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Column 511widening of the M1 from junction 6a (M25) to junction 10 (Luton airport). This is one of the many new schemes announced in the White Paper, "Roads for Prosperity", published in May 1989.
Mr. Atkins : Lower speed limits in suitable residential areas could have a significant effect in reducing road casualties, particularly among children. I am discussing with the local authority associations and the police guidelines for the establishment of 20mph zones and hope shortly to issue a consultative document. Action by local authorities on these lines will not require legislation.
Mr. Atkins : Most urban developments have street lighting, where a 30mph limit automatically applies. It is open to local highway authorities to introduce a 30mph limit on their other roads if, in their view, that would enhance road safety.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list (a) the national staffing levels for British Transport police and (b) the staffing levels for British Transport police for the West Yorkshire passenger transport authority area, for each year since 1979.
1979 |1,899|182 |2,081 1980 |1,948|186 |2,134 1981 |2,138|194 |2,332 1982 |2,128|196 |2,324 1983 |2,052|194 |2,246 1984 |1,961|186 |2,147 1985 |1,817|184 |2,001 1986 |1,834|186 |2,020 1987 |1,846|183 |2,029 1988 |1,830|194 |2,024 1989 |1,856|247 |2,103 Note: The change in the total between 1983 and 1985 reflected the termination of policing arrangements between Associated British Ports and the BTP.
Data for officers engaged solely on policing the West Yorkshire passenger authority area are not available, but
Column 512figures for officers stationed at Leeds and Bradford, involving an area which approximates to that of the PTA, are as follows :
1979 |53 |2 |55 1980 |51 |2 |53 1981 |54 |2 |56 1982 |50 |2 |52 1983 |52 |2 |54 1984 |51 |2 |53 1985 |53 |2 |55 1986 |56 |2 |58 1987 |53 |2 |55 1988 |52 |2 |54 1989 |55 |2 |57
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take action to ensure that heavy goods vehicle licensing authorities must take into account deficiencies in the public highway system giving access to a proposed operating centre when determining applications for new licences.
Mr. Atkins : Responsibility for traffic and safety matters on the public highway rests with the appropriate highway authority. It would be wrong to confuse this with the functions of a licensing authority for goods vehicle operator licences.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action will be taken to reduce traffic congestion on roads within Wakefield metropolitan district during the proposed widening of the A1 in West Yorkshire.
Mr. Atkins : To minimise traffic delays on the A1 it is intended that two lanes of traffic in each direction will be maintained for most of the construction period associated with the widening works. In this way it is anticipated that conditions on other roads, including those in Wakefield metropolitan district, will be substantially unchanged.
Mr. Ian Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has on the figures on road deaths in rural Dorset ; and what assessment he has made of the extent to which there is a relationship between fatal road accidents and inadequate roads.
Column 513The Department is very aware of the need for safe roads, and in January 1988 introduced a new skidding resistance standard for trunk roads. By providing the highest levels of skidding resistance where they are most needed, it is expected that 1,800 road casualties, including 75 fatalities, will be saved each year on trunk roads. Local authorities have followed the Department's lead by incorporating the standard within their own code of good practice for highway maintenance.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many complaints he has received about the operation of the Motor Insurers Bureau for each of the last five years ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he will give his reasons for his decision to allow the Motor Insurers Bureau to be regulated by a voluntary agreement ; (3) if he will make a statement about the operation of the Motor Insurers Bureau ;
(4) if he will review the voluntary agreement operated between his Department and the Motor Insurers Bureau ; and if he will make a statement ;
(5) what representations he has received about the operation of the Motor Insurers Bureau.
Mr. Atkins : The Motor Insurers Bureau provides a central fund to compensate accident victims of uninsured and untraced drivers. It carries out its obligations under the terms of its agreements with the Secretary of State. The agreements have been revised from time to time since the bureau was formed in 1946.
These arrangements have worked satisfactorily. Last year the bureau received some 15,000 applications under the agreements and paid some £28 million in compensation. The Department receives some 30 inquiries or representations a year about specific cases or the bureau's operations generally. Most of these originated from one firm of solicitors.
I have no plans to review the agreements.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many actions for trespass were initiated by British Transport police in 1989 ; and how many were against members of hunts ; (2) how many incidents of hunt trespass on British Rail property were reported to British Transport police in 1989 ; and what action was taken.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what action he plans to take following the death of Mr. Joseph Cunningham, Master of the Cleveland Foxhounds, who was killed by a train on 25 January when trespassing on British Rail property ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will authorise a public inquiry into the public safety, health, nuisance and amenity considerations pertaining to the proposed excavation of the controlled household refuse tip established at Ferry road, Cardiff, and its proposed transportation by rail.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether any of the owners of the land along the line of British Rail's preferred Channel tunnel rail link route are among the third parties to which he referred in his reply to the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling of 16 January, Official Report, column 152.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has had any recent representations from any of the former dock labour scheme ports about reintroducing a workers' registration scheme ; and if he will make a statement about employment at former scheme ports.
Mr. McLoughlin : We have had no such representations. There have been many changes in employment practices in former dock labour scheme ports, as overmanning, restrictive practices and rigid demarcations have been eliminated and numbers employed generally reduced, making the ports more efficient. Some shippers are now using their own employees to load and unload ships. Some former stevedoring firms have closed down, but some new ones have been started up.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what regulations govern the maximum size of public signs denoting car parking within cities, towns and villages ; and if he will give details of the relevant dimensions.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 2 February 1990] : Car parking signs which are off the highway are subject to permission by local planning authorities under the Control of Advertisement Regulations. There is no legal limitation as to their size.
Car parking signs which are located within the highway are covered by the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 and the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 1981. The traffic speed on a road will determine the height of the letters used on the sign. Practical considerations and the amount of information to be included will determine its overall size.
