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Mortgage Interest

Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to his answer of 13 February, Official Report, columns 479 80, what advice he has received from the Council of Mortgage Lenders as to the likely effect of the proposed changes to income support towards mortgage repayments on the level of repossessions.

Mr. Roger Evans: I have been asked to reply.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has advised that it expects the number of repossessions to increase as a result of the proposed changes. We are listening carefully to its concerns but believe that these proposals will result in the development of comprehensive quality insurance and will provide better protection for all home owners, not just those who currently get help from income support mortgage interest.

ENVIRONMENT

Opencast Coal Mining, Oxfordshire

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment which of the contractors wishing to development opencast coal mining in Oxfordshire had submitted planning applications up to 31 December 1994.

Sir Paul Beresford: This information is not held centrally.

Single Regeneration Budget

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many bids under the single regeneration budget were received by his Department; and how much money is to be allocated.

Mr. Curry: Some 469 bids for support from the first bidding round of the single regeneration budget were received by my Department, of which 201 were successful. Those 201 bids are expected to receive, subject to satisfactory performance and the availability of resources, some £1.1 billion in SRB resources over their lifetime of up to seven years.

Environmental Pollution

Mr. William O' Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the recommendations contained in the report of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution; and if he will list those recommendations he proposes to implement.

Mr. Atkins: My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment, for Health and for Transport have welcomed the RCEP's report as a major contribution to our work in promoting sustainable development in the transport sector but have pointed out that we would need to look very carefully at the implications of its recommendations for individuals and the economy.

We are currently considering the terms of the Government's response to the report and have sought a broad public debate on the issues raised. We shall consider all these points fully before making a response.


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Local Government Reorganisation

Ms Corston: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether under article 21 of the draft Avon (Structural Change) Order the county council will require the agreement of all transferee authorities affected in order to continue with consultation on preparation of any plans effected after 8 May.

Mr. Curry: No. However the county council will need to bear in mind that the duty to consult on plans relating to the exercise of county level functions after the reorganisation date will rest with the successor authorities and that all authorities will have the duty to co-operate.

Mr. Morley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will issue a statement setting out his intentions for the future of local government structure in the Goole area and the specific powers under the Local Government Act 1992 under which he proposes to implement these.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: My right hon. Friend intends, under powers in section 131 of the Local Government Act 1992, to direct the Local Government Commission to undertake a review of the boundaries between Selby, Boothferry, Glanford and Doncaster districts with a view to considering a full range of options for the future of local government in Goole. Pending the results of that review the town of Goole, and rural Goole, will remain in that part of Boothferry district which will form part of the new East Riding unitary authority when that is established.

Incineration Installations

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations his Department has received from local authorities for financial assistance to ensure that incineration installations are (a) safe and (b) comply with European Union regulations regarding emissions.

Mr. Atkins: I am not aware of any such representations having been received.

Fast-stream Entry

Mrs. Maddock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proportion of those accepted for fast-stream entry for which his Department is responsible (a) in 1991, (b) 1992, (c) in 1993 and (d) in 1994 were women.

Sir Paul Beresford: The proportion of female fast-streamers accepted over the last four years for which my Department is responsible is as follows:

1991: 5 out of 9 (56 per cent.)

1992: 1 out of 8 (12.5 per cent.)

1993: 4 out of 8 (50 per cent.)

1994: 3 out of 7 (43 per cent.)

Waste

Mr. Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will estimate the volume and the proportion not recycled of (a) coal waste, (b) domestic waste and (c) nuclear waste.

Mr. Atkins: The latest figures we have for coal waste are from Arup's report in 1991, "Occurrence and


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Utilisation of Mineral and Construction Wastes" which gives a figure of 45 million tonnes of annual arisings of colliery spoil of which around 94 per cent.--42.2 million tonnes--is not recycled. The consultation paper "A Waste Strategy for England and Wales" published earlier this year, gives a figure of some 20 million tonnes of household waste being produced annually, of which 90 per cent. is landfilled, 5 per cent. is recycled and 5 per cent. is incinerated. Information on radioactive waste produced in the United Kingdom can be found in the "UK Radioactive Waste Inventory 1991" which is in the Library. There is no separate figure for the proportion or volume of radioactive waste which is not recycled.

Shopping Centres and their Future"

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he expects to publish the Government's response to the Environment Committee's report, "Shopping Centres and their Future".

Mr. Gummer: The Government's response is published today. Copies have been presented to the Chairman of the Environment Committee and placed in the Libraries of the House.

Correspondence

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many letters were received in the Department from hon. Members last month.

