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Mr. Archie Hamilton : Yes, there have been a number of advisory visits by British service personnel to the Royal Thai armed forces during the last four years. In addition, troops from the Hong Kong garrison regularly exercise in Thailand and, in 1988, RAF Tornado F3 aircraft used training facilities in the country.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any British signalling equipment has been supplied to the Khmer People's National Liberation Army or the National Sihanoukist Army at any time in the last four years.
(a) approximately 4,200 tanks, including approximately 3,500 made in the USSR ;
(b) approximately 700 fighter aircraft, plus approximately 200 combat trainers ;
(c) 11 submarines (including two major conversions) and five major surface ships ; and
(d) approximately 375 ballistic missiles.
It is not yet possible to give figures for 1989. However, we believe that there may have been a fall in tank production and that cuts in some other areas, such as fighter aircraft, are being implemented. Any cuts will, of course, be from high historic levels of output.
Mr. Alan Clark : The balance of investment in weapon systems, including helicopters, is kept continually under review. The results of this work will continue to be taken into account when we reach procurement decisions.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list, in tabular form, each incident at Canadian forces base, Suffield, in which British service men have been injured, giving the date of each incident, the number of soldiers injured and the nature and extent of their injuries.
Date of incident and nature/extent of injuries |Number |injured --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 7 June 1984: minor injuries |3 5 September 1985: burns face and forearm |1 19 October 1985: eye injury |2 31 October1985: minor gun shot wound to right forearm |1 31 July 1986: smoke inhalation |1 28 August 1986: eye injury |1 24 September 1986: injuries to leg |1 4 June 1987: fatal |2 17 July 1987: 1 fatality, 2 minor injuries |3 17 August 1987: minor injuries |1 9 May 1988: minor injury to left temple |1 2 August 1988: lacerations to forehead |1 7 August 1988: gun shot wound to left ankle |1 25 August 1988: calf injuries |1 22 September 1988: burns to right arm |1 5 May 1989: gun shot wound to chest/leg |1 16 May 1989: injuries resulting from road traffic accident |1 30 May 1989: burns to hands |1 7 July 1989: serious leg injuries resulting in amputations |3 26 July 1989: wound to left leg |1 29 July 1989: gun shot wounds |2 8 August 1989: compound fracture of two fingers |1 26 August 1989: flash burns to right hand |1
The British Army training unit (BATUS) is located within the Canadian Forces base at Suffield. It provides the British Army with invaluable facilities for tactical live firing and manoeuvre exercises at battle group level. During this five-year period, approximately 45,000 service men have trained there. Safety procedures are given a high priority.
Mr. Neubert : During the trials of HMS Upholder in 1988, a design fault was discovered which could, in certain circumstances, allow water to enter the submarine's torpedo tubes. The tubes were locked shut as a precautionary measure while trials continued. A modification to correct the fault has been designed and will be fitted to the submarine when sea trials have been completed.
(2) if he will make a statement regarding replacement aircraft lifts for the Royal Navy's Invincible class aircraft carriers.
Mr. Neubert : The aircraft lifts in the Royal Navy's Invincible class aircraft carriers have successfully supported the operations of these ships over the past 10 years. However, they have experienced a higher than anticipated incidence of defects and failures, and an associated high maintenance and repair burden. Modifications and improvements carried out to date have increased their reliability, but not to the extent considered adequate to enable them to support the ships' role over the remainder of their projected lives. In consequence, a programme to develop a replacement lift has been initiated, and an invitation to tender for proposals is soon to be issued to industry.
Mr. Neubert : Estimates of United Kingdom employment dependent on defence equipment expenditure from 1978-79 to 1986-87 (the latest period for which estimates are available) are given in table 6.8 of Statement on the Defence Estimates 1989, Volume 2.
------------------------------ 1979-80 |4.4 1980-81 |4.7 1981-82 |4.8 1982-83 |5.1 1983-84 |5.0 1984-85 |5.2 1985-86 |4.9 1986-87 |4.7 1987-88 |4.4 1988-89 |4.0
------------------------------ 1979-80 |4.4 1980-81 |4.7 1981-82 |4.8 1982-83 |5.1 1983-84 |5.0 1984-85 |5.2 1985-86 |4.9 1986-87 |4.7 1987-88 |4.4 1988-89 |4.0
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list total defence spending as a proportion of gross domestic product for each year since 1979.
