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Miss Widdecombe: I have been asked to reply.
At the recent meeting of the International Labour Organisation governing body, the Government expressed the view that maritime issues should be dealt within the mainstream of the ILO and on an equal footing with other sectors of work. The majority view was however to retain a separate maritime conference. Representations were received from the National Union of Marine, Aviation and Shipping Transport Officers.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he expects to issue the consultation paper on the housing review.
Mr. Moss: I hope to be in a position to publish the consultative paper in March.
Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proposals there are to provide a new fire station in Comber; what site is involved; what is the estimated cost for such a fire station; and what would be the implications for the existing station in Newtownards.
Mr. Moss: A review conducted by the Fire Authority for Northern Ireland has indicated that Comber and its surrounding area are not being provided with the appropriate standard of fire cover, and the authority is proposing to develop a new fire station in Comber to remedy the deficiency. A suitable site has been identified at Glen Link, beside the Comber bypass, which is owned by the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland. Retained personnel are being recruited and trained.
Column 200The estimated cost of the proposed new station is as follows:
|£ ----------------------------------------------- Purchase of site. |46,500 Refurbishment of building etc |176,400 Diversion of electricity cable |48,700 Total |271,600
The new station will have no effect on the existing station in Newtownards, except that in normal circumstances Newtownards will no longer respond to fire calls from the Comber area. This will result in a reduction in the number of incidents attended by the Newtownards fire crew, but the retaining fees and drill fees paid to the Newtownards crew will remain unchanged.
Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pharmacists were advised of the meeting of the pharmacy practices committee of the Southern health and social services board to be held at the board room in Tower Hill hospital, Armagh, on 8 December 1994; how many attended; in which room this meeting was held; whether pharmacists were advised of any alternative arrangements; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moss: Six pharmacists were advised of the meeting. The local pharmaceutical and medical committees were also advised.
Two pharmacists attended, together with a representative of the local medical committee.
The meeting was held in the supplies department conference room, instead of the boardroom in Tower Hill hospital. The original venue was changed because of central heating problems. Everyone who presented at the boardroom was escorted to the new venue for the meeting.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when funds will be allocated to the Sports Council for Northern Ireland in order that it may make financial contributions towards projects for voluntary sports clubs; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram: Owing to expenditure constraints and other priority demands it was not possible to make funding available to the Sports Council in 1994 95 for capital grants to voluntary sports clubs. In reaching decisions on resource allocation for 1995 96, the needs of the voluntary sports clubs will be taken into account. An announcement will be made when final decisions have been taken.
Mr. John D. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) maintained and (b) controlled nursery schools there are in each of the 26 district council areas.
Mr. Ancram: The information for 1993 94 is as follows:
District Council |Maintained|Controlled|Total ------------------------------------------------------------- Antrim |1 |1 |2 Ards |- |2 |2 Armagh |- |2 |2 Ballymena |- |2 |2 Ballymoney |- |1 |1 Banbridge |- |2 |2 Belfast |14 |17 |31 Carrickfergus |- |1 |1 Castlereagh |- |3 |3 Coleraine |- |2 |2 Cookstown |- |1 |1 Craigavon |1 |3 |4 Derry |- |8 |8 Down |2 |1 |3 Dungannon |- |2 |2 Fermanagh |- |- |- Larne |1 |1 |2 Lisburn |4 |2 |6 Limavady |- |- |- Magherafelt |- |1 |1 Moyle |- |1 |1 Newry and Mourne |1 |2 |3 Newtownabbey |- |5 |5 North Down |- |3 |3 Omagh |- |1 |1 Strabane |- |1 |1 Total |24 |65 |89
Mr. Sweeney: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to make his housing revenue account subsidy determinations for 1995 96.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The determinations have been made by my right hon. Friend today and copies have been placed in the Library of the House.
We have decided to confirm the proposal for guidelines rents and management and maintenance allowances, which were set out in my earlier answer on 30 November 1994, Official Report, columns 743 44. I have also decided to confirm the other proposals subject to some changes of detail.
Mr. Mudie: To ask the Lord President of the Council how many oral questions the hon. member for Leeds, East has sought to table in the current session; and how many have appeared on the Order Paper.
Mr. Newton: Up to and including Tuesday 10 January, the hon. Member had entered 26 questions for oral answer into the shuffle, none of which was successful.
14. Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will amend nationality
Column 202legislation to allow British women to pass on United Kingdom citizenship to their children.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: No. The British Nationality Act 1981 already provides for this.
15. Mr. Bennett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to publish the legislation to deal with miscarriages of justice.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: We intend to introduce a Bill this Session to establish an independent review body to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice and to refer appropriate cases to the courts. We shall introduce the Bill as soon as we can.
16. Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are in Her Majesty's prison, Armley for non- payment of fines.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: On 14 December, the nearest day to when the question was tabled for which figures are readily available, 11 prisoners were held in Leeds prison for failing to pay their fine.
17. Ms Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on bonus payments for the chief executives of the next steps agencies which report to his Department.
Mr. Howard: The Directors General of the Prison Service and of the Forensic Science Service, and the chief executive of the United Kingdom Passport Agency, are eligible for bonus payments on the basis of performance measures agreed between them and the Department. The present chief executive of the Fire Service College is eligible for performance pay increases in the same way as other members of his grade.
18. Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the rules and regulations governing Home Office matters which have been withdrawn in the last 12 months; and what has been the consequent reduction to his Department's manpower.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: Records of changes to Home Office rules and regulations are not kept in the precise form requested, but the following are the main changes made to Home Office legislation affecting business in the last 12 months:
the Sunday Trading Act 1994 has reduced and clarified the restrictions on Sunday Trading;
the Shops Act 1950 has been abolished;
the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act included amendments to the Licensing Act 1964, the Sunday Observance Act 1780, the Charities Acts 1992 and 1993 and the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963. These changes have not significantly affected Home Office manpower since the Home Office was not generally responsible for enforcing the legislation concerned.
19. Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list his initiatives designed to combat drug abuse among young people.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: Local drugs prevention teams are working with communities in different areas of the country to help prevent the spread of drugs misuse. Over 1,300 separate local initiatives have been supported, many involving young people themselves.
20. Mr. Gunnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when Judge Stephen Tumim last inspected Doncaster prison.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: Judge Tumim and his inspection team have not yet inspected Doncaster prison. They are scheduled to inspect it during March 1996.
21. Mr. Eastham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement regarding the inaccurate press release issued by his Department on 1 December 1995 96 spending allowances for the Greater Manchester police.
Mr. Maclean: Under the Government's proposals announced on 1 December 1994 and as stated in Home Office news release 258/94, £324.38 million will be available to the Greater Manchester police in 1995 96.
22. Mr. French: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received about sentencing tariffs.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: I receive numerous representations about maximum penalties from a variety of sources.
Mr. Llwyd: Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the performance of Home Office functions in Wales.
Mr. Howard: Our objective is to ensure that all functions in Wales for which the Home Office has responsibility are delivered effectively and efficiently. This is fully reflected in Home Office funding which provides in Wales--as in England--appropriate resources, consistent with the Government's priorities and the need to control public spending.
Mr. Skinner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has had concerning the funding difficulties faced by fire authorities.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: My right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment receive such representations from time to time.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his assessment of the percentage of British prisons in which the use of illegal drugs use is widespread.
Mr. Michael Forsyth: The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 enables the introduction of mandatory drug testing. This will enable an assessment of the extent of drug misuse to be made.
Mr. Knapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect to date of changes in respect of the right to silence introduced in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
Mr. Maclean: These provisions have not yet come into force. We intend to implement them in the spring of this year.
Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the current number of police constables in London; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean: In October 1994, the most recent date for which figures are available, there were 21,183 police constables on the strength of the Metropolitan police and 679 on the strength of the Metropolitan police and 679 on the strength of the City of London police.
Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers are assigned to work on drugs matters in London; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean: I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that over 200 police officers are assigned to full-time duties on drugs-related matters; this includes officers designated to specialist drug squads and other assigned to carry out specific work in individual divisions. Officers performing general duties may of course have to deal with any type of crime, including drug-related offences, in the course of their duties.
Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what initiatives he proposes during 1995 for tackling the fear of crime.
Mr. Maclean: Fear of crime can reduce the quality of life for individuals and the public is right to express concern. But, it is important to distinguish between realistic concern and that debilitating anxiety that makes people afraid to participate fully in everyday life. But there are no acceptable levels of crime, and the Home Office will continue to give a high priority to tackling crime and the fear of it during 1995.
First and foremost is the "Partners Against Crime" initiative which was launched by the Home Secretary in September 1994. The campaign encourages individual members of the public to join the police as partners in the fight against crime. Through neighbourhood watch schemes, the special constabulary, neighbourhood constables, street watch, youth action groups and crime prevention panels individuals can make a difference and
Column 205also gain a sense of empowerment, which in turn helps to reduce the fear of crime.
We welcome and encourage the use of technology and we will shortly be assessing the bids and announcing the winners of the closed circuit television competition which the Home Secretary announced last October.
Tackling crime is of course a matter for everyone, and the Home Office will continue to work closely with other organisations and Government Departments--such as the Department of the Environment on the single regeneration budget and the safer cities programme; and the Department of Transport, which has commissioned a national review of transport-related crime and perceptions of safety.
