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Written Answers

Volume 175: debated on Thursday 28 June 1990

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Written Answers To Questions

Thursday 28 June 1990

National Finance

Income Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the revenue from (a) the higher rate of income tax and (b) the top 10 per cent. of income tax payers in 1986–87 and the latest year for which figures are available; and what is the projection for the current financial year.

The information is as follows:

Income tax liability at rates in excess of basic rate1£ billionTotal income tax liability of top 10 per cent. of income tax-payers £ billion
1986–872·8316·9
1987–883·7318·4
1990–9124·4424·9
1 The figures are the additional tax liability resulting from the difference between each higher rate and the basic rate of tax.
2Estimates are based on a projection of the 1987–88 Survey of Personal Incomes and, are therefore, provisional.
3 Counting a husband and wife as one income tax payer.
4 Counting a husband and wife as separate income tax payers.

Borrowing Requirement

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what means the Government intend to use to finance its borrowing requirement.

The Government's funding policy is as set out in annex A to chapter 2 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report 1990–91".

Capital Inflows

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of short-term capital inflows in 1988 and 1989.

The available information for 1988 and 1989 on the main categories of financial transaction in the capital account of the balance of payments is published by the Central Statistical Office in the press notice issued on 13 June—CSO (90) 80—a copy of which is in the Library. It is not particularly meaningful to distinguish between short-term and other capital flows.

European Monetary Proposals

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has assessed the expert and lay public reaction to his European monetary proposals announced on 21 June.

I am studying reactions to my proposals and look forward to discussing these proposals further with my European Community colleagues in the coming weeks.

Petrol Duties

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was raised in excise duty on (a) unleaded and (b) leaded petrol (i) in the three months prior to 20 March and (ii) subsequently.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue was raised in excise duty on (a) unleaded and (b) leaded petrol (i) in the three months prior to 20 March 1990 and (ii) subsequently.

Data are not readily available for the exact periods prior to and after 20 March. For the period 15 December to 14 March, £417 million duty was collected on unleaded petrol and £1,128 million on leaded petrol. Provisional figures for the period 15 March to 14 May show that £347 million duty was collected on unleaded petrol and £847 million on leaded petrol.

European Currency

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his proposals for a common European currency.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) on 21 June, Official Report, column 655.

Output Statistics

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his latest information on the output per hour worked in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) Japan.

Output per hour worked in the United Kingdom in 1986, the latest year for which data are available, is estimated to have been about 50 per cent. higher than in Japan.

Personal Income

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the increase in real personal disposable income during the last 12 months for which figures are available.

During the first quarter of 1990 aggregate real personal disposable income was 5 per cent. higher than in the corresponding period in 1989.

Inflation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was (a) the level of the retail prices index and (b) the underlying rate of inflation in June 1989 and at the current time.

The annual rate of increase of the retail prices index was 9·7 per cent. in May 1990. The underlying rate of inflation, as measured by the retail prices index excluding mortgage interest payments and rates-community charge, was 7 per cent. The corresponding inflation rates in June 1989 were 8·3 per cent. and 5·8 per cent. respectively.

Interest Rates

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received on the effects of interest rates on Welsh economic performance.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many letters he has received in 1990 from businesses about the level of interest rates.

Home Carers

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the range of possibilities for tax relief for those who employ carers in the home; and if he will make a statement.

Shareholders

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement about the latest estimate of the number of individuals owning shares.

According to the latest survey carried out in January and February this year for the Treasury and the stock exchange, nearly 11 million individuals own shares.

Value Added Tax

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will review the introduction by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise of the serious misdeclaration penalty and default interest on value added tax.

The working of the penalty for serious misdeclarations and the charging of interest on all underdeclarations will be closely monitored by Customs during the two years following their introduction on 1 April 1990 and reviewed in the first half of 1992.

Energy Conservation

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any proposals to use tax incentives to stimulate energy conservation work.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has no present plans to do so.

Energy Efficiency

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was invested in improving the energy efficiency of the Treasury in the latest available year.

[holding answer 25 June 1990]: Until now the Treasury's energy conservation role has been limited to running internal publicity campaigns on energy efficiency and day-to-day energy management. Costs have been de minimis. However, the hon. Member will be interested to know that as refurbishment of the Department's buildings takes place, such works will incorporate substantial energy conservation measures.

Civil Service

Agencies

To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what further candidates for agency status have been announced in the last two months.

Three further candidates for executive agency status have been announced in the last two months: Chessington computer centre in the Treasury; the fisheries enforcement services in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland; and the estates directorate in the Department of Health. This brings the total number of announced agency candidates to 26, in addition to the 31 established agencies.

The Arts

Training Institutes

To ask the Minister for the Arts what support his Department is giving to institutions training actors, actresses and other artistes; and if he will make a statement.

Some training for the stage is provided in higher education institutions funded by the Department of Education and Science through the Universities Funding Council and the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council, and by further education colleges funded by local education authorities. In addition to this general support, the DES makes a direct grant to the Royal Ballet School and the Arts Council funds the National Opera Studio, which provides advanced training for singers. Most professional training for actors and dancers is however provided by independent establishments whose students may receive discretionary awards from their local education authorities.

Energy Efficiency

To ask the Minister for the Arts how much was invested in improving the energy efficiency of his Department in the latest available year.

[holding answer 25 June 1990]: Under the guidance of the Cabinet Office, staff are encouraged to follow simple but effective no-cost measures to help reduce energy wastage. Major investments to improve energy efficiency are the responsibility of Property Holdings and the departments which are the major occupiers of the two buildings in which my office is located.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

China

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements were made or conditions agreed with the Governments of the United States of America and the People's Republic of China which enabled Dr. Fang Li Zhi and his wife to leave the United States embassy in Beijing and enter the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

Following agreement between the United States and Chinese Governments that Dr. Fang should be allowed to leave Peking, Dr. Fang and his wife have been given leave to enter the United Kingdom for an initial period of six months, which can be extended. No special conditions apply to this arrangement. Dr. Fang is a distinguished astrophysicist and intends to pursue his academic work for a time here. We warmly welcome the Chinese Government's decision to allow Dr. Fang and his wife to leave, and are glad that we have been able to contribute to a positive solution to this long-standing problem.

Ivory (Hong Kong)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to ask the Hong Kong authorities to destroy all current stocks of confiscated ivory; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 14 June 1990]: No. This is a matter for the Hong Kong authorities. There is no obligation under CITES regulations to destroy stocks of confiscated ivory.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current total of confiscated ivory now held by the Hong Kong authorities.

