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Land Law Reform

Ms Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the progress made so far by his Land Reform Unit; what meetings this unit has held; from which bodies or individuals it has (i) sought and (ii) received evidence on land reform; and when he expects to publish the unit's interim findings. [24568]

Mr. Dewar [holding answer 26 January 1998]: The Land Reform Policy Group is making excellent progress and has held three meetings so far. It will be consulting widely: next month about what the most significant problems and issues are; and then in the summer on the best solutions.

The group is also drawing on the large body of literature produced on land matters, including the Scottish Land Commission report which has been sent to me.

I expect the group's final report by the end of this year.

Ms Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received concerning the establishment of a Scottish land convention to prepare legislation for the Scottish Parliament for the reform of Scotland's land laws; what is his policy on the creation of a Scottish land convention; and if he will make a statement. [24566]

Mr. Dewar [holding answer 26 January 1998]: None.

In fulfilment of our Manifesto commitment, the Land Reform Policy Group, chaired by my noble Friend, the Minster of Agriculture, the Environment and Fisheries, has been established to identify and assess proposals for land reform in rural Scotland taking account of their cost,

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legislative and administrative implications and their likely impact on the social and economic development of rural communities and on the natural heritage.

Land Registration Data Base

Ms Roseanna Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the additional resources that would be required to allow the completion of the Scottish land registration data base by 2000; if it is his policy to provide additional resources for the Scottish land registration data base; what plans he has for extending the range of material and information contained in the land data base; and if he will make a statement. [24567]

Mr. Dewar [holding answer 26 January 1998]: Information on land in Scotland has been available from the deed-base Register of Sasines since the 17th century. The computerised and map-based Land Register has been gradually replacing it since 1981 and currently covers 14 counties accounting for 60 per cent. of the housing stock in Scotland. It will extend to the whole of Scotland by 1 April 2003. If the extension programme were to be brought forward to 1 April 2000, additional costs of at least £25 million would be required. This sum would cover the costs of registering properties transferring for value in terms of the Land Registration (Scotland) Act 1979. The Registers of Scotland Executive Agency which operates the Land Register is currently involved in piloting the Scottish Land Information System which will provide integrated information services with easy and affordable access to all sources of land and property information in Scotland.

The Land Reform Policy Group is currently considering these issues.

University Tuition Fees

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if an applicant to a Scottish university, who is eligible to pay tuition fees, will be liable to pay fourth-year tuition fees if he/she moves their permanent address (a) from England to Scotland and (b) from Scotland to England on 29 June of the year in which he/she applies. [25334]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 26 January 1998]: The residence eligibility criteria under the new student support arrangements will remain the same as under the existing schemes. The responsible award making body is determined primarily by a student's place of ordinary residence on 30 June of the year in which he or she starts the course. A period of residence wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education is not regarded as ordinary residence.

Beef

Mr. Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will estimate the loss of income sustained by the Scottish beef sector as a result of (a) the continuation of the BSE export ban, (b) increased cost relating to public health measures in response to the BSE outbreak and (c) fluctuations in market prices for livestock in (i) 1995-96, (ii) 1996-97 and (iii) 1997-98. [25238]

Mr. Macdonald [holding answer 26 January 1998]: It is difficult to isolate the impact of BSE from other factors affecting the beef sector. However, the results of

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the Annual Survey of Farm Accounts show that sales revenue of a specialist beef farm in Scotland's Less-Favoured Area in 1996-97 was down by an average of £4,000 on the previous year. Projections for 1997-98 will be published on January 30.

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to discuss mechanisms for the early return of Scottish beef to world export markets with European agriculture ministers. [25206]

Mr. Macdonald: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State maintains a keen interest in BSE matters and the European Commission have been made well aware of the interests of the Scottish beef industry. My noble Friend, Lord Sewel, discusses the lifting of the beef export ban with other European agriculture ministers when he attends EU Agriculture Councils. He discussed the Scottish position with Commissioners Fischler and Bonino when they visited London on 8 January and takes every available opportunity to press Scotland's case.

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will invite European Union agriculture ministers to meet representatives of the Scottish farming industry to discuss the Scottish beef industry; and if he will make a statement. [25207]

Mr. Macdonald: My right hon. Friend has no current plans to invite European Union Agriculture Ministers to meet representatives of the Scottish farming industry to discuss the Scottish beef industry.

Road Bridges

Mr. Alasdair Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the (a) operating costs, (b) maintenance costs and (c) revenue from tolls in respect of (i) Erskine, (ii) Skye, (iii) Forth and (iv) Tay road bridges in the last year for which figures are available. [25280]

Mr. McLeish [holding answer 26 January 1998]: Information on operating costs, maintenance costs and toll revenue for Erskine, Forth and Tay bridges is set out in the table. The Skye Bridge is operated by Skye Bridge Limited, a private company, and the information requested is not available in this format. I will arrange for a copy of Skye Bridge Limited's published accounts for the year ending 31 December 1996 to be sent to the hon. Member.

£
Operating costsMaintenance costs(23)Toll Revenue
Erskine Bridge(21)1,395,344266,0223,753,777
Forth Bridge(21)2,231,9031,131,8708,807,024
Tay Bridge(22)944,000289,0003,070,000

(21) Figures for the Erskine and Forth bridges are from the 1996-97 accounts.

(22) Figures for the Tay Bridge are from the 1995-96 accounts.

(23) Maintenance figures cover routine maintenance only.


Duty Free

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has made to the Treasury concerning the impact on Scottish airports of the loss of intra-European Union duty free. [25213]

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Mr. McLeish: The Government are aware of the concerns of Scottish industry about the impact of the abolition of duty and tax free sales within the European Union.

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received concerning the economic impact of the loss of intra-European Union duty free on Scottish airports. [25211]

Mr. McLeish: A representation has been received from one company.

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with BAA concerning the impact on Scottish airports of the loss of intra-European Union duty free; and if he will make a statement. [25212]

Mr. McLeish: Ministers meet BAA Scottish Airports from time to time. At the most recent meeting a number of topics were discussed including the proposals to abolish duty and tax free sales within the European Union.

Airports (Passengers and Flights)

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the number of (a) passengers and (b) flights to (i) United Kingdom, (ii) other European Union and (iii) other international destinations from (1) Glasgow, (2) Prestwick, (3) Edinburgh and (4) Aberdeen airports in the last year for which figures are available. [25214]

Mr. McLeish: The information for the 12 months ended October 1997 is set out in the table.

Departing airport Destination of the flightTerminal passengersPassenger flights
GlasgowUnited Kingdom1,592,31728,300
GlasgowEuropean Union989,7798,604
GlasgowOther International391,1312,549
PrestwickUnited Kingdom155,0772,981
PrestwickEuropean Union111,8281,127
PrestwickOther International10,45866
EdinburghUnited Kingdom1,597,54724,086
EdinburghEuropean Union412,3606,859
EdinburghOther International35,771504
AberdeenUnited Kingdom855,17919,780
AberdeenEuropean Union121,7571,948
AberdeenOther International295,02719,612

1. Source CAA Airport Statistics.

2. Includes scheduled and non-scheduled flights.

3. Terminal passengers only.

4. Includes non-revenue passengers.

5. Includes air taxi operations.

6. Does not include cargo only services.



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