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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 4 April 1989

THE ARTS

Computer Consultants

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Minister for the Arts what was the total amount spent by his Department in 1988 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases ; and if he will list each management or computer consultancy contract awarded by his Department in 1988, giving in each case the name of the consultancy firm and the subject of the assignment.

Mr. Luce : In 1988, £23,391 was spent by my office on computer consultancy contracts. The sum was the balance of expenditure payable to AMTEC consulting for work on the Government art collection database project, commissioned in 1987. No money was spent on management consultancy contracts, and no management or consultancy contracts were awarded in the year.

NATIONAL FINANCE

Central Bank Base Rate

Mr. Gould : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table in the Official Report showing for each quarter since the first quarter of 1979 Britain's central bank base rate as a percentage of the G7 average.

Mr. Lilley : Interest rates in the United Kingdom from the first quarter of 1979 are shown in the table along with the average interest rate in the Group of Seven major industrialised countries.


|c|Three month interest rates|c|                                        

                  |United Kingdom<1>|G7 average<2>                      

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

1979                                                                    

Q1                |12.8             |8.6                                

Q2                |12.6             |8.9                                

Q3                |14.2             |10.0                               

Q4                |16.1             |12.2                               

                                                                        

1980                                                                    

Q1                |17.9             |13.5                               

Q2                |17.1             |12.5                               

Q3                |16.0             |11.2                               

Q4                |15.4             |13.5                               

                                                                        

1981                                                                    

Q1                |13.0             |13.6                               

Q2                |12.4             |14.5                               

Q3                |15.0             |15.3                               

Q4                |15.7             |13.1                               

                                                                        

1982                                                                    

Q1                |14.1             |12.9                               

Q2                |13.4             |13.0                               

Q3                |11.2             |11.4                               

Q4                |10.1             |9.7                                

                                                                        

1983                                                                    

Q1                |11.2             |9.2                                

Q2                |10.2             |9.1                                

Q3                |9.8              |9.4                                

Q4                |9.4              |9.4                                

                                                                        

1984                                                                    

Q1                |9.3              |9.5                                

Q2                |9.3              |10.0                               

Q3                |11.1             |10.3                               

Q4                |10.1             |9.2                                

                                                                        

1985                                                                    

Q1                |13.0             |9.1                                

Q2                |12.6             |8.6                                

Q3                |11.7             |8.2                                

Q4                |11.6             |8.3                                

                                                                        

1986                                                                    

Q1                |12.4             |8.2                                

Q2                |10.2             |7.0                                

Q3                |10.0             |6.5                                

Q4                |11.2             |6.6                                

                                                                        

1987                                                                    

Q1                |10.6             |6.6                                

Q2                |9.2              |6.6                                

Q3                |9.8              |6.8                                

Q4                |9.2              |7.1                                

                                                                        

1988                                                                    

Q1                |9.0              |6.5                                

Q2                |8.4              |6.7                                

Q3                |11.3             |7.7                                

Q4                |12.5             |8.1                                

                                                                        

1989                                                                    

<3>Q1             |13.0             |8.9                                

<1> Three month interbank rate.                                         

<2> Certificate of deposit or interbank rate.                           

<3> Average of Monday rates for January, February and first three       

Mondays of March.                                                       

Public Sector Debt

Mr. Redwood : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the outstanding total of sterling debt of the public sector on (a) 6 April 1988 and (b) 1 February 1989.

Mr. Lilley : Figures for the outstanding stock of public sector debt are only compiled for the end of each calendar and financial year. The latest available estimate is for the end of 1987-88 when the sterling component of net public sector debt outstanding was £188.2 billion.

Premium Bonds

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer why he reduced the percentage calculation of prize money for premium bonds from 7 per cent. to 7 per cent. ; and if there is any current review of the scheme.

Mr. Lilley : The premium bond prize fund rate, like national savings other variable rates, is kept under continuous review and adjusted from time to time in the light of a number of factors.

Excise Duties

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with respect to the consultation procedure


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with the European Economic Community Commission in relation to the revision of excise duties as set out in "Common Market Reports" page 2435 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : The procedure to which my hon. Friend refers formed part of the European Commission's proposal of 7 March 1972 for a directive on the harmonisation of excise duty structures. The proposal has not been adopted and Her Majesty's Government are not, therefore, bound by any such consultation procedure.

