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Column 478to combat the high incidence of coronary heart disease in Wales. Evaluation of the project will begin next year, but interim sample surveying has shown encouraging trends in risk behaviour patterns. The authority was recently visited by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister who was most impressed by the authority's work.
Mr. Peter Walker : On present plans I will be laying the necessary reports and making a statement about the 1990-91 local authority grant settlement before Christmas. The House will have the opportunity to consider the issues then, and to debate the reports early in the new year.
Mr. Grist : The NHS in Wales is treating and caring for more people than ever before, as a result of the efforts of all who work in the service to make the best use of the record levels of resources that we are providing. By 1990-91 funding for the NHS in Wales will have increased by nearly a half in real terms since 1978-79.
Mr. Grist : My right hon. Friend and I have received a considerable number of written representations from the medical, nursing and other health professions, from other interested bodies and organisations and from members of the public, supporting the objectives for the further improvement of the NHS in Wales set out in the White Paper "Working for Patients" (Cm. 555) which are to improve the management and effectiveness of the NHS and thus to improve patient care. We have also had extensive detailed discussions with the health authorities, family practitioner committees and representatives of the medical and nursing professions and others working in the NHS which have shown a substantial degree of support for our objectives. In particular there is support for the introduction of assurance control in all hospital and general practice, including medical audit ; the distribution of resources to ensure that money follows the patient and an end to the so-called "efficiency trap" ; investment in up-to -date information systems to ensure that the maximum health care is provided from available resources ; and indicative
Column 479drug budgets which will not infringe in any way the right of a GP to prescribe all those medicines which individual patients need.
Mr. Peter Walker : In the five-year period to the end of 1988, a total of 258 individual overseas investment projects were secured in Wales promising over 31,000 jobs. 1988 was a record year in which Wales received 22 per cent. of the new jobs associated with inward investment to the United Kingdom. The associated capital investment for that year was over £1 billion.
Mr. Peter Walker : Per capita income in Wales will continue to rise as more people in the Principality secure quality jobs in modern, competitive industries and services. The Government's policies by encouraging indigenous enterprise, promoting inward investment and modernising the existing industrial base are directed to that end.
23. Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what are the latest unadjusted figures for unemployment in (a) Newport, (b) Gwent and (c) Wales ; and if he will give the equivalent figures for 1979 on the most nearly comparable basis.
Mr. Peter Walker : On 12 October 1989 the numbers of unemployment claimants in the Newport district, Gwent and Wales were 4,602, 13,797, and 86,514 respectively. Unadjusted figures for 1979 are not available on a basis that enables a valid comparison to be made.
Mr. Grist : Such deposit is an acceptable disposal route given suitable site conditions where specified by a waste disposal authority in a waste disposal licence issued under the Control of Pollution Act 1974.
Mr. Grist : My right hon. Friend met the chairman of South Glamorgan health authority in his capacity as chairman of the Welsh health authorities chairmen's group on 7 November 1989. We discussed the financial positions of health authorities in Wales.
27. Mr. Alan W. Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on current financing difficulties facing East Dyfed health authority and other health authorities in Wales.
Mr. Grist : I have been fully briefed on the financial position of health authorities in Wales as a result of my Department's annual round of review meetings with authorities in September and a meeting which my right hon. Friend had with the chairman of the Welsh health authorities chairmen's committee on 7 November.
28. Mr. Raffan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on his decision to call in the application by Clwyd county council for planning permission to construct a bypass road for Flint.
Mr. Grist : The application raises issues of more than local importance and my right hon. Friend decided, therefore, to call it in for his decision. Arrangments are being made for an inspector to hold a public local inquiry and my right hon. Friend will arrive at his decision on the application as soon as possible after the inquiry has closed.
Mr. Grist : Homelessness returns were reviewed and extended in 1987 to provide a wider range of information on homelessness in the Principality. Additional guidance was given to local authorities to improve consistency in their recording practices and further consideration may be given to the return in the light of the measures I am introducing to tackle homelessness.
