Mr. Luce : In the course of discussions about the revision of the Civil Service pay and conditions of service code to take account of the Official Secrets Act 1989, the unions expressed reservations about the implications of a passage in the revision which follows the note by the former head of the home Civil Service on the duties and responsibilities of civil servants in relation to Ministers (the Armstrong memorandum) in describing the constitutional position of civil servants in relation to Ministers. This is one of a number of issues to be discussed at a meeting which has been arranged between the Civil Service unions and the head of the home Civil Service.
124. Mr. Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's response to the recent Western European Union report on COCOM Doc. 1207.
Mr. Waldegrave : I refer my hon. Friend to the written answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 15 December to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Dr. Thomas).
Mr. John Evans : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 29 November 1989, to the hon. Member for St. Helens, North, Official Report, columns 328-29 , if he will state what he regards as (a) substantive and (b) non-substantive concessions to the hostage holders in the Lebanon, in the development of policy to seek the release
Column 534of the British hostages ; and what non- substantive concessions he is (i) prepared to make or (ii) has already made.
Mr. Waldegrave : Our policy of no substantive concessions precludes the payment of ransoms. It does not, of course, preclude contacts with those Governments, organisations or individuals who may be able to help secure the release of the British hostages. It would not be helpful to elaborate further.
Mr. Chris Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will now obtain and place in the Library copies of all communications between the then high commissioner in Malaysia, Mr. D. H. Gilmore CMG, and the then governor of Hong Kong, the late Sir Edward Youde, which occurred between 30 November 1985 and 1 June 1987, on the subject of the request, from the then governor of Hong Kong, to his Department for the extradition of Lorrain Osman and Dato Hashim Shamsuddin ; (2) if he will now place in the Library all communications between the then high commissioner in Malaysia, Mr. D. H. Gilmore CMG and his Department which occurred between 30 November 1985 and 1 June 1987, on the subject of the request, from the then governor of Hong Kong, the late Sir Edward Youde, to his Department for the extradition of Lorrain Osman and Dato Hashim Shamsuddin ;
(3) if he will now place in the Library all communications between the then governor of Hong Kong, the late Sir Edward Youde, and his Department which occurred between 30 November 1985 and 1 June 1987, on the subject of the request from the then governor of Hong Kong to his Department for the extradition of Lorrain Osman and Dato Hashim Shamsuddin.
Mr. Waldegrave : This matter remains sub judice. I have nothing to add to the answer given to the hon. Gentleman by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 1 December at column 456.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) when a decision is going to be taken on the application made by Mr. Liaqat Hussain, who was born in 1965, Ref : IMM/98735, to the post in Islamabad to join his wife in the United Kingdom ; and when Mr. Hussain was interviewed at the post ; (2) if he has arranged for the post in Islamabad to issue a passport to Mr. Abdul Waheed, whose date of birth is 5 February 1964, Ref : IMM/87378 ; TH/4335/89 ; when instructions were issued to the post to issue entry clearance to Mr. Waheed ; and when Mr. Waheed is going to be issued with a visa to enter the United Kingdom.
Mr. Waldegrave : In accordance with the guidelines on the handling of representations by Members of Parliament in immigration cases, issued to Members on 14 December 1988, I have referred the questions to the correspondence unit of the migration and visa department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The hon. Member will receive replies from the unit as soon as possible.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he intends to take to ensure that the issue of human rights violations by China is raised at the forthcoming United Nations human rights commission.
Mr. Waldegrave : With our European Community partners, we have already raised our concerns about human rights violations in China at the current session of the commission on human rights. On 2 February, the presidency statement at the commission called upon the Chinese authorities to guarantee full respect of the human rights of their citizens throughout China including Tibet.
Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government will ratify the second optional protocol to the international covenant on civil and political rights.
Mr. Waldegrave : Successive British Governments have taken the view that the decision whether or not to abolish or to reintroduce the death penalty should be left to individual Members of Parliament voting according to their own judgment. Accordingly, we will not take on an international obligation on the abolition of the death penalty.
