Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 116: debated on Friday 15 May 1987

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers To Questions

Friday 15 May 1987

Overseas Development

Loans And Grants

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement as to whether Her Majesty's Government have put forward initiatives to extend their policy of transferring loans to poorer countries into grants.

For several years Britain has had a generous policy of converting past aid loans into grants. Twenty-one of the poorest developing countries are benefiting from our retrospective terms adjustment policy at a total cost to the aid programme of nearly £1 billion. We are urging other donors to provide similar aid debt relief as part of the debt relief measures for the poorest and most indebted sub-Saharan African countries proposed by the Chancellor at the Interim Committee of the International Monetary Fund in April.

Prime Minister

State Security

asked the Prime Minister when she intends to reply to the letter dated 6 May from the right hon. Member for Swansea, West about her failure to notify the House that an inquiry into the security services was taking place.

Achievements

asked the Prime Minister if she will list her Government's achievements in (a) Yorkshire and Humberside, (b) Barnsley metropolitan district council area and (c) Barnsley, West and Penistone constituency since 1979 for each year to 1987; and if she will list by Government Departments the principal aid given to each area for each year since 1979.

Private Security Services

asked the Prime Minister how much has been paid by her office for services provided by private security companies in each of the past five years.

Nearly all security work for which my office pays is handled by other Government Departments. It is not possible to identify without disproportionate cost those items of work which have been carried out by private security companies on their behalf.

Heating And Lighting

asked the Prime Minister if she will give details of the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties which she occupied; and if she will give details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

Electricity, gas and other fuel supplies are not separately metered for heating and lighting. Energy efficiency measures have concentrated on encouraging staff to abide by simple but effective no-cost measures that help reduce energy wastage.

Civil Service

Public Bodies (Heating And Lighting)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what information he has as to the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties occupied by each of the public bodies for which he has responsibility; and if he will list details of the amount spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

This information is not held in my department and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will give details of the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties for which he is directly responsible; and if he will give details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

Fuel and utilities are not separately metered for heating and lighting. Expenditure on energy efficiency measures is not readily available.

Cancer Screening (Government Departments)

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what is Government policy in relation to the establishment of cancer screening facilities for female employees in Government Departments; and if he will make a statement.

I regret that it has not been possible to provide an answer before Dissolution; therefore, I shall write to the hon. Member and place a copy of the letter in the Library.

Attorney-General

Webber V Webber (Lord Chancellor's Correspondence)

asked the Attorney-General if the Lord Chancellor will place in the Library copies of his correspondence with Mr. Justice Pickford on the case of Webber v Webber in the Blackwood county court; and if he will make a statement.

The Lord Chancellor has not corresponded with His Honour Judge Pitchford on this case. There is no such person as Judge Pickford.

Public Bodies (Heating And Lighting)

asked the Attorney-General what information he has as to the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties occupied by each of the public bodies for which he and the Lord Chancellor, respectively, have responsibility; and if he will list details of the amount spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

asked the Attorney-General if he will give details of the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properities for which he and the Lord Chancellor, respectively, are directly responsible; and if he will give details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General is not responsible for any properties in the excercise of his functions.Expenditure incurred during 1986–87 upon heating fuel, gas and electricity for properties in the Lord Chancellor's Department was £3,250,952. This does not include properties where the cost of heating and lighting is included in the rent, for which information is not available. Details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures are not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate costs.

Transport

Drinking And Driving

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all the initiatives taken by his Department since 1979 to reduce the incidence of drinking and driving; and if he will make a statement.

We have implemented, under the Transport Act 1981, new provisions to improve the effectiveness of the law on drinking and driving by providing for the introduction of evidential breath testing; closing various loopholes which allowed suspects to avoid prosecution on legal technicalities; and extending police powers to require a roadside breath test to those who have been driving or have been in charge of a vehicle. The measures came into force in May 1983.At the same time we introduced a new procedure to identify offenders suffering from a possible drinking problem. Under this drivers disqualified twice within 10 years at an alcohol level at least 2½ times above the legal limit cannot obtain a further driving licence until they have satisfied the Secretary of State that any drinking problem has been successfully treated.We have initiated a new, more sustained, approach to drinking and driving publicity with the aim of making people aware of the dangers throughout the year. In addition to annual campaigns over the Christmas and New Year period, last year saw the first ever spring-summer publicity focus. Drinking and driving is now given overriding priority within our publicity programme throughout the year.Last year we produced a leaflet "The Facts about Drinking and Driving". Over ¾ million copies have been distributed. A free road safety hot line (0800–234888) was also set up to provide help and advice on road safety matters, including drinking and driving. Over 6,000 calls have been handled on drinking and driving.We have developed an education package for teenagers entitled "One for the Road". The Brewers' Society has supported the package by producing three films on alcohol and driving. There has been widespread dissemination of the package through courses for teachers and road safety officers.Research is backing up all these initiatives. Accident figures show that since 1979 there as been a generally downward trend in the incidence of drinking and driving. There is also evidence of a greater awareness of the drinking and driving problem, and a hardening of attitudes against the drinking driver.Much more needs to be done. We must continue to try and change people's attitudes. We are getting good support from outside bodies.

Ferries (Passenger Lists)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has yet reached any conclusions about the desirability of introducing legislation to require shipowners to maintain passenger lists for ferries; and if he will make a statement.

This is a difficult problem, and I am considering it very carefully. But I do not want to rush to a conclusion.

Motorways (Overtaking Lanes)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to encourage motorway users to adhere to rule 165 of the Highway Code about not travelling continuously in the fast overtaking lanes.

Yes. The Department takes every opportunity to remind motorists that they should use the outer lanes of motorways for overtaking only. Since June 1985 some 32 million leaflets on lane discipline have been issued with vehicle excise duty reminders. Experimental "Keep Left" signs have been installed on the M1. Their impact is being monitored.

A38 (Signposts)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will take steps to ensure the signposting of Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Dartmouth on existing signposts from the A38 on both east and westbound carriageways;(2) if he will take steps to ensure that South Hams be signposted on the A38 at the foot of Haldon/Telegraph Hill on the approach to the split of the A38 and A380 to Torquay, before the start of the tourist season;(3) if he will take steps to ensure that white on brown tourist signposts 'highlighting the existence of South Hams are erected on the A38 westbound carriageway;(4) if he will take steps to ensure the signposting of Kingsbridge, Salcombe and Dartmouth on existing signposts from the A38 on the westbound carriageway only;

(5) if he will take steps to ensure that Kingsbridge, Salcombe and the east of Ivybridge are signposted from the A38 at the Wrangaton junction, before the start of the tourism season;

(6) if he will take steps to ensure that Salcombe and Dartmouth arc signposted from the A38 at the Buckfastleigh junction, before the start of the tourist season.

