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Mr. Clay : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on what date his Department was first made aware of a renewed interest in the purchase of North East Shipbuilders Ltd by the Egon Oldendorff line of West Germany.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : British Shipbuilders informed my Department on 13 April that an approach it had received from a further interest in North East Shipbuilders Ltd would be confirmed in writing that day.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if, further to his reply of 30 November, Official Report , column 251 , showing the balance of trade in manufactures in terms of 1988 prices, he will provide the outturn figure for 1988 and that for the first five months of 1989 together with the figures for each year in current prices ; and if he will provide the corresponding figures for trade in manufactures with the European Economic Community.
Manufactures less erratics (BOP basis) at 1988 prices £ billion |Exports|Imports|Balance ---------------------------------------- 1988 |59.3 |74.8 |-15.6 <1>1989 |62.5 |82.7 |-20.2 <1>The figures for 1989 are for January to May 1989 at an annualised rate.
Figures for earlier years at current prices are shown in the following table :
Table 2 Manufactures less erratics (BOP basis) at current prices £ billion |Exports|Imports|Balance ---------------------------------------- 1970 |6.3 |3.7 |+2.6 1971 |7.1 |4.0 |+3.2 1972 |7.2 |4.9 |+2.3 1973 |9.0 |7.2 |+1.7 1974 |12.2 |10.0 |+2.2 1975 |14.6 |10.2 |+4.4 1976 |18.8 |13.7 |+5.1 1977 |23.3 |17.0 |+6.4 1978 |25.5 |20.4 |+5.1 1979 |28.1 |25.4 |+2.8 1980 |31.0 |25.1 |+5.9 1981 |31.8 |27.6 |+4.2 1982 |33.9 |32.6 |+1.3 1983 |35.7 |39.2 |-3.5 1984 |41.9 |47.0 |-5.1 1985 |48.0 |51.9 |-3.9 1986 |49.1 |56.5 |-7.4 1987 |54.7 |64.3 |-9.6
Estimates for trade in manufactures with the European Community are available only at current prices, and including the erratic items.
Table 3 United Kingdom trade with the EC Manufactures including erratics (BOP basis) at current prices £ billion |Exports|Imports|Balance ---------------------------------------- 1970 |2.2 |1.5 |+0.6 1971 |2.3 |1.8 |+0.4 1972 |2.5 |2.5 |- 1973 |3.3 |3.7 |-0.4 1974 |4.7 |5.2 |-0.5 1975 |5.1 |5.7 |-0.6 1976 |7.2 |7.7 |-0.5 1977 |9.3 |9.8 |-0.5 1978 |10.2 |12.0 |-1.7 1979 |12.6 |15.2 |-2.6 1980 |14.0 |15.2 |-1.2 1981 |13.2 |15.9 |-2.6 1982 |14.6 |18.9 |-4.3 1983 |15.9 |23.1 |-7.2 1984 |18.8 |27.0 |-8.1 1985 |21.8 |30.5 |-8.7 1986 |23.9 |34.0 |-10.1 1987 |28.0 |38.4 |-10.4 1988 |31.5 |44.0 |-12.6
Mr. Thorne : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress has been made in giving protection to British tourists travelling abroad by making tour operators responsible to British courts for statements made in their brochures.
Mr. Forth : Negotiations on a draft EC directive on package travel continue. Meanwhile, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has recently revised its code of conduct for tour operators in consultation with the Office of Fair Trading.
I welcome the new code. I believe that consumers will benefit in particular from the clear statement of their responsibilities which tour operators will now be required to provide in their brochures and booking conditions.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish the advice that the Nature Conservancy Council submitted on the recent granting of a sea-bed lease for the purpose of salmon farming at Sian bay, Sutherland ; whether the applicant submitted an assessment of the likely environmental impact of the salmon farm ; and if he will publish the names of all those conservation or environmental organisations which objected to the proposal.
