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Column 408Mrs. E. R. Wheatley-Hubbard
H. B. Wright
M. C. Yeo
responsibilities in relation to fisheries, that due regard is paid to nature conservation.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Fisheries in British Waters are managed and conserved as renewable natural resources. This may be through either national measures or those coming under the European Community's common fisheries policy. These are designed to keep fish stocks at healthy levels based on the available scientific advice. At the same time, my Department has regard for wider considerations on nature conservation, liaising with statutory and voluntary conservation bodies.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his reply of 11 July, Official Report, column 451, if he has received any scientific or other advice on the causes of the flattening of cereal circles.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farmers previously in full-time activity have left the industry during the last five years as a consequence of direct financial pressure or bankruptcy.
Mr. Donald Thompson : Records are not kept of the reasons why individual farmers leave the industry, and such information is not therefore available. However, in 1987, the last year for which information is available, there were 172 bankruptcies and 126 company insolvences in England and Wales among businesses which were primarily agricultural and horticultural.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he intends to increase the number of staff employed at his pesticides data education unit ; and if he will make a statement.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he intends to increase the financial resources available to his pesticides data education unit, in (a) 1989-90 and (b) 1990-91 ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 410separately. However, extra staff are being recruited this year to fill existing vacancies and future staffing levels are under review.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the number of fisheries inspectors employed by his Ministry for each year since 1979 ; and if he will make a statement.
On 1 April in each year the numbers of inspectors, including fishery officers grades I and II, in post in my Department were: |Chief inspector |Deputy chief inspector|District inspector |Fishery officer I |Fishery officer II |Total ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979 |1 |1 |10 |8 |- |20 1980 |1 |1 |12 |13 |- |27 1981 |1 |1 |12 |13 |- |27 1982 |1 |1 |12 |12 |- |26 1983 |1 |1 |12 |13 |- |27 1984 |1 |1 |8 |15 |- |25 1985 |1 |1 |8 |14 |- |24 1986 |1 |2 |10 |11 |- |24 1987 |1 |2 |9 |11 |10 |33 1988 |1 |2 |11 |15 |38 |67 1989 |1 |2 |12 |15 |35 |65
The recent increase in numbers was mainly the result of a restructuring exercise which involved certain staff being regraded as fishery officer IIs.
Mr. Ryder [holding answer 18 July 1989] : I assume that the hon. Gentleman is referring to information about residue levels of daminozide which was publicised recently by "Parents for Safe Food". These levels result from a method of analysis which is known to be non-specific and, therefore, liable to give false positives. Even if they were found by confirmatory analysis to be correct, they are still within the range considered to be safe by the independent advisory committee on pesticides.
Mr. Robert Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information he has as to the number and names of local authorities which have passed resolutions under the provisions of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 to license pop
Column 410festivals and other open-air entertainments, and have subsequently refused to license a specific event ; and if he will list these applications.
This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Mahon. : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when his Department intends to reply to the letter written in March by the Mixenden parents resource centre on the issue of direct funding.
Mr. Trippier : The Department can find no trace of the hon. Lady's constituent's letter on this subject. If the hon. Member would like to write enclosing a copy, a response will be made as soon as possible.
Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution proposes to publish the report arising from the investigation it carried out jointly with the university of East Anglia three years ago into background level of PCBs and dioxins and including an investigation into the area surrounding Rechem International (Pontypool) ; and whether the preliminary findings are now available.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The results of HMIP's investigations into background levels of PCBs and dioxins across the United Kingdom were published in summary form in HWI's third annual report (chapter 10). The full details of the study together with details of the analytical method are shortly to be published in a HMIP technical report.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the facilities available for the disposal of wastes of the type formerly disposed through the Harwell hazardous materials service.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The hazardous materials service from Harwell operates on a commercial basis and offers a range of waste management services, including the sorting, packaging and labelling of waste chemicals. These have been and still are disposed of at a number of licensed disposal facilities in England and Wales. Limitation as to the type of wastes acceptable at a site is generally a matter for the waste disposal authorities.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Dose rates from cosmic rays are usually lower indoors than outdoors because of the shielding provided by building materials. Dose rates from terrestrial gamma rays are occasionally lower indoors than outdoors because the activity of natural radionuclides in the building materials is lower than in the ground on which the building stands.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those sites in Yorkshire, and Humberside, for which he has given authorisation for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste during the last five years.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : I refer the hon. Member to the Department's "List of Premises in England and Wales currently authorised under the Radioactive Substances Act 1960 to dispose of radioactive waste", a copy of which is in the Library of the House. In addition to the listed premises the following have been authorised to dispose of low-level radioactive waste since April 1988 ; South Yorkshire
Sheffield Health Authority, Lodge Moor Hospital, Redmires road, Sheffield
Dewsbury Health Authority (DHA), Dewsbury District Hospital, Healds road, Dewsbury
DHA, Dewsbury General Hospital, Moorlands road, Dewsbury DHA, Staincliffe Hospital, Healds road, Dewsbury
Immunoscope, Deacon House, Seacroft avenue, Leeds
Leeds Western Health Authority, The General Infirmary, Great George street, Leeds
Mr. Robert B. Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much of the extra £5 million capital allocations to enable local authorities to tackle the problems of landfill gas has been taken up.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution has details of three explosions associated with landfill gas over the last three years but does not hold comprehensive records over the past decade.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : All landfills taking putrescible waste may give rise to some landfill gas. Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution estimates that 1,709 landfills in England and Wales accept such waste.
