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Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has now checked that all information given by him in the House in relation to the Ashford section of the channel tunnel link, was accurate ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : Since my right hon. Friend's statement to the House on 24 January, Union Railways has suggested that a route through the barracks to the west of Ashford may now be practicable. Consultation is taking place on this new route option in addition to the two options mentioned in the statement.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what is the basis upon which grants to local authorities in connection with section 20 of the Transport Act 1968 to meet increased track charges to be levied by Railtrack for passenger railway operations will be reduced in the year 1995-96 as compared with 1994-95 ; (2) what is the basis upon which grants to local authorities in connection with section 20 of the Transport Act 1968 will be increased in the financial year 1994-95 to meet increased track access charges to be levied by Railtrack for passenger railway operations ;
(3) what proportion of the increased track charges to be levied by Railtrack for passenger railway services operated under the provisions of section 20 of the Transport Act 1968 will be met by locally-raised revenue, including the council tax ;
(4) whether grants to local authorities under section 20 of the Transport Act 1968 to meet increased track access charges to be levied by Railtrack for passenger railway operations will be made directly to passenger transport authorities or to their constituent metropolitan authorities.
Mr. Freeman : Special grants will be paid in 1994-95 to the six English passenger transport authorities, PTAs, to cover the additional costs of maintaining existing service levels of metropolitan passenger rail services resulting from the restructuring of the railway and the introduction of new charging systems for the use of track and rolling stock. In Scotland the extra costs arising in 1994-95 will be paid direct to Strathclyde regional council through the Scottish Office.
These grants will cover the difference between the costs that the passenger transport executives, PTEs, would have incurred under the existing regime and the revised costs once the new charging systems are in place, less amounts being paid to the PTEs in respect of past investment that they have financed through capital grant. It is our intention to cover the additional costs in 1995-96 and beyond through enhancing the rail "bolt-on" within metropolitan districts' standard spending assessment. The Government will be reviewing the formula for establishing the "bolt-on" in the light of the new charges. In Scotland, the additional costs will be covered in future local government finance settlements.
The proportion of the cost of supporting local rail services by locally raised revenue can be expected, therefore, not to increase.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy that grants awarded to local authorities in PTA areas, for the purpose of meeting additional charges imposed by rail operators and resulting from access charges set by Railtrack should be ring-fenced for that purpose beyond 1994-95.
Mr. Freeman : As I explained in my letter to the chairman of the public transport committee of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities of 30 September 1993, special grants will be paid to the six English passenger transport authorities in 1994-95 ; thereafter the additional costs resulting from the introduction of new charging systems following the restructuring of the railway will be recognised by enhancing the rail "bolt -on" within metropolitan districts' standard spending assessment.
Column 10In Scotland the additional costs arising in 1994-95 will be paid direct to Strathclyde regional council through the Scottish Office. Thereafter, the additional costs will be covered in future local government finance settlements.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects work to (a) commence and (b) be completed on the Doncaster metropolitan borough council section of the A1-M1 link road servicing the Dearne valley area ; and if he will make a statement.
I recently announced a start of works on two schemes in Norfolk, A11 Besthorpe-Wymondham and A47 Walpole Tilney-Tilney High End. Construction also continues on the A140 Scole-Dickleburgh improvement. The eastern relief road in Lowestoft Market to Saxmundham were published on 1 March and a public inquiry into draft orders for A12 Hopton on Sea was held in January this year. Progress on other schemes is dependent upon the outcome of the review of the road programme. I hope to make an announcement on that soon.
Mr. Butterfill : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 11 January, Official Report, column 124 concerning the cost of the crossrail project, what he meant by the base cost : and whether it included the alterations to the project contained in the additional provision deposited in January 1993.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 4 March 1994] : The base cost estimate of the crossrail project is the estimate believed to be as close as possible to the likely value of contracts to be awarded for the works in a competitive tendering climate when the relevant industries are neither in recession nor over-extended ; the £1,703 million base cost estimate referred to in my answer of 11 January includes the cost of the works defined in the additional provision deposited in January 1993.
Mr. Butterfill : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 11 January, Official Report, column 124 concerning the cost of the crossrail project, how the estimated sum of £259 million for property purchases and compensation for loss and disturbance to property was arrived at ; how much of this sum relates to the purchase of rights in property required for the building of crossrail ; and how much relates to compensation for loss and disturbance to property owners.
