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Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if the Central Electricity Generating Board has any plans to reschedule the natural circulation test at Trawsfynydd nuclear power station that was cancelled due to public concern ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael Spicer : I understand from the Central Electricity Generating Board that it has no immediate plans to carry out a natural circulation test at Trawsfynydd nuclear power station. However, if the board should decide to undertake such a test it will publicise its plans in advance. No test can go ahead unless the Health and Safety Executive's nuclear installations inspectorate is satisfied that it is safe.
Mr. Skinner : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he intends to introduce the amending order with regard to the retired mineworkers pension scheme benefits lost by former mineworkers due to changes in the availability for work procedures.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if Birkenhead jobcentre has sufficient staff to answer claimants' inquiries about possible job opportunities ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lee : Birkenhead jobcentre has sufficient staff to deal with the range of functions and activities offered by an office of its size. There have been no reports of queues or delays from either staff or members of the public.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment on what date he plans to publish his Department's internal review of employment services for disabled people commissioned in March 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consultations his Department has had with disability organisations and disabled people on the review of employment services for disabled people.
Mr. Cope : My Department has published a consultation paper today seeking views on the desirability of extending the jurisdiction of industrial tribunals to cases involving breach of employment contract in certain circumstances. The consultation paper, a copy of which has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, has been sent to a number of interested organisations. The deadline for receipt of comments is 4 August.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister if she will publish in the Official Report a table showing the information she has on the percentage of gross domestic product spent on defence in (a) Russia and (b) North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries, together with figures showing (i) gross domestic product and (ii) gross domestic product per head in dollar terms.
The Prime Minister : The table sets out the information requested for NATO countries for 1987, the latest year for which complete figures are available. Provisional figures for 1988 defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP in each NATO country were included in the 1989 Statement on the Defence Estimates, Cm. 675-I, page 39. The Soviet Union has recently stated that its defence expenditure for 1989 will be 77.3 billion roubles. We do not know how this figure has been compiled and assess that, when compiled according to the definitions common to NATO countries, outlays should be roughly twice this level. As such, they would constitute an estimated 15 to 17 per cent. of Soviet GDP. No accurate estimates can be given of Soviet GDP or GDP per capita in dollar terms ; conversion of rouble data into dollars using commercial exchange rates is likely to prove highly misleading.
|Defence expenditure as a|GDP million US $<1> |GDP per capita US $<1> |percentage of GDP -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Belgium |3.0 |138,526 |14,030 Canada |2.1 |414,244 |16,050 Denmark |2.1 |101,315 |19,750 France |4.0 |879,879 |15,710 Federal Republic of Germany |3.1 |1,118,839 |18,270 Greece |6.2 |47,179 |4,720 Iceland |- |5,326 |21,740 Italy |2.4 |751,261 |13,090 Luxembourg |1.2 |6,061 |16,290 Netherlands |3.1 |214,641 |14,630 Norway |3.4 |82,661 |19,770 Portugal |3.1 |36,312 |3,530 Spain |2.4 |288,098 |7,420 Turkey |4.4 |65,044 |1,250 United Kingdom |4.7 |665,732 |11,730 United States |6.5 |4,436,018 |18,190 <1> Based on 1987 average market exchange rates.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister if she will publish in the Official Report a table showing the Government's assessment of the change in the balance of military advantage between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries in 1959, 1968, 1978 and 1988 respectively.
The Prime Minister : Information on the balance between NATO and the Warsaw pact forces for 1978 and 1988 is available in the relevant tables in the Statements on Defence Estimates for those years, Cmnd. 7099 and Cm. 344 I. Similar information for 1959 and 1968 is not available.
The Prime Minister : Self-governing hospitals are not being established as a cost saving exercise. They will help to improve the choice and quality of the services offered to the public and the efficiency with which these services are delivered.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what assumptions about the proportion of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance nations' troops which would be supplied to take part in an invasion of Europe underlie Her Majesty's Government's defence policy.
The Prime Minister : The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance is not a military organisation. Details of the forces available to the Warsaw pact are set out in chapter six of the Statement of the Defence Estimates 1989, Cm. 675 I.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what will be the effects on patient care of the Government's proposal that overspending by a group of general practitioners in one year will result in a reduction in their budget in the following year.
The Prime Minister : None. If a practice budget becomes overspent, it will be open to the budget holders to seek a budgetary review. Should the review find that a higher level of spending was justified by virtue of changed circumstances since the initial budget was set, there will be no compensatory reduction in the following year. In any event, practice budgets will always be set at levels which safeguard the interests of patients and no changes will be made to budgets which would jeopardise this fundamental principle.
(2) whether nuclear weapons sited in West Germany can be used for defensive purposes without the consent of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Prime Minister : At the North Atlantic Council meeting at Athens in 1962, both the United Kingdom and the United States specifically committed themselves to consult their allies, time and circumstances permitting, before releasing their nuclear weapons for use. The Council also adopted guidelines on the degree to which political consultation on such use might be possible.
