Mr. Luce : I have just reported continuing good progress to the Prime Minister. A copy of the Cabinet Office (OMCS) report which includes reports from Departments has been placed in the Library of the House and a broadsheet summary is being published today. The report shows that over 44,000 forms in national use have been reviewed in the last two years. Over 16,000 have been improved and over 9,000 abolished. Savings of over £1 million have been achieved.
Mr. Luce : On 1 April 1989 there were 1,555 non-departmental public bodies. That is 93 fewer than last year and 612 fewer than in 1979. The bodies are listed in "Public Bodies 1989" published today. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.
In the year to 31 March 1989, 128 bodies were abolished and 35 new bodies set up. Funding rose by approximately 2.7 per cent. and members of staff employed fell by 12.1 per cent.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council how long elapsed in 1983 and 1987 between the general election and the setting up of the Select Committees ; and what action he is proposing to ensure the speedy creation of Select Committees after the next election.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : The 1983 general election took place on 9 June 1983 ; the departmentally related Select Committees were nominated on 14 December 1983. The 1987 general election took place on 11 June 1987 ; the Treasury and Civil Service Select Committee was nominated on 24 November 1987 ; the other departmentally related Select Committees were nominated on 2 December 1987. I understand that this is one matter which the Procedure Committee may look into.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council how many reports have been produced by Departmental Select Committees since 1979 ; and how many have been the subject of debate on a substantitive motion on the Floor of the House.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : Visitors are provided with a basic guide to the order of business in the booklet "A Guide for Visitors to the Galleries". It would not be practical to provide a more specific guide. Business not listed in the Order Paper such as a statement or private notice question is not announced until after 1 pm. Some business such as Standing Order No. 20 applications does not become public until the moment it is raised in the House.
I am not aware that Members stand in any need of a simple daily batting order of business.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : The design of the front page of the Order Paper is a matter for the House itself. If the hon. Member has specific suggestions for improvements to the format of the Order Paper, I suggest that he writes to the Services Committee.
However, since and in so far as this is one of a number of proposals which the hon. Gentleman intends to make in respect of the content of the Order Paper itself he should, as I have already indicated, raise the matter in the first instance with the Procedure Committee of which he is a member.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : I have commenced a general examination of the form of the Order Paper, but I am also awaiting suggestions from many other hon. Members, not least those which may come from the Accommodation and Administration Sub-Committee whose responsibility this is. It is not an entirely straightforward matter, since I understand that significant changes would involve considerable alterations in the nightly printing procedures, but I am concerned that all serious possibilities should be considered. The Sub-Committee's further consideration of this matter is itself dependent upon elements that relate to wider procedural issues, in particular various aspects of oral questions, which have been considered by the Procedure Committee. The hon. Member is now a member of the Procedure Committee and I have no doubt that he will not hesitate to make a contribution to their consideration of these issues.
Column 225hon. Member is now a member, is considering an inquiry into various aspects of oral questions following comments made by Mr. Speaker on 22 November at column 115 and other representations.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will make it his policy to bring forward a substantive motion to embody the recommendations of the outstanding reports from the Procedure Committee ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Allen : To ask the Lord President of the Council what representations he has received seeking the closure of Annie's Bar and its replacement by a shop for the use of hon. Members and staff of the House ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Geoffrey Howe : No suggestion of this kind has been received. It is, however, proposed that a small general shop and a souvenir kiosk will be established in phase I of the new parliamentary buildings. Both will be run by the Refreshment Department and are expected to be open for business in the late spring of 1991.
Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will publish the reasons for the proposal by the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) Roads Service to stop up Love lane, Carrickfergus, under article 40 of the Roads (Northern Ireland) Order 1980.
Mr. Peter Bottomley : The notice of intention to make an order for the stopping up of Love lane, published by the Department of the Environment, indicated that a copy of the draft order was available for inspection at the Lord Chancellor's Department's office in Carrickfergus. The draft order sets out the reason for the proposed stopping up--that the Department is of the opinion that another road is available which provides alternative facilities for traffic.
Mr. Beggs : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) Roads Service will give the fullest consideration to any alternative solution put forward by objectors before proceeding on the basis of the Department of the Environment (Northern Ireland) proposals for Love lane, Carrickfergus.
