Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what investigations his Department has undertaken into the Matrix Churchill company and the possibility that the company is supplying parts to Iraq which could be used in ballistic missile development.
Ms. Mowlam : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what efforts he is making to prevent Iraq from acquiring in Britain defence technology which could be used to develop the Condor 2 ballistic missile.
Mr. Redwood : The Export of Goods (Control) Order includes items controlled in accordance with the United Kingdom's obligations under the missile technology control regime. Applications for licences to export controlled goods are carefully considered by the Departments concerned with a view to preventing exports to undesirable end users.
Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will ask the director of the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the disparity between the margins quoted by the banks for commercial foreign exchange transactions and tourist foreign exchange transactions.
Mr. Forth : I am not aware of any concern on this matter, but if the right hon. Member has any evidence of anti-competitive behaviour by banks he should bring it to the attention of the Director General of Fair Trading.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : The Department has a programme of review of activities for possible relocation away from London and the south-east and the north-west is always considered along with other possible locations. We have no plans for relocation of units to the north-west of England at present. Announcements will be made as decisions are taken.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : There are no assistance schemes specific to the paper and board industry as such, but companies in this, as in other sectors of the economy, may be eligible for assistance under various pan- sectoral schemes.
Mr. Teddy Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry why agreement was not reached on the European Community telecommunications directive known as the open market provision on 7 November ; whether Her Majesty's Government have assessed the proposals to be restrictive ; and if he will make a statement on the procedures now to be adopted by the Commission under article 90 of the treaty of Rome.
Mr. Forth : Proposals for a Commission directive under article 90 of the treaty and Council directive on a framework for open network provision (ONP) of telecommunications services were the principal items for discussion at the Telecommunications Council on 7 November.
The issue raised by the article 90 directive is whether the internal market in telecommunications is to be a liberal one or not. The aim of the directive under article 90 is to introduce competition into the Community market for all kinds of telecommunications services with the exception of network infrastructure and voice telephony. A majority of member states wish to limit the scope of the liberalisation envisaged in this directive. The Government strongly support the directive's policy, but have certain reservations about its legal base. The conclusions reached by the European Court of Justice in the case currently before it in respect of an article 90 directive issued in May 1988 on telecommunications terminal equipment will be relevant in this context.
Member states did not reach a common position on ONP because a significant minority including the United Kingdom, while acknowledging that the proposal as revised after consideration by the European Parliament is a substantial improvement on the original proposal, believe that further amendment is necessary to secure the right balance between harmonisation and liberalisation.
Mr. Trotter : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many directors have been disqualified from holding office in each year since the present law was introduced as a result of their conduct in connection with the management of an insolvent company ; and how many cases are pending.
Mr. Redwood : Since 28 April 1986 the Secretary of State has obtained the following orders under what is now section 6 of the Company Directors Disqualifcation Act 1986, based on reports from practitioners and official receivers in insolvency proceedings.
d |Orders obtained |Awaiting hearing at 31 |October 1989 |(Directors) |(Directors) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 28 April 1986 to 30 April 1987 |30 |- 1 May 1987 to 30 April 1988 |148 |- 1 May 1988 to 30 April 1989 |286 |- 1 May 1989 to 31 October 1989 |124 |385 |------- |------- Total |588 |-
I represented the United Kingdom meetings of the EC Council of Research Ministers on 18 September and 17 October which examined the Commission's proposal for a new framework programme for Community research and development for 1990-94. I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave on 2 November 1989 at Hansard column 274 . The Council of Ministers is next due to consider the proposal on 15 December and further information will be given to the House following that Council.
Mr. Douglas Hogg [pursuant to his reply, 23 October 1989, c. 294] : A recent study of location options for the import licensing branch concluded that it could operate effectively and at less cost away from London. I have therefore decided that ILB will be relocated to Billingham in Cleveland by the end of 1990 when the lease on the building it currently occupies in central London expires. The move will absorb some of the staff no longer needed to run the regional development grants scheme at the Department's office in Cleveland and some local recruitment will also be necessary in order to fill the 53 posts which will be transferred.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Attorney-General if he has had any representations concerning allegations that police officers were not co- operating with the Crown prosecution service ; and if he will make a statement.
The Attorney-General : Representations have occasionally been made during my visits to Crown prosecution service areas that some individual police officers had not displayed a co-operative attitude towards the service, particularly when it had just been established. The Association of Chief Police Officers has always given public and private support to the service. As an independent prosecuting service established by statute, the Crown prosecution service of course should receive the proper co-operation of the police service. I am satisfied that in general it does receive it, and that any lack of co-operation on the part of individual police officers would be exceptional.
Column 4for civil and family justice. They now propose to carry out a general review of all the financial conditions for the grant of legal aid.
