Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many parliamentary questions tabled in the last Session of Parliament were not answered on the grounds that the information sought was not held centrally by the Department.
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what was the total cost in 1993 94 to the immigration appeals authority of hearing application for bail by persons detained under Immigration Act powers.
Mr. John M. Taylor: The costings for the immigration appellate authorities are based on the total work load; they make no distinction between different types of hearing. The information requested is not therefore available.
Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what information he has from Camelot with regard to the printing of lottery tickets and other items in connection with the national lottery; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Dorrell: This is an operational matter for Camelot group plc. I have therefore asked Peter Davis, the Director General of the National Lottery, who is responsible for regulating the operation of the lottery, to write to the hon. Member, placing copies of his responses in the Library of the House.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if he will itemise the refurbishment works undertaken on buildings housing departmental staff in the last three years, indicating the costs involved and the nature of the refurbishments.
Mr. Dorrell: Between April 1992, when my Department was established and the end of the 1993 94 financial year, £519,000 was spent refurbishing a building on the government estate for use as part of my Department's headquarters. In the same period, the Historic Royal Palaces agency spent £432,203 on refurbishment of staff accommodation. The Royal Parks agency spent £1.47 million on refurbishment projects in
Column 730the same period, which included conversion of an old police house into its headquarters offices, and various works on parks lodges and visitor centres throughout its parks in London.
Mr. Dorrell: I welcome the BBC's plans to launch these two services, in partnership with Pearson plc. These plans are fully in line with the proposal in our White Paper on the future of the BBC, that the BBC should exploit international commercial opportunities, in co-operation with private sector partners.
Following consultation with the Independent Television Commission, I have today laid before Parliament an order under section 13(2) of the Broadcasting Act 1990, providing that the services may legally be provided without a licence from the ITC.
I have also placed in the House Library copies of an approval under clause 3(u) of the BBC's royal charter, approving the setting up of the two companies involved in the provision of the services. The approval includes conditions requiring the BBC to operate the ventures on a clear arm's- length accounting basis from its public services, and on the basis that the services are for reception in mainland Europe, not in the United Kingdom. The approval also ensures that programmes on the two services will be subject to broadly the same regulatory regime as other commercial non- domestic satellite services, and will comply with the relevant ITC codes. The BBC is required to report on its compliance with the terms of the approval in its annual report which will be laid before both Houses.
Mr. David Shaw: To ask the Lord President of the Council, if he will make a statement about the plans of his Department to make information available on the Internet and the documents which he intends to be made available on the Internet over the next year which will be accessible via the World Wide Web server "open. gov.uk" or any specific departmental server.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those local authorities in England whose area is represented in whole or in part by a Liberal Democrat hon. Member of Parliament that bid (a) successfully and (b) unsuccessfully for funds from the single regeneration budget.
Column 731Successful Single Regeneration Budget Bids
Alnwick/Berwick upon Tweed/Castle Morpeth
Unsuccessful Single Regeneration Budget Bids
Alnwick/Berwick upon Tweed/Castle Morpeth
Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many organisations are currently receiving grants under section 73 of the Housing Act 1985; how many of these grants are due to (a) expire or (b) be reduced for March 1995; and what proposals he has to assist these organisations to secure replacement funding.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: One hundred and fifty six voluntary sector projects are receiving grant in 1994 95 under section 73 of the Housing Act 1985 to assist single people in housing need. Organisations are aware that grant is normally given for up to three years on a tapering basis while they seek other sources of funding. For 1995 96, I will consider applications from the 106 projects which are part way through their cycle of funding and, on their individual merits, bids from the 50 schemes which are approaching the end of their funding.
In addition, as part of the rough sleepers initiative in central London, 28 organisations are currently funded under section 73 powers.
Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment when he intends to publish formally the material included in the supplement to the homelessness code of guidance for local authorities issued earlier this year; and what plans there are for further revisions of the code.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: My right hon. Friend the Secretaries of State, in conjunction with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Health and for Wales, is publishing today a revised third edition of the homelessness code of guidance for local authorities. This new publication consolidates the body of the third edition of the code, issued in 1991, with an amendment about assessing people from outside the United Kingdom, and supplementary guidance on applications from asylum seekers. That amendment and supplement were issued jointly by my Department and the Welsh Office in typescript form in February of this year. No other changes have been made to the code, and we have no present plans to make further revisions.
Column 732local authorities in England about the demand for housing from applicants leaving the armed forces.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Advice to local authorities on dealing with applications for housing from people leaving the armed forces is contained in circular 14/93 "Housing for People Leaving the Armed Forces" issued on 16 November 1993. Since then, my Department has received one letter from a local authority about housing for ex-service personnel.
Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many (a) allocations of council housing and (b) nominations to housing association homes have been made in the course of each of the past five years by local authorities in England to applicants whose applications arose from them leaving the armed forces.
Mr. William O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will make a statement on the future contribution by local authority housing in meeting the Government's community care objectives;
(2) what plans he has to allow local authority housing departments to be more involved with the provision of community care; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Advice to local housing authorities on their role in community care is contained in my Department's circular 10/92 "Housing and Community Care", issued jointly with the Department of Health. The two Departments work closely together to ensure that housing is fully integrated into community care.
Local authorities should take account of the need for housing and its availability in preparing their local housing strategies and community care plans. I expect authorities' housing strategy statements to set out how they approach their responsibilities under community care and the way in which they co-operate with other agencies in the planning and delivery of services.
Mr. Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make it his policy that the public inquiry into the M25 link road between junctions 12 and 15 should precede the public inquiry into Heathrow terminal 5.
Sir Paul Beresford: No, the timing of the Heathrow terminal 5--T5-- inquiry is not dependent on the timing of the inquiry into the M25 link roads. I have already announced that the T5 inquiry will open in May 1995.
Sir Paul Beresford: The Secretary of State for the Environment was responsible for administering the majority of European regional development fund programmes which operated in England between 1989 and 1993. My officials are liaising with colleagues in other Departments, who had similar responsibilities for
Column 733other European Community programmes and grant regimes during this period, in order to provide my hon. Friend with a full answer. I shall write to him with this information as soon as possible. In the meantime, I can provide figures for the programmes administered by this Department. I have interpreted "bricks and mortar" projects as those which included building and construction costs as part of their total eligible expenditure. Our records show that, from 1 April 1993 to 31 March 1994, claims from the European regional development fund totalling £119,490,056.48 were paid for projects of this type. This figure includes claims for a number of projects approved under the structural funds regime which operated before 1989.
Mr. William O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what plans he has to include disabled households in council tax band A in the disability reduction scheme; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what assistance is available to a person who is substantially disabled and lives in a property included in band A of the council tax system and applies for a tax reduction; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: We have no plans to change the reduction for disabilities scheme. The scheme ensures that disabled people do not pay more council tax as a result of their special needs than would otherwise be the case. Households in band A are already paying the lowest possible level of tax. Disabled people on a low income may be entitled to council tax benefit.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the duration of the trips referred to in his answer of 28 October, Official Report, column 863 , which were undertaken by Ministers in his Department and on which they were accompanied by their spouses and paid for at public expense.
Mr. Robert B Jones: Paid publicity by the Department on the rent-to- mortgage scheme cost £315,000. A further £99,000 was spent on printing and distributing leaflets. The Department has no estimate of the administrative costs of the scheme.
Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many responses have been received by his Department from residents of Hampshire since the Local Government Commission published its preferred options for reorganisation; and how many supported the proposed changes and how many rejected them.
Mr. Curry: As at 5 pm on 14 December, we had received 1,821 letters form members of the public, of which 178 support the Local Government Commission's final recommendations for Hampshire. In addition, Hampshire county council encouraged residents to
Column 734forward pre-printed leaflets expressing their views. Some 10,202 leaflets have been returned, with 607 expressing support for the recommendations.
Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the changes in financial arrangements, both revenue and capital, for local authorities made since 1979 and their implications.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: As one would expect, over so long a period there have been many changes in financial arrangements, some of which are now of historical interest only. The present legislative regime is contained principally in the Local Government Finance Acts 1988 and 1992 as regards recurrent expenditure and the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 as regards capital.
non-departmental public bodies which it sponsors.
Councils will receive housing investment programme allocations totalling over £1.27 billion for 1995 96. Under the competitive HIP process, we have again been able to direct resources to those councils who are best able to make use of them.
Within the HIP programme £994 million is for general purpose allocations, or housing "annual capital guidelines". As last year these have been allocated 40 per cent on the basis of a statistical assessment of local housing needs and 60 per cent. on a discretionary basis related to performance.
As part of the assessment of their performance, each local authority is required to submit a housing strategy statement, setting out a comprehensive framework for the housing programmes for at least the next three years, covering not only the plans of the local authority but the contribution to be made by the private housing sector. The strategy is prepared in consultation with all those interested in the local housing scene, including the Housing Corporation, housing associations, tenant's groups and the private sector. Once again, there is a continuing improvement in the performance of the great majority of local authorities, with most of them now producing good quality housing strategies.
In addition to these annual capital guidelines, £278 million has been allocated for private sector renewal and housing defects in the form of "specified capital grant". Once again, 40 per cent. of these resources have been
Column 735distributed on a statistical assessment of local needs, and 60 per cent. on a discretionary basis.
