Mr. Vaz : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what are the numbers of (a) deaf, (b) blind and (c) wheelchair-bound civil servants that are currently employed ; and what percentage they form of the Civil Service.
Mr. Luce : At 1 June 1989, there were 7,682 staff employed in the Civil Service who are registered as disabled. This represents 1.3 per cent. of all civil servants. No comprehensive Civil Service--wide information is available about the number of civil servants who are deaf, blind or wheelchair-bound or about the numbers of civil servants who are disabled but who have chosen not to register under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944.
Mr. Luce : I have made 19 such visits since December 1988. In that month I visited the Apollo theatre, Shaftesbury avenue, and the Unity theatre, Liverpool. In 1989 I have so far visited Sadlers Wells (on 18 January and 3 April) ; the Old Vic (16 February) ; the Royal National theatre (1 March) ; the Tricycle theatre (8 March) ; the Mercury theatre, Colchester (22 March) ; the Derby Playhouse (25 April) ; the Marlowe theatre, Canterbury (3 May) ; the Theatre Royal, Norwich (8 June) ; the Theatre Royal, Margate (30 June) ; the Stephen Joseph theatre in the Round, Scarborough (12 July) ; the Cricklade theatre, Romsey (14 July) ; the Hawth theatre, Crawley (28 July) ; the Theatre Royal, Newcastle (12 September) ; the Theatre Royal, Brighton (27 October) ; the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds (9 November) ; and the Savoy theatre (28 November. On 1 December I shall again visit the Unity theatre, Liverpool.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Minister for the Arts what studies he commissioned and what research surveys he drew on as the basis for his statement of 27 November, Official Report, column 432 that Britain has the highest standards for drama and museums.
Mr. Luce : My statement reflected what many people have said. It is unnecessary to spend public money on research in this field : the evidence should be plain for the hon. Member to see, visit and enjoy.
Mr. Luce : Since my announcement on 19 July at column 180, I am pleased to announce that three offers of items have been accepted in lieu of tax ; a portrait of Sir Alexander Carew attributed to Gheerhaerdts, a painting by Pissarro, and eight Islamic pottery tiles. The tax liability satisfied was £103,976.42, £73,040 and £42, 000 respectively. The Carew portrait will remain in situ at Antony house, Cornwall and the Pissarro painting will go to the Whitworth art gallery, Manchester. The ceramic tiles originally formed part of the Godman collection which was accepted in lieu of tax in 1983 and they will now be allocated to the British museum to join the rest of that collection.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list all those measures which have been taken since 1985 to increase the supply of low-cost housing in rural areas, and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Grist : Since 1985 the Housing Corporation, and more recently Housing for Wales, has been asked to pay particular attention to rural areas. Consistently about 25 per cent. of the development programme for housing associations in Wales has, therefore, gone to these areas.
More specifically, in July 1989, Housing for Wales announced a rural housing initiative to assist local people, and especially young people, to find a suitable home they can afford in their own communities. This initiative will be run on a pilot basis in 31 villages, the majority of homes being provided on shared ownership terms with a pre-emption right to return the home eventually to the relevant housing association.
In addition, Housing for Wales has recently commissioned two research projects on rural housing issues. These will consider the nature and extent of need
Column 337for housing for young people throughout rural Wales and will assist Housing for Wales in the development of its future strategy to meet the needs of rural areas.
In June this year a draft planning guidance, "Low cost housing in rural areas in Wales", was issued for consultation and we are currently considering the responses received.
In his Budget statement my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced changes to capital gains and inheritance taxes on land sold at less than best price to registered housing associations. Tax is now based on the actual proceeds of sale rather than the market value, thereby encouraging landowners to release small units of surplus land for low-cost local housing needs.
Local authorities also have a very important role to play both in assessing local housing requirements and in seeking to achieve the most cost- effective means of matching them. In addition to the general resources that the Department has made available to Welsh authorities we have also allocated £1 million this year between nine authorities to purchase homes which would otherwise become second homes and then to make those homes available to local people. The Department is working with rural authorities and other agencies in Wales to help to broker best practice in meeting rural needs.
