Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he will answer the questions from the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton tabled for answer on 27 January regarding the appointments he makes to public bodies.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make it his policy to limit legal aid to those charged with fraud to 1 per cent. of the sum involved or a sum of £10,000 whichever is the lower.
Mr. John M. Taylor : I am examining the provision of criminal lega aid as a whole as part of the fundamental review of my Department's expenditure currently underway, but any changes that may be made will need to take account of the presumption of innocence.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what is the political balance of magistrates in (a) Barnsley, (b) Doncaster, (c) Rotherham, (d) Sheffield, (e) Humberside, (f) north Yorkshire and (g) west Yorkshire.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The political balance of magistrates in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield, Humberside, north Yorkshire and west Yorkshire on the latest information available is as follows :
L |Con |Lab |Lib/Dem |Independent |/Not known ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Barnseley |46 |50 |15 |3 Doncaster |101 |62 |23 |6 Rotherham |46 |52 |62 |38 Sheffield |101 |112 |52 |84 Humberside |153 |73 |37 |49 North Yorkshire |233 |62 |93 |29 West Yorkshire |572 |397 |220 |163
There was a general discussion in open session of the work programme of the Greek Presidency. The main topics were the follow-up to the Commission's recent White Paper on growth, competitiveness and employment ; implementation of stage 2 of economic and monetary union ; and I and others raised the need for the Commission and member states to step up their efforts to tackle fraud against the Community budget.
The Council examined the revised Portuguese convergence programme covering the period to 1997. It welcomed the determination of the Portuguese Government to pursue convergence according to the treaty on European Union. The Council noted that to achieve the programme's target of a budget deficit below 3 per cent. of GDP by 1997 would require a thorough and vigorous implementation of all aspects of the fiscal consolidation strategy. In this regard, the Council welcomed the commitment of the Portuguese Government to adopt additional measures if necessary to compensate for any adverse budgetary developments which put at risk achievement of the programme's targets. On inflation, the Council recognised the substantial progress already made but noted that wage settlements would need to be restrained, both to maintain external competitiveness and to maintain downward pressure on inflation. This would also help to reduce nominal interest rates.
The Council discussed the follow-up to the Commission's White Paper. It agreed that ECOFIN should have, in addition to its work on the trans- European networks, a wider role in other areas where it has an interest. While the proposed networks were an important part of the White Paper, there was a need to give equal emphasis to other parts of the paper, especially those referring to structural unemployment problems and the need for all national Governments to take measures to increase the flexibility of labour markets. The Council discussed ways to improve procedures for monitoring economic developments in stage 2 of EMU.
The Commission briefly outlined its intention to produce further proposals to combat fraud in the Community budget. There were outstanding remits and resolutions from the June 1993 ECOFIN, the Copenhagen European Council and the November 1993 Interior/Justice Council. Moreover article 209A of the Maastricht treaty now places an obligation on member states to take the same measures to combat fraud against the Community's financial interests as they did to protect their own. The Commission attached great priority to this dossier, and would be presenting its overall strategy to the March ECOFIN in the context of the annual report on fraud.
There were no formal votes on issues discussed in the Council.
Ms Harman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide estimates for 1994-95, or the latest year for which they are available, for the number of (a) lower rate taxpayers, (b) basic rate taxpayers and (c) higher rate taxpayers in each county of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Dorrell : The table provides estimates of numbers of taxpayers liable only to basic rate tax and to higher rate tax for each English and Welsh county and Scottish region for 1991-92, the latest available year for which information can be provided below United Kingdom level. It is only possible to give numbers for the whole of Northern Ireland. There was no lower rate of tax in 1991-92.