Mr. Wigley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has had any recent meeting with the director of the programme for promoting nuclear non-proliferation ; and whether he plans any future meetings with this organisation.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to honour the United Nations resolution of 1947 guaranteeing a plebiscite on self-determination for the people of Kashmir.
Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 2 February 1990] : None. Britain voted in favour of the various UN resolutions on Kashmir. Much has happened since, including the 1972 Simla agreement on bilateral relations between India and Pakistan. We believe that the status of Kashmir can be settled only by agreement between the two sides.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what involvement he has with Commonwealth nations in trying to resolve the demands for self-determination for the people of Kashmir.
Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 2 February 1990] : We have received representations both from India and from Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir. We believe the status of Kashmir can be settled only by agreement between those two Commonwealth nations.
Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 2 February 1990] : In our recent contacts with both the Indian and Pakistan Governments we have noted that the situation in Kashmir is obviously of great concern to both, and expressed the hope that they would be able to reach a peaceful settlement of the issues involved.
Mr. Luce : In the last three years, I have visited the Portsmouth college of art and design and the Bournemouth and Poole college of art and design. I have been impressed by the work I have seen there and at other art education institutes which I have visited previously. Such institutes are the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education and Science.
Mr. Maclennan : To ask the Minister for the Arts, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland of 25 January, Official Report, column 797, what consideration he gave to the letter dated 10 July 1989 from the director of the oriental collections and the India Office library and records, in reaching his decision to support the conclusions of the British Library Board.
Mr. Luce [holding answer 5 February 1990] : I noted the contents of the letter from the director responsible for the British Library's oriental collections and India Office library and records. Decisions on the best use of the British Library's resources and the location of its collections are, however, for the British Library Board to make. I am confident that in making these decisions the board takes account of the advice of the library's managers.
Mr. Ron Davies : To ask the Minister for the Arts what has been the annual grant to the national heritage memorial fund from his office in each of the last five years for which figures are available ; and what is the budget figure for 1989-90 and the estimates to 1992-93.
|£ million ------------------------------ 1984-85 |4.0 1985-86 |1.5 1986-87 |1.5 1987-88 |1.5 1988-89 |1.5 1989-90 |1.5 1990-91 |1.5 1991-92 |1.5 1992-93 |1.5
The Department of the Environment provides an equal amount of grant in aid to the fund.
Mr. Andrew Welsh : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what are his estimates of the net changes in income to the Exchequer which will follow the introduction of the new rules whereby the age allowance and income limit applies to each person rather than as an allowance to a couple.
Mr. Lilley : When independent taxation is introduced in 1990-91, the cost of giving separate age-related allowances and aged income limits to individuals, rather than giving one such allowance to appropriate married couples, is estimated to be about £25 million in a full year. Aged couples will also gain about £340 million from disaggregating the wife's category B pension and wife's investment income. These estimates are based on a projection of the 1987-88 survey of personal incomes and are provisional.
Mr. Lawrence : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the cost advantage per 50 cl can over beer brewed in the United Kingdom of beer brewed in (a) France, (b) the Netherlands and (c) West Germany provided by their present excise duty and value added tax rates.
Mr. Ryder : Rates of excise duties and VAT on a 50 cl can of beer in France, the Netherlands, West Germany and the United Kingdom, according to the latest information available, are set out in the table :
Country |Excise duty|VAT rate |(pence per |50 cl can) --------------------------------------------------- |Percentage France |18.6 Netherlands |6 p |18.5 West Germany |3 p |14 United Kingdom |17 p |15 Rates of exchange as at 31 January 1990. Source: EC Excise Duty Tables.
Mr. Lawrence : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether consideration is being given to the harmonisation of beer excise duties with other European Community countries before 1992.
Mr. Ryder : In January 1990, the Commission put forward revised excise duty rate proposals for alcoholic products. To date, there has been no discussion of these revised proposals. The United Kingdom view remains that centrally determined approximation of excise duty rates is neither necessary nor appropriate to achieve the single market. As changes to excise duties law require unanimous agreement, the United Kingdom's position is safeguarded.
