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Mr. Redwood : The Welsh Development Agency, like other non- departmental public bodies, is subject to a range
Column 744of controls, directions and monitoring as required by the Welsh Development Agency Act 1975. Targets, objectives and performance measures are set in the context of the corporate planning cycle. The agency's finances are monitored on a monthly basis and its accounts are audited by the National Audit Office.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales who conducted the interim house condition survey ; what was the date originally scheduled for publication ; what is the date currently scheduled for publication ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Gwilym Jones : The 1993 Welsh House Condition Survey has been conducted in two stages. The first stage was a social survey undertaken by Research and Marketing Ltd. The second stage included a physical survey which was carried out by Bailey Widnell. Both contracts were placed after competitive tendering.
Our provisional intention was that the results of the surveys be available early this year. We now expect them to be published in the spring.
Mr. Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales when he expects to publish the submissions received on the consultation exercise on the proposed Magor to Castleton motorway.
Sir Wyn Roberts : Relevant details will be announced when a decision is taken on whether or not to proceed with any of the published routes. This is currently anticipated by the summer of 1994.
Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if arrangements similar to the special arrangements for emergency work referred to by the Secretary of State for Transport in respect of the introduction of full competition for local authority highway works in England will apply in Wales ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Wyn Roberts : Yes. The implementation date is 1October 1997, which takes account of proposals for local government reorganisation.
Mr. Morley : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on how many occasions since 1982 in Wales a potentially damaging operation to a site of special scientific interest has been carried out following the failure to reach a management agreement as set out in section 29 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 ; and if he will make a statement.
Sir Wyn Roberts : The information requested by the hon. Member about potentially damaging operations is not available in the form requested. Available data on damage to SSSIs up to 31 March 1991 can be found in the Nature Conservancy Council's annual reports. Damage since 1 April 1991 can be found in the Countryside Council for Wales annual reports. Copies are available in the Library of the House.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many cattle and sheep farms are wholly or mainly in the less-favoured areas.
Mr. Redwood : In June 1992 there were 13,715 cattle and sheep farms wholly or mainly within the less-favoured areas in Wales.
Dr. Strang : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is his estimate of the total subsidy to be paid on cattle and sheep in the less- favoured areas in 1994.
Mr. Redwood : The total direct subsidies paid under hill livestock compensatory allowances, sheep annual premium, and suckler cow premium schemes in 1994 on cattle and sheep in the less-favoured areas in Wales is estimated to be £157 million.
Mr. Llwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many accidents were reported on farms in Wales in 1992-93 ; and what measures were taken to increase awareness of accident prevention.
Mr. Michael Forsyth : I have been asked to reply.
In the agriculture and horticulture industry in Wales in 1992-93 a provisional total of 65 occupational injuries were reported to enforcing authorities. Information on the number of injuries which occurred on farms cannot be separately identified.
The Health and Safety Executive is carrying out an extensive programme of measures aimed at helping to reduce the numbers of injuries and to increase awareness of health and safety in the agricultural industry. These measures include targeting inspection at those workplaces that present the greatest risk, extensive advisory and publicity work, and liaison with the industry to improve the safety of agricultural equipment.
Mr. Alan Williams : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many files marked, "Not for NAO Eyes" relating to the Pergau hydro-electric project there are within his Department ; and how many are at the British high commission in Malaysia.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Six. The high commission in Malaysia does not hold any such files.
The marking "Not for NAO Eyes" is used in accordance with long-established practice. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's internal audit unit regularly checks to ensure that the marking is not abused.
Mr. Hall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the instruction from the Foreign Secretary to the permanent secretary of the Overseas Development Administration dated 4 July 1989.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The document to which the hon. Member refers is dated 4 July 1991. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 31 January 1994 at column 493.
Mr. Hall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the memorandum to the Minister for Overseas Development from the permanent secretary of the Overseas Development Administration dated 7 February 1989.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The Permanent Secretary's memorandum to which the hon. Member refers is dated 7 February 1991. The Public Accounts Committee was informed that, in accordance with usual practice, this internal document would not be released. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will prepare a full memorandum in response to the request now expected from the Foreign Affairs Committee following their decision of 26 January.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Afairs, pursuant to his answer of 17 December, Official Report, column 961, if he will outline the particular qualifications, expertise or experience relating to the Overseas Development portfolio of the special adviser, Mr. Maurice Fraser.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : It is not my practice to comment on the qualifications, expertise or experience of special advisers.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to meet his counterparts in the European Union to discuss a joint response to forecast food deficits in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : The food aid needs of countries in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia and Eritrea, were discussed by officials of the European Community and its member states on 13 January. The European Commission indicated that they expect to provide some 250, 000 tonnes of food to Ethiopia and Eritrea through various channels during 1994. Member states are considering their individual responses. A further meeting on 3 March will review the position.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for the supply of emergency food aid following forecasts of crop deficits in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We have allocated 10,000 tonnes of relief food aid for Eritrea and 15,000 tonnes for Ethiopia since 1 November 1993 from our 1993-94 national food aid programme. This food is being channelled through various NGOs. We will shortly be considering the possibility of further allocations from our 1994-95 programme.
