Mr. Frank Field : To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, representing the Church Commissioners, what was the income from gilt stripping for 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992 ; and what has so far been the size of the erosion of the capital base by gilt stripping in each of these years.
|£ million ------------------------------ 1989 |6.6 1990 |6.1 1991 |4.9 1992 |8.9
Gilt stripping refers to the accounting policy of recording interest on gilt-edged securities on a receipts basis rather than an accruals basis. To the same extent that the income so recorded is higher than it would have been under the accruals basis, there will be a reduction in the increase, or an addition to the decrease, of the valuation of the capital base.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, representing the Church Commissioners, pursuant to his answer of 25 February, Official Report, columns 525-26, if gilt stripping covers dividend stripping.
Mr. Alison : The phrase "gilt-stripping" was used by the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) in his question of 25 February and was taken to refer to the accounting policy described in my earlier answer.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, representing the Church Commissioners, pursuant to his answer of 25 February, Official Report, columns 525-26, if he will place in the Library a copy of counsel's opinion on the commissioners' methods of accounting for capital and income ; and what is meant by "maintaining the integrity of the commissioners' portfolio".
Mr. Alison : The commissioners have taken counsel's opinion on their methods of accounting in order to assist their compliance with the relevant legislation. It is recognised that legal advice is given in confidence : the commissioners would feel constrained in taking legal advice, on this or any other issue, if such advice had to be written in anticipation of the possibility that it might be made public.
It is the commissioners' aim to maintain the major part of their investments in assets which will generate increasing returns over the long term. Investment of a significant part of their assets in fixed interest securities such as gilts would not satisfy this aim for that part of their
Column 882investments. There is a natural conflict between the need to limit the short-term cuts in allocations and the long- term requirement for growth.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, representing the Church Commissioners, if he will list details of those assets which the commissioners believe will produce above average capital growth and their estimate of the size of this growth ; and by what date that capital growth will be realised.
Mr. Alison : The commissioners invest in a wide range of properties and securities with the expectation that the portfolio as a whole will produce returns by way of a combination of income and capital growth. Those investments which currently yield less than an average income are retained by the commissioners in the expectation that they will return more than average capital growth. It is not practical or realistic to list details of all such investments, nor would it be in the interests of the commissioners or the Church of England to disclose such commercially sensitive details of individual investments.
Mr. Anthony Coombs : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contacts he has had with Professor John Whitelegg of Lancaster university as to the relationship between new road construction and inward investment.
The relationship between road construction and inward investment is not straightforward. Although road investment appears not to be a sufficient condition for local development, it is clear that satisfactory transport links are an important factor in decisions by industry where to locate.
Mr. Rowe : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received in respect of Union Rail's recent statement that double-deck trains on the proposed channel tunnel rail link will be unable to enter Ashford international passenger station.
Mr. Freeman : The international rolling stock that will run on the new rail link is single deck and can serve Ashford international passenger station for many years to come. If a future generation of international trains were to be double deck, any necessary adjustments could be made to the track and line side structures if there was a need for access to the IPS by these larger trains.
Mr. Bill Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) fatal and (b) non-fatal aircraft accidents have occurred in each of the last 10 years in respect of aircraft flown by holders of a private pilot's licence in which heart-related illness was found to be a factor.
Column 883the last 10 years, involving an aircraft flown by holders of a private pilot's licence, in which heart-related illness was found to be a factor, are as follows :
Injuries Date |Aircraft type |Fatalities |Non-fatalities --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 9 August 1985 |Aeroplane |1 |- 13 March 1986 |Aeroplane |1 |1 8 May 1987 |Microlight |1 |- 4 October 1991 |Aeroplane |1 |- 3 March 1992 |Aeroplane |1 |-
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will investigate the air miss incident that occurred south-west of Ebbw Vale on 19 January ; how many air miss reports were made ; how many were withdrawn ; and what reasons were given for this.
Mr. Norris : The responsibility for the safety regulation of United Kingdom civil aviation rests with the Civil Aviation Authority. The authority has provided me with the following information about this incident :
(i) Only one air miss report had been filed ; this was by the commander in charge of one of the aircraft.
(ii) The air miss report was subsequently withdrawn by the aircraft commander.
