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Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how he proposes to ensure that the pilot autoguide system will not include route guidance for through traffic to use local roads ; what powers local highway authorities will have of control over the guidance routes chosen and the equipment to be installed ; and whether there will be any appeals procedure to resolve differences between local highway authorities and operators.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Under the Road Traffic (Driver Licensing and Information Systems) Bill currently before Parliament, the operation of an autoguide system in relation to public roads would require a licence from the Secretary of State.
Column 689Clause 10(8) of the Bill would enable the Secretary of State to specify in a licence the classes of descriptions of public road which may be included in route guidance. The Bill does not extend local highway authorities' existing powers to manage traffic in their areas.
An autoguide pilot scheme would need to include the use of some local roads to allow a full assessment of the likely effects of a large scale commercial system. The Department of Transport has set up a group which would oversee the monitoring and evaluation of a pilot autoguide scheme in London, should a licence for one be awarded. The group includes representatives of local authority associations and the police.
An autoguide operator's power to install equipment would, under clause 12 of the Bill, be subject to the street works code in the Public Utilities Street Works Act 1950. This would require an operator to notify relevant highway authorities of proposals, and sets out procedures for resolving disputes.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents involving personal injury have been recorded on the north Devon link road since it was opened and how many motorists have been cautioned or prosecuted for speeding on this section of the road from Tiverton to South Molton.
There has been a high police presence on the road. They estimate that about 860 motorists have been cautioned or prosecuted for speeding.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Between 1985-86 and the 12 months ended September 1988, local bus fares outside London rose by an average of 19 per cent. Following the imposition of precept control, fares in metropolitan areas rose sharply from very low levels. In other areas outside London, the rise of 11 per cent. was broadly in line with inflation.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give the date when the M25 road was built ; what was the cost at current prices of (a) re-surfacing work, (b) concrete relaying and (c) road rebuilding (i) undertaken since that date up to the present time and (ii) which he estimates is needed to bring the road up to high quality standard ; who had the initial road-building contract ; what assessment he has made of the adequacy of that work bearing in mind the longevity and usage of the road ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 690become the M25 London orbital motorway was opened in 1972 and the final section in 1986. Fifteen main civil engineering contractors were involved in its construction.
Major maintenance work, defined as capital schemes costing more than £500,000 (more than £250,000 before April 1987), has cost as follows :
' £ million Year |Outturn cost --------------------------------------- 1985-86 |0.6 1986-87 |- 1987-88 |2.4 1988-89 |<1>9.8 1989-90 |<2>3.8 <1>Estimate. <2>Provisional.
Some major renewal has been necessary earlier than expected mainly because of much higher usage of the motorway than was originally forecast. Regular surveys are carried out to assess the continuing need for maintenance and major works are programmed in the most cost effective manner. All present major maintenance needs will be met by the expenditure provision for 1989- 90. These works will be designed and executed to minimise disruption to traffic.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give the date when the M11 road was built ; what was the cost at current prices of (a) resurfacing work, (b) concrete relaying and (c) road rebuilding (i) undertaken since that date up to the present time and (ii) which he estimates is needed to bring the road up to high quality standard ; who had the initial road-building contract ; what assessment he has made of the adequacy of that work bearing in mind the longevity and anticipated usage of the road ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Information is not kept in the form requested and could be produced only at disproportionate cost. The first section of the M11 London-Cambridge motorway was opened in 1975 and the final section in 1980. Seven main civil engineering contractors were involved in its construction.
Major maintenance work, defined as capital schemes costing more than £500,000 (more than £250,000 before April 1987), has cost as follows :
' Year |Outturn cost |(£ million) --------------------------------------- 1985-86 |0.3 1986-87 |- 1987-88 |1.3 1988-89 |<1>1.1 1989-90 |<2>9.0 <1> Estimate. <2> Provisional.
