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Mr. Lamont : General Government gross debt interest as a percentage of GDP has fallen from 5 per cent. in 1981-82 to an estimated 3 per cent. this year and is projected to fall to 2 per cent. in 1992-93. The fall in the burden of debt interest costs makes room within the medium-term plans for higher spending on priority programmes.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proposals he has to enable co-habitants to be taxed on the same basis as married couples where the couples are : (a) male/female, (b) male/male, and (c) female/female.
Mr. Lilley : The Government have no plans to allow unmarried couples to be taxed on the same basis as married couples. An unmarried couple who have a child living with them may qualify for an additional personal allowance, which will bring their total tax allowances to the same level as those available to a married couple.
Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the delay to the introduction of independent taxation which a revised policy allowing married couples to share the marriage allowance equally would entail.
Mr. Lilley : A change in the rules for giving the married couple's allowance, so that couples could share the allowance equally between them, would delay the introduction of independent taxation for up to two years.
Miss Emma Nicholson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any surplus from a husband's marriage allowance will be automatically transferred to his wife in the new arrangements for married couple's allowance which are to be introduced in April 1990.
Mr. Lilley : Transfer of surplus married couple's allowance to the wife will normally require her husband to give notice to the tax office. Without such a notice, the tax office will not necessarily know that the husband has, or may have, any surplus allowance.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the reasons for the United Kingdom's deficit on trade in invisibles with the European Economic Community and its surplus with the rest of the world.
Mr. Norman Lamont : The deficit on invisibles transactions with European Community countries and institutions reflects deficits on services, including foreign travel, and transfers. Surpluses on interest profits and dividends and on financial and other services make important contributions to the non-European Community invisibles surplus.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what effect the increase since January 1987 in both the nominal and real exchange rates against the D-mark has had on manufacturing capacity and on the future rate of growth in terms of the balance of payments constraint ; and whether this has led him to revise the Treasury model of the economy.
Mr. Norman Lamont : The level of manufacturing investment (including leased assets) in 1989 quarter 3 is provisionally estimated to be about 38 per cent. higher than in 1987 quarter 1 ; and its cumulative growth over this period has added substantially to manufacturing capacity. The Treasury model is updated when necessary in the light of latest data.
Mr. Livingstone : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what projections of net United Kingdom transactions in external liabilities for (i) direct investment, (ii) portfolio investment and (iii) total transactions, underlie the economic prospects for 1990 in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.
Mr. Lilley : At 5 October 1989, the latest date for which figures are available, the total number of employees throughout the United Kingdom participating in payroll giving schemes was 162,526. Separate figures are not available for England and Wales.
Mr. Wall : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of British exports is attributable to services, as opposed to manufactures, for the years 1979, 1984, 1988 and 1989 ; and what was total investment during the same years in these two sectors of the economy.
Column 23Mr. Norman Lamont : The most recent estimates of exports of services and manufactured goods in 1979, 1984 and 1988 are contained in the 1989 edition of CSO's "United Kingdom Balance of Payments". The available estimates for investment in these years are contained in the 1989 edition for CSO's "United Kingdom National Accounts". Copies of both publications are available in the Library. They are also on the CSO Databank, which is accessible through the Library. Estimates of exports and manufacturing investment for the first half of 1989 are available from the Library in various CSO publications and from the databank.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are the principal differences between the definitions of consumer intermediate and capital goods, for United Kingdom production and for imports, in the national statistics.
Mr. Norman Lamont [holding answer 30 November 1989] : The principal difference is that the import classification applies only to finished manufactures (defined as Sections 7 and 8 of the Standard Industrial Classification, excluding ships, North Sea oil installations and aircraft), whereas the production classification applies to all industrial output. Further information may be obtained from "Industry Statistics : Occasional Paper No. 22" published by the Central Statistical Office in April 1989 and "Classification by broad economic categories" published by the United Nations in 1986, both of which may be found in the House of Commons Library.
Mr. Summerson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the report, "Accessibility and other problems relating to statistics used by social scientists", prepared by Professor Benjamin for the Economic and Social Research Council.
