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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 14 March 1991

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Repossessions

Mr. Fraser : To ask the Attorney-General how many possession orders on the grounds of mortgage arrears have been made in the Lambeth and Wandsworth county courts in the last year for which figures are readily available.


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The Attorney-General : In 1990 Lambeth county court made 505 mortgage possession orders and Wandsworth county court made 497.

Trials (Statistics)

Mr. Trimble : To ask the Attorney-General whether he will list the average length in days of trials (a) on indictment and (b) in county courts in (i) England, (ii) Wales and (iii) Northern Ireland over the last five years.

The Attorney-General : Crown court hearing times are recorded in hours rather than days. The relevant information for Crown courts is given in the tables.


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n

Crown Court committal for trial cases: Hearing times in hours                                                 

           England                       Wales                         Northern Ireland                       

          |Trials   |Guilty   |All cases|Trials   |Guilty   |All cases|Trials   |Guilty   |All cases          

                    |pleas                        |pleas                        |pleas                        

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

1986      |7.5      |0.6      |3.1      |8.0      |0.7      |3.4      |13.9     |0.9      |3.1                

1987      |7.3      |0.6      |2.8      |7.2      |0.8      |3.0      |12.6     |1.2      |3.5                

1988      |7.4      |0.7      |2.6      |8.0      |0.8      |2.8      |15.1     |0.9      |4.6                

1989      |7.2      |0.7      |2.6      |7.7      |1.0      |2.9      |12.2     |1.2      |4.1                

1990      |7.1      |0.7      |2.6      |7.5      |1.0      |3.0      |13.2     |1.3      |4.7                

Between 1987 and 1989 the information on county court hearing times was collected only on a sample basis, in terms of days, hours and minutes, for two months of each year. It is not possible to calculate an average hearing time from these data, unless an assumption is made about the average length of a day. However, the information for 1990 is available as follows.


                             |1990     

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

County court trials: England |3.1      

Hearing time in hours Wales  |3.1      

No information is collected on hearing times of county court trials heard in Northern Ireland.

Legal Aid Payments

Mr. Trimble : To ask the Attorney-General whether he will list the total payments from legal aid funds and the payments per head of the population in (i) England, (ii) Wales and (iii) Northern Ireland over the last five years.

The Attorney-General : The table sets out the total payments from legal aid funds and the payments per head of the population for England and Wales and for Northern Ireland. It is not possible to break down the information between England and Wales. These figures do not include administration costs.


T

               England and Wales           Northern Ireland                         

Year          |Total        |Per head     |Total        |Per head                   

              |payment                    |payment                                  

              |£ thousands|£          |£ thousands|£                        

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

1985-86       |466,081      |9.34         |11,300       |7.25                       

1986-87       |499,381      |9.97         |12,200       |7.79                       

1987-88       |544,006      |10.83        |14,000       |8.89                       

1988-89       |618,270      |12.27        |18,200       |11.53                      

1989-90       |726,678      |14.37        |17,300       |10.93                      


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Mr. Trimble : To ask the Attorney-General whether he will list the average payment from legal aid funds to (a) solicitors and (b) barristers in (i) England, (ii) Wales and (iii) Northern Ireland over the last five years.

The Attorney-General : Separate information is not available for England and Wales. The table sets out the average payment to (a) solicitors and (b) barristers from all forms of legal aid but excludes disbursements.


Year       |Solicitors|Barristers           

           |£       |£                  

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

1985-86    |161.39    |218.78               

1986-87    |175.19    |247.54               

1987-88    |188.08    |274.82               

1988-89    |195.58    |320.59               

1989-90    |216.85    |365.41               

Information on the number of payments made to solicitors and barristers in Northern Ireland is not available and therefore information on average payments cannot be provided.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

National Curriculum

Mr. French : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many additional administrative staff local education authorities have been required to employ as a result of the national curriculum ; and how many in fact have been employed.

Mr. Eggar : Data are not available on the number of administrative staff employed by LEAs in connection with the national curriculum. The extent to which individual LEAs and schools think it appropriate to employ additional staff will depend on their circumstances, including the scope for redeploying existing staff to new tasks.