Basic and higher rate taxpayers 1991-92 (thousands) County/region |Taxpayers liable |Taxpayers liable |at only basic rate|at higher rate ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- English/Welsh county Cleveland |171 |7 Cumbria |256 |10 Durham |221 |11 Northumberland |141 |7 Tyne and Wear |429 |16 Humberside |327 |18 North Yorkshire |359 |24 South Yorkshire |505 |14 West Yorkshire |862 |37 Cheshire |413 |29 Greater Manchester |1,040 |42 Lancashire |601 |30 Merseyside |561 |21 Derbyshire |395 |17 Leicestershire |384 |21 Lincolnshire |257 |11 Northamptonshire |288 |17 Nottinghamshire |431 |16 Hereford & Worcester |317 |15 Shropshire |169 |7 Staffordshire |426 |18 Warwickshire |210 |16 West Midlands |1,040 |37 Cambridgeshire |326 |20 Norfolk |355 |17 Suffolk |294 |15 Bedfordshire |230 |18 Berkshire |313 |43 Buckinghamshire |259 |43 East Sussex |312 |20 Essex |709 |61 Greater London |3,020 |331 Hampshire |707 |63 Hertfordshire |441 |57 Kent |656 |52 Oxfordshire |240 |25 Surrey |477 |83 West Sussex |354 |35 Isle of Wight |54 |1 Avon |423 |25 Cornwall |202 |6 Devon |503 |24 Dorset |304 |16 Gloucestershire |250 |18 Somerset |211 |10 Wiltshire |266 |15 Clwyd |188 |5 Dyfed |189 |4 Gwent |155 |6 Gwynedd |70 |3 Mid Glamorgan |220 |5 Powys |70 |4 South Glamorgan |171 |6 West Glamorgan |144 |5 Scottish region Borders |68 |5 Central |116 |6 Dumfries and Galloway |75 |1 Fife |144 |6 Grampian |207 |24 Highlands |112 |3 Lothian |349 |18 Strathclyde |916 |39 Tayside |196 |6 Island Authorities |25 |1 Northern Ireland |491 |22
Ms Harman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will provide estimates for the cost of £30,000 home contents insurance and the resulting amount that will be paid under the new 3 per cent. tax in the constituencies of (a) Peckham, (b) Liverpool, Riverside, (c) Manchester Central, (d) Congleton, (e) Mid Norfolk and (f) Devizes.
Sir John Cope : The average household with home contents insurance would expect to pay a premium of £2.40 per week in 1994-95 which represents an insurance premium tax of 6p per week. The costs facing individuals will depend on the sum insured, the area in which they live and the precautions taken. Figures for insurance costs by individual parliamentary constituencies are not available.
The Attorney-General : Solicitors acting for Mr. Evan Steadman first informed my office in June 1993 of their client's intention to produce a musical provisionally entitled "Maxwell--the Musical". Officials explained that the Attorney-General cannot give legal advice to individuals or companies and that the producer should look to his own legal advisers for advice as to how the law of contempt might affect his intentions. A letter was also received on 17 June from solicitors acting for one of the defendants in the criminal proceedings.
In August and September 1993 solicitors representing one of the defendants drew attention to a proposed private preview scheduled for 12 September. They were not in a position to detail the contents of the production.
The solicitors acting for the producer subsequently wrote to my office on 30 December to say that the musical was intended to open in February 1994 and offering sight of the script. Having received a complaint on 11 January 1994 that the musical would prejudice the forthcoming trial, I asked on 18 January for a copy of the script which was received the following day. After taking advice from counsel specialising in the law relating to contempt, I concluded that the interests of justice required that I make an application to the High Court for an order restraining production of the musical. The solicitors acting for the producer were informed of my decision on Wednesday 2 February.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department intends to comply with the European urban waste water directive, in respect of the Mersey estuary ; whether it is intended that additional costs will have to be met by consumers of water in the region ; what is the timetable for the clean-up of the Mersey estuary ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : The United Kingdom is committed to fulfilling the objectives of the urban waste water treatment directive. The directive sets various implementation dates depending on the size of the discharge and the nature of the receiving water. In England and Wales the Director General of the Office of Water Services will be setting price limits for the water companies which will take into account their legal obligations including the urban waste water treatment directive.
Mr. Atkins : I have received a number of representations, from various quarters and at various times, about the provisions in section 54 of the 1981 Act requiring the reclassification of roads used as public paths.
Mr. Hunter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will seek to amend section 54 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 so that historic vehicular use does not necessitate the reclassification of roads used as public paths as byways open to all traffic.
Mr. Atkins : I am considering the operation of these procedures. Highway authorities already have, however, powers to regulate or restrict vehicular use, where necessary, on byways open to all traffic.
