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Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the additional cost to tenants in Westminster of the failure of the council to recover repair costs from leaseholders.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: We expect four out of five initial appeal period appeals to be settled before the end of this year. The remainder will be settled as soon as possible in 1995. I cannot estimate a date by which all such appeals will have been settled since a few may be affected by special factors--such as an appeal on a point of law to the High Court.
In limited circumstances--for example, on a change of occupier or in the case of a material change affecting the
Column 1010property--appeals can still be made after the end of the initial period.
Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what is the percentage of new properties awaiting banding, which has been waiting more than one year (a) by county and (b) by district in Berkshire;
(2) what is the expected date by which the last of the new properties that have been waiting more than a year for their banding will have been banded (a) by county and (b) by district in Berkshire.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The local office structure of the Valuation Office Agency is not based on county boundaries and the information for each county is not held centrally. Of the dwellings to be added to valuation lists in the county and district areas of Berkshire, as at 28 October, the following percentage had been outstanding for more than a year:-
|per cent. ------------------------------------------- Berkshire |12.4 Bracknell Forest |3.4 Newbury |21.1 Reading |6.5 Slough |2.5 Windsor and Maidenhead |4.0 Wokingham |18.9
The Valuation Office Agency at Reading expects to have these dwellings entered in valuation lists before the end of November this year.
The number of council tax banding appeals made, as at 28 October, in each district of Berkshire are as follows:
|Appeals --------------------------------------- Berkshire |17,821 Bracknell Forest |1,756 Newbury |3,663 Reading |4,669 Slough |1,276 Windsor and Maidenhead |3,359 Wokingham |3,098
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The local office structure of the Valuation Office Agency is not based on counties. The only centrally held statistics that provide figures for counties are those relating to appeals made during the initial period. The number of initial period council tax banding appeals settled by the end of September were as follows:
|Appeals --------------------------------------------------- (a) County Avon |12,157 Bedfordshire |5,649 Berkshire |9,616 Buckinghamshire |9,156 Cambridgeshire |5,616 Cheshire |10,991 Cleveland |3,535 Cornwall |8,749 Cumbria |7,721 Derbyshire |10,602 Devon |19,339 Dorset |11,563 Durham |5,432 East Sussex |11,089 Essex |19,867 Gloucestershire |11,086 Hampshire |18,297 Hereford and Worcestershire |10,740 Hertfordshire |9,078 Humberside |7,693 Isle of Wight |2,330 Kent |19,312 Lancashire |15,432 Leicestershire |8,588 Lincolnshire |8,068 Norfolk |8,511 Northamptonshire |6,358 Northumberland |4,432 North Yorkshire |14,140 Nottinghamshire |9,745 Oxford |10,091 Shropshire |6,670 Somerset |8,709 Staffordshire |9,463 Suffolk |7,200 Surrey |14,919 Warwickshire |6,444 West Sussex |10,971 Wiltshire |9,801 Isles of Scilly |165 Inner London |36,284 Outer London |44,834 Greater Manchester |16,016 Merseyside |8,870 South Yorkshire |6,900 Tyne and Wear |6,564 West Midlands |14,966 West Yorkshire |18,663 (b) Billing authority in Berkshire Bracknell Forest |845 Newbury |1,791 Reading |2,413 Slough |781 Windsor and Maidenhead |1,935 Wokingham |1,851
Of the dwellings notified to the VOA office at Reading, as at 28 October, the following number had yet to be entered in valuation lists:
|Number ------------------------------------- Berkshire |1,577 Bracknell Forest |116 Newbury |452 Reading |367 Slough |119 Windsor and Maidenhead |222 Wokingham |301
Mr. Atkins: The recovery of scrap metal is subject to licensing under part I of the Control of Pollution Act 1974. Waste regulation authorities have a duty under section 9 of the 1974 Act to ensure that licensed activities do not cause pollution of water, danger to public health or serious detriment to local amenities; and to ensure that licence conditions are complied with.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The review has confirmed that home improvement agencies provide an important service helping a large and increasing number of vulnerable people improve their homes. Their work is highly valued by both clients and practitioners, especially local authorities, and makes a significant contribution to the effective delivery of housing and community care policies.
Column 1013We have therefore concluded that the grant programme should continue for a further five years from 1 April 1995. We are now considering the detailed arrangements under which the programme will operate in the light of suggestions made by consultees.
