Mr. Richards : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what steps he has taken to implement the proposals for developing judicial appointments procedures which were announced by the Lord Chancellor in his speech to Her Majesty's judges on 7 July 1993.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The Lord Chancellor has today published a consultation paper, "Developments in Judicial Appointments Procedures". The paper outlines the proposed arrangements for openly advertised competitions which he intends to hold later this year to fill vacancies arising in 1995- 96 for circuit and district judges. Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The Lord Chancellor invites comments on the proposals which he has put forward in the consultation paper, further copies of which may be obtained from his Department.
The closing date for responses is 30 June 1994.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on his policy towards the creation of special drawing rights at the international financial institutions as a means of lessening the multilateral debt problems of the world's poorest countries.
Sir John Cope : The articles of the IMF prescribe that allocations of special drawing rights should be made to address global liquidity shortages. No such shortages exist at present and, in the Government's view, the case for a general allocation has not therefore been made.
The world's poorest countries are eligible for and receive financial assistance on concessional terms from the international financial institutions, particularly through the IMF's enhanced structural adjustment facility and the World Bank's International Development Agency's credits. The agency's fifth dimension facility also assists the poorest countries with loan repayments. Net financial flows from the institutions to the poorest countries remain substantially positive.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals in regard to the cost of environmental protection he put to the interim committee of the International Monetary Fund during its discussions on the new World Trade Organisation at its meeting in
Column 528Washington DC on 25 April ; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the United Kingdom submission to the interim committee.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke : A number of different issues, including the World Trade Organisation, were covered by those who spoke at the interim committee on 25 April. In my speech to the committee I warned against protectionist trading practices establishing themselves under the guise of legitimate environmental concerns.
Full texts of my speeches to the interim committee and development committee have been deposited in the Library of the House.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many individuals received tax relief on private medical insurance premiums paid by employers on behalf of employees whose earned income including benefit is less than £8,500 a year for each of the past five years in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland ; and what was the value of tax relief on private medical insurance premiums paid by employers on behalf of employees whose earned income, including the value of benefits is less than £8, 500 a year for each of the past five years in (i) England, (ii) Scotland, (iii) Wales and (iv) Northern Ireland.
Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling) of 15 March, Official Report, columns 571-72, what was the expected revenue yield from premium tax in 1994-95 and 1995-96 on private medical insurance.
Sir John Cope : The expected revenue yield from insurance premium tax on private medical insurance is estimated to be approximately £10 million in 1994-95 and £50 million in 1995-96. This includes both insurance paid for by households, included in "Medical and other" in the answer to the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Darling), and insurance paid for by companies, included in "Other business" in that answer.
The Treasury's expenditure on consultants for 1992-93 was £2,430, 405 exclusive of VAT.
Mr. Andrew Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the individuals and bodies consulted (a) before the drafting and (b) during the drafting of the VAT (Education) Order 1994 ; and what response was received.
Column 529exemption by Customs and Excise. At that stage consultation was limited mainly to officials within that Department and the Department for Education. The first draft of the order was published as part of the public consultation document issued by Customs last December and publicised by a press release. About 500 copies of the consultation document were issued to a variety of bodies with interests in the educational sector including local authorities, trade and professional associations, accountancy firms, charities and individual education and training providers.
Most of the responses supported the need for change, but many expressed concerns and made proposals for extending the new exemption better to preserve the status quo. The final draft of the order was modified to reflect a great many of these useful comments.
Mr. Burden : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to monitor the time being taken to (a) inspect properties where householders have submitted council tax appeals and (b) schedule appeals for hearings.
Mr. Nelson [holding answer 9 May 1994] : Together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, I am keeping under close review the progress being made by the Valuation Office Agency and the valuation tribunals in the settlement of council tax appeals and we expect 80 per cent. of cases to be cleared by the end of 1994.
Monthly returns of clearance are received in order to monitor progress, but there are no plans to monitor the time taken to inspect properties and to schedule appeals for hearings during the clearance process.
Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the total rent income received by registered housing associations and the proportion of total rental income of registered housing associations which is met by payments of full and partial housing benefit, for the year to 31 March 1993 and for any subsequent period for which figures are available.
Column 530Information on the proportion of total rental income met by housing benefit is not available.
(2) what is the cost of collection of council tax in each local authority ;
(3) what was the amount collected in 1993 by each London borough and local authority through the council tax.
Mr. Robert Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) how many premises were inspected for compliance with fire safety regulations by staff of the Harrogate borough council in each of the last three years.
(2) how many inspectors are employed by Harrogate borough council to check on fire standards.
