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Mr. Luce : My Office has received details of the London Museums Education Unit's initiative for education in the capital. Officials have met members of the unit to discuss the proposals and are currently considering further information which has been received.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Prime Minister what is (a) her official salary entitlement as Prime Minister and (b) the official salary she draws as Prime Minister ; and if she will make a statement.
Column 32Order 1988, is £46,109. However, I choose to accept the same salary as a Cabinet Minister in the House of Commons, namely £34,479.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Lord President of the Council what considerations underlie a decision on which House of Parliament a Government Bill is to be introduced into ; and how these considerations were applied in the case of the Food Bill.
Sir Geoffrey Howe [holding answer 28 November 1989] : Various considerations may underlie the decision, including the need to balance the weight of business before the two Houses. I do not propose to go into the detailed factors in a particular case.
Mr. Chris Patten : The pay of chairmen and board members of non- departmental public bodies and nationalised industries sponsored by my Department and of the staff of such controlled non-departmental public bodies requires my approval.
I have approved pay increases for the chairmen and board members of non- departmental public bodies in line with the Government's decisions on the 28th report of the Top Salaries Review Body. I have also approved pay increases for the chairman and board members of the British Waterways Board and for the chairmen and the board members sponsored by my Department of the former English regional water authorities.
In practice the pay of most of the staff of sponsored NDPBs is linked to public sector pay negotiated nationally. The application of national settlements to staff of the bodies in the following lists has been approved as they arose during the year. In addition I have approved pay increases for the junior staff of new town development corporations (negotiated in the Whitley Council for new town staff in line with the local authority white collar' settlement), for the wardens and deerstalker of the Nature Conservancy Council and a new package of pay and terms and conditions of service for the industrial staff of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, constrained by the overall increase in the pay bill for similar staff in the Civil Service.
Civil Service Pay Links
British Board of Agrement
Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (English Heritage)- -(non-industrial staff)
Housing Corporation (Senior Staff)
National Heritage Memorial Fund
Nature Conservancy Council (except as noted above)
New Town Development Corporations (Senior Staff)
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England)
Royal Fine Art Commission
Rural Development Commission
Column 33Sports Council (non-industrial staff)
Local Government Pay Links
Merseyside Development Corporation
Sports Council (industrial staff)
New Town Development Corporations (manual and craft workers) Valuation & Community Charge Tribunals
New Town Pay Links
Housing Corporation (junior staff)
As regards the urban development corporations, other than the Merseyside Development Corporation, and the National Rivers Authority, I have approved the pay levels of senior staff and the overall increases in the pay bill for the rest of the staff by reference to the levels of public sector settlements generally.
Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what provision he has made to protect tenants from landlords who do not remove the rate element from their rent following the introduction of the community charge ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what guidelines his Department issued to landlords on adjusting rents following the introduction of the community charge.
Mr. Chope : Where a fair rent is registered a landlord will not, after 1 April 1990, be able to recover an amount for rates in addition to that fair rent. Where no fair rent is registered landlords will not be able to demand from tenants any sum specifically included in rents as payable towards the domestic rates of the landlord. Since this is already the legal position further special provision is not necessary, nor would it be workable. The Department will shortly be issuing a leaflet for both landlords and tenants explaining the position.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list at 1988-89 prices local authorities housing capital investment on (a) new building, (b) renovation of local authority dwellings, (c) renovation grants, (d) lending to housing associations and (e) 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.
Mr. Rost : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what potential energy savings at the Palace of Westminster were indicated in the feasibility study commissioned by his Department ; what was the recommended required investment ; what was the indicated payback period ; when he proposes to undertake the investment ; and if he will release the study to the Library.
Mr. Chope : An energy audit of the Palace of Westminster was commissioned by the Parliamentary Works Office in 1988 as part of the normal process of ensuring that its planned programme for the care and maintenance of the Palace takes proper account of needs and priorities.
The report contain 130 recommendations. It identified the scope for savings of £217,000 pa. In the nine months since the report was received work has been completed which will achieve savings of over £70,000 pa. Further work is dependent on other developments, particularly the upgrading of the power supply. £0.6 million has been spent on this work in the current year and further major work will be carried out next year.