Mr. Maginnis : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) what was the full-time equivalent staffing level in each of the further education colleges in Northern Ireland during the academic year 1988-89 ;
(2) what was the full-time equivalent student enrolment to each of the further education colleges in Northern Ireland during the academic year 1988-89.
Dr. Mawhinney : The Department of Education does not collect such information on a full-time equivalent basis. The actual numbers of teaching staff and student enrolments, both full-time and part-time, in each of the further education colleges during the academic year 1988-89 were as follows :
Staff Enrolments FE College |Full- |Part- |Full- |Part- |time |time |time |time ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Belfast College of Technology |268 |81 |898 |4,987 Belfast College of Business Studies |122 |93 |1,079 |2,783 Rupert Stanley College |193 |701 |934 |2,440 North-West College |158 |169 |1,368 |3,847 Fermanagh |75 |38 |589 |1,459 Limavady |48 |46 |490 |675 Omagh |68 |57 |563 |1,233 Antrim |40 |43 |229 |976 Ballymena |112 |60 |975 |2,659 Newtownabbey |109 |149 |606 |2,252 North Antrim |35 |23 |181 |939 Coleraine |64 |36 |574 |1,031 Magherafelt |42 |20 |327 |557 Larne |59 |26 |243 |1,335 Northern Ireland Hotel and Catering College |21 |5 |206 |48 Lisburn |100 |212 |497 |1,445 Down |64 |145 |602 |1,687 Newcastle |33 |80 |225 |174 Castlereagh |81 |176 |332 |1,758 North Down |132 |282 |705 |1,742 Lurgan |65 |54 |555 |673 Portadown |109 |57 |839 |1,747 Amagh |68 |66 |791 |644 Banbridge |33 |34 |240 |826 East Tyrone |76 |49 |680 |1,716 Newry/Kilkeel |95 |92 |891 |1,456 |------- |------- |------- |------- Totals |2,270 |2,794 |15,619 |41,089
Mr. Cartwright : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of the likely number of redundancies resulting from the proposed change in funding at the youth training programme from 1 April 1990 among lecturers employed in colleges of further education.
Dr. Mawhinney : Colleges of further education are currently considering the programmes of training that they will be providing under the new funding arrangements. It is not yet possible to assess the effect of the delivery of these programmes on the staffing levels at the colleges.
Mr. Peter Bottomley [holding answer 18 December 1989] : The mooring fee for the 1989-90 season is £28 for all vessels which use the mooring chains supplied by the harbour commissioners. No other fee is charged. Vessels with private moorings use the harbour free of charge. The mooring fee is reviewed annually. A review is currently in progress.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he has received a copy of a letter dated 12 December sent from the British Footwear Manufacturers Federation to his right hon. Friend the Prime Minister ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : I have received a copy of the letter sent to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. The question of renewing the voluntary restraint arrangement (VRA) for imports of leather footwear from Poland is under consideration at present and a reply will be issued shortly.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Financial Reporting Council will have statutory powers to take companies to court for producing defective accounts ; and what statutory arrangements are being proposed to deal with auditors who perform inadequate audits.
Mr. Redwood : I cannot prejudge the proposals that we have asked Sir Ron Dearing, chairman-designate of the Financial Reporting Council, to develop on the implementation of his committee's report on the making of accounting standards, including the revision of defective accounts. As regards statutory arrangements to deal with auditors who perform inadequate audits, I refer the hon. Member to part II of the Companies Act 1989.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the ratio of (a) imports and (b) exports to United Kingdom production of consumer goods less food etc. in 1970, 1973, 1985 and 1988.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the ratio of (a) imports and (b) exports to United Kingdom production of "other" consumer goods in 1970, 1973, 1985 and 1988.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the ratio of (a) imports and (b) exports to United Kingdom production of consumer durables less cars in 1970, 1973, 1985 and 1988.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what contracts, including those relating to privatisations, the Government have awarded since 1979 to accountancy firms criticised by Department of Trade and Industry inspectors or sued for negligence by the Government ;
(2) whether any advisors from accountancy firms sued for negligence by the Government or criticised by Department of Trade and Industry inspectors have been seconded to Government Departments.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the ratio of (a) imports and (b) exports to United Kingdom production of clothing and footwear in 1970, 1973, 1985 and 1988.
