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Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the means by which the Government will determine the share which the new police authorities proposed in the White Paper on policereforms--Cm. 2281, June 1993--will have of non-domestic rate revenues.
Mr. Baldry : In England, the non-domestic rates pool is distributed to local authorities as an amount per head of resident population. Currently, where more than one authority provides services in an area, this amount per head is shared among the authorities in line with the national shares of standard spending assessments for the services which each provides. Our current intention is to determine the share of the pool to be received by the new police
Column 343authorities in the same way. The arrangements in Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) whether he will place in the Library a copy of the draft guidelines prepared by the sea mammal research unit on precautions to minimise acoustic disturbance to small cetaceans ;
(2) which bodies or organisations his Department has consulted about proposed guidelines on minimising acoustic disturbance to small cetaceans ; when it began consultations ; and when he expects the guidelines to be published ;
(3) what plans he has to consult non-governmental organisations on draft guidelines prepared by the sea mammal research unit on precautions to minimise acoustic disturbance to small cetaceans.
The draft has yet to be agreed by the working party, drawn from the interdepartmental group on the implementation of the agreement on the conservation of small cetaceans of the Baltic and North seas, tasked with developing the guidelines which includes representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry, the British geological survey and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. A member of the sea mammal research unit is the chairman.
The draft guidelines will be discussed by other Government Departments with an interest in seismic testing and the agreement on the conservation of small cetaceans of the Baltic and North seas. A decision on whether to consult more widely will be taken at that stage.
I will ensure that when the guidelines are issued, either in draft or in their final form, a copy is placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Ian Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to announce the outcome of consultation on the local government finance settlement ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : I am today laying before the House the "Local Government Finance Report (England) 1994-95", the "Limitation of Council Tax and Precepts (Relevant Notional Amounts) Report (England) 1994-95", and the "Special Grant Report (No. 9)". These reports establish the amounts of revenue support grant--RSG--and non-domestic rates--NDR--to be paid to local authorities in
Column 3441994-95, and the basis of their distribution ; specify the amounts which are to be used as the basis of comparison for measuring increases in certain local authorities' budgets in 1994-95 for the purposes of capping ; and provide for two special grants to be paid to certain local authorities for 1994-95.
I shall be sending copies of these reports to all authorities as soon as possible, together with a table showing each authority's standard spending assessment and its entitlement to RSG, NDR and special grants. I have also placed copies of the reports and the table in the Library and the Vote Office.
Mr. Mans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how he proposes to reflect the principles of sustainable development and biodiversity in the arrangements for the conservation of nature and the countryside in England.
Mr. Gummer : The launch on 25 January of the sustainable development strategy and biodiversity action plan represents a major step in taking forward the environmental commitments entered into at the 1992 Rio conference. These developments emphasise the import-ance of considering our environmental policies in the widest context and ensuring that individual elements are not treated in isolation. I therefore propose, as part of the process of ensuring the Rio commitments will be fully and effectively implemented, to give early consideration to bringing together the institutional arrangements for the delivery of nature and landscape conservation and the public's appreciation and enjoyment of the countryside in England. The administration of nature and countryside conservation was brought together in Scotland and Wales when these functions were reorganised into three national agencies. The Countryside Council for Wales and Scottish National Heritage have rapidly established themselves as effective deliverers of these aspects of our environmental policies. Our 1990 White Paper, "This Common Inheritance", said that we would keep arrangements in England under review.
Since their inception, English Nature and the Countryside Commission have provided a first-class service to the nation within their separate areas of responsibility. However, I now believe it is time to consider bringing them together in one new body. Before taking a final decision I have asked my hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment and Countryside to carry out an urgent study of the issues involved.
The study will be carried out with the co-operation of the two bodies, and there will be a full opportunity for the many people with an interest in these matters to give their views. The study will address the advantages and disadvantages, if any, of integration as well as issues of cost, implications for staff, timing, and the production of a set of forward- looking objectives for a new body. An official-level steering group, led by the Department of the Environment, and involving both bodies, will supervise the day to day work. Legislation will be required for formal merger and I therefore propose that the study also looks at how closer working could be achieved in the interim or in the circumstances that formal merger was not proceeded with.