I am depositing tables in the Library of the House showing each authority's annual capital guideline and specified capital grant allocation for 1995 96. Together, these comprise the HIP allocations. In addition, £314 million for continuing estate action commitments is being provided with the single regeneration budget next year. In addition, I am depositing a list of the authorities whose performance is assessed as being well above the average for their region. The Housing Corporation's approved development programme provides for gross capital expenditure of nearly £1.2 billion in 1995 96. Some £870 million of this is available for homes for rent and some £280 million will be available for sale and incentive schemes which make effective use of the stock to house families in serious housing need much more quickly than would otherwise be the case. In addition some £35 million is available for housing association schemes which are part of city challenge and the rough sleepers initiative. The Housing Corporation estimates that this programme should allow housing associations to provide some 52,000 new lettings in 1995 96. Over the three years to 1997 98, lettings from the Housing Corporation's approved development programme of some 135,000, together with output of some 45,000 from other sources such as housing association schemes supported by local authorities and cash incentive schemes, should mean that an estimated 180,000 new lettings will be produced over this period.
One of the key aims of the 1995 96 approved development programme is to make the most efficient use of the existing housing stock. Resources for short-life housing--mini housing association grant--have been increased to their highest level ever; do it yourself shared ownership will continue to be targeted principally at local authority and housing association tenants while resources for the tenants' incentive scheme increase steadily over the three years to 1997 98. Both DIYSO and TIS are efficient and cost- effective means to enable people to move into home ownership and vacate dwellings for others in housing need. A further key aim of the 1995 96 ADP is to focus increasingly on regeneration, both urban and rural. Some 40 per cent. of the resources for new approvals will be for regeneration purposes and will include rehabilitation schemes, schemes in city challenge and renewal areas, and short-life housing schemes. The Housing Corporation has also been asked to direct some 6 per cent. of the main rental and conventional sale programmes towards rural housing schemes.
The tables I am depositing in the Library of the House also contain details of the Housing Corporation's approved development programme for 1995 96.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: Some people who live in almshouses are at present ineligible for HEES grants because they cannot be tenants and, therefore, fall outside the definition of householder in the regulations. Following representations, I propose to amend the regulations to
Column 736enable people in this position to qualify for HEES grants provided they meet the other eligibility requirements. I also propose to extend HEES eligibility to protected occupiers and statutory tenants under the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976, assured agricultural occupiers and cottars. The necessary statutory instrument to amend the regulations will be laid before the House as soon as possible.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the number of meetings held, the secretarial and advisory arrangements, and the budgeted and actual expenditure and the subjects of any reports and submissions produced by the Going for Green Committee, since its inception.
Sir Paul Beresford: The Going for Green Committee, which is an advisory body, has held three meetings since it was established on 1 August 1994. It has a running costs budget for 1994 95 of £150,000, of which some £53,000 has been spent to date, and its secretariat consists of two full-time civil servants on secondment from the Department. The committee is not required to produce reports but is required to plan a public campaign for 1995 96 on individual responsibilities towards the environment. It has commissioned research to help guide its work.
Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many tenants of private landlords are receiving housing benefit in each local authority in England; and what percentage this represents in each case of the total number of tenants of private landlords in that area.
The available housing benefit information has been placed in the Library. The percentages requested cannot be given as information on the number of tenants of private landlords in each local authority area is not available. However, the percentage of tenants of private landlords who receive housing benefit in England is 49 per cent. Source:
Housing Benefit management information statistics May 1994 and housing and construction statistics June 1994.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the allowance per animal in real terms for the hill livestock compensatory allowance in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement as to his proposals for future levels of the allowance.
Mr. Ancram: The information is available in tables 5.2 and 5.3 of the statistical tables which formed the basis of the recently completed annual review of economic conditions in the hills and uplands. Full details of these statistical tables are available in the Library.
Column 737Future levels of the allowance will continue to be decided following the annual review which takes place each autumn.
Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the price charged for electricity in pence per kilowatt hour to standard tariff domestic consumers for each year since 1990; what was the percentage change in average household electricity bills for each year since 1990; and what was the average annual household electricity bill for each year since 1990.
_ |Standard domestic |Average household |Change in average |tariff |£ |Per cent. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1990 |6.84 |305.76 |- 1991 |7.41 |312.52 |+2.21 1992 |7.71 |341.12 |+9.15 1993 |7.87 |376.48 |+10.37 1994 |7.75 |n/a |n/a <1> Tariff effective from 1 April.
Month |Loyalist |Republican ------------------------------------------------ December 1993 |11 |8 January 1994 |19 |8 February |19 |24 March |30 |17 April |21 |4 May |31 |7 June |29 |27 July |11 |12 August |15 |15 September |15 |1 October |14 |4 November |8 |6 |-------- |-------- Total |223 |133 If the same individual is charged on more than one occasion, he/she will be added to the statistics each time.
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