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Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will list the occupants of the grace and favour accommodation at the occupied royal palaces and of the offices most recently held by each of them.
Occupants -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (i) |Members of the Royal Family-Queen Elizabeth |The Queen Mother, The Prince of Wales, The |Princess of Wales, The Princess Margaret, The |Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, The Duke and |Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Prince |and Princess Michael of Kent. |8 (ii) |Private Secretaries and officials in The Queen's |Households. |46 (iii) |Private Secretaries and officials in other |Households. |9 (iv) |Domestic staff in the Queen's Household. |34 (v) |Domestic staff in other Households |13 (vi) |Stables staff looking after the Civil List carriages |and carriage horses. |34 (vii) |The Queen's private staff and staff who work on |the Royal Farms at Windsor. |7 (viii) |Chauffeurs in the Queen's Household. |9 (ix) |Chauffeurs in other Households. |4 (x) |Staff in The Queen's Household responsible for |the maintenance of the Occupied Palaces Estate. |16 (xi) |Gardeners in the Queen's Household. |6 (xii) |Gatekeepers and security staff in The Queen's |Household. |7 (xiii) |Firepatrolmen in The Queen's Household. |5 (xiv) |Craftsmen and Porters in The Queen's |Household. |23 (xv) |Royal Collection Enterprises Limited staff. |4 (xvi) |Crown Estate staff. |3 (xvii) |Military Knights at Windsor Castle-pensioners. |13 (xviii) |Pensioners. |27 Total |268
Twenty-three of the pensioners are retired employees of the royal household or their widows. The remaining four pensioners were granted accommodation in the past on a grace and favour basis.
Sir Thomas Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what representations he has received from English Heritage about the effect on the future upkeep of stately homes of the financial situation of their owners.
Column 651of their owners, but various aspects of English Heritage's on-going work bear on this issue. For instance, English Heritage's tax review panel is considering the impact of current taxation on owners of historic property, including stately homes. My Department is kept in close touch with that work.
Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will make it his policy that all capital building projects financed by revenue from the national lottery will include access and facilities for people with disabilities.
Mr. Brooke : It will be for the bodies identified in section 23 of the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 to consider applications for national lottery funds. I shall be encouraging them to ensure that capital projects financed from the national lottery take account of the needs of people with disabilities, as required by the building regulations.
Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for the National Heritage what damage has been caused to medieval wall paintings at Windsor castle by contractors ; and if he will review the application of listed building controls to inhabited royal palaces.
Mr. Sproat : One chase approximately 8 ft high was made alongside a door architrave for the insertion of wiring, before the evidence of some paintwork concealed behind panelling and limewash was identified. The damage was localised and represented a fraction of an extensive area. Remedial conservation work has been undertaken. The occupied royal palaces are not statutorily subject to scheduled monument consent or listed building consent because they are Crown property. However, in the case of Windsor castle and Kensington palace, which are scheduled ancient monuments, any proposed development is subject to a similar non-statutory procedure known as scheduled monument clearance. It is also the practice of the royal household to comply with listed building consent requirements at the other occupied royal palaces which are listed but not scheduled. There are no plans to alter these arrrangements.
Mr. Sproat : I expect the additional costs incurred in the employment of expert consultants, the direct costs of remedial works and the indirect cost of delay and disruption to be borne by the parties who have contributed to these costs, and not by the Exchequer. It is too early to estimate what the sum involved is likely to be.
Column 652cost of the testing process, including consultancy costs, (b) the result of the test, (c) the name of the successful contractor, (d) the value and duration of the contract, (e) the number of staff involved, (f) estimated annual cost reductions and (g) whether the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 were deemed to apply.
Mr. Sproat : My Department is currently analysing the outcome of the 1992-93 competing for quality programme with the efficiency unit in the Cabinet Office. Much of the information requested in the question will, once it has been finalised, be published in aggregate form in the "Citizens Charter Second Report". On an individual contact basis, much of the information is commercially confidential.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many geese, of what species and in which locations, have been culled on the authority of his Department ; and if he will give similar details for any proposed future culls.
Mr. Sproat : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its chief executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from David Welch to Mr. Tony Banks, dated 17 January 1994 :
Mr. Ian Sproat, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Question about the number and types of geese that have been culled in the Royal Parks.
We sought licences from the Department of the Environment last year, under the Countryside and Wildlife Act, to cull 100 Greylag and 200 Canada geese. In the event, we culled 61 Greylag and 107 Canada geese.
We will continue to monitor the situation, in the light of which we may apply for further licences in the future.
Mr. Bowden : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what contribution his Department made to the European year of older people and solidarity between generations in terms of financial support, practical support for particular events, and the provision of information.
Mr. Sproat : Almost all of my Department's executive functions are carried out by its two executive agencies and by its 43 non-departmental public bodies which operate at arm's length from Government. My officials wrote to the chief officers of those bodies in 1992 to advise them that 1993 had been designated European year of older people and solidarity between generations so that they could consider what contribution could be made by their respective bodies within the programmes funded through the Department.
