Previous Section Home Page

Mr. Nicholas Baker: My right hon. and learned Friend announced last October that the Government plan to publish a Green Paper on identity cards in the spring of this year.

The Green Paper will set out options for a national identity card scheme. We will consider the possibility of introducing an identity card scheme in the light of the responses received to this consultation document.

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the private companies that have been consulted by his Department over the possible introduction of identity cards.

Mr. Nicholas Baker: The Home Office has not entered into formal consultations with any private companies about the possible introduction of identity cards. The forthcoming Green Paper on identity cards will provide an opportunity for private companies to make their views known.


Column 152

Electric Shock Equipment

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which British police forces have electric shock anti-riot equipment; in what quantities; and for what purpose;

(2) who authorised the supply of electric shock riot shields to police forces in England and Wales for test purposes; how many were purchased then; and to which forces they were supplied.

Mr. Maclean: Chief officers of police are responsible for deciding what equipment to obtain for their forces, either for testing or introduction. In the case of the Metropolitan police, the Commissioner requires my right hon. and learned Friend's agreement to defensive equipment. I understand that no force has obtained any form of electric shock equipment for use against people, or for testing for this purpose, although a number of forces have small numbers of electric shock shields and prods for use against ferocious dogs. Details of the numbers or distribution of such equipment are not available centrally.

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many section 5 certificates have been granted in the last two years which relate specifically to electric shock weapons and to which companies.

Mr. Maclean: Electric shock weapons are prohibited by section 5(1)(b) of the Firearms Act 1968 and cannot be possessed without the authority of the Secretary of State. No company has been granted authority specifically to possess electric shock weapons in the last two years.

Training Courses

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list each training and tuition course with a total cost exceeding £5,000 paid for by (a) his Department and (b) his agencies during the last 12 months, showing the title and objectives of each course, the name of the organisations engaged, the total cost of each course, a summary of the responsibilities of staff members taking part and the process for course evaluation by the Department or agency.

Mr. Howard: No part of my Department, including its agencies, has purchased any training, tuition or course, over the past 12 months, costing more than £5,000 for a single member of staff. The immigration and nationality department purchased five courses for 73 middle and senior operational managers at a total cost of £33,000. These were provided by a mix of in-house training staff and external consultants. Evaluation is by discussion between course members and their line managers. My Department has also made considerable investment in information technology training. A total of 19 courses for 127 members of staff on information technology and computer hardware costing more than £5,000 each have been purchased by the immigration and nationality department, the police national computer data centre and the Home Office's research and planning unit. Total costs were, respectively, £26,000, £36,250 and £74,000. The overall costs are a consequence of the number of information technology staff requiring training in implementing and using new systems and software.


Column 153

WALES

Defective Buildings, Flint

Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action (1) he has taken following the copy letter dated 6 April 1994 from Clwyd county council chief fire officer to the National House Building Council regarding properties at Palace close, Flint and Balmoral close, Flint; and what is his opinion of the conformity to building regulations;

(2) what request he has received to use his default powers under the Building Act 1984 with regard to Royal Gardens, Flint; what action he has taken; and if he will request a formal opinion of the nature and extent of the defects reported to him.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: My right hon. Friend has received a request from Mr. C. Gavin of 15 Palace close to use his default powers under section 116 of the Building Act 1984. However, the Secretary of State uses these powers only in cases where there appears to be a manifest failure by a local authority to carry out a specific function under the Act.

My right hon. Friend has no statutory basis on which he can express an opinion on conformity with the building regulations in this case. It was for NHBC Building Control Services Ltd. to consider what action might be necessary following the chief fire officer's letter to it.

Blood

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the future chain of command of the blood transfusion services in north Wales; what consultations he has hade with the Secretary of State for Health, the National Blood Authority, in England, and the National Blood Transfusion Service, in Wales, on this issue; and what representations he has received concerning his policies.

