Previous Section Home Page

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has received many representations about Hong Kong following the recent appalling events in China. My right hon. Friend met Dame Lydia Dunn, Senior Member of the Executive Council and Mr. Allan Lee, Senior Member of the Legislative Council on 23 June. She listend to their concerns and reaffirmed the Government's determination to work for a secure and prosperous future for Hong Kong, as provided for in the Sino-British joint declaration.

Whales

Q28. Dr. Godman : To ask the Prime Minister if, in the light of the recommendations made at the 41st annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission which took place in San Diego, California, from 12 June to 16 June 1989, Her Majesty's Government will recommend to the European Commission that concerted action be taken against those nations which continue to slaughter whales and which claim that they need to acquire dead whales for research purposes.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

The European Community does not have any competence on whaling matters. Those member states with an interest in whaling are already members of the International Whaling Commission and we consult them in that relevant forum. At its recent annual meeting the IWC adopted resolutions which were jointly sponsored by the United Kingdom, calling upon Japan, Norway and Iceland to reconsider their whaling research plans.

Economic and Monetary Union

Q41. Mr. Cash : To ask the Prime Minister if she has received representations regarding the disadvantage of economic and monetary union in the European Economic Community.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has received a number of representations on this subject.


Column 406

Malpas, Newport

Q65. Mr. Flynn : To ask the Prime Minister if she is planning to visit the Malpas area of Newport, Gwent.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has at present no plans to do so.

British Medical Association

Q103. Mr. Favell : To ask the Prime Minister if she has had any recent representations from the British Medical Association.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has received a copy of a letter which I understand has been sent to all right hon. and hon. Members.

Higher Education

Q138. Mr. Bowis : To ask the Prime Minister if she has received representations regarding higher education.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister receives many representations on education matters, including the Government's policies for higher education, which have helped secure a 27 per cent. increase in student numbers over the last decade.

Unleaded Petrol

Q140. Mr. Page : To ask the Prime Minister if she has received representations regarding unleaded petrol.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

Yes, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has received many representations about unleaded petrol.

The Government have taken many steps to promote unleaded petrol. We played a major role in securing agreement in 1985 for the future introduction of unleaded petrol within the European Community. The unleaded petrol directive requires that member states should ensure the availability and balanced distribution of the fuel by October of this year. Regulations have been adopted which will require all new cars on sale in the United Kingdom to run on the fuel by October of next year.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has progressively increased the duty differential in favour of unleaded petrol over a three- year period and this has resulted in the fuel being now on sale about 10p a gallon cheaper at the pumps than 4-star leaded petrol. A successful Government-funded advertising campaign was shown on television during April to motivate motorists to have their cars adjusted and to use the fuel. Numerous other initiatives have been implemented with considerable assistance offered by the private sector. The Motability lead-free campaign has been very successful in obtaining support from major companies to promote the fuel.

The success of these measures can now be seen in the rapid uptake of the fuel, which is now accounting for over 19 per cent. of the market. Unleaded petrol is readily available ; at least 50 per cent. of petrol stations now stock it.


Column 407

Mr. Lech Walesa

Q119. Mr. Cox : To ask the Prime Minister if, in view of the election results in Poland on 4 June, she will now extend an official invitation to visit the United Kingdom to Mr. Lech Walesa.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

Mr. Walesa already has an official invitation to visit the United Kingdom. We hope he will take it up as soon as possible. Meanwhile, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister saw another Solidarity leader, Professor Geremek, when he was in London last week at our invitation.

Postal Services

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Prime Minister whether, pursuant to her reply to the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Marshall), Official Report, 6 June, column 15, she will make a further statement on the postal monopoly and competition.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

I have nothing to add to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Marshall) on 6 June, at column 15.

Rain Forests

Mr. Allen McKay : To ask the Prime Minister what action will she take in order to stop the destruction of the rain forests in the Brazilian national park by BP ; and if she will take steps to oblige BP to reforest the 250,000 acres it has destroyed.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development will be visiting Brazil, including the Amazon, from 4-9 July. During his visit he will be discussing with Brazilian Ministers and officials our efforts to identify effective ways of helping them with a wide range of environmental problems including rain forest conservation. He will also be meeting representatives of British companies operating in Brazil, with whom he hopes to discuss their role in environmental protection.

