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Mr. Cousins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many applications under the small firms loan guarantee scheme have been made in each financial year since 1990-91 ; how many have been approved ; and what have been the sums guaranteed and the cost to his Department.

Mr. McLoughlin : The number of applications made, guaranteed, their value and the net cost to the DTI in each year since 1990-91 is shown in the table :


             |Applications|Applications|Sum         |Net cost                 

             |received by |guaranteed  |guaranteed  |(£ million)              

             |DTI                      |(£ million)                           

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1990-91      |3,676       |3,387       |84.56       |16.5                     

1991-92      |3,124       |2,933       |69.48       |27.5                     

1992-93      |2,408       |2,342       |52.35       |19.2                     

Application figures for 1993-94 will be available shortly and are expected to show a significant increase in applications guaranteed. Fewer applications are guaranteed than are received. Rejections represent only a quarter of this difference. The rest is due to withdrawal by the borrower.

Guinness plc

Mr. Maxton : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he intends publishing the report drawn up by the inspectors from his Department into the affairs of Guinness plc following their appointment by his predecessor in December 1986.

Mr. Neil Hamilton : The inspectors have not yet completed their inspection, which was recommenced after the conclusion of the Guinness criminal trials. When their report has been submitted, consideration will be given to its publication.


Column 599

Cross-media Ownership

Ms Mowlam : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many of his staff are assigned to the current review of cross-media ownership ; and what is the cost to his departmental budget of the cross-media ownership review.

Mr. McLoughlin : A number of staff combine work on the review of the cross media ownership with other duties. At present it forms the main duty of two full-time members of staff and occupies a significant part of the time of three others. The cost this year of the individuals most involved, allowing for time spent on other duties, is likely to be around £184,000.

Nuclear Power

Mr. William Ross : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is his estimate of the total sums of public money invested in the nuclear power industry since 1963 in cash terms and at 1993 prices ; and what percentage of the United Kingdom's electricity is now produced by nuclear energy.

Mr. Heseltine : The main public sector companies in the nuclear power industry are Nuclear Electric and Scottish Nuclear. An indication of past investment in these companies is provided by the gross value--before depreciation--of tangible fixed assets stated in their published accounts. At 31 March 1993, the historic cost value of these assets was about £10 billion and the current cost value was about £15 billion. In accordance with standard accounting conventions, asset values are stated at the lower of cost--replacement cost in the case of current cost accounts-- or value to the business.

In 1993 about 26 per cent. of electricity available from the United Kingdom public supply system was produced by nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom.

Source : Energy Trends, Tables 18 and 19.

Nuclear Review

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Warley, West (Mr. Spellar) of 25 April, Official Report, column 7, if he will list the organisations or individuals that have made representations on the nuclear review ; and what response he gave to these representations.

Mr. Heseltine : This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

British Coal

Mrs. Roche : To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many miners are currently employed by British Coal.

Mr. Heseltine : The number of wage earners on British Coal's colliery books at the end of March 1994 was 10,400.

Sustainable Development

Mr. Dafis : To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether he will seek the advice of the panel on sustainable development, on the subject of the programme of work of the Trade and Environment Committee of the World Trade Organisation.


Column 600

Mr. Heseltine : The members of the proposed World Trade Organisation have agreed that a work programme considering certain important trade and environment issues will be carried out by a committee of the WTO preparatory committee, and then almost certainly by a committee of the WTO itself. The Government will continue to take a close interest in this work.

Privatisation (Consultants)

Mr. Milburn : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will estimate the cost of employing consultants in connection with privatisation programmes in which his Department and the Department of Energy have been engaged since 1980.

Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 4 May 1994] : A reply would incur disproportionate cost in view of the number of privatisations since 1980.

