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Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment 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. Chris Patten : In the past year, 25 market research and sampling surveys (excluding those connected with water privatisation) have been carried out for my Department at total cost of around £1 million. A further six projects were carried out in house. These figures include sample surveys of businesses and local authorities, as well as of members of the general public.
The cost of individual contracts are a matter of commercial confidentiality, and those of in-house surveys cannot be given except at disproportionate cost. The costs of water privatisation will be announced to Parliament in due course in the usual way.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish in the Official Report the approximate breakdown of the expected expenditure by the London Docklands development corporation of £1,100 million and the amount and breakdown of private investment in the area over the next five years.
Mr. Moynihan : The London Docklands development corporation's broad expenditure plans and forecast of private investment in its area are given in its recently published 1989 corporate plan, copies of which are in the Library.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many new tenancies have entered the private sector of the housing market since the introduction of assured tenancies under the Housing Act 1988 ; and how many of them are part of a business expansion scheme.
Column 490available. However, initial impressions are very encouraging. In particular it is estimated that more than £350 million has been invested in business expansion scheme companies letting on assured tenancies. With an average price of £50,000 per property, that means an extra 6,000 to 7,000 homes available for letting.
Mr. Soley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total value of dwellings owned by local authorities calculated on the basis of 1988-89 right-to-buy sales and the total loan debt outstanding on these local authority dwellings.
Mr. Howard : The Government do not possess figures on the value of dwellings in local authority ownership. Under part VI of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, in determining housing revenue account subsidy, the Secretary of State may infer aggregate values of houses and other property within local authorities' housing revenue account from the average values of any of the houses and other property they have disposed of. The Department of the Environment is currently consulting local housing authorities in England on the figures for the subsidy determination for 1990-91.
The total outstanding loan debt on dwellings in local authority ownership for 1988-89 as reported to the Department of the Environment by local authorities was £23.1 billion.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many transactions have taken place between residuary bodies and local authorities, where assets previously owned by those local authorities have been purchased, in order for those successor authorities to carry out their functions ; and what is the value of these transactions.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Residuary body property required by local authorities for the purpose of carrying out their functions is transferred to them at nil cost by statutory order. There have been 25 orders transferring residuary body property since 1986. Authorities can also purchase surplus residuary body property at market value. Information on the number and total value of properties acquired by local authorities is not centrally available.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking on the representations made to him by Wakefield Civic Society, concerning the future of land currently the responsibility of the West Yorkshire residuary body.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total capital value of assets disposed of by (a) West Yorkshire residuary body and (b) all residuary bodies since the abolition of metropolitan county councils.
|£ million --------------------------------------- London |605.10 Greater Manchester |23.04 Merseyside |7.50 South Yorkshire |13.70 Tyne and Wear |13.10 West Midlands |30.30 West Yorkshire |30.00 |------ Total |722.74
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he intends to take to assist charities and other bodies who are in financial difficulties because of the collapse of the market in waste paper.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is considering setting up a recycling agency to advise charities and other bodies on suitable materials to collect for recycling.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Since 1987 my Department has supported Waste Watch, a voluntary organisation based at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). It offers advice and training on recycling to voluntary and other bodies. My hon. Friend the Minister for Environment and Countryside recently launched the national directory of recycling information compiled by Waste Watch.
Mr. Chope : The Commission for the New Towns has asked for my approval to transfer about 7,000 dwellings at Runcorn to the five housing associations in Runhag. I have considered the views of tenants expressed in the recent ballot and the terms and conditions of the proposed transfer. I am satisfied that the terms are reasonable and that tenants want the relevant member of Runhag to be their new landlord. I have therefore approved the transfer. I understand that the transfer will take place today.
I am delighted that the new town tenants have voted in favour of transferring to the housing associations. I know that this vote was the culmination of over two years hard effort by Runhag and the New Town Residents Federation to achieve transfer on the best terms possible for existing tenants. I am very grateful for their perseverence and commitment.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the purpose of the visit to Holmewood estate, Bradford, by his Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State on Wednesday 15 November ; what was the cost ; what meetings were held and with whom on that date ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : On 15 November I visited the Holmewood estate and several other inner-city housing schemes in Bradford, improvements to which my Department has helped fund. The purpose of my visit was to see the work that has been done so far, to learn the extent of remaining problems and to listen to the views of residents. The total cost of the visit, for myself and my private secretary, was £240 approximately. At Holmewood I had a meeting with local community representatives, council members and officers. I also visited a housing association scheme at Grosvenor road where I met residents and representatives from the housing association. I was encouraged by the progress being made in Bradford in improving existing housing estates and developing new homes in the inner city.
Mr. Gould : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to bring to the attention of the public and Parliament the contents of, and summarised information arising from, the proposed local non-domestic rating lists required to be deposited with local authorities by 31 December, with particular reference to (i) his estimated dates of such depositing, (ii) his estimated dates of press releases from his Department or the Inland Revenue, (iii) his plans to notify individual ratepayers of the proposed valuations and (iv) any statement he might make to Parliament before or after the Christmas recess.
