The European Commission's proposal for a charter of social rights has not been agreed by the Council of Ministers. There have so far been no proposals for directives.
The experimental lighting we have seen recently will become permanent well in time for Remembrance Sunday. I am sure that the House will join me in congratulating my hon. Friend on his suggestion last year which prompted such a pleasing enhancement of this very special monument.
Government expenditure on the maintenance of historic buildings in England is channelled through English Heritage. Its policy is to focus financial support on parish churches rather than cathedrals and is based on the Church of England's own view that cathedrals are better placed to raise funds from public and private sector appeals. Should English Heritage or the Church of England consider changing this policy, and should the changes have implications for English Heritage's overall grant-in-aid, the Government would carefully consider any case put forward. A similar policy is adopted by the Welsh Office and regularly reviewed.
A different approach, however, is adopted by the Historic Buildings Council for Scotland since, of the 25 churches' with cathedral status, only four are considered to be cathedrals in scale. It is considered unlikely that, were the cathedral status churches to be threatened, they could be assisted wholly by funds raised through public appeals and private donations. Consequently, cathedrals are considered for historic buildings repair if all the normal eligibility criteria are met. Since 1978, when a scheme of
Column 2historic building repair grants for churches in ecclesiastical use was set up, repairs to nine Scottish churches with cathedral status have attracted grant.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Prime Minister if, during her meeting with King Hussein of Jordan on his visit to London, she discussed (a) the dangers of nuclear weapons based in the Middle East, (b) Israel's possession of nuclear weapons capability and (c) initiatives that could be taken before and at the fourth review conference of the nuclear non- proliferation treaty, to reduce nuclear weapons proliferation problems in the Middle East.
During the Prime Minister's visit to Japan from 19 to 22 September, her engagements were as follows :
Meeting at Tokyo University with Professor Arima, President of the University, and three colleagues conducting environmental research. Call on Mitsui Bank, Hibiya, to see use of British Telecom and Reuter equipment in the foreign exchange dealing room.
Reception with the British associations in Tokyo.
Dinner at the Ambassador's Residence for senior Japanese politicians and businessmen.
Visit to Fujitsu computer factory, Numazu.
Lunch hosted by Japan's economic organisations, speech on "the Open World Economy".
Official talks with Japanese Foreign Minister, Mr. Nakayama. Visit to Tokyu Department Store, to see Laura Ashley shop and tea room.
Official talks with the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Kaifu. Joint television broadcast with Mr. Kaifu, on the environment, education and democratic values.
Working dinner with Mr. Kaifu.
Meeting with former Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Takeshita. Visit to Jaguar Japan at Shimbashi.
Opening of British School Tokyo, and visit to adjacent Shibuya Girls High School and kindergarten.
Visit to British Council.
Luncheon with His Majesty The Emperor and other members of the Imperial Family at Akasaka Palace.
Meeting with Japanese Minister for International Trade and Industry, Mr. Matsunaga.
Reception at the International Democratic Union Conference. Meeting with United States Vice President, Mr. Quayle.
International Democratic Union Conference dinner hosted by Mr. Kaifu.
Wreath laying at the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, Hodogaya. International Democratic Union Conference.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Prime Minister what standing instructions she has given to Ministers of the Crown concerning attributable statements of Government policy, or announcement of specific ministerial decisions, by civil servants ; what changes have been made in this respect from the practice of previous administrations ; and if she will make a statement.
When civil servants make such statements or announcements they do so on behalf of Ministers, and Ministers are accountable for them. This arrangement has also applied during previous Administrations.
No Ministers accompanied my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on her visit to Japan.
We believe it important that all people, including the indigenous inhabitants of rain-forests, should participate in national development as equal partners.
The Government bring their influence to bear in this respect especially in the World Bank and OECD. We also use our influence when we finance projects which protect rain-forests. We are planning an increased programme of aid for conservation and management of forests.
Sir Antony Buck : To ask the Prime Minister if she will make a statement concerning the appointment of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and the Health Service Commissioner for England, Scotland and Wales.
In accordance with section 1(3) of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967, section 106(3) of the National Health Service Act 1977 and section 90(3) of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978, Sir Anthony Barrowclough will be retiring from these offices on 2 January 1990.
