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Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what fiscal measures he is taking to encourage investment in (a) the private sector and (b) the public sector ; and if he will make a statement.
(i) in his November Budget last year my right hon. and learned Friend announced three tax measures to attract equity investment into unlisted companies : the Enterprise Investment Scheme, Venture Capital Trusts and an extension of Capital Gains Tax reinvestment relief ;
(ii) the Government now make a clear distinction between capital and current spending in the fiscal projections. This recognises that capital spending generates a future stream of benefits which current spending does not ;
(iii) the Private Finance Initiative will lead to more and better capital projects by allowing the public sector to draw on private sector management skills and financial resources.
More generally, the Government have delivered the best possible economic environment for investment : low inflation, low interest rates and a clear strategy to reduce the PSBR, all of which provide the key to sustainable growth.
Sir John Cope : Each year, before making his budget decisions, the Chancellor of the Exchequer reviews the level of taxation on alcoholic beverages, including wine. Consideration is given to a wide range of social, economic and health factors as well as the revenue effect.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Lord President of the Council, pursuant to his answer of 27 June, Official Report, column 402, if he will set out the severance benefits including pension, life insurance policies or grants that are available to Members of the European Parliament which are not available to hon. Members.
Mr. Newton : As I said in my answer of 27 June, Official Report, column 402, resettlement grants and pensions are available to Members of the European Parliament and Members of this House on the same basis.
There are differences in the arrangements for the reimbursement of expenses and other allowances. Payments of this kind to Members of the European Parliament are the responsibility of the European Parliament, but I am not aware of any payments from that source which relate to severance.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee how many meals have been sold each day since the opening of Bellamy's Club dining room at 1 Parliament street ; how the takings differ from those of the former coffee lounge ; and what representations he has received from staff now excluded from the two rooms.
Mr. Colin Shepherd : The conversion of the Clubroom, on a trial basis, was undertaken in response to representations from Members. Numerous representations have been received from staff now excluded from the two rooms, but it is as yet too early to form an opinion regarding the long- term viability of the new Clubroom. I understand that the Director of Catering Services intends to review the operation of the Clubroom after Christmas. The Catering Committee will wish to be informed of the results of that review and will then also consider the representations which it has received.
Mr. Colin Shepherd : I understand from the Director of Catering Services that the new servery counters purchased for Bellamy's Clubroom cost £25,849, paid from funds available in the Refreshment Department trading account. No costs have been incurred by the House of Commons works vote or administration vote. The servery counters have been specifically designed for flexibility of use and can, if necessary, be used for other purposes in the Refreshment Department.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the right hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed, representing the House of Commons Commission, what information is available in Braille to blind and visually impaired people visiting the House ; if he will review how the availability of this information is advertised in the House ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Beith : Braille guides, which include a tactile map of the Line of Route, are available from the Serjeant at Arms and braille guides to the Galleries are available from the Admissions Order Office and Doorkeepers on request. These guides are described in the leaflet "Arrangements for the Assistance of Disabled Visitors", which is available from the Sergeant at Arms Office and reception desks in the outbuildings. The current inquiry by the Accommodation and Works Committee into ways of improving access for disabled people visiting the Palace includes consideration of the provisions made for blind and partially sighted visitors.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the role of the Organisation of African Unity's observer mission in Burundi : what countries contribute personnel ; and how the British Government have responded to its appeal for financial and logistical support.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The OAU mission is to assist in restoring democratic institutions, rebuilding confidence and stabilising the situation in Burundi. Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cameroon, Tunisia and Egypt have contributed personnel.
We have no plans to contribute towards this initiative. The United Kingdom has already committed $1 million to the United Nations Trust Fund for Liberia and we anticipate that others, who did not contribute to this fund, will take the lead in Burundi.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the French Government about its proposed military mission in Rwanda ; and what assessment he has made about France's suitability for military involvement after its past involvement in that country.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the role of the Kenyan Government in ethnic clashes ; and what representations he has made on this subject.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We are concerned at continued ethnic clashes in Kenya and regularly make our concerns known to the appropriate authorities. We were recently more reassured by the Government's speedy action to contain violence in the Rift valley.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to what extent British oil interests in the Ogoni area of Rivers state in Nigeria are being damaged by political unrest ; and what representations he has made to the Nigerian Government on this issue.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : I understand that the political unrest in the Ogoni area has led to a significant reduction in output from the Shell/AGIP/Elf joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. The oil companies concerned have made representations to the Nigerian Government for a greater share of the oil revenue to be expended in the oil producing area.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We value our relationship with Nigeria and maintain close contact with the Nigerian Government through our high commission. We look forward to progress towards a restoration of democratic civilian government, which would permit closer relations to develop.
