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Column 47administered centrally for the whole of Northern Ireland and separate statistics are not maintained for specific areas. However, I have provided in the table below details of the total number of Invalidity Benefit claims in Northern Ireland which have been reviewed, disallowed and reinstated on appeal during the 1993-94 financial year, which I hope you will find helpful.
Month |Reviewed |Disallowed |Re-instated on |appeal ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ April 1993 |109 |406 |59 May 1993 |122 |483 |60 June 1993 |150 |657 |93 July 1993 |122 |692 |74 August 1993 |123 |844 |74 September 1993 |108 |840 |103 October 1993 |151 |970 |125 November 1993 |103 |395 |127 December 1993 |169 |316 |127 January 1994 |274 |374 |138 February 1994 |247 |312 |Not yet available March 1994 |280 |386 |Not yet available
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what steps he plans to take to ensure that United Kingdom cattle are not exported illegally to the Republic of Ireland ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) what evidence he has that cattle are being exported illegally from the United Kingdom to the Republic of Ireland ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ancram : There is no firm evidence of large-scale illegal movement of cattle from the United Kingdom to the Republic of Ireland. Where evidence is produced, this is thoroughly investigated. In a number of instances action has been taken by the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland authorities in respect of cattle which were suspected of having or had been illegally exported. There is continuing co-operation and exchange of information between the relevant authorities on both sides of the border.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) complaints and (b) contacts have been made to the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in each of the last three years and the current year until the latest available date ; and if he will list the sources, by name of organisation, of the complaints and show how such complaints are categorised and the number in each category, and the areas of Northern Ireland from which complaints originated by district council or other convenient administrative area or by parliamentary constituency.
Sir Patrick Mayhew : Under the Anglo-Irish Agreement the Irish Government have the right to put forward views and proposals on matters relating to Northern Ireland within the field of activity of the intergovernmental conference. These views and proposals are conveyed to the British Government through the Anglo-Irish Secretariat in its role of servicing the conference. The details of these exchanges remain confidential between the two Governments.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the extent of fire bomb damage last week at Whincroft way, the Braniel in the borough of Castlereagh ; what provision there is for fire escapes from all floors above ground level at Whincroft way ; and if he will make a statement about fire safety at Whincroft way.
Mr. Tim Smith : This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, but I have been advised by the chief executive that 17 Whincroft way, a ground floor flat, was extensively damaged and that two upper floor maisonettes received superficial damage. All floors above ground level are accessed by a staircase and walkway, both constructed in concrete, which also provide a means of escape.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many farmers in Northern Ireland had arable aid scheme set-aside areas greater than (a) 100 hectares and (b) 50 hectares in the last available year.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the latest total paid to farmers in (a) arable aid scheme set-aside payments and (b) total arable area scheme payments in Northern Ireland following the 1993-94 harvest.
Mr. Ancram : The latest total paid to farmers in Northern Ireland following the 1993 harvest for arable aid scheme set-aside payments is £243,086 and for arable area scheme payments, including crops and set- aside, is £4,007,244.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many farmers in Northern Ireland had hectarages of land under cereals greater than (a) 1,000 hectares, (b) 500 hectares and (c) 250 hectares in the last available year.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many farmers in Northern Ireland received arable area payments greater than (a) £100,000, (b) £250,000, (c) £500,000 and (d) £1,000,000 in the last available year.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans the Government have to publish (a) recommendations made by the forestry review group and (b) a Government decision as regards the future of the Forestry Commission before 9 June.
Sir Hector Monro : My right hon. Friend plans to make an announcement during the summer about our conclusions from the review and to publish a document which would form the basis of consultation on our preferred options. There are no plans to publish any further material arising from the forestry review group.
Sir Hector Monro [holding answer 6 May 1994] : The Forestry Commission undertakes a wide range of practical forest management work to protect and enhance the value of its woodlands for wildlife ; this includes widening forest rides, creating glades and open spaces, and managing coppice to make suitable butterfly habitats. Examples of specific projects include work to encourage the re-introduction of the Chequered Skipper into England, creation of a butterfly garden in Chambers wood in Lincolnshire and a butterfly reserve in Coed Allt Fedw in Ceredigion, ride management in Sandlings forest in Suffolk to provide a habitat for Silver-studded Blue butterflies, protection of mire habitat in Kielder forest in Northumberland to encourage the large Heath butterfly and the removal of conifers in South Scotland to protect the Green Hairstreak and Scotch Argus. In addition, the commission manages several sites of special scientific interest which are particularly important for butterflies.