(2) if he will make a statement on homelessness legislation in Wales ;
(3) what plans he has to deal with the homeless in Wales.
Mr. Grist : The normal measure of statutory homelessness is given by cases accepted by local authorities under part III of the Housing Act 1985. The number of persons in households accepted during the second quarter of 1989 (April to June) was 4,832. The Department is in touch with a wide range of organisations concerned with homelessness and a statement will be made soon.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what was the acreage of land acquired by the Land Authority for Wales for each of the past five years ; and if he will separately distinguish those figures by district council area ;
(2) what was the acreage of land owned by the Land Authority for Wales in each district council authority in Wales at the latest available date.
Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the estates owned by the Development Board for Rural Wales, showing their location within Wales ; and if he will estimate the average income of eligible tenants for participation in the rents-into-mortgages scheme, for these estates.
Mr. Grist : The development board has five estates at Newtown-- Trehafren, Treowen, Measydail, Vaynor, and St. Mary's close--and also housing at Bala, Dolgellau, Twyyn, Llandrindod Wells and Abercrave. It is not possible to estimate the average incomes of the development board's tenants with any accuracy.
|1979 |1988 -------------------------- Newport |313 |643 Gwent |1,115|1,671 Wales |4,676|6,818
The number of persons involved in these cases is 864 and 1,635 (Newport), 2,950 and 3,891 (Gwent) and 12,698 and 17,105 (Wales), for 1979 and 1988 respectively.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, if he will make a statement on the implications for health, education, housing, roads, the environment, tourism and the arts in Wales flowing from the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Autumn Statement.
Column 339provision for 1990-91 is £4,460 million. As explained in the statement, the public expenditure picture is affected by the introduction of the new planning total. On this basis the £4,460 million represents an increase of 15.5 per cent. (10 per cent. in real terms) over the forecast outturn for the current year (£3,860 million). Allowing for changes in coverage of Welsh Office programmes between the two years, the increase is 12 per cent. or 6.7 per cent. in real terms. This compares with the average increase of less than 9 per cent. (3.8 per cent. in real terms) for all other departmental programmes.
I announced yesterday the provision that I have made for local authority capital programmes next year. This provides for gross spending of £475 million, an increase of almost 7 per cent. over the comparable provision for 1989-90.
I shall be announcing my decisions on other major Welsh Office programmes in due course. Full details of my planned expenditure for the next three years covering all my programmes will be set out in the public expenditure White Paper and the Welsh Office commentary which will be published early next year.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he will list, by health authority, the aggregated total figure for each district of estimated backlog maintenance, for the last available date.
Mr. Grist : The information requested is determined annually by district health authorities. They reported for 1988-89 the estimate of the cost of backlog maintenance for their respective districts in the following table :
|£ million ------------------------------------ Clwyd |19.2 East Dyfed |4.5 Gwent |14.6 Gwynedd |10.0 Mid Glamorgan |26.4 Pembrokeshire |0.7 Powys |1.2 South Glamorgan |45.0 West Glamorgan |11.1
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) if he will give the total number of reported cases of food poisoning in Wales per 1,000 of the population for the years 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988, together with the total for 1989 to the latest date currently available ;
(2) if he will give the total number of reported cases of food poisoning in Wales per 1,000 of the population for the years 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and for 1989 up to the latest date currently available.
Mr. Grist : The number of notifications to the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS) of food poisoning (together with cases as certained by other means) in 1989 totalled 2,670 up to 10 November. The annual notification rates per 1,000 population for 1984 to 1988 were shown in the following table :
Year |Number --------------------- 1984 |0.35 1985 |0.47 1986 |0.50 1987 |0.59 1988 |0.68
(2) what research he has commissioned into the causes of food poisoning in Wales and ways of reducing incidence in the future ; (3) what response he has made to the increase in the incidence of food poisoning in Wales ; what steps he has taken to reduce future incidence ; and if he will make a statement ;
(4) whether he will make it his policy to make additional funds available for local authorities in Wales to strengthen their food inspection and environmental health teams.
