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House of Commons

Tuesday 25 October 1994

The House met at half-past Two o'clock

PRAYERS

[ Madam Speaker-- in the Chair ]

PRIVATE BUSINESS

University of London Bill

Lords amendment agreed to.

River Calder (Welbeck Site) Bill

[Lords]

Ordered,

That the Promoters of the River Calder (Welbeck Site) [Lords] shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office not later than the day before the close of the present Session of their intention to suspend further proceedings and that all Fees due on the Bill up to that date be paid; Ordered,

That, if the Bill is brought from the Lords in the next Session, the Agent for the Bill shall deposit in the Private Bill Office a declaration signed by him, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill which was brought from the Lords in the present Session;

Ordered,

That, as soon as a certificate by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office, that such a declaration has been so deposited, has been laid upon the Table of the House, the Bill shall be read the first and second time and committed (and shall be recorded in the Journal of this House as having been so read and committed);

Ordered,

That all Petitions relating to the Bill presented in the present Session which stand referred to the Committee on the Bill, together with any minutes of evidence taken before the Committee on the Bill, shall stand referred to the Committee on the Bill in the next Session;

Ordered,

That no Petitioners shall be heard before the Committee on the Bill, unless their Petition has been presented within the time limited within the present Session or deposited pursuant to paragraph (b) of Standing Order 126 relating to Private Business;

Ordered,

That, in relation to the Bill, Standing Order 127 relating to Private Business shall have effect as if the words "under Standing Order 126 (Reference to committee of petitions against Bill)" were omitted;

Ordered,

That no further Fees shall be charged in respect of any proceedings on the Bill in respect of which Fees have already been incurred during the present Session;

Ordered,

That these Orders be Standing Orders of the House.-- [The Chairman of Ways and Means.]


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Malvern Hills Bill

[Lords]

Ordered,

That the Promoters of the Malvern Hills Bill [Lords] shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office not later than the day before the close of the present Session of their intention to suspend further proceedings and that all Fees due on the Bill up to that date be paid;

Ordered,

That, if the Bill is brought from the Lords in the next Session, the Agent for the Bill shall deposit in the Private Bill Office a declaration signed by him, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill which was brought from the Lords in the present Session;

Ordered,

That, as soon as a certificate by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office, that such a declaration has been so deposited, has been laid upon the Table of the House, the Bill shall be read the first and second time and committed (and shall be recorded in the Journal of this House as having been so read and committed);

Ordered,

That all Petitions relating to the Bill presented in the present Session which stand referred to the Committee on the Bill, together with any minutes of evidence taken before the Committee on the Bill, shall stand referred to the Committee on the Bill in the next Session;

Ordered,

That no Petitioners shall be heard before the Committee on the Bill, unless their Petition has been presented within the time limited within the present Session or deposited pursuant to paragraph (b) of Standing Order 126 relating to Private Business;

Ordered,

That, in relation to the Bill, Standing Order 127 relating to Private Business shall have effect as if the words "under Standing Order 126 (Reference to committee of petitions against Bill)" were omitted;

Ordered,

That no further Fees shall be charged in respect of any proceedings on the Bill in respect of which Fees have already been incurred during the present Session;

Ordered,

That these Orders be Standing Orders of the House.-- [The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation Bill

Ordered,

That the Promoters of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation Bill shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office not later than the day before the close of the present Session of their intention to suspend further proceedings and that all Fees due on the Bill up to the date be paid;

Ordered,

That on the fifth day on which the House sits in the next Session the Bill shall be presented to the House;


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Ordered,

That there shall be deposited with the Bill a declaration signed by the Agents for the Bill, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill at the last stage of its proceedings in this House in the present Session;

Ordered,

That the Bill shall be laid upon the Table of the House by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office on the next meeting of the House after the day on which the Bill has been presented and, when so laid, shall be read the first and second time (and shall be recorded in the Journal of this House as having been so read) and, having been amended by the Committee in the present Session, shall be ordered to lie upon the Table;

Ordered,

That no further Fees shall be charged in respect of any proceedings on the Bill in respect of which Fees have already been incurred during the present Session;

Ordered,

That these Orders be Standing Orders of the House.-- [The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

City of Westminster Bill

[Lords]

