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Mr. Atkins [holding answers Wednesday 14 December 1994]: The Humber bridge has been determined as the seaward limit of the Humber estuary, for the purposes of the urban waste water treatment directive, in the light of advice given by the National Rivers Authority.
The present sewage discharge at Hull represents a population equivalent of some 500,000 and is untreated. The final determination of whether primary treatment will be appropriate at any location will rest on whether the NRA is satisfied that the results of a comprehensive study demonstrate that a discharge treated to such standards will not adversely affect the environment. In the case of Hull, primary treatment as set out in article 6.2 will be permitted if the conditions set out in article 8.5 can be shown to apply. The NRA will then issue a discharge consent under regulation 6 of the Urban Waste Water Treatment (England and Wales) Regulations 1994 and chapter II of part III of the Water Resources Act 1991: the requirements will depend upon the outcome of the process described.
Sir Paul Beresford: Responsibility for the licensing of offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction rests with the Department of Trade and Industry. My Department is, however, consulted about blocks proposed for licensing and passes comments to DTI in cases where environmental issues are involved.
Column 853from Ernst and Young on the housing needs of elderly and disabled people and on the main conclusions of the research.
Mr. Robert B. Jones: This research confirms that the Government's policy of enabling frail elderly and disabled people to remain as far as possible in their existing homes, through house adaptations and domiciliary care support, is the preferred option of the majority and is the most cost- effective solution to their housing needs. It also establishes that this policy has been successful in targeting those who are in most need of help, that is, elderly and disabled people in the highest dependency groupings, low-income households, and the most elderly single people and couples.
The report argues, however, that housing providers should re-assess their priorities over specialised accommodation for elderly and disabled people, such as sheltered housing. There is nationally a significant over-provision of ordinary sheltered housing and, to a lesser extent, an under-provision of very sheltered or extra-care housing. This under-provision can be remedied, in many cases through up-grading ordinary sheltered housing.
I welcome this report as a major contribution to the debate about the housing needs of elderly and disabled people and about new and more flexible forms of providing for them. I have placed in the Library today copies of Living Independently--A Study of the Housing Needs of elderly and disabled people.
Mr. Dykes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish technical guidance about identifying, phasing out and destroying polychlorinated biphenyls following the decisions of the third North sea conference; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins: My right hon. Friend is today publishing a new waste management paper 6, polychlorinated biphenyls: it supersedes the existing waste management paper 6, which was published in 1976. Because polychlorinated biphenyls are environmentally harmful, their use has been progressively restricted since the 1970s. Some older equipment, particularly electrical equipment, nevertheless still contains PCBs in quantity: these remaining PCBs must be prevented from causing any significant increase in the existing environmental PCB load. The eight North sea states therefore agreed to phase out and destroy all identifiable PCBs by 31 December 1999. A consequent United Kingdom draft action plan is the subject of current consultations. The technical guidance in the new waste management paper 6 will enable industry, commerce and the public sector to identify disposal measures for their remaining PCBs. I commend waste management paper 6 to all managers with a responsibility for premises or equipment. I am placing copies of the paper in the Library of the House.
Column 854expenditure financed by the Housing Corporation in England, will be increased by £3,416,000 to £1,478,708,000. The increase is to fund an additional £3 million in respect of city challenge expenditure and for the take-up of end year flexibility entitlement of £416,000 as announced by the Chief Secretary on 14 July, Official Report, columns 729 34, for expenditure under the corporation's approved development programme, including city challenge schemes.
The DOE/LACAP, local authority capital, non-voted cash limit will be increased by £836,000 to £2,221,200,000. The increase is for the take-up of end year flexibility entitlement for supplementary credit approvals to local authorities to enable funding of projects within the housing partnership fund. The entitlement has been recalculated on outturn figures and revised from £530,000, announced by the Chief Secretary on 14 July, Official Report, columns 729 34, and based on forecast outturn data.
The external financing limit for the British Waterways Board will be increased by £500,000 to £48,866,000. This will help the board to cover the costs of canal repairs following a breach of the Leeds and Liverpool canal at Maghull and to bring forward essential maintenance work.
