Mr. Maclean: The approved establishment for Dyfed-Powys police is 972 officers. At the end of September, the actual strength was 971. As from 1 April next year, formal approval of establishments will end, and complement levels will be entirely for local decision.
Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what will be the cost of the DNA provisions of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to the Dyfed-Powys police in a full accounting year; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean: The new power we have given the police to take non- intimate samples without consent from anyone charged or reported for caution for a recordable offence is permissive. The police are not required to take samples in every case. Costs will therefore depend upon what use Dyfed-Powys police make of this new power. That will be a decision for the chief constable, who must decide on the most effective use of the resources available to him.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice has been sought by the Dumfries and Galloway police from the Metropolitan police in relation to the film "Maltese Double Cross".
Mr. Maclean: I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the Metropolitan police have provided assistance to and maintained regular contact with the Dumfries and Galloway constabulary throughout the investigation into the Lockerbie bombing.
Mr. Howard: I announced on 25 October, Official Report, columns 512 13 , that I would consult the forces, police authorities and local authorities in the area on the future policing arrangements for Humberside and also ask Her Majesty's chief inspector of constabulary to report on the viability of a police force based on the boundaries of the four unitary authorities which will replace the county of Humberside.
The majority of those who responded favoured the retention of a separate Humberside police force. Her Majesty's chief inspector of constabulary considers that a force based on the boundaries of the four unitary authorities would be viable and efficient.
I have therefore decided that the Humberside force will be retained on those revised boundaries, with the area around Goole in the present district of Boothferry transferring to North Yorkshire. The necessary provisions to give effect to this decision will be included in the order for the reorganisation of local government in the area.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what information has been recently provided to him by Nuclear Electric regarding operational risks at the Dungeness B and Heysham nuclear plants.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Nuclear Electric plc has recently informed my Department and the Health and Safety Executive's nuclear installations inspectorate of the discovery of cracks in steam pipe welds during the statutory outage of reactor 21 of Dungeness B. The station will be brought back into operation only after a satisfactory safety case has been made by the operator to the NII.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what discussions he has had with British Nuclear Fuels plc since April on the legal requirements relating to the level of insurance against nuclear accidents.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to end the 30 years restriction on claiming of compensation under the existing nuclear insurance arrangements by anyone developing adverse medical problems attributable to contamination from a nuclear accident.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what arrangements exist under the nuclear insurance provisions to provide for compensation to pay for environmental restoration in the event of a nuclear accident involving the significant release of radioactivity; and what plans he has to extend them.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Under United Kingdom law, the cost of environment restoration would be recoverable, where there is damage to property, in accordance with normal civil law principles as to the assessment of damages.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to reassess the level of insurance arrangements covering third party liability for compensation in the event of an accident at a nuclear facility.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The level of insurance for third party liability required to be held by nuclear operators is kept under review. The limit was most recently increased on 1 April this year to meet the internationally agreed target limit for parties to the Paris convention.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what discussions he has held since April with the insurance industry as to the adequacy of the present upper limits of insurance cover in connection with liability for nuclear accidents.
Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer of 8 December, Official Report , columns 295-96 , what is his policy on the continued allowing of unauthorised displays at public telephones, what representations he has received from telephone companies in regard to their inability to disconnect lines advertised in unauthorised displays at public telephones; and what legislation other than telecommunication legislation could be amended to allow the disconnection of lines advertised in unauthorised displays at public telephones.
Mr. Ian Taylor: I share my hon. Friend's concern at the nature of some of the displays of unauthorised material to be found in public telephone boxes. Although I have not received any formal representations from telephone companies on this matter, my Department has discussed it with other interested Departments and Oftel. However, I am not convinced that disconnecting the lines displayed in unauthorised advertisements is an appropriate remedy.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade on how many days since it was started the thermal oxide reprocessing plant at Sellafield has operated at full capacity; and what quantities of (a) plutonium, (b) depleted uranium and (c) each category of radioactive waste arising have been separated in the THORP to date.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Operations at the THORP plant are a management matter for British Nuclear Fuels plc. The Commissioning programme for the plant is being implemented subject to the appropriate regulatory requirements.
Mr. Heseltine: "Dear Accounting Officer" letters are issued by the Treasury. Where appropriate, my Department draws the contents of "Dear Accounting Officer" letters to the attention of the non-departmental public bodies which we sponsor. We do not keep records of the precise numbers which are brought to the attention of individual non-departmental public bodies.
