|Previous Section||Home Page|
Column 555condition survey when calculating the compensation package associated with value added tax on domestic fuel bills.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: It is not possible to specify the account which was taken of any particular source of information among the many that were considered as the package of help for VAT on fuel was prepared. The package directed additional resources to vulnerable groups, especially pensioners, who were among those highlighted in the English house condition survey.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has to include energy efficiency in the housing fitness standard following the imposition of VAT on domestic fuel bills; and what proportion of disposable income he considers reasonable for maintaining a temperature of 16 deg C within homes.
Column 556on the grounds that the information sought was not held centrally by the Department.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what additional measures he intends to introduce to assist in meeting the carbon dioxide reduction targets agreed at the 1992 Rio conference following the Government's decision to abandon the planned second tranche rise in VAT on domestic fuel and power.
Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) which local authorities appoint representatives to serve on national park committees; and how many people each appoint; (2) how many people he appoints to each national park committee; (3) if he will list all the constituencies which form part of national parks.
|Local authority |and number of |Secretary of |Constituencies |forming National Park |appointees |State appointees |part of National |Parks ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Dartmoor |Devon CC |11 |7 |Devon West and Torridge |South Hams DC |1 |Teignbridge |Teignbridge DC |1 |Tiverton |West Devon DC |1 |South Hams Exmoor |Somerset CC |10 |7 |Bridgwater |Devon CC |3 |Taunton |West Somerset DC |2 |Devon North |North Devon DC |2 Lake District |Cumbria CC |16 |10 |Copeland |Allerdale DC |1 |Westmorland and Lonsdale |Copeland DC |1 |Penrith and the Border |Eden DC |1 |Workington |South Lakeland DC |1 North Yorkshire Moors |North Yorkshire CC |12 |9 |Langbaurgh |Cleveland CC |2 |Richmond (Yorkshire) |Langbaurgh DC |1 |Scarborough |Ryedale DC |1 |Ryedale |Scarborough DC |1 |Hambleton DC |1 Northumberland |Northumberland CC |18 |10 |Berwick upon Tweed |Alnwick DC |1 |Hexham |Berwick-upon-Tweed DC |1 |Tynedale DC |1 Peak District |Derbyshire CC |8 |11 |Derbyshire North East |Sheffield CC |2 |Littleborough and Saddleworth |Staffordshire CC |2 |Staffordshire Moorlands |Cheshire CC |2 |Derbyshire West |Staffordshire |Sheffield Hallam |Moorlands DC |<1>1 |Colne Valley |Derbyshire Dales DC |2 |Macclesfield |Barnsley MBC |1 |Sheffield Hillsborough |Oldham MBC |1 |High Peak |North East Derbyshire DC |<1>1 |Barnsley West and Penistone |Kirklees MBC |2 |High Peak BC |1 |Macclesfield BC |<1>1 | Yorkshire Dales |North Yorkshire CC |12 |8 |Richmond Yorkshire |Cumbria CC |1 |Skipton and Ripon |Richmondshire DC |1 |Westmorland and Lonsdale |South Lakeland DC |1 |Craven DC |1 <1> These authorities share two places on the Peak Park Board on a two-year rotating basis.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list (a) the sum paid out in housing benefit (i) to council and (ii) to non-council tenants and (b) the sum tenants received in housing revenue account subsidy in each local housing authority area in 1993-94; and what is the size of the surplus or deficit in each local housing authority.
Mr. Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total sum claimed in (a) expenses and (b) attendance allowances by councillors on Hampshire district councils and Hampshire county council in the most recent year; and how many councillors in total serve on these councils.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Details of expenses and attendance allowances payments made by local authorities to councillors are not held centrally, but 102 councillors serve on Hampshire county council, and a total of 586 on the Hampshire district councils.
Ms Gordon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what has been the percentage change in rents for new housing association assured tenancies between 1989 and 1994; and what has been the change in the retail prices index over the same period.
