Dr. Wright: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department which of the appointments made to public bodies by his Department were advertised in the period from April 1992 to December 1993.
Mr. John M. Taylor: Four appointments to the Law Commission were advertised in the period from April 1992 to December 1993, although three of those appointed did not take up post until 1994. In addition, two vacancies for barristers on the Legal Aid Board were also advertised in Bar News, a publication distributed to all subscribing members of the Bar.
Dr. Wright: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what is his Department's policy regarding the use of executive search consultants in making appointments to public bodies; and if he will list (a) the appointments where such consultants have been used and (b) the cost in each case in the period April 1992 to December 1993.
Mr. John M. Taylor: The use of executive search consultants is one of the recruitment options considered when making public appointments. Such consultants were not, however, used in the period in question.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department which of the special advisers serving in his Department during the last five years were subject to positive security vetting.
Mr. Michael Brown: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he will announce the results of the review conducted by his Department and the magistrates courts service into the operation of the formula for allocating revenue grant to the magistrates courts service.
Mr. John M. Taylor: The Lord Chancellor has today completed his consideration of the proposals made by the working group, comprising representatives of the service and his Department, and of the representations made by the service regarding those proposals. The Lord Chancellor has concluded that the review has demonstrated that the current formula for revenue grant allocation, introduced on 1 April 1992, as set out in the answer given on 18 October 1991, Official Report, column 288, does not represent the best method of allocation. It does not adequately encourage local
Column 544managers to achieve the best value for money in their use of resources, while also reflecting the varying needs of magistrates courts committees. He, therefore, intends to allocate revenue grant in 1995 96, and in subsequent years, on the basis of a revised formula. The allocation formula will operate on the following basis:
|Per cent. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Average expenditure outturn over the previous 5 years, expressed at constant prices |45 The annual estimate of general population produced by the Office of Population Census and Surveys |10 Completed weighted caseload, averaged over a 3, growing to 5, year rolling period |35 Fine enforcement averaged over a 2, growing to 5, year rolling period |5 Time taken to deal with triable either-way and indictable only cases, averaged over a 2, growing to 5, year rolling period |5
The Lord Chancellor intends, over the coming years, to reduce the areas of expenditure which are wholly or partially excluded from the cash limiting formula. In a number of instances this will be subject to further consideration, in conjunction with the service, of suitable alternative procedures. There are also a number of further matters he wishes his Department to consider. All of these will be subject to consultation with the service. Copies of a paper setting out the full details of the allocation formula to apply from 1995 96 onwards, the issues for further consideration and the allocations to apply for 1995 96 have been placed in the Library of the House and sent today to members of the Magistrates Courts Consultative Council, the clerks to all MCCs and the chief executives of all paying authorities.
Column 545traffic on the River Thames and its report will be published tomorrow. The Thames is a unique river with its own special characteristics, opportunities and problems. The group has concluded that there is scope for increasing freight volumes and for improving tourist services and suggests what is needed to allow this to happen. I will place a copy of the report in the Library tomorrow.
Mr. Day: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance is given to bus and minibus manufacturers and operators by his Department on the provision of adequate restraint of wheelchairs in buses and minibuses, on the provision of seat belts to restrain wheelchair occupants and on the suitability of various types of wheelchair for carrying occupants in buses and minibuses; what information he has on the extent to which such guidance has been adopted by bus and minibus manufacturers; and what representations he has received with respect to amendments to any existing guidance or codes of practice covering the above issues.
Mr. Norris: Guidance is given in a code of practice entitled "The Safety of Passengers in Wheelchairs on Buses". This code of practice is used by vehicle inspectorate certifying officers when examining vehicles, designed for the carriage of passengers in wheelchairs, for public service vehicle certification. The code deals with the restraint of both wheelchairs and their occupants and takes account of the various types and sizes of wheelchair available, including those powered by electricity. The only deviation which has been allowed from the terms of the code is in respect of low-floor buses and we will review the recommendations of the code when trials on these buses are complete.
Information on the extent to which manufacturers have taken up this guidance is not available but we are aware that, in addition to PSVs, local authorities and voluntary groups have adopted the recommendations of the code for vehicles which they operate.
Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what sum was spent by his Department on research in each of the last 10 years; what percentage this was of the total annual budget; what is the research budget for the forthcoming year; what percentage this is of his total budget; and what additional new research is to be undertaken.
|Research as a |Net research |percentage of ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1985-86 |25.0 |0.9 1986-87 |24.6 |0.9 1987-88 |26.4 |1.0 1988-89 |27.2 |1.0 1989-90 |28.6 |0.8 1990-91 |30.5 |0.7 1991-92 |36.4 |0.7 1992-93 |39.7 |0.6 1993-94 |39.0 |0.7 1994-95 |38.0 |0.6 1995-96 |39.0 |0.9
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements will be made after privatisation to fund resignalling of the Gospel Oak to Barking line between South Tottenham and Woodgrange Park; and what is the estimated cost for such works.
Mr. Norris: Investment in rail infrastructure is a matter for Railtrack in consultation with the franchising director and train operating companies. This relationship will not be affected by privatisation.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what resignalling, infrastructure repair and improvement works programme for the South Tottenham to Gospel Oak section of the Gospel Oak to Barking line prior to the flotation of Railtrack are planned and authorised by his Department; what arrangements will be made after privatisation to fund such projects where there are economic, social and environmental benefits to the local community; and what is the estimated cost for such planned or projected works.
Mr. Norris: I understand that the Barking to Gospel Oak line is being looked at in the context of plans Railtrack is currently developing for the whole of the North London line, in consultation with the train operating company, North London Railways. The signal cabling between South Tottenham and Wanstead Park is currently being replaced and is scheduled for completion by 12 December. Investment in rail infrastructure is a matter for Railtrack in consultation with the franchising director and train operating companies. This relationship will not be affected by privatisation.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the delays to the existing passenger train service caused by the absence of signals between South Tottenham signal box control area and Wanstead Park on the Gospel Oak to Barking line when additional trains are routed over the line; and if the resignalling installation planned between South Tottenham and Woodgrange Park as part of the Liverpool Street resignalling project remains in the resignalling programme currently authorised by his Department.
Mr. Norris: The signal cabling between South Tottenham and Wanstead Park is currently being replaced and this has resulted in trains being delayed by 30 seconds. No other delay assessments have been carried
Column 547out. No plans currently exist for full resignalling between South Tottenham and Woodgrange Park.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what restrictions exist on the weight or type of train permitted to use the railway between Woodgrange Park and South Tottenham on the Gospel Oak to Barking line or between South Tottenham and Gospel Oak; why such restrictions exist; what remedial works are planned to eliminate such restrictions; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris: I understand that the route is classified at 90 tonne gross laden weight for four axle bogie vehicles but, due to lack of capacity on six bridges, the classification is reduced to 75 tonnes. Railtrack plans to strengthen or reconstruct these structures over the next four years.
Mr. Norris: Yes. a European Commission proposal for a directive on bus and coach construction is expected next year. We will be seeking any necessary amendments to ensure the survival of not only the double-decker but any other type of vehicle whose economic future may be threatened by the provisions of the directive.
Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps have been taken to conduct a general condition survey of all road bridges over and under both operational and disused railways in the north London area, following the failure and collapse of Crouch Hill bridge over the former railway alignment in north Islington; what Government funding is available to local authorities, Railtrack or any other authority responsible for maintenance and repair of bridges more than 30 years old; and what information he has as to why the bridge collapsed.
Mr. Norris: The authorities responsible for the structures in question are required to ensure that they are maintained in a safe condition and to carry out regular inspections as appropriate. The bridge at Crouch hill is owned by the local highway authority, the London borough of Islington. The partial collapse of the bridge occurred while strengthening work was under way. Investigation of the cause of the collapse is a matter for the borough and those involved with the strengthening operations.
Central Government funding is available to local highway authorities to assist their programmes of bridge assessment and strengthening. This can include funding of the assessment of structures owned by Railtrack.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many examinations by the railway regulator into track access charges and train leasing costs have been made; when he expects the regulator to report; and if the regulator's conclusions will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Watts: The rail regulator informs me that his office is nearing completion of a review of Railtrack's track access charges for both franchised passenger services and freight services. Consultation papers, "Framework for the Approval of Railtrack's Track Access Charges for Franchised Passenger Services" and "Framework for the Approval of Railtrack's Track Access Charges for Freight Services", were published by the office in June and October respectively. A policy statement, "Railtrack's Track Access Charges for Franchised Passenger Services: Developing the Structure of Charges", was published in November. Copies of all these documents have been placed in the Library of the House. The regulator intends to publish final policy statements on the levels of passenger and freight access charges in January.
