Mr. Maclean: The following table sets out what I understand to be the ages at which, provided that there is mutual consent and no special provisions apply--see footnotes--persons may legally engage in heterosexual and homosexual sexual acts in each EC country.
|Male/Female |Male/Male |Female/Female ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Austria |14 |See <1> |14 Belgium |14 |14 |14 Denmark |<2>15 |<2>15 |<2>15 Finland |16 |18 |<3>18 France |15 |15 |15 Germany |<2>14 |18 |<2>14 Greece |15 |17 |17 Ireland |17 |17 |15 Italy |<2>14 |<2>14 |<2>14 Luxembourg |16 |16 |16 Netherlands |<2>16 |<2>16 |<2>16 Portugal |14 |16 |16 Sweden |<2>15 |<2>15 |<2>15 Spain |<2>16 |<2>16 |<2>16 United Kingdom |<4>16 |18 |<4>16 <1> Homosexual activities between males aged 14 and over are legal unless one partner is aged 14 to 18 and the other is over 18. <2> A higher age may apply where the older person is in a position of authority, influence or trust. <3> The Finnish parliament is giving consideration to lowering the common age of consent to 15. <4> 17 in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what vetting procedures are in place on the staff of Group 4 who will be involved in the transportation of prisoners to Birkenhead Crown court; and if Group 4 will be responsible for the transportation of prisoners irrespective of their offence.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Frank Field, dated10 February 1995:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the vetting procedures and responsibilities of Group 4 staff at Birkenhead Crown Court.
Column 426All Prisoner Custody Officers (PCOs) at contracted out prisons and those working in the contracted court escort and custody service are certified by the Home Secretary. This is in accordance with Section 89 of, and Schedule 10 to, the Criminal Justice Act 1991. Before issuing such a certificate, routine enquiries are made. These investigations are similar to those made in relation to applications for Prison Service employment and include checks made by the police against criminal records held in the National Identification Bureau. Candidates applying for employment as PCOs are exempt for the terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and conviction which ordinarily are regarded as "spent" are therefore taken into account. Group 4 will be responsible for the escort of all prisoners to and from court and for their custody at court, with the exception of category A prisoners, who will continue to be escorted by the Police and Prison Service.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: Following local consultation, my right hon. and learned Friend has decided not to proceed with a proposal to make an order under section 4(1) of the Coroners Act 1988 to restructure the coroners district in Greater Manchester. The present four coroners districts will therefore continue unaltered.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to be able to announce his decision on the future of the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard: On the basis of a review initiated by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and the Home Office, I have concluded that the Metropolitan police forensic science laboratory should merge with the forensic science service to form a national organisation serving all police forces in England and Wales through seven regional operational laboratories; that direct charging for forensic science services should be extended to include services currently provided by MPFSL; and that the Metropolitan police and the City of London police should be untied from their reliance on the MPFSL as sole provider of these services. There will of course continue to be a Metropolitan laboratory.
These changes will ensure that arrangements for providing forensic science support to the criminal justice system will be the same throughout England and Wales. The merger will ensure that strong forensic science support continues to be made available to the Metropolitan police and the City of London police. Both FSS and MPFSL have traditions of excellence in the provision of forensic science support to the criminal justice system. Within an enlarged agency they will maintain and build upon already high standards of forensic science support to crime investigation in London while ensuring the continued development of effective and efficient forensic science provision throughout
Column 427England and Wales; characterised by its high quality, clear impartiality and availability equally to police, prosecution and defence.
The worldwide reputations which the MPFSL and FSS have established will be enhanced by bringing them together. International standing is especially important at a time when developments in forensic science are increasingly being brokered across national boundaries and overseas markets are opening up.
