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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 17 June 1993

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Probate Service

Mr. McAllion : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 26 October, Official Report, columns 436-37, if he will list the progress made in attaining improvements to the probate service in England and Wales in respect of each of the proposals in the Comptroller and Auditor-General's report "Probate--Service to the Public" ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor : Following the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General in February 1992, an internal review was commissioned to report on such matters as staffing levels, the organisation of the service, storage of records and computerisation. That review reported in April 1993 and made several recommendations which are presently under consideration, although, like the Comptroller and Auditor General's report, it confirmed that the structure and organisation of the probate service were generally sound. When further information is available, I will make a statement, but the hon. Member for Dundee, East can be assured that the high standard of service provided by staff in the probate service will be maintained.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Stefan Kiszko

Ms Lynne : To ask the Attorney-General when the report into the West Yorkshire police's handling of the Stefan Kiszko case by the Lancashire constabulary was completed and handed to the West Yorkshire police ; and when the report was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Attorney-General : The report was submitted to the West Yorkshire police on 2 June 1993 and to the Director of Public Prosecutions on 3 June 1993.

Ms Lynne : To ask the Attorney-General how Stefan Kiszko and the family of Lesley Molseed have been kept up to date with the progress of the investigation, and whether they have been informed of the contents and conclusions of the Lancashire constabulary report, on the handling of the Stefan Kiszko case by the West Yorkshire police.

The Attorney-General : The police service rather than the Crown Prosecution Service has the responsibility for maintaining appropriate contact with victims and others affected by crime. I understand that the investigating officer and his team have kept the legal representative of Stefan Kiszko and the family of Lesley Molseed informed


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in general terms as to the progress of their investigation. The contents of police reports relating to investigations are, however, confidential.

Asil Nadir

Mr. Winnick : To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his answer of 10 June, Official Report, column 334, (1) how many Ministers were among those who made representations to him over Polly Peck prosecution ;

(2) what action he took regarding the (a) written representations and (b) oral representations over the Polly Peck prosecution ; if he advised those making oral representation to put those representations to him in writing ; and in how many cases was this done ;

(3) how many representations he has received from right hon. and hon. Members in the past two years over prosecutions relating to fraud where no court proceedings had yet taken place, excluding representations connected with the Polly Peck and Maxwell cases.

Mr. Darling : To ask the Attorney-General, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) on 10 June, Official Report, column 334, on Asil Nadir, how many of the representations received were (a) from Ministers and (b) from other hon. Members ; and if he will make a statement.

The Attorney-General : I receive many representations from hon. Members of all parties, both written and oral, about matters within my ministerial responsibility which they believe raise points either of general concern or of concern to particular constituents. Statistics are not maintained for either the overall number of such representations or the particular class mentioned by the hon. Members.

In some cases where the representations are informal or insufficiently precise, I may invite the hon. Member to write to me. Whenever the representations are sufficiently formal and particularised I consider the points raised carefully and dispassionately, causing inquiries to be made as necessary, before responding to the hon. Member.

I do not intend to expand on my answer to the hon. Member for Walsall, North of 10 June, Official Report, column 334, about representations made about the case of Mr. Nadir.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Football Offences

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences under section 3(1) of the Football (Offences) Act 1991 were reported in 1992 ; and how many resulted in (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions.

Mr. Maclean : Offences committed under the Football Offences Act 1991 are not notifiable. However, the football unit of the National Criminal Intelligence Service has advised that there were 76 arrests at Football League matches under section 3 of the Football Offences Act 1991, which came into force on 10 August 1991, for the 1991-92--August-May-- season.

In England and Wales in 1991, there were six prosecutions under section 3 of the Act, five of which resulted in a conviction.


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1992 data will not be available until the autumn.

Racial Incidents

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many racial incidents were reported to each police division in 1992 ; what proportion of those incidents involved assault or violence ; and how many resulted in (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions.

Mr. Maclean : The only information held centrally relates to the number of reported racial incidents and I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to a question from the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Gerrard) on 26 April, Official Report, column 266.


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Prostitution

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prostitution-related offences were recorded in 1992 ; and how many resulted in (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions.

Mr. Maclean : Information on the number of prostitution related offences is not recorded centrally.

