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Mr. Loughton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the limit recommended by the Government for the amount of savings exposed to risk-inherent equities by poorer savers. [21344]

Mr. Geoffrey Robinson [holding answer 17 December 1997]: There is no such Government recommended limit. Investors should make their own decisions drawing on regulated investment advice if they wish, and using information disclosed by product providers.


Prison Officers

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what minimum educational qualifications are required of new recruits for training as prison officers in (a) the Prison Service and (b) each of the contractually managed prisons operated by the private sector; and if he will make a statement. [21572]

Ms Quin: Since 2 September 1997, the minimum educational requirement for prison officer entry to the Prison Service is a minimum of five subjects in GCSE, grades A*-C, including English, Mathematics, or their equivalent.

For each of the four companies running prisons under contracts let or extended prior to 2 September 1997, the requirement is as follows:

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However, invitations to tender issued by the Prison Service after 2 September 1997 for prison contracts, or extensions of existing contracts (including Blakenhurst) after that date, require the same minimum educational qualifications for prisoner custody officers as have been introduced for prison officers.

Street Lighting

Dr. Marek: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence he has evaluated on the role of street lighting in deterring criminal activity. [22815]

Mr. Michael: The Home Office Crime Prevention Unit published two papers on street lighting in 1991. The first reported the results of an independent evaluation of a major street lighting programme in the London Borough of Wandsworth, which concluded there was little impact on crime. The second reviewed a number of evaluations of street lighting initiatives and concluded that there was little scope to reduce crime by improving street lighting generally. However, it did report that improved street lighting could help in local "blackspots" where lighting was particularly poor and when it was part of a package of measures. A recent report by Dr. Kate Painter, University of Cambridge, concludes that improved street lighting reduced crime on a high crime estate in Dudley, West Midlands. The Home Office is currently examining this report and will also review existing evidence and published research on the subject.

Immigration Service

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 8 December 1997, Official Report, column 433, if he will list (a) the locations in which staff of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate are based in the United Kingdom other than Croydon and (b) the number of staff based in each such location. [22079]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The information requested is as follows:

East Midlands20
Feltham Green75
London (excluding Croydon)348
North Shields11
Stockton on Tees9

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Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made by the Government of Gibraltar to deal with illicit trafficking. [23453]

Mr. Doug Henderson: We and the Government of Gibraltar have taken decisive action to stop drugs and tobacco smuggling using Gibraltar-based boats. Effective regulatory mechanisms, including new bodies, have been established.

The Government of Gibraltar have also introduced tough legislation to UK and EC standards on an all crimes basis to deal with money laundering. This has transformed Gibraltar's international reputation in this context. EC Commissioner Gradin, for example, said in the European Parliament last year that there are no grounds for suspecting Gibraltar of tolerating money laundering.


Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many exceptions to the arms embargo on Argentina have been granted since 2 May. [23144]

Mr. Tony Lloyd: We have recently granted two exceptions to the embargo, one in respect of the sale of a single sporting rifle to a private individual in Argentina, another in respect of the sale of eight deactivated weapons to an Argentine collector. These represent exceptions but not changes to the embargo.

Hong Kong

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the United Kingdom will apply the EU arms embargo against China to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. [23019]

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Mr. Fatchett: Following the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong to China on 1 July 1997, we have conducted a detailed review of the applicability to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the European Union arms embargo against China. In view of the HKSAR's autonomy from mainland China in customs, trade and economic matters and its well-established strategic trade control system, we have concluded that its access to a broad range of strategic commodities from the UK for civil end-use should be preserved. The DTI will therefore issue a new Open General Export Licence and Open General Transhipment Licence to allow the continued export and transhipment of dual-use goods to the HKSAR for civil end-use.

As for the export of strategic goods for military end-use, we have concluded that, in order to fulfil our obligations under the EU embargo, goods which we would not approve for export to the Chinese armed forces in mainland China should not be permitted for export for military end-use in the HKSAR. Goods for military end-use will therefore be subject to individual licensing requirements.

These changes will take effect on 23 January.


Environment Act 1995

Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when his Department's review of the operation of the Environment Act 1995 will be completed. [22752]

Angela Eagle: My Department is not carrying out a review of the operation of the Environment Act 1995 as a whole. However, I refer the hon. Member to the replies given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment on 17 December 1997 to my hon. Friend the Member for Normanton (Mr. O'Brien), Official Report, columns 193-94, and on 22 December 1997 to my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mrs. Ellman), Official Report, column 439. The former announced the objectives and timing of a review of the Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997, which were made under sections 93-95 of the Environment Act 1995. The latter announced the outcome of the Government's review of the proposed statutory regime for contaminated land under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which was inserted by section 57 of the Environment Act 1995. The Government also announced in July last year that they intended to review by the end of 1998 the National Air Quality Strategy set in place under section 80 of the Environment Act 1995.

Energy Saving Trust

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the outcome of the meeting held on Monday 22 December to review the decision to reduce the funding of the Energy Saving Trust from £19 million to £14 million next year. [22594]

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Mr. Meacher: The meeting to which the hon. Member refers was internal to my Department. I shall be making a statement shortly about the Energy Saving Trust's grant support for 1998-99. The previous Government's planned public expenditure total provided for grant support of £13.5 million for the Trust in 1998, compared to £25 million in 1996-97 and £19 million in 1997-98.

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