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Column 702Ashworth hospital. The report provides a clear analysis of the pressures and chllenges facing the services and their relationship with the wider NHS. It makes a number of recommendations on the objectives of high-security care, standards of services and the development of stronger links with related agencies which we fully endorse. It rightly emphasises the overriding importance in any future development of maintaining public confidence and public safety.
The report also recommends radical changes in the present funding and management arrangements for high security psychiatric services. These proposals require very careful consideration in relation to our objectives for high security care and the important responsibilities which my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary bears in this field. I have instructed my officials to examine these matters further with the Special Hospitals Service Authority and Home Office and to report back to me within six months. I will announce my conclusions when I have considered their advice.
We are also publishing today, for consultation, the report of a separate working group on services for people with psychopathic disorder. The report puts forward a number of ideas relating to the law and service provision in this area, on which we are inviting comments by 31 October.
Dr. Mawhinney : The Committee on Toxicity advised in 1986 that the use of dental amalgam is free from the risk of systemic toxicity and that only a few cases of hypersensitivity occur. The subsequent research findings, and recent evaluations by several authoritative national and international expert committees are consistent with that advice. The Department of Health will continue to assess and evaluate all research in this area.
Mr. Congdon : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements she intends to make to inform the dental profession of the publication of the Government's response to the Bloomfield report ; what her policy is in respect of a comprehensive dental health service within the NHS ; and when she intends to produce an oral health strategy for England.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I am publishing today a consultative document called "Improving NHS Dentistry." Copies of the document itself and a summary have been placed in the Library and are available in the Vote Office. They are a response to the report of Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, published in January 1993, and to that of the Health Select Committee.
The Government's purpose in putting forward these proposals for consultation is twofold. First, we wish to strengthen and improve national health service dentistry, maintaining a high-quality service available and accessible to all and one which responds to the modern needs of patients. Secondly, we wish to build on the excellent improvements to oral health of recent years and, in particular, to improve further children's oral health and
Column 703address regional variations. We are also publishing today proposals for an oral health strategy for England. Copies have been placed in the Library and are also available in the Vote Office.
The Government are determined that all patients will continue to have access to an NHS dentist ; under the proposals, this would be the case. The Government propose to develop and strengthen the community dental service to ensure that there is an effective safety net where necessary. NHS treatment would continue to be available free or at reduced cost to those currently exempt or remitted from charges and all children would continue to receive free NHS treatment. The Government will also consult on improvements to the system of charging to encourage examination and routine treatment along the lines proposed by the Health Select Committee. One possibility is a reduced examination charge.
The proposals would provide a more flexible system better able to match dental treatment to the varying needs of patients. There would be incentives to encourage a greater emphasis on the quality of care and prevention rather than the number of patients treated. The system for paying dentists would be simpler to operate and provide better overall financial control for the taxpayer. The Government also believe it would be fairer to dentists.
The Government believe that, in the longer term, there is a case for moving towards a system in which local family health services authorities, or health commissions, are responsible for purchasing dental services for their area, taking full account of local need and the state of oral health. This would represent a significant change. The Government therefore believe it would require careful piloting and evaluation before any change were made. The Government propose to invite FHSAs to volunteer to participate in pilots.
The Government also believe that the current system of remuneration for dentists should be improved. It is consulting on two options. One is for a sessional fee model which would link payment to dentists to the time spent treating NHS patients rather than the number and type of treatments carried out. An alternative approach would be a modified fee-per-item system. In both these options the emphasis would be on linking payment to the quality of care and prevention. These proposals follow the dental profession's request for a fundamental review of the dental remuneration system which is largely unchanged since the foundation of the NHS. We have consulted widely with the profession and taken full account of Sir Kenneth Bloomfield's report. We have also taken on board a number of the recommendations from the Health Select Committee. The Government note that, while there is consensus on the need for change, there is no consensus on the best way forward. The options set out for further consultation offer the opportunity of a simpler, more flexible system which responds to the needs of patients and reflects the great improvements in oral health of recent years and the changing nature of dentistry. The Government now seek the views of dentists and their patients on the best way forward.
Mr. Lidington : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make available a summary of the funding and levels of activity agreed for 1994-95 with centres designated to provide supra-regional services.
Mr. Bowis : The general household survey findings indicate that 15 per cent. of adults living in private households--approximately 6.8 million people--were carers in Great Britain in 1990. Estimates are not available for the number of carers in Coventry, or in the west midlands.
Mr. Pendry : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what estimate he has made of the cost of necessary ground safety work in (a) Rugby League, (b) Rugby Union, (c) cricket and (d) non-league football.
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 Mrs Barbara Roche, dated 8 July 1994 :
The Secretary of State for National Heritage has asked me to reply to your Question about providing more cycle routes in the Royal Parks.