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Higher Education

Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is, for each year since 1975, and in 1990 moneys, the average public expenditure per student in higher education in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Alan Howarth : The available data on higher education unit public funding are shown in table 11.13 of the Department's report on "The Government's Expenditure Plans 1991-92 to 1993-94", Cm 1511, a copy of which is in the Library.

Architecture Courses

Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science, pursuant to his answer of 6 February to the hon. Member for Wyre Forest (Mr. Coombs), Official Report, column 145-46, if he has yet reached a decision about the length of architecture courses ; what representations he has received about the likely effects of a reduction in their length ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend is still considering this matter in the light of the responses received from RIBA, ARCUK and other bodies to which the Department's consultation paper on the length and structure of architecture courses was sent last August, the advice of the Universities and Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Councils on the outcome of their parallel consultations with institutions in their respective sectors, and the representations received from a number of other bodies and individuals. He is not yet in a position to announce his conclusions.

Institute of Food Research

Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science, further to his answer to the hon. Member for South Shields of 11 March, Official Report, column 342, whether there have been or are planned to be any alterations to the parapet wall during the construction of the new building of the Institute of Food Research at the Reading university campus ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Alan Howarth : A number of options were considered at the design stage concerning the parapet wall ; the chosen option incorporated a safety handrail. There were no alterations to the parapet wall during the construction phase of the project ; nor are any planned.

Special Schools

Ms. Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what was the number of pupils with statements of special educational need in non-maintained special schools and independent schools under the arrangements of each local authority in January 1989 and 1990 ;

(2) how many pupils belonging to each local education authority attended non-maintained special schools and independent schools for the purposes of special education treatment in January 1989 and 1990.

Mr. Fallon [pursuant to the reply, 17 December 1990, c. 35-38] : The information provided in the original reply was


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incomplete. The table lists as at January 1989 the numbers of pupils belonging to each local education authority who are receiving special education treatment in non-maintained special schools and independent schools.



Number of pupils as at January     

1989 for whom LEAs are paying      

tuition fees and who are attending:

 (a) non-maintained special        

schools; and (b) independent       

schools for the purpose of         

receiving                          

special educational treatment      

                       |(a)|(b)    

