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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 5 December 1991

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Tottenham Three

Mr. Corbyn To ask the Attorney-General if he will state the cost to the Law Officers of prosecution and subsequent appeals of Winston Silcott, Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip.

The Attorney-General : The prosecuting authorities have incurred costs in connection with this case from the institution of proceedings in 1985. For that reason, information concerning the total costs of the prosecution is not readily available and will take some time to collate. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as the information is to hand.

ENVIRONMENT

Government Offices (Refurbishment)

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what work of restoration and refurbishment is being done for Government offices in London ; and if he will specify the sites and current proposed purposes.

Mr. Yeo : The property holdings directorate of the Department of the Environment is responsible for expenditure in central London on restoration and refurbishment currently being carried out in the following Government offices housed in listed buildings :-- 1. Government offices Great George street SW1

Refurbishment of a section of the basement offices to permit more efficient use.

2. Government offices Great George street SW1

Refurbishment of a second section of the basement to bring into use vacant space to permit the surrender of leased property.

3. Old Admiralty building SW1

Programme of major internal and external works to restore a grade 1 listed building.

4. Somerset house WC2

Renewal of east wing roof to maintain the integrity of a grade 1 listed building.

5. 70-72 Whitehall SW1

External stone cleaning and redecoration to restore the exerior of a grade 1 listed building.

Expenditure on other projects involving restoration or refurbishment is the responsibility of the Department which occupies, or intends to occupy, the listed building.

English Heritage

Mr. Jopling : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek an early meeting with the chairman of English Heritage to discuss the reasons it decided to replace the roof of 6-7 Grosvenor place with material imported from the United States rather than traditional Lakeland slate which is already in use.

Mr. Yeo : It would not be appropriate for my right hon. Friend to discuss this case with English Heritage given the


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possibility of a subsequent appeal against refusal of listed building consent. The Government's general policy is that alterations to listed buildings should be in character with the building, and that care should be taken to use appropriate materials, but choice of materials is a matter for the owners of a building, having regard to expert advice and to the terms of any listed building consent. I understand that no decision has yet been made in this case.

Developments (EC Directive)

Mr. Benton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action is being taken by Her Majesty's Government to implement EC directive 85/337 in situations where developments which do not require planning permission bring serious problems of dust, noise and traffic.

Mr. Yeo : I will write to the hon. Member shortly.

Red Squirrels

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology to publish the atlas of red squirrel distribution in the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry : I understand that the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology expects to publish its mammal atlas in late spring or early summer next year.

Disabled Staff

Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many disabled people are currently employed in his Department ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heseltine : The Department employs 73 staff who are known to be registered disabled and a further 58 who are known to have a disability without being registered. This is some 2 per cent. of the total non- industrial work force.

Broadmead Estate, Redbridge

Mr. Arbuthnot : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is in a position to announce the result of Redbridge borough council's application for estate action support for the Broadmead estate.

Mr. Yeo : I am please to announce that I have today appproved this estate action scheme.

Wild Birds

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will raise the subject of the trade in caught wild birds at the EC Environment Council on 9 December ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry : I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Hinchliffe) on 1 November 1991, Official Report, column 391. The EC Environment Council meeting has now been deferred until 12 and 13 December.


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Hanover Square, Bradford

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what public financial assistance has been made available to date, for the restoration of Hanover square in Bradford ; to whom assistance has been paid ; and what assistance remains outstanding.

Mr. Yeo : In each of the three financial years 1983-84 to 1985-86 £28,000 was provided from Urban Programme funds for management of the project. In 1988-89 the Department provided the city of Bradford metropolitan council through the urban programme with a contribution of £9,000 towards the purchase and conversion of two of the Hanover Square properties for non-housing purposes. In 1989-90, £80,000, was provided towards the costs of a feasibility study for phase 1 of the restoration scheme ; in 1990-91 a further £70,000 was provided for phase 2. In 1991-92 £120,000 was provided for environmental improvements to the square itself. English Heritage has provided grants of £365,000, including £2,000 for a feasibility study, to the British Historic Buildings Trust and £51,000 to various developers and private individuals. No grant offers remain to be paid.