I am placing in the Library a report of the studies which informed the review, together with a list of the responses received to the consultation letter issued by my Department in June. Copies of individual responses may be obtained through the Library.
Mr. Gummer: The Department of the Environment/regeneration initiative non-voted cash limit will be increased by £25,081,000 from £1,267,772,000 to £1,292,853,000. Capital end-year flexibility take-up of £28,288,000 will fund payments on capital projects which slipped from previous years for the Victoria arena, Urban Regeneration Agency, housing action trusts, Plymouth development corporation, Central Manchester development corporation, city challenge and the coalfield areas fund. A transfer of £3,000,000 to class VII, vote 1--housing, England, --is necessary to meet an equivalent increase in city challenge Housing Corporation expenditure and a transfer of £207,000 to the Department of Health is necessary for urban programme payments. There will be associated increases to external financing limits as follows: by £3,000,000 from £5,800,000 to £8,800,000 for Central Manchester development corporation; by £1, 000,000 from £30,500,000 to £31,500,000 for Tyne and Wear development corporation; by £1,639,000 from £6,500,000 to £8,139,000 for Plymouth development corporation; by £2,500,000 from £88,215,000 to £90,715, 000 for the housing action trusts; and by £21,470,000 from £95,336, 000 to £116,806,000 for the Urban Regeneration Agency--English Partnerships.
The cash limit for class VII, vote 5--central environmental services, etc-- will be reduced by £1,309,000 from £440,954,000 to £439,645,000 to reflect savings in grant in aid paid to the Rural Development Commission and expenditure forecast under various subheads. The cash limit for class VII, vote 8--revenue support grant, payments of non- domestic rates, Valuation Office services, etc., England--will be increased by £2,166,000 from £29,632,166,000 to £29, 634,332,000. This comprises an increase of £3,452,000 in provision for Valuation Office rating services repayment, an increase of
Column 1014£214,000 in provision for Valuation Office banding and valuation services, and an offsetting reduction of £1,500,000 in provision for valuation tribunals.
The Department of the Environment/local government reorganisation etc. cash limit will be reduced by £3,800,000 from £58,000,000 to £54,200,000. This comprises a reduction of £1,000,000 in provision for supplementary credit approvals to local authorities in respect of commutation of loan charge grants, and a reduction of £2,800,000 in borrowing provision for the local government residuary body. All increases will be offset by savings or charged to the reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.
Mr. Sumberg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, what amendments he proposes to make to the Town and Country Planning General Development Order following coal privatisation; and what guidance he proposes to issue.
Sir Paul Beresford: The Town and Country Planning General Development Order (Amendment No. 2) Order 1994 which comes into operation on 31 October provides for permitted development rights for licensees of the Coal Authority to continue underground mining at GDO mines subject to conditions requiring the restoration and aftercare of the pithead surface area. These require the operator to submit a scheme for the restoration and aftercare of the site for the Mineral Planning Authority's approval.
There are also a number of minor technical amendments needed to the GDO, broadly to change references to British Coal to the Coal Authority and to update definitions in line with the Coal Industry Act, 1994.
The guidance note that we have published today explains the effect of the changes introduced by the amendment order and gives advice on the preparation and content of restoration schemes. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has made equivalent arrangements.
The Government welcome the Environment Committee's wide-ranging and thoughtful report. The report comes at an opportune moment. A range of United Kingdom and international initiatives on waste management are currently being developed. These have the broad aim of securing a more sustainable approach to waste management and increased beneficial use of unavoidable wastes. The report will provide a focal point
Column 1015for informed debate of the many complex issues that need to be addressed.
The Government are particularly pleased to see the Environment Committee's recognition that recycling should not be pursued for its own sake. It must be seen as part of an integrated approach to waste management. We are also pleased to endorse the Committee's view of the waste management hierarchy as a decision-making tool which balances the environmental and economic considerations in each case. We announced in July that we intend to build upon these principles in the development of a waste strategy for England and Wales. Recycling will have an important place in that strategy. In part, this is because recycling is the best option for many wastes--but also, as the Environment Committee point out in its report, because the expansion of recycling and increased opportunities for individual participation can be a springboard for wider environmental awareness and action.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each development corporation since it inception (a) its total budget, (b) the number of jobs created and (c) the role of private sector investment made in its area, with the jobs and investment broken down into (i) manufacturing, (ii) commercial, (iii) retailing, (iv) office and (v) other.
