Mr. Beith : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what he estimates to be (a) the number of surviving holders of three per cent. war loan who purchased the stock when it was issued and (b) the total nominal value of the stock held by them.
Mr. Brooke : There is no Crombie set of rules on the Civil Service. However, I am writing to the hon. Member with details of the compensation terms, known as the Crombie code, which applied widely in the public sector from 1947 for those who became redundant as a result of nationalisation or statutory reorganisations. As the House was told on 3 July 1980 ( Official Report, column 1823), the need for the Crombie code has long since ceased to exist.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has on what research is currently conducted by the open university at its central Milton Keynes campus and its regions, sponsored from the central annual grant to the university.
Mr. Jackson : It is for the open university to decide how much of its recurrent grant should be spent on research. In 1988-89 over £8 million was spent from recurrent grant ; this is in addition to funding received from the research councils, DES research grants and other sources. Areas of research cover science and technology, social sciences, arts and humanities and involve both specific research projects and support for academic activity. The open university provides information on its research to the OU visiting committee which advises Ministers on all aspects of the university's work.
Mr. Baldry : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress he has made on his proposals for the reform of the non- standard routes to qualified teacher status ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 478to the outcome of consultation on these, he plans to lay regulations before the House with a view to having the new arrangements in place by September.
The revised regulations replace the Education (Teachers) Regulations 1982 and are concerned, among other things, with new arrangements for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS), including the licensed teacher scheme ; the specialist qualifications needed for teaching hearing or visually impaired pupils ; the probationary service of qualified teachers ; and the implementation of the European Community directive on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, as it applies to teachers.
The draft regulations and circular have benefited from responses to the consultation document on the reform of the routes to QTS which was issued last year.
The majority of those responding to that document supported the principle of the reform. My right hon. Friend is confident that the proposed new arrangements will provide a better framework within which to recruit and train the teachers in our schools in the 1990s. Copies of the draft regulations and circular have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what representation his Department had at the latest large scale reprocessing plant safeguards meeting held recently at Sellafield with representatives from Japan, the United States of America, France, the Federal Republic of Germany and the safeguards directorates of Euratom and the International Atomic Energy Agency ; and what papers have so far been presented to the LASCAR meeting by United Kingdom representatives.
Mr. Michael Spicer : One member of the Safeguards Office attended the meeting held between 27 February--3 March at Sellafield to consider large-scale commercial reprocessing plant safeguards (LASCAR). The information exchanged at LASCAR meetings is confidential to the parties involved.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what actions have been taken to improve nuclear safety nationally and internationally by Her Majesty's Government since the Chernobyl accident on 26 April 1986.
Mr. Michael Spicer : The United Kingdom has maintained a high level of safety over 30 years of civil nuclear power production. The Government are committed to continuing this and have made available the resources to ensure it.
On plans for dealing with a possible nuclear accident in the United Kingdom, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Merionnyd Nant Conwy (Dr. Thomas) on 12 December 1988 at column 391.
Internationally, the United Kingdom has encouraged the exchange of information and ideas on nuclear safety, in particular between operators and between regulators. The International Atomic Energy Agency is the prime
Column 479forum for such exchange, but there have also been bilateral exchanges ; Her Majesty's chief inspector of nuclear installations last month visited Moscow for meetings with his Russian counterpart. There have been IAEA and EC initiatives on actions to be followed in the event of nuclear accidents. Two IAEA conventions--on the early notification of nuclear accidents and on mutual assistance in the case of a nuclear accident--were concluded in 1986. Similar arrangements for the notification of accidents have been agreed within the EC and the United Kingdom has bilateral agreements with a number of countries. Member states of the EC have agreed other measures to be implemented in the event of an accident, such as those on the contamination of foodstuffs.
As further encouragement for the international exchange of safety awareness and information, the World Association of Nuclear Operators has been formed, and will meet later this month in Moscow under the chairmanship of Lord Marshall of Goring.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what departmental representation including papers for presentation, will be made at the eleventh annual symposium on safeguards and nuclear material management in Luxembourg on 30 May to 1 June 1989.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Newport, West, Official Report, 23 March, column 763, on the cargo carried by the PNTL ship Pacific Sandpiper, why section 2(i) of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 was not applicable ; and from which country had the consignment of irradiated fuel elements originated.