The regulator has not undertaken any examination of train leasing costs, which are not subject to his approval.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the introduction of automated first registration and licensing involves a transfer of an undertaking from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to motor dealers within the meaning of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981.
Letter from Stephen Curtis to Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, dated 13 December 1994:
Thank you for your recent question about the application of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 to the Automated First Registration and Licensing Project. Interpretation of the law is for the Courts and this matter has not been tested in this way. However as always I would be very happy to discuss such matters with members of the staff and their representatives if they consider it would be helpful.
Mr. Rowe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his estimate of the numbers of commuters likely to benefit form the channel tunnel rail link; and how much subsidy per head he intends to authorise.
Mr. Watts: The Government intend to secure substantial capacity on the channel tunnel rail link for domestic passenger services. The four consortia invited to bid for the role of promoter have been asked to submit bids on two bases: to provide capacity for eight and 12 trains per hour each way during the peak. The precise service specification will be determined in the light of the bids received. The amount of subsidy will be determined as a result of the competition currently under way and of the competition which the Government intend to hold at a later stage to select an operator to run domestic services.
Column 549(2) when the new Scottish air traffic control centre will be operational;
(3) on what date the oceanic control centre equipment known as flight data processing system, FDPS II, will be in operation; and where this new equipment will be housed;
(4) what arrangements are being made to handle the expected increase in air traffic over air space covered by the Scottish air traffic control centre.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 12 December 1994]: The new Scottish centre--NSC--is being built at a cost of approximately £200 million to meet the predicted increase in the level of air traffic movements over Scotland and the north Atlantic. The CAA plans to have the NSC operational by 2000.
The CAA aims to have the new flight data processing
system--FDPS--installed and operational in the NSC by 1998, subject to the satisfactory conclusion of a contract under the private finance initiative.
Re-sectorisation of the Scottish air space is being carried out to ensure that there is adequate capacity available until the new Scottish centre commences operation.
Mr. McLeish: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what level of metropolitan grant will be payable to the English passenger transport executives for 1995 96; and what total grant will be payable by all passenger transport executives to passenger train operators for 1995 96.
Mr. Watts [holding answer 12 December 1994]: We intend to lay before Parliament, early next year, a special grant report in respect of the metropolitan railway grant for 1995 96 in England and Wales. Total grant payable to the English PTEs will be calculated pursuant to that report, based on the costs of passenger train operations in all the PTE areas.
10. Mr Brandreth: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to visit the City of Chester to discuss inward investment.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Prime Minister (1) how many Ministers there were in the Home Office in 1978; how many there are now; and to what extent the current responsibilities and work of the Department are different from those in 1978;
(2) how many Ministers there are in the Department of Trade and Industry; how many there were in the Department of Trade and Industry in 1978; and to what extent the current responsibilities and work of the Department are different from those at that date;
Column 550(3) how many Ministers there are in the Department of the Environment; how many were in the corresponding Department in 1978; and to what extent the work and responsibilities of that Department have changed since that date.
The Prime Minister: This is a matter of public record. The current details of ministerial responsibilities are contained in the Cabinet Office's "List of Ministerial Responsibilities", which is available in the Library of the House.
Dr. Wright: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 2 December 1994, Official Report, column 923, if he will identify (a) the 15 people who have had an honour cancelled since 1979 and (b) the nature of the disrepute in each of these cases.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the outcome of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe with particular reference to Nagorno-Karabakh; what further action Her Majesty's Government propose taking within the UN Security Council in relation to peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh; and whether Her Majesty's Government have been invited to participate in any way in relation to peacekeeping in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made last week, Official Report, 7 December 1994, columns 220-22. In relation to Nagorno-Karabakh, we welcome the outcome of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe's Budapest summit as a positive step towards a peaceful resolution of that tragic conflict.
We will fully support the co-ordinated efforts of the CSCE Minsk group and the Russian Federation to work with the parties to the dispute in achieving a political agreement which will make it possible to establish a multinational peacekeeping operation. We will be ready to support appropriate action in the United Nations Security Council when that agreement has been reached.
We have undertaken to provide a small number of signals personnel for a possible CSCE monitoring mission in Nagorno-Karabakh. Any further contribution would have to be considered in the light of our other commitments, and of the conditions under which a peacekeeping operation was to be established.
