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Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the organisations and individuals who have been asked, since June 1992, to submit names of individuals to be considered for appointments to paid and unpaid posts for which a Minister has to approve the person appointed or shortlist for the appointment.
Column 648information on, or consulted about, individuals who are, or may be, proposed to the Minister for appointment to posts for which a Minister has to approve the person appointed or the shortlist for the appointment.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what information his Department holds or obtains relating to individuals who have been appointed, or may be considered for appointment, to paid or unpaid posts for which a Minister has to approve the person or shortlist for the appointment, in particular relating to active involvement in (a) extreme left-wing organisations, (b) extreme right-wing organisations and (c) involvement in any of the political parties represented in the House of Commons ;
(2) what procedures his Department has to prevent the possible appointment of individuals with extreme political views to posts for which a Minister has to approve the person or shortlist for the appointment.
Mr. Eggar : The Department does not hold information on the political affiliations of public appointees or potential public appointees. Appointments are made on the basis of the person judged best for the job ; political affiliation is not a factor.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list for the last 12 months how many parliamentary questions he has referred to one of his Department's agencies for answer ; and what percentage of parliamentary questions to his Department this represents.
Mr. Heseltine : Between 1 March 1993 and 28 February 1994, Department of Trade and Industry Ministers referred 31 parliamentary questions to chief executives of my Department's agencies for reply. They represent 1.1 per cent. of the total of 2,812 written questions answered by my Department during that period.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the projects and their costs covered by the RECHAR programme to date in (a) the Doncaster area and (b) the rest of south Yorkshire.
Mr. Sainsbury : To date, in Doncaster, 25 infrastructure projects have attracted RECHAR funding of £6,872,236 out of a total South Yorkshire programme of £18,575,176. In addition £8,621,016 has been allocated to 73 business support projects. Although not specific to Doncaster, the projects cover a wide area of South Yorkshire and are all available to companies in Doncaster. I have today placed copies of the list of projects in the Library of the House.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what major building projects valued at over £1 million are being or have been wholly or partly financed since 1989 in (a) Doncaster, (b) Barnsley, (c) Rotherham and (d) Wakefield by his Department ; and what was the cost of each project to his Department.
Column 649create or maintain jobs. While the details concerned are commercially confidential, five projects involving building costs of over £1 million have received RSA offers since 1 April 1989, as shown in the table.
In addition, English Estates has been undertaking building and development activities in these areas supported in part by grant aid from the Department.
Number of |Total project |Building costs|Grant projects |costs |£ million |£ million |£ million --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 5 |81.6 |15.7 |8.55
Mr. Redmond : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what percentage of European imports to the Yorkshire and Humberside region are transported directly by (a) sea and (b) air (i) currently, (ii) five years ago and (iii) 10 years ago.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will issue guidelines on the issuing of quality management systems equivalent to BS 5750 by both certifying bodies and consultants who themselves have not been approved in particular industrial sectors in which they are offering their services by the National Accreditation Council for Certifications Bodies.
Mr. Heseltine : Certification to BS 5750 and the accreditation of certification bodies are commercial decisions for the parties concerned. I recognise that accreditation provides confidence in certification services. My Department does, therefore, encourage certification bodies to seek accreditation and individual companies to use the services of accredited certification bodies. This is reflected in the current edition of the DTI QA register which now lists only accredited certification bodies.
Mr. Hargreaves : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what changes have been made under the statutory security provisions for sites occupied by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority or which require permits under section 2 of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965.
Mr. Eggar : Sites belonging to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and those where enrichment or reprocessing operations take place are subject to special statutory security provisions. These are designed principally :
(a) to protect information about and restrict access to enrichment technology, which could be misused for the purposes of nuclear weapons proliferation. The House recognised the importance of this last year in passing the Official Secrets Act 1989 (Prescription) (Amendment) Order 1993 ; and
(b) to protect information about and restrict access to facilities, where this is desirable for the safekeeping of plutonium and other fissile materials.
Column 650Under the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 as amended, sites, other than those of the UKAEA, require a permit for reprocessing or enrichment. Sites to which permits apply and those of the UKAEA can be made prohibited places for the purposes of the Official Secrets Act 1911.
