Mr. Rendel : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what working definition of "back to basics" is used by his Department ; and what his Department has done in the past three months to implement the policy.
Mr. Mills : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, pursuant to his answer of 20 January to the question tabled by the hon. Member for Meriden for answer on 29 November, if he will make a statement on the reasons for the delay in supplying his answer.
Mr. Waldegrave : I apologise to my hon. Friend for the inordinate delay in answering his question, and for the inconvenience this caused to him. This delay was a result of the question having been overlooked when it was first tabled.
Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the membership of the board of the Duchy of Lancaster benevolent fund, their dates of appointment ; and what criteria were used in selecting appointees.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster : The right hon. William Waldegrave, MP
The Duchy Attorney General : Mr. Timothy Lloyd, Q.C.
The Duchy Receiver General : Major Sir Shane Blewitt, KCVO The Vice Chancellor of the County Palatine : The hon. Justice Morritt
Sir Michael Bunbury, Bt
Sir Simon Towneley, KCVO, JP
Professor Christopher Howes, CB
Mr. John Sclater
Clerk of the Council of the Duchy of Lancaster : Mr. Michael Ridley, CVO
All were appointed on 1 October 1993 when the benevolent fund was made a charitable trust. All trustees are members of the Duchy Council and are distinguished in various fields relating to Duchy matters. For example, Sir Simon Towneley is the Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire.
Mr. Gordon Prentice : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list the advisers within the County Palatine who advise the Duchy's benevolent fund on applications it receives for financial assistance.
Mr. Waldegrave : The principal advisers are the Lords-Lieutenant of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside. The secretary of the fund also keeps in contact with organisations which advise on charitable giving, for example the charities advice and information service of the community council of Lancashire, and makes use of his own extensive contacts in the County Palatine to evaluate applications for assistance.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which of the provisions in sections 4.1, 4.1 annex A, 4.2 and 4.3 annex A of the civil service management categories of civil servant are exempt.
Mr. Waldegrave : These provisions apply to all civil servants. Exceptionally, special advisers are not covered by the rules on the acceptance of outside appointments--annex A to section 4.3--as the rules themselves make clear.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what targets have been set for an increased percentage of women in public appointments for all Departments as following the 1989 Cabinet Office review of the public appointments process ; and what is the current progress towards them.
Mr. David Davis : Departmental plans and goals for the increased representation of women on public bodies were published on 16 November 1992. A summary of these is in the Library of the House. The percentage of public appointments held by women has risen from 23 per cent. in 1991 to 26 per cent. in 1992 and 28 per cent. in 1993. Further details are available in the 1993 edition of "Public Bodies", a copy of which is also available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many letters addressed to Ministers in his Department in the last 12 months by (a) hon. Members and (b) others have been forwarded for reply to each agency ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 473to directly, by the Planning Inspectorate agency, during 1993. No other agencies in my Department have replied to such letters. Information about letters from other correspondents is not available.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will produce the newly revised indicators of poverty to be used in the new urban deprivation index ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which hon. and right hon. Members who are not Ministers were invited to attend the meeting in the Banqueting House to launch the Government's environmental approach.
Mr. Atkins : Members of the House were not invited to attend the meeting in the Banqueting House, which was a press conference in the presence of people who had been associated with preparation of the documents, but all four reports are Command papers which were presented to Parliament in the usual way.
Mr. Atkins : A direction has been made requiring water supply companies annually to provide information on the risk that drinking water might breach the standard for lead. This information for 1989 and 1990 was published in the report "Nitrate, Pesticides and Lead" issued by the drinking water inspectorate in 1992. A report for 1991 and 1992 will be published in due course.
Mr. Baldry : In July 1993 my Department published two reports of research on the results of CCT carried out by the University of Birmingham Institute of Local Government Studies, following publication of preliminary research in 1991. This independent research showed that CCT had led to an average cost reduction of 6.5 per cent., and up to 20 per cent. for certain services ; higher standards and more systematic monitoring of delivery ; and better management and improved staff morale. Copies of the two reports were placed in the Library of the House. The
Column 474Department is now carrying out further research to evaluate the private sector's experience of CCT, reports on which we expect to publish later this year.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will itemise the expenditure on the administration of city challenge, including printing, advertising and stationery costs as well as worker expenses (a) over the last year and (b) since the scheme was developed ;
(2) if he will itemise the expenditure on the administration of housing action trusts, including printing, advertising and stationery costs as well as worker expenses (a) over the last year and (b) since the scheme was developed ;
(3) if he will itemise the expenditure on the administration of inner-city task forces, including printing, advertising and stationery costs as well as worker expenses (a) over the last year and (b) since the scheme was developed ;
(4) if he will itemise the expenditure on the administration of estate action, including printing, advertising and stationery costs as well as worker expenses (a) over the last year and (b) since the scheme was developed ;
(5) if he will itemise the expenditure on the administration of the Urban Regeneration Agency, including printing, advertising and stationery costs as well as worker expenses (a) over the last year and (b) since the scheme was developed ;
(6) if he will itemise the expenditure on the administration of the urban programmes, including printing, advertising and stationery costs as well as worker expenses (a) over the last 15 years and (b) since the scheme was developed ;
(7) if he will itemise the expenditure on the administration of the city action teams, including printing, advertising and stationery costs as well as worker expenses (a) over the last year and (b) since the scheme was developed ;
(8) if he will itemise the expenditure on the administration of the urban development corporations, including printing, advertising and stationery costs as well as worker expenses (a) over the last year and (b) since the scheme was developed.
