Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what amounts have been paid out, and to whom, by way of fees for consultation about the setting up of the Courts Services Agency ; what sums he plans to pay out in this respect in the future ; and to whom.
Mr. John. M. Taylor : The Department has paid £15,500 in fees to Dent Lee Witte and KPMG Peat Marwick for work assisting with the setting up of the Court Service Agency. One contract is still continuing, with further costs of £3,000 expected. A further contract to design the launch documents is currently out to tender. There are no other plans to use consultants to assist with establishing the agency, but the Department will assess whether their assistance may be appropriate as work progresses.
Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is his latest estimate of (a) the costs incurred so far and (b) the costs yet to be incurred in the setting up of the Courts Services Agency.
Mr. John. M. Taylor : The preparatory work started in July 1992 and has cost £362,000 up to June this year. Costs of £246,000 are expected to be incurred from June this year to the launch of the agency in April 1995.
Mr. Boateng : To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to allow notices to be posted with regard to consultation about the proposed closures of courts and court buildings in the public areas of the courts and court buildings concerned.
Mr. John M. Taylor : The consultation procedure for the proposed closure of a court requires the circuit administrator to consult a wide range of local interests. Also, it is open to a circuit administrator to post a notice on the court notice board.
Mr. John M. Taylor : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Clywd, North-West (Mr. Richards) on 19 May, Official Report, column 529. The Lord Chancellor's proposals for implementing the changes announced in his speech were set out in a consultation paper, copies of which were placed in the Library. The closing date for responses to the consultation paper was 30 June. The Lord Chancellor is now considering the responses received and will make an announcement as soon as practicable.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister what clearance the Cabinet Secretary gave to Lady Thatcher's book on the Downing street years in respect of (a) relations with Libya and the 1986 raid and (b) the Falklands War.
The Prime Minister : My right hon. and noble Friend, Lady Thatcher, submitted the manuscript of "The Downing Street Years" to the Cabinet Secretary in accordance with the recommendations of the Radcliffe committee on ministerial memoirs. The Cabinet Secretary, acting at my request and on my behalf, examined the manuscript in respect of national security, the preservation of international relations and the treatment of confidential relationships. Exchanges between the Cabinet Secretary and former Ministers in respect of their memoirs are confidential.
Mr. Marlow : To ask the Prime Minister if he will list those statements made by the United Kingdom heads of Government stating that the United Kingdom EC rebate mechanism could not be changed without the consent of the United Kingdom Government.
The Prime Minister : The abatement is an integral part of the own resources decision--ORD. The ORD, including the abatement, continues in force unless or until changed or replaced. Change or replacement requires unanimity in the Council followed by adoption of the new arrangements by member states according to their respective constitutional procedures. In the case of the United Kingdom, this means the passage of an Act of Parliament. This has been made clear on many occasions.
Column 3unfreezing of the British state pensions of those pensioners living in countries where annual upratings are not made by the Department of Social Security ; and what is the explanation for the discrimination against such pensioners.
It would cost an additional £230 million a year to uprate British pensions worldwide. In view of the continued need to contain public expenditure, we have no plans to change this long-standing policy.
Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Glanford and Scunthorpe (Mr. Morley) of 22 June, Official Report , column 231, what was the location of the cattle aged 30 months or under with enzootic bovine leukosis.
Enzootic bovine leukosis reactors (Under 30 months) Location |Number ---------------------------------------- Grampian |1 Dumfries and Galloway |1 Strathclyde |6
Sir Hector Monro : The industrial fishery on Wee Bankie by non- United Kingdom fishermen is carried out beyond the United Kingdom's 12-mile territorial sea and United Kingdom catch levels in this fishery are minimal. Any limits on catch levels for all member states would require the agreement of the Council of Ministers in Brussels. In the light of further scientific work being carried out on the impact of industrial fishing, the United Kingdom will consider whether further controls on the North sea fishery should be proposed.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion by weight of the the total fish catch in International Council for the Exploration of the Sea area VI, (a) is taken by industrial fishermen and (b) comprises sandeels.
Sir Hector Monro : Data on total international catches for all species in sub-area VI--West of Scotland and Rockall--are available in the publication "ICES Fisheries Statistics (Bulletin Statistique des Peches Maritimes)". The most recently available volume is dated November 1992 and is for the year 1988.
