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Community Charge Payers

Mr. David Young: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what recourse to compensation exist for those community charge payers wrongly committed to prison; and what action is to be taken against the magistrates who committed them.

Mr. John M. Taylor: Legal proceedings may be taken against a magistrate only if he has acted outside his jurisdiction and if it is proved that he has acted in bad faith. The Lord Chancellor does not intervene in judicial matters and there are no grounds for him to take action.

Posthumous Pardon

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (1) if he will list the main principles governing the release of documents held in the Public Record Office relating to the trials and executions for murder in British gaols on application by next of kin or their legal representatives for the purpose of pursuing a case for posthumous pardon;

(2) what is his Department's policy in relation to the application of the 75-year-rule, and requests made for reducing it with regard to papers held in the Public Record Office relating to the trial and execution for murder in British gaols, by the next of kin for the purpose of pursuing the case for a posthumous pardon; what policy his Department has on charging for photocopying of such records for such purposes; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor: All assize records over 30 years old and closed for 75 years are being re-reviewed in line with the provisions of the White Paper on open government, chapter 9. Dependent on the nature of the inquiry from the next of kin, documents are either made available to them, or they are invited to visit my Department to read the file. Public Record Office charges for photocopies from files and my Department follows the same course of action. After review, and where sensitivity has passed, files are being released into the public domain.

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when his Department received the application to supply copies of the papers relating to the trial for the murder of Lily Volpert, and execution in Cardiff gaol in 1952 of Mahmood Hussein Mattan: on what date the records were located at the Cardif Public


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Record Office; and on what date the Mattan family and their solicitor were informed of their existence.

Mr. John M. Taylor: A letter dated 2 September 1994 was received by the Court of Appeal on 6 September 1994, and passed to my Department's record section for action. They requisitioned Mattan's case file from the Public Record Office at Kew on 8 September 1994, and supplied copies of documents from the file to the solicitors under cover of a letter dated 16 September 1994.

Legal Aid Fund (Barristers' Fees)

Mr. Byers: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will name those barristers paid more than £200,000 from the legal aid fund in 1992 93 and 1993 94 and the amount each individual was paid in each year.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The information is not readily available in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

HOUSE OF COMMONS

Statutory Instruments

Mr. Berry: To ask the Lord President of the Council (1) what steps he takes to avoid a statutory instrument (a) being made or (b) coming into force before the making of any separate statutory instrument without which it would be ultra vires;

(2) what steps he takes to avoid a statutory instrument being approved before the approval of any separate statutory instrument without which it would be ultra vires.

Mr. Newton [holding answer 3 February 1995]: The guidance in "Statutory Instrument Practice" reminds Departments of the need to ensure that provisions in subordinate legislation are intra vires.

ENVIRONMENT

Objective 1 Funding

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will place a copy of the final agreement


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programme for objective 1 for Merseyside in the Library; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Paul Beresford: I have placed a copy of the objective 1 single programming document for Merseyside in the Library today. The programming which the single programme's document sets out provides an important opportunity for Merseyside. It includes a broad range of measures which will improve the competitiveness of local industry, increase the skills and employment opportunities for local people and enhance the quality of life. These measures give effect to a strategy agreed with the European Commission and prepared in partnership between the Government and others active locally: the local authorities, the training and enterprise councils, statutory agencies such as English Partnerships and the Merseyside development corporation and participants from institutions, further and higher education and the voluntary sector. I welcome the constructive and pragmatic spirit in which all concerned in the local partnership have driven forward planning for the Merseyside objective 1 programme, which will continue to have the Government's full support.

Radioactive Waste

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what studies have been carried out by his Department into the long-term storage of radioactive waste.

Mr. Atkins: Since 1981 my Department has carried out the following studies into the long-term storage of radioactive waste. These are available through the Library of the House:

A Design Study of Long Term Storage and Underground Disposal System for Highly Active Waste.

W. R. Burton and J. R. Griffin

Pre-disposal Storage, Transport and Handling of Vitrified High-Level Waste.

T. F. Kempe and A. Martin

Surface Storage of Vitrified High-Level Radioactive Waste in Reinforced Concrete Casks.

H. Beale, M. W. George and T. Robertson

Implications of Long-term Surface or Near-Surface Storage of Intermediate and Low Level Waste in the United Kingdom.

N. Murray, D. Vande Putte and R. J. Wade.

Long-term Storage of Radioactive Solid Waste Within Disposal Facilities.

M. Wakerley and J. Edmunds

Assessment of Best Practicable Environment Options (BPEOs) for Management of Low and Intermediate-Level Solid Wastes.

In addition, over the same period, there have been a number of studies into short-term storage.