45. Sir Anthony Meyer : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the average income of a retired couple with savings just sufficient to disqualify them from all means-tested benefit including housing benefit.
Mr. Scott : A wide range of factors are involved in calculating income-related benefits and I regret it is not possible to give a precise answer to the question. If my hon. Friend has a particular case in mind and cares to write to me I will respond.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The latest available information shows that pensioners' average total net incomes increased by 23 per cent. in real terms between 1979 and 1986. This compares very favourably with the previous Government's record when, between 1974 and 1979, previous average total net incomes rose by only 3 per cent. Increases in income from occupational pensions have contributed considerably to this improvement. Pensioners had experienced a 56 per cent. increase in real terms in the level of their occupational pension during this Government's first seven years of office.
Source : Family Expenditure Survey.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : The latest available information shows that pensioners' average total net incomes increased by 23 per cent. in real terms between 1979 and 1986. This compares very favourably with the previous Government's
Column 516record when, between 1974 and 1979, previous average total net incomes rose by only 3 per cent. Increases in incomes from savings have contributed considerably to this improvement. In 1986 a total of 70 per cent. of pensioners had income from savings. These pensioners had seen the value of their savings income increase in real terms by 64 per cent. during this Government's first seven years of office, whereas under the previous Labour Government between 1974 and 1979 savings fell by 16 per cent.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : I regret that the information requested for 1989 is not yet available. However, estimated expenditure in 1988-89 was £700 million for income support and £1,290 million for housing benefit. The housing benefit estimate includes retirement pensioners who were also receiving income support.
Mr. Scott : Our overall policy for young people remains correct and in the best interests of young people. As a result of the administrative improvements announced last November all young people are now interviewed about their claims and automatic consideration is given to the severe hardship provisions in every case where there is no entitlement under normal rules. In addition we are in the process of consulting voluntary groups about new instructions for our staff and the design of a leaflet for 16 and 17-year-olds.
Mr. Scott : We are always willing to take account of comments made by organisations of and for disabled people in considering changes to benefits. Our proposals for major changes in the balance and structure of disability benefits have been made in the light of the views and comments of many organisations. And we shall continue to take into account the views of interested organisations in the course of our detailed work on the proposals, in particular the new disability allowance and the disabled employment credit.
Mr. Scott : We have recently announced major proposals to improve social security help for people with disabilities. Our strategy is to improve the balance and structure of benefits for disabled people who are unable to work, in particular to do more for those disabled from birth or early in life, and to improve the help given to those disabled people who can and want to work. The changes we propose to make include a new disability allowance for
Column 517people of working age and below to extend help with the extra costs of being disabled ; a new disability employment credit to make it easier for disabled people to take up jobs ; and an increase of up to £10 a week in severe disablement allowance. Our proposals will give extra help to some 850,000 people and their net effect will be to add, by 1993-94, some £300 million to the £8.3 billion that is currently spent on benefits for long-term sick and disabled people and their carers.
Mr. Scott : We estimate that about 150,000 people will receive the new lower rate of the mobility component of the disability allowance and 140,000 people the new lower rate of the care component. We shall also be working to ensure that everyone who receives the disability allowance benefits from improved arrangements for the administration of the benefit.
Mr. Scott : As I said earlier today in reply to the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing), we continuously monitor the working of the social fund. Interest-free loans have proved to be an effective way of targeting the available money so as to help the greatest number of people. Indeed, the flexible way in which the social fund operates has enabled us to reallocate some of the money recovered from loans to help those offices coming under pressure.
25. Sir Fergus Montgomery : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security by what proportion spending on benefits for long-term sick and disabled people has increased over the last decade ; and how he anticipates recent announcements will affect such expenditure over the next three years.
Column 518increases in expenditure of an extra £88 million net in 1990-91 ; £141 million net in 1991-92 ; and £214 million net in 1992-93. This was on top of a real increase in spending on people who are long-term sick or disabled of nearly 100 per cent. over the last decade.
32. Sir Bernard Braine : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a further statement on the measures he is introducing to help long-term sick and disabled people who are disabled from birth or early in life.
55. Sir David Price : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a further statement on the measures he is introducing to help long-term sick and disabled people who are disabled from birth or early in life.
49. Mr. Gow : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security by what proportion spending on benefits for long-term sick and disabled people has increased over the last decade ; and how he anticipates recent announcements will affect such expenditure over the next three years.
26. Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what representations he has received concerning restoration of the link between earnings and retirement pensions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : We have received a total of 1,941 representations between 11 January 1989 and 9 January 1990 on pensioners' incomes, the majority of which concerned the link with earnings. We have no plans to restore the link ; the Government do not accept that uprating retirement pension in line with earnings is the key factor in improving pensioners' incomes. Between 1979 and 1986 pensioners' average total net income increased by 23 per cent. in real terms.
self-administered pension schemes.
27. Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what benefits are available for young people aged under 18 years who leave home to help them find accommodation ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 519means of avoiding a serious risk to the health and safety of the applicant. In addition young people likely to receive income support on leaving institutional, residential or local authority care are one of the priority groups for community care grants and may be eligible for start-up grants to help them to establish themselves in the community.
Mr. Scott : The percentage of people whose applications for a social fund loan have been refused because of inability to repay is very low--1.2 per cent. of the decisions in the year 1989-90 to date. We do not consider that it would be helpful to allow people in these circumstances to put themselves further into debt. Money advice is offered in these cases.
46. Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of social fund expenditure for 1990-91 by (a) grants and (b) loans for London offices and the amount spent in the last full year for which single payments were applied.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the cash limit for social fund loans and grants from his Department's offices in Scotland for 1989-90 and the amount expended by 1 January in the current year.