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Mr. Portillo : My right hon. Friend's direct responsibilities in this area are limited to the appointment of members of the board of London Regional Transport. Mr. Wilfred Newton and his senior management team enjoy the full support of the Government in the initiatives they are taking to tackle the many serious problems confronting London Underground Ltd. We also welcome the new emphasis being given by London Underground Ltd. to management training and career development.
Column 56the day. In addition, the Queen's harbour master closed Portsmouth harbour from 11.30 am until 2.30 pm. I understand that Sealink restarted from Fishbourne just after 3 pm, and thereafter ran a two-hourly (rather than the normal one-hourly) service to Portsmouth. All other services to the Isle of Wight remained suspended for the rest of the day.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the effectiveness of maritime services, marine rescue radio services etc., during the storm of 25 January.
Mr. Parkinson : Despite the extreme conditions and a number of power supply interruptions, the maritime rescue services coped with all requests for assistance. The marine rescue radio services, Her Majesty's Coastguard and British Telecom international coast radio stations, maintained a distress watch throughout.
Mr. Onslow : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what authority is responsible for clearing litter from the verges of the A3 in Surrey ; and what steps he takes to ensure that this is done on a regular basis.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 26 January 1990] : Under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 the district councils are responsible for cleaning for purposes of public health and amenity. My Department is responsible for cleaning for maintenance and safety purposes only. Surrey county council acts as the Department's agents, operating under our code of practice. The code prescribes the frequency of litter clearance, which can be varied to meet local circumstances. The Environmental Protection Bill proposes that district councils become wholly responsible for litter clearance on all roads other than motorways.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many new claimants signed on each week of 1989 at (a) Doncaster and (b) Mexborough unemployment benefit offices ; what delays there were in interviewing them ; what requests have been received for additional staff ; and what has been his response.
Mr. Eggar : Information about the number of new claimants who registered as unemployed at these offices each week during 1989 is not available. Details of the number of people who made new claims during 1989 were collected on a monthly basis and these figures are given in the table :
Total number of new claims taken during 1989 |Doncaster |Doncaster |Doncaster |Mexborough |A' |B' |C' ------------------------------------------------------------------ January |832 |532 |712 |384 February |501 |413 |516 |452 March |404 |349 |409 |290 April |488 |376 |449 |342 May |517 |477 |561 |303 June |499 |527 |494 |311 July |775 |708 |770 |403 August |563 |688 |553 |382 September |568 |509 |587 |418 October |639 |546 |611 |392 November |520 |419 |480 |317 December |346 |334 |388 |358 Notes.-Figures represent local count of total number of new claims taken during the month shown.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list by location, where creche facilities are provided for working mothers employed in his Department ; and if they have to make any payment for this service.
Mr. Nicholls : At the present time the Employment Department group does not provide any day nursery facilities (creches) for its staff. However, we are actively considering or planning for nurseries in a number of locations, often in conjunction with other Government Departments or other employers. It is expected that staff who wish to take advantage of these facilities will be required to contribute towards the running costs.
Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what provisions are being made in all the offices and other places under his Department's control for the convenience and comfort of non-smokers ; and if he will make a statement on his Department's policy for non-smokers.
Mr. Nicholls : The policy of the Employment Department group is to discourage non-smokers from taking up smoking, positively to encourage smokers to give it up or to cut down and to create a no-smoking environment, with facilities for those who wish to smoke, rather than the other way round.
The implementation of smoking policies rests with line management who are encouraged to review the practices in their offices and to consider setting up no-smoking schemes either in individual offices or in larger areas, such as regions. Significant progress is being made and no-smoking schemes already exist, or are in preparation, in a number of locations across the group.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list in the Official Report the total amount of European social fund moneys which have been allocated in each of the past five years to training projects run by voluntary organisations ; and if he will show these moneys as a percentage of the total of European social fund moneys granted to Britain.
Mr. Eggar : The table shows European social fund allocations to projects run by voluntary organisations in Great Britain for years 1987 to 1989 inclusive, and these amounts expressed as a percentage of the total allocation to Great Britain.
|£ million |Percentage -------------------------------------------- 1987 |15.5 |4.11 1988 |20.4 |5.76 1989 |22.8 |6.11
The figures for earlier years can be provided only at a disproportionate cost.
