Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy towards dismantling and storing battle tanks as part of conventional force reductions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : As regards dismantling, I refer the hon. Member to paragraph 17 of the declaration of the heads of state and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels, 29 to 30 May 1989, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. This proposes that all equipment withdrawn under a CFE agreement should be destroyed. In addition, the Alliance proposals make provision for certain assets to be held in store. Detailed provisions on how both these aspects should be carried out have yet to be tabled.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what studies his Department has carried out into the use of front wheel drive propulsion for fighting ships ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sainsbury : The Department keeps under review a variety of warship propulsion techniques, including forward facing propulsors and bow mounted propellers ; the latter, however, appear to have a number of disadvantages over conventional arrangements.
Mr. Sainsbury : A firm price contract has been placed today with Swan Hunter Shipbuilders. I would wish to pay tribute to the quality of the tenders we have received, which fully justifies our decision to seek competition. Together with parallel contracts for replacement equipment, and other costs, the full cost of the repair and refit will be some £45 million.
Column 506allocation of work to the FMRO Portsmouth following the removal of HMS Southampton from the FMRO programme.
Mr. Sainsbury : I have agreed a package of additional work to cover the remainder of this financial year. Details are being made known locally. Any further changes will depend on the outcome of the longer term studies into the future of the FMRO which I hope to announce shortly.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what would be the effect on the contribution income of the national insurance fund for 1989-90 if average earnings rose between 1988-89 and 1989-90 by 10 per cent. instead of the 7 per cent. in the Government Actuary's report on the 1988 Uprating Order (Cm. 537).
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The Government Actuary's report on the 1988 Uprating Order estimated that contribution income to the National Insurance Fund in 1989-90 would be £28.1 billion. If it had then been assumed that earnings would increase in 1989-90 by 10 per cent. then the national insurance fund's estimated income from contributions would have been £28.7 billion.
This report was prepared before the changes to national insurance contributions announced in the Budget. Taking these changes into account the national insurance fund's estimated income would have been £28.5 billion in 1989-90 assuming a 10 per cent. increase in earnings. The increased take-up of personal pensions will reduce this estimated income by about £2 billion.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when income support applicable amounts are increased in October 1989 how many (a) single pensioners and (b) pensioner couples on income support will receive an increase in weekly benefit of the same or less than the transitional addition awarded to them in April 1988.
The increases for income support recipients in October will be paid on top of any transitional additions.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many (a) single pensioners and (b) pensioner couples will become newly entitled to income support when the applicable amounts are raised in October.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many pensioner couples in receipt of income support will receive an increase in benefit of £3.50 a week when the applicable amount is increased in October.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many single pensioners in receipt of income support will receive an increase in benefit of £2.50 a week when the applicable amount is increased in October.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security on what basis the applicable amounts for single pensioners and pensioner couples were uprated to £2.50 and £3.50, respectively, with effect from October ; and what factors were taken into consideration in making this uprating.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security in how many cases income support or housing benefit was reduced in the year April 1988 to April 1989 on the grounds that the claimant had spent more than six weeks in hospital.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security whether he has any plans to change the basis on which social security benefits are paid to residents of residential care and nursing homes ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Moore : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health has today announced that the Government are to make local authorities responsible for meeting the costs of care for residents in residential care and nursing homes who are unable to finance it from their own resources. This is to be implemented in April 1991. From that date I will therefore be making changes to the way the benefit system provides support.
At present income support can be available to help with the fees charged by residential care and nursing homes, subject to specified limits which I review annually. I propose that from April 1991 residents of homes will be given access to help from the normal income support system and from housing benefit on a similar basis to the help they would receive in their own home. The special income support system for those in homes will be ended and local authorities will be responsible for providing any further help required towards the cost of residential care in the cases where they decide that that form of care would be best.
The present system will remain in place until April 1991 for all those who need it. Claimants who are receiving income support in a home at the date of change will continue to receive the full level of help available via income support under current rules for as long as they need it and the system will continue after April 1991 for these cases. The limits will continue to be subject to annual review. The Government have also decided that other residents of registered residential care and nursing homes in April 1991 will also be eligible for help through the continuation of the existing income support system, should they need to turn to the state for support.
Column 508The Government have decided that community care grants should continue to be available from the social fund after April 1991, broadly as they are now. We will keep this under review.
We are not proposing to make any changes to the benefit rules for residents of local authority homes.
Full details of the new system will be published in the White Paper later this year, which will also include the Government's proposals for the calculation of housing benefit in residential care and nursing homes.
Mr. Bright : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his estimate of how many people now employed in farming may move out of the agricultural industry in the next 10 years ; and if he will make a statement on the National Economic Development Office's report "Work in the Countryside", a copy of which has been sent to him.
Mr. Donald Thompson : In view of the crucial assumptions that have to be made in estimating the number of people currently employed in agriculture who are likely to leave the industry in the next 10 years, I have not considered it appropriate to make my own forecast. However, the report of the National Economic Development Council, "Work in the Countryside", provides an interesting insight into the corporate view of a group made up of a wide range of different interests. I am not in a position to judge whether what they term their least and most optimistic assumptions will prove accurate but, in broad terms, their forecast represents a continuation of past trends.
It is an interesting report which, among other things, highlights some of the alternative business opportunities for farmers. I welcome the contribution that the report makes in stimulating debate on the development of new job opportunities in the land base sector. My Department is already pursuing some of the action points mentioned in the report.
