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Contagious Epididymitis

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will list the cases of contagious epididymitis in each year since 1985.

Mr. Ancram: There have been no cases of contagious epididymitis in Northern Ireland.

Earnings Statistics

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people currently earn (a) less than £1.50 an hour, (b) between £1.50 and £2.00 an hour, (c) between £2.00 and £2.50 an hour, (d) between £2.50 and £3.00 an hour, (e) between £3.00 and £3.50 an hour and (f) between £3.50 and £4.00 an hour.

Mr. Ancram: Information on hourly earnings in Northern Ireland is available only from the new earning survey and relates to the proportion of employees within each earnings band. The latest available figures are for April 1994 and are as follows:

Percentage of employees earning:               



Less than £1.50 per hour |0.1                  

£1.50-£2.00 per hour     |0.2                  

£2.00-£2.50 per hour     |1.1                  

£2.50-£3.00 per hour     |2.8                  

£3.00-£3.50 per hour     |5.9                  

£3.50-£4.00 per hour     |7.5                  


The information provided relates to gross      

average hourly earnings, including overtime of 

full-time employees on adult rates. It may be  

unreliable for some earnings bands due to the  

small number of respondents.                   


European Commissioners

Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the number of European Commissioners and the cost of their cabinets in (a) 1971, (b) 1981 and (c) 1991; and what is the estimated cost for 1995.

Mr. David Davis: There were nine members of the European Commission in 1971, 14 in 1981 and 17 in 1991. When Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the Union on 1 January this year, the number of Commissioners became 20. On the question of cost, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs gave him on 13 January, Official Report, column 213.


Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what was the absenteeism rate for the Natural Resources Institute in each year since 1991.

Mr. Baldry [pursuant to his reply 24 January 1995, c.103]: The chief executive of the Natural Resources Institute, Mr. Anthony Beattie, has now written providing details of staff sick leave. Letter from Anthony Beattie to Mr. David Chidgey, dated 10 February 1995:

Further to my letter of 24 January about absenteeism rates in the Natural Resources Institute, the figures you have asked for are as follows:



Days absence per staff year |6.49|6.56|6.28|6.20     

The figures include all sickness absences whether certificated or uncertificated. There is no separate definition of absenteeism for which records are maintained. A year is taken to be 365 days and sickness absences spanning weekends and public holidays are included in the calculation.

I should also explain that a different set of data exists which is collated by the Civil Service Occupational Health Service but which is available only for the calendar years 1992 and 1993. These data exclude weekends and public holidays from the reckoning and are calculated on the basis of a year consisting of 225 working days. On this basis, NRI's record was:



Working days absence per 225 working days |5.45|4.82     


Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he is giving to the report on famine in Iraq sent to him by Mr. Riad-el-Taher about his recent visit to Baghdad.

Mr. Baldry: I refer the hon. Gentleman to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's reply to his identical question today.

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Cochlear Implants

Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) at which hospitals in Scotland cochlear implants are available for young children;

(2) what restrictions apply to Crosshouse hospital carrying out further cochlear implants in the rest of the current financial year; (3) when he expects to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie of 20 December relating to operations for cochlear implants;

(4) how many staff in Crosshouse hospital are skilled in conducting cochlear implants;

(5) if he will make a statement about the consequences for young deaf children of delaying cochlear implant operations;

(6) if he will make more funds available for cochlear implants in Scotland during the current financial year;

(7) how many children are on the waiting list for cochlear implants in Scotland;

(8) how many children have had cochlear implant operations postponed because of financial restrictions at Crosshouse hospital this year;

(9) how many cochlear implant operations have been carried out at Crosshouse hospital in each month of the current financial year; and how many operations are projected for the remaining months of this financial year;

(10) what proposals he has to increase the budget for cochlear implants at Crosshouse hospital in the next financial year; and what assessment he has made of the correlation between increases in funding and the number of operations performed.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: Paediatric cochlear implantation is at present centrally funded as a national specialist service and is provided at Crosshouse hospital, Kilmarnock which is part of the North Ayrshire and Arran NHS trust. Funding in 1994 95 has enabled five paediatric operations to be carried out. The service is provided by a multi-disciplinary team led by a consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon.

