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Mr. Grist : My right hon. Friend's decisions on the grant entitlement of all Welsh local authorities for 1987-88, based on the information known to him and using amount of total expenditure determined in accordance with the provisions of section 1 of and schedule 1 to the Rate Support Grants Act 1988, are set out in the Welsh Rate Support Grant Supplementary (No. 2) Report 1987-88, laid before the House on 8 December. It remains open to all authorities to make further representations as to the total expenditure figures used in calculating their grant entitlement. If my right hon. Friend is able to agree that, under the provisions of the Act, a different amount of total expenditure should be used for an authority, that authority's grant entitlement will be recalculated accordingly.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his policy on local authorities planning their spending ahead in accordance with the details and information provided by him in formal statements to the House and in official communications from his officials to those authorities.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his replies to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) of 30 November, Official Report, columns 310-16, to what causes he attributes the disproportionately high rate of refusals to applicants in Bangladesh ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : The causes remain those identified in paragraphs 31 to 37 of the Home Affairs Committee's second report on immigration from the Indian sub-continent, Session 1985-86, (House of Commons Paper 67-I).
Mr. Waldegrave : Mr. Cimini was transferred on 8 December 1988 to the United Kingdom under the provisions of the Council of Europe convention on the transfer of sentenced persons, which came into force for Turkey on 1 January 1988. During his time in prison, Mr. Cimini received monthly consular visits.
Her Majesty's embassy, Ankara, liaised with Turkish and British authorities over Mr. Cimini's application under this convention.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many United Kingdom subjects are held in Turkish prisons ; for what period they have been held ; and what representations have been made by embassy officials concerning their plight.
Mr. Waldegrave : There are two British subjects currently in prison in Turkey. One has been on remand for three months awaiting trial, and has legal representation. The other was imprisoned in August 1988. We do not make representations about judicial procedures in other sovereign states. Her Majesty's embassy has provided consular assistance to both prisoners.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what progress has been made by Her Majesty's Government in encouraging African intermediaries to promote and facilitate national reconciliation in Angola ;
(2) whether Her Majesty's Government will act as an honest broker in bringing the MPLA-PT Government and UNITA together in a conference to promote national reconciliation in Angola ;
(3) whether his Department has had any contact with third parties to promote national reconciliation in Angola ;
(4) what assistance he will be giving to the organisation and supervision of free and fair elections in Angola.
Mrs. Chalker : We would welcome any move to establish internal peace in Angola which had the support of both sides. We believe, however, that African leaders in the region with whom we are in touch are best placed to mediate. It is not for us to prescribe how elections should be conducted in another sovereign state.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether representatives of Her Majesty's Government corresponded with representatives of the South African Government of the question of the remanding of those persons known as the Coventry four on charges of breaching arms embargo regulations ; (2) on what date representatives of the South African Government petitioned for the repatriation to South Africa of those persons known as the Coventry four ;
(3) what representations were made by the British Government to representatives of the South African Government on the question of action being taken in the case of those persons known as the Coventry four, following upon their repatriation to South Africa ; (4) what representations were received by Her Majesty's Government from the South African embassy on the question of the remanding of those persons known as the Coventry four in March 1984 ;
(5) in what way relations with Pretoria were affected following upon South Africa's refusal to co-operate with the British courts in the case of those persons known as the Coventry four ;
(6) how many summaries of developments on the inquiries by his Department into the case of those persons known as the Coventry four were written ; and to whom they were despatched.
Mrs. Chalker : This matter was thoroughly aired in the House at the time. I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the then Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 23 October 1984 at columns 559-69.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty of South Africa having the means and skills to build atomic weapons.
Mr. Waldegrave : We would be seriously concerned by the acquisition of nuclear weapons by a non-nuclear weapon state. We continue to urge South Africa to remove the element of ambiguity in its position by acceding to the non-proliferation treaty and placing all its nuclear facilities under full scope International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
Mr. Arbuthnot : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the meeting of the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave), with Mr. Dassam Abu Sharif on 9 December.