Mr. Lilley : I understand that the Economic and Social Research Council has placed a copy of the report in the Library. Officials have prepared a detailed response, which has been sent to the commissioning bodies. This concludes that many of Professor Benjamin's criticisms are unfounded and based on factual inaccuracies and have been made without knowledge of the full range of publications and outputs. A copy of the full response has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the outcome of his discussions concerning trade in high technology with eastern Europe with his European Community counterparts at the Paris summit.
Mr. Maude : Her Majesty's embassy in Kathmandu has on a number of occasions, most recently on 12 November this year, made known to the Nepalese Government the concern felt in this country at the treatment of Christians in Nepal.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he intends to make to the Nepalese Government concerning article 18 of the United Nations convention on human rights ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations have been made to the Israeli Government concerning the continued closure of Bir Zeit university ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : We have called regularly on the Israeli authorities, most recently in the EC statement on 6 October, to allow the schools and universities in the Occupied Territories to function normally.
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations Her Majesty's Government are making to the Romanian Government in respect of the demolition of agricultural villages ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : We will continue to protest strongly to the Romanian Government on every appropriate occasion about abuses of human rights in Romania, including those involved in President Ceausescu's policy of "systematisation".
Mr. Cummings : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met representatives of the Turkish Government ; whether the question of Cyprus was raised ; and if he will make a statement.
Column 25the coming week ; whether he will ensure that the issue of that country's animal welfare record is included on the agenda ; and what representations he has received concerning possible trade sanctions related to this issue.
Mr. Maude : President Roh's visit provided the opportunity for a review of Anglo-Korean relations and current international issues. The Koreans are well aware of the strength of feeling in Britain about cruelty to animals. Trade sanctions, as advocated by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, would do nothing to help the situation.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to afford citizenship rights in the United Kingdom to the Indian population now resident in Hong Kong.
Mr. Maude : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is considering with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary a package of measures to maintain confidence in Hong Kong and hopes to make an announcement around the turn of the year.
Mr. Devlin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any steps have been taken to enable the Indian population now living in Hong Kong to become Chinese citizens after 1997.
Mr. Maude : Chinese nationality is a matter for the Chinese Government. However it is our understanding that under Chinese nationality law aliens lawfully resident in China are eligible to apply for Chinese nationality. Those members of the Indian population who have resided in Hong Kong for at least seven years and who have taken Hong Kong as their place of permanent residence will continue to enjoy permanent resident status in the Hong Kong special administrative region after 1997, in line with the Sino-British joint declaration on the question of Hong Kong of 1984.
Mr. Maude : The Basic Law will be a Chinese law to be promulgated by the National People's Congress. It is being drafted by the Chinese authorities in consultation with Hong Kong people. A referendum would be neither appropriate nor useful.
Mr. Alton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many orphans there are at present in the camps in Hong Kong ; how they are to be repatriated ; and what measures he will take to ensure a satisfactory result.
Mr. Burns : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in the Official Report a statement of forthcoming business in the European Community Council of Ministers.
Mr. Maude : At the Transport Council on 4 and 5 December, Ministers will further consider the Commission's proposals on stage II of the EC common shipping policy and a report on the present state of discussions with certain west and central African states concerning their cargo allocation policies. A number of road transport items will be discussed including a proposal for a Council regulation on road haulage cabotage ; training for drivers of dangerous goods by road ; vehicles hired without drivers for the carriage of goods by road ; negotiations between the EC and third countries on transit routes ; road safety and a note from the presidency on social regulations concerning road transport. It is expected that the Transport Commissioner will make an oral presentation on Commission proposals on railways policy in the Community. A number of matters concerning the development of civil aviation in the Community are to be considered including proposals for Council regulations on fares for scheduled air services and access for air-carriers to scheduled intra- Community air service routes and the sharing of passenger capacity on scheduled services between member states. Ministers will discuss a presidency note on problems relating to the capacity of air traffic systems and aspects of Community transport infrastructure. The Telecommunications Council will meet on 7 December. Ministers will discuss the opening up to competition of the Community's telecommunications services markets by a Commission directive, and a related proposal for a Council directive on open network provision (ONP) to define the conditions on which telecommunications operators make available monopoly services. A common position on the proposed Council measure is unlikely to be achieved on 7 December. A proposed Council declaration on the establishment of a Commission working group to consider research and development in the field of broad-band technology will also be discussed.
