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Mr. Robert B. Jones: Various aspects of the area cost adjustment have been considered this year by the SSA sub-group, which is the main forum in which technical issues affecting standard spending assessments are discussed between government officials and local authority representatives. Ministers are considering the options which have been put forward and will be announcing their proposals for 1995 96 later in the year.
Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the percentage increase in standard spending assessment for counties in each English region from 1989 90 to 1994 95; and what were the percentage increases for all English counties and for all local authorities in England over the same period.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The first year of Standard Spending Assessments was 1990 91. Comparative figures for 1990 91 and 1994 95 for non- metropolitan county councils, which make no allowance for changes in function, are:
|1990-91 |1994-95 |£ million |£ million |Change ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Northern |1,029.163 |1,273.801 |+23.8 per cent. North West |1,217.646 |1,477.878 |+21.4 per cent. Yorkshire and Humberside |798.783 |976.481 |+22.2 per cent. East Midlands |2,014.564 |2,469.158 |+22.6 per cent. West Midlands |1,251.442 |1,530.181 |+22.3 per cent. East Anglia |966.003 |1,216.725 |+26.0 per cent. South West |2,207.561 |2,757.969 |+24.9 per cent. South East |5,152.553 |6,629.815 |+28.7 per cent. (outside Greater London) Total shire counties |14,637.716 |18,332.008 |+25.2 per cent. All local authorities |29,805.300 |37,847.700 |+27.0 per cent.
Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what basic credit approval was given to east midlands counties in each year since 1992 93; and if he will express this as a percentage of total county basic credit approvals for these years.
Basic credit approvals issued to east midlands counties 1992-93 to 1994-95 |1992-93|1993-94|1994-95 County |£ 000 |£ 000 |£ 000 --------------------------------------------------------- Derbyshire |18,840 |16,228 |8,878 Leicestershire |17,926 |14,145 |12,334 Lincolnshire |16,076 |14,034 |13,426 Northamptonshire |7,631 |4,974 |6,903 Nottinghamshire |12,013 |9,599 |7,101 Total |72,486 |58,980 |48,642 Percentage of total BCAs for all counties |13.1 |12.6 |9.7
Mr. Grocott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of press officers currently employed by his Department who are normally based (a) in the Department in London, (b) in the House and (c) at each other location.
Sir Paul Beresford: There are currently 31 information officers employed by the Department of Environment including those employed by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution. All deal with the full range of information services; none are exclusively press officers. These staff are all located in London. None are employed in the House. Additionally officers are employed in an information role in the various agencies directly accountable to the Department.
Regional services in England are provided by the Central Office of Information.
Mrs. Peacock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how much of the money realised from the sale of houses under the right-to-buy legislation has been used by local authorities to pay off their outstanding debts.
However, figures of receipts from sales of council dwellings to sitting tenants are collected by the Department and these show that between the introduction of right to buy in 1980 and the end of March 1994 the total value of such sitting tenant sales, net of discount, is an estimated £18.5 billion.
Mr. Coe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what his proposals are for extending compulsory competitive tendering to local authority information technology services and finance services.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: My right hon. and learned Friend the then Secretary of State for the Environment announced to the House the Government's decisions on proposals to extend compulsory competitive tendering to local authority and other defined authorities white-collar corporate and professional services on November 10 1992 at column 744 . He undertook that the Government would discuss details of implementing these decisions with
Column 542representatives of local government and other interested parties. Since then, my officials have had very useful discussions with the local authority associations, the Audit Commission and CIPFA on a number of joint working groups, and with a number of other representative bodies.
We are today issuing two consultation documents inviting comments on the Government's detailed proposals for extending CCT to local authority Information Technology services, and to finance services. Following consultation on CCT for legal and construction and property services, Orders were tabled before the House in June and July this year for legal and construction and property services respectively. The papers issued today on IT and finance services will be followed later this year by our detailed proposals for personnel and corporate and administrative services.