Mr. Charles Wardle: The British Government neither promote nor discourage trade with Libya. We are unable to assess any actual loss of trade to British engineering firms. I can tell the hon. Member however, the legitimate exports of general industrial machinery and equipment constitutes the bulk of our exports to Libya. Figures for United Kingdom trade with Libya over the past five years are given in the table.
UK Trade with Libya-1989-93 (£ Thousands) |1989 |1990 |1991 |1992 |1993 --------------------------------------------------------- Imports |104,545|151,605|121,219|162,899|156,542 Exports |239,191|244,849|255,718|228,273|274,051 Source: UK Overseas Trade-business monitor MA20.
Mr. Trend: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action he proposes to take to prevent consumers from being misled when they buy tickets for the theatre and other forms of entertainment; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ian Taylor: Following public consultation, my noble Friend Earl Ferrers has today made the Price Indications (Resale of Tickets) Regulations 1994. Under the regulations, those who resell tickets will have to disclose specified information about a ticket before making a sale. This will include any original price printed on the ticket and known information about the rights which it confers, such as the location and quality of the seat or space. The regulations will come into force on 20 February 1995.
A compliance cost assessment, which was prepared by my Department, concluded that this significant improvement in consumer protection will impose little, if any, additional costs on traders. Copies of the compliance cost assessment have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Needham: The evaluation of the trade fairs support scheme was undertaken for the DTI by KPMG Management Consulting. They surveyed a cross -section of exhibitors from 15 sectors of industry representing two thirds of all supported firms, trade associations, chamber of commerce, exhibition organisers and other interested parties. KPMG's report to the Department and the
Column 754Department's response are being published today. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House of Commons.
The TFSS is designed to encourage UK exporters to move into new markets. Last year, the Department spent £14 million on the scheme in support of some 6,500 to 7,000 firms at around 300 events. The scheme is based on grants which are delivered to exhibitors through "sponsors" such as trade associations or chambers of commerce. Eligible applicants receive 50 per cent. grants towards the main costs of exhibiting. Outside western Europe, a travel grant is also paid for up to two people to man the stand.
I welcome the evaluator's report, which shows that there is a clear justification for retaining the scheme.
The Department agrees with KPMG's conclusion that the rule under which companies are only eligible for support for three trade fairs in any market, the so-called "three times rule", should be retained. The survey provided strong evidence that the three times rule increases value for money by removing from eligibility regular exhibitors at a single event, ensuring that for a given budget more firms benefit from the TFSS support.
In response to suggestions that some companies might find support more helpful in this form, the Department will however be prepared to offer firms who opt for it a variant on the three times rule, under which support is offered at half the normal rates, over twice as many events.
The report recommends that international events, currently known as "flagship" events, should no longer attract support for more than three participation as they do at present, but should cease to be subject to individual country quota. The Department accepts this recommendation in principle and will consult sponsors on
Column 755which events will constitute a new "international" category. The present scheme restricted government assistance for overseas trade fairs by requiring that a minimum number of participating firms be eligible for support. The report recommends that minimum numbers for these events should not be based solely on those eligible for grant. The Department accepts that the benefits of attendance depend on the numbers in the group, not on whether they are all supported. The Department has not accepted KPMG's recommendation that priority be given to emerging markets with above average exports prospects, or which have significant entry barriers, by allowing five, not three, supported participation. The Department, however, accepts the need to improve the scheme's coverage of such markets. We consider the annual priorities exercise, which selects the trade fairs which are to be supported, a more appropriate way of improving the scheme's coverage of emerging markets. In addition, the Department will increase assistance to sponsors in the selection and promotion of fairs by providing greater information on new markets and fairs with above average exports prospects.
The Department does not accept, as a general rule, the recommendation that individual company participation be grant-aided where there is no group participation arranged. However, the Department will consider claims for treatment as a special case from unrepresented or self sponsored small industries.
KPMG's research indicated that the sponsor system was in principle the most appropriate way of delivering trade fairs support. Their report however suggested ways of improving sponsor performance. The Department has proposed revised criteria for sponsorship and will step up its monitoring of sponsor performance and produce a code of practice for sponsors. The Department is not in general in favour of introducing competition between sponsors, but sees advantages in opportunities for greater co-operation between sponsors and the private sector.
The changes I have announced will take effect from the 1996 97 programme. All in all this was a positive evaluation of the Government's support for overseas trade fairs.