The inspectorate has issued guidance for landfills taking putrescible waste. Licensing of landfills is the responsibility of the waste disposal authorities, who should ensure that suitable conditions are imposed.
Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give consideration to the case for the planning legislation which would enhance local authority controls over the discretionary demolition of unlisted buildings.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he had made of how often the working party considering the possible creation of a housing action trust in Southwark should meet.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what precedents of ownership co-operatives exist for the working party to (a) examine and (b) visit at the end of the operating period of the proposed housing action trust in Southwark, when considering the future management of the Gloucester grove and North Peckham Estates.
Mr. Trippier : The Housing Corporation can put tenants in touch with ownership co-operatives now operating, and give them information about other local authority estates where tenants are thinking of forming such co -operatives.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what would happen to all existing council employees working on the North Peckham and Gloucester grove estates, and in particular resident caretakers, in the event of the proposed housing action trust being created in Southwark.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether a firm and detailed management plan would be agreed prior to any ballot concerning the creation of the proposed housing action trust in Southwark.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 21 July 1989] : We are currently seeking tenants' views on how the estates could be improved, including the way in which they are managed. We shall draw on these views to prepare a statement of what a trust might do. Tenants would then be able to consider this before they vote in a ballot. If established, a trust would have to take the statement into account in deciding the best way to manage its estates. It would also consult residents under section 105 of the Housing Act 1985 and section 64 of the Housing Act 1988.
Ms. Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether all the meetings of the proposed housing action trust board in Southwark and documentation of meetings would be open to the public.
Mr. Trippier : We intend to ensure that trusts open their board meetings to the public except in specified circumstances, for example where confidential information relating to individual people or commercially sensitive matters are under discussion.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 19 July 1989] : If there are any savings or additional costs resulting from the reorganisation of the NCC, they will be estimated in due course, in discussions with the NCC and the other bodies affected by the Government's proposals. These discussions have already commenced, and the outcome will be taken into account in determining the level of grant-in-aid to be given to the NCC in 1990-91 and to the successor bodies.
Mr. Ridley [holding answer 11 April 1989] : The Government's general policy is that land should be purchased by public bodies only where this is essential in order for the body concerned to perform its functions. I have made this clear to the Nature Conservancy Council on several occasions. The council's current policy is to purchase land for nature reserves only as a last resort, where sites of key conservation value cannot be protected by other methods (such as management agreements).
I understand that the Hillsborough disaster fund has been set up as a non- charitable discretionary trust. Cash donations to the fund are not liable to income tax or capital gains tax. Donations of assets other than cash may give rise to a capital gains tax charge for the donor, but there are provisions permitting deferment of the tax charge. For inheritance tax purposes, the normal rules for discretionary trusts will apply, but in practice it is unlikely that any inheritance tax will actually be payable.
If the donations are invested, the fund will be liable to income tax on any interest or other investment income it receives. Beneficiaries will, however, be given credit for the tax already paid by the fund, so that a beneficiary who is a non-taxpayer can claim repayment of the tax in full. There will be no capital gains tax charge when money is distributed to beneficiaries, and again, although the normal inheritance tax rules apply, it is unlikely that, in practice, any inheritance tax will actually be payable.
Mr. Lilley : No. The designation of certain currency of the realm as legal tender provides a safeguard for both creditors and debtors. A creditor may insist on payment in legal currency ; and, in the absence of a prior contractual agreement regarding payment, a debtor can offer a "legal tender", that is, the exact amount of a debt (no change can be required) in legal currency. If refused, its subsequent payment into court prevents any further legal action against the debtor.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money is invested in sterling which could be withdrawn at (a) one day's notice or less, (b) one week's notice or less and (c) a longer period than one week.
Mr. Lilley : The underlying fall in the reserves in June was $2,236 million but this was the result of a variety of transactions including, for example, transactions for Government Departments, with other central banks, and interest receipts and payments as well as intervention. It has never been the practice of the Government to publish figures of how much it has intervened in the foreign exchange markets in support of its exchange rate objectives.
Mr. Butterfill : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the current value in real terms of the public sector debt interest payments for each year since 1979 (a) in money terms and (b) as a proportion of gross domestic product ; and if he will make a statement.
Year |<1>Real terms |Percentage of money GDP |£ billions ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979-80 |16.5 |4.5 1980-81 |16.8 |4.8 1981-82 |17.9 |5.1 1982-83 |17.4 |4.9 1983-84 |17.5 |4.7 1984-85 |18.4 |4.9 1985-86 |19.1 |4.9 1986-87 |18.4 |4.5 1987-88 |17.7 |4.2 1989-89 |16.8 |3.8 <1> 1987-88 prices, using the GDP deflator.
Over the whole period general Government debt interest payments are broadly unchanged in real terms. As a proportion of GDP interest payments have fallen significantly from their 1981-82 peak and have fallen every year for the last four years. Interest payments are forecast to fall further over the next four years in both real terms
Column 416and relative to GDP. The declining burden of debt interest has made room for more spending on priority services within a given total for public spending.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table showing the rate of inflation in the United Kingdom and in other European Community states in each year since accession ; and if he will indicate against their names those countries who joined the ERM, and the year of doing so.
Mr. Lilley : The OECD "Economic Outlook" published in June 1989 gives the annual rate of inflation in each of the European countries since 1973. Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands joined the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system at its inception on 13 March 1979. Spain joined on 19 June 1989.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the yield in the current year by way of tax on alcohol from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, respectively ; and if he will express the Scottish figures as a percentage of the United Kingdom total.