There are currently five children on the waiting list for cochlear implantation. No child on the waiting list has been given a date for operation in the current financial year which has subsequently been postponed. The waiting list is prioritised according to who needs treatment most urgently. A recent Medical Research Council evaluation study has indicated that, in general terms, cochlear implantation has favourable outcomes up to the age of seven years.

Provision of cochlear implantation services in Scotland is currently under review and future funding requirements will be identified following consideration of the MRC evaluation of cochlear implantation and the paediatric cochlear implantation needs assessment. Both are to be published shortly.

The following operations have been carried out in the current financial year. No further operations are expected to take place in the remainder of the year.

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April     |1    |1          

May       |-    |1          

June      |2    |-          

July      |1    |1          

August    |1    |-          

September |-    |-          

October   |1    |1          

November  |-    |-          

December  |-    |1          

January   |<1>1 |-          


Total     |7    |5          

<1> One operation has been  

charged to the "Help to     

Hear" Fund                  

A reply to the hon. Member's letter of 20 December was issued on 26 January.

Scottish Homes

Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the expenditure proposed for 1994 95 and 1995 96 by Scottish Homes in the categories (a) headquarters administration in Edinburgh, (b) publicity and publications, (c) regional office costs, (d) seed corn funding for housing associations set up to purchase Scottish Homes housing stock, (e) other funds for housing associations set up to purchase Scottish Homes housing stock and (f) other expenditure not directly for the interest and repayment of loans for house building or the maintenance of housing stock.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton: The information requested is a matter for Scottish Homes. I have asked its chairman, Sir James Mellon, to write to the hon. Member.

Special Advisers

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the severance payments made to special advisers in each of the last five years indicating (a) the amount and (b) the date.

Mr. Lang: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Treasury on 6 February 1995, Official Report, column 69.


Dr. Godman: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much money has been spent on the adult and parental health education programme in relation to cigarette smoking over each of the past two years; and how much money will be spent in 1995 96 and 1996 97.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 9 February 1995]: Health education on smoking at national level in Scotland is undertaken by the Health Education Board for Scotland. Of total expenditure by the board of £1.47 million on anti-smoking activity in 1993 94, £969,000 was spent on action focusing on parents and other adults. The corresponding figures for 1994 95 will amount to some £770,000 and £520,000 respectively. The board's operational plan for the years 1995 96 and 1996 97 will shortly be finalised and will maintain a continuing focus on smoking among adults. Smoking issues are also addressed in other work undertaken by the board, for example in relation to coronary heart disease.

Column 451


Child Witnesses

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what measures are being taken to expedite cases involving child witnesses; and if he will outline any initiatives to ensure that delay is minimised.

Mr. John M. Taylor: In relation to criminal proceedings, section 53 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 allows for cases of a serious violent or sexual nature, where a child might be called as a witness, to be transferred directly to the Crown court, thereby minimising the delays in waiting for a case to come to trial. The replacement of all committal proceedings with transfer procedures, which is due to take place later this year, will ensure that this applies to all cases. Furthermore, the introduction of a national scheme of plea and directions hearings, which should be completed by the end of this year, will provide for closer judicial case management. Child liaison officers, whose responsibilities include ensuring, as far as possible, that delays in cases involving child witnesses are kept to a minimum, are now in place in all Crown court centres. In addition, fast tracking schemes, which set local time limits for each stage of the prosecution process, have now been established in a number of Crown court centres.

In relation to family proceedings, Dame Margaret Booth DBE had been commissioned by this Department to identify the causes of delay, and to suggest improvements to procedures to eradicate avoidable delay.

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what measures are being taken to ensure members of the judiciary are trained in conduct towards child witnesses in cases of alleged abuse.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The Judicial Studies Board is responsible for training the judiciary. The evidence of child witnesses is covered in courses for both Crown court judges and those who hear cases under the Children Act.