On the basis of the information contained in that publication, figures for the years 1985-88 are as follows :
"Industrial" catch |1985 |1986 |1987 |1988 as percentage of total catch ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Division VIa (West of Scotland) Sandeels (per cent) |2.2 |3.1 |1.9 |3.4 Norway pout (per cent.) |1.1 |- |5.0 |- Blue whiting (per cent.) |24.3 |33.6 |17.8 |14.7 |--- |--- |--- |--- Total (thousand tonnes) |857.4 |794.3 |767.4 |719.5 Division VIb (Rockall) Sandeels (per cent.) |- |- |- |- Norway pout (per cent.) |- |- |- |- Blue whiting (per cent.) |1.4 |2.5 |30.0 |3.9 |--- |--- |--- |--- Total (thousand tonnes) |31.7 |28.4 |44.4 |36.1
(2) what proportion of the industrial sandeel catch on the Wee Bankie is taken by British fishermen.
Sir Hector Monro : Total international catch data are published only for larger areas than Wee Bankie. Available data for the area off the Firth of Forth, however, show that catches in that area totalled 39,000 tonnes in 1991 and 60,000 tonnes in 1992. Published data are not yet available for 1993.
No United Kingdom vessels landed sandeels from that area in 1991 or 1993. In 1992, United Kingdom vessels landed just over 1,000 tonnes. The precise proportion this comprises of the entire sandeel catch on Wee Bankie in that year is unclear because of the factors explained above ; but the information available indicates that the proportion will be less than 2 per cent.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many (a) farmers and (b) holdings there were in (i) each region and (ii) less- favoured areas and non-less-favoured areas in Scotland in 1993.
Region |Number of|Number of |holdings |farmers -------------------------------------------------------------- Borders |1,740 |1,346 Central |1,088 |732 Dumfries and Galloway |3,022 |2,434 Fife |1,047 |785 Grampian |6,520 |4,708 Highland |4,672 |3,063 Lothian |1,137 |720 Strathclyde |5,706 |4,099 Tayside |2,904 |2,087 Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles |4,256 |2,796 Less Favoured Area<1> |20,692 |15,081 Non Less Favoured Area |11,400 |7,689 <1> Holdings where 50 per cent. or more of the land is classified LFA for subsidy purposes.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is (a) the amount of land in hectares in each region, (b) the number of farmers and (c) the cost of the five-year set-aside scheme in Scotland in (i) 1993- 94 and (ii) 1994-95 ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Hector Monro : The areas and numbers of farmers as reported and the aid paid to date under the five-year set-aside scheme in each region of Scotland in respect of 1993-94--that is, for the set-aside year ending on 30 September 1993--are as follows :
|Number of|Area |Amount |farmers |paid Region |Hectares |£ ----------------------------------------------------------------- Borders |44 |2,219 |348,309 Central |26 |1,042 |201,406 Dumfries and Galloway |7 |115 |20,938 Fife |34 |1,327 |173,398 Grampian |444 |10,301 |1,778,760 Highland and the Islands Councils |72 |2,447 |428,603 Lothian |23 |1,025 |208,185 Strathclyde |44 |615 |119,599 Tayside |118 |4,675 |711,533 |------- |------- |------- Totals |812 |23,766 |3,990,731
Estimated expenditure for 1994-95 is some £2 million in respect of 350 set-aside agreements covering around
Column 612,000 hectares. It is not possible to give a regional breakdown as the 1994-95 payments will not commence until after the claims have been received in respect of the set-aside year which ends on 30 September 1994. The difference between the 1993-94 and 1994-95 figures is the result of some farmers having completed their five-year agreements and others having taken advantage of the option to terminate agreements early in order to join the arable area payments scheme.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will give the payment rates made per hectare under the arable area payments scheme for (a) cereals, (b) oilseeds, (c) proteins, (d) linseed, (e) set- aside and (f) the simplified scheme paid in (i) the first year and (ii) the second year of the scheme in both the less-favoured area and the non-less favoured area of Scotland.
Sir Hector Monro : The payment rates per hectare in Scotland for the first and second year of the scheme are set out below. The actual rates payable in 1994 may be reduced if base areas are exceeded and the rate for oilseeds may be adjusted to reflect changes to the reference price.