It is essential that vigorous efforts should be maintained to help those who are entitled to assistance in securing a home under part III of the Housing Act 1985, in Wales as elsewhere. The Act remains important as a long-stop measure to help people in need who have become homeless through no fault of their own. This was implicit in the recent review of homelessness legislation.
In large part, the review deals with the situation arising in London and the south-east of England. In Wales, the pressures are comparatively less intense. Detailed statistical information on homelessness in the Principality is given in section 7 of "Welsh Housing Statistics, No. 9, 1989"--a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. These data show that the problems associated with homelessness vary in extent between districts. They are not
Column 481confined to any one specific area : they should certainly be considered together with wider issues in the development of effective housing strategies, both locally and at the all- Wales level. Indeed, in that context, the review makes some very important comments on lessons and conclusions for the future. I hope that all those concerned with housing in the Principality will take note of them. Arrangements have already been made for copies of the review to be distributed widely in Wales. But as regards substantive action, we shall : carry out a separate consultation in Wales on measures of guidance for local authorities, to secure a better, more consistent service for homeless people in Wales under the Housing Act 1985 ; as announced, allow for an increase in gross provision of £30 million for local authority capital expenditure on housing in the next financial year, with no limit on expenditure for certain home renovation grants, against the £197 million in 1989-90. This increased provision will be of general assistance to local authorities, not least in carrying out their statutory
responsibilities in securing accommodation for homeless people, in close liaison with all housing providers, whilst taking account of their own local needs and priorities.
We shall also encourage local authorities to make use of a new cash incentive scheme to help council tenants buy homes elsewhere, so releasing homes to let to the homeless--details of the scheme will be announced very soon--and introduce new measures to assist local authorities to build on improvements they have already made in the management of their own stock, for example over the management of "voids" in Wales, to enhance customer care, to target resources still more effectively and to develop partnership arrangements for the provision of homes for homeless people. The impetus for this work has been given by the "quality circle initiative" sponsored by the Secretary of State and the Council of Welsh Districts. It will take account of recently published studies on good practice in housing management, including those of the Audit Commission, and will include consultation with local authorities on the introduction of performance indicators, and on the development and refinement of operationally useful data. It will be supported by an increase of over 30 per cent. in funding for my Department's successful management education and training programmes which benefit all housing providers--and for which the budget will substantially exceed three quarters of a million pounds for the first time in 1990-91. We shall ensure that additional weighting is given to practical schemes to alleviate homelessness in approving bids for the urban programme 1990-91--a sum of around £1 million will be released by that route next year--and assist housing associations to extend substantially their current commitment to tackling homelessness. Provision for Housing for Wales has been raised by some £27 million for 1990-91--an increase of 40 per cent. compared with 1989-90. This will stimulate a major increase in the provision of dwellings for which homeless families will be eligible. Housing for Wales is already working with local authorities to devise joint strategies to deal with the most pressing priorities within each district. The next step is to secure nomination arrangements to help local authorities in getting homeless families housed. Housing for Wales will be monitoring the performance of housing associations in realising the benefits of this significant new approach.
Column 482We shall pursue the possibility of introducing a cash incentive scheme to help housing association tenants move into the private sector, thereby releasing those properties to let for homeless families, and substantially increase the planned availability of central funding for those voluntary organisations in Wales that have the capacity to be of real help in dealing with homelessness. Next year we shall significantly more than double the £143,000 made available to this sector in 1989-90. In addition, my officials will initiate discussions with voluntary bodies about the best way of building upon the wide range of high-quality services that these organisations already provide--especially in matching those who need accommodation with those who can offer it, for example through the organisation of lodging schemes in co-operation with local authorities.
We shall ensure that special attention is paid to the needs of Wales in relation to the development of a comprehensive advice service for people in the early stages of housing problems, and initiate further discussions on the implementation of the new structure for promoting mobility between local authority and housing association sectors within the Principality.
