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the recruitment and appointment of boards of visitors members; the training of boards of visitors members;

the national representation of boards of visitors;

the administrative support at national and local level

funding of the work of boards visitors;

an appropriate title for boards of visitors;

I shall be helped in the work of the review by Her Majesty's chief inspector of prisons; a small number of board members;

representatives of their national


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organisations and a co-opted prison governor. We will be supported by a small team of Home Office officials.

Board members and groups with an interest in penal affairs are being invited to submit representations to the review group by 3 March. I would also welcome any representations from hon. Members. I hope to reach conclusions by the beginning of April and will announce these to the House.

Alleged Rape Charges

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that the names and addresses of persons charged with the offence of rape and not published in the press or broadcast media unless and until those persons are found guilty.

Mr. Maclean [holding answer 30 January 1995]: I am satisfied that the present law, which affords anonymity for complainants in sexual offence cases but offers no special protection for defendants in such cases, strikes a proper balance between the principle of open justice on one hand and the need to ensure that victims of sexual offences come forward on the other. I therefore have no plans to alter the law in this area.

ENVIRONMENT

Right to Buy (Repurchase)

Ms Gordon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will introduce legislation to allow local authorities to use a proportion of their capital receipts to repurchase properties from tenants who exercised their right to buy and now find themselves living in accommodation which is no longer suitable and which is unsaleable on the property market.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: We are currently looking at an exchange sale scheme to help local authorities to take back certain flats, which are affected by mortgageability difficulties, in exchange for selling leaseholders another home more suitable for their needs. We have received a number of representations on this which we are currently considering.

Social Housing

Mr. Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the background information on the need for new social housing lettings which he used in his decisions on the 1995 96 Housing Corporation approved development programme.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: My Department takes a view on the medium-term demand for rented housing as part of the annual public expenditure survey. I will publish the necessary background information in due course.

Housing Co-operatives

Mr. Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the figures for the Housing Corporation's allocations for co-operatives for the year 1995-96; and if he will make a statement on how these relate to their housing co-operative strategy.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The Housing Corporation's total allocation to housing co-operatives in 1995 96 is £9.514 million.


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The projects supported reflect the policies set out in the corporation's "Housing Co-operatives Strategy" published in March 1993.

Pollution Levels, Rotherham

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to measure levels of (a) nitrogen oxides, (b) sulphur dioxide, (c) ozone, (d) carbon monoxide and (e) PM10 in Rotherham.

Mr. Atkins: My Department, in co-operation with local authorities, operates national monitoring networks which measure, inter alia, levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide on a daily basis, and the levels of nitrogen dioxide on a monthly basis. the sites at Brampton, Dinnigton, Maltby and Wath upon Dearne in the Rotherham area form part of the national smoke and sulphur dioxide network. The levels of nitrogen dioxide are measured at four separate sites in the Rotherham metropolitan area: Doncaster gate, Wellgate, Broom and Eastwood. I understand that further air quality monitoring is undertaken in Rotherham by the local authority, and at present covers ozone, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide.

The Government's strategy for the general development of air quality monitoring was recently set out in "Air Quality: Meeting the Challenge", a copy of which has been deposited in the Library of the House. This includes proposals for the progressive integration of national and local authority monitoring networks into a single quality-assured network.

Research and Development

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what his Department's budget for research and development was in 1994; and what proportion of this was spent on research into radioactive waste management and disposal.

Sir Paul Beresford: My Department's budget for research and development in 1994 95 is £112 million. The proportion of the Department's total research expenditure to be spent on research into radioactive waste management and disposal is expected to be 3.5 per cent.

Absenteeism

Mr. Chidgey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what were the absenteeism rates for (a) the Planning Inspectorate and (b) the Ordnance Survey in 1994.

Sir Paul Beresford: The provision of information on absenteeism rates in the Planning Inspectorate is the responsibility of the agency itself under its chief executive, Mr. Chris Shepley. For the Ordnance Survey this is the responsibility of its chief executive, Professor Rhind.

I have therefore asked them to reply.

Letter from C. J. Shepley to Mr. David Chidgey, dated 1 February 1995:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Question about the absenteeism rate for the Planning Inspectorate (PQ/940/94/95).

The average number of days absent due to sickness, both certificated and uncertificated, was 8.75. This covers both Planning Inspectors and administrative staff.


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Letter from David Rhind to Mr. David Chidgey, dated 27 January 1995:

The Secretary of State for the Environment has asked me to reply to your Question about absenteeism in Ordnance Survey.