Ordered,

That the Promoters of the City of Westminster Bill [Lords] shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office of their intention to suspend further proceedings not later than the day before the close of the present Session and that all Fees due on the Bill up to that date be paid; Ordered,

That, if the Bill is brought from the Lords in the next Session, the Agents for the Bill shall deposit in the Private Bill Office a declaration signed by them, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill which was brought from the Lords in the present Session;

Ordered,

That, as soon as a certificate by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office, that such a declaration has been so deposited, has been laid upon the Table of the House, the Bill shall be read the first and second time and committed (and shall be recorded in the Journal of this House as having been so read and committed) and shall be committed to the Chairman of Ways and Means, who shall make such Amendments thereto as have been made by the Committee in the present Session, and shall report the Bill as amended to the House forthwith, and the Bill, so amended, shall be ordered to lie upon the Table; Ordered,

That no further Fees shall be charged in respect of any proceedings on the Bill in respect of which Fees have already been incurred during the present Session;

Ordered,

That these Orders be Standing Orders of the House.-- [The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

Sheffield Assay Office Bill

Ordered,

That the Promoters of the Sheffield Assay Office Bill shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the


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Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office not later than the day before the close of the present Session of their intention to suspend further proceedings and that all Fees due on the Bill up to that date be paid;

Ordered,

That, on the fifth day on which the House sits in the next Session, the Bill shall be presented to the House;

Ordered,

That there shall be deposited with the Bill a declaration signed by the Agents for the Bill, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill at the last stage of its proceedings in this House in the present Session;

Ordered,

That the Bill shall be laid upon the Table of the House by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office on the next meeting of the House after the day on which the Bill has been presented and, when so laid, shall be read the first and second time and committed (and shall be recorded in the Journal of this House as having been so read and committed);

Ordered,

That, no Petitions against the Bill having been presented within the time limited within the present Session, no Petitioners shall be heard before any committee on the Bill save those who complain of any amendment as proposed in the filled up Bill or of any matter which arises during the progress of the Bill before the committee; Ordered,

That no further Fees shall be charged in respect of any proceedings on the Bill in respect of which Fees have already been incurred during the present Session;

Ordered,

That these Orders be Standing Orders to the House.-- [The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

Humber Bridge Bill

[Lords]

Motion made, and Question proposed ,

That the Promoters of the Humber Bridge Bill [Lords] shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office of their intention to suspend further proceedings not later than the day before the close of the present Session and that all Fees due on the Bill up to that date be paid;

That, if the Bill is brought from the Lords in the next Session, the Agents for the Bill shall deposit in the Private Bill Office a declaration signed by them stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill which was brought from the Lords in the present Session;

That, as soon as a certificate by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office, that such a declaration has been so deposited, has been laid upon the Table of the House, the Bill shall be deemed to have been read the first and shall be ordered to be read a second time; That the Petitions against the Bill presented in the present Session which stand referred to the Committee on the Bill shall stand referred to the Committee on the Bill in the next Session;


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That no Petitioners shall be heard before the Committee on the Bill, unless their Petition has been presented within the time limited within the present Session or deposited pursuant to paragraph (b) of Standing Order 126 relating to Private Business;

That, in relation to the Bill, Standing Order 127 relating to Private Business shall have effect as if the words "under Standing Order 126 (Reference to committee of petitions against Bill)" were omitted;

That no further Fees shall be charged in respect of any proceedings on the Bill in respect of which Fees have already been incurred during the present Session;

That these Orders be Standing Orders of the House.-- [The Chairman of Ways and Means.]

Hon. Members: Object.

To be considered on Thursday 27 October.


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Oral Answers to Questions

HEALTH

Accident And Emergency Units

1. Sir Michael Neubert: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many accident and emergency units are currently proposed for closure in Greater London.

The Minister for Health (Mr. Gerald Malone): A number of London health authorities are considering proposals for change to the current pattern of accident and emergency services.

Sir Michael Neubert: Should not ease of access by road and proximity to the main centres of population be the overriding factors in determining the location of accident and emergency units? Do not those considerations point overwhelmingly to the continuing need for Oldchurch hospital in that all-important life and death role?

Mr. Malone: I congratulate my hon. Friend on the fact that on the two occasions that I have so far appeared at the Dispatch Box, he has been able to represent the interests of his constituents in this matter, which he does extremely assiduously. As I told him in the debate on Friday, his representations will be considered by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, as the matter is now before her.