Consumer Councils

Mr. Morgan : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what representations he has received from Lady Wilcox, chairperson of the National Consumer Council for Great Britain, in relation to the proposed re -appointment of Miss Beata Brookes as chairperson of the Welsh Consumer Council ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 3 May 1994] : The views of the chairman of the National Consumer Council were sought on the reappointment of Miss Brookes as chairman of the Welsh Consumer Council and these were taken into consideration.

Public Utilities

Mr. Chisholm : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what percentage of the post-tax profits of the (a) gas, (b) electricity and (c) water privatised utilities was paid out in dividends in the last year for which figures are available.

Mr. Dorrell : I have been asked to reply.

The table shows the percentage of post-tax profits paid out in dividends by the privatised companies in the industries concerned. All the data are for financial years ending 31 March 1993 with the exception of British Gas plc, whose data are for the year ending 31 December 1993.


Privatised utilities' dividends                     

----------------------------------------------------

Gas                             |<1>-117.2          

Electricity (England and Wales) |33.6               

Scottish Electricity companies  |41.3               

Water and Sewerage companies    |32.2               

<1>British Gas plc made a loss. Dividends paid from 

reserves.                                           

ENVIRONMENT

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many parliamentary questions, in the period November 1992 to March 1993, were answered


Column 601

with the response that the information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost ; and how many were referred on to an agency chief executive.

Mr. Gummer : The number of answers given to parliamentary questions between November 1992 and March 1993 recorded in the POLIS database as including a reference to part or all of the information being available only at disproportionate cost or because the information was not held, collected or recorded centrally was 41 out of a total of 2,264 questions answered during this period. During the same period, seven questions were referred to an agency chief executive for reply.

Housing Renovation Grants

Ms Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will change the rules to enable an applicant's mortgage to be taken into consideration when assessing an application for a housing renovation grant.

Sir George Young : We are currently reviewing the future of the private sector renewal programme following last year's consultation exercise and will announce the conclusions in due course.

Development Corporations

Mr. Mudie : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what percentage of gross expenditure is to be spent on staff and administrative costs by (a) the Leeds development corporation and (b) the Central Manchester development corporation in 1994-95.

Mr. Baldry : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 27 April 1994, Official Report, column 206.

Beckenham Place

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when his Department will determine the appeal on the planning application for the proposed development at Beckenham place, Beckenham, Kent ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry : A decision on the proposals will be made soon.

Housing Associations

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much was allocated to living over the shop schemes under the flats over shops funding programme in 1993-94, how much has been spent ; and what was the average length of lease obtained by housing associations involved in such schemes.

Sir George Young : Ten million pounds was allocated to the flats over shops programme in 1993-94. Early indications are that 97 per cent. of this has been spent. However, we are unable to confirm this until the final claims for supplementary credit approvals--SCAs--have been received from local authorities. SCAs are issued retrospectively, following the receipt of a certified claim giving details of expenditure. Local authorities have six months following the end of the relevant financial year in which to submit claims. Data on the average length of lease obtained by housing associations in 1993-94 are not yet available. For the first year of the programme, 1992-93, an average lease length of 13 years was obtained.


Column 602

Opencast Mining

Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what advice he has given in regard to the effect of opencast mining on greenfield sites, in regard to agricultural production and other matters, following the conclusion of such projects.

Mr. Baldry : My Department has provided advice on how the quality of existing agricultural land should be taken into account in determining opencast mining proposals on greenfield sites in Mineral Planning Guidance Note 3--"Opencast Coal Mining", and Mineral Planning Guidance Note 7--"The Reclamation of Mineral Workings".

MPG3 is being revised, a consultation draft was published in December and the comments are currently being considered. MPG7 also provides advice on mitigating any adverse effects of opencast working and of the standards to be achieved at the end of restoration and aftercare, following conclusion of working. The standards are defined either by the restoration of the pre- existing physical

characteristics, or by "fitness for use", which determine agricultural production.

International Monetary Fund

Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he was consulted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer regarding trade and the environment before the Chancellor addressed the recent meeting of the interim committee of the International Monetary Fund.