Column 653at arm's length from Government, were asked to consider what contributions could be made in support of the year by their respective bodies.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will discuss with S4C the feasibility of securing satellite television air time to ensure that all residents within Wales are able to receive Welsh language television programmes.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage which communities within Wales which are at present unable to receive a reasonable reception of programmes transmitted by S4C and at least one English language television channel based in Wales could technically be served by a system of low power local relay masts ; how many residents could be served by each mast ; and how much each mast would cost to erect and maintain.
Mr. Brooke : Information about reception of television services by communities in Wales was given in my replies to questions from the hon. Member on 14 December 1993, Official Report, columns 577-78. The additional information about coverage could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The broadcasters estimate that the average cost of building a low-power television relay station is about £40, 000, with maintenance costs of about £3,000 a year.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) what discussions he has had with the Independent Television Commission regarding the espousal of burglary, surveillance and war on the water by Greenpeace in pursuit of the making of Carlton television's "Big Story" broadcast on 6 January ;
(2) what action he intends to take following the illegal forced entry to premises by Twenty Twenty Television during the making of Carlton television's "Big Story" broadcast on 6 January.
Mr. Brooke : I do not intend to discuss this with the Independent Television Commission. It would be for it to decide whether any action should be taken. The Broadcasting Complaints Commission can also examine complaints about unwarranted invasion of privacy. Ultimately, it would be for the courts to determine whether criminal activity had taken place.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage (1) what recent representations he has received concerning incentives for investment in film production ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what plans he has to issue a consultation document on the introduction of incentives to encourage investment in film production ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) when he last met representatives of the British film industry to discuss the prospects for that industry ; with whom he met ; and what action he proposes to take as a result of that meeting.
Mr. Brooke : I regularly receive representations concerning possible measures to increase investment in film production. In December, I discussed the prospects of the British film industry with representatives of the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television and the film producer Mr. Edward Simons. So far as possible future Government action to help the industry is concerned, I have nothing to add to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend on 11 January, Official Report, column 70.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many official Christmas cards were sent out in 1993 by (a) Ministers, (b) civil servants and (c) staff of Government agencies working in or to his Department ; and how much these cards cost (i) to buy, (ii) to post and (iii) in staff time to sign, address and place in envelopes.
Mr. Sproat : Some 2,500 Christmas cards were purchased by the Department of National Heritage at a cost of £628.76. Of these, some 1,100 were supplied to Ministers. The remaining cards were available for use by civil servants. Cards were dispatched at normal second class postal rate, or were sent via the Government inter-departmental service. It is not possible to quantify the cost in staff time to sign, address and envelope the cards.
I have asked the chief executive of the Historic Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks agencies to write to the hon. Member about the practices in their agencies.
Mr. Gummer : So far over 9,000 completed questionnaries from "London : Making the Best Better" have been returned and I have also received over 200 letters in response to the publication. I will publish a digest of the response in March when replies have been analysed by my Department. All completed questionnaires received by mid-February will be taken into account in this analysis.
Mr. Curry : We are committed to the Local Government Commission's reviews of shire counties in England, which should lead to more convenient and effective local government reflecting the identities and interests of local people.
Column 655from local authorities, individuals and representatives of the business community, as well as Members of the House. It is not possible, however, to produce a definitive list of all the representations we have received except at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Curry : The Local Government Commission's reviews are proceeding on schedule. It has submitted final reports on the Isle of Wight, Derbyshire, Cleveland, Durham, Avon, Gloucestershire and Somerset. Its final recommendations on Humberside, Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire are due on 23 January. It began on 13 December 1993 reviews of all the remaining shire counties in England and has been directed to submit final recommendations on these counties by the end of 1994.
Sir George Young : I and my Department continue to receive a regular flow of representations about the quality and quantity of rented housing. I am glad to tell the hon. Member that we are on course to exceed our commitment to providing 153,000 homes through housing associations over the first three years of this Parliament ; the Housing Corporation now estimates that on the latest plans some 178,000 will have been completed by the end of 1994-95.
Sir George Young : The Housing Corporation recently announced the allocation of £285 million of resources to Housing Association projects in inner London. This will provide over 5,000 additional homes to rent and over 2,000 additional lettings through the tenant incentive and sale programmes.
Local authorities can increase the supply of available housing for rent by reducing the number of vacant and squatted properties. Inner London has made good progress in the last five years, reducing by 7, 500 the number of vacant and squatted council dwellings, but there is more to be done.
We expect to provide about £358 million in 1994-95 to assist the repair and regeneration of inner London estates through HIP, estate action and housing action trusts. We will also be funding cash incentive schemes which increase the number of council homes available for letting and we will provide £86 million over the next three years through the rough sleepers initiative, largely to provide homes for single homeless people.
Column 656We also have initiatives such as flats over shops, housing associations as managing agents and tax incentives to take in lodgers which increase the supply of affordable housing through private renting.
Mr. Atkins : The Government wish to see bathing water quality standards which are based on good scientific and medical advice. The forthcoming review of the EC bathing water directive will be an opportunity to ensure that the Community focuses on essential quality and health parameters.