The table shows the number of "known offenders"--those cautioned and found guilty--and the number of defendants prosecuted and convicted in England and Wales for prostitution-related offences in 1991. 1992 data will not be available until the autumn.


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Number of "known offenders" (those cautioned and found guilty) and the number of defendants prosecuted at magistrates' courts                                                                                                                                                                                       

and found guilty at all courts for prostitution related offences                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

1991                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

England and Wales                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Offence                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             |Known offenders|Prosecutions   |Convictions                    

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

Indictable offences                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Procuring female for immoral purposes, or using drugs to obtain or facilitate sexual intercourse (Sexual Offences Act 1956, sections 2, 3, 4, 22 and 23)                                                                                            |5              |13             |4                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Householder permitting unlawful sexual intercourse with girl under 16 (Sexual Offences Act 1956, sections 25 and 26)                                                                                                                                |1              |3              |1                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Detention of female in brothel or other premises (Sexual Offences Act 1956, section 24)                                                                                                                                                             |1              |-              |-                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Persons responsible for girl under 16 causing or encouraging her prostitution etc. (Sexual Offences Act 1956, section 28)                                                                                                                           |2              |2              |2                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Living on earnings of prostitution or exercising control over prostitute (Sexual Offences Act 1956, sections 30 and 31)                                                                                                                             |81             |106            |79                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Procuring, permitting or causing the prostitution etc. of female defective (Sexual Offences Act 1956, sections 9, 27 and 29)                                                                                                                        |1              |-              |1                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Man or woman living wholly or in part on the earnings of male prostitution (Sexual Offences Act 1967, section 5(1))                                                                                                                                 |-              |-              |-                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Summary offences                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Kerb crawling (Sexual Offences Act 1985, section 1)                                                                                                                                                                                                 |1,291          |1,323          |1,140                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Persistent soliciting of women for the purpose of prostitution (Sexual Offences Act 1985, section 2)                                                                                                                                                |186            |71             |51                             

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Common prostitute behaving in a riotous and indecent manner in a public place (Vagrancy Act 1824, section 3; and section 4 so far as it relates to this offence when committed by a person who has been convicted as an idle and disorderly person) |6              |6              |6                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Common prostitute loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution (Street Offences Act 1959, section 1)                                                                                                                                    |13,491         |10,262         |9,651                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Any other similar offences                                                                                                                                                                                                                          |-              |-              |-                              

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Persons aiding and abetting offences by prostitutes                                                                                                                                                                                                 |-              |-              |-                              

North Wales Police

Mr. Richards : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures have been taken to improve the quality of service provided by the North Wales police force ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The quality of service provided by North Wales police is the responsibility of the chief constable.


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Ruislip Kennels, Bracknell

Mr. Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of whether Ruislip kennels, Bracknell, is conforming with the Animal Boarding Establishment Act 1963 ; and when they were last inspected.

Mr. Charles Wardle : Enforcement of the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963 is a matter for local authorities, which have powers to inspect licensed boarding establishments at all reasonable times and, if they wish, may nominate a veterinary surgeon or veterinary practitioner to do so.


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I understand that Ruislip kennels were last inspected by the local authority on 15 December 1992, prior to the issue of a licence under the 1963 Act.

Bail Hostels

Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many bail hostels there are within 50 miles of York ; how many beds each of these hostels have ; and on how many nights in the past 12 months (a) all or (b) 90 per cent. of those beds have been occupied.

Mr. Maclean : There are four approved bail hostels within a 50-mile radius of York :


                              |Places       

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

South Bank, Cleveland         |24           

Howden House, West Yorkshire  |27           

Walmer Villas, West Yorkshire |18           

Town Moor, South Yorkshire    |25           

                              |--           

Total                         |94           

Statistics on the occupancy of hostels are collected centrally in terms of a monthly average percentage and not on a daily basis, but in none of the four hostels concerned was average occupancy 90 per cent. or above during the last 12 months.

Home Affairs Council

Mr. Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Nottingham, North (Mr. Allen) of 9 June, Official Report, column 246, what were the voting figures for each member state recorded in the meeting of the EC Home Affairs Council held on 2 to 3 June.

Mr. Charles Wardle : Work in the field of intergovernmental co- operation proceeds by consensus ; decisions at the meeting of Immigration and Trevi Ministers on 1 and 2 June therefore required the agreement of all member states.

