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Mr. Lilley [holding answer 6 June 1989] : The local VAT offices that cover Wales also cover parts of England along the Welsh border. These offices are at Chester, Cardiff, Swansea, Carmarthen, Shrewsbury and Colwyn Bay.
The numbers of VAT registrations processed by these officers for the years in question were :
Year |New registrations ------------------------------------------------------ 1987 |11,577 1988 |14,748 1989-to 31 March |4,061
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what estimates he has of the number of small businesses with a turnover of less than £1 million which went into liquidation in (a) 1986, (b) 1987 and (c) 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Newton : I made it clear earlier this year, following the announcement that British Shipbuilders was to close NESL, that the remaining work on ferries originally ordered by Danish interests would take some months to complete, and that no action would be taken to break up the assets in the yard before the end of June. In the intervening period, there have been several expressions of interest in some or all of the yards for a number of purposes including shiprepair, shipbuilding and general engineering. I have therefore asked British Shipbuilders and its financial advisers carefully to evaluate all such proposals with a view to advising me by the end of this month whether one or more of them provides a basis for detailed negotiation for the disposal of some or all of the assets. As with the evaluation of bids for NESL prior to the announcement of closure particular weight will be given to the security of resulting employment. In judging viability it will be necessary to allow for the fact that subsidy from the intervention fund would not be available.
In making its judgment on the advice offered by British Shipbuilders on any possible disposal, the Government will need also to take appropriate account of its acceptability under the EC sixth directive on shipbuilding of the balance of advantage by comparison with the alternative of acquisition by the Tyne and Wear development corporation for clearance and development ; of the extent to which any form of Government financial assistance was envisaged. Should such a disposal take place, the Government would also have to decide whether measures to assist the creation of employment to replace that in the yards continued to be necessary. Pending a decision, elements of the proposed remedial package not yet implemented, including designation of an enterprise zone, will be held in abeyance.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the establishment and staff in post in each grade of the companies investigation branch of the Department of Trade and Industry in each year since 1984.
Mr. Forth : The following table shows the posts allocated by grade to the companies investigation branch on 1 April in each of the years in question. Staff in post tends to change in the course of a year. The table, there,fore also lists the staff in post on 1 April.
Grade 1 April 1984 1 April 1985 1 April 1986 1 April 1987 1 April 1988 1 April 1989 |Allocation |Staff in Post|Allocation |Staff in Post|Allocation |Staff in Post|Allocation |Staff in Post|Allocation |Staff in Post|Allocation |Staff in Post ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- E/DIR/L |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 INS/GD/A |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |2 |2 |3 |3 INS/GD/B |5 |5 |6 |5 |7 |6 |7 |8 |8 |7 |12 |12 INS/GD/C |14 |14 |14 |14 |14 |14 |20 |18 |25 |25 |25 |22 G7 |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |1 |1 HEO |- |- |- |- |1 |- |1 |1 |1 |1 |2 |2 EO |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |- |1 |1 |1 |1 |2 |1 INS/GD/D & E |4 |4 |5 |3 |5 |5 |8 |8 |7 |5 |7 |4 AO |4 |4 |5 |4 |5 |3 |5 |5 |5 |5 |6 |7 AA |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |1 |2 |2 |3 |3 PS |1 |1 |1 |1 |2 |1 |2 |2 |3 |2 |4 |3.5 TYP |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |- |1 |1 |1 |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- Total |32 |32 |35 |31 |38 |32 |47 |46 |55 |52 |67 |60.5
(2) how many private limited companies registered in England and Wales have paid-up share capital in each of the bands (a) £25,000 to £50,000, (b) £50,000 to £75,000 and (c) £75,000 to £100,000.
Mr. Maude : This information is not currently available for all private limited companies on the companies' register. However, work is in hand to compile data on the lines requested for companies formed since May 1987 and this is expected to be available from Companies house in a few weeks' time.
Mr. Evennett : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what information he has regarding the minimum share capital required by private limited companies seeking authorisation under the Financial Services Act 1986 from the Securities and Investments Board or any self-regulatory organisation ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : The financial resources requirements for persons authorised by the Securities and Investments Board or by self-regulating organisations recognised under the Financial Services Act are matters for the board and the organisation concerned. As far as I am aware, none of these regulatory bodies expresses its requirements in terms of minimum share capital.