We are having discussions with Devon county council about the signposting on the A38 of destinations in South Hams.We hope to have amended signs in place before the peak holiday season. Kingsbridge is already signposted.South Hams, which is a district, will not be signposted.

London Residuary Body (Vat)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will detail the outstanding amounts of value added tax payable by his Department for work carried out by the London Residuary Body.

About £3,500 is outstanding in respect of work done by LRB on certain ex-GLC road schemes. The liability for VAT on residuary body work in respect of urban traffic control systems is currently under discussion with HM Customs and Excise.

Driving Licence Abuse

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Leicester, East of 6 April, Official Report, column 40, he has received any further representations relating to alleged driving licence abuse.

Severn Crossing

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what is the currently proposed route of the second Severn crossing; and if he will make a statement.

We announced last July that the second Severn crossing will be sited at the English Stones about three miles downstream of the existing crossing, with connedtons to the M4 on both banks and with an additional southerly link to the M5.The general alignments of the approach routes and likely motorway interchange locations were shown on a map attached to the July 1986 announcement, and also in the Consultant's Report, which was placed in the Commons Library. Considerable detailed work will have to be done before these can he located or described with more precision.

Public Bodies (Heating And Lighting)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties occupied by each of the public bodies for which he has responsibilitiy; and if he will list details of the amount spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

asked the Sectetary of State for Transport if he will give details of the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties for which he is directly responsible; and if he will give details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

Total spending on heating and lighting in 1986–87 in my Department's buildings was £2,944,000.This represents a reduction of almost 4 per cent. on the previous year, in part achieved with the help of energy efficiency measures costing some £15,000.

Pilotage

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give reasons for the omission of any reference to the Harbours Act in paragraph 2 of the White Paper on the pilotage system.

The White Paper referred to the main legislation currently governing marine pilotage. No Harbours Act falls within that category.

Buses

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what has been the effect of bus deregulation within the city of Leicester.

Bus deregulation was introduced smoothly in Leicester with previous service levels being broadly maintained. There are signs of healthy competition between the main operators and minibuses are now operating successfully in the City.

London Taxi Fares

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will make a statement about London taxi fares.

The Secretary of State has made an Order increasing London taxi fares by about 5·5 per cent. on average with effect from Sunday 21 June 1987. The new tariff will incorporate a minimum fare of 80p (including an unchanged hire charge of 40p) for the first 924 yards or 3 minutes 18 seconds. The rate will then be 20p for every 462 yards or 1 minute 39 seconds up to 6 miles and 20p for each 308 yards or 66 seconds thereafter. The surcharge for hirings made on Boxing Day has been increased to £2·00 in line with the surcharge applicable on Christmas Day and new year's eve.

Motorways (Lane Closures)

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will establish an inquiry into the numbers and positioning of cones on the M1 and M6 motorways; what steps are taken to ensure that the use of cones is kept to a minimum; what assessment he has made of the cost to commerce of delays caused by motorway lanes being coned off; and if he will make a statement.

Safety Fences

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to change the specification for welded angled beams for safety fences and the requirements for the routine inspection and maintenance of safety fences.

Yes. The current specification for the manufacture of welded angled beams, issued in 1985, is being replaced with one for formed beams that do not require welding. This change will avoid the problems that have occurred with some existing welded beams. The new specification will apply initially to contracts for new work and maintenance. The need for more extensive replacement of existing welded beams will be assessed when detailed investigations of these beams, currently in progress, are complete. The Department will shortly be inviting comments on a revised specification for welded beams, which may be adopted in future in addition to that for formed beams.The Department's code of practice for routine maintenance has been amended to increase the frequency of inspections to safety fences. The copy of the code in the Library has been amended accordingly. Some planned inspections are also being brought forward.

Size of holdingsNumber of holdingsPer cent. of totalNumber of shares in (millions)Per cent. of total
(i)1–399525,69824·51041·7
(ii)400–799965,50945·14437·4
(iii)800–1,599629,43229·45058·4
(iv) 1,600–1,000,000 and more21,0081·04,94882·5
Totals2,141,6471006,000100
Category (iv) includes the Government shareholding of 2,988 million shares, or 49·8 per cent, of total shares.
As my previous answer made clear, this is properly a matter for British Telecom. Its 1986 annual report gives the most recent available figures on categories of shareholdings. A copy of this is available in the Library of the House.

Idb (Winding-Up)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he intends to apply in the courts for a winding-up petition in the case of IDB.

IDB's licence under the Prevention of Fraud (Investments) Act 1958 to deal in securities was revoked on 1 May. My right hon. Friend will exercise the other powers available to him if he considers the circumstances make it right to do so.

Public Bodies (Heating And Lighting)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give details of the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties for which he is directly responsible; and if he will give details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

The information is not readily available in the form requested and cannot be obtained except at disproportionate cost.

Trade And Industry

Regional Deprivation

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the new proposed index of regional deprivation prepared for the European Communities.

The European Commission is expected shortly to complete its third periodic report on the social and economic situation and development of the regions of the Community. I understand that this will include a table of values of a synthetic index purporting to measure the intensity of regional problems in each region of the Community.The publication of the Commission's report will be a matter for the Commission itself.

British Telecom (Share Flotation)

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will update his answer of 20 January 1986, Official Report, column 16, regarding British Telecom shareholders showing also the position following flotation.

The position directly following the flotation in 1984 was as follows;

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what information he has as to the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties occupied by each of public bodies for which he has responsibility; and if he will list details of the amount spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

Regional Aid

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will provide figures for the amounts spent, by region, and in Scotland and Wales, on regional selective assistance in 1986–87; and if he will give estimates for 1987–88.

Provisional figures for payments of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) in 1986–87 are as follows:

Area£ million
North East18·3
North West19·3
Yorkshire and Humberside9·8
East Midlands2·3
West Midlands9·7
South West5·2

Area

£ million

Scotland35·4
Wales26·6
Great Britain Total126·6

Provision for expenditure on RSA in 1987–88, as set out in the Supply Estimates, is as follows:

£ million

England89·3
Scotland46·8
Wales36·1
172·2

Notes:

(1) RSA has been interpreted as industrial and training grants.

(2) All figures are gross, before deducting recoveries and EC receipts.

(3) Estimates for future RSA expenditure are produced only for England as a whole and are not broken down by region.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Central America

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will give an assurance that the future presence of British troops stationed in Belize will not be affected by the talks between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Belize and the Government of Guatemala.