1993 1994 |LFA |Non-LFA |LFA |Non-LFA |(£/hectares)|(£/hectares)|(£/hectares)|(£/hectares) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (a) cereals |114.0746 |131.3893 |156.9785 |181.7817 (b) oilseeds |368.8521 |445.6669 |402.8383 |489.3607 (c) proteins |296.5939 |341.6122 |291.5314 |337.5946 (d) linseed<1> |(-) |(-) |(-) |(-) (e) set-aside |205.3342 |236.5008 |255.6506 |296.0445 set-aside reduced rate<2> |(-) |(-) |179.4040 |207.7505 (f) simplified scheme |114.0746 |131.3893 |156.9785 |181.7817 <1> Linseed was not incorporated into the Arable Area Payments Scheme until 1994. The payment rate for 1994 has not yet been fixed by the EC Commission. <2> There is a reduced payment rate for voluntary set-aside in excess of the applicant's cropped area; voluntary set-aside was not available in 1993.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 11 January, Official Report, column 88, if he will now give (i) the number of hectares taken up and (ii) the number of holdings in Scotland in 1993 for (a) cereals, (b) potatoes, (c) linseed,
Column 6(d) sugar beet, (e) horticultural produce and (f) oilseeds in each region and in the less-favoured area and non-less- favoured areas.
Cereals Potatoes Linseed Horticultural Oilseeds Crops Region |Holdings |Area (ha)|Holdings |Area (ha)|Holdings |Area (ha)|Holdings |Area (ha)|Holdings |Area (ha) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Borders |838 |53,179 |139 |1,791 |27 |406 |105 |1,341 |220 |6,787 Central |375 |10,991 |45 |123 |-<1> |-<1> |28 |76 |70 |1,209 Dumfries and Galloway |902 |16,804 |92 |365 |0 |0 |34 |36 |21 |401 Fife |681 |37,495 |260 |2,633 |10 |175 |147 |2,639 |294 |6,339 Grampian |4,010 |124,726 |1,139 |5,989 |39 |673 |323 |2,121 |981 |22,961 Highland |1,253 |27,679 |573 |927 |-<1> |-<1> |108 |151 |131 |2,604 Lothian |618 |35,853 |138 |2,069 |-<1> |-<1> |116 |1,016 |185 |4,213 Strathclyde |1,303 |21,046 |310 |933 |-<1> |-<1> |172 |342 |22 |286 Tayside |1,758 |78,591 |1,048 |11,451 |32 |513 |496 |5,473 |714 |15,092 Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles |1,014 |4,191 |1,012 |317 |-<1> |-<1> |185 |51 |7 |33 <1> Less than 5 holdings. Figures for sugar beet are not collected.
Cereals Potatoes Linseed Horticultural Oilseeds Crops |Holdings |Area (ha)|Holdings |Area (Ha)|Holdings |Area (ha)|Holdings |Area (ha)|Holdings |Area (ha) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Less Favoured Area<1> |5,974 |96,175 |2,213 |2,403 |30 |530 |467 |955 |332 |5,614 Non Less Favoured Area |6,778 |314,381 |2,543 |24,196 |89 |1,370 |1,247 |12,290 |2,313 |54,311 <1> Holdings where 50 per cent. or more of the land is classified less favoured area for subsidy purposes.
Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the take-up of the arable area payments scheme in hectares for (a) the simplified scheme, (b) cereals, (c) oilseeds, (d) proteins, (e) linseed and (f) set-aside in (i) the less-favoured areas and (ii) the non- less-favoured areas in Scotland for 1994.
Sir Hector Monro : Officials are currently analysing claims made in 1994 by Scottish farmers under the arable area payments scheme. Until this analysis is complete, it is not possible to determine what this year's uptake has been.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will detail the most recent information available to him on the stability of old mineworkings which lie under the town of Johnstone and the village of Elderslie ; how many houses have been demolished in the area because of subsidence caused by old mineworkings ; if he will give the year of demolition ; what measures have been taken to minimise the risk of further subsidence ; if he will commission a study into the need for further ground stabilisation measures ; which public bodies have responsibility for monitoring the situation ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 24 June 1994] : The information the hon. Member seeks is not held centrally. It is not clear from the hon. Member's question what type of mining operations are being referred to. However, in the case of coal mining subsidence where properties suffer damage, British Coal is responsible for repair or compensation, as appropriate, under the Coal Mining Subsidence Act (1991). Following privatisation, claimants' rights regarding coal mining subsidence damage will remain unaffected, although British Coal's responsibilities will pass either to the Coal Authority or to the new mine owner.
If the hon. Member is concerned about a specific coal mining related matter, he may care to direct his inquiry to British Coal.
(2) if he will make a statement on the current issues and problems facing the excavation and heavy plant hire sector of the road haulage and contracting industry in Scotland.
