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Mr. Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what provision his Department makes for child care facilities for staff ; what is the extent of subsidy to nursery places and holiday play schemes ; if his Department (a) subscribes to "Childcare Solutions" and (b) makes child care vouchers available ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 292nature and location of the child care facilities. About 8,000 staff across the Department have access to the referral services provided by "Childcare Solutions". Child care vouchers are not available.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 to contracting out.
Mr. Hague : When considering the application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981, this Department takes account of the considerations set out in the guidance on the implications for market testing of the regulations issued on 11 March 1993 by my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and considers each case on its merits in the light of that advice.
Mr. David Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what has been the percentage change in (a) the state pension, (b) the pensioners price index and (c) the retail prices index since 1979 ; and what has been the average change in pensioner income.
Mr. Hague : Between November 1979 and April 1994, state retirement pension increased by 147.2 per cent. while the pensioners price index increased by 118.4 per cent. and the retail prices index by 139.4 per cent.
Between 1979 and 1991--the latest year for which these figures are currently available--the average increase in pensioners' income was 42 per cent. above the level of inflation, as measured by the retail price index.
1. Percentage figures have been corrected to one decimal place and to whole number for growth in pensioner incomes.
2. The standard rate of basic retirement pension payable to a single person aged under 80 has been used in the calculation. 3. The pensioners price index is a quarterly index ; growth has been measured between the last quarter of 1979 and the first quarter of 1994.
Mr. Barnes : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the future of the weekly bulletin on the contents of recent economics journals, produced by his Department's information and library service.
Mr. Eggar : Following a review of internal publications, the DTI information and library services decided to cease their involvement with this publication and a notification to that effect appeared in the issue dated 3 June 1994.
Her Majesty's Stationery Office has, for many years, undertaken the majority of the printing, publication and sales work on behalf of the Department and it has decided to assume ful responsibility for this publication following the issue dated 1 July 1994. It is now operating in partnership with the universities of Luton and Warwick.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what proportion of the United Kingdom machine tools industry is devoted to (a) armaments production and (b) tools capable of producing armaments ; what is the total value of the machine tools industry in the United Kingdom ; and what was the total value of machine tools exports from the United Kingdom in the last available year.
Mr. Sainsbury : The United Kingdom machine tool industry is devoted to producing machine tools, not armaments. Machine tools themselves can usually be used to make a variety of products, depending on the skill of the operator or their computer programming. It is not possible to estimate how many machine tools are used for particular purposes.
In 1992 sales of United Kingdom-made machine tools were £853 million and exports were worth £456 million. Provisional figures for 1993 indicate that the industry ran a balance of trade surplus of £31 million, reflecting a lower level of imports and higher competitiveness. I have written to the Machine Tool Technologies Association congratulating the industry on this achievement.
Mr. McLoughlin : The DTI, through promotional events, seminars and ministerial-led trade missions, actively encourages British companies in the telecommunications sector to export to, and invest in, central and eastern Europe. The establishment of joint ventures and the transfer of know-how will encourage the development of, and spread of best practice in, the telecommunications sector in the region. The DTI has appointed an export promoter, a private sector secondee, who deals specifically with promoting trade in the telecommunications sector with central and eastern Europe.
The EU's technical assistance programme, PHARE, has highlighted telecommunications as one of its priority sectors. The United Kingdom is a significant contributor to the PHARE programme. To date PHARE has provided 42.9 million ecu in assistance for the development of telecommunications in the region.
Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the President of the Board of Trade which of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department are required to lay their annual reports before Parliament ; and if he will list them.
Mr. Eggar : None, except that the Secretary of State is required to lay before Parliament a copy of the annual report issued by the Director General of Telecommunications and this includes a report by the Advisory Committee on Telecommunications for England.
Mr. Eggar : "Public Bodies 1993", published in December 1993, lists non-departmental public bodies in existence at 1 April 1993. The following advisory non-departmental public bodies have been established by my Department since then :
Energy Advisory Panel
Advisory Committee for the Joint Environmental Markets Unit Advisory Committee on Coal Research
Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list those of his Department's advisory non-departmental public bodies which the Government are required to consult before legislation proposals ; and in respect of which bodies the Government must publish their response to advice supplied by them.
Telecommunications for England.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 27 June, Official Report , column 404 , if his Department has other information on investment in increased manufacturing capacity in addition to that published by the Confederation of British Industry in its industrial trends survey.
Column 295when he intends to implement the Office of Fair Trading's recommendations on monetary limits ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Department of Trade and Industry and other interested Government Departments are considering the recommendations about monetary limits and other matters in the Director General of Fair Trading's recent report on his review of consumer credit legislation. It is my intention to make a statement in due course.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 4 July, Official Report , column 10 , if he will give details of the membership and remit of the Overseas Projects Board.
Mr. Needham : The Overseas Projects Board provides expert advice to DTI Ministers and their officials on issues affecting United Kingdom industry's ability to compete effectively for major projects overseas and serves as a focal point for industry to communicate its views to Government.
I have today placed in the Library of the House a current list of the names and occupations of the members.
