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Mr. Eggar : My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has appealed for clemency at the highest levels in Malaysia. We have exhausted all avenues of appeal for the sentence of death to be commuted to one of life imprisonment. We do not believe that further representations to the Malaysian Government would be productive.
Mr. Eggar : The College of Europe at Bruges is a good and effective institution for spreading understanding of the Community and promoting study of it. It provides post-graduate training for European, including British, students to equip them for entry into the European Commission.
Mr. Eggar : In 1987, the latest year for which such figures are available, the total cost of the College of Europe to European public funds was 79 million Belgian francs. The Belgian authorities contributed 67 million Belgian francs of this figure.
Mr. Hunter : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures he intends to take to ensure that the College of Europe is an effective forum for the exchange of ideas about the possible future development of the European Community.
Mr. Eggar : No further measures are necessary. The representative of the British Council in Belgium sits on the college's administrative council and is actively involved in all aspects of the college, including its curriculum.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will place in the Library a summary of the discussions he has had with European Ministers, and in particular his Portuguese counterpart, about the future of Macao ; and whether he now intends to give similar European citizenship rights to Hong Kong people.
Mr. Eggar : We are in touch from time to time with the Portuguese Government on matters relating to Hong Kong and Macao. Such discussions are confidential and we are not at liberty to publish details. We have had no substantive discussions with other European Governments about the future of Macao.
In order to enjoy the right of free movement and settlement within the EC, Hong Kong people would require full British citizenship. The Government have no plans to grant this to all Hong Kong people.
Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made in implementing the Foreign Compensation (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) (Distribution) Order 1987.
Mr. Eggar : Good progress continues to be made. The Foreign Compensation Commission made an interim payment of 10 per cent. of the value assigned to a bond to successful bond claimants in November 1987. Of 2,596 property claims submitted, 529 have been established by the Commission, 1,120 have been dismissed and 72 have been withdrawn. There remain 875 property claims still to be determined by the Commission. Many of these are held up because information is awaited from claimants. Claimants should note that failure to supply essential information without delay may result in dismissal of their claims.
It is now expected that the final payout to claimants is likely to be in excess of 40 per cent. of the value the Commission assigns to a claim rather than approximately 20 per cent. which was the best estimate at the time of the interim distribution to bond claimants in November 1987.
The target date for announcing the final distribution to claimants remains the end of 1989.
Mr. Eggar : Following the imposition of our visa regime on 23 June, the Turkish Government have decided that all British citizens who, were they Turks, would hold diplomatic, service and special passports, will from 1 August require visas for Turkey, for all visits, including those for the purpose of tourism.
Discussions about the precise extent of the visa regime are continuing but it is likely to cover Members of both Houses of Parliament, judges, civil servants of assistant secretary grade and above, local government employees of equivalent grade, and officers in Her Majesty's forces of the equivalent Army rank of captain and above. Spouses and dependent children will not require visas.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether it is his intention to continue the current quota of nominations for housing for hostel projects in London provided under statutory authority through the London area mobility scheme at the same level of provision after March 1990, when the current scheme ends.
Mr. Trippier : These matters are currently under consideration in a working party, comprising representatives of the London area mobility scheme and other interested bodies. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment will make a statement when their report is ready, and he has considered it.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) following the completion of the register of those tenants entitled to vote in any ballot on the proposed creation of a housing action trust in Southwark, what arrangements will be made to allow new tenants moving on to either the North Peckham or Gloucester Grove estates to be accorded voting rights ;
(2) how long, before any ballot on the proposed creation of a housing action trust in Southwark, the register of those eligible to vote will have to be completed.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) in which languages other than English any ballot form concerning the proposed creation of a housing action trust in Southwark will be made available ;
(2) what length of notice will be given by a ballot on the proposed creation of a housing action trust in Southwark ; and in what form it will be given ;
(3) what will be the wording used on the ballot form concerning the creation of a housing action trust in Southwark ;
Column 338(4) whether interpreters for non-English speaking tenants will be made available in the period immediately before any ballot on the proposed creation of a housing action trust in Southwark ; (5) whether voters in any ballot on the proposed creation of a housing action trust in Southwark will be required to vote in the form of a straight yes or no.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what forum there will be for those not entitled to vote in any ballot on the creation of a housing action trust in Southwark, to put forward their views during the consultation process.