Prisons, Wales

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to establish new penal institutions in Wales ; where such prisons would be situated and for what complement of prisoners ; whether such institutions would be run by the private or public sector ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the director general of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Alex Carlile, dated June 1993 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent question about plans to build new Prison Service establishments in Wales ; where such prisons would be situated and their size ; and whether such establishments would be run by the private or public sector. Work which has been carried out on the long term planning of the Prison Service estate has shown that there is a need for additional accommodation in Wales. We have already decided to increase the capacity of both Swansea and


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Cardiff prisons by the provision of new houseblocks. But this expansion will not be sufficient to meet the demand for places, indicating the need for a further, new establishment. A final decision has not yet been made about such an establishment. We are also concerned that all prisoners whose homes are in North Wales have to be held in establishments in England. But the numbers concerned are relatively small, and there are other areas which are under greater pressure and which must therefore have higher priority for relief.

On the question of whether any new establishment would be run by the private or public sector, no decision has yet been taken on the approach to be taken to the provision and management of new establishments.

ENVIRONMENT

Local Government Finance

Sir Rhodes Boyson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total amount of credit approvals/capital allocations given to local authorities in (a) England, (b) Greater London and (c) the south-east, excluding Greater London, for each year since 1982- 83 ; and what is his estimate for 1992-93.

Mr. Curry : The information is as follows :


Local authority credit approvals                                                          

£ million                                                                                 

                Issued<1>      Used<2>                                                    

Year           |England       |England       |Greater London|South-east<3>                

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

1990-91        |2,827         |2,786         |744           |386                          

<4>1991-92     |3,222         |3,139         |752           |544                          

<5>1992-93     |3,287         |3,171         |707           |531                          

<1>Total credit approvals issued to local authorities by central Government Departments.  

Excludes credit approvals issued by Department of Transport to certain local authority    

owned airport companies. A breakdown of credit approvals issued by region is not readily  

available.                                                                                

<2>Total credit approvals used, as reported by local authorities to the Department.       

Figures may differ from credit approval issued because of under-use of credit approvals   

and because authorities may have underestimated credit approvals.                         

<3>Excluding Greater London.                                                              

<4>Outturn (provisional).                                                                 

<5>Estimate.                                                                              


Local authority credit approvals                                                          

£ million                                                                                 

                Issued<1>      Used<2>                                                    

Year           |England       |England       |Greater London|South-east<3>                

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

1990-91        |2,827         |2,786         |744           |386                          

<4>1991-92     |3,222         |3,139         |752           |544                          

<5>1992-93     |3,287         |3,171         |707           |531                          

<1>Total credit approvals issued to local authorities by central Government Departments.  

Excludes credit approvals issued by Department of Transport to certain local authority    

owned airport companies. A breakdown of credit approvals issued by region is not readily  

available.                                                                                

<2>Total credit approvals used, as reported by local authorities to the Department.       

Figures may differ from credit approval issued because of under-use of credit approvals   

and because authorities may have underestimated credit approvals.                         

<3>Excluding Greater London.                                                              

<4>Outturn (provisional).                                                                 

<5>Estimate.                                                                              

Limehouse Link

Ms Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the estimated annual cost of maintenance of the Limehouse link in respect of (a) ventilation, (b) electricity, (c) surface repairs and (d) other expenses by category.

Mr. Baldry : The estimated annual cost of maintenance for the Limehouse link tunnel is as follows :


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                                        |£                    

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

(a) Ventilation                         |72,000               

(b) Electricity                         |584,000              

(c) Surface repairs                     |60,000               

(d) Other costs                                               

    -Pumps                              |20,000               

    -Lighting and Lamps                 |50,000               

    -Electrical equipment               |50,000               

    -Service building (Depot)           |48,000               

    -Salaries of tunnel operating staff |461,000              

                                        |-------              

Total                                   |£1,345,000           

Methane Emissions

Ms Short : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will publish the report by the energy technology support unit assessing methane emissions from landfills.

Mr. Yeo : The report is being prepared as part of a series of reports from the controlled waste management research programme. It should be available within two months.

Council Tax

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many residential care homes are liable for council tax in each local authority ; what consideration he has given to allowing council tax discounts to such homes if there are resident staff ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry : The total number of residential care homes in the area of each social services authority as at 31 March 1992 is set out in the table. No information is available on the distribution of these between districts in non-metropolitan areas or on the council tax liabilities relating to them.

