36. Mr. Cousins : To ask the Attorney-General what is the number of cases currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office ; and when he proposes to meet the Serious Fraud Office to discuss the progress of investigations.
The Attorney-General : The Serious Fraud Office is currently investigating 50 separate cases with criminal proceedings having been commenced in 36 of those cases. I frequently discuss matters of departmental interest with the director and expect to do so shortly.
The Attorney-General : My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor and I have received a number of representations from a range of organisations representing the legal profession and immigrant lobbies and from individuals.
The Attorney-General : I have been kept informed about the progresss of this investigation into the affairs of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International through frequent discussions with the director of the Serious Fraud Office. The contents of those discussions need to remain confidential.
Column 2taken on for the summer to assist in this work. For the longer term, plans to update the statute book with the help of computer technology are being considered with a view to the establishment of a permanent statute law database.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Attorney-General what discussions he has held with the chairman of the Legal Aid Board concerning emergency arrangements for payments of travelling expenses in excess of 40 miles for solicitors' visits to their clients held in custody in police cells in the catchment area of Cardiff gaol since 17 June.
The Attorney-General : None. The Legal Aid in Criminal and Care Proceedings (Costs) Regulations 1989 require a solicitor to be paid reasonable remuneration for work reasonably done. Each case and visit must be considered on its own merits. However, it is always open to a solicitor to seek prior authority to incur costs for performing an act that involves unusually large expenditure.
We are actively pursuing our bilateral forestry initiatives. We are encouraging development banks to review their forest policies. We are working to ensure that a statement of principles on managing the world's forests will be endorsed at the conference on the environment and development by world leaders including our own Prime Minister.
Mrs. Chalker : Our new arrangements emphasise the rapid assessment of need and co-ordination of relief. The ODA has established a standing capacity for mounting direct relief operations, sending skilled, trained experts and relief supplies quickly to wherever they may be needed.
This is additional to the support we will continue to give to non- governmental organisations and international agencies.
44. Mr. Hain : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met representatives of the G7 to discuss aid and development in the third world ; and what was the outcome of the meeting.
Column 3Mrs. Chalker : G7 representatives met at the London economic summit on 15 to 17 July ; the economic declaration covered economic policy, international trade, the middle east, developing countries and debt, the environment, and drugs.
47. Mr. George Howarth : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action to promote development in the third world has been taken by the Overseas Development Administration as a result of the G7 meeting.
Mrs. Chalker : The London economic summit emphasised the importance of aid quality, good government, economic reform and aid for the poorest. In formulating its aid programmes the ODA continues to attach the highest priority to these objectives.
Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the criteria against which aid to a third world country is increased or decreased.
Mrs. Chalker : The aid programme is managed flexibly to enable us to respond to the changing needs of developing countries. Individual country programmes are reviewed annually to ensure appropriate and effective use of resources, taking into account good government and sound economic policies.
45. Mr. Robert Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the total Overseas Development Administration budget for 1991-92 had been committed for direct support for good government in developing countries ; and what is the level of funding for such projects.
48. Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the total Overseas Development Administration budget for 1991-92 has been committed for direct support for good government in developing countries.
Mrs. Chalker : We plan to spend around £30 million of bilateral aid this year in direct support of "good government" activities, such as support for the legal sector, administrative reform, responsible policing and democratic processes. This is 3 per cent. of total bilateral aid. The balance of payment support we plan to provide to countries implementing economic reform programmes will reach over £140 million this year.
Mrs. Chalker : We have continued to provide financial and technical support for the economic and social development of the region. This has included balance of payments assistance for countries launching and maintaining agreed programmes of economic reform ; emergency assistance for those affected by conflicts in Angola and Mozambique ; and, in South Africa, a new programme of training in public administration, in addition to a continuing programme of assistance for black South Africans amounting to some £10 million this year.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the steps being taken to emphasise the case for training overseas students in (a) rain forest and (b) other tropical forest-related disciplines in (i) the United Kingdom and (ii) recipient countries.