As I informed the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) on 5 May, the British garrison will remain in Belize for an appropriate period.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at the request of which Government the talks between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Belize and the Government of Guatemala are to take place.

The Governments of Belize and Guatemala had both publicly made clear their willingness to hold talks in advance of the recent meeting on 29 April 1987 about which I answered a question from the hon. Member for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley (Mr. Foulkes) on 5 May at column 324. British officials attended as observers.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the purpose and agenda of the negotiations between Her Majesty's Government, the Government of Belize and the Government of Guatemala.

The purpose of the talks was to seek a negotiated settlement of the differences between the Governments of Belize and Guatemala. British officials attended as observers.

Private Security Services

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much has been paid by his Department for services provided by private security companies in each of the past five years.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office employs private security companies in the United Kingdom and a number of its posts overseas. Detailed information is not kept in a centralised form and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

Diego Garcia

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Mauritius concerning the future of the people of Diego Garcia; and if he will make a statement.

None. The Government of Mauritius, assisted by the operations of a trust fund to which the Government contributed £4 million in 1982, is responsible for future arrangements relating to the workers from the abandoned plantations on Diego Garcia, and has been active, inter alia, in providing land for housing.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of the United States concerning the use of Diego Garcia by their forces; and if he will make a statement.

None. However, Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials consult periodically with their United States counterparts as required by paragraph 1(3) of the 1976 Exchange of Notes (Cmnd. 6413).

Asylum Seekers (Kurds)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have been held with representatives of the Government of Syria concerning the treatment of Kurdish people who seek asylum from Iraq.

Public Bodies (Heating And Lighting)

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has as to the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties occupied by each of the public bodies for which he has responsibility; and if he will list details of the amount spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

The information requested by my hon. Friend is not readily available and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give details of the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties for which he is directly responsible; and if he will give details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

The cost of providing heating, lighting and power for non-specialised use in the properties for which my right hon. and learned Friend is directly responsible in the United Kingdom was £1,014,000.Energy efficiency measures have been carried out by the PSA as part of their responsibility for maintenance and minor new works in these buildings.Two part-time energy managers have been appointed at no additional cost.

The information requested by my hon. Friend in respect of the properties for which my right hon. and learned Friend is directly responsible overseas is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Ugandan Asians

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current position regarding outstanding compensation claims for those Ugandan Asians living in Leicester who are currently in dispute with the Government of Uganda.

We have raised this matter repeatedly with the Ugandan authorities at the highest level, most recently when my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Member for Wallasey (Mrs. Chalker) visited Uganda in December 1986. We understand that in March this year a new chairman was appointed to the Ugandan verification committee, set up under the Expropriated Properties Act in 1982 to examine claims. This post had been vacant since 1985. We are continuing to urge the Ugandan authorities to resolve these matters as soon as possible.

Energy

Public Bodies (Heating And Lighting)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has as to the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties occupied by each of the public bodies for which he has responsibility; and if he will list details of the amount spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

This information is not held by my Department but I have asked Chairmen of the appropriate public bodies to write to the hon. Gentleman.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give details of the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties for which he is directly responsible; and if he will give details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

My Department does not have direct responsibility for the heating in our main building, where we are tenants. Total expenditure on heating and lighting for my Department's main building during 1986–87 was £112,192 and my Department's share of fuel bills for buildings where it is a minority occupant was £35,649. Over the same period my Department spent some £13,000 on a major draughtproofing programme and other energy efficiency measures in its main building and achieved a 7 per cent. saving in electricity consumption.

Electricity (Temple And Bolventor)

asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he has reached a decision on the requisitions for electricity supply to Temple and Bolventor on Bodmin moor; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has now considered all aspects of the South Western electricity board's appeals against the two requisitions but, before making the orders to determine them, he has given the board and the requisitioners an opportunity to comment on the way in which he is minded to do so.

The Arts

Nitrate Project 200 Campaign

asked the Minister for the Arts if he will make a grant to the Nitrate Project 200 Campaign to increase the speed at which film prints on nitrate stock can be saved.

I already fund the National Film Archive through the British Film Institute. The preservation of film stock in private ownership is not a matter for me.

Defence

Advertisements

asked the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions his Department sponsored advertisements in national newspapers in the last three years; which newspapers were chosen for these campaigns; which local newspapers were used in these campaigns; and which newspaper publishing groups received payment for advertising space.

This information is not readily available and would entail disproportionate time and effort to produce.

Northern Ireland (Army Discipline)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when the hon. Member for Rugby and Kenilworth might receive a reply to his letter dated 10 April about the way in which disciplinary matters are pursued in the Army in Northern Ireland.

Nimrod Mr2 Aircraft

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the nuclear role of the Nimrod MR2 aircraft in Royal Air Force service.

As stated in paragraph 404 of the "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1986" (Cmnd. 9763-I) RAF Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft can deliver US depth bombs against submarines.

Raf Finningley (Exercise)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the contingencies which the exercise at Royal Air Force Finningley on 24 to 25 March was designed to meet; whether the exercise was part of a nationwide series of exercises; whether the exercise involved members of the home service force; what steps were taken to inform local residents in advance of the exercise; and if he will list the local authority representatives informed in advance.

RAF stations routinely test their operational capability by means of exercises such as that held at Finningley on 24–25 March. In accordance with normal practice, advance notice of this exercise was given to the local police and the residents in the immediate vicinity of the station. Only RAF personnel took part in the exercise.

Raf Aircrew

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what proposals he has to offer signing on payments or bounties to Royal Air Force aircrew at the end of their engagement to remain in the Royal Air Force.

None; however RAF terms and conditions of service are kept under review.

Foxhunter Radar Project

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has as to how many personnel have been transferred to Marconi plc from GEC Avionics to work on the Foxhunter radar project; and if it still has the same project management.

These are matters for the company but I understand that there have been important changes at senior management level in relation to this project.

Private Security Companies

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been paid by his Department for services provided by private security companies in each of the past five years.

The information requested cannot be provided without disproportionate time and effort.

"British Defence Policy"

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the cost of producing the 1987 edition of the booklet, "British Defence Policy;" when they were printed; what was the print-run for 1987 and 1986; what was the cost for each year; and how many copies of the edition prior to 1987 remain undistributed.

The cost of producing the 1987 edition of the booklet, "British Defence Policy," is £72,766 including VAT but excluding staff costs and the costs of distribution. 85,000 are being printed, of which 5,000 were delivered from the printer on 5 May, 20,000 on 14 May, and the remainder will be delivered by the end of May. On the same basis of costing, the 1986 edition cost £54,082 and had a print-run of 35,000 of which at 5 May 1987 there were about 150 undistributed. There was also an outstanding demand for over 35,000.

