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Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his latest assessment of the impact on United Kingdom-Polish relations of the suspension of the permit of Lot Airlines to land at Heathrow.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We remain concerned at the suspension of air services between Britain and Poland. This is an air services dispute and has no impact on our current friendly relations with Poland. We want to see the situation resolved as soon as possible.
There has been a number of contacts recently with the Polish Government and I hope there will be an early meeting of officials to discuss a framework for the resumption of services. We are making every effort to secure a settlement which will be in the interests of both the airlines involved and the travelling public, and be consistent with the principles which govern aviation in the European Union.
Column 141Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs had a useful discussion with Mr. Patten on a wide range of Hong Kong issues, including the 1994-95 election arrangements.
The first stage of the draft legislation on election arrangements is now progressing through the Legislative Council in Hong Kong. We expect it to complete its passage next month.
It would clearly not be feasible to withdraw this draft legislation. But this should not preclude continued discussion with China on the remaining electoral issues ; nor should it prevent our co-operating with China in the many other matters of importance to Hong Kong.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which special advisers in his Department are seconded from other organisations ; and what are the organisations and the lengths and terms of the secondments.
Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which countries (a) are and (b) are not currently signatories to the international convention on child abduction.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : There are two international conventions on child abduction. The following countries have signed the European convention on recognition and enforcement of decisions concerning custody of children and on restoration of custody of children.
State |Signed |Ratification/Acceptance|Entry into Force ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Austria |20 May 1980 |12 April 1985 |1 August 1986 Belgium |20 May 1980 |1 October 1985 |1 August 1986 Cyprus |20 May 1980 |13 June 1986 |1 October 1986 Denmark |11 April 1991 |11 April 1991 |1 August 1991 France |20 May 1980 |4 August 1982 |1 August 1986 Germany |20 May 1980 |5 October 1990 |1 February 1991 Greece |20 May 1980 |8 March 1993 |1 July 1993 Ireland |20 May 1980 |28 June 1991 |1 October 1991 Italy |20 May 1980 |- |- Liechtenstein |20 May 1980 |- |- Luxembourg |20 May 1980 |25 May 1983 |1 August 1986 Netherlands |20 May 1980 |23 May 1990 |1 September 1990 Norway |17 January 1989 |17 January 1989 |1 May 1989 Portugal |20 May 1980 |18 March 1983 |1 August 1986 Spain |20 May 1980 |30 May 1984 |1 August 1986 Sweden |28 March 1989 |28 March 1989 |1 July 1989 Switzerland |20 May 1980 |27 September 1983 |1 August 1986 United Kingdom |20 May 1980 |21 April 1986 |1 August 1986
Column 142The following countries have signed The Hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction.
State |Signed |Ratification/Accession/|Entry into force |Succession/Extension |between the United |Kingdom and State ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Argentina |28 January 1991 |19 March 1991 |1 June 1991 Australia |29 October 1986 |29 October 1986 |1 January 1987 Austria |12 May 1987 |14 July 1988 |1 October 1988 Bahamas |(Accession) |1 October 1993 |1 January 1994 Belgium |11 January 1982 |- |- Belize |(Accession) |22 June 1989 |1 October 1989 Bosnia-Hercegovina |(Succession) |1 October 1993 |7 April 1992 Burkina Faso |(Accession) |25 May 1992 |1 August 1992 Canada |25 October 1980 |2 June 1983 |1 August 1986 Ontario |(Extension) |2 June 1983 |1 August 1986 New Brunswick |(Extension) |2 June 1983 |1 August 1986 British Columbia |(Extension) |2 June 1983 |1 August 1986 Manitoba |(Extension) |2 June 1983 |1 August 1986 Nova Scotia |(Extension) |27 February 1984 |1 August 1986 Newfoundland |(Extension) |6 July 1984 |1 August 1986 Prince Edward Island |(Extension) |12 February 1986 |1 August 1986 Quebec |(Extension) |11 October 1984 |1 August 1986 Yukon Territory |(Extension) |18 November 1984 |1 August 1986 Saskatchewan |(Extension) |11 August 1986 |1 November 1986 Alberta |(Extension) |4 November 1986 |1 February 1987 Northwest Territories |(Extension) |26 January 1988 |1 April 1988 Croatia |(Succession) |5 April 1993 |1 December 1991 Czech Republic |1 January 1993 |- |- Denmark |17 April 1991 |17 April 1991 |1 July 1991 Ecuador |(Accession) |22 January 1992 |1 April 1992 France |25 October 1980 |16 September 1982 |1 August 1986 Germany |9 September 1987 |27 