Alcohol and Tobacco (Taxes)

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if Her Majesty's Government have accepted any European Economic Community rules which ensure that changes in its taxes in alcohol and tobacco do not involve non-convergence from the European Economic Community proposals ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Lilley : Since we do not accept the Commission's proposals for harmonisation of taxes/excise duties on alcohol and tobacco we have not accepted, nor are we bound by, any current EC Commission proposals involving the convergence of rates of tax on these items. All such proposals on matters of taxation would require unanimity before they could be binding on member states.

Benefits and Allowances

Sir Ian Gilmour : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish a table, on the same basis as his reply to the then hon. Member for Kensington, Official Report, 3 December 1985, columns 173-4, showing the rates of child benefit, single person's tax allowance and married man's allowance at current and at 1979 prices, in April each year from 1979 to 1989.

Mr. Lawson : The information is in the table.


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                Child benefit                 Single person's tax           Married man's tax                           

                               allowance                                    allowance                                   

                (£ per week per child)        (£ per annum)                 (£ per annum)                               

April          |Current prices|1979 prices<1>|Current prices|1979 prices<1>|Current prices|1979 prices<1>               

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

1979           |4.00          |4.00          |1,165         |1,165         |1,815         |1,815                        

1980           |4.00          |3.29          |1,375         |1,129         |2,145         |1,762                        

1981           |4.75          |3.48          |1,375         |1,008         |2,145         |1,572                        

1982           |5.25          |3.52          |1,565         |1,049         |2,445         |1,638                        

1983           |5.85          |3.77          |1,785         |1,150         |2,795         |1,801                        

1984           |6.50          |3.98          |2,005         |1,228         |3,155         |1,933                        

1985           |6.85          |3.92          |2,205         |1,263         |3,455         |1,979                        

1986           |7.00          |3.89          |2,335         |1,298         |3,655         |2,032                        

1987           |7.25          |3.87          |2,425         |1,293         |3,795         |2,024                        

1988           |7.25          |3.72          |2,605         |1,337         |4,095         |2,102                        

1989           |7.25          |<2>3.45       |2,785         |<2>1,326      |4,375         |<2>2,083                     

<1> Figures converted to 1979 prices using the movements in the RPI between April of each year.                         

<2> This will depend on the level of the RPI in April 1989. The figure given is derived by applying the annual increase 

in the year to February 1989 (the latest month available) to the level of the RPI in April 1988.                        

Computer Consultants

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what was the total amount spent by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in 1988 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases ; and if he will list each management or computer consultancy contract awarded by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in 1988, giving in each case the name of the consultancy firm and the subject of the assignment.

Mr. Lilley : The total amount spent by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in 1988 was £3,527,225.

The consultancy firms awarded contracts in management and computer consultancy, excluding hardware and software purchases are as follows :


Firm                               |Assignments                                                          

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

Advanced Computer                  |Intelligence networks                                                

 Services Limited                                                                                        

Apricot                            |Network upgrading                                                    

Arthur Andersen                    |VAT work planning systems                                            

Arthur Young                       |Strategic database                                                   

                                                                                                         

BIS Applied Systems                |Cabling requirements                                                 

British Telecom                    |Customs handling of import and                                       

                                   | export freight (CHIEF)                                              

Bull (Honeywell)                   |Extension of computerised                                            

                                   | intelligence system                                                 

                                                                                                         

Computer Centre                    |Network upgrading study                                              

Comshare                           |Operational planning system                                          

Coopers and Lybrand                |Board's information system                                           

                                                                                                         

Deloitte Haskins & Sells           |Personnel information                                                

                                   | development                                                         

                                                                                                         

E O S Y S                          |Local office technology system                                       

Ernst & Whinney                    |VAT visit assistant expert system                                    

                                   |Mini strategy study                                                  

                                   |Personnel information system                                         

Essex & City Computers PLC         |Data capture system                                                  

                                                                                                         

FCMC PLC                           |Personnel information development                                    

Ferranti Computer                  |Customs entries-post clearance                                       

Systems Ltd.                       |adjustments                                                          

                                                                                                         

Hoskyns                            |CHIEF                                                                

Hunterskill South                  |Registry computerisation                                             

                                                                                                         

ICL                                |Senior collectorate information                                      

                                   |Networking                                                           

                                   |Documentation and planning program                                   

                                   |VME performance                                                      

Inforem                            |Gaming machine licence system                                        

                                   |Local area networks                                                  

                                                                                                         

