Mr. Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what representations he has received about irregularities in the conduct of the consultation with tenants over the proposed large-scale voluntary transfer of housing in East Hampshire district council.
Mr. Clappison: Six letters have been received complaining that the consultation period was too short and alleging that the council's campaign was biased towards the transfer. Of these, four were from the Liphook Tenants Association. The Secretary of State carefully considers all objections before deciding whether to give his consent to a transfer.
Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out in total and by each valuation office the number of appeals that have been received against council tax bandings; how many have been resolved; how many remain outstanding; when he estimates this process will be completed; and if he will make a statement. 
Sir Paul Beresford: I am placing in the Library a table which sets out, by valuation office region and office in England, the number of valid proposals to alter the valuation list which were received by 30 September 1995, the number settled and the number outstanding. Virtually all proposals received during the initial appeal period, up to 30 November 1993, have now been settled. The Valuation Office Agency currently receives around 8,000 proposals to alter valuation lists each month, and aims, in co -operation with the valuation tribunals, to settle all cases received after 1 April 1995 within 12 months of receipt.
Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will set out in total and by each valuation office the number of appeals that have been received against the 1995 rating list; how many have been resolved; how many remain outstanding; when he estimates that this process will be completed; and if he will make a statement. 
Sir Paul Beresford: I am placing in the Library a table which sets out, by valuation office region and office in England, the number of valid proposals to alter the 1995 rating lists which were received by 30 September, the number settled and the number outstanding. It is still too early to gauge with any accuracy the volume and timing of appeals against the entries in the 1995 lists, which may be made at any time, in some cases up to 31 March 2001.
Mr. David Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the procedures for designating SNCI areas which lie on privately owned land; and what is his policy on voluntary co- operation and compulsory
Mr. Clappison: The Government encourage local authorities to identify and adopt appropriate policies in their development plans to protect such sites from inappropriate development. In accord with the voluntary principles of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 local authorities may enter into management agreements. In the last resort they have powers of compulsory purchase, subject to the approval of the Secretary of State for sites of particular local importance.
Sir Paul Beresford: During the summer the social services inspectorate has considered the capability of a unitary Rutland to fulfil its responsibilities for social services. The inspectorate has now completed its report and is content that Rutland will be a viable social services authority.
Mr. Sproat: Following consultation with public librarians and the local authority associations, I have authorised today publication of guidance to local authorities about the provision of public library services. The guidance is intended to help in particular those authorities assuming public library responsibilities for the first time following reorganisation of local government in the English shire counties. Printing and despatch of copies to all English library authorities and other interested parties will take place over the next few days. Meanwhile, I have deposited advance copies in the Library of the house and I have sent one to the Library Association.
Mr. Sproat: Government support for tourism is channelled through the statutory British Tourist Authority and English tourist board. Through the ETB, support is made available to the 11 non-statutory regional tourist boards, including the West Country tourist board, which helps them undertake a variety of marketing and development activities of benefit to the tourism industry in their regions. The WCTB received a subvention of £614,073 from the ETB in 1994 95.
Column 249Tourism in south west England will also benefit from the overseas marketing work of the BTA and from the action programme announced earlier this year in my Department's document, "Tourism: Competing with the Best".
Mr. Sproat: Figures for tourism's contribution to each region's economy are not available. However, the figures for the number of employees in tourism-related industries, when shown as a proportion of the total number of employees in employment, give an indication of the importance of tourism in that region. The figures provided are for the latest month available and have been calculated on a new basis following changes to the standard employment classifications. The figures for each English region at June 1995 were:
|Percentage |of total |number of |Number of |Total |employees |employees |number of |employed |in tourism|employees |in tourism |related |in |related |industries|employment|industries |Percentage --------------------------------------------------------------------- Greater London |229,000 |3,189,000 |7 Rest of South East |264,000 |3,914,000 |7 South West |151,000 |1,762,000 |9 East Anglia |52,000 |819,000 |6 North |83,000 |1,090,000 |8 North West |169,000 |2,284,000 |7 Yorkshire and Humberside |135,000 |1,854,000 |7 East Midlands |102,000 |1,527,000 |7 West Midlands |118,000 |1,979,000 |6
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what amount Her Majesty's Government have paid to Bermuda in each of the last three financial years in respect of (a) development projects, (b) administration and (c) other services. 
