HC Deb 05 November 1980 vol 991 cc584-7W
Mr. Parry

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many enterprises at the Tai Wo Ping site in Hong Kong have not been offered alternative accommodation; and what provision has been made in these cases for the operators to continue their businesses.

Mr. Ridley

Out of 129 enterprises at the Tai Wo Ping site with an average size of 1,184 square feet, 50 have not been offered alternative factory accommodation. These include 27 godowns and four shops which will be given exgratia allowances to assist in their re-establishment or closure. The remaining 19 are opening unlawfully in conversions but their cases are under review.

Mr. Parry

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will meet a deputation of hon. Members to discuss the recent delegations visit from Tai Wo Ping and the representations made to his Department.

Mr. Ridley

My hon. Friend the Minister of State, the hon. Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Blaker) is willing to meet the hon. Members.

Mr. Flannery

asked the Lord Privy Seal what conditions were promised to factory operators in the Kwai On area of Hong Kong when they were originally moved in 1978; what are the present conditions, including rent and type of trade; and in what respects the present conditions differ from those offered in the first place.

Mr. Ridley

(i) When the factory operators were originally moved in 1978 to a temporary industrial area, they were made no promises in relation to their present tenancies in the Kwai On factory.

(ii) The premises at present let to the operators in question are in a new multistorey factory block at rents including rates varying from $500 to $800 per month per unit of 269 square feet varying with floor level and loading. The approved list of trades includes virtually any that are suitable for small factory units in a multi-storey block.

(iii) The present conditions refer to the current tenancies, about which no promises whatsoever were made earlier.

Mr. McTaggart

asked the Lord Privy Seal what representations the Hong Kong Housing Authority has received from the Tai Wo Ping and Kwai On factory operators during their present dispute with the Hong Kong Government; what replies have been given; and what action the Hong Kong Government are planning to take to resolve the dispute.

Mr. Ridley

(i) The Hong Kong Housing Authority has received six representations from the Tai Wo Ping operators asking for deferment of the clearance, land resite and reduction of rents for the flatted factories. Kwai On operators have made five representations to the authority for assignment rights and reduced rents. All petitions have been answered in writing and additionally explained verbally by senior staff on a number of occasions. The Kwai On operators met unofficial members of the housing authority on one occasion.

(ii) Replies have said that: No further deferment can be given: operators of non-polluting industries can re-establish themselves if they can find suitable sites; reduction of rent and granting of assignment rights are not possible.

(iii) Discussion with the operators will continue and every attempt is being made to resolve individual problems. Three-year deferment at Tai Wo Ping is impossible because of the vital housing programme: however, individual extension of one or two months will be considered.

Mr. Ernie Ross

asked the Lord Privy Seal, what representations Her Majesty's Government have received from delegates from Tai Wo Ping and Kwai On factory operators in Hong Kong; what replies have been sent; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ridley

The delegation called on officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 21 October. It made a number of points, on which the Hong Kong Government are being consulted. It has also written to the Prime Minister. Replies will be sent when the relevant information is received.

Mr. McKelvey

asked the Lord Privy Seal what terms of compensation for (a) removal, (b) adjustment and (c) reconstruction are being offered to enterprises facing clearance at Tai Wo Ping in Hong Kong.

Mr. Ridley

(i) Ex-gratia allowances are offered to eligible enterprises being cleared at Tai Wo Ping according to a comprehensive scale:

  1. (a) workshops operating trades suitable for Government factory reprovisioning receive an ex-gratia allowance of $7,000 or the first 200 sq ft and $34 per sq ft for additional areas, or
  2. (b) they may opt for reprovisioning in a Government flatted factory with a reduced ex-gratia allowance of $15 per sq ft to assist in removal.
  3. (c) workshops operating trades not admissible in Government factories receive an allowance of $7,000 for the first 200 sq ft and $53 per sq ft for additional areas. If they change to a trade suitable for Government factory reprovisioning, they are treated as for suitable trades.

(ii) Ex-gratia allowance for shops is payable at $120 per sq ft for the initial area of 90 sq ft, $35 per sq ft for the next 410 sq ft, and $20 per sq ft thereafter.

(iii) Allowances for godowns are paid at $20 per sq ft subject to a minimum qualifying area of 200 sq ft.

Mr. James Johnson

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will ensure that the Hong Kong Government delay clearances at Tai Wo Ping for three years.

Mr. Ridley

No; the clearance is vital to Hong Kong's housing programme. The clearance cannot be delayed for three years.

Mr. Parry

asked the Lord Privy Seal how many enterprises are affected by clearances at the Tai Wo Ping industrial housing area in Hong Kong; how many have been offered alternative sites; and how the rent at such sites compares with the present rent.

Mr. Ridley

A total of 129 enterprises are affected at the Tai Wo Ping site. No alternative sites have been offered but housing authority flatted factory accommodation is available for certain suitable trades; commercial sector flatted factory accommodation is also plentiful. Present licence fees fixed in 1970 are a nominal 15 cents per sq ft per month for unserviced, vacant land. Housing authority factory rentals, including rates, range from $1.86 per sq ft to $4.09 per sq ft per month for modern purpose-built factories for small workshop units.

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