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Column 453Enterprise Wales
Launched in January 1988, the consultancy initiatives have proved extremely popular. More than 1,600 companies have already applied and this equates to about 6 per cent. of the United Kingdom's share : for higher than would be expected given the size of the Welsh economy. In 1988-89 we exceeded our targets for both business reviews (by 65 per cent.) and applications referred to scheme contractors (by 42 per cent.).
Regional Selective Assistance, Regional Enterprise Grant Small businesses continue to take advantage of the help available under regional selective assistance. In the year to the end of June 1989, 145 small firms (employing less than 200 people) accepted offers of RSA totalling £11.5 million. This compares with 68 small firms accepting offers of £4.9 million in the previous 12 months. Since April of last year firms employing fewer than 25 people have been eligible for regional enterprise grant ; to date 265 offers have been made worth £2.2 million.
WDA Advisory Services
In 1988-89 the WDA's business development unit handled 12,000 requests for advice ; 12 per cent. up on 1987-88. Overall the Unit handled over 52,000 general inquiries, an increase of 20 per cent. over the previous year.
Mr. Chris Patten : We have just agreed a further contribution of £3 million to international relief work for Afghan refugees in Pakistan. This brings our contribution to the support of Afghan refugees to a total of £15 million over the last 18 months.
68. Mr. Jack : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the outcome of the recent visit of the right hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Patten) to Brazil ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chris Patten : I visited Brazil from 4 to 9 July and signed a memorandum of understanding on a programme of technical co-operation in environmental matters, including rain forest conservation. We are now pressing ahead with various specific proposals which the Brazilians have put to us.
65. Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the United Kingdom's current aid investment in developing countries ; and what is the comparable figure for other major countries.
Mr. Chris Patten : In 1988 United Kingdom official development assistance totalled £1,485 million and private direct investment in developing countries is provisionally estimated at £1,400 million. Comparable figures for 1988 are not yet available for other major countries. The following table contains the 1987 figures for all member countries of the development assistance committee of the OECD.
Net official development assistance and direct investment in developing countries from all DAC member countries: 1987 £ million DAC member countries |oda |Direct investment ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Australia |383 |372 Austria |123 |n/a Belgium |418 |145 Canada |1,150 |-50 Denmark |524 |65 Finland |264 |18 France |3,982 |425 Germany |2,679 |403 Ireland |31 |n/a Italy |1,596 |229 Japan |4,548 |4,528 Netherlands |1,278 |158 New Zealand |53 |16 Norway |543 |6 Sweden |839 |56 Switzerland |334 |-99 United Kingdom |1,160 |1,802 United States of America |5,458 |4,891 |------- |------- Total |25,363 |12,965 Source: DAC Chairman's Report 1988 with United Kingdom figures (and hence totals) slightly revised.
Mr. Chris Patten : Zimbabwe has received more than £200 million in British aid since independence. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister pledged further project aid totalling £25 million during her meetings with President Mugabe last October and her visit to Zimbabwe in March.
Mr. Chris Patten : Both the European Council meeting in Madrid and the recent Paris summit acknowledged the serious problems posed by tropical deforestation. The summit participants, whilst recognising the sovereignty of developing nations, urged sustainable use of tropical forests ; recommended greater and quicker implementation of the tropical forestry action plan ; appealed to members
Column 455of the International Tropical Timber Organisation to join their efforts to ensure conservation of the forests ; and pledged financial and technical co-operation to conserve forests.
Miss Lestor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the current negotiations for the replenishment of the World Bank's International Development Association.
Mr. Chris Patten : The third meeting of the IDA deputies on the ninth replenishment of IDA resources was held in Copenhagen on 6 and 7 July. Further meetings are scheduled for Washington in September and Kyoto in November. The Paris summit communique stressed the importance which participants attached to a substantial replenishment of IDA resources.
The following table shows the number of casualties in cars, how many of these were recorded as being in the rear seat, and how many rear seat passengers were recorded as wearing seat belts, for 1986 and 1987. Only those casualties who were killed or seriously injured (KSI) are included. The figures for 1988 are still provisional, and cannot be disaggregated in this way.