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the delineation of the territorial sea boundaries between the United Kingdom and (a) France, (b) Belgium and (c) the Irish Republic. 
Sir Nicholas Bonsor: The agreement with France relating to the territorial sea boundary in the straits of Dover, Cm 733, entered into force on 6 April 1989. The territorial seas of the United Kingdom and Belgium do
Column 250not meet, but there is an agreement for the delimitation of the continental shelf between the United Kingdom and Belgium, Cm 2499. The delimitation of the continental shelf between the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic is the subject of a 1988 agreement, Cm 990 and a 1992 protocol, Cm 2227.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many nautical square miles of the United Kingdom's territorial seas are claimed by the Irish Republic in its constitution; and what percentage of the total United Kingdom territorial seas that represents. 
Mr. Rifkind: We do not recognise the claim by the Irish Republic to Northern Ireland or its territorial sea. No delimination of Northern Ireland waters has taken place as the British and Irish Governments have not discussed this issue. In the circumstances the information requested is not available and cannot accurately be calculated.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about problems facing Montserrat because of the threatened volcanic eruption; and if present rules for Montserratians entering the United Kingdom will be waived for a short period. 
Sir Nicholas Bonsor: Since mid-July, scientists have been monitoring closely the volcanic activity on Montserrat and keeping Her Majesty's Government and the local Government advised on the likelihood of a major eruption. Contingency plans are in place for a partial or full evacuation of threatened areas of the island, depending on the gravity of the situation.
Immigration matters are for my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department. Applications from Montserratians will continue to be considered under the immigration rules, having regard to all the relevant circumstances.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has received from the European Commission regarding its application of articles 34, 35, 36 and 37, respectively, of the Euratom treaty to French nuclear tests. 
Mr. David Davis: We have received no formal communication on this subject from the European Commission. However, we are aware of bilateral contacts between the Commission and the French Government on this issue.
Mr. Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the issues in regard to nuclear testing discussed at the informal Foreign Affairs General Council meeting in Santander on 9 and 10 September. 
Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many candidates were considered by the European Parliament for the post of European ombudsman; what was the procedure under which candidates were asked to apply; what is the salary of the ombudsman; and how many staff he will employ. 
Mr. David Davis: Six candidates were considered by the European Parliament for the post of ombudsman. The procedures for the appointment of the ombudsman are set out in the European Parliament's decision of 9 March 1994, Official Journal of the European Communities-Legislation , volume 113 of 4 May 1994, pages 15-18, and the European Parliament's rules of procedures 159, as amended on 16 May 1995, 160 and 161. Copies have been placed in the House Library. Article 10(2) of the European Parliament's decision to appoint the ombudsman states that the ombudsman will have the same salary and benefits as a judge at the European Court of Justice. The ombudsman currently employs one member of staff, but is entitled to increase this to 10.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the rules (a) relating to migration to European Community states by Dutch Caribbean, Spanish African and French Overseas Department residents. 
Mr. David Davis: The rules governing the entry and stay in member states of the European Union of persons from the Dutch Caribbean, Spanish Africa or French overseas department depend on the nationality held by the individual resident, not only the status of a particular territory. Nationals of the Netherlands, Spain and France, like other nationals of member states of the European economic area, which comprises the EU member states plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, are free to enter other member states to take employment, to establish themselves in self- employment or business, or to provide or receive services for payment. They are also entitled to reside in member states in a non-economic capacity, provided that they have sufficient resources to avoid becoming a burden on public funds.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information has been provided to Her Majesty's Government by the Jordanian authorities or the United States Government on the status of the Iraqi nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programmes following the defections from the Iraqi Government and debriefing of Hussein Kamil Hassan and Saddam Kamil Hassan in August. 