Mr. Redwood: Management of the blood transfusion service in north Wales is the responsibility of the National Blood Authority and representations about the future of this service are for the Secretary of State for Health. My officials were kept informed of progress on the review of services in England and these discussions are continuing. I will shortly be consulting on the future management of the Welsh blood service.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the chairman of the Welsh Health Common Services Authority and the management of National Blood Transfusion Services--Wales regarding the screening of donors and recipients for hepatitis C.

Mr. Redwood: The Welsh Health Common Services Authority and National Blood Transfusion Services --Wales are being kept fully informed about the "look-back" exercise for hepatitis C.

Internet

Sir Wyn Roberts: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the percentage of Welsh businesses connected to the Internet system.

Mr. Redwood: It has been estimated that in the United Kingdom as a whole some 30 per cent. of businesses are


Column 154

connected to the Internet. I am not aware of any reliable estimate of the comparable figure for Wales.

Ambulance Personnel (Early Retirement)

Mr. Gareth Wardell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will introduce the same early retirement settlement for ambulance personnel in Wales as is proposed for England.

Mr. Richards: In view of the level of provision made in 1993 94, there are no plans to introduce a further early retirement scheme for ambulance personnel in Wales in the current financial year.

Tourist Rail Links (VAT)

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment his Department has made of the effect on tourist facilities in Wales of the imposition of value added tax on tourist rail links; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The application of VAT is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer who announced on 29 November that services relating to entertainment or recreational activities and car parking at airports, which include passenger transport, will become wholly standard-rated. The measure will affect a limited range of businesses in Wales.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received from the Wales tourist board on the imposition of value added tax on tourist rail links and its likely effects; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The chief executive of the board has written to me about this matter.

Strategic Development Scheme Expenditure

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total strategic development scheme expenditure to be allowed in Wales in 1995 96; what proportion of this will be spent in Gwynedd, and of this figure, how much in the voluntary sector; and if he will make a statement on any difficulties arising with regard to securing sufficient suitable projects for Gwynedd.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The strategic development scheme's total budget for 1995 96 is £57 million, of which £5,900,000--10.4 per cent.-- has been allocated to local authorities in Gwynedd. Some £464,645 will be spent on voluntary sector projects in Gwynedd. Before submitting bids, authorities are asked to consult widely within their local communities, with development agencies, the voluntary sector and other appropriate interested bodies. The selection and priority of the bids are a matter for those local authorities.

Home Renovation Grants

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people in (a) Wales and (b) Alyn and Deeside are waiting for home renovation grants; and what steps he is taking to provide funds for the delivery of these grants.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The figures requested are not held centrally. Since the grant system was introduced in 1990, more than £1.04 billion has been made available for renovation in Wales, with Alyn and Deeside receiving


Column 155

some £14.9 million. For 1995 96, we have increased the money available for renovation to £198.5 million.

Animal Diseases

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many cases of equine infectious anaemia there have been in each year since 1985.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: No cases of equine infectious anaemia have occurred in Wales since 1985.

Housing

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his policy concerning the requirement for adapting council houses for those suffering disability.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: It is for local councils to determine the priority they attach to adaptations for individuals with disabilities. A council may carry out adaptations or tenants may apply for disabled facilities grants.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish details of the number of dwellings provided by housing assoiciations for each district council and for Wales as a whole, for each of the last three years.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: Information on the number of dwellings provided by housing associations in each district and in Wales as a whole is published annually in table 5.2 of Welsh housing statistics. Additionally, the numbers of dwellings provided during 1992 93 under the acquisition initiative were published in appendix 3 of Welsh housing statistics No. 13 1993. Copies of the publication are in the Library of the House.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the starting date applicable to the Tai Cymru policy framework for assisted ownership; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The relevant regulation--statutory instrument No. 2895 of 1994--came into force on 8 December 1994. I expect the first sales of properties to take place during the financial year 1995 96.

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish details of the amount invested in housing provision in Wales from (a) grants from Tai Cymru, (b) transfers from local authorities and (c) private investment from banks and building societies, in each of the last three years.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The information sought will be covered in the "Government's Expenditure Plans 1995 96 to 1997 98: Departmental Report by the Welsh Office and the Office of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in Wales" which is due to be published on 9 March 1995.

