Mr. Lilley : The latest estimate is that about 1.6 million married couples and single people were liable to tax at the higher rate in respect of 1989-90 incomes. Their income tax liability in excess of the basic rate was about £3.9 billion. This figure represents the additional tax liability resulting from the difference between the higher rate and the basic rate of tax.
Allowing for independent taxation, it is estimated that in 1990-91 about 1.7 million individuals will be liable to pay tax at the higher rate, counting husbands and wives separately, and that their income tax liability in excess of the basic rate will be £4.4 billion.
Mr. Worthington : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the average rates bill as a proportion of earnings for a one-earner family with two children on 75 per cent. average earnings in 1989-90 ; and what he estimates the proportion of income going to the poll tax will be for the same family in 1990-91.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury gave to the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, East (Mr. Brown) on 5 July, Official Report , column 699-708 .
Sir David Mitchell : To ask the Lord President of the Council when the current sound recording and amplification systems used both in the Chamber and for outside broadcasts were installed ; and whether he has any plans to modernise them.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : I understand that the present sound system in the Chamber, including both the microphones and the amplifiers in the Benches, were originally installed in 1951, although significant modifications were made in 1970-71.
As regards any possible further modification or modernisation of the system, I refer my hon. Friend to the first report of the Select Committee on Televising of Proceedings of the House (HC 265-I), which was published on Wednesday 11 July. The report contains a section addressing directly the point raised by my hon. Friend.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Lord President of the Council what is the average length of time for a House of Commons pass to be approved for an hon. Member's secretary ; what efforts are being made to reduce this time ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : I understand that the average length of time taken for the processing of all Members' staff applications for Palace of Westminster photo-identity passes is five working days. The Pass Office gives precedence for processing applications for Members' staff over all other applications. The figure quoted refers to applications from United Kingdom nationals who have lived in this country for the past five years. In cases where the required clearances involve foreign nationals, or where the individual concerned has lived or worked overseas in the preceding five years, further delays are usually unavoidable.
Mrs. Golding : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those county councils which provide homes for children in care who have been sexually or physically abused separately from children who are in care for other reasons.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Local authorities do not generally provide community homes for children who have been physically or sexually abused separately from children in their care for other reasons. It is for the authority to ensure that each child for whom it is responsible is appropriately placed, whether in one of its own children's homes or elsewhere.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : Statistics on the number of NHS sight tests paid for in each region in England and Wales for the financial year 1989-90 will be available shortly. The table gives the numbers of NHS sight tests paid for in each regional health authority for the periods April to September 1987 and April to September 1989. These figures are not directly comparable, as the figures since April 1989 exclude sight tests paid for privately.
Regional Health |Total sight tests-all|National Health Authority |National Health |Service sight tests |Service |only-private tests |excluded April-September |April-September |1987 |1989 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Northern |332,940 |209,990 Yorkshire |400,000 |261,850 Trent |517,850 |329,140 East Anglia |220,730 |114,740 North West Thames |448,510 |253,140 North East Thames |486,800 |300,170 South East Thames |421,660 |248,280 South West Thames |344,990 |184,260 Wessex |364,310 |229,320 Oxford |290,090 |126,390 South Western |432,720 |272,100 West Midlands |636,590 |403,370 Mersey |249,520 |169,420 North Western |434,300 |277,720 Wales |325,470 |170,070
(2) what the quoted cost of £2.75 million for the booklet, "The Health Service--The NHS Reforms and You", covers ;
(3) when the final proof was cleared for the booklet, "The Health Service-- The NHS Reforms and You" ;
(4) whether the booklet, "The Health Service--The NHS Reforms and You", is to be distributed throughout the United Kingdom ; (5) when the final text for the booklet, "The Health Service--The NHS Reforms and You", was approved.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : A total of 23 million copies of the booklet "The Health Service--The NHS Reforms and You", were printed. After distributing one copy to each household in England, the remaining 1.5 million copies will be used to supply requests from multiple occupancy households, advisors and other ad hoc requests. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales will be publishing their own information.
Versions of the booklet in nine ethnic minority languages are planned and will be available on request.
The final proof of the booklet was approved when it was clear that there was no reasonable prospect of changes to the Bill being considered by Parliament which affected the content of the booklet. Authorisation for the distribution of the booklet was not given until the Bill received Royal Assent. The text was approved, subject to any parliamentary changes, on 7 June.
