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Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment whether he has any plans to reduce (a) the number of managing agents for youth training schemes and (b) the number of youth training schemes ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : The Training Agency's area offices negotiate contracts with managing agents to provide sufficient YTS places to meet the needs in each locality. As the number of young people eligible for YTS falls over the next few years, the overall number of schemes and of managing agents may well need to be adjusted. Any such adjustments will be made locally, to match local requirements.
Mr. Nicholls [holding answer 22 December 1988] : Employment training has made a very successful start with more than 100,000 people already in training, in many cases with the help of local authorities. About 170 local authorities are already acting as training managers and 50 acting as training agents for the scheme. I very much regret that certain Labour controlled local authorities have decided actively to oppose and boycott employment training. This deplorable stance serves only to distance those local authorities from the needs of the unemployed people in their communities. A recent High Court decision made it clear that Liverpool city council had been using its discretionary powers unlawfully to
Column 701penalise organisations taking part in employment training. I trust that other authorities will take careful note of that judgment in framing their policies for the future.
1988 |£ -------------------------- April |16,828 May |16,463 June |7,049 July |9,389 August |9,475 September |24,562 October |17,202 November |8,867 |------- Total |109,835
12. Mr. Quentin Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the Government intend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Mr. Waldegrave : My hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces gave a list of a number of events in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Slough (Mr. Watts) yesterday. In addition to these, the next ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council is scheduled to take place in London on 8-9 June 1989.
15. Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Vietnamese Government regarding the repatriation of boat people arriving in Hong Kong.
47. Mr. Lofthouse : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Vietnam in connection with the Vietnamese refugees in Hong Kong.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : I discussed the problem of Vietnamese boat people in Hong Kong with the Vietnamese Foreign Minister on 7 June 1988 and with his Deputy on 30 September. Her Majesty's embassy in Hanoi is in regular touch with the Vietnamese authorities.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I have frequent contacts with the Maltese Government, the most recent ones being in September last year, when their Prime Minister visited London for three days. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State will be seeing the Maltese Prime Minister again on 13 January.
Mr. Waldegrave : As I told the hon. Member in a written reply on 25 November, at column 142 , we have repeatedly expressed our concern at the treatment of the Kurdish community in Iraq. I also refer the hon. Member to my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State's comments to the House on 30 November at column 689. I raised the question of alleged use of chemical weapons against Kurds in my speech on 9 January to the Paris conference on chemical weapons.
19. Sir Russell Johnston : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next intends to meet the Israeli Foreign Minister to discuss the implications of the speech of Mr. Yasser Arafat to the United Nations General Assembly.
20. Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to (a) the Government of Iran and (b) relevant international bodies about the killings of political prisoners in Iran.
Mr. Waldegrave : The reports of executions are a matter of grave concern. We have consistently condemned such violations of human rights in Iran. We co-sponsored the resolution on human rights in Iran which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 8 December.
22. Mr. Dykes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has been able to make an assessment of the main foreign policy points in Mr. Gorbachev's 6 December speech to the United Nations in regard to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic's relations with the United Kingdom and other Western countries.
Mr. Waldegrave : Yes. We have welcomed Mr. Gorbachev's speech as the clearest exposition so far a less ideological Soviet approach to foreign policy. This approach, if maintained, should help to improve further east- west relations and on our bilateral relations with the Russians, and lead to increasing practical progress in arms control, human rights and the settlement of regional conflicts.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State last met Mr. Shultz at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels on 8 and 9 December. They discussed a wide range of issues.
Mrs. Chalker : The European Community's relations with the Gulf Co- operation Council are excellent. A first stage economic co-operation agreement and a political joint declaration were signed last June. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State returned today from a most successful trip to four Gulf Co-operation Council countries--Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
25. Mr. Squire : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has discussed President Gorbachev's proposed conventional arms reductions with the Foreign Ministers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
Mr. Waldegrave : I discussed the matter with my NATO colleagues at the North Atlantic Council ministerial meeting in Brussels on 8 December. I draw my hon. Friend's attention to our statement on conventional arms control in which we welcomed the proposed reductions as a "positive contribution" to redressing the heavy conventional imbalance in Europe. We also called for cuts in the number of tanks to half than present levels, going well beyond the reduction announced by Mr. Gorbachev ; and for limits on the tank holdings of individual countries much lower than those of the Soviet Union, even after the proposed cuts. The full text can be found in the copy of the statement placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Eggar : Since 1982, 136 housing units have been built and 42 mobile homes installed in the Falkland Islands. A further 84 units are at various stages of construction or planning, including 36 for Falkland Islands Government, which should be finished by the end of April.
We and the Falkland Islands Government recognise the crucial importance of housing. A senior British consultant visited the Falklands in November to help prepare a new comprehensive housing policy. We are also encouraged that in recent months a number of building plots have been purchased by individual islanders for private housing development.
Mr. Eggar : The Afghan people continue to resist Soviet military occupation and the unrepresentative PDPA regime. We look forward to the withdrawal of all Soviet troops by 15 February in accordance with the Geneva agreements, and to the restoration of Afghan independence and self- determination.
Mr. Waldegrave : Mr. Gorbachev's planned visit to the United Kingdom last month had to be postponed due to the tragic earthquake in Armenia. We hope that it will be possible to agree new dates for the visit in the near future.
Mr. Eggar : Since 1950, successive British Governments have dealt with the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. Accordingly there can be no question of my right hon. and learned Friend meeting representatives of the authorities in Taiwan.
33. Mr. Jacques Arnold : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met the Spanish and Portuguese Foreign Ministers to discuss the entry of those countries to the Western European Union.
34. Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress which has been made towards a South African withdrawal from South West Africa.
Mrs. Chalker : We greatly welcome the signature of an agreement in New York on 22 December paving the way for Namibian independence. We congratulate the United States Government on their skilful mediation and all the signatories for the statesmanship which they have shown.
35. Mr. Brandon-Bravo : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what initiatives he is planning to seek to reduce hooliganism on the part of British citizens travelling abroad during the 1989 tourist season.
Mr. Eggar : We shall continue our public education campaign in the United Kingdom and abroad to reduce the level of hooliganism and rowdy behaviour by British citizens. Further TV and radio public information messages are planned for this year. We shall also continue to co-operate closely with the Association of British Travel Agents and tour operators, and with the central and local authorities of the main tourist countries. Together with the Home Office we are actively pursuing Spanish proposals to post a small number of British police to Spanish resort areas during the coming tourist season, for liaison purposes.
Mrs. Chalker : Our efforts to improve the export promotion activities of British posts abroad is a continuous process, to which we attach great importance. Such activities are scrutinised regularly by the overseas inspectorate system in the light of agreed commercial objectives which are revised annually.
39. Dr. Michael Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will next visit the United States ; and what issues he plans to discuss with President Bush's Administration.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State hopes to visit the United States as soon as possible after the inauguration of the new President, when he will discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest with the new Secretary of State and others.
Mr. Eggar : We condemn all abuses of human rights. We remain concerned by reports of an increase in human rights violations on both sides of the conflict in El Salvador and we shall continue to raise our concerns with the Salvadorean Government whenever appropriate.
Mr. Eggar : The subject of Tibet was raised by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State with the then Chinese Foreign Minister, Wu Xueqian when he visited the United Kingdom in March 1988.
Mrs. Chalker : My right hon. and learned Friend last met President Vassiliou of Cyprus on 4 October, when he called on my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to review progress in the intercommunal talks on the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have agreed in principle that the third stage of the CSCE conference on the human dimension should be held in Moscow, but our attendance depends upon the Soviet Union making further specific major human rights improvements between now and 1991.
45. Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the implications for Her Majesty's Government's policy of recent developments in Kampuchea.
71. Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement concerning the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the threat to peace and security in Kampuchea ; and what initiatives he expects to take in either the Security Council of the United Nations or in any of its specialised agencies.
Mr. Eggar : We wish to see Cambodia restored to its place as a free and neutral country. We support the work of those directly concerned to achieve this aim. Vietnam's illegal occupation remains a major obstacle. There have been a number of encouraging developments recently, both internal and external. More progress is needed before the United Nations Security Council can play a formal role. Some specialised United Nations agencies (for example UNBRO, WFP, UNICEF) are already doing useful work.
54. Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last discussed the situation in Kampuchea with representatives of the Governments of (a) China, (b) the United States and (c) Thailand.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State discussed Cambodia with his American and Chinese counterparts in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in September 1988, and with the Thai Foreign Minister in August 1987. The Prime Minister discussed this subject with the Thai Prime Minister in August 1988 and my noble Friend, the Minister of State will raise it when he visits Bangkok later this month.
46. Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he intends to impose any pressure or sanctions on the Israeli Government for their failure to abide by the Geneva convention in the occupied territories.
Column 708international law and accepted standards of human rights. We do not believe that economic sanctions would help improve conditions in the occupied territories.
Mr. Waldegrave : My right hon. and learned Friend has no firm plans to meet Mr. Shevardnadze at present. He will, no doubt, accompany Mr. Gorbachev to the United Kingdom when the Soviet President's visit is reinstated.
Mr. Eggar : Commercial relations with the Republic of Korea are good, although we are obliged to make regular representations to the Korean authorities about access to their market. The British embassy in Seoul stands ready to help both existing exporters and those companies which are new to the Korean market. They are expecting 13 sponsored trade missions in 1989, matching the 13 which visited in 1988. British exports to Korea increased by 48 per cent. in 1987 over 1986. The first nine months of 1988 saw a further 10 per cent. increase.
Mr. Waldegrave : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence hosted a ministerial council meeting of the WEU in London on 14 November. The major event of that occasion was signature of a protocol for the accession of Portugal and Spain to the modified Brussels treaty 1954. These two countries will become full members of WEU once ratification procedures are complete. A satisfactory outcome to the enlargement negotiations with Portugal and Spain was one of the main priorities for our Presidency, and its early attainment is most satisfactory.
Column 709A further priority was to develop the WEU as a forum for co-ordinating European approaches to out of area issues. The ministerial council noted with approval the success of the joint naval activities in the Gulf, particularly the mine-sweeping operation Cleansweep, as a concrete example of the work being done by WEU in defence co-operation.
Our other main priorities--to elaborate on the commitments in the Hague platform on European security interests, and to use WEU as a forum for frank discussion of key European security issues--have also been pursued energetically. The ministerial council considered a report on implementation of the platform and endorsed further work on its elaboration, which will continue over the next six months. Ministers also took note of a report on progress made in fulfilling the mandate on arms control and defence requirements given by WEU Ministers at their meeting in the Hague in April 1988.
53. Mr. Murphy : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received concerning the role of Her Majesty's Government following the plebiscite in Chile.
Mr. Eggar : We have received no formal representations following the plebiscite in Chile, though we continue our dialogue with Chilean political leaders. We also continue to receive expressions of the diverse views of members of the British public.
59. Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with Governments of other European countries about ways of encouraging the transition to full democracy in Chile.
Mr. Eggar : We have frequent discussions with our European partners on Chile. The position of the Twelve was set out in their statements of 7 October and 1 November, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House.