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Farmers: Family Credit

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The information is not available.

Scotland: Public Sector Housing

Lord Selkirk of Douglas asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): Local authorities, Scottish Homes (formerly the Scottish Special Housing Association) and the New Town Development Corporations notified the Scottish Office of the sale of 423,860 houses in their ownership between January 1973 and March 1998. Information prior to 1973 is not held centrally.

Information on the status of the purchaser is not available prior to April 1979. Of the 418,542 house sales which were notified to the Scottish Office between April 1979 and March 1998, 356,643 were sales to sitting tenants, representing 35 per cent. of the public sector housing stock at September 1978.

The Scottish Office Statistical Bulletin (Housing Series HSG/1998/7) contains an estimate of the stock of dwellings by tenure. The most recent estimate is that 60.2 per cent. of dwellings were owner occupied at 31 December 1997.

According to Scottish Homes' Annual Report for 1997-98 on Scottish Housing Association Statistics, there were 117,937 housing association dwellings in Scotland at 31 March 1998.

Lingerbay, Harris: Superquarry Application

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon asked Her Majesty's Government:

2 Feb 1999 : Column WA193

Lord Sewel: The latest position concerning the report of this public inquiry is that Part 1 of the report was circulated last year to parties, at their request, so that they could consider the accuracy of the record of their evidence. A number of representations was made and adjustments were circulated. These have resulted in counter-representations on the proposed adjustments to Part 1, and the former Chief Reporter is considering whether any final adjustments are necessary. It is expected that some will be required and these will be circulated shortly. Parties must then be allowed a further period of 14 days in which to comment. Thereafter, Part 2 of the report, comprising the Reporter's reasoning and recommendation, has to be completed before the report is submitted for the Secretary of State's consideration. At this stage it is not possible to indicate when the report will be submitted but it is hoped that the former Chief Reporter will have completed her consideration of the case by the end of March.

Consolidation Bills

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which Consolidation Bills the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Advocate plan to introduce during the current session of Parliament.[HL609]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): Bills are being drafted to consolidate legislation on the armed forces (United Kingdom), sentencing (England and Wales), criminal appeals (England and Wales) and salmon (Scotland). I am unable to say yet whether any of the Bills will be introduced this Session.

Channel Islands: Fishery Enforcement Costs

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the cost of patrolling the waters around the Channel Islands in the past two years, including fishery patrols; and how this cost has been financed.[HL580]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): Fisheries enforcement in the waters around the Channel

2 Feb 1999 : Column WA194

Islands is undertaken and funded by the relevant Island Authorities with occasional assistance from the Royal Navy's Fishery Protection Squadron on task to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. In 1997 and 1998 Royal Navy vessels spent some 55 patrol days in these waters at an approximate cost of £290,000 to the Ministry.

Greater London Authority Building

Lord Howie of Troon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps are being taken to rectify the situation following the withdrawal of the developer of Victoria House from the final selection process for the Greater London Authority building.[HL708]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The developer of Victoria House has re-entered the competition to provide a home for the Greater London Authority. We expect to announce a decision on how the Government will proceed in the near future.

Lord Howie of Troon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they did not take the advice of the Greater London Authority Design Group to adopt a form of open architectural competition in respect of the Greater London Authority building, thereby following the precedent set by the Scottish and Welsh Assembly buildings.[HL709]

Lord Whitty: We have chosen a developer-led design and build competition as we needed to find a site as well as a building for the Greater London Authority. This exercise has produced two excellent locations and outstanding designs from two of Britain's leading architects.

The Construction Industry: Fatal Accidents

Lord Monkswell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the number of deaths caused as a result of accidents on British building sites in each of the last five years, together with a table showing the cause of death.[HL698]

Lord Whitty: The number of fatal injuries in the construction industry and the kind of accident reported to the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities is set out in the table below.

2 Feb 1999 : Column WA193

Kind of Accident1993-941994-951995-961996-97(1)1997-98
Contact with moving machinery or material being machined23022
Struck by moving inc. flying/falling object51061212
Struck by moving vehicle101014106
Strike against something fixed or stationary10012
Injured whilst handling, lifting or carrying01001
Slip, trip or fall on same level01201
Fall from a height:
Up to and including 2 metres11231
Over 2 metres4742294639
Height not stated10015
Total falls from a height4943315045
Trapped by something collapsing or overturning19122064
Drowning or asphyxiation02120
Exposure to or contact with harmful substance10100
Exposure to fire00000
Exposure to an explosion04110
Contact with electricity or an electrical discharge70565
Injured by an animal00000
Injuries caused by assault or violence N/RN/RN/R00
Other kind of accident00111
Injuries not classified by kind00021

N/R = Not reportable under RIDDOR 85.

(1) Provisional.

The figures for 1996-97 and 1997-98 are published in the Health and Safety Commission's publication Health and Safety Statistics 1997-98, a copy of which is in the Library of the House of Lords.

Railway Bridges: Damage by Lorries

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many incidents have been reported in the last 10 years involving high road vehicles hitting railway bridges.[HL714]

Lord Whitty: The statistics held by Railtrack plc about the bridges they own cover the nine years from January 1990 to January 1999. They record that during this period there were over 8,500 incidents of high road vehicles striking bridges. The trend has been continually upward, with some 1,300 incidents being reported in 1998.

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the owner of a railway bridge is entitled to seek compensation from the owner or driver of a lorry which has damaged it, in respect of:

    (a) the cost of repairing the damage to the bridge; and

    (b) the cost of compensation paid by Railtrack to train operators whose services were delayed or cancelled.[HL715]

Lord Whitty: We are advised that:

(a) Owners of railway bridges are entitled to claim compensation for the cost of repairing damage to their bridges from the owner or driver of a vehicle which has damaged it; and

(b) Railtrack plc is entitled to claim compensation for the cost of compensation payments made to train operators for disruption to their services from the owners or drivers of vehicles only when the vehicle causes actual damage to the bridge. Where train services are disrupted as a precautionary measure and no damage is identified, the costs are not recoverable.

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