[holding answer 14 June 1990]: I refer the hon. Member to my reply of 21 June in which I stated that the current total of confiscated ivory held by the Hong Kong authorities was 2·4 tonnes. There has been no change since then.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why India and Canada are included as countries of export of seized ivory in his reply of 5 June, Official Report, column 472, but are not listed in his reply of 8 May, Official Report, column 25, as being countries of export of ivory seized by the Hong Kong authorities.

[holding answer 14 June 1990]: We are making further inquiries with the Hong Kong authorities. I shall give the hon. Member a substantive answer as soon as possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his reply of 5 June, Official Report, column 472, what are the countries of destination for the 702·5 kg of ivory seized in transit by the Hong Kong authorities.

[holding answer 14 June 1990]: According to the accompanying shipping documents, the intended destination was Macau.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what grounds the Hong Kong authorities seized 15·5 kg of mammoth ivory imported by Lee Chor Mui from Japan, as detailed in his reply of 8 May, Official Report, column 25.

[holding answer 14 June 1990]: The mammoth ivory imported by Lee Chor Mui was seized for further investigation because customs officers initially suspected that it might be elephant ivory. Once the ivory had been examined and confirmed to be mammoth ivory, which is not controlled under CITES, it was returned to Lee Chor Mui.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why no reference was made in his reply of 5 June, Official Report, column 472, to the 15·5 kg of mammoth ivory seized from Lee Chor Mui.

[holding answer 14 June 1990]: No reference was made in my reply of 5 June to the mammoth ivory seized from Lee Chor Mui because imports of mammoth ivory cannot be identified from Hong Kong Government's trade statistics.Moreover, as the ivory in question was not elephant ivory, it did not appear in the import statistics compiled by the CITES management authority.

Education And Science

School Trips (Seat Belts)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he has any plans to make the fitting and wearing of seat belts compulsory in minibuses and coaches used for school trips; and if he will make a statement.

The responsibility for this matter rests with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, who is pursuing possible action.

Musical Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will take steps to protect the level of opportunities for musical education in the light of the current proposals to merge the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music.

The committee which conducted the review of the London music conservatoires was appointed by the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council. The latter has now published the committee's report and invited comment on it by the end of September. It will then be for the council to decide what action to take in the light of the report and of the responses to the consultation on it. My right hon. Friend looks forward to hearing what conclusions the council comes to in due course.It is clear from its terms of reference that in appointing this committee the council had in mind the need

"to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the provision of music education"

in its sector and is seeking to discover how the three London music conservatoires within its aegis

"may be organised so as to train young performing musicians to the highest national and international standard".

Copies of the committee's report have been placed in the Library of both Houses.

School Buses

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what advice he has given to education authorities concerning child safety on school buses; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend works closely with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport on these matters. Two documents have been issued recently. First, "Children and Roads: a Safer Way", which was sent last month to all local education authorities and heads of all schools, sets out the Government's proposals for reducing the number of child casualties on our roads, and includes a section on safer bus travel. Secondly, there is the Department of Transport's consultative document of 6 June, incorporating proposed regulations for distinctive signs on school buses and related safety measures, which has been issued to a large number of interested organisations for comment by 31 August.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to how many children travel to school each day by school bus in each education authority area.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what advice he has given to education authorities concerning the criteria to be applied in determining whether a child qualifies to travel to and from school by school bus.

Local education authorities in England must decide the arrangements they consider necessary to transport pupils to and from school in the light of local circumstances and of the relevant legislation. In 1981, the Department sent a circular letter to education authorities in England giving general guidance on school transport issues. The advice it contains remains current. A copy is in the Library of the House.

Physical Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to announce the membership of the national curriculum working party on physical education; and if he will make a statement.

My right hon. Friend hopes to make an announcement in the near future.

Further Education Colleges

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list those local education authorities which are now operating a system of local financial management for further educaton colleges.

The following local education authorities in England are operating a system of local finanical management for further education colleges.

  • Avon
  • Barking
  • Barnsley
  • Bedfordshire
  • Berkshire
  • Birmingham
  • Bradford
  • Brent
  • Bromley
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Bury
  • Calderdale
  • Cambridgeshire
  • Cheshire
  • Cleveland
  • Cornwall
  • Coventry
  • Croydon
  • Cumbria
  • Derbyshire
  • Devon
  • Doncaster
  • Dorset
  • Dudley
  • Durham
  • East Sussex
  • Enfield
  • Essex
  • Gateshead
  • Gloucestershire
  • Hampshire
  • Haringey
  • Harrow
  • Havering
  • Hereford and Worcester
  • Hertfordshire
  • Hounslow
  • Humberside
  • Isle of Wight
  • Kent
  • Kingston upon Thames
  • Kirklees
  • Knowsley
  • Lancashire
  • Leeds
  • Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle
  • Newham
  • Norfolk
  • Northamptonshire
  • North Tyneside
  • Northumberland
  • North Yorkshire
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Oldham
  • Oxfordshire
  • Redbridge
  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Rochdale
  • Rotherham
  • Salford
  • Sandwell
  • Sefton
  • Sheffield
  • Shropshire
  • Solihull
  • Somerset
  • South Tyneside
  • Staffordshire
  • Stockport
  • Suffolk
  • Surrey
  • Tameside
  • Trafford
  • Wakefield
  • Walsall
  • Waltham Forest
  • Warwickshire
  • West Sussex
  • Wigan
  • Wiltshire
  • Wirral
  • Wolverhampton

Wales

Rural Disadvantage

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what amounts of social policy expenditure have been allocated by his Department, and its agencies, to combat rural disadvantage.

Expenditure is not classified in the way implied by the hon. Gentleman's question. However, by way of example, well over £3 million is being spent by the Welsh Development Agency each year to fund its various rural development measures including the allocation of £1 million a year for the next five years for the development of rural initiatives and venture enterprises—DRIVE. This is expected to generate a further £15 million to £20 million of private sector investment. Tai Cymru aims to allocate £25 million towards the provision of housing in rural areas in Wales in this financial year, which should generate around £7·5 million of private finance. In addition the gross budget for the Development Board for Rural Wales is £19·918 million for 1990–91. The formulae used for the allocation of resources to local authorities and to district health authorities both contain certain elements which recognise the particular needs of rural areas.

Departmental Research (Expenditure)

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the total identifiable expenditure on research by his Department in each year since 1979; what proportion was awarded on a customer-contractor basis; and what proportion of his total departmental budget was expended on research for each year.