Mr. Chris Patten : The valuation office will send the new draft rating lists to local authorities on 20 December. Authorities are required by the Local Government Finance Act 1988 to deposit the lists and to give notice that they have done so as soon as reasonably practicable after their receipt. Ratepayers will be informed of their rateable values when rate bills for 1990-91 are sent out, but meanwhile the draft lists will be available for public inspection at the offices of local authorities and of the valuation office. I shall send to all ratepayers an explanation of the new rating system, but it will not be possible to include individual rateable values. I shall make available to Parliament and publish an analysis of the effects of the uniform business rate and of revaluation as soon as the necessary information is available.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the expected yield from non-domestic rates in 1989-90 in England ; and what are the adjustments that have to be made to this figure to allow a proper comparison to be made with the NNDR distributive amount of £10,428.5 million for 1990-91.
Mr. Kaufman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment why he has not yet replied to the letter to him dated 31 July from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to a complaint by Mr. R. Gorman of 14 Welby street, Manchester and if he will now reply.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his reply of 7 December, when the Groundwork Foundation submitted an application to Bradford council ; on what date the meeting between an officer of the Groundwork Foundation, Councillor Pickles and council officials took place ; what the trust to be established in Bradford in 1990-91 will do during that period ; and how much grant it will receive from Bradford council.
Mr. Trippier : An officer of the Groundwork Foundation met Councillor Pickles on 27 April 1989 and had meetings with Bradford council officials between February and June 1989. Subsequently on 10 July Bradford's policy and resources committee resolved to support in principle the establishment of a Groundwork Trust in the city. The council has allocated £40,000 for the project in its 1990-91 budget. It is understood that the preparation of a firm proposal for the trust is at present in hand.
Column 494water quality and landward aspects of the Mersey basin campaign ; and supports the campaign chairman, whose post is an honorary unsalaried appointment.
The unit's staff costs are :
Year |£ ------------------------ 1987-88 |100,399 1988-89 |115,668 1989-90 |121,981
The figures for earlier years are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Onslow : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to ensure that adequate information about the scope for energy conservation in the Palace of Westminster is available to all those who work there.
Mr. Chope [holding answer 8 December 1989] : The Parliamentary Works Office regularly advises Members and staff of the House about the operation of the heating controls in offices and committee rooms. Occupants are expected to adopt a common sense approach towards the use of electric lighting but the staff of the Parliamentary Works Office have a continuing brief to switch off unnecessary lights as they go about their business around the Palace of Westminster. The security staff who patrol the Palace are also asked to switch off lights left on in empty rooms.
Mr. Trippier [holding answer 8 December 1989] : We believe that international action is essential for an effective response to global warming. Several countries from eastern Europe already participate in the work of the inter-governmental panel on climate change, and we would welcome any increased involvement by eastern European countries in this work whether that resulted from the changes those countries are undergoing or any other reason.
Mr. Howard [pursuant to his reply, 22 November 1989, c. 3] : The water share offers closed on 6 December. The United Kingdom public offers were 5.7 times subscribed in aggregate, triggering both overseas and institutional clawback in each of the offers. This represents a very satisfactory outcome.
I have placed in the Library of the House details of the allocation of shares to applicants.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to make available resources, scientific expertise and technology through the Overseas Development Administration to Poland, for the purposes of environmental protection and pollution clean-up.
Mr. Waldegrave : We plan to discuss with the Polish authorities their general requirements for assistance including, where appropriate, measures to improve the environment. We have also sent a reconnaissance mission to look at the electricity generation sector, and the report will, inter alia, consider the environmental effects of the operation of the electricity utility.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he intends to invite the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation to visit the United Kingdom for talks on the middle east peace process.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last held and when he next intends to hold a meeting with the United States Secretary of State to discuss the situation in the middle east.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government monitor abuses of human rights in the Israeli-occupied west bank and Gaza strip ; and whether Her Majesty's Government intend to discuss such matters with the Israeli Government.
Mr. Waldegrave : We follow closely reports of human rights abuses in the occupied territories and take every opportunity to remind the Israeli authorities of their obligation to administer the occupied territories in accordance with international law and human rights standards.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government will press Israel to recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation and accept its offer of negotiations to settle the Palestine problem.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government will press the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel for its present stance in refusing to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has any plans to meet senior officers of the Palestine Liberation Organisation to discuss the Palestine Liberation Organisation's position regarding peace in the middle east.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what studies he has made of the situation of indigenous peoples of the rain forests of Sarawak ; what were the results of such studies ; what representations he has made to the Government of Malaysia ; and what response he has had.
Column 497The Malaysian authorities are aware of international interest in the effects of deforestation on the global environment and on tribespeople. We have expressed concern to the Malaysian authorities, who state that their aim is to resettle the Penans and provide education, health care and an improved quality of life.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 27 November, Official Report, column 99, what categories of aircraft are included under the definition of combat aircraft.