The £2.7 million cost of the booklet includes the production, distribution and ethnic language versions.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Health when was the latest occasion on which he or his predecessors made an order under section 36 of the National Assistance Act 1948 declaring a local authority to be in default.
Mr. Michael Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which family practitioner committees were unable to pay their general practitioners in full under the new contract for the quarter April to June ;
Column 276(2) what action he is intending to take to ensure all family practitioner committees pay their general practitioners in full and on time.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : It is the aim of every family practitioner committee to make due payments in full and on time, and there is no reason why this should not have been the case at the end of June quarter. Family practitioner committees have discretion to make advance payments when necessary. Some committees failed to achieve this aim at the end of June quarter, but this should have been rectified subsequently. We are making further inquiries about the exact position and I shall write to my hon. Friend.
Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what is his estimate of the annual care costs of those hostel residents, currently funded by the Department of Social Security, whose costs will be met by local authorities following the implementation of the National Health Service and Community Care Act.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements are being made to ensure that all national health service costs, including central administrative costs, are included when comparing provider contracts between voluntary sector bids and community service bids.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take urgent steps to ensure that all health authorities establish family planning services for under-25s less formal and easier to obtain than those for mature people.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The day-to-day management of family planning services is a matter for individual health authorities since they can best judge local circumstances and priorities. The Government continue to regard family planning as an important preventive service. Guidance issued by the Department of Health makes it clear that health authorities should ensure that full use is made of family planning services and that a proper balance is struck between services provided by specialist clinics and those provided by GPs, bearing in mind in particular :
i. the need to give choice to encourage full take-up ; ii. the need for separate, less formal arrangements for young people ;
iii. clinics' wider health role--for instance, in cervical cancer smear testing.
This guidance was recently reaffirmed in a letter EL(90)MB115, a copy of which is available in the Library, to regional general managers by the director of operations and planning on the national health service management executive.
Column 277A number of health authorities provide services for young people through Brook advisory centres which receive central funding towards their headquarters administrative costs.
Mr. Wray : To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to ensure that arrangements about family planning services by district health authorities are made after adequate previous consultations with residents in those districts.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : The level of local family planning provision, as with most national health service services, is a matter for individual health authorities to determine in the light of local needs and priorities and other competing demands on resources. The director of operations and planning on the NHS management executive recently reminded regional general managers, by EL(90)MB115, a copy of which is available in the Library, of current central guidance on family planning provision. That letter asked English health authorities, in making provision for delivery of co-ordinated clinic and GP family planning services, to ensure that they have given full weight to the advice of their director of public health in regard to the needs and views of people who already use or may want to use NHS family planning services.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : It is for district health authorities (DHAs) to decide upon the pattern of services their residents need and to arrange contracts for the delivery from the most appropriate provider, which might be one of the authorities' own units, a unit managed by another district health authority, a national health service trust, or a voluntary body.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley : No. As we said in the White Paper "Caring for People" we shall expect local authorities to make use, whenever possible, of services from voluntary, "not-for-profit" and private providers in so far as this represents a cost-effective care choice.
Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all the sources of investment currently allocated to British Rail for the current financial year ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : The public expenditure White Paper (Cm. 1007) set out plans for British Rail investment and financing over this financial year (1990-91) and the next two years. In 1990-91, BR plans fixed asset investment of £1,052 million, the highest real level for 25 years. This will be financed mainly from the sale of surplus assets, grant from central and local Government and borrowing (mostly from the National Loans Fund). The external finance limit, which covers central Government grant and borrowing, was set in the White Paper at £646 million.
Mr. Atkins : The Department consulted last autumn on this proposal and the suggestion was widely welcomed. I have therefore decided that the Driving Standards Agency should produce a book containing the syllabus plus related information such as how to apply for a driving or motor cycling test. It is intended that the book will go on sale towards the end of this year.
Mr. Atkins : As part of a wider consultation exercise on traffic signs commenced in September 1988, this Department sought views on a proposal for E-route signs. Reactions were limited and ambivalent. In the absence of clear evidence of benefit to road users and in view of the potential for confusion from a second road numbering system, the Secretary of State decided against ratification of the relevant international agreement.