Publicity material providing practical advice on measures which people can take to help keep themselves, their families and their property safe will be maintained and promulgated.
Sir Thomas Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is his policy towards the use of video cameras by police forces during affrays.
Mr. Maclean: General Home Office guidelines on the use of equipment in police surveillance operations were published in 1984. A copy is in the Library. It is for individual chief constables to decide whether to use video cameras in a particular operation.
Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to what extent the Metropolitan police have currently adopted his Department's guidance on best practice systems for administering the Firearms Acts; and if he will publish the estimated costs to the Metropolitan police of each type of licence together with the appropriate Home Office best practice cost in each case.
Mr. Maclean: The administration of the firearms licensing system is a matter for individual chief officers of police. However, I understand that the Metropolitan police have in nearly all cases implemented the best practice guidelines on the administration of the firearms licensing system which we issued to all chief officers of police in 1991. Where the recommendations have not been implemented, this is principally due to the organisational structure of the Metropolitan police.
The cost to the Metropolitan police of each type of licence is not available. Costings of best practice are contained in a study undertaken in 1992 by the independent consultants Ernst and Young. A copy of their report is in the Library.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the Government's position on the licensing of the use of bovine somatotropin in the EC.
Mrs. Browning: The Government have made clear their view that any final decision on the licensing of bovine somatotropin should be based firmly on the
Column 206statutory licensing criteria of safety, quality and efficacy. It should be for the marketplace to determine whether BST has a role to play. On the basis of the scientific evidence and advice currently available, the products concerned meet those criteria and pose no hazard to animal health or welfare of public safety. As my right hon. Friend reported to the House on 15 December 1994 therefore, Official Report , columns 793 94 , at the December Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting, he voted against a presidency compromise to extend the moratorium on BST until 31 December 1999, as this was without scientific justification. The decision was, however, adopted by qualified majority.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if further steps were taken to facilitate continuing access to the United Kingdom market for New Zealand (a) butter and (b) cheese after renegotiation of the conditions of United Kingdom entry into the EEC; what was (1) United Kingdom output of butter and the tonnage of imports and exports from and to (2) New Zealand, (3) the EEC Six, (4) Denmark, (5) the Irish Republic and (6) other countries and what was (i) the corresponding information for the EEC Six, (ii) the tonnage of EEC cheese dumped on world markets, (iii) the difference between the common agricultural policy price and the New Zealand export price to third markets and (iv) the cost of cheese support of all kinds to the taxpayer or consumer in (w) 1968, (x) 1979, (y) 1989, and (z) 1994 to date.
Mr. Jack: The United Kingdom's treaty of accession provided for the import of declining quantities of butter and cheese from New Zealand at reduced rates of import levy for the years 1973 to 1977 with the possibility, for butter but not for cheese, of continuation beyond that date. The arrangements for butter have been prolonged up to the present, by successive unanimous Community decisions relating to quantity and rate of levy. The imports of cheese were terminated at the end of 1977 in accordance with the treaty but new arrangements were made with effect from 1 January 1980 for the import of certain quantities on special terms.
As a result of the GATT Uruguay round agreement, both arrangements are to be put on a permanent basis from 1 July 1995. The annual quantity of butter from New Zealand will be raised from its present level to 76,667 tonnes at a tariff of 86.88 ecu/100 kg, and the annual quantity of cheese will be maintained at 9,500 tonnes at tariff of 17.06 ecu/100 kg.Information concerning United Kingdom production of butter for years 1979 and 1989 is available from "Agriculture in the United Kingdom". Data for 1968 are not available on the same basis and estimates for 1994 are not yet available. Detailed information on imports to the United Kingdom and exports to particular countries for the years requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost. Trade information is published in the annual statement of trade of the United Kingdom 1968, Customs and Excise; DTI "Business Monitor" "Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom" 1979; CSO Business Monitor, "MA20 1989; and CSO Business Monitors", MM20 and MQ20 June 1994.
Information on the production of butter in EU member states for 1979,1989 and 1992--latest-- is published in "The Agricultural Situation in the Community"--
Column 207Commission of the European Communities-- and for 1968 can be found in the FAO production yearbook for 1970. Imports and exports of butter by EU member states are published by Eurostat. The publications contain total volumes of cheese exported to third countries. A small quantity of cheese which does not receive an export refund will be included.
There is no common agricultural policy price for cheese in the EU and information on New Zealand export prices of cheese to third countries is not readily available.