Local Referendums

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the advantages and disadvantages of giving powers to local authorities to hold local referendums.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: My right hon. Friend has made no such assessment.

Coastal Protection

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what funds are available through his


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Department in the current financial year for coastal protection and repair.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: My Department has no specific funds in respect of work on coastal protection and repair.

Where the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food expect to issue credit approvals for capital expenditure in respect of such work these credit approvals will be taken into account in calculating standard spending assessments. Consequently local authorities will receive a contribution through the revenue support grant towards the borrowing costs associated with the balance of capital costs of approved schemes net of other grants.

Local authorities also receive contributions through their revenue support grant entitlements in respect of revenue expenditure which they undertake for coastal protection and repair.

Disabled Persons

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has regarding legislation or other action to ensure that the needs of the disabled are provided for in decisions on planning applications.

Sir Paul Beresford: Guidance on access issues is contained in my Department's planning policy guidance note 1 "General Policy and Principles" and in planning policy guidance note 3, "Housing". This guidance encourages developers and local authorities to consider access issues at an early stage in the design process. In general, however, the needs of disabled people to have access to buildings are secured through the Building Regulations. Part M of these regulations now define the access requirements to all storeys of non-domestic buildings and to most extensions. On 12 January, my Department issued a consultation paper proposing that the scope of the regulations should be extended to cover access for disabled people to all new dwellings.

Education Standard Spending Assessments

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the figures for the education standard spending assessment for Hertfordshire for (a) 1994 95 and (b) 1995 96 and the percentage change between the two years.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The figures are:


£ million                                                        

1994-95      |1994-95                  |Change (b/c)             

Unadjusted   |Adjusted<1> |1995-96     |per cent.                

a.           |b.          |c.          |d.                       

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

351.155      |361.089     |371.417     |+2.9                     

<1> The adjusted figure takes account of net income from         

recoupment in 1994-95, so as to make it broadly comparable with  

the SSA for 1995-96.                                             

Homelessness

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what recent consultations he has undertaken on proposals to reform homelessness legislation; and if he will make a statement; (2) what further consultations he plans in advance of legislation on homelessness; and if he will undertake to consult all the responders to the Green Paper "Access to Local Authority and Housing Association Tenancies".


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Mr. Robert B. Jones: We consulted extensively during the early part of last year, and our conclusions were announced to the House on 18 July 1994 by my right hon. Friend the then Minister for Housing, Inner Cities and Construction. Since then my Department has sought views on certain matters of detail from a number of key organisations interested in this subject. The policy remains as announced last July, and we have no plans for any further general consultation.

Regional Offices

Mr. McAllison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what specific tasks and objectives each senior regional director and staff member of Government offices for the regions have been and will be set for the years ending 31 March 1995 to 31 March 1996.

Sir Paul Beresford: The Government have given the Government offices for the regions the role of working in partnership with local people to maximise the competitiveness, prosperity and quality of life of each region. The central objectives of the offices are to: Meet the operational requirements of Departments and Ministers Contribute local views and experience to the formation and communication of Government policy

Promote a coherent approach to competitiveness, sustainable economic development and regeneration using public and private resources and through the exercise of its statutory responsibilities.

Develop the skills of staff and methods of working to achieve these objectives and to demonstrate their success in doing so Develop partnerships with and between all the local interests to promote and secure these objectives

Provide a single point of contact for local people and deliver high quality services on citizens charter principles.

Detailed objectives for the offices for 1995 96 will be set out in GO-MINIS management planning documents which will be published in the spring.

Rules and Regulations

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the rules and regulations in his Department which have been withdrawn in the last 12 months, or which his Department plans to withdraw in the next 12 months; and what impact this will have on his Department's manpower.

Sir Paul Beresford: The following list shows the 27 statutory instruments revoked by this Department during 1994.

The Department is continuing to identify rules and regulations for withdrawal. Those for withdrawal in the next 12 months will be announced as and when consultations are completed. The manpower implications will be taken into account in the Department's central manpower plans which will be published in the Department's annual report in March.

