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Written Answers

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 24 May 1990

Education And Science

Grant-Maintained Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schools have so far opted for grant-maintained status; and how many applications are at present being processed.

My right hon. Friend has so far approved 37 proposals for grant-maintained status and has announced that he is minded to approve a further three proposals subject to agreement with the governing body about minor modifications to admissions arrangements. Eleven proposals have been published following parental ballots in favour of an application for grant-maintained status and will reach my right hon. Friend for decision shortly. The governing bodies of six schools where parents have voted in favour of an application have yet to publish proposals.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many primary schools have shown an interest in seeking grant-maintained status.

No ballots have so far been held at primary schools on grant-maintained status. Of the 37 schools which my right hon. Friend has so far approved for grant-mantained status, 35 are secondary schools and two are middle-deemed secondary schools. Recently numerous of the larger primary schools have requested copies of the DES booklet "Grant Maintained Schools: Questions Parents Ask".

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what percentage of opt-out ballots have resulted in a decision in favour of grant-maintained status; and at how many schools there has had to be a second ballot.

Parental ballots have been held at 89 schools—parents at 68 of these schools (75 per cent.) have voted in favour of an application for grant-maintained status. Second ballots have had to be held at eight schools because the turnout in the first ballot was below 50 per cent. A second ballot may also be held at a school where at least 12 months have elapsed since the first balloting took place. One school has held a second ballot in such circumstances—in this case parents voted against an application in 1989, but in favour of an application in 1990.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many of the schools which have opted for grant-maintained status are (a) grammar schools, (b) voluntary-aided schools and (c) single-sex schools.

Of the 37 schools which my right hon. Friend has so far approved for grant-maintained status (a) 14 are selective and 23 are non-selective schools; (b) six were voluntary-aided schools, six were voluntary-controlled schools, one was a special agreement school and 24 were county schools; (c) 13 are single-sex boys' schools, six are single-sex girls' schools and 18 schools are co-educational.Of the three schools which my right hon. Friend has announced that he is minded to approve for grant-maintained status

(a) one is a selective school and two are non-selective schools; (b) all three are county schools; (c) one is a single-sex boys' school and two are co-educational.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the average turnout figure in parental ballots taken in schools on whether to obtain grant-maintained status.

The average participation rate so far in parental ballots is 67·5 per cent.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has on the level of rises or falls in admissions to grant-maintained schools; and where such changes have taken place.

Information about admissions to grant-maintained schools in September 1990 is not yet available. However, earlier this year the Grant Maintained Schools Trust carried out a survey of applications for places for September 1990 at a number of grant-maintained schools. It found that applications had increased by 40 per cent. on average over last year at those schools for which it had information. For example, at Baverstock school in Birmingham there were 350 applications for 210 places, representing an increase of 50 per cent. over last year. At Hendon school there has been an increase of 100 per cent. in applications over 1989.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science which local authorities are selling back services to schools which have become grant-maintained.

Detailed information is not collected by the Department. But our understanding is that many local authorities are selling services to schools which have become grant-maintained. For example, Lincolnshire LEA is offering to sell a range of services including payroll, school meals, ground and property maintenance, advisory, architectural and financial services and in-service training for teaching staff. Grant-maintained schools in Lincolnshire have bought a number of these services on a selective basis.

Governor Training

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much was spent on support grants for governor training in the year 1988–89; and how much is planned to be spent in the current year.

No education support grant was allocated for governor training in the financial year 1988–89. Accounts are not yet finalised for 1989–90, but the amount made available through the education support grant programme for governor training in that year was £4,900,000. The amount which is being made available in the 1990–91 financial year is £5,152,700. The programme is scheduled to continue for a further year.

Schools, North Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schools were closed in each of the past five years within the constituency of Wiltshire, North.

Information for parliamentary constituencies or other areas within education authorities is not available centrally.

Schools, Leicestershire

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received, and from whom, regarding opting out of schools in Leicestershire; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has so far received one application for grant-maintained status from a school in Leicestershire. The proposal for GM status from Longfield high school in Melton Mowbray, and the objections received, were given careful consideration by my right hon. Friend before he announced his decision to approve the request for grant-maintained status with effect from August 1990.

Rothera Point Airstrip, Antarctica

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the containment capacity of the retaining berm for the fuel tank farm under construction at the Rothera Point airstrip in Antarctica.

The retaining berm for the fuel tank farm at Rothera Point has a capacity of approximately 125,000 imperial gallons.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what measure he proposes to take to reduce the incidence of dust covering the site of the Rothera Point airstrip in Antarctica; and if he will make a statement.

Measures to be employed by the contractor to reduce the incidence of dust during construction of the Rothera Point airstrip in Antarctica are given in the final comprehensive environmental evaluation published in September 1989 by the NERC. A copy is in the Library.

Schoolgirls (Achievement)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what steps the Government are taking to encourage schools to enable girls to achieve across the curriculum;(2) what advice the Government have given to local education authorities regarding equal opportunity for girls across the curriculum.

The duties of local education authorities and others under the Sex Discrimination Act of 1975 were explained in circular 2/76 (WO 20/76).The broad and balanced education provided by the foundation subjects of the national curriculum is intended to prevent premature specialisation by either boys or girls. The non-statutory subject working groups established to advise on the national curriculum have been asked to bear in mind that the curriculum should provide equal opportunities for boys and girls; and circular 6/89, which accompanied the mathematics and science orders laid under section 4 of the Education Reform Act 1988, advised that it would be particularly important to ensure that boys and girls have equal opportunity and equal encouragement to undertake the full model A science course.The criteria for initial teacher training specify equal opportunities as an example of a cross-curricular dimension that students should be able to incorporate into their teaching by the time they qualify. It is also required that students learn to guard against preconceptions based on gender.Government objectives in this area are also supported by the DE Training Agency-funded technical and vocational education initiative (TVEI). One criterion of TVEI, in which nearly all local education authorities are now involved, is that action will be taken to avoid sex stereotyping both in curriculum options and in teaching and learning styles.

Local Management Of Schools

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a further statement on local management of schools.

[pursuant to her reply, 8 May 1990, c. 8–10]: My right hon. Friend has been asked by several local education authorities to make the necessary regulations to permit them to include special schools in their statutory local management of schools schemes. Before making his decision, he intends to give very careful consideration to all the implications, both for special schools and for pupils with statements of special educational need in primary and secondary schools. He has therefore invited Touche Ross Management Consultants to undertake a detailed feasibility study, and to report their findings to him. Copies of that report will be placed in the Library and will also be sent to LEAs and special schools in both England and Wales. In the light of that report the Government will consider whether, and, if so, when, it will be appropriate to make enabling regulations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how great a percentage of the average school budget, excluding those which have opted for grant-maintained status, is controlled by the local authority under local management of schools.

I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Norris) on 5 February 1990 at column 451.

Cash Limits

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether there are any changes to the cash limits for his Department's votes.

