Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

17 Apr 2000 : Column WA75

Written Answers

Monday, 17th April 2000.

Global Poverty and Aid Levels

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they agree with the report Reality of Aid 2000 that the number of poor, currently about one billion, is growing and that over 25 million more live in absolute poverty as a direct result of aid cuts.[HL1950]

Baroness Amos: The latest global data on poverty numbers, provided by the World Bank, is for 1998. This shows that both the proportion, and the number, of poor people have fallen in the world since 1990. Progress slowed during the period 1996-98, partly due to the Asian financial crisis, and, although the proportion of poor people remained roughly constant during this period, the number of poor people rose.

There was a decline in global aid flows until 1997, but in 1998 total flows increased by US$3.6 billion. The UK aid programme is geared to supporting countries committed to poverty reduction.

Previously Developed Land

Baroness Maddock asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether for planning purposes radio station sites are considered to be "greenfield" or "brownfield" sites.[HL1916]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): For the purposes of planning guidance on housing, previously developed land is defined as that which is or was occupied by a permanent structure (excluding agricultural or forestry buildings), and associated fixed surface infrastructure. The definition covers the curtilage of the development. Previously developed land may occur in both built-up and rural settings.

Further advice on the application of this definition is contained in Annex C to Planning Policy Guidance Note 3 Housing (PPG3), which was published recently.

Traffic Calming in Villages

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy in support of local authorities introducing traffic calming measures in English villages.[HL1798]

Lord Whitty: In our Integrated Transport White Paper, A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone (July 1998), we said traffic management, which may include traffic calming, was needed in rural areas to produce better and safer road conditions. Our road

17 Apr 2000 : Column WA76

safety strategy document Tomorrow's Roads--Safer for Everyone, published last month, encourages the development of sympathetic traffic calming to support our commitment, given in the strategy, to 30 mph speed limits in villages.

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has conducted research, and continues to do so, into appropriate traffic calming designs for use in rural areas. A Traffic Advisory Leaflet is to be published shortly, summarising the findings of a study of nine village calming schemes.

M.6 Extension to M.74

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When is the likely completion date of the M.6 extension to the M.74.[HL1914]

Lord Whitty: As this is an operational matter for the Highways Agency I have asked Peter Nutt, the Acting Chief Executive, to write to the noble Lord.

Letter to Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld from the Acting Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr Peter Nutt, dated 17 April 2000.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your recent question about the likely completion date of the M.6 extension to the M.74.

It was announced on 24 March that upgrading the A.74 between Carlisle and Guardsmill to motorway standard is one of four new road schemes which have been added to the Targeted Programme of Improvements.

It is intended that all schemes within this programme of improvements should be completed within about seven years of their entry.

The rate of progress will depend on how quickly the scheme can be taken forward through the statutory, and other, procedures. We will now appoint consultants to prepare an initial design, with the aim of holding a public consultation next year.

M.6 and M.40: Fatalities

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the number of fatalities on the M.40 and M.6 in each of the past five years.[HL1915]

Lord Whitty: Fatality figures for the M.6 and M.40 are:

1994 271994 6
1995 261995 9
1996 381996 11
1997 271997 11
1998 351998 10
Total 153Total 47

I have asked the Acting Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr Peter Nutt, to write to my noble friend when the figures for 1999 are published in the summer.

17 Apr 2000 : Column WA77

Motorway Fencing

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are seeking economies in their roads programme: and if so, how they justify the use of more than three wooden rails in the fencing of motorways and dual carriageways.[HL1952]

Lord Whitty: The Highways Agency has the responsibility to deliver best value for money in providing and maintaining the English trunk road network, which includes most motorways. Targets are set to measure the Agency's performance and they are required to incorporate value for money assessments in undertaking their responsibilities.

When post and rail fencing is specified by the Highways Agency, four rails are considered necessary to prevent livestock straying onto the road. Both spacing between the rails and the overall height are important. The likely cost of having to provide stock proofing by other means would exceed the saving in reducing the number of rails.