In other cases major design work and or capital expenditure would be required to implement the recommendations. The saving from these, in aggregate, would be less than £50,000 pa for an investment of over £300,000 with pay-back periods mainly greater than four years. The timing of these schemes will be considered with the appropriate House Committees against other demands for the capital works programme.
Mr. Heddle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider amending the current legislation to provide statutory protection of the tenant's right to renewal of a lease after application has been made to the court in order to avoid the present need to register an application on a land charge.
Mr. O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether guidance will be issued to local authorities on the amount of community charge to be levied on prisoners who lived alone before entering prison.
Mr. Chope : Charging authorities have discretion to specify classes of property for the purposes of the standard charge. In doing so they may have regard to a number of factors, including the circumstances of the person subject to the charge. If they wish, they may therefore specify a class of property to include property unoccupied because the owner is in prison. Guidance explaining this has been sent to charging authorities, but it is for individual authorities to decide whether to specify such a class, and, if they do, what rate of standard charge to levy.
Mr. Holt : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much in cash terms has been paid to (a) Langbaurgh, (b) Stockton and (c) Middlesbrough councils by way of central Government grants to support rates income in each of the past five years.
Central Government grants<1> £ million |Langbaurgh |Stockton |Middlesbrough ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984-85 |6.4 |6.9 |14.0 1985-86 |6.9 |6.0 |14.7 1986-87 |7.9 |6.7 |16.3 1987-88 |6.1 |6.9 |16.3 1988-89 |5.8 |6.5 |19.0 <1>Rate Support Grant and specific grants paid to authorities' Rate Fund Revenue Accounts.
Mr. Moynihan : £9.5 million has been provided for games-related projects in the form of urban programme funding, derelict land grant and city grant. In addition the Sports Council has set aside £3 million in its spending programme over the next three years to go towards the revenue costs of the games.
Mr. Chope : All adults unless exempt are liable to pay the personal community charge to the local council in whose area they are mainly resident. Persons may be exempt if they have no fixed abode. It is for the community charges registration officer of Newbury district council to determine whether some residents near Greenham common are permanently there, have another main residence elsewhere, or are genuinely of no fixed abode.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report a table showing the increase in house prices in France, West Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom since 1979 to the latest available date.
Column 36My Department does not have comparable information for the other countries listed.
Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how the sum of £250 million, recently allocated by his Department to tackle homelessness, will be distributed to provide accommodation for the households accepted as homeless by local authorities.
Mr. Chope : As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment announced on 15 November, over the next two years we are making an extra £177 million available to local authorities, and an extra £73 million to the Housing Corporation (for distribution to housing associations), for homelessness projects in the "pressure areas" of London and the south-east. The aim is to secure extra lettings for homeless families currently in bed and breakfast accommodation. We have invited bids from local authorities in London and the south-east. Similarly, the Housing Corporation has invited bids from housing associations.
Mr. Howard : On 15 November my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced a substantial package of measures to relieve and reduce homelessness, following our thorough review of the legislation. Since then, I have invited bids from local authorities in the pressure areas of London and the south-east for projects under the £250 million of extra resources available (and the Housing Corporation has invited bids from housing associations). I have announced that councils will be able to continue existing leasing schemes for a further period of three years, without affecting their capital allocations, to ensure that homeless families are not returned to bed and breakfast accommodations ; and I have visited various voluntary organisations to discuss the enhanced role we would like them to play, with increased Government funding.
Mr. Lofthouse : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will take steps to make housing benefit a landlord function for private tenants in the same manner as responsibility of local authorities for their tenants.
Column 37the Countryside Commission until he has presented the Government's white paper on environmental policy ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Trippier : The Government have no plans to delay the reorganisation of the conservation agencies announced in July. Postponement would increase uncertainty among the staff of the existing agencies, and would not be in the interests of conservation.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many Nature Conservancy Council staff will be available per site of special scientific interest, to monitor, control and protect these sites in England, Scotland and Wales and how many personnel are employed in the field per hectare of existing site of special scientific interest.
