|Previous Section||Home Page|
Q86. Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Prime Minister if, pursuant to her reply of 31 January, Official Report, column 161, to the right hon. Member for Islwyn (Mr. Kinnock) she will set out the criteria she uses in establishing inquiries into (a) the receipt and (b) the origination of leaks of official documents and (c) the stealing of such documents.
Mr. Adley : To ask the Prime Minister if she has any plans to improve co-ordination between the Departments of Transport and of the Environment relating to the construction of new railway lines and the relevance of environmental factors related thereto ; and if she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : The Departments of Transport and the Environment already co-operate on such issues. British Rail will be taking full account of environmental factors in putting forward its proposals for a new line between London and the Channel tunnel.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Prime Minister if she will restructure ministerial responsibilities so that one Department of State is responsible for the food chain from feed for agriculture through supply and distribution to final consumption, embracing both tourism interests and the catering industry ; and if she will make a statement.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if she will raise at the next meeting of the European Council the European Economic Community rules which require the United Kingdom to offer free medical treatment to residents of certain French overseas territories but not to residents of certain United Kingdom overseas dependencies ; and if she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : No. All the United Kingdom dependent territories which so wish have bilateral reciprocal health agreements with the United Kingdom. These provide that immediately necessary treatment is
Column 298available under the NHS for conditions which arise during a temporary visit, on the same basis as to United Kingdom residents. Some of these agreements already also provide that some patients may be referred for treatment of pre-existing conditions free of charge under the NHS. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health will be discussing with some West Indian and Atlantic dependent territories with whom we have reciprocal agreements--Montserrat, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands, British Virgin Islands and St. Helena and its dependencies--the inclusion in their agreements of a similar facility to refer a limited number of patients for pre-existing conditions free of charge.
The French overseas departments, as an integral part of France, are covered by the EC social security regulations. These allow for the provision of immediately necessary treatment on the same basis as residents of the host country. They also allow referral of patients specifically for treatment but the sending country must meet the full cost of the treatment in such cases.
The Prime Minister : The 1989 reports of the review bodies on the pay of nursing staff, midwives and health visitors, and professions allied to medicine, the doctors and dentists, and the armed forces, and of the Top Salaries Review Body, have been published today. Copies are now available in the Vote Office. The Government are grateful to members of the review bodies for these reports and for the time and care which they have put into their preparation within the new timetable, enabling decisions to be taken ahead of the new financial year.
The following table shows the increases in pay rates recommended by the review bodies, and their cost :
Review body reports |Pay bill increase |Range of increase |United Kingdom public |expenditure cost |Per cent. |Per cent. |£ million<1> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Armed Forces |6.8 |5-8 |272 Doctors and dentists |8.8 |8-14.1 |312 Professions allied to medicine |7.7 |7.6-7.8 |43 Nurses, midwives and health visitors |6.8 |<2>6.7-6.9 |420 Top salaries |6.5 |<3>4.9-10.6 |6 <1>The figures for public expenditure cost differ from those in the review bodies' reports. Their figures do not include some costs which count as public expenditure. The figure for doctors and dentists includes payments for GPs' expenses, not counted as pay. The figure for nurses includes £5 million for the flexible pay experiment and an estimated £3 million for a new grading structure for educational grades, which the review body has not yet costed. <2>Three chief area nurses grade 4 in Scotland will get increases of 10-13.6 per cent. <3>This figure does not allow for the recommendation to increase from 25 per cent. to 35 per cent. the quota of civil servants in grades 2 and 3 eligible for discretionary increments. The figure for the pay bill increase does however allow for this. The figure given for the range of increases also excludes restructuring for 13 immigration adjudicators who receive increases of 27.1 per cent., and for the chief immigration adjudicator and the vice-presidents of the immigration appeal tribunal, who get 28.3 per cent.
The Government have decided to accept in full the review bodies' recommendations on armed forces, on professions allied to medicine, and on nurses, midwives and health visitors.
The Government have also decided to accept the recommendation of the review body on doctors and dentists for a basic increase of 8 per cent. for all the groups covered. In the Government's view the creation of 100 additional permanent consultant posts over the next three years, as proposed in the White Paper, "Working for
Column 298Patients", which was published after the review body report was received will best achieve the objective of improving the long-term career structure for hospital doctors. The creation of these posts will therefore take the place of the increases recommended, in addition to the 8 per cent. basic increase, at the top of the consultants' scale and in the size of consultants' distinction awards. Subject to this, the Government accept the review body's recommendations.
