Mr. Nicholls : To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission on what basis the National Audit Office hypothesises its charges for work carried out on behalf of Government Departments and agencies ; if, for the purposes of market testing, the NAO calculates its charges on a full cost basis, as defined by the Treasury ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Peter Hordern : In line with the National Audit Act 1983, the National Audit Office currently has ministerial consent to charge for the audit of trading funds, for the audit of accounts which are trading type activities, and for all audits undertaken by agreement. The National Audit Office calculates its fees for such work on a full cost basis in line with the Treasury fees and charges guide. The National Audit Office currently contracts out some 8 per cent. of its financial audits and also assumes a full cost basis in line with the Treasury guidance when comparing its internal costs with those of the private sector on these accounts.
Mr. Channon : Details of the progress of the implementation of the Ibbs report have been set out in the annual reports of the House of Commons Commission for 1991-92 and 1992-93. With the exception of the proposal to transfer the grants in aid to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the British American Parliamentary Group and the History of Parliament Trust from HM Treasury to the House, the major structural recommendations of the report have been carried out. The Finance and Services Committee will continue to review the financial management of House services in conjunction with the Accounting Officer and the Heads of House Departments, but it is not its normal practice to issue reports to the House.
Mr. Channon : A rolling programme of audits of House services is already being carried out by the internal auditor and his staff under the supervision of the Finance and Services Committee as the audit committee of the House. The studies seek to measure and evaluate the systems of internal controls and include a value-for-money scrutiny of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. The Committee intends to keep the programme under review and ensure that it covers the activities of all Departments of the House.
Mr. Channon : It is too early to give a firm estimate of the likely cost of the conference. The question of funding will be considered by the Finance and Services Committee when it prepares the departmental estimates for 1994-95 for submission to the House of Commons Commission.
Mr. Ray Powell : A total of 535 rooms are, or will soon be, available within the Parliamentary Estate for allocation to right hon. and hon. Members. Some of these rooms are set aside for officer holders. This number includes 113 in 7 Millbank.
Mr. Ray Powell : A new contract has recently been agreed with a specialist company to deal with pest control in the Palace of Westminster. In addition, Departments have been reminded of the formal reporting procedures and disciplines which exist to inhibit these pests.
Mr. Michael J. Martin : The Administration Committee has responsibility for the regulation of all-party and parliamentary groups ; and, as its Chairman, I have been asked to reply. The Committee would be prepared to consider any proposal for the improvement of the regime for their control. If my hon. Friend has any such suggestion, he should submit it in writing.
Ms Quin : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many visa applications were made for entry into the United Kingdom from applicants from the Philippines in each of the three latest years for which figures are available ; and how many were (a) accepted and (b) rejected.
|<1>1993|1992 |1991 ------------------------------------------------------ Received |11,255 |13,637 |11,926 Granted |10,090 |12,033 |10,571 Refused |1,030 |1,435 |1,161 Decisions outstanding |135 |169 |194 <1> January to September.
Mr. David Atkinson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Mr. Smith) of 19 October, Official Report, column 205, if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's reservations on the changes proposed at the Council of Europe summit on 8 and 9 October, in the exercise of the rights of citizens of member states under the European convention on human rights.
Mr. Davidson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with which countries discussions have taken place to ensure Belize's continued territorial independence ; when they started ; and with which countries he intends to begin such discussions.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The sovereignty and independence of Belize are recognised by all members of the United Nations. Belize is also a member of the Organisation of American States. We have made clear our readiness to participate with others in any consultations Belize may request on its future security. It would not be right for me to disclose the content of any discussions.
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what calls he has received from the Italian Prime Minister, Carlo Ciampi, for international co-operation on tax havens, offshore financial centres and bank secrecy laws, as measures to stop the Mafia laundering money ; and what response he has made.
Mr. Faber : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government on support for the political party of Mr. Vuk Draskovic, the SPO in Serbia ; and what pressure has been put on Mr. Draskovic during recent meetings to take part in the democratic process in Yugoslavia.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister sent a message of support to Mr. Draskovic's party at the time of his detention by the Serbian authorities in June 1993. Mr. Draskovic and his party remain politically active. We continue to encourage parties promoting democracy in Serbia.
Mr. Faber : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps Her Majesty's Government will be taking to encourage Mr. Alija Izetbegovic to reach a peace accord with the other parties concerned following the peace accord between Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Serbs ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We and our partners continue to make clear our support for the efforts of the co-chairmen of the international conference to secure a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Bosnia, and our readiness to support a settlement which has the full agreement of all parties.
Ms Harman : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those public investment projects within his Department's responsibility which have attracted private capital and have been commenced since the 1992 autumn statement.
