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Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report the value in 1988 and the current year to date of pension fund contribution holidays taken by employers and employees, respectively, together with his estimate of the amount of tax due thereon.
Mr. Lilley [pursuant to his reply, 27 July 1989, c. 853] : Information is not readily available in the form requested. The table gives information on large self-administered pension funds reporting to the Inland Revenue on proposed action to remove surpluses following the legislation in the Finance Act 1986.
Schemes proposing a contribution holiday Schemes reportingEmployers' holiday Employees' holiday |Number |Amount (£m)|Number |Amount (£m) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1987-88 |67 |56 |5 |2 1988-89 |221 |332 |12 |19 April-July 1989 |124 |350 |4 |1 Note: The amounts shown represent the total surplus to be eliminated by contribution holidays for schemes which have reported in each period. Contribution holidays may be spread across several years. Schemes proposing a reduction in contributions rather than a contribution holiday are excluded.
Mr. Cran : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what progress is being made in his Department's review, in line with Treasury guidelines, of the potential for the further relocation of Civil Service posts outside London and the south-east ; and when he expects the review to be completed.
Ms. Short : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, how many YTS starts and how many leavers were recorded by each payment type, by male and female, and by one or two year training entitlement by standard training agency region, for Great Britain as a whole, and for each of the last three months.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the current number of unemployed and unemployment rate in the United Kingdom and the latest figure in other EEC countries on the basis used by the EEC Commission for comparative purposes ; and what information he has for the United Kingdom and other EEC countries on the corresponding figures for June 1985, June 1979 and June 1973.
Unemployment rates for comparison between EEC member states (seasonally adjusted) |May 1989 |April 1985 |Per cent. |Per cent. ------------------------------------------------ United Kingdom |6.8 |11.6 Portugal |5.5 |8.6 Netherlands |10.1 |10.5 Luxembourg |1.8 |3.1 Italy |10.7 |9.2 Ireland |17.0 |18.3 France |10.0 |10.3 Spain |17.6 |21.9 Greece |<1>7.4 |7.8 Germany |5.9 |7.4 Denmark |7.1 |8.2 Belgium |9.9 |11.9 <1> April 1987 Source: Statistical Office of the European Communities.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will publish in the Official Report the number and percentage of (a) men and (b) women aged (i) 50 to 54 years, (ii) 55 to 59 years and (iii) 60 to 64 years for men only who are unemployed (1) in total, (2) over one year, (3) over two years, (4) over three years, (5) over four years, and (6) over five years for the latest available date.
Mr. Nicholls : The following information is available from the Library. The table shows for the United Kingdom the number of unemployed claimants for each age and duration category and these as a percentage of the total work force in each age group for July 1989, the latest available date.
United Kingdom July 1989 Male Age 50 to 54 years Age 55 to 59 years Age 60 years and over Duration |Number of unemployed|<1>per cent. |Number of unemployed|per cent. |Number of unemployed|per cent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Over 1 year |65,996 |4.8 |94,006 |7.5 |7,365 |0.7 Over 2 years |52,188 |3.8 |76,711 |6.2 |3,760 |0.4 Over 3 years |40,756 |3.0 |61,868 |5.0 |2,922 |0.3 Over 4 years |32,206 |2.3 |47,989 |3.9 |2,288 |0.2 Over 5 years |25,631 |1.9 |37,681 |3.0 |1,805 |0.2 |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- |------- Total |107,797 |7.8 |136,491 |11.0 |32,134 |3.2
United Kingdom July 1989 Female Age 50 to 54 years Age 55 to 59 years Duration |Number of unemployed|per cent. |Number of unemployed|per cent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Over 1 year |22,710 |2.2 |30,954 |3.7 Over 2 years |16,501 |1.6 |24,196 |2.9 Over 3 years |12,641 |1.2 |19,580 |2.3 Over 4 years |9,345 |0.9 |15,337 |1.8 Over 5 years |6,602 |0.6 |11,562 |1.4 |------- |------- |------- |------- Total |41,769 |4.1 |46,538 |5.5 <1> Unemployment as a percentage of the total work force in each age group.