We shall also give priority to issues of homelessness in deploying resources available from the Department's housing top slice. For the coming financial year, £2 million has been set aside. Bids will be invited in advance of the HSIP round for 1990-91. This will extend the arrangement made for 1989-90 involving the allocation of around £1 million for areas experiencing particular difficulties. I am confident that, taken together, these measures will be of very considerable assistance in dealing constructively with issues of homelessness within the Principality both now and for the future. At a time when we in Wales have a growing population and increasing numbers of households--when indeed, we have more people, better housed than ever before, for the most part in their own homes, it is all the more essential that we tackle homelessness positively and with the utmost care.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many market research and sample surveys were carried out by or for his Department in the last 12 months ; what was the cost of each ; what was the total cost ; how many were carried out in-house ; how many were carried out for his Department by outside organisations ; and what percentage of the total expenditure was paid to outside organisations.
Mr. Peter Walker : My Department undertakes a wide range of regular surveys. An analysis of these to provide the information required would be disproportionately costly. On the basis of the information identified in the time available, there have been nine one-off market research and sample surveys either undertaken or commissioned solely and directly by my Department in 1989--two of which were conducted in-house, the remaining seven by outside organisations. The individual costs were :
|£ ------------------------ |70,000 | 5,000 |14,650 | 1,730 | 2,450 | 4,194 |12,678 | 2,075 |88,353 |------- Total |201,130
Of this total, 83 per cent. was paid to outside organisations.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he has taken to ensure that the new house repairs and renovation grant system is sufficiently tightly drawn to avoid grant money being used for improvement of holiday homes ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Grist : The conditions in the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 on owner-occupation and availability for letting will enable local authorities to ensure that grant money is not used for second or holiday homes.
Mr. Peter Walker : The number of main agriculture holdings in each county in Wales in 1988 where 25 or more domestic fowls were kept to produce eggs for human consumption, and the number of breeding premises and hatcheries subject to testing was :
( ---------------------------------------- Wales |1,190|60 |3 Powys |197 |9 |1 Gwynedd |208 |13 |1 Dyfed |342 |17 |1 Clwyd |170 |12 |- South Glamorgan |37 |- |- Mid Glamorgan |51 |2 |- West Glamorgan |45 |2 |- Gwent |140 |5 |-
The Poultry Laying Flocks (Testing and Registration) Order 1989 also requires the testing of laying flocks of less than 25 birds if the eggs are sold for human consumption. Information is not available on how many of the 4,876 main holdings in Wales where fewer than 25 hens are kept sell some or all of their eggs for human consumption ; nor is information available on minor holdings which might be affected.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list his criteria for speed humps, rumble strips and road-narrowing measures in residential areas ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : Specific provisions for road humps are contained in the Highways (Road Humps) Regulations 1986 SI.1986 No. 1856, and detailed guidance on them was published in traffic advisory leaflet 3/87. We are consulting on revised regulations aimed at allowing road humps to be installed more widely. The Department has drawn attention to a number of other traffic calming measures in traffic advisory leaflet 1/87. Standards and criteria have not been laid down. Decisions on when and where to install such traffic calming measures are for individual highway authorities to take. Copies of SI.1856 and supporting publications have been placed in the Library.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Ipswich (Mr. Irvine), Official Report, column 4, of 4 December 1989, he will make a statement on how much of the investment in British Rail over the next three years will be spent on the East Suffolk line from Lowestoft to Ipswich and the Wherry line from Lowestoft to Norwich.
Mr. Portillo : It is for British Rail to decide the detailed allocation of resources. I understand that British Rail plans to invest at least £1 million in infrastructure on these routes over the next three years. The region will also benefit from wider programmes of investment in new rolling stock.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the suitability of the height and design of the steps of the Volvo double deck buses to be leased on to the LBL, London General Bus subsidiary to provide adequate access for women with young children, the elderly and people with walking disabilities.