The financial targets are :
to increase total sales by 14 per cent. from an expected £144.5 million in 1993 to £165 million ; and
to achieve an overall surplus, after interest, of £1.5 million on total sales.
The customer satisfaction targets are :
to ensure delivery by the due date of at least 90 per cent. of orders handled directly ; and
to resolve 80 per cent. of customer complaints within one month and the rest within three months.
The productivity targets are :
to increase the sales : staff ratio from £1.3 million per employee in 1993 to £1.375 million per employee ; and
to reduce the cost of each £1 of sales achieved from an expected 2.8p in 1993 to 2.6p.
The environmental target is :
to require all suppliers to provide details of their environmental policies and practices as a first step towards establishing appropriate encouragement of best practice.
These targets will require the agency to sustain yet further improvements in growth, efficiency and service to its customers in 1994. They are challenging, but realistic, and I am confident of the agency's ability to meet them.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the regional and area offices of his Department, of the Property Services Agency--and its successors--the pollution inspectorate, the National Rivers Authority, the Countryside Commission, the Housing Corporation, the Audit Commission, the Rural Development Commission, the Nature Conservancy Council, and of other inspectorate, agencies and other public bodies for which he is responsible.
Property Holdings Directorate : London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bristol, Harlow, Leeds, London, Manchester and Tunbridge Wells. Property and Buildings Directorate (Contractor Management Information System) : London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he has made of the cost of an 80 per cent. reduction on 1980 levels of United Kingdon emissions of sulphur dioxide if achieved by (a) 2000, (b) 2005, and (c) 2010 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 26 January 1994] : Any estimates are uncertain since they depend on what is assumed about the future commercial decisions of the electricity supply industry and others as well as underlying assumptions about long-term economic growth and fuel prices. The Government have considered a variety of
Column 346scenarios giving rise to a wide range of costs. We have not estimated the cost of meeting an 80 per cent. reduction target in 2000 since this target would not be feasible. Our estimates however suggest that, taking account of the anticipated refurbishment and replacement needs for relevant plant, 80 per cent. reductions by 2010 is an economically more practicable target, which will result in considerably fewer areas where critical loads are exceeded.
Mr. David Porter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will make a statement about the plans he has for trading standards departments currently in county councils in areas where the Local Government Commission recommends unitary authorities smaller than county councils ;
(2) if he will make it his policy to set up a national Her Majesty's inspectorate of tradings standards, organised regionally, to replace all tradings standards departments currently operated by local authorities ; and if he will make a statement.
The Government consider that trading standards should remain a local authority function. Smaller authorities may wish to consider the option of collaborative arrangements.
The Local Government Commission has been asked to make recommendations for shared arrangements for particular functions in cases where a satisfactory structure is unlikely to be achieved without them. The Government will give careful consideration to any such recommendations.
Mr. Stewart : Education authorities have a statutory responsibility to ensure speech therapy services are available to children with a recorded special educational need. An additional £3 million has been made available to local authorities over the two years 1993-95 to enable them to purchase speech therapy services from health service providers who are the principal employers for speech therapists. Speech therapy for non-recorded children and adults are the responsibility of health boards whose function it is, in the light of the assessed needs of their population, to determine the volume. pattern and quality of services required and through contracts with providers ensure that these standards are met.
Column 347My right hon. Friend has, at present, no specific plans to investigate the provision of speech therapy services.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the total cost of employing managers, advisers, adminstrators and clerical staff in national health service hospitals in each of the last three years for which figures are available.
Mr. Stewart : The information is set out in the table. Two factors have largely contributed to the increase shown. As part of the NHS reforms, Scottish health boards have devolved many of their functions to directly managed units and NHS trusts. The figures also include those senior nurses and clinicians who have transferred to the general-senior manager's pay scales, particularly in latter years
Gross Salaries and Wages of Hospital Administration and Clerical Staff<1> Year |£000's ------------------------ 1990-91 |70,828 1991-92 |88,220 1992-93 |101,335 <1>Includes general and senior managers.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of total national health service expenditure has been spent on the employment of managers, advisers, administrators and clerical staff within the whole of the NHS in each of the last three years for which figures are available.
Mr. Stewart : The information is set out in the table. The figures for salaries include those senior nurses and clinicians who have transferred from clinical to general-senior managers pay scales particularly in later years.