Mr. Tony Banks : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he offered any advice to British Rail about the employment of Transmark as a consultant for an evaluation of the alternative channel tunnel rail links ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what information he has regarding the evaluation of alternative fast rail links from the North Downs to King's Cross via Stratford in connection with the channel tunnel ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) pursuant to his statement of 14 June, Official Report, column 483, what criteria are to be used by the consultants appointed to assess the different schemes relating to the channel tunnel rail link ; and if he will make a statement ;
(4) pursuant to his statement of 14 June, Official Report, column 483, what information he has regarding the role to be played by local authorities in the evaluation of the different channel tunnel rail link proposals ;
Column 279(5) pursuant to his statement of 14 June, Official Report, column 483, if the consultants' reports on their evaluation of the schemes relating to the channel tunnel rail link will be made public ; and if he will make a statement ;
(6) pursuant to his statement of 14 June, Official Report, column 482, who British Rail has commissioned to carry out the evaluation of alternative routes in connection with the channel tunnel rail link ; and what is the timetable for the study ;
(7) pursuant to his statement of 14 June, Official Report, column 483, what are the terms of reference for British Rail's evaluation of alternative routes via Stratford in connection with the channel tunnel rail link ;
(8) pursuant to his statement of 14 June, Official Report, column 482, if he will take steps to ensure that British Rail consults all interested parties in connection with the current evaluation of alternative channel tunnel rail links.
Mr. Freeman : It is the responsibility of British Rail to evaluate alternative options and to bring forward proposals. I am confident that Sir Bob Reid will ensure that this exercise will be properly carried out.
Mr. Atkins : The existing A1 trunk road traffic is expected to use the upgraded road. We also estimate that there would be a small transfer of traffic from the M1 to the upgraded A1. General growth in traffic is estimated in the national road traffic forecast 1989.
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the decision was taken to alter the existing emergency liaison system between West Yorkshire fire service and British Rail ; what consultation took place ; how long the consultation period was ; and whether the railway inspectorate has approved the new system.
Mr. Freeman : British Rail tells me that a modification to its area manager organisation in West Yorkshire took place in January 1990, resulting in a division of responsibilities between its Leeds and Doncaster offices. BR did not consult either the West Yorkshire fire service or the railway inspectorate before carrying out this internal reorganisation. I understand that BR notified the WYFS of the new arrangements in March, and senior officials have visited WYFS to deal with any problems which may have arisen. BR will be ensuring that emergency services are consulted about communications before other reorganisations take place.
Ms. Ruddock : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what is his Department's usual practice in the making and publication of compulsory purchase orders and exchange land certificates ; and what deviations from this practice were made in the case of (a) the M3 motorway, Bar End-Bassett section compulsory purchase order (No. CSE) 198 and (b) an application for a certificate in respect of public open space at Shawford Down.
Mr. Atkins : Compulsory purchase orders in relation to trunk roads and motorways are usually made and published in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Highways Act 1980 and of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981. The M3 motorway (Bar End--Bassett section) compulsory purchase order was published in draft and in respect of the Compton-Bassett section has been made, in accordance with the relevant provisions of those Acts. The remaining part of the compulsory purchase order relating to the Bar End -Compton section has not yet been made.
Responsibility for the issue and publication of exchange land certificates in relation to the compulsory purchase of land forming part of a common, open space or fuel or field garden allotments, rests with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment in accordance with the Acquisition of Land Act 1981. The Department of Transport's application for a certificate in respect of public open space at Shawford Down was made in accordance with the relevant provisions of that Act.
Mr. Key : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Salisbury of 9 July, Official Report, column 88, about accidents on the A36, how many people were killed or injured in each of the three categories listed and for each year given.
|1985|1986|1987|1988|1989 --------------------------------------------------- (a) fatal injuries |2 |2 |2 |1 |5 (b) serious injuries |20 |12 |19 |14 |32 (c) slight injuries |125 |84 |79 |76 |116 |--- |--- |--- |--- |--- |147 |98 |100 |91 |153
In order to ensure that existing and future provisional licence holders are aware fully of the new requirements, they will come into force on 1 October 1990. I urge strongly all provisional licence holders to ensure that those who accompany them meet these requirements now, and not to wait until 1 October.
Mr. McLoughlin : When the current restrictions on night flying at Heathrow and Gatwick were announced in Februrary 1988, an undertaking was given that if, after two years (that is, after the summer season 1989), it was apparent that disturbance from night flights at Gatwick was getting worse, the quotas would be revised accordingly.
Column 281Detailed monitoring of the night noise climate was carried out by the directorate of operational research and analysis at the Civil Aviation Authority. It found that the area within the night noise contours at Gatwick had become smaller during the period since the introduction of the new night restricitons, and that the quietest category of aircraft (referred to as night noise category C-NN/C) had proved, as expected, to be quieter on average than aircraft categorised as NN/B. This confirms that the overall night noise climate can be improve by switching to operations by the quieter, NN/C, types of aircraft.