Column 160Subsequently the nuclear planning group, meeting in The Hague in 1968, agreed that special weight should be given to the views of the NATO countries most directly affected. It would not be in the public interest to reveal the precise details of the arrangements. The separate arrangements for joint decision over the use of United States bases in the United Kingdom were set out in the reply of my right hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Sir J. Stanley) to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) on 24 February 1987, at column 222.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what are Her Majesty's Government's policies on the use of available nuclear weapons in the event of a Soviet breakthrough to the Channel ports using conventional weapons.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Prime Minister what benefits have been brought to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire arising (a) from membership of the European Community (b) the consequences of the Single European Act.
The Prime Minister : Membership of the EC has contributed, with the policies of the present Government, to faster growth and greater prosperity in which Nottinghamshire has shared, and which has reduced unemployment in the Nottingham travel-to-work area from 12.8 per cent. to 8.3 per cent. in the two years to April 1989--a reduction of 35 per cent.
The Single European Act will facilitate the creation of the single European market which will enhance these opportunities still further, particularly in view of the United Kingdom's proven attraction as a location for inward investment projects such as Toyota's, which will create new business and employment opportunities throughout the east midlands.
Nottinghamshire is likely to benefit substantially from the EC's recent decision to make new areas of the county, including Mansfield and Worksop, eligible for help from the European regional development fund.
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Prime Minister if she will establish a further inquiry into events at the Kincora boys' home following the publication of the book "Who Framed Colin Wallace?" by Paul Foot which gives evidence of doubt concerning the validity of information supplied to the Hughes inquiry by the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to her oral reply to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) of 11 April, Official Report , column 738, what precise area is covered by the term "forward area".
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government will bring forward proposals to amend section 2 of the European Communities Act 1972 to enable Parliament to decide the level of taxation.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister if she will make it her policy that Her Majesty's Government will not agree to any form of harmonisation within the European Economic Community of monetary, fiscal or exchange rate policy under the treaty of Rome or the Single European Act.
The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Member to the exchange between myself and my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, South (Mr. Aitken) on 18 May at column 1474 and to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend, the Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) on 2 May at columns 13-14.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what assessment has been made of the disadvantages for the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, Benelux and Spain agreeing to monetary union and fiscal harmonisation.
The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Member to the speech I made to the College of Europe at Bruges, Belgium on 20 September last year and to the speech my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer made to the Royal Institute of International Affairs on 25 January.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what is the Government's estimate of the number of jobs which will be lost in United Kingdom manufacturing as a result of the completion of the internal market.
The Prime Minister : Completion of the single market should result in job gains over a number of years : whether or not these potential gains are achieved will depend on how employers and employees respond to the opportunities that the single market will present.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister whether Her Majesy's Government will commission a survey of public opinion to measure the proportion of voters which want the United Kingdom to be more integrated into the European Community.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister whether Her Majesty's Government will promote the reunification of Germany and a political settlement between Germany and the East European states on terms acceptable to the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Prime Minister : I remind the hon. Gentleman of article 7 of the convention on relations in the Bonn-Paris conventions of 1955 : "Pending the Peace Settlement the signatory states will co-operate to achieve, by peaceful means, the common aim of a reunified Germany enjoying a liberal- democratic constitution, like that of the Federal Republic."
This long-standing commitment enjoys our continuing support.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister whether she will publish in the Official Report a table showing which of the proposals put forward by the European Economic Commission in the social field could not be enacted by the British Parliament on its own account.
The Prime Minister : Parliament can enact legislation in all of the areas proposed in the social field. However, in framing any legislation, the Government will of course have regard to our international obligations, including our obligations under Community law.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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. Needham : The Department of the Environment (NI) funds the provision of special needs housing in response to proposals by the Housing Executive and by registered housing associations. It is a matter for the Housing Executive and individual associations in consultation with statutory bodies and voluntary agencies to determine the numbers and locations of units to be provided to wheelchair standard. In practice the supply of wheelchair accommodation has, I believe, kept broadly in line with the needs of physically handicapped people who wish to leave residential care or to set up home on their own.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 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.
Mr. Needham : i. I am advised by the chairman of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive that information in the form requested is not readily available and could be compiled only at disproportionate cost. However during the period 1976 to 1 April 1989 102 dwellings were built for use by tenants confined to a wheelchair and 6,044 dwellings were built to mobility standard.
Column 163ii. The number of wheelchair units completed by registered housing associations in Northern Ireland in each of the last 10 financial years is as follows :
Year |Number of units completed ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979-80 |10 1980-81 |11 1981-82 |11 1982-83 |15 1983-84 |53 1984-85 |29 1985-86 |39 1986-87 |10 1987-88 |41 1988-89 |79 |--- Total |298
No separate record is kept of units built by registered housing associations to mobility standard. However, most sheltered housing for the elderly is built to mobility standard and the number of such units completed in each of the last 10 years is as follows :
Year |Number of units completed ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979-80 |181 1980-81 |285 1981-82 |97 1982-83 |448 1983-84 |356 1984-85 |448 1985-86 |497 1986-87 |227 1987-88 |364 1988-89 |421 |----- Total |3,324
iii. Further units to mobility standard were provided for client groups other than the elderly but specific numbers are not readily available.