Mr. Waldegrave : This meeting was arranged after Mr. Abu Sharif agreed to make a public statement which met in full the conditions we have maintained since 1985 for ministerial contact with the PLO. This is an important step forward. I am arranging for copies of the agreed text and of the statement as delivered from memory by Mr. Abu Sharif to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Abu Sharif emphasised that the Palestinians were serious in seeking peace with Israel and that the decisions of the PNC in Algiers superseded the PLO charter. I welcomed this and his clarification of the PLO's recognition of Israel and opposition to all forms of terrorism and violence, which I hoped would be confirmed by Mr. Arafat's speech to the United Nations General Assembly in Geneva.
We hope that the Government of Israel will respond constructively and now agree to attend an international conference on the basis of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what were the relevant facts which his Department became aware only after 23 November which led an official of his Department to telephone a Westminster City councillor to tell him to disregard the contents of a letter dated 23 November stating that his Department would not be making an inquiry into alleged fraud by companies which purchased land from Westminster council, or through whose hands ownership of land subsequently passed, related to Westminster cemeteries.
Mr. Maude : The relevant facts were media references to a report which might shed light on the affair. This was later identified as a report under section 15(3) of the Local Government Finance Act 1982 to Westminster city council by the auditor appointed by the Audit Commission. In the
Column 397telephone conversation to which the hon. Member refers, an official underlined the substance of the Department's letter of 23 November that whilst there were no grounds for a Companies Act investigation any further information would be considered on its merits.
United Kingdom exports 12 months to October 1988 |Percentage of total |exports -------------------------------------------------------------------- United States of America |13.1 Federal Republic of Germany |11.8 France |10.0 Netherlands |7.0 Belgium-Luxembourg |5.1 Irish Republic |5.0 Italy |5.0 Spain |3.1 Sweden |2.8 Canada |2.5 Source: Overseas Trade Statistics.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will outline the nature of the proposals relating to the operation in the United Kingdom of home country authorised investment firms and financial intermediaries in the investment services directive ; when the directive will be considered by the Council of Ministers ; and if it will fall to be considered by majority vote in the Council.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he has consulted the Securities and Investments Board and the FIMBRA organisation about the implications of the investment services directive ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : My Department is in regular contact with the Securities and Investments Board and FIMBRA on the range of matters of concern to them and will consult them on the investment services directive when a proposal has been presented to the Council of Ministers by the European Commission.
Column 398that agreed to discuss the supply of arms to South Africa following upon discussions with those persons known as the Coventry four.
Mr. Alan Clark : The task of the mid-term meeting which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and my right hon. and noble Friend attended was to consolidate the past two years' work of the Uruguay round and to lay down guidelines and frameworks for the second half of the negotiation. Substantial progress to this end was made on a number of the issues of particular concern to the United Kingdom. Detailed frameworks for further negotiations on liberalisation of trade in services, multilateral tariff reductions and strengthening of GATT procedures including dispute settlement were agreed on a provisional basis. There was also agreement to liberalise the import regime for tropical products. The European Community will put in place from 1 January 1989 tariff reductions on tropical products which can be implemented under the generalised scheme of references.
Disappointingly, however, there was no agreement on a more detailed framework for negotiations on the reform of agriculture, despite substantial and positive efforts by the European Community, the Cairns group of agricultural exporting countries and others. The United States insisted on pressing for the total elimination of agricultural support by a time to be agreed. This was not acceptable to the Community, nor was it in the 1986 Punta del Este declaration which set the guidelines for the round. Nor was progress possible in negotiation on international trade in textiles, nor on the better protection of intellectual property. Since in those three cases agreement could not be achieved in Montreal it was decided to suspend the work there with a view to further negotiation in preparation for a meeting of senior trade policy officials in Geneva early in April. The objective then will be to endorse formally the agreements reached provisionally last week, and if possible to establish common ground on the way forward on the three issues in dispute at Montreal. It is disappointing that for the time being further progress could not be made on agriculture, but it is a suspension rather than a breakdown of negotiation, and over the coming months the Government will continue to work for a positive outcome. In other areas of importance to United Kingdom industry and commerce positive results have been secured. The Government will be working with our partners in the Community to resolve outstanding issues and to ensure that the gains made at Montreal are consolidated in April and that in the remaining two years of the Uruguay round continuing progress is made on the full range of issues covered by the negotiations.