All of the expenditure will have been based on the customer-contractor principle, and the information is shown in the table:

Total departmental expenditure on R&D £ millionProportion of departmental budget per cent.
1979–801·10·15
1980–811·10·13
1981–821·60·17
1982–831·60·14
1983–841·30·11
1984–851·60·13
1985–862·60·20
1986–873·50·24
1987–881·90·12
1988–892·00·12

Hospital Laundering

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what capital expenditure has been incurred by health boards on the purchase of new laundering and dry cleaning equipment over the past two years.

Capital expenditure incurred by health authorities on the purchase of laundry and dry cleaning equipment over the last two years for which information is currently available is as follows:

£
1987–88136,243
1988–89701,796

Source: Health authorities annual accounts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what capital expenditure has been incurred on the building of new national health service laundries and the renovation of existing laundry facilities over the last two years;(2) what proportion of the capital expenditure incurred on the purchase of a new laundry and dry cleaning machine and on the construction of new, and renovation of existing, laundry facilities over the past two years was for the creation of additional laundry capacity.

Maternity Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many obstetric beds are available now in Wales, how many were available in each of the past five years; and what are the equivalent figures for each district health authority in Wales.

Details of obstetric beds in district health authorities in Wales for 1988–89, the latest available, and previous years are published in "Hospital Bed Use Statistics", copies of which are in the Library.

Mental Illness

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will make it his policy to allocate resources to support the role of voluntary organisations at a local and national level in Wales in the implementation of the all-Wales strategy for mental illness.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has already allocated resources to voluntary organisations at both national and local level for a variety of purposes connected with the mental illness strategy.

Departmental Publications

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list all working papers, implementation documents, departmental circulars and other publications, whether in draft or final form, that have been issued by his Department to date arising from the National Health Service and Community Care Bill, "Working for Patients", "Caring for People" and associated Government initiatives.

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the comprehensive reply I gave him on 14 March 1990. An updated list of Welsh Office and Department of Health material arising from the National Health Service and Community Care Bill and related White Papers will shortly be placed in the Vote Office and Libraries.

Dhas (Capital Assets)

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give full details of the requirements he has placed on district health authorities in Wales in respect of drawing up a register of their capital assets.

District health authorities in Wales were asked to compile capital asset registers by 31 March 1990. The registers contain details of those assets managed or owned by each authority, including land and buildings, which individually have a value of £1,000 or above or in the case of groups of related assets with individual values of less than £1,000 exceed £250 and are collectively worth more than £1,000. The format of asset registers has not been prescribed but they should contain as a minimum:

  • 1. Asset identification and description.
  • 2. Asset location.
  • 3. Date of acquisition.
  • 4. Method of acquisition.
  • 5. Initial capital expenditure.
  • 6. Expected replacement cost.
  • 7. Expected date of replacement (or end of life).
  • Authorities may, however, wish to include additional information for their own asset management purposes. A comprehensive asset register will enable managers to undertake effective management and utilisation of capital assets as well as providing the basis for capital charging.

    No standard computerised recording system has been prescribed for maintaining and updating asset registers, but most authorities in Wales are using variants of the works information and management system—WIMS.

    Market Research

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list all market research surveys (a) commissioned by his Department or (b) paid for by his Department in the current financial year.

    I shall write to the hon. Gentleman and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

    Project 2000

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) for what purpose the resources originally earmarked for Project 2000 for nurse training in Wales, but which will not now be used for that purpose, will be redirected;(2) what was the original total financial sum earmarked for the implementation of Project 2000 for nurse training in Wales; and what is the latest figure for this purpose.

    The only provision which has been earmarked for the implementation costs of Project 2000 are the resources which have been made available for the current financial year which total £1,493,000. Funding requirements for future years will be subject to the decisions which my right hon. Friend will take on the distribution of his block allocation following this year's public expenditure review.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the original total number of nurses who would be trained each year in Wales under Project 2000; and what is the revised figure.

    The estimated intake of nurses who would have trained in the first year of an all-Wales introduction of Project 2000 courses is as follows:

    Number
    North Wales240
    West Wales359
    South-East Wales590–630
    The decision to phase implementation will stagger these numbers. Traditional nurse training courses will continue to be run to meet the manpower requirements of health authorities until Project 2000 is fully introduced in Wales.

    Prime Minister

    Exchange Rates

    Q6.

    To ask the Prime Minister what recent representations she has received concerning exchange rate policy.

    Human Rights

    Q129.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a further statement on her policy regarding intervention in respect of abuses of human rights in Commonwealth countries.

    Where Commonwealth countries' practice on human rights has given cause for concern, we have made representations as necessary.

    Official Visits

    Q145.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she has any plans to make an official visit to Rugby or Kenilworth.

    Q154.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will make an official visit to Leith.

    Q179.

    To ask the Prime Minister when she next proposes to make an official visit to Disneyland, United States of America.

    Q210.

    To ask the Prime Minister when she next expects to pay an official visit to a skill centre.

    German Unification

    Q156.

    To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions she has held with Chancellor Kohl and other heads of European Community states regarding the representation of Germany, following unification, in the European Parliament; and if she will make a statement.

    The implications for the EC of German unification were discussed at the European Council on 25 and 26 June. It is our aim to achieve integration into the EC of the territory of the former GDR without change to the structure of the Community's institutions.

    Homelessness, London

    Q184.

    To ask the Prime Minister what plans she has to meet organisations representing the homeless in London.

    I have no such plans. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and his ministerial colleagues have regular meetings with voluntary groups working with the homeless, and with local authorities in London and their associations.

    European Court Of Justice

    To ask the Prime Minister when she plans to visit the European Court of Justice.

    Local Authorities

    To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many official visits she has paid to local authorities since May 1979;

    (2) how many meetings she has had with the leaders of the local authority associations since May 1979;

    (3) on how many occasions leaders of the local authority associations have been invited to official hospitality functions at No. 10 Downing street.

    I have met numerous local authority representatives since May 1979, in the course of visiting their counties, towns and rural districts.

    Litter

    To ask the Prime Minister when she intends to implement her policy to introduce a £1,000 fine for dropping litter.

    The maximum fine for dropping and leaving litter will be raised from its present maximum of £400 to £1,000 later this year, two months after Royal Assent of the Environmental Protection Bill. At the same time local authorities will be empowered to introduce schemes involving fixed penalties of £10.

    Legislation

    To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether there is any continuing review of existing legislation to determine whether the law in Scotland and in Northern Ireland should, as far as possible, be the same as in England and Wales (a) overall and (b) in relation to penalties for offences which are covered by different pieces of legislation in the different legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom;(2) whether any automatic review of changes in legislation made in respect of England and Wales is made in order to consider whether the law in Scotland and in Northern Ireland should adopt the England and Wales position.