Work undertaken last year identified that the current list of nuclear prohibited places ought to be updated generally, including to align with current site boundaries. New permits have been issued for Sellafield and Capenhurst and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary yesterday made a new prohibited places order.
This order significantly reduces the number of places that are prohibited. Current or past UKAEA sites at Risley and Culcheth, and in London at Rex house and 11 Charles II street have been dropped. The small part of the Sellafield site managed by the UKAEA, which had been omitted from the previous order, has been added to the Sellafield prohibited place. Land has also been added as a result of aligning the permit with the current Sellafield site boundary. The UKAEA sites at Harwell and Dounreay remain prohibited places in the latter case under a separate order.
The new arrangements will ensure that at Sellafield and Capenhurst, the entire site within the security fence is a prohibited place and that this will remain the case following any transfers of land between British Nuclear Fuels plc and UKAEA at Sellafield or BNFL and Urenco (Capenhurst) Ltd. at Capenhurst. The areas of land affected are defined by the permits ; copies of these, together with proof copies of the prohibited places order, have been placed in the Library of the House.
Dr. Howells : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what plans he has to consult his counterparts in the European Union on the question of formulating cross-frontier measures to prevent the importation of diamonds traded by, and on behalf of, the UNITA organisation in Angola ;
(2) what plans he has to take measures to prevent Angolan diamonds, stolen and traded by UNITA, being imported and marketed in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Heseltine : I have no such plans. There is no reliable way of identifying the geographical origin of diamonds imported into the United Kingdom. Technically, it is seldom possible to do so and the channels of distribution are also varied and complex. It would be impractical to track the origin and provenance, legal or otherwise, of individual stones. Nor, for the same reasons, would it be practicable to seek a Community-wide restriction.
Mr. Riddick : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what arrangements are in place to ensure that potential purchasers of British Coal's mining assets are given equal access to relevant information about the five mining businesses being offered for sale by the Government.
Mr. Eggar : The Government attach importance to ensuring that no potential purchasers are given preferential access to the relevant information. I expect in the coming weeks to clarify the basis on which the Government will be making information available.
Column 651British Coal has issued instructions which govern the conduct of all corporation employees during the privatisation period. These instructions set out, among other things, the consents which managers are required to obtain before they can participate in any buy-out bid, and the undertakings which they are obliged to give as a condition of such consents. British Coal has equally introduced detailed arrangements which seek to prevent the unauthorised disclosure by corporation employees of information which might impede the privatisation process. These measures are designed to provide effective safeguards against the possibility of conflicts of interest on the part of British Coal staff who may be authorised to participate in management and employee buy-outs. British Coal will also put in place specific additional measures in the case of individual MEBO participants where necessary.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what budget provision is planned for the financial year 1994-95 to commission consultants to provide advice on the restructuring and privatisation of British Coal.
Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 28 March 1994] : The Coal Industry Bill provides a mechanism for the transfer of capital allowances from British Coal Corporation to successor companies. No firm estimate of the value of such allowances has yet been made.
Telecommunications Act 1984.
Mr. McLoughlin : Yes. The tenth report by the Director General of Telecommunications is being published today. It covers the period 1 January to 31 December 1993. Copies of the report have been laid before each House of Parliament.
Mr. George Howarth : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many incidents have been reported by the Post Office of letters and small packages being (a) irrecoverably damaged and (b) damaged but recoverably so by the new mark 1, 2 and 3 GT 4000 machines in use in some sorting offices.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 28 March 1994] : I understand from the Post Office that it does not use any sorting machines designated as GT 4000 but that Royal Mail currently operates 185 NP 4000 sorting machines. Incidents of damage to mail during sorting processes are not recorded centrally by Royal Mail.
Mr. Charles Kennedy : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the proposed visit by Offshore Supplies Office officials to the Sicilian fabrication site, Consorzio Ital Offshore.
Mr. Eggar [holding answer 28 March 1994] : In the course of discussions between British consulate officials and the Consorzio Ital Offshore, an invitation was extended to OSO to visit CIO's fabrication site in Sicily.
