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8 Feb 1996 : Column WA27

Written Answers

Thursday, 8th February 1996.

World Conference on Women, Beijing: Countries Entering Reservations

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which countries entered reservations to the final report of the International Conference on Women in Beijing; and whether they will list the subject of each reservation.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The following countries made general and interpretative statements or expressed reservations on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action:

Peru, Kuwait, Egypt, Philippines, Holy See, Malaysia, Iran, Libya, Ecuador, Indonesia, Mauritania, Oman, Malta, Argentina, Brunei, Darussalam, France, Yemen, Sudan, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Bahrain, Lebanon, Tunisia, Mali, Benin, Guatemala, India, Algeria, Iraq, Vanuatu, Ethiopia, Morocco, Djibouti, Qatar, Nicaragua, Togo, Liberia, Syrian Arab Republic, Pakistan, Nigeria, Comoros, Bolivia, Colombia, Bangladesh, Honduras, Jordan, Ghana, Central African Republic, Cambodia, Maldives, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Brazil, Panama, El Salvador, Madagascar, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Gabon, United States of America and Canada. The observer for Palestine also made a statement.

Details of the statements and reservations appear in Chapter V (pages 157-176) of the UN Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women (A/CONF.177/20 dated 17 October 1995), copies of which have been deposited in the Library of the House.


Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress is being made towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The prospect of EU accession negotiations provides both Cypriot communities with new opportunities to make progress. We will continue to exploit these opportunities in 1996 to press for an early resumption of direct talks to pursue a settlement based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

MED-TV: Alleged Jamming of Broadcasts

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have about the alleged jamming of licensed broadcasts by MED-TV from London on 14 December 1995, 10 days before polling day in the recent Turkish general election; and whether

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    they have made representations about this apparent interference with legitimate international communications.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We understand that reception for MED-TV programmes was unusually poor on the day in question. We are aware of reports that this was due to interference. We have no plans to make representations.

MED-TV: British Satellite News

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Foreign and Commonwealth Office gave instructions in October 1995 for ending the supply of British Satellite News (produced by World-wide Television News) to MED-TV; and why the weekly compilation cassette is still being withheld.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office see no reason to make the British Satellite News facility available to MED-TV at public expense.


Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made in the international technical-level negotiations on the control of the deployment of landmines.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Technical experts met in Geneva from 15-19 January in order to re-examine the questions on which agreement was not possible at the UN Weaponry Convention Review Conference in September/October 1995. Good progress was made on the core technical issues of specifications for self-destruction/self-deactivation mechanisms and detectability.

The third session of the Review Conference will take place in Geneva from 22 April-3 May. We shall work to conclude an agreement there which should deliver a real reduction in the dangers to civilians from the indiscriminate use of landmines.


Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer given by the Baroness Chalker of Wallasey on 25 January (H.L. Deb., cols. 1124-6), what sort of European legislative instrument is responsible for the current ban in the United Kingdom on the use of Emtryl; whether this was considered by the Council of Ministers; and, if so, what was the result of the Council's deliberations.

Lord Lucas: Council Regulation (EEC) 2377/90 requires the setting of maximum residue limits (MRLs) for the active ingredients of all veterinary medicinal

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products used in food producing species. Following a review of dimetridazole, the active ingredient of Emtryl, the European Commission proposed that it be included in Annex IV of the Regulation (in effect, banned). Following consideration by the appropriate Regulatory Committee, in accordance with Article 8 of Regulation 2377/90, the proposal was put to the Council of Agriculture Ministers. In the absence of a simple majority against the proposal within three months of its submission, the Commission was able to proceed. Commission Regulation 1798/95, placing dimetridazole in Annex IV of the Council Regulation, was therefore published on 25 July 1995 and came into effect 60 days later.

Sheep Scab Control: Research

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the latest development of the research programme on the control of sheep scab and the use of organophosphorus dips.

Lord Lucas: The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has just approved two research projects to investigate alternatives to chemicals such as organophosphorus (OP) dips for the control of sheep scab. These will run for three years and cost about

£1.2 million. They will form a significant addition to the existing research programme and will be directed to developing and testing new approaches to the identification of possible sheep scab vaccines and identifying the most effective methods of application. Additionally the research will develop models to maximise the impact of future control strategies.

Statutory Redundancy Payments from National Insurance Fund

Lord Monkswell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For each year from 1975 to 1995, what was the cost to the national insurance fund of the failure of companies to meet their obligations to their employees in respect of statutory redundancy payments; how many companies were involved; and how many employees were affected.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): The total cost to the national insurance fund of statutory redundancy payments made to employees under section 106 of the Employment Protection (Consolidation) Act 1978 is set out in the following table. The figures include payments to former employees of insolvent businesses. Information on the number of companies and employees involved is not available.

Year£ million

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Mother and Baby Units in Prisons

Baroness Mallalieu asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which prisons have mother and baby units; how many places are available in each unit; up to what age babies are allowed to stay with their mothers in these units; and how many women are currently in mother and baby units and for what offences they were sentenced.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Baroness Mallalieu from the Director of Security and Programmes, the Prison Service, Mr. A. J. Pearson, dated 8 February 1996.

Lady Blatch has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question asking which prisons have mother and baby units; how many places are available in each unit; up to what age babies are allowed to stay with their mothers in these units; and how many women are currently in mother and baby units and for what offences they were sentenced.

There are now four mother and baby units in the female prison estate: Holloway, New Hall, Askham Grange and Styal. Holloway has places for 17 mothers with their babies, Styal has places for 22, Askham Grange can take a maximum of 20 mothers with their babies and New Hall has places for 9. In New Hall and Holloway, babies may remain with their mothers up until the age of 9 months. In the other two female establishments, young children may be allowed to stay with their mother up to the age of 18 months. The differing periods have been set in the light of advice from the Department of Health, which monitors regularly the treatment of children within these units.

On 31 January 1996, 58 women had their babies with them in the four mother and baby units. The offences for which the mothers were sentenced are shown in the attached table.

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Offence typeNumber of mothers
Violence against the person6
Theft and handling6
Fraud and forgery1
Drug offences25
Other offences(1)9
Offences not recorded1

(1) Include blackmail, death by dangerous driving, interfering with witnesses, illegal immigrant, handling stolen goods and deception.

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