Mr. Bill Michie : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment when he will reply to Mr. Paul Handiside's letter of complaint about his experience on employment training ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment by how much (a) inflation and (b) unemployment have increased at the latest available date since 1979 in (i) each EEC country, (ii) the United States of America, (iii) Japan, (iv) Sweden, (v) the EEC as a whole and (vi) the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as a whole.
Consumer prices Unemployment rate<1> |Latest available date<2>|Percentage change since |Latest available date<2>|Percentage change since |1979 |1979 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ United Kingdom |June |169 |April |43 Belgium |May |79 |April |30 Denmark |May |176 |May |18 France |May |174 |April |71 Germany |May |28 |March |67 Greece |May |888 |April<3> |289 Ireland |Q2 |283 |May |139 Italy |May |394 |May |41 Luxembourg |May |70 |. . |. . Netherlands |May |47 |January |74 Portugal |May |1,258 |November |-32 Spain |May |277 |February |108
<1>Standardised and seasonally adjusted. <2>1989 unless otherwise stated. <3>1988 Sources: Prices: ED for United Kingdom: SOEC for Portugal and Luxembourg; OECD for others. Unemployment: SOEC for Ireland, Italy, Greece, Denmark, Luxembourg; OECD for others.
Mr. Nellist : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if, pursuant to the reply to the honourable Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) Official Report, 21 July, column 390, he will list that research work, known to his Department, which does not support the view that the removal of statutory minimum wage provisions can be expected to have beneficial effects on employment.
C. Craig, F. Wilkinson, G. Rubery and R. Tarling "Labour Market Structure, Industrial Organisation and Low Pay" Department of Applied Economics, Cambridge Research Paper No 54, 1982.
D. Canning and R. Tarling, "A Report on the Department of Employment's Study, Wages Floors in the Clothing Industry 1950-1981, Department of Applied Economics, Cambridge, 1985.
My Department does not necessarily agree that the evidence presented in these studies supports the conclusions drawn. In the latter case, a rebuttal of the authors' findings was published at the time.
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will ensure that all those employed on training schemes whether under youth training or employment training arrangements are fully covered by the health and safety regulations appropriate to the industry or business in which they are involved.
Mr. Nicholls : YTS and ET trainees are afforded the same protection as employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 by virtue of the Health and Safety (Training for Employment) Regulations 1988 (as amended).
Mr. Hardy : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will ensure that all those placed in employment training and YTS are fully inducted in safe working practices, that they are properly insured and provided with safety equipment, clothing and footwear appropriate to the activities in which they are engaged.
Mr. Nicholls : Comprehensive statutory and contractual arrangements exist to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all ET and YTS trainees. These arrangements include provision for proper induction, insurance and appropriate protective equipment and clothing.
Mr. Nicholls : The Government will continue to keep interest rates at whatever level is necessary to reduce inflation. This Department does not make forecasts of the future levels of employment or unemployment but if excessive wage increases are conceded jobs will be lost.
Mr. Eggar : There are no plans to introduce a system which would provide subsidised loans for small businesses. This would distort competition and discriminate against businesses which have to obtain finance from normal commercial sources.
Mr. Terry Davis : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many persons in the west midlands region were disqualified from receiving unemployment benefit during the period 1 January to 31 March 1989 because they were considered to have left their employment voluntarily without just cause and subsequently appealed against the disqualification.
Mr. Eggar [holding answer 27 July 1989] : I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave him on 28 July 1989 at column 1050 . The number of persons who appeal against the decision to disqualify unemployment benefit because they were considered to have left their employment voluntarily without just cause are not separately identified from other claimants who appeal against the decision of an adjudication officer.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will publish the results of the review of the 1986 investigation into the fate of captive British service men and the possible involvement of the then Lieutenant Waldheim.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 16 February 1988 that a review would be undertaken of the results of the investigation carried out in 1986 by the Ministry of Defence into the fate of British servicemen and the possible involvement of the then Lieutenant Waldheim. This was in the light of both the report of the Commission set up by the Austrian Government, which had access to a wider range of sources than those available for the 1986 investigation, and of the continued questioning of Lieutenant Waldheim's role. Her Majesty's Government have now conducted most thorough inquiries into the allegations concerning his role in areas of specific British interest. The results of this review have been recorded in a report, which I have placed today in the Library of the House, and which is being published by HMSO. The review has been solely concerned with areas of British interest and has centred on the cases of British service men, mostly members of the special forces, captured between October 1943 and October 1944 in Greece and the Greek islands under the control of the German Army Group E, in whose headquarters Lieutenant Waldheim was then serving as a junior staff officer. These cases, covering over 80 British service men, include both those brought to the attention of the Ministry of Defence and others identified during the research for this review. The review has not looked at other allegations concerning Lieutenant Waldheim's involvement in areas not related to British interests.