Mr. Atkins : The Government have set out their views on trade and the environment in "Sustainable Development, the United Kingdom Strategy", published in January.

Local Authority Services

Mr. Gorst : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what action he has taken following the curtailing of local authorities' ability to charge for services as a result of the 1991 McCarthy and Stone judgment ;

(2) what progress has been made since the publication in 1986 of the Green Paper, "Paying for Local Government", to give local authorities powers to charge for providing services to individuals or companies.

Mr. Baldry : Under section 150 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989, the Secretary of State may make regulations providing that local authorities may charge for activities not already covered by a specific charging power or duty, with the exception of functions listed in section 152.

Two new charging powers have been introduced under section 150--the Houses in Multiple Occupation (Charges for Registration Schemes) Regulations 1991 and the Local Authorities (Recovery of Costs for Public Path Orders) Regulations 1993. My right hon. Friend intends to make further regulations soon which would enable authorities to charge for dealing with supplementary land search inquiries in respect of proposed property transactions. We will consult the local authority associations shortly on a number of other proposals for regulations under section 150.


Column 603

Special Grants

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what expenditure is planned for 1994-95 under the special grants programme.

Mr. Baldry : In the current financial year--1994-95--the full allocation of £1.262 million is planned to be expended on the special grants programme.

Urban Regeneration

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list all those community-led urban regeneration schemes assisted or funded from these programmes in the years 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94 ; and if he will make available in the Library a copy of the bidding guidance notes.

Mr. Baldry : The information sought cannot be produced in the form specified. In previous years a number of Government Departments, in addition to the Department of the Environment, have contributed to community-led urban regeneration through different programmes. From 1 April 20 of these programmes have been included in the single regeneration budget. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Congleton (Mrs. Winterton) on 13 April 1994, Official Report, column 174.

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

Mr. Allason : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what performance targets he has set the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre executive agency for 1994-95.

Sir George Young : The agency's key target for 1994-95 is to reduce its net operating deficit--exclusive of rent --from an expected £0.711 million in 1993-94 to £0.382.

The agency will also aim to increase total revenue from the centre's activities from an expected £5.129 million in 1993-94 to £5.616 million ; to increase the number of calendar days with events at the centre from an expected 285 days or 78 per cent. in 1993-94 to 299 days or 82 per cent. ; and to improve its revenue to cost ratio from an expected 1 : 1.14 in 1993-94 to 1 : 1.07.

An annual rent of £6.4 million was charged for the agency's occupation of the centre with effect from 1993-94.

This target is based on an industry standard agreed by the International Congress and Convention Association. It compares with increasing overall occupancy for the main letting areas from an expected 41 per cent. in 1993- 94 to 45 per cent. based on a previous measure which was unique to the centre.

Council Tax

Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the maximum council tax chargeable by Liverpool city council ; and what provisions exist for raising it.

Mr. Curry [holding answer 3 May 1994] : Council taxes must be calculated and set in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and the relevant secondary legislation. Central Government have no direct control over the rate of council tax charged by an authority : capping constrains an authority's revenue budget rather than council taxes per se.


Column 604

Urban Policies

Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list every urban policy that has been instituted or operated from 1979, the date that each scheme began operating, where appropriate when they ceased operating and the funds available on an annual basis at current prices.

Mr. Baldry : Economic, social and physical regeneration is supported through main programmes by several Government Departments and by targeted initiatives. My reply to the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) on 25 April, Official Report, columns 36-37, contained detailed information about the latter programmes, including spending from 1981-82. For the urban programme, which began in 1979, the additional figures sought are £83 million for 1979-80 and £112 milion for 1980-81 in cash terms. All the programmes listed in the earlier reply have now been combined within the single regeneration budget from 1 April 1994.

While not included in the earlier reply, enterprise zones, also a targeted urban initiative were launched in 1981. They offer a range of incentives to industrial and commercial firms in designated areas. These have not involved any direct expenditure, but an estimated £1.7 billion has been forgone in rates and taxes.