The Prime Minister: I have already advised the hon. Member of the main categories of appointments, including church appointments, for which I am responsible. But the total number, including those appointments on which I advise Her Majesty the Queen, cannot be accurately calculated since I have discretion in some cases as to how many appointments I make; and in the case of church appointments, some vacancies fall casually and unpredictably to the Crown by virtue of the royal prerogative.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his estimate of the average private sector residential rent in (a) Southampton, (b) Portsmouth and (c) Hampshire; and, in each case, what is the total number of private sector residential tenancies.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Information is not available on the average private sector residential rent in Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire. Details of the number of private sector residential tenancies in these areas are contained in table 20 of the 1991 "Census County Report: Hampshire", part 1.
Approximately 20 million tonnes of domestic waste arise annually in England and Wales. Of this, around 85 per cent. is landfilled and 10 per cent. is incinerated. There are currently 21 incinerators for the disposal of municipal waste operating in the United Kingdom.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what information and data from the 1991 English house condition survey on energy consumption, energy efficiency and condition of housing he has provided to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Mr. Gunnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list for each metropolitan district and London borough the value of the funding for the first year of the single regeneration budget, the bid for funds from the first year of the single regeneration budget, the totals received under the urban programme in 1992 93, 1993 94 and 1994 95 and the totals for section 11 funding in 1992 93, 1993 94 and 1994 95.
Mr. Curry: The bids received for funding new projects under the single regeneration budget and the 201 successful bids announced on 6 December represent comprehensive responses by partnerships to local needs, which in some cases cross local authority boundaries. As a result, the information requested is not available in the form sought, but I sent details of all the successful bids to the hon. Member on 5 December.
Details of funding provided under the urban programme and section 11 in each metropolitan district and London borough is given in the tables. The section 11 grant allocations for 1994 95 include Home Office funded projects and those funded from the single regeneration budget.
Funding under the urban programme £ million |1992-93 |1993-94 |1994-95 allocation --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Metropolitan Districts Barnsley |1.995 |1.219 |0.700 Birmingham |20.295 |13.558 |6.779 Bolton |3.712 |2.055 |0.282 Bradford |4.177 |2.865 |1.462 Coventry |4.287 |2.786 |1.367 Doncaster |2.069 |1.141 |0.627 Dudley |1.448 |0.941 |0.461 Gateshead |- |4.798 |2.459 Kirklees |1.082 |0.662 |0.343 Knowsley |4.749 |2.378 |0.946 Leeds |4.783 |3.178 |1.554 Liverpool |16.763 |11.043 |5.675 Manchester |<1>19.401 |8.349 |3.738 Newcastle |<2>15.057 |4.871 |2.378 North Tyneside |3.030 |1.974 |0.951 Oldham |3.563 |2.384 |0.965 Rochdale |3.496 |2.263 |1.047 Rotherham |2.067 |1.336 |0.667 St. Helens |1.568 |1.098 |0.593 Salford |<1> |4.280 |1.120 Sandwell |4.260 |2.801 |1.261 Sefton |1.612 |0.910 |0.516 Sheffield |5.482 |3.655 |1.762 South Tyneside |4.574 |2.938 |1.502 Sunderland |4.650 |3.073 |1.148 Walsall |1.662 |0.922 |0.429 Wigan |2.555 |1.527 |0.634 Wirral |3.377 |2.154 |1.168 Wolverhampton |4.782 |3.127 |1.494 London Boroughs Brent |2.483 |1.351 |0.573 Greenwich |1.401 |1.013 |0.436 Hackney |4.890 |3.041 |1.269 Hammersmith and Fulham |2.321 |1.557 |0.654 Haringey |2.747 |1.852 |0.869 Islington |7.875 |5.311 |2.445 Kensington and Chelsea |1.716 |1.115 |0.546 Lambeth |7.790 |5.340 |2.731 Lewisham |2.278 |1.326 |0.567 Newham |2.929 |1.755 |0.811 Southwark |2.477 |1.622 |0.669 Tower Hamlets |4.011 |2.723 |0.880 Wandsworth |2.918 |1.918 |0.450 <1> combined funding given to Manchester and Salford in 1992-93 <2> combined funding given to Newcastle and Gateshead in 1992-93