The works have mainly been resurfacing and overlay which serves to preserve the road and defer the need for costly reconstruction. Regular surveys are carried out to assess the continuing need for maintenance and major works are programmed in the most cost effective manner. All present major maintenance needs will be met by the expenditure provision for 1989-90. These works will be designed and executed to minimise disruption to traffic.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why the Lepe-based Venturers search and rescue service has not been accepted by the coastguard's regional controller as an operational partner in life-saving activities in the Solent ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : My hon. Friend the Minister for Aviation and Shipping wrote to my hon. Friend on 21 March 1989 giving the background to this matter, and explaining his decision. I have nothing further to add to the contents of that letter.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Figures relating to Prestwick airport appear in the annual reports by the British Airports Authority and its successor, BAA plc ; copies are in the Library. For any further material I suggest my hon. Friend contacts BAA plc direct.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will publish the evidence which led him to conclude that there had been a steady improvement in the financial position of Prestwick airport ; and if he will make a statement.
£ million |1983-88|1984-85|1985-86|1986-87|1987-88 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Income Traffic charges |3.7 |3.8 |4.0 |4.5 |5.3 Concessions and property |2.0 |2.1 |2.0 |1.9 |2.5 Total |5.7 |5.9 |6.0 |6.4 |7.8 Expenditure Staff costs |3.2 |3.9 |4.3 |4.3 |5.2 External charges |4.1 |3.3 |2.8 |2.8 |3.6 Depreciation |1.8 |1.5 |1.4 |1.2 |1.1 Total |9.1 |8.7 |8.5 |8.3 |9.9 Trading (loss) |(3.4) |(2.8) |(2.5) |(1.9) |(2.1)
A BAA note to these figures remarked the extraordinary expenditure of £0.75 million in 1987-88 in marketing support for an airline, Highland express ; this sum may be discounted from the expenditure account evaluating the trend of financial performance.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will list the representations he has received from commercial and business organisations in support of his policy of maintaining Prestwick as Scotland's gateway airport ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Representations to my right hon. Friend about Scottish lowland airports policy have taken the form of private correspondence. It would be for those concerned to make their views public, if they wished.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many harbour projects in (a) Yorkshire, and (b) Humberside have been carried out in the period from May 1979 to May 1989 ; where are the locations ; how much money was granted to these projects ; and what were the sources of the funds.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Department does not have this information. Harbour developments do not require my right hon. Friend's approval, and except for certain fishery facilities have not been financed since 1979 by Government loans or grants.
However in 1980 a grant of £19,200 was made for one harbour project in Yorkshire from the European regional
Column 692development fund, and since 1980 grants totalling £6,382,800 have been made from the fund for 20 harbour projects on Humberside.
Ms. Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many London boroughs allow the orange badge scheme to be used only by disabled people resident in their own borough ; which of the royal boroughs refuse to operate the orange badge scheme ; and for what reasons.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The orange badge scheme allows all badge holders to use the parking concessions wherever the scheme operates. The scheme does not operate in the Royal boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, nor in the City of London, City of Westminster and parts of London borough of Camden. This reflects the particular traffic problems in central London. The four authorities each operate their own concessionary scheme for people with disabilities who live or work in their area.
We recently announced proposals to ensure that orange badges go only to those severely disabled people who need them most, and to curb abuse of the scheme. In the light of that, we have invited the four authorities to consider introducing elements of the national scheme in their areas.
Q33. Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister if she will make it her policy to publish an indicative list of the circumstances in which Her Majesty's Government would authorise the use of the strategic nuclear deterrent.
Q45. Dr. Godman : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow on 27 April Official Report, column 613, if she will list the contents of Her Majesty's Government's proposals for the implementation of a hazardous and noxious substances convention as well as the alternative plans being presented ; and how those proposals would prevent accidents such as occurred with the foundering of the MV Perentis in March.
The Prime Minister : The new hazardous and noxious substances convention being developed by the International Maritime Organisation's legal committee seeks to establish a liability and compensation regime in respect of incidents arising from the maritime carriage of HNS cargoes. Of the four alternatives being prepared for the legal committee, one places liability solely on the shipowner, another places liability on an international fund financed by cargo interests. The two other alternatives share liability between the shipowner and an international fund. The United Kingdom is preparing proposals on one of these shared alternatives, under which the international fund would purchase insurance cover to meet any compensation claims made against it.
The marking, stowage and carriage of HNS cargoes are already subject to existing international conventions, developed and continually updated by the International Maritime Organisation.