Legal Aid

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what powers he has in respect of restricting the legal aid in respect of an individual case; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor: Neither the Lord Chancellor nor I may intervene in individual cases. Under the provisions of the Legal Aid Act 1988, responsibility for the grant of civil legal aid in individual cases, rests with the Legal Aid Board. Responsibility for the grant of criminal legal aid in individual cases rests with the relevant court.

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) what is the current total cost of legal aid support to the Maxwell brothers; and how much he estimates the total bill is likely to be at the conclusion of the court consideration of the case;

(2) if he will list all those who have received payment from legal aid funds for their activity in respect of the Maxwell brothers' case; how much in total each of them has been paid to date; if he will list their hourly fee, where appropriate; if he will summarise the nature of the activity they have undertaken; and if he will estimate what their likely total bill will be at the conclusion of the court case.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The total amount of criminal legal aid paid to date to lawyers acting for all six

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defendants in R. v. Kevin Maxwell and Others is £4,028,008 inclusive of VAT. This amount includes final costs in the magistrates courts of--£829,377--as well as payments on account, as of 9 November 1994, in the Crown court of £3,198,631. All payments include VAT and disbursements, such as expert witness and accountancy fees, and other expenses necessarily incurred. I do not consider it would be appropriate while the case is continuing to give a further breakdown of those figures, nor do I consider it appropriate to speculate as to what the final costs might be.


Train Operating Companies

Mr. Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice he has received on whether train operating companies should have the status of public benefit bodies for the purposes of European legislation; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Watts: The term "public benefit body" is not recognised.

Through Ticketing

Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which train stations currently provide through-ticketing facilities within (a) Hampshire and (b) South West Trains.

Mr. Watts: Only those stations linked to the computer seat reservation system and equipped with APTIS machines have the capability of issuing a full range of through tickets. these stations are as follows:

(a) Hampshire


Southampton Central


Portsmouth and Southsea

Portsmouth Harbour


Southampton Airport Parkway




Farnborough Main


Ryde Esplanade

(b) South West Stations







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Portsmouth and Southsea






Southampton Central


Clapham Junction



Portsmouth Harbour

Southampton Airport (Parkway)








Network SouthEast

Mr. Keith Hill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the Franchising Director will publish proposals for passenger service requirements for the franchise of the south central division of Network SouthEast; and what will be the consultation procedures.

Mr. Watts: It is currently the Franchising Director's intention to publish his proposals for the passenger service requirement for network south central this summer. He will be undertaking a formal consultation on his proposals with affected local authorities at both county and district level and also with the relevant rail users consultative committee in accordance with paragraph 9 of the objectives instructions and guidance issued to the Franchising Director by the Secretary of State for Transport on 22 March 1994.

Traffic Congestion, London

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to investigate the proportion of traffic congestion in London which could be reduced by (a) improved co-ordination of road works, and (b) better supervision of construction sites, (c) more effective traffic signal operation and maintenance, (d) faster reaction to breakdowns and (e) other measures.

Mr. Norris: In 1993, the Transport Research Laboratory investigated the causes of traffic hold-ups in London using the "congestion file" maintained by the Metropolitan police. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of its report, "The frequency and importance of incidents which cause congestion in urban areas", TRL contractor report 342.


Mr.Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) heavy goods vehicles, (b) HGV trailers and (c) buses and coaches were licensed to operate on public roads in each year since 1991 92.

Mr. Norris: The following information is based on the number of vehicles licensed in United Kingdom in each class, as of the 30 September each year:

Column 454

                                        |Year   |Number         


Heavy goods vehicles                    |1994   |410,623        

(over 3,500 kgs gross weight)           |1993   |403,215        

                                        |1992   |407,150        

                                        |1991   |416,673        


Trailer HGVs                            |1994   |6,623          

(HGVs pulling a drawbar trailer where a                         

trailer supplement is payable)          |1993   |6,316          

                                        |1992   |6,188          

                                        |1991   |6,110          


Buses and Coaches (more than 16 seats)  |1994   |67,181         

                                        |1993   |65,349         

                                        |1992   |65,252         

                                        |1991   |63,783         

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