(iii) the aircraft commander--correctly--withdrew his air miss report when he realised that, although the standard separation--five nautical miles, horizontally, or 2,000 ft vertically--had not been provided, there had in fact been no risk of the aircraft actually colliding. An air miss is defined as a situation in which it is considered that an aircraft has been endangered by the proximity of another aircraft to the extent that a risk of collision existed. The decision fo file an air miss report appropriately rests with the commander of any aircraft involved. There are occasionally instances, such as this, when an air miss report is later withdrawn by the pilot who had filed it, when he realises that there had in fact been no risk of collision.
This loss of standard separation is, however, the subject of an active occurrence investigation by the CAA's air traffic control investigation section. When the investigation has been concluded a report on it will be circulated as part of a
routine--monthly--occurrence publication. I will arrange for the hon. Member to receive a copy of this publication in due course.
Mr. Key : Local road traffic projection calculations take account of the best available views about the economic performance of an area. They are consistent with projections of local changes in population, numbers of households, numbers of jobs and land use. They assume a uniform rate of growth in average household income across Great Britain, consistent with the rates of economic growth used in the preparation of the 1989 national road traffic forecasts.
Mr. Mackinlay : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice his Department received from the Civil Aviation Authority before refusing a permit for the use of a M1L M1-26 helicopter on Brecqhou.
Mr. Norris : In considering this application for a permit the Department, as usual, sought the advice of the CAA safety regulation group on safety aspects. The CAA advised that it had received inconclusive details from the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation about the helicopter's civil certificate of airworthiness. In the circumstances, the CAA could not recommend that the aircraft should operate ; nor could it offer advice on the operation or maintenance standards due to a lack of available information. Accordingly, the Department was unable to issue a permit for this operation.
Mr. Key : None. The motorway widening unit with its staff will transfer to the new Highways Agency on 1 April as part of the road programme directorate. The staffing of the unit from that date will be a matter for the chief executive of the agency.
Sir Terence Higgins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 28 February, Official Report, columns 562-63, why he maintains that those on the proposed route for the A27 who have to sell their property because of urgent personal problems can do so at a market price.
Mr. Key : Owner-occupiers of property which would be physically affected by the proposals for the A27 at Worthing can ask the Department to purchase them under the statutory blight provisions. Those whose property would not be physically affected by the proposals, but whose enjoyment of their property would be seriously affected by them, can apply to the Department for purchase under the Secretary of State's discretionary powers. These are exercisable in cases where there is a recognised urgent need to move. In both cases, property which is accepted for purchase would be bought at the full market value calculated as if the scheme had never been proposed.
Sir Terence Higgins : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 28 February, Official Report, columns 562-63, why he is attempting to sell now rather than wait for the outcome of the public inquiry.
Mr. Key : The Department is obliged to sell surplus property and, with advice from the district valuer, may do so throughout the planning and development stages of any scheme. At Worthing a small number of properties are being offered for sale which would not be affected by the published proposals or by any alternative route proposed at the current public inquiry.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish a full list of all organisations to which his Department sent, and from which it has received responses regarding the consultation paper on a bus strategy for London, together with the addresses of each such organisation.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will list those sites covered by British Gas where discussions are taking place about the possible approval of city grant ;
(2) what is the current situation regarding his Department, English Partnerships and British Gas over grant applications ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) how many applications for city grant there have been concerning sites owned by British Gas in the last two years ;
(4) how city grant applications have been approved for sites owned by British Gas in the last two years ; what were the amounts in each case ; and what was the amount of clawback of grant in each case.
programme--although not for the analogous grant offered by urban development corporations in their own areas--including responsibility for on-going discussions over possible projects involving British Gas sites at the Greenwich peninsula, Foleshill gasworks, Coventry, and Pleck gasworks, Walsall. These discussions are at various stages. In the last two years, one formal application for city grant has been received by the Department and English Partnerships in respect of a British Gas site--for Foleshill-- and none has yet been approved.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the schemes given city grant in the west midlands region in the last two years with the amounts in each case ; and what were the amounts of clawback of grant.