September 1990 |1 December 1990 Greece |25 October 1980 |19 March 1983 |1 June 1993 Honduras |(Accession) |20 December 1993 |- Hungary |(Accession) |7 April 1986 |1 September 1986 Ireland |23 May 1990 |16 July 1991 |1 October 1991 Israel |4 September 1991 |4 September 1991 |1 December 1991 Italy |2 March 1987 |- |- Luxembourg |18 December 1984 |8 October 1986 |1 January 1987 Macedonia |(Succession) |23 September 1993 |1 December 1991 Mauritius |(Accession) |23 March 1993 |1 June 1993 Mexico |(Accession) |20 June 1991 |1 September 1991 Monaco |(Accession) |12 November 1992 |1 February 1993 Netherlands |11 September 1987 |12 June 1990 |1 September 1990 New Zealand |(Accession) |31 May 1991 |1 August 1991 Norway |9 January 1989 |9 January 1989 |1 April 1989 Poland |(Accession) |10 August 1992 |1 November 1992 Portugal |22 June 1982 |29 September 1983 |1 August 1986 Romania |(Accession) |20 November 1992 |1 February 1993 Slovak Republic |1 January 1993 |- |- Spain |7 February 1986 |16 June 1987 |1 September 1987 Sweden |22 March 1989 |22 March 1989 |1 June 1989 Switzerland |25 October 1980 |11 October 1983 |1 August 1986 United Kingdom |19 November 1984 |20 May 1986 |1 August 1986 United States of America |23 December 1981 |29 April 1988 |1 July 1988 Yugoslavia |27 September 1991 |27 September 1991 |1 December 1991
Sir David Steel : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress Her Majesty's Government have made in considering renewal of the United Kingdom's membership of UNESCO.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will hold discussions with the Governments of those commonwealth countries whose nationals are currently able to visit the United Kingdom without a visa about the European Commission's proposals to make a list of countries whose nationals must be in possession of a visa when crossing the external frontiers of member states.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The European Commission's proposals will be a matter for discussion with European Union partners and the Commission. I do not propose, at this stage, to initiate discussions with those commonwealth countries whose citizens would be affected by the Commission's proposals as currently drafted.
Mr. Watson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who will be representing the United Kingdom Government at the preparatory committee meeting in New York on 31 January to 11 February for the world summit on social development ; which non- governmental organisations have been invited to be members of the United Kingdom delegation ; what plans Her Majesty's Government have to set up a national committee on the summit ; and which organisations have been invited to participate.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : Her Majesty's permanent representative to the United Nations will represent the United Kingdom at the forthcoming preparatory committee for the world summit for social development. He will be supported by his local staff and experts from Whitehall. We have not invited any non-governmental organisations to be part of the United Kingdom delegation. The secretariat for the summit has made arrangements for any NGO's who wish to attend. There are no plans at present to establish a national committee on the summit. We will review this question following the preparatory committee meeting in February.
Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many hon. Members have written to him concerning the human rights situation in Iran since April 1992 ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) how Her Majesty's Government have voted in the United Nations General Assembly on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran ; and if he will make a statement ;
(3) what representations Her Majesty's Government have made to Iran concerning the abuse of human rights in Iran ; and if he will make a statement.
We remain seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Iran and repeatedly make this clear to the Iranian authorities, both with our European partners and bilaterally. In December 1993 we co-sponsored and voted in favour of a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly that reflected the critical report of the United Nations special representative on human rights in Iran. Most recently we gave our full support to representations made by the European Union on behalf of the Rev. Mehdi Dibaj and two members of the Baha'i faith, all of
Column 145whom were reportedly sentenced to death in Iran for their religious beliefs. We have also raised Dibaj's case with the Iranian embassy in London.
We and our European Community partners made clear at the European Council at Edinburgh in December 1992 that improvements in Iran's behaviour in a number of areas, particularly human rights, the fatwa on Mr. Rushdie and terrorism, would be important in determining the extent to which closer relations and confidence in Iran could be developed.