As I intimated in my letter of 16 January, since the Occupational Health Service keeps the statistics you seek from information supplied regularly by individual departments, Ordnance Survey does not itself keep duplicate records. I am told by the Occupational Health Service that details of absenteeism rates for 1994 will be available to departments in July 1995.

I regret that I cannot supply the information you have requested at this time.

Westminster City Council

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he will be replying to the letter dated 12 January from Mr. Andrew Disnall, regarding an extraordinary audit of Westminster city council.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: My hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Urban Regeneration replied to Councillor Dismore's letter on 30 January.

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to order an extraordinary audit into the affairs of Westminster city council.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The Secretary of State has no such plans.

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he first became aware of the allegations of malpractice at Westminster city council; and how these were brought to his attention.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: Neither the Audit Commission nor its appointed auditors has any duty to advise the Secretary of State of audit inquiries that may be initiated.

Since late 1991 my right hon. Friend has been aware, from coverage in the media and motions before this House, that the auditor was carrying out an investigation. The Westminster auditor published his provisional findings on 13 January 1994 which was the first occasion upon which the nature of the allegations and his investigation was confirmed. My right hon. Friend made a statement to the House on that day.

Parking Charges

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if income from parking charges made by local authorities is taken into account when calculating standard spending assessment settlements.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The income of local authorities from car parking is taken into account in determining the total of standard spending assessments. Income of this kind is also taken into account in the analyses on which the SSA formula for `all other services' is based. But the standard spending assessment of an individual authority does not take specific account of the income from car parking of that authority.

Standard Spending Assessment

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the 10 local authorities


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that gained and lost the largest sums through the changes to the education standard spending assessment formula, stating how much each gained or lost.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: Taken on a comparable basis the 10 authorities which have gained the most in their education standard spending assessment for 1995 96, and the amount, are:


                             |£ million          

-------------------------------------------------

Surrey County Council        |16.766             

Hertfordshire County Council |10.328             

London Borough of Lambeth    |6.926              

Devon County Council         |6.848              

Lancashire County Council    |6.688              

East Sussex County Council   |6.404              

London Borough of Southwark  |6.308              

Berkshire County Council     |5.788              

London Borough of Croydon    |5.329              

Wiltshire County Council     |4.878              

The 10 authorities which have lost the most, and the amount, are:


                               |£ million          

---------------------------------------------------

London Borough of Havering     |2.485              

Northumberland County Council  |1.980              

Norfolk County Council         |1.580              

Cheshire County Council        |1.428              

Essex County Council           |1.391              

Birmingham City Council        |1.316              

Stockport Metropolitan Borough |1.140              

Gateshead Metropolitan Borough |1.052              

Sunderland City Council        |0.993              

Cumbria County Council         |0.934              

These tables compare the Education SSA for 1995-96 

with the sum of the Education SSA for 1994-95 and  

the estimated net income from recoupment payments  

in 1994-95.                                        

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the local authorities that made representations to him regarding the changes to the education standard spending assessment formula; and on what dates these representations were made.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The authorities listed have made representations about the education element in standard spending assessments during the 1995 96 consultation period.


Authorities                                                                    

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Avon County Council                        |5 January 1995                     

Bedfordshire County Council                |5 January 1995                     

Berkshire County Council                   |5 January 1995                     

Birmingham City Council                    |7 December 1994                    

                                           |6 January 1995                     

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council        |7 December 1994                    

                                           | 22 December 1994                  

                                           |5 January 1995                     

Bradford City Council                      |5 December 1994                    

                                           |14 December 1994                   

                                           |6 January 1995                     

Buckinghamshire County Council             |4 January 1995                     

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council          |16 December 1994                   

Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council    |7 December 1994                    

                                           |20 December 1994                   

Cheshire County Council                    |9 January 1995                     

Coventry City Council                      |23 December 1994                   

                                           |10 January 1995                    

Cumbria County Council                     |20 December 1994                   

                                           |11 January 1995                    

Derbyshire County Council                  |29 December 1994                   

Dorset County Council                      |4 January 1995                     

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council        |5 January 1995                     

Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council     |21 December 1994                   

Hampshire County Council                   |9 December 1994                    

                                           |10 January 1995                    

Hereford and Worcester County Council      |6 January 1995                     

                                           |10 January 1995                    

Hertfordshire County Council               |6 January 1995                     

Kent County Council                        |3 January 1995                     

                                           |6 January 1995                     

Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council      |6 January 1995                     

                                           |10 January 1995                    

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council      |9 December 1994                    

