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Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish in the Official Report the current level of excise duties for all categories of vehicles in each of the member states of the European Economic Community.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Different member states have different tax systems and tax vehicles on different bases. I will write to the hon. Member giving the most recent available information for the United Kingdom and other states.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : A design of wire rope safety fence that has been demonstrated as fully complying with the current standard for safety fencing has been developed by British Ropes Ltd. Representatives of the Department have witnessed the demonstrations. A detailed specification for the use of this design on trunk roads is being prepared. It is intended to introduce formally this type of fence as soon as practicable, subject to its notification to the European Commission and other member states as required under European law.
Column 411Neither this type of safety fence nor the tensioned corrugated bean safety fence currently in use on our roads is designed to contain vehicles heavier than 1.5 tonnes. The main aim is to contain cars--the great majority of vehicles on our roads. Fences designed to retain heavier vehicles might do more damage to cars.
Mr. Portillo : I understand that British Rail intends to order very quickly six additional four-car class 319 units as an extension to the order for 20 units that we authorised this summer. These will replace the six units written off in the Clapham junction accident. The replacement units should be delivered in the course of 1989.
Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to improve the rail network, in the light of recent evidence including that from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd., that the road network is incapable of holding the projected future volume of traffic.
Mr. Portillo [holding answer 20 December 1988] : British Rail is already investing in the railways at the highest rate for 20 years and further increases are planned, but as only 7 per cent. of total passenger kilometres and 13 per cent. of freight tonne kilometres (excluding water and pipelines) are by rail this can have only a limited effect on road traffic.
In view of London's particular problems, we have set up the central London rail study, which is examining ways of relieving congestion in the central areas. I expect to receive the study report shortly.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list the United Kingdom airports (a) that have been used since May 1986 and (b) that are currently being used for the transport of gramme samples of plutonium ; and with what frequency ;
(2) if he will list the United Kingdom airports (a) that have been used since May 1986 and (b) which are currently used for the transport of plutonium in larger than gramme samples ;
(3) whether Bournemouth, Hurn, airport is still being used for the transport of plutonium products by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority ; what is the total amount of separated plutonium transported through the airport (a) since such operations began and (b) since May 1979 ; and what proportions of the above constituted shipments of plutonium as (i) plutonium dioxide powder, (ii) plutonium in fresh fuel elements, and (iii) plutonium in other forms.
Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 15 December 1988] : I understand that the airports used currently and since May 1986 for the transport of gramme samples of plutonium are Manchester and London Heathrow. The United Kingdom airports used currently and since May
Column 4121986 for the transport of larger than gramme samples of plutonium are Carlisle, Dounreay, Wick and Bournemouth (Hurn).
I understand that the UKAEA uses Bournemouth (Hurn) airport for the occasional shipment of nuclear materials, including plutonium, for research purposes in support of the civil nuclear power programme. All consignments of radioactive materials are subject to the International Civil Aviation Organisation's technical instructions for the carriage of radioactive materials by air. The Department does not keep statistical information about the nature and quantities of material transported.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the United Kingdom ports which (a) have been used and (b) are currently being used for the transport of separated plutonium as (i) plutonium dioxide powder, (ii) plutonium in fresh fuel elements and (iii) plutonium in other forms.
Mr. Portillo [holding answer 15 December 1988] : I understand the United Kingdom ports that have been used to transport separated plutonium are Poole, Liverpool, Southampton, Dover, Hull, Newhaven, Portsmouth, Workington and Scrabster.
The ports currently being used for such transport are Newhaven, Portsmouth, Liverpool (all for samples and specimen fuel pins only), Workington and Scrabster. The Department does not keep statistical information about the nature and quantities of material transported.
Mr. Luce : Works of art in this country are and will continue to be in both private and public ownership. The management of the collections of public institutions is a matter for their trustees or governing bodies, working within the legislative or other framework which applies in particular cases.
Mrs. Ann Taylor : To ask the Attorney-General (1) how many complaints he has received under section 18 of the Public Order Act 1986 ; how many such complaints were initiated (a) by the police, (b) by the Commission for Racial Equality, (c) by hon. Members and (d) by members of the public ; and how many of these complaints were forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service for further consideration ;
(2) how many complaints he has received under section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986 ; how many such complaints were initiated by (a) the police, (b) the Commission for Racial Equality, (c) hon. Members and (d) members of the public ; and how many of these complaints were forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service for further action.