The commission also encourages private owners to establish and manage woodlands in a way which will benefit all types of wildlife, including butterflies. The commission has published guidance to woodland managers on how to enhance forest rides for the benefit of butterflies and the plants which support them.
Mr. Stewart : The strategic and policy guidance which my right hon. Friend has set for Scottish Enterprise makes it clear that the objective should be to ensure that the formation and expansion of business in its area is not artificially constrained by a lack of suitable sites and premises.
In pursuing this objective, Scottish Enterprise is required to concentrate on facilitating private development and encouraging the private sector to take an increasingly active part in the provision and management of industrial property, thus promoting a normal and self-sustaining industrial property market.
Within that broad strategic and policy framework, Scottish Enterprise and the local enterprise companies have discretion to operate subject to certain detailed scheme rules and delegated authorities.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make it his policy to encourage Scottish Enterprise and the local enterprise companies to take a more proactive role on industrial site development to prepare for any increasing demand.
Mr. Stewart : My right hon. Friend has already made clear, in his strategic and policy guidance to Scottish Enterprise, the need to ensure that the formation and expansion of business is not constrained by a lack of suitable sites or premises. In particular, in setting out strategic guidance for the operation of the network in 1994-95, he acknowledged that, with the essential elements of economic recovery now in place, the Scottish
Column 50Enterprise network would be keen to translate the opportunities which the recovery will bring into sustainable growth, jobs and competitiveness in Scotland.
Scottish Enterprise and its local enterprise companies have also been given substantial budgets, and broad-ranging and flexible powers, to allow them to respond to market demands and opportunities. They are well placed to do so, although they are not, of course, alone in having a contribution to make in this area.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the information he receives about the operation of local enterprise companies ; and what plans he has to increase the information available to him.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 22 April 1994] : The operation of local enterprise companies is a matter for Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The enterprise bodies are required to agree with local enterprise companies the monitoring information to be collected in order to ensure that activities and services in the network as a whole are delivered satisfactorily.
I am satisfied that these information requirements are subject to regular review and that periodic reports are provided showing progress towards the enterprise bodies' objectives and priorities.
Mr. Charles Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to conduct a survey in respect of otters and winter low vegetation levels on the lines of that recommended by the Skye bridge environmental impact assessment and the public local inquiry ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Surveys of the otter habitat have been carried out by the Vincent Wildlife Trust both during winter, when vegetation levels are at their lowest, and after the line of the construction corridor was set out on the ground. The results of these surveys were incorporated in the booklet "Skye Bridge Crossing, Additional Information" which contains supplementary information on various matters in connection with the bridge. This information was made available to the regional district and community councils earlier this year.
Mr. Charles Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what further steps he has taken since publishing his response to the recommendations of the public local inquiry into the Skye bridge to consult Scottish Natural Heritage and the National Trust for Scotland over otter protection, with particular reference to the subsequent monitoring of measures by the Vincent Wildlife Trust ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : Consultation has been ongoing with both Scottish Natural Heritage--SNH and the Vincent Wildlife Trust--VWT--on the details of the measures for the protection of otters. These measures include the construction of barriers, tunnels, replacement otter holts and fresh water grooming pools. The National Trust for Scotland, through its local representative, has also visited the site and is aware of these measures. Arrangements are in place for further visits. Consultations will continue with SNH, the statutory body responsible for the protection of the environment, and VWT to ensure the
Column 51measures incorporated are to their satisfaction. Thereafter, it is SNH's and the VWT's intention to monitor their effectiveness once the bridge is open to traffic.