Trade ratios of clothing and footwear (S1C 451, 453) As a percentage of United Kingdom production |(a) Imports|(b) Exports ------------------------------------------------ 1985 |47 |20 1988 |57 |21 Notes: The United Kingdom production measure used in the calculation of percentages is United Kingdom manufacturers' sales. Percentages have been calculated in terms of value.
Mr. Ronnie Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many visits to Blyth Valley he and his predecessor have made over the last five years ; and if he will list and date them.
Mr. Ridley : I have not yet visited Blyth Valley as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, nor have there been any visits to the area by my predecessors during the past five years. However, my hon. Friend the Member for South Ribble (Mr. Atkins), then Under-Secretary of State for Industry, visited the area on 30 March last year.
Mr. David Nicholson : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what were the United Kingdom's exports to, and imports from, Vietnam in each of the past four years ; and what representations he has received from (a) business organisations and (b) individual United Kingdom owned companies which are now interested in trading with Vietnam.
1985 2.0 1.7
1986 1.3 1.2
1987 2.5 0.3
1988 2.2 0.5
1989 3.2 0.5
January to October 1989.
A number of companies have been in touch with my Department seeking information on market conditions. In June the DTI, in association with the South East Asia Trade Advisory Group of the BOTB, organised an information seminar which was well attended. Subsequently several companies approached us for more detailed information.
Prospects for any substantial increase in trade are limited by Vietnam's acute shortage of foreign currency and the limitation of export credit insurance cover to short-term business secured by confirmed letters of credit. Until Vietnam reaches a lasting agreement with the IMF and makes tangible efforts to clear its arrears there is little prospect of ECGD reinstating medium to long-term credit insurance cover.
Mr. Thurnham : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether it has yet been decided what action is needed to implement the Monopolies and Mergers Commission's report on the collective licensing of public performance and broadcasting rights in sound recordings ; and whether he intends to propose any changes to the legal basis for copyright protection of foreign sound recordings in the United Kingdom to the criterion known as first fixation.
Mr. Redwood : The Home Secretary and I have now completed our consideration of these matters. We have decided that the recommendations of the commission should be implemented as set out in the report, with only minor modifications, but that there should be no switch from the criterion known as "first publication" as the basis for protecting foreign sound recordings in the United Kingdom. As to the commission's recommendations, we intend to include provisions in the Broadcasting Bill to introduce the system of statutory copyright licensing put forward in paragraphs 7.49(a)(ii) to paragraphs 7.49(a)(viii) of the report in respect of the broadcasting of collectively licensed sound recordings. The system will also apply to use of such recordings by cable programme providers. The effect will be that where such users cannot reach agreement with a collective licensing body for the use of its repertoire of sound recordings, they will be able to have recourse to
Column 230a statutory licence, initially on the basis of self-assessed royalties, pending a copyright tribunal order on the level of remuneration. The tribunal will be empowered to require a user who had paid an unreasonably low interim royalty to pay the costs of both parties before the tribunal, and will be required to make its order retrospective to the date on which the statutory licence was exercised.
The user will have to comply with a code of conduct notified by the licensing body and to supply that body with such information as it may reasonably require, but will be able to refer disputes over such matters to the tribunal.
A statutory licence will not be available (a) in respect of the unexpired period of any relevant licence which the user may hold, or (b) where licences are available on terms which have been ordered by the tribunal, except where the user seeks a greater number of hours of use than is permitted under such licences. In that event the statutory licence will be available for the full extent of the repertoire being sought.
Corresponding provisions will be introduced in respect of the public performance of sound recordings when a suitable legislative opportunity arises.
On the Commission's recommendations regarding the copyright tribunal (recommendations (ix) to (xiv) of paragraph 7.49(a) of the report) the Government consider that improvements already effected by means of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Copyright Tribunal Rules should be sufficient and no further changes are currently planned.
In paragraph 7.38 of its report the commission recommended that all performers participating in a recording should receive equitable remuneration directly paid by PPL, for that recording's use in broadcasting or public preformance. It did not, however, make any recommendation as to whether this should be made a statutory requirement or achieved on a voluntary basis. PPL has indicated its willingness, with the co-operation of the Musicians Union and any others concerned, to implement the recommendation as fully as may be practicable. The Government therefore intend to seek voluntary undertakings to this effect rather than to introduce what would necessarily be complex statutory provisions.