Gross Salaries and Wages of Administration and Clerical Staff<1> Year |Total NHS |Per cent. |Expenditure ------------------------------------------------------------ |(£000s) |(£000s) 1990-91 |171,270 |3,066,000 |5.6 1991-92 |198,286 |3,466,000 |5.7 1992-93 |228,048 |3,789,000 |6.0 <1>Includes general and senior managers.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what consultation, advice and representation he has received from the Scottish Legal Aid Board regarding the Sheriff Court Fees Amendment (No. 2) Order 1993.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : The implications of the order for legal aid expenditure have been the subject of correspondence and discussion between the Scottish Legal Aid Board and the Scottish Office Home and Health Department on a number of recent occasions.
Mr. McFall : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many prescriptions were issued in each health board area in Scotland in each year since 1990 for (a) temazepam, (b) dihydrocodeine, (c) methadone and (d) buprenorphine.
The information for each health board for the calendar years 1992 and 1993 and totals for Scotland for 1990 and 1991 are set out in the tables :
Number of Prescriptions Health Board |1992 |1993 ------------------------------------------------------------- Temazepam Argyll and Clyde |95,408 |85,717 Ayrshire and Arran |91,452 |83,649 Borders |20,315 |19,526 Dumfries and Galloway |30,946 |29,643 Fife |49,377 |46,437 Forth Valley |60,717 |57,088 Grampian |83,186 |80,657 Greater Glasgow |216,188 |191,570 Highland |25,849 |25,810 Lanarkshire |125,126 |115,659 Lothian |129,967 |128,488 Orkney |2,236 |2,105 Shetland |1,602 |1,652 Tayside |95,979 |86,897 Western Isles |4,892 |4,533 |------- |------- All Scotland Total |1,033,240 |959,431 Dihydrocodeine Argyll and Clyde |25,061 |27,904 Ayrshire and Arran |25,226 |28,297 Borders |2,837 |3,289 Dumfries and Galloway |8,274 |8,614 Fife |13,954 |15,128 Forth Valley |18,512 |19,505 Grampian |17,623 |19,739 Greater Glasgow |90,964 |99,075 Highland |10,324 |11,708 Lanarkshire |26,004 |28,992 Lothian |44,929 |48,274 Orkney |631 |626 Shetland |882 |946 Tayside |19,678 |21,565 Western Isles |1,434 |1,375 |------- |------- All Scotland Total |306,333 |335,037 Methadone Argyll and Clyde |3,033 |4,131 Ayrshire and Arran |3,004 |4,836 Borders |354 |262 Dumfries and Galloway |1,284 |2,327 Fife |1,705 |1,990 Forth Valley |4,558 |4,238 Grampian |7,502 |10,311 Greater Glasgow |11,066 |25,995 Highland |1,014 |688 Lanarkshire |714 |1,178 Lothian |16,526 |18,011 Orkney |27 |44 Shetland |18 |57 Tayside |13,564 |14,390 Western Isles |9 |1 |------- |------- All Scotland Total |64,378 |88,459 Buprenorphine Argyll and Clyde |3,759 |2,060 Ayrshire and Arran |5,471 |2,916 Borders |460 |433 Dumfries and Galloway |1,321 |1,067 Fife |2,797 |2,575 Forth Valley |2,041 |1,793 Grampian |3,923 |3,422 Greater Glasgow |11,479 |3,284 Highland |1,329 |1,210 Lanarkshire |5,277 |3,178 Lothian |4,528 |4,070 Orkney |150 |104 Shetland |15 |17 Tayside |5,494 |4,906 Western Isles |198 |151 |------- |------- All Scotland Total |48,242 |31,186
Drug |Number of |prescriptions ------------------------------------------- 1990 Temazepam |791,578 Dihydrocodeine |223,556 Methadone |26,440 Buprenorphine |51,833 1991 Temazepam |879,868 Dihydrocodeine |269,400 Methadone |33,402 Buprenorphine |55,399
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether access agreements entered into with a new owner when a portion of Forestry Commission land is sold are binding on (a) the original purchaser alone or (b) all subsequent owners of the land.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which special advisers in his Department are seconded from other organisations ; and what are the organisations and the lengths and terms of the secondments.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons have been detained in Her Majesty's prison, Greenock, whilst awaiting deportation in each of the past four years ; what extra financial assistance has been given to the prison governor and his staff in relation to such persons ; and if he will make a statement.