We currently have a cycle lane that runs around three sides of Hyde Park and joins Knightsbridge by the Albert Memorial. Apart from being able to use the Park roads, in Richmond Park cyclists may also use roads that are closed to other vehicular traffic.
We shall be issuing a paper on cycling in the Royal Parks to interested parties for discussion later this month. This will propose a range of measures to improve arrangements for cyclists in the Royal Parks. Amongst other things, it will propose the following additional cycle lanes :
In Hyde Park, north/south from Albion Gate, roughly following the route of the horseride, then across the Serpentine Bridge and alongside West Carriage Drive to join the current cycle lane opposite Coalbrookdale Gates ;
Column 705In Green Park/St. James's Park, from Hyde Park Corner, parallel to Constitution Hill, behind Canada Gates and alongside the Mall ; In Regent's Park, one way advisory cycle lanes from Macclesfield Bridge, either side of the Outer Circle and Park Square, to Marylebone Road ;
In Richmond Park, a purpose-built off-road track to allow cyclists to travel around the perimeter of the park.
We propose that all cycle lanes in the parks will be specially marked in a different colour to pedestrian paths and will improve safety provision for cyclists at those points where they cross roads carrying vehicular traffic.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what consultation has been held between his Department and the Department of Employment on the effects of clause 25 and schedule 9, of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Bill on the licensing of entertainment agencies.
Mr. Sproat : The Secretaries of State for Trade and Industry and for Employment are in the lead on this matter. But my officials have kept in touch with their opposite numbers in these Departments and have ensured that they are aware of representations made to me.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how much has been spent and remains to be spent on restoring, refurbishing and decorating (a) the grace and favour accommodation occupied by Mr. Peat at Kensington palace and (b) that to be occupied by his assistant ; how much has been spent on furnishing each ; and what accommodation is in each residence.
Mr. Sproat : Fitting out apartments at Kensington palace for the director and deputy director of property services is estimated to cost £120,000 each excluding VAT and fees. This cost includes the provision of kitchen and bathroom fittings, flooring, doors, lighting, cupboards, tiling and decoration.
The director of finance and property services is a head of department and furnished accommodation is provided. The maximum budget provision for the furniture and furnishings is £98,000 excluding VAT. No furniture or furnishings will be provided for the apartment to be occupied by the deputy director of property services.
A substantial amount of essential structural, fire protection and other repair work estimated to cost £450,000 excluding VAT and fees has also being carried out in this area of the palace to prevent further deterioration of the fabric and to meet Bailey inquiry recommendations. Most of this work would have been necessary whether the area was to provide residential accommodation or not. It was occupied by Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone without major refurbishment from 1923 to 1981 and has remained unoccupied and uninhabitable since then.
Structural and fitting-out costs reflect the special requirements of historic buildings, as advised by English Heritage. Reductions in salaries take account of the value of the accommodation.
One apartment will have five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a sitting room, dining room, study, kitchen and utility room, basement room and two separate lavatories. The other will have four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a sitting room, dining room, study, kitchen and utility room, basement room, shower room and a separate lavatory.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when he expects to announce the results of his consideration of the results of the recent consultation about the future of Channel 5 national television channel ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Brooke : The Government have considered whether it would be possible both to proceed with an analogue Channel 5 service and to provide sufficient frequencies for digital terrestrial television services. I am writing today to the chairman of the Independent Television Commission to tell him of the Government's decisions. The Radiocommunications Agency has examined a range of options, and has been helped by receiving technical proposals from a number of organisations, including the Independent Television Commission, National Transcommunications Ltd. and the BBC.
As a result, the Government have concluded that they should amend the current assignment of frequencies to the Independent Television Commission, for the provision of Channel 5. Frequency channel 37, and a number of other frequencies will now form the basis of an analogue Channel 5 service giving coverage of about 60 per cent. of the population. It would be open to a successful applicant for the licence to simulcast the service digitally to at least 80 per cent. and possibly over 90 per cent. of the population, when the Commission has new powers to license digital terrestrial television services. In addition to the analogue Channel 5, as many as 12 digital terrestrial television services could be provided : up to four would be broadcast as a single frequency network, using frequency channel 35, with coverage of more than 95 per cent. of the population ; an interleaved network of up to four more services could have 90 to 95 per cent. coverage, and there could be up to four more interleaved services with 80 per cent. coverage. Regional variations would be possible on the interleaved services, but not for the single frequency network.
Digital terrestrial television would provide new and enhanced services for audiences, as well as opportunities for programme-makers, broadcasters, advertisements and the manufacturers of transmitting and receiving equipment. The frequency allocations for both Channel 5 and the digital television services will need international clearance with neighbouring countries. Technical standards for digital television in Europe are already under consideration.