Mr. Bowis : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement on the numbers of new shareholders since 1979 ; and whether he intends to promote measures to further encourage the growth of individual share ownership.
Mr. Lilley : The joint Treasury and stock exchange survey carried out in January and February 1989 estimated that approximately 9 million people own shares directly, 20 per cent. of the adult population--a threefold increase since 1979.
Mr. Ryder : Increases in the world price of base and non-ferrous metals have meant that the cost of producing United Kingdom 1p and 2p coins in bronze now exceeds their face value. The Master of the Mint is therefore considering proposals to replace the present bronze coins with coins made of copper-plated steel. The plated coins would have the same weight and diameter as the existing bronze coins but would be very slightly thicker. The new coins would circulate with the existing bronze coins.
The Royal Mint has begun preliminary discussions with representatives of the vending industry, who are the only people likely to be affected by the difference in specification. The Mint will now contact representatives of the blind and disabled and other interested parties, mainly to reassure them that there would be no noticeable change in the size or feel of the coins.
No final decision has been made about when the coins would be introduced. It would not be before 1991 at the earliest. If and when a date is set, it will be announced in the usual way.
Mr. Cohen : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the level of (a) individual, (b) corporate and (c) public debt in (i) 1979 and (ii) 1989 ; and what he estimates is the proportion of this debt which accrued to the Treasury in the form of revenues.
£ billion |end-1979|end-1988 ------------------------------------------- Personal sector |170.6 |578.9 Company sector |-87.7 |-357.3 Public sector |-102.1 |-158.5 Notes:-Positive numbers indicate net wealth, negative numbers indicate net debt. For public sector, figures refer to end of March 1980 and end of March 1989.
Column 539It is not clear what relationship between sectoral debt and Government revenues the hon. Member has in mind in the second part of the question.
Mr. Mellor : The chimney at Strangeways prison, Manchester is a ventilation shaft forming an integral part of the plenum system which provides heating and ventilation to the cell blocks. It has been working satisfactorily for over 100 years and seems likely to continue to do so for some time to come. There are no plans to demolish it and I would see no point in considering such an action unless its condition should deteriorate to such a degree that it becomes a safety hazard.
Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many firemen in the past 10 years have been killed ; and how many have been injured whilst responding to hoax alarm telephone calls.
Mr. John Patten : Between 1980 and 1989 fire brigades in England and Wales reported that 12 firefighters had been killed in the course of duty as a result of road traffic accidents. It is not possible to determine from the information available whether or not any of the firefighters were killed while responding to hoax alarm calls. Comparable information on the number of firefighters injured is not available.
Mr. Martlew : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many members of the general public in the past 10 years have been killed ; and how many have been injured by vehicles of the emergency services whilst responding to hoax alarm telephone calls.
Sir David Mitchell : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Surrey as to the measures being taken to apprehend the persons guilty of the Guildford pub bombings.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many shotguns and semi-automatic shotguns that would become section 1 firearms from 1 February have been proofed by either the London or Birmingham proof houses, following their conversion under the terms of the Firearms Act 1988, to remain as shotguns.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : I understand from the masters of the proof houses that approximately 33,000 adapted smooth-bore guns have been certified by the proof houses so as to enable the guns to be retained on a shotgun certificate ; 21,000 of these were dealt with in Birmingham and the remainder in London.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish a table in the Official Report to show how many applications have been made to each chief constable of police for shotguns which have now under the terms of the Firearms Act 1988 become section 1 firearms to be held on firearms certificates ; and how many such applications have been (a) granted, (b) refused and (c) withdrawn by the applicant.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he has taken to ensure that all chief officers of police have notified all shotgun certificate holders individually prior to 1 February 1990 of the changes in the law under the Firearms Act 1988 with regard to semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns that they have converted and reproofed or the owner makes an application for the shotgun to be held on a firearms certificate.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : In January Home Office officials invited the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to remind certificate holders about the end of 31 January 1990 of the seven- month transitional period in which to
Column 541comply with the new controls. I understand that ACPO has advised chief officers accordingly. But it is for certificate holders to ensure their compliance with the law.