The increases will be offset by savings elsewhere or charged to the reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many representations his Department has received over the last 18 months on the subject of discretionary grants; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the obstacles which reduce the likelihood of young people aged 16 and 17 years who are currently classified as (a) ILO unemployed or (b) economically inactive and not currently in full-time education taking up one of the opportunities available to them under Government programmes (i) in general and (ii) in respect of each category of opportunity and each category of young people.
Mr. Redwood: All school leavers who do not go into further education or employment are eligible to register with the careers service for vocational training under the youth guarantee. I am not aware of any obstacles which prevent young people from registering, although it is evident that not all do so.
The careers service is to receive additional resources in 1995 96 to strengthen careers guidance from age 13 and I very much hope that this will have a significant effect in reducing the numbers of school leavers who fail subsequently to register for vocational training. My Department is also helping to sponsor seven projects in Wales which are being run by the training and
Column 855enterprise councils, in conjunction with voluntary bodies and other organisations, to identify such young people and to develop different ways of promoting their interest in further education, training or employment. Details of these projects will be announced shortly.
Dr. Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department (i) hold open meetings, (ii) conduct public consultation exercises, (iii) conduct consultation exercises with outside commercial interests, (iv) publish a register of members' interests, (v) publish agendas for meetings and (vi) publish the minutes of meetings; and whether this is in each case (a) under a statutory requirement of (b) voluntary.
(i) Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales; (1)
(ii) Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales; Staff Commission for Wales;
(iii) Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales; (2) (iv) None;
(v) Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales; (3) Welsh Economic Council;
(vi) Welsh Economic Council
(a) The Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales is under a statutory requirement to conduct public consultation exercises and, where appropriate, to hold open meetings in connection with the reviews it conducts. The Commission is also required to publish the reason for such meetings.
(b) The Staff Commission for Wales conducts public consultation exercises voluntarily. The Welsh Economic Council voluntarily publishes agendas for meetings and the minutes of its meetings. Notes:
(1) The Commission's own meetings are not held in public. (2) Although public consultations are not targeted at outside commercial interests, the Commission welcomes representations from commercial organisations with an interest in its reviews.
(3) The Commission does not publish the agendas for its own meetings.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 12 December, Official Report, column 515 16, to the hon. Member for the Vale of Glamorgan (Mr. Sweeney) if he will give the date of sale of any shares acquired in the course of underwriting activities by (a) the Welsh Development Agency and (b) any other Government agencies for which he is responsible.
Mr. Redwood: I will arrange for the chief executive of the agency to write to the hon. Member and for a copy of his letter to be placed in the Library of the House. The WDA has ceased to undertake such activity and no other agency for which I am responsible does so.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the monitoring arrangements for European Union grant aid in Wales under the RECHAR, RESIDER and the integrated programme of the regional development programme; if he will list the duties of the proposed monitoring committee;
Column 856and if he will list the representations he has received on this subject.
Mr. Redwood: There will be two monitoring committees in Wales covering the objective 5b, rural Wales, and objective 2, industrial south Wales, areas. The committees will have responsibility for monitoring the implementation of their respective mainstream programmes, and also any community initiatives that are relevant to the appropriate area. The duties of the monitoring committees will be agreed at their first meetings in the new year. I have received a number of representations from interested bodies on this subject.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 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. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 12 December, Official Report column 463 , what representations he has made to the European Union regarding harassment at the frontier between Spain and Gibraltar.
Mr. David Davis: We are considering all possible options. In particular, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs shall be raising the issue in the strongest possible terms when he meets his Spanish colleague on 19 to 20 December. I have already summoned the Spanish ambassador and made a formal protest.
Mr. Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what effect the decision in the Norwegian referendum had on the agreement on qualified majority voting in the European Council of Ministers negotiated at Corfu on the understanding that European Union membership would rise to 16 countries.
Mr. David Davis: Article 2(2) of the accession treaty for Sweden, Finland, Austria and Norway provides for the Council to make the necessary amendments to the treaty to take account of non-accession of one of the applicants. A draft Council decision to take account of Norwegian non- accession had been submitted to the European Select Committees of both Houses for scrutiny. This amends the qualified majority voting articles of the treaty to remove Norway's allocation of three votes, and amend the qualified majority threshold from 64 to 62. A separate Council decision, a draft of which has also been submitted to the Select Committees, will amend the Ioannina
Column 857decision to apply to dissenting minorities of between 23 and 25 votes. The Council will make these decisions on 1 January 1995.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many specific decisions and powers hitherto in the ambit of Parliament to act have been ceded to the European Union in the form of (a) regulations, (b) directives incorporated into United Kingdom law and (c) adjudications of the European Court, since United Kingdom accession to the European Economic Community.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 1 December, Official Report, column 817 , concerning the legal basis for the protection by the UN of the civilian population of safe areas in Bosnia Herzegovina, whether the bombs dropped within the UN-designated safe area of Bihac were dropped on UN
Column 858troops and to what extent the counter- measures were taken in defence of UNPROFOR personnel.
