Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the International Maritime Organisation code of practice on the sea transport of nuclear material of November 1993 was incorporated into United Kingdom law.
Mr. Norris: The International Maritime Organisation's code for the safe carriage of irradiated nuclear fuel, plutonium and high level radioactive wastes in flasks on board ships, agreed in November 1993, has not been incorporated into United Kingdom law. The code is voluntary and few states have incorporated it into law. Ships carrying such cargoes to or from United Kingdom ports will be expected to comply with the code's requirement. In the case of United Kingdom-registered ships carrying such cargoes, letters of compliance with the code would be issued by the Marine Safety Agency if it was satisfied that the ships so complied. Foreign flagged ships are required to have letters of compliance issued by their marine administrations.
(2) what estimate he has made of how much it has cost, and how much extra mileage has been travelled to carry out MOTs in the last 30 years;
(3) how many people have been employed by the MOT system during the last 30 years.
Mr. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he holds about the number of occasions on which bus operators in Greater Manchester have been (a) warned about safety defects on their buses and (b) ordered to cease operation of buses because of safety reasons for each year since 1990.
Mr. McAllion: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department which will (a) follow the pay arrangements of the sponsoring Department and (b) pursue an independent and separate route under the delegated pay option (i) from April 1995 and (ii) from April 1996.
For April 1996 the Trinity House Lighthouse Service, the Northern Lighthouse board and the London Regional passenger committee intend to follow the Department's central pay arrangements, or other existing analogues where appropriate; the traffic director for London has not yet decided his future arrangements.
Mr. Foulkes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons the Minister of State cancelled his presentation to the west coast main line all-party committee; what is the current position regarding the west coast main line feasibility study; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Watts: I am currently awaiting advice from Railtrack on the implementation strategy for the project. Once I have that advice, I will be in a better position to discuss the way forward with the committee.
The planned meeting was cancelled after I had consulted with the joint chairmen of the committee. I have written to all members of the committee who attended the cancelled meeting.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he has given to introducing a system by which newly qualified drivers are required by law to display a P-plate on their vehicle to identify to other drivers that they are still inexperienced; what representations he has received on this subject; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris: The introduction of probationary plates--P-plates--was one of the options included for comment in the new driver safety consultation paper of August 1993. This option received a mixed response from consultees and it was decided to consider it further when the full results were available of a study into the use of "Restricted" plates in Northern Ireland. This study has recently been completed; it concluded that "Restricted" plates did not have a discernible effect on accident reduction.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many miles of railway track are in areas of the country where train drivers are unable to communicate with signal boxes by telephone.
Mr. John Watts: At present, no more than 500 miles of the rail network--representing approximately 5 per cent. of the route mileage--are in areas not covered by the national radio network which enables these communications to take place. Within the next 12 months, as a result of a substantial investment programme, this will be reduced to 200 miles-- representing approximately 2 per cent. of the route mileage--excluding tunnels and deep cuttings. Complete coverage by the national radio network is not reasonably practicable.
Mr. Norris: The Government have today published their response to the Transport Select Committee's fourth report on taxi and private hire vehicles. The response, Command Paper 2715, forms the Government's official statement on the outcome of the taxi review. The most important features of the response are:
Taxis will continue to have the exclusive right to ply for hire--that is, be hailed--in the street and at ranks. Private hire vehicles, including minicabs, will not be allowed to ply for hire in the street. They will have to be booked in advance as now.
For reasons of public safety, particularly of vulnerable passengers, private hire vehicles, minicabs, in London will be subject to a form of control similar to that operating outside London. This will include criminal record checks for drivers, and may include a test to ensure they have an adequate knowledge of the roads in the area whey they are based.
A requirement will be introduced that all taxis shall be accessible to people who are wheelchair users. However, this requirement will be phased in over a period of several years, to give taxi owners time to replace their vehicles. In those places where there are existing target dates for taxis to become wheelchair accessible, they will still be expected to meet them. This requirement will not mean that all taxis will have to be London "black cabs"; local authorities will be able to license any vehicle which is wheelchair accessible and which meets such additional requirements as are considered necessary to meet local conditions. The power of district councils to restrict taxi numbers will be phased out over a number of years to give some protection to those who have made considerable investment in taxi plates--licences. However, there will be no reduction in quality control. Licensing authorities will be able to apply for a derogation from abolition of number control from the Department of Transport in exceptional circumstances.
The aim is to replace the existing legislation in due course. Copies of the response are available from the Vote Office.