People receiving care in registered homes are not counted towards the personal element of the council tax. The council tax bill for a dwelling where all the residents are recipients of care will therefore be subject to a 50 per cent. council tax discount--the tax payable will be the same as that due for any empty property. Members of staff with accommodation in the home will not affect this discount provided that their main home is elsewhere. If separate, self-contained accommodation is provided for staff, this will be subject to a separate council tax bill, and will not affect the tax payable in respect of the care home itself.

If, on the other hand, a member of staff has his sole or main residence in the care home itself, discount entitlement may be lost. But where this is the case, the discount forgone is likely to be smaller than the council tax for which the person would have been liable if he or she had lived elsewhere. It is also very likely to be smaller than the community charge which the member of staff will have paid in previous years.


Social services        |Number of care homes                     

authority                                                        

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

Avon                   |410                                      

Barking                |13                                       

Barnet                 |83                                       

Barnsley               |48                                       

Bedfordshire           |133                                      

Berkshire              |195                                      

Bexley                 |21                                       

Birmingham             |291                                      

Bolton                 |53                                       

Bradford               |151                                      

Brent                  |38                                       

Bromley                |81                                       

Buckinghamshire        |129                                      

Bury                   |61                                       

Calderdale             |71                                       

Cambridgeshire         |147                                      

Camden                 |39                                       

Cheshire               |220                                      

City of London         |0                                        

Cleveland              |120                                      

Cornwall               |265                                      

Coventry               |128                                      

Croydon                |99                                       

Cumbria                |175                                      

Derbyshire             |255                                      

Devon                  |846                                      

Doncaster              |69                                       

Dorset                 |453                                      

Dudley                 |85                                       

Durham                 |152                                      

Ealing                 |56                                       

East Sussex            |589                                      

Enfield                |68                                       

Essex                  |433                                      

Gateshead              |58                                       

Gloucestershire        |182                                      

Greenwich              |24                                       

Hackney                |31                                       

Hammersmith            |27                                       

Hampshire              |654                                      

Haringey               |64                                       

Harrow                 |54                                       

Havering               |55                                       

Hereford and Worcester |282                                      

Hertfordshire          |166                                      

Hillingdon             |48                                       

Hounslow               |23                                       

Humberside             |407                                      

Isle of Wight          |120                                      

Isles of Scilly        |2                                        

Islington              |38                                       

Kensington             |23                                       

Kent                   |707                                      

Kingston upon Thames   |39                                       

Kirklees               |103                                      

Knowsley               |24                                       

Lambeth                |84                                       

Lancashire             |823                                      

Leeds                  |167                                      

Leicestershire         |247                                      

Lewisham               |70                                       

Lincolnshire           |233                                      

LIverpool              |99                                       

Manchester             |121                                      

Merton                 |33                                       

Newcastle upon Tyne    |74                                       

Newham                 |25                                       

Norfolk                |319                                      

North Yorkshire        |350                                      

North Tyneside         |80                                       

Northamptonshire       |190                                      

Northumberland         |98                                       

Nottinghamshire        |259                                      

Oldham                 |63                                       

Oxfordshire            |121                                      

Redbridge              |47                                       

Richmond upon Thames   |35                                       

Rochdale               |53                                       

Rotherham              |39                                       

Salford                |56                                       

Sandwell               |54                                       

Sefton                 |201                                      

Sheffield              |116                                      

Shropshire             |151                                      

Solihull               |26                                       

Somerset               |205                                      

South Tyneside         |42                                       

Southwark              |38                                       

St. Helens             |33                                       

Staffordshire          |255                                      

Stockport              |72                                       

Suffolk                |196                                      

Sunderland             |73                                       

Surrey                 |311                                      

Sutton                 |36                                       

Tameside               |48                                       

Tower Hamlets          |17                                       

Trafford               |77                                       

Wakefield              |69                                       

Walsall                |63                                       

Waltham Forest         |53                                       

Wandsworth             |59                                       

Warwickshire           |148                                      

West Sussex            |435                                      

Westminster            |31                                       

Wigan                  |61                                       

Wiltshire              |196                                      

Wirral                 |145                                      

Wolverhampton          |68                                       

                       |------                                   

Total England          |16,073                                   

Mineral Planning Permission

Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to introduce legislation to ensure that all mineral planning permission is reviewed at intervals of no longer than five years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry : We consulted last year on options for the updating and review of old mineral permissions. I hope to issue a further consultation paper on detailed proposals for change later in the summer. It would be wrong to pre-empt the content of that paper or to prejudge the outcome of further consultations.

