Home Page

Column 613

Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 13 June 1991 ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Crown Court Appeals

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Attorney-General what arrangements are available to review convictions which have been upheld on appeal from the magistrates court to the Crown Court, but in relation to which new evidence has come to light after the Crown Court appeal ; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General : There is no statutory power to enable such convictions to be reviewed or appealed against although the Divisional Court has held that it has, in its supervisory jurisdiction, power to quash the conviction of a defendant who pleaded quilty on the basis of flawed evidence unwittingly relied on by the prosecution or whose conviction was obtained by fraud, collusion, perjury or other like matter. I refer the hon. and learned Gentleman to the judgment in R. v. Bolton Justices Ex Parte Scally which is reported at [1991] 2All ER 619 and at [1991] 1 QB 537.

Legislation Texts

Mr. Dunn : To ask the Attorney-General if he will review the arrangements for enabling the public to have access to the texts of legislation ; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General : The Lord Chancellor recognises that he has a responsibility, on behalf of the Government, to ensure that satisfactory arrangements are made for the publication of the statute book, in order that the citizen may know by what laws he is bound. Since 1868, the Statute Law Committee, established by Lord Chancellor Cairns, has met periodically to consider issues relating to the publication of the statute book. In recent times it has been assisted by an editorial board to supervise the publication of statutes in force and by a secretariat. The Lord Chancellor has come to the conclusion that these somewhat complex arrangements are not best suited, under modern conditions, for the effective discharge of this responsibility. He has, therefore, decided to replace the committee, and its subordinate bodies, with a single body to be known as the Advisory Committee on Statute Law. This body will advise him as and when required on all matters relating to the publication of the statute book, including the availability of up-to-date texts in both printed and electronic form. It will meet under his chairmanship or that of his Permanent Secretary, and its membership will comprise the Clerk of the Parliaments, the Clerk of the House of Commons, the Chairman of the Law Commission, the chairman of the Scottish Law Commission, First Parliamentary Counsel, the legal secretary to the Lord Advocate and First Scottish Parliamentary Counsel, First Legislative Counsel for Northern Ireland, the Treasury Solicitor, the Solicitor to


Column 614

the Scottish Office, and representatives from Her Majesty's Stationery Office and the Lord Chancellor's Department. In addition, it will be able to involve user and consumer groups as necessary, either by way of consultation or by invitation to attend meetings of the Committee.

CIVIL SERVICE

Public Appointments

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list the full-time and part-time public appointments for which his office was responsible for each of the past five years together with the salary and the date when each appointment is due for renewal.

Mr. Renton : In the past five years, my office has been responsible for a number of appointments to the Civil Service Appeal Board. The appointments are fee-paid. Chairmen are normally appointed for three years and deputy chairmen and members for two years. Further details may be found in "Public Bodies" which is available in the House of Commons Library.

Hospitality Fund

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service if he will list the expenditure covered by his office's hospitality fund for the financial years (a) 1989-90, (b) 1990-91 and (c) 1991-92 to date.

Mr. Tim Renton : Expenditure by my office, excluding No. 10 Downing street and my executive agencies, on hospitality, is as follows :


           |£          

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

1989-90    |6,702      

1990-91    |4,393      

<1>1991-92 |1,422      

<1> To date.           

THE ARTS

Public Appointments

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will list the full-time and part-time public appointments for which his office was responsible for each of the past five years together with the salary and the date when each appointment is due for renewal.

Mr. Renton : I refer the hon. Member to the annual publication "Public Bodies" and to the Women's National Commission's "Handbook for Women's Organisations" published in July, 1990. My office is the sponsor department for a large number of public bodies. The verification and provision of the termination date of each board or council member's appointment would, I regret, involve

disproportionate costs.

Hospitality Fund

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will list the expenditure covered by his office's hospitality fund for the financial years (a) 1989-90, (b) 1990-91 and (c) 1991-92 to date.


Column 615

Mr. Tim Renton : The Office of Arts and Libraries has spent £5, 741 on official hospitality in 1989-90, £2,890 in 1990-91, and £1,262 in 1991-92 to date.

Video Recordings

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will list the titles of the video recordings purchased by his office during the financial years 1990-91 and 1991-92 to date.

Mr. Renton : "The Cook Report : Raiders of the Lost Art"--ITV, 29 April 1991. No purchases were made in 1990-91.


Column 616

Energy Efficiency

Mr. Dobson : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will give for each available year from 1978, the energy consumption, broken down by fuel, of the buildings occupied by his Department, expressing the figures in (a) cash terms, (b) 1990-91 money terms and (c) units of consumption for electricity in kilowatt hours, gas in therms, liquid fuel in litres and solid fuel in tonnes ; and if he will give the square footage of accommodation to which these figures relate.