"a fixed-wing or swing-wing aircraft permanently land-based of a type initially constructed or later converted to drop bombs, deliver air-to-air or air-to-surface missiles, fire guns/cannons, or employ any other weapons of destruction. Any permanently land-based version or variant of these aircraft which has been modified to perform another military function is also included. An aircraft type should not, however, be included unless a combat variant of the type concerned exists within the ATTU area in the armed forces of a member state of the same treaty of alliance to which the participating state owning the aircraft belongs."
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what additional categories of aircraft have been included in the overall figure for combat aircraft given in the Official Report, 27 November, column 99, additional to those given in "Conventional Forces in Europe : The Facts".
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what are the reasons for the differences between the figures for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat aircraft in the region from the Atlantic to the Urals (a) provided in "Conventional Forces in Europe : The Facts", and (b) upon which North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has based its arms proposal to the conventional forces in Europe talks in Vienna ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : Because in their proposal at the Vienna talks the allies included, principally in order to enhance the viability of the verification regime, certain versions and variants of combat aircraft which were not included in the publication "Conventional Forces in Europe : The Facts".
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the present level of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation combat aircraft in the region from the Atlantic to the Urals.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on the continued production of chemical weapons under the terms of a chemical weapons convention.
Mr. Waldegrave : The draft chemical weapons convention under negotiation in Geneva would prohibit the production of chemical weapons immediately upon the convention's entry into force. The United Kingdom neither produces nor possesses chemical weapons.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government have begun work on enabling legislation with regard to the implementation of a chemical weapons convention.
Mr. Waldegrave : The likely requirements for national legislation are assessed continuously as the draft chemical weapons convention is developed. It would be premature to start trying to draft such legislation at present, however, since some complex issues, including verification, remain to be resolved.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will consider enlisting the assistance of any non-governmental organisations with the work of a national authority established under a chemical weapons convention.
Mr. Waldegrave : The work of the national authorities which it is envisaged would be established under a chemical weapons convention will cover a wide range of issues, reflecting the complexity of such an agreement. In this context, the specific expertise of organisations, such as the UK Chemical Industries Association, which we already consult closely, will be particularly valuable.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether signatories to a chemical weapons convention would still be able to reserve the right to retaliate in kind if subject to chemical attack, under the terms of the present draft chemical weapons convention ;
(2) whether, under the terms of article XII of the draft chemical weapons convention, Her Majesty's Government will reserve the right to retaliate in kind if subject to chemical attack as presently permitted under the terms of the Geneva protocol, 1925.
Mr. Waldegrave : The relationship between a chemical weapons convention and existing international instruments concerning chemical weapons, such as the 1925 Geneva protocol, is a complex issue which is under consideration at the negotiations in Geneva. The current draft is not specific on the point raised.
Mr. Macdonald : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the draft of the chemical weapons convention prohibits the continued production of chemical weapons once the convention has been concluded.
Mr. Bernie Grant : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will make a statement on his meeting on 6 December with a delegation from Montserrat ; and what plans he has to meet any other delegations from Montserrat ;
(2) what additional powers he proposes to confer on the Governor of Montserrat ;
(3) what changes he is contemplating to the constitution of the dependent territory of Montserrat ;
(4) what plans he has to lay before Parliament orders relating to the future of Montserrat.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he himself will be meeting the chief Minister and other representatives of Montserrat, now visiting London, before their departure on 9 December, and if he will make a statement on the purpose of their visit ;
(2) if he will be allowing the people of Montserrat to express their view before 18 December on the constitutional changes proposed for the dependency ; and if any steps have been taken for that purpose ;
(3) what constitutional changes are proposed for Montserrat ; what will be their effect on local self-government ; what independent legal advice is officially available to the chief Minister in regard to the changes ; what representations his Department has received in regard to the changes ; and what replies have been made ; (4) what steps have been taken to consult the people of Montserrat on the proposed changes to its constitution.
Mr. Sainsbury : When I visited Montserrat on 5 November, I put to the Chief Minister certain proposals to improve the regulatory framework of the offshore finance sector and invited his Government to consider them. As these proposals necessitated changes to Montserrat's constitution, we took the opportunity to put forward a draft, incorporating other changes, including consolidating the territory's various constitutional instruments into a single document ; and making some other improvements, including a Bill of Rights. A Foreign Office legal adviser went out to Montserrat a week later to explain and answer questions on the proposed new constitution. The Chief Minister was also advised by the Attorney General (legal adviser to the Government of Montserrat).
As part of the consultative process, I had further talks in London this week with the Chief Minister of Montserrat and his delegation. Following our discussions at the Foreign Office on 6 December, the Chief Minister and I recorded the understanding we had reached in an Exchange of Letters on 7 December.
We agreed on the benefit for Montserrat of the introduction of a consolidated constitution for the territory. We made the following undertakings :