Sir Michael Grylls : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the possible impact on the United Kingdom, its investors, and its exporters, if further economic sanctions were to be imposed limiting trade with Nigeria ; if he will make it his policy to oppose the introduction of any such sanctions ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We and our European Union partners have introduced a number of measures directed at Nigeria's military Government to demonstrate our strong support for a return to democratic civilian rule. It is not the intention that such measures should harm economic relations.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received about the plight of the Ogoni people in the Rivers state of Nigeria ; what view he has formed on this ; and what representations he has made to the Nigerian Government.
Column 681from the public. The problems in Rivers state are rooted in a complex set of issues. The Nigerian Government are fully aware, through our contacts with them, of the importance that we attach to human rights.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary met the Nigerian high commissioner to London briefly at the diplomatic banquet on 17 June. A wide range of issues are discussed in the course of regular diplomatic contacts with the high commissioner.
Mrs. Ann Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he has made to the announcement by the Nigerian Government of its federal government political programme ; and what steps he is taking to assist the work of the local government caretaker committee, the national constitutional conference, and other bodies established by the Nigerian authorities to prepare the ground for further movement towards democracy.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply that I gave her on 28 June, Official Report , columns 525-26 . We are not familiar with the work of the local government caretaker committee. We do, however, welcome the start of the national constitutional conference, and hope to see firm progress towards democratic, civilian rule.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the cost of entertaining foreign guests at each British high commission situated in each other Commonwealth country in 1993 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the cost of entertaining foreign guests at each British embassy situated in each other EU country in 1993 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 22 June, Official Report, column 178, if he will propose that regulations with Switzerland on bilateral agreements include extradition for tax evasion.
Column 682aviation, research, free movement of people, trade in agricultural goods, public procurement and technical barriers to trade. Extradition is not a matter of Community competence. The United Kingdom has reciprocal extradition arrangements with Switzerland through the Council of Europe convention on extradition, but tax offences are not covered since, unlike the United Kingdom, Switzerland is not party to the relevant section of the second protocol to the convention.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : A person who is neither a British citizen nor a Commonwealth citizen with right of abode nor an EEA national would need to fulfil the requirements of the immigration rules in order to be admitted to the United Kingdom.
Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 17 May, Official Report , column 393 , what are the statutory obligations relating to pollution that concern the standards of equipment used to transport sewage.
Mr. Atkins : There are none applying to equipment and sewers. It is up to the water companies how they comply with the conditions attached to discharge consents issued by the National Rivers Authority and more generally how they avoid infringing other requirements relating to pollution.
Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to his answer of 14 June, Official Report , column 344 , how many times the drinking water inspectorate has been informed by water companies of incidents which affected, or threatened to affect, drinking water quality (a) for each year since 2 January 1990 and (b) by each company.
Mr. Atkins : The numbers of incidents reported to the drinking water inspectorate during the years 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993 were 79, 59, 56 and 52 respectively. Additionally, for those years there were 24 informal notifications where, although the water companies had been concerned about a threat to drinking water quality, it did not materialise ; these are classified as non-incidents. For 1994, up to 8 June, 25 notifications have been received. The total number of notifications for the period 2 January 1990 to 8 June 1994 was 295.
Column 683Most of the incidents were minor happenings. A typical reported incident is one where some failure in the system resulted in a company advising consumers to boil their water as a precautionary measure while the microbiological quality of the water was carefully investigated.
Column 684Data on individual companies, showing the number of incidents reported each year, is as tabulated.