Mr. Renton [holding answer 3 June 1991] : The information requested by the hon. Member is available only in (a) cash and (b) 1990-91 money terms from 1987-88, and (c) in units of consumption from 1989-90. This is given in the table :


Column 615


c

          Electricity                Gas                        Liquid fuel                        

         |Cash    |1990-91 |'000    |Cash    |1990-91 |'000    |Cash    |1990-91 |'000             

                  |prices  |kilowatt         |prices  |therms           |prices  |litres           

         |£       |£       |hours   |£       |£                |£       |£                         

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

1987-88  |5,069   |6,241   |n/a     |1,349   |1,661   |n/a     |659     |812     |n/a              

1988-89  |6,717   |7,699   |n/a     |970     |1,112   |n/a     |845     |969     |n/a              

1989-90  |5,877   |6,332   |102     |872     |940     |2       |778     |838     |6                

1990-91  |6,048   |6,048   |106     |280     |280     |1       |860     |860     |5                

n/a=Not available.                                                                                 

No solid fuel is used. The figures relate to 14,262 sq ft of floor space.

Bradford Cinema

Mr. Madden : To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will make a statement about provision for cinema in Bradford involving the British Film Institute.

Mr. Renton [holding answer 10 June 1991] : Discussions are continuing between the British Film Institute and interested parties in Bradford on the future configuration of cinema in Bradford as a partnership between the Museum Library Cinema and the Bradford Playhouse.

ENVIRONMENT

Royal Parks

Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if, pursuant to his written answer concerning the status of the royal parks, of 3 June, Official Report, column 3, he will list the changes that are liable to occur to (a) employment of permanent staff in the royal parks, their career structure and skill training, (b) recruitment, and morale and (c) supervisors of work of ground maintenance by contract or other means, including outside tendering or agency arrangements.

Mr. Yeo : The changes for staff in the royal parks will depend on future arrangements for carrying out ground maintenance work. These are still under consideration.

Local Government Structure

Mrs. Irene Adams : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about the proposed change to the structure of local government.

Mr. Key : So far we have received 432 responses to our consultation paper on local government structure.


Column 616

Countryside Preservation

Mr. Dunnachie : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department has considered the effect of hedgerow and stonedyke systems upon the conservation of wildlife and management of the countryside ; if he will consider the introduction of statutory controls over the removal of such systems ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry : The Department has commissioned a research project on hedgerow management--including environmental and wildlife aspects. We shall receive the final report shortly.

In our White Paper "This Common Inheritance" we announced our intention to give local planning authorities powers to protect important hedgerows in their areas. A consultation paper issued in December gave further details. Responses to that paper have raised a number of key issues, and we are giving these careful consideration. It would therefore be premature to legislate, and we have tabled an amendment to the Planning and Compensation Bill to delete provision for such orders from that Bill. I shall be making a full statement on this matter at the resumption of Report stage. Our aim is to ensure that any scheme commands the widest possible agreement and will be fair and practicable.

Homelessness

Ms. Richardson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what annual percentage of households accepted as homeless by local authorities in London have been accepted under the category of vulnerability due to age each year for the last 10 years ; what number of households this represents for each year ; and what number of people this represents for each year.

Sir George Young : The available information relates to the number of households accepted by local authorities under the homelessness legislation as having a priority need for accommodation because of vulnerability due to


Column 617

old age. The number of persons in such households is not reported. The estimates based on returns from London boroughs are as follows :


Year            |Number of      |as percentage                  

                |households     |of all priority                

                                |acceptances                    

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

1981            |1,300          |7                              

1982            |1,700          |8                              

1983            |1,900          |8                              

1984            |1,900          |8                              

1985            |2,300          |9                              

1986            |2,200          |8                              

1987            |2,100          |7                              

1988            |2,100          |7                              

1989            |1,900          |6                              

1990            |1,800          |5                              

Note: Including estimates for missing returns.                  