Mr. Rowe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the results of the 1992 consultation exercise on the future role of parish and town councils ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry : We are considering the responses to the consultation paper on the future role of parish and town councils in the context of the recommendations we have so far received from the Local Government Commission in relation to its review of the structure of local government in England.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many special consents for the sale of part II housing were given to (a) Sheffield city council and (b) the London borough of Islington in each year since 1988.
|Sheffield|Islington ---------------------------------------- 1988 |2 |5 1989 |1 |4 1990 |5 |nil 1991 |9 |3 1992 |13 |6 1993 |11 |3
--29 monitor ozone,
--24 monitor nitrogen dioxide,
--19 monitor carbon monoxide,
--12 monitor fine particles (PM )
--and 7 monitor 26 hydrocarbons including benzene, 1, 3, butadiene and ozone precursors.
Nitrogen dioxide is also monitored at over 1,100 sites in the United Kingdom in collaboration with local authorities using non-automatic techniques.
In the second anniversary report of the 1990 Environment White Paper "This Common Inheritance" the Government made a commitment to extend their urban air quality monitoring network to cover all major cities by 1997 where transport-derived pollutants are expected to be at their highest. In addition, the Government are currently considering responses to the recently published consultation paper on "The Future of Air Quality Monitoring Networks in the United Kingdom", in which proposals were made to develop a framework which draws local and national air quality monitoring together into a coherent quality assured network.
Mr. Peter Shore : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the average percentage increase in rents for private unfurnished lettings set by rent officers in each year since 1979 in (a) inner London and (b) the rest of the country.
Average yearly percentage increase in registered fair rents-private unfurnished lettings Year |Inner London|Rest of |England ---------------------------------------------------- 1979 |5.7 |12.3 1980 |21.1 |15.6 1981 |14.9 |11.0 1982 |4.7 |18.4 1983 |3.7 |6.3 1984 |13.1 |11.6 1985 |1.9 |6.2 1986 |14.4 |12.3 1987 |1.3 |5.8 1988 |18.8 |14.2 1989 |1.9 |2.6 1990 |16.2 |16.9 1991 |3.7 |11.9 1992 |12.2 |13.2
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what account has been taken in standard spending assessment calculations for 1994-95 of income from charging for personal social services other than residential care ; and what income was assumed from these charges for each local authority.
Mr. Baldry : The method by which the standard spending assessment, SSA, for residential care services for the elderly is calculated includes an explicit element relating to income from charges. The methods by which the other personal social services SSAs are calculated do not include such an element.
Mr. Atkins : My hon. Friend the then Minister for the Environment and Countryside announced on 1 December 1992 that we would be reviewing the operation of wildlife sales controls in Great Britain to see how they could be made more effective.
During the course of the review, we have consulted a wide range of interested individuals and organisations and have received a substantial volume of comments and suggestions. Some of these are still being considered, and we will announce our conclusions in full later in the spring. As a first stage, we have concluded that the existing bird ringing and registration system should be modified to reduce unnecessary regulation and to ensure that the controls are targeted and implemented more effectively. We have decided to announce our proposals now, with a view to completing the changes in time for the main breeding season for birds.
Since the introduciotn of registration in 1982, there have been significant changes affecting the position of British birds of prey, which have always been the main focus of the registration scheme. The wild populations of many species are back to the levels of the mid-1950s, following the introduction of strict controls on the use of pesticides. Captive breeding has proved more successful than expected. As a result, some 16,000 individual birds are now registered, as compared with an estimate of 1,500 when the scheme was set up. We do not believe it is justified to require captive birds to be registered unless there is evidence to suggest that removal of specimens from the wild for aviculture or falconry is adversely affecting wild populations to a significant degree or is likely to do so in the foreaseeable future. In the light of these considerations, we propose to reduce substantially the scope of the existing scheme by removing the requirement to register the common buzzard, the sparrowhawk and the kestrel, all non-native birds of prey, except the Barbary Falcon, certain birds of prey which occur very infrequently in Britain, and certain birds which are unlikely to be kept in captivity in significant numbers.
We see no need to continue registering birds which have been temporarily imported for falconry purposes, and which pose no threat to native species. Accordingly, we propose to issue a general licence to exempt them from the registration requirements.
Column 8At the same time, we propose to tighten up inspection and monitoring of the more less-common species which will continue to be subject to the ringing and registration requirements. We are also considering carrying out a small number of DNA tests to check captive- breeding claims.
We also propose to improve the monitoring of the existing scheme by inviting our scientific advisers, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, to develop criteria for reviewing the species subject to registration, and to undertake such a review in 1995 and at five-yearly intervals thereafter. This will bring the arrangements for bird registration into line with those which already exist for other animals and plants.