Public Bodies (Heating And Lighting)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has as to the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties occupied by each of the public bodies for which he has responsibility; and if he will list details of the amount spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

The answer can not be provided without disproportionate cost and effort.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties for which he is directly responsible; and if he will give details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

Northern Ireland (Service Men)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance is given to commanding officers concerning the type of duties which 18-year-old service men are expected to carry out in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

Members of the Armed Forces who are aged 18 are considered to be adult service personnel and are expected to carry out all duties while serving in Northern Ireland.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the minimum age for those serving in Her Majesty's forces to be sent to Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

The minimum age for members of the Armed Forces serving in Northern Ireland is 17½. Service men aged less than 18 years are not expected to carry out duties of an operational nature.

Neutron Warheads (Exercises)

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if there are any plans for British forces to participate in exercises in which neutron warheads are involved; and if he will make a statement;(2) if British forces have at any time participated in exercises involving neutron warheads; and if he will make a statement.

National Finance

Corporation Tax

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report his estimate of the increase in the yield of corporation tax in a full financial year from abolishing relief in respect of past losses; and if he will provide a break-down by sector.

Use of accumulated tax losses is estimated to have reduced CT receipts by some £1–2 billion in 1986–87, excluding the public sector. A breakdown by sector could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report his estimate of the increase in the yield of corporation tax in a full financial year from disallowing interest on borrowed money as a cost; and if he will provide a breakdown by sector.

The yield would depend upon the precise nature of the proposal: for example, whether the interest receipts of lending institutions remained taxable, and whether the proposals extended to the public sector, building societies and unincorporated businessess. The proposal would induce significant behavioural changes on the part of lenders and borrowers which would also affect the yield.Estimates of company interest payments, consolidated by sector, are available in the 1986 edition of United Kingdom National Accounts.

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report his estimate of the increase in revenue from corporation tax in a full financial year from abolishing capital and depreciation allowances; and if he will provide a breakdown by sector.

Estimates of the reduction in 1986–87 corporation tax liabilities resulting from the existence of capital allowances were published in the Public Expenditure White Paper (Cm 56-II).A breakdown by sector beyond those given in the White Paper is not readily available.

Departmental Contracts

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the contracts, with the subject of the assignment, awarded to management consultancy or accounting firms by the Treasury, Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue in 1986, with the name of the consultants concerned.

the information requested for the Treasury was given in response to the question of the hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Smith) on 18 February 1987 at column 675.The management consultancy contracts awarded by the Inland Revenue in 1986 were:

  • (i) The development of manpower planning techniques—Institute of Manpower Studies;
  • (ii) the development of personnel planning techniques—Institute of Manpower Studies;
  • (iii) development of financial costing and modelling systems—Peat, Marwick, McLintock.
  • The Department continued to receive assistance during 1986 from Peat, Marwick, McLintock on the development of financial management techniques and on clerical work measurement in tax offices.

    In addition, the Department also used consultancy services in a wide range of areas, including information technology, operational research and public and staff relations, which, while not falling within the general classification of management consultancy, have some similarity to it.

    Customs and Excise do not maintain central records of such contracts. An exhaustive check would involve disproportionate time and effort, but the following have been identified:

  • (i) advice on a systems testing strategy—BIS Applied Systems;
  • (ii) a study of computer terminal strategy—Peat, Marwick, McLintock;
  • (iii) a study of communications network strategy—Peat, Marwick, McLintock;
  • (iv) a study in the VAT area of data capture and measures of achievement—Arthur Andersen & Co;
  • (v) a study on the potential use of certain commercial accounting packages—Peat, Marwick, McLintock.
  • Capital Taxes

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the percentage increase in real terms of the threshold for exemption from capital gains tax since 1978–79; and if he will list the annual cost of changes to the exemption made since 1978–79.

    In real terms, the percentage increase between April 1978 and April 1987 is 219 per cent. The cost of each change to the exemption since 1978–79 can be found in the relevant "Financial Statement and Budget Report". The 1980–81 cost includes the effect of other changes whose cost cannot be distinguished.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list concessions made on capital gains tax and capital transfer tax since 1978–79; and what is his latest estimate of their cost.

    The yield of inheritance tax on capital transfers in 1987–88 is estimated to be about £350 million lower than if the 1978–79 capital transfer tax regime, with the threshold and rate band limits indexed in line with movements in retail prices, had remained in force. On the same basis, the yield of capital gains tax on gains realised by individuals and trusts in 1987–88 is estimated to be about £1,100 million lower than with the indexed 1978–79 regime. These estimates make no allowance for possible changes in the basis for these taxes which might result from changes in the structure and rates of tax.Details of the changes to these taxes will be found in the annual Finance Acts.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the annual cost of indexation relief on capital gains tax.

    About £600 million at the level of capital gains expected to be realised by individuals and trusts during 1987–88.

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest estimate of the annual cost of the abolition of capital transfer tax on lifetime gifts.

    The latest estimate is that published in the "Financial Statement and Budget Report 1986–87" (page 51, paragraph 40(a)).

    Pensions

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement identifying those pensions received as a result of industrial injury or work-related illness which are subject to tax relief.

    I refer the right hon. Member to the Inland Revenue press release entitled "Inland Revenue Extra-Statutory Concessions" which was issued on 8 August 1986. A copy is available in the House of Commons library. The annex entitled "Pensions to disabled employees" sets out the circumstances in which pensions received by persons disabled at work are no taxed.

    Personal Wealth Distribution

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update his answer to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East of 20 May 1985, Official Report, columns 339–40, on the distribution of personal wealth.

    Provisional estimates for 1983 and 1984 and revised estimates for 1980, 1981 and 1982 will be found in table 4·8 of "Inland Revenue Statistics 1986", a copy of which is in the Library.

    Public Bodies (Heating And Lighting)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what information he has as to the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties occupied by each of the public bodies for which he has responsibility; and if he will list details of the amount spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period;(2) if he will give details of the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties for which he is directly responsible; and if he will give details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

    The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

    Civil Servants (Leicester)

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total number of civil servants working within the city of Leicester; if he will break this figure down into departments giving the figures for 1979, 1983 and 1987; and if he will make a statement.

    I regret that it has not bee possible to provide an answer before Dissolution; therefore, I shall write to my hon. Friend and place a copy of the letter in the Library.

    European Commission

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the European Commission's latest cash position and the implications for the United Kingdom.