Column 11preliminary estimate of the compensation payable in respect of properties which would need to be purchased ; it is intended to cover both the market value of the property and compensation for disturbance. The figure is necessarily an overall approximation ; the final figure will depend on the outcome of detailed future negotiations between the crossrail Bill promoters and the owners and tenants of the properties affected.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd [holding answer 28 February 1994] : The provision of overseas aid is not conditional on trade deals. Bilateral aid is largely tied to the procurement of United Kingdom goods and services for projects or programmes supported which we and the recipient Government have agreed as developmental priorities.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the level of aid given to (a) Bangladesh, (b) Ecuador, (c) India, (d) Indonesia, (e) Jordan, (f) Malaysia, (g) Nigeria, (h) Oman, (i) Pakistan and (j) Thailand in each year since 1980.
Traffic Growth Route, year, vehicle |DTP10740 and percentage growth ---------------------------------------------------------------- Route |A0075 Year |1987 All Vehicles |5,079 1982-1987 (per cent.) |11
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the contract awarded to Biwater or companies connected with Biwater in 1986 for a water supply system in Malaysia, supported by United Kingdom Government financial assistance, was the subject of competitive tender.
Ms Jowell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps the Home Office has taken to ensure that (a) people with learning disabilities and (b) people with sensory disabilities are registered to vote.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Last year we provided guidance for electoral registration officers on the registration of people with learning disabilities. We have also circulated guidance prepared by the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the Spastics Society. As part of our post-election review, the RNIB and the Spastics Society were invited to a meeting to discuss the difficulties faced by disabled
Column 12electors. Their concerns are reflected in the reports of the working groups concerned with particular aspects of the review, copies of which are being placed in the Library.
In 1992, within the Metropolitan police district and the City of London, 4,828 males and 521 females were convicted of drug offences.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Terry Davis, dated 7 March 1994 :
Column 13HM Prison Blakenhurst
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking about the number of prisoners at Blakenhurst prison on 28 February, and what category has been given to the prison. On 28 February 574 prisoners were held in Blakenhurst, which is a category B local prison.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The Prison Service representative at Her Majesty's prison Blakenhurst is a controller appointed under section 85(1)(b) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. The controller is a governor III and he is supported by a deputy controller and a secretary. Responsibilities of controllers are set out in section 85(4) of the same Act.
Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps have been taken by his Department to ensure that Mr. Bernard Higgins is a suitable person to be director of Blakenhurst prison.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Under section 85(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 every contracted-out prison has to have a director who must be a prisoner custody officer specially approved and appointed by the Secretary of State. A person may not be appointed as a prisoner custody officer unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that the applicant is a fit and proper person to perform the relevant functions and has received training to the standard appropriate for the performance of those functions.
The Secretary of State was so satisfied in the case of Mr. Higgins, who was formerly a governor in the Prison Service, and gave approval for his appointment as director in October 1993.
Ms Ruddock To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) pursuant to his answer of 2 March, Official Report, columns 738-40, how many units of accommodation are temporarily unusable ; (2) pursuant to his answer of 2 March, Official Report, columns 738-40, how many prisoners have been transferred to other prisons ; and if he will name the prisons.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Ms Joan Ruddock, dated 7 March 1994 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Questions about Blakenhurst prison.
No cell accommodation at Blakenhurst was made unusable as a result of the incident there on 24 February but a control room and office accommodation, which are essential for control purposes, were damaged. The certified normal accommodation (649) has therefore been temporarily reduced to 590 to enable repairs to be carried out and to ensure that control is maintained. The normal occupancy level will be resumed in the week beginning 7 March.
61 prisoners were transferred following the incident to other prisons. The establishments concerned were Pentonville, Highdown, Wormwood Scrubs, Norwich, Elmley, Bullingdon, Belmarsh, Shrewsbury, Winchester and Birmingham prisons.
Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many communications he has received during the consultation on deregulation on the European convention No. ETS 125 for the protection of pet animals ; how many were in favour and how many against ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what representations he has received to (a) raise the age at which a child can buy an animal from a pet shop to 16 years and (b) license animal sanctuaries, in order that the United Kingdom can sign and ratify the European convention No. ETS 125 for the protection of pet animals.
Mr. Charles Wardle : The Department has received 14 responses to its consultative letter on the European convention for the protection of pet animals. Nine were in favour of the United Kingdom ratifying the convention and five argued against.
In addition to responses to the consultative exercise, the Department has, since January 1992, received one letter from the public arguing that the minimum age at which someone may be sold a pet animal should be raised to 16 years ; and one letter proposing that animal sanctuaries should be licensed.
Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance is given to prison governors in dealing with requests from prisoners to be allowed to attend funerals under escort ; and if he will place a copy of this guidance in the Library.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Terry Davis, dated 7 March 1994. The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about prisoners'escorted absences to attend funerals.
Guidance for Governors is contained in Standing Order 7E, its accompanying Circular Instruction (43/1990), and the Security Manual, section 59.