Mr. Baldry : Detailed information on my Department's administration expenditure is not readily available in the form requested. But a breakdown of departmental staff effort by function is available in the DOE's annual published MINIS return.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on his response to paragraphs 190 to 319 of the recommendations of the proposals for reform of the deregulation task forces, as they affect his Department's policy.
Mr. Gummer : The substantial deregulation action that my Department is taking to reduce unnecessary controls on business while safeguarding environmental and public safety is fully set out at pages 36 to 44 of the DTI
Column 475publication "Deregulation--Cutting Red Tape" that was issued on 19 January together with the complete list of the task force's proposals for reform.
Column 476each fire authority area as expenditure of standard spending assessment per 1,000 population served for (a) 1991-92, (b) 1992-93 and, so far as standard spending assessment is concerned, for 1993-94.
Fire and civil defence net revenue expenditure and standard spending assessment in each fire authority area per 1,000 population for 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94 (SSA only) 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 Local authority |Expenditure |SSA |Expenditure |SSA |SSA |(£) |(£) |(£) |(£) |(£) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Greater Manchester Fire and Civil Defence Authority |22,757 |24,140 |25,026 |25,957 |27,634 Merseyside Fire and Civil Defence Authority |28,830 |28,797 |31,708 |31,103 |32,699 South Yorkshire Fire and Civil Defence Authority |21,307 |19,054 |23,083 |21,069 |21,742 Tyne and Wear Fire and Civil Defence Authority |25,395 |26,044 |28,208 |29,216 |30,606 West Midlands Fire and Civil Defence Authority |21,275 |23,507 |23,842 |25,325 |25,778 West Yorkshire Fire and Civil Defence Authority |23,262 |21,035 |24,237 |22,891 |23,719 Isles of Scilly |48,148 |31,169 |45,662 |33,919 |26,136 London Fire and Civil Defence Authority |32,473 |32,966 |34,489 |35,055 |35,664 Avon |20,392 |19,401 |21,301 |20,487 |21,281 Bedfordshire |19,472 |18,856 |21,148 |20,377 |20,725 Berkshire |17,929 |19,696 |19,614 |21,755 |22,061 Buckinghamshire |15,263 |17,338 |17,881 |19,017 |19,307 Cambridgeshire |17,136 |15,973 |17,802 |17,262 |17,972 Cheshire |19,514 |18,143 |20,883 |19,893 |20,798 Cleveland |32,111 |31,362 |34,869 |33,813 |34,912 Cornwall |18,966 |14,809 |20,352 |15,573 |15,176 Cumbria |20,859 |16,241 |23,739 |17,023 |17,875 Derbyshire |17,567 |16,133 |18,794 |17,962 |18,156 Devon |18,420 |17,354 |20,346 |18,525 |18,804 Dorset |17,557 |16,637 |18,309 |17,847 |18,195 Durham |20,265 |18,924 |21,866 |20,841 |21,466 East Sussex |20,298 |18,941 |22,205 |20,120 |20,796 Essex |19,602 |18,501 |21,019 |20,285 |20,309 Gloucestershire |16,942 |15,860 |17,402 |17,051 |17,827 Hampshire |16,254 |18,289 |16,759 |19,699 |20,038 Hereford and Worcester |17,096 |15,981 |18,025 |17,496 |17,661 Hertfordshire |17,312 |18,774 |18,623 |20,575 |20,502 Humberside |24,555 |21,451 |26,276 |23,532 |24,384 Isle of Wight |22,223 |16,252 |25,141 |17,576 |17,610 Kent |20,558 |18,478 |21,670 |19,881 |20,143 Lancashire |21,350 |20,540 |22,331 |21,710 |22,918 Leicestershire |14,892 |17,128 |16,266 |18,435 |18,998 Lincolnshire |16,256 |14,705 |16,780 |15,741 |16,173 Norfolk |16,732 |15,408 |18,173 |16,517 |17,133 Northamptonshire |17,106 |17,491 |18,431 |18,798 |19,179 Northumberland |27,819 |17,237 |28,143 |18,698 |18,959 North Yorkshire |18,210 |15,085 |19,552 |16,115 |16,653 Nottinghamshire |18,857 |18,555 |19,178 |20,149 |20,771 Oxfordshire |15,905 |17,080 |18,817 |18,493 |19,467 Shropshire |18,678 |16,615 |19,889 |18,824 |19,001 Somerset |17,082 |14,801 |18,914 |15,736 |16,390 Staffordshire |17,412 |16,613 |16,809 |17,909 |18,470 Suffolk |17,392 |15,624 |18,178 |16,607 |16,655 Surrey |21,967 |19,062 |23,599 |21,739 |21,413 Warwickshire |21,258 |16,200 |22,682 |17,857 |18,359 West Sussex |18,607 |18,969 |19,750 |20,474 |20,732 Wiltshire |16,014 |16,076 |17,362 |17,033 |17,413 Expenditure: 1991-92 figures are final outturn, 1992-93 are revised estimates, both are at outturn prices.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total amount of funding made available over the last year by (a) estate action, (b) housing action trusts, (c) city challenge, (d) the urban programme, (e) the Urban Regeneration Agency, (f) urban development corporations, (g) inner-city task forces and (h) city action teams.
