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5 Jul 1995 : Column WA77

Written Answers

Wednesday, 5th July 1995.

ABM Treaty: Presidents' Statement

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What meaning they attach to the paragraph in the Clinton-Yeltsin statement on the ABM Treaty (10th May 1995): "The scale of deployment—in number and geographic scope—of theatre missile defence systems by either side will be consistent with theatre ballistic missile programmes confronting that side", in relation to the "counter-proliferation" studies and discussions being held both within NATO and bilaterally by Her Majesty's Government and the United States Administration.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): It is not for Her Majesty's Government to interpret the Joint Statement by the Presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the implications for non-parties to the ABM Treaty of the joint statement of the Presidents of the United States and of the Russian Federation concerning the interpretation of that treaty, and in particular what are the implications for deployment funded, or largely funded, by one of the parties to the treaty in other areas, such as the Israeli Arrow system.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We believe that the ABM Treaty remains an important element of strategic arms control but do not consider that it has any specific implications for the deployment of missile defence systems by non-parties. However, it is not for Her Majesty's Government to interpret the Joint Statement by the Presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation.

Conventional Arms Transfers

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of world conventional arms transfers are conducted by firms from the countries (and allowed by the governments), represented at the G7 meeting; and, in the light of the description of the transfers as "excessive" in the G7 communiqué, what steps the G7 governments are now proposing to take to reduce conventional arms transfers promoted by their own arms industries.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We estimate that the countries at the G7 meeting (with Russia) account for about 90 per cent. of world conventional arms transfers. The chairman's statement noted that "the excessive transfer of conventional arms, in particular to areas of conflict, is one of our main preoccupations". The UK, like other countries at the meeting, is committed to responsibility in conventional arms transfers.

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Newbury By-pass

Lord Boyd-Carpenter asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How long, to the nearest week, they now expect their consideration of the case for proceeding with the A.34 Newbury by-pass to last.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): Last December my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport announced that, before construction work began on the A.34 Newbury by-pass, further consideration would be given to the proposed route. We had no doubt that the current situation on the A.34 was intolerable and that there was strong economic justification for a by-pass. But we wanted to be sure of the environmental balance between the principal route alternatives and to confirm that the route proposed was the best solution to the problems of congestion in Newbury.

Congestion has got much worse since the public inquiry in 1988. Then there were about 40,000 vehicles a day on the A.34 through Newbury. Recent counts show an increase of 25 per cent. in the overall traffic levels. Forecasts suggest that traffic flows will reach between 65,000 and 78,000 vehicles per day by the year 2010. The inquiry heard evidence of peak hour delays of up to 30 minutes. Longer delays are not unusual now.

A team of Highways Agency staff not previously associated with the scheme undertook this further consideration and has reported to me. We have placed a copy of its report in the Library.

As the report makes clear, the team examined both the background to the scheme and the changes in appraisal techniques, local circumstances and traffic and economic data that have occurred since the inquiry and the subsequent decisions of the Secretaries of State.

Amongst these matters, the team gave attention to:

    the closure of Greenham Common Air Base, which opens up the possibility of a new eastern route;

    the expected designation of new Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the valleys of the Rivers Kennet and Lambourn;

    protected species on the line of the announced route;

    new archaeological data and the heritage value of the site of the 1643 Battle of Newbury;

    the scope for induced traffic as a result of the by-pass;

    all central route options through the built-up area of Newbury, despite the fact that the inspector at the public inquiry had unequivocally rejected a central route;

    lower levels of improvement of the existing road.

We have carefully considered all the changes and other factors addressed in the team's report, the scope for alternative options to those examined at the public inquiry, and the balance between all the options. We have also taken into account all the advice we have been

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given and representations we have received since this study was inaugurated.

We agree with the team's assessments, and with its overall conclusion that the western by-pass, for which statutory orders have been made and confirmed, is the most effective solution for Newbury. We now intend to move ahead speedily with the proposed scheme to bring much needed relief to the town and its residents. On the basis of the team's report and the work leading up to the earlier decision, we can see no justification for further investigation or delay.

Crown Buildings in Scotland: Fire Certificates

Lord Howie of Troon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the locations of the 29 buildings identified in the Written Answer to Lord Howie of Troon on 25th May as being premises without a certificate under the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act 1963.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): As at 29 June 1995 there are now 28 Crown premises in Scotland, being office, shop or railway premises falling within the scope of Section 1 of the Fire Precautions Act 1971, which relates to the certification of premises, and which have not yet been issued with a fire certificate under that Act. These are:


    Jobcentre, 17 Mar Street, Alloa

    Child Support Agency, Antonine House, Falkirk

    Historic Scotland, Stirling Castle

    Jobcentre, Maxwell Place, Stirling

    Jobcentre, 12 St. John Street, Stranraer

    Ordnance Survey, Glamis Centre, Glenrothes

    Jobcentre, 5 Hunter Street, Kirkcaldy

    Benefits Agency, North Street, Glenrothes

    Sheriff Court House, Chambers Street, Edinburgh

    Historic Scotland, Edinburgh Castle

    Scottish Court Service, 23 Lauriston Street, Edinburgh

    National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh

    Historic Scotland, Salisbury Place, Edinburgh

    Historic Scotland, Fort George, Ardersier

    Meteorological Office, 220 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow

    Scottish Office, Meridian Court, Glasgow

    Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, 300 Bath Street, Glasgow

    Jobcentre, Dougrie Drive, Glasgow

    Jobcentre, 67-69 Kinfauns Drive, Glasgow

    Marine Safety Agency, 6000 Academy Park, Gower Street, Glasgow

    OFFER, 70 West Regent Street, Glasgow

    Jobcentre, 129 Main Street, Kilwinning

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    HM Inspector of Taxes, Stewartfield Way, East Kilbride

    District Court, Campbell Street, Hamilton

    Ordnance Survey, 107 Almada Street, Hamilton

    Jobcentre, 57 Bellshill Road, Uddingston

    Jobcentre, 35 Carrick Street, Ayr

    Procurator Fiscal, Renfrew Road, Paisley

It should be noted that all the 28 premises listed above have been inspected as the first step in the procedure leading to certification, and that a number of the properties are about to be issued with a fire certificate.

Child Support Agency

Lord Houghton of Sowerby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    The number of grades and other classification of employment in the Child Support Agency.

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the noble Lord.

Letter to Lord Houghton of Sowerby from the Chief Executive of the Child Support Agency, Miss Ann Chant, dated 4 July 1995:

I am replying to your recent Question to Her Majesty's Government concerning the number of grades and classification of employment used by the Child Support Agency.

Information on the number of persons employed in each grade within the agency is shown in the table below.

Permanent Staff
Grade 6 to Grade 3 8
Grade 7 22
Senior Executive Officer 67.5
Higher Executive Officer 352.6
Executive Officer/Local Officer 1,933.5
Administrative Officer/Local Officer 3,663.2
Administrative Assistant 529
Others (typists, messengers etc) 52.2
Total: 6,628

Of the 6,638 permanent staff, 1,136 are employed on a part-time basis. The agency also employs a number of staff on a casual basis within the grades of Administrative Officer and Administrative Assistant.

I hope this is helpful.

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