    The European Commission estimates that its spending obligations this month will again exceed available revenues under the budget for 1987.The Commission have therefore requested member states to advance from June into May the payment of own resources other than VAT in accordance with Article 10(2) of Council Regulation 2891/77: a similar advance was made last month. The Government are satisfied that this request is within the vires of Article 10(2) and accordingly will make an advance payment on 20 May of £146 million from the Consolidated Fund under section 2(3) of the European Communities Act, 1972. The payment of levies and duties on 22 June will be reduced by the amount of the advance.The Commission have also informed us that it has to overdraw its accounts with member states in May in accordance with Article 12(2) of Council Regulation 2891/77. The amount involved for the United Kingdom is expected to be of the order of £285 million. The Government are meeting this obligation from the Consolidated Fund in accordance with section 2(3) of the European Communities Act, 1972. Repayment of drawings made under this facility will be made by deduction from our June own resources payments.

    Neither of these facilities involve increasing the total amounts which the Community is authorised to spend during 1987. There is therefore no net addition to public expenditure.

    Eurotunnel

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will report on the outcome of the recent meeting of the European Investment Bank's board of' directors with respect to a possible European Investment Bank loan to Eurotunnel.

    The EIB's Board of Directors agreed on Tuesday 12 May to lend Eurotunnel the equivalent of £1 billion or 10 billion French francs for the Channel tunnel. The text of the EIB's press notice, issued on Wednesday 13 May, is as follows:At its meeting yesterday, the Board of Directors of the European Investment Bank agreed to lend Eurotunnel the equivalent of a total £1 billion-FF 10 billion (approximately 1·4 billion ECUs) for the Channel tunnel. This decision has been taken in the light of the EIB's independent review of the technical, economic. and financial viability of the project. The EIB regards the Channel tunnel as a project of exceptional importance to the development of the Community's transport network, and a stimulus to the European economy.EIB funding will be made available, through co-financing arrangements, in association with a syndicate of international banks led by National Westminster, Credit Lyonnais, Banque Nationale de Paris, Midland and Banque Indosuez. The EIB's loans will be secured by guarantees provided by the participating banks until the successful completion of the project and thereafter by a charge on the project assets and revenues. No Government funds or guarantees are involved.The EIB loans will primarily be at fixed interest rates and for a range of maturities of up to 25 years. They will be phased over the project's six-year construction period (1988–1993). The terms will reflect prevailing market conditions.The conclusion of contractual arrangements for the loans between the EIB and Eurotunnel will be subject to passage of the necessary legislation, the finalisation of arrangements with the railways, and successful completion of bank syndication and the forthcoming equity issues.

    Unearned Income

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the annual saving to the Exchequer from unearned income paid abroad if the tax credit was raised from 27 per cent. to 35 per cent.

    [pursuant to his reply, 30 April 1987, c. 232]: A system involving a rate of tax credit and ACT 8 percentage points above the basic rate of income tax and the small companies rate of CT would be administratively complex and could lead to a substantial loss to the Exchequer generally as well as in the specific case of unearned income paid abroad.

    Wales

    Maintained Schools

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what has been the annual expenditure, in 1987 prices, from 1975–76 to date on repair, maintenance and improvement work on maintained schools in Wales; what is his Department's estimate of the expenditure needed to bring the condition of maintained schools in Wales to a fully reconditioned and repaired state, complying with up-to-date building standards, not including the reconditioning of those schools for which there is no intention to recondition or repair, but where the proper course is demolition or otherwise disposal, or the expected depreciation of school buildings in the current financial year; what is his Department's estimate of the annual expenditure to prevent the condition of maintained schools in Wales from deteriorating, excluding those schools for which there is no intention to recondition or repair, but where the proper course is demolition or otherwise disposal; and what is the capital value of maintained school buildings in Wales.

    Expenditure on repair, maintenance and improvement work on maintained schools in Wales since 1975–76 revalued to 1986–87 prices, is given in the table:

    £'000
    1975–7622,387
    1976–7721,106
    1977–7821,765
    1978–7924,738
    1979–8023,698
    1980–8123,756
    1981–8222,376
    1982–8322,899
    1983–8426,212
    1984–8523,043
    1985–8623,128

    Notes:

    Before 1981–82 expenditure on maintenance of school buildings was included with expenditure on the maintenance of school grounds. The figures have been adjusted to exclude assumed expenditure on maintenance of school grounds.

    In addition certan expenditure on repairs, maintenance and improvement may be met from capital allocations but this is not separately identifiable.

    Responsibility for al such work on maintaned schools lies with the Local Education Authorities and the other detailed information requested is not held centrally.

    Environmentally Sensitive Areas

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales whether any areas in Wales are intended to be designated as environmentally sensitive areas during the next year.

    Yes. It is our intention to extend the existing Cambrian Mountains environmentally sensitive area and to designate the Lleyn Peninsula. Details of the schemes have yet to be finalised but interested organisations in both areas will be consulted before the schemes are introduced.

    Schools (Languages)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many state schools in Wales teach, as a compulsory subject, Latin or Greek.

    Nhs (Staff)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff have been employed by the National Health Service in Wales for each year since 1979, expressed as whole-time equivalents as well as actual full-time and part-time numbers in the following categories: (a) nurses and midwives, (b) ancilliaries, (c) administrative and clerical and (d) professional and technical.

    The required information, which relates to 30 September each year, is given in the tables:

    Numbers of Staff
    Full-timePart-timeWhole-time equivalents
    (a) Nursing and Midwifery Staff—NHS Wales including WHCSA
    1197916,27511,22823,031
    198016,90211,79224,366
    198117,94611,78525,362
    198218,39011,95625,909
    198318,58311,74525,981
    198419,00511,75126,448
    198519,48611,96527,014
    198619,55312,12327,187
    (b) Ancillary Staff—NHS Wales including WHCSA
    19797,6027,30711,879
    19807,5937,60611,989
    19817,3817,72811,839
    19827,2407,95411,784
    19837,0457,89711,559
    19846,4987,80610,964
    19856,2128,00910,757
    19865,7977,84710,210
    (c) Administrative and Clerical Staff—NHS Wales including WHCSA
    19795,2591,5846,221
    19805,3761,6316,279
    19815,4091,6766,390
    19825,4371,7556,437
    19835,4811,7796,481
    19845,5451,8796,626
    19855,5892,0676,787
    19865,6002,2446,924
    (d) Professional and Technical Staff—NHS Wales including WHCSA
    19793,1979633,621
    19803,3701,0053,737
    19813,4481,0593,849
    19823,6151,0794,018
    19833,7861,0784,161
    19843,9041,1044,466
    19854,0701,1524,649
    19864,1231,2744,771
    1 In 1979, standard contract hours for this staff group were 40 hours per week; this was reduced to 37·5 hours for 1980 and subsequent years.