East Quayside Development, Tyne and Wear

Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) when the Tyne and Wear urban development corporation first entered into any legal or binding agreement in respect of the East Quayside development ; with whom these agreements were made and on what terms ; what is their current status and when this altered ; and what is the current position of the corporation with respect to receiving tenders for this development ;

(2) on what date Tyne and Wear urban development corporation carried out a full financial investigation into the financial standing of NQD plc in relation to the selection of a preferred developer of East Quayside ; what guaranteees were sought from NQD as to its ability to continue the development after the collapse of Stanley Miller ; and what steps were taken to monitor the accounts of NQD over the past three years ;

(3) when was the last time that a financial check was made on the preferred developer for the Tyne and Wear urban development corporation East Quayside project ;

(4) when the Tyne and Wear urban development corporation was first aware that NQD plc was trading while insolvent ;

(5) how much money was paid by Tyne and Wear urban development corporation to the successful developer as a contribution for work preceding the competition for the redevelopment at East Quayside ; to whom this money was paid ; and in what form it was paid ; (6) if he will make a statement on the stages of selection to find the preferred developer for the East Quayside scheme, East Newcastle ;

(7) what criteria the Tyne and Wear urban development corporation applied to selecting preferred developers ; and how these were applied in assessing the financial status of NQD plc in regard to East Quayside development ;

(8) what is the compulsory purchase order price agreed with the district valuer for the seven acre site on East Quayside, Newcastle, formerly owned by Stanley Miller ;

(9) what is the current value of the land formerly owned by Stanley Miller on the East Quayside ; on what date Stanley Miller transferred ownership of the land to NQD ; and how many days then followed before Stanley Miller was in receivership ;

(10) if he will name (a) the architects and (b) the engineers who designed the original Godfrey Bradman scheme which was accepted by Tyne and Wear urban


Column 618

development corporation, for the redevelopment of Newcastle Quayside ; and whether either are still associated with the project ;

(11) what action the chief executive of Tyne and Wear urban development corporation took to seek a partner for Shearwater after Stanley Miller went into receivership ;

(12) how many consultants reported findings to the board of Tyne and Wear urban development corporation on the competition for the East Quayside development on (a) financial assessment, (b) hotel advice, (c) quantity surveyors, (d) valuers, (e) retail leisure specialists, (f) design/planning consultants and (g) economic assessment ; and where these reports are available for inspection.

Mr. Key : It would not be appropriate to comment at the present time on matters relating to the proposed redevelopment of Newcastle's East Quayside. A related compulsory purchase order and stopping up of highways order may yet be subject to further legal challenge in the Court of Appeal. I shall therefore write to the hon. Member as soon as all the legal issues are resolved.

Rents-to-Mortgages Scheme

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the percentage target figure his Department has set in respect of the rents-to-mortgages pilot scheme for council house tenants in Basildon.

Mr. Yeo : The scheme is for tenants of the Commission for the New Towns, not local authority tenants : that would require primary legislation. There is no set target for sales, the purpose being to test the working of rents to mortgages.

Water Privatisation

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the range of remuneration received by the former board members of the water authorities immediately prior to privatisation.

Mr. Trippier : The ranges were set out for each authority in "Public Bodies 1989"--ISBN 0 11 430042 9--a copy of which is in the Library.

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the salaries received by former chairmen of the water authorities immediately prior to privatisation.

Mr. Trippier : The salaries were listed in "Public Bodies 1989"-- ISBN 0 11 430042 9--a copy of which is in the Library.

EC Nuclear Conference

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his Department was invited to participate in or send an observer to the conference on European Community nuclear issues and local authorities, held in Birmingham on 5 June ; and if he will obtain for his departmental library a copy of papers presented.

Mr. Baldry : I have no knowledge of this conference.

Radioactive Waste Disposal

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is Her Majesty's Government's policy on the proposal to be put forward by Iceland, Norway and


Column 619

Denmark to the Paris Commission on Marine Pollution in its meeting in the Hague on 17 June, recommending that the disposal of radioactive waste under the seabed be brought within the remit of the commission.

Mr. Baldry : The Government take the view that the disposal of radioactive waste under the seabed accessed from the land is outside the scope of the present Paris convention. However, this issue will need to be addressed at the appropriate time, within the context of the review of the Oslo and Paris conventions which is currently under way.

Glenlochay Compensation Award

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what policy conclusions he has drawn from the Glenlochay compensation award.

Mr. Trippier : We shall wish to study the details of the award carefully before reaching any conclusions.

Planning and Development

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has considered the report of the research carried out on behalf of his Department into the effects of the Use Classes Order 1987 and associated provisions in the General Development Order 1988 ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir George Young : Independent research into the effects of these orders was carried out last year on behalf of the Department by Wootton Jeffreys Consultants, in association with Bernard Thorpe. I have considered the consultants' report, which is being published today by HMSO.

The researchers found that the introduction in 1987 of "business" use class had improved the efficiency with which space is used and had widened choice. They found evidence that some existing industrial uses have been replaced by cleaner uses, and that the opportunity for change has attracted greater investment, resulting in improvements to the local environment. Although the researchers found some evidence of increased traffic generated by more intensive use of former industrial land, no other adverse effects on amenity or the environment were associated with the business use class. I am therefore satisfied that there is no case on environmental grounds for amending the business use class.

