of disabled people to become members of industrial tribunals ; what records are kept of the number of disabled people who are members of industrial tribunals ; and if he will make a statement.
Miss Widdecombe : We welcome applications for appointment from all sections of the community, including disabled people, and the information published by the Department on the appointment arrangements makes this clear. Records are not kept of the numbers of lay members who are disabled.
The Prime Minister : With the sixth largest aid programme, we make a substantial contribution to the international effort to promote sustainable economic and social development in developing countries.
The Prime Minister : The contract which has been let for office cleaning services at the new security intelligence service headquarters at Vauxhall cross provides for a more flexible service at a substantial saving to public funds.
Column 86I regret that staff have had to be made redundant, but the procedures followed were fair and complied fully with the requirements of both domestic and European employment legislation. The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations do not apply in this case.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Prime Minister what criteria are used to assess how many special advisers are attached to each Government Department ; what are the criteria of evaluation which are applied when determining appropriate grades and salaries ; how these posts are advertised ; what interviewing and staff selection procedures are applied in choosing the most suitable candidate for each post ; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : Special adviser appointments are made personally by Ministers, subject to my approval. There is normally a limit of one political adviser for each Cabinet Minister. There is no formal limit on the numbers of expert special advisers, which are subject to need. Salaries are negotiated individually in relation to the special adviser's previous earnings, and are confidential. Selection procedures are a matter for the appointing Minister.
The Prime Minister : The timing of the end of the criminal investigation would be a matter for my noble and learned Friend the Lord Advocate, but the investigation will naturally remain open while the arrest warrants for those accused of the bombing remain in force.