Mr. Charles Kennedy : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received on the compliance with regulation 16 of the Environmental Assessments (Scotland) Regulations 1988 of his original advertisements in respect of 23 October 1991 compulsory purchase orders and road orders relating to the Skye bridge ; and if he will make a statement.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton : A representation was made at the public local inquiry held into the bridge that regulation 16 of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1988 was applicable and had not been complied with. This was considered by the reporter who in her report reached the view that there was no basis in the relevant legislation to support the representation. The Secretary of State agreed with those views and rejected the representation.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the latest total paid to farmers in (a) arable aid scheme set-aside payments and (b) total arable area scheme payments in Scotland following the 1993-94 harvest.
Sir Hector Monro : To date, about £15.5 million of aid has been paid in Scotland in respect of the set-aside element of the 1993 arable area payments scheme--AAPS--claims. Total AAPS aid payments, to date, amount to £90.6 million.
Sir Hector Monro : Under the 1993 arable area payments scheme, 17 farms in Scotland had set-aside areas greater than 100 hectares, and a further 128 farms had set-aside areas of between 50 and 100 hectares.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many farmers in Scotland received arable area payments greater than (a) £100,000, (b) £250,000, (c) £500,000 and (d) £1,000,000 in the last available year.
Sir Hector Monro : Under the 1993 arable area payments scheme, 45 payments of more than £100,000 have been made to Scottish farmers, with a further two payments of between £250,000 and £500,000. No payments in excess of £500,000 have been made.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many farms in Scotland had hectarages of land under cereals greater than (a) 1,000 hectares, (b) 500 hectares and (c) 250 hectares in the last available year.
Sir Hector Monro : The numbers of farms recorded in the June 1993 agricultural census of main holdings with cereals area greater than 500 hectares, or greater than 250 hectares were five and 50, respectively. There were fewer than five farms with greater than 1, 000 hectares of cereals ; to avoid disclosure, the number is not published.
Column 52Councillor Ian Hutchison of Eastwood district council and any changes in this list within the past year ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lang [holding answer 29 April 1994] : Of the bodies listed in the Cabinet Office publication "Public Bodies 1993" as being sponsored by the Scottish Office, Councillor Hutchison is a member of the Historic Buildings Council for Scotland. He was first appointed on 1 December 1983 and was last reappointed from 1 December 1992 until 30 November 1995. A copy of "Public Bodies 1993" is available in the Library of the House.
X Year |Number |Region |of cases ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1985-88 |0 |- 1989 |2 |Dumfries and Galloway 1990 |0 |- 1991 |0 |- 1992 |1 |Strathclyde 1993 |0 |- 1994 |1 |Strathclyde
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what has been the allocation of capital resources to each regional or islands council by service ; what percentage of the Scottish population is represented by each council's population ; and what has been that council's share of the capital allocation as a percentage of the regional council allocation of capital for each service for each of the last 10 years.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 6 May 1994] : The information requested is too lengthy to print in the Official Report . I shall therefore arrange for a copy to be sent to the hon. Member and for copies to be placed in the House Libraries. The allocations listed are net allocations as announced prior to the start of each year in question. These allocations are, however, not the only source of funding available to local authorities. They can be enhanced by the use of capital receipts, which now include grants from the European regional development fund, the use of revenue for capital purposes and by private sector contributions. The ability of authorities to fund capital expenditure from these other sources is central to the approach that the Secretary of State takes in the distribution of resources among authorities. His controls are over all local authority expenditure and not just over the element he distributes by way of capital allocations.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 6 May 1994] : Estate management and property maintenance in the NHS in Scotland is monitored on a continuous basis by the NHS management executive and studies relating to particular aspects are undertaken as required. This work is supported by a computerised data profile which assists the monitoring of performance targets, and informs consideration of the estate maintenance and investment requirements suggested by regular property condition surveys.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 29 April 1994] : Planning policies for mineral working in Scotland are set out in the recently published "National Planning Policy Guideline on Land for Mineral Working". No specific mention is made of quarries in the urban areas of the central Scotland conurbation ; they are therefore covered by the general policies established in the guidelines. It is for planning authorities now to reflect those policies in their specific structure and local plans.
Mr. MacGregor : The recent roads review I announced to the House in March puts the programme in a realistic order of priority, and focuses resources on essential schemes on strategic routes and bypasses. Delivery of the strategic route schemes will be speeded up as a consequence of no longer taking forward all schemes with the same effort and at the same pace.