Sir Paul Beresford: My Department's records show that 1,463 letters were received from hon. Members during the last month.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many letters were sent to hon. Members last month by Ministers in the Department.

Sir Paul Beresford: My Department's records show that the number of letters sent by each Minister in the Department to the hon. Members during the last month, is as follows:


Minister           |Number           

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

Secretary of State |161              

Lord Ullswater     |64               

Mr. Atkins         |215              

Mr. Curry          |734              

Sir P. Beresford   |346              

Mr. Jones          |405              

Bathing Water Directive

Mr. Butterfill: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if the Department's study into the costs of implementing the European Commission's proposed revision of the bathing water directive has been completed; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins: The consultants' cost study commissioned by the Department has now been completed. It shows the estimated costs of meeting the standards in the


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Commission's proposed revision of the bathing water directive and a number of other possible outcomes of the forthcoming negotiations. Any such expenditure would be in addition to the estimated costs of implementing the existing bathing water and the urban waste water treatment directives.

Discussion of the Commission's proposal in the Community is still at the initial stages and the United Kingdom's cost study should help to inform future negotiations.

Copies of the cost study will be placed in the House Libraries.


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Air Pollution Monitoring

Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the nearest air pollution monitoring point to Parliament square; what was the level recorded at the latest date for which figures are available; what was the level one year previously; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins [holding answer 21 February 1995]: Annual average concentrations of pollutants measured at monitoring sites in the vicinity of Parliament square are presented in the table.


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Site Type             |Location           |Pollutant          |1992               |1993               |1994                                   

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

Automatic monitoring  |Bridge Place,                                                                                                          

                      |  Westminster      |ozone              |11 ppb             |11 ppb             |13 ppb                                 

                                          |nitrogen dioxide   |39 ppb             |34 ppb             |35 ppb                                 

                                          |carbon monoxide    |1.0 ppm            |0.9 ppm            |0.8 ppm                                

                                          |sulphur dioxide    |9 ppb              |8 ppb              |6 ppb                                  

                                                                                                                                              

Non-automatic         |Intercontinental   |nitrogen dioxide   |-                  |29 ppb             |-                                      

  nitrogen dioxide    |Hotel, Park Lane                                                                                                       

  diffusion tubes                                                                                                                             

                      |North Westminster  |nitrogen dioxide   |-                  |26 ppb             |26 ppb                                 

                      |Community School,                                                                                                      

                      |North Wharf Road                                                                                                       

                      |33 Belgrave Gardens|nitrogen dioxide   |-                  |17 ppb             |21 ppb                                 

                      |Drury Lane         |nitrogen dioxide   |-                  |-                  |24 ppb                                 

                                                                                                                                              

Non-automatic smoke   |Public Mortuary,   |sulphur dioxide    |17 ug/m<3>         |23 ug/m<3>         |-                                      

  and sulphur         |Horseferry Road                                                                                                        

  dioxide monitoring*                                                                                                                         

                                          |smoke              |13 ug/m<3>         |13 ug/m<3>         |-                                      

* Monitoring undertaken in co-operation with local authorities.                                                                               

Local Government Commission

Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the level of financial support the Local Government Commission received in 1992 93, 1993 94 and 1994 95; and what is planned for 1995 96.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: The Local Government Commission incurred expenditure of £2.056 million in 1992 93 and £5.146 million in 1993 94. We are making £8.3 million available to the Commission in 1994 95 and intend to make available £2.508 million in 1995 96.

Rural White Paper

Dr. Strang: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the organisations that have (a) sent a submission and (b) indicated that they intend to send a submission for the rural White Paper; and if he will place copies of all such submissions in the Library.

Mr. Atkins: A list of organisations from which my Department or that of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food had received written submissions by 20 February and which have not requested confidentiality has been placed in the House Library. A number of individuals have, in addition, submitted their views.

Both Departments expect to receive a number of further submissions. The names of organisations making such submissions which do not request confidentiality will be made known after submissions have been received.


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Copies of submissions which we have not been asked to keep confidential will be made available for inspection in the departmental library in due course. In line with normal departmental practice, a list of those who have up to that point made such submissions will be placed in the House Library.

Sanitary Ware and Tiles

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what assessment he has made of the extent to which there is sufficient production capacity within (a) the United Kingdom and (b) the European Union to meet demands for the production of sanitary ware and tiles.

Mr. Robert B. Jones: Sanitary ware and tiles are items which are traded internationally. Decisions about production capacity and location are taken by industry on the basis of their own assessments of demand for their products.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Jordan Defence Package

Mr. Cousins: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment he has made of the compliance of the interest rate support offered by the Ministry of Defence since 1986 87 to the Jordan defence package


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with the OECD consensus arrangements for export support.

