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Sir Richard Body : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the main advantage to the United Kingdom of joining the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system.
Mr. Lilley : The United Kingdom will join the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system when the Government consider that the time is right and because of the advantages that it will bring to the conduct of anti-inflationary policy.
Column 359rises in saving by companies and the public sector, leaving total national savings broadly unchanged as a share of gross domestic product. Rises in interest rates in recent months will encourage more saving and less borrowing by households.
Mr. Norman Lamont : The precise tax treatment will depend on individual circumstances. A developer who builds property for sale incurs his expenditure on revenue account and is entitled to relief under the normal business expense rules for costs incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of his trade. A special 100 per cent. initial allowance is available for construction costs of business buildings within an enterprise zone which are incurred on capital account.
Mr. Robertson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has any plans to prosecute Mr. Ishan Barbouti for breach of export controls in relation to his activities in constructing a plant at Rabta, Libya, alleged to be for the manufacture of chemical weapons.
Mr. Dobson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the reduction in annual liability to (a) capital gains tax and (b) capital transfer tax in 1988-89 and 1989-90 as against the 1978-79 indexed regime, specifying in each case the total and average reduction per taxpayer as well as the number of taxpayers in each year.
|Capital gains tax |Capital transfer tax/ |Inheritance Tax --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Reduction, compared with indexed 1978-79 regime, in: Total liability (£m): |1988-89 |1,250 |610 |1989-90 |1,150 |670 Average liability<1>(£): |1988-89 |1,450 |7,200 |1989-90 |1,500 |7,700 Taxpayer numbers (thousands) 1978-79 indexed regime: |1988-89 |850 |85 |1989-90 |760 |87 Present regime: |1988-89 |155 |25 |1989-90 |145 |26 <1> The reduction in the average liability is calculated using the numbers of taxpayers under the 1978-79 indexed regime.
The figures for capital gains tax exclude capital gains realised by companies and taxed within corporation tax. The figures for 1989-90 for the "present regime" assume the same tax structure as in 1988-89 except for indexation of allowances. For each tax, the 1988-89 and 1989-90 tax bases are taken as given. It is not possible to determine to what extent changes to the taxes between 1978-79 and the present may have affected the levels of transfers and disposals.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will estimate the additional cost to the housing benefit scheme of the changes to Rent Acts which have recently come into effect.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : The public expenditure White Paper, which will be published shortly, will as in previous years set out our working assumptions about the rent levels of people receiving housing benefit. These will take account of a number of factors including the potential effects of the provisions of the Housing Act 1988.
Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list the number and proportions of claimants of family income supplement who were one and two-parent families ; and if he will give the equivalent data for the family credit.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : In April 1987, the latest date for which information is available, approximately 92,000 (41.8 per cent.) one-parent families and 128,000 (58.2 per cent.) two-parent families received family income supplement. The only similar information available for family credit is for 97 per cent. of families and, of them, for those where the parent is an employee. At the end of November 1988 there were approximately 98,000 (42.1 per cent.) one-parent families and 135,000 (57.9 per cent.) two- parent families. There were a further 20,000 families where the parent was self-employed, but no breakdown of this figure is available between one and two-parent families.
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions have taken place between his Department and the rights of way review committee, Ramblers Association and others about changes to plant health orders which may lead to temporary closure of footpaths where rhizomania is found.
Mr. Ryder : My officials have attended meetings of the rights of way review committee and my noble Friend has been in correspondence with its chairman, my hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. Haselhurst), about this matter. Public access to any premises declared infected with rhizomania has to be restricted in order to prevent the spread of this serious disease. We accept that it is desirable to use powers under plant health legislation to restrict access and we intend to make appropriate provision shortly.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list by percentage sum of money the four main elements in the Potato Marketing Board's annual costs in each year since 1970.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he had for improving the efficiency and organisation of the Potato Marketing Board ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. MacGregor : Responsibility for efficiency and organisation rests primarily with the Potato Marketing Board itself. However, some of the replies to the Government's recent consultation paper on future potato market policy address these topics, and are currently being considered along with other comments.
Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the circumstances surrounding the incident involving the Falkland Islands ferry on Monday 16 January ; if he will consider the suspension of service until a proper agreement on it can be reached ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 362commercial business with a cargo from the Falkland Islands. A small number of Argentine nationals staged a demonstration. We understand that the Indiana I is operated, and conducts her business, in accordance with normal shipping law and practice. She is not operating a regular ferry service and no separate agreement has been entered into or is required. While we have no standing in the matter, we welcome any normalisation of links between the Falkland Islands and the south American mainland.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the Palestine Liberation Organisation about its assassination of Kayed Tameize.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the Palestine Liberation Organisation about its threat to assassinate the mayor of Bethlehem.
Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations have been made to the Soviet authorities about Boris and Galina Lifshitz who first applied for an exit visa in 1979.
Mr. Waldegrave : We can see no justification for the Soviet authorities' continued refusal to allow Boris and Galina Lifshitz to emigrate. Her Majesty's embassy in Moscow raised the case with the Russians in December and we will be raising it again at the UK-USSR bilateral human rights talks on 26 January.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) oral, and (b) written questions have been addressed to his Department about Mr. Raoul Wallenberg in each session since 1979.