The Crown Estate does not publish submissions made on applications for sea- bed leases. Such submissions may, of course, be obtained from the parties concerned. The scale of the development at Sian bay was below the level requiring an environmental impact assessment. Submissions were received from the Nature Conservancy Council, the Countryside Commission for Scotland and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
The availability of the Government funding will depend upon whether the proposed development can satisfy all the criteria of city grant and in particular whether the project offers good value for money.
Mr. Atkins : In November 1987 we announced a programme of assessment and strengthening of bridges on motorways and all-purpose trunk roads to ensure that they can carry modern heavy lorries. This programme is continuing. It is too early to say how many, if any, of the bridges on the A1 require strengthening.
Mr. Waller : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has given any indication in the European Community Council of Ministers that the United Kingdom will move towards 40-tonne lorries on its roads before 31 December 1998 if it becomes practicable to do so.
Mr. Atkins : Last month the EC Transport Council agreed 31 December 1998 as the date when the deregulations from EC road vehicle weights will end. We undertook to use our best endeavours to advance this date as far as practicable. We have suggested that an addendum reflecting these statements at the Council meeting be made to the minutes of the meeting.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration the railway inspectorate has given to the possible implication of the Clapham train disaster that a large number of people standing could result in more casualties, when considering London Underground Ltd's specification for new rolling stock involving fewer seats and more standing space per train ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : The railway inspectorate has considered the relevant evidence given to the formal investigation into the railway accident at Clapham junction. This indicates little significant difference in the type of severity of injuries received by passengers in a severe railway accident, whether they are sitting or standing. However, some lessons have been learned regarding the interior design of railway rolling stock. These will be borne in mind when considering the specification for London Underground Ltd's new rolling stock and before that stock obtains formal approval.
Sir Barney Hayhoe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ensure that the letter dated 14 July from the Federation of Heathrow Anti-Noise Groups about airport and runway capacity in the south- east is carefully considered ; and if he will make appropriate arrangements to establish reliable forecasts for future air passenger demand and for the size of aircraft that will be in the airline fleets to meet that demand.
Mr. McLoughlin : The federation's letter will of course be given careful attention. A copy is being passed to the Civil Aviation Authority, who will be advising my right hon. Friend next summer on strategic options for meeting demand at United Kingdom airports in the long term. My Department last published air traffic forecasts in December, and will be updating these in due course. The authority will be concerned with average passenger loads in carrying forward its present commission.
Mr. Portillo : London Regional Transport has 45 buses which operate scheduled services and are accessible to users of wheelchairs. Additionally, London Regional Transport funds the London Dial-a-Ride service which operates 141 wheelchair accessible buses, providing door-to- door services.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many London Underground stations have only one public exit from the platforms to the street ; and what proposals he has discussed with London Underground Ltd. to provide these stations with secondary exiting.
Mr. Portillo : There are 118 stations with only one exit at street level, of which 29 are deep-level stations. In pursuit of recommendation 124 of the Fennell report, London Underground Ltd. has embarked on a programme of surveying stations with disused lift-shafts and passageways, to identify possible secondary exits and to establish the cost of conversion.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Routemaster buses have been sold by London Buses Ltd (a) to other operators within the United Kingdom, (b) for scrap and (c) to foreign owners.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list, in respect of each county in England and Wales, those harbour projects which have been funded or part-funded by the European Community regional development fund during the period April 1979 to March 1989; and if he will state the level of funding in each case.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Government have any plans to introduce legislation to oblige local authorities to recover their costs plus a margin for profit from suppliers of services seeking road closures and to charge a full rent at a rising daily rate in all cases of roadworks for the installation, repair and renewal of such services based on the amount of traffic diverted or inconvenienced and the duration of the work.
Mr. Atkins : Proposals for legislation to reform the Public Utilities Street Works Act 1950 were circulated in May to interested parties for comment. A copy of these proposals is in the Library. The proposals included a provision to enable highway authorities to recover from utilities certain of their costs such as those incurred by making temporary traffic orders. A provision to oblige highway authorities to charge rent for roadworks was not included. We have received several responses putting forward suggestions aimed at reducing the impact of utilities' works on road users, including charging for the road space occupied by those works. We are considering the responses to consultation.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that those dockers formerly employed at Denton's Wharf and G. E. Grays, but who were on the temporary unattached register at the abolition of the dock labour scheme, are paid full compensation for redundancy.