Mr. Grist : All parts of England and Wales have an increased incidence of reported food poisoning to the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre. A contributory factor must be an increased awareness of, and therefore increased reporting of, food-borne illness generally.
The Committee on Microbiological Safety of Food, chaired by Sir Mark Richmond, has been asked to establish whether any rise is linked to changes in agriculture and food production, food technology and distribution, retailing, catering and food handling in the home ; and to recommend action where appropriate. After the first meeting, in April 1989, the committee indicated that it aimed to submit its first report as soon as possible.
The Government have recently announced a series of measures which together will make a significant contribution towards preventing and controlling the incidence of food poisoning.
The Food Safety Bill was published on 23 November. This is primarily intended to strengthen existing food law and provides improved powers to protect the consumer. In particular, for the first time it will be an offence to supply food that does not comply with food safety requirements. There will be tougher powers for enforcement authorities. In recognition of the additional burdens which will fall upon local authorities, it has been announced that resources totalling £30 million will be made available to local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales for 1991-92.
It is also proposed to amend the food hygiene regulations so as to introduce more stringent temperature controls on certain types of food and to extend these controls into distribution and retailing. These proposals have recently been the subject of a public consultation exercise.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects the British Rail Board to publish, for Wales, the results of the consultation process under section 40 of the Channel Tunnel Act.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what level of total standard spending and aggregate external finance he has proposed for 1990-91 ; what increase this represents over 1989-90 ; what is his estimate of the community charge for standard spending in Wales ; what are his estimates of the community charges which would be set by individual councils if local authorities budget to spend in 1990-91 at the same level as their income from rates and grant in 1989-90, adjusted for changes in funding arrangements and increased to be consistent in aggregate with total standard spending ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Walker : I am proposing to set total standard spending and aggregate external finance (AEF) at £2,114.5 million and £1,738.5 million respectively. Total standard spending would thus increase by 7.1 per cent. and AEF by
Column 3428.6 per cent. compared with the equivalent figure for 1989-90. Both increases provide sufficient resources to enable local councils to meet their obligations without reducing services and without passing extra costs on to their community charge payers. The community charge for standard spending for Wales is £174. This is achievable if all authorities spend in line with my proposals.
The community charges which could be set by individual councils if they were to spend at the same level as their rates and grants income for 1989- 90, increased to equate in total to £2,114.5 million and after adjusting for changes in funding arrangements, are set out in the table. The figures are provisional at this stage and are subject to amendment in the light of final population figures and other data changes. I look to councils in setting their budgets and actual community charges to ensure that their charge payers can share in the benefits of the realistic settlement that I have proposed for 1990-91.