I am sure that all Members of the House would wish me to express their gratitude and admiration for the very able and thorough manner in which he has fulfilled these duties over the last five years. Her Majesty has been pleased to approve the appointment of Mr. William Kennedy Reid, CB as Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioner for England, for Scotland and for Wales with effect from 3 January 1990.
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many United Kingdom consultants the Overseas Development Administration has commissioned in each of the past five years ; what was the number of Scottish-based consultants ; what was the total value of the commissions in each year ; and what proportion of that value in each year was won by Scottish-based companies.
|£ million ------------------------------ 1984 |29.7 1985 |30.0 1986 |33.0 1987 |34.8 1988 |48.5
We do not have statistics for numbers of consultants commissioned in this period, nor are records kept of the geographical base of consultants. I regret, therefore, that this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he has given the Colombian ambassador about his request to provide some professional expertise for the large research projects on the Amazon region of Colombia.
Mrs. Chalker : I have told the ambassador that we understand from the National Planning Department in Bogota (the agency with which our aid programme in Colombia is agreed), that it did not intend to ask for our help in this project at this stage. But I have asked our embassy to discuss the ambassador's proposals further with the National Planning Department, to see whether it would wish to give them higher priority in future years.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what representations he has received during the recess about the Central Electricity Generating Board's application to build Sizewell C power station in Suffolk ; and if he will make a statement about a public inquiry.
Mr. Michael Spicer : My right hon. Friend has received approximately 50,000 objections to this application. My right hon. Friend has still to receive the views of the relevant local planning authorities. If either objects, my right hon. Friend will be obliged to hold a public inquiry. Even if they do not, he may still decide to do so in the light of the other objections received.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library copies of correspondence between his Department and Messrs Halcrow concerning the East London river crossing.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what investigations have been made concerning the effects on the river regime, silt depositions, and scouring, and the consequences for dredging costs arising from construction of the new design of bridge for the East London river crossing.
Mr. Portillo : On our behalf, Hydraulics Research Ltd. completed a desk study of the likely effects of alternative bridge designs on the river regime as part of the review of the Thames bridge design. The results of the desk study are contained in annex F of the July 1989 report by Sir William Halcrow and Partners into the alternative forms of bridge design, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. Hydraulics Research is now carrying out model studies into the location and effect of scour, change in siltation and in flow distribution to confirm the findings of its desk study.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make a statement concerning the implications for passenger safety of the extension of one-person operation on the deep level tube sections of the London Underground ;
Column 6(2) if he will place in the Library copies of the correspondence concerning consultations between London Underground Ltd and the railway inspectorate on proposals for extending one-person operation on the tube railways of London.
Mr. Portillo : Extension of one-person operation is primarily a matter for London Underground Ltd,, which has a statutory obligation to operate its services safely. There is, nevertheless, full consultation between London Underground Ltd and the railway inspectorate about the safety aspects of one-person operation proposals. The inspectorate would keep me informed about any proposal with which it was not satisfied. I am content with this arrangement and see no need for copies of correspondence to be placed in the Library.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action has been taken by the railway inspectorate to implement recommendation No. 131 of the Fennell report on the King's Cross line, requiring it to enlist outside advice in respect of one-person operation of trains in deep tube tunnels.
Mr. Portillo : The railway inspectorate, with the assistance of the Health and Safety Executive and the London Fire Brigade, undertook an investigation into the management of safety on the London Underground earlier in the year. Since the Fennell report was concerned with safety at stations, the investigation concentrated on the safety of passengers and staff in stations. It did not address the question of one-person operated trains. My right hon. Friend the member for Southend, West (Mr. Channon) the then Secretary of State for Transport, announced on 24 May that he was that day publishing the inspectorate's report of the investigation, a copy of which is in the Library.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to when and how London Underground Ltd, in accordance with recommendation 148 of the Fennell report, informed the travelling public of its intention to extend one-person operation of tube trains.
