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Mr. Viggers : Detailed negotiations are under way with two companies which have submitted proposals for the acquisition of Harland and Wolff-- both involving orders for new ships. I have also had discussions with the
Column 47chairman of the company and his colleagues about the basis for a possible management/employee buy-out. Details of these discussions are commercially confidential.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he proposes to make special provision of fuel stocks for use by local authorities in utilising cremation as a means of disposal of the dead in the event of war ; and if he will make a statement.
Prior to 1988, figures are available only for the dates shown.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what initiatives he proposes taking to relieve the pressure on local people in rural parts of Wales who are experiencing difficulties in securing houses within their own communities, for renting or for purchase, because of the price increases during 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Grist : We propose to increase to £1 million the funds available to local authorities in rural areas with a high concentration of second homes to purchase homes for sale or rent to local people. In addition Housing for Wales will devote a substantial proportion of its development programme to rural areas.
Mr. Franks : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list in the Official Report (a) the actual and (b) the percentage fall in unemployment from August 1983 to August 1988 in each parliamentary constituency in Clwyd, Gwynedd and Powys.
Column 48Total unemployed claimants<1> |August 1983 |August 1988 |Actual change |Percentage change ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Clwyd Alyn and Deeside |4,684 |2,811 |-1,873 |-40.0 Clwyd North West |3,888 |3,721 |-167 |-4.3 Clwyd South West |3,549 |2,667 |-882 |-24.9 Delyn |4,969 |3,066 |-1,903 |-38.3 Wrexham |5,095 |3,152 |-1,943 |-38.1 Gwynedd Caernarfon |2,929 |2,571 |-358 |-12.2 Conwy |2,937 |2,812 |-125 |-4.3 Meirionnydd Nant Conwy |1,434 |1,217 |-217 |-15.1 Ynys Mon |4,009 |3,647 |-362 |-9.0 Powys Brecon and Radnor |2,050 |1,735 |-315 |-15.4 Montgomery |1,886 |1,404 |-482 |-25.6 Source: Department of Employment. <1> The figures are affected by a change in the compilation of the unemployment statistics in March 1986 to reduce over-recording.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what additional postage costs have been incurred by the Inland Revenue since 1 January, by issuing tax assessments to agents in separate envelopes rather than in bulk.
The Department has plans to utilise automatic mail handling equipment that will bring most agents' copies together, though it is unlikely that the new arrangements will be in place before 1990.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate costs previously claimed by woodland owners as maintenance expenses incurred in their woodland activities which were offset against income derived from other schedule D sources in Scotland and in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Brooke : The council considered the European Parliament's amendments and modifications to the 1989 draft budget established on 26 July at columns 500-01 ; and the Commission's proposed amending letter. The revised draft budget to which the council agreed totalled 46,190 mecu (about £32,100 million) in commitments and 44,668 mecu (about £31,050 million) in payments.
As regards non-compulsory expenditure, the council accepted amendments totalling 109 mecu (about £75 million) in commitments and 96 mecu (about £65 million) in
Column 49payments (around one third of the total increases proposed by the Parliament at its first reading of the budget on 27 October). Only a small part of the amendments to which the council agreed were for "privileged" expenditure (the structural funds, the R and D framework programme and the integrated Mediterranean programmes). The bulk were for other, "non-privileged" non-compulsory expenditure. The overall growth of this form of expenditure in the revised draft budget by comparison with 1988 is 5.6 per cent. in commitment and 5.4 per cent. in payments, somewhat below the calculated maximum rate of 5.8 per cent. communicated by the Commission at the beginning of the budget procedure.
As regards compulsory expenditure, the council established an amending letter which, amongst other things, reduces the total provision for agricultural guarantee expenditure in the 1989 draft budget by 1,366 mecu (about £950 million) and increases the United Kingdom's abatement in 1989 under the Fontainebleau mechanism by 50 mecu (about £35 million).
Taking all of these factors together, the revised draft budget is around 2,200 mecu (about £1,500 million) below the overall ceiling in the financial perspective attached to the inter-institutional agreement (IIA) between the council, the Parliament and the Commission.
The council also agreed the basis on which it would enter into a process of co-decision with the European Parliament under article 203(9) of the Treaty to agree the overall growth of non-compulsory expenditure at the time of the Parliament's second reading of the budget in the week beginning 12 December.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what amount was reclaimed from his Office for expenditure incurred by Her Majesty's Embassies and High Commissions arising from ministerial visits abroad in the last financial year.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service in what form his Office maintains details of amounts reclaimed by Her Majesty's Embassies and High Commissions for costs arising from ministerial visits abroad.