Column 558central Government support is only one means through which local authorities can undertake capital expenditure; they can also finance it out of usable capital receipts from the sale of assets, and from revenue. Authorities therefore have some scope to fund higher levels of capital expenditure if they choose to do so.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: My right. hon. Friend the Secretary of State laid the Local Government (Compensation for Redundancy) Regulations 1994 before the House on 5 December. These allow local authorities to compensate pensioners whose payments were reduced following the Court of Appeal judgment in Allsop v. North Tyneside MBC. Where authorities choose to make such payments, they must do so from their own available resources.
responsibilities of landlords in ensuring fire safety in houses of multiple occupation.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The Housing (Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation) Regulations 1990--SI 1990 No. 830--require managers of HMOs to ensure the repair, maintenance and good order of means of escape from fire, including display signs, and apparatus, systems and other things provided by way of fire precautions. The manager is also required to take reasonable precautions for the general safety of residents, which can include fire precautions. Failure to comply is punishable by a fine not exceeding level three on the standard scale, which is currently £1,000.
Local housing authorities have the power to serve a notice under section 352 of the Housing Act 1985, as amended, requiring the person having control of or
Column 559managing the house to provide adequate means of escape from fire and other fire precautions. Failure to comply is punishable by a fine not exceeding level four on the standard scale, currently £2,500. Local authorities may carry out works in default and recover their expenses from the person on whom the notice was served.
Landlords may also have a general duty under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 to conduct their undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in their employment are not exposed to risks to their health or safety, and this can include tenants in HMOs. The risks can include fire risks. Failure to comply is punishable by a fine not exceeding £20,000.
Mr. Hardy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate has been made of the number of new homes available for rent which need to be built in the area of each housing authority in England.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The Department does not make such estimates. Local housing authorities make assessments of the full range of housing needs when they draw up their housing strategy statements for their areas. Authorities are expected to publish their statements.
Mr. Waller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what changes are now proposed to the current system of appeals against non- domestic rating assessments in England and Wales, in the light of responses to the consultation papers.
Mr. Curry: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, together with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, has decided to streamline the current arrangements and make them simpler for business to use. The changes will apply to appeals against the new rating lists which come into effect on 1 April 1995.
There was a full and helpful response to the consultation papers we issued in September. There was a warm welcome for our proposals that the Valuation Office agency should notify occupiers direct of their proposed new rateable value in January, instead of leaving them to find it out when they receive their rate bill for 1995 96; to abandon the six-month limit on submission of appeals following a material change of circumstances, or relevant tribunal or court decision; and to shorten from six months to three the period after which the VOA has to pass an unresolved appeal on to the valuation tribunal. We will therefore proceed with all these reforms.
We had also proposed a tightening up of the current system of time limits for appeals against the values originally shown in the list, which has not worked well. Respondents endorsed our analysis of the problem but many favoured the more radical step of abolishing the time limits altogether, on the grounds that their potential benefits were outweighed by the practical drawbacks. We found their representations persuasive. We have therefore decided that ratepayers should be able to appeal on any of the permitted grounds at any time during the currency of the list.
These new arrangements will be far easier for business, particularly small business, to deal with and will help to
Column 560ensure speedier settlement of appeals. We will be bringing forward regulations to implement them in the new year.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: The Government announced on 10 November 1992 their intention to extend compulsory competitive tendering to local authority and other defined authorities' corporate and professional services, including personnel services. My officials have subsequently had valuable discussions with a joint services working group which included representatives of the local authority associations and the Audit Commission and Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy on how the CCT regime might be applied to personnel services.
Following these discussions, we are today issuing a consultation paper inviting comments on the Government's detailed proposals for extending CCT to personnel services. This follows similar consultations for local authorities' housing management, legal, construction and property, IT and finance services. It represents the last of the services which are being considered for inclusion in the CCT regime.
Copies of today's consultation paper will be placed in the Library. It proposes a definition which captures a range of authorities' personnel services, including training and human resource management, but does not encompass the day-to-day line management functions undertaken by many staff.
Authorities will wish, for a variety of reasons, to retain certain elements of personnel work in-house, both to enable an authority to fulfil its democratic responsibilities and to act as an expert client for bought-in services. We propose that local authorities be permitted to carry out up to 65 per cent. by value of personnel work using their own staff without going through competition. Authorities will be able to retain at least £300,000 worth of defined activity work in-house free of competition. This is intended to recognise and encourage the mixed economy of in-house and contracted-out service provision which is a feature of personnel services.