Mr. Tom Clarke : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received regarding forecasts of crop deficits in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : We have received reports of joint FAO/WFP crop and food supply assessment missions carried out in November and December 1993 for both Ethiopia and Eritrea. Additional information has been received from the British embassy in Addis Ababa and various NGOs.
Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes the Overseas Development Administration has made to the "Manual of Environmental Appraisal" since April 1992.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : There have been no changes. We plan to review the manual on a three-year cycle, but sections can be amended in the interim if there are key developments.
Mr. Meacher : To ask the Lord President of the Council what proportion of correspondence received by (a) his Department and (b) each of his Department's agencies receives (i) an
acknowledgement within five days and (ii) a substantive reply within 15 days.
Mr. Newton [holding answer 17 December 1993] : Current practice is for acknowledgements of correspondence to be sent immediately in cases where it is clear that a substantive reply cannot be given without consultation or research. Substantive replies are sent to correspondence as quickly as possible, but detailed analysis of response times could not be prepared except at disproportionate cost. The Privy Council Office has no responsibility for any agencies.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Lord President of the Council how many employees were judged to be guilty of fraud in his Department in each year since 1989 ; and how many were dismissed.
Mr. Newton [holding answer 1 February 1994] : None.
Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Lord President of the Council what is his Department's policy for dealing with employees found guilty of fraud.
Mr. Newton [holding answer 1 February 1994] : Employees suspected of fraud would be dealt with under disciplinary procedures and, where appropriate, the criminal code. An employee subsequently found guilty would normally be dismissed.
15. Mr. Duncan : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on United Kingdom relations with Brazil.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : We enjoy excellent relations with Brazil.
16. Mr. Corbyn : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Honduras concerning human rights.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Our ambassador in Tegucigalpa regularly reminds the Honduran authorities of the concern in this country over human rights and is in frequent contact with the Honduran human rights ombudsman. European Union ambassadors discussed human rights with the presidential candidates before the November elections.
17. Mr. Harry Greenway : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations with Poland in relation to the applications by Poland to join the European Union and NATO.
Mr. Hurd : We strongly support Poland's wish to join the European Union.
We welcome Poland's intention to take part in the "Partnership for Peace" programme, which indicates its willingness eventually to take on the responsibilities of NATO membership.
18. Mr. Gallie : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Department is doing to encourage exports to the far east.
Mr. Goodlad : All FCO posts in the far east have export promotion as a top priority. They seek out export opportunities, advise British companies on the business to be won in their markets, lobby on their behalf for major contracts and against discrimination, organise visits by Ministers and trade missions with the specific object of winning business amongst other tasks. I am happy to say, for example, that our exports to China were 72 per cent. up in the first 11 months of 1993 compared to 1992, to the Philippines 50 per cent., to Thailand 39 per cent., to South Korea 21 per cent., to Malaysia 50 per cent., to Hong Kong 32 per cent., to Singapore 24 per cent., to Japan 17 per cent. and to Taiwan 20 per cent.
19. Mr. Canavan : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had about the middle east peace process ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary visited Lebanon, Israel, the Occupied Territories and Jordan from 3-6 January. The Prime Minister met Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan in London on 11 January. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I held discussions with the Lebanese Prime Minister in London on 25 and 26 January. I am encouraged by the determination of all the parties to make progress towards a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.
20. Sir Russell Johnston : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place concerning the widening of Western European Union membership by the inclusion of countries in eastern and central Europe.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : The Western European Union Council of Ministers of 22 November requested the WEU
Column 749Permanent Council to study the possibility of an enhanced status for the countries of central and eastern Europe to allow them to participate to a greater extent in WEU activities.
21. Mr. Jim Marshall : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the future relationships between the Western European Union and the countries of central and eastern Europe, in the light of the adoption of the "Partnership for Peace" policy at the recent NATO summit.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Discussions have taken place between the Western European Union Permanent Council and representatives from central and eastern Europe, following on from the agreement reached at the 22November WEU ministerial meeting, regarding the possibility of an enhanced relationship with the WEU for these countries. Any such enhanced relationship would be complementary to and compatible with the links developed through NATO's "Partnership for Peace".
22. Mr. Rogers : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on United Kingdom relations with Malaysia.
Mr. Goodlad : Our relations with Malaysia are excellent. We have close links in many fields, especially trade, defence and education. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister visited Kuala Lumpur last September, and the King of Malaysia paid a state visit to this country in November.