Copies of today's consultation papers will be placed in the Library. They include a definition of each service which includes the provision of a range of IT and finance services but does not capture the users of IT services and excludes financial tasks carried out as part of the normal duties of managers and other administrative staff whose primary responsibility is to a service other than a financial one.
We recognise that not all of this work is necessarily suited to competitive tendering and potential contracting out. For this reason we propose that local authorities be permitted to carry out up to 30 per cent. by value, of IT work using their own staff without going through competition, all authorities being able to retain a minimum of £300,000 worth of work in-house and free of competitive tendering. This recognises that certain work must be retained in-house both to enable an authority to fulfil its democratic responsibilities and to act as an expert client for bought-in services.
Similarly, for finance services we propose that the authorities be able to retain 65 per cent. by value of work, with a de minimis exemption of £300,000. An authority will not be able to award any of the remaining 70 per cent. of IT work or 35 per cent. of finance work, to their own staff unless they have won it in fair and open competition.
As with legal and professional construction and property services, the consultation papers also give details of modifications which we intend to make top the statutory framework for competitive tendering to ensure that authorities will continue to be able to deliver services in a way which meets their own operational objectives. Following consideration of comments received on the proposals included in this consultation document, I will submit to the House the statutory instruments required under the Local Government Act 1988 to give effect to our proposals. I anticipate that, subject to the conclusions we draw from consultation and to parliamentary approval of the relevant order, CCT for Finance services will take effect from 1 October 1996 in metropolitan districts, London boroughs and certain other defined authorities; and that CCT for IT services will come into effect one year later than originally proposed, from 1 October 1997. This will place IT CCT at the end of the extension programme, allowing authorities, if they wish, to deal with market testing of IT work once the outcome of competition for services which are the principal customers for IT is clear.
Column 543For counties and shire districts CCT for both services will take effect once the Local Government Commission's review of local authority structure has been completed and, where appropriate, changes have been made. CCT for these services for the new police authorities will be subject to separate consultation.
My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales are issuing separate consultation papers. The proposals contained therein follow much of what I have outlined above, although implementation dates will take account of the programme for local government restructuring in both those countries. A separate consultation exercise is currently taking place in Scotland on the timetable for Scottish authorities.
Experience with the manual services already subject to CCT has shown that competition brings not only financial savings, but also significant improvements in the management, efficiency and quality of public services. I fully expect that CCT will bring the same benefits to IT, finance and other white-collar work.
Corporation tax paid by companies in the construction sector is as follows:
|£ million ------------------------------ 1979-80 |130 1980-81 |140 1981-82 |160 1982-83 |200 1983-84 |230 1984-85 |250 1985-86 |320 1986-87 |370 1987-88 |570 1988-89 |820 1989-90 |1,270 1990-91 |1,240 1991-92 |890 1992-93 |710 1993-94 |520 Notes: Figures for 1985-86 and earlier years are estimates based on corporation tax liability.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will make a statement on his plans for legislation applying the requirement to conduct environmental impact assessments under directive 85/337/EEC specifically to offshore oil and gas exploration, appraisal or production projects;
(2) in what way current United Kingdom legislation applies the requirement to conduct environmental impact assessments under directive 85/337/EEC specifically to offshore oil and gas exploration, appraisal or production projects.
Column 544Industry before consent is given in respect of the operation of any offshore oil or gas production installation within 25 miles of the coast. In addition, beyond 25 miles, environmental assessments are required for production installations in environmentally sensitive areas identified in consultation with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
Mr. Fatchett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what statistical method is used by the Leeds development corporation in calculating the number of jobs created; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Paul Beresford [holding answer 24 October 1994]: The number of jobs created is calculated annually by economic consultants employed by Leeds development corporation. Figures are derived from a survey of all completed developments, both new-build and conversions, within the urban development area, to establish how many full-time equivalent jobs have been created.
Mr. Ainger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, what United Kingdom legislation implements the environmental impact assessments Directive (85/337/EEC) with respect to projects which do not fall within the planning process and are not governed by the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988 (SI No. 1199).