The review has involved long and painstaking research. The historical evidence and the documents gathered have been examined and analysed by the director of Army legal services who is well versed in the laws of war and who retains a residual responsibility for the prosecution of war crimes. His duty is to examine the evidence that has been put before him and advise whether, on that evidence, there is a case for a potential accused to answer. After very careful consideration his conclusion concerning the then Lieutenant Waldheim is that there is no evidence from which guilt of a war crime might be inferred.
The report indicates that Lieutenant Waldheim knew of the capture of the British service men and the possible fate of "Commandos", but no evidence has come to light to indicate that as a junior staff officer he had the power either to order or to prevent that fate or indeed to affect the outcome in any way. Knowledge in such circumstances is not itself a crime. Her Majesty's Government have accepted the findings of the report.
The report also deals with British knowledge of Lieutenant Waldheim's wartime role and the post-war handling of relevant records. Allegations that records were altered, destroyed or withheld to protect President Waldheim are shown to be unfounded. He was not wanted by the United Kingdom either as a "top Nazi" or as a war criminal. In order to clarify these issues virtually all the most relevant papers have been included as annexes to the report. A very few documents have either not been published or not in full, on the ground of security or personal sensitivity. All these documents have been examined by Professor Sir Harry Hinsley, lately the Master of St. John's college, Cambridge, who agreed to scrutinise the results of the review in order to ensure its objectivity and thoroughness. I draw the House's attention to his statement in the report, in which he vouches for the validity of the conclusions drawn from these documents. On the question of President Waldheim's alleged post-war
Column 60involvement with foreign intelligence services and his election to the United Nations, I do not intend to break the practice of successive Governments by commenting on such matters but I commend detailed consideration of the report.
Research has concentrated on the main archives in this country, in Germany and America, but other archives were consulted, as well as individuals whose wartime service was of relevance or who had some other expertise to offer. Although it can never be said that any historic report is definitively the last word, I am satisfied that the investigation has produced, from the thousands of documents examined, what we believe to be the main relevant records. These have established a pattern showing the events, and the responsibilities of the German headquarters' officers involved in those events. We therefore feel justified in bringing this long exercise to a conclusion now, and publishing the results.
A factor in this decision has been the need to consider the feelings of the relatives of the missing service men. I very much regret that it has not been possible to resolve all the outstanding questions about what finally happened to the missing service men, although I should like to assure the House that any further information that may come to light will be passed on to the families.
Mr. Colvin : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any official assistance has been given by service personnel to civilians investigating the origin of cornfield circles in Hampshire and Wiltshire ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many major equipment orders are currently based on the fixed price system ; and what assessment he has made of the effect of current rates of inflation on these contracts.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much of the research and development of the 1989-90 procurement programme will be spent in (a) Scotland (b) south-east England, respectively ; and what is the proportion each represents of the total ;
(2) what is his estimate of expenditure in (a) Scotland and (b) south-east England in 1989-90 for research and development as set out in table 2.3 of Cm. 675-II.
Mr. Neubert : Estimates of regional expenditure on research and development are not available and could be produced only with disproportionate cost. Estimates of regional expenditure on equipment in the United Kingdom for 1985-86 and 1986-87 are however given in table 6.9 of "Statement on the Defence Estimates 1989--Volume 2".