Health Authorities (Financial Allocations)

Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he intends to inform health authorities of their financial allocation for 1995 96.

Mr. Richards: My right hon. Friend will be announcing the financial allocations for 1995 96 to health authorities shortly.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what were the specific different circumstances in


Column 156

Wales which led him not to publish the consultation paper inviting views on the desirability of introducing a licencing system for homes in multiple occupation in England and Wales on which the Department of the Environment is consulting in England.

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The Department of the Environment document covers England only. My right hon. Friend has written to the hon. Gentleman, other Welsh Members of Parliament, local authorities and interested organisations seeking their views on this issue.

Grant-maintained Schools

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what are the identifiable costs of administration within his office for grant- maintained schools; and what estimate he has made of costs which cannot be readily separated from general educational expenditure.

Mr. Richards: I will write to the hon. Gentleman and place a copy of my reply in the Library of the House.

Health Bodies

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will consult the chairmen of the Welsh Health Common Services Authority and the Health Promotion Authority for Wales concerning potential savings from rationalising accommodation and other management running costs expenditure; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Redwood: Such matters are kept under constant review.

National Curriculum Assessment

Mr. Sweeney: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the results from the 1994 national curriculum assessment in Wales.

Mr. Richards: A summary of the results submitted is shown in the following table. The results represent 8.2 per cent. of pupils eligible for assessment at the end of key stage 1 and 11.4 per cent. of pupils eligible for assessment at the end of key stage 3. This low level of response means that no statistically valid conclusions can be drawn from the data as regards the whole of Wales.


Table 1: The percentage of pupils achieving level 2 and above at       

the end of Key Stage 1 (7-year-olds). A typical 7-year-old is          

expected to be at level 2.                                             

                                               |Teacher                

                                   |Tests      |Assessments            

                                   |Per cent.  |Per cent.              

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

English                            |<1>-       |76                     

Speaking and Listening             |<1>-       |82                     

Reading                            |78         |77                     

Writing                            |66         |69                     

Spelling                           |69         |70                     

Handwriting                        |81         |81                     

                                                                       

Mathematics                        |<1>-       |77                     

Using and applying mathematics     |<1>-       |76                     

Number                             |79         |81                     

Algebra                            |<1>-       |77                     

Shape and space                    |<1>-       |73                     

Handling data                      |<1>-       |75                     

Science                            |<1>-       |84                     

Scientific investigation           |<1>-       |80                     

Life and living process            |<1>-       |86                     

Materials and their properties     |<1>-       |84                     

Physical processes                 |<1>-       |81                     

                                                                       

Welsh: Insufficient data submitted                                     

<1>Not subject to National Curriculum tests.                           


Table 2: The percentage of pupils achieving level or above   

at the                                                       

end of key stage 3-14-year-olds. A typical 14-year-old is    

expected                                                     

to achieve level 5/6                                         

                                     |Teacher                

                         |Tests      |Assessments            

                         |Per cent.  |Per cent.              

-------------------------------------------------------------

English                  |48         |52                     

Mathematics              |53         |59                     

Science                  |59         |66                     

Welsh: No data submitted |-          |-                      

SCOTLAND

Scottish Homes Board

Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what were the remuneration and emoluments and expenses paid to each member of the Scottish Homes board in each year since it was established.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: I have asked the chairman of Scottish Homes, Sir James Mellon, to write to the hon. Member with the relevant information.

General Practitioners

Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he will publish his consultation document on an accountability framework for fundholding general practitioners; and who will be included on the list of those to be consulted on this framework.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The proposed consultation document on an accountability framework for GP fundholders is due to be issued for consultation within the NHS in Scotland in the near future. Bodies which will be consulted will include GP fundholders, the Scottish general medical services committee of the British Medical Association, Royal College of General Practitioners, health boards, NHS trusts and local health councils.

Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many general practitioner fundholders in Scotland (a) are to participate and (b) have expressed an interest in participating in pilot studies under the primary care purchasing initiative for the purchase of all health care services; where these fundholders are located; and when the pilot studies will begin.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The following information relates to the proposed pilot studies to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of GP fundholding


Column 158

practices which purchase all health care services on behalf of their patients in collaboration with their health board.

To date approximately 30 GP fundholding practices in the following health board areas have expressed interest in participating. Ayrshire and Arran

Forth Valley

Grampian

Greater Glasgow

Highland

Lanarkshire

Lothian

Tayside

Some further expressions of interest from fundholding practices are expected.

It is intended to mount up to six pilot studies in a range of areas but no final decisions have been reached about those practices which will participate. The pilot projects are expected to commence during 1995 96.

Asthma Medication Costs

Mrs. Ray Michie: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a table showing the expenditure on general practitioner prescribed anti-asthma medication and preparations in each health board in Scotland in terms of (a) net ingredient cost and (b) net ingredient cost per capita for the last two years for which figures are available.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The information by health board and Scotland for the financial years 1992 93 and 1993 94 is set out in the table. The costs shown are based on the value of the ingredients before the deduction of any discount and relate only to inhaled and oral adrenoceptor stimulants, inhaled steroids, inhaled antimuscarinic bronchodilators and theophylline preparations.


                           Cost of                   Cost per patient                      

                           medication                                                      

                           £ million                  on GP lists (£)                      

Health Board              |1992-93     |1993-94     |1992-93     |1993-94                  

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Argyll and Clyde          |2.751       |3.202       |6.11        |7.17                     

Ayrshire and Arran        |3.019       |3.465       |7.72        |8.85                     

Borders                   |0.771       |0.879       |7.22        |8.20                     

Dumfries and Galloway     |0.963       |1.076       |6.30        |7.02                     

Fife                      |2.105       |2.373       |6.00        |6.76                     

Forth Valley              |1.723       |2.001       |5.95        |6.90                     

Grampian                  |3.098       |3.541       |5.88        |6.64                     

Greater Glasgow           |6.135       |7.187       |6.02        |7.12                     

Highland                  |1.067       |1.247       |5.02        |5.87                     

Lanarkshire               |3.775       |4.442       |6.46        |7.61                     

Lothian                   |4.620       |5.230       |5.78        |6.51                     

Orkney                    |0.097       |0.109       |4.84        |5.45                     

Shetland                  |0.077       |0.100       |3.38        |3.35                     

Tayside                   |2.943       |3.430       |7.20        |8.36                     

Western Isles             |0.117       |0.142       |3.89        |4.73                     

Unallocated prescriptions |0.058       |0.054       |-           |-                        

                                                                                           

All Scotland              |33.319      |38.478      |6.21        |7.17                     

Elderly People

Sir Russell Johnston: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from Highland regional council about attacks on vulnerable


Column 159

elderly people in their homes; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: No such representations have been received from Highland regional council.

Arts Courses

Mrs. Fyfe: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many school leavers, in the last year for which figures are available, entered courses run by colleges of (a) music, (b) art, (c) drama, (d) dance and (e) other arts.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: This information is not held centrally.

Low Moss Prison

Mr. Galbraith: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans there are to use the area of the resettlement unit at Bishopbriggs to extend facilities at Low Moss prison; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The suitability of this area for prison service facilities is one of a number of possible options currently being examined. No decisions have been taken; and any proposals for the use of this area would require to be the subject of an application for outline planning consent.

Objective 1 Funding

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the eligibility for financial assistance under highlands and islands objective 1 status allow for applications for maintenance of rail services regionally; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Under the highlands and islands objective 1 programme, assistance from the European regional development fund can be provided towards rail infrastructure projects. EC funds cannot be used to provide a revenue subsidy.

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will detail the incidence of, and extent to which, highlands and islands objective 1 European funding has resulted in corresponding reductions in his Department's financial allocations and expenditure within the area; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: European Community spending, including that in the highlands and islands under objective 1, is dealt with in the public expenditure survey as an integral part of the expenditure programmes for which I have responsibility. EC rules on additionality preclude the use of objective 1 funds to substitute for other forms of public expenditure.