Apparently following adverse comment in the United Kingdom press the invitation to visit the site was withdrawn.
Ms Primarolo : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the tobacco companies that have received regional selective assistance grants in each year since 1990 ; and for what purpose each grant was given.
Mr. Robin Cook : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what has been the total investment by British Coal over the most recent five- year period at those collieries and opencast sites currently in operation ;
(2) what is the total value of capital allowances outstanding against corporation tax on British Coal in respect of assets of collieries and opencast sites currently in operation.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment on how many occasions in the last five years he has knowingly provided incomplete information in answers to parliamentary questions other than on grounds of disproportionate cost ; and on what subjects.
Mr. Gummer : I answer parliamentary questions on the basis set out in paragraph 27 of "Questions of Procedure for Ministers". I also seek to comply with the Speaker's guidance on the need for brief answers to oral questions.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the dates Ministers, or officials from his Department, including his Department's agencies, have used the Malaysian airline MAS for each year since 1985 including this year to date on official business ; and what was the cost of each flight to his Department.
Column 653since 1989 in (a) Doncaster, (b) Barnsley, (c) Rotherham and (d) Wakefield by his Department ; and what was the cost of each project to his Department.
Mr. Baldry : The following major building projects valued at over £1 million have been or are being funded wholly or partly by my Department since 1989 in (a) Doncaster, (b) Barnsley, (c) Rotherham and (d) Wakefield. This excludes major reclamation schemes funded through derelict land grant.
|Cost to the |department |£'000 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Doncaster Estate Action Stainforth Estate, Phases 1-3 |9,120 City Challenge (Dearne Valley) Mexborough Business Centre |1,197 Dearne Valley Business School |799 Denaby Crags |2,038 Earth Centre |444 |------- |4,478 Urban Programme Mexborough Business Centre |463 Barnsley City Grant Hoyle Mill/Pontefract Road |492 Rockingham Business Park, Birdwell Ph I and II |738 Wombwell Industrial Estate |2,149 Wath Road, Wombwell |2,533 Redbrook Business Park |559 Station Road, Wombwell |163 |------- |6,634 Estate Action Cloughfields Estate, Phase 2 |1,320 Kendray Estate, Phases 1 and 2 |2,385 Lundwood Estate |3,550 Athersley North Estate, Phases 1-3 |8,225 |------- |15,480 City Challenge (Dearne Valley) Elsecar Heritage Centre |1,545 St. Hilda's |680 Thurnscoe East |687 |------- |2,912 City Challenge (Barnsley NE Corridor) Priory Campus |2,610 Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre |750 Cundy Cross |2,416 |------- |5,776 Urban Programme Elsecar Heritage Centre |657 Grimethorpe Workshops |540 Thurnscoe Factory/Workshops |2,354 |------- |3,551 Rotherham City Grant Cortonwood |10,230 Rodger Street |170 Phoenix Business Park |436 Kilnhurst Business Park |385 |------- |11,221 Estate Action Canklow Community Refurbishment Scheme |1,964 City Challenge (Dearne Valley) Technology Transfer Centre |1,789 Swinton Patio |3,000 |------- |4,789 Urban Partnership Fund Rotherham Engineering and Computing Technology Centre |685 Wakefield Estate Action Smirthwaite Estate |838 Kershaw Avenue, Airedale Estate |2,057 Dacre Avenue, Lupset |1,574 |------- |4,469
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy towards the proposals under consideration by the European Parliament and European Commission to halve the pollution emissions from cars.
Mr. Atkins : The European Parliament at its March plenary meeting rejected proposed amendments to the latest directive on vehicle emissions which called specifically for the halving of pollution emissions from cars. The Council of Environment Ministers therefore adopted this directive, further amending directive 70/220/EEC, on 24 March, taking account of the European Parliament's views. In addition to specifying new tighter standards, the latest directive also calls for the European Commission to bring forward by the end of this year further proposals to reduce emissions from cars.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what rights those who are waiting assessment as to whether they are unintentionally homeless will have under the citizens charter in respect of (a) the time such an assessment should take and (b) temporary assistance pending assessment under his proposed legislation.