Casualties in cars or vans: Great Britain 1986, 1987 |1986 |1987 ---------------------------------------- Total killed |2,364 |2,279 Total KSI |30,902|30,346 In rear seat: Killed |363 |362 KSI |4,998 |4,696 Wearing seat belt: Killed |14 |18 KSI |229 |260
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of railway line, including underground service, there are in England, Wales and Scotland, respectively ; and how many miles of these have so far been electrified.
Route mileages at 31 March 1989 were as follows (electrified portion shown in brackets) :
|Route mileage |Electrified portion ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ England and Wales British Rail |8,616 |(2,443) London Regional Transport |245 |(245) Docklands Light Railway |7 |(7) Tyne and Wear Metro |35 |(35) |---- |---- Total |8,903 |(2,730) Scotland British Rail (Scottish Region) |1,698 |(276) Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive |7 |(7) |---- |---- Total |1,705 |(283)
British Rail plans to electrify a further 245 route miles by October 1992.
Mr. Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he is making with the Road Traffic Signs Regulations with regard to more realistic tolerances of design, construction and maintenance.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 1981 (SI 1981 No. 859) are currently being reviewed. Representations received in consultation to date do not suggest difficulties in meeting the requirements of the current regulations. If my hon. Friend has any specific points in mind, perhaps he will write with the details so that they can be considered in the review.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the achievements of his Department and his policies in helping small businesses over the last 12 months compared with the previous 12 months ; and if he will publish the performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring.
The Department of Transport is concerned to ensure that transport infrastructure is adequate and to lift the burden on businesses caused by unnecessary regulation so that all businesses can flourish.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has concerning delays experienced by motorists on the A2-M2 in the last month ; what were the comparable figures for delays in the five previous years ; and what proposals he has to reduce those delays in future years.
Delays within last month M2
Junctions 3-4 Minor delays
Peak period (6-9.30 am) Tailbacks 3-4 miles
London-bound carriageway Usually clear within 1 hour
Evening peak At times 2 mile tailback
During the last two weeks of June there were four instances of the carriageway of A2 near Bean breaking up due to heat ; emergency repairs caused serious congestion.
The worst incidence of queuing has occurred on fine weekends when tailbacks have reached seven miles.
Previous five years
The only information readily available is :
1987-88 Junctions 5-7--Peak hour delays of up to 20 minutes. No delays off peak.
1988-89 Junctions 5-7--Peak hour delays up to about 20 minutes. Off peak three to four minutes.
Weekend delays for traffic returning from the coast have involved tailbacks of up to four to five miles.
Proposals to reduce delays in future years
(a) Current five-year programme of major maintenance on M2 will be completed by 1992 ; on A2 west of M2 by 1993, and on A2 east of M2 by 1994.
(b) Contracts which will result in delays will be let on lane rental basis to minimise construction periods.
(c) Greater use will be made of advance signing.
(d) Every effort is, and will continue to be employed on designing works to avoid delays consistent with safety.
Authority for the western section from M20 to Court Wood is provided by the Channel Tunnel Act. Authority
Column 458for the eastern section from Court Wood to Dover is being sought by orders under the Highways Act which were the subject of public inquiries held in 1988. The inspector's report is being carefully considered. It is hoped to announce decisions on these by the early autumn this year.
Subject to the satisfactory completion of the outstanding statutory procedures, the aim is to complete both sections in time for the opening of the Channel tunnel in 1993.
Mr. David Young : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received seeking the introduction in Great Britain of probationary plates for qualified but inexperienced drivers.
A number of schemes were introduced in other countries during the 1960s. None has so far been successfully evaluated. In New Zealand, for instance, the scheme has now been abandoned.
A P plate system is in use in Northern Ireland, where the legal system for road traffic law enforcement is different. The casualty rate in Northern Ireland over the last five years has been consistently higher than in Great Britain, despite the P plate scheme.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many registered dock workers have accepted redundancy following abolition of the national dock labour scheme ; and what is (a) the number and (b) the percentage of registered dock workers (i) at each port and (ii) nationally.
