Mr. Byers: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what calculation he has made of the additional court days and members of the judiciary needed consequent on the abolition of the industrial injuries compensation scheme.
Mr. John M. Taylor: No such calculation has been made.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer about the future of the industrial injuries compensation scheme.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what estimate has been made of the additional costs to the legal aid fund of abolition of the industrial injuries compensation scheme.
Mr. John M. Taylor: No such estimate has been made.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many overseas visits he and the Lord Chancellor made between 1 January and 30 June; during how many of those visits he or the Lord Chancellor took part in fund-raising activities for the Conservative party; and in which countries those activities took place.
Mr. John M. Taylor: I have not made any official overseas visit in the period 1 January to 30 June. The Lord Chancellor has made two official overseas visits. Both these visits were arranged and taken in the Lord Chancellor's capacity as Speaker of the House of Lords and did not include any fund-raising activities for the Conservative party. The first was to India, Singapore and Papua New Guinea, from 1 to 9 January; the second to The Hague, from 23 to 26 June.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he intends to respond to the consultation exercise conducted by his Department into legal costs in small personal injury claims.
Mr. John M. Taylor: In August, following the Court of Appeal judgment in the case of Afzal v. Ford Motor Co. Ltd., the Lord Chancellor announced that he does not intend to take any further action at this time on the proposals contained in his consultation paper on small personal injury claims. The central aim of the proposals was to clarify the position of personal injury claims falling below the small claims limit, and this clarification has
Column 14been provided by the Court of Appeal. The Lord Chancellor will continue to monitor the effect of the judgment on these cases.
Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the delay in making a decision in respect of equal treatment as between men and women in the payment of invalidity benefit upon reaching retirement age.
Mr. Hague: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Wallsend (Mr. Byers) on 3 November at column 1376.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security during how many of the overseas visits made by Ministers in his Department between 1 January and 30 June 1994 those Ministers participated in fund-raising activities for the Conservative party; and if he will list the Ministers and the countries in which those activities took place.
Mr. Hague: Two of the Department's Ministers made overseas visits during the period 1 January to 30 June 1994. The right hon. Member for Chelsea (Mr. Scott) made a visit to Norway and the hon. Member for Bury, North (Mr. Burt) made visits to Luxembourg--twice--and to Canada and the United States of America.
Fund-raising activities for the Conservative party are not part of our official duties.
Mr. Sutcliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment for what purposes land registered under village green in the Commons Registration Act 1965 can be used; and who has the final jurisdiction over such land.
Mr. Atkins: Town and village greens are defined in section 22(1) of the Commons Registration Act 1965 as places where people have a customary right to indulge in lawful sports and pastimes. Town and village greens are protected from inappropriate development or activities by section 12 of the Inclosure Act 1857 and section 29 of the Commons Act 1876. Only the courts have ultimate jurisdiction over town and village greens.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to register timberwolf crossbreed dogs.
Mr. Atkins: Licences are required for keeping any animal which appears among those species listed on the schedule to the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. Wolves and any wolf hybrids are listed in the schedule. Licensing under the Act is the responsibility of district councils in England.
Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many incidents of people being attacked by timberwolf crossbreed dogs have been reported in each of the last four years.
Mr. Atkins: I am aware of the recent reported incident in Anglesey. No other incidents of people being attacked by timberwolf crossbreed dogs have been reported to my Department.
Mr. Clapham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to make adequate resources available to clear up environmental damage in coal areas; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Curry: English Partnerships, under the sponsorship of my Department, has since 1 April 1994 has responsibility for the derelict land grant programme which encourages reclamation of derelict land for beneficial uses, including the improvement of the environment. My right hon. Friend issued guidance on 14 April 1994 identifying coalfield reclamation as a priority for English Partnerships to address in developing its derelict land reclamation programme. For 1994 95, English Partnerships has allocated £122 million to this programme of which around £30 million will be spent in the coalfield areas.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total net burden--gross payments to the EC less abatement on the United Kingdom Exchequer--of EC spending in the current financial year; and by how much it will increase in 1995 96 and 1996 97.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The Government's current forecast of the United Kingdom's gross contributions to European Community Institutions and our abatement for the current financial year, together with forecasts for the period 1995 96 and 1996 97, are set out in table 11.1 of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's departmental report--Cm 2517, page 92. As is usual, revised forecasts are being prepared for the Budget.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assumptions he made about the growth of gross domestic product in the EU as a whole in his calculation about the consequences of the increased resources agreed at the Edinburgh summit.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The effect of the Edinburgh financing settlement will be to increase the United Kingdom's net contribution to the EC budget by about £75 million in 1995 96, rising to £250 million in 1999 compared with what we would have paid if the present 1.2 per cent. own resources ceiling had been retained.
