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Mr. Fisher : To ask the Minister for the Arts what input his Department is making into the drafting of the national plan Her Majesty's Government will offer to the European Community in 1990.
Mr. Luce [holding answer 27 November 1989] : I am not aware of such a plan.
Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people in Derbyshire were employed in 1979 ; and how many were employed in the latest year for which figures are available.
Mr. Nicholls : The available information on a comparable basis for Derbyshire is from censuses of employment taken in September 1981 and September 1987. There were 334,900 employees in employment in September 1981 and 342,500 in September 1987. These figures exclude the self-employed and members of Her Majesty's forces.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the recent fall in unemployment in the northern region.
Mr. Nicholls : The following information is available in the Library. In the 12 months to October 1989 the level of unemployment, seasonally adjusted, in the north fell by 35,000, or 21 per cent. Unemployment in the north is now at its lowest level for nearly nine years, as it is in the country as a whole.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many EC countries that operate quota schemes have been visited by his officials in the course of their consideration of measures to help disabled people secure employment.
Mr. Eggar : My officials are in regular contact with their European counterparts in the disability field and have access to information about provision in all EC countries including those which operate quota schemes. This information is being fully taken into account in the review of services for people with disabilities which my Department is undertaking.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps are taken to ensure that the National Council for Vocational Qualifications is doing sufficient to set standards for training ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholls : The National Council for Vocational Qualifications does not itself have responsibility for setting standards for training, although it has an important role in approving qualifications based upon standards.
Encouraging the development of occupational standards and the nationally recognised vocational qualifications based upon them is a key objective of the Training Agency. It carries out this remit by providing specialist advice, and financial assistance to almost 150 lead bodies each responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining standards and qualifications for the occupational area it represents. The Training Agency is confident that this will lead to standards being available by 1991 up to NCVQ level IV for at least 90 per cent. of the employed population.
Ms. Abbott : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans to visit the unemployment benefit office in Hackney.
Mr. Eggar : There are two unemployment benefit offices serving the Hackney area. Neither my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State nor I have any current plans to visit them.
Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many enterprise agencies have been set up ; how many more are under consideration ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : We know of 415 local enterprise agencies operating in the United Kingdom. Of these, 396 are approved by my Department under the statutory provisions which allow for tax relief on donations to them.
Column 269Enterprise agencies are independent organisations set up locally, usually through members of the business community, local authority or others. Currently there are no applications for approval being considered.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what percentage of its planned programme of basic inspections the Health and Safety Executive area office 17 in Merseyside has achieved in the half year from 1 April to 31 October ; and how many visits were involved in total.
Mr. Nicholls : The plan of the Health and Safety Executive's factory inspectorate is based on proportions of time to be spent on different aspects of its work. In the half year from 1 April to 30 September 1989 inspectors in the Health and Safety Executive's Merseyside area office made 2,910 preventive inspection visits which is 111.9 per cent. of the number of visits which it was estimated would be carried out in the period.
Mr. Tom Clarke To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what proposals he has to extend the protection of employment rights to those at work.
Mr. Nicholls : My right hon. Friend has no current plans to extend the employment protection legislation.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much of the £25 million announced by the Under-Secretary of State at the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, on Friday 10 November for rural roads provision over the next six years will be spent in the Newry and Mourne district council area.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The reference was to funding of a programme of measures to improve the strategic road network in Northern Ireland. Approximately 40 per cent. of this programme relates to the Newry and Mourne district council area.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much of the £25 million announced by the Under-Secretary of State at the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland, on Friday 10 November for rural roads provision over the next six years will be spent in the Down district council area.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The reference was to the funding of a programme of measures to improve the strategic road network in Northern Ireland. None of this programme relates to the Down district council area.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what inspections were carried out by the Department of the Environment's town and country planning service on the site of the building currently under construction at Slieve Croob, Dromara in South Down.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the capital expenditure on roads provision in Down district council in each year from 1 April 1977 until 31 March 1989.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Capital expenditure on roads, and associated road lighting and car park provision was as follows :
|£'000's ------------------------ 1977-78 |612 1978-79 |984 1979-80 |1,350 1980-81 |1,083 1981-82 |426 1982-83 |305 1983-84 |380 1984-85 |424 1985-86 |369 1986-87 |478 1987-88 |419 1988-89 |486
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the capital expenditure on roads provision in each of the years from 1 April 1977 until 31 March 1989 in the Newry and Mourne district council area.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Capital expenditure on roads and associated road lighting and car park provision was as follows :
£'000s Year |Number ---------------------- 1977-78 |1,219 1978-79 |1,246 1979-80 |2,018 1980-81 |1,186 1981-82 |827 1982-83 |908 1983-84 |1,912 1984-85 |1,892 1985-86 |1,839 1986-87 |1,968 1987-88 |2,113 1988-89 |1,310
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the capital expenditure on roads provision in the constituency of South Down in each year since 1 April 1977 until 31 March 1989.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Roads functions in Northern Ireland are not administered on a constituency basis. Information is not held in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the planning application was submitted and approved in respect of the building currently under construction at Slieve Croob, Dromara in South Down at the divisional planning office in Craigavon.