    Public Bodies (Heating And Lighting)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what information he has as to the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties occupied by each of the public bodies for which he has responsibility; and if he will list details of the amount spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

    This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give details of the total expenditure during 1986–87 incurred upon the heating and lighting of properties for which he is directly responsible; and if he will give details of the amounts spent on energy efficiency measures in these properties during the same period.

    During 1986–87 the Welsh Office spent £487,000 on heating and lighting. Energy conservation is primarily the responsibility of the Property Services Agency and my Department does not hold information about expenditure on energy efficiency schemes.

    National Museum Of Wales

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what information he has as to (a) the receipts raised by the national museum of Wales from the recent exhibition of masterpieces of that museum in Japan, (b) the net sum made available from that amount for museum purposes after deducting expenses and internal costs, (c) the museum purposes to which that net sum was devoted and (d) the sum made available therefrom for equipment for the museum's conservation studios.

    Receipts were £200,000 gross and £190,000 net after taking account of direct expenses only. In accordance with current practice for the national museums and galleries, receipts are applied to meet general expenditure and are not earmarked for specific projects.

    Enterprise Zone, Delyn

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give the total amount of public resources invested in the Delyn enterprise zone since its designation.

    Since designation, it is estimated that, overall, some £10 million has been invested in the development of the Delyn enterprise zone by the Welsh Office, Welsh Development Agency and Delyn borough council. In addition support from the European Regional Development Fund has totalled £1 million.

    Roads (Delyn)

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the number and cost of the trunk road construction projects in the Delyn constituency (a) completed since 1983, and (b) planned for the next five years.

    Information for major (ie over £1 million) schemes is as follows:

    Completed since 1983OpenedEstimated cost
    £ million
    A55 Holywell By-pass (Stage 2)October 198620·2
    PlannedEstimated startEstimated cost
    £ million
    A55 Northop By-passBefore December 198711·3
    A55 Travellers' Inn ImprovementJanuary 1988–December 19903·8
    A494 Mold By-passJanuary 1988–December 19907·5

    Hospitals

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give the total cost of (a) the building of Mold community hospital, (b) the conversion of Chatsworth House hospital, Prestatyn, and (c) the improvements to the out-patients department and wards of Holywell cottage hospital.

    The cost information requested is as follows:

    £
    Mold Community Hospital1,907,000
    Chatsworth House Hospital Conversion248,000
    Holywell Cottage Hospital Out-patients Department118,500

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what plans there are to carry out improvements to Flint cottage hospital.

    I understand that the Clwyd Health Authority has plans to carry out improvements to Flint cottage hospital as part of their continuing programme for the implementation of the District's community health care strategy.

    Welsh National Health Service Estate

    asked the Secretary of State for Wales what has been the annual expenditure, in 1987 prices, from 1975–76 to date on repair, maintenance and improvement work on the Welsh National Health Service estate: what is his Department's estimate of the expenditure needed. to bring the condition of the Welsh National Health Service estate to a fully reconditioned and repaired state, complying with up-to-date building standards, not including the reconditioning of parts of the estate for which there is no intention to recondition or repair, but where the proper course is demolition or disposal, or the expected depreciation of the estate in this financial year; what is his Department's estimate of the annual expenditure to prevent the Welsh National Health Service estate's condition from deteriorating, excluding those parts of the estate for which there is no intention to recondition or repair, but where the proper cource is demolition or otherwise disposal; and what is the capital value of National Health Service buildings in Wales.

    [pursuant to his reply, 13 May 1987]: Information is not collected on a routine basis either on the cost of bringing the NHS estate in Wales up to the condition described in the question or on the annual expenditure required to prevent deterioration. However, an exercise carried out in 1984 indicated that it would cost £99 million to bring the whole estate up to a standard where it was sound, operationally safe and exhibiting only minor deterioration. The capital value of the estate in Wales was given to the hon. Gentleman on 4 February 1987.The revenue expenditure on maintenance of NHS estate in Wales is shown in the table:

    Revenue Expenditure on the NHS Estate in Wales: 1987 Constant Prices
    £000
    Financial YearBuilding Maintenance ExpenditureEngineering Maintenance ExpenditureTotal: Building and Engineering Maintenance Expenditure
    1975–769,62621,38131,006
    1976–779,31113,59522,906
    1977–7810,93115,36826,299
    1978–7910,92316,90727,830
    1979–8010,77316,92127,695
    1980–8110,49516,05426,549
    1981–8211,91918,15530,074
    1982–8318,50414,02132,525
    1983–8413,47918,60832,087
    1984–8512,80518,41031,215
    1985–8612,94818,39631,344

    Source: Summary of NHS Annual Accounts.

    Environment

    Homelessness

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many households have been accepted as homeless, by each local authority, for each year from 1979 to 1986.

    I have today placed in the Library, tables giving the numbers of households for whom local authorities in England reported accepting responsibility for securing accommodation during each year from 1981 to 1986. Information for the years 1979 and 1980 is available in "Local Housing Statistics" issues No. 54 (table 14), 59 (table 9) and 62 (table 13), copies of which are in the Library. A new reporting system was introduced for non-metropolitan districts in the fourth quarter of 1980 and for metropolitan districts and the London boroughs in the third quarter of 1982, so that the figures are not directly comparable over the whole period.

    London Docklands

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of houses and flats built on London Docklands Development Corporation owned land between January 1986 and December 1986 were sold for (a) over £40,000 and (b) over £100,000.

    Houses and flats sold on LDDC-owned sites between 1 April and 31 December 1986 can be subdivided as follows:

    Per cent.
    Houses over £40,00085
    of which:
    Homes over £100,0004
    Similar information for the first quarter of 1986 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

    Council House Sales (Leicester)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many council houses have been sold within the city of Leicester since the Government's right-to-buy legislation; and if he will make a statement.

    Reported sales of dwellings by Leicester city council appear in the following issues of "Local Housing Statistics" which are available in the Library.

    Financial YearsIssue Number
    1980–8162
    1981–8263
    1982–8367
    1983–8475
    1984–85 and 1985–8679
    Leicester city council has reported selling 461 dwellings in the first three quarters of 1986–87, of which 460 were under the right-to-buy scheme implemented in the Housing Act 1980.

    Leicester

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the total amount of funds given in each year since 1979 through the inner area programme to the city of Leicester; and if he will make a statement.