Sir Paul Beresford [holding answer 26 October 1994]: The urban development corporations' programmes are supported by grant in aid, receipts from their activities and funds from the European Community. The table shows the total grant in aid paid to each corporation since its inception; the gross number of new permanent jobs; and the private sector investment in developments in the designated area. Where information is available, the figures for jobs and private sector investment have been broken down into; (i) manufacturing; (ii) commercial; (iii) retailing; (iv) office; and (v) other.
Grant-in-Aid Permanent Jobs<1> |(i) |(ii) |(iii) |(iv) |(v) |£ millions |Manufacturing|Commercial |Retail |Office |Other |Total -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- London Docklands |<2>1610.9 |n/a |n/a |n\a |n\a |n\a |56,200 Merseyside |313.4 |<3>2,400 |<3>2,500 |<3>2,350 |<3>3,125 |<3>230 |10,605 Black Country |253.4 |8,390 |338 |1,040 |1,190 |439 |11,397 Teeside |237.3 |4,064 |243 |852 |1,672 |208 |7,039 Trafford Park |153.8 |4,359 |4,165 |1,139 |4,312 |819 |14,794 Tyne and Wear |227.6 |1,898 |<4>5,713 |- |- |8,631 |16,242 Bristol |71.0 |- |1,166 |79 |1,000 |5 |2,250 Central Manchester |67.2 |- |- |190 |3,341 |1,146 |4,677 Leeds |51.5 |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |8,218 Sheffield |74.9 |1,299 |207 |7,512 |759 |305 |10,082 Birmingham Heartlands |15.7 |137 |405 |20 |136 |- |698 Plymouth |7.9 |- |- |- |- |- |- Total |3,084.6 |142,202 Notes All figures are up to 31 March 1994. n/a-Breakdown not available. <1> Permanent jobs = gross jobs provided by first-time occupiers of newly completed development (new build and conversion) in the Designated Area who took up occupation over the reporting period. <2> Excludes docklands light railway. <3> Provisional figures based on a preliminary analysis. <4> Includes office. Commentary In five cases-Birmingham Heartlands, London Docklands, Sheffield, Teesside and Trafford Park-the employment figures vary from those previously published (Hansard 14 July 1994, Col. 771). The substantial downward revisions of the London Docklands and Teesside totals reflect the fact that the earlier numbers had been built up by combining total employment in the area in 1991 with gross jobs subsequently created.
Grant-in-Aid Private sector £ millions investment |(i) |(ii) |(iii) |(iv) |(v) |£ millions |Manufacturing|Commercial |Retail |Office |Other |Total -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- London Docklands |<1>1610.9 |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |5,993.0 Merseyside |313.4 |<2>36.2 |<2>37.7 |<2>23.9 |<2>75.4 |<2>127.8 |301.0 Black Country |253.4 |385.7 |13.8 |24.3 |9.9 |146.3 |580.0 Teeside |237.3 |500.4 |64.3 |50.1 |64.3 |35.7 |714.8 Trafford Park |153.8 |474.0 |50.0 |10.0 |165.0 |20.1 |719.1 Tyne and Wear |227.6 |78.5 |<3>252.7 |1.7 |- |270.1 |603.0 Bristol |71.0 |- |73.1 |41.5 |44.0 |16.4 |175.0 Central Manchester |67.2 |- |- |4.0 |92.0 |181.3 |277.3 Leeds |51.5 |104.0 |<3>117.0 |35.0 |- |61.0 |317.0 Sheffield |74.9 |35.9 |39.8 |412.4 |27.0 |17.5 |532.6 Birmingham Heartlands |15.7 |7.4 |31.8 |2.0 |5.0 |0.1 |46.3 Plymouth |7.9 |- |- |- |- |- |- Total |3,084.6 |10,259.1 Notes: All figures are up to 31 March 1994. n/a-Breakdown not available. <1> Excludes Docklands Light Railway. <2> Provisional figures based on a preliminary analysis. <3> Includes office. Commentary: In five cases-Birmingham Heartlands, London Docklands, Sheffield, Teeside and Trafford Park-the employment figures vary from those previously published in Hansard, 14 July 1994, column 771. The substantial downward revisions of the London Docklands and Teeside totals reflect the fact that the earlier numbers had been built up by combining total employment in the area in 1991 with gross jobs subsequently created.
