The Prime Minister : We are in continuing contact with the Jordanian Government. We have made clear our regret at King Hussein's misleading description of coalition objectives and activities in his 6 February speech to his people. I last communicated directly with King Hussein on 3 January, when I met him in London.
The Prime Minister : My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Mellor), the then Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, met President Saddam Hussein on 24 February 1988. A number of regional and bilateral issues were discussed.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House, I shall be having further meetings later today.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the (a) economic, (b) scientific, (c) technical, (d) environmental, and (e) social programmes which Her Majesty's Government have supported since 1989 in (i) Argentina, (ii) Brazil, (iii) Chile, (iv) Colombia, (v) Mexico, (vi) Panama, (vii) Peru, (viii) Venezuela and (ix) Uruguay.
We have no bilateral aid programmes for Argentina or Venezuela. We have technical co-operation programmes of varying sizes in the other seven countries. All these programmes concentrate on renewable natural resources (with a special emphasis on the sustainable use of the environment), English language teaching, and postgraduate training in Britain. Since July 1989 we have been building up a specifically environmental programme in Brazil.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Howell) on 28 January, Official Report, column 391, if he will publish the uprated tables on transitional grants referred to in his answer ; and if he will make a statement.
The changes as a result of the new community charge reduction scheme announced on 17 January were not included in these tables and are as follows :
|England |Scotland|Wales |Great |Britain ----------------------------------------------------------------- Community charge reduction scheme 1991-92 (£ million) |1,695 |90 |62 |1,847
These figures replace those for transitional relief given in the published tables.
Funding for the new scheme results in offsetting savings of some £300 million on community charge benefit.
Mr. Alexander To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newark of 29 January, Official Report, column 466, how much of the £66 million bingo duty was paid by non-profit making members' clubs in the year ended 31 March 1990.
Investment in transport infrastructure by both the public and private sectors has been greatly increased. British Rail's investment this year is over 50 per cent. higher in real terms than in 1986-87 and London Transport's is 85 per cent. higher ; investment in national roads in England is 70 per cent. higher. Massive investment is already in progress to provide rail and road links to the channel tunnel from the day it opens. The Government's spending plans provide for further substantial increases in investment over the next few years, particularly in London Transport, British Rail and air traffic control.
The private sector also now has a greatly enhanced role in the provision of transport infrastructure, most notably in the channel tunnel, authorised by the 1987 Act, in roads
Column 537and bridges such as the Dartford-Thurrock bridge, the second Severn bridge and the Birmingham northern relief road, and in airports such as BAA's new terminal at Stansted. The BAA was privatised in 1987 and the privatisation of the National Bus Company was completed in 1988. The United Kingdom Government have been in the forefront of moves to achieve greater liberalisation in the provision of transport services in the European Community, where there has been considerable progress on aviation, road haulage and shipping, in international aviation, and in Britain's docks through the abolition of the dock labour scheme.
Transport safety is being enhanced through investment, regulation and publicity. We have approved British Rail's plans to spend £330 million for specific safety measures over the next three years--all that it asked for--and London Underground plans to invest approaching £400 million in further safety improvements over that period. Following a major review of road safety in 1987, the Government set a target of a one third reduction in road accident casualties by the year 2000. This is being implemented vigorously through legislation, including this Session's Road Traffic Bill, through low-cost road engineering schemes and through enhanced publicity campaigns under the safety on the move umbrella, notably on drinking and driving and child road safety. Numerous measures have been taken to improve ferry safety ; and both aviation and maritime security are being tightened up, assisted by the new powers in the 1990 Act.
Stringent new European limits for vehicle emissions have been agreed, and unleaded petrol is rapidly supplanting leaded. Careful environmental assessments are undertaken for all national road schemes, and new roads are now being blended into the environment through more imaginative landscaping. More stringent limits on noise levels have been introduced for both road vehicles and aircraft.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library copies of the comments of the British Ports Federation submitted at the request of the then shipping minister on 9 November 1990 on the matter of trust ports privatisation and consultation.