Column 413received four complaints of alleged offences contrary to section 18 and 26 complaints of alleged offences contrary to section 19, though the circumstances of one of these complaints was such that allegations of both offences were raised at the same time. It is not uncommon for allegations of offences under section 19, in particular, to be made by more than one complainant, over a period of time. Of the complaints to which I have referred, one came to me initially from the Commission for Racial Equality, four initially from hon. Members and 15 initially from members of the public. In all but one of those cases, the complaint was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for further consideration. The single exception was in the case of a complaint manifestly unfounded. The remaining nine complaints were received by me from the Crown Prosecution Service itself.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Attorney-General why the Treasury Solicitor has failed to reply to correspondence and telephone calls from Messrs Higginbottom and White, solicitors, of Stockport, in connection with the Department of Transport's purchase of 3 Camrose street, SE2.
The Attorney-General : The Treasury Solicitor replied on 15 December to a letter he had received from Messrs Higginbottom and White dated 6 December. On 19 December a further letter dated 15 December from those solicitors was received by the Treasury Solicitor who is now taking instructions from the Department of Transport to enable him to reply. A telephone call made by Messrs Higginbottom and White to the Treasury Solicitor's Department on 5 December, while the officer concerned with the case was absent on sick leave, was not returned because their letter of 6 December had been received--on 7 December--before the officer was able to return the call.
The Attorney-General : I am considering the possible use of the Republic of Ireland's Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act 1976. I am in touch with the Irish Attorney-General about the question of the security of witnesses.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Attorney-General what is the total number of advisory committees on appointment of justices ; and if he will make it his policy to list those that have requested that their names are not revealed.
The Attorney-General : There are 95 advisory committees on justices of the peace in the Lord Chancellor's area of responsibility and 17 in the area of responsibility of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. All advisory committees are to make known their membership by the end of 1992. This follows a decision by both Chancellors announced by the Lord Chancellor on 17 June 1988.
Mr. Fraser : To ask the Attorney-General if he will list the numbers of paid judges and judicial officers, including masters, registrars and stipendary magistrates ; and if he will indicate (a) the total numbers and (b) the number of women within each category of appointment or office.
Judicial office |Male |Female |Total ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lord of Appeal in Ordinary |10 |- |10 Lord Justice |26 |1 |27 High Court Judge |81 |1 |82 Circuit Judge |391 |17 |408 County Court Registrar |212 |4 |216 Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrate |41 |8 |49 Provincial Stipendiary Magistrate |14 |- |14 Registrar of Criminal Appeals |1 |- |1 Registrar of Civil Appeals |1 |- |1 Chancery Master |5 |- |5 Master of the Court of Protection |- |1 |1 Queen's Bench Master |11 |- |11 Admiralty Registrar |1 |- |1 Supreme Court Taxing Master |7 |- |7 Family Division Registrar |10 |2 |12 Full-time Chairman of Industrial Tribunals |58 |6 |64 Social Security Commissioner |15 |1 |16 Social Security Appeal Tribunal |13 |1 |14
Mr. Norman Lamont : The yield in a full year at 1989-90 levels of income of increasing the higher rate of income tax to 50 per cent. would be about £2 billion. The estimate includes the consequential effect on the yield of capital gains tax. It is partly based on a projection of the 1986-87 survey of personal incomes and is provisional.
Mr. Norman Lamont : The available information covers tax units with income above the pay-as-you-earn threshold. It relates to years ended 5 April up to 1987 : projections to later years are not made for regions. Only the investment income in the records of tax offices is covered in the table : where liability at basic rate is satisfied at source, the tax office may have no record of the income.
Total investment income £ million Region |1979-80 |1980-81 |1981-82 |1982-83 |1983-84 |1984-85 |1985-86 |<1>1986-87 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- North |234 |288 |332 |399 |424 |358 |466 |448 Yorkshire and Humberside |455 |509 |670 |686 |657 |621 |745 |986 North West |518 |722 |827 |818 |817 |744 |899 |1,030 East Midlands |327 |429 |493 |502 |487 |536 |568 |723 West Midlands |468 |523 |652 |704 |624 |588 |751 |795 East Anglia |255 |333 |368 |343 |338 |366 |518 |451 South East |2,510 |3,020 |3,620 |3,760 |3,950 |3,870 |4,270 |4,800 South West |751 |1,015 |990 |1,050 |1,090 |1,020 |1,270 |1,571 Wales |235 |384 |388 |416 |377 |411 |390 |430 Scotland |511 |636 |712 |767 |740 |821 |894 |943 Northern Ireland |96 |88 |109 |123 |147 |157 |139 |170 <1> Provisional.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimates he can make of the gain or loss to the Exchequer if life offices were (a) allowed relief of pension business expenses only against pension business profits, (b) not allowed to escape taxation by setting up foreign life funds, (c) not allowed to create money boxes where surplus funds could be held free of tax, (d) to treat profits from stocklending and underwriting commissions as investment income or gains and (e) to be subject to special rules to ensure that there would be no manipulation of reassurance transactions in order to gain tax advantages ; (f) entitled to prompt and regular repayments of all tax credits and tax deducted in respect of their pension business in line with self-administered funds and (g) not liable to stamp duty on life policies and reassurance contracts.