Mr. John D. Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the circumstances of the recent shooting incident near the United Kingdom embassy in Teheran ; what co-operation has been received from the Iranian authorities to investigate it ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : A number of shots were fired at the offices of the British embassy in Tehran late on 9 January 1994, after office hours. No one was injured. The Iranian authorities are investigating the incident and we are satisfied with their co-operation.
Mr. Madden : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice was given by British officials at the United Kingdom post in Jamaica to Jamaican citizens booked to travel on flight ULE 966 chartered from Air UK Leisure to the United Kingdom when they sought advice on the suitability of their travel documents.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : As prior entry clearance for visitors from Jamaica is not mandatory, they are not obliged to contact the British high commission in Kingston. When Jamaican citizens seek advice on documents required for entry into the United Kingdom, the high commission does not necessarily know details of the flights on which they intend to travel. This was so in the case of the visitors booked to travel on flight ULE 966, and it is not therefore known how many may have sought advice.
All visitors seeking advice from the British high commission are given the information which I described on 11 January at column 43 in reply to an earlier question from the hon. Member.
Mr. Dalyell : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will discuss with the United Nations the possibility of holding the trial of two Libyan nationals suspected of the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 crime in The Hague.
Dr. John Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what agreements Her Majesty's Government made with the Government of Malaysia with respect to arms contracts and an overseas aid package ; when those agreements were made ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hurd : During discussions in 1988 about the proposed memorandum of understanding on defence sales, the Malaysians expressed their wish to make a reference to aid. A protocol was signed during the visit to Kuala Lumpur in March 1988 by the then Defence Secretary, my noble Friend Lord Younger of Prestwick. This set out the Malaysian Government's intention to buy defence equipment from the United Kingdom, with the details to be elaborated in the later memorandum. The protocol included a reference to
"aid in support of non-military aspects under this programme." After consultation with ministerial colleagues in London, the Secretary of State for Defence wrote to the Malaysian Minister of Finance in June 1988 to say that aid could not be linked to defence sales. As a result, the issue was not taken up in the memorandum of understanding on defence procurement which the British and Malaysian Prime Ministers signed in September 1988, and which did not cover aid. Our aid programme is not linked to arms sales.
Malaysia has been eligible for support under the aid and trade provision since the scheme was introduced in 1977 ; and 23 of the 270 ATP projects financed since then have been in Malaysia. The Malaysian Government have been well aware of the availability of ATP, which was reaffirmed in 1988. Malaysia is expected shortly to graduate under OCED rules from eligibility for aid credits such as ATP. British aid has contributed to Malaysia's rapid economic development and to the productive relationship which we have with Malaysia in many fields of activity, including trade.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy in relation to the Government of the Republic of Angola and to UNITA ; and if he will indicate what specific support is being given by Her Majesty's Government to the Angolan peace process.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Our policy in Angola is to support a negotiated settlement to the civil war. To this end we took an active part in drafting Security Council resolution 864, which imposed sanctions against UNITA. We fully support the United Nations brokered negotations taking place in Lusaka between the Government of Angola and UNITA. We have provided £10 million of humanitarian aid since June 1993, to all areas of Angola.
Column 147provide for the continued exemption from VAT for courses of further education for adults provided by local authorities under section 11 of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.
Sir John Cope : I can confirm that as part of their review of the VAT treatment of education and training services Customs and Excise are considering the VAT position of courses of further education for adults provided by local authorities. Consultation with interested parties is currently taking place and decisions on the review have not yet been made. However, at this stage it is not envisaged that such courses will be made subject to VAT.
Mr. Nelson : The estimated average cost of processing a council tax appeal in the current financial year in England is £115. This estimate includes Valuation Office agency and valuation tribunal costs.