    When preparing any individual piece of legislation in Scotland or Northern Ireland, related legislation is taken into account.

    Engagements

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 June.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 June.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 June.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 June.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 June.

    To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 28 June.

    This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today, including one with the Governor of Hong Kong.

    Transport

    Coaches And Lorries

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what statistics are collected on tyre failures on coaches and heavy goods vehicles;(2) what information his Department has on trends in the number of tyre failures on coaches and heavy goods vehicles on motorways and major roads.

    The vehicle inspectorate has statistics on those tyre failures on coaches and goods vehicles which it obtains from its own accident investigations and from police and other sources where a safety defect is suspected.Since many tyre failures can occur without serious consequences or accident, these are not always brought to my Department's attention. Our statistics therefore are unable to reflect the actual field situation or failure trends. However, the statistics show that tyre failure was a contributory factor in less than one in every 250 accidents investigated.

    Departmental Research (Expenditure)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the total identifiable expenditure on research by his Department in each year since 1979; what proportion was awarded on a customer-contractor basis; and what proportion of his total departmental budget was expended on research for each year.

    The expenditure on research and development by the Department of Transport is set out in the table, together with the proportion this represents of the Department's total expenditure in the financial years 1979–80 to 1988–89. All research commissioned by the Department is based on the customer-contractor principle.

    Outturn prices
    Financial yearR and D expenditure £ millionPercentage of total DTp expenditure
    1979–8017·83·0
    1980–8121·13·0
    1981–8227·53·0
    1982–8325·92·4
    1983–84127·82·8
    1984–8532·72·7
    1985–86225·02·1
    1986–8724·61·9
    1987–8826·41·9
    1988–8927·01·9
    1 In July 1983, responsibility for air and marine transport was transferred to DTp.
    2 In 1985–86, BR and LRT assumed full responsibility for their own R and D expenditure. Government financial support continued to be provided through the general revenue grants to BR and LRT; but the research elements cannot be separately identified.

    Stockport Bypass

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what technical problems remain to be overcome in the planning and design of the A6(M) Stockport north-south bypass.

    The design of junctions at Offerton road (A627) and Buxton road (A6), and extensive diversions of statutory undertakers' apparatus along the line of the route are among issues to be resolved.

    British Rail (Freight)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from the Railfreight Users Group concerning the adequacy of preparations by British Rail for freight facilities.

    The recently formed Railfreight Users Group has been in touch with us and with British Rail. BR has offered the group an early meeting to discuss its concerns.

    Birkham Wood

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he made of the environmental implications before deciding to route a bypass through Birkham wood; and if he will now re-examine the designated route so as to minimise further the environmental damage.

    The road proposals affecting Birkham wood (Harrogate-Knaresborough southern bypass) have been promoted by North Yorkshire county council. Public local inquiries were held in 1989 to consider the proposals and the inspector has reported to the Secretary of State. At these inquiries evidence on the environmental implications of the route of the bypass through the wood was presented by the Nature Conservancy Council and others. This evidence was summarised in the inspector's report together with the county council's response.An interim decision letter was issued on behalf of the Secretary of State on 23 November 1989 which was concerned with a technical defect in the compulsory purchase order. Once this issue has been resolved the Secretary of State will come to a decision in respect of the orders.

    Channel Tunnel

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much public money is expected to be spent on road improvements connected with the construction of the channel tunnel, up to the end of 1993.

    The trunk road infrastructure to serve cross-channel traffic using either the ports or the channel tunnel, when built, has been put in place progressively over a good many years.In addition to the network now in use, we have currently under construction or in preparation 31 schemes, valued at approximately £588 million at November 1987 prices, to complete or improve the major direct trunk routes concerned; of these, we expect that eight schemes to the value of approximately £268 million will have been provided by the end of 1993.Kent county council has a special package of 10 channel tunnel-related local road schemes, valued at approximately £75 million, which my Department is committed to supporting with transport supplementary grant. I understand that all but one of these schemes are expected to be provided by the end of 1993.

    Mv Marine

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the action that he proposes to take following the publication of the report of the inquiry into the loss of the MV Marine by the Bahamian Government.

    We have received the report and it is being studied by members of my Department, and it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter at this time.

    Railways (Noise)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the names or grades of the members of his working party to study noise levels on railway routes with special reference to the channel tunnel high-speed link and other connecting routes.

    I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my predecessor to my hon. Friend the Member for Faversham (Mr. Moate) on 23 March 1990 at column 777, which gave both the terms of reference of the committee and its composition.

    Street Works Legislation

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he intends to bring forward a Bill to reform present public utilities street works legislation; and if he will make a statement.

    The Government accept that the arrangements for utility street works are in need of reform and intend to bring forward new legislation to implement the main recommendations of the Horne report "Roads and the Utilities". A Bill based on proposals contained in the consultation papers issued by the Department of Transport last year will be introduced as soon as a suitable opportunity can be found.

    Radio Navigation System

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what information he has regarding the current attitude of the Danish authorities towards participation in a civil Loran C marine radio navigation system to cover north-west Europe and the north Atlantic and to the siting of a transmitter station in the Faroes;(2) pursuant to his answer of 25 April,

    Official Report, column 195, to the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Sir D. Price), what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the fishing industry in the United Kingdom of the proposed change from the Decca navigation system to the Loran C system; and what proposals he is considering to assist the industry to meet the costs of the changeover;

    (3) with which countries his Department has discussed the proposal for an international civil Loran C system of marine radio navigation aid to cover north-west Europe and the north Atlantic; and what progress has been made in these discussions;

    (4) what representations he has received from the fishing industry regarding his proposals on the length of transitional period required to convert from the existing Decca navigation system to the Loran C radio navigation system; and if he will make a statement.

    Discussions on the proposed north-west European Loran C system have been undertaken with Canada, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway. Discussions are still proceeding, both on technical issues and on the draft of an international agreement. The Danish authorities have not yet reached a final decision on their participation. A Loran C transmitter already exists in the Faroes. The United Kingdom's continued participation is dependent on a satisfactory agreement being reached within an acceptable time scale.I have received no representations from the fishing industry about the transitional period since my right hon. Friend's announcement in April. This envisaged a period of over three years' joint operation of the Decca and Loran C systems before closure of the Decca service in 1997. The fishing industry had earlier urged the longest possible transition, ideally up to five years.I accept there would be additional costs to users where it proved necessary to replace Decca receivers prematurely. No conclusive forecast can be made of such costs, which depend on a variety of individual circumstances, including the age of receivers and the operating environment. Since six years' notice would be given of the ending of the Decca service, a significant proportion of receivers would be replaced in this period in the normal course of events, whether through wear and tear or more attractive technology. I have no proposals for financial assistance to users to meet the costs of change.

