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Mr. Moynihan : We welcome the initiative of the standing conference of East Anglian local authorities in producing the regional strategy document, and expect to publish for consultation draft regional guidance for East Anglia early in 1990.
We will of course take the representations that have been received from local authorities and other bodies into account when preparing the draft regional planning guidance note.
Mr. Howard : It is for each water and sewerage undertaker to determine the methods and principles on which its charges will be based subject to the conditions of its appointment and the prohibition, in section 80 of the Water Act 1989, on basing charges on rateable values after 31 March 2000. Those undertakers who decide for the time being to charge their unmetered customers on the basis of rateable values will be able to use the 1973 valuation list or, as an alternative for non-domestic customers only, any valuation list created under the Local Government Finance Act 1988. Those undertakers who use a valuation list under the 1988 Act will have to adjust their poundage charges to non-domestic customers to take into account the change in rateable values.
Sir Eldon Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, before reaching any conclusions about the various proposals for new settlements along the A45, to the east or to the west of Cambridge, he will personally visit this corridor and discuss the strategic planning implications of the planning applications he has called in for his own decision with both honourable Members representing constituencies that may be affected in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and with the standing conference of East Anglian local authorities.
Column 165Secretary of State will have regard to all the evidence presented to the public inquiry due to commence on 6 February 1990. It is not possible for him to meet either the hon. Members representing constituencies that may be affected or the standing conference of East Anglian local authorities (SCEALA) since to do so would give the appearance that the Secretary of State was giving separate and special consideration to one particular viewpoint outside the statutory process. For that reason he will also be unable to visit the sites personally. He will rely on the report of his inspector who will conduct site visits at the appropriate time.
I understand that SCEALA has recently decided that it wishes to give evidence at the inquiry. It is also open to hon. Members in the constituencies affected to give evidence to the inquiry if they so wish.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library the guidance note issued to local authorities in October 1989 concerning merchant seafarers and liability for the poll tax.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce new regulations to ensure that local authorities have powers to intervene to inspect, and, if necessary, enforce action on poppy farms.
Mr. Moynihan : Planning permission is not needed for growing poppies. If the hon. Member is concerned about other aspects of poppy farms, perhaps he would write to me, or to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what regard he had to the level of fees charged by private schools and paid for by the assisted places scheme, when calculating the SSA for education announced by him on 6 November.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the purpose of the chimney which has its outlet adjacent to a window of Room GO1, Norman Shaw South ; what substances are emitted from that outlet ; whether any health risks are associated with those substances ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : The flue provides the outlet from the gas central heating boiler serving 1 Canon Row. It discharges exhaust gases diluted with fresh air to reduce the carbon dioxide content to less than 1 per cent. This complies with British Gas recommendations for emissions from low -level outlets.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he has been notified of any plans by water companies in England and Wales to alter the basis on which water charges are calculated ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) who is responsible for authorising water companies introducing flat- rate water charges, not related to water consumption or rateable values of properties supplied with water ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard : It is for each water and sewerage undertaker to determine the methods and principles on which its charges will be based, subject to a condition in its appointment, enforced by the Director General of Water Services, that in fixing charges it should not show undue preference to, or undue discrimination against, any class of customers. Several companies have notified my right hon. Friend of their intention to meter new properties and I understand some companies are considering introducing alternative unmeasured charges such as a flat rate licence fee.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has been notified of any proposals by Yorkshire Water to introduce a flat- rate water charge, not related to the rateable values of properties supplied with water ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Howard : No, I understand that the board of Yorkshire Water has yet to make a decision on how the company will charge in future ; section 80 of the Water Act 1989 prohibits the use of rateable values as a basis of water and sewerage charges after 31 March 2000.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 24 November 1989] : Latest estimates of households accepted as homeless in London appear in table 1(a) of "Local authorities' action under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 Housing Act : England. Results for the second quarter of 1989. Supplementary Tables", which is in the Library.
The Government's plans were announced on 15 November. In particular, local authorities in London have been invited to submit bids for a share of the £177 million extra funds available to local authorities over the next two years for projects designed to move homeless families out of bed and breakfast accommodation. In addition, we have doubled the funds for Housing Corporation, in the next three years ; and trebled the resources available for advice and other services for the homeless through the voluntary sector.
Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is or was the average total daily weight of carbon monoxides and nitrogen oxides emitted into the air by road traffic in Greater London in 1987 and 1988 ; and what estimates are available for 1989, 1990 and 2000.
Column 167estimates assuming the London annual total emission from road transport to be 7.55 per cent. of the United Kingdom total, and daily emissions to be 0.274 per cent. of the annual total (1/365). Average daily emissions 1987 :
CO = 925 tonnes
NOx = 213 tonnes
Corresponding data are not yet available for 1988 and 1989. The Department is currently revising its projections of future vehicle emissions in the light of the recent EC agreement on tighter emission standards and other developments, and I regret therefore that the information sought for 1990 and 2000 is also not presently available.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he intends to bring forward proposals (a) requiring landlords to provide tenants with a written statement of their present rates contributions and (b) making it an offence to include that amount in rent payments after 1 April 1990 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Hunt [holding answer 27 November 1989] : No, since such a provision would not be workable. Many tenants will have a legal basis for ensuring that their rents are not in effect increased as a result of the abolition of domestic rates. The Government will shortly be issuing a leaflet on rents and rates explaining the position for both tenants and landlords.
Mr. Robert N. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received in respect of Government policy towards the Nature Conservancy Council ; what his response has been ; which organisations he has consulted about this matter ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 27 November 1989] : My right hon. Friend has received a variety of representations and advice about the Government's proposals to reorganise the conservation agencies, which were announced in July. Discussions have also taken place with a range of organisations and individuals, as well as with the Nature Conservancy Council and the Countryside Commissions. I would also refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend on 23 November to my hon. Friend the Member for Wyre (Mr. Mans) at column 16 .
Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will direct the two cellular telephone operators to indicate within the detailed maps of the areas covered by their networks those parts of the network where reception is below an acceptable standard.
Mr. Forth : The coverage maps issued by the two cellular radio network operators clearly indicate areas where full coverage is available and those with fringe coverage. They also specify the circumstances in which reception may be limited, particularly for hand portable equipment.
In these circumstances, I have no plans to direct the operators to publish more detailed coverage maps.
Mr. Forth : I am pleased to announce that the United Kingdom's seven specialised satellite services operators will be permitted to provide satellite-based telecommunication services in Europe as well as the United Kingdom. I have also decided to issue licences under the Telecommunications Act allowing greater flexibility in the running of receive-only satellite dishes by the seven operators and by broadcasters.
The seven operators will now be permitted to provide one-way point to multipoint satellite services of all kinds within Europe as well as the United Kingdom. This will allow them to provide, for example, a simultaneous data or video distribution service to all the European offices of a company.
This reflects the growth of liberalisation in Europe, and puts the United Kingdom in a good position to take advantage of any further changes which take place. The United Kingdom remains in the vanguard of European telecoms liberalisation, and I hope that the operators will now go out and sell innovative and competitive services in the single market which will be with us in 1992.
Two new licences are also to be issued allowing particular groups of people to pass on signals received from satellites beyond the premises on which the reception dish is sited.
The first will allow the seven specialised satellite services operators to receive signals from satellites at their main uplink sites and then retransmit them. The second licence will allow both sound and vision broadcasters to receive material from satellites, whether uplinked in the United Kingdom or overseas, at their studio and retransmit it over their broadcast networks.
These changes arise from particular limitations which the operators have found under the current arrangements. They will allow satellites to be used to provide a wider range of services, especially from locations where it is not easy to use ordinary telecommunications equipment. The new licences will ensure that satellite-based services can be of use to a larger number of companies, particularly the broadcasters, without moving away from the basis of the original terms on which they were liberalised in 1988.
Column 169Telecommunications' report on British Telecom's arrangements for the provision of space segment capacity on behalf of the new specialised satellite service providers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Forth : In his report, published today, the director general has concluded that British Telecom's arrangements for dealing with the specialised satellite operators, through its signatory affairs office, will, if properly followed, be fair and impartial. I am pleased that the director general has been able to give this assurance which is essential to the specialised satellite service operators as they begin to develop their businesses. These arrangements are to be reviewed at the end of next year and in the meantime the director general has undertaken to investigate any complaints that they are not working fairly.