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much public financial assistance has been paid, in each of the last three years, to the British Historic Buildings Trust ; and how much public financial assistance has been paid to the trust, to the latest available date, related to the restoration of Hanover square in Bradford.

Mr. Yeo : Total English Heritage Grants paid to the British Historic Buildings Trust over the past three financial years are :




        |£              

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

1989-90 |41,356         

1990-91 |346,529        

1991-92 |302,394        

                        

of which, for Hanover sq

1989-90 |0              

1990-91 |218,000        

1991-92 |147,000        

Of the total of £365,000, £363,000 was for restoration works and £2,000 for a feasibility study.

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will arrange for an independent valuation of properties for sale in Hanover square, Bradford, which have received public financial assistance for renovation, including those being offered to former owners ; and if he will arrange for an independent audit of the expenditure incurred, to date, on the restoration of houses in Hanover square.

Mr. Yeo : It would not be appropriate for my Department to intervene in the valuation of the properties being offered for sale in Hanover square, Bradford. It is open to the prospective purchasers to arrange for an independent valuation of the property they seek to purchase. Indeed, it is advice regularly given to prospective purchasers. Those public bodies that have provided financial support for the restoration of properties in Hanover square are subject to regular audit as is the


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charitable British Historic Buildings Trust. It is for these bodies to ensure that good value for money is achieved for the funds expended.

Parish Councils

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to give extra powers and resources to parish councils.

Mr. Key : We are considering the role of parish councils in the light of responses to our consultation paper "The Structure of Local Government in England".

Greater Manchester Councils (Capital Receipts)

Mr. Lewis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the capital receipts currently held by each district authority in Greater Manchester ; and what are the amounts for which re-use is disallowed.

Mr. Key : The table shows the total capital receipts held by each district authority in Greater Manchester at 31 March 1991, together with the amount of those receipts which have been reserved for debt redemption.


               |Total receipts|Reserved                     

               |held at 31    |receipts held                

               |March 1991    |at 31 March                  

                              |1991                         

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

Bolton         |15,206        |11,784                       

Bury           |6,161         |5,361                        

Manchester     |0             |0                            

Oldham         |<1>n/a        |<1>n/a                       

Rochdale       |7,487         |5,997                        

Salford        |19,122        |19,122                       

Stockport      |10,188        |10,188                       

Tameside       |13,377        |11,668                       

Trafford       |27,466        |18,969                       

Wigan          |17,324        |13,564                       

<1> n/a. Not available as the authority has not returned    

the relevant form.                                          

Source: Departmental returns.                               

The data are expressed in £'000s.

Government Grants

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what will be the total level of Government grant per head of adult population for1992-93 for (a) Bradford, (b) Craven and (c) Harrogate.

Mr. Key : Under my right hon. Friend's proposals the total of revenue support grant and, in Bradford's case, area protection grant per head of adult population will be as follows :


          |£      

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

Bradford  |736    

Craven    |300    

Harrogate |295    

Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make available financial assistance to complete the restoration of Hanover square in Bradford ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Yeo : The restoration of the properties in Hanover square has attracted financial support primarily from


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English Heritage and the City of Bradford metropolitan council. It is for those bodies to consider whether further support would be necessary or justified. My Department has not directly funded the scheme and it would be inappropriate for it to do so.

Housing Associations

Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received concerning the performance of the housing associations active in rural areas ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Yeo : None.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Rost : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will issue guidance to local planning authorities about renewable energy ; and if he will make a statement.

Sir George Young : A draft planning guidance note, with an accompanying draft annex on wind energy, is being issued for public consultation today. Copies have been placed in the Library. The draft guidance describes the different forms of renewable energy and explains the part they might play in tackling greenhouse gas emissions ; explains Government policy on renewable energy installations, including the non- fossil fuel obligation ; outlines the relevant environmental protection legislation ; shows how local planning authorities can include renewable energy policies in development plans and advises them to consider what contribution their area may make ; sets out the considerations which should apply when renewable energy installations are proposed in designated areas ; explains when environmental assessment may be required ; and notes the environmental implications of such installations.