During the current financial year, it is estimated that defence expenditure will be about 3.9 per cent. of GDP.
Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action his Department plans to take in relation to entry by the Newcastle and District Beagles on to his Department's land at Otterburn training area on 15 September.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : On this occasion, the Ministry of Defence has accepted an apology from the master of the Newcastle and District Beagles for crossing the boundary of the Otterburn training area without permission. However, we have given notice that further trespass cannot be tolerated.
Mr. Neubert : It has been the consistent policy of successive Administrations not to give details of arms sales to specific countries. In the case of Cyprus, however, our policy precludes the supply of arms to the armed forces of either side, because of our desire to preserve our neutrality and help bring about a peaceful solution.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what reduction in civil servant numbers there will be in existing Government departments presently dealing with the water industry, after its privatisation.
Mr. Chris Patten : Following the successful privatisation of the water industry, it is anticipated that as a result there will be a reduction of 47 posts in my Department. Account has been taken of this in setting the manpower baseline for 1990-91.
Mr. Gould : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the ports currently registered for the import of toxic waste, together with the amount of such waste imported, the countries of origin and destinations and the nature of the waste, through each of those ports, for the last three available years.
Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution (HMIP) collects information on imported waste from waste disposal authorities every financial year. For the financial years 1986-87, 1987-88 and 1988-89 that information indicates that the following ports accepted the amounts of waste indicated. The information collected does not enable HMIP to determine the amounts of waste in relation to the country of origin, destinations or make-up.
Following the implementation of the Transfrontier Shipment of Hazardous Waste Regulations in October 1988 HMIP now collects more detailed information but has not yet compiled data for the current year.
Quantities of waste (tonnes) imported via named ports Port |1986-87|1987-88|1988-89 --------------------------------------------- Avonmouth |1,519 |2,737 |- Barking |- |2,276 |- Boston |- |1,283 |164 Bristol |1,333 |- |- Briton Ferry |2,300 |7,536 |12,360 Chatham |1,730 |49 |88 Dartford |4,122 |4,133 |52 Devonport |25 |- |- Dover |1,638 |3,559 |20 Felixstowe |13,038 |21,416 |12,311 Fishguard |50 |- |- Fleetwood |1,956 |2,173 |1,440 Garston |203 |- |- Greenwich |- |2,276 |- Grimsby |271 |14 |- Harwich |855 |1,578 |141 Holyhead |124 |384 |221 Immingham |12,233 |293 |20,020 Ipswich |543 |15 |290 Liverpool |80 |658 |1,405 Manchester |60 |- |- Newhaven |23 |48 |- Newport |3,082 |- |315 Plymouth |42 |- |- Poole |230 |72 |- Portsmouth |70 |17 |- Purfleet |100 |109 |83 Rainham |924 |- |- Ramsgate |25 |- |395 Seaforth |127 |- |- Seaham |3,599 |- |- Southampton |13 |222 |- Sunderland |- |- |- Teesport |- |1,650 |2,959 Tilbury |2,666 |2,910 |41
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has made of the proportion of households which will be liable to pay above average community charge which are households with below average incomes.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment why he decided not to take account of any quarterly returns giving the numbers of children of claimants of supplementary benefit or income support received between December 1987 and April 1988 in calculating standard spending assessments in respect of poll tax.
Mr. Chope : We were advised by the Department of Social Security that the quarterly inquiry for February 1988 had been cancelled in order to accommodate the changeover from supplementary benefit to income support.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment on what basis (a) Ministers of the Crown and (b) other hon. Members are charged for connections into the Palace of Westminster aerial system.
Mr. Chris Patten : Ministers are provided with televisions in their offices at the House when required by their official duties. Other right hon. and hon. Members are charged the actual cost of connecting their private television sets to the aerial system.
Dr. Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what electrical, mechanical and technical works would be required in order to replace the existing annunciators with live television feed of proceedings in the Chamber or Committees ; and if he will give an estimated financial breakdown of the costs of such works.
Mr. Chris Patten : To provide a live television feed would require the provision of a cable network and television sets. The installation of a cable network would be a complex task and I regret that without a full study, it is not possible to estimate the cost.
Mr. Chris Patten : The cost of providing a connection to the Palace of Westminster aerial system is dependent on the distance from the main trunk runs and on whether sound amplification is needed. The average cost of connections up till now is about £60.
|£ ------------------------ 1984-85 |821,951 1985-86 |909,957 1986-87 |901,051 1987-88 |850,655 1988-89 |849,569
The figures are at cash prices.