Dr. Hampson : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the current value of textile and clothing exports ; and what proportions go to the European Community, Japan and the United States of America.
L United Kingdom textile and clothing exports<1> 12 months to October 1988 |£ million |Per cent. of total ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total |3,356 |100 European Community |1,882 |56 Japan |172 |5 USA |303 |9 <1>Standard International Trade Classification Divisions 65 and 84. Source: Overseas Trade Statistics.
Mr. Key : To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church Commissioners are taking to assist the churches in adjusting to the introduction of the Community charge.
Mr. Alison : The commissioners are closely consulting dioceses about what charges would be desirable in the stipends arrangements of the clergy when they and their spouses become liable to pay a personal community charge in 1990. Because most of the clergy have hitherto lived in their accommodation free of rates, the commissioners hope to make substantial additional sums available for stipends in 1990 to reflect the extra costs which will fall on them.
|Whole-time Grade |equivalent --------------------------------- A |70.09 C |90.51 D |96.73 E |97.83 F |22.66 G |33.00 H |7.00 I |3.00 |------- Total |420.82
Column 400the Secretary of State for the Environment for improving the coastal sewage disposal systems throughout the United Kingdom over the next four years.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State responsible for education will reply to the letter of 7 October from Mr. Ronald Allen of "Roalan", Lower Ballo road, Groomsport BT19 2LU.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Wakefield on 28 November, he will give the reasons for his conclusion that the information supplied to his Department by the Yorkshire water authority in its annual return for 1987 detailing the discharge and monitoring of list one substances does not constitute a breach of the relevant European Community directives governing discharges of these substances.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is going to take against Yorkshire water authority for breaching the European directives for mercury and cadmium being found in river sediment in addition to breaches for the pesticide lindane ; and if he will make a statement.
On the basis of the periodic returns supplied by Yorkshire water authority, the Department does not consider that the requirements of the relevant European Community directives governing discharges of these substances have been breached. Measures taken by Yorkshire water authority have resulted in considerable reductions in the discharge of mercury and cadmium in recent years, and all authorised discharges meet the requirements of the relevant directives. The directives also specify that concentrations of these substances in sediments must not increase significantly with time, and again the monitoring carried out by Yorkshire water authority demonstrates a general downward trend, although because of the persistence of these substances some time lag can be expected before the improvements in water concentrations show up fully in improved sediment concentrations.
The 1987 sediment monitoring results do show a small increase in the mercury concentration at one location, but this is not considered to be significant against the overall trend at that location since 1984. The 1986 sediment monitoring results also showed an increase over the previous year in the measurement of cadmium at one
Column 401location, but the 1987 results shows no further increase, and it is too early to establish a reliable trend. In neither case is the increase believed to be due to the effects of any current discharge, but future results at these locations will be monitored carefully and appropriate action taken if any significant upward trend should emerge.
The levels of lindane in some Yorkshire rivers have been a matter of concern, though these are due largely to past use of this highly persistent pesticide. The Department receives regular reports from Yorkshire water authority about its programmes to eliminate any remaining sources of pollution and is satisfied with the considerable efforts that the authority has made.