Mr. David Davis: It would not be appropriate to comment on our contacts with other countries on this matter. However, the UNSCOM and IAEA reports on the implementation of resolutions 687 and 715, presented to the UN Security Council on 11 October 1995, take account of useful information given by Hussein Kamil and describe developments following his defection and the subsequent disclosure by Iraq of large quantities of documents relating to past weapons programmes. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures are proposed to effect the greater penetration of Northern Ireland by Telefis Eireann; and what changes are required and have been put into effect by the authorities in the Irish Republic to bring about equal and reciprocal transmission of United Kingdom terrestrial channels. 
Mr. Rifkind: Greater penetration of RTE into Northern Ireland could be achieved by a number of means, notably cable, satellite and through changes to the terrestrial UHF networks in the two countries. The British Government fully support RTE's wish to enhance its service to Northern Ireland, but there are certain technical difficulties. British and Irish officials are discussing the possible solutions but have not reached any agreed conclusions.
As a result of decisions taken by the Irish authorities planning the RTE transmitter network, UK terrestrial channels can be received in many parts of the Republic of Ireland from transmitters in the UK.
Mr. Robert McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current population of each of the United Kingdom's dependent territories, excluding Hong Kong. 
Sir Nicholas Bonsor: I refer the hon. Member to the reply that my hon. Friend the Member for Banbury (Mr. Baldry) gave to the hon. Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay) on 8 February 1995, Official Report , column 285.
Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the estimated cost of the European Parliament in 1995; and if he will list the allowances payable to members. 
Mr. David Davis: The budget of the European Parliament for 1995 is 843 million ecu or £703.4 million. This includes operational costs for 723 million ecu or £603.4 million, and special capital costs of 120 million ecu or £100.1 million for the new offices of the European Parliament in Brussels.
The following allowances are available to Members in 1995: Telephone and fax--unlimited use from European Parliament offices. Travel--within the union, 0.76 ecu or £0.634 for every km up to 400 km, and 0.38 ecu or £0.317 for every km thereafter. Outside the Union, the cost of the return air fare by the most direct route.
Column 253Subsistence on official travel--within the Union 213 ecu or £177.75 per day. Half this amount, plus hotel costs, outside the Union. General office expenses--2,926 ecu or £2,441.75 per month. Secretarial assistance--8,000 ecu or £6,676 per month.
Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to what extent the admission of Cyprus to the EU would affect Britain's obligations and rights as a guarantor. 
Mr. David Davis: The UK remains committed to its role as guarantor. We shall continue to keep under review any possible implications for that role of developments on an intercommunal settlement and the future EU accession negotiations.
Mr. Betts: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the rights of individual members of the public to make complaints to any of the appropriate ombudsmen about services or projects funded through the private finance initiative in his Department. 
Mr. Lang: The parliamentary ombudsman has, subject to the conditions of the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967, jurisdiction to investigate complaints from members of the public about maladministration by Government Departments, other public sector bodies engaged in the work of central Government, and those acting on their behalf. As a consequence, the ombudsman can investigate complaints of maladministration about any projects or service carried out by or on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry that are funded through the private finance initiative.
Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what rates of travel allowance may be claimed by civil servants in his Department when using their own vehicles for official business.[36359
F Engine size |up to |over |1500cc |1501-2000cc|2000cc ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Up to 4,000 miles (Standard Rate) |34p |43p |46p Over 4,000 miles (Lower Standard rate) |19p |23p |31p Rates payable from 6 April 1995
Dr. Jones: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list the total cost of travel expenses claimed by civil servants using their own vehicles for official business in each of the last five years in his Department;
Column 254and what would have been the saving in the last year if the maximum rate that could be claimed was set at the lowest rate. 
Mr. Rowlands: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what estimate his Department has made of the volume and value in percentage terms of exports in (a) cars, (b) televisions and (c) video recorders made last year by foreign companies which have invested in production in Britain. 
