Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report the finally agreed text of the conference on security and co-operation in Europe in Vienna ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : The Vienna concluding document will be published as a White Paper, as will my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary's speech at the concluding session of the Vienna CSCE meeting.
In the meantime, copies of both the document and the speech will be placed in the Library of the House and issued to members of the public on request.
Mr. Waldegrave : I refer my hon. Friend to the answer that I gave to him on 11 January, at column 830. The Vienna concluding document contains greatly improved commitments on human rights and contacts, including an important new mechanism for the regular review of human rights abuses, and provides for increased co-operation in economic, scientific, environmental, information, cultural and educational fields. It contains a substantial programme of follow up activities including an information forum in London in April/May 1989 and opens the way to negotiations in March on conventional arms control and confidence and security building measures.
Mr. Gardiner : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government still consider, as indicated to the House on 23 October 1987, that the 1986 United Nations plan for a binational federal Government of Cyprus in which the two communities share power as equal political partners forms a good basis for settlement.
Mrs. Chalker : We continue to believe that the United Nations Secretary-General's draft framework agreement of March 1986 formed a good basis for a Cyprus settlement. But events have moved on. The leaders of the two communities, President Vassiliou and Mr. Denktash, accepted the Secretary-General's proposal last August that, without any pre-conditions, they should make a fresh attempt to negotiate a comprehensive settlement by 1 June 1989. Their talks continue, with the aim of agreeing the basis for a settlement in present circumstances. We have encouraged each side to negotiate constructively, taking the basic concerns of the other fully into account.
We have also received reporting on this subject from our mission in Tehran.
We examine all such reports with great care.
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the Government have made to the Turkish Government concerning improvements in human rights in Turkey ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : My right hon. Friend the Minister of State raised the subject of human rights with the Turkish ambassador on 12 December 1988. We continue to urge the Turkish Government to maintain the improvement in human rights there has been in recent years and to respect and abide by the terms of the relevant international human rights conventions to which Turkey is a signatory.
Mrs. Gillian Shephard : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made in implementing the Foreign Compensation (People's Republic of China) Order 1987.
Mr. Eggar : Very good progress is being made. 2,032 claims in respect of bonds and 989 claims in respect of property had been received by the Foreign Compensation Commission (which is being assisted with regard to the administrative aspects of the work by the private accountants Ernst and Whinney) by the two deadlines of 30 June and 31 August 1988 laid down in the 1987 order. Of these, 1,488 claims in respect of bonds and seven in respect of property had been determined by the commission by 13 January.
Adjudication of property claims takes time. The issues raised by many claims are complex. It is hoped, however, that the final distribution from the China fund can be made by late 1990. In the meantime, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State has directed that an interim payment of 5 per cent. of the value assigned to a bond should be paid to successful claimants in respect of bonds as from the end of January.
Mr. French : To ask the Member answering for the Public Accounts Commission how many oral parliamentary questions he has answered by written reply because the question was not reached at Question Time, for the most recent year for which figures are available.
Mr. French : To ask the Lord President of the Council how many oral parliamentary questions he has answered by written reply because the question was not reached at Question Time, for the most recent year for which figures are available.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to move jobs in his Department to locations in the Nottingham, North constituency ; and if he will make it his policy to inform the hon. Member for Nottingham, North of any developments.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : For our plans for relocating some work from sone London local social security offices I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Mr. Norris) on 16 January, at columns 44-45.
A team of officials are considering options for moving some headquarters work out of London and are investigating all possible locations which will allow us to improve efficiency. We shall make a full announcement of our conclusions in due course.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the arrangements for diversion of maintenance orders for women receiving income support are still as described in paragraphs 13.20-22, "Supplementary Benefits Handbook 1984."
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The arrangements are generally the same. There is a slight change in that claimants are no longer invited to arrange for the court to pass their court order payments to the Department, rather than direct to them, where the order is paid with complete regularity.
Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many people in Blyth Valley had their unemployment benefit stopped because they were considered not to be available for work in January 1988.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I regret that information is not available in the form requested. Statistics on adjudication officers' decisions are compiled quarterly for the areas covered by adjudication offices, each of which cover a number of benefit offices. For the quarter ended 31 March 1988, the records for the adjudication office area of Newcastle, which includes the constituency of Blyth Valley, show that 246 adverse decisions on availability for work were given.