There has been a steady decline in the concentration of lindane at all monitoring points in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue. The latest data supplied by Yorkshire water authority indicate that the quality standard in the relevant European Community directive is now exceeded at only one monitoring point, and the concentration here is expected to fall within the standard in the near future. The water authority has not identified any current source or user of lindane whose discharge could be linked to this particular reading. However, they are continuing to monitor the position and to search for any possible unknown sources.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish for (a) Great Britain, (b) England and (c) each region, the average of local authority rents and fair rents registered for unfurnished dwellings, for each year since 1979, indicating the percentage in each year on annual and cumulative basis.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish his Department's proposed timetable for publishing further material relating to the community charge, giving the manner and type of publication and the amounts budgeted both in total and by individual category ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out the amounts to be allowed to each local authority in (a) England and (b) Wales to meet the setting up costs of the community charge, indicating in each case the division between specific and block grant, and where available the local authorities' estimates of the costs involved.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : In England capital allocations totalling £25 million in respect of expenditure in 1988-89 were announced on 13 April. A list of individual authorities' allocations was placed in the Library on that date. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 21 October that a further allocation of £135 million would be made for 1989-90. Individual allocations from this total will shortly be made.
My right hon. Friend also announced on 21 October that half the provision of £110 million included in the 1989-90 rate support grant settlement for the current costs of preparing for the community charge will be met through a specific grant. A list showing individual authorities' share of this £55 million specific grant was placed in the Library on that date. The remaining half of the expenditure will be supported by rate support grant in the normal way.
We do not have comprehensive figures for local authorities' own estimates of these costs. The capital allocation of £135 million for 1989-90 was derived from the mid point of the range forecast for England in the Price Waterhouse report published in June this year. The provision of £110 million for current costs is also in line with the estimate made in that respect and is higher than the equivalent figure then postulated by local authority associations.
The information requested in respect of Wales is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. Chope : It is already Government policy that the Crichel Down rules will be applied to all disposals of Government property falling within the terms of Department of the Environment circular 18/84 (Welsh Office circular 37/84). The general principles underlying these rules and procedures are commended to local authorities and other public bodies.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many areas of the United Kingdom have still not been surveyed for the purpose of revising the statutory lists of buildings of special architectural or historical significance ; how many people are currently employed to do this work ; and how long it will be before the revised list is completed.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Southwell (Nottinghamshire), West Malling (Kent) and the Isles of Scilly and Lundy have not yet been resurveyed ; a further five areas are in the process of being resurveyed. English Heritage and the Department of the Environment each employ seven people in the exercise, which will be completed by spring 1989.
Column 403recent studies commissioned by his Department ; and if this cost includes the present and future storage of the high-level waste and the vitrification of the waste.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Accurate cost estimates are not possible as high-level waste will not be disposed of for at least 50 years. An indicative estimate is in the order of £500 per litre, exclusive of the costs of storage and vitrification.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's report on Magnox fuel dry storage and direct disposal, assessment of the Central Electricity Generating Board/South of Scotland Electricity Board reports ; and if he will make a statement about the report's estimate of the cost of disposing of (a) high-level and (b) intermediate and low-level nuclear waste.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : A copy of the report was placed in the Library on 26 May 1988. For high-level wastes, accurate cost estimates are not possible as waste in this category will not be disposed of for at least 50 years. The report gives an indicative estimate of £500 per litre.
The costs estimated in the report of the disposal of low and intermediate- level wastes are consistent with the costs currently estimated by UK Nirex Ltd. which are :
Intermediate-level wastes --Land based deep repository £2,000-£7, 000 per cubic metre.
Low-level wastes --Deep repository £750-£2,000 per cubic metre.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Our proposals are set out in the consultation papers issued earlier this year : "Local authorities' interests in Companies" (especially paragraphs 31 and 32) and "Local Government in England and Wales : Capital Expenditure and Finance" (especially paragraphs A.37 and A.38). These proposals will not apply to the investment of superannuation funds or of charitable funds of which the local authority is trustee. Copies of the consultation papers are in the Library of the House.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what have been the housing investment programme bids and the amounts allocated to the London borough of Islington for each year since 1983 ; how many new dwelling units have been constructed and rehabilitated for each year, and how many new dwellings have been added to the authority's stock as a result.