This estimate is based on the assumption that EU GNP will grow by 2 per cent. a year in real terms, and that inflation will be 2 per cent. a year, over the period 1995 to 1999.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the revenue secured from VAT on fuel in the current financial year; and what percentage this is of the United Kingdom's net contribution to the EU.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: The estimated revenue from VAT on fuel and power in the current financial year is £950 million. These receipts have no direct effect on the United Kingdom's net contribution to the EC, which is calculated on a notional harmonised VAT base.
Mr. Mandelson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what redundancies are being made in the civil service; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young: The Government expect civil service manpower to fall significantly below 500,000 over the next four years. The Government's aim has been, and will continue to be, that reductions in the size of the civil service should as far as possible be achieved without redundancies. But the scale of the changes in prospect raises the possibility that, in some areas, some redundancies will be unavoidable.
Wherever possible, these will be dealt with on a voluntary basis. There will be full consultation with staff and unions as appropriate.
Ms Jowell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidelines he has issued to Departments that use private sector consultants to advise on whether civil service functions should be privatised.
Sir George Young: General advice on the use of private sector consultants is contained in a booklet produced by HM Treasury entitled "Seeking Help from Management Consultants", published by HMSO in 1990.
Mr. Hain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the amount of debt per household for every £100 of disposable income in 1993.
Mr. Nelson: Figures for the level of household debt outstanding are not available. For the personal sector as a whole--which includes unincorporated private businesses and non-profit-making bodies as well as households--total financial liabilities were about £109 per £100 of disposable income in 1993.
Mr. Gareth Wardell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a list of those registered charities for which the Inland Revenue has waived tax liability in each of the past five years.
Sir George Young: I cannot comment on any charity's tax affairs.
Ms Primarolo: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the total amount of public money which is no longer subject to the remit of the National Audit Office following the creation of (a) the Housing Corporation, (b) opted-out schools and (c) the non-departmental public bodies.
Mr. Pendry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue he estimates will be generated by the flight tax; and what proportion, as a percentage of that revenue, will be spent on promoting inbound tourism to the United Kingdom.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: It is expected that £90 million will be raised from air passenger duty in the remainder of 1994 95, £315 million in 1995 96 and £340 million in 1996 97.
It is not the Government's policy to earmark the revenue from any particular tax to any specific part of the public spending programme. The best way to decide among competing claims on taxpayers' money is to consider each on its merits and set priorities among them.
5. Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on progress towards achieving the upgrading of the west coast main line.
17. Mr. Rooker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the current timetable for upgrading the west coast main line.
Dr. Mawhinney: The feasibility study for the modernisation of the west coast main line is progressing well. Railtrack aims to select next year a private sector partner for the main works.
13. Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to adopt a policy for cycling which reflects Her Majesty's Government's sustainable development strategy and planning policy guidance 13.
Mr. Norris: Our June policy statement recognised that cycling is an economical, healthy and environmentally friendly form of transport for local journeys for a great many people.
15. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the privatisation of the Fenchurch Street line; and if he is now in a position to state if the line is profitable.
Mr. Watts: The London, Tilbury and Southend line is planned to be franchised in 1995. It currently receives Exchequer support.
16. Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the number of prosecutions in 1993 and since 1 January 1994 against motorists for driving a motor vehicle with a defective exhaust system.
Mr. Norris: No figures are available on the number of prosecutions and convictions in 1993 because detailed figures are not kept on the number of prosecutions for emissions offences.
Figures for 1994 are, in any event, not available.
18. Sir Thomas Arnold: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what environmental considerations he takes into account in assessing his policy towards the building of bypasses.
Mr. Watts: Our aim in building bypasses is to take heavy through traffic out of communities. In doing so, we always seek to limit any adverse environmental effects by thorough assessment and good-quality design.
19. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to combat driving licence fraud.
Mr. Norris: We plan to introduce a new plastic card driving licence in 1996 incorporating a photograph of the holder. This will help to eliminate misuse of licences and impersonation at driving tests.