Mr. Portillo : At 21 July 1989, 2,288 former registered dock workers had been made redundant or been given notice of redundancy following the abolition of the dock labour scheme. This represents 25 per cent. of the number of RDWs at 3 July 1989, when the scheme was abolished. I understand that at some ports some former registered dock workers made redundant have been re-employed by a different employer ; and at other ports dock work is now being carried out by existing employees who were not registered dock workers. The position in each port is as follows.
Ports |Number of registered dock|Percentage of registered |workers made redundant |dock workers in the port -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Aberdeen |149 |100 Ayr |14 |100 Barry |20 |31 Bristol |2 |0.4 Cardiff |157 |96 Charleston |1 |100 Fleetwood |4 |9 Fowey |44 |100 Garston |79 |73 Goole |72 |44 Grimsby and Immingham |442 |60 Hull |242 |36 Ipswich |32 |27 Kings Lynn |40 |75 Liverpool |69 |5 London |393 |23 Lowestoft |27 |90 Manchester |42 |26 Newport |82 |42 Par |28 |100 Plymouth |11 |37 Sharpness |2 |4 Southampton |210 |31 Swansea |78 |89 Tees and Hartlepool |37 |7 Wisbech |11 |92
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the flasks used for transportation of irradiated fuel from the reactors at United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Harwell, fully meet the International Atomic Energy Authority's impact and thermal standards ; if he will make public the results of tests performed to confirm the safety of these transport flasks ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The flasks used by UKAEA Harwell have been assessed and certified by experts in this Department as fully complying with the IAEA design and test requirements. The test results are the property of the UKAEA, and are supplied to the Department on a commercial- in-confidence basis.
Mr. Allan Stewart : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he has considered the implications for Scottish lowland airports policy of the proposals by United Airlines for flights between Washington, Chicago and Glasgow ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) if he has considered the implications for Scottish lowlands airports policy of the announcement by United Airlines that it has no intention of proposing flights from the United States of America to Prestwick airport.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Scottish lowland airports policy remains as set out in the 1985 White Paper "Airports Policy" and most recently confirmed in my right hon. Friend's announcement on 8 May, Official Report, column 343.
Mr. David Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many airlines have applied to operate transatlantic flights to and from Glasgow Abbotsinch airport ; and if he will list the names of such airlines.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Civil Aviation Authority at present has applications from two airlines, Air Europe and Air 2000, for such licences. The Department does not have any outstanding requests from foreign carriers for permits to operate transatlantic services to and from Glasgow.
Column 460and reduce inconvenience to road users arising out of the road works on the north bound carriageway of the M1 between junctions 11 and 12.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The maintenance work taking place on the M1 is divided into several phases. The current phase involves offside lane closures. Throughout this phase there will be three lanes available to southbound traffic. Northbound traffic will have two lanes available except on Fridays, when three lanes will be made available between 12 noon and 10 pm. Future phases of the work will involve the use of contraflow during which there will be two lanes available in both directions. The traffic management arrangements use the minimum road space necessary for the safe and efficient working on the site.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many man hours have been spent by his officials dealing with proposals to improve the A1 between Wetherby and Dishforth with orders 198 ; and what have been the costs involved.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of his officials have been handling the proposed improvements under orders 198 for the A1 between Wetherby and Dishforth ; and where they are located.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the delay in reaching decisions about improvements to the A1 between Wetherby and Dishforth as they relate to orders 198.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The joint decision by the Secretaries of State for Transport and for the Environment took longer than usual to make because the independent inspector recommended a substantial change to the published proposals. This was for the addition of discontinuous hard shoulders not in compliance with normal departmental standards for all- purpose trunk roads.
The outcome is that the scheme is to be revised to incorporate not only hard shoulders but other design changes, with the intention of bringing this stretch of road up to near-motorway standard.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : We are conscious of the need to make conditions as safe as possible for motorists. On this length of trunk road, special attention has been paid to eliminating potentially hazardous turning movements. Over the past two years 13 gaps in the central reserve have been closed and three overbridges provided. Central reserve safety fencing has also been erected recently over most of this stretch. The final section will be installed later this year as part of the Dishforth interchange scheme.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will set out evidence of the volume of traffic using the A1 between Wetherby and Dishforth since 1979 ; and if he will make a statement.