Lord James Douglas-Hamilton [holding answer 1 July 1994] : My right hon. Friend and I are not aware of any particular issues and problems that are peculiar to the road haulage industry in Scotland. The road haulage industry in the United Kingdom is generally acknowledged as being one of the most efficient, reliable and cost-effective within the European Union. It has a continuing and important role to play in the economy of Scotland.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the average time his Department takes in replying to letters from right hon. and hon. Members ; and what is (a) the shortest time and (b) the longest time it has taken to reply in full in the last Session of Parliament.
Mr. Lang [holding answer 1 July 1994] : Information is not held currently in precisely the form requested. My Department has a target of issuing replies to correspondence from hon. Members and others within 17 working days of receipt. Statistics of performance are held by calendar year and in 1993, 52 per cent. of replies to hon. Members were within that 17 working day target. The time taken to answer individual items of correspondence in 1993 ranged from fewer than five working days to over 30 working days of receipt of the correspondence. Some 85 per cent. of correspondence warranting a ministerial reply in 1993--10,320 items out of a total of 12, 089--received a full reply within 30 working days.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will publish a table showing the identifiable (a) capital and (b) revenue or current expenditure by Renfrewshire Enterprise by regional council electoral division, or on any other geographical basis on which the data is collated or accounted, in each year since 1990 ; how much in both expenditure categories is (i) legally committed and (ii) planned for fiscal years 1994-95 and 1995-96 ; what is the pro-rata expenditure in each category for each regional council electoral division, expressed as a percentage of the total capital and revenue budgets measured against their respective populations ; if he will rank the regional council electoral divisions in decending order by level of expenditure in both categories ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 1 July 1994] : The overall budget allocation for Scottish Enterprise is determined by my right hon. Friend. The distribution of funds from Scottish Enterprise to the local enterprise company network is an operational matter for Scottish Enterprise. I shall ask the chairman to write to the hon. Member.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what decisions his Department has taken in respect of local enterprise companies over the last 12 months ; and if he will make a statement on his Department's involvement with LECs over the same period.
Mr. Stewart [holding answer 29 June 1994] : My right hon. Friend and the Scottish Office set the operating frameworks within which Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise contract with the local enterprise companies, but do not have any direct, formal relationship with the local enterprise companies them-selves. Scottish Enterprise requires the approval of the Scottish Office before making material changes to the local enterprise company operating contracts or articles and memoranda of association. One such case has been referred to the Scottish Office in the past year. In addition, there are frequent informal contacts between Scottish Office Ministers and officials and the local enterprise companies.
Sir Hector Monro : My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, for Wales and for the Environment have today laid before Parliament a set of draft regulations which would, subject to approval by both Houses, give legislative effect to the directive in Great Britain.
The measures set out in the draft regulations build on our existing nature conservation legislation and provide increased protection on land and at sea for the most internationally important sites for nature conservation in Great Britain. They form part of the Government's wider action to promote nature conservation and biological diversity, as set out in "Biodiversity : The United Kingdom Action Plan", launched by the Prime Minister in January this year.
The draft regulations also reflect the comments made when the Government consulted a wide range of conservation, farming, fisheries, economic, recreational and other interests in the autumn of 1993 about implementation of the habitats directive. The 94 responses received in Scotland emphasised to the Government both the widespread support for the nature conservation objectives of the directive and the need to implement the directive in partnership with those who earn their living from our countryside and our sea.
The draft regulations apply to special protection areas designated under the EC wild birds directive and to special areas of conservation to be identified by the Government in accordance with the habitats directive. Together, these sites will contribute to a European network of sites of high biodiversity significance to be known as Natura 2000.