According to our records the details are as follows :
Parliamentary Questions on Raoul Wallenberg Session |Oral questions |Written questions|Total ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1979-80 (15 May 1979-13 November 1980 |0 |0 |0 1980-81 (20 November 1980-30 November 1981) |1 |0 |1 1981-82 (4 November 1981-28 October 1982) |0 |0 |0 1982-83 (3 November 1982-13 May 1983) |0 |1 |1 1983-84 (15 June 1983-31 October 1984) |0 |1 |1 1984-85 (6 November 1984-30 October 1985) |1 |9 |10 1985-86 (6 November 1985-6 November 1986) |0 |13 |13 1986-87 (12 November 1986-15 May 1987) |0 |0 |0 1987-88 (25 June 1987-15 November 1987) |0 |7 |7 1988-89 (22 November 1988-to date) |0 |21 |21
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report, a table showing how many (a) oral and (b) written questions have been addressed to his Department about Mr. Raoul Wallenberg in each month since 1983.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he raised the case of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg at the Foreign Affairs Council held on 19 December 1988 ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if he will raise the case of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg at the United Nations ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) what information he has of the case of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg being raised at the United Nations ; and if he will make a statement ;
(4) what information he has of the case of Mr. Raoul Wallenberg being raised at the European Parliament.
Mr. Ashley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish or place in the Library the Government's response to the questionnaire about the rights of children submitted to them in June 1988 by the legal affairs committee of the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly.
Mr. Amos : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if, in his recent talks with the Japanese Foreign Minister, he raised the question of Japanese compensation for the relatives of British troops who died in captivity whilst Japanese prisoners of war during the second world war, and if he will make a statement ;
(2) if, in his recent talks with the Japanese Foreign Minister, he raised the question of Japanese compensation to British troops who were ill- treated in captivity whilst Japanese prisoners of war during the second world war ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Eggar : No. The question of compensation was dealt with in the 1951 treaty of peace with Japan. Under the terms of the treaty £4,816,473 was made available to the United Kingdom. The bulk of this was paid out, between 1952 and 1956, to approximately 58,000 former prisoners of war, civilian internees and dependants of those who died in captivity.
Mr. Neil Hamilton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to reduce the cost to Hungarian nationals of obtaining a visa for entry into the United Kingdom.
(2) what are the main issues under the social dimension which fall to be dealt with by qualified majority voting, and which by unanimity under the Single European Act.
The legal base of any proposal in the social area depends on the substance of that proposal. This will determine the voting procedures. The main issues currently under consideration are in the field of health and safety at work and fall to be dealt with by qualified majority voting.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people in Nottingham had unemployment benefit stopped because they were considered unavailable for work for each of the months for which figures exist.
Mr. Lee : Monthly information is not readily available about the number of persons whose entitlement to unemployment benefit is disallowed because they are considered not to be available for work. It could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
However, the table below shows, over the period for which figures are available, the quarterly number of claims disallowed by adjudication officers, in the adjudication office area of Nottingham, on the grounds that claimants were not availble for work.
3 month ending |Disallowed ------------------------------------------------ 31 March 1986 |61 30 June 1986 |71 30 September 1986 |122 31 December 1986 |96 31 March 1987 |125 30 June 1987 |45 30 September 1987 |109 31 December 1987 |122 31 March 1988 |109 30 June 1988 |89 30 September 1988 |90 31 December 1988 |54
Column 365national minimum wage. In Ireland, as in the United Kingdom, a statutory minimum wage applies only in certain industries. Two countries--Belgium and Greece--have a general minimum wage laid down in national level collective agreements which are binding in law. Three countries--West Germany, Italy and Denmark--set minimum rates of pay by industry level collective agreements applying in all sectors and binding in law.
Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what would be the minimum dimensions of a development roadway with only one means of entry and egress in the proposed changes in mining regulations.
Mr. Nicholls : The proposed Mines (Safety of Exit) Regulations 1988, which were laid before Parliament on 29 November 1988 set out the facilities and conditions necessary for safe exit to the surface and include requirements on the construction and maintenance of roads in mines. Under these regulations the normal minimum height of a roadway along which persons walk to or from their places of work will be 1.7m but in certain circmstances this may be reduced to 1.2m.
Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many miners would be allowed in a roadway with only one means of entry and egress under the proposed changes in mining regulations.
Mr. Nicholls : The proposed Mines (Safety of Exit) Regulations 1988, which were laid before Parliament on 29 November 1988, set out the facilities and conditions necessary for safe exit to the surface and includes requirements placing limits on the number of persons working in a place where there is only one way out.
The regulations allow for no more than nine persons to work in a place where it is not reasonably practicable to provide two different ways out. However, there are also strictly defined circumstances under which up to 18 persons may be allowed to work in a place with only one way out. In both cases, the mine manager has a duty to make suitable arrangements to ensure, so far as is practicable, that persons can leave the work place safely and that their safety is not endangered by the lack of two ways out.
Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how much air, oxygen, would be available (a) for 10 trapped miners in a situation such as occurred on 13 January at High Moor colliery and (b) if the maximum number of miners were present, under the proposed changes in mining regulations.
Mr. Nicholls : The volume of air available for trapped miners in a situation such as occurred at High Moor colliery would be equal to that volume of roadway between the inbye end of the fall and the face of the heading. In this particular case, it would measure approximately 7,350 cu m.
Under the proposed changes in mining regulations the maximum number of men allowed to be present without prior notice to an inspector of the mines and quarries inspectorate and workmen's representatives would be nine plus a maximum of three additional persons on limited inspection duties.
Mr. Nicholls : Copies of the document are available in the Vote Office or may be obtained from V. Patterson, Department of Employment, (IRE 2), room 310, Gatliff house, 93 Ebury Bridge road, London SW1W 8RE ; the secretary, Office of Wages Councils, Steel house, Tothill street, London SW1H 9NF ; divisional offices of the wages inspectorate and the Department of Employment's press office, Caxton house, Tothill street, London SW1H 9NF.
Mr. Nicholls : The criteria used in deciding where to place my Department's publications vary according to a number of factors including the nature of the publication and the audience for which it is intended ; the scale and cost of distribution ; and whether or not the document is priced.