20. Mr. Welsh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his latest estimate of the total expenditure on the high-speed rail link between London and the channel tunnel; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Watts: The estimated cost of the channel tunnel rail link is around £2.7 billion at fourth quarter 1992 prices.
Sir Keith Speed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the environmental statements for the channel tunnel rail and the M2 widening scheme will be published.
Mr. Watts: The environmental statements for the channel tunnel rail link and the widening scheme for junctions 1 to 4 of the M2 and the A2 at Cobham were published on Thursday 17 November. They were circulated to statutory agencies, local authority offices, libraries and information centres along the route. Copies of both statements were placed in the Library. Further background material to the CTRL statement is available for inspection at the offices of my Department's parliamentary agents, Sherwood and Co., 35 Great Peter street, Westminster.
Related to the environmental statements and the Bill, a leaflet, entitled "A Guide to Parliament's consideration of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill", was also published on 17 November. The leaflet contains advice on who can petition against the Bill, how to petition and the parliamentary process. It has been distributed widely.
21. Mr. David Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to announce proposals to dual the A2 road between Dover and Lydden.
Mr. Watts: The highways agency expects to announce arrangements for consulting the public on its proposals for the A2 Lydden--B2060--to Dover improvement scheme later this month.
22. Dr. Goodson-Wickes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on the involvement of the private sector in the Northern line.
Mr. Norris: London Underground Ltd. is holding a competition for the supply of privately financed trains for the Northern line. It is currently evaluating the bids which it received early in September, and a decision is expected later this year.
23. Mrs. Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice was received from AMEC regarding the construction of the tunnels at Heathrow airport.
Dr. Mawhinney: The refurbishment of the road tunnels entering the central terminal area and of the western side bore is an operational matter for Heathrow Airport Ltd.
24. Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what additional resources will be furnished to assist the implementation of the London lorry ban after the present permit system is abandoned.
Mr. Norris: Additional resources will be provided for the revision of warning signs. Administrative savings made by the local authorities following abolition of the permit system could be used to strengthen enforcement.
25. Mr. Alan W. Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures his Department intends to take to tackle the problem of urban air pollution.
Dr. Mawhinney: I am determined that transport will play its part in reducing pollution in the air we breathe. As a result of improvements to vehicle standards and measures such as my recent initiative on enforcement, we are now set to see a marked and progressive decline in pollutants that will extend well into the next decade.
26. Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about investment in London Transport.
Mr. Norris: Investment expenditure by London Transport has been at record levels in real terms since 1990, averaging £800 million a year at today's prices, and this year is forecast to be around £1 billion.
27. Mr. Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with London
Column 20Transport concerning its involvement in the south London rail study.
Mr. Norris: My right hon. Friend and I have regular meetings with the chairman of London Transport to discuss a variety of issues, including possible improvements to the underground. I understand that London Transport is still assessing the results of the south London rail study and hope to produce a report shortly.
28. Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement about when future orders will be placed for class 465 networker trains for Kent commuters.
Mr. Watts: British Rail is currently considering the business case for new class 465 networker passenger trains. I expect to hear the outcome of its considerations next month.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library the minutes of discussions between the Secretary of State for Transport and journalists in March 1989 on the subject of Lockerbie.
Dr. Mawhinney: It is not normal practice for minutes to be taken of press briefings.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport during how many of the overseas visits made by Ministers in his Department between 1 January and 30 June 1994 those Ministers participated in fund-raising activities for the Conservative party; and if he will list the Ministers and the countries in which those activities took place.
Sir David Steel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what considerations he is giving to the needs of rural areas with minimal public transport.
Dr. Mawhinney: Our transport policy has always given weight to the needs of rural areas. We have made it easier for local authorities to subsidise socially necessary but uncommercial bus services, and for unconventional transport, like post buses, to be introduced in very sparsely populated areas.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of BAA's application, and supporting statements, to be permitted to operate a mix landing mode at Heathrow airport.
Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to hold a public inquiry in the event of him not rejecting outright the request of BAA for permission to operate a mix landing mode at Heathrow.
Mr. Norris: I have had no request from BAA regarding the mode of operation at Heathrow airport. I have, however, received a report of a Heathrow runway capacity
Column 21enhancement study sponsored by BAA, National Air Traffic Services and airlines. We are currently studying the report.
Mr. Simon Coombs: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he expects to conclude his review of manpower requirements for the research councils.
Mr. Robert G. Hughes: By the end of this year.
Mr. Cyril D. Townsend: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps he will be taking to bring forward the publication of historic government papers.