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Mr. Waldegrave : British Ministers and officials take advantage of every appropriate opportunity to urge all non-members (including France and China) of the non-proliferation treaty to accede, and will continue to do so. We attach great importance to securing the widest possible adherence to this treaty.

Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the date and venue for the fourth review conference of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, scheduled for 1990, have yet been set.

Mr. Waldegrave : The 1990 non-proliferation treaty review conference will probably take place in Geneva during August/September 1990. The precise dates and venue will be discussed and confirmed with other state parties at the first preparatory committee in New York on 1-5 May.

Chemical Weapons

Mr. Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations on Iraqi use of chemical weapons the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Waldegrave) made to the Government of Iraq on his recent visit to that country ; and what was the response.

Mr. Waldegrave : I repeated to the Iraqi Foreign Minister the serious view we take of use of chemical


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weapons and the great importance we continue to attach to repeated Iraqi undertakings not to make further use of these weapons.

Brussels Treaty

Sir Geoffrey Finsberg : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he now expects Her Majesty's Government to ratify the protocol dated 14 November in respect of the accession of Portugal and Spain to the modified Brussels treaty of 23 October 1954.

Mr. Waldegrave : The protocol of accession of Portugal and Spain to the modified Brussels treaty was laid before the House on 2 February. It should therefore be possible to ratify the protocol early in March.

Mr. Moshe Arens

Mr. Latham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on his meeting on 15 February with Mr. Moshe Arens, Foreign Minister of Israel.

Mr. Waldegrave : My right hon. and learned Friend had an important and constructive first exchange of views on Arab/Israel and other international issues. He looks forward to continuing the dialogue.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Community Care

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, what evidence he has of any increased take-up in community care grants as against loans within the social fund budget.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Take up of community care grants has increased steadily over recent months. Expenditure in December 1988 was £3.9 million representing 79 per cent. of monthly profiled expenditure. Provisional figures for January 1989 show that expenditure increased to £5.1 million, representing 109 per cent. of monthly profiled expenditure. Expenditure on loans was £12.1 million in December 1988, representing 103 per cent. of monthly


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profiled expenditure and was provisionally £10.6 million in January 1989 representing 96 per cent. of monthly profiled expenditure.

Social Fund

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what guidance he proposes to give to local offices about exceeding nominal monthly social fund allocations in the light of the shortfall in spending evident in the early months of the financial year.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Guidance relating to the management of social fund budgets is contained in paragraphs 2000-2056 of the social fund manual. The Department has recently written to local office managers drawing attention to this guidance and reminding them that the objective is for payments to approach the year's budget as closely as possible while maintaining so far as possible consistency of priority-setting and decision-making throughout the year.

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he will revise the guidance contained in the social fund manual in order to ensure that the full budget is spent.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : We have no plans to amend the existing guidance in the social fund manual regarding management of the social fund budget. The guidance relating to community care grants is currently being revised.

Cold Weather Payments

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claimants in the Doncaster and Mexborough areas of South Yorkshire were paid under the cold weather payments scheme for the last five years ; how much benefit has been paid in each of the last five years ; and how many claims were refused.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : The table shows the information requested for the Department's local offices covering the Doncaster and Mexborough areas of South Yorkshire. These offices made no cold weather payments in the winter of 1987-88.


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                          1984-85<1>                                        1985-86                                           1986-87<2>                                                                 1988-89                                          

                         |Number of claimants paid|Amount paid £           |Number of claimants paid|Amount paid £           |Number of £5 payments   |Amount paid £           |Number of claims refused|Number of claims refused                         

                                                                                                                             |made                                                                                                                        

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Doncaster East           |218                     |2,034.53                |477                     |11,783.44               |4,286                   |21,430                  |1,075                   |6                                                

Doncaster West           |509                     |5,776.11                |764                     |28,808.23               |4,321                   |21,605                  |2,068                   |-                                                

Wath-on-Dearne           |180                     |1,890.61                |567                     |14,368.33               |3,207                   |16,035                  |868                     |-                                                

                         |-----                   |-----                   |-----                   |-----                   |-----                   |-----                   |-----                   |-----                                            

Total                    |907                     |9,701.25                |1,808                   |54,960.00               |11,814                  |59,070                  |4,011                   |6                                                

<1> Details of the number of claims refused in 1984-85, 1985-86 and 1987-88 are not available.                                                                                                                                                            

<2> It is estimated that 6,000 claimants received payments.                                                                                                                                                                                               

Medical Boards

Mr. Frank Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what guidance is available to members of medical boards concerning cases involving their own patients or former patients.

