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Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has been given by the North Wales police force and by Gwynedd and Clwyd county councils concerning the reduction in the number of police officers in North Wales which will follow from the budget for 1995 96 which has been provided for the North Wales police force; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: Mr right hon. Friend the Under-Secretary met a deputation from the North Wales police authority on 20 December. The authority estimates that it will have to make a reduction of 60 officers in 1995 96 on the basis of the provisional police settlement. I am considering the representations made by the authority and I will announce my final settlement decisions at the end of January.
Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will increase the budget of the Clwydian community trust to enable it to meet its overall commitments with specific reference to the responsibilities it has for community care; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Richards: The Clwydian community NHS trust secures its income through contracts negotiated with commissioning health authorities.
Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the future of Meadowslea hospital, Penyffordd, Clwyd.
Mr. Richards: The future of Meadowslea hospital is a matter for the Clwyd health authority and the Clwydian community care NHS trust at this stage.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many of the individuals appointed by his Department to public positions in the last year were first identified by the Public Appointments Unit.
Mr. Redwood: One. The Public Appointments Unit holds a register of candidates for appointment nationally. The Welsh Office maintains its own register of candidates for public appointment to which people interested in appointment to bodies in Wales may apply.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which Welsh rail links are included in the proposed trans-European network; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The European Commission's proposal for a trans- European transport network, as currently drafted, includes the following railway lines:
Aberystwyth Shrewsbury Wolverhampton Birmingham
Fishguard Cardiff London
The Government have proposed to the Commission a number of additional rail lines. These include:
Clarbeston Road Milford Haven
Whitland Pembroke Dock
Newport Hereford Shrewsbury Crewe
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the relevance for councils in Wales of the code of conduct for local government employees published by the Local Government Management Board.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: It is for individual local authorities to decide whether they wish to adopt the code of conduct for local government employees.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to encourage Welsh trade links with south American countries.
Mr. Redwood: The economies of south America are now potentially attractive markets for Wales-based companies, with Argentina and Chile providing a broad range of opportunities. The Welsh Office intends to organise a trade mission there in May this year.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish details of the reasons for every delay in the work on the Brynglass tunnels scheme and the explanation of the hiatus planned between its completion and opening.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The information requested is commercial in confidence between the parties to the contract. However, main delays were caused by the discovery of contaminated fill at Glebelands, service diversions at the Harlequin and the collapse of a cofferdam in the River Usk.
The A4042 section of the scheme is expected to be opened to traffic in a few weeks' time. The contractor has advised that the remaining works should be completed in the summer of 1995.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the schools he has visited in the past year in
Column 448which a substantial proportion of their pupils were from families of non-Christian faiths.
Mr. Redwood: This information is not held centrally.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to eliminate the use of lobbying firms by local authorities and in support of all communications to his Department; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood: I have made it clear to my department that if a local authority asks to meet me via a Member of Parliament, I or a Welsh Office Minister will usually see it. There is no need to employ a lobbying firm. I want local authorities to concentrate on providing services for their taxpayers.
Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will establish a speed limit on the A483 trunk road at Pool quay, Powys; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redwood [holding answer 12 December 1994]: My Department has again considered a reduction in the national speed limit at Pool quay. It has been concluded that the effective way forward is to continue to try to reduce speeds by improving the driver's perception of the developed area. Additional signing and road markings have recently been provided but further traffic management measures are being considered.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made since the publication of Cmnd. 6003-- "Membership of the European Community-Report on
Renegotiation"--in discouraging the creation of surplus stocks and enacting measures to discourage surplus production of milk products and cereals; and what was the tonnage of surplus stocks in 1974 and 1993 together with the annual cost of storage and the losses incurred on their disposal for export or industrial use.