[pursuant to his reply, 2 February 1990, c. 397–98]: Subject to parliamentary approval to the necessary revised estimate, the cash limit for class XI vote 1: schools, research and miscellaneous services, will be reduced as follows:

Class XI Vote 1 (£)
Current cash limit653,421,000
Change-80,000
Revised cash limit653,341,000
The reduction results from the appropriation in aid of receipts originally expected in 1989–90 from private sector cash sponsorship for the project to build a school in Armenia following the 1988 earthquake. These more than offset increased gross provision in 1990–91 for the project which is nearing completion.

Attorney-General

Mr K J Warne

To ask the Attorney-General if he will provide the hon. Member for South Hams with a copy of the original signed judgment of the appeal to the social security commissioners by Mr. K. J. Warne of 61 Clobeills, South Brent, South Devon; and the supporting material sent to Mr. Warne by his office during the week commencing 14 May.

Yes. I have written to the hon. Member enclosing the documents requested.

Cash Limits

To ask the Attorney-General whether any changes will be made to the Lord Chancellor's Department's cash limit and running costs limit for 1990–91.

Yes. Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, the cash limit for the Lord Chancellor's Department, class X, vote 1 will be increased by £1,832,000 from £319,300,000 to £321,132,000.The increase reflects transfers from other Departments, of £1,915,000 from the Property Services Agency to cover responsibilities formerly exercised by that agency and of £20,000 from the Department of Trade and Industry for work to be undertaken by the Law Commission. It also reflects a transfer of £103,000 to the Department of Social Security for additional work falling to the legal aid assessment office.The supplementary estimate also gives effect to an increase of £2,000,000 in the Department's provision for departmental estate maintenance which is fully offset by an increase of £2,000,000 in net recoveries from civil fees. These increases will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.The running costs limit for the Department will be increased by £1,898,000 from £279,084,000 to £280,982,000.

Environment

Office Complex, Warwick

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment why he decided not to call in the planning decision of Warwickshire county council to allow the firm Conoco to build an office complex at the Warwick technology park.

Outline planning permission for Warwick technology park was granted by Warwickshire county council in 1986. It is very rare for the Secretary of State to call in a reserved matters application and this application by the county council did not appear to justify such an exceptional procedure.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether any officials of his west midlands regional staff have been disciplined as a result of the advice given, or failure to give advice, arising from Warwickshire county council's decision to allow Conoco plc to build an office complex at Warwick.

No. I am, however, writing separately to my hon. Friend with a full explanation of the events in question.

Business Rates

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent representations he has received on the 100-day rule for liability for the business rate for bed-and-breakfast establishments; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend has received a number of representations on this matter; and I have met several of my hon. Friends to discuss their concerns.Many home owners providing bed-and-breakfast have argued for a more generous exemption but others, particularly the hotel trade, believe that any exemption in this area could lead to unfair competition. The tourist authorities have represented that the rule could lead to a shortening of the season in which such accommodation is available. We are considering these arguments and others that have been put to us.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those organisations which responded to his consultation paper of December 1988 on the application of the business rate for bed-and-breakfast establishments.

The following organisations responded to the consultation paper on "The boundary between domestic and non-domestic property", issued in December 1988:

  • The Association of District Councils
  • The Association of County Councils
  • The Association of Metropolitan Authorities
  • The National Association of Local Councils
  • Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
  • Blackpool Borough Council
  • Bournemouth Borough Council
  • Cambridge City Council
  • Carrick District Council
  • City of London
  • Cleethorpes Borough Council
  • Eastbourne Borough Council
  • East Dorset District Council
  • Fylde Borough Council
  • Borough of Great Yarmouth
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • Huntingdonshire District Council
  • Kennet District Council
  • Lancaster City Council
  • Borough of Luton
  • Middlesbrough Borough Council
  • Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme
  • New Forest District Council
  • North Norfolk District Council
  • Penwith District Council
  • Preston Borough Council
  • Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
  • Somerset County Council
  • South Herefordshire District Council
  • Tendring District Council
  • Tonbridge and Mailing Borough Council
  • Vale Royal Borough Council
  • West Somerset District Council
  • Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
  • Wyre Borough Council
  • Country Landowners Association
  • The Incorporated Society of Valuers and Auctioneers
  • Institute of Housing
  • The Institution of Civil Engineers
  • The Rating Officers Guild
  • The Rating Surveyors Association
  • The Rating and Valuation Association
  • The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Edward Erdman Surveyors
  • Gerald Eve Chartered Surveyors
  • Grimley J. R. Eve Chartered Surveyors
  • Matthews and Goodman Chartered Surveyors
  • J. P. Sturge Chartered Surveyors
  • Association of Independent Businesses
  • British Holiday & Home Parks Association Ltd.
  • The British Hotels Restaurants and Caterers Association
  • British Property Federation
  • British Retailers Association
  • British Self Catering Federation
  • Chalfont St. Peter Chamber of Commerce
  • Cumbria and Lakeland Self-Caterers Association
  • Federation of Cornwall Hotels and Tourism Associations
  • Historic Houses Association
  • The Land Institute
  • London Chamber of Commerce
  • The National Association of Warehouse Keepers
  • The National Council of Hotels Associations
  • National Federation of Retail Newsagents
  • The National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses Limited
  • The National Licensed Victuallers' Association
  • Skegness Holiday Flat Owners Association
  • The Water Companies Association
  • Action With Communities in Rural England
  • British Mountaineering Council
  • Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the Universities of the United Kingdom
  • Forestry Commission
  • Oxford Polytechnic
  • Royal National Institute for the Blind

Community Charge

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of gross income is paid in community charge by persons earning (a) £5,000 per year, (b) £10,000 per year and (c) £20,000 per year when the community charge is (i) £300, (ii) £400 and (iii) £500.

The amount paid in community charge would vary depending on entitlement to community charge benefit. The level of benefit applicable in each case would depend on the family and financial circumstances of the individual involved.

Aviation Fuel Pollution

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to ensure that certificates issued under clause 142(4) of the Environmental Protection Bill will not prevent effective action being taken against pollution from Royal Air Force training exercises involving the deliberate burning of aviation fuel and other substances.

My Department is currently discussing with the Ministry of Defence whether amendments may be necessary to the Environmental Protection Bill to ensure that the operational activities of the armed services are not unduly restricted. I will write to the hon. Lady about the outcome of those discussions.

Vdus

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy in respect of safeguards for operatives working with VDUs within his Department; and if he will make a statement.

My Department aims to provide safe systems and methods of work that are without risk to health for its employees. In providing for the comfort and health of the users of VDUs the Department takes account of the guidance produced by the Health and Safety Executive and jointly by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency and the Council of Civil Service Unions.

Local Government (Cost)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out in real terms the cost of local government between 1979–80 and predicted 1990–91 on the basis of (a) total expenditure and (b) expenditure pro rata for a comparable level of services and the equivalent level of income tax that would be required to finance local government expenditure (a) at present levels of services and (b) at service levels equivalent to 1979–80, in each of those years.

Cash Limits

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has any changes to announce to his Department's cash limits.