DOE Regulations revoked during 1994

The Billing Authorities (Alteration of Requisite Calculations) (England) Regulations 1992 SI 1992/2429

The Housing Renovation etc., Grants (Reduction of Grant) Regulations 1990 SI 1990/1189

The Housing Renovation etc., Grants (Reduction of Grant) (Amendment) Regulations 1991 SI 1991/897


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The Housing Renovation etc., Grants (Reduction of Grant) (Amendment) Regulations 1992 SI 1992/705

The Housing Renovation etc., Grants (Reduction of Grant) (Amendment) Regulations 1993 SI 1993/551

The East Anglian Water (Capital Powers) Order 1972 SI 1972/2050 The East Anglian Water (Capital Powers) Order 1977 SI 1977/295 The East Anglian Water (Capital Powers) Order 1985 SI 1985/240 The Transfrontier Shipment of Hazardous Waste Regulations 1988 SI 1988/1562

The Control of Pollution (Special Waste) Amendment Regulations 1988 SI 1988/1790

The West Hampshire Water Order 1919 1919c.cix

The Building (Prescribed Fees etc.) Regulations 1985 SI 1985/1576

The Building (Amendment of Prescribed Fees) Regulations 1986 SI 1986/2287

The Building (Amendment of Prescribed Fees) Regulations 1988 SI 1988/871

The Building (Amendment of Prescribed Fees) Regulations 1989 SI 1989/1118

The Building (Amendment of Prescribed Fees) Regulations 1990 SI 1990/2600

The Building (Prescribed Fees etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 1992 SI 1992/741

The Building (Amendment of Prescribed Fees) Regulations 1992 SI 1992/2879

The Compulsory Purchase of Land Regulations 1990 SI 1990/613 The Oil Fuel (Sulphur Content of Gas Oil) Regulations 1990 SI 1990/1096

The Local Government (Publication of Manpower Information) (England) Regulations 1983 SI 1983/8

The Valuation for Rating (Plant and Machinery) Regulations 1989 SI 1898/441

The Central Rating Lists (Regulations 1989 SI 1989/2263 The Central Rating Lists (Amendment) Regulations 1990 SI 1990/502

The Central Rating Lists (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 1990 SI 1990/1566

The Central Rating Lists (Amendment) Regulations 1993 SI 1993/166

The Opencast (Compulsory Rights and Rights of Way) (Forms) Regulations 1987 SI 1987/1915

Community Charge

Mr. David Young: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list those local authorities that have illegally prosecuted people unable to pay the community charge; and what action his Department will take to compensate those concerned.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The Community Charge (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1989 include provision for an authority to apply for a warrant of commitment against a debtor where other enforcement measures have been unsuccessful. It is for the magistrates court to consider any such application. The court may issue a warrant only after it has inquired of the person's means, and is satisfied that the failure to pay is the result of wilful refusal or culpable neglect. It has discretion to remit all or part of the outstanding amount.

Gipsy Sites

Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the total amount provided by his


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Department for the construction of gipsy sites in Devon in each year since 1993; and how much will be provided in (a) 1995 96 and (b) 1996-97.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: My Department has neither made nor will make any payment of gipsy site grant for sites in Devon in the financial years 1993 94 to 1996 97, because no local authority application for grant for sites in that area has received or is awaiting approval to proceed to tender.

Mr. Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will allow Devon county council to use the grant from his Department, originally designated for a gipsy site at Tamerton Foliot, for an alternative gipsy site; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The application from Devon county council for gipsy site grant for a site at Tamerton Foliot was rejected by my Department on the ground of excessive cost. No grant has therefore been allocated for that site. Section 80 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which came into force on 3 November 1994, repealed the Secretary of State's power to approve grant other than for applications received before commencement date.

Regional Operations

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many staff his Department employs on a regional basis in each standard English region; what is the cost of running these regional operations; what was the total budget for each region in the latest available year; and what are the main purposes for which the budget is used.

Sir Paul Beresford: My Department currently employs the following number of staff in each of the Government offices for the regions:


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                                               |Number       

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

Government Office for the North East           |99           

Government Office for the North West           |164          

Government Office for Yorkshire and Humberside |134          

Government Office for Merseyside               |65           

Government Office for the West Midlands        |120          

Government Office for the East Midlands        |104          

Government Office for the Eastern Region       |71           

Government Office for the South West           |77           

Government Office for the South East           |90           

Government Office for London                   |131          

These figures exclude regionally based Property Holdings, Her Majesty's inspectorate of pollution and rent assessment panel staff. Information about the cost to my Department of running each office, the activities carried out by the offices and the programme budgets of each office was given in my replies to the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham), Official Report, 25 January 1995, columns 210-12.

Countryside Stewardship Sites

Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list by county for countryside stewardship sites, the date when each site was designated and the date when each site's designation is due to be terminated.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 30 January 1995]: The countryside stewardship scheme is operated by the Countryside Commission. Agreements under the scheme begin on 1 October of the relevant year, and normally run for ten years. Information supplied by the Countryside Commission on the sites currently under agreement in each of their administrative areas, together with the date of the commencement and termination of each agreement, is given in the table. Information on agreements entering the scheme in 1994 is provisional.