The draft annex gives authorities detailed information about the technology of wind energy and its planning implications. Information is also given on how to assess the environmental aspects of wind powered developments. Further annexes on other forms of renewable energy are in preparation and will be issued in due course. This new draft guidance demonstrates the Government's commitment to renewable energy and to tackling global warming, whilst continuing to recognise the fundamental importance of its policies to protect the landscape and wildlife.

Poll Tax

Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the average collection level of the poll tax at 30 September 1990, at 31 March 1991 and at 30 September 1991 for (a) shire districts, (b) metropolitan authorities, (c) outer-London boroughs, (d) inner-London boroughs, (i) excluding and (ii) including the provision in local authority budgets for non-collection ; and what poll tax income was (1) collected and (2) uncollected at 30 September 1990, 31 March 1991 and 30 September 1991.

Mr. Key [holding answer 4 December 1991] : The available information is as follows :


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Community charge receipts for 1990-91                              

as a percentage of budgeted income                                 

                       |by 30     |by 31     |by 30                

                       |September |March     |September            

1990                   |1991      |1991                            

                       |Percentage|Percentage|Percentage           

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

Shire districts        |47        |92        |96                   

Metropolitan districts |44        |87        |93                   

Inner London boroughs  |34        |79        |86                   

Outer London boroughs  |44        |89        |94                   

Information on the community charge collection levels as a percentage of the debits raised by authorities in 1990-91 is not available.


Community charge receipts for 1991-92 by 30 September   

1991 as a                                               

percentage of                                           

                       |Budgeted  |Estimated            

                       |income    |debit                

                       |Percentage|Percentage           

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

Shire districts        |40        |38                   

Metropolitan districts |38        |37                   

Inner London boroughs  |28        |<1>32                

Outer London boroughs  |36                              

<1> Information on debit is not sufficiently reliable   

for a breakdown between class of authority within       

London.                                                 


Community charge income                                  

                     |Collected                          

                     |£ billion  |£ billion              

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

At 30 September 1990 |4.64       |5.57                   

At 31 March 1991     |9.19       |1.03                   

At 30 September 1991                                     

  1990-91 charges    |9.71       |0.51                   

  1991-92 charges    |2.47       |3.93                   

ENERGY

Energy Labelling Scheme

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what proportion of fridge-freezer, fridge and freezer models have so far been rated under the Energy Efficiency Office energy labelling scheme ; whether all major manufacturers are co-operating with the scheme ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : All the major retailers, manufacturers and importers of refrigerators and freezers have been given details of the rating method which enables all models to be rated. The rating is obtained from the standard energy consumption information by a simple calculation explained in a technical leaflet which is freely available from my Energy Efficiency Office. A copy of the technical leaflet and the explanatory customer leaflet is available in the Library of the House. The regional electricity companies have themselves calculated ratings for about 300 models which they carry, and have labels showing those ratings on models on display in their shops which sell about 27 per cent. of all refrigerators and freezers in the United Kingdom.

All major manufacturers publish the standard energy consumption information required for the energy efficiency labels in brochures and technical leaflets provided with new appliances.


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Sellafield

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy on how many occasions since the Windscale reprocessing works at Sellafield was opened for full safeguards inspection in 1986 have Euratom nuclear inspectors visited the B-205 Magnox reprocessing plant ; what information they conveyed to his safeguards division following each inspection ; and whether the details of the safeguards reports are available for public scrutiny.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Euratom inspectors have access to all civil nuclear material at Sellafield on a continuing basis. Typically, three Euratom officials are involved in inspection work at Sellafield at any one time. They divide their time between the various plants according to their assessment of the inspection needs. Detailed reports are prepared by these officials for the Euratom inspectorate and their findings are confidential to it. As appropriate, Euratom hold discussions with the safeguards office of my Department and with the operator : such discussions are confidential.