The European Council will meet in Strasbourg on 8 and 9 December. Heads of Government will discuss developments in eastern Europe and the EC response to them, and will discuss economic and monetary union. They will consider a proposal for a charter of fundamental social rights and a number of issues relevant to the completion of the single market. There will also be discussions on audiovisual matters and the free movement of people.
The Agriculture Council will meet on 11 and 12 December to discuss veterinary checks, compound feedingstuffs, pesticide residues, pig semen, monitoring of export refunds and the scrutiny of EACFF accounts. Ministers will be asked to agree on the Commission submission to GATT on long term agricultural reform. The Council may also discuss the sluice gate price for pigmeat.
Column 27At the Education Council on 14 December Ministers will be invited to agree the terms of a mixed resolution on measures to combat failure at school, mixed conclusions on technical and vocational education and initial training and on European Schools, and a decision amending the ERASMUS programme. There may also be discussion on the possibility of opening up Community programmes in the education and training fields to eastern European countries. At the Research Council on 15 December there will be further discussion of a new framework programme of Community activities in research and technological development. The agenda also anticipates the adoption of a common position on a two year programme on human genome analysis.
The Economic and Financial Council will meet on 15 December to consider the economic situation in the Community, including the Commission's annual economic report. The revised financial regulation will be taken at the Council with the aim of reaching agreement by the end of the year. The discussion on taxation of savings will concentrate on mutual assistance. Common position was reached at ECOFIN on 13 November on the proposed revised Council decisions which will replace the 1964 decision on co- ordination between central banks and the 1974 decision on encouraging the convergence of economic policies and performance. Subject to the opinions of the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee it is hoped that the decisions will be adopted at the forthcoming meeting. The Solvency Ratio Directive and Second Banking Co-ordination Directive have received second reading opinions by the European Parliament and now also return to the Council for final adoption. ECOFIN is expected to discuss progress on the Commission's indirect tax proposals and a progress report on key issues of Takeover Directive negotiations in the Council working party.
The Fisheries Council will meet on 18 December to discuss 1990 TACS and quotas, EC/Greenland, EC/Norway, EC/Sweden, EC/Norway/Sweden, EC/Faroes, NAFO, 1990 opportunities in Spanish, Portuguese and member states' waters (Accession Treaties) and 1990 fisheries opportunities in waters off French Guyana. It may also discuss tariff quotas and EC/USSR, EC/GDR, EC/Poland and EC/Latin America.
At the Foreign Affairs Council on 19 December Ministers will be asked to agree to the terms of the EC-USSR agreement. Ministers will consider developments in Eastern Europe and EC-EFTA co-operation. A Ministerial meeting on EC-EFTA matters is expected to take place in the margins of the FAC. The Council will consider the Commission's draft negotiating mandate for a second stage EC-GCC agreement and Ministers will be asked to agree on the Commission's submission to GATT on long term agricultural reform. The FAC is expected to discuss proposals from the Commission on European Community policy on Japanese car imports, including the issue of import restraints. Ministers will also need to discuss the implications of the finding of the GATT panel on the dispute between EC and United States over the EC oilseeds regime. They may also reach agreement on POSEIDOM (special programme for French overseas departments).
The Internal Market Council on 21 and 22 December will discuss a number of measures relevant to the completion of the single market.
Dr. Thomas : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many preparatory committee meetings are planned by the depository states for the partial test ban treaty amendment conference ; and what decisions have been taken by the first committee of the United Nations on the amendment conference ; (2) if he will make a statement on current progress in arrangements for the planned amendment conference for the 1963 partial test ban treaty ; how the amendment conference will be funded ; what states have been invited, and by whom, to the conference ; and what administrative facilities will be provided by the United Nations in support of the amendment conference.
