Mr. Wheeler : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give his best estimate on the most recent information available as to the annual amount of direct and indirect taxation raised in Scotland ; and what is the annual total of central Government and local government expenditure there for a similar period.
Mr. Major : For the latest information on identifiable Scottish public expenditure I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Boothferry (Mr. Davis) on 25 October 1988 at columns 120-29. The latest available information on income tax in Scotland for 1986 -87 amounts to £3,250 million. In the same year national insurance contributions are estimated to have amounted to £2,121 million, and local authority rates (excluding water rates) paid in Scotland totalled £1,653 million. Figures for remaining major elements of direct taxation and for indirect taxation are not collected on a regional basis.
Mr. Hind : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the percentage increase in the real take-home pay of a married man with two children on half average male earnings from 1978-79 to 1988-89.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those areas of public employment for which there is no funded pension scheme ; if he will tabulate the liabilities of current funding by category, type, Ministry and any other appropriate description ; and if he will list those industries that have been privatised whose employees now have a funded pension scheme.
Mr. Brooke : The majority of public service schemes--Civil Service, armed forces, judiciary, fire, police--are unfunded and financed on a "pay- as-you-go" basis, although two--the National Health Service and the teachers--are "notionally funded" (that is, in his periodic valuations the Government Actuary creates a notional fund, and calculates whether this is in balance, in surplus, or in deficit). Only the local government superannuation scheme and the parliamentary pension scheme are fully funded, although a number of small non-departmental public bodies (for example, Medical Research Council) also have funded schemes.
The local government superannuation scheme in England and Wales comprises 88 separate funds which are valued by an actuary every five years (three years from 1 April this year). Copies of these valuation reports, which contain estimates of the liabilities, are sent to the Secretary of State for the Environment. The information is not collated centrally and could be produced only at disproportionate cost. In the case of the parliamentary scheme, the liabilities are set out in the Government Actuary's report (House of Commons paper No. 13) based on a valuation at 1 April 1984 and laid before the House in 1986.
Private pension scheme arrangements are a matter for the individual company. However, the principal privatised industries--British Gas, British Telecom, British Airways--had funded schemes before privatisation as well as after.
Mr. Moore : Invisible trade figures are collected only on a quarterly basis. In the fourth quarter of 1988 the invisible trade balance showed a surplus of £821 million after unusually high net payments to the EEC of £840 million. For 1988 as a whole, net payments to the EEC were £1,442 million and invisible trade recorded a surplus of £5,892 million.
Mr. Norman Lamont : Some two years ago Her Majesty's Government announced that they were prepared to defer initiating action under what is now section 812 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988 (previously section 54 of the Finance Act 1985) in recognition of the progress that had been made towards resolving the unitary tax issue. The Government further made it clear that if it became necessary to take action after 31 December 1988, it would not apply to dividends paid on or before that date.
The Government believe that progress has been made in the last two years but that problems remain, in particular the election fee which companies have to pay in order not to be subject to worldwide unitary tax. It proposes to review the situation jointly with the United States Treasury later this year. If it became necessary to take action on or after 31 December 1989 this would not apply to dividends paid on or before that date.
First, persons who are resident in Crown property which is designated by the Secretary of State will be exempt from the personal community charge and, in Scotland, the personal community water charge. A contribution in lieu of those charges will be made to the local authority by the relevant Government Department or Crown body, which will recover those charges from the residents concerned. Second, any contribution in lieu of the standard community charge and, in Scotland, the standard community water charge which would otherwise be payable in respect of premises which are occupied by a Government Department or other Crown body will be made to the local authority by the Government Department or Crown body occupying those premises.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the cost of the average private medical insurance policy with comprehensive cover for (a) a pensioner aged over 60 years, (b) a pensioner aged over 70 years and (c) a pensioner aged over 80 years.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will make available the estimates used in his calculation of £40 million tax relief for 1989-90 for the private medical insurance premium for the average pensioner ;
(2) what is his estimate of the average premium paid for private medical insurance by those aged over 60 years who currently hold private medical insurance policies ;
(3) what is his estimate of the proportion of the £40 million set aside for tax relief for private medical insurance that will go to top-rate taxpayers.
Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 17 March 1989] : Tax relief on private medical insurance for the over-60s will not be available until 1990-91, when about 330,000 tax units (single people and married couples) aged 60 or above are expected to qualify for tax relief on medical insurance. The average subscription per tax unit is estimated to be about £400. Around one half of the cost of relief is expected to be received by higher-rate taxpayers.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the cost of private medical insurance tax relief if (a) 1 million (b) 1.2 million (c) 1.5 million and (d) 2 million qualify for tax relief.
Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 17 March 1989] : The cost of relief at the various levels of take-up specified would depend on the type of policies taken out and the marginal tax rate of the payers of the premiums. These would be likely to vary with the level of take-up.
Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the numbers of taxpayers who will be affected by his proposals to simplify the assessment of earnings under schedule E ; and what proportion are on a marginal rate of 40 per cent.
Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 17 March 1989] : It is estimated that around half a million taxpayers--mainly directors--will be affected by these proposals and that about 40 per cent. will be higher-rate taxpayers.
Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 20 March 1989] : The transitional arrangements for PEPs are contained in the personal equity plan regulations 1989 laid before Parliament on 14 March. Plan managers will be able, if they wish, to operate on the basis of the improved provisions announced in the Budget from 6 April 1989, but where plan managers are unable to adapt their systems to apply the improvements by that time, they have until 31 December 1989 to do so. The new requirement that investment and unit trusts must have 75 per cent. of their investments in United Kingdom equities does not apply until 6 April 1990.
Mr. Lilley [holding answer 20 March 1989] : Information on departmental publicity expenditure incurred through the Central Office of Information is a matter for departmental Ministers and can be supplied only at disproportionate cost.
Details of departmental expenditure on publicity for the financial years 1984-85 to 1988-89 were supplied by Ministers in response to questions from the hon. Member and published in the Official Report November-December 1986 ; July 1987 ; December 1987-January 1988 ; and March 1989.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to ensure that the taxi buses providing scheduled services in consequence of the recent initiatives on transport policy are exempted from value added tax on the same basis as large public service buses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lilley [holding answer 21 March 1989] : The zero-rating of bus fares is limited to vehicles capable of carrying 12 or more passengers, that is, those which are used, in the main, to provide the bulk of mass public transport. The Government have no plans to extend zero- rating to smaller vehicles.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will institute an immediate investigation into (a) the carriage of dangerous substances by road, (b) the numbers of heavy goods vehicles involved in accidents in 1988-89 and (c) the numbers of heavy goods vehicles carrying dangerous loads that were involved in accidents over the last five years.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The regulations governing the carriage of these goods by road are regularly reviewed and updated. The figure for accidents in 1988 involving HGVs is not yet available. In 1987 it was 15,107. This is some 18 per cent. lower than 10 years ago. There were 101 accidents involving vehicles carrying these goods reported to HSE in 1986- 87. This was the first year separate records were kept. The comparable figure for 1987-88 was 68.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list (a) the local authorities that have been appointed to design trunk road schemes valued in excess of £1 million and (b) where competition has been invited for the design of such schemes the local authorities which have been invited to submit competitive bids.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Since fee competition between consultants was introduced in January 1985, the local authorities listed in the Table have been appointed to design trunk road construction and improvement schemes estimated to cost over £1 million.
Local authority |Number of schemes ------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Bedfordshire CC |1 2. Cambridgeshire CC |3 3. Cheshire CC |1 4. Cornwall CC |3 5. Cumbria CC |3 6. Devon CC |1 7. Dorset CC |2 8. Durham CC |1 9. Gloucestershire CC |1 10. Hampshire CC |1 11. Hertfordshire CC |1 12. Humberside CC |1 13. Kent CC |1 14. Norfolk CC |1 15. Northamptonshire CC |2 16. Northumberland CC |1 17. North Yorkshire CC |1 18. Shropshire CC |1 19. Staffordshire CC |2 20. Suffolk CC |2 21. Warwickshire CC |1 22. West Sussex CC |1 23. Wiltshire CC |2
As already explained, local highway authorities are also appointed to design major maintenance schemes costing over £1 million in the areas where the trunk road network is managed by them. They do not bid for either type of work.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the Government's policy on whether the design of trunk road schemes valued in excess of £1 million should be carried out in the public or private sector ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Our policy is to allocate the design work for trunk road construction and improvement schemes estimated to cost over £1 million to private sector consultants, through competitive tendering. Exceptionally, such work may be awarded without recourse to competition, to the highway authority in whose area the scheme lies. This is where the authority has already carried out some of the design and allocation to a consultant would involve delay or extra costs ; where the project is interlinked with an adjacent local highway authority scheme ; or where there is a large amount of traffic management and control which would involve the authority in any event.
The design of major maintenance schemes costing over £1 million is handled by the authority or consultant who is responsible for managing the maintenance of the part of the trunk road network in question. Most of the network is managed by local highway authorities.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he received any request for a transport licence for nuclear materials carriage flasks that arrived on the Pacific Sandpiper in Barrow on 16 February.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Transport of all nuclear materials must be made in accordance with national and international regulations. The certificates required to comply with these regulations were issued by my Department for the shipment aboard the Pacific Sandpiper that arrived on 16 February.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what representations has he received regarding the transport by road of dangerous freight ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) how many road accidents have taken place in each of the past five years in which at least one of the vehicles involved was carrying dangerous freight, what casualties were caused ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : I have received several letters from members of the public, either direct or forwarded by hon. Members. On accident figures, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) on 20 March at column 397.
There were no fatalities, and three casualties caused by the goods being carried in the two years 1986-1988. While not complacent, I regard these figures as representing a good safety record.