(2) if he will make a statement on the implications of water pollution at Beighton tip, Sheffield for the suitability of the tip for the burying of low-level nuclear waste.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 31 October 1994]: A small number of landfill sites, including Beighton tip, already receive some low-level radioactive waste for controlled burial. Authorisations for all such disposals are issued by Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution under the terms of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993. These are designed to ensure the safe disposal of this waste. Conditions in the authorisations are determined on a case by case basis depending on the nature of the sites and the activity and amount of the wastes.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what plans he has to consult local communities in the vicinities of landfill tips which are being considered for the burying of low-level nuclear waste;
(2) if he will make it his policy that local communities are consulted before any nuclear waste is deposited in landfill tips.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 31 October 1994]: In addition to the specific requirements of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993, it is already the practice of Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution to consult the relevant waste regulatory authority, local councils, and water undertaker, before issuing authorisations for controlled burial of low- level radioactive waste at landfill sites. The Government are currently consulting on proposals to encourage greater use of controlled burial. However, there are no plans in relation to specific sites.
Mr. Gunnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the total spending on economic development measures by (a) the five west Yorkshire district councils, (b) the four south Yorkshire district councils, (c) North Yorkshire county council and (d) Humberside county council under the Housing and Local Government Act 1989 in each financial year since 1989 90.
Mr. Robert B. Jones [holding answer 31 October 1994]: Section 33 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 allows local authorities to take "such steps as they may from time to time consider appropriate for promoting the economic development of their area". The Department of the Environment does not collect information about expenditure specifically related to section 33, although it does record a number of items of local authority expenditure which can be totalled to produce a figure for economic development generally. For each of the local authorities identified, this gives the following figures for net current and capital expenditure respectively:
|1990-91|1991-92|1992-93|1993-94 |£000s |£000s |£000s |£000s ---------------------------------------------------------- Net current expenditure County Councils Humberside |1,368 |1,899 |1,870 |1,921 North Yorkshire |577 |685 |271 |736 District Councils Barnsley |349 |302 |247 |2,691 Doncaster |202 |48 |252 |647 Rotherham |-428 |-352 |-138 |-460 Sheffield |461 |- |2,967 |2,749 Bradford |1,425 |1,606 |1,750 |1,486 Calderdale |570 |581 |280 |193 Kirklees |1,468 |1,778 |2,091 |1,950 Leeds |1,879 |2,148 |2,004 |48 Wakefield |- |- |2,258 |2,110 Capital Expenditure County Councils Humberside |226 |293 |271 |269 North Yorkshire |183 |213 |- |- District Councils Barnsley |992 |1,246 |1,754 |4,533 Doncaster |3,985 |1,287 |6,025 |2,851 Rotherham |303 |199 |732 |- Sheffield |9,461 |1,415 |1,238 |n/a Bradford |5,427 |2,637 |1,881 |6,712 Calderdale |1,242 |449 |152 |1,019 Kirklees |875 |2,151 |2,231 |3,622 Leeds |3,304 |5,940 |4,455 |8,613 Wakefield |5,597 |3,239 |2,326 |1,672
L Average weekly rents, before and after deduction of Housing Benefit £ per week |Before deduction |After deduction |of housing benefit|of housing benefit ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990 |28.10 |15.60 1991 |30.10 |14.80 1992 |35.10 |16.00 1993 |39.60 |16.90
These figures are from the family expenditure survey and are subject to sampling error.
The estimates do not take into account the income of householders other than the head of household.
Mr. Raynsford: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list for 1992 93 and 1993 94 the amount spent in each London borough, with totals for each training and enterprise council area, under each of the programmes now incorporated into the single regeneration budget, and the amount allocated to be spent in 1994 95 on the same basis.
Column 1020exports of casings or components for anti- personnel mines with self-destruct or self-neutralising mechanisms;
(2) what is his policy regarding possible future exports of anti-personnel mines with self-destruct or self-neutralising mechanisms.
Mr. Ian Taylor: We have not produced or exported any anti-personnel mines for some years. Nevertheless, any applications to export these forms of mines or their components would be subject to rigorous scrutiny on a case by case basis, with due regard to proposed end users and their adherence to protocol II of the 1981 United Nations weaponry convention.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what failure rate is allowed in the definition of a self-destruct or self- neutralising mechanism on an anti-personnel mine employed by Her Majesty's Government for export purposes.