Mr. Luce : Public disclosures of the responses to the Green Paper is a matter for those who replied : some have chosen to publish their answers. As I said in reply to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms. Walley) on
Column 507 November 1988 at column 14, I will in due course make a statement in the House on the representations made to me.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) further to the Government's reply to the third report from the Defence Committee, House of Commons Paper 674, how long a delay in a development programme must be before it is considered significant enough to report to the Defence Committee ;
(2) what other criteria, apart from the length of time, are considered when deciding whether or not to inform the Defence Committee of delays in development programmes.
Mr. Sainsbury : A major project statement (MPS) is sent each year to the Public Accounts Committee and the Defence Committee, giving details of in-service dates and development and production costs of major defence equipments. In addition, the first in an annual series of defence equipment project reports (DEPR), containing information of a similar character, was sent to the Defence Committee last May. The primary criterion for inclusion of an individual equipment item in either document is whether it exceeds a cost threshold : length of delay in a development programme has no bearing on inclusion or exclusion. For fuller descriptions of these documents I would refer the hon. Member to HC371 pages 18-22 as regards the MPS and HC340 page xxxiii as regards the DEPR.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when he decided to commission the British Nuclear Fuels' audit of the capital works programme at Aldermaston and Burghfield, which reported in February 1986; and why he decided to commission this report ; (2) when he agreed that the controller R & D establishments research and nuclear programmes should carry out a review of 32 AWRE projects ; and why he decided to commission this report.
Mr. Sainsbury : Following indications that the estimated total cost of the AWE capital programme was rising and that slippage was forecast, MoD Ministers endorsed a limited independent programme audit by British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. (BNFL) in November 1985. The BNFL report was received by my Department on 7 March 1986. In the light of this Ministers subsequently agreed that the controller establishments and research and nuclear programmes should carry out a review of a wider group of 32 AWE capital and works projects. The reasons for the review are given in detail in paragraph 10--appendix 4 to the Comptroller and Auditor General's report on the "Control and Management of the Trident Programme" (HC 27).
Mr. Sainsbury : The report by the defence research study team into the feasibility of establishing the non-nuclear defence research establishments as an executive agency was submitted in the summer. We are now considering the way ahead in the light of its conclusions and recommendations. This will include the question of publication of the report.
Mr. Sainsbury : The report examined the potential for using the private sector in the work of the Defence statistics organisation. It represented a preliminary stage in the process leading towards a full feasibility study. It is not appropriate to publish such an internal advisory document.
Mr. Allan Rogers : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the value of the two contracts placed with Ferranti for the development of battlefield lasers capable of inflicting damage on optical sensors ; when the contracts were placed ; and if these contracts specify that the lasers should be capable of inflicting temporary damage to the human eyeball.
Mr. Sainsbury : The contract placed wth Ferranti Defence Systems covers investigation of laser technology alone and does not specify the requirement to inflict any damage, temporary or permanent, on any sensor, including the human eyeball. The contract was placed in 1982 but its terms and value are a commercial matter between the Department and Ferranti.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department has carried out or commissioned research into the psychological difficulties likely to be experienced by those involved in mass burials in the event of war ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : There has not been any research into the psychological difficulties likely to be experienced by those involved in mass burials in the event of war. The effects upon those individuals suffering from post traumatic stress disorder following their experiences in all aspects of the Falklands campaign have been observed.
It was agreed that bodies of service personnel killed in action should in the first instance, and in accordance with established practice, be buried locally. The question of later burial in military cemeteries close to the battle areas, or of repatriation of the bodies, will be decided after the cessation of hostilities.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements exist in his Department for the provision of military assistance to local authorities for the disposal of the dead in the event of war.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : No troops are specifically allocated to undertake military aid to civil authorities. In the event of war, any requests by local authorities for the provision of military assistance to carry out tasks in the community would be considered in the light of the circumstances and availability of resources at the time.
Mr. Warren : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will be issuing a report on the air miss between aircraft of British Airways and Bulgarian Ailines which occurred on 6 February ; and if he intends to make a statement to the House.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : In accordance with the regulations, a draft of the report has been sent by the air accident investigation branch, in confidence, to those persons whose reputations might be adversely affected by it, to give them an opportunity to make representations to the inspector.
The Chief Inspector of Accidents expects to present the report to the Secretary of State by early in the new year. The report should be published a few weeks thereafter, provided there is no review board requested by affected persons.