    Clyde Port Authority

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evaluation he has undertaken of the trading or other performance of the Clyde port authority.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the current payments made to the (a) chairman, (b) deputy chairman, (c) board workers and (d) managing director of Clyde port authority.

    According to the authority's accounts for 1989, the annual remuneration received by the chairman was £10,000 and the other non-executive members received £3,500. The highest-paid executive on the board received £48,587 and the two other executive members received between £30,000 and £40,000.

    Vehicle Emissions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to reduce harmful emissions from road vehicles; and if he will make a statement.

    My Department has been active for many years in developing standards to tackle unacceptable vehicle fumes and noise and to secure a move from leaded to unleaded fuel. We have played a key role in securing agreement in the European Community to higher emissions and noise standards, and we have also taken the lead in making improved vehicle construction standards a priority so as to further improve safety.I welcome the interest and co-operation of manufacturers in seeking to develop more environmentally friendly vehicles. However, if they are to continue to reach the standards built into their initial design, vehicles need to be properly maintained and properly tuned. Garages already offer this service to their customers. I have concluded there is a good case for adding a simple emissions check to the MOT test for all petrol-driven cars and light vans, starting next year. My Department is today issuing a consultation paper outlining what is proposed and seeking views. In future, the existing MOT test would include a tuning check. In the same way as the other items in the lest, motorists would need to ensure their vehicle met the test requirements if it were to continue on the road.It is estimated that this proposal should improve fuel consumption and hence carbon dioxide emissions by about 4 per cent. averaged over the 16·5 million cars and light vans in the MOT scheme, with substantially larger benefits to carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions. The net extra cost to motorists should be modest, given compensating benefits through reduced fuel bills. Like everyone else, the motorist will also enjoy the non-financial benefits from lower levels of pollution.We shall also be looking at ways of increasing checks and testing techniques for emissions from heavy goods vehicles and buses, and are working with European colleagues on effective standards for testing vehicles with catalytic converters.

    Select Registration Scheme

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the current timetable for the start of the select registration scheme.

    The select registration scheme will start on 1 October 1990 with the H letter. Buyers of new vehicles after that date will be able to purchase an entitlement to any registration mark from the numerical range 1 to 20, for almost all possible three-letter combinations. The sales scheme will be widely publicised and I have placed copies of the Department's information leaflet in the Library.

    M1 (Lane Closure)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what information he has on the name of the haulage contractor and the goods that were being conveyed on 25 June which caused the closure of two lanes of the M1;(2) if he will call for a report on whether the emergency services were affected by the closure of two lanes of the M 1 on 25 June during the movement of the wide load vehicle; what prior notification they were given; and by whom;(3) who took the decision to permit two lanes of the M 1 to be closed on 25 June for a wide load vehicle; and on what date and time the broadcasting authorities were informed;(4) if he will make it his policy not to permit the closure of two lanes, in daytime, on the motorways for wide load transportation; and if he will make a statement;(5) which section within his Department handles the arrangements for the movement of wide load vehicles on motorways; upon what criteria decisions are based; and who co-ordinates the details;(6) what discussions took place between his Department and the police authorities prior to the closure of two lanes of the M1 on 25 June for an abnormally wide load vehicle.

    The abnormal load in question was a large transformer being transported from Goole docks to Ratcliffe power station in Nottinghamshire. The move was urgent, being necessitated by an electrical breakdown at the power station. In order to reduce the length of the road journey, the transformer was moved from its storage place at Kingsnorth power station on the Thames, by sea to Goole, from where it had to complete its journey by road. The total weight of the transformer and trailer was 377 tonnes, its width was 5·6m and it height 5·25m. The haulier was Abnormal Load Engineering and the move was carried out on behalf of PowerGen.The police were notified at least three days before the move took place and they escorted the vehicles throughout the journey. The local radio stations and the Automobile Association were informed prior to the move. The emergency services were not affected, so far as I am aware. Had they been, the police were on hand to render assistance. I do not consider it necessary to call for a special report in this instance.Movements of this nature have to be authorised in advance by officials in my Department by delegated authority from the Secretary of State. Before authorisation is granted, the necessity for the move is determined and a suitable route is worked out between my officials, all the police forces and all the highway and bridge authorities concerned. This route is issued to the haulier and all the relevant authorities and must be followed in detail. When the route has been agreed and issued, the special order authorising the move is made and circulated. In this case the route had already been worked out, as is often the case for routes from port to power station, so it was necessary only to obtain confirmation from all concerned that it was still suitable. The order was then signed and issued on 22 June by the special order section in the vehicle standards and engineering division of my Department.The actual timing of a move such as this is determined by the police. They have the local knowledge to decide the best timing for minimising danger to other road users. In general, they consider that it is less dangerous to encounter a large, slow-moving vehicle in daylight, but they do appreciate that congestion is likely to be worse in the daytime and I understand that they are currently reviewing this policy. I do not consider it appropriate to interfere in this matter.

    Trade And Industry

    National Quality Award

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to his answer of 30 April, Official Report, column 386, on a national quality award, if he will outline his reasons for the reply given.

    To encourage firms to improve quality we provide support for consultancy under the enterprise initiative and advice under the "Managing into the '90s" programme. Other activities are undertaken by a variety of outside organisations, including the British Quality Association, which runs its own British quality awards scheme aimed at heightening awareness of the importance of quality. We do not believe that it is necessary for the Government to create an additional award scheme.

    Foundries

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many United Kingdom foundries closed in 1989; and how many are still in production.

    The Business Statistics Office's figures for the number of foundries which were in production in 1989 will not be available until towards the end of this year. The comparable figure for 1988 was published in table 8 of the Central Statistical Office "Business Monitor" report on the census of production 1988—PA311.

    Industry Act 1980

    To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when he last made use of his powers under section 3(2)(a) of the Industry Act 1980.

    As reported to Parliament, in the summer supplementary estimates on class V vote 1, on 14 July 1988 my predecessor used his powers under section 3(2)(a)of the Industry Act 1980 to purchase a security in Rover Group plc for £547 million, following the agreement reached with British Aerospace plc, and approved by the European Commission, for the sale of the Government shareholding in Rover Group plc.Details of my predecessor's use of section 3 of the Industry Act 1980 are given in reports under section 3(4) of that Act which have been placed in the Library today. I regret that, due to an administrative error, the reports were not laid before the House earlier.