Mrs. Chalker : The United Kingdom has a substantial programme of forestry training for overseas study fellows at postgraduate and more practical levels. This has been increasing since the launch of the forestry initiative in November 1989. In 1990-91--the last financial year for which there are complete figures--United Kingdom training awards fell into the following categories ; Rain forests are not a separate discipline.
|Number -------------------------------------------- Forestry General |91 Silviculture |4 Tropical Forest Ecology |1 Tropical Forest Pathology |1 Tropical Tree Breeding |1 Environmental Forestry |31 Environmental Forestry Policy |2 Forest Management |22 Forestry Mensuration |1 Forest Planning |4 Forest Economics |3 Forest Engineering |1 Forest Harvesting |2 Agro Forestry |12 Social Forestry |32 |-- Total |208
Where appropriate, the United Kingdom also assists with forestry training in developing countries. For example the ODA is providing technical assistance to strengthen local training institutions in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action has been taken as a result of the Food and Agriculture Organisation report, chaired by Ambassador Ullsten, and recommendations relating to legal instruments placing obligations on both tropical and northern industrial countries contributing to the conservation of tropical forest.
Mrs. Chalker : Progress with the reform of the tropical forest action plan--TFAP--has been slow. Since the Ullsten report there was an expert group meeting in Geneva in March and a further contact group' meeting in Paris last month, which agreed the functions of a proposed consultative group to oversee the operations of the TFAP. A report of this meeting will be considered at the FAO council in November. The third UNCED preparatory committee meeting in Geneva last month made progress in producing a draft statement of principles on the management of the world's forests. This should be ready in time to be endorsed by world leaders in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. We hope that at Rio there will be a commitment to work towards a legal convention thereafter.
The draft statement of principles states that there must be an adequate mechanism for making financial and technical assistance available to help developing countries implement policies and programmes aimed at the
Column 5conservation and sustainable development of forests. This is the purpose of TFAP, so the United Kingdom will therefore continue to press for reforms that make the TFAP an effective and transparent mechanism.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consultations he had with the non-governmental organisation community about advice that will be given by Edinburgh centre for tropical forests.
Mrs. Chalker : The Edinburgh centre for tropical forests is one of a variety of sources of advice which the Overseas Development Administration uses in appraising development projects submitted by non-governmental organisations. It is not ODA's practice, when selecting advisers, to consult potential recipients of funds and it would not have been practical to do so in this case.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what measures he is taking to ensure that Her Majesty's Government monitor the environmental policy of the African Development Bank as it is implemented in the Central African Republic ; and if he will publish voting figures.
Executive directors representing several non-regional members of the bank, including the United Kingdom, asked management to withdraw the project until a comprehensive assessment of its environmental impact has been undertaken.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has for improving the performance of the multilateral development banks at the OECD December environmental meeting ; and if he will publish voting figures.
Mrs. Chalker : We continue to urge multilateral development banks to integrate environmental considerations fully into all their operations and to strengthen their professional expertise where appropriate.
In addition, at the OECD aid and environment ministerial meeting on 2 and 3 December, I intend to propose that regional development banks follow the lead of the World bank in undertaking not to finance logging projects in primary tropical moist forests.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy whether he has approved any system of certificated training for installers and others involved in business activities aided by the home energy efficiency scheme.