Incidents by company for years 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and to 24 June 1994 Company |1990 |1991 |1992 |1993 |1994<1>|Total ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bournemouth |- |1 |- |- |- |1 Bristol |2 |- |2 |- |1 |5 Cambridge |- |- |1 |- |- |1 Chester |1 |- |- |- |1 |2 Cholderton |- |- |- |- |- |0 East Surrey |- |- |- |- |- |0 Shields |- |- |- |- |- |0 East Worcester |- |- |- |1 |- |1 Essex |2 |- |2 |1 |- |5 Folkestone |- |2 |- |- |- |2 Hartlepools |1 |- |1 |- |- |2 Mid Kent |- |- |- |- |1 |1 Mid Southern |2 |- |- |- |- |2 North East<2> |1 |- |- |5 |1 |7 North Surrey |3 |- |1 |- |1 |5 Portsmouth |- |1 |2 |2 |- |5 South East<3> |2 |3 |1 |- |1 |7 South Staffordshire |1 |1 |- |- |- |2 Suffolk |4 |1 |- |2 |- |7 Sutton |- |- |- |- |- |0 Tendring Hundred |- |- |- |- |- |0 Three Valleys<4> |3 |4 |2 |1 |2 |12 West Hampshire |1 |- |- |- |- |1 Wrexham |- |2 |1 |- |- |3 York |- |1 |- |- |- |1 Anglian |1 |1 |- |- |- |2 Northumbrian |1 |3 |1 |6 |1 |12 North West |11 |7 |5 |7 |3 |33 Severn Trent |- |3 |14 |7 |1 |25 Southern |2 |1 |4 |- |2 |9 South West |9 |5 |2 |3 |1 |20 Thames |8 |3 |3 |1 |- |15 Welsh |20 |13 |8 |2 |2 |45 Wessex |1 |4 |2 |3 |2 |12 Yorkshire |3 |3 |4 |11 |5 |26 Non-incidents |9 |2 |10 |3 |- |24 |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- Total |79 |59 |56 |52 |25 |295 <1> To 24 June 1994. <2> North East Water includes the original companies of Newcastle and Gateshead and Sunderland and South. <3> South East includes original companies of Eastbourne, Mid-Sussex and West Kent. <4> Three Valleys includes the original companies of Colne Valley, Lee Valley and Rickmansworth.
Ms Primarolo : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many tests in each year since 1990 by water companies of compliance with the standards for drinking water did not demonstrate compliance with the relevant water quality standards (a) by year and (b) by water company.
Column 684inspectorate. In 1992, 98.7 per cent. of these tests demonstrated compliance with the standards. Of the 1.3 per cent. which demonstrated non-compliance with standards, there is no evidence that any of these contraventions was of such a magnitude or duration as to endanger the health of consumers.
The breakdown of the results by company are given in the table for the years 1990, 1991 and 1992. Data for 1993 are being processed and will be published in the drinking water inspectorate's next annual report.
Drinking Water Quality-Compliance Results Number of Tests Company 1990 1991 1992 |Total |Non Compliance|Total |Non Compliance|Total |Non Compliance --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Anglian |329,789 |6,506 |353,673 |5,181 |311,531 |3,697 Bournemouth<1> |6,506 |9 |8,529 |61 |8,106 |34 Bristol |25,464 |737 |28,647 |727 |35,058 |491 Cambridge |7,952 |26 |8,814 |20 |9,626 |29 Chester |3,027 |3 |3,996 |3 |4,302 |1 Cholderton and District |104 |0 |310 |3 |298 |0 Colne Valley<2> |19,997 |980 |18,807 |759 |22,451 |550 Dwr Cymru |107,066 |730 |123,692 |1,154 |111,493 |764 East Surrey |20,130 |242 |13,092 |176 |16,899 |238 East Worcester<3> |8,229 |37 |12,546 |18 |12,028 |49 Eastbourne<4> |5,389 |38 |12,375 |54 |13,935 |180 Essex |30,451 |1,486 |114,077 |3,672 |152,603 |5,316 Folkestone and Dover |13,000 |40 |5,429 |29 |4,669 |52 Hartlepools |1,333 |11 |1,190 |2 |1,156 |6 Lee Valley<2> |22,561 |327 |27,416 |287 |42,937 |310 Mid Kent |12,719 |133 |18,904 |144 |17,859 |251 Mid Southern |28,491 |326 |28,341 |203 |26,965 |135 Mid Sussex<4> |23,239 |254 |31,892 |379 |24,548 |726 North East<5> |48,146 |476 |60,503 |221 |51,141 |187 North Surrey |11,965 |174 |17,472 |529 |21,570 |462 North West |455,023 |3,258 |303,015 |2,132 |294,380 |1,774 Northumbrian |64,069 |281 |65,093 |436 |62,112 |212 Portsmouth |15,391 |52 |17,755 |41 |16,540 |36 Rickmansworth<2> |16,434 |81 |18,676 |67 |23,328 |45 Severn Trent |583,433 |2,512 |451,245 |2,271 |402,934 |1,381 South Staffordshire |23,450 |268 |29,128 |193 |23,232 |144 South West |50,980 |457 |66,257 |273 |73,819 |238 Southern |61,563 |487 |74,311 |474 |78,187 |453 Suffolk |12,259 |105 |11,744 |38 |12,161 |36 Sutton District |7,359 |40 |8,335 |65 |9,978 |59 Tendring Hundred |2,751 |29 |3,074 |15 |3,347 |9 