No decisions have been made about the allocation of the frequencies for digital terrestrial television to either the BBC or the Independent Television Commission, but the Government's plans allow both for the introduction of new services and for the four existing analogue services to be simulcast digitally for some years. This will encourage people to buy new digital receiving equipment. If sufficient numbers of people move over to digital equipment, it may be possible, after a transitional period of perhaps 15 years, for television signals to be transmitted in digital format only. This would allow the spectrum currently used for analogue transmission to be put to other uses. If used for mobile communications, this spectrum could support an annual level of economic activity equivalent to £5 billion in today's money.
The Government believe that this plan will create greater choice and diversity for viewers by combining the
Column 707advantages of an increased number of television services, initially through Channel 5, with opportunities for new and enhanced services using digital transmission.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage on what occasions in the last 10 years he or a Minister in his Department has given a direction to civil servants to award a contract against the advice of the civil service ; what was the subject matter of the contract and it value ; and when it was awarded.
Department for National Heritage (including the Historic Royal Palaces Agency and Royal Parks Agency) £ millions 1992-93 |1993-94 |1994-95 |outturn ---------------------------------------- 32 |37 |38
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage which organisations, agencies and other bodies relating to his departmental area of responsibility have been privatised since 1990 ; and what plans he has for further privatisation.
Mr. Sproat [holding answer 12 July 1994] : No organisations, agencies or other bodies relating to my area of responsibility have been privatised since 1990 and no such privatisations are currently planned.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether export licences for tanks and other armoured vehicles are granted on a general, or an individual, export licence basis ; and under what circumstances any exceptions to this rule can be made.
Mr. Needham : When it is appropriate for a licence to be granted for the export of these categories of defence equipment such licences are normally issued on an individual basis ; I am not aware of any exception.
Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) how many cars and other vehicles manufactured in the United Kingdom have been exported to Korea for each year since 1987 ; (2) how many cars and other vehicles manufactured in Korea were imported into the United Kingdom in each year since 1987.
Mr. Needham : United Kingdom export statistics do not distinguish between products manufactured in the United Kingdom and those manufactured elsewhere but exported from the United Kingdom. The available information, on a country of consignment basis, is as follows :
United Kingdom trade with South Korea in cars and other vehicles (numbers). Year |United |United |Kingdom|Kingdom |exports|imports -------------------------------- 1987 |6 |5,861 1988 |13 |10,209 1989 |8 |15,424 1990 |68 |4,690 1991 |121 |9,027 1992 |68 |15,531 1993 |29 |13,689 Source: Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what notification his Department received from British Nuclear Fuels before the recent export of mixed oxide nuclear fuel assemblies by air to Switzerland.
Mr. Needham : It has been the policy of successive Administrations not to disclose details about export licences that have been issued. Any such transfers would require advance notification, also made in confidence, through my Department to the Euratom safeguards directorate.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what criteria must be met by countries wishing to be eligible for membership of the Zangger committee on nuclear export controls ; and what information he has on refusals to countries applying to join the Zangger committee.
Mr. Needham : The main criteria for membership of the Zangger committee are accession to the treaty on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons ; potential to supply material or equipment of concern as defined in article III.2 of the NPT ; and adherence to the committee's agreed conditions of supply for such items of concern. In recent years the committee has actively sought new members and refusals of applications have not arisen.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many supplementary protection certificates have been granted under the terms of EC Regulation 1768/92/EEC ; and what is their average duration.
Mr. McLoughlin : As at 14 July 1994 the number of supplementary protection certificates granted by the United Kingdom Patent Office, in accordance with Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1768/92, is 138. The average duration is three years two months.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if the inspectors appointed by him to investigate possible insider dealing contraventions in certain transactions of Anglia Television shares have concluded their inquiries ; whether they have had any informal discussions with his Department on their findings ; and when he expects to receive their formal report.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The inspectors appointed to investigate possible insider dealing contraventions with regard to the shares of Anglia Television Group plc have completed their inquiries and are expected to present their report shortly. It is normal practice for inspectors and departmental officials to have progress meetings during the course of an investigation.
Mr. Eggar : The full report contains a large amount of commercially senstive information which it would not be appropriate to place in the public domain. However, in accordance with the Government's commitment to open government, I asked BZW to produce a summary of its report for publication outlining its recommendations and the thinking behind them. Copies of the summary have been placed in the Library of the House. BZW's study was carried out last summer and obviously precedes the reorganisation of the AEA which took effect on 1 April. The summary should therefore be read in conjunction with the AEA's annual report, which was published earlier this week.
Mr. Kynoch : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how he will ensure that environmental considerations are taken into account when deciding on the award of petroleum licences in areas around the United Kingdom coast.