Column 258Longbarton, Newcastle, will provide the information requested by Mr. S. W. Brass of 58 Sandy lane, Rugeley, Staffordshire, on behalf of Mrs. D. E. Brass regarding non-receipt of her retirement pension for the weeks commencing 7 and 14 November, Reference 02707276 ZT.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : Non-payment of retirement pension in respect of Mrs. Brass for the weeks commencing 7 and 14 November 1988 has now been confirmed and immediate payment of the amount due will be made by the Cannock local office.
Mr. Kirkwood : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what guidance is issued to local offices on payment of fares to a parent who is seeking to make an access visit to his or her child ; (2) whether financial help is available to a mother who has to travel long distances for an access visit to her child in order to comply with a custody order ;
(3) what help is available to parents seeking help with transport costs in order to pay access visits to their children.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : A community care grant from the social fund may be awarded to a parent receiving income support to cover travelling costs to visit a child who is in the care of the other parent pending a custody decision. Once custody has been decided help can not be given.
Guidance and directions for the award of such payments appear in the "Social Fund Manual". A copy is in the Library.
Mr. Lawson : I met the commissioners on 13 July 1988. We discussed the performance of the Crown Estate in 1987-88 and their broad programme for the future years. I regret that I cannot disclose the specific issues discussed as they are subject to commercial confidentiality.
Mr. Lilley : Figures released by the Building Societies Association in July 1988 showed that 37 per cent. of borrowers with the largest 14 building societies had their mortgage payments adjusted once a year. No information is available for banks and other mortgage lenders.
Mr. Major : Between June 1979 and September 1988 the number of self- employed people in Great Britain rose by 60 per cent. to nearly 3 million. Over the same period, the part-time workforce in employment rose by 30 per cent. to over 6 million.
Mr. Norman Lamont : The joint Treasury and stock exchange survey carried out in January and February 1988 estimated that approximately 9 million people own shares, 20 per cent. of the adult population. This represents a threefold increase since 1979.
Mr. Oppenheim : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much in anti-dumping duties on electronic typewriters was collected by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in the last year for which figures are available ;
(2) how much in anti-dumping duties on daisy wheel printers was collected by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in the last year for which figures are available ;
Column 260(3) how much in anti-dumping duties on dot matrix printers was collected by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in the last year for which figures are available ;
(4) how much in anti-dumping duties on photocopiers was collected by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in the last year for which figures are available ;
(5) how much in anti-dumping duties on microchips was collected by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in the last year for which figures are available.
Category |Anti-dumping duty |(£000's) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Electronic typewriters |238 Daisy wheel printers and dot matrix printers<1> |140 Photocopiers |5,186 Microchips |<2> <1> Separate figures for daisy wheel and dot matrix printers are not available. Anti-dumping duty was imposed on dot matrix printers in May 1988 and on daisy wheel printers in July 1988. <2> Anti-dumping duty is not levied on microchips.
Mr. Heddle : To ask the Attorney-General if he will investigate the reasons for the delay regarding registration No. WSX 131547 ; and when the district land registrar of Her Majesty's Land Registry, Weymouth, will conclude this matter.
The Attorney-General : The registration of title number WSX131547 was completed on 6 January 1989. Completion of the registration was delayed because replies to requisitions raised by the Land Registry in respect of prior applications, which affected the land in title number WSX131547, had not been received.
The Latent Damage Act 1986 provides that the overriding time limit of 15 years in an action for negligence is not to apply where there has been deliberate concealment of any fact by the defendant. A defendant will therefore not be able to take advantage of his own wrongdoing by relying on the lapse of time.
Mr. Heddle : To ask the Attorney-General when he plans to introduce legislation embodying the Law Commission working group's recommendations contained in "Commonhold Freehold Flats and Freehold Ownership of Other Independent Buildings" ; and if he will make a statement on the position of existing flat leaseholders' rights to conversion to any such commonhold system.
The Attorney-General : The Lord Chancellor announced on 8 June 1988 that the Government have arranged for legislation to be prepared at the Law Commission giving effect to the recommendations made in the working group report (Cm. 179).
Decisions on the implementation of the recommendations, and the circumstances in which leaseholds of flats should be convertable into freeholds within commonholds are being considered and will be announced in due course.