Mr. Baldry : The schemes in the Department of the Environment's west midlands region for which the provision of city grant was approved since April 1992, and the approved level of grant, are set out in the table. None of these schemes has yet reached the date for determining the level of any clawback. The urban development corporations offer their own grants analogous to city grant ; schemes funded in this way are not included.
Project |Approved |Grant (£) ----------------------------------------------------------- Birmingham Bordesley Village housing phase 3 |206,000 Branston Street units |364,000 Trafalgar Road housing |657,000 Newton Road housing |264,000 Coventry Parkside offices phase 1 |580,000 Dudley Waterfront phase 8 |2,432,420 Waterfront Point North offices |2,903,025 Wollaston Road housing |1,302,612 Addison Road housing |760,000 Cosley Housing |250,000 Walsall Reedswood Park mixed development |8,000,000 Wolverhampton Bushbury Lane industrial units |113,000 Bell Place offices |107,000 Wolverhampton Racecourse redevelopment |3,037,000 Shaw Park offices |112,000 Cannock Road warehouse units |720,000 Spring Road industrial units |670,680 Springvale industrial units |2,282,000 Wrekin Station Road, Telford housing |434,000
Mr. Baldry : The total value of grants for city grant applications approved in 1992-93 for each of the Department of the Environment's regions is set out in the table. The figures do not include grants analogous to city grant, made by urban development corporations.
Region |Total Approved |Grants ------------------------------------------------------- West Midlands |13,638,737 North West |12,393,565 Northern |11,552,480 Yorkshire and Humberside |4,915,428 London |1,999,528 East Midlands |2,212,155 Merseyside |14,157,312 South East |0 South West |3,705,204
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to reach a decision in respect of the application for listed building consent in respect of Shalfleet bridge ; and when he received it.
Column 887and reconstruction. Experts from English Heritage, the Secretary of State's statutory advisors on listed building matters, are not satisfied that this is necessary. They have written to the island technical unit, explaining their concerns, and await a reply. Once this is received, the matter can be given further consideration. The application was originally received on 4 January, before the building was listed. The Department wrote to the island planning unit on 27 January informing it that the application would be treated as if it had been received on 20 January, the date of listing.
Mr. Betts : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many specific consents for the sale of part II housing--council houses-- were give to (a) Westminster and (b) Wandsworth council in each year since 1980.
Sir George Young [holding answer 25 January 1994] : The number of special consents for the sale of council houses and flats given to each authority for the years 1988 onwards are below. Our records of special consents do not enable us to extend back to earlier years.
|Westminster|Wandsworth ------------------------------------------------ 1988 |5 |4 1989 |nil |nil 1990 |9 |nil 1991 |6 |1 1992 |7 |nil 1993 |21 |nil
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will visit the squat at Artillery mansions, 75 Victoria street, London SW1 to discuss homelessness and the lack of affordable housing ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : I have no plans to visit Artillery mansions. I frequently meet staff of the voluntary sector agencies working with homeless people in central London and regularly visit projects managed by these agencies. I also launched the empty homes agency in February 1992.
On 8 February 1994, I chaired a meeting attended by a wide range of representatives from voluntary sector organisations and central London local authorities to discuss the considerable progress being made under the Government's rough sleepers initiative, which by March 1996 will have provided around 3,300 permanent new homes for people with a history of sleeping rough in the centre of the capital.
Column 888regarding the ownership of Artillery mansions, 75 Victoria street, London SW1 ; if he will discuss its future with Westminster city council ; and if he will make a statement.
It would not be appropriate for me to discuss with Westminster city council the merits of any action that it might take in relation to the building, since the owners might have a right of appeal to the Secretary of State in respect of such action.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what letters were sent and on what date in June 1988 by the British high commissioner in Kuala Lumpur to Ministers in the Malaysian Government on the issue of allocating aid to Malaysia for projects to be agreed between the Governments of Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the attempts made to resolve the technical problems that have arisen with the Samanalawena dam in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd [holding answer 3 March 1994] : We responded to the technical problems by funding an international panel of experts to consider the best way to resolve the leakage on the right bank to the dam. They endorsed the procedure of sealing the floor of the reservoir with clay without draining out the water. We will consider offering further technical assistance for the remedial works when project partners have decided how they wish to proceed.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will give details of the public appointments he is responsible for making in addition to those identified in "Public Bodies 1993", including non-executive agency and other departmental management boards.
