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Mr. McLoughlin : Under the new regulations governing the work of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, provision is made for investigations into serious marine accidents to take the form of an inspector's inquiry with a subsequent report to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State by the chief inspector of marine accidents. This is considered to be the appropriate form of investigation for this accident.
It is expected that the inspector leading the inquiry will be in a position to submit his findings to the chief inspector very soon. The report of the chief inspector will then be published at the earliest practicable date.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much land is due to be sold off by British Rail in the next three years by region ; if he will list the estimated value of that land ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : These are commercial matters for the British Rail Property Board and I do not have the information in the forms requested. British Rail's published corporate plan 1989 contains the following forecasts for property-asset sales :
Financial |£ million years ------------------------------ 1990-91 |293 1991-92 |248 1992-93 |261
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to how many local authorities have active cyclists' consultative committees ; if he will list them ; and if he will make a further statement.
Our latest local transport note on cycling "Making Way for Cyclists" (published by HMSO) contains several references to the benefits of good consultation with local cycling interests. A copy has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has as to the river and port pilot manning requirements and costs in the United Kingdom and on the continent ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. McLoughlin : Pilot manning levels and costs in the United Kingdom are matters for the competent harbour authorities. I understand however that since the implementation of the Pilotage Act 1987 on 1 October 1988 pilotage charges have in general been held steady, with reductions being achieved in some cases. As regards manning, there were 1,225 licensed pilots immediately before the implementation of the 1987 Act and 229 pilots have since been made surplus.
The Department holds no up-to-date information regarding pilot manning levels or costs on the continent.
Column 445highways of rotting refuse from controlled household refuse tips of five to 20 years' vintage ; when they were last renewed ; and what proposals he has to revise them ;
(2) what guidelines he has issued to local authorities on the transportation of putrescent household refuse of five to 20 years' vintage by lorry ; and what proposals he has to revise them.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidelines he has issued to provide for the safe, odour-free and pollution- free transportation by rail of rotting refuse of five to 20 years' vintage from controlled household refuse tips ; and what proposals he has to revise them.
Mr. Atkins : There are no specific guidelines on the rail transport of putrescent waste. British Rail standards for the transport of dangerous goods generally reflect international requirements. Noxious goods which are not dangerous would be subject to British Rail's conditions of carriage and conditions of acceptance.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what alternatives to the Channel tunnel project's safety committee requirement for video surveillance in respect of last resort use of halons are currently under consideration ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo : The Channel tunnel intergovernmental commission, in giving its decision that Eurotunnel may continue development of its transport system on the basis of the principle of non-segregation of passengers from cars and coaches, laid down a number of binding requirements.
One of these is that a video surveillance system should be provided to monitor the interior of the shuttle wagons. Another is that fire extinction measures in the shuttle trains should include a Halon 1301 system or other agent with the same extinguishing capabilities. Halon may only be used either when passengers have been evacuated or as a last resort when the lives of passengers are endangered in spite of the use of other means of extinction.
It is for Eurotunnel to consider how to give effect to these requirements when bringing forward for approval design proposals for further development of its system.
(2) when he expects the A30 Mitchell bypass to be opened ; (3) when he intends the documentation regarding the building of the A30 Mitchell bypass in Cornwall to be issued to possible contractors.
Mr. Atkins : All the statutory procedures have been completed for the A30 Penhale-Carland Cross scheme which includes a bypass for Mitchell. Tender documents are in preparation and a contract is expected to be awarded later in the year. Construction should take about 18 months.
Mr. Portillo : The new objectives for British Rail, announced by my right hon. Friend last month, allow for the use of cost-benefit analysis where exceptionally investment which increases the asset base of the Network SouthEast and provincial sectors cannot meet the required rate of return of 8 per cent. This will enable the Government to decide whether capital grants would be justified on wider social and economic grounds. For BR's commercial sectors the Government see no case for subsidy and financial appraisal continues to be appropriate.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he will arrange for Mr. A. J. Woodward and his solicitor to have access to the tape recordings referred to by the solicitors acting for Her Majesty's Coastguard in the case of Mark Woodward in their letter of 12 January to Noel Horner, solicitor, of Truro.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, further to his answer to the hon. Member for Caenarfon of 8 January, Official Report, column 502, on local government finance in Wales, what allowance he has made, in calculating the income from the standard community charge for each district in Wales, for owners of holiday homes who previously paid domestic rates, changing to the uniform business rate for such properties, where they are let out for a proportion of each year.
Mr. Peter Walker : The assumptions I have made for standard charge multipliers for each district in Wales for 1990-91 are set out in paragraph 3 of the Welsh revenue support grant distribution report.