NATIONAL HERITAGE

Cross-media Ownership

Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many of his staff are assigned to the current review of cross-media ownership ; and what is the cost to his departmental budget of the cross- media ownership review.

Mr. Brooke : Four staff are assigned full-time to the review, at a cost of £131,000. There is a budget of some £48,000 for the running costs of the review.

Millennium Commission

Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what is the estimated cost for 1994-95 of the Millennium Commission ; and how much will be spent on (a) salaries and expenses of staff and commissioners, (b) publicity and (c) administration.

Mr. Brooke : The total estimated administration cost of the Millennium Commission for 1994-95 is £1,000,000, of which : (

(a) Salary and staff costs are expected to be £285,000 ; and (

(b) Publicity costs are expected to be £45,000.

Television Crime Reconstructions

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what further research his Department is planning into links between television programmes featuring crime reconstructions which are made purely for entertainment and women's fear of crime.

Mr. Brooke : I would look to the broadcasting regulatory bodies to commission any further research they considered necessary. The Broadcasting Standards Council, which is funded by my Department, has commissioned work in this area in the past.


Column 605

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans he has to monitor television programmes featuring crime reconstructions which are not made in order to apprehend criminals and to discuss these programmes and their effect on women's fear of crime with television companies.

Mr. Brooke : Monitoring television programmes is the responsibility of the broadcasting regulatory authorities. I am meeting the chairmen of those bodies shortly to discuss concern about the portrayal of violence on television.

Executive Agencies

Mrs. Angela Knight : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what targets he has set for the executive agencies in his Department.

Mr. Brooke : The following targets have been set for 1994-95 : For the Historic Royal Palaces Agency :

Financial Targets :

Commercial surplus £6 million

Call on the taxpayer £8.9 million

Efficiency Target:

Savings on running costs 2 per cent.

Conservation Target :

To complete the fire prevention works planned for 1994-95 and the programme of works identified by the building condition surveys as being a priority for 1994-95 ; to undertake further detailed inspections of the specific areas identified by the surveys as being a priority for 1995-96.

Visitor Satisfaction Measures :

Value for money 0.7 to 1.0

Enjoyment above 1.35

Helpful and friendly staff above 1.35

Visitor ratings are assessed from market research interviews with 900 visitors, undertaken by independent consultants each summer. 2.0 is Extremely Good ; 1.5 is Very Good ; 1.0 is Quite Good ; 0 is OK ; 1.0 is Quite Poor ; 2.0 is Very Poor.

For the Royal Parks Agency :

Fabric :

(i Prepare contract documents for the four grounds maintenance contracts which expire in March 1995, incorporating lessons from existing contracts. Let new contracts or extend existing ones. (ii Draw up and commence priority programme of works required to remove the six listed structures which are on the at risk' register.

(iii Prepare detailed proposals for and consult all relevant parties about the pedestrianisation of the end of the Mall, with a view to commencing the project (if approved) in 1994-95.

(iv Complete phase II of the Speakers Corner/Marble Arch competition (ie develop detailed designs from the six prize-winning sketch designs from phase I). Financial :

(i Increase income from £1.3 million to £1.8 million from sales, permits, fees, rents, licences, concessions and car-parking.

(ii Achieve 1.5 per cent. improvement in running costs efficiency. Park Users :

(i Assess initial visitor survey results and achieve an overall quality rating of six marks out of 10 in response to the survey question "Overall, how would you rate the quality of this park?"


Column 606

EDUCATION

Pupil Statistics

Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many pupils in primary schools, though not in designated nursery classes in January 1993, were born between 1 September 1986 and 31 August 1987, in each local education authority.

Mr. Robin Squire : The number of pupils aged five at the beginning of the school year 1992-93 being taught in infant classes in maintained primary schools in each local education authority area in England is shown in the table.


