Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Marconi or associate company defence contracts are the subject of inquiries by Ministry of Defence police or the special fraud office where charges have not yet been brought ;
(2) what inquiries are being undertaken into supply of sonar equipment, radar, J-Tids and the management of Marconi by his Department, including Ministry of Defence police.
Mr. Sainsbury : Inquiries are being made into a number of allegations and it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this stage ; the work of the serious fraud office is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on which contracts between his Department and Marconi or its associate companies moneys have been repaid following upon past costing or inquiries by civil servants.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the United Kingdom annual defence procurement budget was spent with Marconi and its associate companies in each year since 1986.
Mr. Sainsbury : Payments made to the Marconi Co. Ltd. in respect of headquarters contracts in each of the three years since 1986 represent the following proportions of the United Kingdom annual defence procurement budget :
Year |Per cent. ------------------------------ 1986-87 |7.0 1987-88 |7.1 1988-89 |5.5
Column 158United States air force inventory. There have been no accidents involving EF111A from RAF Upper Heyford and only one accident involving an F111E from RAF Upper Heyford in the 1980s. That was in 1984 when an aircraft suffered a bird strike while on a training flight in Scotland. Both crew members ejected safely.
Mr. Forth : The 15th annual report by the Director General of Fair Trading has been published today. It covers the period from 1 January 1988 to 31 December 1988. Copies of the report have been laid before Parliament.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what public financial assistance has been paid to Coats Viyella in the United Kingdom in each year since 1979 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Atkins : Information on payments of Government financial assistance to individual companies is com-mercially confidential except to the extent that it has been published in British Business under standing arrangements. The following information has been published in British Business on financial assistance to Coats Viyella since it was incorporated in April 1986 :
|£ ----------------------------------------------------- Payments of RDG I |Nil Payments of RDG II |Nil Offers of RSA |<1>500,000 Offers of Section 8 assistance |Nil <1> Published in 1987.
This information relates to Coats Viyella plc : information on assistance paid or offered to its subsidiary companies could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Maude : I have today signed new regulations relating to consumer credit advertisements and quotations and I have also signed a commencement order under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 relating to the licensing of consumer credit businesses.
The new Consumer Credit (Advertisements) Regulations will come into force on 1 February 1990. The regulations have been substantially simplified. This should be a major benefit to both traders and enforcement bodies. At the same time, additional safeguards for consumers have been provided, including a warning about the risk of loss of the borrower's home in the event of default on a secured loan and about the risks of foreign currency
Column 159mortgages. The new regulations relating to consumer credit quotations will bring them into line with the advertisement regulations.
Consumer credit trade associations, consumer bodies and enforcement authorities were consulted at every stage of the revision. The commencement order under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 will bring the licensing provisions of the Act into force for individuals, partnerships and other unincorporated businesses which have, until now, been exempt from the Act if they dealt exclusively in loans of £30 or less. From 31 July, it will be an offence to carry on such a business without having applied to the Director General of Fair Trading for a consumer credit licence.
The exemption from licensing was originally intended to reduce the burden on very small firms, but is of little practical benefit to legitimate businesses because there are few businesses which make loans only for amounts of less than £30 and which are not covered by one of the other exemptions from licensing requirement. However, the £30 exemption has proved a significant obstacle to enforcement bodies such as local authority trading standards officers. Not only do they have to prove that the trader has been engaged in moneylending, but that at least some of his agreements have been for sums of more than £30.
Traders who apply to the Director General of Fair Trading for a licence by 31 July will be able to continue to carry on this category of business as they will be deemed to be licensed until the licence application has been finally determined.
Credit brokerage businesses that are carried on by an individual, partnership or unincorporated body and that introduce customers to a source of credit exclusively for sums not exceeding £30 are still exempt from licensing.
Mr. Peter Morrison : I have been asked to reply. None. On behalf of the European Commission, the European Central Standards Organisation (CEN) is now working on a quality specification for diesel fuels within the Community.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the rates of value added tax charged in each European country for (i) food in shops, (ii) food in restaurants, (iii) books, (iv) magazines, (v) newspapers, (vi) household fuel, (vii) rents, (viii) house purchase,(ix) children's clothing and (x) parish hall or community centres.