Mr. Trippier : I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave on 24 May 1988 to the hon. Member for Hammersmith (Mr. Soley) at column 599- 600. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will take into account the views of all residents in any proposed housing action trust area before deciding whether to make a designation order.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether there will be separate ballots taken on the creation of a housing action trust in the Gloucester Grove and North Peckham estates in Southwark.
Mr. Trippier : A trust would have a duty under section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976 to carry out its various functions with regard to the need to eliminate racial discrimination and to promote equality of opportunity. It would need to decide on policies to fulfil this duty, including how to deal with racial harassment. We would recommend to any trust two recent reports which my Department has drawn to the attention of local authorities : "The Response to Racial Attacks and Harassment : Report of the Interdepartmental Racial Attacks Group" and "Brunel Guide to Good Practice in Tackling Racial Violence and Harassment on Local Authority Housing Estates".
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy that all the occupants of demolished properties will be rehoused on the estate, in the event of the establishment of the proposed housing action trust in Southwark.
Mr. Trippier : A trust would have to find alternative accommodation for any tenant whose home had to be demolished as part of a programme of improvements decided on after consultation with local people. A trust, like a local authority, could not require a tenant to move out of his home if it needed to be demolished unless it secured suitable alternative accommodation for him. Such accommodation could be either on the estates or nearby.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether he will publish a statement as to the allocation policies of the proposed housing action trust in Southwark (a) before any ballot and (b) after the housing action trust has been formed ; (2) whether the proposed housing action trust in Southwark would maintain its own waiting list with its own prioritising policy.
Mr. Trippier : One of the primary objects of a housing action trust under section 63 of the Housing Act 1988 is to secure the proper and effective management and use of the housing for which it is responsible. It would be for a trust to decide on its allocation policy once it had been set up. It would be required, like Southwark council, to publish its allocation policy under section 106 of the Housing Act 1985. It would also have to consider how to make best use of any properties which become available for occupation.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the proposed housing action trust in Southwark would be given the responsibility of assisting residents in obtaining their correct benefit entitlements.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the proposed housing action trust in Southwark would be able to receive housing benefit payments for tenants directly from the council in a similar way to housing associations.
Mr. Trippier : Housing benefit rent allowance payments to trust tenants would be governed by the same rules as apply to all rent allowance payments. Consequently, just as in certain circumstances a housing association can receive benefit payments direct from the local authority administering the benefit, so a trust could receive benefit payments direct.
Mr. Trippier : Section 63 of the Housing Act 1988 sets out the primary objects of a housing action trust which include the improvement of living and social conditions in its area. We expect that a trust would want to use its powers under section 63(2)(b) to work for the benefit of the community.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the proposed housing action trust on the North Peckham and Gloucester Grove estates in Southwark would employ multilingual workers.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if at the end of the operating period for a housing action trust created in Southwark, the option of returning to council management would be made available.
Mr. Trippier : Once improvements had been carried out, a trust would consult secure tenants about whether they wanted to transfer to a landlord approved by the Housing Corporation, such as a housing association or co- operative, or go back to the council. We would give local authorities the necessary supplementary credit approvals to enable them to buy back properties where tenants opted to return to them.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what training would be provided to enable residents to run a management co- operative at the end of the operating period for a housing action trust in Southwark ;
(2) what training would be provided to instruct residents on how to conduct their functions on the estate management boards, during and after the formation of the proposed housing action trust in Southwark ;
Column 341(3) what would be the role of the proposed housing action trust in Southwark in the training or assisting of residents to take advantage of existing training facilities outside the housing action trust ; (4) what would be the role of the proposed housing action trust in Southwark in the training or assisting of residents to carry out senior management roles, such as membership of the housing action trust board.
Mr. Trippier : I have already asked tenants' representatives from the North Peckham and Gloucester Grove estates to discuss training with my officials. Both before and after a trust is set up, we shall ensure that tenants who want to become involved in managing their own housing have access to the training that they need. Trusts may also have a wider role in helping residents to take advantage of other training and employment opportunities which may be available locally. We shall want trusts to discuss with all interested bodies and agencies how best to achieve this.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether, in the event of the establishment of the proposed housing action trust in Southwark, any provision will be made for individual blocks in the North Peckham and Gloucester Grove estates, to be able to withdraw their membership at any time.
