Sir Charles Morrison : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what negotiations or discussions his Department had with third parties about the affairs of Selective Investment Brokers Ltd., between January 1985 and June 1986.
Mr. Maude [holding answer 5 July 1989] : None. The company was mentioned in the context of investigations into Wessex Trust conducted by the Wiltshire police at the request of the Director of Public Prosecutions in the course of which assistance was provided by my Department.
Mr. Henderson : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what action he has taken to persuade European companies to locate in the United Kingdom in the light of the opening of the Channel tunnel and the advent of the single market in 1992 ;
(2) what advice he has given to European companies on the advantages of the Channel tunnel in attracting investment in the United Kingdom from Europe.
Mr. Atkins [holding answer 11 July 1989] : The DTI's Invest in Britain Bureau organises a number of commercially sponsored seminars in Europe each year aimed at attracting investment into the United Kingdom generally and highlighting the benefits of the assisted areas.
In promoting the United Kingdom as the "Preferred Location" it draws on a wide range of selling points which include its competitive wage rates, low social on-costs, low corporate taxation, skilled work force, membership of the Community, the impending completion of the single European market, the already good connections to the mainland, particularly from the east coast ports and the enhanced physical communications that will be brought about by the completion of the Channel tunnel.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when the report of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on the supply of opium derivatives is to be published ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude [pursuant to his reply, 20 April 1989, c. 254-260] : As recommended by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, we shall work towards the creation of a single EC market in opium derivatives. We envisage the development of reciprocal arrangements among EC countries for both promoting and supervising trade between them in these and other narcotic drugs, taking account of production within the Community and imports from elsewhere.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement outlining the powers of the European Economic Commission in relation to investment proposals for shipyards, with particular reference to proposals to re-open shipyards.
Mr. Newton : If shipbuilding were to resume at North East Shipbuilders Ltd. without their agreement, the Commission would be in a position to take infraction proceedings against the United Kingdom under article 85 of the treaty of Rome. The Commission could also open a procedure under article 93(2) of the treaty of Rome into all matters notified last December. As a result of such a procedure the Commission could require state aid that they decided was outwith the terms of the sixth directive on aid to shipbuilding to be repaid.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government concerning companies seeking to re-open shipyards owned by British Shipbuilders without intervention assistance, being required to submit proposals.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether he has consulted the European Economic Community Commission on proposals ro reopen shipyards when the purchasers were not seeking any intervention assistance ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Newton : In December 1988 the Government notified their intention to close North East Shipbuilders Limited as part of a package covering all aspects of support for the corporation under the sixth directive on aid to shipbuilding with the exception of the terms for the disposal of Govan which had already been cleared. The Commission took the closure into account in deciding not to raise objection to the extensive assistance that British Shipbuilders had required and to the manner in which the Government proposed to deal with this. Any proposal for a return to shipbuilding at North East Shipbuilders Limited would give the Commission grounds for re-opening all the matters cleared last December. In these circumstances we could only proceed sensibly on the basis of consulting the Commission about possible proposals.
Mr. Mans : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service whether there has been any progress made in efforts in the Civil Service to produce documents in plain English and to reduce redundancy of forms and their contents.
Mr. Luce : Since the Government's forms initiative began in 1982, Departments have made good progress in producing forms and leaflets which are easier to understand and simpler to complete. A review of the forms that the Government send to business has recently been carried out by my office. This makes recommendations to reduce the numbers of forms sent out, and to make those
Column 577that remain clearer and easier to complete. Copies of the review report have been placed in the Libraries of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Mr. Luce : We are making good progress in this area. My Department will, next week, publish a report on progress achieved in implementing the programme of action to increase equality of opportunity for women in the Civil Service. This shows that opportunities for combining a family and a career are improving, and that we are seeing more women in middle and top management jobs. As I told the House on 22 May, a similar programme of action to increase equality of opportunity for ethnic minority staff and applicants is currently being drawn up in consultation with departments.
Agency |Department --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vehicle inspectorate |Department of Transport Companies House |Department of Trade and |Industry HMSO National weights and |Department of Trade and measures laboratory |Industry Warren Spring laboratory |Department of Trade and |Industry Resettlement agency |Department of Social |Security Civil Service College |Office of the Minister for |the Civil Service QEII conference centre |Property Services Agency
I shall be making a full progress report to the House shortly.
Mr. Brooke : New, more flexible pension arrangements for part-time staff, most of whom are women, are to be introduced from 1 January 1990. They will provide greater opportunity for part-time staff to earn pension benefits. The new arrangements complement the alternative working patterns initiative, and will help the Civil Service to tap into sources of skilled and experienced staff who may hitherto have been deterred by the traditional working pattern. The changes will also enable useful simplification of administrative procedures to be made.