Mr. McLoughlin : The meeting to which the hon. Lady refers was one of a regular series of discussions at ministerial level between the Department of Transport and the federation, which are not limited to trust ports privatisation and consultation. My noble Friend Lord Brabazon of Tara did not at that meeting request, nor did he subsequently receive, a statement on these topics from the federation.
Mr. Wilshire : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if, following receipt of Civil Aviation Authority report CAP578 on 22 January, he has commissioned any research into the number of spare slots at Heathrow airport.
Column 538summer 1990. More generally, the authority addressed the question of spare capacity at Heathrow in its advice last year on the United Kingdom's longer-term airport needs.
Mr. Wilshire : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has asked the Civil Aviation Authority to undertake research into the implications of the recommendations of Civil Aviation Authority report CAP578 on the number of spare slots that would be applied for at Heathrow airport.
Mr. McLoughlin : No. The Civil Aviation Authority has advised in CAP578 that the effects of abolishing Heathrow rules one, two and three are unpredictable, in part because they must depend on decisions which might be taken by foreign airlines on whether to seek to mount services at Heathrow.
Mr. Rifkind : The Government have had discussions with London Transport about the financial difficulties it has encountered in 1990-91. The Government have concluded that the appropriate course is to increase London Transport's external financing limit for 1990-91 by £55 million. At the same time, an increase of £7.55 million is necessary to cover London Transport's expenditure in the current year on east-west crossrail, and costs associated with safeguarding the Chelsea-Hackney line proposal. These increases will change London Transport's 1990-91 EFL from £448.00 million to £510.55 million. This is within the forecast outturn for the planning total published in the statistical supplement to the 1990 autumn statement.
Urgent discussions with London Transport are continuing, about their budget for 1991-92. Pending the outcome of those discussions, London Transport's EFL and capital expenditure ceilings will remain at the levels previously announced.
Mr. Freeman : I am pleased to announce that the grant to London dial -a-ride services for 1991-92 will be £10.015 million, an increase of over £1.7 million on 1990-91. It has been most encouraging to see the rapid expansion of the scheme in recent years and I am confident that this latest injection of cash will allow London Transport to increase the services still further in 1991-92 by an estimated 60,000 journeys-- equivalent to an increase of 9 per cent.--and also to proceed with the first stages of their planned reorganisation.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has for projects to help the consistent classification of plants, as proposed by Dr. Martin Holdgate FRS at the nature conservancy conference on 31 January.
Mrs. Chalker : Aircraft of any type are used as a last resort in famine relief operations, due to their limited load capacity and extremely high operating costs. Where sea or ground transport cannot be used, however, airlifts are recognised as an alternative means of delivering food. In such operations Hercules aircraft have advantages in operating into short or inaccessible airstrips.
Mrs. Chalker : The British embassy in Mogadishu was closed and staff withdrawn in early January because of the complete breakdown in law and order. Since the United Kingdom maintains diplomatic relations with states rather than governments, there has been no breach in relations. We keep in regular contact with the Somali ambassador in London as well as with representatives of the various Somali groups.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what estimate he has of the total value of Crown business so far lost by the Property Services Agency through competitive tendering by Government Departments ;
(2) how many Crown tenders the Property Services Agency has competed for and how many has it won in competition since Crown customers were untied.
Mr. Yeo : The PSA has submitted competitive bids for some 200 separate commissions since Departments were untied. The extent to which these were successful is commercially sensitive information for the PSAbusinesses, which it would be inappropriate to disclose, but PSA has been successful in a sizeable proportion. The market testing has provided a powerful stimulus to efficiency, and Departments will have benefited from keener prices.
Mr. Yeo : PSA Services--PSAS--already produces, for management use, monthly income and expenditure accounts. The implementation of new commercial financial systems is well advanced and as they are introduced they are running in parallel with cash accounting for the Vote. PSAS will continue to operate on the basis of cash accounting until it ceases to be a Government Department.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the salary cost, including pay bonuses and compensation paid on termination of contract, of the Property Services Agency board members in the period January 1990 to January 1991.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many performance pay bonuses have been awarded to Property Services Agency board members in the period 1 January 1990 to 1 January 1991 ; and what was the total cost of those bonuses.
