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Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when the Monopolies and Mergers Commission will be reporting on the practice of cabinet exclusivity agreements in relation to ice cream manufacturers and retailers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Neil Hamilton [holding answer 1 November 1993] : The Director General of Fair Trading, Sir Bryan Carsberg, referred the supply of impulse buy ice creams to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on 7 May 1993. The Commission was asked to report to my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade within nine months.
Mr. Sainsbury [ holding answer 1 November 1993] : RECHAR II and all other proposals for future Community initiatives for European structural funds grants are to be discussed by the Council of Ministers, and then by a management committee of officials, before any such initiative is launched. No date has yet been set for such discussion.
Mr. Sainsbury [ holding answer 1 November 1993] : None. In accordance with the Government's usual policy on the use of grant available from the European structural funds, I have proposed that such UK Konver grants as may benefit companies should be confined to small and medium- sized enterprises. As is the case with structural funds grants generally, most UK Konver grants will not be made directly to companies.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what consultations he has had in relation to the long-term future of the Export Credits Guarantee Department, Llanishen and Cathays park, Cardiff ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Needham : [ holding answer 1 November 1993] : I have held two meetings with ECGD's trade union side which included discussion of the long-term future of its Cardiff offices. I confirm my endorsement of the recommendation of the ECGD management board in November 1992 that there should be no major change to the distribution of functions between London and Cardiff for at least three years from that date.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will place in the Library the text of the case for intervention funding for British warship yards referred to in his reply to the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Trotter) of 20 October, Official Report , column 246.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Evans) of 25 October, Official Report, column 433, what actions his Department has taken to ensure that companies file reports under the EC code of conduct relating to South Africa for the year ended 30 June.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 1 November 1993] : Following the decision taken by the EC Foreign Affairs Council on 4 October to discontinue the code of conduct, British companies have been informed that reports are no longer required.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the Government's policy towards wage levels and employment conditions provided by British comapnies continuing to operate or seeking to operate in South Africa.
Mr. Needham [holding answer 1 November 1993] : British companies have an excellent record on wages and employment conditions in South Africa. We will encourage companies to continue these high standards.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will publish a table showing whether the public have a statutory right to (a) attend all board or committee meetings, (b) inspect the minutes of meetings, (c) inspect the annual reports, (d) inspect the annual accounts and (e) inspect a register of members' interests of each executive non- departmental public body sponsored by his Department.
(b) The public do not have a statutory right to inspect the minutes of meetings of any of my Department's executive NDPBs. (c) NDPBs publish on a regular basis reports which the public can see.
(d) NDPBs publish on an annual basis accounts which the public can see.
(e) All appointments to NDPBs are made in accordance with guidance provided by the Cabinet Office and Her Majesty's Treasury, which requires Ministers to satisfy themselves that there is no conflict of interest.
£ million [TITRE ---------------------------- LPO |4.4 |1.04 LSO |5.5 |1.57 Philharmonia |5.1 |2.27 RPO |5.3 |0.95
Mr. Brooke : The Arts Council seeks informed and objective advice in determining its policies and priorities for the various art forms. In addition, the council takes close account of consumer research and monitors box office attendance figures.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage which hospitals have had statutory listings changed in the last five years ; if he will list the date and reason in each case ; and if he will also list current applications for changes.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage, pursuant to his oral answer of 12 July, Official Report, columns 657-58, what progress has been made by the task force between his Department and the Department of Health about listed hospitals.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what hospitals have been specifically considered by the task force between his Department and the Department of Health on listed hospitals.
Mr. Sproat : The guidance being prepared by the Department of Health and English Heritage task force will include examples of good practice from the NHS, and a number of sites have been mentioned informally in the course of discussions. Some sites where particular problems have been met have also been discussed informally. It would not be appropriate to divulge the names of these sites at this stage.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will place in the Library the reports, or summaries of reports, considered by the task force between his Department and the Department of Health on listed hospitals.
Column 99guidance which will assist NHS authorities to discharge their obligations for listed properties while providing health services of high quality and good value. The task force is developing the guidance from a first draft produced by English Heritage. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health will place a copy of the final guidance in the Library when it is available.
Mr. Brooke : Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimates, the following changes will be made. (i) The cash limit for class XI, vote 3--libraries--will be increased by £202,000 from £114,337,000 to £114,539,000 to meet a new provision for the Royal National Institute for the Blind embossed literature service and to increase provision for the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts to meet new administration costs. This increase is being met by offsetting savings on class XII, vote 3 and class XVIII, vote 1.