1. Food in shops<1> Country |Rate |per cent. --------------------------------------------------------- Belgium |6.0 Denmark |22.0 France |<2>5.5 Germany |7.0 Greece |6.0 Ireland |<3>0.0 Italy |<4>4.0, 9.0 Luxembourg |<5>3.0, 6.0 Netherlands |6.0 Portugal |<6>0.0, 8.0, (6.0) Spain |6.0 United Kingdom |<7>0.0 <1> Excluding luxury foods. <2> With certain exceptions, e.g. sweets, ice-cream, margarine which are standard rated at 18.6 per cent. <3> Alcohol and soft drinks other than fruit juices are liable at 25 per cent. in all circumstances, as is all food and drink supplied through a vending machine. <4> The lower rate applies to essential foodstuffs such as bread, pasta and fish. <5> The lower rate applies to meat, meat products, bread and butter. <6> The rate shown in brackets applies to the autonomous regions of the Madeira and Azores archipelagos. The zero rate applies to unprepared foodstuffs. <7> With certain exceptions including ice-cream, chocolates and similar confectionery, alcoholic and soft drinks, potato crisps and similar products and pet foods.
2. Food in restaurants Country |Rate |per cent. ----------------------------------------- Belgium |17.0 Denmark |22.0 France |18.6 Germany |14.0 Greece |<1>- Ireland |10.0 Italy |<2>9.0 Luxembourg |6.0 Netherlands |6.0 Portugal |<3>8.0 (6.0) Spain |<4>6.0, 12.0 United Kingdom |15.0 <1> Greece has set its VAT rates at 6 per cent., 18 per cent., and 36 per cent., but full details about the applicability of the rates are not yet available. <2> Excluding the supply of food in luxury premises including luxury hotels. <3> Lower rates apply in the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira archipelagos. <4> The higher rate applies to services supplied in luxury hotels.
3. Books Country |Rate |per cent. ----------------------------------- Belgium |6.0 Denmark |22.0 France |2.1 Germany |7.0 Greece |<1>- Ireland |0.0 Italy |0.0 Luxembourg |6.0 Netherlands |6.0 Portugal |0.0 Spain |6.0 United Kingdom |0.0 <1> Information not available.
4. Newspapers Country |Rate |per cent. ----------------------------------- Belgium |0.0 Denmark |0.0 France |2.1 Germany |7.0 Greece |<1>- Ireland |10.0 Italy |0.0 Luxembourg |6.0 Netherlands |6.0 Portugal |0.0 Spain |6.0 United Kingdom |0.0 <1> Information not available.
5. Magazines Country |Rate |per cent. ----------------------------------- Belgium |6.0 Denmark |22.0 France |2.1 Germany |7.0 Greece |<1>- Ireland |25.0 Italy |0.0 Luxembourg |6.0 Netherlands |6.0 Portugal |0.0 Spain |6.0 United Kingdom |0.0 <1> Information not available.
6. Household fuel Country |Coal/peat/wood|Oil |Gas |Electricity |per cent. |per cent. |per cent. |per cent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Belgium |6.0 |17.0 |17.0 |17.0 Denmark |22.0 |22.0 |22.0 |22.0 France |18.6 |18.6 |5.5 |5.5 Germany |<2>14.0 |14.0 |14.0 |14.0 Greece<1> |- |- |- |- Ireland |10.0 |10.0 |10.0 |5.0 Italy |9.0 |9.0 |9.0 |9.0 Luxembourg |6.0 |6.0 |6.0 |6.0 Netherlands |18.5 |18.5 |18.5 |18.5 Portugal |8.0 (6.0) |8.0 (6.0) |8.0 (6.0) |<3>8.0 (6.0) Spain |12.0 |12.0 |12.0 |12.0 United Kingdom |0.0 |0.0 |0.0 |0.0 <1> Information not available. <2> Wood is taxed at the reduced rate of 7 per cent. <3> Lower rates apply in autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira archipelagos.
The letting of immovable property is exempt from VAT in every member state, although some member states operate an option to tax in certain circumstances.
8. House purchase Country |Rate on new buildings|Rate on second-hand |buildings |per cent. |per cent. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Belgium |17.0 |Exempt Denmark |22.0 |Exempt France |18.6 |Exempt Germany |Exempt |Exempt Greece<1> |- |- Ireland |10.0 |<2>Exempt Italy |<3>4.0, 19.0 |<3>4.0, 19.0 Luxembourg |Exempt |Exempt Netherlands |18.5 |Exempt Portugal |Exempt |Exempt Spain |<4>12.0 |Exempt United Kingdom |0.0 |Exempt <1>Information not available. <2>Or 10 per cent. if developed since 31 October 1972 and input tax credit was claimed. <3>Certain "low-priced" housing 4 per cent., others 19 per cent. <4>Or 6 per cent. if the first supply by a constructor of a residential dwelling.