Mr. Jonathan Evans: Since April 1993, the Government have required Departments to prepare and publish compliance cost assessments with all proposed legislation presented to Parliament to assess their impact on business costs. This includes a special test of the impact on small businesses. CCAs are central to the Government's deregulation initiative and are a vital part of the decision making process. They are used to help Parliamentary consideration of regulatory proposals and to give business the opportunity to respond to proposals.
A Command Paper listing those CCAs published between November 1993 to June 1994 has been presented to Parliament today by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade. Copies of the CCAs listed are available in the House Library. Further Command Papers
Column 756listing CCAs published in the preceding six- month period will be published at six-monthly intervals.
Mr. Trend: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the outcome of his review of the status of the national measurement accreditation service and the National Accreditation Council for Certification Bodies.
Mr. Ian Taylor: My Department published a consultation document in April on the future provision of accreditation services in the United Kingdom. In the light of the response to this consultation, which favoured a merger of NACCB and NAMAS, the Government propose that a new company limited by guarantee be established during 1995 to take on the current functions and staff of NACCB and NAMAS. This will involve the transfer of around 60 posts out of DTI.
The company will carry out, under a memorandum of understanding with DTI which will recognise its national status, the assessments currently carried out by the two organisations covering laboratories, test houses and certification bodies. It will also cover environmental verifiers and inspection bodies and, as appropriate in future, others in related fields. The new body will make recommendations to the DTI which will grant accreditation. As a consequence accredited organisations will continue to be entitled to use marks incorporating the royal crown.
I expect a single, integrated private sector organisation to achieve efficiency savings leading to lower costs for industry. The organisation will also be in a strong position to promote United Kingdom interests in the rapidly developing international markets for certification and testing services in both the voluntary and regulatory spheres. With this in mind, the Government have decided that the body should be open to applications from non-United Kingdom organisations seeking accreditation.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what plans he has to introduce regulations requiring British Telecom to meet minimum technical quality standards for voice, fax and data transmission in remote or rural areas;
(2) what plans he has to introduce regulations requiring British Telecom to meet minimum technical quality standards for voice, fax and data transmission.
Mr. Ian Taylor: I do not believe that it would be justified at present to introduce regulations on minimum technical quality, either generally or specifically in relation to remote or rural areas. BT's investment programme in digital exchanges is already raising transmission standards, and increasing competition in the telecommunications market means consumers are offered a wider range of service levels and tariff packages.
Column 757tunnellers who worked on the Clyde tunnel between 1959 and 1964, and who subsequently contracted bone necrosis as a result of this work, will be able to pursue compensation claims.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: My right hon. Friend need take no action in this matter. Current legislation allows claims to be raised within three years of the date on which the injuries were sustained. This period can be extended where the claimant did not realise at the time how serious the injuries were or where he was unaware that the injuries were attributable to an act or omission of his employer. Furthermore, where the pursuer is not entitled to such an extension, the court has discretion to admit a claim if it seems equitable to do so.
Mrs. Ray Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to improve the provision of information to the victims' relatives concerning the investigation of fatal road accidents in Scotland.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Procurators fiscal are authorised to provide the next of kin with information about the circumstances of the death. Where a fatal accident inquiry is to be held, procurators fiscal will discuss the evidence with solicitors for interested parties and will provide them with copies of autopsy reports and, if appropriate, with statements of witnesses. A working party is reviewing the guidelines on the provision of information to the next of kin.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Under the hospice funding initiative, which began on 1 April 1990 and ends on 31 March 1995, 13 hospices in Scotland which meet the eligibility criteria receive 50 per cent. of their current running costs from public funds, by grant and/or in kind. From the start of the 1995 96 financial year, the initiative will be replaced by a system of contracts between hospices and health boards.
Mrs. Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 24 November, Official Report, column 337 , if he will place in the Library a list of the co-ordinates of the exact boundaries of each tract of land disposed of by the Forestry Commission in 1993, as noted on the title deed map for each sale.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list those public projects which received European regional development funding and were subsequently privatised over the last 10 years, indicating (a) the level of funding and (b) the dates when it was received.
Column 758lengthy, I shall arrange for copies of the lists to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list for each year since the creation of the offence (a) the number of prosecutions for unlawful eviction and harassment of occupiers and (b) the number of convictions sustained under (i) section 30 of the Rent Act 1965 and (ii) section 22 of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984.