Copies of these documents are already in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people detained at Blakenhurst prison were allowed to attend family funerals under escort (a) in January and (b) in February ;
(2) how many requests from prisoners at Blakenhurst prison to attend funerals under escort were refused (a) in January and (b) in February ;
(3) how much money is paid to United Kingdom Detention Services for the cost of escorting prisoners at Blakenhurst prison to funerals and other important family events.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Terry Davis, dated 7 March 1994 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Questions about prisoners at Blakenhurst prison attending funerals and other important family events.
Column 15Two prisoners at Blakenhurst were allowed to attend family funerals under escort in January and none in February. No prisoners were refused attendance at funerals in January and three prisoners were refused in February.
UKDS tendered to provide the service set out in the contract for the whole operation of the prison, including escorting prisoners to court and elsewhere, and are paid an agreed sum for this total service.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Terry Davis, dated 7 March 1994 : The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the entitlement of prison governors to time off work to attend family funerals.
Special leave for this purpose is not an entitlement. Wherever possible, however, subject to the operational needs of establishments, governors would be allowed time off, with pay, to attend the funeral of a close relative or dependant.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : We carry out an annual advertising campaign to encourage people to complete and return the electoral registration form, and provide posters and leaflets aimed at young people. We also commission research into the working methods of electoral registration officers which is used to inform guidance to assist them in their task of drawing up a comprehensive register.
Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the proportion of those eligible to vote in this year's European Parliament election who are aged between 18 and 25 years.
Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his Department spent on encouraging 17 to 25-year-olds to put their names on the electoral register in (a) 1979, (b) 1985, (c) 1990 and (d) the last year for which figures are available.
(b) 1984-85--£12,226 was spent on a public information film. (c) 1989- 90--£5,300 was spent on specific leaflets. This was in addition to a £452,000 advertisting campaign aimed at all adults aged 16 plus.
(d) 1993-94--£4,000 was spent on specific posters. This was in addition to a £620,000 advertisting campaign aimed at all adults aged 16 plus.
Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's advertising in persuading young people between 17 and 25 years to go on to the electoral register.
(1) that awareness among 16 to 24-year-olds, of the need to do something to be registered, rose during the campaign period from 22 per cent. to 40 per cent.
(2) that awareness among 16 to 24-year-olds, of the need to put their name on a form to register, rose during the campaign period from 33 per cent. to 49 per cent.
(3) recognition of electoral registration advertising in 1993 by the 16 to 24 age group reached 50 per cent.
Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proportion of people who were between 18 and 25 years at the 1987 general election (a) were registered to vote at that election and (b) actually voted at that election ;
(2) what proportion of those on the electoral register in each year from 1986 to 1993 were aged between 17 and 25 years ;
(3) how many people of those currently eligible to vote are aged between 18 and 25 years ; and what proportion of this is of the total number eligible to vote ;
(4) what percentage of (a) those registered to vote in Britain and (b) those who voted in Britain during the 1992 general election were aged between 17 and 25 years ;
(5) what proportion of people who were between 18 and 25 years at the 1992 general election (a) were registered to vote at that election and (b) actually voted at that election ;
(6) what percentage of (a) those registered to vote in Britain and (b) those who voted in Britain during the 1987 general election were aged between 17 and 25 years ;
(7) what proportion of 17 to 25-year-olds are currently on the electoral register ; and what proportion of British citizens as a whole are currently on the electoral register.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what means his Department ensures that offenders on parole in the care of the probation service, who are required to attend a forensic consultant psychiatrist as a condition of their parole, actually do so.
Mr. Maclean : The responsibility for ensuring that offenders on parole comply with their licence conditions rests with local probation services. The Home Office has recently reminded all probation services of the importance of giving prompt effect to licence conditions.
Her Majesty's inspectorate of probation keeps the performance of all services under review.
Mr. Jenkin : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he proposes to provide disclosure of parole dossiers and reasons for parole decisions to those prisoners who were sentenced before the early release provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1992 came into force on 1 October 1992.
Mr. Howard : I propose to provide openness in the parole process to those prisoners sentenced before 1 October 1992 who have a parole eligibility date--PED--or its anniversay, of 1 October 1994 and beyond. Under the openness arrangements the parole timetable takes about 26 weeks from start to finish ; prisoners should receive their parole dossiers about four months before their PED, be
Column 17interviewed about their parole case by a parole board member about three months before PED, and receive reasons for the parole decision about three weeks before PED. On this timetable, the review process will begin in early April for those prisoners who become parole eligible from 1 October.
I shall continue to take decisions on the release on parole licence of such prisoners, after taking into account the recommendations of the parole board.