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Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his letter of 27 May to the hon. Member for Linlithgow, what were the results of discussions with the Government of the Ukraine about maintaining and seeking to improve electricity supplies, and technical assistance and loan finance for safety upgrading and investment in completing of Ukraine nuclear power stations.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : So far, the talks have been at an exploratory level. Substantive discussions are not expected to take place before next month, when the Ukrainian presidential election process is completed, and the G7 summit in Naples has had the opportunity to consider the question of nuclear safety in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs at which British overseas post Tamara Norashkaryan, a language lecturer at Moscow university, applied to visit the United Kingdom ; when her application was made ; for how long a visit she applied and what were her reasons for visiting the United Kingdom ; when the visa was granted ; who sponsored her visit ; whether Ms Norashkaryan had previously applied to enter the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what work has been contracted out by the Natural Resources Institute as a direct result of the redundancies announced in January 1994 in (a) oilseeds, (b) mycotoxins and (c) other areas.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Natural Resources Institute under its chief executive, Mr. Anthony Beattie. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Anthony Beattie to Mr. Tom Clarke, dated 20 June 1994 :
1. Mr. Lennox-Boyd has aked me to reply to your question about the amount of work contracted out by NRI as a direct result of the staff reductions announced in January.
2. We have so far contracted out work to the value of £6,300 in the oilseeds area. No work has been contracted out so far in mycotoxins or in other areas. It may, of course, prove necessary to do so in due course but I have no reason at this stage to think that this will be a substantial requirement.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what steps he will take to protect and guarantee the integrity of aid expenditure decisions relating to work undertaken by the Natural Resources Institute following a change in ownership of the institute ;
(2) if he will rule out a change of ownership for the Natural Resources Institute.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Waterson) on 26 January, at column 272. Options for the future ownership of the Natural Resources Institute are still being considered. Whatever the future ownership of NRI, contracts placed with it by the ODA will continue to be subject to all normal ODA procedures which are designed to ensure effective development and value for money.
Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in Brazil respecting the provision of aid for health and environmental purposes ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : During his visit to Brazil in April, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and his Brazilian counterpart discussed issues relating to sustainable development agreeing, particularly, the importance of effectively following up the environmental objectives agreed at the Rio Earth summit. The Minister for Overseas Development also met the Brazilian Minister for the Environment and Amazonia earlier this month, when environmental issues in Amazonia and the urban areas were discussed.
It is our intention to maintain an effective bilateral programme of technical co-operation with Brazil in areas of mutual priority, including the environment, both natural and urban, and health sector management reform. We also support health and environment projects managed by United Kingdom non-governmental organisations.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give his reasons for the annual reduction in the United Kingdom's contribution to the core funding of the United Nations children's fund.
Column 13voluntary funds from some reduction in our annual core funding. However, this is only part of our support. We also contribute generously to UNICEF's emergency and other extra budgetary programmes.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what economic rate of return was projected by the Overseas Development Administration for the Pergau dam project in Malaysia (a) at the time of the contract proposal in January 1989 when the price was £316 million, (b) at the time of the revised contract proposal in April 1989 when the price was £397 million and (c) at the time approval was given in 1991 when the price was £417 million.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The appropriate method of economic appraisal for projects like Pergau which are part of a financially viable interconnected grid system involves calculation of the least cost expansion path. This method utilises a computer model to analyse and minimise total systems costs as new generating units are added to meet the forecast levels of demand.
In January 1989 ODA did not have sufficient information to judge whether Pergau appeared on the least cost path although this seemed likely at the then price of £316 million ; at subsequent higher cost estimates the project was judged to be outside the least cost expansion path.
Mr. Gummer : A total of 1.584 million hereditaments were included in English 1990 non-domestic rating lists in April 1990. By the end of March 1994, 1.1 million proposals to alter the list had been made to the Valuation Office Agency, of which 633,000 were against the values originally shown in the list and 467,000 were made following changes in circumstances since the 1990 list came into force.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many places were made available for those sleeping rough in central London in 1985, 1990, 1993, and what is his estimate for 1995 ; and what was the average take-up rate, expressed as a percentage.