From time to time, Euratom publishes summaries of its inspection activities ; the most recent is the "Report on the Operations of Euratom Safeguards" dated 19 March 1990, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Semi-conductor Materials

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what work is sponsored by his Department's energy technology research unit on the use of semi-conductor growth technologies in solar cell development.

Mr. Moynihan : On 8 May I announced that the Government are to fund a £250,000 programme of research into the use of solar power for electricity production. We believe that photovoltaics is a renewable technology which has considerable potential, particularly when incorporated into the fabric of a building. It is towards this area, rather than fundamental research into cell development, that the Department's programme has been focused.

Opencast Mining

Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy how much coal has been produced from opencast operations in Great Britain in each of the last seven years.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Total opencast coal output from British Coal and the licensed sector in each of the last seven years was as follows :


3

                 |output                           

                 |(million tonnes)                 

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

1984-85          |14.6                             

1985-86          |15.3                             

1986-87          |14.6                             

1987-88          |16.3                             

1988-89          |18.0                             

1989-90          |18.6                             

1990-91          |18.3                             

TRANSPORT

Bus Companies

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what studies his Department has made of bus companies franchising their routes.

Mr. Freeman : The Departmnt has not undertaken any studies of bus companies franchising their routes. However, bus route tendering in London has provided valuable experience for bus operators and the Department in preparation for the deregulation of the London bus market. We are now ready to bring the benefits of deregulation to London's bus passengers, and hope to deposit a Bill to that end at an early opportunity in the new Parliament.

Airports (Credit Approvals)

Sir Fergus Montgomery : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will now announce the 1992-93 supplementry credit approvals for public airport companies and local authority airports.

Mr. McLoughlin : Supplementary credit approvals totalling £72 million will be available for public airport companies and local authority airports for 1992-93. These credit approvals, together with other resources which public airport companies expect at this stage to invest, will assist the airports concerned to provide facilities which they estimate could cost some £122 million in 1992-93. As announced today by my noble Friend in another place, we have agreed to supplementary credit approvals totalling £59 million at this stage. The major projects concerned include the continuation of work on phase 1 of terminal 2 at Manchester airport and joint venture projects with the private sector at Birmingham airport. Formal supplementary credit approvals for these and other projects will be issued to the local authorities shortly.

The £72 million total of credit approvals for 1992-93, following the £87 million for 1991-92, represents a substantial commitment to the development of regional airports. But, as I indicated in my answer to my hon. friend in connection with the 1991-92 settlement-- Official Report 19 December 1990, column 169 --investment allocations will reduce in scale as phase 1 of terminal 2 at Manchester airport is completed and as the pressure on public sector spending continues. Local authority airports will have to look increasingly to the private sector to share in the successes and the risks associated with continued expansion.

Channel Tunnel

Mr. Evennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements are being made to carry forward work on the Government's preferred route for the channel tunnel rail link.

Mr. Rifkind : I announced on 14 October the Government's preference for a route which terminates at King's Cross and which approaches from the east, via Stratford. I also invited British Rail to undertake such refinement of the route as is necessary to enable me to safeguard it.

Work on the route is now under way. British Rail should have created a new mapping base for the easterly


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section of the route by the end of the year. Work on defining the line and engineering it in sufficient detail for publication, consultation and environmental assessment should then begin in the new year. Officials from my Department, the Department of the Environment and the Treasury are closely involved and are already discussing parameters for the work, such as the freight role of a new line. The consultants appointed by the Department of the Environment to undertake the study of the development potential of the east Thames corridor will be kept in close touch. Ove Arup, which originally conceived the easterly approach via Stratford, is being invited by British Rail to join its team of consultants.

It is the Government's intention that the rail link should be taken forward by the private sector. I shall therefore be appointing a merchant bank early in the new year to advise the Government both about private sector interests whilst the line is refined and on the best way in which to hand over the project to the private sector in due course. The merchant bank will act as my Department's point of contact for developers and other private sector interests with a potential interest in funding and developing the rail link. It is still too early to say when public consultations can begin, but it is important that the local authorities are involved at an early stage. I am still considering how this might best be organised but again I would expect arrangements for a consultative forum to be in place early in the new year.

