73. Mr. Lofthouse : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy on changing the terms of reference of urban development corporations to provide a more precise definition of regeneration, as recommended by the third report of the Employment Committee.
32. Mr. Lord : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what provisions he has made to involve interested and experienced professional bodies in the proposed review of the procedures covering tree preservation orders.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : My right hon. Friend met representatives of the Association of District Councils and the other authority associations on 29 November last year. The matters discussed were the associations' responses to the consultation papers "Capital Expenditure and Finance" and "Local Authorities' Interests in Companies".
Mr. Gummer : The report of a preliminary survey carried out by the Inland Revenue of the effects of the uniform business rate and the 1990 revaluation of business property, which is available in the Library, suggests that rate bills for businesses in the north west region could fall by some £310 million a year once the transition to the new system is complete. Proposals for the transition were announced by my right hon. Friend on 15 February. Separate figures for Manchester are not available. However, if the uniform business rate were introduced today, the effect would be to reduce the rate poundage paid by businesses in Manchester by 27 per cent.
Mr. Gummer : The report of a preliminary survey carried out by the Inland Revenue of the effects of the uniform business rate and the 1990 revaluation of business property, which is available in the Library, suggests that rate bills for businesses in the northern region could fall by some £50 million a year once the transition to the new system is complete. Proposals for the transition were announced by my right hon. Friend on 15 February. Separate figures for Newcastle upon Tyne are not available. However, if the uniform business rate were introduced today, the effect would be to reduce the rate poundage paid by businesses in Newcastle upon Tyne by 21 per cent.
Mr. Gummer : The report of a preliminary survey carried out by the Inland Revenue of the effects of the uniform business rate and the 1990 revaluation of business property, which is available in the Library, suggests that rate bills for businesses in the east midlands region could fall by some £130 million a year once the transition to the new system is complete. Proposals for the transition were announced by my right hon. Friend on 15 February. Separate figures for Derbyshire are not available. However, if the uniform business rate were introduced today, the effect would be to reduce the rate poundage paid by businesses in Derbyshire by between 25 and 31 per cent. depending on the district council area concerned.
Mr. Trippier : The latest available information on vacant dwellings in both the public and private sectors was provided by Liverpool city council in its 1988 housing investment programme return (HIP 1), a copy of which is in the Library.
The provisional figure for rent loss on vacant local authority dwellings in Liverpool in 1987-88 as reported on the authority's housing subsidy claim form was £7.4 million. Figures for rate loss on all empty dwellings in Liverpool are available in "Rent Collection Statistics 1987-88 Actuals" published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, a copy of which is in the Library.
38. Mr. Gow : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what communications he has had with the managing director of the Eastbourne Waterworks Company about the increase in its charges which came into effect on 1 January and the further increase in prospect with effect from 1 April ; and if he will make a statement about charges for water made by the statutory water companies.
Column 687charges implemented from 1 January. I understand that these charges run for three months. I have therefore asked him to come and see me before his board fixes charges for the twelve months from 1 April 1989.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Brent will receive about £86.8 million block grant in 1989-90, £19.5 million (29 per cent.) more than in the current financial year after taking into account the changed arrangements for financing advanced further education.
Mr. Trippier : Under the provisions of part IV of the Local Government and Housing Bill a local authority which sells council houses would be required to set aside part of the receipts to reduce its indebtedness. The balance would be available to the authority without restriction for new capital investment.
47. Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking to ensure that the role of the Nature Conservancy Council is adequately sustained in those activities which have been or are to be transferred from the public to the private sector.
Column 688most part, are set out in the Nature Conservancy Act 1973, and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The Government are ready to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that the NCC is able to fulfil its responsibilities in relation to the activities of others, in both the private and public sectors.
Mr. Trippier : No housing action trusts have yet been established. When we have considered the consultants' reports on the six areas currently proposed, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will announce his conclusions.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Under section 112 of the Local Government Act 1972, it is for each local authority with responsibilities in this field to decide how many staff it is necessary for them to appoint.