Mr. Baldry : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement about the arrangements for making advances of salary available to civil servants who have to move their homes as a result of being transferred in the public interest to a new place of work.
Mr. Brooke : A civil servant who has to move home on transfer in the public interest to a new place of work may be eligible for an advance of salary. Under the current arrangements an advance may be made if the net proceeds of the sale of the existing property, if any, and the maximum mortgage available from commercial sources are not sufficient to cover the cost of a suitable property at the new station. The current maximum advance payable within upper and lower limits is six months' pay. The limits were last revised in 1981. The upper limit is £9,500 with a further £1,000 for transfers into London.
The arrangements have recently been reviewed in the light of changes in the property market and in salaries since 1981. The intention is to allow departments more flexibility in making advances on transfer. It will no longer be an essential requirement, for example, that the individual should first obtain the maximum commercial mortgage. It is also proposed that the maximum advance should be six months' pay, as previously, but that the limits expressed in cash terms should be abolished.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recommendations have been made by the inter-departmental committee set up to consider whether Departments should enjoy a share of benefits accruing from rationalisation schemes and disposals of property declared surplus.
At present, receipts from the disposal of Government civil property are in general accounted for by the PSA and accrue to the Exchequer. From 1 April 1990, responsibility for the existing civil estate will be divided between individual Departments and the PSA, as announced in the statement of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 25 May 1988, Official Report, column 339. From that date, individual Departments will account for receipts in respect of disposals from their departmental estates and will seek permission from the Treasury to reapply all or part of proceeds to other parts of their programme offering good
Column 579value for money. The same arrangements apply to the PSA which will have responsibility for the common user element of the civil estate and could involve assistance to Departments that have had to move in order to create worthwhile rationalisation opportunities. This issue is among the matters kept under review by the official level interdepartmental committee which deals with accommodation matters generally on the Government's civil estate.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Attorney-General what reasons have been given to the serious fraud squad by the Egyptian authorities for their refusal to provide papers relating to Mr. Fayed ; and if he will make a statement.
Civilian Employment (figures in thousands) [TITRE ----------------------------------------------------- United Kingdom<1> |23,584|25,060|+1,476|+6.3 Rest of EC |97,569|98,920|+1,351|+1.4 <1>Over the five-year period 1983 to 1988 the rise was 11.1 per cent. for the United Kingdom. Source: United Kingdom(DE) Rest of EC(Eurostat)
Mr. Pike : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many people have been unemployed for 12 months or more in the constituencies of (a) Burnley, (b) Pendle, (c) Hyndburn, (d) Rossendale and (e) Darwen.
Mr. Lee : The information is available from the Library. The following table shows for each parliamentary constituency requested, the number of unemployed claimants who had been unemployed for 12 months or more in April 1989, the latest available date.
Long-Term Unemployed Claimants-April 1989 Parliamentary |Unemployed over 12 months constituency ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Burnley |1,188 Pendle |714 Hyndburn |650 Rossendale and Darwen |532
Mr. Jack : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consideration he has given to amending industrial relations law to deal with unofficial industrial action taken by those providing vital public services.
Mr. Nicholls : Recent industrial action in certain public sector services has been irresponsible and unnecessary. The Government are considering what needs to be done to protect the public interest, and we shall not hesitate to come forward with appropriate proposals for legislation if that proves necessary.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what advice he has received from the EEC Commission about the numbers and scope of directives which it intends to propose under the social charter ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cope : The European Commission have put forward a preliminary draft proposal for a Community charter of fundamental social rights, which they suggest should be adopted by a solemn declaration of all 12 heads of state and Government. The Commission's preliminary draft of the proposal includes an invitation to the Commission to draw up a programme of work by June 1990. No details of such a programme have been received from the Commission.
Mr. John P. Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current estimated number of trade union safety representatives as defined by the 1977 Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act ; and what was the number in 1978.
Mr. Nicholls : The health and Safety Executive does not keep records of the number of trade union safety representatives, but the Trades Union Congress currently estimates the numbers to be between 90,000 and 100,000.
My right hon. Friend has no reason to believe that this number has changed significantly since 1978.