Funding Under Section 11 £ million |1992-93 |1993-94 |1994-95 allocation --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Metropolitan Districts Birmingham |7.498 |7.895 |5.551 Bolton |1.089 |1.171 |0.881 Bradford |5.892 |6.084 |4.468 Bury |0.409 |0.486 |0.355 Calderdale |1.073 |1.165 |0.853 Coventry |2.853 |3.033 |2.254 Doncaster |0.112 |0.164 |0.119 Dudley |1.248 |1.327 |1.030 Gateshead |0.031 |0.063 |0.044 Kirklees |3.143 |3.472 |2.515 Leeds |2.191 |2.542 |1.983 Liverpool |0.176 |0.217 |0.165 Manchester |2.746 |3.029 |2.329 Newcastle |0.438 |0.467 |0.342 North Tyneside |0.151 |0.162 |0.116 Oldham |2.443 |2.618 |1.968 Rochdale |1.455 |1.587 |1.193 Rotherham |0.432 |0.476 |0.352 St. Helens |0.010 |0.019 |0.014 Salford |0.062 |0.065 |0.047 Sandwell |1.513 |1.644 |1.281 Sheffield |2.642 |2.635 |1.870 Stockport |0.100 |0.103 |0.076 Sunderland |0.111 |0.116 |0.087 Tameside |0.809 |0.825 |0.627 Trafford |0.287 |0.329 |0.243 Wakefield |0.348 |0.437 |0.322 Walsall |2.049 |2.174 |1.598 Wigan |0.056 |0.060 |0.044 Wirral |0.064 |0.110 |0.087 Wolverhampton |1.973 |2.104 |1.575 London Boroughs Barking and Dagenham |0.335 |0.323 |0.231 Barnet |1.479 |1.287 |0.964 Bexley |0.093 |0.193 |0.125 Brent |2.780 |3.011 |2.142 Camden |1.372 |1.602 |1.161 Croydon |1.203 |1.446 |1.027 Ealing |2.799 |3.682 |2.802 Enfield |1.240 |1.644 |1.219 Greenwich |1.573 |1.856 |1.354 Hackney |4.357 |4.323 |3.382 Hammersmith and Fulham |0.916 |1.056 |0.780 Haringey |2.183 |3.389 |2.730 Harrow |0.877 |0.974 |0.719 Havering |0.052 |0.051 |0.039 Hillingdon |0.440 |0.496 |0.369 Hounslow |1.754 |1.899 |1.390 Islington |1.980 |2.103 |1.502 Kensington and Chelsea |1.140 |1.204 |0.933 Kingston upon Thames |0.120 |0.152 |0.107 Lambeth |1.260 |1.615 |1.110 Lewisham |2.078 |2.178 |1.637 Merton |0.521 |0.706 |0.490 Newham |3.013 |3.404 |2.462 Redbridge |1.182 |1.239 |0.933 Richmond upon Thames |0.063 |0.077 |0.056 Southwark |2.339 |2.543 |1.965 Sutton |0.056 |0.063 |0.047 Tower Hamlets |8.922 |9.703 |7.211 Waltham Forest |1.893 |2.149 |1.639 Wandsworth |1.993 |2.083 |1.608 Westminster |1.876 |2.046 |1.543 Notes: The figures include payments to local authorities, grant-maintained schools, further education colleges and sixth form colleges.
Mr. Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of the successful single regeneration on budget bids in the west midlands region was for housing projects which would previously have qualified for funding under the estates action programme.
Mr. Curry: Of the 13 successful west Midlands bids for the single regeneration budget, six contain housing projects which would previously have been eligible to be considered for estate action funding. These housing projects will receive £23 million of the total west midlands SRB funding of £156.686 million.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what guidance he has given English Nature on the issuing of grants to voluntary bodies; and if he will list the nature of the work undertaken by those bodies that have been assisted.
Mr. Atkins: English Nature is provided with comprehensive advice on grant giving in its financial memorandum. Summaries of grants given and the work undertaken by grant-aided bodies are included in English Nature's annual reports.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what information he has about the proportion of disposable income which will be used by households to maintain a temperature of 16 deg C inside their homes over the winter months as a result of the imposition of VAT of 17.5 per cent. on fuel, taking account of the compensation package; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what assessment he has made of the environmental and public health impacts of the imposition of VAT at 17.5 per cent. on domestic fuel bills.