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Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment 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
Column 790performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring.
Mr. Chris Patten [holding answer 24 July 1989] : My Department contributes to the Government policy of creating a climate in which small businesses can flourish, in particular by simplifying and removing unnecessary controls on them. The major deregulation initiatives carried through and in progress are set out in the White Paper "Releasing Enterprise" (Cm. 512). They include substantial changes to the planning system, the development of integrated pollution control, and the reform of the building regulations, all of which simplify procedures and remove unnecessary burdens on businesses of all sizes. Separate information on small businesses is not available.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy to use those statutory powers available to him to prosecute water authorities which do not comply with EEC directives.
Mr. Howard [holding answer 25 July 1989] : Where my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has enforcement powers relevant to implementation of EC directives, he will consider using them in appropriate circumstances.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will bring up to date the figures given in his written reply dated 16 December 1986, Official Report, column 438, concerning the specified rate of return on net assets for each water authority, together with a forecast for 1990-91 ; and if he will include figures showing (i) the net assets in 1987-88 in each case, (ii) the realised profit in 1987-88 in percentage and cash terms, (iii) the corresponding forecast for the current financial year, (iv) the target rate of return after privatisation and (v) the estimated effect the target rate would have on the cash margin in the current financial year.
Mr. Howard : The water authorities' performance against their specified return on assets is set out in their published annual accounts for 1987-88, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House.
Copies of their unaudited accounts for 1988-89 were placed in the Library of the House on 6 July. Copies of their final reports and accounts, which will contain a statement of their performance against the specified return on assets will be laid before Parliament in August.
No target rates of return have been set for 1989-90 or for subsequent years.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the use of Abingdon street gardens, Westminster, for an anti-abortion gathering, for the purposes of filming and sound recording, on 27 and 28 June, was authorised under the appropriate byelaws ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley [holding answer 21 July 1989] : The Department's press office facilities officer granted written permission to the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children for a photocall with Members of
Column 791Parliament, at Abingdon street gardens, Westminster, on 27 and 28 June under the Royal and Other Parks and Gardens Regulations 1977, section 4, paragraph (7) and (16).
Column 792The permit generally covered filming, photography and sound recording.