The director general has also concluded that it would be more satisfactory if end-users were able to deal directly with the international satellite consortia. This would require changes in the Intelsat and Eutelsat operating agreements which may be achieved in the longer term. I have written to the director general to welcome his report and its conclusions. I have placed copies of the report in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give, for visibles and invisibles, the annual trade between the United Kingdom and the German Democratic Republic for each year since 1979, indicating the trade and payments balance in each case.
Mr. Redwood [holding answer 27 November 1989] : Information on the value of invisible trade between the United Kingdom and the German Democratic Republic is not available. Figures for visible trade are as follows :
£ million |Imports|Exports|Crude |Balance ---------------------------------------- 1979 |110 |57 |-53 1980 |88 |93 |+5 1981 |94 |83 |-11 1982 |134 |64 |-70 1983 |168 |61 |-107 1984 |198 |92 |-106 1985 |204 |64 |-140 1986 |195 |82 |-113 1987 |180 |81 |-99 1988 |153 |113 |-40 1989<1> |125 |82 |-43 <1> January-September Source: Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list for each year since 1979 the number of agreements and total value of facilities under the export credit guarantee system between Britain and Iraq.
Mr. Redwood [holding answer 24 November 1989] : Prior to 1983 United Kingdom export credit facilities for Iraq were limited to basic credit insurance on cash or short-term credit transactions. The value of such Iraq business insured by ECGD since 1979 is as follows :
Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1979 |113 1980 |170 1981 |292 1982 |589 1983 |461 1984 |140 1985 |161 1986 |208 1987 | 55 1988 |121
In addition, since 1983, under a series of intergovernmental financial protocols, the ECGD has supported the financing of United Kingdom contracts on medium-term credit involving the sale of capital goods, services, pharmaceuticals and humanitarian products as follows :
1983 : £250 million for Capital Goods and Projects.
1984 : £250 million for Capital Goods and Projects.
1984 : £25 million for Pharmaceuticals and Humanitarian Products. 1985 : £50 million for Pharmaceuticals and Humanitarian Products. 1986 : £50 million for Pharmaceuticals and Humanitarian Products. 1987 : £100 million for Capital Goods, Services and Projects. 1987 : £75 million for Pharmaceuticals and Humanitarian Products. 1988 : £60 million for Pharmaceuticals and Humanitarian Products. 1988 : £280 million for Capital Goods, Services and Projects.
Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will state for visibles and invisibles the annual trade between the United Kingdom and Iran for each year since 1979 ; and what actions are being taken to increase this.
Mr. Redwood [holding answer 24 November 1989] : Data on United Kingdom trade in services are not available by partner country. Visible United Kingdom imports from and exports to Iran were as follows :
Year |Imports<1>|Exports |£ million |£ million -------------------------------------------- 1979 |380 |232 1980 |142 |393 1981 |198 |403 1982 |307 |334 1983 |102 |631 1984 |476 |703 1985 |147 |526 1986 |94 |399 1987 |237 |308 1988 |172 |248 1989<2> |215 |179 <1> Country of Origin. <2> To 30 September 1989. Source: Overseas Trade Statistics.
Despite the absence of diplomatic relations, the Department of Trade and Industry remains ready to assist British companies wishing to export to Iran as far as it can.
Column 171Mr. Redwood [holding answer 27 November 1989] : The Government have no plans to change their present policy on the control of exports of equipment to Chile. Export licence applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with stringent criteria. It is not our practice to grant a licence for the export of equipment which is likely to be used for internal repression.
Mrs. Chalker : The substantial increases in the aid budget over the next three years announced to the House on 15 November are clear evidence of the Government's determination to play their full part in helping to promote sustainable economic and social development and in alleviating poverty in developing countries.
Compared with the original provision this year of £1,430 million, the aid budget is now planned to grow by 22 per cent. in cash terms over the next three years, or by 9 per cent. after allowing for forecast inflation. These increases will enable us not only to continue our widespread support for economic reform in developing countries, but to commit more resources to tackle the environmental issues that are fundamental to sustainable economic growth.
Mr. Ryder : The Treasury's public enterprises group, responsible for privatisation and nationalised industry policy, employs 30 people. However, estimates of proceeds from individual sales are the responsibility of the Departments concerned.