Mr. Ian Taylor: None. The consensus guidelines for export credit support do not apply to contracts involving military equipment.

Export Licences

Mr. Cousins: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the countries for which export licences were granted in respect of heading PL 5001 of the 1989 and 1994 Export of Goods (Control) Orders and the number of licences issued for such countries.

Mr. Ian Taylor: The following licences were issued from 1 January 1989 to date:


                |Number of          

Country         |licences           

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

Algeria         |1                  

Argentina       |1                  

Australia       |1                  

Belgium         |2                  

Bermuda         |3                  

Brazil          |1                  

Canada          |1                  

Cyprus          |1                  

Czech           |1                  

Finland         |1                  

France          |7                  

Gambia          |1                  

Ireland         |2                  

Jamaica         |1                  

Jordan          |3                  

Macao           |2                  

Malaysia        |3                  

Malta           |1                  

Mauritius       |2                  

Mexico          |1                  

Norway          |1                  

Poland          |2                  

Portugal        |1                  

Saudi Arabia    |3                  

Singapore       |1                  

Solomon Islands |2                  

South Africa    |1                  

Sri Lanka       |2                  

Switzerland     |1                  

USA             |1                  

Zimbabwe        |1                  

Cable Companies

Mr. Allen: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many cable companies currently provide free feeds to educational institutions.

Mr. Ian Taylor: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 21 February, Official Report, column 108.

Correspondence

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many letters were received in the Department from hon. Members last month.

Mr. Heseltine: Some 987 letters were received by Ministers in the Department from hon. Members last month, of which 126 were eventually transferred to other Departments. A further 98 letters were redirected from other Departments to Ministers at DTI. In addition, 12


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letters from hon. Members were received by chief executives of departmental agencies.

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the President of the Board of Trade how many letters were sent to hon. Members last month by each Minister in the Department.

Mr. Heseltine: In total, 711 letters were sent to hon. Members last month by Ministers in the Department, broken down as follows:


                                      |Number of letters                  

                                      |sent to hon.                       

Minister                              |Members                            

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

President of the Board of Trade       |72                                 

Minister for Small Firms and Consumer                                     

  Affairs                             |84                                 

Minister for Trade                    |40                                 

Minister for Industry and Energy      |73                                 

PUSS for Corporate Affairs            |132                                

PUSS for Industry and Energy          |178                                

PUSS for Trade and Technology         |132                                

Insider Dealing

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his oral answer of 15 February, Official Report , column 1004, what is the current state of the review into insider dealing, and when he intends to report on his findings to Parliament.

Mr. Heseltine [holding answer 21 February 1995]: The hon. Member may have misunderstood my hon. Friend's reply to which he refers. My Department is reviewing the law on disclosure of interests in shares as part of a wider review of company law. The law on insider dealing is the responsibility of my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Trade Associations

Mr. MacShane: To ask the President of the Board of Trade, pursuant to his oral answer of 8 February, Official Report , column 341, if he will list the lead employer, industry and trade association or organisations so far referred to him in respect of proposals for a single trade association.

Mr. Heseltine: I have made it very clear that I wish to encourage a process which leads to more powerful, better resourced and more effective trade associations. Many industrialists share this objective, and officials have been asked to consider with their industry and trade association contacts how best this can be achieved.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Correspondence

Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, how many letters were received in the Department from hon. Members last month.

Mr. John M. Taylor: There are 364 letters from hon. Members recorded on my Department's parliamentary correspondence database as having been received in January 1995.


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Legal Aid

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what was the total cost to the legal aid fund of serious cases for each of the last five years.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The information is not readily available. For criminal legal aid in the Crown court and above it is not possible to identify either the prosecution agency or "serious fraud" offences from information held centrally. However, it is possible to identify payments made in respect of final bills for the most serious types of fraud offences, namely fraud and false accounting, involving more lengthy trials. Expenditure in the higher criminal courts in respect of those offences, involving trials of 10 days or more, in each of the last five years was as follows:


@

                                |As percentage                  

                                |of total                       

                |Expenditure    |criminal higher                

                |£ million      |legal aid                      

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

1989-90         |5.1            |3.8                            

1990-91         |8.9            |5.7                            

1991-92         |11.2           |6.0                            

1992-93         |20.3           |9.2                            

1993-94         |15.8           |6.7                            

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what plans he has to make legal aid available, subject to eligibility restrictions, for defamation cases.

Mr. John M. Taylor: None.

Children and Families

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what plans his Department has to publish family impact statements with all major policy announcements and new legislation to make clear their intended effect on the welfare of children and families.

