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Column 437

1994-95, which ended on 10 January, we received representations from 143 local authorities and authority groupings, and 60 requests for meetings.

The table shows the meetings held by each Minister. Also shown are four meetings which it was not possible for a Minister to attend, and at which delegations made oral representations to officials. No records are kept of the duration of meetings.

Such meetings are private, having been requested by individual authorities, and it is not my Department's custom to publish details of what was discussed at them.

Local authorities seen during the consultation period

Seen by the Secretary of State

Birmingham City Council

Seen by the Minister for Local Government and Planning ADC major cities group

Bournemouth borough council

Burnley borough council

Coventry city council

Cumbria county council

Derbyshire county council

Dorset county council

Hereford and Worcester county council

Lancashire county council

Liverpool city council

London borough of Brent

London borough of Lambeth

London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

London borough of Merton

London borough of Hounslow

London borough of Haringey

London borough of Hackney

London borough of Greenwich

London borough of Lewisham

Manchester city council

Norfolk county council

Northamptonshire county council

Nottinghamshire county council

Rotherham metropolitan borough council

Sheffield city council

Shropshire county council

Somerset county council

Wear Valley district council

Seen by the Minister for Housing, Inner Cities and Construction Kirklees metropolitan borough council

West Yorkshire fire and civil defence authority

Thanet district council

Devon county council

Northampton borough council

Slough borough council

South Yorkshire fire and civil defence authority

Seen by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment

Avon county council

Blackburn borough council

Blackpool borough council

Gedling borough council

Harlow district council

Havant borough council

Ipswich borough council

Isle of Wight county council

Knowsley metropolitan borough council

Leicester city council

London borough of Newham

Luton borough council

North Yorkshire county council

Pendle borough council

Salford city council

Sefton metropolitan borough council

Solihull metropolitan borough council

York city council

Seen by officials

West Yorkshire police authority

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Cornwall county council

Bradford city council

Merseyside fire and civil defence authority

Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which issues arising from the responses to his proposals for local government finance for 1994-95 will be discussed with the local authority associations as possible changes to the system of local government finance for 1995-96 ; and if he will make a statement on the continuing review of standard spending assessments.

Mr. Gummer : We are willing to discuss any issues which the local authority associations may wish to raise arising from the proposals for local government finance for 1994-95. As part of the usual round of discussions on standard spending assessments, we will wish to consider the treatment of the police element in the light of the changes in financial arrangements to take place for 1995-96. The associations will, no doubt, wish to bring forward their own agenda for discussion.

Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the latest available figures of capital receipts, including receipts set aside to meet credit liabilities, for each local authority, and in total for England.

Mr. Gummer : Capital receipts information falls into two categories : receipts received during the financial year, and usable receipts held at a particular time, usually the end of the year. Receipts received during the year are divided into usable and reserved parts. The reserved parts are set aside as provision to meet credit liabilities and once set aside are no longer distinguishable from other amounts set aside, such as, for example, the statutory minimum amount set aside each year from the revenue account.

The latest forecast of gross receipts received in 1993-94, based on local authorities' first quarter returns, is £2.2 billion. Of this amount £1.8 billion is forecast to be usable and £400 million reserved.

The balance of usable receipts held at 31 March 1993 was £1 billion.

The latest estimate for the total amount held by local authorities as provision for credit liabilities is £6.1 billion as at 31 March 1993. As indicated, this figure will include, among other things, a notional amount of capital receipts which have been set aside but not yet used to redeem debt.

I am arranging for the latest available figures for each local authority to be placed in the Library of the House.

Environmental Information Regulations 1992

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what complaints he has received in regard to the failure or delay in reply by the appropriate authorities to requests for information disclosure under the Environmental Information Regulations 1992 since 1 January 1993.

Mr. Atkins : Two people have written to my right hon. Friend : the Campaign for Freedom of Information about a refusal by the Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee to supply information about the thermal oxide reprocessing plant ; and an environmental sciences student who was concerned at Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution's delay in replying to her request.

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Biodiversity Convention

Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 18 January, Official Report, column 566, if he will make a statement on the nature of United Kingdom concerns about the financial provisions of the biodiversity convention and the safeguards which the United Kingdom is seeking.

Mr. Atkins : The United Kingdom is concerned to ensure that donor countries retain the right to determine their financial contribution under the biodiversity convention. We will continue to pursue safeguards to ensure this objective.


Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment on which occasions since 1979 his Department has employed the services of external consultants ; and if he will give details of the purposes for which they were employed and the cost of employing them.

Mr. Gummer : The information requested is not held centrally by my Department and is obtainable only at disproportionate cost.

Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 13 January, Official Report, column 244 , on the Touche Ross report on THORP, whether his Department ever requested a copy of the report from Touche Ross or British Nuclear Fuels plc.

Mr. Atkins : No.

Local Authorities (Security)

Mr. Skinner : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many local authorities spent money on security under the provisions of section 137 of the Local Government Act 1972 in the latest year for which figures are available.

Mr. Baldry : This information is not available centrally.

Water Charges

Sir David Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the (a) average percentage increases in water and sewerage rates and (b) increases in the retail prices index used for upratings of income support, for each year since April 1988.

Mr. Atkins : The information requested is given in the tables :

(a) Increase in domestic water and sewerage      

average bills                                    

Year               |Water    |Sewerage           

                   |Per cent.|Per cent.          


1988-89 to 1989-90 |14.8     |9.8                

1989-90 to 1990-91 |15.4     |10.7               

1990-91 to 1991-92 |16.4     |15.0               

1991-92 to 1992-93 |9.1      |10.1               

1992-93 to 1993-94 |8.2      |9.0                

Source: CRI statistics series-"Charges For Water 


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(b) Increase in the Rossi     

index used to uprate income   


Year      |Per cent.          


1989      |4.7                

1990      |5.2                

1991      |8.1                

1992      |7.0                

1993      |3.6                

1994      |3.5                


1. The Rossi index is based   

on the retail prices index,   

which takes                   

account of the rise and fall  

in the price of individual    


excluding most housing costs. 

2. From the 1992 uprating the 

Rossi index was adjusted to   


water and sewerage charges,   

dwelling insurance, ground    

rent, repair and              

maintenance charges,          

do-it-yourself materials and  

for 1992-93 only,             

20 per cent. of the community 


3. Source: Information        

supplied by the Central       

Statistical Office.           

Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Bristol, East (Ms Corston) of 6 December, Official Report, column 9, whether water companies will be permitted to use council tax banding to calculate water charges.

Mr. Atkins : Subject to the non-discrimination requirements in its licence conditions and copyright and data protection requirements, a water company may use any legally obtained information as a basis for the calculation of water charges save that after 31 March 2000 it may not use rateable values. However, we stand by the assurances we have given in the past that local authorities should not be permitted to sell council tax valuation lists for use for other purposes.

Rents Statistics

Mr. Raynsford : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 1 December, Official Report, columns 551-52, if he will now update the tables showing (a) average local authority unrebated rents, (b) mean housing association annual registered fair rents and (c) mean annual registered fair rents for private tenancies for each London borough, by providing figures and the index for 1993-94.

Sir George Young : I have today placed in the Library an updated table showing the average local authority weekly unrebated rent for each London borough for each financial year since 1988-89, including provisional figures for 1993-94. As in the earlier table, the rents are also expressed as an index with 1988-89 equal to 100. Information for 1993-94 on average registered fair rents for housing association and private sector tenancies is not yet available. Information is, however, available for the first quarter of 1993-94 and can be found in the publication "Rent Officer Statistics", a copy of which is in the Library.

Solid Fuel

Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce regulations to require high-sulphur solid fuel and fuel not authorised for use in smoke control areas to be clearly labelled as such.

Mr. Aitken : No.

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Mr. Straw : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the local authorities or other bodies which made representations to him seeking restrictions on the rights of access of homeless persons to social housing, before October 1993.

Mr. Raynsford : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he or his Department have received about the categories of people deemed to have priority need under the provision of part III of the Housing Act 1985.

Sir George Young : In the normal course of business--for example, meetings and presentations about housing investment programme submissions-- Ministers and officials have talked to a range of people in local authorities of all political complexions ; we have also talked to people in the housing association movement, and in the private rented sector. These encounters have been helpful to us in preparing the consultation paper "Access to Local Authority and Housing Association Tenancies".

Ms Glenda Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many single-parent families were classified as statutorily homeless in (a) the United Kingdom and (b) London for each year from 1979 ;

(2) how many single-parent families have been accommodated in (a) bed-and- breakfast accommodation, (b) temporary housing, (c) permanent local authority housing and (d) private sector housing since January 1991 ;

(3) how many single-parent homeless families have (a) one or more, (b) two or more or (c) three or more children under 16 years of age.

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