Home Page

Column 697

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 26 July 1989

NATIONAL FINANCE

Civil Servants (Resignations)

3. Mr. John Garrett : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many civil servants of assistant secretary level and above have resigned from the Civil Service in each of the last 10 years.

Mr. Ryder : Numbers of civil servants of unified grade 5 (assistant secretary equivalent) and above who have resigned from the Civil Service in each of the last 10 years are shown in the table. The numbers of resignations each year represent less that 2 per cent. of the total staff numbers.


Unified grades 1 to 5                                 

                  |Numbers resigning                  

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

1979              |18                                 

1980              |27                                 

1981              |25                                 

1982              |38                                 

1983              |31                                 

1984              |37                                 

1985              |39                                 

1986              |31                                 

1987              |37                                 

<1>1988           |49                                 

<1> Provisional.                                      

Import Penetration

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing for each industry listed in the tables given in replies to the hon. Member for Great Grimsby, 14 November 1988, Official Report, columns 401-2 and 412, concerning import penetration in certain industries, the increase in the volume of imports and exports to the four areas between 1979 and 1987 together with the gross and net fixed capital investments.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I have been asked to reply.

Constant price trade-by-industry data are not available on an area basis. Detailed information on fixed capital expenditure by individual sectors of industry may be conveniently found in the summary volumes of the annual census of production.

Finished Manufactures

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing his best estimate of the value and increase in volume, based on 1985=100, and United Kingdom output of finished manufactures in 1973, 1978, 1981, 1985, 1987 and the current year to date and the value and volume of (i) imports of intermediate goods, (ii) United Kingdom


Column 698

output of finished manufactures less imports of intermediate goods and (iii) exports of finished manufactures.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I have been asked to reply.

A current price estimate for the value of United Kingdom output of finished manufactures is not readily available. An index at constant prices is provided in the table. Figures for imports of intermediate goods and exports of finished manufactures may be found in the latest annual supplement to the monthly review of external trade statistics and the latest balance of payments press notice, both of which are available in the Library.


Estimated volume    

index of output of  

finished            

manufactures        

(1985=100)          

Year                

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

1973    |104.0      

1978    |103.9      

1981    |90.9       

1985    |100.0      

1987    |105.0      

<1>1989 |115.4      

<1>To date.         

Note:Finished       

manufactures have   

been taken to       

comprise consumer   

and investment      

goods.              

Exports

Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report a table showing (i) for ratio 3 of the export sales ratio in the years 1975, 1979 and 1987 for manufacturing less divisions 21, 23, 24, 41/42, 46 and 47, (ii) the increase in the value of United Kingdom sales and exports for this group of industries less the value of imports of intermediate goods divided between them in the same ratio and (iii) the estimated increase in volume of net output and net exports for this group after this adjustment.

Mr. Douglas Hogg : I have been asked to reply.

Figures constructed from current price data are estimated to be as follows. Comparable data at constant prices could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Exports as a proportion of manufacturers' sales                   

Per cent.                                                         

                      |Manufacturing less                         

                      |divisions 21, 23, 24,                      

                      |41/42, 46, and 47                          

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

1975                  |33                                         

1979                  |34                                         

1987                  |43                                         


Value of United Kingdom sales and exports less the total value of 

imports of intermediate goods divided between them pro-rata       

United Kingdom        |Manufacturing less                         

                      |divisions 21, 23, 24,                      

                      |41/42, 46, and 47                          

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

Home sales                                                        

1975                  |38                                         

1979                  |74                                         

1987                  |120                                        

                                                                  

Exports                                                           

1975                  |14                                         

1979                  |26                                         

1987                  |49                                         


Column 699

Earnings Rule (Abolition)

Mr. John Marshall : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the implementation of the abolition of the earnings rule.

Mrs. Gillian Shephard : I have been asked to reply.