    Health

    Voluntary Organisations

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will provide a breakdown of the awards given to voluntary organisations under section 64 procedures for the financial years 1988–89 and 1989–90 into (a) awards for project funding and (b) core funding grants.

    Our general scheme of grants under section 64 provides core grants to national voluntary organisations to assist with their administration costs; project grants to support discrete projects which are experimental or innovative; and a small number of capital grants. A breakdown of grants awarded in 1988–89 and 1989–90 has been placed in the Library.

    Mentally Ill Adolescents

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will visit the adolescent unit for the mentally ill in Nottingham district health authority.

    My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State has no plans to do so.

    Community Health Councils

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on procedures for funding community health councils.

    Regional health authorities, RHAs, as establishing authorities for community health councils, CHCs, have a duty to pay CHCs' expenses which the RHAs consider the CHCs have reasonably incurred. How they go about doing so is for each RHA to decide.

    Nhs Doctors

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what has been the percentage change in the number of doctors within the national health service per 100,000 of population since 1979.

    The requested information is given in the table.

    Hospital and community health service medical staff and general medical practitioners in England
    19791988
    Doctors61,554·070,995·0
    Population46,396·147,536·3
    Doctors per 100,000132·7149·3
    Percentage change 1979–8812·6
    Figures include permanent paid and honorary staff but exclude hospital practitioners and clinical assistants.

    Disabled People (Legislation)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to implement sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986 without delay.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any plans to implement the remaining sections of the Disabled Persons Act (Services, Consultation and Representation) 1986 within the next two years.

    Decisions cannot be taken on the implementation of these sections of the Act until we have established their resource and service implications. We are still awaiting cost estimates from the local authority associations.

    Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many staff, broken down into category, were employed at Stepping Hill hospital, Stockport on (a) 1 June 1979 and (b) 1 June 1989.

    This information is not held centrally. My hon. Friend may wish to contact the chairman of Stockport health authority for the details.

    Maternity Services

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many obstetrics beds are available now in each regional health authority in England; and how many were available in each of the past five years.

    The latest information on numbers of beds available daily in maternity wards for each year from 1983 is contained in "Summary of bed availability, England 1988/89" a copy of which is in the Library. Information is no longer collected centrally on bed availability by clinical specialty.

    Public Works

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action has been taken by his Department to advise regional or district health authorities of the requirements of EC public works directive 89/440/EEC.

    A copy of the works directive which was adopted by the EC in July 1989 was sent to regional health authorities on 22 February 1990. Preliminary guidance indicating the main changes to the earlier works directive was issued to regional and district health authorities on 30 March. Detailed guidance was issued to regional and district health authorities under cover of an executive letter (EL(90)MB/114) on 6 June; copies are available in the Library.

    Project 2000

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the original sum of money earmarked for the implementation of Project 2000 in England; and what is the latest estimated figure for his purpose.

    The implementation of Project 2000 in England is to be phased in over a number of years. A total of £38 million has been earmarked and made available for 1989–90 and 1990–91. This will mean that between 1990 and April 1991 the number of Project 2000 places available will have doubled to 20,000–40 per cent. of all nurse training places. Additional funding will be made available in future years against the background of other competing needs.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how the European Community directive on nurse training, due to be implemented by October 1991, will be achieved in the light of delays in the target dates relating to Project 2000; and if he will make resources available to meet the 40 weeks of theory training required by the directive.

    Implementation of EC directive 89/595/EEC amending EC directive 77/453/EEC is a matter for the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, which is the competent authority of the nursing professions in the United Kingdom. We have never set a target date for full implementation of Project 2000 in England.

    Health Authority Staff

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he will take to prevent a conflict of interest arising from district health authority staff preparing contracts with a self-governing trust which may subsequently employ them.

    It is for health authorities to ensure that conflicts of interest between the purchasing and providing roles do not occur and to determine any mechanisms to prevent this from happening.

    Hearing Aids

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the average waiting time for fitting hearing aids to national health service patients with hearing difficulties by the Hearing Aid Centre; and what was the waiting time five years ago.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is being done to reduce the waiting time for national health service patients needing a hearing aid fitted by the Hearing Aid Centre.

    The Department is funding a pilot scheme, to start later this year, which is aimed at reducing waiting times for hearing aid services. Details of the scheme are contained in a consultation paper issued by the Department in April. A copy of the paper has been placed in the Library.

    Energy

    Government Publicity And Advertising

    To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether the Government conventions on publicity and advertising have been revised, in view of his new responsibilities for co-ordinating the development of the presentation of Government policies.

    The conventions on Government publicity and advertising have been revised to reflect the changes in ministerial responsibility. There is no change in the substance of the conventions. I am arranging for a copy to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

    Overseas Development

    Departmental Research (Expenditure)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the total identifiable expenditure on research by his Department in each year since 1979; what proportion was awarded on a customer-contractor basis; and what proportion of his total departmental budget was expended on research for each year.

    Identifiable expenditure on research in the diplomatic and aid wings of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is shown in the tables. The diplomatic wing's research expenditure accounts for up to 0·5 per cent. of its departmental running costs. Comparable figures for years prior to 1984–85 are not available. A small additional amount of research was commissioned outside the FCO. For the ODA, research expenditure now normally accounts for over 2·5 per cent. of total departmental expenditure. It is now ODA's policy to commission research on a customer-contractor basis with specified aims and objectives, as exemplified by the new renewable natural resources research strategy. For neither wing is information available on the proportion of research undertaken on a customer-contractor basis.

    (I) Diplomatic wing: Expenditure on research 1984–85 to 1988–89
    £ million
    1984–851·8
    1985–862·0
    1986–872·1
    1987–882·3
    1988–892·5
    (ii) Aid wing: Expenditure on research 1979–89
    Year£'000as percent of total ODA expenditure
    197919,9962·1
    198022,0012·3
    198122,2571·9
    198223,0422·1
    198327,6102·4
    198426,0572·0
    198527,8742·1
    198631,1432·5
    198738,0732·9
    198849,4823·0
    1198945,9952·6
    1 1989 figures are provisional.

    Aid Targets

    To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has anything to add to the oral reply given by the Minister for Overseas Development on 18 June, Official Report, column 680, on meeting gross national product, official development assistance targets.

