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Asylum Seekers: Detention Costs

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Blatch: For financial purposes, no distinction is made between people who have applied for asylum and others detained under immigration powers. The average cost of detaining a person within the Immigration Service detention estate is currently estimated at £540 per week. This figure includes the cost of administrative support from headquarters.

Some asylum applicants are detained in Prison Service remand centres or local prisons, where the average cost per place in 1994-95 was £449 per week, excluding headquarters costs.

The large majority of those who are detained who have claimed asylum at some stage have already had their applications rejected.

Leasehold Enfranchisement

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many enfranchisement arrangements have taken place under the provisions of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): It is not possible to obtain comprehensive information on how many leaseholders in flats have been able to acquire the freehold of their homes, as the transactions are private. The Government do, however, monitor the number of cases coming before Leasehold Valuation Tribunals, where the parties cannot agree terms. To date, twelve collective enfranchisement cases, brought by a total of 92 participating leaseholders, have been decided. The total number of flats in the enfranchised properties is 106. But anecdotal evidence suggests that a larger number of properties have been enfranchised without the need to refer any issue to a tribunal.

Waste Management

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress they have made on the revision of waste regulations.

Earl Ferrers: The Department of the Environment is currently working on a number of measures in the waste management field, which are at various stages of development. We have been concerned about the implications of implementing these proposals for both local waste regulation authorities, including those affected by local government reorganisation, and also for the new Environment Agencies which take over the waste regulation function on 1 April.

In order to avoid overloading regulators with change during this busy transitional period, and to help to ensure a smooth transfer of responsibilities, we envisage a progressive timetable for these new measures. Against this background, the Government have also decided to provide a further extension to 30 September of the transitional arrangements for trade effluent treatment

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plants, further to the extension introduced last August which expires on 1 April. The proposals are as follows:

Proposed new Special Waste Regulations, published for consultation last March, are intended to be made and laid before Parliament by 1 April, which will come into force in the summer.

Regulations to extend until 30 September current transitional arrangements for effluent treatment plant which will be made in the New Year, which will come into force before 1 April. Proposed changes to requirements concerning technical competence may also be included, subject to consultation.

Measures to extend and amend waste management licensing exemptions for composting, and sewage/water treatment plant and possibly other activities will be proposed in the spring, with a view to their coming into operation by 1 October.

Measures to extend waste management controls to certain types of agricultural and mining and quarrying waste; and provisions about consulting and compensating those with rights in land adjoining waste facilities, will also be proposed later in the year, with a view to these taking effect by the end of the year.

"City Diesel"

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is the case that Sainsbury's City Diesel pollutes substantially less than other diesel fuels and if so whether fuel of similar quality is available from competitive suppliers.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): City Diesel sold by Sainsbury's does give significant reductions in some pollutants compared with conventional diesel fuel. It is not available from other retail outlets; but some competitors sell different specifications of diesel fuels which also produce reductions in emissions.

Bicycle Use

Viscount Craigavon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have studied the booklet A Blueprint for Bicycle Use, published by the Bicycle Association; and whether they agree with the final section, "Agenda for Action", as far as the roles of the Department of Transport and other government departments are concerned.

Viscount Goschen: The Department of Transport is aware of this report. Many of the ideas in the agenda section reflect action already being taken. Nevertheless, the report identifies many of the issues being covered in generating a national strategy for cycling. Work on that is under way, involving a wide range of interests,

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including the Bicycle Association themselves and a number of government departments.

East London Line

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Pursuant to the Written Answer on the East London line by Viscount Goschen (11 December 1995, col. WA 94), what action they propose to take to speed up consideration of London Underground's reapplication for listed building consent to strengthen and waterproof the tunnel carrying the line under the Thames, in view of the hardship being caused to commuters by the prolonged closure of the line.

Viscount Goschen: The London Docklands Development Corporation has formally notified the Secretary of State for the Environment of London Underground's reapplication for listed building consent, in order that he may consider whether or not he should determine it himself. My right honourable friend is currently considering the case and hopes to make a decision shortly.

Nigeria: Trade Missions

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department of Trade and Industry sought advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the Overseas Development Administration before deciding to support, and at what cost, the London Chamber of Commerce's business mission in Nigeria in February 1996; and whether they are facilitating any other operations concerned with the promotion of Anglo-Nigerian business, and if so, what the cost of each such operation.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): The British High Commission in Lagos was consulted about the London Chamber of Commerce's proposed mission under the terms of the Department of Trade and Industry's overseas mission scheme. The Overseas Development Administration are not normally consulted about overseas missions, and were not on this occasion.

The department's financial support towards this event will be the standard subvention of £400 towards each eligible missioner's travel costs. The overall costs to the department will not be known until the size of the mission party is finally determined.

The department has also made an offer of support to the Kent Chamber of Commerce for an outward mission scheduled for November 1996. The offer of support is again based on the standard subvention of £400 towards each eligible missioner's travel costs. The overall costs to the department will similarly not be known until nearer the date of mission.

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Directors' Share Option Schemes

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that windfall profits of £54 million made on share options by directors of Britain's 250 largest companies in 1994 and 1995 adversely affect attempts to restrain wage settlements; and whether they plan to introduce any fiscal or other measures to lessen the differential of earnings between directors and other employees.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: Senior managers' remuneration is a matter for companies and their shareholders, not the Government. We do not expect the profits made on share option schemes to have any direct impact on pay negotiations in general. However, the tax changes announced in the Budget will limit tax relief on share option schemes to options worth a maximum of £20,000.

Trade Marks: Retail Services

Lord Lucas of Chilworth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United Kingdom retail industry is able to obtain trade mark protection for a fascia name describing a unique and distinctive service; whether this applies to the retail industries in other member states of the Union; and whether the situation is different for the hotel, banking and restaurant industries in this country.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: Each application for a trade mark, including applications from the retail industry, the banking, hotel and restaurant industries, is considered by the Registrar on its merits against criteria for registrability set out in the Trade Marks Act 1994. A fascia name may be registrable to the extent it distinguishes the goods or services of one business from those of others, and provided that the mark is used in respect of the provision of goods or services in respect of which a trade mark may be registered.

Council Directive 89/104/EEC seeks to approximate the trade mark laws of the member states of the European Union, and to ensure the same principles apply throughout the Community.

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