Mr. Portillo : London Underground Limited made it clear, when accepting recommendation 148 of the Fennell report, that information on safety performance would be transmitted to the London Regional Passengers' Committee from time to time ; and that it would also mount publicity campaigns about specific safety issues as appropriate. It is for London Underground to consider the extent and timing of any publicity which it considers to be appropriate in relation to one-person operation of tube trains.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the safety audit committee of London Regional Transport, established consequent to recommendation 79 of the Fennell report, has within its responsibilities or terms of reference the level of platform staffing on stations and the planned extension of one-person operation of tube trains in London.
Mr. Portillo : The terms of reference of the safety audit committee are contained within the London Regional Transport document "Management of Safety", a copy of which was placed in the Library on 6 February 1989. They cover wide aspects of safety throughout LRT.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has for the future of the Department of Transport marine office in Belfast ; what is the rate per hour which people in Northern Ireland pay to this office for surveys ; and if he will make a statement about future charges for these surveys.
Mr. McLoughlin : I have no proposals to change the status of the Department's marine office in Belfast. The complement of the office is kept under review in the light of the workload. The various fees currently payable for surveys in the United Kingdom and abroad are set out in the Merchant Shipping (Fees) Regulations 1989 (SI 1989 No. 323). The regulations are reviewed annually.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many British-owned vessels are registered under flag-of-convenience terms in the Bahamas ; and what are the terms of his agreement with the Government of the Bahamas for use of these vessels for defence purposes.
Mr. McLoughlin : One hundred and fourteen British-owned trading ships (excluding Hong Kong-owned ships) are registered in the Bahamas. A copy of the agreement with the Commonwealth of the Bahamas concerning the availability of British-owned ships to HMG in the event of hostilities is being sent to the hon. Member. A further copy has been deposited in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a table showing merchant vessels available for defence purposes in each year from 1985 to the nearest available date ; and if the table will distinguish between vessels registered in the United Kingdom and those registered in dependent territories.
Mr. McLoughlin : This information is contained in "Defence Statistics" table 1.3 in the "Statement on Defence Estimates 1989" (Cm. 675 -II) a copy of which is in the House of Commons Library. Separate figures are given for the vessels registered in the United Kingdom and those registered in Crown dependencies and dependent territories, except for 1985 for which only United Kingdom-registered figures are available.
|Officers|Ratings |Cadets |Total ------------------------------------------------------ 1975 |35,815 |33,524 |7,094 |76,433 1976 |35,123 |31,644 |6,970 |73,737 1977 |34,144 |29,856 |6,708 |70,708 1978 |33,147 |29,219 |6,704 |69,070 1979 |31,434 |28,942 |6,318 |66,694 1980 |29,513 |28,167 |5,919 |63,599 1981 |27,867 |27,422 |5,197 |60,486 1982 |25,104 |25,224 |4,022 |54,350 1983 |20,635 |22,624 |2,732 |45,991 1984 |17,646 |20,251 |1,625 |39,522 1985 |15,523 |19,095 |1,016 |35,634 1986 |13,036 |17,612 |727 |31,375 1987 |10,978 |15,835 |554 |27,367 1988 |9,568 |13,638 |428 |23,634 <1>1989 |9,097 |12,651 |431 |22,179 <1> Provisional. Note: These numbers are based upon the General Council of British Shipping register for the years indicated as available for employment in National Maritime Board agreements with GCBS members or associates. They include foreign seafarers on NMB agreements. About 5, 000 foreign seafarers serve on GCBS-registered vessels but probably fewer than 1,000 are under NMB conditions. The figures exclude seafarers employed by United Kingdom companies which do not use GCBS manning services; the latest estimate for these is 6, 000.
Mr. Atkins : The Government keep diesel emissions under constant review. Regulations have recently been made that apply for the first time limits on the emission of carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbons from new heavy diesel vehicles. The Commission is expected to make proposals shortly to introduce a second stage of limits on these emissions from heavy diesels and to set particulate limits for these vehicles for the first time. The United Kingdom has taken a leading role in helping the Commission to prepare a draft directive.
The annual tests for buses and heavy goods vehicles include a visual check on smoke density. Over the past two years the Department has increased substantially its programme of roadside checks on the condition of goods vehicles. This also includes a check on smoke emissions. We are considering how future emission standards might most effectively be enforced.