Mr. Needham : This is Crown development, which does not require planning permission.
The Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has any plans to give financial support to hospices in Northern Ireland similar to the proposals recently announced by the Scottish Office for hospices in Scotland.
Mr. Needham : Arrangements for financial support for independent hospices in the United Kingdom have been under careful consideration for some time and my noble Friend the Minister with special responsibility for the Department of Health and Social Services hopes to be in a position to make a statement on the way forward in Northern Ireland in the near future.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what expressions of public concern he has received about a planning application in respect of a proposed quarrying operation on land in the vicinity of the Ballybarnos road, Newtownards ; if he will ensure that there is full consultations with Ards borough council about the application ; and if he will arrange a public inquiry before a final planning decision is issued.
Mr. Needham : Nine letters of objection have been received in respect of the quarry extension application.
Column 272The DOE (NI) will ensure full consultation with Ards borough council before a decision is taken. A public inquiry will not be held.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement as to the practical consequences of the revocation of the No. 315 Road and Railway Transport Statutory Rules 1989 relating to the level crossing at Bushmills road, Coleraine.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The level crossing will remain as it is until the new road improvement scheme being carried out in conjunction with Northern Ireland Railways' scheme for modernising the crossing is completed.
Mr. Page : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the allocation to individual programmes in Northern Ireland of the public expenditure totals announced on 15 November.
Mr. Brooke : In his Autumn Statement on 15 November, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced total public expenditure planning figures for the Northern Ireland programme. I have now decided on the following allocations to individual programmes :
£ million ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Northern Ireland Office: Law, Order, Protective and Miscellaneous Services |684 |730 |780 NI Departments: Northern Ireland Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Services and Support |113 |110 |120 Industry Trade and Employment |481 |440 |440 Energy |-35 |-70 |-110 Transport |162 |170 |180 Housing |248 |250 |260 Environmental and Miscellaneous Services |243 |250 |260 Law, Order and Protective Services (Fire Service) |32 |30 |30 Education |989 |1,040 |1,080 Health and Personal Social Services |1,035 |1,090 |1,140 Social Security Administration |117 |120 |120 Other Public Services |68 |70 |80 |-------|-------|------- TOTAL NI BLOCK (excluding Social Security Benefits) |4,136 |4,270 |4,380 Social Security Benefits |1,751 |1,900 |2,010 TOTAL NI BLOCK |5,887 |6,170 |6,390 National Agriculture and Fishery Support |81 |70 |70 |-------|-------|------- TOTAL NORTHERN IRELAND PROGRAMME |5,968 |6,240 |6,460 Notes: (1)Figures are rounded to nearest £1 million for 1990-91 and to the nearest £10 million for 1991-92 and 1992-93. Figures may not sum to totals due to roundings. (2) Figures for the Industry, Trade and Employment programme include support for capital investment and restructuring costs of Shorts and Harland and Wolff, following their privatisation. (3) Figures for the Energy programme are negative because it is anticipated that in the years concerned NIE will be repaying loans to Government: while it is Government's intention that NIE should be privatised early in 1992, work is at an early stage and the PE plans for the energy programme for 1992-93 have not yet been adjusted to reflect the proposed privatisation. (4) Figures for Social Security administration also include district councils' share of rate rebates.