From 1 October 1989, existing pensioners who already have their pension reduced because of their earnings will be awarded the full pension to which they are entitled. Those who have deferred taking their pension will be offered the opportunity to claim it or to continue deferment. The Department's objective is that as many as possible of those who wish to do so will be able to draw their pension by Christmas. In any event, payments will be backdated to 1 October.

CIVIL SERVICE

Senior Management Development Programme

Mr. John Garrett : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service, what has been the enrolment on the Civil Service senior management development programme for the last five years.

Mr. Luce : The senior management development programme was launched in September 1985. The approximate numbers of participants at 31 March of each year were :


             |Participants             

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

1986         |2,600                    

1987         |3,000                    

1988         |4,300                    

<1>1989      |4,500                    

<1>Provisional figure.                 

Next Steps Initiative

Sir Hal Miller : To ask the Minister for the Civil Service how the next steps initiative is progressing ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce : The next steps initiative is taking firm root. There are now eight agencies set up and the project manager expects that by this time next year there will be 20 or more established. Over 30 areas of Government activity covering around one third of the Civil Service, have been announced as candidates for agency status. These are all listed. The candidates include the social security operations, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security announced in May that he intended to set up as two or three agencies covering virtually the whole of his Department. There is more to come ; work is progressing in a number of other important areas of government.

In support of this, a good deal of other work has been completed or is in hand, including work on accountability, appointment of chief executives, pay and personnel and recruitment flexibilities, financial regimes and delegation generally.

The aim of next steps is better value for money and better service to the public. Accordingly agencies set up are being given performance targets and objectives in these areas. The first Agency is not yet a year old, but the signs are that targets will be achieved, and meanwhile that the


Column 700

move to agency status has, as expected, released energies and enthusiasms of staff to tackle their tasks differently and better. I look to this to develop and progress. The success of next steps will be measured not simply by the number of agencies set up, but in the improvements in performance, for the benefit of taxpayers, customers and staff, that are expected to result. Arrangements are being set in hand to evaluate the project.

Next steps has attracted considerable public interest and indeed general support, both at home and abroad. This House too has taken a close interest, and in the last six months both the Public Accounts Committee and the Treasury and Civil Service Committee have carried out their own inquiries. The Government welcome this interest and will be replying to their reports in due course.

Executive Agencies Established at July 1989

Vehicle Inspectorate (DTp)

Companies House (DTI)

Her Majesty's Stationery Office

National Weights and Measures Laboratory (DTI)

Warren Spring Laboratory

Resettlement Units (DSS)

Civil Service College (OMCS)

QEII Conference Centre (PSA)

Eight in number

Executive Agency Candidates Announced at July 1989

These are activities publicly announced by the responsible Ministers as under consideration for Agency status. Their progress towards Agency status varies, with some at a more advanced and certain stage than others.

Building Research Establishment (DOE)

Central Statistical Office

Central Office of Information

Central Veterinary Laboratory (MAFF)

Civil Service Commission Recruitment Service (OMCS)

Civil Service Occupational Health Service (OMCS)

Crown Suppliers Fuel Branch (PSA)

Defence non-Nuclear Research Establishments (MOD)

Department of the Registers of Scotland (SO)

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Directorate (DTp)

Driver Testing and Training (DTp)

Employment Service (DE)

Forensic Science Service (HO)

Historic Buildings and Monuments Directorate (SO)

Historic Royal Palaces (DOE)

Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce

Insolvency Service (DTI)

Laboratory of the Government Chemist (DTI)

Land Registry

Meteorological Office (MOD)

National Engineering Laboratory (DTI)

National Physical Laboratory (DTI)

Passport Department (HO)

Patent Office (DTI)

Planning Inspectorate (DOE)

Radiocommunications Division (DTI)

Royal Parks (DOE)

Social Security IT Services Agency (DSS)

Social Security Benefits Agency (DSS)

Training Agency (DE)

Vehicle Component Approval (DTp)

Veterinary Medicines Directorate (MAFF)

Employment and Training Agency

Social Security Operations

Rating Division

Northern Ireland

Civil Service

Thirty-five in number


Column 701

OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT

Nepal

Mr. Tony Lloyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Nepalese authorities about providing medical or other equipment and assistance to overcome shortages due to the dispute between Nepal and India.