Mr. Page: My Department has not made estimates concerning exports of individual products based on whether or not the manufacturer is a British- owned company. Information obtained from the British Radio and Electronic Equipment Manufacturers Association indicates that all televisions and video recorders exported from the UK were made by foreign-owned companies.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what provisions of the treaty of Rome, as amended, and any consequential regulation or directive constrain the sole duties or activities of statutory consumer councils as established and operating prior to preparations for, or changes consequent to, accession to the treaty. 
Mr. Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the three departmental minutes which the Overseas Development Administration laid before the House during the summer recess. 
Mr. Hanley: The departmental minutes refer to projects which are being supported by the Overseas Development Administration under the aid and trade provision soft loan financing arrangements which enable the banks to lend at concessional rates. Under new arrangements for ATP agreed in 1992, the ODA pays the aid portion of a soft loan to the bank or banks making the loan during the implementation period of the project, rather than, as previously, during the period over which the soft loan is disbursed. The former is much shorter than the latter. As a result, the banks would be exposed to additional charges if the tax regime relating to the lump sum payments were to change over the disbursement period of the loan. To safeguard the banks against such a potential liability the ODA provides an indemnity against possible tax changes. This indemnity creates a contingent liability on the aid programme, which therefore falls to be reported to Parliament.
Column 255The departmental minutes reported the estimated cost of these contingent liabilities as a result of making concessional loans to developing countries to finance the following projects:
Country |Project |Amount of Liability |£ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Thailand |Mini Hydros |1,346,909 |Samarinda Power Indonesia |Plant |3,856,568 |Samarinda Indonesia | Transmission Line |500,778 |Piston Engine Indonesia | Research Laboratory|1,436,633 |New Nanjing China | Airport |2,657,844
The contingent liabilities for projects 1 and 2 were incurred in, respectively, August 1994 and March 1995 and it is regretted that they were not brought to the attention of the House at the proper time. Those for projects 3, 4 and 5 were incurred during the summer recess. It was necessary to give the indemnities urgently to avoid delaying the start of the projects. The minutes were placed in the Libraries of both Houses and copies were sent to the Public Accounts Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support he has received for the appraisal mission, sponsored by the World bank executive board, to the Comoros Islands in September, with particular reference to the coelacanth and other endangered species. 
Mr. Hanley [holding answer 16 October 1995]: Following the World bank--United Nations development programme appraisal mission in September, it is envisaged that a request for funding for a project to protect the coelacanth and other endangered species will be submitted by UNDP to the global environment facility. The report will be available in due course through the World bank's public information centre. I will arrange for copies to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses when it is available.
Mr. Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance has been given by (a) his Department and (b) EU aid to establish or develop commodity exchanges for cocoa, coffee or sugar in developing countries; and if he will list the date, location and value of any aid projects of this type approved by his Department or the EU in the past five years. 
Mr. Hanley [pursuant to his answer, 13 July 1995, c. 688 89]: We have been unable to obtain a list of EU-funded projects which directly support either commodity exchanges for cocoa, coffee or sugar or these particular markets in developing countries.
Column 256Two EU-funded projects have supported commodity marketing and development in developing countries:
Cote d'Ivoire : Grant 12 mecu: construction of wholesale market at Bouake (agricultural products)
All African, Caribbean and Pacific states, overseas countries and territories : Grant 7.75 mecu: grant to assist marketing and sales and promotion of their products.
Mr. David Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what measures his Department has taken to reduce noise volume for residents on the A3 trunk road in the region of Onslow village, Guildford; and if he will make on-site assessments of the noise level following the completion of recent works with particular reference to the effect of the laying of porous asphalt. 
Mr. Watts: This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to my right hon. Friend. Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Mr. David Howell, dated 18 October 1995:
As you know, the Minister for Railways and Roads, Mr. John Watts, has asked me to write in reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what measures have been taken to reduce noise volume for residents on the A3 trunk road in the region of Onslow Village, Guildford; and if on-site assessments of the noise level will be made following the completion of recent works with particular reference to the effect of the laying of porous asphalt.