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

Barking and Dagenham   |16 |16     

Barnet                 |35 |62     

Bexley                 |47 |73     

Brent                  |36 |35     

Bromley                |31 |50     

Croydon                |33 |112    

Ealing                 |82 |128    

Enfield                |23 |62     

Haringey               |21 |60     

Harrow                 |91 |47     

Havering               |24 |21     

Hillingdon             |56 |42     

Hounslow               |30 |59     

Kingston upon Thames   |11 |67     

Merton                 |25 |26     

Newham                 |11 |17     

Redbridge              |91 |53     

Richmond upon Thames   |7  |13     

Sutton                 |13 |68     

Waltham Forest         |21 |17     

Inner London           |104|159    

Birmingham             |21 |75     

Coventry               |18 |9      

Dudley                 |14 |22     

Sandwell               |20 |1      

Solihul                |4  |35     

Walsall                |2  |9      

Wolverhampton          |8  |22     

Knowsley               |17 |12     

Liverpool              |72 |8      

St. Helens             |69 |21     

Sefton                 |48 |57     

Wirral                 |33 |109    

Bolton                 |58 |8      

Bury                   |60 |3      

Manchester             |108|20     

Oldham                 |24 |0      

Rochdale               |26 |20     

Salford                |11 |8      

Stockport              |78 |63     

Tameside               |12 |17     

Trafford               |45 |2      

Wigan                  |81 |16     

Barnsley               |18 |0      

Doncaster              |41 |15     

Rotherham              |113|0      

Sheffield              |2  |7      

Bradford               |12 |9      

Calderdale             |15 |20     

Kirklees               |51 |16     

Leeds                  |11 |8      

Wakefield              |59 |35     

Gateshead              |31 |10     

Newcastle-upon-Tyne    |38 |17     

North Tyneside         |37 |33     

South Tyneside         |26 |0      

Sunderland             |41 |10     

Isles of Scilly        |0  |0      

Avon                   |122|120    

Bedfordshire           |55 |78     

Berkshire              |188|127    

Buckinghamshire        |55 |81     

Cambridgeshire         |9  |61     

Cheshire               |242|76     

Cleveland              |40 |40     

Cornwall               |29 |60     

Cumbria                |54 |80     

Derbyshire             |85 |55     

Devon                  |184|191    

Dorset                 |171|36     

Durham                 |70 |21     

East Sussex            |140|120    

Essex                  |188|315    

Gloucestershire        |70 |30     

Hampshire              |367|454    

Hereford and Worcester |51 |71     

Hertfordshire          |80 |218    

Humberside             |68 |42     

Isle of Wight          |37 |2      

Kent                   |301|346    

Lancashire             |260|306    

Leicestershire         |29 |46     

Lincolnshire           |32 |107    

Norfolk                |20 |107    

North Yorkshire        |54 |90     

Northamptonshire       |38 |64     

Northumberland         |41 |17     

Nottinghamshire        |66 |128    

Oxfordshire            |38 |44     

Shropshire             |34 |39     

Somerset               |71 |55     

Staffordshire          |29 |46     

Suffolk                |88 |122    

Surrey                 |146|144    

Warwickshire           |31 |98     

West Sussex            |137|114    

Wiltshire              |115|173    

Figures as returned to the         

Department by each LEA on Form 8b. 

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Whisky Stocks

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make inquiries into the exclusion of whisky stocks from Lonrho's most recent published accounts in the light of their former inclusion.

Mr. Redwood : I see no reason to do so. The chief executive's statement included in the annual report for 1990 explains that the sale of bulk whisky stocks in 1989 was a one-off event. In future, for public companies with financial years starting after 23 December 1989, any questions about the accounts will be a matter for the Financial Reporting Review Panel.

Kuwait

Mr. Rathbone : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how accurately his Department's sector groups match the responsibility areas of individual Kuwait Ministries ; and what arrangements he is making to ensure the closest liasion between the two.

Mr. Sainsbury : The sector groups were originally set up to match areas of responsibility in the Kuwait emergency recovery programme, which broadly correspond to those of Kuwaiti Ministries. Some changes have since been made in the light of developments, but it is not considered feasible for their responsibilities to match those of Kuwaiti Ministries on every point.

Inner Cities Task Force

Mr. Michael Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish the results of the recent external evaluation of the inner cities task force initiative.


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Mr. Leigh : The evaluation of task forces in Birmingham Handsworth, Doncaster and Rochdale was completed at the end of last year by PA Cambridge Economic Consultants. Their report is published today. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Exporters

Mr. Cash : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he has any new plans to help British exporters.

Mr. Sainsbury : My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and for Trade and Industry have agreed that a new unit, reporting to Ministers in both Departments, should be established on 2 April 1991. The unit--to be called the joint directorate-- will be responsible for the development of export promotion policy.

Its aims will be to : deploy staff effectively in the United Kingdom and overseas, in line with the priorities for export promotion ; ensure that all staff engaged in export promotion are trained to consistent standards ; provide a fully integrated service both at home and overseas ; and improve the ability to respond swiftly and effectively to the changing needs of United Kingdom businesses.

Earlier today, the British Overseas Trade Board published the second edition of its forward plan. The plan, which has the full support of Ministers, sets out the priorities which will guide the way in which the substantial resources available for export promotion will be used in 1991- 92.

Information about the joint directorate and copies of the forward plan have been placed in the Library.

Iraq

Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement giving details of the assistance which is being provided by his Department to those United Kingdom companies which face delayed time of completion penalty clauses in contracts with Iraq.

Mr. Sainsbury [holding answer 11 March 1991] : My Department is giving urgent consideration to what further measures might be taken to ensure that, as far as is possible, companies do not find themselves liable to penalties as a result of being unable to fulfil contracts because of sanctions. The Export Credits Guarantee Department will consider, and is considering, claims from its customers in accordance with the terms of the policies they hold.

FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Purchasing and Distribution

Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the full annual cost, including overheads, of his Department's purchasing activity.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : In 1989-90 the annual cost, including overheads, of the purchasing and supply activity of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was £2,294,423. For the current financial year, the cost is likely to be £2,300,000. With adjustment for inflation, this would represent a decrease in real terms of 5 per cent.


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Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people in his Department are wholly or substantially involved in purchasing stores and distribution activities.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : In the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 54 staff are engaged full-time on the purchasing and supply activity. A further 17 officers spend over 50 per cent. of their time on purchasing work.

Value for Money

Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures of performance are employed by his Department to ensure value for money.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Foreign and Commonwealth Office diplomatic wing uses a variety of performance measures, which vary according to the function or activity involved, to ensure value for money. Specific value for money targets for the last two financial years have been notified to Parliament in evidence on the annual public expenditure White Paper. Some of the most significant of these measures will continue to be published annually in the departmental report, which replaced the public expenditure White Paper. In the aid programme, value for money is ensured through the application of the Overseas Development Administration's aid effectiveness procedures which are set out in the annual departmental report.

Hostages

Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what new steps he is taking to speed up the release of British hostages held in Beirut ; and if he will make a statement on his latest approach to the Governments of Syria and Lebanon in this connection.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Lloyd) on 13 March, at column 549. The Syrian Foreign Minister confirmed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 6 February his Government's intention to continue their efforts to obtain the release of western, including British, hostages in Lebanon. My hon. and learned Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is visiting Damascus this week. Her Majesty's ambassador in Beirut maintains close and regular contacts with all those in Lebanon who might be able to influence the hostages' release.

Kuwait

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what statements Her Majesty's ambassador to Kuwait has made about the treatment of Palestinian nationals in Kuwait.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : In an interview with BBC Radio 4 last weekend Mr. Weston, the British ambassador in Kuwait, spoke of the reasons why the authorities in Kuwait were detaining and screening Palestinians. He made it clear that he did not believe the Kuwaiti authorities were carrying out reprisals. In answer to a question, Mr. Weston agreed that not all the Palestinian former residents of Kuwait could be assured of future residence and employment in Kuwait.


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Weapons

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Attorney-General's answer of 11 March, Official Report, column 364, for what reasons Her Majesty's Government have decided not yet to ratify the specific conventional weapons convention or to accept the protocol on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of incendiary weapons ; and whether he has any plans to ratify them.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We are still considering ratification of the United Nations weaponry convention, and in particular whether to accept the optional protocol No. III, which restricts the use of incendiary weapons in certain circumstances. We hope to be able to come to a decision on ratification when this review is complete.

The Gulf (Belgian Contribution)

Mr. David Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement about the Belgian financial contribution to the United Kingdom's role in the Gulf crisis.

Mr. Garel-Jones : I am sorry that my reply to my hon. Friend's oral question of 13 March, at column 934, was inadvertently inaccurate in one respect. On 27 February the Belgian Government announced a contribution of £15 million towards British military expenditure in the Gulf. We welcomed this concrete expression of international solidarity.

ENERGY

Sizewell B

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what consultations he has had with the nuclear installations inspectorate concerning the Westinghouse digital protection system governing the computerised safety monitoring system for the Sizewell B nuclear power station.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Health and Safety Executive's nuclear installations inspectorate--NII--is assessing the computerised protection systems for Sizewell B as part of the continuing licensing process. It is also assessing the secondary protection system, which is fitted to Sizewell B in addition to the digital system, and which employs established United Kingdom technology. The nuclear installations inspectorate will not permit fuel to be loaded into the reactor until it has assessed Nuclear Electric's safety case for the station and found it to be adequate.