Unitary Authorities

Mr. Matthew Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the procedure for an area coterminous with a shire county to be considered for unitary authority status by the Local Government Commission.

Mr. Baldry : If people living in localities bordering on an area being reviewed by the Local Government Commission feel that their area should be included in that review, they may make representations to the commission. Where the commission judges that there is strong community support for a review to be extended across a county boundary, it may ask the Secretary of State for a direction to widen the scope of the review.

Housing (Compulsory Competitive Tendering)

Mr. Hawksley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the development of compulsory competitive tendering of housing management.

Sir George Young : I have today issued a consultation paper to all housing authorities in England, the local


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authority associations and other interested organisations. The paper sets out the Government's detailed proposals on some of the key components of compulsory competitive tendering--CCT--of housing management. I am placing copies in the Library.

The consultation paper follows discussion with the local authority associations and the eight local authorities which are piloting housing management CCT. It also takes account of work done by consultants in co- operation with the pilot authorities.

The proposals in the consultation paper address the scope of the defined activity, which lists the functions which authorities will have to subject to CCT, unless they contract them out voluntarily, the timetable that authorities will have to meet when they are introducing housing management CCT, and the size of contract packages. It is intended that the orders implementing the first two components should be in place from 1 April 1994. The third component will be implemented by way of guidance.

I hope that issuing our proposals at this stage will help authorities in their detailed preparations for the introduction of housing management CCT. In addition, I am keen to have authorities' comments on the practical implications of the proposals, so that the final package takes account of the different circumstances prevailing in different authorities.

CCT represents a new direction and opportunity for the management of local authority housing. Competition will improve quality of service and value for money by testing the market. It will expand the opportunities for the involvement of the private sector in housing management, while ensuring that local authorities themselves have every opportunity to compete. The consultation provisions of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Bill, currently before Parliament, will ensure that tenants are fully involved throughout this process.

The Government want tenants to secure the benefits of CCT as soon as possible, allowing for the healthy development of the market. It is intended therefore that housing management CCT should be phased in over three years with the first contracts in operation from 1 April 1996. The proposals contained in this consultation paper are at the centre of housing management CCT and represent a major step towards its successful introduction.

London Docklands

Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Bow and Poplar (Ms Gordon) of 8 June, Official Report, column 191 , how many people attended the London Docklands development corporation banquet on 7 May ; what proportion of the total cost was met from public funds ; who were the catering contractors ; and if he will place a list of those attending in the Library.

Sir George Young : Approximately 650 people attended the Limehouse link dinner on 14 May. The London Docklands development corporation paid £27,750 towards the cost, the remaining £21,950 was contributed by a variety of companies and individuals. The catering contractors were Crown Catering Group of Romford, Essex. I have asked the LDDC to send a list of participants to the hon. Member.


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Local Government Finance

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will publish the scheme council tax, used in calculating the transitional reduction for 1993-94, for each local authority in England ;

(2) if he will publish the amount of other adjustments which formed part of the personal community charge in 1992-93 for each local authority in England ;

(3) if he will publish the amount of the collection fund deficit at the most recent available date for each local authority in England.

Mr. Baldry : I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Squire), on 24 May, Official Report, column 369.

Westminster City Council

Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations Ministers or officials in his Department have received from, or on behalf of councillors, former councillors or officers who are the subject of the investigation by the district auditor into the designated sales programme of Westminister city council ; and how many such representations were made by right hon. and hon. Members of this House.

Mr. Curry : I am not aware of any such representations.

Local Government Commission (Lancashire)

Mr. Matthew Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when the Local Government Commission will commence its inquiry into the county of Lancashire.

Mr. Baldry : On 20 September 1993.