Pupils aged 5 at 31 August 1992 in     

infant classes in maintained primary   

schools in each Local Education        

Authority in England.                  

Position as at January 1993            

LEA                    |Pupils         

---------------------------------------

Corporation of London  |26             

Camden                 |1,465          

Greenwich              |2,924          

Hackney                |2,419          

Hammersmith            |1,292          

Islington              |2,106          

Kensington and Chelsea |927            

Lambeth                |2,707          

Lewisham               |2,926          

Southwark              |3,086          

Tower Hamlets          |2,917          

Wandsworth             |2,329          

Westminster            |1,271          

Barking                |2,108          

Barnet                 |3,312          

Bexley                 |2,779          

Brent                  |2,978          

Bromley                |3,247          

Croydon                |3,872          

Ealing                 |3,543          

Enfield                |3,296          

Haringey               |2,512          

Harrow                 |2,354          

Havering               |2,804          

Hillingdon             |2,792          

Hounslow               |2,595          

Kingston upon Thames   |1,416          

Merton                 |1,927          

Newham                 |3,610          

Redbridge              |2,788          

Richmond upon Thames   |1,561          

Sutton                 |1,926          

Waltham Forest         |2,767          

Birmingham             |14,720         

Coventry               |4,213          

Dudley                 |3,921          

Sandwell               |4,102          

Solihull               |2,611          

Walsall                |3,680          

Wolverhampton          |3,335          

Knowsley               |2,435          

Liverpool              |6,754          

St. Helens             |2,329          

Sefton                 |3,606          

Wirral                 |4,350          

Bolton                 |3,550          

Bury                   |2,335          

Manchester             |6,166          

Oldham                 |3,252          

Rochdale               |2,985          

Salford                |3,028          

Stockport              |3,496          

Tameside               |3,105          

Trafford               |2,631          

Wigan                  |4,091          

Barnsley               |2,887          

Doncaster              |4,180          

Rotherham              |3,418          

Sheffield              |6,112          

Bradford               |7,022          

Calderdale             |2,654          

Kirklees               |5,098          

Leeds                  |8,982          

Wakefield              |4,227          

Gateshead              |2,365          

Nwewcastle upon Tyne   |3,363          

North Tyneside         |2,521          

South Tyneside         |2,138          

Sunderland             |4,049          

Isles of Scilly        |16             

Avon                   |11,407         

Bedfordshire           |7,450          

Berkshire              |9,355          

Buckinghamshire        |8,142          

Cambridgeshire         |8,475          

Cheshire               |12,123         

Cleveland              |8,224          

Cornwall               |5,612          

Cumbria                |5,788          

Derbyshire             |11,500         

Devon                  |11,775         

Dorset                 |6,952          

Durham                 |7,471          

East Sussex            |7,483          

Essex                  |18,641         

Gloucestershire        |6,390          

Hampshire              |19,396         

Hereford and Worcester |7,935          

Hertfordshire          |12,039         

Humberside             |11,701         

Isle of Wight          |1,433          

Kent                   |18,938         

Lancashire             |18,356         

Leicestershire         |11,663         

Lincolnshire           |6,881          

Norfolk                |8,592          

North Yorkshire        |8,386          

Northamptonshire       |7,807          

Northumberland         |3,742          

Nottinghamshire        |12,766         

Oxfordshire            |6,585          

Shropshire             |5,135          

Somerset               |5,432          

Staffordshire          |13,394         

Suffolk                |7,636          

Surrey                 |10,394         

Warwickshire           |6,006          

West Sussex            |7,657          

Wiltshire              |7,395          

                       |------         

England                |596,366        

Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many full-time equivalent pupils in non-designated nursery classes at the latest available date were born between (a) 1 September 1987 and 31 December 1987, (b) 1 January 1988 and 31 March 1988 and (c) 1 April 1988 and 31 August 1988.


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