Trawsfynydd Nuclear Power Station

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will request a report from the nuclear installations inspectorate on the shutdown in February of the Trawsfynydd nuclear power station.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I am aware of the shutdown, but I have no plans to ask the Health and Safety Executive's nuclear installations inspectorate for a specific report on the matter. The decision to shut down the Trawsfynydd reactors was taken by the operators, Nuclear


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Electric plc, and was to enable adjustments to be made in order to allow operation at reduced pressure. The reactors will not be permitted to return to power until the NII is satisfied with the operator's safety case for such action.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy when he next expects to meet the chairman of Nuclear Electric to discuss pressure vessel integrity in the reactors at the Magnox nuclear power station at Trawsfynydd.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My right hon. Friend has no plans to hold such discussions. The matter is an operational one for Nuclear Electric, which is keeping the Health and Safety Executive's nuclear installations inspectorate informed.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will be proposing any alteration in the level of the non-fossil fuel obligation following the cut in output at the Trawsfynydd nuclear power station.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The nuclear non-fossil fuel obligation--SI 1990/263--was fully complied with by the regional electricity companies through the arrangements they submitted to the Director General of Electricity Supply by 1 April 1990. However, in the event of any contracted capacity ceasing to be available for a cause other than an act or omission on the part of a regional electricity company, the order provides that the level of the obligation shall be deemed to reduce accordingly.

Gas-fired Power Stations

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he will make it his policy to consider the availability of gas for other customers when considering licence applications for gas-fired electricity power stations.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Applications for electricity generation licences are a matter for the Director General of Electricity Supply.

Petroleum Production

Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what are the Government's latest forecasts of levels of United Kingdom petroleum production.

Mr. Wakeham : The latest forecasts for United Kingdom petroleum production in the years 1991 to 1995 are as follows :


        |Million        

        |tonnes         

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

1991    |80-100         

1992    |80-105         

1993    |80-115         

1994    |90-125         

1995    |90-125         

As in previous years, the forecasts are presented in the form of a range of outcomes for each year. These take into account the many uncertainties involved. The figures include stabilised crude oil, natural gas liquids-- NGLs--and condensates. NGL and condensate production is expected to contribute between 4 million and 10 million tonnes annually.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Company Cars

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the amount of additional revenue raised if the capital and running costs of company-owned cars were included in the calculation of taxable income for income tax and national insurance purposes on the basis of actual costs incurred.

Mr. Maude : Employees who have cars made available to them for private use are charged to tax on the basis of scale charges for broad bands of types of car and depending on the current business mileage. The actual costs incurred by employers in providing cars are not known. However, in considering the appropriate level for the scale charges, a full range of appropriate capital and running costs is taken into account. The value of employer-provided cars is not subject to the national insurance charge.

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which of his Ministers has been given responsibility for energy use by his Department ; and what is his or her brief regarding energy efficiency.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : I am responsible for energy use in HM Treasury. My brief is to reduce energy consumption within the Treasury and to support cost-effective measures to obtain benefits from the more efficient use of energy in all Departments.

Employee Share Ownership

Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the latest calculation on the numbers of employees who benefit from schemes set up under (i) FA1978, (ii) FA1980 and (iii) FA1984 for employee share or share option arrangements ; what were the comparable figures for a year ago ; and what are the values attributable to each of these figures.

Mr. Francis Maude [holding answer 13 March 1991] : Estimates for the two most recent years for which figures are available are as follows :


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                     FA1978 schemes                          FA1980 schemes                          FA1984 schemes                                             

                    |Number of          |Initial market     |Number of          |Initial value of   |Number of          |Initial value of                       

                    |participants       |value of shares    |employees to       |shares over which  |employees to       |shares over which                      

                    |receiving share    |appropriated       |whom options       |options granted    |whom option        |options granted                        

                    |allocations in year                    |granted during                         |granted during                                             

                                                            |year                                   |year                                                       

                    |('000)             |(£ million)      |('000)             |(£ million)      |('000)             |(£ million)                          

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

1988-89             |870                |350                |370                |740                |90                 |1,660                                  

1989-90             |850                |380                |440                |990                |100                |1,700                                  



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Profit-related Pay

Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the average percentage of pay in profit-related pay schemes in each year ; and what is their distribution.

Mr. Maude [holding answer 25 February 1991] : The information is as follows :


Live schemes   |Profit related               

with profit    |pay as a                     

periods        |percentage of                

ending in      |total pay.                   

               |All schemes.                 