Mr. Scott : Guidance on the subject is contained in handbooks which are issued to all adjudicating medical practitioners (medical boarding doctors). These are, "The


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Handbook for Industrial Injuries Medical Boards" and "The Severe Disablement Allowance Handbook for Adjudicating Medical Authorities."

Supported Lodgings

Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on entitlement to (a) income support and (b) housing benefit for those in supported lodgings from April 1989.


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Mr. Peter Lloyd : From April 1989, those people in supported lodgings who are entitled to income support will receive housing benefit to help with their accommodation costs and normal income support (including any appropriate premiums) for other expenses. This change will mean that many supported lodgers will be better off, after meeting charges for accommodation and the provision of care, than under existing benefit arrangements. As at present, those in supported lodgings who are not eligible for income support, but who have low incomes, will be able to claim housing benefit to help with their accommodation costs.

Mr. N. Scott

Mr. Kaufman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the reason for the delay in the case of the appeal to the social security appeal tribunal of Mr. N. Scott of 17 Elysdon drive, Gorton, Manchester, between the receipt of the adjudication officer's submission from his Department on 3 November 1988 and the receipt of Mr. Scott's letter of appeal by the tribunal on June 1988 ; and if he will take steps to ensure that no such delays occur in the future.

Mr. Peter Lloyd [holding answer 30 January 1989] : Mr. Scott's appeal was one of a considerable number of similar appeals prompted by a welfare rights take-up campaign. There was a delay in submitting the appeal to the social security appeal tribunal whilst the adjudication officer sought advice from the regional adjudication officer on how to prepare the appeal submission.

The flow of appeal submissions from the Department to the social security appeal tribunal will be affected when numbers dramatically rise as in the case of take-up campaigns. There has, however, been an improvement nationally in the time taken to process appeals. Latest statistics show that the national average time taken from the date of lodgment to the date of submission to the social security appeal tribunal is 18 days.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Inflation

Mr. Ron Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he has received recent representations from the Confederation of British Industry about inflation ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : My right hon. Friend has received representations from the CBI on economic priorities for 1989. His priority remains to bring inflation down, and the Government's policies will achieve this.

Tax Concessions

Mr. Hardy : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the value of tax concessions from his last Budget that have gone to each region.

Mr. Norman Lamont : I regret that regional estimates of the effect of the changes in taxation announced in the 1988 Budget are not available.

Share Ownership

Mr. Butler : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he has any plans to promote wider share ownership.


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Mr. Norman Lamont : My right hon. Friend is always looking for ways in which further to promote wider share ownership.

Capital Account

Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which of the statistics produced by his Department give an indication of the current state, and changes in the state, of the capital account of the economy.

Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement regarding his Department's policy on the collection and publication of statistics showing the state of the capital account of the economy.

Mr. Major : The only statistics relevant to the capital account for which the Treasury is directly responsible are the official reserves. Other data on the capital account of the balance of payments are collected by the CSO and published regularly in "Economic Trends."

Tax Avoidance

Mr. Allen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to increase the rate of detection and prosecution of tax avoiders.

Mr. Norman Lamont : The Inland Revenue will continue its efforts to improve its effectiveness in counter-avoidance work, but tax avoidance itself is not a criminal offence.

Relocation

Mr. Allen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Civil Service jobs will be transferred to (a) Nottingham and (b) the Chalfont drive site, Aspley, Nottingham as a result of the Government's recent announcement.

Mr. Brooke : As indicated in my answer on 9 February 1989, at columns 751-2, to my hon. Friend, the Member for Beverley (Mr. Cran), the policy is for Departments themselves to review the location of their work. They are well aware of the benefits for regional and urban policy of transferring work to such areas, and will take this into account where appropriate.

Mr. Holt : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals he has to relocate staff for which he is responsible to the north-east of England, particularly Teesside.

Mr. Brooke : Departments for which my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is responsible have in hand the serious and substantial reviews of relocation opportunities referred to in the answer I gave on 9 February 1989, at columns 751-2, to my hon. Friend the Member for Beverley (Mr. Cran). Areas which are the focus of the Government's regional and urban policies, such as the north-east of England, will be considered where appropriate. Decisions will be announced once the essential processes of assessment, consultation and decision for each review have been completed.