Mr. Nicholls : The Health and Safety Commission's plan of work for 1989-90 and beyond approved in April by my right hon. Friend contains a number of extra measures designed to stimulate improvements in the health and safety performance of the construction, agricultural and associated industries. For construction these include reaching a target of 100 inspectors engaged on inspection in 1990, targeting inspections on the more hazardous activities and on the quality of site management, preparing new regulations to improve the management of health and safety on construction sites. Similarly for agriculture these include allocating additional resources to the agricultural inspectorate to be targeted primarily on high risk premises, certification of agricultural pesticide users under the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986, and new guidance on obligations under these and related regulations.
Mr. Nicholls : One and a half million copies of HSE's leaflet "Report that accident" have been distributed since 1987. The recent construction blitz campaign reminded small contractors of their reporting obligations. Also, in May and June 1988 an advertising campaign was directed specifically at under-reporting in the footwear and clothing industries and the timber and wooded furniture industries.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how his announcement of his tourism review will affect the distribution of marketing functions between the British Tourist Authority and the national tourist boards.
Mr. Mudd : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what are the top 20 tourist attractions in the South-West in numbers visiting or attending ; and if he will indicate the numbers, in each instance, for the previous comparable year.
Number of visits |1987 |1988 ------------------------------------------------------------ Roman baths and pump room, Bath |873,414|954,142 English Riviera centre, Torquay |275,000|645,000 Stonehenge |617,295|640,416 Buckfast abbey |n.a. |574,389 Bristol zoo |575,000|571,679 Dartington cider press centre |480,000|561,000 Babbacombe model village |490,000|495,000 Paignton pier |n.a. |465,000 Cheddar caves |n.a. |400,000 Wells cathedral |400,000|360,000 Paignton zoo |343,229|351,398 Exeter cathedral |300,000|347,484 Wookey Hole caves |304,690|332,824 Clovelly village |312,000|327,000 Cricket St. Thomas wildlife park |308,990|303,826 Bristol City museum and art gallery |252,504|280,850 Arnolfini gallery, Bristol |400,000|280,590 National shire horse centre |250,000|275,000 Devonshire's centre |200,000|264,500 Sea life centre, Weymouth |n.a. |250,000 Truro cathedral |250,000|250,000
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what allocation the United Kingdom has been awarded by the European social fund for 1989 ; and how much had been allocated to each region.
Mr. Cope : The Commission of the European Communities has confirmed that for 1989 the United Kingdom has been allocated £418 million towards employment and training schemes from the European social fund. This represents 18.14 per cent. of the fund's budget and means that the United Kingdom is once again receiving more than any other Community member state.
The regional breakdown is as follows :
|£ --------------------------------------------------------------------- The North |22,125,684 Yorkshire and Humberside |20,755,226 East midlands |6,599,478 West midlands |21,444,259 East Anglia |418,785 South East |18,083,103 South West |2,535,074 North West |33,362,018 Scotland |31,083,672 Wales |18,929,242 Northern Ireland |44,920,275 Schemes operating in more than one region<1> |197,744,854 |----- Total |418,001,670 <1> Including Government, industrial training boards and nationalised industry programmes.
Mr. Cope : The ceiling of financial provision available to support the CDA under current legislation will be reached in 1990-91, and we have been considering whether there is a case for any further support.
The CDA itself considered the issue and proposed that it should become a body mainly devoted to the promotion of employee share ownership, particularly employee share ownership plans. It proposed that its existing role in providing a central forum for co-operative development should be drawn from and financed by those using it, and that much of its work to promote co-operative development could now be carried out by other organisations.
The Government are firmly in favour of measures to extend the financial participation of employees in their employing organisations but we see no need for public support for another body to promote ESOPs, when there are a number of private organisations interested and active in this field. The Government did, however, agree with the CDA's view that its original remit could now be carried out by other organisations. We therefore consulted relevant organisations in the co-operative movement seeking their comments on a proposal to wind up the CDA by the time its current grant ceiling is reached. Fourteen organisations commented. A number were opposed to closure, largely on the grounds that the CDA should continue to provide a central focus for co-operative development ; others pointed to the overlap between the CDA's work and their own. Careful consideration of all the comments made has confirmed our view that the work of the CDA has now reached the stage where it can be carried on by the well-established network of local agencies and other business support bodies, including the new training and enterprise councils which will include co-operatives as well as other forms of business in their plans for enterprise support. We do not consider that co-operative organisations need a Government-sponsored body to co-ordinate or represent them or to take on new functions.
Our decision is therefore that the agency's life should not be extended when current funding runs out. We
Column 584propose to wind up the agency by order, under the affirmative resolution procedure, during the next parliamentary session. The Government will continue to take a keen interest in co- operatives, which we see as one expression of the fast developing enterprise culture in Britain.