Q113. Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister whether Sir Leon Brittan has cleared with No. 10 Downing street his response to the inquiry by the Select Committee on Defence about the explanation of his remarks on Channel 4 television, alleging that Mr. Bernard Ingham and Mr. Charles Powell had approved the disclosure of a Law Officer's letter during the Westland affair.
Sir Ian Lloyd : To ask the Prime Minister what has been the contribution by Her Majesty's Government to research and development connected with global warming in the current financial year ; how much is planned for future years ; and if she will break the figures down by departmental budget.
The Government are currently spending over £15 million on research and development directly relevant to the understanding of climate change and global warming and this figure is likely to increase. Details of expenditure by departmental and research council budget are given in the table for 1989-90.
In addition, a number of Departments are undertaking research and development work which will be relevant to the mitigation of and adaption to the consequence of climate change and global warming.
Planned expenditure on climate change research and development in 1989-90 |£ million -------------------------------- NERC |11.2 SERC |2.0 Met. Office |0.75 DOE |0.59 MAFF |1.0 |------- Total |15.54
A major assessment of the scientific position on climate change by United Nations Environment Programme/World Meteorological Office is under way in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change under United Kingdom chairmanship, and the Government are providing £760, 000 over two years in support of this work.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Prime Minister if she will make it the policy of Her Majesty's Government to ban immediately the import and export of all ivory products and seek a similar ban within the European Economic Community ; and if she will make a statement.
Column 695international co-operation. The Government fully share the concern that has been expressed about the decline in African elephant populations and will be calling for concerted European support for banning trade in new ivory, at the next council meeting of Environment Ministers on 8 June. The first opportunity to secure listing the African elephant in appendix I of the convention on international trade in endangered species, will be at the next conference of CITES parties in October.
The Prime Minister : Between 1979 and 1988, 937 non-departmental public bodies were abolished and 417 were established. A list of the individual bodies involved could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
The Prime Minister : The United Kingdom is well into its eighth successive year of sustained economic growth, at an annual average rate of over 3 per cent. The seven years to 1988 have seen a combination of strong and steady growth not seen since world war 2. The United Kingdom economy has grown faster than all other major European Community countries during the 1980s. Retail price inflation has averaged 5 per cent. since 1983, compared to an average of over 15 per cent. from March 1974 to April 1979.
Business investment in 1988 was the highest ever recorded as a percentage of GDP and in the 1980s as a whole it has grown faster than in all other major European countries ; only Japan among the Group of Seven major
Column 696industrialised nations has had faster business investment growth. Over the past seven years, total investment has grown more than twice as fast as consumption. The level of the United Kingdom's net overseas assets is the largest of all the major nations as a percentage of GDP and in 1986 and 1987 our invisibles surplus was the largest in the world.
Manufacturing productivity has risen at an average annual rate of over 5 per cent. since 1980--faster than in any other major industrialised country, after being at the bottom of the league in the previous two decades. Output per hour worked in the whole economy has also grown steadily so that by 1986 (the latest figure available), it was approaching the average for the Group of Seven and was 50 per cent. higher than that of Japan and only 5 per cent. below that of West Germany. Since 1981, the net rate of return on capital employed by British industry has nearly doubled. Excluding the North sea, the rise in profitability has been even greater. In 1987, non-North sea company profitability rose to over 10 per cent. its highest level since 1969, having risen every year since 1981.
Real take-home pay has risen substantially. For a married man on average earnings with two children, it has increased by about 30 per cent. between 1978-79 and 1988-89. Real personal disposable income is at a record level ; in 1988 it was 5 per cent. higher than a year earlier. Pensioners have also shared in this growing prosperity. Their average real incomes rose by 23 per cent. between 1979 and 1986.
The Government have continued to maintain sound public finances. In 1988- 89, the Government made a net repayment of public sector debt for the second consecutive year--the first time this has been achieved for forty years--saving over £1 billion a year in interest payments. Including the £14 billion repayment budgeted for 1989-90, the Government will have repaid roughly a sixth of the total accumulated public debt in three years.
