|Previous Section||Home Page|
United Kingdom total Gross Domestic Fixed Capital Formation (1985 prices) per cent. change on a year earlier |Per cent. change --------------------------------------------------- 1978 |3.01 1979 |2.80 1980 |-5.37 1981 |-9.58 1982 |5.42 1983 |5.03 1984 |8.60 1985 |3.80 1986 |1.66 1987 |7.98 1988 |12.25 Source: CSO.
Between 1980 and 1988 the United Kingdom had the fastest growth of total investment of all the EC countries.
Mr. Major : Companies' undistributed income is used to finance a variety of expenditure, including investment, but it is not possible to say to what extent investment has been financed by internally or externally generated funds.
Mr. William Powell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has yet received clarification from the European Commission of the effect on village halls of the European Court of Justice's judgment on value added tax zero rates ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lilley : I have now received a letter from Mrs. Christiane Scrivener, the EC Commissioner, which indicates that the Commission believes the European Court's judgment, while prohibiting the zero-rating of supplies of fuel and power to village halls, does not rule out zero- rating for the construction of village halls. I therefore propose to bring forward amendments to the Finance Bill at Report stage to reinstate the zero rate for the construction of new village halls and similar charitable buildings. These will be tabled as soon as possible.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will announce his decision on possible abatement of the increase in national non -domestic rates by powers given under sub-paragraph 5(3) of schedule 7 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988 ; what criteria he will take into account when taking that decision ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 91grant reports for 1990-91. For succeeding years, the presumption is that the NNDR multiplier will be increased in line with the indexation provisions in the Local Government Finance Act 1988. However, if I did decide to increase the multipliers by less than the RPI, this would be announced before the revenue support grant reports for the year in question had to be approved by Parliament. All relevant considerations would be taken into account : for example, if improved efficiency led to a significant reduction in the amount local authorities needed to spend, some of the efficiency gains should be reflected in the burden which falls on the business community through non-domestic rates.
Mr. Lilley [holding answer 29 June 1989] : At its meeting on 19 June the Economic and Finance Council (Ecofin) agreed to set up an ad hoc group to examine the Commission's revised proposals, described in my answer to my hon. Friend on 23 May 1989 at column 440, and the alternative approaches put forward by a number of member states including the United Kingdom. The group is due to report back to Ecofin in time for its meeting on 9 October.
Mr. Wallace : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many registered value added tax payers keep detailed records as described in paragraph 3 (D) of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, excise notice 700, appendix C, in order to avoid payment of scale charges for input value added tax on road fuel.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : I am currently consulting the public and interested parties on proposals for a new system of primary route signing for the area within the M25. The proposed system uses compass-based areas to create a consistent and logical set of signs which would be easier for motorists to follow. Copies of the consultation document "Primary Route Signing-Proposals for Change" have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newham, South of 4 April, Official Report, column 20, what sums (a) have been paid and (b) will be paid in the current financial year to Thamesline ; what proportion of income such payments are expected to provide ; what conditions he has placed on any such payments in respect of maintenance of the service to all piers for which services were advertised ; and if he will make a statement concerning the withdrawal of any such service.
Mr. Portillo : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I have given today to the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Gould). Riverbus Limited expects to be seeking the whole of the Government grant of £500,000 during the current financial year. The income forecasts of the business are commercially confidential.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has concerning an incident involving the fishing vessel Huntress and a Royal Naval submarine Ocelot on 28 June ; what action he is taking ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : On the afternoon of 28 June off the Isle of Arran a submarine towed the fishing vessel Huntress astern after fouling her nets. No serious damage occurred and there were no reports of injuries. One of the Department's marine surveyors is investigating the incident.
Mr. Portillo : There have been some representations, mainly about improvements to road and rail networks between the north west and other regions and the tunnel. Our national roads planning takes account of requirements of road traffic to and from the tunnel. British Rail is responsible for rail links to the Tunnel, and following the recent completion of its regional consultations, we are now awaiting the plan which the railways board has to produce by the end of this year under section 40 of the Channel Tunnel Act setting out its proposals for international services to the regions.