Mr. Yeo : During the 1990 calendar year three performance pay bonuses totalling £11,468 were awarded to Property Services Agency board members. The salaries of a further three board members included an element of performance pay totalling £8,538 as a result of awards made in previous years.
Mr. Richard Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all those local authorities whose non-domestic rate poundage rose by less than 10.9 per cent. in 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987- 88, 1988-89 and 1989-90.
|£ ------------------------------ Ashford |452 Canterbury |420 Dartford |402 Dover |372 Gillingham |391 Gravesham |441 Maidstone |433 Rochester on Medway |376 Sevenoaks |474 Shepway |475 Swale |340 Thanet |425 Tonbridge and Malling |438 Tunbridge Wells |435
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he has given to the provision of assistance by his Department at the end of military conflict in the Gulf in safely packaging the radioactively contaminated rubble and radioactive waste arising from the Iraqi nuclear facilities destroyed by allied bombing.
Mr. Richard Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the credit approvals of each local authority in England for 1990-91 and 1991-92, showing the percentage change between the two years.
Mr. Portillo : A list of the basic credit approvals issued to local authorities in England for 1991-92 was placed in the House of Commons Library on 4 January 1991. I am arranging for a further list to be placed in the Library giving, for each authority, basic credit approvals for 1990- 91 and 1991-92 and showing the percentage changes between the two years.
Mr. Richard Shepherd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the annual capital guideline of each local authority in England for 1990-91 and 1991-92, showing the percentage change between the two years.
Mr. Portillo : Annual capital guidelines--ACGs--for local authorities in England are issued by the Secretary of State responsible for each service block. My Department is responsible for issuing ACGs in respect of the housing and other services blocks--OSB. I am arranging for two lists to be placed in the Library giving, for each authority, the 1990- 91 and 1991-92 ACGs for housing and OSB respectively and showing the percentage change between the two years.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations his Department has received from the Audit Commission concerning the pursuit of non-payers of poll tax through the courts ; and whether he has any plans to offer additional moneys to magistrates courts to cover such cases.
Mr. Key : The Audit Commission produced a report in November 1990 on the administration of the community charge. Among other things, it suggested to authorities that they should liaise closely with clerks to magistrates
Column 542courts in order to ensure that community charge cases are handled satisfactorily and in appropriate numbers. We have warmly welcomed this report and strongly commended its findings to local authorities. In January the Audit Commission's paper for the local government review suggested that authorities are now able to issue more summonses but court time remains inadequate in most authorities. On the question of magistrates courts funding I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister of State, Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Oxford, West and Abingdon (Mr. Patten), to the hon. Member for Caernarfon (Mr. Wigley) on 13 February, Official Report, column 492.
Mr. Ken Hargreaves : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much of the £1.7 billion funding available for the community charge reduction scheme is to be allocated to (a) Blackburn, (b) Hyndburn and (c) Burnley ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Key : This information is not yet available. The amount of reduction scheme grant a charging authority receives will depend on the personal community charge that it sets for 1991-92 and the number of eligible people in its area. Claims for community charge reduction scheme grant will be requested shortly.
(2) what was the average level of community charge for each local authority in the Kent area for three adult person households.
Mr. Key : In 1990-91 each adult, unless a student or exempted, would be liable for a full personal community charge less, depending on personal circumstances, amounts for transitional relief and community charge rebate. The following table, using information returned by the local authorities, shows the estimated average community charge and the average charge after reliefs and rebates.
|Average |Average |charge |charge after |transitional |relief and |community |charge benefit |£ |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------- Ashford |299 |267 Canterbury |300 |256 Dartford |330 |292 Dover |298 |271 Gillingham |285 |260 Gravesham |294 |262 Maidstone |330 |308 Rochester upon Medway |249 |224 Sevenoaks |322 |299 Shepway |347 |293 Swale |299 |260 Thanet |300 |257 Tonbridge and Malling |320 |298 Tunbridge Wells |315 |294
Mr. Yeo : It is too early to assess the overall impact of the Act on private renting. Research now in progress will provide information in the course of 1991. There are, however, clear signs of increased activity in the residential lettings market. In particular, it is estimated that business expansion scheme companies have so far raised £580 million, which will provide over 10,000 new homes to rent.