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what level of funding he anticipates his Department granting from the European social fund to voluntary organisations for training projects in the next financial year.
Mr. Eggar : The Commission's allocation of European social fund money to the United Kingdom for 1990 is likely to be lower than in 1989. Against that background and the priorities of the Community support frameworks approved recently by the European Commission, I am considering all eligible applications for ESF support including those of voluntary bodies. I cannot yet say what the allocations to voluntary organisations for training will be.
Mr. Howard : Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates, the following changes will be made. The cash limit for class VII, vote 1 (training programmes) will be reduced by £19,694,000 from £2,619,336,000 to £2,599,642,000. This is the net effect of a token £1,000 estimate ; a decrease of £18,886,000 to offset the increase sought on class VII, vote 2, to repay the European Commission for European social fund overpayments in respect of 1987 and 1988, and a decrease of £809,000 to fully offset the increase sought on class VII, vote 5 for the main sale expenses of the Skills Training Agency (STA).
There is also some switching of provision within the vote, the most notable being a transfer of £38,410,000 from employment training (section B1) to the Skills Training Agency (section G) ; £19,183,000 of this transfer is to cover excess expenditure on running costs and £19,227,000 is because income is expected to be lower than in the original estimate.
As a result of these changes, there will be an increase of £20,210, 000 in the DE training programmes running costs limit from £211,627, 000 to £231,837,000. This increase is net of the £2,267,000 reduction to compensate for a breach of the same amount in the 1988-89 Training Agency class VII, vote 2 running costs limit.
The cash limit on class VII, vote 2, will be increased by £16,719, 000 from £641,009,000 to £657,728,000. The increase is more than offset by a £19,694,000 reduction in the cash limit on class VII, vote 1. The increase is the net result of an increase of £20,089,000 to repay the European Commission for European social fund overpayments in respect of 1987-88 offset by a reduction in provision in
Column 59class VII vote 1 ; the transfer of £365,000 from the Cabinet Office : Office of the Minister for the Civil Service (class XX, vote 1) in respect of the challenge funding scheme for senior management development training ; the transfer to class VII, vote 1 of £2,000, 000 to cover increased cost of the introduction of training and enterprise councils ; the net transfer of £1,471,000 to class VII, vote 1, as final adjustment of the provisional split of provision between the Department of Employment and the Training Agency following the transfer of some small firms and enterprise functions to the Training Agency with effect from 1 July 1989 ; increased appropriations in aid of £244,000 from the Department of Social Security (class XV, vote 7) as a result of provision transferred to the employment service in the revised estimate ; and the transfer of £20,000 to the Department of Health (class XIV, vote 3) to fund the Alcohol Concern workplace advisory service.
There is also some switching of provision within the vote, the most notable of which is the transfer of provision between the employment service and other Department of Employment administration of £14,796, 000 in preparation for the employment service becoming an agency. As a result of these changes, there will be a decrease of £2,863, 000 in the running costs limit for employment programmes and central services from £645,129,000 to £642,266,000.
The cash limit on class VII, vote 5, (sale of Skills Training Agency) will be increased by £809,000 from a token £1,000 to £810, 000. This is required to fund the main sale expenses of the Skills Training Agency, which are mainly advisers' fees and is more than offset by the reduction on class VII, vote 1.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, Official Report, 12 January, column 779, if he will make it his policy to arrange for a study to be conducted of the arrangements for the safeguarding of fissile material from warheads dismantled as part of arms reduction agreements.