Budget Statement

Mr. Canavan : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received about his forthcoming Budget Statement.


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Mr. Norman Lamont : We have received numerous representations from a variety of individuals and organisations.

Privatisation

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the state-owned commercial sector in 1979 has now been transferred to the private sector.

Mr. Norman Lamont : Since 1979, around 45 per cent. of the state- owned sector of industry has been transferred to the private sector.


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Manufacturing Productivity

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will state the annual percentage increase in productivity in (a) the whole economy, and (b) the manufacturing sector in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, the United States of America, Japan and Sweden, in each year since 1980.

Mr. Major : The information requested is set out :


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|c|Output per head (percentage change on year earlier)|c|                                                                                 

                  |United Kingdom|France        |Germany       |Italy         |USA           |Japan         |Sweden                       

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(a) Whole economy                                                                                                                         

1981              |2.2           |1.8           |0.9           |0.9           |1.2           |3.0           |-0.1                         

1982              |4.3           |2.4           |1.1           |0.6           |-1.7          |1.8           |1.0                          

1983              |4.2           |1.0           |3.1           |0.8           |2.6           |1.4           |2.3                          

1984              |1.0           |2.2           |2.6           |2.8           |2.9           |4.4           |4.6                          

1985              |2.0           |2.0           |1.3           |2.4           |1.7           |4.0           |1.5                          

1986              |2.4           |1.9           |1.3           |2.4           |0.7           |1.6           |0.0                          

1987              |2.9           |2.0           |1.2           |3.3           |0.9           |3.3           |0.8                          

1988<1>           |2.6           |3.0           |2.9           |2.4           |1.7           |4.2           |0.0                          

                  |---           |---           |---           |---           |---           |--            |---                          

Period average    |2.7           |2.0           |1.8           |2.0           |2.2           |3.0           |1.3                          

                                                                                                                                          

(b) Manufacturing                                                                                                                         

1981              |3.5           |1.3           |0.3           |2.7           |2.7           |-0.1          |1.9                          

1982              |6.5           |1.5           |0.4           |-0.2          |-0.6          |-0.3          |2.5                          

1983              |8.5           |1.1           |5.0           |1.3           |9.9           |3.6           |5.7                          

1984              |5.8           |3.2           |4.2           |8.3           |6.8           |8.0           |4.3                          

1985              |2.9           |3.3           |3.1           |2.3           |2.7           |1.8           |0.1                          

1986              |3.0           |2.5           |0.5           |4.3           |3.8           |-0.9          |-0.2                         

1987              |7.1           |4.8           |0.3           |4.7           |3.8           |5.2           |7.3                          

1988<2>           |7.5           |5.6           |6.3           |4.7           |2.9           |7.2           |2.0                          

                  |---           |---           |---           |---           |---           |---           |---                          

Period average    |5.6           |3.0           |2.5           |3.5           |4.0           |3.1           |3.0                          

<1> The figures for 1988 are based on the quarterly averages of OECD estimates of total output for the whole year and actual employment   

for the first three quarters (except for the United Kingdom, for which actual average productivity for the first three quarters is used). 

These figures for 1988 are compared with the average level of productivity in 1987.                                                       

<2> The estimates for 1988 compare the average level of manufacturing productivity in the first three quarters (except for France and the 

United Kingdom, for which data are available for the first half and the whole year respectively) with the average level in 1987 as a      

whole.                                                                                                                                    

Trade Exhibitions

Mr. Devlin : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer why the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency and Her Majesty's Stationery Office will not be attending the "Great North Meets the Buyer" exhibition on 4 and 5 April.

Mr. Lilley : CCTA and HMSO both decided not to participate in the "Great North Meets the Buyer" exhibition because experience of taking stands at such events has been disappointing, with a very low level of interest from potential suppliers.

Amazonia

Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how often he and other Ministers in the Treasury have met the executive director of the World Bank appointed by the United Kingdom to discuss the policies or reports of the World Bank in relation to Amazonia ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer meets our executive director at the World Bank from time to time, usually at the spring and annual meetings of the bank and the IMF ; a wide range of issues are discussed.