Ms Walley : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (i) how many casual workers are currently employed by Parcelforce ; and what is that figure as a percentage of the number of the overall work force of Parcelforce ;
(2) if he will make a statement in respect of the recruitment procedures for casual employees of Parcelforce.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many requests for environmental information under the Access to Environmental Information Regulations 1992 were answered within two months ; how many have been refused ; and on what grounds in each case.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 6 July 1994] : The Department does not record centrally requests received under the Environmental Information Regulations 1992. However, as far as we are aware, DTI has to date answered 191 requests for information under the regulations. Of these, 184 were answered within two months ; the remainder were answered as soon as either the information requested had been processed or consultations with affected parties had been completed. A total of 146 requests have been declined : 144 because the Department did not hold the information concerned ; and two because the information requested did not come within the terms of the regulations.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are the precise provisions of principle 8 of agenda 21 of the Rio declaration of June 1992 ; what is his policy in respect of implementing those provisions ; and what specific policies have been adopted by his Department in
Column 296respect of those aspects of principle 8 which commit signatories to achieve sustainable development by eliminating unsustainable patterns of production and consumption.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 6 July 1994] : Principle 8 of the Rio declaration on environment and development provides that, to achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all people, states should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and promote appropriate demographic policies. As with other Governments participating in the Rio summit, the United Kingdom accepts the broad principles enshrined in the Rio declaration.
The Government's strategy for reducing and eliminating unsustainable patterns of production and consumption is set out in "Sustainable Development : The UK Strategy", Cm. 2426, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. Chapter 20 of the strategy sets out the Government's approach to promoting sustainability in the manufacturing and services sector. Action taken by my Department in support of the strategy will continue to be reported in the Government's annual White Paper on environmental progress and in the Government's "Expenditure Plans for Trade and Industry", published most recently in March 1994, Cm. 2504.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : We are seeking new powers in the Criminal Justice Bill to deal more effectively with serious racial harassment, particularly where it is persistent. The interdepartmental racial attacks group is currently examining additional practical ways of dealing with the problem including the recommendation of the Select Committee report.
Mr. Charles Wardle : We have done so. We have proposed amendments to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill which will significantly increase the maximum penalties for the unlawful possession and acquisition of firearms.
Mr. Howard : I have received many representations from a number of different quarters. The Police Federation has given my programme to tackle crime a particularly warm welcome. It described it as "first class" and said :
"It will help tremendously in the fight against crime".
Mr. Howard : We will keep the legislation against terrorism in place for as long as the threat from terrorism continues. The Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill contains new police stop and search powers, creates two new offences and improves the legislation relating to the investigation of terrorism.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The Department receives many letters from individuals, including Members of Parliament, with reference to prison capacity either in connection with particular prisons or in regard to the future plans of the Prison Service.
23. Mr. Khabra : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish his response to comments on the proposals contained in the White Paper on the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
Mr. Maclean : The Government's response to comments made about reforms of the criminal injuries compensation scheme, described in the White Paper, was made clear in debates in this House on 28 March, and in another place on 2 March and 16 June. There are no plans to publish any other response.
Mr. Charles Wardle : Last year we reviewed the paperwork burdens on the police and accepted 16 proposals for reducing them. The proposals are now being implemented with the co-operation of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
25. Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the progress made to date by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in his review of specialist squads within the Metropolitan police force.
Mr. Charles Wardle : I understand from the Commissioner that the service restructuring team began its consideration of the specialist detective squads based at New Scotland Yard at the end of May this year. An initial consultation paper, outlining the main issues, is expected to be published towards the end of the summer.
Mr. Maclean : New provisions are contained in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill which, together with changes already made in the Video Recordings Act 1993, will significantly strengthen the present provisions relating both to the classification of video works and their subsequent supply.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The aim of local management of policing is that the police provide the service which best meets the needs and wishes of the local community. Mutually supportive partnerships between the police and the public lead to successes in the prevention and detection of crime.
Column 299indecent assault, making threats to kill and child cruelty. All the most serious violent and sexual offences are now within the scope of the power. After the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill has received Royal Assent my right hon. and learned Friend intends to extend the power so that it will also apply to cases of serious fraud.
Column 300(2) how many people have been convicted of offences under section 1 of the Indecency with Children Act 1960 in each of the last three years.
Mr. Maclean : Information for England and Wales on the number of "known offenders"--those found guilty or cautioned--for offences under section 1 of the Indecency with Children Act 1960 for 1990 to 1992 is given in the table. The Act does not extend to Scotland and Northern Ireland. 1993 data are not yet available.
Number of known offenders-those found guilty or cautioned-for offences under section 1 of the Indecency with Children Act 1960<1> 1990 to 1992 England and Wales Offence description |Year |Cautions |Convictions |Known |offenders ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Gross indecency with boys |1990 |53 |128 |181 |1991 |41 |91 |132 |1992 |46 |99 |145 Gross indecency with girls |1990 |41 |148 |189 |1991 |40 |128 |168 |1992 |52 |129 |181 <1>The Act does not extend to Scotland and Northern Ireland.
(i) In a cohort study of around 50,000 people born in England and Wales in 1953 whose convictions have been followed until the end of 1989, 14 people in the sample had at least one conviction under section 1 of the Indecency with Children Act 1960. Of these, four people had at least one further conviction recorded up until the end of 1989 ; none of these further convictions were for offences under section 1 of the Indecency with Children Act 1960. Two of the 10 without further convictions had been followed up for less than two years.
(ii) In a study of all people discharged from prisons in England and Wales in 1988 whose principal offence was a sexual offence, 215 people had a conviction under section 1 of the Indecency with Children Act 1960. Of these, 35 or 16 per cent.--had at least one further conviction in the four years following discharge, including 12--or 6 per cent.--who were reconvicted for a further sexual offence of any type.
Mr. Kevin Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make available the guidelines issued to police on the maintenance of records of information on offenders under section 1 of the Indecency with Children Act 1960.
The paedophile unit of the national criminal intelligence service maintains a national database of known paedophiles and assists investigators by developing and disseminating intelligence in respect of those involved in paedophile offences.