Mr. Beith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what priority was given to the need to provide a secure communication link following the privatisation of British Telecommunications in the decision to proceed with the Boxer system and the application to build a 300 ft mast at Brizlee Wood, near Alnwick.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The proposed radio mast at Brizlee Wood will establish the east coast Boxer 2 route to defence units in the northern United Kingdom, and will thus be an essential link in the national and NATO communications network. Brizlee Wood was selected as the preferred location for this mast because it is already an important defence installation. The need for the Boxer 2 communications bearer system is based on the requirement to provide a nationwide secure and survivable
Column 60communications system. The system will be introduced into service progressively during the early 1990s. The need for such a system was recognised many years before the privatisation of the British Telecom national network.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, further to the answer to the hon. Member for Leeds, West on 14 December, Official Report, column 818, if he will estimate the amount and type of toxic emissions (a) per mile and (b) per minute of a Tornado jet (i) with use of afterburner, (ii) without use of afterburner, and (iii) at various power settings of the engine.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The amount and mixture of emissions from the Tornado's jet engines without use of afterburner are broadly similar to those of modern civil jet aircraft. When the afterburner is in operation the exhaust may contain a rather higher proportion of unburnt fuel, but the main constituents of the emissions remain the same.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what verification research is being conducted by his Department and consultants on the assessment of canisters which do not need intrusive assay to evaluate the chemical contents of chemical weapons.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : As part of the United Kingdom's active and practical support for the negotiations in Geneva for a comprehensive, global and verification chemical weapons convention, the Ministry of Defence, together with other Departments concerned, is undertaking work on various aspects of the verification technology which will be needed to underpin the convention. This includes the evaluation of non-intrusive techniques such as X-ray, ultrasonics or neutron activation analysis.
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the last review of the pay and conditions of service of locally employed teachers in service schools was completed ; what review is taking place at the present time ; and when that review will be completed.
Mr. Neubert : The pay and conditions of service of teachers who are employed on a locally entered basis by the MOD overseas are dealt with in the context of the arrangements applicable to locally entered civilian (LEC) staff generally. The most recent LEC pay reviews carried out by the commands in Germany, Gibraltar and Hong Kong were implemented from 1 April 1989. The last general pay review date for staff in Cyprus was 1 October 1987, but there is a separate system of interim cost of living allowances. The arrangements for LECs who are dependants of service and United Kingdom- based personnel serving overseas are normally reviewed in the wake of general LEC awards. Account is taken, however, of any differences in their position in relation to taxation and access to other facilities. Such other factors as recruitment and retention and affordability may also have to be taken into consideration. A special review of the terms and conditions applied to dependant LECs is being carried out in Germany. It is too early to say what the implications might be for any particular group.
Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what provisions are being made in all the offices and other places under his Department's control for the convenience and comfort of non-smokers ; and if he will make a statement on his Department's policy for non-smokers.
Mr. Neubert : Smoking is discouraged throughout the Department and is prohibited in lifts and other enclosed spaces. A number of no-smoking areas have been established in offices, recreational areas, staff restaurants and other communal rest areas. No-smoking areas will be developed and extended in response to the wishes of staff.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will obtain a copy of the book "Ways Out of the Arms Race", edited by J. Hassard, T. Kibble and P. Lewis, published by World Scientific, December 1989, for his departmental library.
Mr. Rogers : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if, during the recent discussions with the Minister of Defence for West Germany about the ECR-90 radar, there was any discussion of collateral arrangements for the United Kingdom to acquire German-produced armoured vehicles.
Mr. Rogers : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in the contract for the ECR-90 radar with Ferranti, there is a provision for recourse to Ferranti for any cost overruns on sales to West Germany.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : This information could not be produced without disproportionate effort. Each case is considered individually. The length of detention varies from a few days to two years, depends on a number of factors, including the length of absence, whether or not the absentee surrendered or was arrested, and whether or not he had a record of any previous convictions. Consideration is also given to any mitigating circumstances of a compassionate nature and to the length of time the accused may have spent in custody awaiting trial.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : During the past 12 months there have been no radiological incidents aboard Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarines in or near Scottish ports which have resulted in a hazard to naval personnel or members of the public, or any measurable contamination of the environment.
Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he was informed of GEC's intention to bid for Ferranti Defence Systems Ltd. ; whether he or any of his Ministers or officials met the boards of either or both companies before the talks with the West German Defence Minister on 22 January ; whether he was consulted by either of the companies involved in the takeover before the announcement of 23 January and in what respects he assessed the bid by GEC for Ferranti differently from those made by the same company for Plessey in 1986 and 1989.