I intend that the MPFSL and FSS should merge with effect from 1 April 1996. Merger will be preceded by a transitional period, beginning on 1 April 1995, during which the director general of the FSS will manage MPFSL on behalf of the commissioner, and prepare, with MPFSL and FSS staff, and with the concurrence of the commissioner and the Home Office, detailed plans for the changes.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners have been diagnosed as mentally ill in each year since 1979; and how many of these have been transferred to NHS facilities.
Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 8 January 1995]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Jack Straw, dated10 February 1995 :
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of prisoners diagnosed as mentally ill in each year since 1979 and how many of them were transferred to NHS facilities. The information sought in the first part of your Question is not available in the form requested. Since December 1991 Prison Service establishments have, however, been carrying out regular medical monitoring exercises. To monitor the assessed needs of mentally disordered prisoners information is collected and collated by the Directorate of Health Care on a periodical basis. On a given day prisoners who are considered by prison doctors to need some form of mental health care are categorised as follows:
(a) prisoners requiring removal or transfer to a psychiatric hospital under Mental Health Act provisions and who are awaiting such transfer. This figure includes remand prisoners awaiting disposal by the court.
(b) prisoners who are sufficiently ill to be occupying in-patient beds in prison health care centres; and
(c) prisoners requiring some form of mental health care but not removal/transfer to psychiatric hospital or in-patient treatment in a prison health care centre.
Tables 1 to 3 enclosed show the numbers of mentally disordered prisoners recorded in each of the above categories over the period from December 1991 to September 1994.
We do not yet know the precise reason for the fall from 802 to 331 in the number of mentally ill prisoners occupying in-patient beds in February and September 1994 but it is more than offset by the increase, from 1766 to 2598, in the number of such prisoners being cared for elsewhere within establishments.
Table 4 enclosed gives the number of transfers to hospital from 1979 onwards under sections 47 and 48 of the Mental Health Act 1983, or their equivalents under the preceding legislation, sections
Column 42872 and 73 of the Mental Health Act 1959. This shows that there has been a marked increase in the number of transfers over the last 15 years, with more than double the number of transfers in 1994 when compared with 1990.
Table 1 |The number of |prisoners awaiting |removal |or transfer to a |psychiatric |hospital |under Mental Health |Act provisions, |including remand |prisoners awaiting |disposal by the |court. ------------------------------------------------------------ December 1991 |128 February 1992 |92 April 1992 |112 June 1992 |101 August 1992 |85 October 1992 |107 December 1992 |101 February 1993 |123 May 1993 |161 September 1993 |104 February 1994 |136 June 1994 |174 September 1994 |102
Table 2 |The number of |prisoners |considered by |prison doctors to be |sufficiently |mentally |ill to occupy an |in-patient bed in a |prison |health care centre. --------------------------------------------------------------- December 1991 |845 February 1992 |671 April 1992 |696 June 1992 |557 August 1992 |553 October 1992 |563 December 1992 |428 February 1993 |415 May 1993 |571 September 1993 |663 February 1994 |802 June 1994 |684 September 1994 |331
Table 3 |The number of |prisoners |considered by |prison doctors to |require some form |of mental health |care but not |removal/transfer to |psychiatric |hospital |or in-patient |treatment in a |prison |health care centre ------------------------------------------------------------ December 1991 |1,048 February 1992 |1,515 April 1992 |1,432 June 1992 |1,696 August 1992 |2,132 October 1992 |1,963 December 1992 |2,093 February 1993 |2,343 May 1993 |1,775 September 1993 |1,664 February 1994 |1,766 June 1994 |1,921 September 1994 |2,598
Table 4 Transfers of prisoners to hospital by direction of the Home Secretary under Sections 72 and 73 of the Mental Health Act 1959 and Sections 47 and 48 of the Mental Health Act 1983 |After |Before |sentence|sentence |S72/S47 |S73/S48 |Total --------------------------------------------- 1979 |70 |16 |86 1980 |87 |19 |106 1981 |86 |22 |108 1982 |85 |18 |103 1983 |91 |24 |115 1984 |108 |47 |155 1985 |100 |41 |141 1986 |107 |53 |160 1987 |127 |77 |204 1988 |121 |85 |206 1989 |131 |100 |231 1990 |156 |181 |337 1991 |193 |264 |457 1992 |230 |380 |610 1993 |290 |486 |776 1994<1> |234 |512 |746 <1> Provisional figures.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what are his latest estimates of the expenditure on all external consultants, including management consultants, for each year since 1987, in 1994 prices, for his Department and its agencies; and what are the quantified annual cost savings which such expenditure has resulted in.