Column 447Regulations will shortly be laid before the House defining the boundary between domestic and non-domestic property and bringing into non-domestic rating those individual units of self-catering accommodation which are available for letting for 140 or more days each year. On the basis of those regulations, account can be taken in future local government finance settlements of the non-domestic rate income collectable in respect of these properties. It will be pooled and distributed on a per capita basis to all Welsh districts.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on what percentage he based his inflation forecast in determining the Welsh local government expenditure settlement for the years 1988-89 and 1989-90.
Mr. Peter Walker : The local authority settlements for 1988-89 and 1989-90 represented the Government's view of what it would be appropriate for local government to spend. Like all public expenditure plans they were set in cash terms.
Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what steps he has taken to promote the marketing of batteries and accumulators containing smaller quantities of dangerous substances or less- polluting substances ;
(2) what steps he is taking to ensure that consumers are fully informed about the dangers of uncontrolled disposal of spent batteries and accumulators ;
(3) what steps he is taking to inform consumers of the method of moving batteries and accumulators which are built into appliances ; (4) what steps he is taking to set up a deposit system for batteries and accumulators ;
(5) what steps his Department has taken to reduce the heavy metal content in batteries and accumulators.
Mr. Grist : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply given to him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry and Consumer Affairs on Thursday 18 January 1990 at columns 356-58.
Mr. Peter Walker : Information on the level of farm incomes in Wales in 1989 is due to be published in June in the Welsh Office publication "Farm Incomes in Wales" No. 4, 1990. Some limited information, on average net incomes in Wales for the pair of years 1987-88 and 1988-89 will also be included in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food publication "Agriculture in the United Kingdom" to be published early next month.
Column 448Llanllyfni. This section of the A487 is the subject of a feasibility study but it is too soon to speculate on its conclusions.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the independent or direct grant schools in Wales that are grant-aided directly by the Welsh Office, noting the amount of aid to be paid in the current financial year.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : The only direct grant school in Wales, TS Indefatigable, Anglesey, will receive grant totalling £15,750 in the current financial year. Payments to meet the costs of tuition fee remissions at independent schools participating in the assisted places scheme are shown in the table :
School |Payment- |1989-90 |(estimate) |£ -------------------------------------------------- Howells School, Llandaff |338,380 Howells School, Denbigh |236,811 Christ College, Brecon |186,547 Rydal School, Colwyn Bay |128,121 Penrhos College, Colwyn Bay |163,726 Llandovery College, Dyfed |92,025 Monmouth School for Boys |320,596 Monmouth School for Girls |127,302
Mr. Martyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Clwyd, South-West of 30 November 1989, Official Report, column 339, whether he makes any general estimates on a regular basis of figures for rural unemployment.
Project |Projected |Cost |£ million ----------------------------------------------------------------- New Llanelli Hospital |26.9 Singleton Hospital West Ward Block |12.3 Royal Gwent Hospital Development Scheme 6 |10.7 North Rhondda Community Hospital |8.0 Prince Charles Hospital Development Scheme 2 |5.2
Project |Cost |£ million ------------------------------------------------------------ Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor |36.9 Princess of Wales hospital, Bridgend |25.5 Morriston hospital development scheme I |20.4 Wrexham Maelor DGH |17.4 Ysbyty Glan Clwyd |12.5
Mr. Geraint Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what plans he has to improve the trunk road A487 at Lower Fishguard, Pembrokeshire during the next five years ; and if he will make a statement in the light of the latest serious accident.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will lay down guidelines to local authorities on the planning, environmental health and waste disposal criteria for granting permission for tipping partly rotted household refuse removed from one controlled refuse tip to another.
Mr. Grist : Guidance on the disposal of household refuse is contained in the series of waste management papers published by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution, and in Welsh Office circulars 76/76 and 38/89. My right hon. Friend has no proposals to issue further guidance.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what licences he has issued for the tipping of transported partly rotted household refuse from controlled local authority tips of five to 20 years' vintage.
Column 450nature of the woodland and the estimated cost of the forests and woods in question ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Walker [holding answer 16 January 1990] : The Forestry Commission's current disposals programme will extend over the next 10 years and the selection of properties for sale will accordingly be staged over that period. Advance notification of properties to be placed on the market is given in the Estates Gazette when firm decisions to sell are taken by the commission.
The following forest areas are at present being offered for sale on the open market. These areas are all predominantly coniferous.