In brief, the regulations contain the following provisions : duties are placed on Ministers and the statutory nature conservation agencies--for Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage--to fulfil the requirements of the habitats directive ;
duties are placed on other statutory authorities to address the requirements of the habitats directive in the exercise of their functions ;
new provisions build on those in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to give additional protection to Natura 2000 sites. Existing restrictions on potentially damaging operations may be toughened where necessary, and farmers and landowners will be compensated for any losses which they sustain because of this. Special nature conservation orders will give indefinite protection to the conservation interests of Natura 2000 sites from proposals to carry out damaging operations. In the last resort, Scottish Natural Heritage would be obliged to use its compulsory purchase powers to protect Natura 2000 sites from deterioration or where no satisfactory management agreements could be concluded following the making of a special nature conservation order. This power should seldom, if ever, be used given that SNH will be seeking to address the inappropriate management of land by the negotiation of voluntary management agreements ;
some technical measures supplement the species protection provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 ;
an innovative set of measures is proposed to secure the protection of Natura 2000 sites in the marine environment. Ministers and statutory authorities would be obliged to use their powers to protect the integrity of marine Natura 2000 sites. SNH would advise relevant authorities on the conservation objectives of marine Natura 2000 sites. Where desirable, the relevant authorities concerned would cooperate in drawing up a management scheme for the marine Natura 2000 site. Ministers would have reserve powers to ensure that management schemes were developed where necessary and to ensure these schemes effectively address the issues facing the site ;
provisions are made to ensure that planning authorities, and other authorities giving consent for developments or
Column 10operations potentially damaging to the integrity of Natura 2000 sites, cannot give consent to developments if they would damage the integrity of a Natura 2000 site. Authorities would be required to review, and where necessary modify or revoke, existing permissions whose implementation would be damaging to a Natura 2000 site, and compensatory provisions are established for developers who incur loss because of this. The Government will consider sympathetically requests from planning authorities for reimbursement of the costs of compensation necessarily incurred by them in revoking or modifying planning permissions under these regulations. Provisions governing simplified planning zones and enterprise zones are amended by the draft regulations so as not to give permission for developments damaging to the integrity of a Natura 2000 site. The General Permitted Development Order is being amended similarly following a separate consultation in the late summer of 1993.
Further minor measures will be introduced after the summer recess bringing the exercise by relevant authorities of powers under specific statutes into line with the requirements of the directive. The Government also expect in the autumn to consult owners, occupiers and other relevant interests on a draft list of proposed special areas of conservation. The Government believe this consultation to be important even though it is not required by the directive. The Government intend, subject to the regulations coming into force, to issue a circular to the relevant authorities detailing the effect of the regulations.
The Government consider that the draft regulations set out before Parliament a balanced and effective range of measures to establish and protect Great Britain's valuable contribution to the Natura 2000 network.
Mr. Needham : Promotion of health care exports is primarily the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health. However, our two Departments work closely together on export promotion and we are currently in the process of setting up a health care sector group under the auspices of the Overseas Projects Board. For my own part, I have sought to promote British health care expertise during my visits abroad, most recently during my programme of calls earlier this month in Asia and the middle east.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : Records are kept of the expenses incurred by departmental inspectors and, since 1991, of the time spent on individual inspections. Time costs are calculated taking into account salaries, associated costs, and general overheads including accommodation costs.
Mr. Needham : Indonesia is one of my Department's priority markets. Last year, we effectively doubled the number of staff working on promoting trade to Indonesia and engaged a secondee from industry specifically for that purpose. In 1993, I led three business delegations to Indonesia and the DTI financially supported a further 150 British business visitors : it is likely that a similar number will receive support this year.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action has been taken against Ernst and Young and its partners, following the criticisms made by the inspectors in their report on (a) Rotaprint plc and (b) Sound Diffusion.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : In the case of Rotaprint plc, the investigation committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales reprimanded and fined Mr. R. H. Legge FCA, the engagement partner for the audit in question. In the case of Sound Diffusion plc, the investigation committee concluded earlier this month, after taking leading counsels' opinion, that there was no prima facie case against the institute members responsible for auditing the accounts of the company in 1986 and 1987, the years in question. Consequently, the investigation committee decided not to refer formal complaints to the institute's disciplinary committee.
Mr. Radice : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what surveys of the views, opinions and attitudes of the staff of his Department have been carried out in the last two years ; and if he will place copies of the findings in the Library.
Mr. Eggar : Few surveys of this kind have been conducted in the DTI during the past two years, and they relate to the operation of internal management procedures. They are confidential to management and to the staff involved.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what consideration he has given to proposals for legislation under which receivers would owe a duty of care to (a) the shareholders and (b) the employees of a company in receivership.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what consideration he has given to proposals for the creation of a single independent body to monitor the work of auditors ; (2) when he will lay Professor Moizer's report before the House.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what action he has taken against the auditing firm and partners criticised in the inspectors' reports on Alexander Howden ; and what has been the outcome.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : A copy of the inspectors' report into the affairs of Alexander Howden Holdings plc--formerly Alexander Howden Group plc--was passed to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in August 1990. The matter was then referred to the joint disciplinary scheme. In December 1992, a joint disciplinary scheme committee of inquiry, noting that the events which were the subject of the inquiry took place prior to 1982, found that no criticism was made out concerning the conduct, efficiency or competence of two members and, in respect of the others under inquiry, decided that it would not now be able to reach a finding on their conduct, efficiency or competence.