Yes. Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary revised estimates:

  • (a) the cash limit for class VIII, vote 2 (miscellaneous housing administration and grants) will be reduced by £24,876,000 from £122,908,000 to £98,032,000. There will be a reduction of £25,000,000 on housing action trusts (HATs) as a result of the decision of tenants not to proceed with a HAT in Sunderland. This reduction will be partly offset by increases totalling £124,000 elsewhere on the vote;
  • (b) the cash limit for class VIII, vote 5 (central environmental services, etc.) will be reduced by £700,000 from £358,596,000 to £357,896,000. This reduction relates mainly to the transfer of responsibility for the Football Licensing Authority (£670,000) to the Home Office from my Department. There is also a transfer of £30,000 to my Department's class VIII, vote 6 (royal palaces, royal parks, historic buildings, ancient monuments and the national heritage) to provide additional funding for the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission to recreate certain documents of importance that were accidentally destroyed;
  • (c) the cash limit for Class VIII, Vote 6 (royal palaces, royal parks, historic buildings etc.) will be reduced by £305,000 from £150,152,000 to £149,847,000). This reduction relates to the transfer of responsibility for external repair of Horseguards Building to the Ministry of Defence (£235,000), and for road rescue archaeology to the Department of Transport (£100,000). The net reduction of £305,000 on this vote takes account of £30,000 transferred from class VIII, vote 5 to which I referred earlier.
  • Redundant Churches

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he proposes to publish the report on the care of redundant churches carried out by Mr. Richard Wilding.

    Mr. Wilding's report, which was presented to Ministers and to the Church Commissioners at the end of March, is being published today, by HMSO. I am arranging for copies to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The report gives a valuable overview of the operation of the redundant churches fund and the context in which its work is carried out. In general, the report concludes that the present system for handling and financing the preservation of Church of England churches works well. But it identifies a number of ways in which the present arrangements could be improved, and makes a number of recommendations relating to this and to the handling of redundant churches and chapels of other denominations.The recommendations also relate to the respective responsibilities of the Department of the Environment and the Church Commissioners in respect of the fund. A number of them, if implemented, would require amendment either of the Pastoral Measure 1983 or of the Redundant Churches and Other Religious Buildings Act 1969. My right hon. Friend welcomes the general thrust of the report. He will be considering all the recommendations most carefully in consultation with the Church Commissioners and there will be discussions with the fund and the advisory board for redundant churches before any conclusions are reached. During this process, they will also take into account any views which other bodies or individuals may wish to make: such comments should be sent to the Department at room C11/02,2 Marsham street, London SW1P 3EB or to the Church Commissioners at 1 Millbank, London SW1P 3JZ, by 31 August.I hope that with the aid of this useful and readable report we shall be able to improve still further on the systems for ensuring that the best of our heritage of historic churches which are no longer needed for pastoral use are preserved in the mutual interests of the Church and the nation.

    Local Government Employees

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give details of the total annual cost and the average annual cost of full-time local government employees; and if he will break down the average cost for a full-time equivalent post into pay, national insurance, superannuation and other costs, such as office space, heating, lighting, etc., for each year since 1979–80.

    [holding answer 21 May 1990]: Actual figures are not available. It is estimated that for 1988–89, the position was as follows:

    £
    Total local government employees costs23,300 million
    Average annual cost per full-time equivalent of which:12,100
    Pay10,400
    National insurance700
    Superannuation1,000

    Note: Associated employees' costs such as office space, heating, lighting etc, are excluded.

    Local Government Finance

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report, in tabular form for each local authority in England and Wales, the recommended community charge level, the total amount in central Government grant, the number of over-18-yearolds within the area, identifying with an asterisk those authorities which have been charge-capped by his Department.

    [holding answer 22 May 1990]: I am arranging for information to be placed in the Library of the House showing for each charging authority in England

  • (a) the average community charge at 1 April.
  • (b) the charge that would have been set had each notifiable authority spent broadly at the level of its SSA.
  • (c) the amount of revenue support grant, adjusted for the area safety net, and special transitional grants receivable and
  • (d) the relevant population for 1990–91 calculated in accordance with the population report.
  • Comparable figures for Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total level of central Government assistance per charge payer, as expressed on the community charge collection notice for (a) Westminster, (b) Castle Morpeth, (c) Alnwick and (d) Berwick-upon-Tweed.

    The figures are as follows:

    Revenue support grantSpecial grantsArea safety net
    Westminster865·8453·32-75·00
    Castle Morpeth180·25-5·84
    Alnwick193·8448·16
    Berwick-upon-Tweed186·4817·3452·18

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing for each charging authority in England in receipt of safety net grant the amount to be withdrawn in (i) 1991–92 and (ii) 1992–93, expressed both in £ million and £ per head.

    My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State proposed last November that transitional protection for the years 1991–92 to 1993–94 would be paid by way of a special grant calculated so that the equivalent of £25 per adult or 25 per cent. of the combined protection given by the safety net and the low rateable values area special grant in 1990–91, whichever is the greater, is withdrawn each year. I will place in the Library a table exemplifying the effects of these proposals.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance has been issued by his Department on the practice of managing agents charging residents of blocks of flats sums of money to pay the poll tax of live-in staff such as caretakers; and if he will make a statement.

    A person who is subject to a personal community charge is individually liable to pay the community charge as it has effect for the year. Only where the joint and several liability provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1988 apply would another person—the spouse—also be liable for the same amount. It is possible, however, for any person to pay another person's community charge for him or her. If an employer pays an employee's charge, the employer is chargeable to income tax on the amount concerned. Whether or not in such circumstances managing agents seek to defray their costs through charges to residents of blocks of flats will be a contractual matter for agreement between residents and the agents.

    Caravans And Chalets

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to publish new legislation governing the designation of caravans and chalets for standard community charge or business rate; and if he will make a statement on the precise changes he intends to introduce.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Chope) on 30 March 1990 to my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Field), at columns 346–47.

    Residential Holiday Centres

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance his Department has issued on the designation of accommodation used by staff at residential holiday centres for the collective community charge; what monitoring of such designation he has undertaken: and if he has any plans to review the use of such designations.

    A building may be designated for the purposes of the collective charge if, in the opinion of the community charges registration officer, the building is used wholly or mainly as the sole or main residence of individuals most of whom reside there for short periods and are not undertaking full-time courses of education and if it would probably be difficult to maintain the register and collect payments in respect of the building if a designation were not made. Advice on the application of the collective community charge was given to local authorities in the Department's practice note 14. A person may appeal against a designation for the collective charge first to the charging authority and then to a valuation and community charge tribunal. We will continue to monitor the application of the collective charge, but at present I see no need to change the provisions governing designation.

    Tied Tenants

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he has given to the situation of tied tenants who own separate accommodation for retirement or job loss and are liable for both personal and standard community charge; and if he will make a statement.