the legal services ombudsman, appointed under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 ;
the Lord Chancellor's investment advisory committee which has five members and advises the Public Trust Office and the Court of Protection on investment matters ;
the Magistrates Courts rule committee, which has 14 members ; the Advisory Committee on the Children Act, which has 13 members ; Review Committee : Insolvency Rules--Northern Ireland--which has seven members ;
County Court rules committee--Northern Ireland--which has 10 members ;
Supreme Court rules committee--Northern Ireland--which has nine members ;
Crown Court rules committee--Northern Ireland--which has 11 members ;
Family Proceedings rules committee--Northern Ireland--which has 12 members ; and
Magistrates Courts rules committee--Northern Ireland.
From time to time, the Lord Chancellor also makes other appointments on request, sometimes jointly with other appointing authorities.
Mr. John M. Taylor : I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave the hon. Member for Brent, South (Mr. Boateng) on 20 January, at columns 719-20, and the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. Byers) on 3 February, at column 809. In accordance with Government accounting rules, unused funds are surrendered to Her Majesty's Treasury at the end of the financial year.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what age limits are (a) recommended and (b) required for service by (i) the judiciary, (ii) the magistracy, (iii) chairs and members of industrial tribunals and (iv) jury service ; and in each case what are the reasons for the age limits set.
(i) The Judiciary
The statutory qualifications for appointment to judicial offices, which generally prescribe a given number of years' professional standing, are set out in the booklet "Judicial Appointments : the Lord Chancellor's Policies and Procedures", a copy of which is in the Library. The booklet also sets out the age ranges within which the Lord Chancellor normally makes or recommends appointments
Column 890to judicial office. The statutory qualifications and the age levels for appointment reflect the need for candidates for judicial office to have acquired the necessary professional experience and maturity of judgment. The ages below which appointments are not normally made also reflect the principle that before appointment to full-time office candidates must first serve in an appropriate part-time capacity long enough to establish their competence and suitability. The ages beyond which appointments are not normally made are designed to allow those appointed to hold office for a reasonable period after appointment and to provide for the prospect of progression from part-time to full-time office or to a more senior post on an appropriate timescale. The compulsory retirement ages for the judiciary currently vary. When the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993 is brought into force later this year, judicial office holders first appointed thereafter will have to retire at the age of 70, subject in most cases to a power of continuance in office up to the age of 75 where this is in the public interest. This strikes a balance between the benefits of experience and expertise and the demands placed on older judges.
(ii) The Magistracy
It is rare for the Lord Chancellor to appoint a lay magistrate below the age of 27 or above the age of 60. There is no minimum statutory age for appointment. By section 8 of the Justices of the Peace Act 1979, lay magistrates must retire from active service on the bench when they reach the age of 70 years except for the chairman of a bench who may continue until the end of the year in which he or she attains the age of 70. These limits reflect the need for public confidence in the administration of justice. A lay magistrate must have the experience and maturity to sit in judgment on others and offer the prospect of a reasonable period of service after appointment.
(iii) Chairmen and members of industrial tribunals
Those appointed to the panel of chairmen of industrial tribunals must have a seven-year general qualification within the meaning of section 71 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990. Appointments to the panel of part-time chairmen are rarely made under the age of 35 or over the age of 62. Full- time chairmen are appointed from among experienced part-time chairmen. Like other members of the judiciary, chairmen of tribunals must have professional experience and maturity of judgment and offer the prospect of a reasonable period of service in office. By the terms of their appointment, both full-time and part-time chairmen of industrial tribunals must retire at the end of the completed year of service in which they attain the age of 72. As for other judicial offices, the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993, as described above, introduces a compulsory retirement age of 70 for chairmen of industrial tribunals.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State of Employment is responsible for appointment to the panels of lay members of industrial tribunals.
(iv) Jury Service
The qualifying ages for jury service are a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. However, I understand that generally those who are aged between 18 and 70 are eligible to be summoned for jury service, although any prospective juror over the age of 65 is entitled to be excused if he so wishes.