Mr. Norman Lamont : Options for change to the current tax regime for life assurance were outlined in an Inland Revenue consultative document, "The Taxation of Life Assurance", published on 17 June. These options would address in differing ways the issues mentioned by the hon. Member. The cost or yield from change would depend on the option chosen and its detailed implementation, on the timing of change, and on developments in the life assurance industry. Assuming however that each change mentioned were made in isolation by amendment to the current rules, the following estimates can be made :
a. on recent experience, an Exchequer yield in the range £100 million to £200 million.
b. relief for foreign life funds does not of itself amount to tax evasion. There are however questions about the scope of relief which should be available and the effectiveness of the current rules ; c. a significant yield, but it cannot be quantified without a more precise specification of the measures proposed and any transitional provisions ;
d. the yield would vary significantly depending on the level of market activity, but might be around £10 million a year on recent experience ;
e. any yield would depend on what special rules were introduced ; f. no direct gain or loss to the Exchequer. Any change in the timing of payments would however have cash-flow effects, particularly in the year of change ;
g. a loss of £85 million in 1988-89, before taking account of any offsetting change in corporation tax payments.
Mr. Brooke : The privatisation programme has concentrated upon nationalised industries, rather than Civil Service activities, but some redistribution of Civil Service staff previously responsible for monitoring such nationalised industries has taken place. This has often been to meet priority demands such as preparing for further privatisations ; and additional civil servants have also been required to staff the new regulatory bodies like Oftel--which covers all telecommunications operators (not only privatised British Telecom)--and Ofgas.
This process can be expected to continue, but decisions on privatising Civil Service activities are taken on their individual merits. There is no predetermined programme against which future manpower reductions can be forecast.
Since 1 April 1979, there has been a net saving of just over 300 posts through the privatisation of Civil Service activities, plus just under 19,000 royal ordnance factories and Ministry of Defence posts hived off in 1985 into Royal Ordnance Factories plc (which was subsequently privatised in 1987).
Mr. Battle : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government have signed the recent convention drawn up by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development and the Council of Europe, concerning the recovery of personal and corporate taxes.
Column 417the Department of Trade and Industry, (b) social security offices and (c) the Department of Health ; what it has been each year since 1983 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Brooke : The current limit on flexible working hours in the non- industrial Civil Service is determined by operational need and is subject to the overriding principle that flexibility should be achieved without adverse effect on the overall efficiency of Departments or on service to the public. All non-industrial civil servants are required to complete their conditioned hours within specified periods. Questions about the operation of specific flexible working hours schemes within Departments should be addressed to the appropriate Minister.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a list of public Bills which were reprinted in each Session since 1983 ; what was the reason for reprinting each Bill ; and what was the cost of reprinting each Bill.
Mr. Lilley : For the information requested on the Bills reprinted during the 1987-88 Session, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on 27 October at columns 369-70. The reasons for reprinting Bills during earlier Sessions are no longer recorded, but a list of such reprinted Bills since 1983 is given in the table. 1983-84 Session
(House of Commons Bill No)
14 Video Recordings
15 Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Amendment)
16 Social Security (Age of Retirement)
43 Trade Unions (Amendment)
44 Police and Criminal Evidence
51 Data Protection
61 Rating and Valuation (Amendment) (Scotland)
78 Ordnance Factories and Military Services
147 Housing Defects
168 Registered Homes
187 Road Traffic Regulations
201 Capital Transfer Tax
(House of Lords Bill No.)
2 Data Protection
53 Agricultural Holdings
58 Matrimonial and Family Proceedings
76 Straw and Stubble Burning
100 Housing and Building Control
178 Video Recordings
211 Health and Social Security
283 Police and Criminal Evidence
(House of Commons Bill No.)
1 Elections (Northern Ireland)
11 Local Government
12 Representation of the People
21 Local Government (Access to Information)
79 Food and Environment Protection
105 Unborn Children (Protection)
(House of Lords Bill No.)
8 Food and Environment Protection
18 Prosecution of Offences
123 Local Government
124 Further Education
144 Social Security
(House of Commons Bill No.)
4 Local Government
9 Dockyard Services