Kerman Associates                  |GDN implementation                                                   

                                                                                                         

Logica                             |Integrated tariff                                                    

                                                                                                         

Mindworks Partnership              |Investigation division                                               

                                   | operational planning system                                         

                                                                                                         

NCC                                |CBT training study                                                   

                                                                                                         

Octagon                            |Telephone initiative study                                           

                                                                                                         

PA Consultants                     |Project management: CHIEF                                            

PACTEL                             |CHIEF                                                                

Peat Marwick &                     |Activity costing study                                               

 McLintock                         |Budget data capture                                                  

                                   |Accounting controls                                                  

Praxis                             |Budget and manpower planning                                         

                                   | system                                                              

                                                                                                         

Regional Software &                |Computer ordering and account                                        

 Support Services                  |systems                                                              

RPT Computer                       |Cabling requirements                                                 

Installation Limited                                                                                     

SPI Limited                        |Operational planning systems                                         

System designers                   |Management information systems                                       

                                                                                                         

Touche Ross                        |Operational planning systems                                         

                                   |Reliability study: mainframes                                        

                                                                                                         

University of Bath                 |Application of the financial                                         

                                   | management initiative                                               

University of Bristol              |Report on monitoring VAT                                             

                                                                                                         

Welcome Software                   |Database study                                                       

Technology                                                                                               

                                                                                                         

Yale Data                          |CHIEF                                                                

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the total amount spent by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in 1988 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases ; and if he will list each management or computer consultancy contract awarded by Her Majesty's Stationery Office in 1988, giving in each case the name of the consultancy firm and the subject of the assignment.

Mr. Lilley : In 1988 total HMSO expenditure for these purposes was £230,000. Contracts awarded during 1988 were :




Firm                             |Subject of assignment                                            

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

Metron Technology Limited        |Capacity planning for mainframe                                  

                                 | computers                                                       

                                                                                                   

MCP Management                   |Development of revised remunera-                                 

 Consultants                     |tion scheme                                                      

                                                                                                   

Touche Ross Management           |Review of customer coding system                                 

 Consultants                                                                                       

National Debt

Mr. Allen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list those organisations which have received or will receive repayments arising from his Budget decision to repay £14 billion of the national debt and the payment for each organisation.

Mr. Lilley : Detailed information about an individual's or organisation's holdings of debt is confidential. However, figures for net transactions in public sector debt by the main sectors of the economy are given in "Financial Statistics" table 2.6 and the Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin table 8.


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Public Sector Borrowing Requirement

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the public sector borrowing requirement five, 10, 15 and 20 years ago ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lilley : The information requested is as follows :


|c|Public sector borrowing requirement|c|                                                           

                         |£ billion               |Ratio to GDP (per cent.)                         

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

1968-69                  |0.4                     |3/4                                              

1973-74                  |4.3                     |53/4                                             

1978-79                  |9.2                     |5                                               

1983-84                  |9.7                     |3                                               

These are in marked contrast to 1988-89 when the public sector is expected to show a net repayment of £14 billion, equivalent to 3 per cent. of GDP. The Government have also been able to budget for a £14 billion surplus in 1989-90.

Pensions Schemes (Abatement)

Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will describe the purposes of the curent review of the policy of abatement in public service pension schemes ; whether it will take account of shortages in qualified manpower, including the shortages of qualified teachers identified by the Department of Education and Science ; whether it will take account of the abolition of the earnings rule for national insurance pensioners ; when he expects the review to be concluded ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Brooke : The long-standing policy of abating the public service pensions of people who are re-employed in the public service is currently being reviewed to see whether it needs to be modified in the light of the wider pensions choices now available and current management needs. Particular attention is being given, among other things, to the implications of the introduction of personal pensions and the effects which the existing policy has on recruitment and retention. The abolition of the earnings rule for national insurance pensioners is not immediately relevant to the abatement of public service pensions. The Government Departments responsible for the major public service schemes, including the teachers' superannuation scheme, are contributing to the review. It is expected to be completed this summer.

Taxpayers (Confidentiality)

Mr. Rathbone : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will ensure that the new safeguards of confidentiality for taxpayers, to be included in the Finance Bill, in no way interfere with the Government's efforts to trace and seize the illegally gained assets of drug traffickers.