Column 190certificated take-off weight of 170 tonnes, the IL-76TD with D-30KP engines has a noise level of 102.7 EPNdB--sideline- -and 103.1 EPNdB--flyover. Equivalent data do not exist for the AN-12 but its estimated performance is within the range 93 to 95.9 EPNdB at a take- off weight of 61 tonnes.
: |Number of letters |sent to hon. Ministers |Members in January ---------------------------------------------------------- Dr. Brian Mawhinney |109 John Watts |1,045 Steven Norris |679 Viscount Goschen |102 Total |1,935
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the details of the rail and light rail projects to be given capital financial assistance by his Department in 1995 96; and what proportion of total expenditure on such projects will be spent in Scotland.
Mr. Watts: Financial provision for the national railways in 1995 96 is expected to provide for some £1 billion of investment, of which about three quarters will be publicly funded. It is for the railway operators to allocate resources across the rail network in Great Britain.
On light rail we will continue to fund the South Yorkshire supertram project, and we have set aside funding for two new schemes--Croydon Tramlink and Midland Metro line 1--subject to satisfactory financing arrangements being agreed. The Secretary of State for Transport is not responsible for light rail schemes in Scotland.
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what date, and for what reason, information concerning fees paid to companies and partnerships employed by his Department to provide advice or assistance with rail privatisation became commercially confidential.
Ms Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations his Department has received from (a) consultants, (b) other outside organisations or (c) individuals concerning the publication of information detailing fees paid to companies and partnerships employed by his Department to provide advice or assistance with rail privatisation.
grant-maintained schools in Wales.
Schools |£ ---------------------------------- Pen-Y-Bryn, Clwyd |1,546 Cwmcarn, Gwent |18,510
Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will release the receipts from the sale of council housing on to Deeside to Alyn and Deeside district council to build homes for rent and repair council houses, and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones: Councils in Wales can use some or all of their new right-to-buy receipts depending on their indebtedness. If they are still in debt, they have to use only 75 per cent. of right-to-buy receipts to reduce debt. The balance is available for new capital spending. When they are debt free, councils can use the full amount of new right-to-buy receipts for capital spending. There are no plans to change section 64 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 as it applies to the reserved part of capital receipts.
At 31 March last year, Alyn and Deeside district council had usable capital receipts of £1,000,000 and council housing debt of £23,000, 000. Welsh district councils had total council housing debt of £1,203,000,000.
Mr. Redwood: During January 1995, I sent 102 letters to individual Members and one letter to Welsh Opposition leaders. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Jones) sent 190 letters to individual members and my hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd, North-West (Mr. Richards) sent 143 letters to individual members and two letters to all Welsh members.
Mr. Redwood: I am grateful to all those who responded to our consultation paper last year regarding the reorganisation of community health councils in Wales. Having considered all the responses, I am now able to announce revised proposals.
CHCs have an important role in ensuring that the health service is responsive to patients' needs, and attentive to their complaints. I am no advocate of reorganisation for its own sake, but changes to health authority boundaries will make some adjustments necessary. Where CHC and local authorities boundaries can be matched up easily it is worthwhile to do this too, but where it would mean redrawing the map completely and disturbing arrangements that work well at present it is not.
I have decided on boundary changes that will be useful but will not cause unnecessary upheaval. I want CHCs to be able to concentrate on their job in the months ahead, not worry about reorganising themselves.
Subject to consideration of any further representations I may receive, I shall therefore propose regulations to bring about, by 1 April 1996, the boundary and name changes listed as follows, and neither to create any wholly new nor merge any existing CHCs. (a) Minor boundary changes between the following CHCs:
South Clwyd and Montgomery CHCs;
Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend CHCs;
Swansea-Lliw Valley and Neath-Port Talbot CHCs;
Cardiff and East Glamorgan CHCs;
Following the boundary changes, the CHCs will correspond with the new LA areas.
(b) Transfer the responsibility for representing people in the present Borough of Islwyn from South Gwent CHC to Rhymney Valley CHC to create a new CHC covering all of the new Caerphilly LA area: (c) Transfer responsibility for most of the present Borough of Colwyn from North Clwyd CHC to Aberconwy CHC to create a new CHC covering all of the new Aberconwy and Colwyn LA area:
Column 193international airport at Eldoret, Kenya; and what is the total cost of the project;
(2) what representations have been made by him to the Kenyan Government concerning a third international airport at Eldoret, Kenya;
(3) if he will make it his policy to suspend British Government donor support to Kenya if the Kenyan Government proceed with the construction of a third international airport in Eldoret, Kenya.
Mr. Baldry [holding answer 17 February 1995]: The total cost of the proposed Eldoret airport is believed to be $85 million. We have no firm information about the source of financing. We, and other donors, have raised with the Government of Kenya the priority of this project. No United Kingdom aid funds have been, or will be, made available.