Two conclusions may be drawn from the monitoring work. The first is that it would not be appropriate to reconsider the night quotas at Gatwick at this stage, a view that has been accepted by the Gatwick airport consultative committee. The second conclusion is that the newer, quieter models of aircraft do reduce the amount of disturbance from aircraft noise. Those benefits should continue to accrue as the older, noisier jets are increasingly replaced. We are encouraging that process through the agreement in Europe that chapter 2 aircraft will no longer be allowed to be added to national registers from November this year, and by the proposed agreement to phase out their operation completely by the early years of the next century. The message for airlines from this work is that we will want to encourage as rapid a transition as possible to the use of quieter aircraft at night. I propose to pay particular attention to this when the night restrictions are reviewed.
The Gatwick airport consultative committee drew attention to three important points when commenting on the monitoring work. It noted the large number of aircraft movements that have been permitted above the quota under the dispensation arrangements, and this is an issue that will need to be considered when the night restrictions are reviewed. The committee also drew attention to the fact that an integrated noise and track keeping system is not yet in operation at Gatwick. My Department is working closely with BAA plc with the aim of having such a system in operation by 1992. I attach great importance to securing the installation of this system as early as possible. The committee also suggested that it might be helpful to carry out a survey of disturbance by aircraft noise at night among local people. It seems right to me that we should try to understand as well as we can how aircraft noise affects people's sleep. For that reason, my Department will be carrying out research into this topic over the next 18 months to two years. The findings should be available in time to contribute to the review of the night restrictions.
This research will be relevant to the formulation of new night restrictions at each of the three BAA London airports, and will be devised to cover them all. I believe it is important that those living near these airports should understand what is being done and have an opportunity to contribute to the oversight of the research. I therefore intend to invite the consultative committees of the airports concerned to nominate a representative to sit on a steering committee for this research. I would equally invite the airports to nominate a representative. I will also be inviting Manchester airport, the third largest in the United Kingdom, to participate.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 11 July 1990] : The latest estimate of the total cost of the scheme, updated to mid-1989 prices, is £300 million. That estimate includes the services of architectural and landscape consultants. Estimates for the architectural elements of the scheme are not identified separately.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 11 July 1990] : No. A review of alternative designs for the Thames bridge has been undertaken, and the Department's consultants concluded that only a box girder bridge met the criteria for the site. The Secretary of State accepted their conclusion, and draft orders for a box girder bridge were published in January 1990. The proposed design of the bridge has been presented to the current public inquiries into the proposed design changes for the east London river crossing scheme. These inquiries opened on 3 July 1989 and will afford the opportunity for representations to be made on the Department's proposals.
Q17. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if she will invite the European Council to review the operation of the European Court of Justice in light of the legal actions initiated by Spanish fishermen and German lottery ticket salesmen against the operation of British laws in the United Kingdom ; and if she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : No. So far as the ruling of the European Court of Justice on interim relief is concerned, the Government's views have been made clear to the House on a number of occasions. In the case of the German lottery ticket salesmen, I understand that no proceedings have been instituted in any court.
The Prime Minister : Since June 1987 the North Wales police, which includes Clwyd, has had 35 extra police posts approved by my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary. In the same period a total of 125 extra police posts have been approved for forces in Wales.
Column 283redress of grievance or compensation against hospital consultants following negligence on the part of consultants in the hospital service.
The Prime Minister : There are no plans to change or modify current procedures. The basis for seeking compensation for injuries where medical negligence is alleged should continue to be through litigation in the courts.
Q223. Mr. Beith : To ask the Prime Minister what is Mr. Richard Branson's current involvement in the environmental clean-up scheme which she initiated ; what progress has been made with the scheme ; and whether she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : UK 2000 was set up in 1986 under the chairmanship of Richard Branson to bring together voluntary organisations, the private sector and Government to generate quality environmental improvement schemes and to raise business awareness of the environment. Mr. Branson is now the president of UK 2000. Through its valuable work, the voluntary sector is in a stronger position to take forward work on environmental improvement. So, in response to a request from UK 2000, the funding was streamlined on 1 April and Government grants are now paid direct to the six national voluntary organisations which are partners in the initiative. Grant has risen to over £1.9 million for 1990-91.