Ms Church: Will the Minister undertake to make a visit to Harold Wood hospital so that he can see for himself the great difficulty that my constituents will encounter if the proposed closure of the accident and emergency department at Oldchurch hospital goes ahead?

Mr. Malone: I am be extremely keen to inform myself in whatever way is absolutely necessary to be sure of all the facts. I have undertaken a number of visits to accident and emergency units around London since I was appointed to my post. I remind the hon. Lady that the overriding requirement for the reformation of accident and emergency services across London is continuing quality of patient care and the proper provision of services for all patients.

Mr. Dykes: In terms both of the accident and emergency services and of the other services, will my hon. Friend pledge to do all that he can to save Edgware general hospital from closure?

Mr. Malone: Those are clearly matters to be decided at a local level. Even in my short time at the Dispatch Box, I have noticed with interest that many people are in favour of changing the structure of services in London, but when it comes to their constituency interests they make particular representations. One cannot restructure services in London without making sure that that is done in a proper and sensitive way. I repeat to my hon. Friend the point that I made earlier--quite simply, it is the quality of overall patient care in London that will inform us as we proceed with any changes.

Mr. Dykes: On a point of order, Madam Speaker. In view of that reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment.

Madam Speaker: I am sorry, but I cannot accept that request from the hon. Member because Question 1 was not his substantive question.


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Vehicle Emissions

2. Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment her Department has made of the effect of motor vehicle emissions on respiratory diseases.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Tom Sackville): While there is, as yet, no conclusive evidence that motor vehicle emissions cause respiratory diseases, including asthma, high levels of motor vehicle emissions may exacerbate existing respiratory conditions and may trigger attacks in some asthmatic people.

Mr. Jamieson: Is the Minister aware of a report published earlier this year by Noel Olsen, the director of health in the Plymouth and Torbay health authority, who concluded that there is a strong link between asthma and motor vehicle fumes? He said that, shortly, 10 per cent. of children in Plymouth will need inhaled steroids. Is the Minister aware that that view has been strongly reinforced today in a report from the Select Committee on Transport? When will his Department do something about it?

Mr. Sackville: A great deal is being done by the Department of Transport about vehicle emissions. I remind the hon. Gentleman that asthmatics also suffer from pollen, fungal spores, house mites, smoke and a series of other factors.

Mr. Wilkinson: Are not high levels of motor vehicle pollution a grave exacerbating factor in many respiratory conditions, particularly in London? Has not the incidence of asthma and other serious respiratory diseases increased in direct proportion to the increase in motor vehicle traffic? Should not the Department of Health, therefore, concert effectively with the Department of Transport, to get more people onto public transport, especially the tube and railways, rather than using their cars?

Mr. Sackville: There is undoubtedly a connection, which is why my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport has brought in a series of new measures to tighten up diesel emissions and emissions from catalyst and non-catalyst cars, and to put inspectors by the side of roads in inner cities to find those who are polluting the atmosphere. My right hon. Friend has promised to "get tough", particularly on those who drive smoky diesel vehicles. Having worked for him for the past two years, I am now glad that I do not pollute the atmosphere for a living.

Rev. Martin Smyth: I appreciate that the Minister's second response was a little more positive than his first. However, may I press him to speak to the Minister responsible for transport because, despite clean air zones in our cities, the pollution has intensified, as we are now discovering again this year through fogs?

Mr. Sackville: I confirm that we are working closely with the Departments of the Environment and of Transport. We are also organising a major conference on the causes of asthma. We have invited the National Asthma Campaign to organise it jointly with us.


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Private Finance Initiatives

3. Mr. Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in taking forward the private finance initiative in the South Thames region.

The Secretary of State for Health (Mrs. Virginia Bottomley): Good progress has been made in taking forward the private finance initiative in the South Thames region. Since the initiative was launched in November 1992, seven projects have been approved, each with a capital value of £1 million or over. This is bringing in more than £26 million of private sector capital to the region.

Mr. Ottaway: I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. Will she confirm that, since the private finance initiative was launched, it has resulted in additional investment nationally of some £100 million and that a further £500 million has been earmarked? Is not that excellent news for patients? How will those latter opportunities be realised?


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