Mr. Archie Hamilton : Members of the armed forces pay review body visit a number of service establishments in the United Kingdom and overseas each year as part of its annual review of service pay. During the course of these visits they meet service men and women of every rank, with the express aim of obtaining at first hand their views on pay and allowances.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The NATO publication "A Comprehensive Concept of Arms Control and Disarmament" was issued with the NATO summit communique on 30 May 1989. A copy was placed in the Library of the House in June 1989.
Mr. Sillars : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the armed forces pay review body has been asked to take special account of the demographic trough and its potential effect on recuitment.
Mr. Archie Hamilton : The Armed Forces Pay Review Body has been informed of the implications of the demographic trough for the services, as well as of the wide range of measures being taken to help ensure that the services are adequately manned in the 1990s.
Mr. Shersby : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what programme of hydrography is currently being carried out in the Antarctic by HMS Endurance ; what policy is being pursued in conjunction with the International Hydrographic Bureau to co-ordinate information from Admiralty charts with those produced by other countries ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 62Antarctic peninsula. The Ministry of Defence supplies details of hydrographic work carried out by the United Kingdom to the International Hydrographic Bureau. The information is then re-published in the "International Hydrographic Bulletin", which is available to all hydrographic offices. Should any of the latter require further information, they may contact the hydrographer direct.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he is making on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation harmonisation in relation to defence standards 00-55 and 00-56 covering safety critical software.
Mr. Alan Clark : The United Kingdom has taken the lead in setting out the requirements for safety critical software to meet the needs of the late 1990s. The draft defence standards 00-55 and 00-56 have been given extensive distribution for comment within the United Kingdom and internationally. NATO is using 00-55 and 00-56 as source documents for its own guideline documents.
It is important for international standards covering safety critical software to meet the requirements of both the civil and defence sectors, and to be accepted by the widest possible range of countries. The Ministry of Defence is therefore working closely with other Government Departments in seeking to harmonise the approaches of the United Kingdom defence and civil sectors. The United Kingdom position will, in due course, be presented to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), a body with a very wide membership, which has recently started to develop international standards for safety-related systems and the computers and software used in them. Other countries, including NATO members, will present their views to the IEC in a similar way.
The Ministry of Defence is taking into account the work of the IEC as part of the process of consultation on the draft defence standards 00-55 and 00- 56 before they are issued as interim standards, and it will continue to aim for alignment with civil standards in any future revisions.
Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the achievements of his Department and his policies in helping small businesses over the last 12 months compared with the previous 12 months ; and if he will publish the performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring.
Mr. Neubert [pursuant to the reply, 24 July 1989, col. 554 ] : Due to an arithmetical error an incorrect figure was shown. The number of small firms receiving payment on direct contract has increased from some 4,000 in 1986-87 to over 5,500 in 1988-89 (not 7, 000 as previously shown).
Dr. Mawhinney : The design and construction of playgrounds and play areas in schools must conform to standards recommended by the Department of Education. These standards have recently been revised and improvements introduced. The provision and maintenance, including safety standards, of public recreational facilities are the responsibility of district councils.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for the four weeks following the release of the GCSE results how many U grades were amended to higher grades ; how many of these were allocated to each higher grade ; and at which schools were the pupils who had changed results.
Regrade ------------------------ A |9 B |30 C |60 D |53 E |23 F |21 G |24
The following schools and colleges of further education were attended by candidates with changed results :
Bangor Grammar School
Beechlawn Special School
Belfast College of Technology
Carrickfergus High School
Coleraine College of Further Education
Comber High School
Corpus Christi College
Dominican College, Belfast
Glengormley High School
Gransha Boys' High School
Grosvenor High School
Hopefield High School
Laurelhill High School
Little Flower Secondary School
Monkstown Community School
Newry High School
Newry Technical College
Newtownabbey College of Further Education
North Down College of Further Education
North West College of Technology
Portadown College of Further Education
Rupert Stanley College of Further Education
Saintfield High School
St. Colman's High School, Strabane
St. Columb's College, Londonderry
St. Dominic's High School
St. Patrick's Boys' Academy
St. Patrick's High School, Banbridge
Sullivan Upper School
The Royal School, Armagh