(2) what research his Department has conducted into the effects arising from reduction of air ventilation on passenger aircraft.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : These are technical matters pertinent to the certification standards of British-registered passenger aircraft. As such they are the statutory responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority. I have drawn the hon. Member's interest in this subject to the attention of the chairman of the authority.
(2) what consideration is given in setting minimum standards for emergency evacuation of aircraft to the particular needs of travellers with mobility difficulties.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The statutory responsibility for the safety regulation of United Kingdom civil aviation rests with the Civil Aviation Authority. I am asking the chairman of the authority to write to my hon. Friend.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce pollution from vehicles using diesel fuel ; and what regulations will be introduced with the introduction of the 40-tonne lorries.
For cars, the regulations will apply European standards in two stages. The first stage (directive 83/351/EEC) sets standards identical to those that currently apply to petrol-engined vehicles. It will take effect on 1 October 1990. Our current plans are to apply a second stage of more stringent limits (directive 88/76/EEC) by 1 October 1993 to cars with an engine capacity of at least 1.4 litres, whether petrol or diesel.
A further stage of exhaust fume emission limits for small cars has now been agreed within the European Community. It will affect all new cars under 1.4 litres from 1992. The agreement also gives an outline commitment to tougher standards for larger cars to be implemented at the same time.
On 1 October 1990 we shall also apply the European particulate limits for diesel-engined cars (directive 88/436/EEC). Special arrangements in line with all the directives will be made for direct-injection diesel-engined cars.
For all other diesel-engined vehicles we shall apply the recently agreed European standard on emission limits (directive 88/77/EEC) at the earliest date permitted, 1 October 1990.
Discussions are continuing in the European Community on a tightening of the 88/77/EEC standards and on the introduction of particulate limits for these categories of vehicle. Both the 88/77/EEC standards and any later standards will apply to the heaviest lorries.
Sir David Price : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his latest estimate of the number of British people who die each year from road accidents ; and what are the Government's plans to reduce that number.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Over 5,000 people are needlessly killed on our roads each year. Two years ago we set a target of reducing the number of casualties by a third by the year 2000. We are on course for doing so. We are now saving over 550 lives a year compared with the position two years ago, even though traffic has increased greatly.
A total of 75 per cent. of casualties occur on local roads. At a meeting with local authority political leaders today we reviewed our commitment to joint action to reduce casualties. We agreed that casualty reduction targets would in future be set at local and regional level, and we endorsed a package of measures to increase the number of low cost road engineering schemes which are so effective in saving lives.
This will give a fresh impetus to efforts to reduce the number of people killed and injured.
Column 94were imposed ; and what has been done to protect the public interest and to ensure that the service to the paying public is continued.
Mr. Portillo : The Government have not yet received a formal request for the first payment under the agreement governing their grant for the riverbus service. Grant will be paid under section 17 of the Ministry of Transport Act 1919. Payment of grant is limited to its application to the promotion and improvement of the service, and is conditional on payment of a private sector contribution of four times the grant and on the provision of appropriate management reports and accounts. The Government may terminate the grant agreement in the event that a regular service is not maintained to Charing Cross, Festival, Swan Lane and West India piers. The recent inauguration of new services to Greenwich and Greenland piers and suspension of the services to Cherry Garden pier are matters for the operator.
Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the Arab League's initiative towards the Lebanon.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information Her Majesty's Government have from the United Nations regarding the procedures for registration and voting in the election to be held in Namibia in accord with resolution 435 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has from the United Nations on the effect of the implementation of resolution 435 of the former Koevet forces ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Chalker : The United Nation's special representative has expressed concern about unacceptable conduct by counter-insurgency elements in SWAPO. We are supporting UN efforts to reach a satisfactory solution to the problem.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has from the United Nations regarding the deployment of the additional 500 United Nations police in Namibia ; whether the United Nations now proposes to further increase that number ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 95Nations's Secretary-General, who has responsibility for the strength of the UN force in Namibia, has not requested a further increase in the number of police monitors.
Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policies on the future role of the Khmer Rouge army in the Government of Cambodia ; whether Her Majesty's Government will be represented at the Paris peace conference on Cambodia in July ; and if Her Majesty's Government's representatives will oppose a solution permitting the return of the Khmer Rouge to Cambodia.
Mr. Eggar : I refer the hon. Lady to the reply I gave the hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Mrs. Clwyd) on 11 April 1989. A central objective of our policy is to prevent the Khmer Rouge returning to power by force. In principle we expect to attend the international conference on Cambodia in Paris.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce legislation to make it mandatory for coroners to require all relevant medical records to be supplied to them before an inquest is concluded.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Coroners are independent judicial officers. In accordance with the Coroners Act 1988 they make thorough inquiries into all deaths referred to them, but it is for the coroners to decide how to conduct their inquiries. My right hon. Friend is not persuaded that it would be appropriate to adopt the hon. Member's suggestion.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has on the current fee recommended by the British Medical Association for the completion of a confirmatory cremation certificate ; if he is intending to implement the recommendations of the Broderick report to end the requirement for two doctors to sign cremation certificates ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : I understand that the fee currently recommended by the British Medical Association for the confirmatory medical certificate for cremation is £23.50. After carefully considering the results of wide consultation, my right hon. Friend has decided that the confirmatory certificate should be retained, at least for the time being.
Mr. Renton : One chief immigration officer and seven immigration officers are working in Istanbul and three immigration officers are working in Ankara. They are serving as entry clearance officers dealing with visa applications at the consulate general and embassy respectively.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the number of applications made for asylum by persons coming from Turkey in each week since 1 April to the latest available date ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Renton : Information is not readily available about asylum applications from persons coming from Turkey. The number of applications made by Turkish nationals on or shortly after arrival in this country from all countries was as follows :
Week ending |Number ------------------------------------ 8 April |23 15 April |29 22 April |83 29 April |74 6 May |326 13 May |198 20 May |366 27 May |335 3 June |345 10 June |482 17 June |579 24 June |883
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what instructions have been issued to immigration officers (a) operating in Turkey and (b) on boarding planes recently arrived from Turkey before passengers disembark ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Renton : Immigration officers operating in Turkey are working to the same instructions as entry clearance officers in other diplomatic posts abroad. During the period when immigration officers were boarding aircraft on arrival from Turkey their instructions were to ensure first that all British and other European Community nationals were able to disembark immediately. They were then to identify, as far as possible, those remaining passengers who seemed unlikely to require lengthy examination with a view to allowing them to proceed quickly to the main immigration control. Those likely to require lengthy examination were disembarked and dealt with separately, so as to avoid excessive delays and inconvenience to other passengers arriving at the main control.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) under what powers he authorises the interception of mail within the United Kingdom ; what agencies he authorises to carry out the interception of mail ; to what extent officials of such agencies convey information obtained from interception of mail to third parties ; and if he will make a statement ;
Column 97(2) under what powers immigration officers intercept letters sent by post within the United Kingdom ; from whom immigration officers seek authorisation to intercept such mail ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) under what powers the police intercept letters sent by post within the United Kingdom ; from whom police have to obtain authorisation to intercept mail ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hurd : The Interception of Communications Act 1985 makes provision for the interception of a communication in the course of its transmission by post in accordance with a warrant issued by the Secretary of State and provides for safeguards as to the disclosure of information obtained in this way. Information about the arrangements for interception is included in the annual reports of the commissioner appointed under the Act, which are laid before Parliament.
Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the Government have any plans to lift the exemption of the Crown, as regards prisons, to the Food Hygiene (General) Regulations 1970 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We have no plans at present for the removal of Crown immunity under the Food Hygiene (General) Regulations 1970 from prison establishments. Existing internal arrangements within the prison service are considered to be sufficient to set and monitor standards required by the regulations. The position on Crown immunity is kept under regular review.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many prisoners were informed of their parole decision after their eligibility date (a) in 1988, and (b) the latest available figure for 1989 ; what was the average delay period for each year ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what percentage of prisoners who received their parole decision after their parole eligibility date were refused parole (a) in 1988, and (b) for the latest date available ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Statistics are not readily available in the form requested. However, at present there are unacceptable delays in the parole scheme which are an unnecessary source of anxiety to inmates and their families, and present problems to prison service staff. These delays result from increases in the longer sentenced prison population and a growing workload for the parole unit. Cases needing to be referred to the Parole Board, requiring the most detailed consideration and thus taking longest to complete, are delayed on average by two or three months. About a third of cases not seen by the Parole Board are also subject to delays, averaging about a month.
A number of steps have been taken to combat the delays. Overtime working and a significant increase in parole unit staffing have been authorised. Our target is for significant reductions in the delays by the end of the year. The Parole Board has helped by increasing the number of panels held and the cases considered at each one ; and its membership has also been increased. Parole unit procedures are being streamlined and further consideration is being given to other measures to tackle the problem.
Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will reconsider the decision not to allocate a medium wave frequency to the BBC local radio station due to cover Coventry and Warwickshire ; what is the difference in area and quality of reception between the allocated VHF frequency and a medium wave frequency for the proposed station ; what estimate he has of the population of Coventry who can receive only medium wave, as opposed to VHF, transmissions ; whether the option of split frequency transmission to cater for the city's ethnic population was considered when deciding whether or not to award a medium wave frequency ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Renton : Paragraph 8.2 of the Broadcasting White Paper (Cm 517, November 1988) confirmed our proposal that radio broadcasting should increasingly take place without unnecessary simulcasting. This will enable more frequencies to be released for additional services, such as community radio stations, thus enhancing listener choice. Recent plans have therefore been made on the basis that both new independent and BBC stations should broadcast on single frequencies. BBC Radio Warwickshire will accordingly broadcast on VHF/FM only.
Details of its coverage are not yet available, since the technical arrangements for the service have not yet been finalised. In comparison with medium wave, the VHF/FM signal is subject to much less interference, especially during hours of darkness, and provides better quality for stereo and data transmission. The BBC has launched an FM listening campaign to make listeners more aware of the benefits of FM broadcasts.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Metropolitan police's campaign to tackle racial harassment launched in February 1989 was the third part of an initiative which had started with pilots in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Redbridge in the two preceding years. I understand from the commissioner that in the 1989 campaign, 19 London boroughs were targeted ; and that they were chosen on the basis of the perceived need for a campaign in the area.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will make a statement on the findings of the working party established to review arrangements for the policing of airports.
Mr. Hurd : The working party on the policing of airports was established, under Home Office chairmanship, as part of the Government response to the report of the fourth session of the Transport Select Committee.
The working party comprised representatives of the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Scotland), the Aerodrome Owners Association, the Joint Airports Committee of Local Authorities, BAA plc, Heathrow and Manchester airports, the Department of Transport, the Ministry of Defence, the
Column 99Scottish Home and Health Department, and Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary. Their task was to examine arrangements for policing airports, including the way costs are met, and to consider whether any changes should be made.