Provisional spending and community charge figures for 1990-91<1> Authority |Standing spend- |Expenditure |Community |District and |Difference as- |Total commun- |ing assessment |projection<2> |charge for stan-|county council |suming present |ity charge |dard spending |charges<2> |spending pat- |terns |£000 |£000 |£ |£ |£ |£ --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alyn and Deeside |6,967 |6,962 |27 |27 |0 |184 Colwyn |5,196 |5,484 |27 |34 |+7 |191 Delyn |5,695 |6,636 |27 |45 |+19 |203 Glyndwr |3,785 |3,622 |27 |22 |-5 |180 Rhuddlan |5,637 |6,466 |27 |46 |+19 |204 Wrexham Maelor |11,122 |11,256 |27 |28 |+2 |186 Carmarthen |5,436 |4,701 |27 |10 |-17 |151 Ceredigion |6,505 |6,214 |27 |21 |-6 |162 Dinefwr |3,499 |2,952 |27 |9 |-18 |150 Llanelli |8,285 |9,030 |29 |42 |+13 |183 Preseli Pembrokeshire |7,041 |6,148 |27 |11 |-16 |152 South Pembroke |4,653 |4,093 |27 |10 |-17 |151 Blaenau Gwent |9,807 |10,713 |27 |42 |+15 |184 Islwyn |8,075 |7,947 |27 |24 |-2 |166 Monmouth |6,599 |6,829 |27 |31 |+4 |172 Newport |16,125 |16,659 |29 |34 |+5 |176 Torfaen |9,604 |9,591 |27 |27 |0 |168 Aberconwy |5,270 |5,735 |27 |38 |+11 |170 Arfon |6,075 |5,946 |27 |24 |-3 |156 Dwyfor |3,596 |3,511 |27 |23 |-4 |155 Meirionnydd |3,828 |4,363 |27 |46 |+19 |178 Ynys Mon |7,034 |7,712 |27 |40 |+13 |172 Cynon Valley |8,507 |8,145 |29 |22 |-7 |167 Merthyr Tydfil |8,000 |7,891 |29 |27 |-2 |172 Ogwr |14,959 |15,299 |27 |30 |+3 |175 Rhondda |11,923 |10,836 |29 |11 |-18 |156 Rhymney Valley |10,490 |11,381 |27 |38 |+12 |183 Taff Ely |9,889 |8,559 |27 |8 |-19 |153 Brecknock |4,197 |4,022 |27 |22 |-5 |130 Montgomeryshire |4,628 |3,992 |27 |11 |-15 |120 Radnorshire |2,070 |1,943 |27 |20 |-7 |129 Cardiff |29,856 |30,691 |27 |31 |+4 |163 Vale of Glamorgan |10,268 |9,599 |27 |19 |-8 |151 Port Talbot |6,259 |6,167 |27 |25 |-2 |208 Lliw Valley |5,882 |5,368 |27 |16 |-11 |200 Neath |6,924 |6,895 |27 |26 |-1 |210 Swansea |23,514 |23,840 |27 |29 |+2 |213 Clwyd |225,056 |228,557 |147 |158 |+11 |- Dyfed |203,291 |201,935 |146 |141 |-5 |- Gwent |248,799 |247,225 |146 |141 |-5 |- Gwynedd |141,985 |139,287 |147 |132 |-15 |- Mid Glamorgan |319,716 |319,296 |146 |145 |-1 |- Powys |77,887 |74,342 |147 |109 |-38 |- South Glamorgan |226,991 |222,909 |147 |133 |-14 |- West Glamorgan |209,474 |219,651 |147 |184 |+37 |- Total districts |307,200 |307,198 |27 |27 |0 |174 Total counties |1,653,200 |1,653,202 |147 |147 |0 |- Total Wales |1,960,400 |1,960,400 |174 |174 |0 |174 <1> These exemplifications are based on provisional population figures from community charge registers and are subject to change in the light of final population figures and other data. A fuller description is given below. <2> District expenditure figures include community councils' precepts and the district charge includes the average community council charge for the district area.
Standard Spending Assessments
The Secretary of State's provisional assessment of the spending level for each authority to be financed by Revenue Support Grant, income from the non -domestic rate pool and community charges in order to provide a standard level of service.
Each authority's projected spending level, consistent with Standard Spending Assessments, based on 1989-90 budgets adjusted for changes in functions and funding arrangements and inflated to 1990-91 levels.
Community charge for Standard Spending (CCSS)
The community charge component each authority could set if it spent in line with its Standard Spending Assessment and if appropriate payments were to be received from all those on the provisional community charges register. Variations in the CCSS between districts or between counties reflect the way library services are provided in each area.
District and county council charges
The community charge component each authority could set if it spent in line with its expenditure projection and if appropriate payments were to be received from all those on the provisional community charges register. District charges include the average community council charge for the district area.
Difference assuming present spending patterns
The District or county charge minus the CCSS.
Total Community charge
The sum of the district (including average community council) and the appropriate county council components of the community charge, assuming each authority spends in line with its expenditure projection.