The Government have increased spending on priority programmes while reducing public expenditure as a proportion of GDP. In 1988-89, it was less than 40 per cent. of GDP for the first time in over 20 years. This has been made possible by continued improvements in efficiency in Government services, together with a rigorous reassessment of expenditure priorities.
The Government have made great advances since the introduction of the financial management initiative in 1982 towards the goal of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Civil Service. All Departments now have arrangements for delegating clear budgets and responsibilities down the management chain, and the flexible pay arrangements now in force in the Civil Service will enable Departments to make further improvements in the use of their human resources. The central instructions on personnel management in the Civil Service are being reviewed with a view to removing unnecessary controls on the discretion of managers in Departments wherever possible.
In 1988, the next steps initiative was launched. This involves setting up, to the greatest extent practicable, discrete management units to perform the executive functions of Government. These agencies will have clearer objectives, greater responsibility and the right tools for the job. The aim is greater value for money for the taxpayer, increased job satisfaction for staff and a better quality of service for the public. So far, five agencies have been established, and well over 30 candidates identified,
Column 697covering about a third of the Civil Service and including virtually all the operational tasks of the Department of Social Security. The Government have pursued a substantial programme of tax reform. The aim has been to create a climate in which businesses can thrive and individual initiative and risk-taking are rewarded. The basic rate of income tax has been reduced from 33 to 25 per cent., and the main personal allowances are fully 25 per cent higher in real terms than in 1978-79. Nine higher rates of income tax on earned income running up to 83 per cent. have been replaced by a single higher rate of 40 per cent. A new system of independent taxation for husbands and wives will apply in 1990.
Business taxation has been radically restructured, leaving the main United Kingdom corporation tax rate at 35 per cent., one of the lowest in the industrialised world. Seventeen rates of capital transfer tax running up to 75 per cent. have been replaced by a single rate of 40 per cent. on inheritance ; the rates of tax on capital gains have been aligned with those on income and the taxation of purely inflationary capital gains has been ended. The taxation of life assurance will be reformed from 1990. Five major taxes and a number of unjustified tax breaks have been abolished.
Since 1979, the Government have privatised 19 major companies and a number of other enterprises. As a result of this policy and of tax reliefs designed to encourage shareholding, the number of individual shareholders in the United Kingdom, at one in five of the adult population, has trebled since 1979. Nearly 45 per cent. of the state-owned industrial sector which the Government inherited in 1979 has been returned to private enterprise. The privatisation programme is set to continue ; legislation is proceeding for the privatisation of the electricity supply industry and the water industry in England and Wales, and the Government have already announced their intention to privatise British Coal in the next Parliament.
The Government have introduced a large number of measures to improve the operation of markets. Pay, price and dividend controls have been abolished, together with controls on foreign exchange, bank lending, hire purchase and new issues, and restrictions on industrial and office development. Incentives have been increased by reductions in tax rates and by the reform of national insurance contributions. The state retirement pensioners' earnings rule will be abolished from October 1989.
Employment in the United Kingdom has risen by almost 3 million since March 1983, to the highest level ever. Unemployment throughout the United Kingdom has fallen over 33 consecutive months by over 1.25 million from its July 1986 peak, which is the longest and largest continuous fall since the second world war. The unemployment rate is now well below the European Community average. It has fallen in all regions of the country, with the biggest falls having occurred in the west midlands and Wales. The number of long-term unemployed (ie, those unemployed for more than a year) in the United Kingdom fell by a record half a million in the two years to January 1989. Unemployment among the under-25s has also been falling very sharply, and is now much lower than in most other European Community countries.
Column 698Changes in employment legislation and measures to assist labour mobility have improved the operation of the labour market. Many restrictions on the employment of women have been lifted. The Government's policies have helped the small firms sector to grow rapidly and to make a substantial contribution to employment and wealth creation. Between 1982 and 1984, about 1 million jobs were created by self employment and by firms employing fewer than 20 employees. Between 1980 and 1986, the number of small firms grew by around 500 per week. In 1987, this figure increased to nearly 900 per week. Self-employment has increased by more than 50 per cent. since 1979 to 3 million as of June 1988. The number of self-employed women has more than doubled in the same period.