Mr. Lilley : Safeguarding the confidentiality of taxpayer information will not interfere with efforts to trace and seize illegally gained assets of drug traffickers. Provision in the Finance Bill 1989 will be confined to unauthorised disclosure of information held in the exercise of tax functions and relevant to tax or duty and, as drafted, does not include such matters as illegal trafficking in dangerous drugs which are not subject to tax or duty.


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Johnson Mathey

Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, in the light of the allegations contained in the book "The Marcos Dynasty" by Sterling Seagrove he will set up an inquiry into Johnson Mathey's bullion dealing.

Mr. Lilley [holding answer 22 March 1989] : No.

Public Sector Debt

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how he computed the figure for the percentage of public sector debt to have been repaid by 31 March 1990 referred to in the Official Report, 15 March, column 431.

Mr. Major [holding answer 23 March 1989] : The "Financial Statement and Budget Report" (paragraph 6.04) forecast that the stock of net public sector debt would be £157 billion at the end of 1988-89. On the assumption that the change in the stock of debt in 1989-90 will be the same as the PSDR forecast for that year, the stock of debt will be £143 billion at the end of the year. This is some 16 per cent. lower than the stock of debt at the beginning of 1987-88, estimated to have been £171 billion.

OPCS (Interviewers)

Mrs. Ray Michie : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any plans to introduce Civil Service pension provisions for interviewers employed by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys.

Mr. Brooke [holding answer 23 March 1989] : Office of Population Censuses and Surveys interviewers, in common with other staff engaged on a fee-paid basis, are not eligible for membership of the principal Civil Service pension scheme. Their level of fees, out of which they are


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able to make their own pension arrangements, was set in the knowledge that the employment is not pensionable ; and, in management's view, interviewers are paid the appropriate remuneration for the job. However, the trade union representing the staff concerned intend to submit evidence to support a claim that the total remuneration package for interviewers employed by OPCS should be substantially uplifted by providing for their membership of the PCSPS. The Treasury and OPCS management will consider further the claim for pension ability very carefully in the light of this evidence ; but it would be necessary to look for an offsetting adjustment to the present level of fees in order to provide for membership of the PCSPS, or some other pension arrangement, unless an increase in the remuneration for interviewers were found to be justified.

Tax Changes

Mr. Meacher : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will update, to take account of the 1989 Budget, the information on tax changes contained in his reply to the hon. Member for Oldham, West of 21 October 1986, Official Report, columns 807-8.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 23 March 1989] : The information is in the tables. For each financial year shown, the tables compare the yield from the tax regime in that year with the 1978-79 tax regime. All estimates are based on a provisional 1989-90 income base projected from the 1986-87 survey of personal incomes and all tax regimes have been indexed to 1989-90 levels by reference to the statutory formula. The comparisons therefore allow for budgetary changes in income tax rates and allowances, but not for any changes since 1978-79 in the definition of the income tax base. Further information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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|c|Reduction(+)/Increase(-) in income tax compared with 1978-79 indexed regime (£ million)|c|                                                                                                                                                                                      

Range of total income in |Number of units paying  |1979-80                 |1983-84                 |1984-85                 |1985-86                 |1986-87                 |1987-88                 |1988-89                 |1989-90                                          

1989-90 (£)              |tax in 1989-90 (million)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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

Under 5,000              |2.1                     |170                     |-30                     |80                      |170                     |200                     |240                     |350                     |350                                              

5,000 to 10,000          |6.5                     |930                     |210                     |510                     |810                     |1,050                   |1,500                   |2,160                   |2,160                                            

10,000 to 15,000         |5.2                     |1,400                   |750                     |1,100                   |1,390                   |1,770                   |2,480                   |3,400                   |3,410                                            

15,000 to 20,000         |3.3                     |1,230                   |750                     |1,060                   |1,280                   |1,620                   |2,290                   |3,100                   |3,100                                            

20,000 to 30,000         |2.8                     |1,730                   |1,170                   |1,580                   |1,800                   |2,260                   |3,140                   |4,220                   |4,220                                            

30,000 to 50,000         |1.1                     |1,790                   |1,290                   |1,630                   |1,760                   |2,010                   |2,490                   |3,500                   |3,500                                            

50,000 to 70,000         |0.2                     |1,000                   |820                     |970                     |1,000                   |1,040                   |1,120                   |1,790                   |1,790                                            