As with previous consultations on professional services, the consultation paper also gives details of modifications which we intend to make to the statutory framework for competitive tendering. This will ensure that authorities will continue to be able to deliver services in a way which meets their own operational objectives. Following careful consideration of comments received on the proposals included in this consultation document, I will submit to the House the statutory instrument 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 subsequent order defining the activity, CCT for personnel services will take effect from 1 October 1996 in metropolitan districts, London boroughs and certain other defined authorities.
For shire local authorities, personnel CCT will take effect once the Local Government Commission's review of local authority structure is complete and, where appropriate, changes have been made. The
Column 561implementation timetable for the new police authorities will be the subject of 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 again take account of the programme for local government restructuring in both those countries.
Experience with the 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 personnel services.
Mr. Sumberg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about compulsory competitive tendering in relation to local government review and reorganisation and about the introduction of CCT for legal services, construction and property services and further manual services.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: On 2 August, my Department issued and invited comments from local authorities, industry and others on draft regulations and a draft guidance paper for shire county and district authorities, containing detailed proposals for the operation of compulsory competitive tendering in shire authorities during the period of local government review and reorganisation. These amplified the proposals announced by my predecessors on 29 March 1993, Official Report, column 55, and 17 December 1993, Official Report, column 1096.
The Government's main objective in determining these arrangements is to strike the right balance between maintaining and extending the benefits which CCT has brought to local authorities and the users of their services and easing administrative burdens on local authorities undergoing reorganisation.
One hundred and forty-seven organisations commented on the proposals. I have considered these, and have now made regulations under sections 19 and 26(4) of the Local Government Act 1992. The regulations will be laid next week, and my Department will then also issue the guidance paper to local authorities, a copy of which I shall place in the Library. Both the regulations and the guidance paper take account of the many comments and helpful suggestions received.
The guidance paper confirms that CCT for professional support services will start to come into effect two years after the coming into being of individual reorganised authorities, giving them good time in which to decide upon their new organisational structure, consider how they wish to organise their business and review their approach to the provision of support services.
As regards shire counties or districts which are unchanged following local government review, the proposal reflected in the August consultation drafts was that CCT for professional services would start to come into effect from April 1998. However, I have concluded that I wish to reconsider this timetable, in the interests of securing the benefits of competitive tendering as soon as possible in "status quo" authorities. I shall therefore consult local authorities further in the new year on alternative proposals. Any new arrangements,
Column 562if adopted following consultation, will ensure that status quo authorities will have at least as much time to prepare for and implement CCT following the decisions on their future, as the two years provided for reorganised authorities following their establishment.
The 1992 Act regulations and the guidance paper confirm the timetable arrangements previously announced for the implementation of housing management CCT. Local authorities are making good progress with their preparations, including consultation with their tenants. I have, however, decided to drop the proposal in the August consultation drafts to link the HMCCT exemption for the reorganised authorities to preparation of a detailed specification which their direct service organisations would have to meet.
For other services already subject to CCT, the requirement to invite external tenders will be lifted in authorities undergoing reorganisation, for the period between the making of statutory reorganisation orders and 18 months after successor authorities take over, in recognition of the pressure of work on outgoing and successor authorities in this period. This exemption does not apply to short-term and low-value contracts which do not normally involve significant administrative effort. These are defined as work which will last for less than 12 months or be less than £200,000 in annual value. I have considered local authorities' arguments for widening this exemption, but have not been persuaded that this would be appropriate. As indicated in the August consultation drafts, all local authorities must at all times maintain DSO accounts, meet the specified financial objectives and maintain services fully to specification.
The other arrangements provided for in the 1992 Act regulations and guidance paper are as set out in the August consultation proposals. I shall place in the Library a list of the consultation responses received. Copies of individual responses can be obtained through the Library.
On 2 November, the House approved orders under section 2(3) of the Local Government Act 1988, to extend CCT to legal services, construction and property services, and three further manual services--security work, supervision of on-street parking and management of vehicles. I have now made regulations under section 6(3) of the 1988 Act, which set out the timetable for these services to become subject to CCT, and the proportions of legal services and construction and property services to be subject to completion. These regulations give effect to the Government's decisions which my predecessor announced on 14 June 1994, Official Report, column 346, and 19 July 1994, Official Report, column 109, and which I set out to the House on 2 November 1994, Official Report, column 1606, other than as regards the implementation timetable for "status quo" shire authorities, on which, as I have indicated, the Government wish to consult further with local authorities. Further 1988 Act regulations will be made to give effect to the decisions taken on this aspect of the arrangements, following the further consultation.