Mr. Ian Taylor: Applications for licences for the export of anti- personnel mines have not been received for some years and the United Kingdom does not currently produce or export such mines. Failure rate would not, however, be a factor taken into account in considering applications for licences to export such mines. We are working positively towards incorporating achievable criteria into the revised 1981 United Nations weaponry convention which governs the use of such weapons.
Mr. Ian Taylor: Exports of anti-personnel mines are controlled under munitions list 4 of the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994 and our own recently announced export moratorium. Although currently no formal definition on anti-personnel mine is used, companies making applications for licences to export any weapons are required to state the purpose for which those weapons are to be used.
Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what research he has carried out into the impact of production and export of anti-personnel mines with self-destruct or self-neutralising mechanisms by the United Kingdom on the production and export of anti-personnel mines of all types by developing countries; and what were his conclusions.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement o the value of savings identified by Stoy Hayward as obtainable if the work of the Insolvency Service is contracted out; and when details of the cost and savings will be published.
Column 1021provided to Stoy Hayward Consulting remains confidential.
Mr. John Morris: To ask the President of the board of Trade what assessment he has made of the effect the recent decision of the European Commission in respect of steel will have on British Steel; and if he will make a statement about the United Kingdom steel industry.
Mr. Charles Wardle: I expect that the reported demise of the restructuring plan for the European steel industry will have little effect on British Steel, as it is simply an acknowledgement of what has been apparent for some time. The demise only reinforces the view of both the Government and the United Kingdom steel industry that the only way to achieve successful restructuring of the industry is by strict control of subsidies. The Commission should now be free to devote more effort to achieving this.
Mr. Charles Wardle: I was not surprised when the Commission recently announced that the restructuring plan for the European steel industry was dead. The demise of the plan reinforces the Government's view that the only way to achieve successful restructuring of the industry is by strict control of subsidies, so that the inefficient producers come under commercial pressure to make closures where necessary. The Commission should now be free to devote more effort to achieving this.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make it a requirement for companies to disclose publicly the nature of any parliamentary consultancy they may enter into with an hon. Member and the remuneration.
Mr. Ian Taylor: The 1994 figures are not yet available. "Public Bodies 1993" shows that, at 1 September 1993, 19 per cent. of the Department's appointments were held by women. The Department is fully committed to equal opportunities for women in public appointments, and has set itself a goal of increasing the number of women in DTI public appointments to 30 per cent. by 1996.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what is the total number of submissions received in response to his public consultation on the nuclear review; how many of the submissions have now been placed in the Library; and what is the reason for not placing in the
Column 1022Library the submission of the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent.
Mr. Eggar: There have been 505 formal submissions to the nuclear review: 200 of these, from the nuclear industry and other representative bodies and organisations, have been treated as substantive and placed in the Libraries of both Houses in accordance with my announcement of 19 May, Official Report columns 545 46 . This includes the submission from the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Smith), and I understand that the Library will be writing to confirm this.
Mr. Allen: To ask the President of the Board of Trade when Her Majesty's Government will respond to the third report from the Trade and Industry Committee of Session 1993 94 on optical fibre networks, HC 285.
Mr. Ian Taylor: The Government will publish shortly a Command Paper setting out the opportunities for the United Kingdom arising from the further development of broadband communications networks and services. This Command Paper will incorporate the Government's response to the Trade and Industry Select Committee's report on optical fibre.
Mr. Allen: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what efforts his Department is making to ensure that the largest possible number of individuals and organisations are connected to the information super- highway.
Mr. Ian Taylor: The Government will publish shortly a Command Paper setting out the opportunities for the United Kingdom arising from the further development of broad-band communications networks and services.
Mr. Allen: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to vary the ban on BT and Mercury providing entertainment services via their national networks; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hardy: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what liability will pass to British Coal's successor in regard to the provision of superannuation cover in respect of those employees who accepted the British Coal contract of employment in 1994; and what provision has been made by British Coal to meet this obligation.
Mr. Charles Wardle: Successor companies will be liable only for employers' contribution to the new industry-wide schemes that are to be established and--except where a transferring employee also elects to transfer his past service entitlements--only in respect of transferred employees' future service with the successors. There is full provision for transferred employees' entitlements in respect of past service with British Coal within the funds of the existing pension schemes, now subject to guarantee by Government.