Thames Water |130,624 |5,959 |346,957 |19,690 |492,311 |27,532 Wessex |54,248 |204 |76,500 |270 |74,087 |235 West Hampshire<1> |5,644 |14 |6,628 |23 |6,820 |33 West Kent<4> |7,528 |49 |10,388 |23 |6,185 |12 Wrexham and East Denbighshire |5,932 |11 |5,564 |19 |4,896 |13 York Waterworks |5,882 |22 |7,259 |27 |6,481 |12 Yorkshire |136,072 |1,459 |233,133 |2,046 |295,614 |1,937 <1>Bournemouth and West Hampshire are now one company. <2>Colne Valley, Lee Valley and Rickmansworth together are now Three Valleys Water Co. <3>East Worcester is now part of Severn Trent. <4>Eastbourne, Mid-Sussex and West Kent together are now South East Water. <5>North East was previously Newcastle and Gateshead and Sunderland and South Shield Water Companies.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the current position concerning negotiations with British Gas on the redevelopment of the Foleshill gas works site ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Baldry : This is a matter for English Partnerships and British Gas. However, I understand that negotiations are continuing on the basis of English Partnerships's earlier proposal of grant and a possible joint venture to cover the two parts of the site.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out the outcome of the Paris Commission meeting on sea pollution held in Karlskrona, Sweden, indicating the decisions taken and the United Kingdom position in each instance.
Mr. Atkins : The annual joint meeting of the commissions established by the 1972 Oslo convention for the prevention of marine pollution by dumping from ships and aircraft and the 1974 Paris convention for the prevention of marine pollution from land-based sources took place in Karlskrona from 13 to 17 June. The commissions consist of representatives of the contracting parties, which are the littoral states of the north-east Atlantic and the European Community.
Column 686The commissions reviewed progress in implementing the conventions and in bringing into force the 1992 convention on the protection of the marine environment of the north-east Atlantic, and took a number of decisions about their future internal organisations. They adopted the following decisions and recommendations under the
conventions--decisions bind those contracting parties that accept them ; recommendations have no binding force. They are :
a. PARCOM Recommendation 94/1 on best available techniques for new aluminium electrolysis plants : adopted by a three-quarters majority with reservations by Germany and the UK ; the UK reservation was entered because the recommendation selected only certain features from the agreed description of best available techniques and therefore risked distorting the effects of the description, because the emission limit values were only specified in relation to production volumes and not to total emissions, and because no target date was set for bringing emissions from existing plants within the emission limit values for new plants, which could distort competition ;
b. PARCOM Recommendation 94/2 on best available techniques and best environmental practice for the integrated and non-integrated sulphite paper pulp industry : adopted by a three-quarters majority with reservations by France, by Portugal and by the UK (for the same reasons, in part, as with Recommendation 94/1) :
c. PARCOM Recommendation 94/3 on best available techniques and best environmental practice for the integrated and non-integrated kraft pulp industry : adopted by a three quarters majority with reservations by France and by the UK (for the same reasons, in part, as with Recommendation 94/1) :
d. PARCOM Recommendation 94/4 on best available techniques for the organic chemical industry : adopted by a
Column 687three-quarters majority with reservations by the UK and Portugal ; the UK reservation was entered because the four-page recommendation was too superficial for such a complex subject ;
e. PARCOM Recommendation 94/5 concerning best available techniques and best environmental practice for wet processes in the textile processing industry : adopted by a three-quarters majority with reservations by Portugal and by the UK (for the same reasons, in part, as with Recommendation 94/1).