Mr. Jack: Since 1979, the common agriculture policy has seen a number of changes, including, in 1984, the introduction of milk quotas. The other most notable change was the 1992 CAP reform agreement, which was a major development in moving the CAP closer to the market and reducing dependence on intervention. The agreement included significant reductions in support prices for major commodities and other measures to cut excess production, such as a limit to the total arable area eligible for direct support, coupled with a requirement to set land aside, and livestock premium quotas. Tables showing levels of all produce held in intervention within the EU, including cereals and milk products, are deposited in the Library of the House monthly, most recently on 5 December. The information currently held in the House Library goes back to January 1985. Figures for earlier years were not prepared on the same basis.
Column 449The budgetary cost of intervention in the cereals and milk sectors which would include storage costs and losses on resale, for the years 1974, EC9 and 1993, EC12 are:
|1974 |1974 |1993 |1993 |mua |£ million|mecu |£ million ---------------------------------------------------------------- Cereals |323.6 |163.6 |2,724 |2,142 Milk products |342 |168 |294 |231 Exchange rates: 1974: 1 ua = £0.491712 1993: 1 ecu = £0.78627
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment has been made as to the additional costs which will be incurred by his Department as a result of the changes in national telephone dialling codes next year; and how much this change will cost his Department in additional expenditure.
Mr. Jack: The amendments to our telephone exchanges required as a result of the code changes have been made by the maintainers free of charge with the exception of five small exchanges that required total expenditure of approximately £3,500. Changes will also be required to ancillary items such as stationery, signs and fax machines. No information is available centrally on the cost to change these items, but they are being managed within existing budgets.
Mr. Heppell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what evidence he has that the spread of bovine tuberculosis is caused by badgers.
Mrs. Browning: Experimental control areas in Dorset and Gloucestershire, set up in 1975, provided evidence of the causal link between infection in badgers, and cattle herds. After removal of the badgers, there were no further cattle TB herd breakdowns in these areas for many years. Two independent reports, by Lord Zuckerman in 1980 and Professor Dunnet in 1986, concluded from the evidence obtained under laboratory conditions at the Central Veterinary Laboratory and from the field that badgers can and do harbour bovine tuberculosis and represent a potential threat to cattle. All cattle tuberculosis breakdowns are the subject of detailed epidemiological investigation by MAFF veterinary staff. These show that badgers are implicated in at least three quarters of cattle herd tuberculosis breakdowns in south-west England.
Mr. Heppell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many badgers he estimates have been culled as a result of bovine tuberculosis in each of the last three years (a) in England and (b) in Nottinghamshire.
Mrs. Browning: The number of badgers killed in Ministry removal operations as a result of bovine tuberculosis in England in the last three years is as follows:
None of these operations took place in Nottinghamshire.
Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make it his policy to require all veal products to be labelled according to the method of production.
Mrs. Browning: No. The food advisory committee considered the question of labelling relating to methods of production during a wide- ranging review of food labelling and advertising practices, which it conducted in 1990. The committee did not recommend imposing any requirements to indicate animal rearing methods on food labels and the Government have accepted this advice. This does not prevent the voluntary inclusion of such information, providing it is true and not misleading.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the current number of cattle aged 30 months or under with enzootic bovine leukosis; what was the figure at 31 October 1993, and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Browning: The information on the number of animals under the age of 30 months confirmed as being infected with enzootic bovine leukosis is not available, but the number would be low as infection has been confined in a total of only 90 animals on 33 premises since October 1992, of which 29 animals were found on 10 premises since 31 October 1993. It is often not possible to classify young animals as either infected or not infected until they are at least two years of age, by which time many of the animals which might be suspected of being infected have been slaughtered.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many of the individuals appointed by his Department to public positions in the last year were first identified by the Public Appointments Unit.
Mr. Jack: Our officials regularly consult the public appointments unit for names of suitable, qualified candidates for public appointment. Of the appointments made by my right hon. Friend in the last year, 13 were made from names supplied by the unit.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he now has to prevent Albert Hall Farms from exporting calves.