Minimum Income Guarantee: Publicity

Baroness Castle of Blackburn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the estimated cost for the current year of the proposed television advertising campaign to encourage pensioners to take up their entitlement to the minimum income guarantee; when the rest of the items in the campaign will be introduced, including the new free telephone claim service, the new teleclaims centre, the electronic claim form and the two million letters to pensioners; and at what cost respectively.[HL1869]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): A package in the region of £15 million has been allocated for a campaign to encourage pensioners to claim their minimum income guarantee. This budget covers the advertising activity, the mailing and the related services that are being introduced, including the new telephone claim service; teleclaims centre; and the electronic claim form. Of this budget, around £4 million is planned to be spent on advertising the campaign this year. The campaign will begin at the end of May when the first mailshot will start to issue, supported by television advertising.

It is not possible to allocate costs respectively to each item as overall expenditure may fluctuate according to response.

17 Apr 2000 : Column WA78

Agrimonetary Compensation

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether all agrimonetary compensation available to United Kingdom agriculture in the year 2000 will be taken up.[HL1748]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): The Prime Minister announced on 30 March that £66 million in agrimonetary compensation would be paid to beef, sheep and dairy farmers for this year (£22 million for each sector). This is in addition to the £88 million which will be paid to beef, sheep and arable farmers if sterling maintains its current rate against the euro.

The £22 million paid to dairy farmers comprises all the available compensation, both EU- and UK-funded, for the sector. In the case of the beef sector, a total of £54 million is available, 50 per cent EU- and 50 per cent UK-funded. We are taking up almost all the EU contribution. For sheepmeat, a total of £46 million (50 per cent. EU- and 50 per cent. UK-funded) is available; we are again paying almost all the EU contribution.

No other optional UK-funded or EU/UK shared funding is being taken up.

Glenthorne Youth Treatment Centre

Lord Stone of Blackheath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have reached a decision on the future of Glenthorne Youth Treatment Centre.[HL2130]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): On 15 December 1999 we announced that we would be consulting on the future of Glenthorne Youth Treatment Centre, including its possible closure.

That consultation has now been completed and we have considered the representations made to us by the staff of the centre and their representatives, by Members of Parliament, by local authorities and by others, especially those representing young people accommodated in the centre. The centre has made a valuable and important contribution to the treatment and care of some of the most difficult and disturbed young people in the past, and these representations have paid fitting tribute to that contribution.

When the Youth Treatment Centres were first developed over 20 years ago, there were no comparable facilities for accommodating and treating such difficult and disturbed young people. Things have moved on considerably since then. Local councils have developed their own secure accommodation and have become skilled and experienced at dealing with young people requiring secure care, including young people like those accommodated in Glenthorne. In recent years, the Department of Health has undertaken a major expansion of local authority secure accommodation by providing an additional 170 places

17 Apr 2000 : Column WA79

for young people. Providers in the voluntary and private sectors have also established their worth. In these circumstances, we have concluded that it is no longer appropriate for the department to run such a child care facility and that we should therefore withdraw from providing such a service.

We have looked carefully at the option of someone taking over the centre as a going concern but, unfortunately, no suitable proposals have been put forward, and 18 of the 30 young people who were in the centre at the time of our announcement in December have been moved by their placing authorities to alternative facilities. The whole question of the financial viability of the centre is affecting the morale and welfare of both the staff and the children. It is, therefore, time to bring to an end the uncertainty which has inevitably existed over recent months.

However, the welfare of the children currently placed in Glenthorne is of paramount importance and no decision will be taken on when the centre will finally close until suitable alternative placements have been found for them. The department will be working closely with the local authorities and the Prison Service to identify the most appropriate places. Once that transition has been achieved, the centre will close.

The department will also be working closely with the departmental trade union side to identify posts elsewhere in the Civil Service to which some of the staff of the centre could be redeployed. However, given the specialist nature of some of the posts in the centre, redeployment may not be possible in all cases. In those instances, redundancy terms will apply.

This has been a difficult time for the staff of the centre and we are grateful for the professional manner in which they have continued to conduct themselves.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page