Sir George Young : When reaching the final decisions following our consideration of the responses to the consultation paper "Access to Local Authority and Housing Association Tenancies", we will take full account of the principles of the citizens charter.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place in the Library (a) the original advice memo given to James Gray advising Ministers on how to use the political network to rebut criticisms of the Government's homelessness consultation paper and (b) the revised guidelines reissued by Richard Wilson to his staff ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gummer : Yes. I am also placing in the Library a copy of the press release issued by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing, Inner Cities and Construction, on 24 February commenting on Shelter's misleading and inaccurate statements on the Government's "Consultation Paper on Access to Local Authority and Housing Association Tenancies".
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what funding will be available to enable the completion of the renovation of the Sefton Park palm house, Liverpool ; and what timetable has been established for the completion of the work.
Mr. Baldry : The hon. Member will recall that urban programme funding of £0.254 million, was secured for a short-term rescue package to arrest further deterioration and make the structure safe and secure.
These works were completed last summer. Their purpose, to secure the palm house for a maximum of seven years while proposals for its long-term use were developed, has been achieved. The consideration, by Liverpool city council, of the palm house's future, together with the wider issue of maximising the use of Sefton Park and its facilities, will need to be carried out as part of an overall tourism strategy.
There will be opportunities, under both the single regeneration budget and objective 1, for projects developed in partnership with the private sector and the Community to be successful in a bid for funding. Obviously, I cannot judge whether such a partnership approach would be forthcoming in the case of Sefton Park palm house, nor can I say that if it did, such a bid would be successful.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what funds have been made available to the Liverpool city council during the past financial year for the modernisation of homes under the provisions of the mandatory house improvement grant system ; whether all available funds were claimed ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : The level of resources dedicated to house renovation grants is a matter for Liverpool city council to decide within the framework of its capital programme and available resources. A guideline figure of £9.9 million was included in the housing investment programme allocation for 1993-94. Liverpool claimed a total grant expenditure of £13.846 million and a supplementary credit approval for £3.558 million was issued last December.
Sir George Young [holding answer 28 March 1994] : Each housing authority is allocated an allowance for housing revenue account subsidy which reflects its relative need to spend on the management and maintenance of its dwellings. This allowance is based on the particular characteristics of the authority's stock, including the type, age and size of the dwellings, the proportion of flats to houses, the sparsity of the stock and its geographical location. Local authorities are consulted in advance about the details.
Mr. Jack Thompson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list local authority housing departments which have submitted successful housing investment programmes in 1991-92 and 1992-93.
Sir George Young : Under the housing investment programme process, all local housing authorities in England are invited each year to submit bids for capital resources for their housing programmes. Allocations are then announced in December. Lists showing the allocations for each authority in 1991-92 and 1992-93 are available from the Library of the House.
Mr. John Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will announce the allocation of resources to local authorities under his Department's housing partnership fund for 1994-95.
Sir George Young [holding answer 28 March 1994] : The relationship between the Government's decisions on changes in housing association grant rates and the rent levels determined by housing associations for their new properties is not direct. The implications for rents of a change in the grant rate will depend on the costs of construction and borrowing, as well as on an association's management and other costs.
Reductions in average grant rates from 80 per cent in 1990-91 to a ceiling of 62 per cent. for 1994-95 have reflected a considerable reduction in procurement costs across the period. Housing associations have also been able to reduce the rents they would otherwise need to charge on new properties by their ability to pool rents across their stock and to make efficiency savings.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 28 March 1994] : I have received representations about the safety of both firefighters and the occupants of large single-storey buildings, and about the effect of fires in such buildings on fire service resources, contamination of the environment,
Column 657loss of property and disruption to the life of local communities. I have also met representatives of the fire service, the Loss Prevention Council and the Institute of Building Control. A scrutiny team is currently looking at fire safety issues, as announced by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade on 17 January, Official Report, column 381. In the light of their findings, and of the representations made to me, I shall consider whether any changes should be made to the relevant part of the building regulations.
Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the costs of reorganising the Countryside Commission for England and Wales, the Countryside Commission for Scotland and the Nature Conservancy Council ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 658disbursed across three Departments. The latter could only be supplied at disproportionate cost. In addition £1.4 million was provided in 1990-91 to cover the agencies initial costs. The direct implementation costs of merging the Nature Conservancy Council for Scotland and the Countryside Commission for Scotland to form Scottish Natural Heritage incurred in 1991-92 were £118,000. This figure is exclusive of the administrative costs incurred by the Scottish Office Environment Department and the two existing agencies which could, again, be supplied only at disproportionate cost.
Ms Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each civil service grade in his Department the number of (a) male and (b) female, (i) full-time and (ii) part-time employees.
Part time Full time Total |F |M |Total |F |M |Total |F |M |Total --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Grade 1 |0 |0 |0 |0 |1 |1 |0 |1 |1 Grade 2 |0 |0 |0 |3 |4 |7 |3 |4 |7 Grade 3 |1 |0 |1 |3 |30 |33 |4 |30 |34 Grade 4 |0 |0 |0 |0 |7 |7 |0 |7 |7 Grade 5 |5 |2 |7 |16 |117 |133 |21 |119 |140 Grade 6 |4 |6 |10 |25 |287 |312 |29 |293 |322 Grade 7 |31 |3 |34 |103 |651 |754 |134 |654 |788 SEO and equivalent |18 |5 |23 |125 |611 |736 |143 |616 |759 HEO and equivalent |49 |6 |55 |263 |661 |924 |312 |667 |979 EO and equivalent |53 |5 |58 |493 |693 |1,186 |546 |698 |1,244 AO and equivalent |140 |5 |145 |851 |573 |1,424 |991 |578 |1,569 AA and equivalent |99 |2 |101 |391 |240 |631 |490 |242 |732 |-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|-------|------- Total |400 |34 |434 |2,273 |3,875 |6,148 |2,673 |3,909 |6,582
Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 23 March, Official Report, column 280, if he will list the number of contracts and their cost with management consultants in the latest year for which figures are available.
Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total capital receipt from the sale of county hall in London ; and if he will publish the amounts that have been paid to each London borough.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 28 March 1994] : I refer to my answer of 23 November, Official Report, column 17, in which I explained that the total capital receipt from the sale of county hall was a matter of commercial confidentiality. Under the terms of the London Government Reorganisation (Capital Money) (Greater London) (Amendment) Order 1993, the London residuary body distributed the following amounts, totalling £60 million, to the London boroughs and to the City of London :
|£ --------------------------------------------------- City of London |45,373.34 Camden |1,681,516.01 Greenwich |1,808,561.84 Hackney |1,569,474.18 Hammersmith and Fulham |1,375,421.52 Islington |1,499,766.02 Kensington and Chelsea |1,354,877.70 Lambeth |2,174,754.19 Lewisham |2,035,628.31 Southwark |1,904,780.74 Tower Hamlets |1,410,859.15 Wandsworth |2,279,922.50 Westminster |1,696,516.88 Barking and Dagenham |1,245,366.67 Barnet |2,654,118.04 Bexley |1,913,948.53 Brent |2,165,808.27 Bromley |2,637,789.90 Croydon |2,804,029.41 Ealing |2,522,823.09 Enfield |2,289,346.21 Haringey |1,815,070.93 Harrow |1,788,598.36 Havering |2,012,152.23 Hillingdon |2,073,971.23 Hounslow |1,817,964.77 Kingston upon Thames |1,237,042.62 Merton |1,512,659.01 Newham |1,833,105.05 Redbridge |2,002,535.88 Richmond upon Thames |1,473,820.06 Sutton |1,506,433.98 Waltham Forest |1,855,863.28 |------- Total |60,000,000.00
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects that consultation on the Valpak scheme proposed by the packaging industry producer responsibility group will be completed ; and if he will list those organisations which have been consulted.
Mr. Atkins : The producer responsibility industry group which represents 28 of the largest companies with interests in packaging has asked for comments on its proposals by 15 April. PRG has invited comments from all interested parties and I have asked them to send the hon. Member a list of those consulted.