    In addition to the classes of circumstances which have been prescribed by the Secretary of State, authorities have wide discretion to specify their own standard charge classes so as to reduce the standard charge multiplier or to levy no charge. We have given authorities advice on the scope and exercise of their discretion. It is open to authorities to provide for cases where a person is required to live elsewhere as a condition of his employment, such as in the case of tied tenants.I am concerned that not all authorities are using their discretion sensitively and my right hon. Friend is considering what further adjustments may be needed for 1991–92.

    Energy

    Nuclear Waste

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Stockton, North, Official Report, 9 May, columns 166–67, he will estimate (a) the proportion of low and intermediate-level nuclear waste created by the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from foreign contracts, which will make up the initial inventory for the Nirex repository and (b) the time period over which high-level nuclear waste arising from foreign spent fuel reprocessing contracts will remain in the United Kingdom before being returned to the country of origin.

    I understand from British Nuclear Fuels plc that intermediate-level waste arising from the company's overseas reprocessing contracts prior to 1976 is estimated to be in the order of 1 per cent. of the intermediate-level waste included in the initial inventory for the Nirex repository. Low-level waste arising from such contracts will be disposed of at Drigg and not in the Nirex repository.For the disposal of wastes arising from BNFL's post-1976 contracts and the time period for returning high-level waste from such contracts, I refer the hon. Member to the reply by my hon. Friend the Member for Eddisbury (Mr. Goodlad) to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) on 2 May 1986, at columns

    500–01.

    Electricity Generation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what estimates he has made of the impact of (a) the commission of new gas-fired generating capacity and (b) the importation through east coast ports of low-sulphur content coal; and if he will make a statement.

    The extent to which the generators construct new gas generating capacity and import low-sulphur coal will depend on the level of electricity demand, fuel prices and capital costs.

    Flue Gas Desulphurisation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what estimates he has made of the impact of the cancellations of plans to instal flue gas emission cleaning equipment in British power stations; and if he will make a statement.

    The electricity generators' present declared intention is to fit flue gas desulphurisation equipment to 8 GW of generating plant. In the longer term, the challenge for British Coal is to make its coal sufficiently attractive to the generators so that they would choose to retrofit further power stations with FGD equipment.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what consideration he gave to the effect on the balance of payments when he permitted the target of 12,000 MW to be fitted with flue gas desulphurisation equipment to be reduced to 8,000 MW.

    It is for the electricity generators to decide how best they can achieve the reduction in emissions of sulphur dioxide called for in the EC large combustion plants directive. The Government, while determined to ensure compliance with the reductions set out in the directive, do not seek to control imports of oil or coal.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what representations he has received from British Boilermakers about the amount of generating plant to be fitted with flue gas desulphurisation equipment.

    I have received a number of representations from the United Kingdom power plant construction industry concerning various issues, including the fitting of flue gas desulphurisation equipment.

    Central Electricity Generating Board

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what level of fuel oil stocks were held by the Central Electricity Generating Board in 1989–90 and each year since 1984–85.

    Information relating to the levels of oil stocks for the purposes of section 6 of the Energy Act 1976 is supplied to the Department on a "commercial in confidence" basis and is therefore not published.

    Sizewell B

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what, in respect of Sizewell B, is the latest estimate for (a) the date of fuel loading and (b) the date of full commercial load; and if he will make a statement.

    My Department has just received a major report from Nuclear Electric plc on the progress of Sizewell B and is considering it in detail with the company. We understand that Nuclear Electric remains committed to its existing timetable.

    Nottinghamshire Coalfield

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions he has had with the Union of Democratic Mineworkers about job losses in the Nottinghamshire coalfield.

    I meet officers of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers from time to time to discuss a range of issues.

    Dinorwig And Maentwrog

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when a generating licence for the pump/storage generation stations of Dinorwig and Maentwrog was granted to the National Grid Company.

    A generating licence was granted to the pumped storage division of National Grid Company on 26 March 1990 and came into force on 31 March. Copies of the licences which came into force on vesting day have been lodged with the Libraries of both Houses.

    Hinkley C

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he intends to publish the inspector's report from the Hinkley C inquiry; and if he will make a statement.

    The inspector's report from the Hinkley C inquiry is still awaited. My right hon. Friend will decide on the arrangements for its publication once it has been received.

    Coal Supply

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how many tonnes of coal British Coal is contracted to supply to National Power and PowerGen this year and in the two succeeding years.

    The British Coal Corporation is contracted to supply the following approximate coal tonnages, at prescribed calorific values, to National Power and PowerGen:

    National Power

    • 44 million tonnes for 1990–91 and for 1991–92
    • 40 million tonnes for 1992–93

    PowerGen

    • 26 million tonnes for 1990–91 and for 1991–92
    • 25 million tonnes for 1992–93

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what level of coal stocks were held by British Coal and the Central Electricity Generating Board in 1989–90 and each year since 1984–85.

    The level of coal stocks in million tonnes at the end of December was:

    British CoalPower stations Great Britain
    1984–8520·7514·40
    1985–869·2323·94
    1986–878·7027·98
    1987–886·1425·29
    1988–897·3327·00
    1989–9010·0527·35

    Source: Energy Trends, April 1990.

    Power stations stocks include those held by the Central Electricity Generating Board and the South of Scotland electricity board.

    Spent Nuclear Fuel

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what assessment he has carried out as to the value of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel; and if he will make a statement.

    I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member by my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Mr. Spicer) on 26 June 1989, at column 357.

    Home Department

    Wrongful Imprisonment

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list by year for the last 10 years, how many people have been wrongfully imprisoned; and what was their length of stay in custody.

    The tables give details of the cases referred to the Court of Appeal under section 17(1)(a) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 in respect of conviction, since 1980 (table I); and of free pardons (for convictions involving custody) (table II).

    Table I References by the Home Secretary to the Court of Appeal under Section 17(1) (a) of the Criminal Appeal Act 1968 in respect of conviction
    YearsNumber of cases referred Number of defendants Appeals allowed
    1980331
    1981110
    1982474
    1983333
    198412143
    1985442
    1986441
    19876133
    1988220
    19891362
    Total425719
    1 one to be heard
    Table II Free Pardons (for convictions involving custody)
    Number
    19800
    19811
    19821
    19830
    19840
    19850
    19860
    19870
    19880
    19890

    Vagrancy Arrests

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many homeless persons have been arrested under the Vagrancy Act in central London in each year since 1980 and how many in each month since January 1989.

    Prosecutions were brought under the Vagrancy Act for sleeping out in the metropolitan district and the City of London as follows:

    Numbers
    1980188
    198345
    19864
    19879
    198812
    Figures for 1989 will be available later in the year.

    Trafalgar Square (Incident)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the 25 mounted officers deployed to disperse demonstrators in Trafalgar square on 31 March were women.

    I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that five of the 25 mounted officers deployed to disperse demonstrators in Trafalgar square on 31 March were women.

    Political Asylum

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement as to which factors account for the increase in applications for political asylum in 1989.