Mr. Peter Walker : Excellent progress has been made. I have received provisional estimates of registered population as at 9 November from all 37 community charge registration officers in Wales. They show a very high rate of registration. Estimates of adult population from the registers are very close, for all authorities, to the equivalent estimates based on data provided by the registrar general. The total for Wales is slightly above the registrar general's 1988 mid-year estimate.
Dr. Hampson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what were the results of the United Kingdom presidency of the European Conference of Ministers of Transport ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : During the United Kingdom's year of holding the Presidency of the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) which ended on 23 November, I chaired two regular meetings of the Council of Ministers at which we discussed a wide range of inland transport issues. We also decided to give Hungary and Poland observer status at ECMT Council meetings.
In June, as President of the ECMT, I invited all Transport Ministers of eastern and western Europe to a meeting in London to discuss the possibilities of closer co-operation on transport matters. This meeting was followed by a similar meeting in Budapest in September at the invitation of the Hungarian Transport Minister, at which we concentrated on road safety issues.
The final event of the United Kingdom's Presidency was a special session in Paris on 23 November on transport and the environment, in which Transport Ministers and representatives from Environment Ministries from ECMT member states met for the first time and reached a broad agreement on co-ordinated international action to back national initiatives. Ministers agreed that mobility is essential to economic development, but that a balance needs to be struck between transport and environmental needs. Considerable scope exists for further technological advances towards environmentally friendly cars and lorries ; fiscal measures also have an important contribution to make, as is demonstrated by the actions taken by several member states, including the United Kingdom, to encourage the use of unleaded petrol. Ministers accepted that transport users should bear the costs which they impose on the infrastructure and the environment.
Ministers agreed to set up a working group to promote and monitor follow-up action, and to hold a hearing with vehicle manufacturers and the fuel industry. The Swedish Transport Minister, as incoming President of the ECMT, has invited Transport Ministers from eastern and western Europe to a conference on transport and the environment in Stockholm in September 1990.
The substantial progress made on international, political, transport and environmental protection matters has made this last year one of great importance for the ECMT.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that the current size of the United Kingdom merchant fleet is sufficient to provide the support which the Royal Navy would require in time of war.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 28 November 1989] : The requirement of the Royal Navy for the use of suitable merchant vessels as support in time of transition to war or war is the subject of continuous planning between this Department and the Ministry of Defence. The situation is constantly monitored and there are at present sufficient numbers of these vessels available on the British registry to meet current needs.
Column 345numbers of deaths in the areas of live rails, such as those used by British Rail Network SouthEast track for (i) England and Wales and (ii) the Greater London area each year since 1979.
Mr. Portillo : The information is not available in the form requested. I can, however, provide details relating to the numbers of fatalities resulting from contact with electrified railway lines for the country as a whole. The figures, taken from the Department's chief inspecting officer's annual reports, are as follows :
Year |Passengers |Trespassers |Railway |Total |killed |killed |staff killed ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1979 |1 |10 |- |11 1980 |- |9 |- |9 1981 |- |9 |2 |11 1982 |1 |11 |15 |27 1983 |- |5 |- |5 1984 |- |12 |8 |20 1985 |- |4 |- |4 1986 |1 |7 |1 |9 1987 |- |5 |1 |6 1988 |- |4 |- |4 |---- |---- |---- |---- Total |3 |76 |27 |106
Mr. Sheerman : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what information he has on the instructions or guidelines the British Transport police and the Metropolitan police have issued on the safe apprehension of suspects in the areas of live rails ;
(2) what specific training or guidelines are given to British Transport police and Metropolitan police officers on the policing of areas with live rails ; and if he will place a copy in the Library.
Mr. Portillo : Relevant guidelines have been produced by British Rail's director of operations at the request of the British Transport police (BTP). These have been issued to all police forces throughout the United Kingdom and I am placing a copy in the House of Commons Library as the hon. Member has requested. BTP officers receive specialised training concerning safety aspects of policing British Rail and London Underground railways. All BTP officers are authorised to work on running lines in the same way as British Rail operational staff. I understand that this does not apply to officers in other police forces, but advice and assistance is available from the BTP as and when needed.