Mr. Ian Taylor [holding answer 9 February 1995]: Disaggregated information on the basis requested is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the then Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Consumer Affairs on 13 March 1990, Official Report, column 173, which showed the fees paid by the Department of Trade and Industry for general consultancies in the years 1984 to 1989, and to the answer given by my hon. Friend the then Under-Secretary of State for Consumer Affairs on 1 May 1991, Official Report, columns 219-20, which gave the corresponding figures for 1989 90 and 1990 91. Since 1986 87, programme-related consultancy work has been funded from within programme budgets. The fees for general consultancy work for the years 1990 91 to 1993 94 are given in the following table:
Year |£000 -------------------- 1990-91 |3,139 1991-92 |3,490 1992-93 |3,171 1993-94 |4,774
Mr. Charles Wardle [holding answer 9 February 1995]: This is a management matter for BNFL. The commissioning programme for THORP is being implemented subject to the appropriate regulatory requirements.
Mr. Dafis: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his Department's response to the cancellation of two German reprocessing contracts for THORP; how the cancellation of these contracts will affect the projected profits from the plant; and if he will ensure that the Touche Ross report commissioned by BNFL is made public to allow verification of the projected profits from THORP.
Mr. Charles Wardle [holding answer 9 February 1995]: These are commercial matters for the company. The two German reprocessing contracts which were cancelled related to business for the second 10 years of THORP's operation. I understand from BNFL that they do not affect the baseload operations of THORP and hence its profitability during its first 10 years of operation. The projected profits from THORP were set out in the document published by the company entitled, "The economic and commercial justification for THORP", copies of which is available in the Library of the House.
what is the current operational status of THORP.
Mr. Dafis: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what research projects have been commissioned by Nirex on geology since 1990; and if he will state their cost, research departments and staff and their publication dates.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make it his policy to extend the powers of the electricity regulator to include the examination of directors' and chairmen's pay rises, pension contributions and share options.
Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what progress the Government are making in their review of procurement procedures following the Latham report on the construction industry's contractual arrangements.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: The multi-departmental scrutiny of Government construction procurement began on 28 November 1994, as announced in the news release of that date. Completion of the scrutiny is expected by early spring 1995. It is normal practice for efficiency scrutiny reports to be published.
Mr. Patten: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list those public bodies for which he retains departmental responsibility; which of these bodies have been identified as suitable for placing in the private sector; and by when it is expected each of these bodies will enter the private sector.
In addition to those listed, I retain departmental responsibility for the following:
Community health councils
Mental Health Act Commission
National Rivers Authority regional flood defence committee None of these bodies has been identified as being suitable for privatisation. Substantial property holdings of the Welsh Development Agency are being sold, and south Wales councils are currently selling Cardiff Wales airport.
Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proposals he has for introducing major programmes of insulation in Wales; and what assessment he has made of the impact of insulation on atmospheric pollution.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: The home energy efficiency scheme runs on a United Kingdom basis and is a major programme for home insulation for those in receipt of a state retirement pension and low incomes. I have made no assessment of the impact of insulation on atmospheric pollution. This is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 30 January, Official Report, column 538, if his consent was sought for the development agreement between Associated British Ports and the Cardiff Bay development corporation in March 1991; what assessment he has made of the contributions Associated British Ports would have made to the infrastructure costs of Cardiff Bay development
Column 432corporation if the previous arrangement of 11 May 1989 had remained in place; and whether the measurement of the appropriate level of development to be undertaken by Associated British Ports related exclusively to the level of private sector development attracted.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consultations he has had with the chairman of the Cardiff Bay development corporation about its contract with N. M. Rothschilds and Son Ltd.; between which dates Rothschilds was retained as financial consultants to Cardiff Bay development corporation; and if he will list its principal duties during this period.