Mr. Trippier : As a trust completed improvements to parts of the estates, tenants in an improved block could opt to transfer to an approved landlord offered to them by the trust, or return to the council. They would also be able to exercise tenants' choice at any time during the life of the trust.
(2) what powers he would have to approve or disapprove the annual budget of the proposed housing action trust in Southwark.
Mr. Trippier : A trust's programme of work will be decided after consultation with residents and the local housing authority. This will form the basis of a plan, including a budget, which the Secretary of State will approve annually. Trusts will be funded through grant-in-aid, which Parliament will be invited to vote each year under normal procedures, and by borrowing up to an agreed limit.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will identify prior to any ballot on the creation of the proposed housing action trust in Southwark which blocks in the Gloucester Grove and North Peckham estates would be demolished.
Mr. Trippier : Under section 64 of the Housing Act 1988 a trust board, which would include tenant and council representatives, would be required to draw up a statement of proposals for its area in consultation with the residents and the local authority. The statement would include proposals for physical alterations to the estates. We would expect the trust to take account of the views expressed in the current consultation exercise in drawing up its proposals.
(2) what consideration he has given to the payment of compensation to those disabled people who will no longer receive rate relief with the introduction of the community charge in April 1990.
Mr. Gummer : The present relief reduces the rateable value of a house to what it would have been if no adaptations or improvements were carried out by a disabled householder to accommodate their disability. Without this adjustment some disabled persons would have been required to pay more in rates because of their disability. No such adjustment is needed under the community charge arrangements because the charge is no longer related to the nature of the property. However, we have structured the community charge rebate system to target help to those who need it and this ensures that disabled people with limited means receive help towards paying their community charge.
Mr. Dover : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many representations have been received to date concerning modifications 13, 58 and 59 to the Lancashire replacement structure plan (a) by his office in Manchester, and (b) by his Department in London ; and how many of these supported these modifications.
Mr. Chope : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State received at 14 July a total of 780 representations concerning modifications 58 and 59, and somewhat more for modification 13, to the Lancashire replacement structure plan. Few of the representations received support modification 58 and 59, but elsewhere green belt proposals are for the most part supported.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what are the criteria for achieving relativities within ranking according to the score system on the accepted United Kingdom index of multiple deprivation ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what is the ranking according to the score system on the accepted United Kingdom index of multiple deprivation for (a) Bradford, (b) Birmingham, (c) Merseyside, (d)
Manchester/Salford/Trafford and (e) Strathclyde ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : The information is not available in the form requested. An index was included in an analysis of urban deprivation in all English authorities, based on the 1981 census, which was published as "Census Information Note No. 2 : Urban Deprivation" in February 1983. It is available in the Library.
On the basis of that index which is available at district level, the rankings (out of 366 English local authorities) for the districts requested were :
|Rankings ---------------------------------- (a) Bradford |32 (b) Birmingham |15 (c) Merseyside: Knowsley |26 Liverpool |15 St. Helens |86 Sefton |97 Wirral |94 (d) Manchester |11 Salford |38 Trafford |115
No comparable analysis is available for Strathclyde.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many directives to sell land registered on the public land register have been issued each year since its inception by the following categories (a) land owned by Labour-controlled local authorities, (b) land owned by other local authorities and (c) other owners.
Mr. Trippier : The table shows the number of original directions issued to local authorities each year. A breakdown of these by controlling political party is not readily available. No directions have been issued to other owners.
Directions issued to local authorities under Section 98 of the Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980 |Number --------------------- 1984 |4 1985 |21 1986 |14 1987 |25 1988 |13 1989 |2
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement outlining reasons for delay in releasing promised inner-city partnership moneys in respect of Canterbury Cross junior and infant school, Handsworth, Birmingham.
Mr. Trippier : The project was submitted for DOE approval on 2 November 1988. Approval (ie authority to spend) was granted on 2 December 1988. Actual disbursement is a matter for Birmingham city council.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Sherwood (Mr. Stewart) of 11 July, Official Report, columns 482-83 , what measures will be taken to ensure a unified scientific approach to the United Kingdom's responsibilities under (a) the Ramsar convention on wetlands of international importance, (b) the European community directive on the conservation of wild birds, and (c) the Berne convention ; and if the scientific criteria for selecting sites of special scientific interest on a United Kingdom basis will remain in place.