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Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contacts or meetings Ministers or officials of his Department, or the Defence Exports Sales Organisation, had with General Pinochet of Chile in regard to military equipment sales during his recent visit.
Mr. Robathan : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) for what reasons soldiers are required to go to South Cerney, near Cirencester, when they are flying from RAF Brize Norton ; (2) how long, on average, soldiers have to report to South Cerney, near Cirencester, before their flight from RAF Brize Norton.
Mr. Hanley : South Cerney is the air mounting centre for United Kingdom-based service units deploying on operations and exercises. It is centrally placed between the RAF's two main air transport bases of RAF Brize Norton and RAF Lyneham and offers facilities not available at either, such as an operations suite, briefing rooms and sufficient holding areas for men and equipment up to brigade size.
Passengers flying from RAF Brize Norton on operations and exercises report to South Cerney an average of four hours before their estimated departure. This allows time for processing, baggage checks, feeding and travel to the airfield.
Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy that implementation of the Blelloch report will not lead to a reduction in the staffing of the newly formed MOD Guard Service.
Mr. Hanley : Sir John Blelloch's work is concerned with the MOD police and his review which was announced on 15 December, Official Report, column 739, has yet to report. The report which he submitted as part of "Front Line First" is being considered in conjunction with other defence costs study reports, including one on the general subject of security. We hope to make an announcement on the study as a whole, including our proposals for implementation, before the summer recess.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Oxford, East (Mr. Smith) of 13 May, Official Report, column 288, if anti-personnel mines come into the category of inhumane weapons covered by the United Nations inhumane weapons convention.
Mr. Aitken : The United Nations weaponry convention governs the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects. Protocol II of the convention contains prohibitions and restrictions on the use of mines, booby traps and other devices. The use of anti-personnel mines would be covered by this protocol.
Mr. Hanley : There are currently no plans to deploy Harrier GR7s to Goose bay for low-flying training. It is, however, possible that Harrier GR7s while staging through Goose bay en route to other North American detachment locations might conduct some low-flying training should the opportunity arise.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the restrictions on admissions to the Cambridge military hospital in Aldershot, Hampshire have yet been lifted ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley : The Cambridge military hospital, Aldershot restricted routine in-patient admissions from 16 to 26 May as a precautionary measure following the identification among new patients of the Methicillin- resistant staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The GPs of all patients affected by cancellation of appointments were notified of the reasons behind this restriction, which had the approval of the local NHS consultant in communicable disease control. Neighbouring hospitals were also kept informed of the situation.
The MRSA bacteria was systematically cleared from the hospital and no patients or staff developed any symptoms of MRSA infection. The hospital reopened for routine and emergency admissions from noon on 25 May and elective surgical lists resumed on 26 May 1994. The out-patients department and the maternity wing remained open throughout, while the accident and emergency department stayed open for out-patient cases and emergencies which, could not be safely transferred to other hospitals.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the report on the measurement of noise levels of the F15E aircraft is now complete ; and if he will place a copy of the report in the Library.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the hon. Member for Don Valley may be sent a de-classified copy of the report evaluating the nuclear weapons accident Exercise Diver Mist held on 18 to 22 April in East Anglia, when it has been completed.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much advance warning was given to each of the civil and emergency authorities who participated in the Diver Mist nuclear weapons accident exercise on 18 to 22 April in East Anglia ; and what is the significance of its title.
Mr. Hanley : Representatives of relevant emergency services and local authorities were formally involved in exercise planning from September 1993. The name of the exercise was, as normal, part of a randomly generated series and has no significance.
Mr. Atkins : It is for the water company to determine whether a sewer requires replacement. I understand advances in repair and renovation techniques are having the effect of enabling sewers to continue in use after the date at which reconstruction would have been expected to have been required in earlier years.
Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the actual expenditure on sewerage infrastructure renewal for each water company for each year since 1989 and the total to date ;
(2) when he was informed of the £424 million accrued underspend of sewerage infrastructure renewal moneys in the water industry annual accounts ;
(3) if he will list chronologically the representations he has received on the requirements of infrastructure renewal in the water industry, indicating which responses to them have been made public ; (4) what is the total accrued national infrastructure renewal charge to date shown in the water industry annual accounts for each water service company.