Parking

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has any plans to seek to require local authorities to establish additional designated parking areas ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chope : No. The designation of parking places on the highway under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 is a matter for the relevant highway authority. We do however plan to issue further guidance to London authorities under the Road Traffic Act 1991 on the designation of on-street parking spaces.

A10 Improvement

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will now take steps to acquire at a full market valuation properties in Cheshunt affected by the proposed A10 improvement ;

(2) how many representations he has received concerning the effect on properties in Cheshunt of the proposed A10 improvement ; (3) when he expects to give a substantive reply to the letters from the hon. Member for Broxbourne dated 1 July, 29 August, 12 November and 13 November 1991 concerning the possible effect on properties of his Department's proposals to improve the A10 through Cheshunt ; (4) further to his answer to the right hon. Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Sir J. Stanley), Official Report, column 235, when guidelines for the new discretionary power to acquire property seriously affected by his Department's road schemes will be announced.

Mr. Chope : The Department has already purchased 36 properties under the statutory blight provisions in the


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Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended. It is also committed to acquiring 49 others, while a further 37 are under consideration.

There have been a large number of enquiries about the road proposals and about property blight--both written and by telephone. The specific correspondence which my hon. Friend mentions is concerned with the application of the new power given by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 to acquire properties which in the opinion of the Secretary of State will be seriously affected by the road scheme. When the criteria by which this discretionary power will be exercised have been decided, I shall write further to my hon. Friend.

St. Pancras-Sheffield Railway

Sir John Farr : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he last met leaders of local authorities of areas with railway stations on the midland main line, to discuss electrification from St. Pancras to Sheffield.

Mr. Freeman : I met the midland main line consortium of local authorities on 4 November. I have written to my hon. Friend following that meeting.

CIVIL SERVICE

Opposition Parties (Consultation)

Mr. Allen : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service what current guidance exists for the conduct of those civil servants who may participate in the consultation with Opposition parties six months prior to an election ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Renton : The guidance was summarised in my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's reply to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris) on 27 November, at columns 527-28.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Economic Models

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many models of the economy are funded in whole or part by Government.

Mr. Maples : The Treasury and the Bank of England both maintain models of the United Kingdom economy. Research on the London business school and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research models of the United Kingdom economy and on their GEM model of the world economy is partly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council Macroeconomic modelling consortium. The consortium is also funding research on a model currently being developed at Strathclyde university.

Tobacco Tax

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide an estimate of the extra revenue if taxation on cigarettes were raised by the amount necessary to increase the retail price by 25 pence.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : This would raise £1.1 billion in 1992- 93 and £1.25 billion in 1993-94.


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Government Stocks

Mr. Fraser : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much money remains unclaimed upon Government stocks having matured in the six years to 1 April 1991.

Mr. Maples : An aggregate of £7.3 million of unclaimed moneys remains outstanding in respect of Government stocks maturing on the Bank of England's registers during the six years to 1 April 1991. This total is comprised of£1.4 million dividends and £5.9 million redemption monies and represents less than 0.02 per cent. of the total amount of these stocks issued to the public.

Tax Allowances and Reliefs

Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be (a) the first year and (b) the full-year revenue effect, if all tax allowances and reliefs except the single person's allowance were restricted to the basic rate (i) in 1991-92, and (ii) in 1992-93, in (1) Great Britain, (2) Northern Ireland and (3) the United Kingdom.

Mr. Maude : It is estimated that, at 1991-92 levels of income, the yield in a full year from restricting all tax allowances and reliefs-- except the personal allowance--to the basic rate of tax would be about £900 million. The corresponding figure for 1992-93 is £950 million.

The effect on receipts in the first year would depend on the administrative arrangements for such a change. I regret it is not possible to provide separate estimates for Northern Ireland.

Currency Matters

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he next expects to meet his EC counterparts to discuss currency matters.

Mr. Maples [holding answer 28 November 1991] : My right hon. Friend will be attending the European Council which meets in Maastricht on 9 December. There are no plans for this meeting to discuss current exchange rates.


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