Mr. Chope : The only estimates of the likely level of the community charge which my Department has published were placed in the Library on 6 November 1989. These showed a provisional 1990-91 community charge of £225 in Nottingham. Without any special transitional arrangements the community charge would be £252.
Illustrative figures have also been published for 1987-88 to 1989-90 showing what the level of the community charge might have been based on local authority responsibilities and expenditure levels in those years. The published figures for Nottingham are shown in the table both with and without the transitional arrangements then proposed.
Published illustrative community charge in Nottingham |Without transitional |With transitional ar- |arrangements |rangements ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1987-88 |207 |195 1988-89 |251 |231 1989-90 |242 |247
Mr. Chope : The impact of the community charge safety net in each area is not yet known. Provisional figures placed in the Library on 6 November suggest that Bolton will benefit from the safety net, and every chargepayer in Bolton will see the same reduction on their bills.
In addition about 6 million people in England are expected to benefit from the proposed transitional relief scheme. Estimates of the number in each local authority area are not available.
(2) whether he has any plans to restrict the domestic use of pentachlorophenol.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The future use of lindane is under review by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides, which advises Ministers on the operation of the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986. Pentachlorophenol is the subject of a European Communities proposal to amend directive 76/769 EEC on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations, which is currently under consideration by the Council.
Mr. Galbraith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has reached any conclusions on the proposal for a tax to make the polluter pay, contained in the Pearce report ; if he will make it his policy to include noise pollution from airports as the basis for such a tax, as recommended in the report ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Government's policy already reflects the principle of making the polluter pay. Thus he incurs the full cost, without subsidy, of meeting current environmental protection regulations. "Noise taxes" have been proposed as minor policy instruments by Professor Pearce and others, but the Government have no plans to implement such a tax.
Our conclusion is that there can be benefits in transport costs between transfer stations and disposal sites, but overall the benefits are marginal.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list at 1988-89 prices housing association capital investment (a) on new buildings for rent, (b) on renovation of existing dwellings for rent and (c) on other housing capital programmes in (1) inner London, (2) outer London, (3) metropolitan areas, (4) the south-east outside London, (5) other non-metropolitan areas and (6) England as a whole for (i) 1980-81, (ii) 1982-83, (iii) 1984-85, (iv) 1986-87 and (v) 1988-89.
Column 365Mr. Chope : This information is not held by the Department. The distribution of grants and loans for housing association projects is largely for the Housing Corporation to determine within the broad policy framework established annually in discussion with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. I have therefore asked the Housing Corporation to respond to the hon. Member direct. Some support for housing association schemes is also provided by local authorities.
Mr. Chope : The Government support promotional and advisory activities in the housing association sector, including training for housing association staff, through an annual programme funded by grant-in- aid to the Housing Corporation.
Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will meet representatives of London housing associations to discuss the provision of training to assist associations in providing for the homeless and badly housed in London.
Mr. Chope : My ministerial colleagues and I frequently meet representatives of the housing association sector and we discuss a wide range of housing matters. We are quite prepared to listen to views about training in the course of discussions such as those.
Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he has given to the effects on London housing associations of the closure of London housing associations training scheme ; and if he will make a statement about the future funding of the scheme.
Mr. Chope : I am aware that the London housing associations training scheme is held in high regard by those who use its services, so I hope that it will not be closing. By far the greater part of the scheme's income is in fact from the member associations which use the services. Details of public funding for the organisation are primarily a matter for the Housing Corporation, although I understand that the corporation is making available a grant of about £16,000 to the scheme in the current financial year and is hoping to make available a similar amount in 1990-91. But the overall position on resources is that the balancing of its budget is entirely the responsibility of the organisation itself. It is thus for the scheme to discuss with its member associations the level of costs which they are prepared to bear for its services.
Mr. Trippier : The proposed agency will assemble and analyse information on the environment from a network of national institutions and organisations. There is no intention to place further burdens on industry or to increase costs to the consumer.
Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list in the Official Report those he consulted in formulating his policy on the establishment of a European Environmental Agency.
Mr. Trippier : The draft Council regulation contains articles stating that the European Environment Agency shall have a legal personality and that standard EC property rights as laid down in the protocol on the privileges and immunities of the European Communities, annexed to the treaty of Rome, shall apply.