Mr. Michael Spicer : Details of individual consignments are confidential. Section 2(i) of the Nuclear Installations Act 1965 was not applicable as the nuclear material in this consignment was neither enriched nor reprocessed in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Peter Morrison : I refer the hon. Lady to the reply I gave on 8 December 1988 to my hon. Friend the Member for Dulwich (Mr. Bowden), and to the replies given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland to the hon. Member for Greenock and Port Glasgow (Dr. Godman) on 11 January 1989, and to the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Doran) on 3 May 1989.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland, in co-operation with the operators, Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd, has been monitoring debris and other samples from the vicinity of the site of Piper Alpha for polychlorinated biphenyls and radioactivity. A report on this work will be published shortly. In addition, conditions attached to the abandonment programme for Piper Alpha approved by my right hon.
Column 480Friend the Secretary of State for Energy include requirements for surveys of the toppled remains and surrounding sea -bed to establish the position of debris and to monitor for leakage of oil or gas. They also require samples of sediment, sea-water and fish to be obtained and examined for the presence of PCBs and radioactivity. The conditions provide for repetition of these surveys and sampling at such times as the Secretary of State may subsequently direct. An assessment of the surveys carried out under the abandonment programme will be published in due course.
Occidental have also arranged to have portions of the samples referred to above examined for the presence of heavy metals originating from past drilling discharges. This work is being carried out to check predictions, made on the basis of sampling around other platforms, that the levels of heavy metals present are not hazardous to marine life. These results will also be made available to Her Majesty's Government.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received this year about the pollution levels in the Irish sea ; and what new steps he is taking to respond to this problem.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether in commissioning the Community Projects Foundation to undertake community development projects as part of the valleys initiative the opportunity was given for suitable agencies based in Wales to compete for the contract.
Mr. Peter Walker : I have not awarded a contract to the Community Projects Foundation. Welsh Office support for the foundation's activities in the valleys is being provided under the urban programme following the submission of applications by local authorities in the normal way. It is open to all voluntary bodies to seek urban programme assistance for appropriate schemes and I see no need for any separate bidding process in relation to community development. The hon. Gentleman may wish to note that the foundation was active in Wales prior to the launch of the valleys programme.
Column 481being considered for the regional analytical chemistry laboratories at Aberystwyth are founded ; and if he will make a statement.
There are currently 16 permanent staff in post in the ADAS analytical chemistry laboratory at Trawsgoed, whose closure in 1990-91 was announced on 21 March 1989. The number of post losses consequent on closure of this laboratory will depend on a range of factors, including the future level of demand for ADAS laboratory services elsewhere and the outcome of the examination being given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales to the possibility of alternative uses for this facility.
78. Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement setting out the overseas territories of EEC countries whose inhabitants have the right of settlement in the EEC ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Chalker : EC nationals have the right to reside in the other member states of the Community in accordance with the Treaties. It is for each Member State to define who are its own nationals for Community purposes. The provisions of the EC treaty relating to the free movement of persons apply to European territories for whose external relations a member state is responsible, such as Gibraltar. Citizens of the following overseas territories are also defined as nationals by the member states concerned :
United Kingdom--Falkland Islands
France- St. Pierre et Miquelon, Mayotte
and the overseas departments and
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has regarding recent reports that a boatload of 130 Vietnamese refugees were killed in mid-April by Thai pirates.
Mr. Waldegrave : The United Nations High Commission for Refugees, which administers the anti-piracy programme in Thailand, and the Thai authorities, regularly provide the international community with information on the number and nature of piracy attacks. Other than reports in the press, however, we have no details of this particular alleged attack.
Mr. Mullin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to persuade the Government of Thailand to bring to justice the pirates responsible for the murder in April of 130 Vietnamese refugees.
Mr. Waldegrave : We co-operate closely with the Royal Thai Government through its anti-piracy programme, which is administered by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and to which the United Kingdom contributes.