f. PARCOM Decision 94/1 on substances/preparations used and discharged offshore : adopted by a three-quarters majority with reservations by France, by the European Community, by Spain and by the UK ; the UK reservation was entered because the decision gave no basis for the selection of the substances named in it and thus cut across the collective work already successfully being undertaken to develop a harmonised control system ;
g. PARCOM Recommendation 94/6 on best environmental practice for the reduction of inputs of potentially toxic chemicals from aquaculture use : adopted by a three-quarters majority with reservations by Belgium, by Spain and by the UK ; the UK reservation was entered because the Recommendation does not adequately describe best environmental practice ;
h. PARCOM Recommendation 94/7 on the elaboration of national action plans and best environmental practice for the reduction of inputs to the environment of pesticides from agricultural use : adopted unanimously ; this Recommendation amended last year's Recommendation on the same subject ;
i. PARCOM Recommendation 94/8 concerning environmental impact resulting from discharges of radioactive substances : adopted unanimously ; this Recommendation commits the Commissions to further review of the environmental impacts of radioactive discharges, past and present ;
j. PARCOM Recommendation 94/9 concerning the management of spent nuclear fuel : adopted unanimously ; this Recommendation commits the Commissions to requesting the Nuclear Energy Agency of the OECD to carry out a review of the management of spent nuclear fuel. The Commissions also discussed a number of other draft recommendations and decisions which failed to achieve a three-quarters majority. These are to be studied further. The Commissions also agreed that the difficulties seen by the United Kingdom in a number of the recommendations and decisions were of importance for establishing future recommendations and decisions, and should be looked into during the forthcoming year.
Mr. Whittingdale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures have been taken to control the discharge of industrial effluent into the North sea ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : Under the Water Resources Act 1991, discharges of effluent to rivers and coastal waters require the consent of the relevant regulatory authority--the National Rivers Authority for England and Wales. Consents are designed to ensure that the receiving waters meet environmental quality standards. In addition, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 introduced a system of integrated pollution control for industrial processes with the most potential for polluting releases. Tight control of discharges has led to a progressive reduction in United Kingdom inputs of the most hazardous substances to the North sea, in line with international commitments made at North sea conferences.
Mr. Atkins : The marine pollution monitoring management group, consisting of scientists from the relevant Government Departments and regulatory authorities, has prepared a national monitoring plan, which is implemented by the agencies with statutory monitoring responsibilities. This is based on a network of inshore, estuarine and offshore monitoring sites. This provides comprehensive information on the seas around the United Kingdom and formed the basis of the United Kingdom input to the monitoring master plan of the North sea task force, which was established by the North sea states, inter alia, to prepare the North sea quality status report, which was published in March this year.
Mr. Frank Cook : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the Prime Minister's oral answer to the hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Mr. Duncan) of 16 June, Official Report, column 754, regarding consultation on local government reorganisation in Rutland and Huntingdon, if he will make it his policy to ensure that every household in Cleveland is also consulted on the future of local government in its area.
Mr. Baldry : My right hon. Friend's decisions on the future local government of Cleveland, which were announced on 18 January, took into account the extensive local consultation undertaken by the Local Government Commission, as well as the representations we received on the Commission's final recommendations for the area.
Mr. Rendel : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many appeals against council tax banding have been received to date ; how many have already been decided ; and how many are expected to have been decided by (a) 31 December 1994 and (b) 31 March 1995.
Mr. Curry : The Valuation Office Agency received 909,365 banding appeals in respect of dwellings in England by the end of May, of which 363,542 had already been settled. Around 690,000 appeals are expected to be settled before 31 December 1994 and around 793,000 before 31 March 1995.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which developing country parties to the Basel convention have replied to the European Commission indicating (a) they do not want to receive exports of green list wastes as classified by the OECD and (b) they would like the red and amber list procedures applied to green list wastes ; and what measures he intends to take to respect their wishes.