Mr. Douglas Hogg: We believe that the sporadic bombardment of Bihac safe area has not been targeted specifically against UNPROFOR. We understand from the UN that UNPROFOR has adjusted its deployment and operations activity to take account of the prevailing security situation in Bihac.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much has been spent on telephone charges and how many telephone calls have been made by his Department for each of the last five years.
Mr. Goodlad: Figures for the FCO, ODA and the Natural Resources Institute are set out below. Costs are the aggregates of voice, data and fax traffic over the telephone network, including line charges. FCO costs are given for 1992 93 and 1993 94. Information for previous years could only be made available at disproportionate cost. Details of call volumes are not available for FCO prior to 1993 94. Call volumes for the ODA are available from 1992 93 onwards.
|1989-90 |1990-91 |1991-92 |1992-93 |1993-94 |£ thousands|£ thousands|£ thousands|£ thousands|£ thousands ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Costs FCO |n/a |n/a |n/a |10,579 |11,220 ODA |452 |405 |534 |442 |509 NRI |n/a |170 |193 |176 |189 |-------- |-------- |-------- |-------- |-------- Total |452 |575 |727 |11,197 |11,918 Calls FCO |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |25,000 ODA |n/a |n/a |n/a |504 |564 NRI |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |n/a |-------- |-------- |-------- |-------- |-------- Total |- |- |- |504 |25,564
Mr. Parry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the representations Her Majesty's Government have made to the United States Government for ending the trade embargo with Cuba.
Mr. David Davis: We believe that the United States embargo against Cuba is primarily a bilateral matter for those two Governments to resolve. But we and EC partners made clear to the United States Government our opposition to the extraterritorial extension of the embargo by the Cuban Democracy Act before that Act was signed in 1992. We have reaffirmed our view on many occasions since.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the countries to which his Department's Ministers and civil servants based in Britain travelled in 1993 and 1994; and by which airline.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 7 December, Official Report , column 265 , about his Department's spending on air travel, what categories of people travel (a) first class, (b) business club class or (c) economy.
Mr. Goodlad: Ministers on official business travel first class. If this is not available, they travel business class. FCO officials accompanying Ministers who have work to transact with their Ministers during the flight travel in the same class.
On flights of two and a half hours or less, all other FCO officials of assistant under-secretary level and above on official business travel business class. All other staff travel economy class. On flights of more than two and a half hours, officials of permanent secretary level are entitled to first-class travel. All others travel business class.
As a rule, Queen's messengers travel business class. Where only economy and first class are available, they take the higher class.
Mrs. Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 7 December, Official Report , columns 264 65 , if he will list the names of (a) management consultants hired by the diplomatic wing and (b) management consultants, information technology consultancies and consultants involved in the aid programme overseas in the last year for which figures are available.
Coopers and Lybrand
Neville Clarke Ltd.
BNB Total Quality Ltd.
J. R. Vincent
The aid wing employed the following IT Consultants in FY 1993 94: The Bruton Consultancy
Team Technologies Inc.
Matrix Logic Ltd.
The aid wing employed the following management consultants in the same year:
Barony Consulting Ltd.
CSL Group Ltd.
Daniel J. Edelman
Ernst and Young
Mr. B. A. C. Ager
Overseas Development Institute
Quality Business Management
Segal Quince Wicksteed Limited
The University of Nottingham
The University of Birmingham
University of Edinburgh
University of Wolverhampton
The aid wing employed the following consultants in the overseas aid programme in the same year:
A Ustraykh (Vega International Capital)
Adam Smith Institute
Ashridge Management College
Association of British Chambers of Commerce
Banes Dawes Associates (C. Banes)
Barclays Bank plc
BBC Management Training
BBC MPM Ltd.
Binnie and Partners
BPP Bank Training