51. Mr. McLoughlin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which is the highest and lowest precept county rate in England ; and what the change has been in the precept of each of these two councils since 1981.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The highest county precept in 1988-89 is 297.5p in Derbyshire and the lowest is 185p in Hereford and Worcester. The change in precept since 1981 is 168 per cent. for Derbyshire and 64 per cent. for Hereford and Worcester.
Mr. Chope : Last year, simplified planning zones were adopted and brought into operation by Derby and Corby. Five other schemes are in preparation, as noted in the reply to my hon. Friend, the Member for Mid- Staffordshire (Mr. Heddle) at column 304.
Mr. Trippier : I am pleased to report that the Tyne and Wear development corporation is making excellent progress. It has embarked on a number of major projects and has already had considerable success in encouraging the private sector to invest in Tyne and Wear.
Grant assistance from the corporation has already helped to attract inward investment from overseas companies such as Mitsumi, Goldstar and Liebherr, securing some £13 million private sector funding and the initial creation of over 600 jobs with the potential for considerable expansion. Work is also now underway at a number of major flagship sites such as Newcastle business park, St. Peters yard, Byker and The Close, Newcastle Quayside. At the business park a 59 acre site is being developed for over 500,000 ft of high quality industrial/commercial floorspace with the creation of 3,000 permanent jobs. Barratt Newcastle Ltd. is undertaking the development of an imaginative marina village on a 12.5 acre site at St. Peters yard and a prime site at The Close on Newcastle Quayside is being developed for a four-star hotel and offices with the creation of 400-600 permanent jobs. These three projects alone are expected to secure private sector investment of some £78 million..
Total expenditure by Tyne and Wear development corporation since it was established in May 1987 to the end of the current financial year is forecast at £28 million with some £42.5 million private funding having been secured, 1,200 jobs created and over 200,000 sq ft of floorspace provided/refurbished.
These results are very encouraging for the first two years of the corporation's life and when viewed alongside projects now underway there is no doubt that TWDC is playing a major role in bringing about an increase in business confidence and developer interest through its activities and positive promotion of the area.
Further information is available in the annual reports of the corporation.
ading Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he last met representatives from the Heating and Ventilating Contractors' Association ; and what was discussed.
59. Mr. Barron : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether independent valuation advice is taken when evaluating schemes for urban development grant, urban regeneration grant and city grant.
Mr. Trippier : Under the Housing Act 1985, local authorities are required to meet any deficit on their housing revenue accounts by a rate fund contribution (RFC) equal to the deficit. The London boroughs estimating they will make RFCs in 1988-89 are as follows : City of London
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
No data for 1988-89 have yet been received from Hounslow (which made an RFC in 1987-88) or from Merton (which did not make one).
64. Ms. Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the cost of full implementation of the European Economic Community directive on drinking water standards ; and when he expects this directive to be fully complied with.
Mr. Moynihan : Water authorities are preparing investment programmes for improving water supplies in relation to water quality, pressure and reliability of supply. The full cost and phasing of the required work will be set out in prospectuses when the privatised companies are offered for sale.
We are committed to achieving compliance with the EC drinking water directive as soon as possible. Good progress has been made and will continue to be made towards this end.
Mr. Moynihan : The EC drinking water directive (80/778/EEC) sets standards for 44 parameters. These are to be incorporated into regulations to be made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State under powers contained in the Water Bill 1988. Publication of the proposed contents of the regulations and draft guidance on maintaining the quality of public water supplies was announced on 10 February. Copies of both documents have been placed in the Library of the House.
68. Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the future of housing development within the area covered by the Warrington and Runcorn new town development corporation.
Mr. Trippier : One of the Government's objectives for Warrington and Runcorn development corporation is to promote and cater for the growth of home ownership by releasing serviced sites for housing development. The areas in which I would expect further housing development to occur include Westbrook, Bridgwater and Sandymoor. The release of housing sites for development will be continued by the Commission for the New Towns and for some time beyond the dissolution of the development corporation this September.
Mr. Trippier : The setting up of Bristol development corporation was held back by a petition against it. It came into legal existence on 19 January 1989 and became the development control authority for its area on 20 February 1989. The corporation has stimulated considerable interest in its area and the inquiries it is receiving promise well for the future.