Mr. McLoughlin : The liability for paying the compensation due to the former registered dock workers employed by Denton's Wharf Limited and G. E. Gray and Son (Shipping) Limited rests with those companies. The Department has explained the position to them and has repeatedly urged them to resolve the matter quickly. I understand that Denton's Wharf Limited has accepted its liability and will be taking steps to pay the compensation shortly, but that G. E. Gray and Son (Shipping) Limited
Column 830is still awaiting legal advice. Under the terms of the statutory compensation scheme, the Department can pay the full amount of compensation due to redundant former registered dock workers only in cases where a company has become insolvent.
Mr. Atkins : The Department consulted over 125 bodies on proposals for revised road hump regulations and over 50 responded. The consultation was in two parts. On relaxation of criteria currently set in the regulations, the response was almost uniformly favourable. On the wider relaxation encompassing proposals for the introduction of sub-30 mph speed limits, again responses were generally favourable.
We are now proceeding towards making new regulations which will implement all the new proposals. A number of points of detail were raised and we shall be dealing with these in new advice for local highway authorities.
The new regulations are a further step forward in civilising the motor car and in giving local authorities greater freedom of action.
It is our firm belief, on the basis of all the accident experience, that seat belts can make a major contribution to the survival of accidents in most types of motor vehicle, including coaches and minibuses.
We regard it as one of our priorities, as we work towards a single set of safety requirements for Europe after 1992, that good quality, easy-to-use retractable seat belts should be fitted to all the seats in coaches and minibuses, and that they should be worn. We are taking every opportunity to press the European Commission, the member states and the bus industry on this point.
Mr. Parkinson : The M25 review is being published today. The consultants, Rendel Palmer and Tritton, have produced a range of recommendations which will need careful study. The proposal to widen the motorway to dual four lanes has already been announced in the recent roads White Paper. We shall need to weigh up the traffic and environmental implications of their recommendations with care. We shall consult widely, and shall announce further plans for action later this year. The consultants' views do not necessarily represent Government policy.
I am placing copies in the House Libraries.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the current works of repair to the A1 between London and Dishforth, the dates works started and the expected completion dates.
Location |Works |Start date |Expected duration ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cambridgeshire |Bridge repairs |17 July |9 weeks Wothorpe Lincolnshire Cromwell to |Carriageway |5 June |19 weeks Muskham |repairs Foston |Carriageway |18 July |13 weeks |and bridge |repairs South Yorkshire A1(M)/ |Carriageway |28 June |23 weeks M18 interchange |repairs northwards for 1.5 miles West Yorkshire Leeds, |Carriageway |19 July |3 weeks A64 junction northwards for 1.5 miles
Motorway --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- M2 |Junctions 3-7 M3 |Junction 8-A33 M4 |Junction 1-Boston Manor M10 |Junction 1-M1 M18 |Junctions 2-5 M20 |Junctions 12-13 M23 |Gatwick link M26 M27 Spurs to A36 (Junction 2) and A33 (Junction 4) 3.5 M41 M42 |Junctions 9-11 M45 M50 M54 |M6-Junction 5 and Junction 6-A5 M56 |Junction 3/J4-M63 M58 |Switch Island-Junction 1 M65 |Junctions 8-9 M66 |Edenfield-Junction 2 M180 |Junctions 3-4 M181 |M180-A18 M271 |A3057-Southampton M606 |M62-Bradford M621 |Gildersome-Leeds A1(M) |Darlington-Sunderland A1(M) |Darlington Bypass A1(M) |Doncaster Bypass A3(M) |Bedhampton-Homedean A40(M) |Wood Lane-Bramley Road and Paddington | slip roads-Marylebone Flyover A66(M) |A1-A66 A102(M) Blackwall Tunnel-Rochester Way relief road 1.3 A308(M) |M4 Junction 9-A4 West of Maidenhead A423(M) |M4 Junction 9-A308 South of Maidenhead A627(M) Total |231.5 <1>Denotes dual 2-lane motorway with short stretches of dual 3-lanes or climbing lanes. <2>"Roads for Prosperity" (Cm. 693) announced a study into the capacity of this section of the A1(M).