    Provisional figures suggest that the number of asylum applications increased from 5,105 in 1988 to 12,570 in 1989. The arrival of some 3,700 Turkish asylum seekers in the second quarter was an important factor but there were also significant increases in the number of applications from Somalia, Sri Lanka and Uganda. The overall increase is in line with trends elsewhere in Europe. Individual decisions to seek asylum are rooted in personal circumstances and conditions in countries of origin. In some cases would-be migrants claim asylum in an attempt to circumvent firm controls on other categories of immigration.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have sought political asylum so far this year.

    A provisional breakdown by nationality of applications made in each quarter is supplied to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Copies are placed in the Library. The provisional total for the first quarter of 1990 is 2,031 applications.

    Immigration

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) of 21 May, what information he has with regard to present whereabouts of the 670 immigrants detained on the Earl William in 1987.

    There are no central records of those who were detained on the Earl William in 1987.

    Seals

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to amend the Seals Act 1970 so as to increase protection of seals; and if he will make a statement.

    Cash Limits

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he intends to make any changes to the 1990–91 cash limits within his responsibilities and to his Department's running costs limit.

    Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, the cash limit on class IX, vote 3, Home Office administration, immigration and police support services, England and Wales, will be increased by £2,302,000 to £758,925,000. The additional provision is necessary because of several new initiatives, primarily a new drugs demand reduction task force, increased aid to Colombia for anti-drug trafficking measures, and the expected cost of police investigations if the War Crimes Bill receives Royal Assent. This increase of £1,607,000 will be charged to the reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.Responsibility for the new Football Licensing Authority has also been transferred to the Home Office from the Department of the Environment and the cash limit for class VIII, vote 5, has been reduced accordingly.The Home Office running cost limit will be increased by £267,000 from £1,012,392,000 to £1,012,659,000. In addition to the cost of the Football Licensing Authority transferred from the Department of the Environment a further £25,000 has been offset by a corresponding decrease within the Department of Transport's running cost limit (class VIII, vote 2).

    Prime Minister

    High Commissioner For India

    To ask the Prime Minister if she has met the new high commissioner for India; and if she will make a statement.

    Yes. I look forward to working with him and to seeing Indo-British relations improve still further during his time in London.

    Gujarat

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement on her meeting with the Chief Minister of the Gujarat on 8 May.

    I had a useful discussion with the Chief Minister about current events in Gujarat, and about the Gujarati community in this country.

    Cot Deaths

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a further statement on the current findings of the inquiry into the possible link between cot deaths and toxic gases.

    I am not yet able to add to the reply my hon. Friend the Minister for Health gave the hon. Members for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith), for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney (Mr. Rowlands) and for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) on 16 May, at column 414.

    Inner-City Development (Leicester)

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will appoint a Minister to oversee inner-city development in Leicester.

    In December 1989 the Government announced the formation of a new team of Ministers to help co-ordinate action in inner-city areas covered by city action teams and task forces. Baroness Hooper, Under-Secretary of State for Health, advises the city action team which co-ordinates the Government's inner-city programmes in Leicester.

    Advisers

    To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her reply of 21 May, Official Report, column 17, if she will list in the Official Report the specialism for which each of her advisers who were not career civil servants for each year since 1981 were employed by the Cabinet Office, where relevant; what salary was agreed between each adviser and the Cabinet Office, in those cases where payment was made out of public funds; and what other employment those advisers recorded whilst working in the Prime Minister's office.

    Advisers offer advice on a range of issues. It is not my normal practice to provide information on individual salaries, or on other employment held by part-time advisers. Special advisers are subject to the requirement applying to all civil servants that they must avoid any conflict of interest with their official duties.

    Secretary Of State For Energy

    To ask the Prime Minister what official back-up is being provided to the Secretary of State for Energy in his new co-ordinating role; to which Department those officials will be allocated; and what provision is to be made for parliamentary questions on his performance of these new responsibilities.

    The Secretary of State for Energy will be supported by my chief press secretary and his office. He will receive advice as necessary from the Cabinet Office on questions of propriety of Government publicity. Questions arising from the Secretary of State's new responsibilities should be addressed to him. Questions on publicity issues relating to a specific Department should be addressed to the Minister concerned.

    Transport

    Traffic Area Offices

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the staff turnover figures for each of the traffic area offices in the last three years for which information is available.

    The following are the figures:

    Percentage Turnover
    Traffic Area Office1987–881988–891989–90
    North East (Newcastle)8·58·62·4
    North East (Leeds)12·34·527·0
    North West15·48·012·4
    West Midlands15·618·213·6
    Scottish26·26·315·6
    South Wales19·68·78·1
    Western16·111·19·7
    Eastern (Nottingham)10·86·110·1
    Eastern (Cambridge)22·822·820·0
    South East24·317·416·6
    Metropolitan25·443·520·2
    (These figures do not include internal transfers)

    Rail Electrification

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the estimated rate of return on the investment approved for the electrification of the Carstairs-Edinburgh line.

    Electrification of the Carstairs-Edinburgh line for InterCity services was approved by British Rail itself, on the basis that the scheme meets BR's normal criterion of an 8 per cent. financial return for investment in its commercial sectors.

    Electric Freight Locomotives

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the expected operational range, in the continental direction, of the new electric freight locomotives, approval for which was announced on 18 May by Her Majesty's Government.

    BR currently plans to operate the new electric freight locomotives as far as Frethun, just beyond the French channel tunnel portal, where trains will be re-formed for journeys into France and beyond.

    Channel Tunnel

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the number of rail coaches, or train sets, constructed, purchased, or modified for use on channel tunnel services, other than those on London-Paris and London-Brussels services, which he expects to be used on through services beyond London.

    This is a commercial matter for British Rail. British Rail published its plans for services beyond London on 14 December and I refer to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Mr. Lee) on that date at column 767. It has not yet submitted its investment proposals.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to apply and publish a cost benefit analysis comparable to that applied to the building of the London Victoria line to the proposed line between London and the channel tunnel.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the disposal procedures adopted for those polychlorinated byphenyls associated with the work begun on a channel tunnel in 1974.

    Disposal procedures were generally a matter for the companies concerned. In one instance a contractor, contrary to the terms of his contract, spilt a considerable quantity of polychlorinated byphenyl on site in the course of removing a tunnelling machine. The Department subsequently disposed of the contaminated soil in accordance with procedures based on the recommendations of a firm of consulting engineers, and agreed with the Health and Safety Executive, the Department of the Environment and Kent county council.

    Traffic Office, Newcastle

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to be able to announce the conclusions of his review of the northern area traffic office in Newcastle upon Tyne.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. Redmond) on 17 May 1990 at column 543.

    Speed Restrictions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the current criteria for speed restrictions on A roads through villages; and if he has any plans to revise them.

    The current criteria for speed limits on all roads including those through villages are set out in circular "Roads" 1/80 and 4/83. Copies of these are available from the Library of the House. They are kept under review.

    Railways

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals for further investment in the railway system have been put forward for when the present diesel fleet of high-speed trains are taken out of service; and if he will make a statement.