Column 53transportation survey model have been laid down in respect of the consultants for the London assessment studies.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received concerning the London assessment studies ; and when he expects to make a statement on future road planning for London.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : We have received representations on various aspects of the assessment studies from the London local authority associations, the London Planning Advisory Committee, individual local authorities, national organisations with an interest in transport matters, amenity groups, residents associations, and members of the public.
The consultants are due to submit their reports in summer 1989. There will then be an opportunity for public comment before any decisions are taken.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport from how many companies and consortia of companies bids have been invited to pre -qualify for the financing and construction of a new railway link between London and the Channel tunnel by the private sector ; and if he will make a statement on the progress with this initiative.
Mr. Portillo : I understand that the British Railways Board's invitation is a general one which has not been restricted to particular companies or consortia. Interest has been expressed by a number of companies, but no firm applications have yet been received by the board. The deadline for applications is the end of January 1989.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether, if British Rail's proposed high-speed line between London and the Channel tunnel is financed in the public sector, the cost of the associated environmental works will form part of the capital cost of the project for the purpose of calculating the rate of return.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what evidence he has of the existence and location of large areas of deoxygenated water in the seas around Britain and of the causes of this condition ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the United Kingdom intervention price for cereals would have been at 1988 values, for each year 1975 to 1988 if there had been no green pound disparity.
Mr. Ryder : The table sets out the prices at which feed quality wheat would have been bought into intervention in the United Kingdom if it is assumed that common agricultural prices had been converted at the market rate of exchange for the pound sterling obtaining at the beginning of the marketing year. These prices have been converted to 1988 values using the GDP deflator.Marketing year beginning in |<1>£ per tonne --------------------------------------------- 1975 |154 1976 |169 1977 |180 1978 |176 1979 |175 1980 |152 1981 |133 1982 |133 1983 |134 1984 |136 1985 |120 1986 |129 1987 |131 1988 |114 <1> (rounded to nearest £). Note: Basic co-responsibility levy has been deducted from 1986: the full additional co-responsibility levy has been deducted in 1988, though in practice producers will receive some refund of this. The amount of levy deducted, per tonne in 1988 values, is as follows: 1986, £4.20; 1987, £4.57; 1988, £8.19.
co-responsibility levy, where applicable, which would have been deductable.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what he anticipates will be (a) the United Kingdom and (b) total European Economic Community intervention stocks of cereals at 1 January 1989.
Mr. Ryder : At 13 November 1988 the quantity of unsold intervention stocks held in the Community was 9.9 million tonnes of which 1.4 million tonnes was held in the United Kingdom. I cannot forecast possible changes in these stocks by 1 January, but a note setting out the volume of intervention stocks in the United Kingdom and the EEC is deposited in the Library of the House and is updated monthly.
Mr. Paice : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the current annual consumption in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) the European Economic Community of (i) cereals produced within the European Economic Community and (ii) cereals imported from outside the European Economic Community.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his Department has carried out or commissioned research into the mass cremation of animal corpses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Donald Thompson : My Department has gained experience of the mass cremation of animal corpses in dealing with disease but has not carried out or commissioned any specific research into the matter.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement regarding the prevention of pollution of food supplies arising from the disposal of the dead in the event of war.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he intends to review the amount agencies charge the National Health Service for hiring medical staff for work in hospitals or as locums ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Mellor : No. Health authorities may have to pay over 120 per cent. more for an agency doctor than they would for an NHS-employed doctor doing the same job. The spending on agency staff increased from £26.3 million in 1984-85 to an estimated £32.2 million in the current year. I have today told health authorities that the amount that they can pay agencies supplying locums will be pegged at 1987-88 levels. This will save some £750,000 in England this financial year. I am consulting health authorities, the medical profession and the agencies about proposals designed to produce further savings in future years.
Mr. John Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will list by regional health authority (a) the number of 65 to 70 year olds receiving National Health Service care and (b) the number of 65 to 70 year olds receiving private sector care ;
Column 58(2) if he will list by regional health authority (a) the number of 70 to 75 year olds receiving National Health Service care and (b) the number of 70 to 75 year olds receiving private sector care ; (3) if he will list by regional health authority (a) the number of 75 to 80 year olds receiving National Health Service care and (b) the number of 75 to 80 year olds receiving private sector care ; (4) if he will list by regional health authority (a) the number of 80 to 85 year olds receiving National Health Service care and (b) the number of 80 to 85 year olds receiving private sector care ; (5) if he will list by regional health authority (a) the number of people over 85 years old receiving National Health Service care and (b) the number of people over 85 years old receiving private sector care.