Mr. Trippier : The NCC has estimated that the equivalent of the following numbers of staff (both permanent and non-permanent) are currently available per SSSI to monitor, control and protect such sites :
|Equivalent |persons --------------------------------- England |0.045 Scotland |0.069 Wales |0.043
The equivalent of 0.0003 persons (including permanent and non-permanent staff) per hectare of existing SSSI are currently employed in the field by NCC's three country directorates.
(2) if he has received representations about the damage caused by agricultural operations to Sherburn Willows site of special scientific interest, near Selby ; and what action he proposes to take to assist the restoration of this site ;
(3) what action he will take to preserve remaining habitat of importance to rare aquatic flora at Hatfield Chase, near Doncaster ; (4) what action he is taking to safeguard Hollywell wood, near Castleford ;
(5) if he will take steps to prevent felling of ancient woodland at Bog wood, Thorp Underwood, north Yorkshire and of the resulting loss of a heronry in this location ; and what action he will take to prevent such habitat loss in the future ;
(6) what action he is taking to preserve habitat at Cawood meadows :
(7) what action he is taking to protect the Wressel-Breighton hedgerow within the Derwent Ings site of special scientific interest, SPA and Ramsar site ;
(8) what action he will take to protect North Ferriby Ings, Humberside, from further destruction ; and if he will ensure that surviving species and habitat are properly managed and protected ; (9) what action he will take to safeguard Snaith and Cowick moors, near Goole in Humberside from peat digging ;
Column 38(10) what representations he has received regarding the effect of the infilling at Great Heck quarry, near Selby, on an albino form of the rosebay willowherb ;
(11) what representations he received following operations at Shepherds wood, Allerton Mauleverer, north Yorkshire, concerning loss of habitat to the herb Paris ;
(12) what steps he will take to monitor pollution threats and the laying of electricity cables at Maltby Low Common site of special scientific interest ;
(13) what urgent action he will take to preserve the Hatfield Moors site, near Doncaster.
Mr. Trippier : My Department is considering the scope and methodology of a national survey aimed at improving our knowledge of the natural heritage. The Government's scientific advisors, the NCC, is planning a complementary exercise on a census of wildlife. The Government hope that these works will contribute to the White Paper on the Environment which we intend to publish in 1990.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what action has been taken to implement phase 2 of the Nature Conservancy Council, field by field habitat census/survey ; (2) what is the annual budget allocated to (a) phase 1 and (b) phase 2 of the Nature Conservancy Council field by field habitat census/survey, from 1979 to the last year in which figures are available ;
(3) what is the percentage area of each individual county within England, Scotland, and Wales which has been covered by phase 2 of the Nature Conservancy Council field by field habitat census/survey ; (4) what is the percentage area of each individual county within England, Scotland and Wales which has been covered by phase 1 of the Nature Conservancy Council field by field habitat census/survey ; (5) what is the proportion of (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland covered by phase 1 of the Nature Conservancy Council field by field habitat census/survey ;
(6) what is the proportion of (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland, covered by phase 2 of the Nature Conservancy Council field by field habitat census/survey ;
(7) what progress has been made with the Nature Conservancy Council phase 1, field by field survey.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultation took place with voluntary environmental agencies, prior to the decision to merge the Nature Conservancy Council and the Countryside Commission in Scotland and Wales.
Column 39were announced in July following a thorough internal review by the Government. These have since been the subject of detailed discussions both with the existing conservation agencies and with voluntary bodies and individuals. The Government will be taking account of these discussions in framing legislation, which will then be debated and decided in Parliament.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much the Government have spent in footpath renovation and upkeep during the past five years ; and what future action he intends to take to tackle this problem.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The maintenance of highways, including footpaths and bridleways, is the responsibility of the highway authority. The allocation of resources between their various statutory responsibilities is a matter for the authorities themselves to determine. However, the Countryside Commission has been seeking, with some success, to raise the profile of rights of way work, and to encourage the better management of these recreational assets. The Government have strongly supported its initiative.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met Sir Derek Barber, Chairman of the Countryside Commission on 26 September when a number of issues were discussed. My hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment and Countryside visited the Commission's offices on 4 October for a presentation on various aspects of its work.