    British Rail has no current proposals for the premature replacement of its high-speed diesel train fleet. British Rail expects these trains to remain in service on a number of routes until around the end of the century.

    Midland Main Line

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he received the report of the midland main line strategy study entitled "Electrification of the MML—a Key to Prosperity"; and if he will make a statement.

    Merchant Shipping

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will set in hand an examination of the state of the British merchant shipping industry.

    I am pleased to announce the setting up of a joint working party, under my chairmanship and that of the president of the General Council of British Shipping, to establish the present circumstances in which the British shipping industry operates both domestically and internationally. The working party has been asked to report no later than 14 September 1990.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the current size of the British merchant fleet in terms of (a) the total number of vessels and (b) total tonnage; and what were the comparable figures 10 and 20 years ago.

    The information requested has been set out in the form of a table:

    Trading vessels registered in the United Kingdom and Crown Dependencies of 500 gross registered tonnes (grt) and above
    DateNumber of vesselsTonnage
    grt 000dwt 000
    31 March 19904416,0728,530
    31 December 19791,30525,23241,221
    31 December 19692,00222,27432,386
    dwt = deadweight tonnage.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received concerning the size of the British merchant fleet; and if he will make a statement.

    We receive representations from all sections of the shipping industry, including most recently NUMAST. I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Speed) by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State earlier today, announcing the setting up of a joint working party with the General Council of British Shipping.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the total number and tonnage of new merchant vessels registered in Britain in the last year for which figures are available.

    Figures for new registrations of British ships are provided in the table, which shows separately the vessels registered in the United Kingdom's Crown dependencies and dependent territories. The figures relate to the calendar year 1989 and to trading vessels over 500 gross registered tonnes (grt).

    NumberTonnage 000'sgrt
    United Kingdom20137
    Crown Dependencies10183
    Dependent Territories excluding Hong Kong18274
    Hong Kong331,039

    Cash Limits

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes he proposes to make to the cash limit and running costs limit for his Department.

    Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary and revised estimates, the cash limits in class VII will be changed as follows:

    Current cash limit £000Change £000Revised cash limit £000
    Class VII Vote 2256,266-3,030253,236
    Class VII Vote 4129,904+ 3,005132,909
    These changes to the cash limits take account of the following transfers from class VII vote 2:

  • (a) £2,813,000 to class VII vote 4 of certain departmental running costs;
  • (b) £192,000 to class VII vote 4 as a result of the transfer of responsibility for medical fees for heavy goods vehicle and public service vehicle driving licence applications to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. These fees will be reclassified as running costs; and
  • (c) £25,000 of departmental running costs to class IX vote 3 for some civil aviation services.
  • The Department's running cost limit has been increased from £320,734,000 to £320,901,000.

    The changes do not add to the planned total of public expenditure.

    General Council Of British Shipping

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he last met representatives of the General Council of British Shipping; and what was discussed.

    The Secretary of State and I regularly meet the General Council of British Shipping to discuss a wide range of shipping issues of mutual concern. The last such meeting was on 3 April.

    Radiation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the typical annual radiation dose equivalent exposure for crew members serving on board ships for a typical voyage duration owned and operated by Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd., and if he will make a statement.

    Over the period 1983 to 1989 inclusive, the average annual radiation dose received by crew members serving on board ships owned and operated by Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd. ranged from 0·1 to 0·4 mSv. Over the same period the maximum annual radiation dose received by an individual was between 0·5 and 1·7 mSv.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions within the last 15 years there has been an accidental release of radiation or exceptional levels of emission from irradiated fuel flasks or other radioactive material containers on board ships owned and operated by Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd.; and if he will make a statement.

    There have been no significant releases of radioactivity from irradiated fuel flasks or other radioactive material containers on board ships owned and operated by Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd. Transporting spent fuel by sea has been carried out safely since the mid-1960s.

    Road Accidents

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration has been given to the provision of alternative methods, other than central crash barriers, of preventing crossover accidents on dual carriageways.

    Consideration has been given to a number of alternatives including earth bunds, dense shrubbery and "arrester strips". All were assessed to be less safe, less practicable or otherwise less effective than safety fences and barriers.

    M66

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about progress on the M66; and when he expects it to be open.

    Supplementary orders for the northern section of the scheme in the Rhodes and Heaton Park area (which involves widening of the existing M66) were published this week. Construction of this section should start next year. Supplementary orders for the rest of the scheme will be published in the autumn with a view to start of works in 1992. The Department aims to have the whole of the new motorway open in 1996.

    Bypasses

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the number of, and total value of, bypass schemes in the forward road programme at 1990 prices.

    There are at present more than 150 bypass schemes in the road programme, with a total works cost of about £3·5 billion at 1990 prices.

    British Rail (Grants)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money the Government have provided in grants to British Rail in each of the last five years and for what purposes, at current prices.

    Figures for Government support paid to the British Railways Board are given in the table. They include both the public service obligation grant under EC regulation 1191/69 and section 3 of the Railways Act 1974, which compensates BR for maintaining loss-making passenger services on Network SouthEast and provincial (InterCity services were removed from the obligation on 1 April 1988), and level crossings grant under EC regulation 1192/69. Final claims have yet to be agreed for the years 1988–89 and 1989–90.

    Cash1990–91 prices
    1985–868381,110
    1986–87689882
    1987–88783951
    1988–89557632
    1989–90511544

    London Regional Transport

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much money the Government have provided in grants to London Buses Ltd. in each of the last five years and for what purposes, at current prices;(2) how much money the Government have provided in grants to London Underground Ltd. in each of the last five years, and for what purposes, at current prices.

    The Government pay grant to London Regional Transport which is responsible for distributing it to its subsidiaries, including London Buses Ltd. and London Underground Ltd.The total grant for the last five years at 1989–90 prices has been as follows:

    £ million
    1985–86391
    1986–87347
    1987–88271
    1988–89203
    1989–90287
    The purpose of the grant is to meet LRT's cash deficit; the Government do not pay specific grants to LRT for specific purposes. Over the last five years the proportion of the grant devoted to revenue subsidy has reduced while the proportion supporting capital investment has increased. The effect has been that LRT's investment has grown by 42 per cent. in real terms over the same period.

    Civil Aviation (Fire Safety)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the Civil Aviation Authority's net safety benefit analysis, particularly in relation to validity of the statistics used and the assumptions made concerning time and duration of fires.

    The net safety benefit analysis is not the sole basis for the CAA's position on smoke hoods. It is the way in which the benefits and disbenefits of passenger smoke hoods can be weighed in a situation where there is a potential for loss of life due, for example, to delay in evacuation, as well as the saving of life. In the light of the inevitable lack of precise evidence as to the progress of an aircraft fire, and the time taken to evacuate in such incidents, both the CAA and the Department accept that there will always be some element of subjective assessment in work of this nature.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will outline the process and procedures of evaluation to be undertaken (a) by his Department and/or (b) by the Civil Aviation Authority in order to measure the effectiveness of alternative smoke hood systems for aeroplanes and to certify those that meet the required performance standards.