9. Children's Clothing Country |Rate |per cent. ------------------------------------------- Belgium |19.0 Denmark |22.0 France |18.6 Germany |14.0 Greece |16.0 Ireland |10.0 Italy |19.0 Luxembourg |12.0 Netherlands |18.5 Portugal |<1>17.0, 12.0 Spain |12.0 United Kingdom |0.0 <1>Lower rate applies in the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira archipelagoes.
10. Parish Hall or Community Centres
Leasing of such buildings is exempt in all member states. For purchase (including construction), in other member states the rates in table 8 above generally apply. In the United Kingdom, the construction of new village halls and similar charitable community buildings will remain zero-rated, following clarification by the EC Commission of last year's judgment of the European Court of justice. The leasing of buildings is exempt unless the charities opt to tax the rents or unless the supply includes the admission to sports to other recreational facilities.
Mr. Lawson [holding answer 4 July 1989] : My right hon. Friend the Paymaster General informed the House on 9 February 1989, columns 751-52, that Departments' reports to the Treasury on their relocation reviews during the 1988 public expenditure survey had indicated over 34,000 Civil Service posts under review. Departments are reporting on the progress of their review programmes in the current survey, and my right hon. Friend will be making a further announcement after its conclusion.
Ministers assess the relocation proposals of their own Departments, following Treasury guidelines, and announce their decisions accordingly.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the consequences for economic policy of joining the exchange rate mechanism of the European monetary system at the current exchange rates.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : No. There are no provisions in the Social Security Acts which allow adjustments to be made when variations occur in exchange rates as between the United Kingdom and other countries. United Kingdom benefit rates are set at levels appropriate to beneficiaries who are in the United Kingdom and it would neither be practicable nor fair to expect the national insurance fund and the Department to meet the costs and administrative difficulties involved in making adjustments to meet the specific situation of pensioners who are living abroad, in some 170 countries, generally as a matter of choice.
Mr. Kilfedder : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proposals he has to speed up the dualling of the main Belfast--Dublin Euroroute from the M1 motorway as far as the land frontier with the Republic of Ireland.
Mr. Needham : Approximately two thirds of the road between the M1 motorway and the border with the Republic of Ireland is already dual carriageway. It is planned to complete the dualling of the last remaining stretch of single carriageway between the M1 and Loughbrickland by May 1992. The Newry bypass, which is being constructed to single carriageway standard, should be completed by August 1994. The remaining stretches of single carriageway will be dualled as and where traffic flows warrant it.
Mr. Kilfedder : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he proposes to take to improve investment in roads infrastructure in the Province along the lines of the proposals by the Secretary of State for Transport for England and Wales.
Mr Needham : In keeping with the Government's objective to maintain a sound roads infrastructure in Northern Ireland, I am allocating an additional £28 million for structural maintenance of the existing network over a three-year period. Appropriate priority is being given to the maintenance needs of the main inter-urban routes. We continue to develop the main road system through an annual programme of new construction schemes. In addition, major investment is planned in a new
Column 164cross-harbour road link to improve traffic conditions in and around central Belfast. Funds have already been made available to enable land and property acquisition to proceed.
Mr Robertson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the circumstances surrounding the Overseas Development Administration involvement in the St Helena ferry construction, and in the decision to give the contract to A and P Appledore.
Mr. Eggar : The aid programme is financing the construction of a new mixed passenger and cargo ship for the Government of St Helena. The contract was placed in December 1987 with Hall Russell Ltd of Aberdeen. This company went into receivership in November 1988, but work on the ship continued. The joint receivers sold Hall Russell's assets in February 1989. A contract to complete the ship was subsequently concluded by the Overseas Development Administration, acting on behalf of the Government of St Helena, with the yard's new owner, A and P Appledore (Aberdeen) Ltd. We are satisfied with both the contract and the good progress that is now being made. The ship is to be launched on 31 October.
Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the European Community Articles under which the Community may co-finance projects in developing countries and development education projects with United Kingdom non-governmental organisations, and the Community's expenditure under each article on projects co-financed with United Kingdom non-governmental organisations in the latest year for which figures are available.