Sir Ian Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will publish a table listing the total capital expenditure on leisure centres and swimming baths by local authorities in the last five years for which detailed information is available.
Year |Leisure |Swimming |centres |pools ------------------------------------ 1984-85 |107.914 |35.429 1985-86 |63.998 |25.534 1986-87 |76.687 |34.672 1987-88 |87.783 |51.056 1988-89 |105.223 |51.311 Figures are shown in £ million. NB: For the years 1987-88 and 1988-89 the figures for leisure centres include expenditure on indoor sports and community centres; for the years 1984-85, 1985-86 and 1986-87 data were collected under the heading sports and recreation centres.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the latest figures, by quarter, for the number of (a) applications and (b) approvals of the various grants for home renovation and repair (i) since June 1990 and (ii) for the eight quarters ending in June 1990.
Mr. Yeo : The Local Government and Housing Act 1989 changed the system of renovation grants to private owners and tenants in England from 1 July 1990. Under the new system the Department collects information about grant applications approved and final payments made. Information about grant approvals under the new system during the third quarter of 1990 are shown in the table. Figures for the fourth quarter of 1990 are not yet available.
Column 544The previous system of grants to private owners and tenants ended at 30 June 1990. Grant applications and approvals under the old system up to and including the first quarter of 1990 are shown in table 2.16 of "Housing and Construction Statistics Part 2" June 1990. A copy of this publication is in the Library.
Renovation grants under the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 Grant applications approved-England-third quarter, 1990 |Mandatory |Discretionary -------------------------------------------------------------------- Renovation grants |144 |66 HMO<1> grants |Nil |Nil Common parts grants |Nil |Nil Disabled facilities grant |172 |16 Minor works assistance |- |3,362 <1> Houses in multiple occupation.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for representation at the fourth international parks conference at Caracas in 1992, in relation to protection of areas of plant communities, as proposed by Dr. Rodwell of Lancaster university.
Mr. Baldry : I understand that the fourth world congress on national parks and protected areas will include discussions on the classification and monitoring of vegetation. The International union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, as organisers of the congress, is considering inviting Dr. Rodwell to participate in these discussions.
Mr. Trippier : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment is aware that the Countryside Commission published a policy statement on heritage coasts last month and that the commission intends to seek his views on it in due course.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to enable local authorities to establish companies or trusts to run residential homes for the elderly ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) which voluntary organisations carried out the survey of people sleeping rough in London referred to by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary on 8 January, Official Report, column 543 ; and on what date the survey was conducted ;
(2) if he will provide a borough-by-borough breakdown of the 1,046 people sleeping rough in London quoted by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary on 8 February, Official Report, column 543 ; (3) whether the Metropolitan police took part in the survey of people sleeping rough in London referred to by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary on 8 January, Official Report, column 543.
Sir George Young : The estimate of 1,046 people sleeping rough in central London quoted by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary was drawn from estimates made by the voluntary organisations listed in the table. These estimates were made at the end of January in relation to seven areas in central London in which the main concentrations of rough sleepers are found. The voluntary organisations are in regular contact with the Metropolitan police but they did not consult the police on these estimates.
The estimates for the seven areas were as follows ; it is not possible to analyse them on a borough-by-borough basis :
|Number ---------------------------------------------------- Strand and West End |130 Victoria and Vauxhall |300 Earl's Court and Hammersmith Broadway |56 The "Bullring" and Waterloo |120 The City |130 Lincoln's Inn Fields and Kingsway |210 King's Cross |100
The voluntary organisations that took part in the estimates were : Salvation Army
Providence Row Housing Association
East London Homeless Primary Care Team
Look Ahead Housing Association
City Social Services
St. Botolph's Day Centre
Church Housing Association
Roman Catholic Chaplaincy for the Homeless
King's Cross Homelessness Project
Camden Homeless Monitoring Group
St. Mongo's Association
North Lambeth Day Centre