Cheese is supported under the Community dairy regime through export refunds private storage aid for certain long keeping cheese and, until 1 August 1994, public intervention in Italy for two types of cheese. It is not possible to estimate the costs of cheese support to consumers and taxpayers without making a large number of hypothetical assumptions about alternative policies which would have obtained in the absence of the CAP, and the effects of those policies. However, EU budgetary expenditure under the CAP in respect of cheese is as follows:
Year |Mecu --------------- 1968 |n/a 1979 |17 1989 |596 1993 |800 The applicable conversion rates into sterling are 1979: 0.64924, 1989: 0.65475, 1993: 0.78627. Source: FEOGA. This take was intentionally left blank
Mr. Austin Michell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the difference between the guaranteed or support price for butter, cheese and lamb under the common agricultural policy and the New Zealand export price to third markets; and what is his estimate of the total cost per year in each case to United Kingdom taxpayers and consumers of the higher prices or support arrangements.
Mr. Jack: The current intervention price for butter is 2,718 ecu/tonne. There is no common agricultural policy price for cheese in the EU. The current basic price set for sheepmeat is 3,882.3 ecu/tonne.
Column 208New Zealand prices of the products to third markets are not readily available.
It is not possible to estimate the costs of agricultural support to United Kingdom consumers and taxpayers without making a large number of hypothetical assumptions about alternative policies which might obtain in the absence of the CAP, and the effects of those policies. Public expenditure in the United Kingdom under the CAP and on national grants and subsidies is given in table 9.1 of "Agriculture in the United Kingdom".
Mr. Austin Michell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of the additional cost to the consumer of all forms of agricultural support including the higher prices as a result of tariff and other restrictions on imports from third countries since 1972.
Mr. Jack: Any estimate would be dependent upon hypothetical assumptions about the policies which would otherwise have obtained and the effects of those policies.
Estimates of the costs of support policies have been made in recent years by the Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development for the EU as a whole using a particular set of assumptions. These estimates are available in OECD's annual publication "Agricultural Policies, Markets and Trade: Monitoring and Outlook Report". It should be noted, however, that the OECD figures represent an over estimate of the savings which could be made by consumers and taxpayers because, with the abolition of agricultural support, would prices for many commodities would be higher.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many hauliers were prosecuted for cruelty to animals they were exporting in each year since 1989; and how many of those prosecutions proved successful in each year.
Mrs. Browning: The information is not available in this detail.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will show, by type, the number of animals exported for slaughter in each year since 1985, with the expected figures for 1994.
Mrs. Browning: The available information is given in the following tables, excluding 1993 for which no figures were available.
Animals inspected and certified as fit for transportation prior to export from Great Britain |1985 |1986 |1987 |1988 |1989 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Immediate Slaughter Cattle |150 |187 |1,014 |136 |358 Sheep |10,381 |154,017|182,781|262,647|216,886 Pigs |- |- |- |- |24 Totals |10,531 |154,204|183,795|262,783|217,268 2. Further Fattening Cattle |- |132 |574 |323 |1,712 Calves |142,431|190,683|365,166|234,651|302,223 Sheep |11,761 |7,745 |130,775|184,120|275,006 Pigs |- |1,321 |- |- |- Totals |154,192|199,881|496,515|419,094|578,941
|1990 |1991 |1992 |1994 (to |November) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Immediate Slaughter Cattle |175 |154 |115 |6,662 Sheep |186,038 |196,870 |326,777 |81,760 Pigs |- |3,297 |691 |7,201 Goats |- |- |150 |1 Totals |186,213 |200,321 |327,733 |95,624 2. Further Fattening Cattle |284 |187 |40 |- Calves |338,806 |399,599 |420,620 |500,530 Sheep |302,871 |576,632 |1,046,880|966,373 Pigs |- |9,963 |1,911 |11,570 Goats |- |- |- |2 Totals |641,961 |986,381 |1,469,451|1,478,475 Source: Annual Reports of the Chief Veterinary Officer; ANIMO figures for 1994 January-November.
Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what was the absenteeism rate for his Department in 1991, 1992, and 1993.
Mr. Jack: The information is not currently available, but steps are being taken to ensure that it will be in future.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what further steps were taken after the issue of Cmnd 6003-- "Membership of the European Community Report on
Renegotiation"--to facilitate continuing access to the United Kingdom market for imports of beef from third countries; and if he will publish (i) United Kingdom output of beef and the tonnage of imports and exports in 1968, 1979, 1989 and the current year to date from and to Argentina, Australia, the EEC Six, the Irish Republic, and other countries, (ii) the corresponding information for the EEC Six, (iii) the tonnage of EEC beef dumped on world markets, (iv) the difference between the common agricultural policy price and the Australian export price to third markets and (v) the cost of beef support of all kinds.