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There have been three cases where enquiries established that cones should not have been in place and were therefore removed. In all cases cones have been found to have been present for sound operational or safety reasons.
I hope this information is helpful.
Mr. Austin-Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to the implications of the possible imposition of VAT on public transport fares for (a) increased use of private cars and traffic congestion and (b) air pollution; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: I have been asked to reply. Tax changes are a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget on 29 November. As the hon. Gentleman will appreciate, I am unable to comment at this time on the level of consideration given to any particular matter.
Mr. Grocott: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will list the privatisation which his Department has promoted since 1979, indicating, in each case, the date of the sale, the proceeds of the sale, and the estimated current value of the company.
Mr. Grocott: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will list the privatisations which her Department has promoted since 1979, showing, in each case, the date of the sale, the proceeds of the sale, and the estimated current value of the company.
Mr. Forth: My right hon. Friend is aware of the concerns that have been expressed about the way in which training of education psychologists is currently funded through the grants for education support and training programme. Discussions between officials of the Department and the local authority associations are
Column 893exploring the possibilities of other methods of funding the training.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much each local education authority was recharged in respect of grant-maintained schools in its area in the latest year for which information is available; what this value was for each pupil in the grant-maintained sector in that local education authority area; and what was the equivalent pupil cost in local authority schools for each local education authority.
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the total cost to the European Union of subsidies to tobacco farmers in the EU; how many farmers benefit; in which countries; and how much they are paid.
Mr. Jack: The latest estimate of Community expenditure on the tobacco sector for 1994 is 1,807 mecu or £839 million . It is estimate that 200,000 families are directly involved in tobacco growing within the Community, and up to four times as many indirectly. Tobacco production occurs in seven member states: Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Germany and France. Community expenditure in each of these in 1993, the latest year for which a breakdown of figures between member states is available is as follows:
|Mecu |£ million ---------------------------------------- Belgium |10.00 |7.9 Germany |43.91 |34.5 Greece |548.02 |430.5 Spain |109.64 |86.1 France |68.95 |54.2 Italy |370.23 |290.9 Portugal |14.40 |11.3 Total |1165.15 |915.3
Mrs. Lait: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how much tobacco grown in the EU is consumed in the EU; and how much goes into intervention or is destroyed, in the last year for which figures are available.
Mr. Jack: The latest estimate for the 1993 harvest shows that the Community produced 337,968 tonnes of tobacco, imported 417,493 tonnes, exported 209,738 tonnes and consumed 545,723 tonnes. There is currently about 13,320 tonnes in intervention from the 1993 harvest and before. Intervention is not available for harvests after 1993. There are no Community provisions allowing the destruction of subsidised tobacco.
Column 894for the residuary milk marketing board for England and Wales
The regulations set out the functions, powers and constitution of the residuary England and Wales milk marketing board. The residuary MMB will be responsible for winding up the milk marketing board's affairs, having regard to the interests of registered producers. Its functions will include the management of its retained assets pending disposal and the discharge of its retained liabilities. The residuary MMB will be responsible for collecting payments from buyers for milk sold in October, for paying producers for their October milk and for finalising the accounts of the MMB for the period leading up to vesting day. Among its functions will be to determine future ownership arrangements for Dairy Crest and National Milk Records. Any surplus assets remaining after the residuary MMB has discharged all its liabilities will be distributed to eligible producers. The regulations set out in detail producers' entitlements to a share of any such surplus. These match the provisions of the milk marketing board's approved reorganisation scheme.
The members of the residuary MMB will be appointed by Ministers. The board may consist of up to seven members, including the chairman. Up to three members may be producers. Appointments will be for a period of up to two years and will be renewable. Members' remuneration will initially be set by Ministers. The residuary MMB will ask producers to approve members' remuneration at each annual general meeting from 1996 onwards.
We outlined the arrangements relating to the residuary MMB which the milk marketing board proposed as part of its reorganisation scheme in our consultation document on the scheme issued in March. We also set out the effects of modifications made to these in a document issued when the scheme was approved in June. Copies of these documents were placed in the Library of the House. The regulations were drawn up after consultation with interested parties in August.
Mr. Galbraith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to exempt travellers whose fares have been paid for by charities on pilgrimages to Lourdes from the airport departure tax.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: My right hon. and Learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer's intention is for air passenger duty to be a simple, broad-based tax at low rates with the minimum number of reliefs. The Government recognise that charities, including those such as the Handicapped Children's Pilgrimage Trust, carry out extremely useful work, but it would not be appropriate to protect them from the general indirect taxes that apply to all other consumers. The Government's preferred way of helping charities is through covenant, gift aid and payroll-giving schemes.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Council of Finance Ministers meeting on 21 October; and under what legislative authority and for what purpose the Council determined to reduce a fine imposed on two member states.
Mr. Kenneth Clarke: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 25 October, which states that the effect of the council decision will be to increase, not reduce, the penalties suffered by the member states in question by some 1.1 becu.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The care and management of VAT is the statutory responsibility of the commissioners of Customs and Excise, whose discretion must be exercised reasonably in the circumstances of each case.
(1) Establish service level agreements or equivalent with all major customers and suppliers.
(2) Meet at least 95 per cent. of the standard of service targets laid out in the SLAs.
(3) Increase overall business efficiency by at least 2.5 per cent. (4) Implement the options for change reduction in manpower with minimal reduction in output.
(5) Develop an output-costing system which will measure the resources used to produce various outputs.
(6) Adopt a common syllabus for joint service dog training. (7) Complete market testing feasibility study.
Mr. Winnick: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will hold consultations with local library authorities with a view to increasing the number of subscriptions to the Official Report .
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the then Financial Secretary to the Treasury to the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, West (Mr. Jones) on 30 November 1993, column 391 .
The Attorney-General: As a result of representations made to me, my officials approached Macmillan Publishers Limited to ascertain whether they would be willing to provide an advance copy of the proposed book, "A Mind of My Own", by Elisabeth Maxwell and their co-operation was forthcoming. Having considered the book and taken advice from both junior and leading counsel, I concluded that its contents are not such as would justify an application to the High Court to restrain publication as being likely to create a substantial risk that the course of justice in the forthcoming criminal proceedings arising from the collapse of the Maxwell companies will be seriously impeded or prejudiced.
Macmillan Publishers Limited has been informed of the decision. My officials have made it clear to it that the conclusion reached by me relates only to the material which has been made available to me. If any material generated as part of the process of launching the book gives rise to concern, such material will need to be considered on its own merit. The same considerations apply also to reviews, comment or other reporting which may be triggered by publication of the book.
I have not sought or received material from Times Newspapers Limited, which owns the serialisation rights in relation to the book. It has, however, been informed of the conclusion reached and that it can relate only to the book as a whole. It is aware that separate consideration would need to be given to any serialisation which gave rise to concern as the result of editing or presentation which has been done in such a way as to alter the overall impact and effect of the book.
Column 897Crown Prosecution Service
The Attorney-General: Yes. The cash limit for the Crown Prosecution Service administration vote, class IX, vote 6 will be reduced by £80,000 from £229,472,000 to £229,392,000. Within this total, the Department's running
Column 898costs limit will be reduced by £80,000 from £224,472,000 to £224, 392,000.
The decrease in the case limit and the running costs limit results from a transfer of funds to the Department of Social Security, class XIII, vote 4. The transfer will permit the Department of Social Security to meet the costs of prosecuting those cases which it has been agreed that it should prosecute in accordance with the criteria set out in R.V. Stafford Magistrates Court ex parte Commissioners of Customs and Excise  2 All ER 201.