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employment status of those who are on it. In April 1989, the date of the last count, there were 33,909 people on the disablement register in Scotland.

Both employed and unemployed people may register for employment at jobcentres. In doing so they may also choose to indicate that they are disabled. In October 1989, the latest date on which a count was made, 7,024 people with declared disabilities were registered for employment at jobcentres and local authority careers offices in Scotland.

Illegal Dumping

Mr. Graham : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people in Scotland have been prosecuted for illegal dumping of rubbish on the roads and highways in each of the last five years.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Information on the number of persons prosecuted under the Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978 for illegal dumping of rubbish is set out in the table. No information is collected on the location of the offence.


Year      |Persons            

          |proceeded          

          |against            

------------------------------

1984      |78                 

1985      |31                 

1986      |29                 

1987      |29                 

1988      |47                 

Mr. Graham : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prosecutions have been made against companies that have illegally disposed of chemical or industrial wastes in Scotland in each of the last five years.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The information in the table relates to company prosecutions for offences included in the Scottish Home and Health Department's classification as offences relating to the control of pollution.

These offences include the Control of Pollution Act 1974, the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) Acts, and the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968.


Year                             

           |proceeded            

           |against              

---------------------------------

1984       |8                    

1985       |11                   

1986       |8                    

1987       |9                    

1988       |20                   

Mr. Graham : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has any plans to do a survey to assess the extent of damage and costs that illegal dumping is causing to the environment in Scotland.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : We have no plans to carry out a formal survey to establish the extent and costs of illegal dumping in Scotland. This is a matter that officials of the hazardous waste inspectorate discuss with local authorities in the course of their periodic visits.

Mr. Graham : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what plans he has to give extra powers to local authorities to fight illegal dumping of waste and rubbish ; and if he will be allocating any new powers to the councils ;


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(2) what plans he has to strengthen the laws against illegal dumping in Scotland's passing places, lay-bys and open spaces.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989 contains powers to deter illegal waste dumping, which are to be enforced by district and islands councils. Part II of the Environmental Protection Bill also contains provisions to strengthen the relevant legislative controls.

Inverkip Power Station

Mr. Graham : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his plans for the Inverkip power station.

Mr. Lang : Inverkip power station is presently owned by the South of Scotland electricity board and ownership will pass to Scottish Power as part of the transfer scheme arrangements for the Scottish industry under the Electricity Act 1989. Decisions on the future use of the station will be for the industry to take in the light of its assessment of the contribution which Inverkip is likely to make to its ability to maintain an efficient, co-ordinated and economical system of electricity supply, taking into account a range of factors including operating costs and the relative prices of fuels.

River Clyde

Mr. Graham : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the state of the River Clyde regarding pollution ; and what assessment he has made of whether (a) it is safe to eat fish and shellfish caught in the river at the lowest reaches, (b) it is safe to swim in the river at the lower reaches and (c) the new sewage outfall at Battery park in Greenock will cause any additional sewage problems in the Firth of Clyde.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The assessment and control of pollution are the responsibility of the river purification authority, the Clyde river purification board. For many years the board, in co-operation with local authorities and industrialists, has actively promoted the improvement of the quality of discharges to the River Clyde throughout its length. The Clyde, like almost every other river in Scotland, has markedly improved in quality in recent years. The safety of fish and shellfish on sale for human consumption is a matter for the local environmental health authority. I am not aware of any evidence of any problem which has arisen from swimming in the Clyde. The board carries out relevant monitoring of these waters. The new sewage outfall at Battery park will replace a number of unsatisfactory outfalls with one which meets modern requirements and its completion will greatly improve present conditions.

Waste Disposal Sites

Mr. Graham : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has any plans to allow other waste disposal sites in the Renfrew, West and Inverclyde constituency.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Responsibility for the provision of waste disposal sites in Scotland rests initially with district and islands councils as waste disposal authorities. My right hon. and learned Friend would


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normally become involved only if an application for planning permission, or an appeal against refusal of planning permission, came before him for determination.

Community Charge

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he is taking to reform procedure for appeals against entries in the community charge (poll tax) register ; and what steps he will take to extend the role of the Scottish Committee of the Council on Tribunals to oversee the conduct of appeals to registration officers.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to change the present appeal arrangements. However, discussions are being held with the Scottish Committee of the Council on Tribunals and with Scottish community charges registration officers to establish whether it would be practicable and helpful for the Scottish committee to have a watching brief on the conduct of appeals to registration officers.

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has any plans to change the procedures for appeal against the decision of community charge registration officers in Scotland along the lines of that to be introduced in England and Wales.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : My right hon. and learned Friend has no plans to do so.