Sir George Young : Birmingham housing has done extremely well from the Budget. Resources totalling over £78 million have been allocated in 1994-95 to renovate existing housing and build new. In addition, very large investments have been targeted to renovate some of the worst council estates through the estate action, city challenge and housing action trust initiatives, amounting to a further £60 million.
Mr. Atkins : The Government sponsor a substantial body of research on links between air pollution and respiratory disease. Last July the Institute for Environment and Health was established to act as a focal point for research into the links between health and environmental quality generally, including air pollution.
36. Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations he has had with his opposite number in the Commission of the European Communities in relation to the designation of the lower Severn estuary special protection area under the 1979 wild birds directive.
Mr. Betts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will calculate the total potential spending by all local authorities in England in 1993-94 if they all spent to the maximum of the capped levels, and the similar total potential spending for 1994-95 according to the provisional figures so far announced.
Mr. Baldry : The aggregates of the maximum budget requirements which could be calculated by English local authorities within the capping principles adopted for 1993-94 and the provisional capping criteria for 1994-95 which my right hon. Friend has announced are respectively :
|£ billion ------------------------------- 1993-94 |36.790 <1>1994-95 |38.097 <1> Provisional.
These figures exclude the receiver for the Metropolitan police district-- which is not subject to designation for capping under the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1992--local precepts, and appropriations from reserves.
24. Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what reduction there is in the spending plans for 1994-95 to 1995-96 compared with his Department's plans in the 1992 autumn statement.
Mr. Gummer : Changes from the spending plans for my Department in the 1992 autumn statement were set out in table 5B.3 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report 1994-95", a copy of which is in the Library.
29. Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the estimate for spending in 1994-95 and 1995-96 contained in the 1992 autumn statement ; what is the current spending plan for those years ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : My Department's spending plans for 1994-95 and 1995-96 were contained in table 2A.5 of the 1992 autumn statement. The latest plans are in table 5B.3 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report 1994-95". Copies of both documents are in the Library.
25. Mr. Canavan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the operation of current legislation on the operation of incinerators for the burning of waste material.
Mr. Atkins : Operators of waste incinerators are required by part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to apply for authorisation of the process and must demonstrate the use of best available techniques not entailing excessive cost--BATNEEC--to prevent or minimise pollution before the authorisation is issued. Guidance is given to local enforcing authorities by my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for the Environment and for Scotland, and to the national
Column 658inspectorate--HMIP and HMIPI in Scotland--by the chief inspectors. Both guidance notes and authorisations will be reviewed by the enforcing authorities at not more than four-yearly intervals.
33. Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if the critical loads advisory group can assist with decisions on the provision of incineration of industrial and domestic waste.
Mr. Atkins : Critical loads maps are published by my Department, and these may be used by the relevant pollution control authorities. The critical loads advisory group is currently investigating methods of improving the resolution of the maps.
Mr. Baldry : My Department is currently consulting local authorities and other interested parties on detailed proposals for extending CCT to local authority legal services. We will begin consulting on other white collar services in the course of this year. I anticipate that legislation will take effect in a phased programme beginning in October 1995.
Mr. Baldry : Many blue collar services are already subject to CCT and are coming up for their second cycle of tendering, comprising approximately £2 billion-worth of contracts. CCT will be introduced for further blue collar services and a wide range of white collar services, starting with on-street parking and vehicle management from1 April 1995 and legal and construction services from1 October 1995. These are further large areas of council activity involving services amounting to well over £4 billion in value.
Mr. Atkins : The basis of charging is a matter for the water companies. We have said that in our view there is a case for selective use of meters chiefly in areas of significant potential water shortage.
Mr. Atkins : In 1992 we issued a major policy statement setting out our proposals for the national parks, including a commitment to legislate to establish independent authorities for all 10 parks. Unfortunately
Column 659pressure on the parliamentary timetable has not allowed us to secure a place in the current session. However, Lord Norrie has recently announced his intention to introduce legislation in the House of Lords to establish independent authorities for all the parks and I am optimistic that the Government will be able to support it.
Mr. Baldry : We published revised mineral planning guidance for coal mining and colliery spoil disposal for public consultation on 14 December 1993. Comments are required by 18 March 1994. When the comments have been considered we would hope to make any necessary revisions and publish final guidance in the summer.
Mr. Baldry : Within the proposals for revenue support grant in 1994- 95 announced on 2 December 1993, the provisional standard spending assessment for Bournemouth is £18.18 million. We have consulted local authorities on these provisional figures and will reach final decisions shortly.
37. Ms Estelle Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the Government's policies to improve the quality of housing in outer ring areas of cities ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : Housing in outer ring areas of cities benefits in the same way as housing in other areas from the Government's policies to secure better value for money from the use of public funds ; to encourage investment in the private rented sector, widening choice for tenants and increasing the supply of homes for rent ; to promote the growth of owner occupation ; and to direct public expenditure more effectively towards those people and areas that most need support.
As far as council housing is concerned, we aim to direct a larger share of spending power to those local authorities with the greatest needs, so outer ring areas with the most