    The information is as follows:

    Leicester: Urban Programme Resources Allocated for the Year Specified
    Year£ million
    1979–802·78
    1980–813·38
    1981–824·16
    1982–835·77
    1983–846·50
    1984–855·70
    1985–865·83
    1986–875·43
    1987–8815·43
    1 Provisional allocation.

    Brookwood Lye Action Group

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has yet received the information he needs to complete his consideration of the Brookwood Lye Action Group's request for reimbursement of the costs incurred by it at the abortive first public inquiry relating to land at Brookwood Lye, Woking.

    A letter was sent to the action group on 13 May setting out the proposed basis of reimbursement. Substantiation of the action group's costs will be needed but we hope that the matter can now be settled quickly.

    Lddc (Leyes Road, Custom House)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment for what purposes a compulsory purchase notice has been made by the London Docklands Development Corporation for allotment plots adjacent to Leyes Road, Custom House, currently held by members of the West Ham allotment association; what number of plots is required for each permanent and temporary purpose, respectively; and what alternative plans were investigated that would not involve permanent or temporary use of these plots.

    The London Docklands Developments Corporation (Connaught Crossing, Newham) Compulsory Purchase Order, made on 21 April 1987, is to enable the contruction of a road link between the Royal Albert and Royal Victoria docks. Nineteen plots of the allotment site adjacent to Leyes road, Customs House, are affected by the order, of which 13 are occupied. Four of the plots, of which one is occupied, would be permanently lost. Fifteen slightly smaller plots would remain in beneficial use.The corporation considered and rejected earlier designs for the road scheme which would have taken more of the allotment land than is now proposed.

    Inner Area Programme (Newham)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish his decision concerning the application of the London borough of Newham of December 1986 in respect of the inner area programme for the financial year 1987–88.

    Sites Of Special Scientific Interest

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of sites of special scientific interest in each grade of agricultural land.

    This information is not readily available and could not be obtained except at disproportionate cost.

    Canford Heath, Dorset

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state the nature of the special interest by reason of which the Nature Conservancy Council has designated Canford Heath, Dorset, as a site of special scientific interest; if Canford Heath has been identified for designation as a special protection area under EC directive 79/409 on the conservation of wild birds; and if he will state his policy towards the protection of sites of special scientific interest and special protection areas, against operations likely to damage the special interest of such sites.

    The Canford heath site of special scientific interest supports communities of plants and animals typical of Dorset heathland, including a number of rare and protected species. I understand the Nature Conservancy Council intends to recommend the Poole basin, of which Canford heath forms a part, as a special protection area under directive 79/409/EEC.Sites of special scientific interest notified under the terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (which include special protection areas) are statutorily protected under the terms of that Act. The Nature Conservancy Council must be consulted in connection with development proposals in such sites to ensure that the conservation interests can be fully taken into account when decisions are reached.

    Hms Cambridge

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the circumstances which led to the erection of a wire fence around HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth.

    Some three years ago MOD (Navy) asked PSA to erect fencing on the legal boundaries to HMS Cambridge to improve security. This proposal was later shelved at the instigation of MOD (Navy). The circumstances which led to the request for the fencing is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how high is the fence which has been erected around HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth; how many yards of barbed wire have been used for the fence; and what is the cost of the fence to the taxpayer.

    Some 80 posts, 2·4 high, have been erected over a distance of 260 m at a cost of approximately £8,000. Work was halted before any fencing or barbed wire was erected.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why a wire fence was erected around HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth, before a decision was made on planning consent by the South Hams district council.

    At the time the original request was received, copies of plans for consultation with the local planning authority were proposed but were not submitted because the project was shelved. Following the installation of sensitive equipment by MOD (Navy), PSA was recently asked to reactivate the project. Work was put in hand in the mistaken belief that approvals had been obtained when the proposal was mooted earlier. I can only express regret for this omission, which arose out of the "stop-go" history of the proposal and changes in personnel in the interim.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to halt all further erection of fencing at HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth, until the final determination of the planning consent by the South Hams district council.

    As soon as it was discovered that the planning authority had not in fact been given an opportunity to comment, work was halted. The section of incomplete fence has now been made the subject of a formal planning submission in accordance with established procedures.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to divert a well-established footpath along the heritage coastline resulting from the newly erected fence around HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth; what procedures have been followed; and if he will ensure that the footpath will riot be truncated.

    Steps to divert footpaths at MOD establishments are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultation he had with (a) the local parish council, (b) the district council, (c) the county council and (d) the National Trust before the erection of a wire fence at HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth.

    No formal consultation took place before the posts were erected but MOD (Navy) gave a detailed presentation on its proposals to members of the local parish council in December 1986.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why Mr. O. W. Richards of the Property Services Agency in Plymouth stated to Wembury parish council in a letter of 8 May that he would not attend a public meeting on 20 May at Wembury to discuss the question of fencing around HMS Cambridge until a parliamentary question had been tabled and answered; and if he will make a statement.

    Mr. O. W. Richards, an assistant estate surveyor in PSA's Plymouth office, knew that inquiries had been made of a Minister in connection with the proposed fence around HMS Cambridge and mistakenly believed that these related to a parliamentary question. In accordance with normal convention, he was obliged to decline to comment publicly on the matter until the Minister's reply was made known.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations the authorities from HMS Cambridge had with his Department prior to the erection of a wire fence around the base.

    As indicated in my earlier response, a fence has not been erected around HMS Cambridge but work was started on a section of security fencing. During the period April 1985 to April 1986, five meetings were held between PSA and the authorities from HMS Cambridge at which the subject of this fencing was discussed.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, with reference to the erection of a wire fence around HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth, what consultation HMS Cambridge had with his Department about the diversion of the public footpath; and what reference was made to the fact that the area is one of outstanding natural beauty, of great landscape value and on the heritage coastline.

    As indicated in my earlier response, any proposals for diversion of footpaths at MOD establishments are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence. If such proposals were mooted they would be dealt with under either the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 or the Land Powers (Defence) Act 1958 which contain full provision for public representation and, if necessary, a local inquiry.

    Low Paid (Rates)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what decisions he has reached on the minimum percentage contribution to be made by those on low incomes to (a) rates and (b) the proposed poll tax.

    My noble Friend Lord Glenarthur has made it clear, in another place, that we remain committed to the principle of everyone making a minimum contribution to the cost of local services and that we intend to take into account the impact of this on the most vulnerable groups when setting income support levels this autumn. We hope to make an announcement shortly.

    Housing Starts (Bradford)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the number of (a) public and (b) private housing starts and completions in Bradford in each year from 1979 to 1986.