Over 70,000              |0.1                     |2,400                   |2,230                   |2,690                   |2,720                   |2,730                   |2,780                   |4,720                   |4,720                                            

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

Total                    |21.3                    |10,660                  |7,190                   |9,620                   |10,920                  |12,690                  |16,040                  |23,250                  |23,260                                           


|c|Average gain(+)/loss (-) per tax unit<1> (£ per annum)|c|                                                                                                                                                                                              

Range of total income in |1979-80                 |1983-84                 |1984-85                 |1985-86                 |1986-87                 |1987-88                 |1988-89                 |1989-90                                          

1989-90 (£)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

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

Under 5,000              |60                      |-10                     |30                      |60                      |70                      |80                      |120                     |120                                              

5,000 to 10,000          |140                     |30                      |80                      |120                     |160                     |220                     |320                     |320                                              

10,000 to 15,000         |270                     |140                     |210                     |270                     |340                     |480                     |660                     |660                                              

15,000 to 20,000         |380                     |230                     |330                     |390                     |500                     |700                     |950                     |950                                              

20,000 to 30,000         |610                     |410                     |560                     |640                     |800                     |1,110                   |1,490                   |1,490                                            

30,000 to 50,000         |1,580                   |1,130                   |1,440                   |1,560                   |1,780                   |2,190                   |3,090                   |3,090                                            

50,000 to 70,000         |4,550                   |3,730                   |4,410                   |4,570                   |4,740                   |5,090                   |8,130                   |8,130                                            

Over 70,000              |16,670                  |15,510                  |18,680                  |18,870                  |18,990                  |19,280                  |32,790                  |32,790                                           

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

Total                    |470                     |320                     |430                     |490                     |560                     |710                     |1,030                   |1,030                                            

<1> Average gains and losses are calculated by reference to the estimated number who would be liable to pay tax under the indexed 1978-79 regime; this number is some 1,200,000 greater than the numbers paying tax in 1989-90, some 900,000 in the       

income range below £5,000 and 300,000 in the range £5,000 to £10,000.                                                                                                                                                                                     

Note: All information is in terms of tax units-that is, married couples are counted as one and their incomes combined.                                                                                                                                    


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Taxable Income

Mr. Blunkett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish his best estimates of the aggregate taxable income for 1988-89 in each (a) county, (b) former metropolitan county, (c) the Greater London area, (d) metropolitan district and (e) London borough area.

Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 22 March 1989] : The latest year for which estimates for counties in Great Britain are available is 1986-87 : they are provided in the accompanying table. I regret that estimates for Northern Ireland counties, for metropolitan districts and for London boroughs are not available.


                                 |Taxable income               

County                           |£ million                    

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

English counties                                               

Cleveland                        |1,320                        

Cumbria                          |1,340                        

Durham                           |1,150                        

Northumberland                   |850                          

Humberside                       |1,590                        

North Yorkshire                  |2,090                        

Cheshire                         |3,660                        

Lancashire                       |4,440                        

Derbyshire                       |1,990                        

Leicestershire                   |1,980                        

Lincolnshire                     |1,170                        

Northamptonshire                 |1,180                        

Nottinghamshire                  |2,070                        

Herefordshire and Worcestershire |1,530                        

Shropshire                       |906                          

Staffordshire                    |2,180                        

Warwickshire                     |1,360                        

Cambridgeshire                   |1,490                        

Norfolk                          |1,650                        

Suffolk                          |1,380                        

Bedfordshire                     |1,360                        

Berkshire                        |2,600                        

Buckinghamshire                  |1,950                        

East Sussex                      |1,530                        

Essex                            |5,690                        

Hampshire                        |3,870                        

Hertfordshire                    |3,240                        

Kent                             |5,620                        

Oxfordshire                      |1,310                        

Surrey                           |6,360                        

West Sussex                      |2,190                        

Isle of Wight                    |258                          

Avon                             |2,330                        

Cornwall                         |773                          

Devon                            |2,070                        

Dorset                           |1,720                        

Gloucestershire                  |1,420                        

Somerset                         |1,060                        

Wiltshire                        |1,400                        

                                                               

English metropolitan counties                                  

Tyne and Wear                    |2,020                        

South Yorkshire                  |2,330                        

West Yorkshire                   |4,450                        

Greater London                   |16,300                       

West Midlands                    |5,310                        

Greater Manchester               |3,440                        

Merseyside                       |2,600                        

                                                               