Mr. Atkins : Bus design is generally a matter for bus operators. I understand that these buses comply with design standards laid down by London Regional Transport. The Department takes every opportunity to remind the bus industry of the special needs of elderly and disabled passengers. We recently launched a video which demonstrates the features recommended by the disabled persons transport advisory committee in its "Recommended Specification for Buses Used to Operate Local Services". The video is now available on free loan to local authorities and bus operators.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will instruct LRT to stop the further tendering of further bus routes to those companies which have failed to fulfil their contractual obligations in the past and had routes taken away from them as a consequence.
Mr. Portillo : The tendering of bus routes and the selection of contractors is a matter for London Regional Transport. I understand that, in assessing bids, it takes account of the operators' previous performance.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the proportion of LBL buses running late during the current year over previous years ; and what steps he has taken to improve the quality of service to the public.
Column 485Mr. Portillo : Statistics for London Regional Transport's timetable bus services for the first three quarters of 1989 show that there was an 18 per cent. chance of a bus departing between five and 15 minutes late, and an 11.5 per cent. chance of a bus departing more than 15 minutes late or not arriving. This compares with 19.5 per cent. and 10.5 per cent. respectively for the same period in 1988. My right hon. Friend will shortly be setting quality of service objectives for LRT's bus and railway activities.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are the numbers of accidents involving PSV vehicles in London in each of the last five years ; and how many of these accidents involved buses with fewer than 24 seats.
Mr. Portillo : The number of accidents involving PSV vehicles in the Greater London area during the last five years is as follows. The seating capacity of buses in accidents is not recorded on the STATS19 accident report form.
Year |Number of | accidents --------------------------------- 1984 |3,553 1985 |3,326 1986 |3,226 1987 |2,920 1988 |2,993
The European Commission has announced an intention to make a directive next year to cover the construction of buses, including coaches and minibuses. We have pressed, and shall continue to press, for that directive to contain provisions that set a high standard of safety. We are particularly concerned to ensure that seat belts of good quality, which are simple to use and have retractor mechanisms, are specified for all seats in minibuses and coaches.
We also want to see that steps and hand rails are specified which will make it easier for elderly people to get on and off buses safely.
I very much hope that manufacturers and operators will now voluntarily provide these simple and obvious safety features, without having to wait for legislation.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what further negotiations his Department has had on additional transatlantic flights to and from Manchester airport ; what has been the outcome ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. McLoughlin : Negotiations were held with the United States between 29 November and I December. The United Kingdom is seeking a balanced expansion of opportunities for the airlines on both sides to enable additional transatlantic services to be introduced to serve Manchester airport. Arrangements are in hand to resume these talks in the near future.
Mr. Atkins : My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary invited representations in a consultation paper earlier this year and most comments for and against will have been directed to him. Since April the Department have received some 25 representations in favour of introduction.
Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cases of alleged illegal discharges of oil from non-United Kingdom ships in United Kingdom waters have been passed since 1978 to the flag states of the vessels concerned.
Mr. McLoughlin : Figures prior to 1985 are not readily available. Since then eight cases of possible illegal oil discharges by non-United Kingdom ships in United Kingdom waters have been referred to the competent authorities in the relevant flag states for investigation.
Mr. Parkinson : I am pleased to announce today my approval of British Rail's proposals for investment totalling more than £350 million for the purchase of trains to run from 1993 between London and Paris and London and Brussels. This represents British Rail's share of the combined passenger fleet of 30 trains which will be using the tunnel from June 1993. It amounts to a major investment in the provision of rail services through the Channel tunnel. It is another important step towards achieving the goal of London-Paris and London-Brussels direct train services. I look forward to receiving further investment proposals from British Rail for the rolling stock required for passenger services beyond London and for freight services.
