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Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report a list of all those categories of people who will (a) be excluded from liability to pay the community charge and (b) be entitled to a rebate on community charge payments ; and what the scale of such rebates will be.
People whose income is at or below the level of income support will receive rebates of 80 per cent., and income support will be increased to take account of the 20 per cent. liability. We estimate that there will be 5 million adults in this category, and that an additional 4 million adults, whose income is above the level of income support, will receive rebates, on a sliding scale, of up to 80 per cent. In addition, million full-time students will pay only 20 per cent. of the full charge.
Sir Eldon Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what savings in staff per thousand accounts he expects local authorities on average to achieve on the basis of the report he commissioned from Price Waterhouse on the costs of collection of the community charge.
Mr. Gummer : Price Waterhouse estimated that if authorities maintained their existing performance levels on rate collection one employee would be required for every 1,700 community charge accounts. However, Price Waterhouse also estimated that if all authorities were to work as efficiently as the most efficient in their category, one employee would be required for every 2,100 accounts. I would expect authorities to be working towards this higher productivity level, which could save nearly 5,000 staff.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the statutory instruments now being prepared connected with the preparation of poll tax registers in England and Wales and the likely dates of laying them ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer [holding answer 23 January 1989] : There will be no statutory instruments dealing with poll tax registers, since the Government have no plans to introduce a poll tax. We intend to lay before the House in March one statutory instrument covering the administration and enforcement of the community charge, including the compilation of registers.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what replacement funding will be provided for fire, police and transport services on the advent of the poll tax ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer [holding answer 23 January 1989] : The Government have no plans to introduce a poll tax. In metropolitan areas, joint police and joint fire and civil defence authorities will precept on the collection funds operated by each charging authority within their areas. Precepts on the collection fund will be met by income from
Column 501the community charge, needs grant and business rates. In addition, police authorities will continue to receive police grant from the Home Office. Passenger transport authorities will issue levies to their constituent district councils.
In shire areas, these services are provided by county councils or district councils as appropriate. Their expenditure will also be supported by income from community charges, needs grant and business rates, and by police grant.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many first-time buyers received assistance under the homeloan scheme, in the latest year for which figures are available, in each of the regions of England.
Mr. Trippier : Information on the take-up of the homeloan scheme is not available for individual regions. The number of people receiving assistance in 1987-88, the last year for which figures are available, is estimated to be 2,580.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what criteria are used to upgrade the price limits on house purchases under the homeloan scheme ; when these limits were last reviewed ; and when they will next be reviewed.
Mr. Trippier : The price limits in the homeloan scheme are intended to allow about two thirds of first-time buyers to qualify for the scheme's benefits. They are based on the prices actually paid by first-time buyers borrowing from building societies, and are reviewed as often as changing house prices makes necessary. The present limits were introduced on 18 March 1988. They have been reviewed recently, and we shall be tabling an order shortly which proposes increases in all areas in Great Britain.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : There has been a certain amount of hedgerow removal in recent years as a result of changing agricultural circumstances and for other reasons. The current rate is not easy to establish. Estimates have been made for past periods, though none covers the last 20 years.
A survey of landscape change in England and Wales carried out for the Department and the Countryside Commission by Hunting Surveys and Consultants Ltd. showed annual losses of some 2,900 miles of hedgerow between 1969 and 1980 and 4,000 miles between 1980 and 1985. A survey of environmental topics on farms carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food showed annual losses of 500 miles between 1980 and 1985.
Column 502The two surveys were very different in approach and neither can be regarded as definitive. The Hunting survey used air photography covering 1.1 per cent. of England and Wales, backed up by ground survey. The MAFF survey used a postal questionnaire to some 6,000 farmers asking them to estimate changes in hedgerow lengths and covered approximately 6 per cent. of England and Wales. Work is continuing to improve information both on the rate of removal and on the extent of new planting.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Hedgerows need positive management to keep them in good condition. The main priority is to ensure that farmers and other owners continue to maintain them voluntarily. Agricultural advisers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food encourage farmers to retain hedgerows wherever possible and to manage them effectively. MAFF aids the planting of new hedgerows and hedgerow laying under the agriculture improvement scheme. It is anticipated that such grants will form part of the new farm and conservation grant scheme which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced last November. Where appropriate the Countryside Commission and the Nature Conservancy Council can also offer assistance.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps have been taken to implement the European Environmental Council directive about the Montreal protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The EC regulation to implement the Montreal protocol is directly applicable in all member states and therefore forms part of the law of each member state. The Department is considering whether any topping-up regulations may be required under the European Communities Act 1972.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report for each local authority the staff increases they have experienced in each of the last three years ; and what estimates there are of any increases in future years.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Information on changes in local authority staff numbers in England is compiled by LACSAB on behalf of DOE and the local authority associations and published quarterly in a joint manpower watch press notice, tables D to M. Copies of the press notices containing mid-year figures have been placed in the Library of the House. Estimates of any future increases are not made centrally.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many part-time and full-time staff have been assigned to implement the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1985 per month since enforcement of the regulations ; and what is the cost to his Department.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Departmental staff have not been assigned exclusively to implement the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1985. In 1987-88 26 staff in the Department's wildlife division were involved on endangered species matters and were assisted, as required, by a panel of 90 fee-paid inspectors. The cost of the full-time staff involved was approximately £465,000. Enforcement of the regulation is a matter for HM Customs and Excise and the police as appropriate.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many person hours have been spent implementing the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1985 per month since enforcement of the regulations ; and what is the cost to his Department.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 17 January to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington, Official Report, columns 154-55, what was the nature of the five infractions that have been referred to the enforcement authorities and of the two infractions at present under consideration by his Department.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 17 January to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Erdington, Official Report, columns 154-55, if he will specify the number and nature of any possible infractions which have been referred to his Department between April 1987 and October 1988 ; and what action his Department has taken on these.
Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the number of sites in London monitoring nitrogen dioxide levels under European Community directive 85/203 ; and where are those sites.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : There are two sites in London monitoring nitrogen dioxide levels in accordance with European Community directive 85/203/EEC ; they are in Pembroke road, Kensington W8 and Vauxhall bridge road, Victoria SW1.
Mr. Allan Roberts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions the Government have held with United Nations environment programme and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on the subject of encouraging the establishment of waste treatment works in the countries of source to discourage the transfrontier shipment of such wastes.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The Government are participating actively in discussions within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and United Nations environment programme to develop international controls on transfrontier shipment and supports the principle that countries should establish their own disposal facilities to reduce transfrontier shipment to a minimum compatible with environmentally sound and efficient management.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Estimates and plans for local authorities' initial capital receipts from the sale of dwellings in England, both under the right-to-buy and on a voluntary basis are given in the table. Figures are not available for right-to-buy receipts alone.
Local authorities' initial capital receipts from sale of dwellings |Initial receipts £ |million --------------------------------------------------------- 1988-89 (estimate) |2,555 1989-90 (plan) |2,915 1990-91 (plan) |2,525 1991-92 (plan) |2,440
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the Government budget for the Keep Britain Tidy campaign for each year since 1979 and for the next three years at current prices and at constant 1987-88 prices.
Year |Current prices £000 |At 1987-88 prices £000 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979-80 |275 |477 1980-81 |250 |366 1981-82 |275 |367 1982-83 |292 |363 1983-84 |525 |624 1984-85 |510 |581 1985-86 |547 |587 1986-87 |554 |577 1987-88 |568 |568 1988-89 |1,254 |1,194 1989-90 |3,000 |2,773
Decisions on the future level of grant aid have yet to be made. A review of the programme of pilot projects being carried out by the group will be undertaken later in the year.
Mr. Boswell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how the Government propose to safeguard the countryside and the public's access to it, after privatisation of the water authorities ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard : In the last decade, the water authorities have shown a growing appreciation of the importance of furthering conservation, maintaining public access to their land and water, and promoting recreation. This is something we wish to continue and build upon for in many of its operations, such as the construction and maintenance of reservoirs, the protection of water catchment areas and the abstraction of water from rivers, the water industry has a unique, profound and continuous impact on the environment.
That is why the Water Bill currently being considered by Parliament would impose on all the water and sewerage companies, the National Rivers Authority and certain other water bodies a duty to carry out their functions in a way that furthers conservation, preserves public rights of access and promotes recreation.
In enforcing these duties on the new water plcs the Secretary of State would take into account the extent to which they have followed the terms of statutory codes of practice giving practical guidance in relation to these duties. These new codes will give added emphasis to these important duties.
I have today published a draft of the code of practice on conservation, access and recreation and have invited the NRA and the water authorities and statutory water companies to comment on these draft guidelines. I have placed a copy of the draft code, with a summary of its contents, in the Library of the House.
Mr. Trippier : The information requested is listed below. Over 1 million dwellings were built for rent by the public sector in England between 1974 and 1987. In addition over 1 million renovations would in many cases have provided additional dwellings for rent.
New Public Sector Housebuilding Completions for Rent: England, in thousands (Figures exclude new build for sale and shared ownership) Year --------------------------- 1974 |<1>104.9 1975 |<1>127.9 1976 |<1>130.3 1977 |<1>138.0 1978 |<1>112.4 1979 |89.3 1980 |91.8 1981 |70.5 1982 |39.3 1983 |37.7 1984 |36.6 1985 |29.7 1986 |25.7 1987 |23.2 <1> estimate.
Public sector here consists of local authorities, new towns and housing associations.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the additional consultation paper on waste disposal law amendments as announced on 29 June, Official Report, column 254.
Mr. Ridley [pursuant to the reply, 23 November 1988,c. 4] : The Government are concerned about criticisms of the regulation of waste disposal, exemplifed in the reports of the former hazardous waste inspectorate (now part of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution). My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have accordingly reviewed existing arrangements in England and Wales and have today published a consultation paper with proposals for reform. Copies of the paper have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.