Welsh counties                                                 

Clwyd                            |837                          

Dyfed                            |575                          

Gwent                            |729                          

Gwynedd                          |431                          

Mid Glamorgan                    |737                          

Powys                            |249                          

South Glamorgan                  |909                          

West Glamorgan                   |577                          

                                                               

Scottish regions                                               

Borders                          |213                          

Central                          |650                          

Dumfries                         |237                          

Fife                             |797                          

Grampian                         |1,290                        

Highland                         |337                          

Lothian                          |1,690                        

Strathclyde                      |4,440                        

Tayside                          |810                          

Island authorities               |153                          


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FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Brazilian Rain Forest

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with Brazil about the destruction of the rain forest.

Mr. Eggar : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs raised this question during the visit to London on 9-10 March by the Secretary General of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He left Sr Flecha de Lima in no doubt as to the strength of feeling in this country about the rate of destruction. I also conveyed our concerns during that visit, as I also had done earlier in conversation with the President of Brazil during my visit in November 1988.

I refer the hon. Member to my speech on the rain forests issue in the debate on 13 March following the Consolidated Fund Bill.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further programmes he intends supporting in Brazil to assist in arresting the destruction of the tropical rain forest.

Mr. Chris Patten : Following discussions with the Secretary-General of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs during his recent visit to London, we are considering, at his request, what support further to that being provided for the Maraca rainforest we could give to scientific work or technical assistance for the rain forests. We shall also be discussing these issues with the Secretary-General of the Brazilian Ministry of the Interior when he visits London later this month.

Sudan

Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further measures he is taking to assist the United Nations Organisation's and other efforts to achieve peace and relief in the Sudan, following the recent United Nations conference in Khartoum ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave : On 3 April my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Overseas Development announced a further contribution of £5 million towards relief operations in Southern Sudan. Of this, £2 million will be channelled through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), £2 million through United Nations Agencies (UNICEF and the World Food Programme) and £1 million through British non-government organisations. This is in addition to the £14.4 million in emergency aid provided to Sudan in 1988. We continue to urge all parties in Sudan to work for the speedy implementation of the plan of action agreed at last month's United Nations conference in Khartoum.

West German Foreign Minister

Mr. Jack : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to meet his West German counterpart ; and what matters will be discussed.


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Mrs. Chalker : My right hon. and learned Friend will next meet Herr Genscher at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 24-25 April where a range of European Community issues will be discussed.

Iran

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to European Economic Community Governments about the decision of those member states who have replaced their ambassadors in Iran ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave : EC Foreign Ministers agreed on 20 March that their heads of mission, who had been temporarily withdrawn from Tehran for consultations, could return to Iran if national circumstances required this. Returning heads of mission will carry the strong message that the Iranian death threats remain unacceptable.

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the recent agreement of the Council of Foreign Ministers on relations with Iran made provision for member states to consult the United Kingdom if they wished to reappoint ambassadors to Iran ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave : We have kept in close contact with our European partners over our response to the Iranian threats against Salman Rushdie and his publishers. We have been heartened by the solidarity shown by the Twelve. The strong position of principle adopted on 20 February was reaffirmed by EC Foreign Ministers on 20 March. It was never intended that heads of mission should stay away indefinitely. The decision that heads of mission could return to Iran was taken after full consultation between the EC Foreign Ministers. The ban on high level contacts remains in place.

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many member states of the European Economic Community closed their embassies in Iran following the decision of the United Kingdom to break off diplomatic relations with Iran.

Mr. Waldegrave : No member states of the EC closed their embassies in Iran following the break in diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and Iran. All EC member states withdrew their heads of mission in Tehran for consultations in response to the Iranian threats against Salman Rushdie and his publishers.

Crete Campaign (Medal)

Dr. Glyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in the light of the feelings of those who fought in the Crete campaign in 1940-41, who have not had official recognition in the form of a medal, he will waive any formalities which debar the award or acceptance of such a medal.

Mr. Eggar : Any official foreign medal designed to be worn which might be offered to British subjects in connection with the Crete campaign 1940-41 would be subject to the Foreign and Commonwealth Orders Regulations 1969, a copy of which was placed in the Library of the House in reply to a question by my right


Column 13

hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins) answered on 27 May 1988. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not have discretion to waive the provisions of these regulations, which are applied consistently to all requests from foreign Governments to bestow honours, decorations and medals on United Kingdom citizens.