The Highways Agency has provided noise barriers and porous asphalt to limit noise levels from the A3 trunk road at the worst affected properties in the region of Onslow Village.
An evaluation to the effect of these noise measures has been carried out using the calculation procedures prescribed in the Noise Insulation Regulations. The calculation method is preferred because it applies a consistent technique for assessment which overcomes the many variables that affect noise over a period of time. The Agency has no proposals for carrying out on-site assessments.
Mr. Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the MOT hotline was established; how many calls it has received each year and for the first six months of 1995 96; what is the cost of running the scheme; and what income the scheme receives from the hotline number. 
I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member. Letter from Ron Oliver to Mr. Paddy Tipping, dated 18 October 1995:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question on when the MOT hotline was established, the number of calls it has received, the cost of running the scheme and the income the scheme receives from the hotline number.
The scheme was introduced in September 1994. Since that date there have been 14,521 calls made to the hotline, of which 6,347 were made in the first 6 months of 1995 (ie January to June). The costs of running the scheme for the first year were approximately £5,500, and the income £3,425.
The Council adopted as "A" points, among other things, a regulation establishing a common visa list, a resolution on burden sharing of refugees, an action programme for judicial co-operation with the central and eastern European states and a decision on funding operational activity in the third pillar.
The Council discussed in an open session the principle issues raised by the draft convention on enforcement of decisions and rules of jurisdiction in matrimonial matters, known as the Brussels II convention. It agreed that work would continue on developing the convention, and that a new draft text should be submitted for consideration by the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November. The text of a draft convention on insolvency proceedings was initialled by the representatives of all member states. The presidency hoped that the convention would be ready for signature at the Justice and Home Affairs Council in November.
The Council welcomed in principle a draft joint action against racism and xenophobia. The purpose of the instrument would be to promote a comparable response by member states' criminal justice systems to racist and xenophobic acts committed within the European Union. The subject was examined by Ministers at the Informal Council on 14 and 15 October, with a view to concluding the joint action at the November Justice and Home Affairs Council.
The Council discussed a number of points arising from the negotiations on the draft regulations implementing the Europol convention, and agreed that work should continue on them at official level.
The Council considered requests from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for the temporary protection of refugees and displaced persons from the former Yugoslavia. The Council instructed the K4 committee to examine this matter further at its next meeting in the light of a presentation by a representative from the UNHCR.
The presidency condemned terrorist acts and welcomed efforts among the member states to tackle this problem through reinforced co-operation and improved exchanges of information.
Ministers of the member states met their counterparts from the central and eastern European states, the Baltic states and Cyprus and Malta to continue the pre-accession structured dialogue with those countries on justice and home affairs. On the second day of the Council, the troika held meetings on third pillar matters with representatives from Norway, Switzerland, Morocco and the Andean pact countries.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what directions he has given to the National Lottery Charities Board on how it is to consider applications for grants and how lottery money should be spent. 
Mr. Howard: I have issued directions to the National Lottery Charities Board under the terms of sections 26 and 39 of the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 in respect of various policy and financial matters. The policy directions are meant to ensure, inter alia, that the board achieves over time the distribution of money to a reasonably wide spread of recipients, including small organisations and those operating purely at a local level, and across a reasonably wide range of charitable--whether or not charitable in law--benevolent and philanthropic activity.
The directions also require the board:
to have regard from the outset to: to the interests of the United Kingdom as a whole; the interests of the different parts of the United Kingdom; and the relative population sizes of, and appropriate socio-economic factors applicable to, the different parts of the United Kingdom;
to consider the interests of organisations with a base in the United Kingdom and working overseas;
to distribute grants in the light of these considerations. The financial directions regulate the payment of grants and put in place safeguards to ensure that grants are used for the purposes for which they were given.
I have today placed in the Library copies of the policy and financial directions.