Mr. Sainsbury : No specific request for medical equipment has been received. The flow of supplies into Nepal appears to have improved and this has been reflected in our own aid projects where the improved supply of fuel has enabled a sustainable level of operations. We are, however, engaged in a continuing dialogue with the Nepalese authorities on our aid programme and will consider any well-founded request carefully.

DEFENCE

Anthrax

Mr. Cohen : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Leyton of 19 July, if he will list the off-site activities of the chemical defence establishment at Porton Down involving detection, decontamination, treatment and protective systems involving anthrax other than on Gruinard island.

Mr. Alan Clark : All research work on anthrax undertaken by CDE scientists has been located at Porton Down and Gruinard island.

Mine Warfare Exercise

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if consultations have taken place with local fishermen concerning the mine warfare exercise which is to take place in the firth of Clyde during August ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : There is no specific exercise taking place in the Firth of Clyde in August, but a dummy minefield is being laid during the month for evaluation purposes, as part of a continuing programme of mine countermeasures work. The co-ordinates of this were passed to the Clyde fishermen's association on 20 June 1989. A favourable response was received from the association on 10 July, and a Clyde warning message was issued on 20 July.

Submarine Exercises

Dr. Godman : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the Royal Navy is considering the re-introduction of the practice of having a fleet tender in attendance when a submarine is submerged on exercise ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton : I am advised that it has not previously been standard practice for fleet tenders to be present at submarine exercises and there are no plans to introduce such a measure. Tenders will, however, continue to be a present for specific trials such as an initial dive after build or refit.


Column 702

HMS Dreadnought

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his future plans for HMS Dreadnought.

Mr. Alan Clark : I refer the hon. Member to the House of Commons Defence Committee's seventh report, published on 21 June 1989.

Nuclear Submarines (Rosyth)

Mr. Gordon Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy that there be no further storage of nuclear submarines in the vicinity of Rosyth dockyard.

Mr. Alan Clark : The Government have made no decision about the method by which decommissioned nuclear submarines will be disposed of, nor where any submarines should be stored, should temporary storage afloat be necessary.

Training

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Clackmannan of 19 July Official Report, column 232, what are the restrictions on the nature and extent of the training which apply in the two areas referred to in his reply ; for what purpose he acquired long term rights over the two areas referred to ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Neubert : The following restrictions apply to the nature and extent of training on the two areas in question :

Forestry Commission Land in Galloway

Under the terms of the licence, use of the area is permitted for adventure training, map reading, orienteering and small scale escape and evasion exercises. There are limitations on the number of men permitted to use the area at any one time and all buildings, lochs, SSS1s, low lying land and fields containing crops and hay are out of bounds. There are also limitations on the use of blank ammunition and pyrotechnics, vehicles and helicopters.

British Aluminium Company Land at Kinlochleven

The majority of the area is not available to MOD between 1 August and 21 October. With certain exceptions vehicles are not permitted other than on public roads. The use of live ammunition is prohibited and training must not interfere with or cause damage to any hydraulic or factory installation nor interfere with the landlord's use for all normal estate, sporting, agricultural or silvicultural purposes. We have acquired long-term rights over these two areas to secure the continuation of our present training activities.

Training Land

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) to what percentage area of Ministry of Defence property holdings the public has (a) full access, (b) limited access and (c) no access ; (2) to what percentage area of Ministry of Defence training land the public has (a) full access, (b) limited access and (c) no access.

Mr. Neubert : It is our policy to allow access to MOD-owned land where this is compatible with operational and safety considerations and with the interests of tenants and licensees. Records are not held in a form that would show the percentage of MOD land over which the public has access.


Column 703

Mr. O'Neill : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage area of Ministry of Defence training land is allowed to be used for live-fire training exercises.

Mr. Neubert : Records are not held in the form required and the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


Next Section

  Home Page