Mr. Baldry : The responsibility for compliance with the provisions of the fire safety regulations made under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 rests with fire authorities, in this case North Yorkshire county fire authority. Building control and environmental health officers employed by Harrogate borough council will, however, be involved in inspections with regard to fire safety matters under other legislation. the number of such officers is a matter for the council, and figures are not collected centrally. Likewise the number of premises inspected by these officers is not collected centrally.
£ million |1988-89|1989-90|1990-91|1991-92|1992-93|1993-94 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Barking and Dagenham |60.194 |36.828 |15.376 |12.592 |14.672 |11.886 Barnet |41.812 |38.854 |11.535 |20.390 |17.384 |24.249 Bexley |16.847 |22.223 |10.490 |7.362 |8.663 |15.130 Brent |34.148 |36.392 |25.553 |11.045 |8.084 |17.250 Bromley |103.656|34.676 |12.288 |15.147 |137.915|9.652 Camden |35.690 |75.147 |32.586 |14.425 |33.384 |45.417 City of London |21.167 |19.776 |8.729 |10.232 |5.159 |9.612 Croydon |72.064 |57.690 |36.207 |26.470 |15.469 |11.877 Ealing |n/a |38.978 |19.860 |24.652 |13.873 |19.887 Enfield |40.122 |49.042 |20.970 |22.521 |18.774 |11.300 Greenwich |27.178 |34.805 |19.549 |13.656 |13.446 |19.096 Hackney |18.544 |36.292 |25.421 |16.532 |9.119 |20.511 Hammersmith and Fulham |n/a |10.719 |15.899 |9.605 |7.046 |6.579 Haringey |n/a |19.664 |20.947 |17.643 |15.896 |16.300 Harrow |19.558 |30.452 |21.986 |9.459 |5.403 |10.597 Havering |26.293 |22.610 |14.207 |12.452 |8.863 |41.003 Hillingdon |42.414 |33.447 |21.355 |23.785 |47.303 |35.733 Hounslow |46.689 |31.103 |20.906 |13.876 |12.230 |26.667 Islington |28.214 |40.803 |30.725 |19.945 |12.651 |16.044 Kensington and Chelsea |11.702 |13.272 |10.251 |6.233 |7.056 |5.317 Kingston-upon-Thames |11.667 |29.313 |4.726 |4.741 |3.420 |9.940 Lambeth |n/a |n/a |36.882 |23.091 |12.280 |9.912 Lewisham |14.395 |64.482 |33.596 |21.956 |15.409 |29.100 Merton |24.099 |20.294 |23.384 |10.038 |17.806 |23.396 Newham |26.943 |39.117 |21.726 |13.221 |9.105 |12.863 Redbridge |30.281 |25.313 |13.048 |10.052 |13.862 |13.650 Richmond-upon-Thames |22.499 |14.432 |10.541 |9.663 |6.462 |12.500 Southwark |n/a |n/a |38.573 |16.526 |17.524 |30.976 Sutton |15.407 |18.459 |12.871 |6.618 |8.599 |25.920 Tower Hamlets |45.560 |94.112 |45.111 |20.039 |14.879 |23.834 Waltham Forest |28.211 |28.352 |15.668 |7.076 |6.841 |20.100 Wandsworth |77.210 |81.101 |46.763 |35.052 |27.824 |32.308 Westminster |54.225 |77.459 |28.682 |17.183 |18.395 |29.000 Source: Local authority capital outturn returns. 1993-94 figures from local authority third quarter forecasts.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the total amount of gross capital expenditure by all local authorities in each year since 1980-81 at (a) cash prices and (b) constant prices.
Local authority gross capital expenditure: England £ million |At current|At 1992-93 |prices |prices -------------------------------------------- 1981-82 |5,417 |8,286 1982-83 |5,692 |9,747 1983-84 |6,014 |9,842 1984-85 |6,188 |9,643 1985-86 |5,740 |8,474 1986-87 |5,991 |8,593 1987-88 |6,472 |8,814 1988-89 |7,518 |9,594 1989-90 |10,083 |12,031 1990-91 |6,922 |7,643 1991-92 |6,593 |6,846 1992-93 |6,460 |<1>6,460 1993-94 |7,300 |<2>7,070 <1> Provisional <2> Estimate Notes: Figures before 1985-86 are not strictly comparable due to changes in the definition of gross capital expenditure; figures shown are an indication of trend only. Comparable figures for 1980-81 are not readily available. Gross capital expenditure includes mortgage lending to former tenants in respect of dwelling sales which reached a peak of £750 million in 1982-83. 1992-93 prices calculated using GDP deflator.
Ms Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 11 May, Official Report , column 170 , what are the particular circumstances in Cleveland which permit a change in the structure of local government to precede local elections.