Computer Consultants

Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the total amount spent by his Department in 1988 on management and computer consultancy contracts, excluding hardware and software purchases ; and if he will list each management or computer consultancy contract awarded by his Department in 1988, giving in each case the name of the consultancy firm and the subject of the assignment.

Mr. Eggar : Expenditure for 1988-89 financial year on management and computer consultancy was :


                       |£                  

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

Management consultancy |68,699             

Computer consultancy   |1,422,900          

Individual contracts awarded during the year were :


Computer consultancies                                                                                                  

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

Data General Ltd.                                           |Management information                                     

                                                            | system                                                    

Enever Systems Ltd.                                         |Management information                                     

                                                            | system                                                    

Phase 3 Systems Ltd.                                        |Management information                                     

                                                            | system                                                    

Kinesis Computing Ltd.                                      |Development of overseas                                    

                                                            | systems                                                   

BIS Applied Systems Ltd.                                    |Development of overseas                                    

                                                            | systems                                                   

Express Computer Consultants                                |Development of financial                                   

                                                            | system                                                    

                                                                                                                        

Logica UK Ltd.                |(i)                          |Development of overseas                                    

                                                            | systems                                                   

                              |(ii)                         |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

                                                                                                                        

Computer Sciences Co. Ltd.                                  |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

Systems Designers Ltd.                                      |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

Psychometric R & D                                          |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

 Management Systems                                                                                                     

PA Consultancy Systems                                      |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

                                                                                                                        

The Instruction Set           |(i)                          |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

                              |(ii)                         |Administration records                                     

                                                            |consultancy                                                

Price Waterhouse                                            |Administrative records                                     

                                                            |consultancy                                                

                                                                                                                        

Information Resources Ltd.    |(i)                          |A financial estimates system                               

                              |(ii)                         |An overseas estates financial                              

                                                            | system                                                    

                                                                                                                        

Kings Brook Information                                     |Replacement of library and                                 

 Associates                                                 |records system                                             


Computer consultancies                                                                                                  

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

Data General Ltd.                                           |Management information                                     

                                                            | system                                                    

Enever Systems Ltd.                                         |Management information                                     

                                                            | system                                                    

Phase 3 Systems Ltd.                                        |Management information                                     

                                                            | system                                                    

Kinesis Computing Ltd.                                      |Development of overseas                                    

                                                            | systems                                                   

BIS Applied Systems Ltd.                                    |Development of overseas                                    

                                                            | systems                                                   

Express Computer Consultants                                |Development of financial                                   

                                                            | system                                                    

                                                                                                                        

Logica UK Ltd.                |(i)                          |Development of overseas                                    

                                                            | systems                                                   

                              |(ii)                         |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

                                                                                                                        

Computer Sciences Co. Ltd.                                  |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

Systems Designers Ltd.                                      |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

Psychometric R & D                                          |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

 Management Systems                                                                                                     

PA Consultancy Systems                                      |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

                                                                                                                        

The Instruction Set           |(i)                          |FOLIOS consultancy studies                                 

                              |(ii)                         |Administration records                                     

                                                            |consultancy                                                

Price Waterhouse                                            |Administrative records                                     

                                                            |consultancy                                                

                                                                                                                        

Information Resources Ltd.    |(i)                          |A financial estimates system                               

                              |(ii)                         |An overseas estates financial                              

                                                            | system                                                    

                                                                                                                        

Kings Brook Information                                     |Replacement of library and                                 

 Associates                                                 |records system                                             


Column 14

Discharged Prisoners

Mr. Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will state against each member country of the European Community what amount of money, travel allowance or other benefit, is given by that country (a) to British citizens and (b) to its own nationals on discharge from prison in that country.

Mr. Eggar : Payments made to British nationals on discharge from prisons in other European Community countries are listed below. Except for Portugal, no member state makes a distinction between British and host nationals in their rules governing discharge from prison.

Belgium : No discharge grant. Half of any earnings paid on release. Deportees with funds are required to pay their rail/ferry fares. In needy cases, prison social/welfare funds may contribute to homeward travel costs.

Denmark : No discharge grant. Journey paid to place of residence within Denmark. Deportees' journey home paid for, if unable to pay themselves.