Mr. Moate : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are his current plans for widening the M2 ; and what are the statistical bases for his decision to not yet announce plans to make it a three-lane each way motorway for its full length.
Mr. Atkins : A scheme for widening the M2 to dual three-lanes between junctions 1 and 3 is programmed. Subject to detailed investigation, it might also provide for the third southbound lane to continue some way beyond junction 3 as a crawler lane.
Taking account of a transfer of Channel-bound traffic to the M20 on its completion, the forecast traffic flows do not justify widening the remainder of M2. The position will be kept under review.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the railway accident involving a train carrying nuclear material at Temple Mills on the evening of 18 May ; what steps he is taking to avoid its reccurrence ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : A locomotive hauling a wagon which contained a nuclear flask overturned after the driver had passed a shunting signal which was showing no aspect. The signal should have been showing a red (danger) aspect but its light bulb had been damaged by vandals. The incident occurred at a low speed and the wagon holding the nuclear material was not derailed. Health physicists from the CEGB Bradwell nuclear power station examined the flask and confirmed that there had been no leakage and no contamination. British Rail has investigated the incident, established the cause and has taken appropriate steps.
The incidence of vandalsim is to be deplored. I understand that there was no previous record of malicious damage to the signal in question which controlled the passage of trains within a siding. If a signal on a running line is damaged to the extent that it shows no aspect, it is detected and the previous signal would automatically revert to danger. British Rail is fully aware of the need to safeguard against such interference but it cannot totally prevent trespass.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what criteria he selected land to replace land lost in Leyton at the Eastway sports centre due to the proposed M11 link road ; what assessment he made of the benefits for Leyton residents ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : My right hon. Friend is required to apply the same criteria in all cases when selecting exchange land for public open space proposed to be taken for trunk road schemes. The land must generally be not less in area than the open space to be acquired and it must be equally advantageous to the public. Lee Valley regional park authority has accepted the exchange land offered as a suitable replacement for Eastway sports centre. The centre provides facilities for the public from a wide area well beyond the immediate locality of Leyton and Hackney. The area of land to be taken is relatively small and in our
Column 833view will result in no significant loss of amenity for users of the centre. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has been consulted about the suitability of the exchange land and is considering whether to issue a notice of intention to grant a certificate under section 19 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981. If he does, the notice will invite interested persons to make objections to, or representations about, the proposals. Any unresolved objection would be likely to be heard at the public local inquiry into the draft compulsory purchase order for the road scheme arranged to start in Leyton on 12 September.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what responses his Department has received to his draft regulations which include provisions relating to the risk of people being trapped in power- operated bus doors ; whether he proposes to improve the regulation or provide additional funds for more widespread application of the safe centre exit door mechanism on buses ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : There was general support for the measures proposed for centre exit doors. A number of consultees wished to see the measures applied to buses already in service. We shall be consulting the bus industry further on that point. We aim to make the regulations in the autumn.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many lane closures have been imposed on the M2 motorway as a result of maintenance work between May and September in each of the past 10 years.
The incidence of lane closures--affecting both carriageways of the motorway and involving contraflow working--for major maintenance work between May and September in each of the last three years was as follows :
d Year |Length (junction to|From |To |junction) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1989 |3-4 |1 May |Present |5-6 |19 June |Present 1988 |5-6 |1 May |30 September |5-7 |9 May |2 July 1987 |5-7 |9 June |30 September
In addition there were periods when lanes were closed for minor repairs such as barrier repairs and patching. The majority of these occurred in off -peak periods between 09.30 and 16.00 hours.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for each of the last five parliamentary Sessions including the 1988-89 Session, if he will list the number of statutory instruments that were issued by his Department ; how many were negative and how many affirmative ; and if he will make a statement.