Column 710Association, UKOOA will fund the preparation and publication of a series of 16 United Kingdom continental shelf coastal directories regional reports.
This work will be done in conjunction with a consortium, co-ordinated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and composed of local authorities, central Government Departments, countryside agencies and the private sector.
Those reports covering areas likely to be of interest to companies in the 16th round will be available in draft by the end of December, and published in final form in June 1995. Prospective licensees will be expected to show that they have taken this information into account in their environment management systems for activities in the block to be awarded.
There is concern, which I share, about the impact on the environment of licensing inshore blocks. At present there is not enough agreed data on any sensitive areas in blocks on offer. This collaborative project, which will take over two and a half years to complete, shows that the oil and gas industry and environmental organisations can work together for their mutual benefit. The reports will build on work already carried out by the JNCC, individual oil companies and the bodies already mentioned, as well as data contributed by knowledgeable environmental groups. This will provide valuable knowledge about the coastal and marine environment for the whole of the United Kingdom coastline which will greatly assist me in my decision making in the 16th and subsequent licensing rounds. The initiative will help environmental groups, local authorities and oil companies to discuss the issues in a more informed and co-operative way.
(2) who will judge projects applying for funding for Regional Challenge ;
(3) what factors led to the exclusion of Thanet, Plymouth and West Cumbria from Regional Challenge ;
(4) when the criteria for bids for Regional Challenge will be published ;
(5) what consultations have taken place ; on what dates and with whom to ascertain the news of national and local agencies about Regional Challenge.
Mr. Sainsbury [holding answers 13 July 1994] : My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade has discussed Regional Challenge with Commissioner Millan twice and has exchanged correspondence. We intend that Regional Challenge grant decisions will be taken by the Government on the basis of recommendations from the monitoring committees. Thanet, Plymouth and West Cumbria were not included because of their small population.
Guidance on applications will be issued in due course. Officials have held discussions with local authority associations on various dates. My right hon. Friend and I have received a number of letters from hon. Members and others.
Ms Coffey : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the total allocations of objective 1 and 2 structural funds to Regional Challenge areas ; and what percentage will be top-sliced for Regional Challenge per area.
Mr. Sainsbury [holding answer 13 July 1994] : The structural funds objective 1 allocations were announced in the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Sir J. Hannam) on 27 July 1993, Official Report , column 497 . The objective 2 allocations were announced in the answer given by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade to my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, North (Mr. Gale) on 13 April 1994, Official Report , column 230 . On those occasions the allocations were given in ecu--for convenience I repeat them here in sterling for the areas eligible for Regional Challenge.
|<1>£ million ------------------------------------------------------------------- Objective 1 (1994-1999) Merseyside |628 Objective 2 (1994-1996) North East England |237 Yorkshire and Humberside |241 East Midlands |61 West Midlands |285 Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire |253 Greater London |57 South Wales |145 <1>£ million, 1994 prices (£1=1.3 ecu).
The White Paper on competitiveness referred to total prize money for the first round of Regional Challenge competitions of £150--£200 million across the eligible English and Welsh areas, which also includes some classified under objective 5(b). The term top-slicing is misleading.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
Sir John Hunt : To ask the Prime Minister if he will indicate the extent to which following the passing of the Intelligence Services Act, the Government are prepared to make available to the House information on the activities of the security and intelligence agencies.
The Prime Minister : This Government have taken a series of significant steps in its policy of greater accountability and openness, wherever possible, in security and intelligence matters. All three security and intelligence agencies are avowed and have now been put on a statutory basis. The figure for the aggregate expenditure of the agencies is published annually. In addition, the expenditure, administration and policy of all three agencies
Column 712will be subject to scrutiny by a committee of Parliamentarians--the Intelligence and Security Committee.
It is important to draw a line between proper accountability for the agencies and the continued need for secrecy regarding operational matters. Successive Governments have refused to provide information on the operations of the security and intelligence agencies, including matters which will fall within the scrutiny of the Intelligence and Security Committee. Comment on these matters, either by what is or is not said, could have a bearing on the effectiveness of the agencies, and the safety of their staff and those who co-operate with them. I made clear to the House on 6 May 1992-- Official Report, column 65, that the Government will maintain this policy.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister if he will be meeting representatives of the Royal British Legion to discuss the approval by the House on 1 July of the resolution on the welfare of ex-service people ; and what representations he has had from the Legion in regard to a meeting.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 13 July 1994] : We welcome continuing close contact with the Royal British Legion and other service organisations. A request for a meeting has been received form the Royal British Legion and is being considered at present.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many officials of the State Veterinary Service observed the killing of mink on fur farms in November 1993 ; and what method of killing was used.