France : No discharge grant. Prisoners can seek assistance from probation committees in their home towns. If no funds are forthcoming from prisoners' resources, prison can provide ticket to place of former residence, including country of origin.

Federal Republic of Germany : Practice varies between states (La"nder). No discharge grant. A proportion of any earnings paid on release. Access to social security benefits. Travel payments range from cost of travel to nearest consular/diplomatic representation to cost of travel to the United Kingdom plus minimal subsistence. Greece : No discharge grant. If prisoners have no funds they are referred to the nearest Organisation for Employment and Manpower which may grant relief to cover board and lodging for maximum of three months. No travel expenses.

Ireland : Gratuity paid on discharge, based on work carried out during period of incarceration. Surface travel is paid from prison to home address, the city where case was tried or to a convenient port. In exceptional circumstances ferry/air fares are paid to enable discharged prisoners to return to country of origin.

Italy : No discharge grant or travel expenses. Where an expulsion order has been issued and the prisoner has no funds the Italian Government will pay for repatriation.

Luxembourg : No discharge or travel expenses. Prisoners are expected to fund travel home etc. from money earned whilst in prison. However, prisoners without funds would get a ticket from a prison welfare group or the Ministry of Justice. Those resident in Luxembourg before their arrest are also eligible for accommodation costs to be paid while unemployed.

The Netherlands : No discharge grant. Discharged prisoners without funds are entitled to social security income support. Travel home, within the Netherlands, is paid. Deportees with funds must contribute to the fare home.

Portugal : No discharge grant or travel expenses are paid to prisoners of any nationality. In cases of real need, Portuguese nationals may receive basic subsistence and travel expenses.


Column 15

Foreign nationals are referred to their embassies if they have no funds. The Portuguese Government will pay all or part of the repatriation costs of those prisoners served with expulsion orders who cannot pay themselves.

Spain : No discharge grant paid automatically. In cases of need, prisoners may apply to Ministry of Justice for a travel allowance, accommodation expenses and family allowance. The Spanish Government pay for repatriation where expulsion is part of the sentence.

British Citizens (Convictions and Imprisonment)

Mr. Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will set out for the last five years as at a common date, and against each country in which they are held, the number of British citizens convicted in those countries and imprisoned there and against each (i) the nature of the offence and (ii) the duration of the sentence.

Mr. Eggar : The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

British Citizens (Imprisonment)

Mr. Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British citizens presently imprisoned overseas have dependent relatives in the United Kingdom who are in receipt of income support or other benefits.

Mr. Eggar : We have no knowledge of the personal financial circumstances of dependents of British citizens imprisoned overseas.

Private Security Firms

Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brent, East on 8 February, Official Report, column 731, (a) which private security firms have been used by his Department, (b) where they have been deployed and (c) at what cost to his Department in each year from 1979 to the current date ; what was the total cost to his Department of the duties undertaken by Zeus Security Guards Ltd. in 1982 and 1983 ; what were the access control duties performed by Zeus Security Guards Ltd. in 1982 and 1983.

Mr. Eggar : Detailed information on this subject is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Falkland Islands

Dr. Hampson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in view of changes of fishing and commercial policy by the Falkland Islands Government, if he will make a statement on the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards British fishing companies in the Falklands and the role to be played by British interests in maintaining the economic development of the islands.

Mr. Eggar : We welcome the opportunities which the Falklands fishery offers British fishing companies and


Column 16

encourage them to make the effort and commitment to participate in its successful exploitations. So do the Falkland Islands Government. British commercial interests are playing a key role in

infrastructural development, including a new telecommunications system, secondary school, housing and other building works. We shall continue to encourage British participation in the expanding economy of the Falkland Islands.

Lome Conventions

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what Her Majesty's Government hopes will emerge from Lome IV.

Mr. Chris Patten : We hope that the current renegotiation will produce a successor to Lome III which will continue to provide a framework for effective co-operation between the Community and the ACP states in the spheres of both trade and aid.

Mr. Faulds : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will now withdraw the British tranche to the Lome conventions, in view of the conduct of the Ethiopian Government.

Mr. Chris Patten : I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave him on 27 February at column 1 .

Private Investment

Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what was the level of private capital funds invested overseas for development purposes as a percentage of gross national product during the last five years ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Chris Patten : The latest available figures for private direct investment, bank lending and grants by voluntary agencies in developing countries, as a percentage of gross national product, are as follows :


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