¯ Parliamentary Session |Total |Negative |Affirmative |<1>Others-printed |<2>Local-not printed ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984-85 (November 1984 to October 1985) |659 |61 |9 |125 |464 1985-86 (November 1985 to November 1986) |735 |134 |18 |122 |479 1986-87 (November 1986 to May 1987) |435 |45 |3 |62 |325 1987-88 (June 1987 to November 1988) |1,174 |113 |11 |191 |859 1988-89 (uncompleted November 1988 to June 1989) |485 |63 |10 |92 |320 <1> Mainly commencement orders, trunk road orders and light railway orders. <2> Mainly road traffic regulation orders.
Mr. Portillo : There are no statutory regulations. The matter is one for the railway operator. Every effort is made to design underground rolling stock so that the risk of fire breaking out is minimised or, if fire does occur, that it will not disable the train. In the event of a fire the driver's first responsibility is to get the train to the nearest station and inform the line controller by radio. No passenger has been injured by a fire on a train within the period 1984 to date. I understand from London Underground Ltd. that a programme to remove inflamable material from rolling stock has begun.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his estimate of the number and value of new cars leased or sold in the United Kingdom in 1988 and 1989 to date together with his estimate of the proportion (i) imported and (ii) paid for directly as a business expense ; and what proportion of the real cost of owning a comparable car is now added to the income of employees for tax purposes.
Mr. Atkins : From January 1988 to the end of June 1989, 3.5 million new cars were registered in the United Kingdom. Of those registered in Great Britain, 54 per cent. were imported and 52 per cent. were registered in the name of a company.
The benefit of a company car provided for a director or employee earning £8,500 a year or more is taxed by reference to a set of scale charges. Both the scale charge applicable to a particular company car and the cost of owning a comparable car depend on a number of factors. The proportion of the cost of private ownership represented by the scale charge will therefore vary from case to case. Information on the value of these cars is not available.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Warrington, South, 29 June, Official Report, column 535, if he will explain the reasons which led to the conclusion that it would be counterproductive to reveal the inner- city areas targeted by drugs education co-ordinators in their campaign to persuade teenagers to say no to crack.
Mr. Alan Howarth : The Government believe that the threat of crack is best tackled locally, since the nature and scale of the problem, and hence the most suitable response, will vary from place to place. Drugs education co-ordinators and their colleagues in local youth, community and voluntary organisations are well placed to assess actual or potential problems in their areas and initiate responses. We have made clear to local agencies our readiness to provide appropriate support for their initiatives.
Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress is being made in his Department's review, in line with Treasury guidelines, of the potential for further relocation of Civil Service posts outside London and the south-east ; and when he expects the review to be completed.
Mrs. Rumbold : As a first step in its review, the Department has considered what work could be relocated from London and the south-east to the existing office in Darlington. Thirty posts were transferred in 1988 ; a further 50 posts will be transferred in 1990 and will be filled mainly by locally recruited staff. A scrutiny will be mounted later this year to consider a longer-term strategy. I expect the results to be available by mid-1990.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each year since 1978-79 public expenditure on (i) school meals and (ii) school transport in cash and in real terms.
Expenditure<1> on school meals and home to institution transport 1978-79 to 1987-88-England £ million School meals Transport |Cash |Real terms<2>|Cash |Real terms ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1978-79 |388 |793 |117 |239 1979-80 |422 |740 |136 |238 1980-81 |397 |587 |160 |237 1981-82 |397 |535 |174 |234 1982-83 |411 |517 |184 |232 1983-84 |427 |513 |195 |234 1984-85 |432 |495 |199 |228 1985-86 |435 |472 |208 |226 1986-87 |459 |483 |215 |226 1987-88 |443 |443 |222 |222 <1> The figures are based on LEA expenditure returns to the Department of the Environment. <2> The cash figures for the earlier years have been repriced to 1987-88 prices using the Gross Domestic Products (Market Prices) Deflator. Note: The figures in the table are all net of income received from pupils and adults who pay for their meals or their transport.