Column 299The Government have decided to accept the recommendations of the Top Salaries Review Body in full, except that they consider that the pay of 2-star officers should be around 85 per cent. of the normally attainable maximum of grade 2 civil servants (which is also the pay point for 3-star officers) rather than linked to a performance point for grade 3 civil servants. This will give the 2-star officer a salary at the level recommended by the TSRB.
The full cost of the awards by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body and Top Salaries Review Body groups will be met from within existing public expenditure programme totals for this year. In the case of the health services however, the Government recognise that the full costs could not be accommodated without adversely affecting services to patients. The Government have therefore decided to provide an extra £142 million for health authority cash limits from the reserve for next year. Of the remaining cost, £417 million is already fully covered within the allocations made for this year, leaving a balance of £44 million to be covered from cost improvements. The Government have similarly decided to provide an additional £62 million to the family practitioner services from the reserve for this year, bringing the total addition from the reserve to £204 million. Together with the increases in allocation already announced, the increase in provision for the National Health Service in 1989-90 over 1988-89 will therefore be £1,900 million. In total, taking account of lower employers' superannuation contributions, additional receipts and efficiency savings, the resources available for the National Health Service in 1989-90 will be £2,460 million more than in 1988-89. The pay rates and scales resulting from the decisions will be promulgated as soon as possible for all the groups concerned.
Column 300Mr. McLoughlin To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 16 February.
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 President of Bangladesh.
Mr. Hunter : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) if he will make a statement on existing legislation and voluntary codes of behaviour which govern the practices of estate agents : (2) if he will introduce tighter controls over estate agents to eliminate unethical practices.
Mr. Forth : I am currently exploring with estate agency bodies and other interested parties whether and how it might be appropriate to supplement the existing consumer protection provisions of the Estate Agents Act 1979, which includes the consideration of a
self-regulatory code of practice. I am also considering the review of the Act recently published by the Director-General of Fair Trading. I hope to be in a position to announce the conclusion of my review soon.
Sir Anthony Grant : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will take steps to monitor the credit market and in particular, the rates of interest available to personal borrowers ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : My Department publishes the statistics of United Kingdom credit business monthly in the "Business Monitor", which is available from Her Majesty's Stationery Office. Rates of interest are a matter for commercial decision but the Consumer Credit Act (Total Charge for Credit) Regulations 1980 (SI 1980/51) prescribes all of the charges that must be included in the annual percentage rate of charge, so that this can be made known and that prospective borrowers can make fair comparison before entering into a credit agreement.
Mr. Pike : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what representations he has received on the EEC Commission investigation into the imports of footwear from the far east ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Alan Clark : I have received several letters from hon. Members on this issue and also correspondence from members of the footwear industry. The results of the Commission's investigation are expected in the spring. We shall need to see the Commission's findings and recommendations before deciding our own position.
Mr. Gould : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he intends to publish the report of the investigation under section 442 of the Companies Act into dealings in Consolidated Gold Fields shares which was commenced in December 1986.
Mr. Maude : As my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary said on 24 January it is his intenion to publish this report as soon as possible. However, it would not be appropriate to do so until the issues raised by the report have been full considered.
Mr. Gould : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will publish a table showing for all investigations under the Companies Acts since 1979 the date when the investigation was ordered, the date when the report was given to the Secretary of State, the date when published and the average time between the receipt of such reports and their publication.
Mr. Maude : Such a table could be provided only at disproportionate time and cost to my Department. Details of the appointment of inspectors and publication of their reports are contained in the annual report on companies which is presented to Parliament pursuant to section 729 of the Companies Act 1985 and which is published through Her Majesty's Stationery Office. A copy of each published report is also placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Gould : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if the report of the inquiry under section 442 of the Companies Act to investigate dealings in the shares of Consolidated Golds Fields ordered in December 1986 was released to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission during its recent consideration of the Minorco bid for Consolidated Golds Fields.