The planning figures for 1990-91 form the basis for preparation by Northern Ireland Departments and the Northern Ireland Office of main estimates for the coming year. These will be presented to Parliament in due course.
Column 272The allocations reflect my assessment of how best to distribute the Northern Ireland public expenditure totals in response to local needs and circumstances. Copies of a more detailed statement on these allocations have been placed in the Library of the House of Commons.
Mr. Butler : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received about the provision of truck stops or lorry parks close to the M6 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : There have been several representations to the Department about the proposed truck stop at Lymm on the M6. Representations have come from the developers of the proposed truck stop, from local residents, from the hon. Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Mr. Marshall) and from my hon. Friend himself, in whose constituency the proposed development lies.
More general representations have also been made about adequacy of service facilities for heavy goods vehicles on motorways. If my hon. Friend has any other specific questions in mind about truck stops in relation to M6, perhaps he will write to me.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures are being taken to ensure that an integrated transport system is established so that all parts of the country benefit from the opening of the Channel tunnel.
Mr. Portillo : Good road and rail links to the Channel tunnel will be available when it opens. Users will have a choice of modes to suit their needs. British Rail will shortly be publishing a plan setting out its current proposals for Channel tunnel passenger and freight services in accordance with section 40 of the Channel Tunnel Act.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many houses are directly under the flight paths to (a) Glasgow (b) Edinburgh and (c) Prestwick airports ;
(2) if he will detail the noise abatement procedures in operation at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports ;
(3) if he will give the number of chapter 2 type aircraft using (a) Prestwick, (b) Edinburgh and (c) Glasgow airports at present ;
(4) if he will list the regulations governing noise pollution in the areas surrounding Glasgow and Edinburgh airports ;
(5) what are the present noise limits in operation at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports ; when these limits were set ; and when they were last reviewed ;
(6) what surveys his Department has made into the effect of vibration on houses on the flight paths to Glasgow airport ; (7) what was the number of payments made under the noise insulation grants scheme for each of the last five years in the Glasgow and Edinburgh areas.
Mr. McLoughlin : These are all matters for the operators of the airports concerned.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the number of aircraft landing and taking off from Glasgow airport between the hours of11 pm and 7 am during the last year.
Mr. McLoughlin : Information on night aircraft movements at Glasgow (between the hours of 11.30 pm and 6 am) is available from Glasgow Airport Limited. I understand that in the year to April 1989 the figure was 2,294, of which 1,843 were jet aircraft.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on studies into the effects of aircraft noise in the Glasgow area since 1986.
Mr. McLoughlin : I am aware of no such studies.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received in the past year seeking his approval for the electrification of British Rail's east midlands line.
Mr. Portillo : We have received some 20 such representations.
Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement of the compulsory introduction of leg protectors for motorcyclists.
Mr. Atkins : Over 3,000 serious injuries to motorcyclists a year would be prevented with properly designed leg protectors. That represents a huge sum of pain, disfigurement and personal financial loss. We want manufacturers to design and offer them to motorcyclists who want better protection from accidents. No decision has been taken about any legislative option.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the principles upon which Britain has entered the current round of negotiations under Bermuda 2A.
Mr. McLoughlin : We shall be asking the United States Government to address the broad question of a thorough liberalisation of air services arrangements between our two countries and we shall also be seeking a balanced exchange of opportunities to meet the shorter term ambitions of the airlines of both sides.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what safety initiatives he has researched for the construction of new roads.
Mr. Atkins : There is a continuing programme of research into methods of improving road safety. The results are applied to existing as well as to new roads.
Recent safety research has resulted in improvements to traffic signs and signals ; better road layout and junction design ; skid resistant surfaces ; more widespread use of safety fencing ; and better road markings. In addition, following research, the Department will shortly be introducing systematic independent safety audits of the design of its new roads.
Mr. Stern : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the results of the recent public consultations on the proposed Avonmouth relief road.
Mr. Atkins : Over 650 people attended the public exhibition held between 8 and 11 November. Some comments have been received, but more are expected before the close of the consultation period on 31 December. After due consideration has been given to all the representations, a further announcement will be made.
Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress is being made to integrate Europe's air traffic control.