The Prime Minister : This is an area in which it is natural to work through the European Space Agency and where the United Kingdom and other member states are due shortly to consider a working party report. There are, however, no immediate United Kingdom or ESA plans for a space mission to study space debris.
The Prime Minister : A memorandum by the then secretary of the Cabinet, which included the guidance given to Ministers on this matter, was submitted in evidence to the Royal Commission on standards of conduct in public life in 1975. A copy is in the Library. The current guidance is to all intents and purposes the same and continues to be based on the principle that Ministers must so order their affairs that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their private interests and their public duties.
The Prime Minister : This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today, including one with the Premier of Quebec.
The Prime Minister : Last year I asked Sir Robert Andrew to undertake a review of Government legal services and to make recommendations on what legal services the Government need, how they can be provided most effectively and economically and what changes are needed in the management of legal staff so as to make best use of them. Sir Robert's report is being published today. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. I am grateful to Sir Robert Andrew for the work he has put into the report.
Sir Robert Andrew concludes that the Government continue to need a wide range of legal services provided to a high standard and that the need for them is likely to go on increasing. He considers it likely that the bulk of these services will continue to be provided within Government, but Departments should decide on cost-effectiveness grounds whether to meet their needs in Government or outside. He suggests that some of the bodies providing services of a legal nature to the public might usefully become executive agencies and that the relocation of some work out of London should prove cost-effective. The Government accept these conclusions.
The report proposes some adjustments in organisation to improve the effectiveness of legal services. In the light of these
recommendations, I have decided to make the following changes in England and Wales. Under the ministerial direction of the Attorney-General, the Treasury Solicitor will become the head of the Government legal service. As head of profession he will advise on the personnel management of lawyers across Departments, and will be supported in this by a new lawyers management unit. The present Law Officers Department will be renamed the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, and the legal departments for which the Attorney-General is the ministerial head (the Treasury Solicitor's Department, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers, the Crown Prosecution Service, and the Serious Fraud Office) will be known collectively as the Law Officers Departments. The Lord Chancellor's Department will take over responsibi-lity for the Statutory Publications Office from the Treasury Solicitor's Department, probably in April 1990.
The report makes a number of recommendations aimed at improving the management of lawyers. The Government accept these recommendations and agree that greater effort needs to be put into recruitment and that the areas of recruitment should be broadened. They believe that the Government legal service as a whole will benefit from more co-ordinated personnel management and from improved training and career management. The new lawyers management unit will have a key role in helping the Treasury Solicitor as head of profession work with Departments in implementing the report's recommendations.
Column 263Sir Robert Andrew also makes a number of recommendations to improve the pay of lawyers. The Government welcome his emphasis on the need for selectivity in considering special pay treatment for lawyers, which is consistent with the Government's policies onpay. The report also recognises the Government's comparatively greater difficulties of recruiting and retaining lawyers in London, which have already led to the establishment of special London pay scales for lawyers at grades 6 and 7 from April 1988.
Lawyers at grades 2 and 3 form part of the senior open structure, whose pay is decided by the Government on the recommendations of the Top Salaries Review Body. The Government are consulting the TSRB about the recommendations which affect these grades and will respond to this part of the report when they have received the TSRB's views. Subject to consultations with the unions, the Government propose to respond to the recommendations of the pay of grades below the senior open structure as follows.
Around £2,500 a year will be added to the pay of all lawyers in grades 4 and 5 working in London. For grade 5 this will take the form of two points on the pay scale. Staff at grade 4 will receive a £2, 500 allowance.
In addition, it is proposed that up to three points on the scale should be made available as personal pay points for certain grade 5 lawyers selected on the basis of their skills, experience, marketability and value to the Department. Broadly similar treatment will be applied to grade 4.
The Government regard it as important that all at grade 5 should be eligible for performance pay. For lawyers (including those in London) without personal pay points, up to four performance points will continue to be available. For those on the highest personal point, it is proposed that two should be available.
Lawyers in grades 5 to 7 are covered by the long-term pay agreement of July 1988, under which these grades will receive pay increases of 4 per cent. from 1 April 1989 and a further review from 1 August 1989 informed by a survey of pay levels in the private sector. The Government do not propose to make personal pay points available at grades 6 and 7. But grade 6 lawyers in London will receive an additional scale point, worth around £1,100.
It is proposed to make these changes to pay in response to Sir Robert Andrew's recommendations from 1 April 1989.