Mr. Goodlad : The diplomatic wing of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not yet identified any public investment projects which have attracted private capital. The Overseas Development Administration associates itself with private finance through the aid and trade provision ; through the joint funding scheme with non-governmental organisations-- where the aid wing matches its contributions on a pound for pound basis-- and by sponsoring the Commonwealth Development Corporation which funds investment projects in developing countries, particularly in the private sector, in partnership with a range of public and private investors.
Column 89August 1993, excluding those in an EC capacity, was £1.377 million of which £656,000 was paid to the RAF for use of its planes. The period covers the United Kingdom presidency of the EC during which I paid a number of visits in an EC capacity, the costs of which are borne by the presidency in office. These amounted to £658,000 of which £178,000 was paid to the RAF.
the cash limit for class VI, vote 2--administration and transport services- -will be reduced by £2,069,000 from £204,305,000 to £202,236, 000 and the Department's running costs limit will be reduced by £4, 215,000 from £432,989,000 to £428,774,000. The changes include the transfer of funds for administration and miscellaneous services to OPRAF class VI, vote 7 and to ORR class VI, vote 8. These reductions are partly offset by the take-up of capital and running costs end-year flexibility entitlement as announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 14 July 1993 at columns 512-18 and a transfer of funds from the Defence Research Agency for repayment services. The increases will be offset by transfers and a charge on the Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.
Mr. Sedgemore : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish forthwith submissions and evidence made to him by Union Railways about intermediate stations and bids by Stratford, Rainham and Ebbfleet in relation to the channel tunnel rail link ; and if he will instruct Union Railways to make its background papers available to the public as regards the intermediate stations.
Mr. Freeman : The published version of Union Railways' report will include information on intermediate stations. Publication of the bids by individual promoter groups is a matter for them. Commercially confidential material will not be published.
Ms Harman : To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list those public investment projects within his Department's responsibility which have attracted private capital and have been commenced since the 1992 autumn statement.
Mr. Waldegrave : My Department continues to seek opportunities for joint funding with the private sector of capital and other projects connected with the science base, and to examine the scope for involving the private sector in other areas of the Department's responsibilities. On 10 March 1993, I announced that the United Kingdom is to host the European Bioinformatics Institute at Cambridge, which will be funded jointly by the Government and the Wellcome Trust.
Mr. Waldegrave : The cash limit for this vote is being reduced by £1,600,000 from £1,165,150,000 to £1,163,550,000. This reduction reflects the transfer of responsibility for core funding of the Institute of Cancer Research from the Medical Research Council to the Higher Education Funding Council (England) class X, vote 2. The opportunity of the winter supplementary estimates will also be taken to change the ambit of the vote to allow the Science and Engineering Research Council to prepare for the establishment of the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and for grant to be paid for other initiatives following the publication of the White Paper "Realising our Potential".
Mr. Spellar : To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Dartford (Mr. Dunn) of 26 October, Official Report, column 589, on the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, what representations he made to the Government of India regarding abuses of human rights in Kashmir and the Punjab.
The Prime Minister : We regularly raise our concerns about Kashmir, Punjab and human rights with the Indian Government, most recently during a discussion between my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Dr. Manmohan Singh, head of the Indian delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in October.
Column 91January 1993 that the text of his book did not contain any material damaging to national security. Mr. Crozier was informed on 27 May 1993 that, while the Crown would not authorise his book, it would not prejudice national security provided that certain amendments and deletions were made to the text.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Prime Minister what was the Property Services Agency's annual charge at the latest available date for buildings and services relating to his office ; and what were the categories of expenditure.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 1 November 1993] : The Property Services Agency ceased to exist in April 1990 ; Property Holdings took on responsibility for building services on the civil estate from that date.
Property Holdings' annual charge in respect of 10 Downing street in 1993-94 is as follows :
|£ ------------------------------- Rent |600,307 Rent surcharge |54,028 New works |158,021
It is Government policy not to disclose the cost of works relating to security requirements.
Major works were the responsibility of the Property Services Agency in 1988 -89. No costs for major work fell to my office in this period.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Prime Minister what office services were ascribed to his office in 1986-87 and in the latest available year ; and how much was charged for these services and by whom, in each year.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 1 November 1993] : The following office services were ascribed to my office : office manager, typing support, messengers, stationery supplies, postage, laundry and cleaning, office cleaning. The costs were as follows :
Year |£ ------------------------ 1986-87 |543,000 1992-93 |891,000
The cost to my office was charged by the Cabinet Office and a number of private sector suppliers.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Prime Minister what was the annual charge to his office by the Ministry of Defence at the latest available date for (a) the use of aircraft and (b) the use of service personnel at Chequers.