                                             Number of                                                                                

                                             countryside                                                                              

                                             Stewardship                                                                              

                                             agreements, and                                                                          

                                             period of                                                                                

                                             agreements (1994                                                                         

Countryside                                  figures                                                                                  

commission regions                           provisional)                                                                             

and counties                                                                                                                          

                                            |1 October 1991-30|1 October 1992-30|1 October 1993-30|1 October 1994-30                  

                                            |September 2001   |September 2002   |September 2003   |September 2004                     

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

Eastern                                                                                                                               

Bedfordshire                                |9                |20               |15               |11                                 

Cambridgeshire                              |22               |37               |22               |18                                 

Lincolnshire                                |17               |29               |46               |21                                 

Norfolk                                     |43               |44               |48               |19                                 

Suffolk                                     |37               |36               |31               |25                                 

                                                                                                                                      

Midlands                                                                                                                              

Derbyshire (part also in North West region) |35               |49               |29               |22                                 

Hereford and Worcester                      |11               |43               |23               |28                                 

Leicestershire                              |9                |26               |11               |22                                 

Northamptonshire                            |9                |41               |23               |15                                 

Nottinghamshire                             |5                |8                |10               |12                                 

Shropshire                                  |15               |12               |20               |23                                 

Staffordshire                               |6                |15               |15               |11                                 

Warwickshire                                |6                |5                |6                |11                                 

West Midlands                               |2                |4                |5                |3                                  

                                                                                                                                      

Northern                                                                                                                              

Cleveland                                   |3                |2                |4                |10                                 

Cumbria                                     |41               |33               |21               |39                                 

Durham                                      |8                |18               |9                |16                                 

Northumberland                              |33               |51               |47               |30                                 

Tyne and Wear                               |2                |0                |5                |5                                  

North West                                                                                                                            

Cheshire                                    |14               |19               |19               |30                                 

Greater Manchester                          |6                |7                |6                |10                                 

Lancashire                                  |26               |39               |46               |72                                 

Merseyside                                  |4                |1                |3                |5                                  

                                                                                                                                      

South East                                                                                                                            

Berkshire                                   |7                |8                |9                |11                                 

Buckinghamshire                             |18               |18               |10               |15                                 

East Sussex                                 |16               |18               |9                |10                                 

Essex                                       |23               |18               |8                |16                                 

Greater London                              |4                |10               |8                |9                                  

Hampshire                                   |30               |18               |27               |24                                 

Hertfordshire                               |13               |16               |4                |11                                 

Isle of Wight                               |15               |13               |8                |12                                 

Kent                                        |21               |36               |33               |46                                 

Oxfordshire                                 |10               |17               |8                |21                                 

Surrey                                      |11               |15               |8                |13                                 

West Sussex                                 |22               |13               |5                |4                                  

                                                                                                                                      

South West                                                                                                                            

Avon                                        |8                |24               |15               |6                                  

Cornwall                                    |46               |73               |35               |9                                  

Devonshire                                  |35               |100              |52               |55                                 

Dorset                                      |38               |30               |10               |1                                  

Gloucestershire                             |26               |33               |20               |6                                  

Somerset                                    |27               |25               |20               |8                                  

Wiltshire                                   |43               |32               |18               |4                                  

                                                                                                                                      

Yorkshire and Humberside                                                                                                              

Humberside                                  |20               |20               |23               |15                                 

North Yorkshire                             |76               |102              |50               |10                                 

South Yorkshire                             |1                |14               |10               |1                                  

West Yorkshire                              |2                |10               |15               |3                                  

ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Crime Victims

31. Mr. Heald: To ask the Attorney-General to what extent victims are taken into account when a decision to prosecute is taken by the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Solicitor-General: When taking a decision to prosecute, the interests of the victim are an important factor in determining the balance of the public interest.

Appeals

34. Mr. William O'Brien: To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on the procedure of ensuring equity to people who appeal against a decision of an earlier court.

The Solicitor-General: The procedures are well established and effective in ensuring justice.

Combat 18

35. Mr. Madden: To ask the Attorney-General what action he is taking in respect of members of Combat 18.

The Attorney-General: The Crown Prosecution Service has not yet received a report from the Metropolitan police, whose investigation into Combat 18 continues.


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Asil Nadir

36. Mrs. Roche: To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement about the handling by the Serious Fraud Office of the Asil Nadir case.

The Solicitor-General: A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Asil Nadir. The Crown is ready to proceed when he returns or is returned to the jurisdiction.

Departmental Review

37. Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Attorney-General if he will make it his policy to instigate an independent review of the administration of his Department to facilitate decision making and accountability.

The Attorney-General: I have no plans to commission such a review.


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