The Transport Committee's inquiry covered the whole field of airport security, currently governed by the Aviation Security Act 1982. Many of its recommendations dealt with the arrangements for checking passengers and baggage which are not direct police responsibilities at airports, and which were not therefore addressed directly by the working party. Part of the Transport Committee's study necessarily focused on the role of the police at airports, in particular the relationship between the functions performed by the police and the national aviation security programme administered by the Department of Transport. The Committee recommended that means be found to employ the undoubted expertise of the police to the best effect in airport security procedures, and that the present system of designation, under the Aviation Security Act, be abolished and replaced with one which allows flexibility of response without imposing uncontrollable financial costs on airport operators. The working party therefore concentrated on these two issues. The main recommendations of the working party are for a better-informed means of assessing the need for, and nature and level of, policing at an airport ; the provision of a suitable forum in which policing issues can be effectively discussed at airports ; and a central arbitral system to assist in the resolution of any differences which cannot be resolved at the local airport level. The working party examined, but rejected, the idea that the first of these matters could be based on mathematical formulae ; the nature of, and variation between, airports, as well as the nature of policing itself, make such an approach unworkable. It did, however, conclude that there was some scope for the introduction of more objectivity and consistency in assessing an airport's policing needs. The report contains a list of considerations upon which such assessments should be based and recommends that, using this list as guidance, police and airport managements should jointly draw up an "airport policing profile".
The working party also proposes a more effective formal means by which policing issues can be fully aired at airports by means of small committees comprising representatives only of police and airport managements. These should not be bound by rigid terms of reference but should be able to discuss any airport policing matters including costs and should be able to meet as frequently as necessary at the instigation of either party.
The working party recommends that in the event of unresolvable local disputes between airport authorities and police the professional advisers of the two principal Departments concerned--Her Majesty's inspectorate of constabulary and the Department of Transport's chief aviation security inspector--should provide the airport policing committee with an indication of the advice they would give to the Secretary of State in the event of a request for designation, de-designation or a determination on policing costs. If agreement still proves impossible either side is left with the option of an appeal to the Secretary of State.
Following the Lockerbie disaster, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport and I invited the working party to reconvene to consider whether, in the
Column 100light of that tragedy, any changes should be made to the proposals or any further recommendations made. After careful discussion, the working party has concluded that the original proposals should stand. The working party was concerned with the relationship between the responsibilities of police and airport managements. It was neither composed nor tasked to assess detailed physical security arrangements, about which the Lockerbie incident raised questions which are being addressed separately by my right hon. Friend.
The working party's proposals are aimed at practical improvements in co- operation between police and airport authorities. They do not require new legislation. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I commend them to chief officers of police. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport will similarly commend them to representatives of the aviation industry.
I have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of the working party's report and supplementary note.
Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a further statement on his legislative proposals for the allocation and ownership of independent radio licences, and for combating unlicensed broadcasting.
Mr. Hurd : Our proposals for the allocation of independent radio licences were set out in paragraph 8.4 of the White Paper "Broadcasing in the '90s : Competition, Choice and Quality" (Cm. 517, November 1988). For national stations they envisaged allocation by competitive tender, subject to a requirement that each service should provide a diverse programme service calculated to appeal to a variety of tastes and interests and not limited to a single narrow format. We now propose that the form of competitive tender for independent national radio licences should in its main essentials follow that proposed for Channels 3 and 5 in my statement on commercial television on 13 June at columns 710-13.
Independent national and local radio licences will be awarded for periods up to a maximum of eight years. The presumption is that on the expiry of a licence the service will fall to be readvertised ; but we propose that the Radio Authority should have discretion not to readvertise a service where it believes that this would not serve to broaden listener choice.
Paragraph 8.4 of the White Paper envisaged that no one would be able to control more than one national licence and more than six local licences. These limits will be capable of variation in subordinate legislation. In order to prevent, for instance, one person from gaining control of the six largest local stations we propose that the rules on concentration of radio ownership should be capable of being supplemented, in subordinate legislation, by reference to the coverage or size of stations. We also propose that there should be power for limits to be set in subordinate legislation on degrees of financial interest not amounting to control. My noble Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and I are considering a range of measures to strengthen the legislation on unlicensed broadcasting. Among these, we propose to broaden the offence in section 1(1) of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 of using wireless telegraphy apparatus without a licence, and to make it an