    The statutory responsibility for the safety regulation of United Kingdom civil aviation rests with the Civil Aviation Authority. The required level of passenger protection to be provided by any smoke hood is set out in CAA specification No. 20 which was developed in consultation with industry. I am advised that the authority has received our initial applications for approval of smoke hoods, now reduced to three by the withdrawal of one applicant. To date no evidence has been provided or demonstrated to the authority that any smoke hood can provide the specified level of protection in the event of an aircraft fire.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will make it his policy to make smoke hood provision mandatory in civilian aeroplanes once equipment has been certified as being capable of meeting the appropriate Civil Aviation Authority standard.

    The statutory responsibility for the safety regulation of United Kingdom civil aviation rests with the Civil Aviation Authority. The mandatory provision of smoke hoods on civilian aeroplanes is a matter for the authority.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what development period he estimates will be required before he will be able to legislate for water spray systems to be fitted as standard on civil aeroplanes.

    The statutory responsibility for the regulation of United Kingdom civil aviation rests with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). I am advised that the CAA, the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Transport Canada are currently co-operating in a research programme to test the effectiveness of cabin water spray systems in civil aircraft. The CAA's research into narrow-bodied fuselage systems should be completed by later this year. FAA research into wide-bodied aircraft fuselage fires is also expected to be completed by the end of this year. If these tests prove satisfactory, work to finalise a specification for such systems can start in early 1991.

    M67-M66-A57 Junction (Traffic Lights)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to approve the scheme to install traffic lights at the roundabout junction of the M67, M66 and A57.

    I expect to approve the design of this scheme shortly, with the intention of starting works in the current financial year.

    Catamaran (Loss)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has about the loss of the catamaran Bootlegger off Lulworth cove, Dorset, on 30 July 1988; what investigations have been carried out by his Department into the cause of the loss; and if he will make a statement.

    Roads

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the total value of the forward road programme at 1990 prices; and what percentage (a) road building and (b) maintenance comprise of the total.

    The works value of the entire trunk road construction programme, as published in "Trunk Roads, England: Into the 1990s" is £16,750 million at 1990 prices. Maintenance is not planned in the same way as the construction programme, and figures are available only for the three years to the end of 1992–93; for that period the value of maintenance is £1,685 million cash.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much money his Department has spent on its road programme in each of the last five years at current prices.

    Expenditure on the roads programme in the last five years at 1990–91 prices is as follows:

    £ million
    1985–86801
    1986–87800
    1987–88784
    1988–89832
    1989–901985
    1 Provisional
    These figures are net of receipts and exclude expenditure on road and bridge maintenance.

    Road Junction (Audenshaw)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will reconsider the decision not to allow the construction of an improved junction for Stamford road/Corporation road, Audenshaw, in Tameside's transportation policies and plans settlement for 1990–91.

    We have accepted £203,000 of Tameside's expenditure on minor works for transport supplementary grant in 1990–91. It is for the local highway authority to decide how best to use these and any other resources.

    Railway Links (London)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimates his Department has made as to the approximate cost of constructing (a) new cross-London railway links and (b) new underground railway links in London, at 1990 prices.

    The east-west crossrail and Chelsea to Hackney line proposed by the central London rail study would respectively cost about £1·4 billion and £1·8 billion to build at today's prices. The Jubilee line extension will cost over £1 billion at today's prices. No other proposals for new cross-London or underground links have been submitted to the Department.

    Rail Industry (Injuries)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many railway staff have been killed or suffered major injuries for the period 1979 to 1983 and 1984 to 1988; and what they represent as a proportion per 1,000 railway staff employed.

    [holding answer 22 May 1990]: In the period 1984 to 1988, 98 staff died and 979 suffered major injuries, totalling 1,077. The average number of staff employed during that period was 181,200. The proportion of deaths and major injuries to 1,000 employed was 5·94 per cent.In the period 1979 to 1983, 153 railway staff died and 1,613 suffered major injuries, totalling 1,766. The average number of staff employed during that period was 228,200. The proportion of deaths and major injuries to 1,000 employed was 7·74 per cent.In the period 1974 to 1978, 209 railway staff died and 3,023 suffered major injuries, totalling 3,232. The average number of staff employed during that period was 264,400. The proportion of deaths and major injuries to 1,000 employed was 13·1 per cent.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the total figures of death and major injuries in the railway industry for the period 1979 to 1983 and 1984 to 1988; and what is the total percentage increase.

    [holding answer 22 May 1990]: In the period 1974 to 1978 there were 500 deaths (including passengers, staff and others) and 3,855 major injuries, totalling 4,355. In the period 1979 to 1983, there were 374 deaths and 2,330 major injuries, totalling 2,704. This represents a reduction of 37·9 per cent. In the period 1984 to 1988, there were 448 deaths and 1,983 major injuries, totalling 2,431. This represents a reduction of 10·1 per cent.

    Railway Inspectorate

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many professionally qualified inspectors were employed by the railway inspectorate for each year since 1979; and what was the full establishment level for each year.

    [holding answer 22 May 1990]: The number of professionally qualified staff in post at 31 December of each year, together with the establishment for that year, is set out in the table.

    YearStaff in post Establishment
    19792222
    19802222
    19812222
    19822222
    19832222
    198423222
    198523222
    198619222
    19871924
    19881624
    119892432
    1 Includes one part-time.
    2 + 1 supernumerary.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recommendations were made by the departmental review on the railway inspectorate; and what action he has taken.

    [holding answer 22 May 1990]: A report of the review was presented in 1987, and included numerous recommendations. A copy is in the Library of the House. Many of the recommendations have been implemented. Work continues on the others.

    Speed Limits (Coaches)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consider adding to the MOT test the verification of speed limiters on relevant coaches as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement.

    [ holding answer 23 May 1990]: I am considering adding a check of speed limiter fitment to the annual tests of relevant coaches.

    Public Accounts Commission

    National Audit Office

    To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission whether the commission has appointed new auditors for the National Audit Office.

    Yes. The commission has appointed the firm of Clark Whitehill. The appointment will be for a period of up to five years from 1 April 1990.

    Civil Service

    Cash Limits

    To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if there are any proposals to change the 1990–91 cash limit for the Office of the Minister for the Civil Service.

    Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, the cash limit for the Office of the Minister for the Civil Service (class XIX, vote 1) will be increased by £978,000 from £42,643,000 to £43,621,000. The increase will be charged to the reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.The increase is required to cover the additional cost of making physical security improvements; the initial costs of a new unit to co-ordinate efforts to improve British representation in European Community institutions; the cost of upgrading the management information system for the Civil Service Commission in anticipation of its move to agency status in 1991–92 and the cost of improvements in services provided by the civil service college (this charge will be offset by increased appropriations in aid). Provision is also sought to cover the additional cost of recruitment for the purchasing and supply specialism and recruitment costs of the scheme to prepare candidates for entry to the European Community institutions. The cost of the purchasing and supply recruitment scheme will be met by recoveries from participating Departments together with an increase in expected recoveries from Departments for existing recruitment schemes. The proposed supplementary estimate identifies the cost of civil service college training courses for the staff of the Office of the Minister for the Civil Service offset by recoveries from the Office of the Minister for the Civil Service together with a reassessment of the college's recoveries from other sources.Some of the changes in provision have a consequent effect on the Department's running costs limit which will be increased by £403,000 from £33,319,000 to £33,722,000.