Mr. Darling : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) if he will require the Monopolies and Mergers Commission to report to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, in connection with its investigation into the proposed acquisition of Scottish and Newcastle Breweries plc by Elders IXL, on the structure of the shareholdings in Elders IXL, an examination of the financial standing of Elders IXL and its major shareholders, an assessment of borrowings of Elders IXL, and the structure and financing of the proposed bid for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries plc ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) if he will require the Monopolies and Mergers Commission to report to him on the resources to be deployed by Elders IXL in connection with its proposed offer to purchase Scottish and Newcastle Breweries plc ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : The Monopolies and Mergers Commission is an independent body and it is for it to determine the direction of its investigation of a reference subject. Section 84(1) of the Fair Trading Act 1973 requires the commission to take into account all matters which appear to it in the particular circumstances to be relevant.
Sir Anthony Grant : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what action he is taking in response to Argentine resolution 3620/88 ANA which formalises discrimination against imports from the United Kingdom ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 302confirmed Argentina's unilateral discrimination against the United Kingdom. Argentina has kept British imports out by a variety of administrative measures since 1982, and still refuses to accept our shipping and air services. The United Kingdom does not discriminate against imports from Argentina ; we lifted our embargo in 1985. We are committed to seeking more normal relations with Argentina and have proposed a series of initiatives to that end. The Argentine response has so far been disappointing and the publication of resolution 3620/88 ANA will do nothing to promote better relations. Our protecting power has already delivered a note of protest. We have drawn the resolution to the attention of the World Bank, since in our view it conflicts with the trade liberalisation policies being supported by a World Bank loan. The European Commission with which we are in close touch on this issue share our concern and have made it clear to the Argentine authorities that there is no scope for developing EC/Argentine relations as long as discrimination against our exports and air and shipping interests continues. Both these organisations have a role to play in persuading Argentina to drop this discrimination.
The commission expressed satisfaction with the remarkable improvement in the sector's performance, and made 42 recommendations aimed at bringing about further improvement. It completed its report on 29 September 1988, within the six months allowed by the Secretary of State.
The commission found that Provincial's initial strategy on formation in 1982 was to give priority to cost-cutting. Efforts to increase traffic came later as its organisation and particularly its marketing developed. The result had been a significant reduction in Provincial's call on Government grant. The commission found this very encouraging and a clear endorsement of the concept of sectoral management of the railway business. However, it saw the need for a closer look at individual services and believed that Provincial should now pay more attention to the quality of service it provided. Evidence submitted to the commission by local authorities and other groups showed a strong desire for improvement in Provincial's services both in quantity and quality. The commission said there could be substantial benefit in a closer local involvement in planning and paying for such services. It accordingly recommended that the board should discuss with Government Departments and other relevant bodies the case for transferring financial responsibility for supporting certain urban and rural services to local government. The commission was glad to note the action taken by the board to initiate reform of the collective bargaining machinery following the recommendations in the Network SouthEast report. It found that there was scope for significant further productivity gains and made a number of recommendations to this end.
The commission also found that the board, in responding to competition from bus and coach services, was not abusing any monopoly situation existing in its
Column 303favour. Nor was it in relation to any matter falling within the terms of reference pursuing a course of conduct which operated against the public interest.
British Rail will be producing a preliminary response to the commission's findings within three to four months, in the light of which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport will make a statement.
Mr. Fisher : To ask the Minister for the Arts what information he has on the extent to which the redundancy terms offered to staff at the Victoria and Albert museum as a result of restructuring differ from the terms available to all civil servants of those grades.
Mr. Luce [holding answer 15 February 1989] : I understand that the redundancy terms offered to the staff of the Victoria and Albert museum are those payable under the principal Civil Service pension scheme.
Mr. Luce [holding answer 15 February 1989] : I understand that consultations have taken place throughout the last year with staff about the proposed staff restructuring at the Victoria and Albert museum.
Mr. Luce [holding answer 15 February 1989] : I understand that the salary and other staff costs at the Victoria and Albert museum during 1988-89 are expected to total £12.1 million. It is not possible to divide this figure precisely between administrative and curatorial staff.
Mr. Luce [holding answer 15 February 1989] : The recently announced changes in the organisation of some departments of the Victoria and Albert museum folow a review of the museum's overall organisational structure. I understand that Her Majesty's Treasury's grading guidance is taken into account in all gradings at the Victoria and Albert museum.