Mr. Michael Martin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects to receive the results of the railway inspectorate's report on the Springburn to Bellgrove railway line crash ; and if he will be making a statement.
Mr. Portillo The inquiry into the Bellgrove accident is to be held on 19-21 April at the Merchants house of Glasgow, 7 West George street, Glasgow. The chief inspecting officer of railways will be presenting his report to me at the earliest opportunity. I cannot, at this time, give any indication when that will be.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to monitor the standards of service offered by National Express Bus Company and other national coach companies, and complaints thereon by customers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : The services offered by National Express Bus Company and other coach operators are a matter for their commercial judgment. Any customer complaints can be dealt with by normal consumer protection legislation. Long-distance services were deregulated under the Transport Act 1980, but operators are still subject to the control of PSV operator licensing. PSV drivers are subject to driver licensing and driver hours legislation.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, upon what information he based his recent statement that the three main causes of road deaths were drunken drivers, dangerous drivers and motor cyclists.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : A comma appeared in the press reports after the word drivers'. The point I was making was that the main cause of road deaths are drunk drivers, dangerous drivers and dangerous motor cyclists. We know from coroners' reports that alcohol is a key factor in about a third of road deaths.
Accident causation studies show that human error, resulting in dangerous driving is a prime factor in 70 per cent of accidents and a factor in 95 per cent.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what percentage of all road deaths in the latest year for which figures are available involved (a) motor cycles, (b) dangerous drivers and (c) drunken drivers.
(b) As cause of accident is not collected it is not possible to determine from the available data how many accidents involved dangerous driving.
(c) During 1986, the latest year for which complete drink-drive figures are available, it is estimated that 950 out of the 5,382 road deaths, that is, nearly 18 per cent., occurred in accidents where at least one driver was over the legal alcohol limit. Some of these accidents also involved motor cycles and therefore will be included in the previous figure.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford, 7 February, Official Report, column 613, he will make it his policy to publish the final version of the review report on the international transport of nuclear materials to coincide with its consideration at the standing advisory group of the International Atomic Energy Agency in April.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why the national arrangements involving radioactivity scheme does not apply to emergency procedures involving the rail transport or road transport of spent nuclear fuel.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Emergency procedures to deal specifically with incidents involving nuclear fuel flasks have been provided and are administered by the Central Electricity Generating Board in England and Wales and the South of Scotland electricity board in Scotland.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all rail accidents involving trains carrying spent nuclear fuel, by date and place ; and if any radioactivity has been released from any flask or container involved in a rail accident since such transport began.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : No incident involving a nuclear fuel flask in transit has led to a release of radioactivity since this traffic was started 30 years ago. From time to time there have been minor incidents, usually involving empty flasks. These are of no radiological significance. The Department does not keep statistics on them.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy at the European Council of Transport Ministers in Brussels on 14 March to propose a study of the safety of road, rail and air transport of plutonium, enriched uranium, tritium and spent nuclear fuel within and from the European Community.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : No such study is needed. The transport of radioactive materials is required to comply with international standards laid down by United Nations bodies. The regulations are kept under continuous review.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what transport regulations will cover the safety of the moving of the Royal Navy's research reactor at Greenwich royal naval college to Plymouth in 1993.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The movement of the Royal Navy research reactor will be made in full compliance with national and international transport regulations for the safe transport of radioactive materials that apply at the time of the transfer. A list of the current regulations has been sent to the hon. Member.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland, 16 March, Official Report, column 287, what reports he has now received from his marine surveyors concerning the adequacy of arrangements made on ships to ensure compliance with annex V of the Marpol convention prohibiting the disposal into the sea of plastic, synthetic rope and other rubbish.
Mr. Portillo : Garbage generated on board ship can be disposed of either into shore reception facilities or, in the case of non-plastics, can be retained on board for disposal at sea outside prescribed limits. Surveyors have not been asked to report on the arrangements on board ships. The essential point of their inspection is to remind those on board that an offence would be committed if garbage is illegally discharged into the sea ; and any arrangements made should be designed to avoid such a discharge.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many reports of alleged infringements of regulations S.I. 1988 No. 2292 and S.I. 2293 relating to garbage and merchant shipping have been investigated by his Department since they came into effect.
Mr. Portillo : No reports have been received of specific instances alleging infringements either under the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage Regulations (1988 No. 2292) or under the Reception Facilities for Garbage Regulations (1988 No. 2293).
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken to recover the container of lindane insecticide lost in the Channel ; and what is being done to monitor the situation.
Mr. Portillo : A container containing lindane has been lost in an area of the Channel in which, under a bilateral agreement, the French authorities are responsible for co-ordinating counter-pollution action.
The Department's marine pollution control unit has maintained close contact with the relevant French authorities throughout the incident and has offered United Kingdom assistance to locate and recover the missing container. We have been assured that they have all the resources they need for the time being.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the French authorities are taking samples of water, sediments and fish.