(ii) The cash limit for class XI, vote 5--film, tourism, sport and broadcasting--will be increased by £1,022,000 from £129,086,000 to £130,108,000 to meet increased payments for broadcasting regulatory services and for lower appropriations in aid in respect of loan repayments by the Radio Authority.
(iii) The cash limit for class XI, vote 7--administration--will be increased by £40,000 from £25,294,000 to £25,334,000. This increase is the net effect of an increase of £64,000 in respect of the capital end-year flexibility scheme and a transfer of resources of £24,000 to the Department for Education in respect of certain central services provided by that department.
(iv) The Department's gross running costs control limit will, however, be decreased by £174,000 from £29,856,000 to £29,682,000 to reflect the transfer of £150,000 to a new provision on class XI, vote 7 for the Millennium Commission and £24,000 to the Department for Education.
(v) The increases wil be offset by savings and charges to the reserve, and will not, therefore, add to the planned total of public expenditure.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Attorney-General what reports will be published of the proceedings and conclusions of the new EFTA Surveillance Authority ; what reports it will make to the EFTA standing committee and to the Council of Ministers of the European Communities, respectively ; where it will sit ; and if its meetings will be open to the public.
The EFTA Surveillance Authority will prepare reports and assessments in line with the procedure set out in paragraph 5 of protocol 1 of the European economic area agreement. Reports will be submitted to the EEA joint committee. The EFTA Surveillance Authority will also publish information in line with the procedure set out in paragraph 6 of protocol 1. Information emanating from the EFTA Surveillance Authority will be published in a special EEA section of the Official Journal of the EC. In addition, article 21 of the agreement between the EFTA states on the establishment of a surveillance authority and court of justice provides that the EFTA Surveillance Authority shall annually produce a general report of its activities.
Column 100This report will be available to the public. The EFTA Surveillance Authority will sit in Brussels. Its meetings will not be open to the public.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Attorney-General which publication contains the articles or rules defining the powers and procedures of the EFTA Surveillance Authority and court, respectively ; by whom and when the documents were approved ; what notice was given by Her Majesty's Government to any public or private body in the United Kingdom of the drafts of such articles ; and what status they have in (a) international law or (b) the locus of the court of the European Community in Luxembourg.
Article 108 of the European economic area--EEA--agreement requires the European Free Trade Association states to establish an independent surveillance authority and a court of justice. This obligation has been fulfilled by means of a separate
agreement--"Agreement on the Establishment of a Surveillance Authority and a Court of Justice"--signed by EFTA Ministers in Oporto on 2 May 1992, in parallel with the EEA agreement. The agreement has subsequently been adjusted by a protocol, to reflect Switzerland's withdrawal from the EEA, again signed only by the relevant EFTA states, in Brussels on 17 March 1993, in parallel with the protocol adjusting the EEA agreement. The agreement is between the EFTA states. Neither the Community nor any EC member state is a contracting party to the agreement. The agreement is binding on the contracting parties in international law.
Sir George Young : The Liverpool housing action trust became the landlord of 5,337 properties on 4 October 1993. I am pleased that tenants and leasholders voted so overhelmingly in favour of the proposal to transfer to the Liverpool HAT. I am delighted that the HAT is now fully operational and working with tenants in this exciting initiative to improve housing conditions throughout the city.
Mrs. P. Ridley--Chair
Mr. M. Appleton--Deputy Chair
Mr. E. McGonagle--Board Member
Mrs. S. J. Last--Board Member
Mrs. J. K. Roberts--Board Member
Mr. R. Dykes--Board Member
Councillor M. Clarke--Board Member
Mr. J. Sheridan--Tenant Board Member
Mrs. M. Gallimore--Tenant Board Member
Miss D. C. Todd--Tenant Board Member
Mrs. E. Clark--Tenant Board Member
Column 101Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the salaries and expenses of members he has appointed to the housing action trust in Liverpool.
Sir George Young : HAT board members are paid at standard rates. A chairman who works for two days a week on HAT business is paid £25, 315 a year : in particular busy periods where the chairman works for at least an additional day, the remuneration may be increased to £37, 975. The chairman of Liverpool HAT has been paid at the higher rate in recognition of the time input she has made to the HAT. The deputy chairman is paid £8,590 a year and other board members £5,030 a year.
All board members are entitled to travel and subsistence expenses when attending the normal place at which the HAT board works, or when away on HAT business, and for other expenses necessarily incurred on HAT business. These allowances are payable in accordance with the civil service travelling and subsistence rates.