Mr. Ryder : All the brands tested in the recent Ministry programme had levels of aluminium well below the intake maximum recommended by the World Health Organisation. The figure of 200 microgrammes per litre quoted has no significance from the point of view of health.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what information he has on the development of a diagnostic test to determine whether food has been irradiated ; and what are the implications of such a test for his proposals to permit the irradiation of food.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many employees of the Intervention Board for Agriculture were employed at Kenton Bar, Newcastle at the end of each of the last 12 months up to 30 June ; and, in each case, how many of these were temporary staff.
|Permanent|Temporary|Total ----------------------------------------------------- 1988 31 July |0 |0 |0 31 August |0 |0 |0 30 September |0 |0 |0 31 October |0 |0 |0 30 November |7 |45 |52 31 December |7 |45 |52 1989 31 January |8 |55 |63 28 February |8 |59 |67 31 March |9 |60 |69 30 April |11 |64 |75 31 May |16 |116 |132 30 June |15 |111 |126
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has made to (a) Wessex Water or (b) South West Water over sewage contamination of beaches ; and what steps he is taking to monitor the work of these authorities.
Mr. Howard : My right hon. Friend is currently discussing with the water authorities an accelerated capital programme for identified bathing waters with the aim of bringing them up to the standards of the EC bathing water directive by the mid-1990s.
Column 510The National Rivers Authority will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing bathing water quality standards in accordance with the requirements of the directive.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the numbers of local authority housing stock in the area of Durham district council as at April 1979 and at the latest date.
Mr. Trippier : The information for April 1979 and April 1988 was reported by local authorities in their annual housing investment programme returns (HIP1) and appears in columns B11 and A11 of "HIP1 All Items Print" for 1979 and 1988 respectively.
Copies of both documents are in the Library.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the latest figure he has for the number of married couples who are living in a household headed by another person nationally and in Durham City constituency.
Mr. Trippier : The most reliable estimates of the number of married couples living in a household headed by another person in local areas are provided by the census of population. The 1981 census identified 140 such families in Durham City. The corresponding figure for England in 1981 is 145,000.
Mr. Harris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what official announcement was made, and when, regarding the United Kingdom's unilateral ban on ivory imports into the United Kingdom ; and what notice was given to the United Kingdom ivory trade.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : My noble Friend the Minister for Environment, Housing and Countryside announced on 23 May our intention to call for a complete ban on trade in new ivory at the Environment Council meeting on 8-9 June, and our decision to impose a unilateral ban on ivory imports was announced by my noble Friend at that meeting. A written statement giving further details was issued on 9 June.
Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to amend the Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977 (S.I., 1977, No. 204), as amended, to require local authorities to give details of the number of burial places available in each grave sold by the authority.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how much has been set aside by his Department for the water flotation marketing campaign ; how much has been allocated for the institutional lunches and dinners ; and how much has been allocated for the national and regional roadshows ;
Column 511(2) what was the cost to his Department of the paper of 9 May on the offer structure for the sale of the water industry, prepared by J. Henry Schroder Wagg & Co. Limited.
Mr. Ridley : As announced in November 1988, the Government and the Water Authorities Association have appointed banking advisers to consider the feasibility and desirability of offering shares in the forthcoming privatisation in Japan, the United States of America, Canada and continental Europe. Firm decisions will not be made until later in the year on whether shares will be offered in any or all of the markets but preparations for such offers are being undertaken on a contingent basis.
Mr. John Garrett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to reply to the written question by the hon. Member for Norwich, South of 3 February, Official Report, column 431, concerning the sites of special scientific interest in the ownership of the Anglian water authority.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all the appointments he has made since June 1987 to quasi- autonomous non-governmental organisations together with the salary payable in each case.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 10 July 1989] : The appointments to public bodies for which I am responsible are shown in the annual HMSO publication "Public Bodies" which gives informaton on the number of these posts and the levels of remuneration. The appointments are made under a variety of arrangements, and my involvement varies. In addition, I make appointments to the following other bodies : Architectural Heritage Fund :
National House Building Council :
National Park Planning Board and Committees :
One third of the members--unpaid
Sutton Housing Trust :
Dartmoor Steering Group :
Chairman (appointed jointly with Secretary of State for Defence)--unpaid
Parliamentary Boundary Commission
The Chequers Trust
A full list of the particular appointments made since June 1987 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the temporary licences in place earlier in the current year relating to waste discharge, including glycol and anti-corrosion substances from the North sea gas terminal at Bacton in north Norfolk, have been extended ; what reassurances have been received from the operators, Shell, Amoco and Phillips, that the discharges constitute no hazard to the environment in general, and sea birds in particular ; what action he has taken to test these reassurances ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 10 July 1989] : My right hon. Friend is currently considering requests received under section 36(6) (b) of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 to direct the Anglian water authority to transmit to him for his own determination applications for discharge consent made by Amoco (UK) Exploration Co. Ltd. and Phillips Petroleum Co. UK Ltd. These involve discharges of surface water and glycol regenerator condensate to the sea from the gas terminal at Bacton. No temporary consents have been granted to either company ; nor have they applied for consent to discharge anti-corrosion substances.
A consent to discharge these substances was issued to Shell UK by the Anglian water authority earlier this year. Regular monitoring by the authority indicates that there is no evidence to suggest that the discharge has had an effect on either the water environment or sea birds.
Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice has been sought by, or given to, Solihull district council's community charge registration officer as to the range and scope of the questions on his registration form ; what additional funds could be made available for a re-issue of the form following complaints about the questions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer [holding answer 10 July 1989] : All registration officers in England were given the same advice on registration together with a model form. I have no plans to allocate additional funds to any authority that chose not to comply and which may be required to amend its procedures.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report a list of those local authorities in England and Wales that did not respond to the 18 December 1987 letter from Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution on the licensing and control of landfills evolving gas.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 11 July 1989] : All waste disposal authorities in England and Wales have responded to the letter sent to them on 18 December 1987 by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution.
I refer the hon. Member to the replies I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Fylde (Mr. Jack), and the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Dr. Thomas) on 6 June, volume 154, column 33.