Mr. Eggar : European Community co-financing with European non- governmental organisations for projects in developing countries and development education projects is funded from line 941 of the Community budget. In his reply of 16 June, column 546 , my right hon. Friend the Minister for Overseas Development listed the amounts granted to United Kingdom non-governmental organisations under this programme in 1987.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Attorney-General what inquiries are currently being undertaken by the special fraud office into contracts for sonar equipment supplied by Marconi and its associated companies.
The Attorney-General : The serious fraud office, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence police, is investigating a number of allegations concerning the Marconi Company Limited and its subsidiaries. It would not be appropriate for me to provide more specific information.
Mr. Malcolm Bruce : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he intends to introduce a permanent record of all incidents where chemicals contained in drums or containers sink within 100 miles of the British coast.
Mr. Portillo : The present arrangement is that records are kept of chemical losses where on scientific advice salvage is attempted, within United Kingdom waters or on the United Kingdom continental shelf. I am satisfied that that is appropriate.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if it is his policy to make responses to proposals made by the Transport Committee of the European Parliament which have been endorsed by vote at the European Parliamentary Assembly.
Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list all the accidents, including fatalities, involving the microlight plane since its introduction ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The Civil Aviation Authority has the statutory responsibility for the safety regulation of civil aviation within the United Kingdom. I am asking the chairman of the authority to write to my hon. Friend.
Mr. Wheeler : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the outcome was of the intensive crackdown on untaxed vehicles following the roadside checks carried out by the London enforcement office assisted by the Metropolitan and City of London police forces for the period following 16 May.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : Three thousand eight hundred motorists were reported for not having a current road fund licence on display. These cases are being investigated. Where it is clear that vehicle excise duty has been evaded, those responsible will be prosecuted.
Mr. Barry Field : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of the number of operations undertaken by the coastguard helicopter based at Lee-on-Solent during its first year of service.
Mr. Portillo : In the first year of operation, which commenced on 15 May 1988, the helicopter attended 146 incidents and assisted 68 persons. Furthermore, during many of those incidents the aircraft participated in rescues in which lifeboats or other craft landed survivors.
Mr. Tim Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answers of 24 April, Official Report, column 447, and 15 May, Official Report, column 11, if he will now place a copy of some provisional traffic statistics for M25 main carriageway, entry and exit slip roads collected by or for his Department in the Library in advance of the final statistics to be included in the report of the M25 review.
Mr. Harry Barnes : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to set up an independent inquiry into recent rail accidents and safety conditions on British Rail ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Portillo [holding reply 30 June 1989] : Three separate independent public inquiries have been held into the recent tragic accidents at Clapham junction, Purley and Bellgrove. I am awaiting the reports, which will be published. Mr. Anthony Hidden QC, who is conducting the Clapham junction inquiry, is considering whether any broader management lessons need to be learnt and will take into account any relevant evidence from the other two inquiries.
Mr. Beith : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he will give the cash and constant price figures for funds made available to the UFC for current grants, excluding changes in the home student fee levels, compensation for redundancy and early retirement, information technology and new blood programmes deflated by the gross domestic product deflator, the retail prices index and the university pay and prices index, for each of the years 1980-81 to 1988-89 ;
(2) if he will give the cash and constant price figures of funds made available to the UFC for recruitment and capital grants, shown separately and each deflated by the appropriate gross domestic product deflator, and the universities retail pay and prices index for each of the years 1980-81 to 1988-89.
£ million Financial YeCapital Recurrent |Cash |Real terms|Cash |Real terms ------------------------------------------------------------------ 1980-81 |97.9 |144.6 |942.9 |1,393.1 1981-82 |103.1 |138.8 |968.0 |1,303.2 1982-83 |106.8 |134.3 |1,176.2 |1,478.8 1983-84 |103.1 |123.9 |1,222.2 |1,468.5 1984-85 |106.7 |122.2 |1,253.2 |1,434.9 1985-86 |118.2 |128.3 |1,282.6 |1,392.3 1986-87 |130.2 |136.7 |1,320.1 |1,386.4 1987-88 |128.8 |128.8 |1,464.0 |1,464.0 <1>1988-89 |140.1 |130.6 |1,584.9 |1,477.8 <1>Estimate. This includes cash provision of £50 million in 1982-83 and £30 million in 1983-84 for redundancy and premature retirement compensation: subtracting this from recurrent grant gives real terms figures for those years of £1,415.9 million and £1,432.5 million. Recurrent grant for 1982-83 included provision of over £100 million in compensation for reduced tuition fee income but was not separately identified in later years. Information is not available to make the other adjustments requested. Real terms are at 1987-88 prices as measured by the GDP deflator which the Government regard as the most appropriate measure of the cost to the economy as a whole and to the public purse of expenditure changes. Over the period in question, this moved from a base of 100 to 158.5. The retail prices index, which relates only to general consumers' expenditure, moved from a base of 100 in January 1981 to 157.9 in January 1989. From November 1980 to January 1989, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals' university pay and prices index moved from a base of 100 to 167.6, although this does not fully reflect the efficiency gains which have occurred over the period.