The commission further recommended that PPL should abandon its practice of limiting the number of broadcasting hours, or "needletime", for which recordings from its repertoire might be used and also its requirement that musicians be employed for certain public performances. I understand that PPL has now abandoned both practices. The proposed statutory licence procedure will prevent PPL from reimposing needletime restrictions and we do not therefore intend to introduce any separate statutory provisions to this end. As to the musicians' employment requirement, I intend to ask PPL for a voluntary undertaking that the practice will not be reintroduced. On "first fixation", the Government have been considering the findings of a study commissioned from National Economic Research Associates to establish the effects of providing copyright protection for foreign sound recordings in the United Kindom on the basis of the country in which the recording was first made instead of, as now, the country where it was first published. NERA's report will be published by HMSO on 20 December. The report forecasts that the loss of revenue to PPL (and the corresponding financial gains to radio and public
Column 231performance users of sound recordings) would in the long term amount to around £9 million a year or nearly half PPL's current income. NERA does not, however, consider that the change would increase radio stations' efficiency or significantly promote the growth of radio, and they identify a number of disbenefits, not only to the record industry, but to consumers and to the efficient allocation of economic resources. The Government have concluded that, on balance, the findings of the NERA study do not justify a departure from present practice.
Mr. Baldry : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the Report of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission on cross-channel car ferry services is to be published ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Ridley : The Monopolies and Mergers Commission report on cross- channel car ferries is being published today. The MMC concluded that a proposal by P and O and Sealink to provide from 1991 a joint car ferry service may be expected to operate against the public interest. P and O and Sealink argued that a joint service was necessary to provide effective competition to the Channel tunnel. The MMC recommended that it should not be permitted.
I accept the commission's findings and this recommendation. My prime concern is to ensure effective competition. It is clear from the MMC's report that this proposal would have reduced competition in the period before the tunnel is operational. I also accept the commission's view that any joint service intended as more effective competition with the tunnel would not need to be introduced so far in advance of the tunnel's opening.
The competitive environment will look very different when the tunnel is operational. But I share the MMC's view that there are too many uncertainties to establish now whether a joint service might be found to operate in the public interest in the market conditions prevailing after the tunnel has opened.
However, the uncertainties will diminish as we approach the opening of the tunnel. It would be open to the parties to approach the Director General of Fair Trading again then if they wished to make a renewed case for a joint service, and for the director general to advise me on the balance of public interest as it appeared at that time. Then, as now, I will be concerned primarily to ensure the most effective competition. I will have regard to how vigorous competition with the tunnel can best be assured, in the light of how well the current competitive arrangements have operated.
Mr. Austin Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will enlarge the terms of his inquiry into cross- promotion of group interests by media groups by adding to the first terms of reference "and to knock, denigrate or undermine the media services or products of competitors".
Column 232"unfavourable reporting or editorial comment about their competitors' media services and products".
Mr. Redwood : The directors of all limited companies, and certain others, are required by law to provide the Registrar of Companies with copies of their annual accounts. This enables Companies house to make information available to the business community and the public at large, so helping to ensure the development of open and informed markets as well as achieving a fair level of protection for the individual consumer, creditor and shareholders.
(2) what consideration is given by his Department to auditors' reports accompanying accounts submitted by companies ; and whether the same consideration is given for public and private companies ; (3) what efforts are made by his Department to check the authority of company reports submitted according to law to his Department.
Mr. Redwood : Responsibility for the content of accounts and directors' reports rests with the directors. Auditors are required to state whether the accounts meet the requirements of the legislation and give a true and fair view. Companies house staff carry out certain checks for completeness, but do not vet the contents in detail except in response to specific complaints.
Mr. John Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what was the basis, in the case of Mr. H. P. Herbert, of the finding that no wrongdoing had taken place by the chairman and managing director of the company complained of ; and what cognisance his Department took of the allegation that assets were removed by the chairman and managing director, and that the company was trading whilst insolvent for six months.
Cognisance has been taken of all allegations made by Mr. H. P. Herbert concerning the company.