Column 474

Pension Funds

Mr. Jack : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish in the Official Report details of tax reliefs which apply to the incomes and capital gains accruing to private occupational pension funds.

Mr. Norman Lamont : If a pension scheme meets the conditions laid down for tax approval its investment income and gains are exempt from tax, but any trading profits or other forms of income are taxable.

Hospital Radio Stations

Mr. Greg Knight : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost per annum to the Treasury of exempting from the scope of value-added tax broadcasting and recording equipment used by hospital radio stations.

Mr. Lilley : I regret this information is not available.

VAT

Rev. Martin Smyth : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has had about the effect of the imposition of value added tax on hospital radio equipment ; and if he will make a statement.


Column 475

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 17 February 1989] : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has received a number of representations since the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Mr. Amess) on 27 October at column 447.

Dr. Marek : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, pursuant to his answer of 6 February, Official Report, column 548, on value added tax zero rates, if he will list those matters still under discussion.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 16 February 1989] : The principal matter still under discussion with trade representatives is the question whether gas and electricity bills below a certain level should be eligible automatically for zero-rating, in the same way as is proposed for certain small scale deliveries of coal, oil and liquified petroleum gas. Interested trade and professional bodies have also been asked for technical comments on the draft legislation.

Private Medical Insurance

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list all the organisations with which he is discussing his proposals for private medical insurance tax relief.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 17 February 1989] : Inland Revenue officials are holding detailed discussions on the relief with the Association of British Insurers, the British United Provident Association, Private Patients Plan, the Western Provident Association, the Bristol Contributory Welfare Association, the Exeter Hospital Aid Society and the Civil Service Medical Aid Association.

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the dates on which his Department is meeting the private medical insurance industry to discuss tax reliefs for private medical insurance.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 17 February 1989] : A meeting took place on 9 February, and there will be further meetings as and when needed.

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he is considering making it possible to gain tax relief for private medical insurance by extending family medical insurance policies to cover elderly patients ;

(2) if tax reliefs for nursing home care are to be included under pensioners' medical insurance tax relief proposals in his discussions with the private medical insurance industry ;

(3) when he will publish the results of his discussions with the private medical insurance industry on tax reliefs for medical insurance for pensioners.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 17 February 1989] : The details will be published in the Finance Bill.

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the papers on which he is basing his discussions with private medical insurance companies on tax reliefs.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 17 February 1989] : No.

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will invite representations from health councils, health boards and health authorities to join his discussions on private medical insurance tax reliefs.


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Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 17 February 1989] : If authorities wish to make representations to the Government on this subject I have no doubt that they will do so in the usual way.

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research has taken place into cost of private medical insurance tax reliefs.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 17 February 1989] : Estimates of the cost of tax relief for private medical insurance for the elderly are being derived using information from various sources, including providers of private medical insurance.

Lloyd's

Mr. Adley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received from Lloyd's in connection with the effect of recent financial legislation on the conduct of business in the London insurance market ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 16 February 1989] : These matters have been raised at various meetings with Lloyd's. I have corresponded with my hon. Friend recently about the effects of legislation on Lloyd's business. I am placing a copy of my letter to my hon. Friend of 15 February 1989 in the House of Commons Library.

Visible Trade Deficit

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the non-oil visible trade deficit with (a) the EEC and (b) the rest of the world each year since 1970 ; and what percentage these represent of total non-oil visible trade in each year.

Mr. Alan Clark : I have been asked to reply.

The information is in the table :


|c|United Kingdom non-oil trade<1>|c|                                                                             

OTS basis                                                                                                         

Year                Crude balance with                    As percentage of                                        

                                       exports and imports with                                                   

                   |European Community|Rest of the world |European Community|Rest of the world                    

                    £ billion                             Per cent.                                               

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1970               |+0.1              |-0.3              |+1.4              |-3.0                                 

1971               |-0.1              |+0.4              |-2.7              |+3.5                                 

1972               |-0.5              |-0.0              |-7.2              |-0.3                                 

1973               |-1.3              |-1.0              |-13.3             |-6.3                                 

1974               |-2.1              |-0.9              |-15.9             |-4.1                                 

1975               |-2.1              |+1.2              |-14.3             |+5.0                                 

1976               |-2.1              |+0.7              |-10.6             |+2.3                                 

1977               |-2.3              |+1.2              |-9.3              |+3.4                                 