Sir George Young : I am not aware of the problems on the mortgageability of most homes sold under the right to buy and voluntary sales. There is a particulr problem in relation to ex-council flats in tower blocks, where some lending institutions are currently adopting cautious policies. As the housing market picks up, the situation should improve. Meanwhile we are investigating the scale of the problem and some possible solutions, together with the lenders and the local authority associations.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will now publish the proposed new route for the Pennine bridleway national trail ; if he will publish a timetable for granting approval for this proposal ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Yeo : The Countryside Commission published its supplementary report and submitted it to the Secretary of State on 1 July this year, outlining revised proposals for the bridleway. I expect to announce my decision shortly.
Mr. Baldry : The issues raised by this planning application are complex and consideration of the inspector's report has taken longer than expected. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will announce a decision shortly.
Column 102assessment system will not be disadvantaged by phasing in any subsequent changes resulting from the review of standard spending assessments ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Betts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he is giving to phasing in changes to the SSA system ; and what assessment he has made of the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.
Mr. Baldry : We will consider carefully the effect of any changes in the system of standard spending assessments resulting from the review of SSAs before deciding whether it will be necessary to mitigate these effects, and if so what means and to what extent.
Mr. Betts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to establish an ongoing review of the standard spending assessment system with particular reference to the monitoring of the relationship between grant levels and needs of individual authorities.
Mr. Baldry : We have just completed a review of standard spending assessments for 1994-95. Standard spending assessments are the Government's assessment of the appropriate amount of revenue expenditure by each local authority taking account of its physical, demographic and social characteristics, consistent with the provision of a common level of service and the Government's view of the appropriate amount of revenue expenditure for all local authorities. We are always prepared to look at new evidence for changes in standard spending assessments.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions have been held regarding the extended use of 100 per cent. capital receipts by local authorities ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Betts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consideration he will be giving in the review of the standard spending assessment system to developing an improved system for distributing Government grant or for controlling local authority expenditure.
Mr. Baldry : The review of standard spending assessments, which my right hon. Friend has discussed with the local authority associations, is now substantially complete. In the light of that review my right hon. Friend is now formulating his proposals for 1994-95 SSAs, which
Column 103he intends, as for previous years, should be a fair assessment, on the basis of the information and evidence available to him, of the appropriate amount of revenue expenditure for an authority to incur to provide a standard level of service.
Mr. Betts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to relate average grant payments and standard spending assessment levels to the relative status of local authorities for the purpose of receiving EC funding.
Mr. Betts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the effect of the area cost adjustment on (a) grants to local authorities in different parts of the country and (b) local authority pay levels.
Mr. Baldry : The area cost adjustment aims to ensure that standard spending assessments reflect regional differences in the cost of providing a standard level of service. Revenue support grant is distributed so that, if all local authorities were to spend at the level of their SSA, broadly the same level of council tax could be set in all areas for dwellings in the same valuation band. The area cost adjustment is not based on actual local authority pay levels and does not, therefore, provide any incentive for an authority to increase its pay.
Mr. Matthew Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will consider creating a system of grant allocation to help with the cost of purchasing property to provide a higher return on investor capital and to encourage long-term provision in the private rented housing sector.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing the total gross public spending for each year since 1991-92 and the projected expenditure for each year to 1995-96, in 1992-93 prices, for the housing action trusts.
|£ million ------------------------------ 1991-92 |10.1 1992-93 |26.5
Current public expenditure provision for 1993-94 and the two subsequent financial years is as follows. 1992-93 prices are in brackets :
|£ million|£ million ---------------------------------------- 1993-94 |86.8 |(84.5) 1994-95 |88.2 |(82.4) 1995-96 |90.0 |(81.0)
Ms Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those public investment projects within his Department's responsibility which have attracted private capital and have been commenced since the 1992 autumn statement.
Mr. Gummer : The Department and its sponsored bodies attracted over £2 billion of private investment in support of departmental programmes in 1992-93, and similarly expects to lever in up to £3 billion of private funding in 1993-94. This will assist the implementation of a wide variety of projects, most notably in housing, inner cities and urban regeneration. It is not practicable to list each project.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish a table showing for each of the executive non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department, whether the public have a statutory right to (a) attend all board or committee meetings, (b) inspect the minutes of meetings, (c) inspect the annual reports, (d) inspect the annual accounts and (e) inspect a register of members' interests.