|1993-94 |Forecast |Outturn |£ million -------------------------------------------------------- (a) Estate Action |356.0 (b) Housing Action Trusts |86.8 (c) City Challenge |223.2 (d) Urban Programme |173.0 (e) Urban Regeneration Agency (URA) |<1>58.0 (f) Urban Development Corporations |380.8 (g) Inner City Task Forces |18.0 (h) City Action Teams |3.4 <1> Includes city grant provision up to 10 November 1993 when responsibility transferred to English Partnerships (the URA).
Mr. Atkins : The National Dog Wardens Association estimates that the number of dogs picked up by or taken to local authorities in Great Britain was 90,000 in 1991 and 140,000 in 1992. A figure for 1993 is not yet available. These figures do not reflect the total number of stray dogs as some may be returned directly to their owners or be taken to the police or to animal charities.
Mr. Spicer : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment as to the number of district authorities which would be granted a provisional increase in their standard spending assessments of more than 10 per cent. in 1994-95 was made in reaching his determination, expressed in his Budget statement, that the growth in spending in England in 1994-95 would be limited to 2.3 per cent.
Mr. Baldry : The figure for total standard spending for 1994-95 represents the Government's view of an appropriate level of net revenue expenditure by local authorities taking account of the pressures on local authorities and general economic conditions. The distribution of the total of standard spending assessments will be determined according to the formulae set out in the local government finance report laid before the House on 27 January. As a result of the extensive review of the method of calculating SSAs for 1994-95 some authorities will find their SSAs increasing between years while others will face a reduction.
Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list, by financial year, each contract worth more than £100, 000 entered into by Leeds development corporation for the purchase or sale of land and buildings.
Column 478commercial in confidence and releasing such information would require the agreement of both of the parties concerned. Development corporations are required to obtain independent valuations before entering into contracts for the sale or purchase of land or buildings to ensure that the proper market valuation is paid.
Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out for each financial year since its inception (a) the amount of money spent on acquiring land and buildings and (b) the amount of money received for the sale of land and buildings by Leeds development corporation.
|Expenditure|Receipts |(£000) |(£000) ------------------------------------------------ 1988-89 |935 |0 1989-90 |5,671 |0 1990-91 |7,542 |7 1991-92 |3,377 |1,861 1992-93 |6,393 |4,041
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he is taking to celebrate the centenary of the Local Government Act 1894 and to mark the social contribution made by parish councils to their communities.
Mr. Baldry : My right hon. Friend is considering what actions to take to celebrate the centenary of the Local Government Act 1894. We greatly value the contribution parish and town councils have made to their local communities.
Mr. Ingram : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 19 January, Official Report , column 674 , what are the additional costs, net of any reduction in employer's national insurance contributions, to his departmental budget for the financial year 1994-95 of the changes in statutory sick pay provision.
Mr. Atkins : The Water Research Centre is today publishing the final report of the four-year programme of research into the health effects of sea bathing. The research was jointly funded by my own Department, my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and for Health, and the National Rivers Authority.