County of the Isles of Scilly              |6 January 1995                     

Lancashire County Council                  |12 January 1995                    

Lincolnshire County Council                |12 December 1994                   

                                           |19 December 1994                   

                                           |6 January 1995                     

                                           |12 January 1995                    

Liverpool City Council                     |23 December 1994                   

London Borough of Bexley                   |12 January 1995                    

London Borough of Brent                    |12 December 1994                   

                                           |5 January 1994                     

                                           |9 January 1995                     

London Borough of Bromley                  |9 December 1994                    

                                           |5 January 1995                     

London Borough of Camden                   |7 December 1994                    

                                           |22 December 1994                   

London Borough of Croydon                  |15 December 1994                   

                                           |21 December 1994                   

                                           |29 December 1994                   

London Borough of Ealing                   |9 January 1995                     

London Borough of Enfield                  |11 January 1995                    

London Borough of Harrow                   |4 January 1995                     

London Borough of Havering                 |4 January 1995                     

                                           |10 January 1995                    

London Borough of Hillingdon               |23 December 1994                   

                                           |12 January 1995                    

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea    |13 December 1994                   

London Borough of Lewisham                 |6 January 1995                     

London Borough of Merton                   |10 January 1995                    

London Borough of Redbridge                |21 November 1994                   

                                           |5 January 1995                     

London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames     |6 January 1995                     

London Borough of Southwark                |4 January 1995                     

London Borough of Sutton                   |22 December 1994                   

                                           |21 December 1994                   

London Borough of Tower Hamlets            |5 January 1995                     

London Borough of Wandsworth               |4 January 1995                     

Norfolk County Council                     |23 December 1994                   

Northamptonshire County Council            |13 December 1994                   

                                           |3 January 1995                     

Northumberland County Council              |4 January 1995                     

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council     |2 December 1994                    

                                           |5 January 1995                     

Salford City Council                       |5 January 1995                     

                                           |11 January 1995                    

                                           |17 January 1995                    

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council      |6 January 1995                     

Sheffield City Council                     |6 January 1995                     

                                           |9 January 1995                     

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council      |4 January 1995                     

                                           |5 January 1995                     

                                           |6 January 1995                     

                                           |19 January 1995                    

Staffordshire County Council               |3 January 1995                     

                                           |6 January 1995                     

St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council    |5 January 1995                     

                                           |13 January 1995                    

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council     |6 December 1994                    

                                           |4 January 1995                     

Suffolk County Council                     |12 December 1994                   

Surrey County Council                      |12 December 1994                   

                                           |23 December 1994                   

Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council      |22 December 1994                   

                                           |12 January 1995                    

Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council      |5 January 1995                     

Wolverhampton Metropolitan Borough Council |29 December 1994                   

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what contribution the highway maintenance indicator makes to the standard spending assessment of (a) Westminster, (b) Coventry and (c) Birmingham councils.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The table shows the information requested in respect of standard spending assessments for 1995 96.


                                                |Highway                        

                |Highway        |Total Standard |Maintenance as                 

                |Maintenance    |Spending       |percentage of                  

Local Authority |Assessment     |Assessment     |total                          

                |£ million      |£ million      |Percentage                     

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Westminster     |9.680          |241.849        |4.0                            

Coventry        |10.244         |227.863        |4.5                            

Birmingham      |35.567         |880.278        |4.0                            

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the effect of the changes to the education standard spending assessment formula on the standard spending assessment of Westminster and Coventry councils.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: Taken on a comparable basis, the percentage increases between 1994 95 and 1995 96 in the Education standard spending assessments for Westminster and Coventry are:

Westminster: 2.6 per cent.

Coventry: 2.0 per cent.

These figures compare the education SSA for 1995 96 with the sum of the education SSA for 1994 95 and the estimated net income from recoupment payments in 1994 95.

Planning Inquiries

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the local authorities in England and Wales which have paid him the costs of local plan inquiries together with (a) the amount paid, (b) whether this money has been paid back, (c) when it was paid back, if applicable, and (d) the amount of interest from the date of refund to the present day.

Sir Paul Beresford: I am writing to the hon. Member.