Mr. Waldegrave : On 2 November the depositary Governments of the partial test ban treaty announced that they had arranged to convene the amendment conference on 8 January 1991 for a period of up to two weeks. They subsequently issued invitations to all states parties to the treaty. Although not a United Nations conference, the amendment conference is expected to be held on United Nations premises, and using United Nations facilities. No decisions have yet been reached by the participating states parties on funding the conference. On 17 November the first committee of the United Nations General Assembly adopted by majority vote a resolution recommending a preparatory commitee in May 1990 followed by a session of the amendment conference, with a second substantive session in January 1991.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has had any discussions with representatives of the United States Government regarding tightening of the missile technology control regime ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : I refer the hon. Member to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald) on 6 November. The United Kingdom will act as host for a meeting of the partners in the missile technology control regime in London on 5-6 December.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has received any representations from the Gibraltar Government regarding the colony's direct participation in elections for the European Parliament.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 28 November, whether the Gibraltar Government assumed responsibility for the maintenance of the Governor's residence gardens by agreement with the United Kingdom Government.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give details of the last elections to be held on St. Helena and list the number of contested seats, the number of votes cast and the percentage turn-out in each case.
Mr. Maude : The most recent general election in St. Helena was held on 10 May 1989. Twelve councillors were elected from eight constituencies. The number of votes cast in each constituency was as follows :
|Number ------------------------------- Jamestown |823 St. Paul's |669 Longwood |447 Half Tree Hollow |431 Blue Hill |123 Levelwood |76 Alarm Forest |157 Sandy Bay<1> |- <1> Candidate elected unopposed.
The overall percentage turn-out was 72 per cent.
Dr. Marek : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will seek to re-negotiate the 1987 airport agreement for Gibraltar with Spain in order to take account of the views of the Gibraltar Government.
Mr. Maude : We believe that the agreement set out in the 2 December 1987 joint declaration represents a good deal for Gibraltar. We do not see that any useful purpose would be served by attempting to re-open negotiations on the text of that joint declaration.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will instruct the migration and visa correspondence unit to supply to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland the Islamabad High Commission reference number requested by the hon. Member by telephone on Monday 27 November.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how may officers of the armed forces of El Salvador have been trained at United Kingdom military academies and training establishments in each of the past five years.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will discuss with his European Community counterparts a ban on all military aid and advice to the Government of President Cristiani, in El Salvador until death squad activity has ceased.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement concerning the plea of Prince Norodom Sihanouk, head of the Khmer Coalition Government of Kampuchea, that the country be placed under United Nations trusteeship.
Mr. Waldegrave : We welcome all constructive proposals for restoring peace and stability to Cambodia, including the Australian proposal, now supported by Prince Sihanouk, for an interim authority under United Nations control.
Mr. Speller : To ask the Secretary of State for Energy what information he has on the current level of sales of energy conservation equipment and the comparable figures for 1988 ; and what is his policy on the stimulation of the market for energy efficiency goods and services.
Mr. Peter Morrison : [holding answer 30 November 1989] : An important task of the energy efficiency office is to bring together in a variety of ways the energy efficiency industry and its potential customers.
Column 31Our regional energy efficiency officers sponsor seminars and meetings, and co-operate with trade association such as the Energy Systems Trade Association and the Association for the Conservation of Energy to promote the use of energy efficient equipment. Our technology support units similarly promote particular energy efficient techniques and equipment, under the best practice programme. I myself regularly speak at conferences, as indeed I did at national energy managers exhibition at Birmingham on November 21, to stimulate and challenge the market for energy efficiency. On Wednesday 29 November, I similarly spoke in Cambridge at a conference entitled "The Greenhouse Effect and Energy Conservation". On 1 November I spoke on the occasion of Northern Electric's PEP and BETA awards, on 11 October at MANWEB's PEP and BETA awards and on 26 September at South Eastern Electricity's BETA awards ; on each occasion taking particular pains to challenge managers to purchase and use more energy efficient equipment.
On sales figures, I understand that sales of building energy management systems have increased by about 10 per cent. on 1988 figures to an estimated £89 million in 1989. Information on other types of energy efficiency equipment such as Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant is not readily available, although the CHP industry has claimed "greatly increased interest and sales" in 1989. The Building Energy Efficiency Confederation inform me that in line with the general market for domestic goods, sales of different types of domestic insulation and heating control equipment are down by 6 per cent. and 20 per cent. in 1989 compared with 1988.
Mr. Bowis : To ask the Minister for the Arts what representations he has received about the London museums education unit's new initiative for education in the capital ; and if he will make a statement.