Column 3041978-79 and (b) 1985-86 in (i) mortgage interest tax relief, (ii) of each of the private pension tax reliefs listed in Cm. 621, table 21.1.25, (iii) in the retail price index, (iv) in the index of average earnings and (v) as index of total personal incomes before tax with 1978=100.
|c|Percentage change|c| |1978-79 to 1988-89|1986-86 to 1988-89 |percentage |percentage ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cost of tax relief for: Mortgage interest |+395 |+16 Employees' contributions to<1> occupational pension schemes |<2> |+12 Employers' contributions to<1> occupational pension schemes |<2> |-21 Investment income of<1> occupational pension schemes |<2> |+13 Lump sum payments to pensioners<1> |<2> |+11 Contributions to personal pensions<1> (including retirement annuity premia and FSAVCs) |<2> |<3> Retail prices index |<4>+113 |<4>+13 Average male earnings, (all occupations, adult rates) |<5>+174 |<5>+28 <1> See footnotes 5 to 8 to table 21.1.25 of Cm. 621. <2> Estimates of the costs of pension reliefs in 1978-79 are not readily available. <3> Personal pensions and FSAVC's were not introduced until 1987-88. <4> The RPI for 1988-89 is not yet available: percentage increases shown are for calendar years 1978 to 1988 and 1985 to 1988 respectively. <5> Based on actual figures to 1987-88 and a growth rate of 83/4 per cent. for 1988-89, as assumed by the Government Actuary for the purposes of assessing the National Insurance Fund (as in chapter 3 of the 1988 Autumn Statement).
Figures for total personal income before tax are not available for 1988-89. Percentage changes to 1987-88 are as follows :
|c|Percentage change|c| 1978-79 to 1987-88 |1985-86 to 1987-88 percentage |percentage --------------------------------------------------------- +139 |+16
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what amount of public sector debt was (a) created and (b) repaid in each of the last five financial years, and if he will give an estimate for 1988-89.
Mr. Major : Figures for the creation and the repayment of all public sector debt instruments are not readily available. However, figures for official sales and redemptions of Government marketable securities are given in table 3.5 of "Financial Statistics" (published by the CSO).
Mrs. Margaret Ewing : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will accept the recommendation of the Law Society of Scotland in its memorandum of observations on the Inland Revenue consultative document, "Residents in the United Kingdom : The Scope of United Kingdom Taxation for Individuals", that the concept of fiscal connection might be employed to introduce a measure of flexibility to the definition of residents with the aim of avoiding inequitable results.
Mr. Ingram : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list by region and for Scotland and Wales and by Department the number of established Civil Service posts for each of the following categories : (a) administrative officers, (b) executive officers, (c) higher executive officers, (d) senior executive officers, (e) principal grade 7 and (f) assistant secretary grade 5.
Mr. Brooke : Figures for staff in post in principal Departments by economic planning region are available in table 3 of "Civil Service Statistics 1988", a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library. More detailed information about staff numbers by grade, region and Department could not be provided without disproportionate cost.
Column 306Salisbury (Mr. Key) on 19 January at column 263, the Government have consulted the TSRB on the proposals affecting the pay of grades 2 and 3 lawyers in Sir Robert Andrew's report on the Government legal services.
From 1 April 1989, greater use will be made of personal pay points on a selective basis for lawyers at these grades. Awards will be related to lawyers' skills, experience, marketability and value to the Department, taking account of the view of the head of the Government legal service in individual cases. The Government will give further thought, with the TSRB, to the implications for the development of performance pay at grades 2 and 3.
Lawyers in London at grade 3, in common with other grade 3 civil servants, will benefit from the Government's acceptance of the TSRB's recommendation of a London allowance of £2,000.
Mr. Salmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list all tax relief schemes related to the provision of primary and secondary education in the private sector ; and if he will give details of the total cost of such schemes to the Treasury for the latest year for which figures are available.
Charities are generally exempt from income tax, corporation tax and capital gains tax, provided that their income and gains are applied for charitable purposes only.
The provision of education in a registered school is exempt from VAT.
The detailed cost of these reliefs is not available.