It is essential to view need in relation to particular types of proceedings in order to identify those who are prevented by lack of means from bringing or defending proceedings, where it is otherwise reasonable that they should. It is not sufficient for this purpose simply to estimate the percentage of the population who might be eligible for legal aid.
The Government have already considered the arrangements for legal aid in care proceedings and action has been taken in the context of the Children Bill to provide for the waiving of the merits test or the means test in suitable cases. Consideration is now being given to legal aid in relation to civil proceedings as improved procedures are introduced following the civil justice review. We have established the need for certain immediate changes which are being announced today.
They are as follows :
(a) assessment of children's means separately from those of their parents ;
(b) an additional capital allowance for pensioners on low incomes who rely heavily on their savings ;
(c) an increase, in respect of personal injury cases, of the upper (eligibility) limits for disposable income and capital from £6,035 to £7,000 and from £6,000 to £8,000 respectively.
Their net annual cost is estimated to be in the region of £5 million. Other legal aid limits will also be increased in April in the usual way.
The Government intend to bring these measures into effect in Great Britain in April 1990. Similar improvements to the legal aid financial conditions will also be made in Northern Ireland, although the legislative arrangements there will mean that they will take longer to bring into effect.
Further changes will depend on the outcome of the review of the financial conditions for legal aid which the Lord Chancellor is setting up. The review will look at all aspects of the financial conditions, including the upper (eligibility) limit, the lower (free) limit, the amount of contribution payable and the statutory charge, as well as the machinery for assessing means and enforcing the payment of contributions.
The review will begin in January 1990 and is likely to complete its work in two or three years. It will explore the possibility of examining individual applicants' means in relation to the likely cost of different kinds of proceedings for the purpose of determining eligibility. It will consider the availability of legal expenses insurance and the position of those who proceed without legal aid. In due course it will extend to criminal legal aid and to family proceedings, where eligibility is higher because individuals' means are generally separately assessed. It will keep in step wih the programme of work on family law, jurisdiction and procedure announced by the Lord Chancellor on 6 December 1988 during the passage of the Children Bill. The review will extend to legal advice and assistance-- the green form scheme--in criminal and matrimonial matters. It will also consider the system of uprating the financial conditions generally.
The review will be conducted by a working group of officials from the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Legal Aid Board, with advice from the Department of Social Security and elsewhere as appropriate. The Scottish Office and the Scottish Legal Aid Board will participate
Column 5fully in the group on questions of equal application to Scotland. Consultation will be undertaken at appropriate stages.
The review will be undertaken in addition to the regular limited studies which the Government conduct each year for the purpose of uprating the legal aid limits.
Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Attorney-General (1) if any disciplinary action has been commenced against any fraud squad officer having access to copy No. 26 of the Department of Trade and Industry House of Fraser report ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) if criminal inquiries are being pursued in respect of the leak of copy No. 26 of the Department of Trade and Industry House of Fraser report ; and if he will make a statement.
Officers of the complaints investigation bureau of the Metropolitan police are carrying out an investigation into the leak of the Department of Trade and Industry report, under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority. The investigation will examine whether criminal or disciplinary proceedings should be brought against any police officer, and is expected to take some time to complete.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the percentage rate of growth of capital investment in the United Kingdom over the decade 1979 to 1989, and what is the Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development average for the same period.
Mr. Norman Lamont : Gross domestic fixed capital formation in the United Kingdom is estimated to have grown by 34 per cent. at constant 1985 prices over the period 1979 to 1988, the last year for which full figures are available. For the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as a whole, the latest estimates show a growth of 29 per cent. over the same period at constant 1985 prices and exchange rates.
Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the benefits to the Bank of England of emulating the more independent stances, in relation to their central Governments, of the Bundesbank and the United States Federal Reserve Board.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has prepared any estimate of the rate of the exchange against the D-mark at which it would be possible to join the ERM of the EMS to combine an acceptable rate of economic growth with balance of payments equilibrium.
Mr. Lilley : I refer the hon. Gentleman to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor's statement in the House on 2 November at column 490 which set out the factors that will determine when the United Kingdom will join the exchange rate mechanism.
Mr. Denzil Davies : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is his estimate of the additional revenue accruing to the Exchequer in the next fiscal year of not indexing to the rate of inflation the income tax allowance, assuming an inflation rate of 8 per cent. and no change in the income tax rate.