    Crown Servants (Business Appointments)

    To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if he will publish a further report on business appointments of former Crown servants.

    I have today placed copies of a statistical report entitled "Acceptance of Outside Appointments by Crown Servants—1989" in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

    House Of Commons

    Parliamentary Business

    To ask the Lord President of the Council what was the cost to public funds of providing an answer to the question tabled by the right hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow) on parliamentary business, Official Report, 11 May, column 243.

    Printing Costs

    To ask the Lord President of the Council what is his estimate of the total cost to public funds and the volumes of newsprint that have been involved in the printing this Session of (a) the Order Paper, (b) the notices of questions, (c) the written and oral questions reprinted after appearing for the first time, (d) notices of motions, (e) Votes and Proceedings of the House, (f) Standing Committee proceedings and Division lists, (g) remaining Orders of the Day and (h) the Vote bundle as a whole.

    The total cost to public funds for the supply of the Vote bundle as a whole in this Session up to the end of April, is estimated at £4·1 million. The volume of paper consumed in production of the Vote bundle for the same period is 159 tonnes.It is not possible to produce the estimated cost to public funds of printing the individual categories of the Vote bundle without incurring disproportionate expense.

    Creche

    To ask the Lord President of the Council what steps he has taken to consult (a) staff unions and (b) the staff creche committee about the design of the survey of demand for a workplace nursery in the House.

    Following initiatives by the House of Commons Commission and the Services Committee, the Administration Department has been asked to undertake a feasibility study of the provision of child care facilities in the House or in conjunction with other public services in the Westminster area. Once that study is complete any consultation exercise will necessarily embrace all those with an interest.

    Railway Warrants

    To ask the Lord President of the Council if he has any plans to change the number of spouse railway warrants allocated to Members in view of the change in ticket validities recently announced by British Rail.

    The resolution of 22 July 1975 limits the number of free return journeys for a Member's spouse to 15. We have no plans to change this.

    Stationery

    To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will list each item of stationery issued by the Serjeant at Arms stores and the percentage content of recycled paper in each item of scale zero to 100 per cent.

    [holding answer 14 May 1990]: A list of each item of stationery issued by the Serjeant at Arms stores is shown on the Members' stationery demands form. Currently the ruled writing paper contains 100 per cent. recycled paper and the buff envelopes and file covers contain at least 50 per cent. recycled paper. I understand that approval has now been given by the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee for a number of items, including printed memos, compliment slips and typing top sheets to be replaced by recycled ranges once existing stocks are exhausted and that orders should be placed on an experimental basis for a range of writing paper and envelopes in recycled paper to be available.

    New Parliamentary Building

    To ask the Lord President of the Council how many Members' offices in the new parliamentary building, phase 1, will contain marble fireplaces; and whether provision of such fireplaces has affected the timetable for completion of phase 1.

    I have been asked to reply.The hon. Member for Ogmore (Mr. Powell) and his colleagues on the New Building Sub-Committee can be assured that there is no basis for the allegations made by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) on 17 May at column 1020. There are no fireplaces in the new Members' offices and those in the restored accommodation are either already in place or are off site being restored. This work is not on the critical path and is not expected to cause problems.

    National Finance

    Workplace Nurseries

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of the effect of his proposals on workplace nurseries on the number of women in the work force.

    The proposal to exempt workplace nurseries from tax as a benefit will remove a perceived obstacle to the growth of such facilities. The measure will thus assist employers who wish to set up nursery or similar facilities and the employees who use them; but it is not possible to make a reliable estimate of the likely effect of this change on the number of women in the work force.

    Corporation Tax

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has of the number of firms benefiting from raising the ceiling on corporation tax to £200,000.

    It is estimated that 20,000 companies will benefit from the increase in profit limits for the small companies' rate of corporation tax and associated marginal relief.

    Pay Statistics

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the latest statistics on top people's pay.

    Rates of pay are a matter for the parties directly concerned as only they can know what is right for their particular circumstances. The Government have said repeatedly, however, that we are opposed to excessive pay increases since they threaten jobs.

    Exchange Rate Mechanism

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the Madrid conditions for exchange rate mechanism participation to be satisfied.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave to the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 26 April, at column 475.

    Civil Service

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the number of civil service jobs which he proposes to devolve to (a) Leeds and (b) Newcastle upon Tyne, indicating to which Departments these jobs apply, together with the original location of these jobs.

    Decisions on relocation venues rest with departmental Ministers. I would refer the hon. Member to the statements made by the Secretaries of State for Social Security and for Health on 14 November 1989, at columns 170 and 197, about the relocation of DSS and Department of Health posts to Leeds; and to the statement by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 1 May 1990, at column 466, concerning the relocation of intervention board posts to Newcastle. In addition, the Secretary of State for Social Security announced on 25 April during a visit to the north-east that 1,000 jobs dealing with national insurance contributions work would be transferred to Newcastle from other regions over the next 12 months.

    Vat (Water)

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is the estimated annual cost to industry in Scotland of applying value added tax to water supply from 1 July;(2) what is the estimated annual cost to industry of applying value added tax to water supply from 1 July;(3) what is the estimated annual cost to industry in Wales of applying value added tax to water supply from 1 July.

    Negligible. VAT to be charged on water supplies to industry after 1 July will, in virtually all cases, be reclaimable as input tax by those affected.

    Capital Taxes Office, Shepherds Bush

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the number of employees presently employed at the capital taxes office in Shepherds Bush he expects to be unwilling or unable to relocate; and what efforts his Department will be making to find other suitable work for those employees.

    All the work of the capital taxes office in Shepherds Bush will be relocated to Nottingham. The number of employees presently working there who will be unwilling or unable to relocate is not known because staff have not, as yet, been asked to state their preferences about moving to Nottingham.The Department will make every effort to redeploy in other parts of the Inland Revenue or in other Government Departments those employees who cannot or do not wish to move.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the number of employees at the capital taxes office in Shepherds Bush he expects to be relocated to sites in Nottingham within the next three years.

    The capital taxes office will be relocated to Nottingham. The number of employees who will move to Nottingham is not yet known.

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for the site of the capital taxes office in Shepherds Bush once the relocation to Nottingham has taken place.

    The future of the site in Shepherds Bush following relocation of work to Nottingham will be for the Department of the Environment (Directorate General of Property Holdings) to determine.

    Schedule D (Actors And Artists)

    To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to amend the appropriate regulation and/or legislation in order to restore arrangements which allowed actors and artists with a similar work pattern to be taxed under schedule D.