    The following numbers of dwelling starts and completions during 1986 in Bradford have been reported:

    StartsCompletions
    Local authority1378
    Housing associations83302
    Public sector96380
    Private sector763917
    All8591,297
    The reported figures of housebuilding in earlier years appear in the following issues of "Local Housing Statistics" which are available in the Library:

    YearIssue number
    197959
    1980–8373
    198477
    198578

    Repair Grants (Bolton)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what applications have been received from Bolton council since 1983 for funds for repair grants for (a) council housing and (b) private homes; how many homes have been repaired in each category as a result; and if he will make a statement.

    My right hon. Friend is not aware of such applications. It is for individual local authorities to decide how to distribute the total resources made available to them in their housing investment programme allocations. I understand that Bolton MBC has reported to the Department payment of 437 repairs grants between 1983 and 1986, of which one was to a council tenant.

    Wood Treatment

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in the light of recent water pollution incidents involving the leakage of toxic chemicals for the pre-treatment of wood, he will take steps to strengthen the regulations covering the location, design and operation of premises such as timber treatment plants.

    The Department is considering the introduction of regulations covering the precautions to be taken in order to prevent harmful material from polluting water. Discussions are due to take place with water authorities on the scope of these regulations and consultations with interested parties will then follow.The Department is also commissioning a special investigation of pollution problems arising from timber treatment plants.

    Parking Fines

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment where the records are kept in respect of date and location of parking fines incurred by ministerial vehicles.

    The record of parking fines incurred by Government car service vehicles is kept by the Government car service.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment which Ministers were involved in the parking fines listed for 1986.

    This information is not readily available. Indeed, it does not necessarily follow that the cars were in ministerial use when the fines were incurred. For example, the fines for parking offences incurred by the DOE were all attributable to DOE officials attending official engagements.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether individual Government Departments maintain a record of fines incurred by ministerial vehicles attached to that Department.

    Records of parking fines incurred by GCS vehicles used by Government Departments are maintained by the GCS and notified to Departments where necessary.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the fine paid, the date and the location of the parking offences incurred by the ministerial vehicles from his Department in 1986.

    The information is as follows:

    Fine £
    5 February 1986Moreton Street SW110
    20 March 1986Horseferry Road SW110
    10 June 1986St. James Street SW112
    1 August 1986Causton Street SW14
    31 October 1986Emeryhill Street SW112

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment by what means parking fines incurred by ministerial vehicles are (a) processed and (b) paid by his Department.

    The parking ticket is passed to the GCS briefing office by the driver incurring the fine. The offence is recorded against the Government Department using the vehicle. Once it is established that the fine has been incurred as a direct result of having to undertake official duty, payment is made out of departmental funds.

    Residuary Bodies (Land)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his reply of 12 May, he will detail the reasons advanced by each residuary body making successful application for consent for disposal of land or buildings for less than the best price offered.

    Approval, of the disposal, of the land at Caryl street, Liverpool, and at Humbold street, Bradford, were given in order to complete negotiations in progress when the metropolitan county councils were abolished. Approval of the disposal of the Greater Manchester museum of science and industry was given to enable the freehold to be transferred to the Museum trust.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what justifications were advanced by the London Residuary Body for applications made to his Department for the acquisition of land as listed in his reply to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West on 12 May 1987.

    A summary of the London Residuary Body's reasons in each case follows:

    Land applicationReasons for acquisition
    Sub-underlease of part of first floor of 20 Albert Embankment SE1To provide accommodation for staff of the London and South East Regional Planning Conference.
    551b High Road, N17To safeguard a right of access and to improve the marketability of an adjacent Residuary Body property.
    Land at the rear of the Western Arms Public House, W10To enable work to be completed on the construction of industrial units commenced by the former GLC.
    14–20 Glass Street, EC2To achieve an exchange of land which would enhance the value of a site already owned by the LRB.

    County Hall, London

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will issue an instruction halting the current public inquiry into the proposed sale of County hall, London, until the outcome of the general election.

    Eviction Notices (West Yorkshire)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the depository of the West Yorkshire archives service and the notice to quit its premises which it has received from the West Yorkshire residuary body.

    The depository of the West Yorkshire archives service is located at the Registry of Deeds, Margaret street, Wakefield. The West Yorkshire residuary body has submitted proposals to the Secretary of State under section 67 of the Local Government Act 1985 to transfer this property to Wakefield metropolitan district council as lead authority for the West Yorkshire Archives and Archaeology Joint Committee.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many organisations have been sent eviction notices from their properties which formerly belonged to the West Yorkshire metropolitan county council by the West Yorkshire residuary body; on what dates these eviction notices were served; and if he will make a statement.

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how many organisations have been given notice to quit by the West Yorkshire residuary body from properties which belonged to the former West Yorkshire metropolitan county council; and if he will identify those organisations and the specific dates of the notices.

    I understand that four notices to quit have been issued under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 in respect of commercial premises in order to initiate procedures for rent reviews.The following notices have also been issued in accordance with article 11 of the Local Government Reorganisation (Property etc) Order 1986 (SI 1986 No. 148) terminating user rights:

    A notice issued on 24 February 1987 to Wakefield metropolitan district council and notices issued on 25 February 1987 to the West Yorkshire police authority, the West Yorkshire fire and civil defence authority and Bradford metropolitan district council in respect of their occupation of parts of County hall, Wakefield. These notices expire on 31 December 1987.
    A similar notice issued on 17 December 1986 to Wakefield metropolitan district council in respect of the occupation of part of 8–14 St. Johns North, Wakefield, by the archaeology unit. This notice expired on 31 March 1987 and I understand that discussions are proceeding between the residuary body and the council about the vacation of the building.

    Property Sales (West Yorkshire)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many properties which belonged to the former West Yorkshire metropolitan county council have been sold by the West Yorkshire residuary body to public undertakings to date; and if he will make a statement;(2) how many properties which belonged to the former West Yorkshire metropolitan county council have been sold by the West Yorkshire residuary body to private undertakings to date; and if he will make a statement;(3) what was the value of the individual properties which belonged to the former West Yorkshire metropolitan county council which have been sold by the West Yorkshire residuary body to public undertakings to date; and if he will make a statement;(4) what was the value of the individual properties which belonged to the former West Yorkshire metropolitan county council which have been sold by the West Yorkshire residuary body to private undertakings to date; and if he will make a statement.

    The information available to the Department is that the West Yorkshire residuary body had sold 114 properties to the private and public sectors by the end of April 1987. Receipts were some £3·46 million.

    Public Bodies (Heating And Lighting)