THORP

Mrs. Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received calling for a public inquiry to consider the potential environmental impact of planned radioactive discharges from BNFL's thermal oxide reprocessing plant at Sellafield ; what is his policy on holding such an inquiry ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Yeo [holding answer 16 June 1993]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has received a number of representations calling for a public inquiry into the draft authorisations for the disposal of radioactive waste from BNFL's Sellafield site. He has received the regulators' report on the public consultation and is considering it and, in accordance with the Radioactive Substances Act 1960, is considering whether to call in the applications for authorisation and if so whether to cause a local inquiry to be held.

Mrs. Ewing : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what recent discussions he has had with, and what representations he has received from, senior management at BNFL on draft discharge authorisations for BNFL's thermal oxide reprocessing plant at Sellafield ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Yeo [holding answer 16 June 1993]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no recent discussions


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with senior management at British Nuclear Fuels plc. The chairman of BNFL has written to the Secretary of State on one recent occasion, about the timing of the issue ture, Fisheries and Food hearing to consider the potential environmental impact of planned radioactive discharges from BNFL's thermal oxide reprocessing plant at Sellafield ; what is his policy on holding such an inquiry ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Yeo [holding answer 16 June 1993]: The Government have received a number of representations calling for a hearing into the draft authorisations for the disposal of radioactive waste from BNFL's Sellafield site. My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have received the regulators' report on the public consultation and are considering it and, in accordance with the Radioactive Substances Act 1960, are considering whether to afford a hearing.

TRANSPORT

M1-M62 Link Road

Mr. Harvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what is the current timetable for the establishment of an M1 to M62 link road ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) what plans he has, following the formal consultation process, to alter or abandon the proposals for the M1 to M62 link road.

Mr. Key : We expect to be in a position to make an announcement about the way forward on this scheme before the autumn.

Market Testing

Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all the market tests that have taken place in his Department since November 1992 and indicate, in each case, whether the result was the maintenance of in-house provision, or whether the service was contracted out.

Mr. Norris : The Department of Transport's market-testing programme for the year from October 1992 to September 1993 was set out in the first report on the citizens charter. None of the cases has yet reached award stage.

Transport Council

Mr. Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. Harris) of 11 June, Official Report, columns 383-84, what were the voting figures for each member state recorded in the meeting of the European Community's Transport Council held on 7 to 8 June.

Mr. MacGregor : No formal votes were taken.


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M25

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to make announcements on the subject of increasing the capacity of the M25 in (a) Kent, (b) Surrey, (c)

Buckinghamshire, (d) Hertfordshire and (e) Essex.

Mr. Key : My right hon. Friend will make a statement in due course.

DUCHY OF LANCASTER

Civil Service College

Mr. Garrett : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how much has been spent on building works, maintenance and equipment at the Civil Service College, Sunningdale in each of the last five years.

Mr. Waldegrave : The information requested covering college expenditure at the Sunningdale site is as follows :


Year           |Building Works|Maintenance   |Equipment                    

               |£ thousands   |£ thousands   |£ thousands                  

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

1988-89        |130           |436           |351                          

1989-90        |367           |509           |492                          

1990-91        |2,072         |519           |863                          

1991-92        |1,960         |567           |996                          

1992-93        |3,891         |632           |357                          

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

Overseas Aid

Mr. Nigel Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the total monetary value of overseas aid distributed in the 1992-93 financial year.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The provisional outturn of gross domestic expenditure on the Overseas Development Administration's external assistance programmes for developing countries and for eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in 1992-93, including the United Kingdom's share of European community aid expenditure, is £2,098,886, 000.

Aid and Trade Provision

Mr. Ottaway : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the future of the aid and trade provision.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Government have concluded their review of the aid and trade provision--ATP. They have decided that the scheme should continue. It will help finance sound projects that will contribute to sustainable development and that are of particular industrial and commercial importance to Britain. The ATP budget for 1993-94 of £110 million will be enhanced by £7 million subject to parliamentary approval. The scheme will in future focus on creditworthy, low-income-- income per head under $700--developing countries. There will be a transitional period during which a few projects already at an advanced stage of consideration,


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which would not be eligible under the revised scheme, will exceptionally be taken forward. The selection of projects under the revised scheme will take account of the new OECD rules governing the use of tied aid which came into force in 1992. Specific measures to improve the effectiveness of ATP and achieve better value for money will be implemented immediately.

This revised scheme will provide a clearer framework for industry within which companies should be able to obtain an early indication of the prospects for ATP funding for individual projects.


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