Mr. Atkins : In order to spread the cost to customers, the Secretaries of State decided at privatisation in 1989 to limit spending on infrastructure renewal in the short term and to build up a liability in the accounts to spend the money at a later date. The Director General of Water Services is responsible for monitoring water companies' spending on infrastructure renewal. Details of the industry's spending on infrastructure renewal are published each year in Ofwat's "Report on Capital Investment and Financial Performance of the Water Companies in England and Wales", copies of which have been placed in the Library. Information on individual
Column 216companies' expenditure on infrastructure renewal can be obtained from the appointed business accounts which are available from the Ofwat library. Representations on infrastructure renewal in the water industry were received from the Severn Renovation Federation in 1993 ; the response was not made public, but the industry's spending plans have been in the public domain since 1989.
Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the assumption of reasonable return on capital as defined in the Water Industry Act 1991 for (a) the water supply companies and (b) the water service companies.
Mr. Atkins : When price limits were set by the Secretaries of State in 1989 they assumed that a reasonable return on capital would be : (a) a real return of 8 per cent. for most of the water supply companies, 8.5 per cent. for the smallest companies, and (b) a real return of 7 per cent. for the water service companies.
The Director General of Water Services is currently considering the appropriate return on capital as part of his periodic review of price limits. In the consultation paper "Cost of Capital", published in 1991, he suggested that the appropriate range was between 5 and 6 per cent. He will announce the outcome of his review on 28 July 1994.
Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the land sale transactions he has approved by each water company, (a) since the Water Act 1989 and (b) since 1 February 1992.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance he has issued to water companies as to the proper procedures under section 10 of the Reservoirs Act 1975 for the appointment of an independent qualified civil engineer ; and whether consideration can be given under these procedures to the appointment of former employees of the water company in question.
Mr. Atkins : DOE circular 5/85 set out general guidance on the operation of the Reservoirs Act 1975, including the appointment of qualified engineers. Section 10(9) of the Act requires that independent qualified engineers
(a) shall not be in the employment of the reservoir undertaker otherwise than in a consultant capacity ; and
(b) shall not have been the engineer responsible for the reservoir or any addition to it as construction engineer, and shall not be connected with such an engineer as his partner, employer, employee or fellow employee in a civil engineering business.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the scope of his powers to allocate specific moneys to local authorities and housing associations to deal with the problems of Orlit, Whitsun- Fairhurst and other dwelling types with major structural defects ; how much he has allocated to local authorities and housing associations in England to deal with these problems in each of the past 10 years ; how many
Column 217houses classified as having major structural defencts have been dealt with due to central Government funding during the same period ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : Section 569 of the Housing Act 1985 empowers the Secretary of State to contribute to expenses incurred by local authoriteis in assisting eligible owners of the 24 dwelling types which have been designated in England under section 528 of the Act. The Whitson-Fairhurst type has been designated in Scotland only. Contributions are payable on audited claims made by authorities in the year after the expenses were incurred. The table shows for each of the past 10 years : (a) the total number of dwellings dealt with, as reported by local authorities ; (b) the Government's contributions to annual loan charges incurred by local authorities on dwellings dealt with before 1 April 1989 ; and (c) the capital grants made to authorities from 1 April 1990 on dwellings dealt with on or after 1 April 1989. Housing associations are not responsible for administering the scheme of assistance.
|(a) |(b) |(c) |Dwellings dealt |Contributions to |Capital grants paid |with, reported by |annual loan |to local authorities |local authorities |charges incurred |from 1 April 1990 |by local authorities |£ million |£ million --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1984-85 |162 |- |- 1985-86 |2,489 |0.003 |- 1986-87 |2,909 |1.987 |- 1987-88 |3,707 |4.870 |- 1988-89 |3,837 |8.824 |- 1989-90 |3,298 |16.363 |- 1990-91 |2,843 |17.192 |54.544 1991-92 |2,419 |16.621 |63.038 1992-93 |1,523 |2.785 |54.305 1993-94 |<1>1,351 |<1>32.631 |<1>54.464 <1> Provisional.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans the Property Services Agency has for the utilisation or disposal of the premises formerly and currently occupied by the Benefits Agency at Floors street, Johnstone ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : Crown building, Floors street, Johnstone, is occupied by the Benefits Agency, which expects to be moving out once it has set up a new customer service point in the area. There are no other Government demands for this space and, as soon as the Benefits Agency has confirmed its intended date of vacation, this freehold property will be offered for sale on the open market.