Mrs. Browning: We have no such plans. The powers available to prevent the transport or further transport of animals can be applied in circumstances where breaches of the legislation are disclosed in respect of particular consignments.
Sir Nicholas Bonsor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish a table showing the cash sums
Column 451allocated for (a) civilian and (b) military redundancies in each service in 1995 96, 1996 97 and 1997 98; what additional annual costs will fall to his Department in each of those years as a result of accruing superannuation liability changes associated with the early payment of lump sum benefits and annual pension payments to redundant service personnel; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: The costs of service redundancies and those civilian redundancy costs which fall to my Department will be met from within the planned defence budget totals announced on 29 November 1994. Those plans contain some £220,000,000 in 1995 96 and £310,000,000 in 1996-97, more in real terms--at 1993 94 prices--principally to meet the costs of service redundancies which I announced in my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, North-East (Mr. Thurnham) on 19 December 1994, Official Report , column 870 . No additional costs will fall to the defence budget in the years in question to meet the costs associated with the early payment of lump sum benefits and annual pensions to redundant service personnel.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide details of all incidents in the past three years in which stores, weaponry, equipment or other material have unintentionally fallen from military aircraft in flight.
Mr. Soames: Full details of all incidents could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Excluding inadvertent weapons releases inside range areas, however, the total number of incidents involving inadvertent releases of stores, weaponry, equipment and other material in the past three years is 310.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the purpose of the visit of three Danish F16 aircraft to RAF Leuchars from 12 to 14 December 1993; which RAF unit hosted the exchange visit; how many sorties were flown by the aircraft on each of the days of their deployment; and how many of these were at low level.
Mr. Soames: The aircraft deployed to RAF Leuchars, which hosted the visit, to conduct low flying training. Following their arrival at the station on 12 December, no sorties were flown that day. Five sorties were flown on 13 December, none of which were booked at low level. The aircraft departed on 14 December and, as the then Minister of State for the Armed Forces made clear in his answer of 24 June, Official Report , column 389 , to the hon. Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson), flew part of their sortie without authorisation within the United Kingdom low flying system. Details of that incident were passed to the Royal Danish air force for appropriate action.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many collisions have occurred between military aircraft and birds within five miles of the wildfowl and wetlands trust site at Caerlaverock, Dumfries, within the last five years; what species of bird was involved in each
Column 452incident; and what was the altitude at which each collision occurred.
Mr. Soames: Although my Department's computerised aircraft incident records do include details of all reported birdstrikes by service aircraft, they are not held in a form that would allow easy retrieval, and the information requested could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will de- classify and publish the report of the Deputy ARP Controller Newport on the death of Harry Mills aged 12 in Newport, Gwent, on 2 January 1943.
Mr. Soames: My Department does not hold a copy of this report.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the safety of the decontamination and re-use of all sites used during the 1939 45 war for the storage of and exercises involving chemical weapons; when each site was last inspected; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Soames: During world war two there were a large number of sites concerned with the development, production, storage and testing of chemical weapons. Sites which were subsequently disposed of were checked to ensure no residual chemical contamination was present. It has not been possible to identify when each of these sites was inspected, but there is no evidence to suggest that there have been any subsequent contamination problems. We are aware of our duty of care responsibilities and thus sites remaining in my Department's ownership are subject to review to ensure there is no risk to the public.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will de- classify and publish full details of all reports of wartime casualties of civilian and military personnel attributed to mustard gas and other chemical weapons poisoning.
Mr. Soames: My Department holds no central collation of information on such incidents. Medical records relating to individuals are at present withheld from the Public Record Office as medical in confidence.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will arrange for all previously secret reports on Britain during the second world war that are now available for public inspection in the United States to be de-classified in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Soames: In accordance with the initiatives set out in the White Paper on open government, Cm 2290, my Department, in common with other Government Departments, has been re-examining records closed for more than 30 years. To date, more than 6,500 such records have been released, most covering the events of the second world war. Not all the material now de- classified in the US has survived in British archives.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which airlines have been granted preferred carrier status for civil servant travel to overseas destinations.