Mr. McLoughlin : The United Kingdom's proposals for the integration of Europe's air traffic control were well received at the first meeting of the European civil aviation conference task force held on 3 November. These are now being developed by the task force with a view to the presentation of proposals to the Ministers of the European civil aviation conference next spring.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representation Northern Ireland has within the controlling body of Irish Lights ; how such persons are appointed ; and what is the authority for Irish Lights to require payment to it of light dues by fishing boats based in Northern Ireland ports.
Mr. McLoughlin : The Commissioners of Irish Lights is the statutory general lighthouse authority charged with the superintendence and management of all lighthouses, buoys and beacons around the whole of Ireland. Their powers in Northern Ireland and the Republic are similar and were vested in them under part XI of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894. This legislation remains in force in Northern Ireland and has a parallel counterpart in the statutes of the Republic. Irish Lights commissioners are appointed by the CIL board, and currently three of the commissioners are from Northern Ireland. The light dues liability of United Kingdom fishing vessels is contained in regulations made by the Secretary of State under section 5(2) of the Merchant Shipping (Mercantile Marine Fund) Act 1898. The relevant regulations are SI 1987 No. 746, SI 1988 No. 330 and SI 1989 No. 305. The general lighthouse authorities are required to levy such dues under section 5(1) of the 1898 Act.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the purpose of the lane closures on the west bound carriageway of the M5, between junctions 25 and 26 ; how long the closures are expected to last ; what other closures are planned for the near future on this stretch of motorway ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : The current lane closures are required to enable localised maintenance operations to be carried out. This work should be completed within a few days.
Column 276No further closures are planned in the near future. However, I hope to award a contract next spring for the replacement of a further length of the concrete carriageway.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will extend the times of the current M11 link road public inquiry beyond Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm to allow residents whose homes are likely to be affected by the proposed road, and who work at these times, to participate fully ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) whether creche facilities will be made available at the current public inquiry into the proposed M11 link road ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) whether interpreting facilities will be made available at the public inquiry now under way, for residents whose first language is not English, and whose homes are likely to be affected by the proposed M11 link road ; and if he will make a statement ; (4) whether the scope of the current public inquiry into the proposed M11 link road will be widened beyond consideration of compulsory purchase orders and exchange of land, to include consideration of the views of people whose homes are likely to be affected by the proposed road and who have moved into the area since the earlier public inquiry several years ago ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : The inspector conducting the public inquiry is an independent nominee of the Lord Chancellor. The inspector alone is responsible for conduct of the inquiry.
The inspector has already given a written ruling at the inquiry on points of procedure. The representations dealt with by this ruling included those relating to the scope of the inquiry, evening sessions, creche facilities and translators.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will travel by car on an official visit from London to Peterlee via the M1, M18, A1M, A1 and A19 and then make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : I have no plans to visit Peterlee in the near future. But if the opportunity arises to inspect any of the roads referred to, I will of course do so.
Mr. Harris : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements are being made for an inquiry into the loss of the fishing boat Flamingo off Lamorna on 24 November ; whether the findings of the inquiry will be published in full ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. McLoughlin : The loss of the Grey Flamingo is being investigated by the marine accident investigation branch. A report will be published which will include the inspector's findings in full.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of any telex messages dated 16 August between Milford Haven coastguard and
Column 277Swansea coastguard, together with a copy of any forms CG15, CG19 and CG21 used at Swansea coastguard on that day.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer Monday 27 November] : Following the coroner's inquest in September on the death by drowning of Mark Woodward on 16 August, Mr. J. Smith, a relative of the deceased, has written to the coroner stating that he has new evidence to hand. In view of the contents of this letter, the coroner has requested the police to carry out an investigation into the case. The police have asked that no documentary evidence be made available to third parties until the investigation is complete.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will meet the chairman of ScotRail to discuss the electrification of the Edinburgh-Glasgow rail link.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : My right hon. and learned Friend meets the chairman of the British Rail (Scotland) Board from time to time to discuss matters of mutual interest. But decisions on electrification are for British Rail, working within guidelines set by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will give, for each year since 1986, the average daily prison population in Scotland per 100,000 inhabitants distinguishing between convicted and untried prisoners.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The information is set out in the table.