County and Name |Area |Guide Price<1> |(acres) |£ -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dyfed The Goginal Woodlands Allt Goch |72 |135,000 The Ty Cerrig Woodlands Ty Cerrig Wood |114 |95,000 Bylchau-Duon |153 |125,000 Talley Woodlands Allt y Goitre |71 |85,000 Maestwynog |28 |23,000 Tanyrallt |16 |11,500 Powys Three Woodlands New Pieces and Old Wood |11 |8,000 Cae Mawr Coppice |12 |16,000 The Linger and Maes-y-Mwm |11 |10,000 Dyfed Synod Inn Woodlands Ffynnon Le Frith |62 |60,000 Hafod Iwan |80 |73,000 Croes Heddyg Newydd |34 |35,000 Penrhiwgaled |12 |12,500 Cnwc yr Ehedydd |5 |7,000 Esgair Onen |8 |10,000 West Glamorgan Craig Ynysgollen |24 |20,000 Dyfed Carmarthen Woods Allt Werncorgam |28 |25,000 College Wood |30 |25,000 <1>The guide price is the figure given by the agents to interested parties.
Mr. Colin Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will set out in the Official Report a table showing, for the years 1987-88 and 1988-89 (estimated), the average cost per head of spending in the National Health Service by health authorities, broken down into groups as follows : births, ages up to four years, five to 15 years, 16 to 64 years, 65 to 74 years and 75 plus years.
Mr. Freeman : District-based figures of average total revenue expenditure per head of resident population for 1987-88 and 1988-89 are shown in the table. (The figures for 1988-89 are provisional in that they are as yet subject to audit.)
Column 451Although the greatest use of health care facilities tends to be the very young and the elderly it is not practicable centrally specifically to assign district health authorities' total expenditure to particular age groups.
Total revenue expenditure per resident |1988-89|1987-88 |(cash) |(cash) |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------- Northern Region Hartlepool |266 |233 North Tees |194 |181 South Tees |285 |253 East Cumbria |252 |229 South Cumbria |185 |169 West Cumbria |215 |195 Darlington |278 |253 Durham |162 |149 North West Durham |244 |215 South West Durham |250 |223 Northumberland |243 |220 Gateshead |183 |168 Newcastle upon Tyne |575 |514 North Tyneside |152 |134 South Tyneside |178 |161 Sunderland |248 |223 Districts Total |254 |229 Yorkshire Region Hull |265 |236 East Yorkshire |223 |212 Grimsby |227 |207 Scunthorpe |171 |151 Northallerton |145 |139 York |242 |225 Scarborough |185 |167 Harrogate |230 |211 Bradford |237 |214 Airedale |209 |191 Calderdale |208 |187 Huddersfield |248 |224 Dewsbury |181 |162 Leeds Western |301 |275 Leeds Eastern |301 |263 Wakefield |368 |339 Pontefract |187 |172 Districts Total |240 |218 Trent Region North Derbyshire |163 |143 Southern Derbyshire |216 |201 Leicestershire |221 |196 North Lincolnshire |247 |228 South Lincolnshire |190 |172 Bassetlaw |184 |167 Central Nottinghamshire |216 |196 Nottingham |282 |254 Barnsley |199 |178 Doncaster |215 |191 Rotherham |188 |170 Sheffield |357 |322 Districts Total |234 |212 East Anglian Region Cambridge |313 |282 Peterborough |240 |202 West Suffolk |197 |177 East Suffolk |226 |206 Norwich |243 |219 Great Yarmouth and Waveney |202 |184 West Norfolk and Wisbech |186 |166 Huntingdon |219 |189 Districts Total |233 |209 North-West Thames Region North Bedfordshire |173 |159 South Bedfordshire |186 |171 North Hertfordshire |173 |149 East Hertfordshire |135 |118 North-West Hertfordshire |320 |283 South-West Hertfordshire |146 |126 Barnet |299 |263 Harrow |246 |218 Hillingdon |321 |282 Hounslow and Spelthorne |243 |211 Ealing |179 |158 Riverside |601 |514 Parkside |394 |341 Districts Total |269 |236 North-East Thames Region Basildon and Thurrock |210 |185 Mid-Essex |219 |199 North-East Essex |220 |202 West Essex |200 |175 Southend |180 |161 Barking/Havering/Brentwood |207 |188 Hampstead |688 |592 Bloomsbury |1,226 |1,076 Islington |372 |334 City and Hackney |543 |483 Newham |253 |227 Tower Hamlets |542 |485 Enfield |187 |166 Haringey |293 |270 Redbridge |219 |193 Waltham Forest |328 |288 Districts Total |307 |273 South-East Thames Region Brighton |240 |218 Eastbourne |221 |203 Hastings |217 |202 South-East Kent |175 |158 Canterbury and Thanet |234 |217 Dartford and Gravesham |246 |229 Maidstone |226 |208 Medway |185 |164 Tunbridge Wells |283 |260 Bexley |212 |190 Greenwich |342 |300 Bromley |233 |205 West Lambeth |640 |568 Camberwell |438 |374 Lewisham and North Southwark |437 |386 Districts Total |279 |251 South-West Thames Region North-West Surrey |235 |217 West Surrey and North East Hampshire |151 |134 South-West Surrey |305 |271 Mid Surrey |305 |276 East Surrey |318 |288 Chichester |216 |199 Mid Downs |201 |179 Worthing |182 |162 Croydon |237 |209 Kingston and Esher |283 |258 Richmond, Twickenham, Roehampton |195 |176 Wandsworth |620 |543 Merton and Sutton |256 |227 Districts Total |259 |231 Wessex Region East Dorset |206 |183 West Dorset |216 |199 Portsmouth and South East Hampshire |194 |172 Southampton and South West Hampshire |290 |262 Winchester |223 |198 Basingstoke and North Hampshire |217 |199 Salisbury |312 |278 Swindon |225 |201 Bath |207 |190 Isle of Wight |229 |207 Districts Total |226 |203 Oxford Region East Berkshire |189 |171 West Berkshire |195 |173 Aylesbury Vale |349 |315 Wycombe |143 |126 Milton Keynes |161 |143 Kettering |165 |148 Northampton |222 |205 Oxfordshire |255 |229 Districts Total |209 |187 South Western Region Bristol and Weston |310 |279 Frenchay |282 |255 Southmead |246 |221 Cornwall/Isles of Scilly |195 |181 Exeter |280 |254 North Devon |218 |199 Plymouth |268 |241 Torbay |210 |190 Cheltenham |186 |165 Gloucester |224 |208 Somerset |210 |192 Districts Total |240 |218 West Midlands Region Bromsgrove and Redditch |188 |177 Herefordshire |203 |192 Kidderminster |293 |273 Worcester |211 |195 Shropshire |201 |185 Mid Staffordshire |171 |153 North Staffordshire |244 |223 South-East Staffordshire |196 |178 Rugby |170 |160 North Warwickshire |239 |213 South Warwickshire |236 |215 Central Birmingham |580 |521 East Birmingham |232 |211 North Birmingham |245 |223 South Birmingham |323 |283 West Birmingham |355 |322 Coventry |247 |220 Dudley |210 |190 Sandwell |153 |136 Solihull |170 |155 Walsall |196 |174 Wolverhampton |250 |228 Districts Total |236 |214 Mersey Region Chester |300 |283 Crewe |185 |171 Halton |142 |128 Macclesfield |226 |208 Warrington |287 |265 Liverpool |365 |325 St. Helens and Knowsley |197 |182 Southport and Formby |268 |234 South Sefton |416 |321 Wirral |217 |196 Districts Total |265 |237 North Western Region Lancaster |385 |353 Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde |206 |186 Preston |616 |582 Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley |200 |181 Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale |327 |300 West Lancashire |252 |228 Chorley and South Ribble |88 |79 Bolton |201 |181 Bury |173 |152 North Manchester |499 |434 Central Manchester |633 |562 South Manchester |571 |518 Oldham |189 |165 Rochdale |160 |143 Salford |400 |363 Stockport |194 |176 Tameside and Glossop |172 |148 Trafford |162 |146 Wigan |191 |172 Districts Total |267 |241 Sources: (a) 1987-88 and 1988-89 annual accounts of district health authorities. (b) Mid-year estimates of resident population-1987 and 1988 respectively (Office of Population Censuses and Surveys). Notes: 1. District capital expenditure and all expenditure incurred by regional health authorities on behalf of their regions as a whole is excluded. 2. Expenditure on family practitioner services is excluded: such expenditure is accounted for by family practitioner committees (FPCs) and cannot strictly be attributed to particular districts. 3. Significant variations in per capita expenditure figures at district level arise principally because: (i) people travel across district boundaries for treatment and sub-regional resource allocations reflect the pattern of service provision locally; (ii) the population figures used make no allowance for people resident in one district who receive treatment in another or for the difference in morbidity and age/sex structure of particular populations.
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is the percentage of capital spending as a proportion of total spending by regional health authorities in the north-west ; and what was the comparable figure 10 years ago.
Capital expenditure figures for individual regions fluctuate from year to year mainly reflecting changes in the pattern of capital investment throughout the country.
Hospital and community health services (HCHS) capital expenditure as a proportion of total expenditure <1> Based on provisional expenditure figures (as yet subject to audit). Notes: 1. The figures, derived from annual accounts, include expenditure incurred by regional health authorities and the district (formerly area) health authorities comprising those regions. 2. HCHS includes hospital, community health, patient transport (ie ambulance), blood transfusion and other services. 3. The table excludes expenditure on family practitioner services.