Sir Paul Beresford [holding answer 24 October 1994]: The main regulations which implement Directive 85/337/EEC in the United Kingdom for projects which are not governed by the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988 (SI No. 1199) are as follows:
Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1988 (SI No. 1221 (S. 122))
Environmental Assessment (Salmon Farming in Marine Waters) Regulations 1988 (SI No. 1218)
Environmental Assessment (Afforestation) Regulations 1988 (SI No. 1207)
Land Drainage Improvement Works (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988 (SI No. 1217)
Highways (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988 (SI No. 1241)
Harbour Works (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988 (SI No. 1336)
Harbour Works (Assessment of Environmental Effects) (No. 2) Regulations 1989 (SI No. 424)
Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1989 (SR No. 20)
Electricity and Pipe-Line Works (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1990 (SI No. 442)
Environmental Assessment (Afforestation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1989 (SR No. 226)
Harbour Works (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1990 (SR No. 181)
Drainage (Environmental Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991 (SR No. 376)
Harbour Works (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1992 (SI No. 1421)
Transport and Works (Applications and Objections Procedure) Rules 1992 (SI No. 2902)
Roads (Northern Ireland) Order 1993 (SI No. 3160 (NI 15)) Article 67)
Column 545A number of minor amending regulations have also been issued.
Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those individuals and organisations who responded to the document, "Quality in Town and Country;" and if he will place copies of these responses in the Library.
Sir Paul Beresford [holding answer 17 October 1994]: Yes. A list of responses received, excluding any who asked that their response be confidential, will be placed in the Libraries of the House on 1 November. Copies of individual responses will be available through the Library once our analysis of them has been completed.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the total amount spent on official hospitality by (a) his Department and (b) his agencies for each year since 1990.
|(a) NIO and |NI Departments|(b) Agencies ------------------------------------------------------------ 1990-91 |294,819 |7,443 1991-92 |276,583 |27,541 1992-93 |503,846 |36,752 1993-94 |511,350 |45,770 NIO records for 1990-91 and 1991-92 are unavailable as they were destroyed in a fire.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether his Department has yet made a full response to the points which were raised with him at his meeting on 11 August with the representatives of the Manufacturing and Construction Industries Alliance in connection with the proposed grant to the Hualon corporation in connection with the development of new textile facilities in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent representations he has received concerning the proposed grant to the Hualon Corporation in connection with the development of new textile facilities in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Ancram [holding answer 24 October 1994]: Apart from meeting the hon. Member and two representatives from Coats Viyella and Council of British Cotton textiles since July 1994, Ministers have received two written representations--both from individuals.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to support the immediate resettlement of refugees returning to Guatemala under the terms of the 8 October 1992 accord, and to support the establishment and work of the Technical Commission agreed to under the 17 June 1994 accord for the resettlement of populations displaced by the armed conflict.
Mr. Baldry: We are major contributors both bilaterally and through the EU to UNHCR who continue to play an important role in the repatriation process. We have urged all sides to ensure that returnees can do so safely, to areas where adequate advance provision has been made for their reception. Together with EU partners we have made clear our intention to play a full part in supporting the peace process, including the resettlement of displaced persons.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures he intends to take following the final resolutions of the Cairo international conference on population and development.
Mr. Baldry: We will be seeking to identify sound projects in population and reproductive health field so that by the end of next year we will have committed the £100 million of aid announced in July by my noble Friend the Minister for Overseas Development. We will extend access to reproductive health services through intensified co-operation with the United Nations population fund and our other partners, including the private sector.
Mr. Baldry: We have had extensive discussions with our European partners. On 12 October the EU announced that, in the absence of a timetable for an early return to constitutional government, they were suspending all military co-operation and balance of payments support to The Gambia; and would review new aid projects on a case by case basis.