Mr. MacGregor : The reaction to the review of the roads programme has shown the widespread support across the country for the prioritisation and more efficient management we have undertaken, and for the dropping of projects, such as the M12 and the A5 to Stansted section of the east-west route, which had serious environmental difficulties and for which alternative improved routes were available on existing corridors.
Mr. McGregor : The United States has still not returned to the negotiating table. I have continued to signal my willingness to continue talks, both on the liberalisation package as a whole and on more limited interim exchanges of new rights.
Mr. Davidson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is the policy of the United States Government in respect of United Kingdom based airlines bidding for contracts to fly (a) United States mail and (b) military personnel in and out of the United States ; what negotiations he has held with the United States authorities on the subject ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris : United Kingdom airlines are prevented from carrying the vast bulk of United States mail carried by air. They are also prevented from competing with United States airlines on an equal footing for the carriage of the remaining small percentage of United States mail. United Kingdom airlines are also prevented from carrying United States Government- financed passengers and property. These restrictions on United Kingdom airlines' ability to compete on equal terms with United States airlines are one of the issues the United Kingdom has raiseed in the current air services liberalisation negotiations between the United Kingdom and the United States. The United Kingdom is seeking the right for UK-designated airlines to compete without discrimination on ground of nationality for such business.
Mr. Key : I have just published the report on the 1993 national road maintenance condition survey, which indicates that the previously noted deterioration in the condition of motorways in England and Wales has been arrested.
Mr. Freeman : We are encouraging the use of public transport through our policies of deregulation, privatisation and competition. We are making resources available to local authorities for investment in public transport improvements : these range from the major light rail projects in Manchester and Sheffield to bus priority measures across the country. We have said that we will not build new roads to assist car commuting into town centres. We have introduced the package approach, which invites local authorities to develop balanced transport strategies for their areas and we have published planning policy guidance note 13, which encourages the location of new development where it can be served by public transport.
Mr. Freeman : Deregulating public transport and increasing opportunities for the private sector represent the best policies for improving services to the passenger. We are pursuing a range of measures along these lines.
Mr. Norris : Based on the projected budget of the London boroughs transport scheme for 1994-95, the estimated cost of enforcing the permit system is approximately £400,000. If permits are abolished, the savings made can be used to enhance enforcement of the ban.
22. Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy that the necessary public finances be made available for the Midland Metro line 1 project before March 1996.
Mr. Key : We consulted widely before making the traffic-calming regulations last year. The design of individual schemes is for local highway authorities, but my Department conducts research and gives advice.
Mr. Norris : The Government provides a block grant to London Transport (LT) as a whole ; they do not allocate a specific amount to the underground. This year's grant to LT will be £373 million, to which LT will be able to add a substantial sum from sale of the London Bus companies. LT are currently budgeting to invest £423 million in London underground this year.
Mr. Freeman : My right hon. Friend has regular meetings with Mr. Robert Horton, the chairman of Railtrack, to discuss a wide range of issues. These include the opportunities for investment in response to the commercial requirements of Railtrack's customers.
26. Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about the impact on east London of his public transport investment plans ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris : The Government's plans for substantial public transport investment in east London will improve travel and employment opportunities for local people and will support new development in the area.
27. Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made over privatisation, with particular reference to the Fenchurch Street line ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : On 21 April the director of Passenger Rail Franchising published the programme for the sale of the 25 franchises that will be created from the national British Rail passenger rail network. The London, Tilbury and Southend franchise, comprising the line from Fenchurch Street, is in the first group of franchises which will be sold in 1995. It has already started shadow running as a separate operating unit with British Rail.
Mr. Freeman : The involvement of the private sector in taking responsibility for provision of passenger services will bring additional capital into the railway industry above that provided by the taxpayer and will also introduce new management skills and innovation aimed at meeting more fully the demands of the passenger.
Ms Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether passengers holding discount tickets on a particular service will be able to use alternative services following privatisation in the event of a cancellation or termination of a train.
Mr. Freeman : The scope of interavailability for discount tickets is being considered by the Franchising Director. The question whether these would be valid on alternative services in the event of disruption is likely, as now, to depend on the circumstances of the case.