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DEFENCE

Land Mines

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list each of the supplier companies to his Department for (a) anti-personnel mines and (b) anti-tank/armoured vehicle mines since 1979; and if he will list the countries to which these companies have exported mines since 1979. [13527]

Mr. Arbuthnot: Available records indicate that the following companies/organisations have, since 1979, met orders from my Department for:


I understand that export licence records before 1991 are not readily available to the Department of Trade and Industry and could be researched only at disproportionate cost. An initial search by DTI of export licence records since 1991 has shown that anti-tank/armoured vehicle mine records are not immediately identifiable and I am advised that the research required to examine the records further could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost. It is clear from earlier research, however, that no mines considered to be anti-personnel mines at the time of export have been exported for over a decade. Records available in my own Department, which may not be definitive, indicate that mines considered at the time of export to fall into one or other of the two categories identified have been exported as follows:


    (a) Anti-personnel mines: by Thorn-EMI to Nigeria in 1981;


    (b) Anti-tank/armoured vehicle mines: by UK companies to two other countries in 1982 and 1991.

Detailed information on these cannot be provided, since its release would cause harm in terms of one or more of the defence, security, international relations and

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commercial confidence exemptions in the code of practice on access to Government information. These were the exemptions in the code referred to in my answer to the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Spring) on 23 July 1996, Official Report, column 212.

I am not in a position to provide information regarding exports by non-UK companies.

Copex Internal Security Exhibition

Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which company booked the Farnborough site for the Copex--contingency and operational procurement exhibition--internal security exhibition, between 30 September and 2 October; and if he will make a statement. [12562]

Mr. Arbuthnot: I understand that SBAC has entered into a contractual arrangement with British-American Promotions Ltd., and that the Copex exhibition will take place in September 1997.

Public Records (Disclosure)

Mr. Livingstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made in reviewing the files with Public Record Office class marks ES1/653 and ES1/654 with a view to opening them. [14387]

Mr. Arbuthnot: The review has been completed and the files are to be released to the Public Record Office.

Army Ranges (Dartmoor)

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the advertised usage of Willsworthy range in the Dartmoor national park for live firing in the year ended December 1996, expressed by number of days; and how many days' firing took place. [15354]

Mr. Soames: The advertised usage of Willsworthy range in the Dartmoor national park for live firing in the year ending December 1996 expressed by number of days was 194. The number of days when firing actually took place was 109.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the advertised usage of Merrivale range in the Dartmoor national park for live firing in the year ended 1996, expressed by number of days; and how many days' firing took place. [15352]

Mr. Soames: The advertised usage of Merrivale range in the Dartmoor national park for live firing in the year ending December 1996 expressed by number of days was 121. The number of days when firing actually took place was 61.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the advertised usage of Okehampton range in the Dartmoor national park for live firing in the year ended 1996, expressed by number of days; and how many days' firing took place. [15353]

Mr. Soames: The advertised usage of Okehampton range in the Dartmoor national park for live firing in the year ending December 1996 expressed by number of days was 72. The number of days when firing actually took place was 36.

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Royal Yacht

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what method it is proposed to ensure that the contract for the replacement royal yacht is placed with a ship building yard within the United Kingdom: [15248]

Mr. Arbuthnot: On security grounds, the future royal yacht can only be designed and built in a British shipyard. An invitation to tender for construction of the vessel will be advertised in the MOD contracts bulletin in the usual way.

Rugby League

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what to steps are being taken to facilitate the playing of rugby league football in the Royal Navy. [14253]

Mr. Soames: Those personnel who wish to play are offered encouragement and advice, and facilities are made available to them. Should enough people show an interest, consideration will be given to making rugby league an approved sport.

HEALTH

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps have been taken to evaluate the possible causes of the cluster of CJD and suspected CJD cases in Kent; and if he will make a statement. [15259]

Mr. Horam: The national Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease surveillance unit monitors the incidence of CJD throughout the United Kingdom, including the possibility of significant clusters of cases. Its analysis of the distribution of cases of CJD has never found any convincing evidence of clustering.

Elderly People (Winter Assistance)

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he has taken to help the elderly during the winter months in each of the last three years; and at what cost. [15388]

Mr. Burns: The Department is the major contributor to "Keep Warm Keep Well" campaigns. A breakdown of costs for the past three years is shown in the table. In previous years, the Department of Social Security--lately the Benefits Agency--has made contributions; the total expenditure column is inclusive of its contribution.

£000
Total expenditureDSS contribution
1995-96578125
1994-9556845
1993-9451060


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PRIME MINISTER

EU Works Council Directive

Ms Quin: To ask the Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the employment impact of the implementation by British companies of the EU works council directive agreed under the EU social chapter. [15020]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the speech I gave at the European Policy Forum in Brussels on the 4 February, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.

ENVIRONMENT

Refugees

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he has taken to assess the additional costs to local government of concentrations of refugees seeking or having been granted asylum. [14963]

Sir Paul Beresford: The Secretary of State for Health has established special grants to help local authorities meet the additional costs they face in respect of asylum-seeking families with children, and in respect of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. He laid before Parliament yesterday a special grant report to establish a new special grant for adult asylum seekers who are not accompanied by children. Local authority social services departments must provide detailed information on costs when submitting claims for any of these grants.

12 Feb 1997 : Column: 184

Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his statement of 3 February, Official Report, columns 681 and 689, concerning special grants to localities most in need of assistance due to concentrations of refugees, what discussions he has had, or intends to have, with representatives of the areas concerned. [14956]

Sir Paul Beresford: Ministers from my Department and the Department of Health as well as officials from the Department of Health have met local authority representatives on a number of occasions in recent months to discuss funding for local authorities who are supporting asylum seekers.

Green Belt

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the size of the green belt in (a) 1979, (b) 1983, (c) 1987, (d) 1992 and (e) at the current date. [14691]

Sir Paul Beresford: We do not keep records of the size of the green belt on an annual basis. Figures are available for England for 1979, 1989 and 1993. In 1979, there were 7,125 sq km of green belt land. This more than doubled in 1989 to 15,485 sq km and reached 15,557 sq km in 1993.


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