23. Mr. Tipping : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met representatives of the European Commission to discuss EC social policy.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I have contacts over a wide range of issues with representatives of the European Commission. On special social policy issues, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment, who has responsibility for this area, is in regular contact with Commissioner Padraig Flynn.
24. Mr. Campbell-Savours : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on United Kingdom relations with China.
Mr. Goodlad : We attach importance to the United Kingdom's relations with China, which cover a broad range of issues. We have a shared responsibility under the Joint Declaration for the future of Hong Kong. We have a good working relationship in the UN Security Council. Our commercial relationship is expanding rapidly, with United Kingdom exports up by 72 per cent. in the first 11 months of last year.
25. Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on relations with Belize.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Our relations with Belize remain close and warm.
26. Mr. Fabricant : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action his Department is taking to establish firm links and lines of communication with the new Russian Parliament ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We look forward to regular contacts with the new Russian Parliament. The Speaker of the House has invited the chairman of the State Duma, Mr. Rybkin, to visit the United Kingdom later this year. We have established the £500,000 British programme for democracy financed by the know-how fund to help foster, among other things, interparliamentary contacts and provide training for new parliamentarians and officials.
27. Mr. McAllion : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next expects to meet representatives of the United States Government to discuss the implementations of the GATT agreement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will be discussing GATT implications again with the Americans in the near future.
28. Mr. Hawkins : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last visited Japan to discuss trade links ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Goodlad : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs discussed our trade links with a number of Japanese Ministers including the Prime Minister, during his visit to Japan in April 1993. I did so too during my visit in November. Our commercial relationship is making good progress. Despite continuing recession in Japan, British exports during the first 11 months of 1993 rose by 17 per cent. compared with the same period in 1992.
29. Sir David Knox : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he proposes to have discussions with his European Union partners concerning the strengthening of intergovernmental co- operation on foreign policy.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs meets his European Union partners regularly to discuss the strengthening of intergovernmental co-operation on foreign policy.
30. Mr. Foulkes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what requests he has received concerning assistance with the process of the election in South Africa ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : On 14 January the UN Security Council approved the Secretary-General's report containing his proposals for international assistance for the South African elections. These provide for an international contingent of 2,840 observers, of which 1,778 will be provided by the UN. The United Kingdom will contribute to the UN, EU and Commonwealth observer operations.
36. Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what contributions Her Majesty's Government are planning to make to the groups monitoring the planned South African elections in April.
Mr. Lennox-Boyd : Britain is contributing to the UN, EU and Commonwealth observer operations. The exact number of British observers has yet to be finalised.
31. Mr. Hicks : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on United Kingdom relations with Paraguay.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Relations with Paraguay are good. There were several high-level British visitors to Asuncion in 1993. We hope that President Wasmosy can visit Britain later this year.
32. Mr. Cann : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement regarding progress towards European Union enlargement.
Mr. Heathcoat-Amory : Significant progress has been made towards the enlargement of the European Community and we look forward to the early accession of the four EFTA applicants. We remain committed to the target date for accession of 1 January 1995.
33. Mr. Jim Cunningham : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what agreements have been made with other EC states and the United Nations on policy on the use of air strikes to protect (a) Bosnian Muslims and (b) humanitarian aid.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : At the NATO summit on 10-11 January, allies reaffirmed their readiness, in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions, to carry out air strikes to prevent the strangulation of Sarajevo and other threatened areas. NATO is also prepared to use air power, if requested, in support of UNPROFOR operations, including the delivery of humanitarian aid.
34. Mr. Wareing : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the current conflicts within certain of the republics of the former Soviet Union.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We are concerned at the growing human toll and humanitarian problems resulting from the conflicts in Georgia, Nagorno- Karabakh, and Tajikistan. We continue to work for resolutions through the international bodies involved, notably the CSCE and the UN.
35. Mrs. Helen Jackson : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will initiate a debate on Sudan in the United Nations Security Council.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : We have no plans to do so at this stage. We have to be sure that recourse to the Security Council would achieve the right outcome.
37. Mr. Barron : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the current position of negotiations with China over the future of Hong Kong ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Goodlad : We seek co-operation with China for a smooth transition in Hong Kong. On arrangements for the 1994 and 1995 elections, despite 17 rounds of talks, we have so far been unable to reach agreement. It was necessary for the Governor to begin the legislative process on the more urgent issues in December. We wish to continue discussion with China on the remaining electoral issues in the time available. We will also continue to seek rapid solutions, through the joint liaison group, to the many other outstanding issues related to the transition, not least those concerning Hong Kong's new airport.
38. Mr. Tredinnick : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had recently to encourage the peace process in former Yugoslavia.
Mr. Douglas Hogg : On 27 January my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs met Lord Owen in London. On 31 January he met the United Nations Secretary-General and the Canadian Foreign Minister in New York and on 1 February he met the American Secretary of State in Washington. Next week he shall meet his European Union counterparts in Brussels.