Mr. Redwood: I understand the contract ceased in 1990. The issues raised are operational and the chief executive will write to the hon. Member. I have had no discussions with the chairman about Rothschilds.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on what date the Welsh Development Agency signed the joint venture agreement with Associated British Ports, South Glamorgan county council and the Vale of Glamorgan district council for the urban regeneration project of Number One Dock, Barry.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many accidents occurred between cyclists and pedestrians in Wales; and how many prosecutions took place for cycling on the footway, in each of the last five years.
|<1>Number of |accidents between |Number of persons |cyclists and |prosecuted for |pedestrians |riding on a footpath ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1989 |14 |26 1990 |10 |28 1991 |6 |8 1992 |5 |3 1993 |8 |4 Note: <1>An offence under Highway Act 1835 Section 72 and Byelaws. Source: Home Office.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of United Kingdom state pension expenditure is formed by state expenditure on old-age pensions for pensioners resident in Wales in (a) 1992 93 and (b) 1993 94; and if he will make a statement.
Percentage of UK retirement pension expenditure for pensioners residing in Wales Year |Per cent. ------------------------------ 1992-93 |5.27 1993-94 |5.26 Notes: 1. Sources: DSS pension scheme computer system data and expenditure information. 2. For the purposes of this reply "Retirement Pension expenditure" includes payable additional pension, graduated retirement benefit, increments, age addition and increases for dependants. 3. Information for 1993-94 is provisional.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many self-employed people (a) failed to qualify for a retirement pension and (b) qualified for only a reduced pension, due to an inadequate insurance record for each of the last 30 years.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the current contribution conditions for (a) unemployment benefit, (b) sickness benefit and (c) the retirement pension; and if he will list how these conditions have changed in the last 30 years.
(a) Unemployment Benefit
Prior to 1975 the contribution conditions for unemployment benefit were that--
(1) not less than 26 class 1 contributions had been paid by the claimant in respect of the period between his entry into insurance and the day for which benefit is claimed; and
(2) not less than 50 class 1 contributions had been paid by or credited to him in respect of the last complete contribution year before the beginning of the benefit year which includes the day for which benefit is claimed.
In 1975, with the changeover from flat rate to earnings-related national insurance contributions, the contribution conditions were amended to:
(1) in respect of any one tax year, the earnings factor derived from the person's payment of Class 1 contributions was at least 25 times the lower earnings limit for payment of National Insurance contributions in that year; and
(2) in the relevant past tax year which governs the claim, the earnings factor derived from class 1 contributions paid by or credited to the person was not less than 50 times the lower earnings limit for payment of national insurance contributions in that year.
Column 434The contribution conditions which have applied since 1988 are that--
(1) in respect of one of the two tax years relevant to the claim, the earnings factor derived from the person's payment of class 1 contributions is at least 25 times the lower earnings limit for payment of national insurance contributions in that year;
(2) in respect of both the tax years relevant to the claim, the earnings factor derived from class 1 contributions paid by or credited to the person is at least 50 times the lower earnings limit for payment of national insurance contributions in that year. (b) Sickness Benefit
Prior to 1988 the contribution conditions for sickness benefit were the same as those applying to unemployment benefit except at class 2--self- employed--contributions counted for benefit purposes. The contribution conditions which have applied since 1988 are that:
(1) in respect of any tax year, the earnings factor derived from payment of class 1 or 2 contributions is at least 25 times the lower earnings limit for payment of national insurance contributions in that year, and these contributions must be paid before the start of the claim: and
(2) in respect of both the tax years relevant to the claim, the earnings factor derived from class 1 contributions paid or credited or class 2 contributions paid is at least 50 times the lower earnings limit for payment of national insurance contributions in that year. With the abolition of industrial injury benefit from April 1983, the contribution conditions are deemed to be satisfied if the person's incapacity for work was due to an accident at work when an employed earner, or a prescribed industrial disease due to the nature of their work as an employed earner. Payment of benefit at reduced rates--Sickness and Unemployment Benefit
Prior to 1975 where a person did not fully satisfy the second contribution conditions, reduced rate benefit was payable if not less than 26 contributions of the appropriate class had been paid or credited in the relevant contribution year.