I would like to express my appreciation to the chairman, director, board and staff of the CDA for the enthusiasm and commitment that they have shown. They have achieved a good deal over the past 11 years and deserve credit for a job well done.
Mr. Nicholls : Recent industrial action in certain public sector services has been irresponsible and unnecessary. The Government is considering what needs to be done to protect the public interest, and will not hesitate to come forward with appropriate proposals for legislation if that proves necessary.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what inflation assumptions were built into Welsh health authority budget allocations for the fiscal year 1989-90 and plans for fiscal year 1990-91 and 1991-92 ;
(2) what was (a) the hospital and community health services' pay and price deflator for Wales, for each fiscal year since 1979, (b) the inflation assumption used in National Health Service budget plans in each year from 1978-79 to 191-92 and (c) the gross domestic product deflator for Wales for each year from 1978-79.
Mr. Peter Walker : The information requested cannot be provided exactly in the form asked for. The table shows in column 1 the percentage increase in hospital and community health services pay and prices ; the figures are based on English data as no information is collected in Wales. The second column shows the provision for inflation made in district health authorities' initial revenue allocations each year. Because the figures relate to allocations made at the beginning of each year, they do not take account of any supplementary funding made available in year to meet the excess costs of pay awards (mainly for review bodies staff) over and above the initial inflation allowance. They are not therefore comparable with the figures in column 1. Each health authority makes its own plans for inflation in setting its budget for the year ahead ; however, these details are not held centrally.
|Col. 1 |Col. 2 |Col. 3 |Annual percentage. |Welsh DHA Revenue |Annual percentage. |Increase in Hospital and|Allocations: Inflation |Increase in GDP |Community Health |Assumptions<2> |(Wales)<3> |Services pay and prices |(England) ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1978-79 |9.6 |9.0<4> |12.1 1979-80 |20.5 |7.9<4> |14.8 1980-81 |28.0 |24.8<4> |13.2 1981-82 |8.2 |7.2<4> |10.7 1982-83 |6.5 |4 per cent. pay |11.5 |9 per cent. prices 1983-84 |5.1 |6.0 |9.7 1984-85 |5.8 |3 per cent. pay |2.3 |5 per cent. prices 1985-86 |5.2 |3 per cent. pay |14.9 |4 per cent. prices 1986-87 |6.9 |4.5 |6.7 1987-88 |8.5 |3.75 |7.7 1988-89 |10.5 |4.5 |<1>- 1989-90 |<1>- |5.0 |<1>- 1990-91 |<1>- |4.0<5> |<1>- 1991-92 |<1>- |3.0<5> |<1>- <1> Projected figures are not available. <2> Inflation assumptions as contained in the initial recurrent revenue allocations to DHAs. <3> The information provided relates to calendar years. The figure for 1987-88 is provisional and projections for subsequent years are not available. <4> Prior to the introduction of cash planning in 1982-83 the inflation allowances made available to health authorities in each financial year reflected the full year effect on spending of forecast increases in pay and prices in the previous November to March and the full and part year effect of further increases forecast to occur during the course of the financial year. <5> Based on Her Majesty's Treasury forecast of the increase in the gross domestic product deflator.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consequences are envisaged for the Wales Tourist Board as the result of the announcements contained in the reply to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Yardley, (Mr. Bevan) by the right hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield, (Mr. Fowler) on 6 July, Official Report, column 278 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : No direct consequences are envisaged for the Wales tourist board. The more effective arrangements for promoting Britain overseas will provide the board, working with the industry, with the opportunity to increase visitor numbers to Wales in collaboration with the British Tourist Authority.
Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will allocate extra funds to Clwyd local education authority to enable the authority to supply an extra mobile classroom at Mountain Lane school ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Wyn Roberts : No. Clwyd local education authority must decide their priorities for the use of the capital resources available to them. Capital provision for education in Wales was increased by 11 per cent. in 1989-90.
Mr. Nicholas Bennett : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales why there was a delay of a month in notification to Welsh local authorities of changes in the amount of mandatory repairs grant from 75 per cent. to 20 per cent. for landlords under sections 130 and 131 of the Housing Act 1988.
Column 586that an explanatory circular was in preparation as soon as was practicable after the House approved the draft order. The letter issued on 10 January and the order came into effect on 19 January.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will pay an official visit to the beaches along the Welsh side of the Bristol channel to observe the degree of pollution apparent both on the beach and in the sea.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what preparations he is making to restore Government- to-Government aid in Cambodia in the light of the anticipated Vietnamese withdrawal.
Miss Lestor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will next meet his ministerial colleagues of the European Community to discuss overseas development policy and the level of overseas assistance.