Mr. Lilley : As my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has repeatedly made clear, sterling will join the exchange rate mechanism when, among other conditions, the level of United Kingdom inflation is significantly lower.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the latest figure he has for the gross national product per capita ; and what information he has on comparable figures for the German Democratic Republic.
Mr. Ryder : The 1989 edition of "United Kingdom National Accounts"-- otherwise known as the CSO Blue Book gives annual estimates of gross national product (on United Kingdom definitions table 1.1 ; on international definitions page 130) and of population (table 17.1). A copy is available in the Library of the House. For 1988, the United Kingdom figures are :
|£ ------------------------------------------------------------------- Gross national product at market prices (United Kingdom definition) per head of home population |8,200 Gross national product at market prices (international definition) per head of home population |8,100
For the German Democratic Republic (GDR), fully comparable figures are not readily available in the publications of the international organisations.
Mr. Jack : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he intends to use the power taken in the Finance Act 1989 to enable the Government to use the National Loans Fund money to acquire gilt-edged stock held in the issue department of the Bank of England for immediate cancellation.
Mr. Major : The first use of this power will be made on 6 December, when £4 billion of stock will be acquired from the issue department for immediate cancellation. The Bank of England will today be issuing a separate notice giving precise details of the stock to be cancelled.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the projected rates of inflation for the indexation of Civil Service pensions for the last five years ; and what were the yearly actual inflation figures.
Mr. Ryder [holding answer 27 November 1989] : Under the Social Security Pensions Act 1975 Civil Service pensions, in common with other public service pensions, are uprated in line with movements in the retail prices index (RPI) in order to maintain their value. Until 1980 the uprating was on the basis of the forecast RPI but since then it has been on an historic basis, which is a simpler and more certain method. Accordingly no RPI forecasts are now made for the purpose of uprating these pensions.
Over the years there have been some changes in both the timing of the uprating periods and the date from which the upratings are paid. These are shown in the table.
|Pensions |Paid in |Based on movement |increase |of prices between |(per cent.) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1989 |5.9 |April 1989 |September 1988 | - September 1989 1988 |4.2 |April 1988 |September 1987 | - September 1988 1987 |2.1 |April 1987 |January 1986 | - September 1987 |1986 |1.1 |July 1986 |May 1985 1985 |7.0 |November 1985 |May 1984 | - May 1985
Mr. Lilley [holding answer 27 November 1989] : Of the 3 million widows in the United Kingdom only about 850,000 are liable to income tax. If all their widows' state retirement pensions were treated as non-taxable, the direct revenue cost would be about £270 million.
Sir John Farr : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will introduce legislation to allow unitised vehicles for forestry investment to benefit from the same tax treatment currently enjoyed by individual owners of forests and woodlands ;
(2) whether he will take steps to see that commercial forestry and woodlands are removed from inheritance tax where such forestry and woodlands have been owned by a deceased person for seven years.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the ban on the televising of speeches by members of Sinn Fein extends to the transmission of historical programmes containing recordings of speeches by deceased supporters of Sinn Fein.
Mr. Mellor : The directions prevent the broadcasting of direct statements by persons representing, or purporting to represent, the organisations named in the notices, or which support, or invite support for, those organisations. The directions do not distinguish between statements made by the living and recordings of statements by those who have died.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many members of the Independent Broadcasting Authority have been required to resign for being in breach of schedule 1(4) to the Broadcasting Act 1981.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to how many former Independent Broadcasting Authority members by name compensation has been paid when they have ceased to be a member of the authority otherwise than on the expiry of their term of office.
Mr. Corbett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last satisfied himself that no member of the Independent Broadcasting Authority has a financial or other interest in any advertising agency or in any business concerned with the manufacture or sale of apparatus for wireless telegraphy or other telegraphic equipment or in any business consisting or intended to consist in whole or in part of entering into or carrying out contracts with the Independent Broadcasting Authority for the provision of programmes or parts of programmes.
Mr. Mellor : Under schedule 1(4) to the Broadcasting Act 1981, my right hon. and learned Friend has to be satisfied on these matters before appointing a person to be a member of the Independent Broadcasting Authority. This procedure is carried out before each appointment is made, and repeated annually for existing members.
Broadcasting Standards Council
Independent Broadcasting Authority
Welsh Fourth Channel Authority.
Appointments to the British Broadcasting Corporation are made by Her Majesty the Queen by Order in Council.