Mr. Freeman: My Department has not granted preferred carrier status to any airline.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the individuals appointed by his Department to public positions in the last year were first identified by the Public Appointments Unit.
Mr. Soames: Although the Cabinet Office's Public Appointments Unit may be consulted for appointments to a range of MOD or MOD sponsored public positions, nominations may also be made from a variety of other sources. Additionally, candidates are sought through various professional and group organisations. My Department does not maintain central records about the means by which individuals were nominated or identified for such appointments.
Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what was the total cost to his Department of establishing the Crown housing trust to manage MOD service quarters; and if he will make a statement about its future;
(2) how many people are employed by the Crown housing trust; and what has been the total cost in salaries to its employees since its inception.
Mr. Soames: Work has been under way in my Department since 1991 on new arrangements for the married quarters estate, at a total cost to date of some £5 million. This figure includes salary costs, to the end of November 1994, of approximately £160,000 for eight staff initially recruited for a housing trust and now engaged on setting up the defence housing executive, as announced by the Secretary of State for Defence on 17 November 1994, Official Report , column 1 .
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to the possibility of conflict of interests arising by his employment of Mr. David Hart as his special adviser in relation to his Department's plans for married service quarters; whether Mr. Hart has played any role in the development of the plans for married service quarters or has seen them; and what interest Mr. Hart has shown in the purchase of married service quarters.
Mr. Freeman: Mr. David Hart, as special adviser to my right hon. Friend, is one of several independent advisers who have contributed to the development of plans for the married quarters estate. His involvement has been, and continues to be, very productive. The need to ensure that there is no conflict of interest in the involvement of advisers in the next phase of the privatisation of the married quarters estate is fully recognised; this will be subject to the provision of formal undertakings.
Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to dispose of the vacant dwellings currently owned by his Department.
Mr. Soames: Not all vacant dwellings are surplus to our requirements. The majority are undergoing or awaiting major maintenance, held for future deployments, or form part of the management margin needed to ensure that accommodation is available for entitled service families. However, empty properties which are surplus to requirements are sold. Properties which are not surplus to long-term requirements but which are not needed immediately for service families are, wherever possible, leased to local authorities, housing associations or civilians.
Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has for the implementation of the United Kingdom's obligations under article VI of the 1968 treaty on the
non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Mr. Soames: We are committed to work towards nuclear disarmament in the context of general and complete disarmament, and have played and continue to play an active role in a wide range of
non-proliferation and arms control negotiations. We have also reduced our holdings of nuclear weapons, eliminating our surface maritime and ground tactical capability and substantially reducing our stockpile of nuclear free-fall bombs.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what stocks of electro-shock riot batons his Department possesses; and what tests his Department have conducted on electro-shock riot batons.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if electro-shock riot batons were part of the Al-Yamamah arms deal; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman: No electronic shock weapons have been supplied under the Al-Yamamah programme.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether changes were made to the safety plans for the Faslane nuclear site following discovery of seismic problems; what was the total cost of these changes; and when they were carried out;
(2) what frequency his Department assumed when planning the Faslane nuclear site for earthquakes measuring 0.2 G or more horizontal ground acceleration;
(3) what steps his Department took to ensure that appropriate (a) seismic surveys and (b) geological structure surveys were conducted in the planning stage of the Faslane nuclear site;
(4) what technical changes were made to the shiplift facility for the Trident system at Faslane following lessons learnt from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion; and what was the total cost of these changes;
(5) what is the maximum horizontal ground acceleration that the Faslane nuclear site is able to withstand from an earthquake.
Mr. Freeman: Safety plans for the Clyde submarine base, Faslane, are kept under continuous review and amended as necessary in the light of all relevant information. During the planning stage of the Trident