1978               |-3.3              |+1.4              |-11.1             |+3.5                                 

1979               |-4.6              |-0.7              |-12.7             |-1.5                                 

1980               |-2.7              |+0.2              |-7.2              |+0.5                                 

1981               |-4.3              |+1.3              |-11.4             |+2.7                                 

1982               |-6.7              |+0.9              |-15.4             |+1.7                                 

1983               |-10.0             |-2.1              |-20.0             |-3.6                                 

1984               |-11.7             |-3.4              |-20.0             |-1.6                                 

1985               |-12.2             |-2.2              |-18.5             |-3.0                                 

1986               |-13.8             |-3.2              |-18.9             |-4.3                                 

1987               |-14.6             |-3.5              |-17.7             |-4.5                                 

1988               |-17.6             |-9.4              |-19.0             |-10.9                                

<1> Oil taken as Standard International Trade Classification Division 33.                                         

Note: Figures may not add due to rounding.                                                                        

Source: Overseas Trade Statistics of the United Kingdom.                                                          


Column 477

Family Incomes

Mr. Ralph Howell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is the net income after housing costs of a married man with children aged 13 and 16 years earning (a) £104 and (b) £105 per week ; (2) what is the net income of a married man with children aged three, eight and 11 years paying average rent and rates as used in the tax/benefit model tables earning (a) £65 per week and (b) £80 per week ;

(3) what is the net income after benefits of a married man with children aged four and six years earning (a) £60 per week gross and (b) £140 per week gross ;

(4) what is the net income under current tax and benefit structure of a married man with children aged three, eight and 11 years with gross earnings of (i) £65 per week and (ii) £105 per week ; (5) what is the net income under the current tax and benefit structure of a married man with children aged four and six years earning (a) £80 per week and (b) £90 per week.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : I have been asked to reply.

I refer my hon. Friend to table 1 of the tax/benefit model tables for April 1988, copies of which are in the Library.

PRIME MINISTER

National Savings Bank

Mr. Alton : To ask the Prime Minister what representations she has recived about the increase in the minimum deposit made by the National Savings Bank ; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister : My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I have received a number of representations. The average cost of each transaction is well over £1 in Post Office agency fees and National Savings bank running costs. It is not sensible to seek deposits so small that they are wholly or largely absorbed by the cost of processing. Deposits under £5 represent only 1 per cent. by value of all ordinary account deposits made in a year.

Earnings

Mr. Dewar : To ask the Prime Minister what are the latest figures available for gross average earnings in (a) Scotland, (b) rural Scotland and (c) Great Britain.

The Prime Minister The information available from the Department of Employment's new earnings survey is given below. As the survey does not provide results for areas within the regions of Scotland, it is not possible to provide estimates for rural Scotland. The regions given below are mainly rural ; other Scottish regions have rural areas but also include large urban areas.


|c|Average Gross Weekly Earnings of Full-Time  

Employees on Adult|c|                          

|c|Rates Whose Pay for the Survey Pay-period   

Was Not Affected by|c|                         

|c|Absence|c|                                  

April 1988                    £ per week       

                             |men  |women      

-----------------------------------------------

Scotland                     |233.3|152.2      

Borders Region               |n/a  |n/a        

Dumfries and Galloway Region |205.3|n/a        

Highland Region              |224.2|137.3      

Island Authorities           |n/a  |n/a        

Great Britain                |245.8|164.2      

As the survey covers a sample of about 1 per   

cent. of employees who are members of PAYE     

schemes for tax purposes, it does not cover,   

for example, the self-employed or those        

earning less than the PAYE limit, and cannot   

provide reliable estimates for every region of 

Scotland.                                      

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Prime Minister if she will dismiss from the Government the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Hogg), the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, for his statements relating to the alleged sympathy shown by certain solicitors in Northern Ireland for terrorist organisations. The Prime Minister No.

Ministerial Responsibilities

Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Prime Minister if there have been any changes in the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Health and of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food as a result of the establishment of the committee which she will chair, as announced by the Chief Medical Officer, Sir Donald Acheson, on Friday 10 February.

The Prime Minister There has been no change in the respective responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Health and the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The plans to which the Chief Medical Officer referred on 10 February, and on which the Secretary of State for Health announced further details on 14 February at column 180, concern the establishment of an expert committee on the microbiological safety of food, under an independent chairman.


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