Column 532Environment made clear his intention to consult the majority and minority groups on each of the four district councils and the county council about whether or not elections should be held in May 1994 with the intention of establishing the four new unitary authorities in April 1995. However, because of the judicial review case brought by Cleveland county council, it proved impossible for us to lay an order providing, inter alia, for elections to be held in May this year.
Therefore we again sought the views of the majority and minority groups on the relevant local authorities and, in the light of their comments, we decided that the most practicable arrangement would be for the new unitary authorities to be established in April 1995 followed by elections in May 1995.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations he has had with the Environment Commissioner concerning the effect of the exclusion of the Lappel Bank mud flats from the Medway estuary special protection area on the negotiations with him in relation to the Cardiff bay barrage proposal and its legal status ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : My right hon. Friend has received a large number of letters on this issue. The present ban on trade in ivory was introduced following the seventh conference of the parties of the convention on international trade in endangered species in Lausanne in 1989. We have made it clear that the United Kingdom would not be prepared to consider supporting any relaxation of the ban without first being satisfied that this could be done without undermining the conservation status of the African elephant.
We are aware of a South African Government proposal to seek agreement to the resumption of a limited trade in meat and hides only, in relation to the elephant population
Column 533in their country, with the possibility of extending this to ivory at some point in the future. Before any such a proposal can be considered by the CITES conference of the parties it will have to be examined by a CITES panel of experts whose conclusions we would also take into account, together with the views of African elephant range states and other parties. We understand that the relevant CITES procedures are being put in hand. We shall certainly wish to examine the proposal and its implications with great care.
Mr. Streeter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what he expects prospects for water bills to be after the announcement by the Director General of Water Services on water pricing policy.
Mr. Gummer : At present average annual charges for water are around £200 per household--about 55p a day to provide high quality drinking water in unlimited amounts and to treat our sewage. The Director General of Water Services is currently reaching a view on new limits on the extent to which the companies may increase their prices over the next 10 years. He is to announce these on 28 July. He has said that he hopes that nationally it may be possible to limit overall price increases on average to between 0 and 2 per cent. above the rate of inflation. This will supersede the current average ceiling of 4 per cent. above the rate of inflation. In setting price limits he intend to assume that improvements in service are generally financed from efficiency gains, that companies will be able to deliver existing services at lower prices and that companies can both increase the efficiency of their capital programmes and finance them at a lower return on capital. This will have a significant impact on the increases in bills required to finance new obligations. In this way my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales and I have sought to secure best protection of the environment in a cost-effective way.
Mr. Gummer : In parallel with the nuclear review, details of which were announced today by my hon. Friend the Minister for Energy, my Department will be heading a separate but complementary review of radioactive waste management policy.
The radioactive waste management review will examine current policy in the light of changes which have taken place since the Department published its national strategy in 1984. It will range wider than the nuclear industry-- covering radioactive waste management as a whole. It will not address the suitability of specific sites, this being a matter for the planning and regulatory process, or the merits of the operation of existing nuclear power stations or those in the pipeline.
The Department proposes to publish its preliminary conclusions later in the summer, as a basis for consultation.
Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution will also be issuing for consultation a revision of the Department's 1994 publication "Disposal facilities on land for low and intermediate level Radioactive Wastes : principles for the protection of the human environment".
Column 534In parallell with this latter exercise, the Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee, together with the Advisory Committee on Safety at Nuclear Installations, will be asked to consider the approach to site selection for disposal facilities and the criteria for ensuring the protection of human health. Further details will be announced later.
Category |Measure |Target -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Financial |Outturn on the Vote |A surplus of £1.86 million |Outturn on Net Running |Break even |Costs |Cost Recovery in Accruals |100 per cent. cost recovery |Terms |including 6 per cent. return on |capital Sales |Sales Turnover |A sales turnover of £42 million Efficiency |Unit Costs |0.5 per cent. reduction in real terms Quality of |Regular Customer Surveys |80 per cent. rating of customer Service |responses in good or higher |categories Environment |Vehicle Fuel Efficiency |Annual average of 24.5 mpg for the |GCS and IDS fleets
Ms Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the implications for traffic growth of location of (a) companies and (b) retail outlets on sites adjacent to the M25 ; and if he will make a statement.
Planning policy guidance notes 4--Industrial and Commercial Development--6- -Town Centres and Retail Developments--and
13--Transport--are all relevant. They seek to encourage new development in locations which minimuse the length and number of trips by vehicles, and protect and enhance the viability and vitality of existing centres--in both urban and rural areas--by offering a range of everyday community, shopping and employment opportunities. PPG13 also asks local planning authorities to ensure that trunk roads and other through routes, including bypasses, serve their purpose as corridors of movement and do not have their national and strategic role undermined by development which encourages their use for short local trips. The Secretary of State for Transport has the power to direct local planning authorities to refuse applications for planning permission, or to apply specified conditions, and takes the policy in PPG13 into account in deciding whether to do so.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what agreements his office made during 1989 on the pricing structure of (a) Welsh Water plc and (b) Severn Trent Water plc in relation to an accrual of money for infrastructure purposes ; what accrual is estimated to have occurred since then ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : The agreements reached at privatisation between the Government and all water companies are published in the pathfinder prospectus--a copy of which is held in the Library of the House.