Column 6to bid to become network installers under the scheme, vouchers for the provision of training in energy awareness. Neighbourhood Energy Action has developed four City and Guilds qualifications--in draughtproofing, loft insulation, surveying and energy
awareness--which are relevant to installers operating under HEES and others carrying out similar work. Next month, the first national vocational qualification in energy efficiency is to be launched. My Department and the Energy Action Grants Agency take every opportunity to stress the importance of training for installers. The Energy Efficiency Office, as part of its monitoring of the scheme, will be looking carefully at the link between the use of qualified installers and higher standards of workmanship.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy (1) if he will introduce a code of conduct in relation to sales techniques for installers of domestic insulation operating under the home energy efficiency scheme ;
(2) what studies he has carried out of the use of pressure selling techniques by commercial insulation installers operating under the wing of the home energy efficiency scheme.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Following consideration of early monitoring results, including reports of unacceptable selling techniques being used by a small number of contractors, I announced on 22 May the introduction of a procedure for the listing of contractors operating under the home energy efficiency scheme. At the same time, the Energy Action Grants Agency, having consulted interested parties, introduced the "Customer Care Guidelines on Good Conduct" to which network installers and listed contractors operating under the scheme are required to adhere.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what consultations he has had with the chief inspector of the nuclear installations inspectorate concerning the length of time out of service of reactors at Trawsfynydd power station ; and what is the estimated effect of this on the setting of the level of the nuclear levy.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The shutting down of the reactors at Trawsfynydd is an operational matter for Nuclear Electric plc--NE. Nevertheless, I am kept informed of developments, and I understand that the Health and Safety Executive's nuclear installations inspectorate is currently considering NE's interim safety case for the return of the reactors to operation.
Under the terms of NE's contract with the regional electricity companies, the fossil fuel levy would tend to decrease to the extent that Nuclear Electric fails to generate the full pre-determined output that would attract the pre-determined premium price. However, to the extent that NE is able to generate this output from other stations, there would be no impact on the levy.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what discussions he has had with the director-general of OFFER concerning the level of applications from wind power operators for inclusion in the 1991 tranche of the non-fossil fuel obligation.
Column 7Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : As part of the statutory consultations, my officials have liaised closely with OFFER throughout the exercise to make the proposed Renewables Order 1991. The Director General of Electricity Supply has also submitted his formal advice, which my right hon. Friend and I are now considering.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy if he will place a copy in the Library of the nuclear installations inspectorate's guidance for the emergency planning authorities on the hypothetical release scenario for the formulation of outline plans for an extended response concerning emergencies at civil nuclear power stations, as referred to in his letter to the hon. Member for Cardiff, West dated 3 October.
The Prime Minister : The estimated cost is likely to be in the order of £916,000. This includes the costs of producing, advertising and distributing the popular version of the White Paper. The costs for printing, publishing and distributing the White Paper--Cm 1599--were met by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, which aims to recover its costs from sales revenue.
Mr. Andrew Bowden : To ask the Prime Minister when he proposes to complete the appointment of a panel of advisers on the citizens charter initiative ; and if he will list the individuals who have so far agreed to serve on that panel.
The Prime Minister : I have appointed six members to the citizens charter advisory panel to serve under the chairmanship of Sir James Blyth. They are Mr. Christopher Bland, Dr. Nancy Lane, Dr. Madsen Pirie, Mr. Christopher Swan, Mr. Stan Webster and Lady Judith Wilcox.
The Prime Minister : Legislation will be needed to extend the powers of the Audit Commission and require local authorities to respond to auditors' reports ; to extend compulsory competitive tendering ; to require regular independent inspection of schools and the publication of information about the performance of all schools ; to require lay members independent of local education authorities to be appointed to appeals tribunals ; to give the citizen a right to challenge unlawful industrial action affecting public services ; to extend delegation in the civil service and deal with the problems relating to technical
Column 8redundancy ; to privatise British Rail ; to deregulate London buses ; to change arrangements for the provision of motorway service areas ; to limit the Post Office monopoly, establish a new regulator for postal services and give the Secretary of State powers to set standards and targets ; to bring the powers to set and ensure service standards of the regulators of the privatised utilities up to the standards of the strongest ; and to make other smaller changes to the law, for example allowing juries considering their verdict to go home overnight.
The Prime Minister : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Stockton, North (Mr. Cook) on 22 July, at column 375. The "First Year Report on the Environment White Paper"--Cm 1655--which shows how our first set of measures to limit the United Kingdom's carbon dioxide emissions are being put into practice, was published on Wednesday 25 September.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Prime Minister when he placed in the Library a copy of the communique issued after the meeting of Heads of Governments of member states of the European Community held on 13 September.