Audit Commission

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the members of the Audit Commission with the terms of appointment, the payment received per year and the number of days worked.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: Audit Commission members serving at 31 January 1995 were:


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                        |Time input (per                                

                        |calendar month |Remuneration                   

                        |(pcm)          |for 1994-95                    

                                        |£                              

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chairman-Sir David                                                      

  Cooksey               |4 days         |19,000                         

Murray Stuart (Deputy)  |4 days         |13,034                         

Sir Peter Bowness CBE   |1 day          |2,948                          

Alan Brown CBE          |2 days         |5,896                          

Anthony Christopher CBE |2 days         |5,986                          

Sir Terence English     |1 day          |2,948                          

Sir Donald Irvine CBE   |1 day          |2,948                          

Kate Jenkins            |1 day          |2,948                          

Sir Peter Kemp          |1 day          |2,948                          

Jeremy Orme             |1 day          |2,948                          

Peter Soulsby           |1 day          |2,948                          

Iris Tarry CBE          |1 day          |2,948                          

Clive Thompson          |1 day          |2,948                          

Tony Travers            |1 day          |2,948                          

Clive Wilkinson         |2 days         |5,896                          

Peter Wood              |2 days         |5,896                          

Members' remuneration is taxable and non-pensionable. Adult Commission members are required to comply with the requirements placed upon the commission by statute--primarily the Local Government Finance Act 1982. Members are also expected to adhere to the Audit Commission's code of conduct which is based upon the Treasury's model code of best practice for NDPB boards.

They are debarred from standing for Parliament and are required to declare their interests and to take steps to disengage from any activities which may lead to a conflict of interest with their responsibilities to the Commission.

The terms of appointment of four commission members--Murray Stuart, Sir Peter Bowness, Alan Brown CBE and Anthony Christopher--end on 31 January 1995. The appointment of three new members, effective from 1 February 1995, have been announced; they are Helena Shovelton, Ron Watson CBE and John Foster OBE. From that date the deputy chairman of the commission will be Clive Thompson.

Advertisements

Ms Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment on how many occasions and in what circumstances in the last five years advertisements have been placed in newspapers or periodicals which have been described as being issued by or on behalf of Ministers in his Department rather than on behalf of Her Majesty's Government.

Sir Paul Beresford: Some 2,641 statutory notice advertisements have been issued by the Department of the Environment over the last five years. These normally appear under the Secretary of State's or his Ministers' name, in exercise of a statutory duty, and reflect the work of a wide range of divisions within this Department.

Smoke Alarms

Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to encourage the fitting of smoke alarms in flats of multiple occupation; and what plans he has to make their fitting compulsory.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: Local authorities have powers under part XI of the Housing Act 1985, as amended, to require houses in multiple occupation- -HMOs--to have


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adequate means of escape from fire and other fire precautions. They have a statutory responsibility to ensure adequate fire safety precautions in HMOs with three storeys or more and with a floor space exceeding 500 sqm.

My Department's Circular 12/92 contains the current guidance on fire precaution standards in HMOs. For smoke and fire detection, the minimum standard recommended for two-storey houses is for single-point smoke alarms. For houses of three-storeys or more, L2 fire warning systems are recommended.

The Housing (Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation) Regulations 1990 (SI 1990 No. 830) require managers of HMOs to ensure that all fire precautions are in and are maintained in good order and repair.

The Government also published a consultation paper in November 1994 inviting views by 18 February 1995 on the desirability of introducing a licensing system for HMOs in England and Wales.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) when he first became aware of the malpractice which led to the surcharging of councillors in (a ) Liverpool and (b) Lambeth; and how this was brought to his attention;

(2) when he ordered an extraordinary audit into the affairs of (a) Lambeth and (b) Liverpool councils.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The failure of the members of both Liverpool and Lambeth councils to set a legal rate before midnight on 31 March 1985 and the district auditor's investigations which led to surcharging in each case were widely reported in the press. The Secretary of State did not order an extraordinary audit of either authority. The Audit Commission exercised its own power under section 22(1) of the Local Government Finance Act 1982 to direct an extraordinary audit.

Noise Pollution

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to encourage local authorities to give higher priority to tackling noise pollution.

Sir Paul Beresford: Local authorities have a wide range of powers to tackle noise pollution from premises and from vehicles, machinery and equipment in the street. In response to rising numbers of complaints about noise, an increasing number of authorities have introduced 24-hour noise complaint services but this is a matter for each authority to decide on the basis of local priorities and needs. An inter-departmental working party was set up in October last year to review the controls over neighbour noise and to investigate options for swifter remedies. The working party expects to complete its review shortly and I intend to consult fully on its conclusions and recommendations.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful prosecutions have been brought for noise nuisance for each year since 1979.

Sir Paul Beresford: The numbers of prosecutions and convictions for noise nuisance in England and Wales for


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each year since 1979 are as shown in the table. Figures are not yet available for 1993 94.