Mr. Winnick : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consultation he is having with other Governments on the latest Iranian threat to citizens of western countries ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has had any meeting with representatives of 20- 20 Vision concerning their programme alleging that nuclear materials in the European Community under safeguards, have been diverted to a black market in Sudan.
Mr. Waldegrave : No. The private secretary to my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary wrote to Ms. Claudia Milne of 20-20 Vision on 3 February 1988, inviting her to contact the appropriate official with a view to arranging a meeting. As far as we are aware, Ms. Milne has never taken up the invitation.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to make monthly reports to Parliament, when in session, on developments and United Kingdom votes at the United Nations in New York.
Mr. Waldegrave : A very large number of United Nations bodies meet in New York at various times throughout the year. These include the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council and the General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies. For the Government to submit regular reports on developments and positions adopted by the United Kingdom in all these bodies would take disproportionate time and resources. The United Nations itself publishes full and publicly available accounts of the work of its bodies. On major political issues, it is of course already our policy to keep the House fully informed of all developments, including those at the United Nations.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the annual contribution made by the United Kingdom to the central funds of the United Nations, for each year since 1979.
|£ -------------------- 1979-80 |10.39 1980-81 |10.32 1981-82 |14.02 1982-83 |15.71 1983-84 |18.50 1984-85 |23.34 1985-86 |24.63 1986-87 |23.62 1987-88 |21.49 1988-89 |19.36
The sharp fluctuations in these sterling payments reflect changes in the pound/dollar exchange rate.
Mr. Waldegrave : The International Maritime Organisation is the only United Nations agency based in the United Kingdom. Prior to 1982, the IMO paid rent to three separate private landlords. On 29 October 1982, when it moved into its present accommodation, the IMO began to pay rent. The rent paid (in equal quarterly instalments) since then is as follows :
! October |£ --------------------------------- 1982-83 |500,000 1983-84 |500,000 1984-85 |550,000 1985-86 |550,000 1986-87 |600,000 1987-88 |600,000 1988-89 |<1>325,000 <1> Two instalments.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which United Nations agencies have their headquarters in the United Kingdom ; where they are based ; and how long they have been established in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Waldegrave : The only United Nations specialised agency to have its headquarters in the United Kingdom is the International Maritime Organisation, which has been based in London since its establishment in 1959.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what basis United Nations agencies located in London are charged rent ; and what information he has on comparable levels of rent charged by France, the United States of America, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Kenya for United Nations agencies based in those countries.
Mr. Waldegrave : In 1977, we and the International Maritime Organisation agreed that the rent for the organisation's headquarters building in London would be 12 per cent. of the capital cost of the building, but that we would reimburse the organisation a sum equivalent to 80 per cent. of that amount. Following transitional rent arrangements set out in my earlier reply of today's date, this agreement comes into force in 1990. From then the annual rent payable by IMO, net of the 80 per cent. reimbursement by Her Majesty's Government, will be £1,195,751 per annum.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his estimate of the likely timetable to set up an amendment conference for the partial nuclear test ban treaty of 1963, following the deposition recently of the requisite number of signatory states calling for such a conference ; and if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the prospective conversion of the treaty into a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.
Column 484been established. We cannot support the proposed amendment : as long as we rely on a nuclear deterrent, we will need to conduct underground nuclear tests to ensure that our weapons remain effective and up-to-date. But we will of course carry out fully our obligations as a depositary Government.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the United Kingdom has had recently over the current status of the 1963 partial test ban treaty with its depository states.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have had initial discussions with both the other depositary Governments in order to begin preparations for convening a conference to consider proposals for an amendment to the treaty. We hope that the depositary Governments will soon meet trilaterally to resolve how this should be taken forward.
non-governmental organisations on arms control and disarmament issues ; what non-governmental organisations were present ; which subjects were covered ; and if financial support was offered to the non-governmental organisations to help defray expenses in attending the meeting.
Mr. Waldegrave : I held a meeting with non-governmental organisations interested in arms control and disarmament issues on 24 April. The following topics were covered at the meeting : SNF, nuclear non- proliferation, modernisation, the partial test ban treaty, conventional arms control, chemical weapons, international arms transfers, and East-West relations.