Number of Persons proceeded against and charges proved where the main charge is section 22 of the rent (Scotland) Act 1984, 1989-92 |Persons proceeded |Persons with charge |against |proved -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1989 |9 |7 1990 |11 |9 1991 |6 |3 1992 |8 |6
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 7 December 1994]: The Scottish Development Agency--Scottish Enterprise incurred expenditure of around £10 million under its land renewal powers on the site now occupied by the company at Clydebank. This work was required to deal with the effects of industrial dereliction, including particularly the presence of asbestos. The expenditure was not specific to the HCI project and would have been required in any case to render the site safe and capable of development for any future use.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will tell the Scottish Affairs Committee how much regional selective assistance was made available to Health Care International in Clydebank and the terms under which it was made available.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 7 December 1994]: Yes. The company received an offer of £22 million in regional selective assistance. The grant was to be paid in instalments related to capital expenditure on construction of the hospital and--in respect of later instalments--in respect of numbers of direct jobs created.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) whether he will make available to the Scottish Affairs Committee the detailed information on which he made his decision to give public support to Health Care International in 1987;
(2) what considerations led to his decision to classify 1987 information about the market for the treatment of overseas patients in Clydebank as being currently commercially confidential, as indicated in his answer of 3 November, Official Report, column 1315, and his subsequent letter.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 7 December 1994]: The documents relating to the appraisal of the company's application for regional selective assistance and the detailed market evaluation studies undertaken in connection with the project contain commercially confidential information which, if disclosed, could harm the competitive position of Health Care International (Scotland) Ltd. or of any other organisation which takes over the operation of the Clydebank facility.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what information he has from local authorities about the number of applications for early retirement for senior local authority officials for any convenient period in 1994.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how much has been spent on a communications system in the Scottish ambulance service control room in Aberdeen; what contact can be made with air ambulances once they are airborne with the communications system; and if he will make a statement about the expenditure. (2) what assessment he has made of the reason that the new emergency communications computer in the Scottish ambulance service control room in Aberdeen is not compatible with the radios on air ambulances in the north of Scotland; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what plans he has to upgrade the emergency communications computer in the Scottish ambulances service control room in Aberdeen to enable adequate communication with the air ambulances in the north of Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 14 December 1994]: The general manager of the Scottish ambulance service has advised that £8 million has been spent on providing a new radio system for the Scottish ambulance service in the north of Scotland, this includes the ambulance controls in Aberdeen and Inverness. The new system, which has recently become fully operational, is meeting fully its designed performance in providing for effective communication between road ambulance and ambulance control. Communication with aircraft was not part of its specification, nor is it suitable for his purpose.
Air ambulances are tasked and controlled from a dedicated air desk at Aberdeen ambulance control. These aircraft are fitted with radios that enable them to talk to air traffic control and to their company base location. However, communication with any aircraft flying at low level in hilly or mountainous terrain poses particular problems. The Scottish ambulance service has successfully introduced the practice of using a message pager to pass urgent messages to an air ambulance when flying in such areas. Means of achieving fully two-way radio communication for helicopters supporting the emergency service throughout the United Kingdom are being investigated.
Column 760ambulance operations in the north of Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 14 December 1994]: The general manager of the Scottish ambulance service has advised that no restrictions have been placed on the use of the air ambulance service in the north of Scotland or elsewhere in Scotland. Air ambulances are deployed where the circumstances make it appropriate to do so. The decision is taken by the air ambulance control desk based on the medical advice at the time.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what use his Department has made of executive search agencies in filling vacancies within his Department and executive agencies administered by his Department during the last year; and how much these services have cost his Department.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the duration of the trips referred to in his answer of 2 November, Official Report, column 1205 , which were undertaken by Ministers in his Department and on which they were accompanied by their spouses and paid for at public expense.
Date |Place |Minister -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 15-21 November 1993 |Pakistan |Mr. Lennox-Boyd 3-7 January 1994 |Lebanon, Israel, OTs, Jordan, Malta |Secretary of State 3-8 January 1994 |Kenya, Tanzania |Lady Chalker 24-28 February 1994 |Portugal, Spain, Greece |Secretary of State 4-11 April 1994 |Brazil, Falklands |Secretary of State 18-19 April 1994 |Luxembourg, Paris |Secretary of State 8-10 July 1994 |Naples, Economic Summit |Secretary of State 27 July 1994 to 19 August 1994 |Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, India|Mr. Goodlad 2-5 September 1994 |Ecuador |Mr. Heathcoat-Amory 11-20 September 1994 |Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan |Secretary of State 26-29 September 1994 |New York/Canada UNGA 48 |Secretary of State 2-10 October 1994 |Dependent Territories, Canada |Mr. Baldry 17-21 October 1994 |Russia, Estonia, Finland |Secretary of State