Letter from E. W. Frizzell to Dr. Norman Godman, dated 27 January 1994.
Column 350The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your Question about how many persons have been detained in HM Prison, Greenock whilst awaiting deportation in each of the past four years and what extra financial assistance has been given to the prison governor and his staff.
The number of persons who have been detained in the past four financial years are as follows :
1993-94 50 (to 21 January 1994 only)
The annual budget for Greenock Prison takes account of the strategic priorities of the establishment, and the resources available to the Scottish Prison Service as a whole, but does not differentiate between types of prisoner or detainee.
Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the designated capacity of Her Majesty's prison, Greenock ; and what was the total number of persons detained therein on 1 September in each of the past four years.
Letter from E. W. Frizzell to Dr. Norman Godman, dated 27 January 1994.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your Question about the design capacity of HM Prison Greenock ; and what was the total number of persons detained therein on 1 September in each of the past four years.
The information is as follows :
Design capacity 179
1 September 1990 157
1 September 1991 186
1 September 1992 222
1 September 1993 300
The population of HM Prison Greenock on 14 January 1994 was 189. The reduction was due in part to the implementation of the Prisoner and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993 on1 October 1993.
Mr. Raymond S. Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement about possible executive agency status for the roads directorate of the Scottish Office Industry Department.
Mr. Lang : I have decided that the roads directorate of the Scottish Office should be considered as a candidate for executive agency status, under the next steps initiative. A "prior options" study will be undertaken to establish whether agency status or other options would be appropriate. I would welcome comments from interested parties. Comments should be sent by 1 June 1994 to : The Secretary
The Scottish Office Industry Department
New St. Andrew's House
Sir Hector Monro : The livestock improvement schemes are among the special forms of help available to crofters and others of similar status in the former crofting counties. The aim of the review was to assess the current arrangements and to consider alternative ways of providing assistance which might achieve better value for money. Careful consideration was given to the varying needs of the different crofting areas and to the particular requirements of cattle and sheep production.
In the light of the findings of the review, including the responses to the consultation paper issued last year, I have decided to retain the bull supply scheme for crofting townships. This is a unique scheme which provides quality pedigree bulls purchased by my Department on loan to crofting township committees which, in most cases, return the bulls to the Department's stud farm at Inverness for over-wintering. The review has identified that this scheme plays an important role, particularly in the remoter areas, in helping crofters to continue in cattle production which, in turn, has significant social and environmental benefits. I have also decided that my Department should continue to provide an artificial insemination service for crofters' cattle in Lewis and Harris, providing there continues to be sufficient demand and no other suitable alternative is available, since this is particularly appropriate to the circumstances there.
However, for sheep, instead of hiring out rams, my Department will in future purchase suitable rams of the Blackface and Cheviot breeds and sell them at a subsidised price to those crofting townships who wish to participate in the scheme. The intention is to provide rams of at least equivalent quality to the previous scheme.
For the forthcoming year, the cost to crofting townships of new rams delivered to the crofting areas will be £115 per ram. For this price, the crofting townships will be able to acquire a ram which, with suitable care, should provide useful service for up to three years. This is a much better bargain than the existing scheme under which crofting townships would pay over £175 for an equivalent period of time.
The new scheme will also ensure that assistance is provided in a more cost- effective way than at present since it will no longer be necessary for the Department to maintain a stock of rams. This should reduce the annual net deficit associated with the livestock schemes by approximately 25 per cent.
In conjunction with this new scheme, the existing Shetland sheep scheme will be continued but the new arrangements will supersede the Outer Isles ram lamb scheme which will be discontinued. The livestock purchase loan scheme, for which there is very limited take-up, will also be closed.
These new arrangements will ensure that an attractive package of assistance is available for crofting townships who wish to improve the quality of their livestock and thereby help to maintain the traditional crofting lifestyle and environment. They will be introduced in time for new applications for the 1994-95 season and the detailed administrative rules for the various schemes, together with the relevant charges, will be publicised to potential applicants in due course.