Sight Tests

Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the number of recorded sight tests carried out in Scotland between (a) April 1988 to September 1988, inclusive, (b) October 1988 to March 1989, inclusive and (c) April 1989 to September 1989, inclusive ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Forsyth [holding answer 23 January 1990] : The information is set out in the table :


Period                          |Number of          

                                |NHS sight          

                                |tests              

----------------------------------------------------

1 April to 30 September 1988    |531,613            

1 October 1988 to 31 March 1989 |636,997            

1 April to 30 September 1989    |281,570            

Free NHS sight tests were limited to prescribed groups with effect from 1 April 1989. The number of NHS tests carried out between 1 April and 30 September 1989 is not, therefore, directly comparable with NHS figures for earlier periods. The results of a survey on the total number of NHS and private sight tests carried out in Scotland in the first quarter of 1990 compared with earlier periods should be available after Easter.

TRANSPORT

Public Service Vehicles

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make available for public scrutiny data providing actual and comparative percentage figures for each spot check roadside, spot check maintenance facilities and MOT station examination carried out by the inspectors on every public service vehicle company operating in south Wales.


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Mr. Atkins : Close monitoring of all PSV operators is maintained in the interests of road safety. Statistics showing the general level of enforcement activity are published in the annual reports of the south Wales traffic commissioner. Where the condition of a particular operator's vehicle gives cause for concern, the frequency of checks on that operator's premises and fleet may be increased. Details of individual checks are treated as a commercially confidential matter.

Dr. Kim Howells : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make available for public scrutiny the safety inspection records of all public service bus and coach operators in the south Wales area.

Mr. Atkins : The Department does not hold copies of records of PSV operators' own safety inspections.

Transport Supplementary Grant

Mr. Summerson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what conclusions he has reached about the possibility of earmarking part of the expenditure accepted for transport supplementary grant for work that will help reduce the number of casualties on local authority roads.

Mr. Atkins : Following discussions with the local authority associations, I have decided that highway authorities in England should be invited to bid for transport supplementary grant for local safety schemes on all their roads--and not just those of more than local importance--from 1991-92 onwards. Authorities will be told what information they need to submit in support of their bids in the next transport policies and programme circular, which will be issued in a few months from now. The amount of each authority's accepted expenditure for local safety schemes will be separately identified at the time of each TSG settlement.

Lorry Trailer Maintenance

Mr. Patrick Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if the final report of the task force on lorry trailer maintenance is yet available.

Mr. Atkins : I am grateful to the trailer task force for its useful work on this and am arranging for copies of its final report to be placed in the Library. Well-designed and well-maintained trailer braking systems are important for road safety. Since the task force produced its interim report last July ( Official Report, 6 July 1989, col. 259 ) manufacturers have been adjusting and improving their service brake designs. Advice has been drawn up for operators preparing vehicles for test and discussions are in hand with the industry on a code of lorry maintenance generally.

Following the further work of the task force, we are considering making plating conformity a condition of acceptance of vehicles for test rather than part of the test itself, and also dropping the present secondary brake performance test. We shall be discussing further with the industry the clear identification of

responsibilities for maintenance of rented trailers and ways of ensuring that the move to European Commission whole vehicle type approval for trailers contributes to the safety and

cost-effectiveness of trailer construction and use.


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Railway Investment

Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what are, in 1989 moneys, the comparable figures for the public investment on the railway systems of (a) France, (b) West Germany, (c) Holland, (d) Norway, (e) Sweden and (f) the United Kingdom for the years 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991- 92 and 1992-93.

Mr. Portillo : British Rail's latest forecast for total investment expenditure in 1989-90 is £689 million and its latest plan forecasts investment of £1,052 million, £1,258 million and £1,421 million in 1990-91, 1991-92 and 1992-93 respectively.

The only information that I have about the other countries is for France and West Germany for 1989. The figures are :


             |£ million          

---------------------------------

France       |1,062              

West Germany |1,662              

The networks in France and Germany are, of course, bigger than that in Britain.

Fishing Boats

Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all incidents of collision between fishing boats or their gear and submarines in 1989 and 1988 in United Kingdom waters.

Mr. McLoughlin : The names of United Kingdom (and Isle of Man) fishing vessels reported to the Department as having been involved in incidents or suspected incidents with submarines in 1989 are listed in the table together with the date of the incident. There were no similar incidents reported to the Department in 1988.


Vessel                                 |Date of incident                 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Dawn                               |3 January 1989                   

Lau Ann                                |22 January 1989                  

Spes Bona (and Arturus and Strathayre) |27 February 1989                 

Seagull                                |31 March 1989                    

Northern Lights                        |31 March 1989                    

Laurel (Isle of Man)                   |17 April 1989                    

Huntress                               |28 June 1989                     

Scotia                                 |13 November 1989                 

Sarah Marie                            |7 December 1989                  

Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the number of United Kingdom fishing boats lost at sea in 1988 and 1989.