The Prime Minister [holding answer 1 November 1993] : For 1992-93 the charge to my office by the Ministry of Defence for the use of aircraft was £145,559 and for the use of service personnel at Chequers, £230,331.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will set out in the Official Report either under topic heads related to the responsibilities of Her Majesty's Ministers, or in article order of the latest version of the treaty of Rome, as amended by both the Single European Act and union treaties, any derogation from its terms applying to the member states of the European Economic Area who are not also member states of the European Community and its associated union.
Mr. Needham : The European economic area agreement does not extend Community policies in the following areas to the European Free Trade Association states which are contracting parties to the EEA : the common commercial policy and the common customs tariff--my Department--the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy--Agriculture Ministers- -cohesion policy--my Department--and Community financial and fiscal policies--Chancellor of the Exchequer. The EFTA states will not be bound by the provisions of the treaty on European union.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will ensure that all those matters listed in the proposed new clause 5 to the European Economic Area Bill considered in the House, Official Report, 21 October, columns 467-69, are included in that section of the six-monthly reports to Parliament on European Community affairs which is to be devoted to the European economic area.
Mr. Needham : The section on the European economic area, which is to be included in the six-monthly White Paper "Developments in the European Community", will contain a general account of developments within the EEA, nothing any significant decisions made by the EEA council or the EEA joint committee. This will be supplemented by a further report to Parliament on developments in the EEA in the form of an explanatory memorandum accompanying the annual report of the EEA joint committee on the functioning and development of the EEA agreement, which arises from article 94 of the agreement. Under the terms of the EEA, all decisions of the EEA joint committee will be published, including those extending new legislation to the EFTA states, in a new EEA supplement to the Official Journal of the EC. Parliament will already have had an opportunity to consider new provisions to be added to the agreement under scrutiny procedures agreed with the European Legislation Committee.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the President of the Board of Trade when he expects to reply to the report of the Lords Select Committee on the European Communities report on packaging and packaging waste--HL 118-I.
Column 94departmental explanatory memorandum 8492/93 of 10 October, on the communication from the Commission to the Council on the future of testing reactors in the Community (Com (93) 408 Final).
Mr. Eggar : The reason for the doubt expressed in the Department's explanatory memorandum is that the Commission's proposal for a Council resolution does not specify which article of the treaty it relies on ; and it is not clear from the document that such action by the Community is necessary to attain one of the objectives of the Community, nor, if so, which particular objective.
Mr. Dafis : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will provide a breakdown of the sources of the "other emissions" of carbon listed in table 2, page 182, of the digest of United Kingdom energy statistics 1993.
Carbon dioxide emissions in 1991, million tonnes of carbon Source of non-fuel |million tonnes emissions -------------------------------------------------------------- Incineration: Domestic |0.5 Agricultural |1.1 Cement production |1.7 Landfill sites |0.8 Offshore gas flaring |1.4 |---- Total "other emissions" |5.5
Government-funded adult literacy and basic skills unit, the cost to British industry of poor basic skills among the work force is almost £5 billion a year. The raising of standards is a top priority for the Government's policies for education, both at school, via the national curriculum and the testing arrangements that go with it, and for adults, for whom basic skills provision is a specific responsibility of the new further education funding councils.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what consideration his Department's nuclear review has given to the possible cost-effectiveness of investment in nuclear plant to achieve reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.
Ms Harman : To ask the President of the Board of Trade if he will list those public investment projects within his Department's responsibility which have attracted private capital and have been commenced since the 1992 autumn statement.
Mr. Eggar : My Department's capital investment projects, other than office accommodation, are primarily undertaken at its research establishments. My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade announced on 4 May 1993, Official Report, column 4, that he was reviewing the future of these establishments with the assistance of independent consultants. The opportunities offered by the private finance initiative will be taken into account in the course of this review. More generally much of the rest of my Department is also under review to identify the scope for increased private sector involvement.
Mr. Eggar : In order to promote the United Kingdom's wide ranging expertise in the energy sector, I have recently visited Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Algeria. I hope that my visit to these countries will provide opportunities for the United Kingdom oil and supplies industries to participate in the development of their energy resources. My offshore supplies office will continue toffice will hold seminars early next year in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur to present lessons learned and experience gained from recent initiatives aimed at reducing the costs of United Kingdom continental shelf oil and gas developments.
Mr. Hawkins : To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps are being taken to prevent the EC draft directive currently under consideration which would prevent holidaymakers sending deposits in advance to book hotel and guest house rooms from being implemented in a way which would have the effect of preventing the normal trading operations of Britain's hoteliers, self-catering and guest house operators.
Mr. McLoughlin [holding answer 28 October 1993] : The United Kingdom has made clear, during the discussion of the draft distance selling directive in Brussels, its opposition to the provision which would ban prepayments in the case of contracts negotiated at a distance. There can be no question of our agreeing to the directive so long as this provision remains.