The Government's small firms service continues to provide professional advice and support to small firms. The enterprise allowance scheme has helped some 430,000 people in Great Britain to set up in business on their own. In addition, the Government have helped to create a network of 400 local enterprise agencies throughout the United Kingdom to encourage the development of small firms.
The employment service has continued to build on the opportunities for delivering practical and positive help to get unemployed people back to work. In the year to March 1989, the employment service placed 1.9 million people into jobs, of whom 1.5 million had been unemployed. In the same period, some 2.2 million personal interviews were carried out under restart, almost 90 per cent. of them resulting in an offer of positive help from the range of opportunities available, including job clubs and employment training. New client advisers have been introduced into all full -time unemployment benefit offices and offer positive help to the newly unemployed to get them back into jobs as quickly as possible. The employment service has continued to treat as a priority the need to ensure that benefits are properly paid to those who are entitled to them and not to others. The Government have revolutionised vocational education and training for young people through the technical and vocational education initiative and two-year youth training scheme. TVEI is now a national scheme covering all education authorities. Over 2 million young people have had vocational training under YTS, and a wide range of courses leading towards a vocational qualification is available to all 16 and 17-year-old school leavers. All young people not going into a job or staying in full time education are guaranteed a place on YTS until their 18th birthday.
The Government have successfully introduced employment training, the major new programme for longer-term unemployed people. Over 180, 000 people are already training on the programme after just eight months of the programme's operation. The Government have guaranteed the offer of a place on employment training or on the enterprise allowance scheme or in a job club to all those aged between 18 and 24 who have been unemployed for between six and 12 months and also aim to provide a place on employment training for those over 24 who have been unemployed for two years or more.
The Government launched a new service--known as business growth training-- last month which will help companies to use training more effectively to improve their performance and their profits. The Government are setting up a network of training and enterprise councils. TECs
Column 699will contract with Government to plan and deliver training and promote and support the development of small businesses and self-employment within their areas. A national training task force has been set up to assist the Secretary of State for Employment to develop the TECs and to promote greater investment by employers in the skills of the workforce.
Legislation has been passed to protect members against abuses of trade union power, to extend their rights to influence the affairs of their unions, and to restore the balance in industrial relations between managements and unions. In particular, secondary action and secondary picketing have been made unlawful, all statutory support for the closed shop has been removed, and unions have been required to hold ballots before strike action.
The European Community's objective of completing the single market by the end of 1992 has the Government's strong support. Good progress has been made with around 275 single market measures agreed since 1985. To ensure that all businesses in every part of the country are fully prepared to take advantage of the opportunities the single market will bring, the Government launched a major campaign in 1988. As a result, over 90 per cent. of business men are now aware of the significance of 1992 and around 50 per cent. of British business is already taking action or considering steps to prepare for the single market.
The Government have launched the enterprise initiative, with the objective of helping business to acquire the skills and information they need to compete effectively. Since the launch of the initiative in January 1988, over 25,000 applications have been received by DTI for consultancy assistance, with demand spread throughout Britain. The Government have also launched the export initiative which is aimed at improving the quality and delivery of export services through closer partnership with the private sector, with particular emphasis on helping small and medium-sized firms to obtain expert professional advice on exporting.
The balance of regional policy has been changed so that the Government's enterprise policies are properly reflected in the regions. The Government have encouraged greater competition throughout the economy.
The emphasis of the Government's financial support for industry has shifted to industrial innovation. Support has been concentrated on collaborative research programmes, including the LINK scheme which brings together academic and industrial researchers, and the EUREKA initiative for collaborative research in Europe. Thirteen LINK programmes have been announced.
The Financial Services Act established a statutory framework for self- regulation of the financial services industry in the interests of investor protection, under the Securities and Investments Board and a number of self -regulatory organisations. The operation of the Act has been kept under review and the Government are taking steps to make further improvements in the self-regulatory regime following recent consultations.
The Government have been active to strengthen safeguards against fraud and to ensure that the probity of our financial institutions is maintained without undermining their competitiveness. The Companies Acts 1980 and 1981 strengthened the powers of investigation and the court's powers to disqualify directors for misconduct ; and made insider dealing a criminal offence.