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Royal Train

Mr. Tony Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) who will be responsible for the royal train after privatisation of the railways; [15900]

Sir George Young: Following the sale by the British Railways Board of Rail Express Systems Ltd., which manages and operates the royal train, my Department continues to be responsible for the costs of operating the royal train.

SCOTLAND

Departmental Property

Mr. Macdonald: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the estates owned by the Scottish

19 Feb 1996 : Column: 37

Office Agriculture and Fisheries Department where the previous landowner still holds rights of pre-emption in respect of future transfer of ownership. [15072]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson: My right hon. Friend owns 52 estates which are subject to a limited statutory right of pre-emption under land settlement legislation. This states that:


Similar rights may be contained in the title deeds of individual estates. This can be determined only by carrying out a full title search which, at this stage, would involve disproportionate costs.

The consultation paper on the disposal of my right hon. Friend's crofting estates, "Crofting Trusts", acknowledges that legislation may need to take account of the possibility that, in some cases, the successors in title to the original owners may have pre-emptive rights.

Housing Expenditure

Mr. Chisholm: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of identifiable public expenditure in Scotland was spent on housing in (a) 1980-81, (b) 1990-91 and (c) the latest year for which figures are available. [12342]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson [holding answer 30 January 1996]: Identifiable general Government expenditure in Scotland is published annually in the statistical supplement to the "Financial Statement and Budget Report". The most recent supplement was published in February 1995. Total Government expenditure on housing in Scotland includes expenditure by the Department of Social Security on housing benefits, and is now published in The Scottish Office department report "Serving Scotland's Needs". They are not, however, available for 1980-81. In 1983-84--the first year for which it has been possible to obtain the information--1990-91 and 1993-94--the latest year for which figures are available--total expenditure on housing in Scotland was 9.6, 7.4 and 6.6 per cent. respectively of identified general Government expenditure. That reduction has to be seen against a reduction of 276,082 public sector houses from 30 September 1982 to 31 March 1994, reducing the associated requirement for public expenditure. The figures exclude capital receipts available for investment of £238 million, £411 million and £389 million respectively.

Hard-to-fill Vacancies

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what was the percentage of hard-to-fill vacancies over the previous 12 months in 1994 and 1995. [15562]

Mr. Kynoch [holding answer 16 February 1996]: The percentage of establishments in Scotland reporting hard-to-fill vacancies in 1994 was 15 per cent.; no comparable figure for 1995 is available. The data are based on a survey of establishments with 25 or more employees conducted on behalf of the Department for Education and Employment

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ATTORNEY-GENERAL

Unduly Lenient Sentences

33. Mr. Merchant: To ask the Attorney-General if he will seek powers to refer all unduly lenient sentences passed in the Crown court. [14190]

35. Mr. Congdon: To ask the Attorney-General if he will seek powers to allow him to refer all unduly lenient sentences passed in the Crown court. [14192]

The Solicitor-General: All the most serious offences tried in the Crown court, which are those giving rise to the greatest public concern, are already within the scope of the Attorney-General's power of review. He sees no need at present to seek any further extension to his powers.

Crown Prosecution Service (Queen's Counsel)

34. Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Attorney-General how many Queen's counsel are employed by the Crown Prosecution Service; at what average annual salary; and if he will make a statement. [14191]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service instructs Queen's counsel, who are self-employed, to prosecute the more serious cases before the courts. There are currently only two Queen's counsel employed by the Crown Prosecution Service, namely the Director of Public Prosecutions and a senior Crown prosecutor, whose salaries are within the scales appropriate to their respective grades.

Discontinued Cases

37. Mr. Jacques Arnold: To ask the Attorney-General how many cases were discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service in (a) 1994 and (b) 1995. [14194]

The Attorney-General: Proceedings were discontinued in respect of 159,803 defendants during 1994, and 156,628 defendants during 1995. Between 1992 and 1995, the rate of discontinuance has fallen from 13.3 per cent. to 12 per cent. of completed cases.

Prosecution Papers

38. Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Attorney-General what are his Department's guidelines for the retention by police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service of prosecution papers after the conclusion of cases; and if he will make a statement. [14195]

The Solicitor-General: Area offices of the Crown Prosecution Service retain files relating to cases dealt with by the magistrates courts for a minimum of 12 months after the final court date. Those finalised in the Crown court are kept for a minimum of three years. Cases handled in CPS headquarters are retained for a minimum of five years. Where there is a conviction, all case files are retained until the expiry of the sentence, if it exceeds the usual retention period. Prosecution files considered worthy of permanent preservation are sent to the Public Record Office.

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Scott Report

Mr. John Greenway: To ask the Attorney-General if he will make a statement about the report by Sir Richard Scott as it relates to the work of his Department. [14193]

The Attorney-General: The Government have said that the recommendations in the Scott report will be given careful and detailed consideration.

WALES

Soups Production Industry

6. Mr. Campbell-Savours: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what regional assistance he has given to the soups production industry in the last 12 months. [14161]

Mr. Gwilym Jones: None.

Health Authority Budgets

17. Mr. Hain: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the effects of the budgets allocated to Welsh health authorities in 1996-97. [14174]

Mr. Hague: I have increased resources for the NHS in Wales by 3.9 per cent. in 1996-97. This represents growth of 1.1 per cent. in real terms. Together with 3 per cent. efficiency savings I have asked for from health authorities and trusts, this will allow the NHS to meet the pressures facing it next year and to continue to increase investment in patient care.

Road Transport Safety

18. Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what new proposals he has to improve road transport safety in Wales. [14175]

Mr. Gwilym Jones: The Welsh Office is continually seeking ways to improve the safety of road users throughout Wales. A contract will shortly be let for a detailed study of the trunk road network in Wales, to identify priorities for casualty reduction over the next five years; and a number of road safety publicity campaigns and initiatives are planned.

Inward Investment

19. Mr. Merchant: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list the latest available figures for inward investment in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [14176]

Mr. Hague: Since 1983, almost 1,400 projects have been recorded involving over 82,000 new and almost 50,000 safeguarded jobs, and investment of over £7 billion. Wales continues to be very successful in attracting inward investment.

23. Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the level of inward investment (i) into Wales and (ii) into the rest of the United Kingdom over the past (a) five and (b) 10-year period on a per capita basis. [14180]

Mr. Hague: Based on figures notified by companies to the Invest in Britain Bureau at the time of investment decisions, inward investment per capita in the last five

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years was £1,018.62 for Wales and £382.51 for the United Kingdom; in the last 10 years the figures were £1,095.29 and £620.44 respectively.

Companies are under no obligation to notify their investment decisions, and the figures take no account of subsequent developments.

25. Sir Wyn Roberts: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of (a) the progress of and (b) incentives for (i) inward investment and (ii) expansion of existing plants in Wales. [14182]

Mr. Hague: We have a range of measures at our disposal--land, site and factory deals; training support; Source Wales; financial support and a loyal and industrious work force, a good record on industrial disputes and stable economic conditions which put Wales at the forefront of our inward investment success.


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