Noise nuisance prosecutions and convictions         

             |Prosecutions|Convictions              

----------------------------------------------------

1979         |245         |144                      

1980         |240         |171                      

1981         |269         |249                      

1982         |263         |205                      

1983-84      |495         |332                      

1984-85      |355         |298                      

1985-86      |318         |251                      

1986-87      |430         |342                      

1987-88      |404         |322                      

1988-89      |446         |418                      

1989-90      |284         |233                      

1990-91      |559         |465                      

1991-92      |367         |310                      

1992-93      |416         |343                      

Source:                                             

Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.        

Planning, Yorkshire and Humberside

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how he intends to introduce an adequate planning structure to implement the planning strategy he outlined in paragraph 4.9 of the Yorkshire and Humberside planning guidance January 1995.

Mr. Paul Beresford: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced on 20 January his proposals on how to take forward strategic planning in North Yorkshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire. The Secretary of State has endorsed the commission's comments on the need for continued local authority co-operation on economic and planning issues across the Humber estuary. It is this need which is addressed in paragraph 4.9 of the draft regional planning guidance. The Secretary of State would look to the authorities concerned to put in hand the necessary administrative arrangements to achieve this. A formal structure for this purpose is not necessary. The Government office for Yorkshire and Humberside in Leeds is, however, ready to discuss with the authorities concerned any informal arrangements they might like to develop.

Business Rates

Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many appeals have been made against the business rate revaluation of 1 April 1990; how many are still outstanding nationally, regionally and by valuation office; and when this process is expected to be completed.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: A total of 1,231,145 proposals to alter the 1990 rating lists had been received in England by 31 December 1994, of which 295,222 were outstanding. I am placing in the Library a table which breaks these totals down by valuation office region and office.

We expect that the vast majority of proposals received by the end of March 1995 will be cleared by the end of 1995 96. Proposals will continue to be made up to 31 March 1996, and the remainder will therefore be settled as early as possible thereafter.


Column 694

North Yorkshire

Mr. Sykes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the county name of North Yorkshire.

Mr. Gummer: In the light of representations I have received about the changes I am proposing to make to the structure of local government in North Yorkshire I have decided to change the name of the county to the county of the North Riding of Yorkshire. For ceremonial and related purposes the City of York, which will be a unitary authority, will be deemed to be part of the County of the North Riding of Yorkshire. This change will be reflected in the draft structure order.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which companies or other organisations are conducting contained use work with genetically modified organisms--group I or group II for research or commercial programmes--and at which sites in the United Kingdom; if he will list the documentation he or other public bodies hold concerning the nature of the work undertaken; and what monitoring he has implemented at these sites.

Mr. Oppenheim: I have been asked to reply.

I have arranged for the names and addresses of all persons, companies and other organisations, who have notified premises to be placed in the Library. For all of these notifications the Health and Safety Executive holds the information provided, which includes a description of the modified organism and the activity, and an assessment of the risks to human health and the environment. It also holds similar information for certain individual activities of higher risk.

There are two forms of monitoring of the regulations. It is the responsibility of the person notifying to monitor, where necessary, for the presence of viable genetically modified organisms outside the primary physical containment. In addition, HSE's specialist inspectorate monitors compliance through a programme of inspection and enforcement.

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the regulation of contained use activities with genetically modified organisms.

Mr. Oppenheim: I have been asked to reply.

All contained use activities involving genetically modified organisms are controlled under the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 1992. The regulations have now been in force for two years. The experience so far has been that they have provided adequate safeguards to protect human health and the environment.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Iraq

Mr. Cousins: To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the possible falsification of export licences to Iraq referred to in his Department's press statement of 20 September 1993 have now been proved; what formal


Column 695

investigations have been commenced; and what criminal prosecutions have been undertaken.

Mr. Ian Taylor: Inquiries have established that, as far as the Department is aware, falsification of United Kingdom export licences for Iraq has, in the main, taken place outside UK jurisdiction. Since the introduction of new procedures the number of export licences issued for Iraq has fallen significantly. One investigation was undertaken by HM Customs and Excise but no criminal prosecution has taken place.

Regional Electricity Companies

Mr. Cummings: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what matters of public interest he will take into account in the event of a foreign conglomerate proposing to take over one of the regional electricity companies.

Mr. Jonathan Evans: In the event of such a takeover qualifying for investigation under the Fair Trading Act 1973, my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade would be advised on the matter by the Director General of Fair Trading. In giving his advice the DGFT would take account of all relevant factors as would the president in making his decision.

Northern Electric

Mr. Cummings: To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what matters of public interest he will take into account when considering Trafalgar House's bid for Northern Electric;

(2) if he will take into account the views of consumers in the north-east in his consideration of the proposed take over by Trafalgar House of Northern Electric.


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