Column 563total annual emissions permitted for each plant of nickel and vanadium, the actual total annual emissions of nickel and vanadium for each plant in the last three years and the maximum emission rate of nickel and vanadium for each plant.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer Thursday 8 December 1994]: All large combustion plants burning oil, coal or orimulsion will release vanadium or nickel. The table provides as much information as the inspectorate has been able to assemble without disproportionate expense. This information covers 1993.
Column 564Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution authorises releases of these substances in different ways depending on the detail of the application for authorisation under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the local circumstances. Some of these substances are given specific limits, but, in all cases, there is a residual duty under the Act to use best available techniques not entailing excessive cost to prevent the release of all prescribed substances, which include release to airof vanadium, nickel and their compounds, and torender harmless any other substance, which is not prescribed.
Vanadium release Nickel release to to air air |Maximum |Annual |Annual |Mazximum |Annual |Annual |Rate |Permission |Actual |Rate |Permission |Actual Site |Fuel |(mgm/m3) |(tonnes) |(tonnes)<2> |(mm/m3) |(tonnes) |(tonnes)<2> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ National Power Pembroke |HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil)|0.21 |<1>- |14 |0.042 |<1>- |3 National Power Aberthaw A |Coal and HFO |0.583 |<1>- |7.5 |0.378 |<1>- |5 National Power Aberthaw B |Coal and HFO |0.378 |<1>- |7.5 |0.185 |<1>- |5 National Power Uskmouth |Coal and HFO |0.22 |<1>- |0.16 |0.14 |<1>- |0.10 National Power West Burton |Coal |0.15 |<1>- |12.3 |0.14 |<1>- |8.2 National Power Blyth A |Coal |0.64 |<1>- |- |392 |<1>- |- National Power Blyth B |Coal |0.229 |<1>- |- |0.14 |<1>- |- National Power Eggborough |Coal |0.22 |<1>- |- |0.14 |<1>- |- National Power Drax |Coal |0.22 |<1>- |- |0.14 |<1>- |- National Power Skelton Grange |Coal |0.604 |<1>- |- |0.392 |<1>- |- Powergen Ince |Orimulsion or HFO |- |160 |27 (1993) 75 (1994) |- |<1>- |- Powergen Ratcliffe-on-Soar<3> |Coal |0.4 |<1>- |1 |0.019 |<1>- |0.45 Powergen Drakelow |Coal and HFO |- |<1>- |- |- |<1>- |- National Power Rugeley A & B |Coal and HFO |0.22 |<1>- |- |0.14 |<1>- |- National Power Willington |Coal and HFO |0.6 |<1>- |- |0.39 |<1>- |- National Power Ironbridge |Coal and HFO |0.22 |<1>- |- |0.14 |<1>- |- Powergen Richborough |Orimulsion |- |40 |6.17 |- |<1>- |0.81 Powergen Grain |HFO |- |<1>- |less than 50 |- |<1>- |less than 11 National Power Littlebrook |HFO |- |<1>- |less than 348 |- |<1>- |less than 79 Powergen Kingsnorth |Coal |- |<1>- |less than 26 |- |<1>- |less than 31 National Power Fawley |HFO |3 |<1>- |- |- |<1>- |- National Power Didcot |Coal and HFO |0.22 |<1>- |- |0.14 |<1>- |- <1> No limit specified in the authorisation document. <2> Annual actual releases have been calculated from information in the application together with 1993-94 operating data. These figures are believed to be reasonably representative of releases for 1993. There is little information available for the last three years. <3> This power station has limits of 0.435 for vanadium and 0.175 for nickel with respect to releases to water.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations he has had with his counterparts in France, Ireland, Spain and Portugal concerning equivalence of progress on the designation of sites of community interest in the Atlantic biogeographical region, pursuant to article 1(c)(iii) of the EU habitats directive.