Sir George Young : Accommodation for people sleeping rough in central London is provided by a variety of agencies, including the Resettlement Agency, housing associations, local authorities and the voluntary sector. My Department does not have detailed information on the total number of places available, nor average occupancy rates for any particular year, and I cannot estimate how many places might be available in a future year.
As part of the rough sleepers initiative 1990-91 to 1995-96 in central London, the Government are funding emergency and temporary bedspaces in winter shelters,
Column 14nightshelters and hostels ; temporary accommodation in properties leased from private sector landlords ; and permanent accommodation in flats and houses for people to move on to. This provision, which includes at least 3,300 places in permanent move-on accommodation, has enabled many thousands of people to start a new life away from the streets, and will continue to do so.
Mr. Baldry : My right hon. Friend has received 1,754 written representations opposing the Local Government Commission's recommendation to replace Somerset county council and the five Somerset district councils with three unitary authorities. A large number of these did not state a preferred alternative. It is therefore not possible to give an accurate figure for those supporting a two-tier structure.
Mr. Raynsford : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the total cost, including the cost of (a) staff time, (b) legal advice and representation and (c) litigation relating to this case to (i) the Inner London education authority, (ii) the London residuary body and (iii) the London Pension Fund Authority, of responding to the complaints lodged by Miss Patricia Eaton of Kidbrooke Park road, London SE3, relating to her treatment by the ILEA when she was in its employment, over the period from 1980 to the present date.
Mr. Jamieson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if his Department has been consulted by the Ministry of Defence over the proposal to site a naval firing range off Dodman point in Cornwall ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 15assessing the standard spending assessments of local authorities ; and what steps have been taken to harmonise the principles of such policies with other parts of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Curry : When a local authority in England receives an ERDF grant for a capital project, a supplementary credit approval--SCA--is issued to it. Nether the grant, nor the related SCA, is taken into account in the calculation of its standard spending assessment. The systems of support for local authority expenditure in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland differ in a number of respects. Decisions on the operation of each system are the responsibility of the relevant Secretary of State.
Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many households his Department estimates to live in park homes ; and what plans his Department has to introduce a council tax band below band A to cover park homes.
Mr. Curry : British Holiday and Home Parks Association Limited has estimated that there are about 96,000 residential mobile homes at mobile home parks in Britain. We have no plans to introduce a council tax band below the present band A.
Mr. Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list both the statutory obligations that apply at present and guidance given to local authorities for the provision of sites for gipsies and travellers ; and if he will outline the changes that will take place at the time of enactment of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill.
"persons of nomadic habit of life, whatever their race or origin", residing in or resorting to their areas. In non-metropolitan counties in England and Wales the functions of site development and management are shared between county councils and district councils. County councils are required to consult district councils and other persons before adopting site proposals.
Guidance on these and other relevant provisions is given in the Department's circulars 28/77, 57/78, 8/81 and 1/94.
If enacted, clause 75 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill would repeal both part II of the 1968 Act and also the Secretary of State's power to pay grant in respect of the capital costs of site provision in England and Wales. Local authorities would continue to have discretionary powers, under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960, to manage existing sites and to provide further sites.
Clauses 72 and 73 of the Bill would give all local authorities in England and Wales new powers to control unauthorised camping in their areas.
Mr. Byers : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the conclusions reached as a result of the recent evaluation of the effectiveness of the Government's urban programme spending ; and if he will place a copy in the Library.
Mr. Clapham : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has agreed measures with British Coal to overcome potential pollution disasters resulting from its termination of pumping operations at abandoned mineworkings.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 17 June 1994] : Discharges from coal mines in England and Wales are subject to regulation by the National Rivers Authority. It is for British Coal, in consultation with the NRA, to determine what measures are necessary to avoid pollution.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what instructions are given to security staff in his departmental offices in London for dealing with (a) those sleeping rough in departmental doorways and (b) beggars in the vicinity ; and how many problems have been experienced with each category in the last three months.
Mr. David Davis : If there is a need to deal with beggars or anyone sleeping rough in doorways, security staff in London buildings occupied by the Cabinet Office, its agencies, HMSO and COI would contact the Metropolitan police.
No problems have been experienced during the past three months.