Mr. Alfred Morris : To ask the Prime Minister what representations he has received from the National Campaign With People Who Have Learning Difficulties ; what reply he is sending ; if there is any action he will be taking ; and if he will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : I have received a letter from the director setting out his organisation's concerns about the future development of services for people with learning disabilities. My hon. Friend the Under- Secretary for Health has responsibility for these services and will be replying on my behalf ; a copy of his reply will be sent to the right hon. Member.
The Prime Minister : The Department of Trade and Industry funds the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux--NACAB--and Citizens Advice Scotland--CAS--which provide the central support services for the local bureaux in England, Wales and Scotland. Similarly, the Northern Ireland Office funds the Northern Ireland Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux-- NIACAB. Total grant-in-aid to NACAB, CAS and NIACAB for 1990-91 was £11.74 million. Grant-in-aid for the current financial year will be more than £12 million.
Column 9Although the Government do not fund individual citizens advice bureaux, directly, the money provided to the central organisations includes a provision to develop the local network through partnership agreements on a time limited basis.
The Prime Minister : The Government place a high priority on ensuring proper safeguards for animal welfare, and have already made clear their policy for making progress on a wide range of animal welfare issues. In relation to farm animals, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is pressing in particular for measures to improve welfare standards throughout the European Community.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress he has made on setting criteria for eco-label schemes (a) within the United Kingdom and (b) within the context of European Commission proposals.
Mr. Baldry : The Government would prefer the United Kingdom to be part of a European Communitywide scheme of eco-labelling and will introduce a national scheme only if the Community scheme is delayed. Agreement on the European Commission proposals is currently expected to be reached in December. The European Commission has supported pilot studies by the United Kingdom and others into a number of different product categories which should assist in the setting of criteria under the Communitywide scheme. Further work on these and other product categories will take place before the scheme is launched.
Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will meet the national home and water safety councils to discuss the implications for their work of the exclusion of non-mandatory services from the citizens charter.
Mr. Key : No. The citizens charter applies to all public services. These include government departments and agencies, nationalised industries, local authorities, the national health service, the courts, police and emergency services, regardless of whether the services that they provide are mandatory.
Column 10Barnburgh was resurveyed for listing purposes as recently as 1986, and the listing in June 1968 of the dovecote and the outhouse at Barnburgh hall was confirmed at that time. The revised statutory list for the area was published on 11 April 1986.
If the owner of a listed building considers that it does not possess the special architectural or historic interest which has been identified, and can produce evidence in support of his case, we are always prepared to reconsider the matter, and will ask English Heritage, our statutory advisers on listing matters, to reassess the building. It is not a formal procedure : all the owner needs to do is to write to the Department with his evidence.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, further to his reply to the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey of 23 July, Official Report, column 519, when he expects the review of waste statistics to be completed.
Mr. Baldry : The first stage of the in-house review of waste statistics is expected to be completed by the end of October and its results taken account of in the Department's research and development programme.
Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will bring forward a commencement order to activate section 9 of the Local Government Act 1989 regarding council members' interests.
Column 11Mr. Baldry : To follow up the citizens charter White Paper, the Government will be bringing forward legislation to strengthen the formal powers of the utility regulators. This legislation is being prepared in close consultation with the director general.
Mr. Wilshire : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the drinking water pollution episode that took place at the Egham works of the North Surrey Water Company on 26 December 1990, setting out (a) what took place, (b) who was notified and when, (c) the criteria by which it was decided that no public warning should be issued, (d) whether any adverse effects on the health of the company's customers was recorded and (e) what steps have been taken to ensure that there will not be a similar delay in notifying the public of such an event in future.
The drinking water inspectorate has investigated the incident and will report shortly, dealing inter alia with the matters raised by my hon. Friend. We shall then decide what further action is needed. At that stage I shall write to my hon. Friend with any further information I can provide.