The following organisations took part : the Council for Education in World Citizenship, Church of England Board for Social Responsibility, the European Atlantic Movement, the National Peace Council, the Oxford Research Group, Peace Through NATO, Quaker Peace and Service, Scientists Against Nuclear Arms, the United Nations Association, Verification Technology Information Centre, the Medical Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, World Disarmament Campaign, International Peace Bureau, European Proliferation Information Centre, British Atlantic Committee, British Council of Churches, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, Centre for International Peace Building Studies, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Coalition for Peace Through Security, Committee for International Justice and Peace, Council for Arms Control, Council on Christian approaches to Defence and Disarmament. No financial support was offered to representatives attending the meeting.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list each category of weapon of which there is deemed a Soviet surplus, giving his definition of how any particular quantity of weapons is so judged ; and if he will set out his source of information on Soviet weapon capacity in so far as national security permits
Mr. Waldegrave : I refer the hon. Gentleman to the NATO booklet : "Conventional Forces in Europe : The Facts" which was published on 25 November last year and which was then placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received about overcrowding on InterCity trains in the western region (a) during 1987, (b) during 1988 and (c) to date during 1989 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what data on motor vehicles the driver and vehicle licensing centre currently sells to outside bodies ; and what it receives as a result of these transactions.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Apart from the information the DVLC is required to provide under regulation 15 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 1971 either at no charge or at the prescribed fee of £3.50, certain other non-personal statistical information is supplied at charges set in accordance with standard Government accounting guidelines, in these instances normally set to recover costs.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he intends to seek any necessary changes in the law to enable the driver and vehicle licensing centre to collect any extra data on motor vehicles which could then be sold to interested parties.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : DVLC already provides certain designated services at charges set in accordance with standard Government accounting guidelines issued to Government Departments. There are no planned changes.
Mr. Portillo : Last year the Department of Transport completed an internal review of taxi and private hire vehicle legislation for England and Wales. My predecessor invited comments from the taxi and PHV trades, licensing authorities and consumer bodies on problems and possible solutions. Specific areas for discussion included the distinction between taxis and hire cars, vehicle design, knowledge examinations, quantity control and fares. I am most grateful for all the responses sent to the Department ; we have studied all of them very carefully.
The Transport Act 1985 introduced changes outside London designed to increase business opportunities and to limit the restrictions on entry into the taxi trade. I am disappointed that some district councils still appear to be rationing the issue of taxi licences, which distorts competition and interferes with the operation of a free market. The Act clearly states the exceptional circumstances in which quantity control may be considered, and licensing authorities should look very carefully at all evidence on supply and demand, not least the price at which existing licences change hands, before restricting the issue of licences. I believe that more time should be allowed for the new opportunities introduced by the 1985 Act to develop, and I have concluded that it is too early to propose further legislation. I would also remind applicants for licences that the 1985 Act already makes provision for appeal to the courts against unreasonable decisions by a licensing authority, and I am not convinced that the full scope of action in the courts has yet been explored.
In the case of London, it has become clear that the high standards of service and propriety offered by taxis are highly valued by respondents and the public. London passengers enjoy a quality of service based on purpose- built vehicles developed to enhance driver and passenger comfort. Their roadworthiness and cleanliness are ensured by standards set by the Public Carriage Office, and drivers must pass through rigorous driver testing. I therefore do not propose to legislate to change the present arrangements concerning the black cab or the knowledge of London examination. Neither do I intend to alter the present distinction between the taxi and hire car trades. Since 1980, the fares chargeable by London taxis have been adjusted by reference to an index of cost changes in the previous year. This index reflects the movement of earnings and the range of costs involved in cab ownership and operation, including replacement parts, garaging and servicing, fuel, insurance, depreciation etc. In line with the movement in that index last year, from 9 June 1989 the maximum fares chargeable by London taxis will increase by an average of 11.1 per cent. This rise takes into account, among other things, the increase in quality of new taxis coming into service and higher costs associated with the requirement that new taxis be accessible to passengers in wheelchairs. I have today made an order increasing London taxi fares with effect from Friday 9 June 1989.