We are consulting widely on these proposals in accordance with section 26 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. A copy of the Department's letter setting out the details has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the Government's response to the research report on "The Effectiveness of Green Belt Policy", commissioned by his Department and published by HMSO in July 1993.
Mr. Curry : The aim of the research was to assess the effectiveness of green belt policy and investigate how it might be improved. The report concluded that the policy was working well and achieving its main purposes of preventing urban sprawl and the merging of towns. Alterations to boundaries in development plans had affected less than 0.3 per cent. of green belts in the last eight years. Most planning approvals had been for small-scale changes which did not significantly affect the rural appearance of green belts. Planning appeal decisions strongly upheld green belt policy. This illustrates the strength of the Government's continuing commitment to green belts.
We have considered the report's recommendations for increasing still further the effectiveness of green belt policy. We have today published for public consultation a draft revision of Planning Policy Guidance Note 2, "Green Belts". This includes limited amendments designed to reinforce policy by making greater allowances for environmental and economic factors and addressing some practical difficulties in operating it. I hope these will make our green belts even more highly valued in the future.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is considering the research report's recommendations for Scotland's green belts separately. The draft planning policy guidance note is for England only.
Revision of PPG2 will complete the comprehensive review of planning guidance which we have carried out since publication of the environment White Paper "This Common Inheritance" in 1990.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of employees employed by each of the regional offices of the single regeneration budget ; how many are (a) black or (b) Asian ; and if he will publish a breakdown of the positions held by and the responsibilities of black and Asian employees.
Column 9(i) They are estimates of the likely numbers. The integrated regional offices, IROs, come into being in April 1994. There could be minor changes in the numbers brought about by postings, retirements, resignations etc which take place before then ;
(ii) From April a Merseyside office will be set up. Separate information is not yet available for this office ;
(iii) The DTI currently has an office covering London and the south-east regions with a headcount of 143 which will be split into an office for London and an office for the south-east. In the table DTI staff are all shown in the south-east figures. After April there will be an approximately 50 : 50 split ;
(iv) The table shows the combined staff totals of the regional offices of the Departments of the Environment, of Employment and of Trade and Industry who are expected to be in the IROs ;
(v) Figures for the Department of Transport are not included. The majority of DOT staff who currently deal with highways matters will transfer to the Highways Agency ; a relatively small number will be in the IROs. The Department is currently in the process of identifying which individuals will be in the IROS and is not yet in a position to provide a breakdown of the ethnic origin of these staff ;
(vi) The figures for Asian and black staff are drawn from voluntary ethnic origin surveys conducted by the three Departments ; (
(vii) The figures are provided on a combined grade level basis to avoid personal disclosure.
Estimated future breakdown of integrated regional office staff showing staff of Asian and black ethnic background Region |Total |Grades |Asian |Black |staff |staff |staff -------------------------------------------------------------------------- North East |381 |G7 and Over|- |- |SEO-EO |- |- |AO-AO |2 |- |-- |-- |Total |2 |0 North West |457 |G7 and Over|- |- |SEO-EO |2 |- |AO-AA |2 |7 |-- |-- |Total |4 |7 Yorkshire and |302 |G7 and Over|- |- Humberside |SEO-EO |1 |1 |AO-AA |5 |2 |-- |-- |Total |6 |3 West Midlands |347 |G7 and Over|- |- |SEO-EO |- |2 |AO-AA |5 |20 |-- |-- |Total |5 |22 East Midlands |239 |G7 and Over|- |- |SEO-EO |3 |- |AO-AA |2 |2 |-- |-- |Total |5 |2 Eastern |186 |G7 and Over|1 |- |SEO-EO |- |2 |AO-AA |1 |2 |-- |-- |Total |2 |4 South East |295 |G7 and Over|- |- |SEO-EO |6 |6 |AO-AA |9 |9 |-- |-- |Total |15 |15 South West |216 |G7 and Over|- |- |SEO-EO |1 |1 |AO-AA |2 |1 |-- |-- |Total |3 |2 London |166 |G7 and Over|2 |1 |SEO-EO |10 |5 |AO-AA |3 |11 |-- |-- |Total |15 |17 |--- |-- |-- Overall Total |2,589 |58 |72
Mr. Denham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of the total surface area of waterways covered by the southern region of the National Rivers Authority is located in the county of Hampshire.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer Thursday 17 February] : I am advised by the National Rivers Authority that information on surface area is not available but that the total length of main river in the NRA's southern region is 2,649 km, of which 25 per cent. is located in Hampshire.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions his Department has held with petrol retailers, the EC and environmental campaigners regarding proposed directives to compel garages to install forecourt pollution control measures ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 18 February 1994] : There is currently no proposal to require garages to install forecourt pollution control measures. We have been expecting proposals from the European Commission for some time. If such a proposal emerges then we will, of course, discuss it with the EC, industry, retailers and other interests.