The research confirmed continuing misgivings about the business use class in other respects, including the displacement of manufacturing jobs, which have traditionally met local employment needs, and of pressures on specialised activities which have built up in particular locations. Nevertheless, I am satisfied that development activity since the 1987 Use Classes Order has been generally consistent with existing, often long- established market trends. I have concluded that to amend legislation which applies uniformly throughout England and Wales in response to these concerns would not be justified. Where clear justification can be provided, it remains open to planning authorities to propose policies in development plans aimed at channelling particular types of business development into particular locations. Development plans should not generally contain policies advocating the imposition of general restrictions on the freedoms provided by the Use Classes Order or the General Development Order.


Column 620

The research revealed evidence of some local controversy resulting from changes of use involving fast-food and take-away outlets within the food and drink use class. I am also aware of some misgivings over changes of use to and from public houses within that use class. I am not persuaded that a case has been made for adjusting the present scope for changes of use in the high street sector, where the researchers found that market activity has been generally subdued since 1987.

I am encouraged that the researchers found that the inclusion of small group homes within the dwelling houses use class has benefited the care in the community programme, without adverse effects on amenity. My attention has been drawn to concern about the impact on residential areas of changes of use within the hotels and hostels use class. This concern appears to be associated as much with the characteristics of the clientele, where "down market" changes of use have taken place, as with any land-use planning difference between the uses encompassed within the use class. There is some very localised evidence of harm to amenity, through increased traffic and general activity, associated with the conversion of hostels into hotels, but this is insufficient to merit amending the order. I have concluded that the freedom from planning control currently provided by the Use Classes Order and part 3 of schedule 2 to the General Development Order should remain unchanged. However, the Government proposes to continue to monitor closely the effects of the Use Classes Order and General Development Order and we are minded to commission further research in another three to five years.

Discharge Consents

Mr. Andy Stewart : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will approve the scheme of charges in respect of discharge consents proposed by the National Rivers Authority in March under the Water Act 1989.

Mr. Baldry : Following public consultation my right hon. Friend has today approved the NRA's proposed charging scheme for implementation from 1 July, subject to a number of modifications mainly aimed at making the scheme's provisions clearer. A copy of the modified scheme has been deposited in the Library. We shall keep the operation of the scheme under careful review throughout its three-year period of validity.

The scheme represents an important element of the Government's wider commitment to implement the "polluter pays" principle. It will ensure that the NRA's costs incurred in authorising and monitoring direct discharges of effluent to water are borne by dischargers themselves. By recouping the costs in this way it will save the general taxpayer some £41 million in a full year via a reduced need for grant in aid to the NRA.

New Parliamentary Buildings

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to save the mahogany railed staircase and related iron- work after the proposed demolition of No. 1 Bridge street.

Mr. Yeo [holding answer 7 June 1991] : As the hon. Member will no doubt be aware, the Opposed Bill Committee which considered the Jubilee Line Bills has recommended that approval to demolish Nos. 1 and 2


Column 621

Bridge street, which is necessary to enable the new Westminster station to be constructed, should not be given until the House has approved the design of the new parliamentary building, to be built on the site.

Design work has not yet started so it is too soon to say whether the staircase can be used in the new building or should be removed for use elsewhere.

Councils (Internal Management)

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to publish the third paper of his review of local government relating to internal management of local councils ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Portillo : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 21 May 1991 at column 402 .

HOME DEPARTMENT

Police Incomes

Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what percentage police pay, pensions and allowances have been raised higher or lower than the rate of inflation for each year since 1979.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The information requested in respect of pay is set out in the table and shows the minimum and maximum of the salary scales of a police constable. Equivalent figures for the various allowances to which police officers are also entitled can be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. Police pensions are uprated annually in line with movements in the retail prices index and have thus kept pace with inflation over this period.



                    |Minimum|Maximum        

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

1979                                        

  Salaries          |4.086  |6.471          

  Percentage change |(13.0) |(18.6)         

                                            

1980                                        

  Salaries          |4.956  |7.848          

  Percentage change |(2.8)  |(2.8)          

                                            

1981                |                       

  Salaries          |5.610  |8.883          

  Percentage change |(1.2)  |(1.2)          

                                            

1982                                        

  Salaries          |6.189  |9.798          

  Percentage change |(1.6)  |(1.6)          

                                            

1983                |                       

  Salaries          |6.708  |10.620         

  Percentage change |(3.6)  |(3.6)          