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

1988-89        |6.5                          

1989-90        |7.3                          


                Range of profit related pay                                                              

                as a percentage of total pay                                                             

Live schemes                                                                                             

with profit    |Below 5       |5-10          |10-15         |15            |Total                        

periods ending |per cent.     |per cent.     |per cent.     |per cent.                                   

in                                                          |and below                                   

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

1989-89        |16            |48            |17            |19            |100                          

1989-90        |24            |46            |21            |9             |100                          

Personal Pensions

Mr. Allen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the tax relief on the employer's share of the personal pensions rebate paid by the Inland Revenue to the Department of Social Security for each of the years for which figures are available ; and what is his estimate of the costs for each of the future years for which estimates are available.

Mr. Maude [holding answer 8 March 1991] : There is no additional tax relief on the employer's share of national insurance contribution rebates for personal pensions. Payments made to the Department of Social Security by the Inland Revenue as tax relief on the employees' share are as follows :


Year        |£ million            

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

1988-89     |37                     

1989-90     |208                    

<1>1990-91  |170                    

<1>Estimated.                       

Mr. Allen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the cost of tax relief on the future income of the funds invested to provide personal pensions, using the technical assumption that the rate of return which will build up in personal pension schemes would otherwise have been subject to tax in the hands of individuals and institutions.

Mr. Maude [holding answer 8 March 1991] : Such an estimate would depend on future levels of investment, rates of return and tax rates.


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TRANSPORT

Rail Services

Mr. Trotter : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on (a) improvements to the east coast main line and (b) support for provincial railway services in the Northern region in each year since 1987.

Mr. McLoughlin : Figures are not available for BR investment and Government support in particular geographical regions.

Hungary (Negotiations)

Mr. Grist : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will announce the outcome of recent negotiations on road transport between his Department and the Hungarian Ministry of Transport.

Mr. Chope : These negotiations resulted in agreement to abolish with immediate effect the quota on the number of lorry journeys permitted annually between the UK and Hungary. From 1 January 1992, the need to carry a permit will also be abolished. This welcome extension of liberalisation means that British hauliers will no longer be prevented from carrying out business by a lack of Hungarian permits.

Seat Belts

Mr. Robert G. Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will announce the outcome of the consultation exercise about the proposal to introduce mandatory seat belt wearing for adults in the rear seats of cars and taxis.

Mr. Rifkind : The consultation period ran from 16 November 1990 to 31 January 1991. Some 1,100 copies of the consultation document were issued and to date 81 responses have been received. My Department has also received a number of letters on this subject in response to press reports, rather than to the consultation document itself. There was overwhelming support for the proposal, including those from the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, the police, the motoring organisations and all 36 local authorities which responded. I am today sending to all those who responded draft regulations, on which comments are invited by 12 April. I have placed copies in the Library. The intention is to lay the regulations before the House after Easter with a view to implementation on 1 July this year.

Channel Tunnel

Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list those locations being considered by his Department as possible freight terminals offering trunk rail services from Scotland to the channel tunnel ;

(2) what provision he is making for relevant bodies, such as regional or district councils in Scotland, to consult his Department on possible freight terminals offering trunk rail services from Scotland to the channel tunnel.

Mr. Freeman : The siting of regional terminals for channel tunnel freight traffic is a commercial matter for


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British Rail. British Rail is currently discussing possible locations in Strathclyde with local authorities and private sector developers.

North Sea Standby Vessels

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list those North sea standby vessels which do not meet the requirements of recommendation 89 of the Cullen report ;

(2) if he will list those North sea standby vessels which meet the requirements of recommendation 89 of the Cullen report.

Mr. McLoughlin : The information is not available from the survey records kept by the Department, but, since September 1990, most ships converting for standby vessel duties have been meeting those requirements of the Cullen report which the Department had anticipated it might contain. The full requirements of recommendation 89 have now been incorporated into the Department's latest standard for standby vessels.

Cam Spirit

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the name of the Silver Pit was changed to the Cam Spirit.


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