Mr. Alan Clark : My right hon. Friend and I, and Ministry of Defence officials, maintain contact with the management of all major defence contractors, including Ferranti and GEC ; the details of our discussions are always confidential. However, I can say that the two companies informed the Ministry of Defence that discussions were taking place between them. The proposed acquisition will be assessed in the normal way by the Director General of Fair Trading under the provisions of the Fair Trading Act 1973.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has any information as to the numbers of RAF apprentices and officer trainee pilots who are on full pay and have been classified as students for community charge purposes.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : I understand that 411 RAF apprentices and technicians have been classified as students for community charge purposes. I am not aware that any RAF officer trainees have been so classified.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 15 January, Official Report, column 120, to the hon. Member for Linlithgow, if he will declassify the captain's narrative of HMS Conqueror's Falklands deployment.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his current detailed timetable for the cleaning and restoration of the stonework of the inner courtyards of the Palace of Westminster.
Mr. Chope : The repair, restoration and cleaning of the stonework of the Palace of Westminster is being carried out in a number of phases. The next phase will cover the Victoria Tower and south elevation, overlooking the Victoria Tower gardens. This is due to start in April 1990 and will take about four years to complete.
Column 63The final stage of the programme covering the inner courtyards will be tackled after that, but it is too early to say yet precisely when the work will start, or how long it will take.
Mr. Jopling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much extra money would be needed by Cumbria county council above its standard spending assessment for fire services to comply with the standards recommended by the Home Office inspectorate of fire services.
Mr. David Hunt : The standard spending assessment for fire and civil defence services is the Government's estimate of an appropriate level of expenditure consistent with the efficient provision of a standard level of service. It takes into account the characteristics of Cumbria as specified in the Revenue Support Grant Distribution Report (England) and is consistent with the figure for total standard spending by all local authorities announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 19 July 1989. However, budgetary decisions for these services remain the responsibility of Cumbria county council. The Home Office inspectorate of fire services closely monitors the performance of brigades against the nationally recommended standards of fire cover.
Column 64Contractors since 22 November 1989 ; and whether he has made any assessment of the effects on Her Majesty's pollution inspectorate of the code of self-regulation.
Mr. Trippier : My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the Member for Wells (Mr. Heathcoat-Amory) met the chairman and representatives of the National Association of Waste Disposal Contractors on 17 January. During the course of wide-ranging discussions the association's code of self-regulation was not specifically discussed. But the Department is aware of the code which we see as a positive step in promoting the necessary high standards that should prevail throughout waste management. Adoption of the code will not affect the work of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution in regard to its responsibilities for waste as these rest primarily in monitoring the performance of the waste disposal authorities and in setting a framework of national standards for waste management practice.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the fees paid to each of the accountancy firms connected with the water privatisation ; and how much money has been paid to firms criticised by the Department of Trade and Industry or the disciplinary committees of the accountancy profession.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the figures for Exeter city council and Devon county council authorities (a) expenditure, (b) Government grant support, (c) percentage increase on previous years and (d) inflation percentage for the following years : 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1989-90 together with the target figures for 1990-91.
|Total expenditure |Increase |Rate support grant|Increase |GDP Deflator |£ million |Per cent. |£ |Per cent. |Per cent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Exeter 1987-88 |7.036 |60.7 |4,621,206 |-16.4 |5.3 1988-89 |6.139 |-12.7 |4,902,078 |6.1 |7.25 1989-90 |6.840 |11.4 |5,169,351 |5.5 |7.00 Devon 1987-88 |390.072 |8.3 |162,988,858 |7.5 |5.3 1988-89 |396.869 |1.7 |166,253,251 |2.0 |7.25 1989-90 |456.617 |15.1 |162,550,732 |-2.2 |7.00 Notes: 1. For the years 1987-88 to 1989-90 the rate support grant for Devon consists of block grant only whereas Exeter received both block grant and domestic rate relief grant. 2. Under the new local government finance system, which comes into force on 1 April, there are no target figures. 3. In 1990-91 Exeter will receive £12.4 million of revenue support grant.