|Number ------------------------------- East Anglia Bedford |7,548 Cambridge |7,327 Chelmsford |11,532 Colchester |13,075 Ipswich |8,260 Norwich |11,311 Peterborough |9,219 St. Albans |7,167 Stevenage |6,371 East Midlands Derby |8,729 Doncaster |4,408 Grimsby |5,053 Hull |6,439 Leicester |4,815 Lincoln |7,626 Loughborough |6,212 Mansfield |5,532 Northampton |5,409 Nottingham |5,473 Sheffield |6,009 London Barking |3,340 Bromley |14,122 Camden |6,095 City of London |199 Ealing |7,028 Enfield |15,634 Greenwich |9,315 Harrow |7,193 Islington |6,824 Kensington |12,386 Lambeth |10,137 Redbridge |4,864 Tower Hamlets |2,861 Westminster 1 |2,403 Westminster 2 |4,452 Wimbledon |9,841 North Western Bolton |4,207 Burnley |6,322 Chester |5,262 Crewe |7,786 Lancaster |6,957 Liverpool |6,697 Manchester |1,712 Preston |5,455 Rochdale |2,342 Salford |4,135 Stockport |5,457 Warrington |7,394 Northern Alnwick |5,464 Bradford |3,987 Carlisle |5,395 Durham |6,558 Halifax |7,490 Harrogate |9,742 Leeds |6,283 Middlesbrough |3,137 Newcastle |3,320 Sunderland |3,267 Ulverston |5,006 York |8,029 South Eastern Brighton |7,883 Chatham |5,228 Eastbourne |7,806 Folkestone |6,487 Guildford |9,033 Reigate |11,127 Tunbridge Wells |13,288 Worthing |11,217 Southern Aylesbury |12,178 Basingstoke |8,861 Bournemouth |9,259 Dorchester |7,034 Oxford |11,557 Portsmouth |5,135 Portsmouth (IOW) |3,083 Reading |13,038 Southampton |12,212 Swindon |9,988 Western Barnstaple |6,192 Bath |6,298 Bristol |8,647 Exeter |10,277 Gloucester |13,340 Plymouth |9,296 St. Austell |9,711 Taunton |9,968 West Midland Birmingham |6,335 Coventry |5,014 Kidderminster |5,283 Lichfield |4,651 Sandwell |1,197 Shrewsbury |8,934 Stoke-on-Trent |5,451 Warwick |8,026 Wolverhampton |4,083 Worcester |10,769 Wales Bangor |5,210 Cardiff |4,166 Carmarthen |10,186 Merthyr Tydfil |4,418 Newport |4,365 Pontypridd |2,861 Swansea |4,529 Wrexham |6,037
Mr. Straw : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will show for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland separately the forecast of council tax receipts contained in line 5 of table 6.11 in the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" 1994-95.
Mr. Portillo : The total resources allocated to Scotland are determined in accordance with the established block and formula arrangements. Within those totals, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland set out the amounts he has made available for local authorities, including for the costs of local government reform, in replies to my hon. Friend the Member for Kincardine and Deeside (Mr. Kynoch) on 7 December, Official Report, columns 187-88.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the estimated cost to his Department of exempting from income tax benefits payable under permanent health insurance policies in the first 12 months of disability.
Mr. Morgan : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made, and what representations he has received, in respect of the impact of the air passenger duty charges on small municipally owned airports and the market for small turbo prop and regional class jet aircraft.
Column 150impact of air passenger duty on demand for air travel will vary by type of passenger and by route. Overall, the impact is expected to be small. No specific estimates have been made of the impct on small municipally owned airports nor on the market for small turbo prop and regional class jet aircraft, and any such estimates would be highly speculative.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will show for England only and for each year from 1992-93 to 1994-95, the local authority transactions contained within table 6.1 in the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" 1994-95.
Mr. Straw : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will show for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland separately the amounts of local authority self-financed expenditure recorded in table 5.5 of the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" and identify the amounts within that figure of expenditure financed from council tax.
Mr. Portillo : Total local authority spending for 1988-89 to 1993-94 and total central Government support for 1988-89 to 1996-97 will be published by country in the statistical supplement to the "Financial Statement and Budget Report" 1994-95. Projections for total local authority spending in 1994-95 to 1996-97 are not available on a disaggregated basis.
Mr. Nelson : Sterling's re-entry to the ERM could not be considered until there is greater convergence between the monetary policies appropriate for all the Community economies. I should also need to be satisfied that the system would be operated to the benefit of all its members. I do not expect these conditions to be met during this Parliament.
Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has had from Westfield contributory health scheme as to the effect of the insurance premium tax on their membership.
Sir John Cope : Various representations have been made to Treasury Ministers seeking exemption from the proposed insurance premium tax by a number of contributory health schemes, including the Westfield contributory health scheme.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which special advisers in his Department are seconded from other organisations ; and what are the organisations and the lengths and terms of the secondments.