Electro-Shock Weapons

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on what date his Department gave ICL Technical Plastics a licence to produce electro- shock weapons in the United Kingdom.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Electric shock weapons are considered to be prohibited under the provisions of the Firearms Acts. Their manufacture, possession and sale, therefore, require the specific authority of my right hon. Friend. No such authority has been granted to ICL Technical Plastics.


Column 160

Ferry Transport

Mr. Home Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the number of (a) cars, (b) commercial vehicles and (c) passengers and the volume and value of freight originating from or destined to Scotland which was transported to or from mainland Europe by ferry via English ferry ports in the most recent five years for which figures are available.

Mr. Norris: I have been asked to reply.

This information is available only at disproportionate cost.

Hip Replacements

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his letter of 31 October to the hon. Member of Linlithgow, what progress his officials have made in monitoring the use of Kyocera titanium fibres in relation to hip replacements.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 19 January 1995]: As explained by my noble Friend the Minister of State in his letter to the hon. Gentleman of 31 October, although Kyocera included the possible use of titanium fibres in hip replacement implants in its patent application it is not yet developing the material into a marketable product for use in hip replacement applications. The Medical Devices Agency is taking the lead in monitoring developments in this area and will keep the other United Kingdom Health Departments informed.

Ambulance Service

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations took place to ascertain the most suitable specification for the new communications system in the Scottish ambulance service control room in Aberdeen; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 20 January 1995]: The Scottish ambulance service consulted within the service to establish its communications requirements and agreed the specification in consultation with the Scottish Office directorate of telecommunications which provided appropriate technical advice.

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give an analysis of the response to the consultation on trust status for the Scottish ambulance service; what consideration he has given to this analysis; and if he will make a statement.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 10 January 1995]: An analysis of the responses is as follows:


                                                                        |Not                            

                                        |Supporting     |No clear       |supporting                     

                        |<1>Number      |the            |view           |the                            

Body/individual         |consulted      |application    |expressed      |application                    

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Health boards           |15             |4              |3              |1                              

NHS Trust and DMUs      |51             |14             |7              |0                              

Local health councils   |19             |6              |7              |2                              

Regional and District                                                                                   

  councils              |65             |3              |15             |15                             

MPs and Euro MPs        |80             |0              |1              |16                             

Trades Unions/Trade                                                                                     

  councils              |12             |0              |0              |3                              

Emergency services      |16             |0              |3              |0                              

Universities            |12             |1              |1              |0                              

Health related                                                                                          

  organisations         |20             |4              |11             |5                              

Community councils      |1,000          |5              |19             |38                             

Political parties/                                                                                      

  organisations         |0              |0              |0              |4                              

GPs, pharmacists,                                                                                       

  members of the public |2,000          |2              |4              |7                              

                                                                                                        

Total                   |3,290          |39             |71             |91                             

Note:                                                                                                   

<1>Number of the Application Documents issued for consultation.                                         

Copies of all comments received in response to the public consultation have been retained by the Common Services Agency and are available for inspection. A copy is available for inspection in the Library of the Scottish Office, St. Andrew's house, Edinburgh. Following an extensive consultation exercise including 34 public meetings held throughout Scotland, 201 responses were received. Only 91 of these specifically indicated opposition to the application. Consideration was given to all the comments made and to the report and recommendations made by the Common Services Agency. The application was considered against the published criteria of benefits for patients, management competence, involvement of clinicians and other health care professionals in management and financial viability. My right hon. Friend announced on 25 November that he had given his approval to the application after appraisal against the criteria.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to the letter of the hon. Member for Edinburgh West (Lord James Douglas- Hamilton) to the hon. Member for Linlithgow of 2 August 1994, what evidence he has had from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority about the use of ovarian tissue in research; and what action he proposes to take.


Next Section

  Home Page