Hospital and community health sevices (HCHS) capital expenditure as a proportion of total expenditure |1978-79 |1988-89<1> |Per cent. |Per cent. ------------------------------------------------------ Mersey Region |9.8 |6.1 North Western Region |9.1 |6.5 All regions |7.7 |7.9 <1> Based on provisional expenditure figures (as yet subject to audit). Notes: <1> The figures, derived from annual accounts, include expenditure incurred by regional health authorities and the district (formerly area) health authorities comprising these regions. <2> HCHS includes hospital, community health, patient transport (ie ambulance), blood transfusion and other services. <3> The table excludes expenditure on family practitioner services.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what sanctions are available currently against general practitioners who, after professional assessment, are considered to be over-prescribing ; what changes will be introduced under the new general practitioners contract ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : At present, action can be taken under regulation 16 of the NHS (Service Committees and Tribunal) Regulations 1974 against general practitioners who are considered to be prescribing excessively. Regulation 16 provides for the Secretary of State to refer cases to local medical committees (LMCs) for investigation. LMCs may recommend a withholding of remuneration against GPs who prescribe excessively. There have been no referrals under regulation 16 since 1974. The Department is currently discussing with representatives of the medical profession, in the light of the Government's plans to introduce indicative prescribing budgets, how the existing sanctions process should be modified to provide a more effective procedure. GPs who exceed their indicative prescribing budget will not face sanctions on that fact alone. Only where there is clear evidence of excessive prescribing will the FPC refer the matter for consideration by a professional committee. We expect that the application of sanctions will be a process of last resort.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what statutory powers regional health authorities have to ensure that district health authorities do not exceed their budgets ; and whether it is his intention to extend this power to FPSA spending as well.
Mr. Freeman : Under section 97 of the National Health Service Act 1977, as amended, it is the duty of each regional health authority to allocate money to its districts and under section 97A each district health authority has a duty to ensure that its expenditure does not exceed its allocation.
The Secretary of State makes allocations to family practitioner committees for their administrative expenditure and, from 1 April 1990, will make allocations for cash-limited expenditure on direct reimbursement of part of general medical practitioners' practice expenses. The National Health Service and Community Care Bill presently before Parliament contains provisions to transfer this task to regional health authorities. As with district health authorities, it is the duty of each family practitioner committee to ensure that its expenditure does not exceed the amount allocated.
Mr. Freeman : No firm decisions have been taken yet about the timing, size and content of the new development. My hon. Friend may care to contact the chairman of the Northern regional health authority if he would like more information.
Mr. Steinberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many qualified paramedics are employed by Durham area health authority ; how many are in training ; and what is the total number of paramedics to be trained.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he has taken to rebut allegations that he has plans to privatise aspects of the National Health Service ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The White Paper "Working for Patients" clearly states that the Government have no plans to privatise the National Health Service. We support a Health Service which is open to all, regardless of income, and financed mainly from general taxation. The aim of all our reforms is to raise the performance of all parts of the NHS nearer to that of the best.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Pembroke of 21 December 1989, Official Report, column 379, he will place in the Library the research which indicated that the original version of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination leaflet ID19 ISBN1 85448 050 2 had limited appeal.
Mr. Freeman : Temporary supply difficulties arose last year whilst our source of supply moved production facilities to a new site. This necessitated conserving remaining stocks by restricting vaccination to those at particular risk of exposure to tuberculosis. Adequate stocks remain for that purpose and I am glad to say that fresh supplies should be available by April 1990 to enable routine school vaccination to recommence later this year.
Mr. Bermingham : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he has any proposals to back up current epidemiological studies, known as the national fitness survey, to allow calibration of the survey tools, such as more accurate energy cost estimates ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : Some calibration of the survey tools is built into the national fitness survey proposals : for example repeatability studies will help to indentify errors associated with the physical tests. On the specified point
Column 457about energy cost estimates, estimates are already published which will be applied to the survey data collected, and while some of these figures are in need of revision they will nevertheless enable reasonable estimates to be made. Producing more accurate energy cost estimates would require small intensive studies which could be undertaken at any time, the results of which could be applied retrospectively to the national fitness survey data. The Department has no plans at the moment to commission such work, but the national fitness survey team hopes that the survey itself will inspire such studies.
Mr. Freeman : The national fitness survey is being financed jointly by the Department of Health, the Health Education Authority and the Sports Council. Negotiations are continuing with potential commercial sponsors in order to extend the size of the survey to provide accurate analyses of data to regional level.