The hon. Member will be aware of recent media reports alleging involvement by United Kingdom companies in rain forest destruction. We are studying these, but I understand that the companies, including BP, claim that these press reports contain important errors of fact. More generally, Britain is a leading supporter of the tropical forestry action plan and the International Tropical Timber Organisation, which aim to help countries conserve their forests and manage them sustainably.

EC Social Charter

Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Prime Minister if she intends to sign the Community "Charter for Fundamental Social Rights", Com. 89-248-final, at the Madrid meeting of the European Council.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will make a statement in due course.


Column 408

Engagements

Mr. Canavan : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 27 June.

Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 27 June.

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 27 June.

Mr. Stern : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 27 June.

Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 27 June.

Mr. Win Griffiths : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 27 June.

Mr. Boswell : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 27 June.

Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Tuesday 27 June.

Mr. Wakeham : I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is attending the European Council in Madrid.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Public Relations

Mr. Blair : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster which public relations firms his Department has employed, and at what cost, for each year since 1979.

Mr. Forth : Apart from the special circumstances of privatisation work, the consistent practice of successive Governments has been to avoid the use of public relations or other firms for public relations work. The following firms were retained to advise on privatisations :

Charles Barker Lyons, 1981

Dewe Rogerson, 1984 and 1988

Streets Financial, 1985

Valin Pollen, 1986

Details of such contracts, including their cost, are commercially confidential.

Television Advertising

Mr. Grocott : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the total cost of the television advertising campaign on the enterprise initiative ; and what is the cost expressed in terms of expenditure for each successful application received.

Mr. Forth : Expenditure on television advertising for the Enterprise Initiative since January 1988 has been about £13 million. Up to 2 June 1989, over 26,500 firms had successfully applied for assisted EI consultancies. It is not appropriate, however, to express one in terms of the other since the advertising has been concerned with the Enterprise Initiative as a whole and not just the six EI consultancy initiatives.

Steel Industry

Mr. Henderson : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what is the total employment in the steel industry for every year since 1959 in the United Kingdom ;


Column 409

(2) what is the total steel production in million tonnes for every year since 1959 in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Atkins : The information is as follows :


Steel Production and Employment in the United Kingdom                                       
Year                   |Crude steel (million  |Employment (thousands,                       
                       |tonnes)               |end year)                                    
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1959                   |20.5                  |n.a.                                         
1960                   |24.7                  |n.a.                                         
1961                   |22.4                  |n.a.                                         
1962                   |20.8                  |n.a.                                         
1963                   |22.9                  |n.a.                                         
1964                   |26.6                  |n.a.                                         
1965                   |27.4                  |n.a.                                         
1966                   |24.7                  |n.a.                                         
1967                   |24.3                  |n.a.                                         
1968                   |26.3                  |n.a.                                         
1969                   |26.8                  |n.a.                                         
1970                   |28.3                  |n.a.                                         
1971                   |24.2                  |n.a.                                         
1972                   |25.3                  |n.a.                                         
1973                   |26.6                  |198.5                                        
1974                   |22.3                  |196.9                                        
1975                   |20.1                  |184.4                                        
1976                   |22.3                  |182.3                                        
1977                   |20.4                  |178.9                                        
1978                   |20.3                  |165.4                                        
1979                   |21.5                  |156.6                                        
1980                   |11.3                  |112.1                                        
1981                   |15.6                  |88.2                                         
1982                   |13.7                  |74.5                                         
1983                   |15.0                  |63.7                                         
1984                   |15.1                  |61.9                                         
1985                   |15.7                  |59.0                                         
1986                   |14.7                  |55.9                                         
1987                   |17.4                  |54.9                                         
1988                   |19.0                  |55.1                                         
Employment on European Coal and Steel Community Treaty                                      
activities, only.                                                                           
Source: Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau.                                                   
n.a.: not available.                                                                        

Postal Services

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) if he has received a copy of the Post Office's reply to the couriers' complaint to the European Commission about anti-competitive postal practices ; and if he will make a statement ;

(2) if he will discuss with the European Commission the complaint by the courier services about remail ;

(3) what discussions his Department has had with the European Commission about the formal complaint made by private courier services about anti- competitive practices by postal administrations ; and if he will raise the matter in future discussions.