From 1975 where the earnings factor was 50 to 75 per cent. of the amount needed for the payment of standard rate benefit, half rate benefit was paid. Where the earnings factor was more than 75 per cent. but less than the full amount needed for the payment of standard rate benefit, three- quarter rate benefit was paid. Reduced rates of benefit ceased to apply in October 1986 but transitional provisions allowed payment of reduced rates to continue to October 1987 in certain cases.
(c) Retirement Pension
Prior to April 1975 the contribution conditions for standard rate retirement pension were that--
(1) not less than 156 flat rate contributions had been actually paid by the relevant person in respect of the period between that person's entry to insurance and the date on which he or she reached pensionable age, and
(2) the yearly average of flat rate contribution paid by or credited to that person was not less than 50. Where the yearly average was less than 50 but not less than 13 retirement pension was payable at a reduced rate.
The yearly average was calculated over the period from the beginning of the contribution year in which school leaving age was reached to the end of the last complete contribution year before that in which pensionable age was reached. This period was modified where the person concerned reached age 16 before 5 July 1948.
Column 435Since 1975 the contribution conditions for standard rate category A basic retirement pension have been--
(1) achievement of one qualifying year since 6 April 1975 derived from the actual payment of class 1, 2, or 3 national insurance contributions or payment of 50 flat rate contributions at any time before 6 April 1975
(2) achievement of qualifying years for approximately 90 per cent. of the years in the person's working life. A reduced rate of pension is payable where the number of qualifying years is less than but at least a quarter of the number required for standard rate pension.
A qualifying year is a tax year in which the earnings factor derived from national insurance contributions paid or credited is at least 52 times the lower earnings limit for that year. Between 6 April 1975 and 5 April 1978, the earnings factor needed for the year to be a qualifying year was 50 times the lower earnings limit for that year. Any national insurance contributions paid or credited before 6 April 1975 are converted into qualifying years by dividing the total number of contributions by 50 and rounding any fraction up to the next whole number.
A person's working life runs from the start of the tax year in which age 16 is reached until the tax year before the one in which pensionable age is reached. The working life can be modified where a person had reached age 16 before 5 July 1948.
The earnings factor is the amount of earnings on which class 1 national insurance contributions have been paid: class 2 and 3 national insurance contributions and class 1 and 3 contribution credits are treated as earnings at the weekly lower earnings limit for the relevant year.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what are the current contribution conditions of the state earnings-related scheme; and if he will list the changes in these conditions since the inception of the scheme.
Mr. Arbuthnot: Entitlement to state earnings-related pension arises where the earnings factor derived from national insurance contributions paid in respect of 1978 79 or any later tax year exceeds 52 times the lower earnings limit for payment of national insurance contributions in the final relevant year
Note 1 --the earnings factor is the amount of earnings on which class 1 national insurance contributions have been paid in a given tax year. Class 2 and 3 national insurance contributions are treated as earnings at the weekly lower earnings limit. Where the year in question is earlier than the final relevant year, the earnings factor is revalued in line with subsequent growth in national average earnings.
Note 2 --the final relevant year is the last complete tax year before that in which state pension age is reached or, if earlier, death occurs.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many divorced or separated women received (a) a full and (b) a partial retirement pension on the record of their previous partners for each of the last 30 years.