    I much regret that my reply to the hon. Member for Clwyd, South-West (Mr. Jones) contained an inadvertent error. I meant to say

    "we aim to meet those targets".
    As hon. and right hon. Members may be already aware, whereas we have met the 1 per cent. of GNP target for total flows in six out of the last 10 years, we have not met the 0·15 per cent. of GNP target for official development assistance to the least-developed countries.

    Environment

    Global Warming

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps are being taken to investigate the use of the sea as a carbon sink to mitigate the effects upon global warming of carbon dioxide releases.

    Intensive research is being carried out both nationally and internationally to understand the role of the oceans in the carbon cycle. The United Kingdom is contributing to this through the Natural Environment Research Council's biogeochemical ocean flux programme which is currently investigating the uptake of carbon dioxide by plankton in the north Atlantic.

    Climate Change

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what papers were presented by civil servants from his Department or consultants to his Department at the meeting of the United Nations intergovernmental panel on climate change on 18 to 20 May.

    Local Government Finance

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans his Department has to allow teachers to pay the community charge on behalf of those from overseas countries with whom they are involved in exchange schemes.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether all those aged 18 years and over who are in full-time secondary education are wholly exempt from the community charge;(2) whether those leaving full-time secondary education with conditional or unconditional offers of places at institutions of higher or further education are regarded

    (a) as students for the purposes of the community charge between their dates of leaving secondary education and their date of starting higher or further education, or (b) as adults eligible for community charge benefit during this period;

    (3) whether the liability of those aged 18 years and over who were in full-time secondary education to pay the community charge commences from the date of their leaving their secondary schools.

    The majority of those who leave secondary education at the age of 18 will be covered by the exemption from the personal community charge for those in respect of whom child benefit is paid, or would be paid but for the fact the person is in care, and may continue to be exempt for some time after their courses have ended. Those aged under 20 years of age and who are undertaking a qualifying course of education, other than as a result of a post or employment held, are exempt until the end of the course or until they reach their 20th birthday, whichever is the earlier. Qualifying courses for the purposes of this exemption are defined by the Personal Community Charge (Qualifying Courses of Education) Regulations 1990—S.I. 1990/712—which exclude courses of higher education.

    Ward weighted densityAll ages social index
    Indicator valueWeight times indicator £ millionIndicator valueWeight times indicator £ million
    Kent
    Ashford2·143511·057-2·6277-1·187
    Canterbury1·545251·071-1·7101-1·085
    Dartford2·217970·907-1·8458-0·691
    Dover1·961761·106-1·2363-0·638
    Gillingham4·265232·041-1·0305-0·451
    Gravesham3·129881·421-0·5169-0·215
    Maidstone2·145071·516-1·8742-1·212
    Rochester upon Medway3·426812·632-0·4010-0·282
    Sevenoaks0·946950·514-3·2050-1·592
    Shepway2·124670·976-0·8121-0·342
    Swale1·439870·857-1·2630-0·680
    Thanet3·205912·1780·20600·128
    Tonbridge and Malling1·145400·607-2·8119-1·364
    Tunbridge Wells1·543200·802-1·2322-0·586

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to amend the Community Charges (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1989, regulation 62, so that the three-month period of grace dates from 1 April 1990 rather than from any earlier date.

    I am reviewing the operation of the standard charge. Many people whose property was empty and unfurnished before 1 April 1990 will have benefited from either not having to pay any rates at all or paying lower unoccupied property rates.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will reconsider the standard spending assessment for Brighton and other holiday and conference resorts using the additional information which is becoming available on the extra burdens they face.

    I have made it clear that I am willing to consider any fresh evidence on SSAs with a view to making future changes if that should prove necessary. Any information provided by Brighton or any other local authority in this context will be given full consideration.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the authorities which benefited in their standard spending assessment and revenue grant allocation from a consideration of the impact of daily population increases.

    Entitlement to the 20 per cent. payable by students starts when a person is enrolled on a full-time course of education, as defined for the purposes of the community charge, and has begun to attend it. In the intervening period a person will be registered for the full personal community charge but may be eligible for community charge benefit of up to 80 per cent. of the charge set.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each district council in Kent, in respect of ward weighted density and the all ages social index, the values of indicators defined in annex A to the revenue support grant distribution report (England), and the amounts produced for each district council by applying the weights set out in paragraph 3·36(a) of that report, to those values.

    The values of the indicators and the amounts produced by applying the relevant weights are set out in the table.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave him to this same question on 4 April, Official Report, column 666.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the specific and supplementary grants to be paid to local authorities in 1990–91 showing in each case (a) the name of the grant, (b) the purpose of the grant, (c) the sponsoring Department, (d) the amount of grant, (e) the method of calculation of individual authorities' entitlements, including the percentage of expenditure grant-aided and any conditions attached to the grant, (f) when the principles and operation of the grant were last reviewed, and the conclusions of those reviews, (g) whether the grant is included within aggregate external finance and (h) whether the grant is for capital and/or revenue expenditure.

    I refer the hon. Gentleman to chapter 21 of "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1990/91 to 1992/93"—Cm 1021—tables 21·4·3, 21·4·4. and 21·4·5 which, respectively, list revenue grants within and without aggregate external finance, and capital grants. The various departmental chapters provide details on the principles and operation of individual grants. If he has particular concerns I am sure the Departments concerned will be pleased to help.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what additional assistance was given in calculating standard spending assessment and grant to Westminster city council on account of its daily population figure; and if he will set out the criteria used on arriving at that sum.

    I refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave to him on 4 April of this year when he asked a very similar question.

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much was the total level of local government spending in each of the last five years including the current year.

    [holding answer 27 June 1990]: The information is as follows. New definitions of local government spending were introduced in 1990–91 and comparable information for years prior to 1989–90 is not available. For years 1986–87 to 1989–90 (budgets) expenditure is defined as total expenditure gross of specific and supplementary grants and for 1989–90 (provisional outturn) and 1990–91 expenditure is defined as revenue expenditure, the measure equivalent to total standard spending.

    Local government expenditure
    £ million
    1986–8726,629
    1987–8828,943
    1988–8931,334
    1989–901 334,317
    1989–902 432,100
    1990–91336,600
    1 Including an adjustment for polytechnics (not in the local authority sector in 1989–90) to make the series up to and including 1989–90 comparable.
    2 After adjusting for system changes to make the 1989–90 provisional outturn estimates comparable to 1990–91 budgets.
    3 Budget.
    4 Provisional outturn.

    Local Services (Tendering)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the response by local authorities to circular 7/90 regarding tender documents for public supply and works contracts.