Mr. Hannam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give (a) the figures of business rate contribution to Exeter city council for the following years : 1987-88, 1988-89 and 1989-90, (b) the expected business
Column 64rate contribution to the uniform business rate in 1990-91 and (c) the allocation of uniform business rate to Exeter city council in 1990-91.
Non-domestic rate yield in Exeter net of rebates: |£ million ------------------------------ 1987-88 |16.1 1988-89 |19.3 1989-90 |21.1 Allocation of uniform business 1990-91 |21.5
The business rate contribution to the uniform business rate in 1990-91 is not yet known.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will show in the Official Report the numbers and grades of his staff engaged on GRE or SSA development in (a) 1988, (b) 1989 and (c) planned for 1990.
Mr. David Hunt [holding answer 25 January 1990] : The number of staff in my Department engaged on GRE or SSA development and calculation are shown in the table for 1988 and 1989. Future figures are not yet known.
The figures include professional economists and statisticians plus support staff who have been engaged on GRE or SSA development and calculation in the period. Not all of these staff have been engaged wholly on GRE or SSA development.
|1988|1989 ----------------------------------------------- Grade 5 |1 |1 Grade 6 |1 |1 Grade 7 |3 |3 SEO |1 |1 HEO and professional equivalent |1 |1 EO and professional equivalent |2 |2 AO |1 |1
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether people living in communities run by (a) the Moonies, (b) Hare Krishna, (c) the Children of God, (d) the Scientologists and (e) other religious cults will be exempt from the poll tax ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Hunt : Individuals who are members of religious communities, the principal occupation of which is prayer, contemplation, the relief of suffering or education ; who have no income or capital of their own ; and who are dependent upon the community concerned for their material needs, are exempt from the community charge. It is for community charges registration officers to decide in each case whether a person falls within the terms of the exemption.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what relief from the community charge will be available to those who currently receive relief on their rates because they are disabled ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Chope : Disabled persons' rate relief ensures that disabled people do not have to pay higher rate bills where an adaptation of their home made necessary by their disability would raise its rateable value. There is no question of a disabled person having to pay more community charge because of his disability, so equivalent provision is not necessary. Rebates of up to 80 per cent. of the community charge are available to people, including
Column 66disabled people, with little or no income who qualify for community charge benefit. Income support, for those receiving it, contains an amount to help pay the remaining 20 per cent. Disabled people may qualify for rebates at higher levels of income than other claimants because of the disability premium.
(2) by what percentage the rate imposed by Essex county council increased in each year from 1979 to date ; and if he will make a statement.
|Chelmsford |Essex |borough |county |council |council |borough rate|precept |per cent. |per cent. ---------------------------------------------------- 1979-80 |-36.8 |+25.3 1980-81 |+4.4 |+18.7 1981-82 |+59.6 |+10.8 1982-83 |-39.2 |+14.9 1983-84 |+9.6 |+4.7 1984-85 |+38.8 |+7.0 1985-86 |+26.1 |+7.4 1986-87 |+7.1 |+18.8 1987-88 |-13.3 |+10.8 1988-89 |+38.5 |+17.8 1989-90 |+19.4 |+5.1
Borough rate is the rate charged by the borough ; precept is the rate levied by the county council.
Mr. Chope : The eligibility criteria defining full-time courses for the purposes of student relief make no reference to the source of a student's funds. Every person whose course fulfils these criteria will be liable to pay only 20 per cent. of the personal community charge.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the maximum level of community charge for Northampton at which no couple will be required to pay £3 per week extra as protected by the transitional relief ; and how this divides between Northampton and Northamptonshire.
Mr. Chope : For the purposes of the transitional relief scheme, the assumed community charge for the area of Northampton borough council will be £294.13. The way in which this figure is derived does not permit a meaningful apportionment to be made between district and county ; but the community charge bills which people receive will show separately how much of the actual community charge is due to county and district spending, and will show, for comparison, the cost of providing a standard level of service.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what supervision is given and by whom as to the standard of work by the cleaning contractors now employed in the House of Commons ; and if he will make a statement.