Mr. McLoughlin : For 1988 the figure is 22. For 1989 the number is not yet available.

Western Ferries Limited

Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of safety arrangements on board vessels operated by Western Ferries Limited ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin : The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is conducting an investigation into this incident to establish the cause of the fire. The investigation is not yet completed.


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Cyclists

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many representations he has received from hon. and right hon. Members and members of the public concerning British Rail's policy towards cyclists and rail services ; how many of these were from regular cyclists ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Portillo : In the past year I have received a total of 16 representations from members of the public, either directly or via right hon. or hon. Members, concerning British Rail's policy towards cyclists and rail services. I am unable to say how many were from regular cyclists. I understand that BR's policy is to welcome cyclists and to convey bicycles whenever possible, for an appropriate charge, provided that this will not unduly inconvenience other passengers, or displace other revenue-earning traffic, such as parcels.

Road Accidents

Sir Trevor Skeet : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what additional protection for car passengers he proposes to make over the next five years to abate accident injuries on British roads.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 22 January 1990] : The Department reviews continually how improved construction standards might achieve casualty reductions, both among vehicle occupants and among those who are hit by vehicles. Any such standards require agreement in the EC. Safer steering wheels and protection against side impact are two areas with considerable potential where we have pressed for early action. More generally, we have sought to focus the attention of the Commission on priorities on vehicle safety through the note, "United Kingdom Priorities for Reducing Road Deaths and Serious Injuries from Improvements to Vehicle Construction Standards", copies of which I am placing in the Library.

ENVIRONMENT

Local Government Finance

17. Mr. Brazier : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures he is taking to publicise the availability of community charge benefits.

116. Miss Widdecombe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking to encourage the maximum possible take -up of community charge benefits.

Mr. Chris Patten : I refer my hon. Friends to the reply given to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) earlier today.

Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the rate support grant allocations per head of population for each borough and district council in Kent for 1989-90 in descending order of magnitude.

Mr. David Hunt [holding answer 15 January 1990] : The following is the information requested for the period from 1 April 1989 to 31 March 1990 :


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1989-90               |Rate support                 

                      |grant per head               

                      |£                            

----------------------------------------------------

Gillingham            |66.16                        

Thanet                |56.76                        

Medway                |43.45                        

Canterbury            |42.19                        

Dover                 |40.50                        

Dartford              |38.20                        

Gravesham             |36.79                        

Shepway               |35.57                        

Swale                 |34.83                        

Tunbridge Wells       |34.29                        

Ashford               |31.64                        

Maidstone             |30.96                        

Sevenoaks             |28.76                        

Tonbridge and Malling |21.66                        

Mr. Gale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state his revised projected community charge per capita for (a) Thanet district council and (b) Canterbury city council based upon (i) 100 per cent. collection, (ii) 95 per cent. collection and (iii) 90 per cent. collection ; and if he will state the rate of inflation and population figures upon which these calculations are based.

Mr. Chope [holding answer 15 January 1990] : The community charge figures requested are as follows :


                                    |Thanet                        |Canterbury                                                   

                                    |district                      |district                                                     

                                    |council                       |council                                                      

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(i).                                |Assumed community charge based                                                              

        on 100 per cent. collection |229                           |222                                                          

                                                                                                                                 

(ii).                               |Assumed community charge based                                                              

        on 95 per cent. collection  |241                           |234                                                          

                                                                                                                                 

(iii).                              |Assumed community charge based                                                              

        on 90 per cent. collection  |254                           |247                                                          

These figures assume spending figures for the district councils and for Kent county council based on their respective 1989-90 rate income and grant, adjusted for changes in function and uprated by 4.64 per cent. to be consistent with total standard spending for all authorities of £32.8 billion. They are shown after safety net adustments. The calculations are based on the following population figures : Thanet 96,367 ; Canterbury 95,811.

The published community charge exemplifications make no allowances for losses on collection ; but, equally, they do not allow for certain additional offsetting sources of income (such as standard community charges or interest on cash flow, including the advance payment of revenue support grant that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment recently announced).

121. Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he has issued to responsible individuals who are in receipt of intrusive changes of circumstances forms issued by local community charge registration officers.

Mr. Chope : Every adult individual has a statutory duty to inform the community charges registration officer of any change of circumstances which affects his or her register entry. There is, however, no duty to volunteer such information about any other person. A responsible


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individual has a duty to provide information about people other than him or herself only in response to a specific request from the registration officer.

104. Mr. Carrington : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of those liable to pay the community charge will be eligible to receive community charge benefits.

Mr. Chope : Nearly one quarter of all community charge payers will be helped by community charge benefit, which can reduce their liability by up to 80 per cent.

88. Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about the new system of local authority capital controls.