Mr. Baldry: We have committed £60 million for Rwandan displaced and refugees in neighbouring countries since April 1994; £33 million of this is bilateral emergency aid and £27 million is our share of EC aid.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance he is providing to the Governments of Zaire, Tanzania and Uganda to help them to cope with the influx of refugees from Rwanda.
Mr. Baldry: Our emergency aid is normally provided to operational field agencies. Almost all our £33 million bilateral emergency aid has been allocated through such agencies for relief activities and to encourage the safe return of refugees to Rwanda, which is the best help that we can give to neighbouring countries.
(2) what assistance is being given to the new Government of Rwanda to assist with rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Mr. Baldry: Our present emphasis is to help create conditions within Rwanda which will encourage refugees to return. Thus we have recently provided over £2 million to NGOs involved in immediate rehabilitation, including seeds and tools provision, restarting of health care services and tracing and registration of unaccompanied children. In addition, £100,000 of equipment has been provided towards the re-establishment of the Rwanda Ministries of Health and of Rehabilitation and Social Integration.
We have also made grants to UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration, who are helping refugees return to Rwanda.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with other aid donor Governments regarding provision of financial compensation to the Government of Tanzania for the environmental degradation caused by the influx of refugees from Rwanda.
Mr. Baldry: None. However, we recognise the importance of mitigating environmental degradation and have provided £35,000 to the non- governmental organisation, CARE, in support of an environmental impact assessment.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the United Kingdom is providing to the Government of Rwanda in re-establishing and training a civilian police force.
Mr. Baldry: In response to a request from the Government of Rwanda, a training programme, aimed at providing trainees with a basic knowledge of routine and investigative police work to enable them to address the immediate law and order problems in Kigali is now under way under UNAMIR auspices.
Column 548the training of Rwandan teams. We are awaiting the outcome of current UN assessments.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Operation Lifeline Sudan has been able to send humanitarian aid to northern Bahr al Ghazal in Sudan; and what reports he has on the physical condition of the people in the region.
Mr. Baldry: Between January and August Operation Lifeline Sudan delivered 3,741 tonnes of food aid to more than 105,000 beneficiaries in Bahr el Ghazal as well as health care, seeds, tools and fishing equipment and veterinary care to promote food security. The rains have brought good prospects for harvests and pastures.
OLS is currently assessing humanitarian needs in the region to plan future inputs. The results should be available by the end of this month.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in gaining access for international humanitarian agencies to the Nuba mountains in Sudan.
Mr. Baldry: There has been no significant change to the structure of relief aid since the answer that my hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State gave to the hon. Member on 10 May 1994 at column 79. However, assessments of 1994 95 humanitarian needs are now taking place at several locations in the transitional zone with participation from United Nations humanitarian agencies.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to amend the procedures relating to the aid and trade provision in the light of the findings of the Foreign Affairs Committee in its third report of Session 1993 94.
Mr. Baldry: The Government set out our detailed observations in our response, Cm 2672, to the Foreign Affairs Committee's report. The Committee concluded that in principle the thrust of the reforms introduced in June 1993 following the ATP review was to be broadly welcomed, and that the ATP should continue. The Government have no immediate plans for further amendments to the procedures for operating the ATP, but they remain under constant review.
Mr. Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any debts from Jordan to Britain have been written off since the Israeli-Jordanian peace accord; and what future plans there are for such writing-off.
Mr. Baldry: All aid debts owed by Jordan to Britain have been forgiven following the Washington declaration by Israel and Jordan. There are currently no plans for further forgiveness of other official Jordanian debt.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the United Kingdom is providing with security arrangements for aid workers in the refugee camps at Goma in Zaire.
Mr. Baldry: We have received no requests from aid workers for assistance in security arrangements, but we are closely monitoring situation reports from UN officials and remain in regular contact with aid organisations working in Goma.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the consortium of British companies involved in the Pergau hydro-electric project in the light of his observations on the third report from the Foreign Affairs Committee of Session 1993 94 (Cm 2672).
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what has been the total amount spent on official hospitality by (a) his Department and (b) his agencies for each year since 1990.