I welcome the report. The Government have funded this independent research because of concerns expressed about the possibility of contracting illnesses from swimming at our holiday beaches. It will provide reassurance for the many people who enjoy sea bathing. The work has demonstrated for the first time that sea water itself has effects on sea bathers, causing an increase in reported symptoms such as eye irritations, sore ears and skin rashes. It has also confirmed the relationship which was already known between the level of particular micro-organisms in sea water and the reporting of gastro-intestinal symptoms and diarrhoea. However, the report concludes that the current mandatory EC standards give adequate health protection.
I and colleagues in the other Departments agree with this assessment and believe that any additional benefit to be gained by tightening EC standards is likely to be insignificant.
The Government are committed to securing improvements in our bathing waters. A £2 billion programme is in hand to bring virtually all United Kingdom bathing waters up to the mandatory standards of the EC bathing water directive by the end of 1995. Already 80 per cent. of our 458 bathing waters meet or exceed these standards. The forthcoming very large expenditures to implement the urban waste water treatment directive will improve further the quality of our coastal water.
Copies of the full report have been placed in the Library of the House.
Sir George Young : I have today laid before the House the Secure Tenants of Local Housing Authorities (Right to Repair) Regulations 1994--SI 1994/133--which will introduce an improved right-to-repair scheme for council tenants from 1 April 1994. Copies of the regulations and an explanatory circular are being sent to all housing authorities in England.
This citizens charter initiative will give council tenants the right to have certain urgent repairs carried out at no cost to themselves, and will provide a simple and reliable way of getting the work done when the council fails to complete a qualifying repair within a specified period.
The improved right-to-repair scheme will be far more effective in ensuring that councils get repairs done quickly at no cost to the tenant. Where the scheme fails to work, tenants will be compensated for the inconvenience caused to them.
The regulations set out which small urgent repairs, costing up to £250, are included in the scheme, and how long councils will have to complete them. If a repair is not carried out within the specified period the tenant will be able to ask the council to instruct a second contractor to complete the repair, with the cost being met by the council.
If the second contractor fails to complete the repair within a second specified period the tenant will be entitled
Column 480to compensation of £10, plus £2 per day for every day that the repair remains outstanding, up to a maximum payment of £50. The repair times in the regulations will apply to all new contracts let after 1 April 1994. Transitional arrangements will apply for councils whose existing contract have longer repair times. However, all councils must comply with the repair times in the regulations by 1 April 1996.
Lady Olga Maitland : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made by the Irish sea science co- ordinator in reviewing Irish sea science since his appointment was announced on 11 March 1992.
Mr. Atkins : The co-ordinator prepared an inventory of "Research and Monitoring on the Irish Sea" with the assistance of organisations on both sides of the Irish sea. The inventory was submitted to the United Kingdom and Irish Governments as the "First Report of the Irish Sea Science Co- ordinator". I am placing copies in the Library of the House today. The co- ordinator is now undertaking a review based on the inventory to identify possible gaps and overlaps in current programmes. A further report will be made available to the House once the review has been completed.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 24 January 1994] : The total cost to the Department, including Property Holdings and the Property Services Agency, of vehicle hire in 1992-93 was some £1.16 million. This figure includes some expenditure on the Government car service. The major use of private cars is for site inspections or visits by staff. Private vehicles are also used for regional visits. Vehicles are also hired on an ad hoc basis for travelling to conferences or meetings, for collecting equipment from suppliers and for journeys connected with the maintenance and installation of security systems.
Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will take action on the report published in 1993 on "Landfill Pricing : Correcting Possible Market Distortions" ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what plans he has to introduce a tax on waste to landfill ; and if he will make a statement ;
Mr. Atkins : The Government are examining the idea of introducing a landfill levy. To inform our decisions, we published reports in 1993 on "Landfill Pricing : Correcting Possible Market Distortions" and "Externalities from Landfill and Incineration". We invited comments on both reports. The deadline for comments on the second report was 7 January 1994. We are now considering the reports and comments received on them and will announce our decisions in due course.
Mr. William O'Brien : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what further initiatives he intends to introduce to increase the recycling of waste ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what recycling initiatives he has introduced to reduce waste to landfill.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 28 January 1994] : Full details of the Government's recycling initiatives are given in the annual reports on the White Paper "This Common Inheritance" ; copies are in the Library. Initiatives involving my Department in the past year include : the development of producer responsibility schemes under which industries contributing to major waste streams have been asked to develop plans for the recovery of significantly higher levels of their waste ; the allocation of some £15 million in supplementary credit approvals to encourage the development of recycling initiatives by local authorities ; and changing the basis of payment for recycling credits from 50 per cent. of the long- run marginal cost of disposal to 100 per cent. with effect from 1 April 1994. We keep our recycling policies under review and will introduce further initiatives where appropriate.