Mr. William Ross : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) further to his answer of 31 January to the hon. Member for Londonderry, East, if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Gwent as to the date on which the shotgun, the property of Mr. G. W. Phillips, was taken by PC 853 Fairie ; on what date it was entered by PC Fairie into police station records ; and on what date it was transferred to Newport police headquarters and by whom ; (2) further to his reply to the hon. Member for Londonderry, East, on 31 January, if he will call for and place in the Library a report from the chief constable of Gwent covering the report compiled by PC 853 Fairie into the shotgun renewal application of Mr. G. W. Phillips ;
(3) if, further to his answer of 31 January to the hon. Member for Londonderry, East, he will call for a report from the chief constable of Gwent as to which police officer laid evidence before the office manager, firearms administration, that the shotgun, the property of Mr. G. W. Phillips, was given into the possession of Mr. P. Stokes ; (4) if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Gwent as to who was requested by Mr. G. W. Phillips to hand the shotgun belonging to Mr. Phillips to Mr. P. Stokes ;
(5) if he will call for a report from the chief constable of Gwent as to which police officers, by rank, countersigned the report of PC 853 Fairie into the renewal application by Mr. G. W. Phillips for his shotgun certificate ; and on which dates in each case.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish that part of the letter written by an official of his Department to the hon. Member for Bradford, West on 25 August 1988, concerning the application of Mrs. Jan Begum, Ref : H197247/4, for British citizenship, that relates to the timing of the decision on her application ; and when he intends to let Mrs. Begum know whether she has been granted British citizenship.
Mr. Peter Lloyd : It is not the normal practice to publish correspondence with individual applicants. However, I can confirm that the letter of 25 August 1988 recorded progress, and our expectation that it would not take long to reach a decision. The facts of the case were not entirely straightforward, and action was delayed for a time while the fee was awaited. Some further delay was caused because action on the case was overlooked, and I am sorry that that happened. But the application was approved in August 1989 and the applicant was invited to take the oath of allegiance. As soon as she has done so, the certificate can be issued.
Mr. Alex Carlile : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the amount of each fine levied for smoking on the Tube since smoking was banned after the King's Cross fire ; and if he will make a statement.
Persons<1> fined for smoking on the Underground following the King's Cross fire on 18 November 1987 by the amount of fine imposed Fine imposed |1988 |1989 £ ---------------------------------------------------- <5 |- |2 10 |8 |2 15 |2 |1 20 |10 |7 25 |7 |5 30 |5 |3 40 |2 |3 45 |- |1 50 |5 |14 75 |1 |- 100 |1 |2 <200 |- |1 <1> Includes persons prosecuted for other offences at the same court appearance.
Q101. Dr. Godman : To ask the Prime Minister if Her Majesty's Government have recently participated in discussions with other European Community states concerning the extension of membership of the European Community to include Scandinavian, central and east European nations ; and if she will make a statement.
The Prime Minister : There have been no recent substantive discussions among member states on this matter. The Community will need to look comprehensively at the implications of further accessions in due course. We agree with the general view within the Community that--until at least 1993--the emphasis must be on consolidation, not enlargement, and completion of the single market.
The Prime Minister : The Government regularly receive correspondence about the standards of written and spoken English. It is important continually to seek to raise the standards of literacy. English is a core subject in the national curriculum. Attainment targets and performances of study for five and seven-year-old children were introduced in September 1989. The requirements for older children will be introduced in stages between now and September 1992. Assessment at regular intervals will mean that children with literacy problems will be identified at an early stage and can be given the necessary help.
The Government have given priority to the literacy needs of adults. They have provided grants of £3 million this year to the adult literacy and basic skills unit. In addition, local education authorities are being assisted through education support grants to provide open learning centres, and the training of tutors of adult literacy and basic skills has been designated a national priority area under the LEA training grants scheme.