Mr. Maude : I understand the gross realisations, including bank interest, made by the receivers of funds promoted by Barlow Clowes International Limited amount so far to approximately £20 million. No distribution has yet been made to BCI investors pending the outcome of three court cases, two of which have already been heard with judgment reserved. The third case, to be heard in late June, will determine the basis upon which each individual investor's entitlement to any distribution will be calculated. I understand that it is hoped that after judgment of the three cases an interim distribution to investors in BCI may be made in the late summer or autumn this year.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list regulations made under section 74(7) of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 ; and what plans he has to extend such definition.
Mr. Maude : Regulations made under section 74(7) of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985 are set out in regulation 11 of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Regulations 1985 (SI 1985 No. 1925 (s147)). There are no current plans to extend the definition.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will consider legislation to introduce one period applicable to gratuitous alienation to an associate of the debtor or other parties in terms of section 34(3) of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 1985.
An associate of a person who has subsequently been bankrupt would have been in a better position than any other person to judge the bankrupt's financial circumstances when the alienation took place. To be fair and just, an alienation in favour of an associate should continue to be challengeable if it was effected five years before the date of sequestration of the bankrupt's estate while an alienation in favour of any other person should be challengeable if it was effected two years before the date of sequestration.
The available information relates to expenditure by international and domestic visitors staying at least one night in Yorkshire and Humberside in each calendar year from 1979 to 1988. Figures for expenditure by United Kingdom residents on day-trips within Yorkshire and Humberside are not available.
Expenditure by tourists in the Yorkshire and Humberside region £ millions |British residents<1> |Overseas residents<2>|Total -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |255 |60 |315 1980 |275 |65 |340 1981 |300 |80 |380 1982 |295 |85 |380 1983 |335 |110 |445 1984 |385 |115 |500 1984 |<3>405 |- |<3>520 1985 |<3>375 |145 |<3>520 1986 |<3>435 |125 |<3>560 1987 |<3>420 |150 |<3>570 1988 |<3>500 |<4> |<4> <1> Source: British Tourist Survey Monthly. <2> Source: International Passenger Survey. <3> From 1984, an improved method of estimation was introduced, therefore, figures from 1984 to 1988 are not strictly comparable with earlier years. <4> Not available.
Mr. Peter Walker : Agriculture Department staff presently located at Plas Crug are in the process of moving to Trawsgoed. This relocation will produce worthwhile savings in accommodation costs and some staff economies. There will be no redundancies.
Mr. Geraint Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many people in Wales are on the waiting list for (a) heart and (b) lung transplants for each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action he is taking to ensure a sufficient supply of wheelchair housing for people with disabilities who wish to leave residential care or to set up home on their own ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Grist : It is for local authorities and housing associations in conjunction with Housing for Wales to assess housing need in their area and to make appropriate provision for people with special needs including those with disabilities.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the number of completions of (a) wheelchair housing and (b) mobility housing by (i) local authorities, (ii) housing associations and (iii) the private sector in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.
Completions of Completions of Wheelchair Housing Mobility Housing |Local authority and New|Housing association |Local authority and New|Housing association |Towns |Towns ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979 |16 |- |14 |- 1980 |16 |- |17 |- 1981 |8 |- |37 |- 1982 |9 |- |72 |- 1983 |16 |- |147 |- 1984 |31 |2 |159 |- 1985 |46 |- |9 |4 1986 |1 |27 |39 |1 1987 |29 |10 |64 |175 1988<1> |9 |5 |49 |26 <1> provisional.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the major obstacles remaining in the way of an announcement by him of the start-up date for the construction of a replacement for East Glamorgan general hospital.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what action he is taking in response to the messages received by the Welsh Office from people in the Talbot Green area expressing concern about the operation of the Purolite factory in that village.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the increase in the current year of 3 per cent. in expenditure on institutions of higher and further education in Wales, in the light of the current inflation levels.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : The higher education quantum for 1989-90 is based on a figure 8.75 per cent. higher than last year's allocation. Some LEAs may provide further resources for higher education in addition to their share of the quantum to meet local priorities. Recurrent expenditure on further education is supported from the overall provision for local authority current expenditure on education, which rose by 6.3 per cent. between 1988-89 and the current year. Capital expenditure on higher and further education institutions in 1989-90 is expected to exceed last year's figure of £10.7 million by a substantial factor.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what he intends to do to overcome the shortage of young people in Wales with the higher education qualifications and training required by industry and the financial services.