Ms Gordon : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what hire charge is being paid by the London Docklands development corporation for the hire of the royal yacht Britannia for its reception on 29 June ; and what is the estimated additional cost of the actual reception.
Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has consulted with social security Ministers about the recent CHAR report about the bare necessities, the experience of homeless people and the discretionary social fund.
Sir George Young : There has been no consultation at ministerial level about this report, which I understand that CHAR published on 15 June. However, my officials are in discussion with colleagues in the Department of Social Security on this and related matters.
Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the total amount of expenditure given for urban regeneration in the Greater London area ; and if he will list the local authorities that have received funding and the amounts received.
Mr. Baldry : The total amount of expenditure given for urban regeneration in the Greater London area in the current year is £296.967 million. This amount is made up from the following programmes --estate action, urban programme, city challenge, task forces, housing action trusts, city grant, funding for the London Docklands development corporation and derelict land grant. Individual total amounts for each local authority are listed below :
1994-95 expenditure provision for urban regeneration for London Borough |Total |(£ thousands) ------------------------------------------------- Barking and Dagenham |0 Barnet |450 Bexley |0 Brent |11,851 Bromley |0 Camden |4,330 Croydon |0 Ealing |2,000 Enfield |831 Greenwich |2,030 Hackney |18,921 Hammersmith/Fulham |4,834 Haringey |9,187 Harrow |0 Havering |0 Hillingdon |0 Hounslow |7,756 Islington |5,397 Kensington/Chelsea |9,876 Kingston upon Thames |0 Lambeth |19,773 Lewisham |21,174 Merton |900 Newham |55,309 Redbridge |700 Richmond |500 Southwark |19,437 Sutton |64 Tower Hamlets |59,784 Waltham Forest |36,700 Wandsworth |963 Westminster |1,500 Total |<1>294,267 Grand Total |296,967 <1> Plus 2,700 for Derelict Land Grant not broken down above on an individual borough basis.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 14 June, Official Report, column 339, what is the precise content of the full contribution beyond 2000 for the United Kingdom's climate change programme to which he refers.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to encourage public sector landlords to provide disabled people with personal housing plans ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young : Decisions about the allocation of public sector housing are a matter for individual housing authorities, taking into account all their powers and duties under housing legislation. For people with community care needs, social services departments and housing authorities are asked to construct an individual's care plan with the objective of preserving or restoring non-institutional living as far as possible, and of securing the most appropriate and cost-effective package of care, housing and other services to meet the person's future needs.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to introduce new building regulations and amend existing building regulations, to promote the development of barrier-free housing in terms of (a) new-build and (b) renovated or modernised properties ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment intends, in conjunction with the Secretary of State for Wales, to consult on a range of building regulation provisions which could be applied to the design of new dwellings for the benefit of disabled people. There are no plans to consider the application of such requirements to existing dwellings subject to renovation or modernisation.
(2) what action his Department is taking to ensure that no boycott or ban of any timber species is allowed to be specified in any building contracts that involve public funding ;
(3) whether it is current Government policy that no timber should be discriminated against on environmental grounds.
Mr. Atkins : In terms of trade between countries, the treaty of Rome requires that all matters be dealt with by the European Community as a whole. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which is implemented within the Community under EC regulation 3626/82, controls and monitors international trade in many species of plants and animals, including some species of tree.
As to materials within the United Kingdom, my Department is committed in its own green housekeeping
Column 220policy statement to encourage sustainable forest practices which maintain the biodiversity, productivity and ecological habitats of woodlands. This is reflected in our recently published guide for suppliers of goods and services to the Department, "Selling to DOE", which encourages suppliers to provide joinery, furniture and fittings manufactured only from wood produced from sustainably managed forests. There are no bans on any particular species.
Dr. Twinn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the Government will review the arrangements under which grant is paid to home improvement agencies before deciding whether to extend them beyond 1994-95.
Sir George Young : When we introduced the home improvement agency grant programme in 1991, we made it clear that the arrangements were for four years only in the first instance with any further decisions being taken following a review. We propose to carry out that review this year so that any changes considered necessary can take effect from April 1995. The review will need to consider issues such as the extent to which agencies have met their prime objective of helping people carry out building work to their home ; the benefits of the service to both clients and practitioners- -especially local authorities--and the need for any change in the nature or range of the service offered. I have today placed in the Library a copy of a letter which my Department has sent to a number of organisations involved with the work of home improvement agencies inviting written representations. We will be happy to receive views in writing from anyone else who wishes to contribute. We hope to announce our main conclusions from the review by the autumn.