Mr. Forth : The question of the couriers' complaint is a matter between the European Commission and the postal administrations concerned, in our case the Post Office. I have not received a copy.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he has received the CEPT working party's proposal for a European postal monopoly ; and if he will make a statement.


Column 410

Mr. Forth : No. As far as I am aware, no such proposal exists although many postal administrations have argued that they need some form of monopoly to support the cost of their social obligations.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list in the Official Report (a) all overseas visits made in 1988 and 1989 by officials in his Department in connection with the ITU, CEPT and UPU, (b) the cost of each visit, (c) the length of each visit, (d) the purpose of each visit and (e) the number and duration of visits which are planned in the current financial year.

Mr. Forth : This information is not readily available and could be assembled only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will refer the Post Office letter post service to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission.

Mr. Forth : No.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what discussions he has had with officials in New Zealand regarding their intention to liberalise the postal monopoly.

(2) what discussions he has had with postal officials in Gibraltar regarding their intention to integrate the private sector into public postal services.

(3) what discussions he has had with the European Commission about European postal services from 1993.

Mr. Forth : None.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans he has received from Post Office Counters Ltd. for future private investment.

Mr. Forth : Details of such plans would be commercially confidential.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what plans he has received from Post Office Parcels Ltd. for private investment in the parcels network.

Mr. Forth : Details of such plans would be commercially confidential.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what steps he will take to ensure freepost election communications are not delayed by industrial action.

Mr. Forth : Post Office industrial relations are the responsibility of the board. However, I understand that the Post Office discusses arrangements for the delivery of election communications both nationally and locally in advance, to minimise the possibility of disputes when such deliveries are pending.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what was the cost to the British Overseas Trade Board of the recent report it commissioned from the Institute of Logistics and Distribution Management ; and what were its terms of reference.

Mr. Alan Clark : The Department agreed to pay for the cost of preparation of this report up to £54,000.

The terms of reference were for a study of the United Kingdom express goods services markets for destinations in mainland Europe, North America and the far east.


Column 411

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when he will discuss the options for change in the letter monopoly with the Association of International Courier and Express Services.

Mr. Forth : I have no plans for such a meeting.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when his Department will meet interested parties to discuss the report prepared for the British Overseas Trade Board on the market for express goods services between the United Kingdom and Europe, North America and the far east.

Mr. Alan Clark : My Department has discussed the report with the Association of International Courier and Express Services, and is ready to meet other interested parties who may wish to present views.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when his Department will next meet the Institute of Logistics and Distribution Management, and what issues he expects to discuss.

Mr. Alan Clark : My Department is keeping in contact with the institute on how it is seeking to encourage United Kingdom industry to respond further to the growing opportunities in the express freight market demonstrated in the recent report on the subject prepared by the institute.

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether all non-monopoly services are wholly independent of the Post Office's letter service.

Mr. Forth : While the Post Office businesses are financially independent, they are not operationally independent but charge at commercial rates for services to each other. Letters costing over £1, and so outside the monopoly limit, are not carried separately from letters below £1.

Post Office Board

Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what increase in remuneration was awarded to each member of the Post Office board on 1 April.

Mr. Forth : Information about board members' remuneration is published in the Post Office's annual accounts for the year in question.

EDUCATION AND SCIENCE

Grant-maintained Schools

Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schools have now opted for grant-maintained status ; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold : My right hon. Friend has so far approved proposals for grant-maintained status from 19 schools. A further 24 have published proposals, or voted to do so, and he will determine these on their merits in due course.

Special Educational Provision

Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what initiatives are planned by his Department to improve special educational provision in secondary schools.


Column 412

Mr. Butcher : Special educational provision in secondary schools is primarily a responsibility of LEAs. The introduction of the national curriculum is a major initiative which will enable LEAs and schools to improve educational provision for all children, not least those who require special educational provision. The in-service training of teachers in ordinary schools with a designated responsibility for pupils with special educational needs is a national priority area in the Department's local education authority training grants scheme.


Next Section

  Home Page