Column 151adopted by the Wales Advisory Body in formulating its advice on the distribution of the higher education quantum and the establishment of a transbinary Wales access unit to encourage and support the development of access courses will all assist higher education institutions to meet the demands of industry for highly skilled manpower. We have been encouraging employers to prepare for potential labour shortages by retraining existing workers, and drawing on the unemployed and other adults entering or re-entering the labour market. Our own training programmes are designed to facilitate this. We are particularly aware of the needs of the financial services sector in Wales and my right hon. Friend is discussing with interested parties measures to strengthen the skill base. He will be making an announcement on this shortly.
Mr. Peter Walker : We are considering placing a duty on local authorities to clean public areas, having regard to codes of practice which the Government would issue. We are also looking at ways of enabling local authorities to enforce the Litter Act more effectively.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what measures he intends to take to ensure that the Welsh water authority reduces the volume of sewage which it releases into the rivers of south Wales during periods of high rainfall.
Mr. Grist : None. The operation of storm sewage overflows during periods of high rainfall is a necessary practice to prevent the surcharging of sewers and the likely consequent flooding of properties with sewage.
Mr. Peter Walker : My Department actively promotes a wide range of measures aimed at stimulating industrial research and development. Financial assistance is available for collaborative research and for exploring key technologies. The Link scheme encourages companies to work jointly with universities and polytechnics, while small firms can benefit from the SMART competition and the regional enterprise grants for innovation. WINtech, a division of the WDA, has been established specifically to
Column 152advance the development and use of new technology in Welsh industry. It provides quality advice on technology transfer and product development, and access to seed capital. Welsh Development International complements this broader effort by working hard to encourage inward investors to establish research and development facilities in Wales.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of the bill for the current construction of the reinforced concrete monitoring building at the Welsh water authority's area headquarters at Nelson, Mid Glamorgan, will be written off under the Government's write-off of water authority debts.
Mr. Grist : Recent Government statements on debt write-off relate only to water authority borrowings from the national loans fund. The Government will not be seeking to identify notional borrowings against specific projects.
Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what information he has on the reasons for the differences in the time it takes to clear out-patient waiting lists in Glamorgan general hospital, Cardiff royal infirmary and the average for all hospitals in Wales.
Mr. Grist : As the introduction to Welsh Hospital Waiting List Bulletin 1989 : No. 1 makes clear, for a variety of reasons care is needed in interpreting the data given in the bulletin, thus making meaningful comparisons difficult. In the case of Cardiff royal infirmary the hospital provides a range of specialties which are particularly to it and may be different from those found in other hospitals, notably East Glamorgan hospital. There are further differences between individual specialties, notably in the case of Cardiff royal infirmary trauma and orthopaedics. The East Glamorgan general hospital is understood to have had staffing problems at consultant level which will have affected the notional waiting time figures there, at least in the short term. Detailed information on the explanation for waiting list performance by particular hospitals may be obtained direct from the relevant health authorities, upon which the responsibility to achieve the right balance of services and resources in serving their patients in the light of local circumstances and needs.
Dr. Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will takes steps to ensure that south Wales rail passengers and freight will enjoy direct access to the continent via the Channel tunnel as soon as any other region of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : I am keen for British Rail to provide Wales with an appropriate level of service to meet identified needs. It is for British Rail to determine the level and nature of such services in the light of available forecasts of traffic.
Mr. Peter Walker : Yes. Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate for class XVII, vote 6, I propose to increase the WO/UA1 urban aid non voted cash limit by £7,000,000, from £58,646,000 to £65,646,000. This will permit enhanced land acquisition this year by the Cardiff Bay development corporation. This increase will be offset by reductions elsewhere within my expenditure programmes and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.
These savings are being found from the roads and transport section of class XVII, vote 5. Accordingly, the cash limit for this vote is being reduced by £7,000,000, from £273,711,000 to £266,711,000.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his oral reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, Central and Royton (Mr. Lamond) of 7 March, Official Report, column 738, what distinction he makes between (i) a warhead and (ii) a system when comparing the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Soviet reductions in nuclear weaponry.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : A warhead is that part of a missile, projectile, torpedo, rocket or other munition which contains either the nuclear, thermo-nuclear or high explosive device, the chemical or biological agents, or the inert materials intended to inflict damage. A weapon system is the means of delivering the warheads.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many nuclear missiles have been removed from the United Kingdom since the United States/Soviet intermediate nuclear forces treaty ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation general political guidelines for use of nuclear weapons ; and how many times they have been followed.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The general political guidelines were agreed by Ministers at the Gleneagles NPG meeting in October 1986. The purpose of the document is to provide political guidelines for the employment of nuclear weapons in defence of NATO within the framework of NATO's strategy of flexible response and forward defence.