This project is likely to be one of a range of issues discussed during forthcoming missions of the IMF and World bank, the outcome of which will be an important factor in deciding future aid levels.
(2) how many letters were sent to hon. Members last month by each Minister in the Department.
Mr. Newton: In the course of January, I received from hon. Members 12 letters, some of which were dealt with informally, and sent seven. I have today replied to the hon. Member's own letter of 20 January.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Chairman of the Administration Committee what plans he has to install a large television screen in Westminster Hall for any future debates on disablement for those disabled wishing to attend such a debate to follow the proceedings; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Michael J. Martin: None. Although the Administration Committee is the appropriate body to initially consider a proposal of this kind, any extension of the arrangements whereby the use of Westminster Hall is permitted for lobbies of disabled people, and to provide access for those with disabilities attending mass lobbies, is ultimately a matter for the authorities which control the Hall.
Mr. Peter Bottomley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what public explanation was given by Ministers at the time that savings through insurance companies accumulated after a 25 per cent. tax charge when PEPs and TESSAs accumulated without tax.
Sir George Young: The fundamentals of the current tax regime for life insurance predate PEPs and TESSAs by a long way. Life insurance companies are taxed year by year on the income and gains accruing for the benefit of their life insurance policyholders. The nominal tax rate is 25 per cent., the same as the basic rate. But a deduction is allowed for the expenses of managing the business, including the costs of commissions to intermediaries and other costs of acquiring business, so the true rate is somewhat less than 25 per cent. The aim is to tax saving through life insurance in the same way as other types of taxed savings.
PEPs and TESSAs are much more recent innovations. Each was introduced to serve a particular need; PEPs to channel more investment into industry and TESSAs to encourage more people to take up the savings habit and to make the deposits of ordinary savers less liquid. A persuasive case has not been made out for altering the tax rules applying to save via life insurance following the introduction of PEPs and TESSAs.
Minister |Number ---------------------------------------------- Chancellor of the Exchequer |116 Chief Secretary |48 Financial Secretary |286 Paymaster General |656 Minister of State |205
Sir Ralph Howell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish figures comparing the income tax threshold for a single-wage married couple with their weekly supplementary benefit/income support allowances at each benefit uprating date since 1979,
Column 195including April 1995 and also showing what the figures in April 1995 would be if the married couple's allowance has already been phased out.
Sir George Young [holding answer 9 February 1994]: The table shows the annualised supplementary benefit/income support scale rates and the annual income tax thresholds, during the period concerned. There is no logical relationship between the two: the tax threshold reflects allowances which are a mechanism to distribute the tax burden, while supplementary benefit/income support is a payment designed to provide a basic level of subsistence.
The married couple's allowance has not been phased out, so no alternative figure for April 1995 is shown.
Married couple with one income<1> and no children |Supplementary |Benefit/income |Support annual|Income Tax Uprating dates |rate |Threshold |£ |£ November 1979 |1,554.40 |1,815 November 1980 |1,799.20 |2,145 November 1981 |1,963.00 |2,145 November 1982 |2,168.40 |2,445 November 1983 |2,262.00 |2,795 November 1984 |2,368.60 |3,155 November 1985 |2,488.20 |3,455 July 1986 |2,516.80 |3,655 April 1987 |2,566.20 |3,795 April 1988 |2,675.40 |4,095 April 1989 |2,849.60 |4,375 April 1990 |2,995.20 |4,725 April 1991 |3,237.00 |5,015 April 1992 |3,463.20 |5,165 April 1993 |3,588.00 |5,165 April 1994 |3,728.40 |5,165 April 1995 |3,796.00 |4,815 <1> Up to 1990 the assumption is that only the husband has earnings.
Income support replaced supplementary benefit in April 1988. The ordinary annual rate has been used for supplementary benefit and no premiums have been included under income support.
Mr. Morgan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what instructions he has issued to non-executive members of boards of non-departmental public bodies and to the chief accounting officers of those bodies as to whether payment to such board members should be normally classified as self- employment or employment for tax purposes; and if he will make a statement.
Sir George Young [holding answer 21 February 1995]: No special instructions have been issued. In common with all individuals, the employment status for tax purposes of non-executive members of boards of non-departmental public bodies and chief accounting officers of those bodies depends on the facts of the case and is determined by applying general law to those facts. Such individuals would normally be regarded as office holders and chargeable to tax under schedule E on the emoluments of that office. Tax under PAYE should be deducted from such emoluments in the normal way.