Lady Olga Maitland : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people are employed in his Department dealing with race relations issues ; what is the total cost of their employment ; and if he will list the main categories of staff and work involved.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Thirty-five full-time equivalent staff are employed in the community relations division, dealing principally with race relations legislation and policy ; grants under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 and other smaller programmes, the Commission for Racial Equality and international interests. The total staff costs in 1993-94, including accommodation and other non-pay costs, is expected to be £904,000.
Race relations issues are relevant to the work of staff in most Home Office departments, including police, criminal policy, immigration and the Prison Service, but disaggregation of the numbers and costs involved could not be achieved except at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Maclean : The Government are still considering what action it might be appropriate to take. Our aim is to ensure that any measure introduced to prevent or deter irresponsible and heavy-handed wheel clamping on private land does not prevent sensible measures being taken to control genuine parking problems. We will make our conclusions known as soon as possible.
Ms Ruddock : To ask the Seccretary of State for the Home Department whether he will consider allowing women's refuges to be classified as places of fixed abode for bail purposes ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean : Decisions as to whether or not bail should be granted are matters for the courts under the Bail Act 1976. Among the factors which the courts take into consideration in deciding whether the statutory right to bail is overtaken by any of the exceptions allowed for in that Act are the character, antecedents and community ties of the person seeking bail. But it must be for the court to decide, in the circumstances of the case before it, the relevance of residence at a particular type of accommodation when considering the defendant's community ties.
Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the specially designed cellular vans to be used by Securicor Custodial Services Ltd. for the transportation of prisoners in the Metropolitan police district from June have been designed to accommodate the needs of (a) pregnant women and (b) women with babies and toddlers.
Letter from A. J. Butler to Ms Joan Ruddock dated 21 February 1994 :
COURT ESCORT AND CUSTODY SERVICE
The Home Secretary has asked me, in the absence of the Director General from the office, to reply to your recent Question about the transportation by Securicor of female prisoners in the Metropolitan Police district.
The contract with Securicor requires female prisoners who are pregnant or whose babies or young children are with them in prison to be transported to and from court by saloon car. They must also be accompanied by a female prisoner custody officer and a trained nurse.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many companies have expressed an interest in the financing, building and operation of the planned six new prisons ; and how many are non-United Kingdom companies.
Letter from Mr. A. J. Butler to Mr. Stephen Byers dated 21 February 1994 :
Design, Construction, Management and Finance--
The Home Secretary has asked me, in Derek Lewis' absence from the office, to reply to your recent Question about the design, construction, management and finance of the new prisons.
Detailed work has started on only two of the planned six new prisons. These will be at Fazakerley in Merseyside and Bridgend in South Wales. 52 companies expressed an interest in the design, construction, management and finance of these two proposed prisons and attended a bidders meeting in December. We have since received 10 proposals from companies and consortia. Each of these involves, to a varying extent, a number of other companies : in total 27 separate companies have a major interest. Of these, three were non-United Kingdom registered and three had non-United Kingdom registered parent companies. The remaining companies were registered in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many companies have expressed an interest in financing, designing, building-refurbishing, operating and maintaining secure training centres ; how many are non United Kingdom companies ; and how many of the proposed sites are on existing Home Office land or on alternative sites.
Mr. Maclean : A total of 25 companies, all United Kingdom registered, have expressed an interest in tendering for the financing, designing, building-refurbishing, operating and maintaining of five secure training centres. The notice placed in the Official Journal of the European Communities invited interested parties to confirm the ability to provide alternative sites on which to build STCs should the Home Office decide not to use its own sites. One site was specified by an interested party at this stage of the tendering cycle.