Column 154These guidelines are the basis for both peacetime planning by political and military authorities and a guide for carrying out their respective responsibilities in times of tension or conflict. They are consulted regularly.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated total value to the economy for (a) Strathclyde and (b) Scotland as a whole of the presence of military establishments of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation armed forces in various locations in the region and the country.
Mr. Sainsbury : Tenders have recently been invited for a batch of up to four type 23s. Decisions will be taken on the precise size and timing of the order after the tenders have been received, evaluated and fully analysed. In the longer term, we have plans to place sufficient orders to maintain a force of about 50 destroyers and frigates.
Column 155It is not my practice to disclose matters relating to any discussions of the nature of those referred to by the hon. Member.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Attorney General, what is the establishment and staff in post in each grade of the Serious Fraud Office in each year of its existence, together with the number of cases referred to it.
Grade |Establishment|Staff in post -------------------------------------------------------------------- 2 |1 |1 3 |2 |2 5 |10 |9 6 |18 |13 7 |5 |5 Senior Executive Officer |5 |6 Higher Executive Officer |10 |8 Executive Officer |8 |7 Administrative Officer |3 |1 Administrative Assistant |2 |0 Senior Personal Secretary |1 |1 Personal Secretary |4 |5 Typing Manager |0 |1 Typist |6 |0 Support Manager 3 |1 |1 Support Grade 2 |3 |0
Of those staff in post, one higher executive officer was on loan from the Crown prosecution service. There were in addition to the figures shown 29 agency staff employed on a temporary basis. The position to 1 June 1989 in the financial year 1989-90 was follows :
Grade |Complement |Staff in Post -------------------------------------------------------------------- 2 |1 |1 3 |2 |2 5 |10 |10 6 |18 |13 7 |5 |5 Senior Executive Officer |6 |6 Higher Executive Officer |11 |8 Executive Officer9 |8 Administrative Officer |3 |2 Administrative Assistant |2 |0 Senior Personal Secretary |1 |1 Personal Secretary |6 |5 Typing Manager |1 |1 Typist |12 |0 Support Manager 3 |1 |1 Support Grade 2 |4 |1 |--- |--- Total |92 |64
Of those staff in post, one higher executive officer was still on loan from the Crown prosecution service. Three of the four grade 5 accountants currently in post are seconded from private practice. There are in addition 29 agency staff employed on a temporary basis. In the period 6 April 1988, when the Serious Fraud Office was established, to 31 December 1988, 109 separate cases were referred to it for consideration. This number includes some matters which have previously been dealt with by the Crown prosecution service. From 1 January 1989 to date 28 separate cases have been referred.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy why, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newport, West, Official Report, 11 May, column 481, on the Pacific Sandpiper, a consignment of spent irradiated nuclear fuel was transported into and out of the United Kingdom without it being reprocessed ; and on how many occassions such a stop-off has taken place since May 1979.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The irradiated fuel was from an overseas research reactor and was being returned to its country of origin. The material was subject to international safeguards. It came to the United Kingdom as part of a cargo of irradiated fuel the balance of which was for reprocessing at Sellafield. Since May 1979 there has been an average of about one such shipment a year.
Mr. Michael Spicer : None. The World Association of Nuclear Operators comprises representatives of every organisation that operates electrical power producing nuclear reactors. It is independent of Government. However, I welcome its establishment and support its aims.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he has considered the terms of reference for the public inquiry into the proposed pressurised water reactor at Wylfa in Anglesey ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My right hon. Friend received an application from the CEGB on 18 April 1989 for his consent to construct a PWR nuclear power station to be known as Wylfa B. He directed the board to advertise its application and allowed a period of up to 31 July 1989 for objections to be made to him.
Until the response to the advertisements is known and the views of the relevant local planning authorities are received, it is too early to speculate whether a public inquiry will be necessary or, if a public inquiry is held, what matters my right hon. Friend will ask the inquiry inspector to consider.
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will give a timetable for the decommissioning of Berkeley nuclear power station over the next 14 years ; and if he will make a statement.