Mr. Atkins: A meeting attended by representatives of the Commission and relevant member states of the Atlantic biogeographic region to establish a common understanding for the application of the directive to the region and on aspects of implementation was held in Edinburgh from 12 to 14 October. Member states reported their progress on the identification of candidate sites of Community interest. Community-wide discussions on these topics are held at regular meetings of the adaptation committee for the directive, chaired by the Commission.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the contract recently awarded to Safeguard International to assume the responsibilities of the national radioactive waste disposal service was put out to competitive tender.
Arrangements for the provision of this service are a management matter for the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: The Government are currently considering the 61 conclusions and recommendations in the report of the review of fire safety legislation and enforcement in the light of responses to the recent public consultation exercise. No decisions have been taken on any of the recommendations, including those relating to the proposed new advisory panel.
Mr. Maclean: The Government issued their response to the Morgan report in December 1992. A copy was placed in the Library. We see no need to implement the specific recommendations in the report about the role of local authorities in crime prevention.
Mr. Alex Carlile: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the funding of the Dyfed Powys police in both cash and real terms in each year since 1987; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maclean: The following table shows the total amounts of Home Office grant, in cash terms and at 1993 94 prices, paid to the Dyfed Powys police between 1987 88 and 1993 94 in respect of both current and capital expenditure.
Home Office grant payments-Dyfed Powys police £ million |Grant paid |Grant at 1993-94 |prices -------------------------------------------------------------------- 1987-88 |12.154 |17.067 1988-89 |12.899 |16.977 1989-90 |15.056 |18.522 1990-91 |16.038 |18.267 1991-92 |18.925 |20.281 1992-93 |20.848 |21.486 1993-94 |22.828 |22.828
The balance of the funding is made up of revenue support grant, which is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales, national non-domestic rates and a precept on billing authorities for the proportion of the budget met by the community charge or the council tax.
Mr. Michael: to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) remanded and (b) sentenced prisoners aged under 21 years have been received into Armley prison since 1 August 1994; what was the number of such prisoners detained in Armley prison at the most recent convenient date; and why
Column 566prisoners of this age are being held at Armley rather that at Moorland young offender institution.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Alun Michael, dated13 December 1994:
The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about young offenders at Leeds prison.
There are currently no prisoners aged under 21 years detained at Leeds. Such prisoners have been held at Leeds on two occasions since August 1994.
In one case, a sentenced prisoner aged 20 who had been reclassified as adult was held at Leeds, in view of his record of behaviour in custody. He had taken hostages and committed affray and was unsuited to young offender conditions. He was released from custody in September 1994. The other case involved a remand prisoner who claimed he was 21. He was only held at Leeds for two days until a check with the Registrar of Births proved that he was under 21 and he was transferred to Doncaster.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in how many cases over the past three years immigration enforcement action with a view to removal from the United Kingdom has been commenced against custodial parents of minor British citizen children; in how many such cases a custodial parent has been removed from the United Kingdom whether accompanied or not by the British citizen child or children; what is the breakdown by nationality of parents of British citizen children against whom such enforcement action has been commenced; and at what level of seniority decisions are taken to commence enforcement action which affect the rights of British citizen children.
The level of seniority at which decisions to commence enforcement action against the parent(s) of a British citizen child may vary according to the type of case, but in all such cases the decision to remove the parent(s) is taken at ministerial level.
Sir Ivan Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the Government intend to defray the costs of local authorities accommodating juveniles subject to court ordered secure remands.
Mr. Howard: It is intended that the Home Office will pay fees to local authorities in accordance with a tariff which will be established in consultation with interested parties, including the local authority associations. My Department will initiate discussions about the basis of the tariff in due course.
The new police funding formula has bee constructed by considering the determinants of the need for policing. The approach is similar--but more developed--to that of the formula which has been used since 1990 to distribute additional manpower to forces. Police needs are identified as falling into six main areas--maintaining a stable presence in the community, responding to calls for assistance, dealing with crimes, traffic management, maintaining public order, and community relations. Police pensions are also taken into account.
The new analyses were considered in the context of factors that have previously been used to assess expenditure needs. We concluded that, for 1995 96, the size of approved police establishments should be included in the formula. As a result, the extent of change next year will be limited.