Mr. Moate : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the terms and scope of the contract between British Rail and Trafalgar house with regard to the Channel tunnel link and with regard to international traffic on existing or improved rail routes ; if he will arrange for a copy of the contract or of the heads of agreement to be placed in the Library ; and if he will describe the respective roles of the contracting parties if the high speed link should not proceed.
Column 487partners. Some of the terms may require my right hon. Friend's approval : others may be confidential to the parties.
Mr. Atkins : The information requested is not held centrally. It could be provided, if at all, only at disproportionate cost. However, I can assure my hon. Friend that we endeavour to appoint members from as broad a range of age groups as possible.
Mr. Janner : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how long he expects the interim improvement scheme at junction 21 of the M1 motorway to last ; what will it cost ; and when he expects the full widening and junction improvements at junction 21 to be done and completed ; and at what cost.
Mr. Atkins : The interim improvement of junction 21 would accommodate normal traffic growth until the late 1990s. However, proposals for major developments close to the junction could reduce this by about five years. The interim improvement is intended to relieve congestion and improve safety for motorway traffic. The estimated cost is £1.008 million.
The long-term improvement of junction 21 is part of the scheme for widening and junction improvements on the M1 included in the White Paper "Roads for Prosperity". The known pressures at the junction will be monitored and taken into account in assessing the timing of the junction 21 element of this major project. The budget cost of the long-term improvement is £10 million, although the eventual cost will depend on a layout to be determined from further detailed traffic and economic analysis.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will state, or take steps to ascertain, the approximate proportion of incidents of traffic delay in the Greater London area occasioned by (a) illegal parking, (b) traffic light faults, (c) shed loads, (d) vehicle breakdowns, (e) accidents, (f) road repairs, (g) water main bursts, (h) demonstrations or marches, (i) official events and (j) bomb alerts ; and if he will name the agency or body from which he has obtained, or can obtain such information and indicate the manner in which such information is, or could be, made available to the public on a periodic basis.
Mr. Atkins : The Metropolitan police have set up a working party with the traffic control systems unit for London to review contingency plans for blockages at vital junctions. It will be for them to consider whether it would be worth while to collect, monitor and publish the causes of congestion in the way the hon. Member suggests.
Column 488services caused by (a) shortage of staff, (b) signal failure, (c) non-availability of rolling stock, (d) mechanical or electrical failure, (e) fire or (f) other causes.
Mr. Portillo : I receive regular reports on overall quality of service, including punctuality and reliability. Day-to-day operations are a matter for London Underground Limited, which records individual delays and their causes.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to hold a meeting with transport researchers at the Open university's energy and environment research unit to evaluate the technical prospects of smart pricing for road use.
Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will consider making it necessary for all road tankers carrying dangerous chemicals to be fitted with external warning lights whilst in transit.
Sir Eldon Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the number of accidents reported to the police on that section of the A45 between the Westley roundabout to the west and Rookery crossroads to the east of Bury St. Edmunds during the last 12 months for which figures are available.
Mr. Atkins : In 1988, the last full year for which records are available, the number of injury accidents on this length of road was 12, including one fatal accident, and the number of non-injury accidents was seven.
Mr. Terry Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will deposit in the Library a scale map of the proposed Greater Manchester western and northern relief road M6 to M66, as shown in diagrammatic form in the White Paper, "Roads for Prosperity."
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 8 December 1989] : The Greater Manchester western and northern relief road is being dealt with in three sections. We have announced a proposed route for the southern section between the M6 and the M56. I shall arrange for a copy of the plan to be placed on deposit in the Library. Consultants are currently investigating solutions for the northern section of the road between the M62 and M66 motorways and we have recently appointed consultants for the centre section between the M56 and M62.
Column 489Mr. Atkins [holding answer 8 December 1989] : We are currently consulting the public on a proposed route for the southern section of the Greater Manchester western and northern relief road between the M6 and M56 motorways. Work on the remaining lengths between the M56 and M66 motorways is at an early stage. It is too soon to say when we shall be able to seek the views of the public.