Mr. Chope : The consultation paper "Capital Expenditure and Finance" published in July 1988 resulted in about 400 representations from the local authority associations, individual local authorities, other organisations, hon. Members, councillors, and other companies and individuals. Since then, my right hon. Friend has received further representations about various aspects of the new capital finance system provided for in part IV of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989.

72. Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to provide additional moneys to ease the introduction of the poll tax ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : We are already providing £23.1 billion of external finance for local authorities in England for 1990-91. In addition, there will be £2.2 billion of support for individuals through community charge benefit, income support, and the transitional relief scheme.

69. Mr. Terry Fields : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the likely average percentage increase in community charge rates for 1991-92 over 1990-91.

Mr. Chope : I have made no such estimate.

60. Ms. Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to finalise the details of the new system of local authority capital controls.

Mr. Chope : We expect to complete shortly the main regulations implementing the new system. The remaining items will follow within a few weeks.

56. Mr. Fearn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will produce revised estimates of the likely level of community charge in England and Wales.

110. Mr. Beith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will produce a revised estimate of the likely level of community charge in Northumbria.

Mr. Chope : My right hon. Friend has made no estimates of the likely level of community charges. Figures placed in the Library on 11 January showed what the community charge could be in English districts if spending were in line with Government assumptions. My right hon. Friend has no plans to revise these figures.

43. Ms. Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when his officials last met the local authority associations to discuss the new system of local authority capital controls.


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Mr. Chope : On 1 December 1989.

35. Mr. Wall : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the criteria to be used for poll tax capping.

Mr. Chope : It would not be right to speculate on any charge-capping scheme we might need to operate in future.

28. Mr. Winnick : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what latest representations he has received over the workings of the poll tax.

Mr. David Hunt : My right hon. Friend and I continue to receive representations about the administration of the community charge. The aspects most frequently raised recently have been the fairness of the new arrangements, questions about comunity charge benefit, and details of the standard charge.

20. Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has made of the cost of


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administration of the community charge ; and what representations he has received on this subject from the Association of District Councils.

Mr. David Hunt : The cost of collecting the community charge, as indicated by an independent study, has been taken into account in the revenue support grant settlement. The Association of District Councils has made a number of representations on these costs.

Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will state in relation to each district and borough council in Kent by what percentage its 1990-91 standard spending assessment represents an increase or decrease from the comparable adjusted figure for the 1989-90 grant-related expenditure assessment.

Mr. David Hunt [holding answer 22 January 1990] : The figures requested are shown in the table :


1990-91 SSAs-cash changes from adjusted 1989-90 GREs                   

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Kent                                                                   

Ashford               |5.266 |4.894 |6.275 |1.381 |20    |28.2         

Canterbury            |8.219 |8.025 |8.839 |0.814 |8     |10.1         

Dartford              |4.935 |4.802 |5.321 |0.519 |8     |10.8         

Dover                 |6.387 |6.205 |7.420 |1.216 |16    |19.6         

Gillingham            |6.311 |6.169 |6.954 |0.785 |11    |12.7         

Gravesham             |5.701 |5.523 |6.418 |0.896 |13    |16.2         

Maidstone             |7.382 |7.193 |9.059 |1.867 |18    |25.9         

Rochester upon Medway |10.021|9.532 |11.719|2.187 |20    |22.9         

Sevenoaks             |5.400 |5.144 |5.964 |0.819 |10    |15.9         

Shepway               |6.029 |5.855 |6.502 |0.647 |9     |11.1         

Swale                 |6.394 |6.182 |7.663 |1.481 |17    |24.0         

Thanet                |9.862 |9.620 |10.242|0.622 |6     |6.5          

Tonbridge and Malling |5.059 |4.921 |5.830 |0.908 |12    |18.5         

Tunbridge Wells       |5.548 |5.422 |6.561 |1.139 |15    |21.0         

Development Projects

18. Mr. Boswell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he will take to expedite the consultative and legal processes necessary before the implementation of major development projects.

Mr. Michael Spicer : In July 1988 we introduced new rules of procedure to speed up planning inquiries into major projects. And we are considering responses to a consultation paper on improving the effectiveness of the planning system generally.

Defective Houses

19. Mr. Lofthouse : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any proposals to offer assistance to those people who purchased houses which since purchase have proved defective ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Spicer : Eligible owners of designated defective properties are entitled to assistance from their local authority under the housing defects legislation.

92. Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he intends to provide additional resources for the repair and maintenance of defective houses ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Chope : The housing investment programme (HIP) allocations for 1990-91, announced by my right hon. Friend on 21 December 1989, took account of the total needs of local authorities for housing expenditure, including the need for expenditure on housing defects. We do not propose to make any additional allocations.

Homelessness

21. Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any further proposals to tackle homelessness.

Mr. Chris Patten : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave earlier today to the right hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme).

120. Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking to alleviate homelessness in London and the south-east.


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