Mr. Norman Lamont : Although information on public expenditure within the four countries of the United Kingdom is not available from the Treasury's public expenditure database or from the national accounts, a special exercise is carried out each year to collect this data. The results of the 1988 exercise were published in the House of Commons Official Report on 25 October 1988, at columns 120-29 . In this annual exercise expenditure is divided into "identifiable" expenditure--that deemed to have been
Column 7incurred on behalf of the resident of each individual country--and "unidentifiable" expenditure--expenditure incurred on behalf of the United Kingdom as a whole, for example, defence spending. On the basis of the figures published on 25 October 1988 per capita identifiable public expenditure, excluding expenditure spending on social security, in England was as follows :
|£ -------------------- 1985-86 |1,102 1986-87 |1,166 1987-88 |1,247
These figures relate to identifiable expenditure within the public expenditure planning total as defined for the 1988 and earlier public expenditure surveys. As announced in Cm. 441, the definition of the planning total has been changed for the 1989 public expenditure survey. As a consequence, the basis of this annual exercise will be changed to cover general Government expenditure. The results of this year's exercise will be published shortly.
Retail Price Index |Annual per cent. change ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1978-79 |8.4 1979-80 |15.8 1980-81 |16.3 1981-82 |11.5 1982-83 |7.1 1983-84 |4.7 1984-85 |5.0 1985-86 |5.9 1986-87 |3.2 1987-88 |3.9 1988-89 |6.0
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what is the percentage rate of growth of capital investment in manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom over the decade 1979 to 1989 ; and what isthe Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average over the same period ;
(2) what is the percentage rate of growth of capital investment in fixed assets in manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom over the decade 1979 to 1989 ; and what is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average over the same period.
Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 9 November 1989] : 1988 is the most recent full year for which investment data are available. In that year gross domestic fixed capital formation by United Kingdom manufacturing industry, including leased assets, equalled its 1979 level, at 1985 prices, following average growth of 8 per cent. a year from 1983.
Column 8Figures for all OECD countries are not available on a comparable basis over this period. Such information as is available is published in "OECD National Accounts, volume 11, 1975-1987".
Mr. Ryder [holding answer 9 November 1989] : The operation of the VAT system means that businesses making only taxable supplies would be able to deduct the VAT on their costs except in respect of purchases of motor cars and business entertainment. Businesses making exempt supplies would generally bear increased VAT on their purchases. Overall, the additional VAT that would be borne by businesses is estimated to be around £ billion.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated effect on the retail price index of increasing value added tax from 15 to 18 per cent. ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ryder : [holding answer 9 November 1989] : It is estimated that the effect on the retail prices index of increasing value added tax from 15 to 18 per cent. would be an increase in the index of around 1 per cent.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what would be the estimated effect, in money terms, on the annual family expenditure budget of (a) a single pensioner whose only income was the state pension, (b) a married pensioner couple whose only income was the state pension, (c) a single parent family earning £6,000 per annum, (d) a married couple with two children earning £10,000 per annum, (e) a married couple with two children earning £12,500 per annum and (f) a married couple earning £18,000 per annum with two children and (g) a married couple on unemployment benefit with two children ; if value added tax were increased to 18 per cent.
Mr. Ryder [holding answer 9 November 1989] : Assuming that their level and pattern of expenditure were unchanged, a married couple with two children with earned income of £12,500 a year would pay about £120 a year more in VAT, if the rate of VAT were raised to 18 per cent. The comparable figure for a similar family with earned income of £18,000 a year would be around £190 a year.
No estimates are available for the other family types specified in the question, since data on their expenditure patterns are less reliable.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many representations he has received from (a) hon. and and right hon. Members and (b) others during the past three months concerning the policy of Her Majesty's Government relating to Cambodia ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if Her Majesty's Government will propose or sponsor the establishment of an international mission to verify that Vietnamese forces have fully withdrawn from Cambodia.
Mr. Maude : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to my hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. Nicholson) on 30 October.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will now make it his policy to support any challenge to the seating at the United Nations of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea when the situation in Cambodia is debated at the United Nations General Assembly on 15 and 16 November ;
(2) what information he has as to whether Vietnamese forces have now left Cambodia.
Mr. Maude : I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Lester) on 8 November.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what military training and support Her Majesty's Government have given to the forces of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea ; what information he has as to co-ordinated attacks on Cambodia by the forces of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Maude : I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Mr. Lester) on 8 November.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if it is his policy to support pp4 of the ASEAN draft resolution on Cambodia, on foreign armed intervention and occupation in Kampuchea ; and if he will make a statement.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if the Government intend to co-sponsor the resolution on Cambodia put forward by ASEAN countries for debate at the United Nations General Assembly on 15 November.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions the United Kingdom has voted to seat the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea at the United Nations ; and how many such votes have taken place.
Mr. Maude : In 1979 the United Kingdom voted in favour of a General Assembly resolution adopting the report of the credentials committee recommending, inter alia, acceptance of the credentials of Democratic Kampuchea. From 1980-82 the United Kingdom voted against challenges to the credentials of Democratic Kampuchea in the General Assembly. There has been no vote since 1982.
Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has on the former relations between the ambassador extraordinary and plenipoteniary to the United Nations of the Coalition Government of Democratic Kampuchea and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Pol Pot.