Our proposals are aimed at securing high national standards of waste management which are consistently and fairly enforced at local level. They build on the arrangements established under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 but address weaknesses and criticisms which have emerged in the light of experience.
National standards, applicable to both public and private sector operations, will be achieved by requiring regulation authorities to have regard to waste management papers prepared by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution in carrying out its functions. The regulatory and operational functions of waste disposal authorities will be separated by organising operational functions into arm's-length local authority disposal companies. Disposal authorities will be retitled waste regulation authorities and will be required to publish annual reports on their regulatory performance to strengthen public accountability.
Column 507Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution will be given statutory powers to examine and report on the regulatory performance of waste regulation authorities, with rights of access to documents and land. There will be more finely targeted default powers for the Secretaries of State with regard to authorities which consistently fail to exercise their regulatory duties properly.
Waste collection authorities will have a duty to arrange for the disposal of waste they have collected. They will be required to seek competitive tenders which both local authority waste disposal companies and private sector companies will be eligible to submit. In assessing tenders, waste collection authorities will be required to have regard to the environmental effects of the proposed method of disposal.
These proposals complement the measures to strengthen controls on waste disposal announced on 29 June last and the proposals announced in the House on 23 November. Together they form a package which will be the subject of early legislation.
Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will give consideration to the case for increased financial support to national hunt racing when determining the 28th levy scheme for 1989-90 in addition to the need to improve the conditions of a substantial number of those employed in racing.
Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has received a memorandum from the three Government appointed members of the Horserace Betting Levy Board on the 28th levy scheme 1989-90 ; and whether he will implement their recommendation that serious consideration should be given to raising levy rates to a level designed to give British racing a fairer return from the large volume of betting turnover and that as an interim move the 28th levy scheme should be based on a return to racing of at least 1 per cent. of leviable betting turnover.
Ms. Abbott : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce a system of rewards to encourage all prison department staff to act in a professional and non-discriminatory way ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : All staff are under a specific duty to act in a professional and non-discriminatory way, and are rewarded accordingly. We see no need for a special system of the kind suggested by the hon. Member, which might give the impression that professional behaviour was optional.
Ms. Abbott : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will ensure that proven commitment to the goals of the prison department's race relations policy is a factor which is taken into account when considering a prison officer's prospects for promotion ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The prison service race relations policy statement defines the standard of professional behaviour required of staff and helps to inform the annual assessment of an officer's working relationships with inmates and others. Those considering candidates for promotion give significant weight to that aspect of performance.
Dame Janet Fookes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much of the £60,000 allocated for the refinement, reduction and replacement of animal use in experiments in the last 12 months for which records are available was allocated to the development and validation of alternatives to tests used for cosmetic safety and efficacy.
Dame Janet Fookes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many project licences have been granted under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 for safety and efficacy testing of cosmetics and toiletries.
Dame Janet Fookes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for each project licence for cosmetics tests granted under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, what species and how many animals are to be used.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The use of animals in cosmetics testing for the last available year is given in table 3 of the "Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals 1987" (Cm. 515). It is not our practice to reveal details of individual projects.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : As the APC has revealed in its annual report (HC 36, para 3.6), it has identified a number of common requirements for cosmetic testing licences and these have been incorporated in the guidance notes for applicants. I have accepted the committee's recommendation that licensees should make a detailed statistical return for the APC's use.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : A minority of the project licences for the testing of cosmetic substances have been assessed as "moderate", the remainder as "mild". This reflects the range of procedures used and the types of substances required to be tested by individual companies.
Mr. Sean Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of staff in his Department, by grade, in receipt of local pay additions outside London and the south-east economic planning region ; what are the different amounts paid to staff by grade ; whether this figure varies due to location ; what qualifying period of scale-related criteria is used ; and whether this varies by location.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many meetings he has attended with ministers in the Trevi group in each year from 1985 to 1988 ; and what subjects he has discussed.
Mr. Hurd : Since I became Home Secretary in September 1985 I have attended three Trevi ministerial meetings in 1986 (two of which I chaired), two in 1987 and two in 1988. The main subject of discussion has been co- operation in counter-terrorism matters but we have also dealt with a variety of other topics including football hooliganism, drug trafficking and other serious organised international crime. In the second half of 1986, on my initiative, complementary meetings of Ministers were also established to consider immigration matters. I chaired the first meeting of this group in October 1986 and have attended the two meetings held each year subsequently.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations he has had in connection with subjects discussed with the Trevi group of ministers ; and with which organisations he has discussed matters raised at Trevi meetings.
Mr. Hurd : I do not discuss Trevi matters in specific terms with other organisations because much of Trevi's work and its proceedings, especially on terrorism, is classified. Some of the general subject areas with which Trevi is concerned also feature in other fora, in bilateral contacts with other countries at both ministerial and official level and in discussions with various organisations and individuals as appropriate.