Mr. Pawsey : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make available in the Vote Office the recent report produced for the Department on the education of West Indian or Asian children in state schools ; if he will summarise in the Official Report the main findings of the report ; and what action he intends to take to implement the finding of the report.
Mr. Butcher : A copy of "The School Effect : A Study of Multiracial Comprehensives" has been placed in the Library. This report is based on research which followed the progress of 3,000 pupils in 20 urban comprehensives, starting in 1981. The research found striking differences between the schools surveyed in what they did and how they did it. The level of achievement of pupils of similar abilities, regardless of their ethnic or social background, varied markedly according to the school they attended. Differences in examination results between ethnic groups were small and very much smaller than the differences between schools.
This report reinforces the Government's determination to press ahead with the implementation of the national curriculum and with the arrangements for assessment and testing so that every child can have the best possible start in life.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) whether he will make it his policy to give the Natural Environment Research Council the necessary funds to develop work into better understanding of water quality in United Kingdom rivers ; (2) whether he will make it his policy to give the Natural Environment Research Council the necessary funds to develop work in the combined geological and biological research needed to investigate the natural effects and the impact of pollution.
Mr. Jackson : As stated in my replies to the hon. Member for Cardiff, South and Penarth on 4 July, Official Report, columns 124-25, my right hon. Friend will as usual consider expenditure on all areas of scientific research sponsored by this Department later this year, after studying advice from the Advisory Board for the Research Councils.
Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much money was provided by his Department for research into the links between pollution and human health (i) each year from 1979-89 and (ii) in the current financial year.
Mr. Jackson [holding answer 3 July 1989] : The Medical Research Council, which receives grant-in-aid from this Department, is the main agency through which the Government support medical research. Since 1979-90, the council has spent the following amounts on research into links between pollution and human health, covering research on chemical and physical hazards, sound and vibration, and radiation.
Year |£ million ------------------------------ 1979-80 |4.3 1980-81 |5.8 1981-82 |6.1 1982-83 |5.8 1983-84 |6.1 1984-85 |5.5 1985-86 |5.4 1986-87 |5.2 1987-88 |5.3 Figures for 1988-89 and 1989-90 are not yet available.
A small element of the research carried out by the Natural Environment Research Council is also relevant to links between pollution and human health. It is estimated that over the last 10 years £0.3 million of money provided by this Department has been spent on such work.
Additionally, university departments and medical schools support a range of research from block grants from the Universities Funding Council, some of which may be relevant to links between pollution and human health.
Column 169the meeting, raised the matter of (a) nuclear materials safeguards, (b) a common policy on nuclear fuel reprocessing, (c) the future of the European fast reactor collaborative programme, (d) the role of the Euratom nuclear materials supply agency and (e) recent reports from the European Parliament on nuclear power and radiation protection ;
(2) if, during the recent meeting of heads of governments of European Community states held in Madrid, the issue of the transfrontier transport of radioactive and toxic waste under the changes to be implemented under the Single European Act in 1992 was discussed ; and if she will make a statement.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Prime Minister if, during the recent summit of heads of Government of European Community states held in Madrid, the matter of the Western European Union and an independent nuclear weapons force for western Europe was discussed.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Prime Minister if, during the recent meeting of heads of Governments of the European Community states held in Madrid she raised with the French Prime Minister or Foreign Minister the prospects of France signing the nuclear
Mr. Latham : To ask the Prime Minister whether any Government Departments have any current contracts with Halliburton Manufacturing and Services Ltd., 17 Hanover Square, London W1R 0FL, or any of its international branches ; and whether she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : No central listing of companies in contract with Government Departments is maintained. A review of the records of the main Government Departments shows no evidence of any current contracts with Halliburton Manufacturing and Services Ltd. or any of its international branches.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Prime Minister if she will make it her policy to take personal control of the co-ordination work required to stop the dumping of raw sewage into the Bristol channel and to work towards these beaches attaining the standards of the EC bathing water directive 76/160/EEC.