There are no statistics available for the provision of facilities for the wheelchair disabled within the private housing sector.
Sir William Shelton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what would a (a) single person on half average earnings, (b) single person on average earnings and (c) typical ward sister pay in capital value rates and local income tax combined, assuming an 80/20 capital rate to local income tax split if he or she lived in a property in Lambeth worth (i) £65,000, (ii) £75,000, (iii) £85,000, (iv) £100,000 and (v) £150,000.
Illustrative annual liability in Lambeth under a system of capital value rates combined with local income tax, 1988-89 Property value |(a) single person<1>|(b) single person<2>|(c) typical<3> ward |earning £6,360 |earning £12,725 |sister £ |£ |£ |£ --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 65,000 |1,220 |1,400 |1,415 75,000 |1,395 |1,570 |1,585 85,000 |1,656 |1,745 |1,755 100,000 |1,825 |2,000 |2,015 150,000 |2,685 |2,860 |2,875 Notes: <1> Assuming taxable income of £3,755 per year. <2> Assuming taxable income of £10,120 per year. <3> Assuming taxable income of £10,595 per year.
The figures are based on the illustrative tax rates placed in the Library on 23 June 1988 and are for 1988-89. No allowance has been made for rebates for those on low income. They assume that the person lives alone, in each case.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list (a) the failures of implementation of policy and (b) the successes in the implementation of policy by his Department since May 1979.
Mr. Ridley : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Bennett) on 25 May ( Official Report columns 695-719). Columns 706-08 list the major achievements for which my Department is responsible. There have been no failures.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the circumstances in which a carer, as a consequence of their caring, may become subject to paying more than one poll tax ; and if he will take steps to introduce legislation to remove all such circumstances.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total budget for the Yorkshire and Humberside region in grant-in- aid for development for the years May 1979 to May 1989 ; how much central Government gave towards the budget ; and how much was obtained from other sources.
Mr. Trippier : Comprehensive figures for Yorkshire and Humberside are not available, but as a measure of the contribution made by Government the three main Departments concerned with encouraging development-- Environment, Employment and Trade and
Industry--contributed £489 million in 1988-89 alone.
Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his Department's policy on the timing of announcements as to who will receive grants under (a) section 16 of the Housing and Planning Act 1986 and (b) section 73 of the Housing Act 1985 in relation to the beginning of the relevant financial year ; and how many times this target has been achieved in the last five years, for each grant.
Mr. Trippier : It is the Department's policy now to announce the award of grants under section 73 of the Housing Act 1985 and under section 16 of the Housing and Planning Act 1986 where possible before the start of the financial year to which they apply. Applications may be considered (and grants awarded) at any time during the year. Section 73 grants
Over the last five years, awards of grants were notified in each July or August with the exception of 1987-88 when grants were not announced until September.
Section 16 grants
This grant regime started in May 1987. Awards for the latter half of that year were made in October 1987. For 1988-89 and 1989-90, all recipients of grant were notified before or at the start of the financial year.
Mr. Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the grants which are made by his Department under section 16 of the Housing and Planning Act 1986 and under section 73 of the Housing Act 1985 are normally made on an annual basis ; and for what periods grants have been made under those powers for the current financial year.
Mr. Trippier : The grants made by my Department under section 16 of the Housing and Planning Act 1986 and under section 73 of the Housing Act 1985 are normally made on an annual basis. This year has been no exception for grants made under section 16. Section 73 grants have been offered for six months pending the outcome of the review of the section 73 grant regime.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Nottingham, North of 16 May, Official Report, column 183, what was the exact amount of the city of Nottingham expenditure on the setting up costs of the community charge which has been supported through the rate support grant.
Mr Gummer : The grant-related expenditure assessment for Nottingham for 1989-90 included £307,000 in respect of community charge preparation costs. This is the level of expenditure which is supported through rate support grant. As I explained in my answer to the hon. Member on 16 May, there will in addition be a specific grant of £306,864 made available to Nottingham in 1989-90 for these purposes.
Column 166in each of the last five years for which figures are available by (a) private builders, (b) Kirklees council and (c) housing associations.
Mr. Trippier : The reported housebuilding completions in 1979 and 1988 for the borough of Kirklees are published in issues 59 and 89, respectively, of "Local Housing Statistics". Annual figures for intervening years appear in "Housebuilding in England by local authority areas : 1980 to 1987."
Copies of these publications are in the Library.
Mr. Riddick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many tenants of Kirklees council have exercised their right to buy their council house or flat in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.
Mr. Trippier : I refer my hon. Friend to the "Statistics on Right to Buy and Other Council House Sales" tables which have been placed in the Library giving available information up to December 1988. The tables show year by year information since 1979-80 together with cumulative figures since April 1979. No returns of sales to sitting tenants have been received by the Department from Kirklees district council since December 1986.