                                            

1984                |                       

  Salaries          |6.708  |11.193         

  Percentage change |(-4.7) |(0.4)          

                                            

1985                                        

  Salaries          |7.212  |12.033         

  Percentage change |(1.3)  |(1.0)          

                                            

1986                                        

  Salaries          |7.752  |12.936         

  Percentage change |(1.1)  |(5.7)          

                                            

1987                                        

  Salaries          |8.352  |13.938         

  Percentage change |(3.4)  |(3.4)          

                                            

1988                                        

  Salaries          |8.352  |15.125         

  Percentage change |(-4.7) |(3.4)          

                                            

1989                                        

  Salaries          |9.900  |16.521         

  Percentage change |(10.0) |(1.4)          

                                            

1990                                        

  Salaries          |10.886 |18.132         

  Percentage change |(1.0)  |(1.0)          

Notes:                                      

Salaries are based on 1 September for each  

year.                                       

Figures in brackets show yearly percentage  

change in real terms.                       

Power Station, Isle of Man

Mr. Carr : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has made to the Manx Government concerning the proposed power station to be sited in the River Neb valley, Isle of Man.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : No such representations have been made. The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom and has primary responsibility for its own domestic affairs.

Fire Service

Mr. Roy Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many full-time fire fighters were employed in England and Wales as at 1 January 1990 and 1 January 1991, indicating both the authorised and actual establishment figures.

Mr. John Patten : The information requested is given in the table.


%

Total of full-time fire fighters (   

establishment and strength)          

                |1990  |1991         

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

England                              

  Establishment |33,863|34,082       

  Strength      |33,309|33,850       

Wales                                

  Establishment |1,753 |1,730        

  Strength      |1,693 |1,709        

Charities

Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the total income of charities which is derived from direct mail and related fund-raising.

Mr. John Patten : Information on the income of charities from these sources is not collected centrally.

Sudbury Prison

Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners are currently held at Sudbury prison.

Mrs. Rumbold : On Monday 10 June 1991 there were 497 prisoners on the roll at Sudbury prison, 405 in the main prison and 92 in the Foston hall annexe.

Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prisoners were released from Sudbury prison during the last 12 months for which figures are available.


Column 623

Mrs. Rumbold : According to the records held centrally, which are approximate, about 1,020 prisoners were discharged from Sudbury prison on licence or on completion of sentence in 1990.

Interpol

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information about convictions of British citizens is passed to Interpol for dissemination to member countries for information ; and whether such information is removed from Interpol after any fixed period of time.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The national central bureau of Interpol does not keep details of all criminal convictions. It will pass on information about convictions only when a specific request is made by a member country. The bureau will pass on the details which are requested, but these will only be supplied once it has been confirmed through fingerprint checks that the subject of the request and the subject of the conviction are the same person.

Member countries have also been made aware of the effect of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act on convictions in the United Kingdom. The bureau will keep a copy of the information which has been sent ; this will normally be destroyed after seven years. The member country recieving the information will have its own rules for how long such information is retained.

Juvenile Offenders

Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make an estimate of the number of offences committed, in the most recent 12-month period for which figures are available, by juveniles who have absconded from local authority care to which they have been committed following conviction or pending trial (a) in the Metropolitan police area and (b) in the remainder of England and Wales.

Mr. John Patten : Information is not available in the detail required to enable such estimates to be made.

Northern Ireland Prisoners

Mr. McGrady : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision is made for Northern Ireland prisoners who are serving sentences in gaols in England and Wales to serve the remaining part of their sentences in gaols in Northern Ireland.

Mrs. Rumbold : Section 26 of the Criminal Justice Act 1961 makes provision for the transfer of a sentenced prisoner on request to another United Kingdom jurisdiction to serve the remainder of his or her sentence.

Radiation

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals the South Yorkshire fire and civil defence authority has to equip fire rescue unit appliances with geiger counters for use at incidents involving radiation.

Mr. John Patten : Each of the six emergency rescue tenders in the South Yorkshire fire brigade is equipped with a survey meter. The decontamination unit is equipped with a contamination meter. All pumping appliances and special appliances are equipped with one dosimeter per firefighter.


Column 624

Prisoners (Suicides)

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the in-service training of prison staff regarding prisoners who are regarded as potential suicide risks.

Mrs. Rumbold : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Battle) on 19 December 1990 at columns 206 -7. A working group has since been established by the prison service to oversee the production of a suicide awareness training film for prison staff, and to assess the needs of staff for further guidance and training in relation to the treatment and care of prisoners.


Next Section

  Home Page