Mr. Nicholas Brown : To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what were the the total budgets of the European Commission's educational mobility programmes of (a) ARION, (b) ERASMUS, (c) LINGUA, (d) the science plan, (e) SPES and (f) sectoral grants in each year since their establishment ; and what proportion of each was granted to (i) the Northern region and (ii) the United Kingdom as a whole.
The science plan, SPES and sectoral grants are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The information requested on ARION, ERASMUS and LINGUA is as follows :
The ARION Programme started during the 1978-79 academic year. Complete records are only available from 1985-86. The table illustrates the number of bursaries awarded. Year |Total budget |Total number |Number of |Number of |(value in ECU)|of grants |grants to |grants to |United |Northern |Kingdom |region<2> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1986-87 |364,000 |520 |70 |5 1987-88 |364,000 |520 |70 |6 1988-89 |569,500 |580 |80 |5 1989-90 |<1>574,650 |<1>600 |80 |4 1990-91 |556,350 |529 |80 |4 1991-92 |587,800 |651 |95 |7 1992-93 |<1>807,050 |<1>850 |120 |3 <1>Estimated figures. <2>Northern region conforms to the Eurostat code R71 and consists of Cleveland, Durham, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.
Aggregate statistics by member state and region are not available in the form requested, but the United Kingdom share in 1992 of the budget directly administered by the Commission for Actions III and V was 20 per cent.
The budget administered by the UK LINGUA Unit for Actions IA and IV was as follows :
(Ecus) |1991 |1992 |1993 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Action IA-Measures to assist Modern Foreign Language teachers EC Budget |5,600,000 |7,000,002 |7,700,001 United Kingdom Share |588,629 |946,369 |1,057,074 Northern Region |n/a |n/a |n/a Action IV-Exchange of young people EC Budget |6,000,000 |8,400,000 |10,500,000 United Kingdom Share |783,838 |1,230,426 |1,562,070 Northern Region |n/a |n/a |n/a n/a=Not Available.
ERASMUS Year |Total |Student |Student mobility |budget<1><2> |allocated to |allocated to |UK<1><3> |Northern |Region<1><3><4> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1987-88 |11.2 |n/a |n/a 1988-89 |30.0 |2.1 |0.05 1989-90 |52.5 |4.1 |0.10 1990-91 |60.6 |5.1 |0.22 1991-92 |73.8 |6.4 |0.29 1992-93 |97.2 |8.5 |0.34 1993-94 |97.8 |8.8 |0.34 <1> Amounts quoted are in million ecu. <2> Source: ERASMUS Bureau. <3> Source: United Kingdom ERASMUS Student Grants Council. <4> Northern region conforms to the Eurostat code R71 and consists of Cleveland, Durham, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.
The Prime Minister : I discussed Kashmir at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in October with the Prime Minister of Pakistan. We regularly raise Kashmir in our discussions with the Indian and Pakistan Governments.
Mr. Kaufman : To ask the Prime Minister what action he has taken to ascertain who drew up the original draft of the letter about arms supplies to Iraq that he sent to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on 17 February 1992 and who made deletions in that draft to alter it to the form in which the Prime Minister sent the aforesaid letter to the right hon. Member ; what explanation he has received for the deletions ; and what action he intends to take (a) in regard to responsibility for the deletions and (b) in regard to writing to the aforesaid right hon. Member to correct the false impression that he now acknowledges his letter gave.
The Prime Minister : My Office has supplied Lord Justice Scott's inquiry with the further information he requested. The issues arising are a matter for Lord Justice Scott. As will be apparent from my evidence to the inquiry, I do not accept that my letter to the right hon. Gentleman was misleading.
The Prime Minister : My appointments secretary assists me over a range of appointments in Church and state for which I am responsible, particularly those where the appointment is made by Her Majesty the Queen on my advice.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Prime Minister if he will place in the Library a list of the people included in this year's new year's honours list with their place of residence by standard region and their occupation.
Column 153whose sentences were subsequently commuted, are located ; and if he will now arrange for them to be made available in the Public Record Office.
The Prime Minister : The courts martial records of British service men who were sentenced to death during the first world war but whose sentences were subsequently commuted have regrettably not survived. The available evidence suggests they were lost when a German bomb hit the main war office and Army repository in 1940.
The availability of the courts martial records of other British empire forces is a matter that should be pursued with each of the countries concerned.