    Circular 7/90 reminds local authorities in greater detail of their obligations under the treaty of Rome and the EC works and supplies contract directives, set out in DOE circulars 59/73 and 6/89, and imposes no new or added responsibilities or burdens.The Department has had a small number of telephone inquiries from local authorities on the application of tender specifications to particular contracts.

    Inland Revenue Office, Cumbernauld

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the cost to date of the refurbishment and new construction work currently being carried out at the Inland Revenue office in Cumbernauld.

    The refurbishment work, which started in December 1988, has so far cost £2·5 million. There is no new construction.

    Nature Conservancy Council

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the report, "Strategic Roll-Forward Submission 1991–92", prepared by PE International plc, concerning the Nature Conservancy Council.

    This report is a management document commissioned to assist the NCC in preparing its proposed forward plans. It is not suitable for publication. In line with past practice, the Nature Conservancy Council's corporate plan for 1990–91 will be published later this summer.

    Local Authorities (Company Interests)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the implementation of part V of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989: local authority interests in companies.

    In view of various points which have arisen on the drafts of the orders which we circulated for comment, we have concluded that it would be right to postpone the coming into force of those orders from 1 July 1990. I shall set a new date as soon as possible.

    Bulk Materials (Transport)

    To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on his current policy in respect of imposing conditions in planning permissions which restrict the dispatch of bulk materials to rail transport, in circumstances where the volume to be dispatched from the site may be large, the number of destinations is few and the environmental damage to communities affected by the road transport of the material is likely to be insignificant.

    [holding answer 25 June 1990]: The Government's policy on the imposition of conditions on the grant of planning permission is that they should be imposed only where they are necessary; relevant to planning; relevant to the development to be permitted; enforceable; precise; and reasonable in all other respects. A key test is whether planning permission would have to be refused if the condition were not to be imposed. A condition may be invalid if it is unduly restrictive. Whether it may be appropriate to impose a condition to restrict the mode of transport of bulk materials to and from a site will depend upon the particular circumstances of an individual case, and is a matter for the local planning authority in the first instance.

    Attorney-General

    Costs

    To ask the Attorney-General if he will give details of the costs out of public funds ordered by the courts in each of the years from 1986 to 1990.

    Courts may order costs out of public funds in two circumstances. In civil proceedings where one of the parties is legally aided, the court can award costs against the legal aid fund in favour of a successful non-legally aided party. In criminal proceedings the court can order the costs of a defendant or a private prosecutor to be paid from central funds. The information requested is collected on a financial year basis and for the years in question is as follows:

    £ million
    1986–871987–881988–891989–90
    Costs of successful non-legally aided parties0·2800·2270·4460·524
    Costs from Central Funds:
    Orders made in Magistrates Courts11·0503·0823·8251
    Orders made in Crown Court and higher courts30·5224·3804·0474·751
    Total41·8527·6898·3185·275
    1 This information is not yet available.

    Solicitors (Professional Negligence)

    To ask the Attorney-General what information he has as to in which European countries solicitors and barristers or their equivalent are liable to be sued for professional negligence.

    The Government do not hold information about the liability for professional negligence of lawyers practising in other European countries.

    Land Registry

    To ask the Attorney-General when Her Majesty's Land Registry is to be established as an executive agency.

    Further to my answer to my hon. Friend on 5 April 1990 at column 725, I am pleased to confirm that the Lord Chancellor will establish the Land Registry as an executive agency on Monday 2 July 1990. I have arranged for the Land Registry's framework document to be placed in the Library. Performance indicators for the Land Registry are set out in the framework document.The Land Registry has made significant progress in recent times in improving its productivity and its quality of service, both in terms of speed and accuracy. The performance targets set for the registry will require it to continue this improvement. The key productivity target is to reduce unit costs in real terms by 6 per cent. over the three financial years from 1 April 1991. Over the same period, the average length of time to finalise post-completion applications, which in December 1988 stood at 15·5 weeks is to be reduced to five weeks. The handling of pre-completion applications, which are more time-sensitive as they are part of the conveyancing process, will also be expedited with the proportion of applications dealt with within four days being increased from 90 per cent. at present to 92 per cent. in 1994. Targets have also been set increasing the already high percentage of error-free handling of applications.An open competition is currently being held for the selection of a person to be appointed as chief land registrar and chief executive of the agency to succeed the current chief land registrar, John Pryer CB, following his forthcoming retirement.

    Scotland

    Foodstuffs (Toxic Chemicals)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what tests are applied to ascertain residue levels of toxic chemicals in imported foodstuffs from (a) eastern Europe, (b) the European Common Market and (c) the rest of the world; how many tests were carried out in each of the past five years and on what types of foods; and what changes he intends to make in this system.

    Imported foodstuffs are examined for a wide range of potentially toxic substances such as heavy metals, natural toxins and environmental contaminants. Information on the surveillance of food imports is included in reports of the Government's steering group on food surveillance, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. District and islands councils in Scotland undertake testing of imported food as enforcement authorities but related statistics are not held centrally.

    Rural Solicitors

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultations he has held with the Law Society of Scotland or representatives of faculties of solicitors on the future of rural practices since 12 June.

    There have been a number of informal discussions with the Law Society of Scotland about the Government's conveyancing proposals.

    Student Grants

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what advice he has given to Strathclyde regional council concerning the payment of grants to students undertaking courses provided by other education authorities; and if he will make a statement.

    None. My right hon. and learned Friend is responsible for providing financial support for students attending full-time degree and equivalent level courses. Financial support for students attending other full-time and all part-time courses is the responsibility of the education authorities under their bursaries arrangements. These bursaries are awarded to students at the discretion of the education authorities and I have no power to intervene.

    Elderly People

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the amount an elderly couple needs to spend every week on food to maintain a healthy diet; and if he will make a statement.

    None. Given variations in individuals' dietary requirements and the cost of food it is not feasible to make such an assessment.

    Scottish Consumer Council

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the relationship of his Department to the Scottish Consumer Council; and if he will make a statement.

    Direct responsibility between the Government and the Scottish Consumer Council rests with the Department of Trade and Industry.My colleagues and I do, however, meet the council from time to time to discuss matters of common interest, and welcome its comments on relevant aspects of Government policy.

    Nursery Education

    To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the Government intend to make the provision of nursery education in Scotland compulsory; and if he will make a statement.

    The Government have no plans to impose a duty on education authorities to provide nursery education. Authorities are best placed to decide the extent of pre-school provision appropriate for their area having regard to local circumstances and competing priorities.

    Local Government Finance