The Prime Minister : My right hon. Friend the Minister for Disabled People has a cross-Government remit for all issues affecting disabled people. The Cabinet Office produces a list of ministerial responsibilities which identifies the responsibilities of all Ministers, including
Column 17those with specific, designated responsibility for matters affecting disabled people within their departments. The list was updated in May and copies placed in both Libraries. Copies can also be obtained from the Vote Office on request.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Prime Minister when he expects ministerial consultation on legislation providing civil rights to the disabled will be complete ; and if he will introduce a Government Bill before the summer recess.
The Prime Minister : In reply to the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Mudie) on 10 May 1994, Official Report, column 153, I stated that consultation would take place within six months. Preparations are now well advanced on proposals to help disabled people. Consultation will start as soon as possible and is expected to last for three months. No legislation will be introduced in advance of consultation.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what instructions are given to security staff in his departmental offices in London for dealing with (a) those sleeping rough in departmental doorways and (b) beggars in the vicinity ; and how many problems have been experienced with each category in the last three months.
Mr. Hague : No specific central guidance is given to security guards on these matters. It would be an issue for the managers of the individual offices concerned. No records are kept on the extent to which problems may be encountered.
Ms Lynne : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) how many applications there have been in the last six months in each of the English health authority regions for a disability living allowance ;
(2) how much money has been granted in disability living allowance in the last six months, nationally and by health authority region ; and how much was granted during the same period a year earlier ; (3) what proportion of those people applying for the disability living allowance between 1 January and 31 May in each health authority region and nationally had their application rejected ; and what was the rejection rate for similar applicants between 1 January 1993 and 31 May 1993 ;
(4) what are the rejection rates, by condition giving rise to an application for a disability living allowance, for applications in the last 12 months, set out by health authority region.
Mr. Scott : Information about disability living allowance is not available in the form requested. Nationally, between 1 December 1993 and 31 May 1994 there were 216,000 applications. In the same period 97,000 awards were made on initial claims, and between 1 December 1992 and 31 May 1993 132,000 awards were made. The proportion of applications made between 1 January 1994 and 31 May 1994 that were rejected was 50
Column 18per cent. and for the same period in 1993 the proportion rejected was 46 per cent. Where a claim is rejected no information covering a claimant's disabling condition is recorded.
Source : DSS Analytical Services Division--based on 100 per cent. count.
Mr. Burt : An application to the Home Office for the issue of a fire certificate was made in July 1992. Such certificates are not normally issued until all defects within a new building, however small, have been rectified. The Home Office has confirmed that there is an extremely good fire prevention system in Quarry house, and there are no doubts about its effectiveness. The Home Office has begun the final scheduled inspection of the building prior to the issue of a fire certificate.
Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the date of the inspection for fire safety at Quarry house, Leeds (a) before the opening of the building, (b) between the opening of the building and 9 June 1994 and (c) since 10 June 1994 ; and if he will list those carrying out the inspection.
Mr. Burt : The construction of Quarry house commenced in November 1990 and the building was completed and occupied in three separate phases, the first phase being ready on 6 July 1992. The following site inspections were carried out
(a) before the phased occupations :
25 April 1991
Property Services Agency (PSA) Fire Officer and PSA Building Control Section
May 1991 to July 1992
Site meetings and inspections involving PSA Fire Officer and PSA Building Control held at monthly intervals
30 March 1992
West Yorkshire Fire Brigade and PSA Fire Officer
Weekly inspections by PSA Fire Officer, with further unannounced visits, to review fire precautions and evacuation procedures 8 June 1992
Witness testing of fire alarm system by Home Office Inspectorate, Health and Safety Executive, PSA Fire Officer and PSA Building Control Section
6 July 1992
PSA Fire Officer inspection immediately prior to, and following occupation of Phase 1 of building
PSA Fire Officer witness testing of atria smoke extraction systems 1 September 1992
PSA Fire Officer inspection immediately prior to phase 2 occupation by staff
18 November 1992
Home Office inspectorate and Health and Safety Executive visited, and made further visit within 7 days
5 February 1993
PSA Fire Officer inspection immediately prior to and following Phase 3 occupation by staff
1 March 1993
PSA Fire Officer final inspection
(b) between full occupation and 9 June 1994
There were no formal fire inspections between February 1993 and June 1994.
(c) since 10 June 1994
13 June 1994
Home Office Inspectorate