Mr. Gummer : The Department of the Environment, the Welsh Office and the Department of Health sponsor the Audit Commission. A joint framework document--"Accounting for Independent Audit"--which sets out the relationships between the Audit Commission and its sponsors, and between the sponsor Departments them-selves, has been published today. Copies of the document have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his timetable for the introduction of legislation to establish the national parks as independent boards ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 21 June 1994] : The Local Government (Wales) Bill will allow my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales to establish joint or special planning boards for the three national parks in Wales. However, it is our intention to introduce legislation to establish independent authorities for all 10 national parks in England and Wales as soon as there is a suitable opportunity to do so.
Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what estimate he has made of the cost of the compensation which could be secured in consequence of the various proceedings initiated by the EC Commission in consequence of the acquired rights directive ; and if he will investigate the possibility of reducing public expenditure by establishing a programme for settling claims.
Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the consequences in terms of policy of the various actions initiated by the EC Commission against the United Kingdom on the application of the acquired rights directive ; and what steps he will take to advise persons who might be entitled to compensation.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : All but one of the issues raised by the Commission have already been dealt with by amendments to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 in the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993. The only outstanding issue concerns arrangements for consultation about proposed transfers. The Government are still considering the judgment on that point.
Sir Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what liability is accepted by the Government for the costs already paid out by private employers in consequence of the legislation stemming from the acquired rights directive in light of the terms of the court decisions in the EC.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Courts and tribunals take account of relevant decisions by the European Court of Justice in interpreting national implementing legislation. It is for individual employees and employers to take their own legal advice on the effect of national or European law.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : The Government strongly support the report's conclusions that all industrialised economies need to adapt more rapidly to change than they have done in the past 20 years through increased labour market flexibility and that attempts to slow the pace of change through erecting barriers to trade or regulations to preserve existing patterns of employment will damage prosperity and employment in the long run. That strategy is very much in line with the policies which the Government have been pursuing for the past 15 years and which have brought us a rapid reduction in unemployment, including long-term unemployment.
Column 222responsible to (a) Coopers and Lybrand, (b) KPMG Peat Marwick, (c) Ernst and Young, (d) Price Waterhouse, (e) Arthur Andersen, (f) Touche Ross, (g) Grant Thornton, (h) Robson Rhodes and (i) Pannell Kerr Forster for (i) privatisation, (ii) market testing, (iii) management advice, (iv) accounting, (v) audit, (vi) consultancy and (vii) any other services in 1980 to 1983, 1984 to 1987, 1988 to 1991 and 1992 to 1993.
Sir Harold Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the level of compliance of each local authority with the requirements of the statutory quota scheme for the employment of disabled persons.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : Tables of figures showing the number and percentage of registered disabled people employed by a wide range of public sector employers, including local authorities, are published annually in the Employment Gazette , with the agreement of the employers concerned. The latest available figures relating to 1 June 1992 were published in the April 1993 gazette, a copy of which is in the Library.
Employees in manufacturing industry Thousands |Greater |Redbridge |London --------------------------------------------- September 1981 |681 |13 September 1991 |359 |6 December 1993 |322 |<1>- <1>Not available.
Between 1981 and 1993 manufacturing output in the United Kingdom rose by 21.5 per cent.
Mr. Needham : Export figures are compiled on a national and not a regional basis. The east midlands contributed fully to last year's record export performance, when our visible exports totalled £121 billion.
Mr. Needham : My Department now has in place a wide range of measures to promote trade with the ASEAN countries. These include the appointment of five export promoters from the private sector, who work with teams of officials to provide first-hand advice and assistance to British companies exporting to the ASEAN bloc.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : The United Kingdom is a country which depends on innovation to maintain its competitiveness. Strong protection for intellectual property around the world is therefore important to British industry. The Government were pleased that the recent GATT agreement provides minimum standards of protection and enforcement and we will be seeking to ensure that the agreement is implemented as fully and widely as possible. We will continue to seek improved protection through harmonisation of laws at European and international level.