Mr. John M. Taylor: There are no such plans. The intended effect of policy and legislative proposals is made clear in Government publications relating to the family, in particular in consultation papers and reports.

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what part his Department plays in the Government's efforts to co-ordinate policy on the law relating to children and the family across different Ministries.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The Lord Chancellor's Department chairs, and provides the secretariat for, an inter-departmental working party, the family law and administration working party, which oversees work directed at improving family law and administration. In addition, the Lord Chancellor's Department participates in frequent consultation with other Departments about issues which touch upon the family.

Defamation Cases

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what plans he has to make it


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the responsibility of the presiding judge, rather than the jury, to determine the level of damages for successful plaintiffs in defamation cases that go to trial.

Mr. John M. Taylor: None. However, we shall be introducing a new summary procedure, so that the judge will have power to dispose of straightforward claims summarily, instead of sending them to trial.

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what plans he has to impose a limit on the level of damages that can be awarded in defamation cases other than those which are dealt with summarily.

Mr. John M. Taylor: None. However, since 1990, the Court of Appeal has had the power, when it finds that the amount of damages awarded by a jury was excessive, to substitute the amount which appears to the court to be proper.

Complaints

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, how many complaints his Department has received from (a) members of the public, (b) members of the legal profession and (c) hon. Members about apparent conflicts of interest between the Lord Chancellor's three roles in each of the last five years.

Mr. John M. Taylor: A search of my departmental records has revealed no evidence of complaints about apparent conflicts of interest between the Lord Chancellor's three roles.

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, how many complaints from (a) members of the public, (b) members of legal profession and (c) hon. Members his Department has received in each of the last 10 years with regard to the conduct of the judiciary in each different court level.

Mr. John M. Taylor: It is not possible to provide the information requested except at disproportionate cost.

Serious Fraud (Prosecutions)

Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, what was the total cost to the court system, excluding legal aid costs but including judicial costs, of prosecution for serious fraud in the most recent year for which figures are available.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The Department does not keep figures on the prosecution of serious fraud cases. The figures can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Crossville Wales Ltd. v. Tracey

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, if he will make a statement on the timetable for hearing the case of Crossville Wales Ltd. v. Tracey in the Court of Appeal; if he will take steps to ensure that the case is heard without delay; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John M. Taylor: The appeal hearing is due to take place at the Court of Appeal on 28 and 29 June 1995. My position as a Minister precludes me from intervening in individual cases; however, it is open to the parties' legal advisers to apply to the court for an expedited hearing date.


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EMPLOYMENT

Labour Statistics

Mr. Bell: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many changes there have been to statistics calculating the numbers unemployed since 1988; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Oppenheim: Like most developed countries the United Kingdom publishes both an administrative and a survey based measure of unemployment. In the United Kingdom the administrative source involves a count of people claiming unemployment-related benefits. The monthly claimant count is more frequent and more timely than the survey-based measure and also gives figures for very small areas. However, in common with other statistics based on administrative systems, the monthly claimant count has inevitably been subject to changes in coverage whenever there have been changes to the administrative procedures on which the statistics are based. These changes are taken into account in the consistent, seasonally adjusted series published by the Employment Department. The latter series allows consistent comparisons over time which are free from distortions and properly adjusted for seasonality.

Since 1979 there have been nine changes to the coverage of the monthly unemployment count which have had a discernible effect on the figures, three of which have taken place since 1988.

Details of these changes are given in an article in the December 1990 issue of Employment Gazette entitled "Monthly Unemployment Statistics: Maintaining a Consistent Series" and on page S16 of the April 1994 Employment Gazette ; copies of both these documents are available in the Libarary.

The survey measure of unemployment from the Labour Force Survey is based on ILO guidelines and is entirely independent of the benefit system. Data have been available consistently since spring 1984 on an annual basis and since spring 1992 on a quarterly basis. The LFS provides an internationally comparable measure of unemployment and also provides detailed information on the characteristics of the unemployed not available from the claimant count. In addition, the LFS provides an articulated source of information on employment, unemployment and economic activity.

Further details of both official measures of unemployment can be obtained from the booklet "How Exactly is Unemployment Measured?", a copy of which is available in the Library.

Training

Mr. Devlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many places are being provided on training schemes in the northern region in the current year by individual training and enterprise councils; and what was the overall number of Government-sponsored training places in 1978.

Mr. Paice: The following number of entrants into training are planned for 1994 95 in northern region:


TEC             |Number       

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

Tyneside        |14,047       

County Durham   |9,073        

Sunderland City |6,505        

Teeside         |10,148       

Northumberland  |4,631        

                              

Total           |44,404       

Information which identifies the overall number of

Government-sponsored training places in 1978 is not available at regional level.


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