This matter has since become the responsibility of the Director General of Water Services.
Notification of Tuberculosis in Wales Year |Number ---------------------- 1987 |232 1988 |201 1989 |209 1990 |194 1991 |166 1992 |201 <1>1993 |202 <1> Provisional. Source: Communicable disease statistics (Series MB2) Registrar General's Weekly Return (Series WR) Office of Population Censuses and Surveys.
|Tuberculosis |Late effects of |(all forms) |tuberculosis |excluding late |(ICD 137) |effects |(ICD 010-018) ---------------------------------------------------------------- 1988 |35 |19 1989 |26 |16 1990 |30 |14 1991 |29 |12 1992 |36 |13 1993 |n/a |n/a n/a=Not available. Source: International Classification of Diseases. Office of Population Censuses and Surveys.
|£ million ------------------------------ 1991-92 |0.250 1992-93 |0.600 1993-94 |1.000
Details of the costs which health authorities and trusts have incurred in addition to the above are not available.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consideration he gave to using the recommendations of the Curriculum Council for Wales as the basis for the new National Curriculum for English Order ; for what reason the recommendations of the National Curriculum Council for England were selected ; what representations he has received regarding the order ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Wyn Roberts : On 31 March the Curriculum Council for Wales submitted revised proposals for English and suggested two amendments to reflect, firstly, the distinctive literary heritage of Wales and, secondly, the diverse linguistic backgrounds of pupils in Wales. My right hon. Friend considered the recommendations carefully and responded on 14 April, asking the new Curriculum and Assessment Authority--ACAC, which replaced the Curriculum Council for Wales on 1 April--to proceed to consultations. A copy of the correspondence is contained in the proposals for English issued for consultation by the authority : this is available in the Library of the House. My right hon. Friend has asked the authority to report to him on the outcome of the consultation in Wales and to make final recommendations in the light of that consultation by 30 September. My right hon. Friend will consider carefully the authority's further report and recommendations in the autumn with a view to making a new order for English jointly with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what percentage of total health expenditure in Wales was spent on (a) managerial, (b) administrative and (c) clerical costs in each year since 1991-92.
Per cent. |1991-92|1992-93 ---------------------------------------------------- Managerial |1.0 |1.0 Administrative and Clerical |4.8 |4.6 Source: Health Authorities Annual Accounts/Financial Returns. Pembrokeshire NHS Trust Financial Returns.
(2) what proposals he has to make access to disability living allowance more equitable for those with a mental illness.
Mr. Scott : None. Entitlement to disability living allowance depends on the care and mobility needs arising from a particular condition, rather than on the condition itself. Access to DLA is available to all disabled people through the claiming process. The Benefits Agency provides support services to assist people in making a claim.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the length of time that those seeking review of refusal of disability living allowance have to wait before a hearing at a tribunal.
People who are dissatisfied with the decision given on their claim for benefit may ask for it to be reviewed by an independent adjudication officer. Following this review, if they remain dissatisfied, they can then appeal to an independent appeal tribunal.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will meet members of the Retired Members Association of the Transport and General Workers Union to discuss the cost of television licences ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Brooke : I do not think a meeting would serve any useful purpose. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has written to the hon. Gentleman to explain why the Government are not prepared to introduce free or concessionary television licences for retirement pensioners, as called for by the association at its recent conference.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage how many parliamentary questions, in the period November 1992 to March 1993, were answered with the response that the information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost ; how many were referred on to an agency chief executive ; and, in each case, what percentage of the total number of questions asked this constituted.
Mr. Brooke : In the period November 1992 to March 1993 411 questions were tabled to my Department. Of these, two questions were answered that the information was not held centrally and four were referred to agency chief executives.
Column 538Each of these figures represent less than 1 per cent. of replies given in the same period.
Mr. Sproat : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its chief executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from David Welch to Ms Marjorie Mowlam, dated 13 May 1994 :
The Secretary of State for National Heritage has asked me to reply to your Question about estimated expenditure of the Agency in 1994-95. Details of the Department's Voted provision are published in the Supply Estimates 1994 -95, Class XI, and may be obtained from the Library of the House. The breakdown of the provision for the Royal Parks Agency is shown on Vote 6, Section C of Class XI (pages 34 and 35).